Tag Archives: Metropolitan Police

The #SPYCOPS inquiry proper opens

Happy, smiling spycops at what is thought to be their first Christmas bash in 1968

It’s been a long time coming, but at last the Undercover Policing Inquiry has opened its evidentiary phase.

Given COVID measures, a stacked deck and the interests of the state taking precedence over truth or justice, this will not be a breeze.

But COPS, PSOOL and URG (amongst others) will be fighting the good fight within the inquiry and outwith it. Keep it locked.

Oh, and I have to say that seeing one of my working hypotheses from nigh on ten years ago being supported in the mass of documents dumped on the inquiry (drown ’em in paper) is rather satisfying.

Half Bakered at The Shard…

Occupy The Shard posterSo, the other day the owners (that would be various members of the Qatari royal family) of the Shard, a boutique towerblock in Central London notable for its numerous empty luxury apartments, initiated pre-emptive legal action against erstwhile anarchist Ian Bone (and that ever-popular beat combo ‘persons unknown’).

Why? Because the in-his-seventies-but-still-fuckin’-angry Class War founder called for protests against the Shard. He sees it as an example of the gilded skyscrapers increasingly dominating the London skyline, often empty of any actual residents, like enormous rich men’s follies, spunking steel-and-crystal tumescences contemptuously drawing shade over the capital’s poorer denizens. Turns out them vastly wealthy Qatari royal dudes do not have a sense of humour when it comes to shouty anarchists threatening to picket their valuable, shiny metropolitan real estate. Turns out they take it really fucking seriously, in fact.

Apart from the ridiculousness of them thinking even for a minute that they were going to win a propaganda war against Bone (IAN. FUCKING. BONE.), there were some interesting titbits which emerged from news stories about the injunction. Interesting titbits which, one might say, prove somewhat instructive at a time when elsewhere, for example, the judge running the supposedly independent Undercover Policing Inquiry has suggested giving ex-spycops anonymity on the frankly bizarre grounds that married men don’t tell lies; the Scottish Justice Minister has decided not to have a Scottish spycops inquiry because the HMICS police investigation of undercover policing has found no evidence of malfeasance (despite self-limiting its scope to after the Mark Kennedy shitstorm which blew the whole thing wide open); and top Scots cop Phil Gormley (himself sporran-deep in shady spycops shenanigans thanks to his time RUNNING SPECIAL BRANCH) deciding to take the I’m-leaving-before-you-sack-me-oh-is-that-my-pension-thank-you-very-much route to retirement, conveniently sidestepping the numerous investigations into his behaviour.

So anyway, those titbits. First off, the whole harassment-of-Bone shebang was organised by the Shard’s security manager, one André Frank Baker. He contracted a private security company, VSG, to compile a dossier on The Most Dangerous Man In Britain in order to put it before the court as evidence of the threat he and his unruly kind present to innocent empty multi-million pound flats. Currently Team Shard is looking to sting Bone for £525 for the privilege of being injuncted, with that figure only likely to rise.

In case you were wondering why that security manager’s name is familiar, it’s because he’s an ex-Met cop who over the years has popped up everywhere, a contemporary of such luminaries as John Yates (latterly an advisor to the democracy demonstration-crushing Bahraini police) and Bob ‘No Plainclothes Cops Here Honest Guv’ Broadhurst. After not doing very well in the Daniel Morgan or Milly Dowler murder inquiries, ‘Andy’ shifted over to the second-raters of SOCA, and then onto the anti-kiddie porn unit CEOP.

After retirement his attempts at becoming a self-employed security consultant didn’t go so well. How he landed the cushy job of security chief at the Shard isn’t exactly clear, but it wouldn’t be any stranger than career mediocrity Sid Nicholson bagging the post of Head of Security for McDonald’s UK back in the 80s after an unillustrious time spent in the boroughs.

André Baker: a man without dignity?

It helps that despite being turned over by Sun and NOTW hacks during the Dowler investigation *coff* *phonehacking* Baker later demonstrated his absolute lack of dignity by praising the Currant Bun, despite him being at (and, indeed, requesting) that awkward meeting between Morgan inquiry detective Dave Cook and Murdoch’s representative on Earth, Rebekah Wade, brokered by Slippery Dick Fedorcio, when Wade tried to deny that News Corp had Cook and his wife Jacqui Hames under surveillance by Southern Investigations-aligned journalists. Zing!

As for the private security company he commissioned the risk assessment of Bone from, VSG, that was a penny-ante little firm of shopping centre woodentops before it teamed up with – wait for it – a catering company. Always more geared towards static guarding than sophisticated investigative work, in 2016 it was boasting how it had secured a contract to operate the national business-facing counter terrorism information campaign Project Griffin… Which is convenient, seeing as how VSG’s head of counter terrorism Ian Mansfield was, err, in charge of Project Griffin whilst at the City of London Police right up until he left for a cushy private sector job!

So what sort of high grade intel did the failed detective-hired mall cop company serve up on Bone?

The VSG report described Class War as “a small but passionate group of leftwing, pro-anarchy activists with a long and proven history of campaigning against ‘the elite’ and other entities associated with wealth or perceived social injustice”.

The report advised the Shard’s owners that if Bone’s protest was allowed to take place it could endure for months and “attract widespread media coverage”. It also warned that activists could use “pyrotechnics and large, offensive banners of a derogatory nature”…

“Class War is a far-left, pro-anarchy, UK-based pseudo-political party, originally borne out of a newspaper established in 1982. The group opposes the ‘ruling elite’ for their exploitation of the poor and the disadvantaged and have recently been involved in campaigns against the demolition of social housing in London to make way for the construction of luxury housing, as well as campaigns against inequality and austerity. Class War vocally supports, and engages in, civil disobedience, violence and anarchy as acceptable methods of pursuing their objectives.”

Wow. Mind blowing – truly exceptional levels of wiki fu going on there.

Still, at least the obscenely rich Shard barons are being cost money. But perhaps VSG should bring on some fresh new talent to reenergise the company.

I hear Phil Gormley is available.


‘Neither Confirm Nor Deny”… except when it suits THEM

‘Neither Confirm Nor Deny’ = Neither TRUTH nor JUSTICE

This Thursday and Friday at the High Court in London the state’s strategy of infiltrating spy-cops into the lives of political activists goes on trial, after a fashion at least.

Essentially a bunch of women who were treated like patsies by undercover cops and their bosses – tricked into intimate relationships, used as living, breathing camouflage, exploited as a means of infiltrating political groups more convincingly – will argue that the Metropolitan Police should drop the ‘Neither Confirm Nor Deny’ (NCND) approach which it has so far used to avoid taking responsibility for the consequences of its decades-long domestic spying operation.

The concept of NCND has been wheeled out from time to time, but those of a more sceptical bent, cynical even, would note how it has only been since the legal case brought against the police that it has been wheeled out as some kind of inviolable principle underpinning the very fabric of democracy and protecting those brave, selfless souls who volunteer to become well-paid, under-supervised flatfooted spooks of the state…

So if you are around London either today or tomorrow, get thee down to the Royal Courts of Justice(!) on The Strand from 9am and show how you stand in solidarity with these women and all those others targeted by undercover cops.

For more info on how the case goes, check Police Spies Out of Lives on Twitter.

Seven Magnificent Reasons why NCND is bullshit!

1: Some former undercover spy-cops have outed themselves

Well, it’s rather difficult to keep this whole NCND charade going when the very people it’s supposedly there to protect are exposing themselves, isn’t it?

  • Peter Francis: In March 2010, then using the pseudonym ‘Officer A’, former Special Branch officer Francis candidly talked to The Observer about his infiltration of left-wing and anti-fascist groups on behalf of the SDS from September 1993 until September 1997. He also noted the interest that his superiors had in infiltrating ‘black justice groups’, particularly in the wake of criticisms of the Met’s handling of the Stephen Lawrence murder investigation.[1][2]
  • PC Mark Kennedy AKA ‘Mark Stone’ - NPOIU spy

    PC Mark Kennedy AKA ‘Mark Stone’ – NPOIU spy

    Mark Kennedy: A Metropolitan Police officer who worked undercover within the environmental movement for the NPOIU between 2003 and 2009, before leaving the Met and continuing the same for private spying company Global Open for a further ten months, Kennedy admitted his role as a cop to activists who confronted him in October 2010.[3] He then repeated his admissions to another activist in November 2010.[4]

These admissions were then the basis for the collapse of the second Ratcliffe-on-Soar trial, and subsequent quashing of convictions from the first – admissions supported by the Crown Prosecution Service, Nottinghamshire Constabulary, the Independent Police Complaints Commission, Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and others in their various reports on the debacle.
Oh, and then there’s the small matter of the hagiographic documentary about him that Max Clifford brokered…[5]
  • DI Bob Lambert AKA ‘Bob Robinson’ - undercover cop & SDS spymaster

    DI Bob Lambert AKA ‘Bob Robinson’ – undercover cop & SDS spymaster

    Bob Lambert: Since his exposure in October 2011 by members of the London Greenpeace group on which he spied in the 1980s,[6][7][8][9] the former Metropolitan Police Special Branch spy-cop and then spymaster Lambert has repeatedly acknowledged that he was an SDS infiltrator, notably in the brief statement he himself put out.[10]

In his filmed interview with Channel 4 News in July 2013, Lambert again accepted that he had been an undercover officer, and that Francis had been too.[11][12]
  • PC Jim Boyling AKA ‘Grumpy Jim Sutton’ - moved from SDS to Muslim Contact Unit with boss Lambert

    PC Jim Boyling AKA ‘Grumpy Jim Sutton’ – moved from SDS to Muslim Contact Unit with boss Lambert

    Jim Boyling: Mentored by Francis and commanded by Lambert – with whom he later helped set up the ‘Muslim Contact Unit’ within Special Branch[13][14][15] – Boyling infiltrated Reclaim The Streets as ‘Jim Sutton’ on behalf of SDS from 1995 until 2000.[16][17][18][19][20]

In 1999 he began going out with a female activist. He ended their relationship suddenly and disappeared from the environmental movement in late 2000 when his SDS deployment came to an end. But in November 2001 she tracked him down and they restarted their relationship.[21]
Soon he admitted to her that he had been an undercover police officer, got her pregnant, isolated her from her environmentalist friends. In time he also persuaded her to change her name by deed poll to reduce the chance of his police bosses discovering that he was sleeping with a former target, told her personal information about activists who had been spied upon, and revealed the identities of several other undercover officers, including John Dines and Bob Lambert, the latter of whom even visited their home.[20]
They had two children together and married in 2005, before the relationship disintegrated. By 2009 they had divorced.[22][23]

2: The police have already confirmed some infiltrators were officers

…And even if the spy-cops aren’t outing themselves, their bosses are quietly confirming as much off the record!

  • Mark Kennedy: Whilst in the early stages of the scandal the Met maintained a ‘no comment’ response to questions about Kennedy or the NPOIU, soon there was such a deluge of further embarrassing details that police chiefs were forced to acknowledge him as a cop in under a fortnight.[24]
  • ‘Lynn Watson’ - the NPOIU infiltrator whom Kennedy betrayed

    ‘Lynn Watson’ – the NPOIU infiltrator whom Kennedy betrayed

    ‘Lynn Watson’: Exposed by The Guardian in January 2011, ‘Watson’ was initially known only as ‘Officer A’ (the newspaper’s editors presumably having forgotten that less than a year previously its sister title had assigned that pseudonym to Peter Francis) thanks to a deal with “senior officers” and “senior intelligence sources” who in the face of overwhelming evidence (including being grassed up by Kennedy) admitted she was NPOIU, but asked for a head-start before publishing her work name or her photograph so that she could be relocated from a subsequent undercover operation.[25]

Almost immediately her full work name, unpixelated photograph and undercover biography became known through activist news media.[26][27][28]
Police sources further confirmed to The Times that she was a serving police officer who had worked undercover for NPOIU, offering additional information on her deployments.[29]
  • ‘Marco Jacobs’ - NPOIU's disruptive cuckoo in Cardiff's anarchist movement

    ‘Marco Jacobs’ – NPOIU’s disruptive cuckoo in Cardiff’s anarchist movement

    ‘Marco Jacobs’: At the same time as ‘Watson’ was confirmed as a serving officer working in NPOIU, so was ‘Jacobs’ – or ‘Officer B’ – who infiltrated groups in Brighton and Cardiff.[20]

  • Jim Boyling: Earlier this year during legal proceedings to have the conviction quashed of an environmental protester who was tried alongside Boyling in 1997, prosecutors agreed that John Jordan had been wrongfully convicted. However, they refused to say why they considered it a miscarriage of justice, even though it was patently obvious it was because Boyling had been an infiltrator using a fake identity, preferring instead to strike an NCND pose – all whilst the Met itself confirmed that Boyling had been a police officer.[30]

3: Senior police officers have spoken with impunity about undercover units and their personnel

In fact, some of the biggest cops think that the rules don’t apply to them, and will run their gums pretty much anywhere…

  • Chief Constable Ben Gunn - the former Special Branch supremo who nurtured SDS, laid ground for NETCU, and led ACPO into turf war with MI5?

    Chief Constable Ben Gunn – the former Special Branch supremo who nurtured SDS, prepared the ground for NETCU, and led ACPO into turf war with MI5?

    Ben Gunn: A career Special Branch officer since 1963, Gunn spent two years running SO12 before moving to leadership roles at Cambridgeshire Constabulary in 1991, becoming Chief Constable in 1994, a rank he held until retirement in March 2002. It was Gunn – an officer intimately familiar with SDS, its officers and operations, and who in later years chaired the ACPO Security Committee – who facilitated the participation of ex-SDS infiltrators and Special Branch case officers in Peter Taylor’s 2002 documentary television series True Spies.[31]

  • Chief Constable Denis O'Connor - the Chief Inspector of Constabulary whose fairweather application of NCND identified numerous undercover officers

    Chief Constable Denis O’Connor – the Chief Inspector of Constabulary whose fairweather application of NCND identified numerous undercover officers

    Denis O’Connor: In his capacity as Chief Inspector of Constabulary, O’Connor (a Chief Police Officer since around 1990) openly acknowledged Mark Kennedy as having been an undercover police officer in media appearances and interviews.[32]

O’Connor’s HMIC review of ‘national police units which provide intelligence on criminality associated with protest’ (that’s version three of the report: an initial, insipid draft by Bernard Hogan-Howe was rewritten by O’Connor himself, before that second version then had to be pulped and rush-written a third time as the story that Jim Boyling had given evidence under oath whilst using his fake identity broke the night before the report was due to be released)[33][34] – explicitly references the arbitrary exercise of NCND:
It is normal practice for the police to neither confirm nor deny the true identity of undercover officers. This is to protect both the officers themselves, and the effectiveness of the tactic. However, the case of Mark Kennedy is one of exceptional circumstances, including his own public revelations, the media interest in him, and the fact that the Court of Appeal named him on 19 July 2011. Because of this, HMIC has chosen on this occasion to use his real name.[35]
  • Commissioner Bernard Hogan-Howe - veteran of the Hillsborough police and author of the original HMIC whitewash on undercover policing

    Commissioner Bernard Hogan-Howe – veteran of the Hillsborough police and author of the original HMIC whitewash on undercover policing

    Bernard Hogan-Howe: After leaving HMIC, where he authored the never publicly released original report on spy-cop units (as noted above),[33][34]Hogan-Howe was made Metropolitan Police Commissioner – and in that capacity he too has made numerous public statements in which he accepts that various people were undercover officers, either directly or by implication.

Facing questions from the Metropolitan Police Authority in October 2011 in relation to allegations that Jim Boyling perjured himself whilst undercover, the Commissioner by implication confirmed that he had been a Metropolitan Police officer at that time: “I am just a little careful about answering the point about whether he is still working for us and what he is doing. He is in the misconduct process, which is a publicly reported fact, so he must be still working for us.”[36]
Following the allegations made by Peter Francis that SDS officers had been invited to contribute to a ‘smear campaign’ against the Lawrence family in the lead up to the Macpherson Inquiry, in June 2013 Hogan-Howe again failed to invoke NCND, instead stating: “I am personally shocked by the allegations that an undercover officer was told to find evidence that might smear the Lawrence family… If these allegations are true, it’s a disgrace, and the Metropolitan Police Service will apologise.”[37][38]
  • Chief Constable Mick Creedon - bangs on about NCND but names report after a confirmed former undercover officer!

    Chief Constable Mick Creedon – bangs on about NCND but names report after a confirmed former undercover officer!

    Mick Creedon: The serving Chief Constable of Derbyshire Constabulary, Creedon – currently in charge of the cops-investigating-cops Operation Herne – has freely acknowledged that some suspected spies (such as Francis and Lambert) were police infiltrators… Whilst also invoking NCND in the first report, but then devoting the entire second report to ‘Allegations of Peter Francis’![39][40]

4: Parliament has taken evidence under oath from serving and former undercover officers

It takes a very special type of person to fold so quickly under a Keith Vaz interrogation. But dangit, these guys will give it a go!

The Home Affairs Select Committee has heard evidence from a number of police officers – both serving and former – in relation to undercover policing, and issued both an interim report in March 2013[41] and a follow-up in October of the same year.[42]

  • Mark Kennedy: The former Metropolitan Police officer appeared in person before the committee in February 2013. He attested that he had undertaken undercover duties since 1998[43] and was accepted into the NPOIU in 2001,[44] where he subsequently worked as an undercover officer infiltrating political groups in the UK and overseas.
  • DAC Patricia Gallan - the original Herne top cop whose investigation got nowhere

    DAC Patricia Gallan – the original Herne top cop whose investigation got nowhere

    Patricia Gallan: Metropolitan Police Deputy Assistant Commissioner Patricia Gallan ran the Met’s Operation Herne until February 2013, when it was transferred to the care of Derbyshire Constabulary. She appeared before the committee in February 2013 and made reference to a “policy” of NCND whilst discussing the topic in the abstract;[45][46] yet she also explicitly referred both to Mark Kennedy and an SDS officer exposed in his wake (who can reasonably be deduced to be Boyling).[47]

  • Mick Creedon: The Derbyshire Chief Constable, who took over the running of Operation Herne from DAC Gallan at the invitation of Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe in February 2013, gave evidence before the committee in July of that year. He acknowledged that Peter Francis was an officer in SDS,[48] and neither here nor in his earlier letter to the committee, in which he noted the allegations made by Peter Francis in relation to the Lawrence family”, did he make reference to NCND.[49]

5: Inquiries by a number of authorities have clearly identified undercover officers

Since January 2011, when Mark Kennedy was publicly exposed in the mainstream media as an undercover police infiltrator, there have been almost countless official investigations, inquiries, reviews and reports into every possible aspect of the undercover policing issue – though not all of them public. The ones so far in the public domain all identify at least some officers to some degree, though…

  • Sir Christopher Rose - apparently it's alright for him to name undercovers, so long as it's whilst he's bollocking lawyers

    Sir Christopher Rose – apparently it’s alright for him to name undercovers, so long as it’s whilst he’s bollocking lawyers

    Rose Report (CPS): In April 2009 114 people were arrested in relation to a planned protest at Ratcliffe-on-Soar power plant, based on intelligence supplied by undercover Metropolitan Police officer Mark Kennedy. 26 were charged, with twenty tried (and convicted) in December 2010, and a further six due to go on trial in January 2011.

Neither the police nor the Crown Prosecution Service disclosed to the defence that there had been a spy in their midst; but in October 2010 suspicious activists themselves had confronted Kennedy with indisputable evidence that he had been a policeman, and he confessed. With the cat out of the bag, the second trial collapsed before it began, with the convictions from the first trial subsequently quashed.
Director of Public Prosecutions Keir Starmer then commissioned Sir Christopher Rose to inquire into the issue of disclosure. Rose’s report, published in December 2011, freely acknowledges that Kennedy was an undercover police officer working for NPOIU, and details not just Kennedy’s actions but those of his superior in NPOIU, the Nottinghamshire investigation team, and the CPS prosecutors.[50]
  • Operation Soisson/Operation Herne (Met Police/Derbyshire Constabulary): The Metropolitan Police first began to investigate allegations about its SDS undercover unit in October 2011, when Operation Soisson was initiated with just four officers. Soisson then became Herne, with first Met Deputy Assistant Commissioner Patricia Gallan and then Derbyshire Constabulary’s Chief Constable Mick Creedon taking nominal charge.
The first report of Operation Herne was published in July 2013, focusing on the use of ‘covert identities’ (most notably employing the identities of dead children) by undercover police.[39] This report makes early mention of the “policy of ‘neither confirming nor denying’ the use of or identity of an undercover police officer”, which it describes as “a long established one used by UK policing”.[51] Accordingly, this report does not refer to any undercover officer by their covert identity or real name. Only the identity of a dead child – Rod Richardson – suspected of having been appropriated by an NPOIU undercover spy is mentioned.
However, the report makes copious references to codenamed officers which make deduction simple. Creedon, for example, notes “allegations that a former SDS officer (N14) had a relationship with a woman whilst he had worked undercover and that he had gone on to father children with her,” in circumstances that make it plain to deduce that this is Jim Boyling.[52]
There is also reference to “a video interview provided to the Guardian by the former SDS Officer N43”, who is clearly Peter Francis.[53] Reminiscences by retired officer ‘N2’ about a situation in which he “found himself in a situation where he had penetrated an organisation and was then asked by the group to help trace a mole among them” suggests this may be Mike Ferguson, an early SDS spy[54] previously outed in the True Spies documentary series.[55] Similarly ‘N85’ would appear to be the former Commander of Special Branch, Roger Pearce – a career Branch man with extensive experience of covert policing and himself a former SDS undercover officer.[56]
The second Herne report, which came out in March 2014, focused on the claims of ex-SDS officer Peter Francis.[40] Yet despite even being called Report 2 – Allegations of Peter Francis, Creedon sticks to the NCND credo, this time even throwing in some case law and legislative references to try and plug some of the leaks.[57]
Notwithstanding this, the report still refers to Francis’ boss Bob Lambert by name, as well as by implication as ‘N10’.[58]
  • Mark Ellison QC - how come a case review by a brief and his assistant can uncover dodgy police activities that numerous well-staffed investigations by the Met, IPCC, CPS, HMIC and the rest couldn't?

    Mark Ellison QC – how come a case review by a brief and his assistant can uncover dodgy police activities that numerous well-staffed investigations by the Met, IPCC, CPS, HMIC and the rest couldn’t?

    Stephen Lawrence Independent Review (Mark Ellison QC): Appointed by Home Secretary Theresa May as a sop to the Lawrence family, who were calling for a full independent inquiry, the Ellison Review – released the same day in March 2014 as the second Herne report – was an unexpected bomb, forensically blowing apart many of the Met’s orthodoxies on not just its investigation of the murder of Stephen Lawrence but also on the behaviour of Special Branch and its undercover unit SDS.[59][60][61][62]

The Review makes no claims about NCND, and instead simply assigns number codes to pretty much all undercover officers, with the exception of obvious ones such as Peter Francis and Bob Lambert.
  • HMIC Review: As noted above, the O’Connor/Hogan-Howe Review of national police units which provide intelligence on criminality associated with protest (snappy title) for Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary was another report which potentously explained the importance of NCND, before then completely undermining it as a concept by naming Mark Kennedy throughout.[35]
  • Ratcliffe-on-Soar Power Station (Operation Aeroscope) Disclosure Final Report (IPCC): Covering similar ground as the Rose Report but concentrating on the actions of police officers, the IPCC report names Kennedy as an undercover officer, but refers to his case officer David Hutcheson only as ‘NPOIU DI’, and their superior responsible for disclosure as ‘NPOIU DCI’.[63][64]

6: Earlier tribunals have rejected the idea that the NCND convention can be rigidly and indefinitely deployed

Previous attempts by official bodies to apply a blanket NCND response to any inquiries relating to the use of spies or secret intelligence against those who were demonstrably not violent or threats to the state have been met with short shrift.

The job of adjudicating on appeals to the Information Tribunal – where a data controlling organisation has refused to release information under the Data Protection Act (1998) citing a section 28 ‘national security’ exemption – belongs to the National Security Appeals Panel. Already the NSAP has made a number of interesting decisions on this issue – and ones involving the ‘big boy’ spooks of the Security Service (MI5), the Secret Intelligence Service (MI6) and Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), not just the more déclassé rubber heelers of Special Branch, or – worse! – the impertinent young bucks of the newer national ‘domestic extremism’ units.

Typically in these appeals the state has argued that by letting ‘innocent’ people know that no information is held on them, this enables a ‘guilty’ person to incrementally build up an accurate understanding of whether information is held on them.

Whilst – repeatedly – the Panel tends to point appellants towards the Investigatory Powers Tribunal as a means to pursue such issues, the clear implication is that the ‘incremental’ argument is not monolithic and must be weighed against other contributory factors.

  • Norman Baker MP - a dangerous terraist and government minister who weakened MI5's blanket NCND defence (just don't ask about Dr Kelly)

    Norman Baker MP – a dangerous terraist and now government minister who weakened MI5’s blanket NCND defence (just don’t ask about Dr Kelly)

    Norman Baker v. Home Secretary (2001): The Liberal Democrat MP for Lewes won a landmark judgement which removed the ability of the Security Service to use a blanket NCND policy.[65][66]

It came after the Lewes MP received an anonymous tip-off that he had been under Special Branch surveillance in 1986-1989, that intelligence on him was held by the Animal Rights National Index (ARNI, a precursor to NPOIU and NETCU), and that this information was then passed onto MI5 in 1998 by a ‘source’ inside South Downs Earth First![65][67][68]
On hearing this claim he put in a DPA subject access request to MI5 asking to see what information it held on him, but this was stonewalled with an NCND response.
In its conclusion, the NSAP noted that:

the blanket exemption given by the Certificate in relation to section 7(1)(a) is wider than is necessary to protect national security…the blanket exemption relieves the Service of any obligation to give a considered answer to individual requests…[69]
  • Phillip Hilton v. Foreign Secretary (2003): In this case a former GCHQ employee sought to find out whether his personal data had been shared with other public bodies or private companies, and to clarify whether the travel restrictions that were customarily part of his employment conditions then remained in force even though he had left the job more than a decade previously.
Following an NCND response from GCHQ, he appealed to NSAP; the Panel declined to rule on the principle of NCND, though noted that it found it “difficult to accept that the NCND reply can always be justified on this ground, because as a matter of commonsense it may be thought that there are some cases where a definite response would not enable any inference to be drawn in other cases.”[70]
Nevertheless, the Panel dismissed the appeal and instead pointed to the secret Investigatory Powers Tribunal established under RIPA as the appropriate body to consider whether it was “an unjustified claim by GCHQ to give a NCND response or to withhold personal data on national security grounds”.[71]
  • Tony Gosling v. Home Secretary (2003): Here a journalist requested from MI5 any information held on him by them, citing the Baker decision; the Service turned him down and gave an NCND response, citing s28. He then appealed to NSAP.
Whilst this appeal too was dismissed, the Panel indicated that the Service conceded ground:
Assuming that the general NCND policy is itself justified…the Service accepts that the policy is not absolute. …There may be other, as yet not specifically identified cases, where departure from NCND might be justifiable.[72]
  • Peter Hitchens v. Home Secretary (2003): A journalist and former activist with the International Socialists in the early 1970s, Hitchens made a subject access request to the Security Service on the back of the Baker decision.
Whilst sympathetic to Hitchens’ argument that the passage of time should affect the degree to which NCND might be considered appropriate, the Panel also gave weight to the ‘incremental’ argument, noting that “If (the appellant) and a university contemporary both made requests under section 7(1)(a) for records which, if they exist, are more than thirty years old, a NCND reply in one case but not the other might suggest that more recent data are held in that case alone.”
The appeal was dismissed, for essentially the same reasons as in Gosling.[73]

7: Police only invoked the NCND defence after legal action was brought against them

As noted by the women’s support group Police Spies Out Of Lives:

The women launched their legal action in December 2011, but it was not until June 2012 that the police first mentioned NCND in relation to the claim.[74]

What a funny coincidence…

Yes – I think we have a winning ticket here!


  1. Tony Thompson, ‘Undercover policeman reveals how he infiltrated UK’s violent activists’, The Observer, 14 March 2010 (accessed 1 May 2014).
  2. Tony Thompson, ‘Inside the lonely and violent world of the Yard’s elite undercover unit’, The Observer, 14 March 2010 (accessed 1 May 2014).
  3. Rob Evans & Paul Lewis, Undercover: The True Story of Britain’s Secret Police, Faber & Faber, 2013, pp307-311.
  4. Rob Evans & Paul Lewis, Undercover: The True Story of Britain’s Secret Police, Faber & Faber, 2013, pp311-314.
  5. Brian Hill, ‘Confessions Of An Undercover Cop’, Cutting EdgeChannel 4, 14 November 2011 (accessed 15 April 2014).
  6. London Greenpeace, ‘Undercover police agent publicly outed at conference’, Indymedia UK, 15 October 2011 (accessed 15 March 2014).
  7. London Greenpeace, ‘Stop police infiltration of campaign groups!’, London Greenpeace (via Indymedia UK), 15 October 2011 (accessed 15 March 2014).
  8. Rob Evans & Paul Lewis, Undercover: The True Story of Britain’s Secret Police, Faber & Faber/Guardian Books, 2013, pp59-61.
  9. Rob Evans & Paul Lewis, Undercover: The True Story of Britain’s Secret Police, Faber & Faber/Guardian Books, 2013, pp331-332.
  10. Robert Lambert, ‘Rebuilding Trust and Credibility: A preliminary commentary reflecting my personal perspective’, Centre for the Study of Terrorism and Political Violence (CSTPV) (via Scribd), February 2012 (accessed 1 April 2014).
  11. Andy Davies, ‘Interview: Ex-Met’s Bob Lambert on Stephen Lawrence smear’, Channel 4 News, Channel 4, 2 July 2013 (accessed 15 April 2014).
  12. Andy Davies, ‘I’m sorry, says ex-undercover police boss’, Channel 4 News, Channel 4, 5 July 2013 (accessed 15 April 2014).
  13. Handa Centre for the Study of Terrorism and Political Violence staff page, ‘Dr Robert Lambert – Lecturer in Terrorism Studies’, University of St. Andrews website (accessed 15 March 2014).
  14. Rob Evans & Paul Lewis, Undercover: The True Story of Britain’s Secret Police, Faber & Faber/Guardian Books, 2013, 56
  15. Rob Evans & Paul Lewis, Undercover: The True Story of Britain’s Secret Police, Faber & Faber/Guardian Books, 2013, p194.
  16. unknown author, ‘Undercover police: the unmasked officers’, Daily Telegraph, 10 January 2011 (accessed 4 June 2014).
  17. Sue, ‘Jim Sutton – undercover cop in Reclaim the Streets’, Indymedia UK, 19 January 2011 (accessed 4 June 2014).
  18. Sue, ‘Jim Sutton – undercover cop in Reclaim the Streets’, Sheffield Indymedia, 19 January 2011 (accessed 4 June 2014).
  19. Transpontine, ‘Undercover in East Dulwich’, Transpontine, 19 January 2011 (accessed 4 June 2014).
  20. Paul Lewis, Rob Evans & Rowenna Davis ‘Undercover policeman married activist he was sent to spy on’, The Guardian, 19 January 2011 (accessed 4 June 2014).
  21. Rob Evans & Paul Lewis, Undercover: The True Story of Britain’s Secret Police, Faber & Faber, 2013, pp188-192.
  22. Rob Evans & Paul Lewis, Undercover: The True Story of Britain’s Secret Police, Faber & Faber, 2013, pp192-197.
  23. Paul Lewis, Rob Evans & Rowenna Davis, ‘Ex-wife of police spy tells how she fell in love and had children with him’, The Guardian, 19 January 2011 (accessed 4 June 2014).
  24. Paul Lewis & Rob Evans, ‘Spying on protest groups has gone badly wrong, police chiefs say’, The Guardian, 19 January 2011 (accessed 5 June 2014).
  25. Paul Lewis, Rob Evans & Martin Wainwright, ‘Second police officer to infiltrate environmental activists unmasked’, The Guardian, 12/01/11 (accessed 10 May 2014).
  26. quiteliketheguardianactually, ‘Officer A’, Indymedia UK, 13/01/11 (accessed 10 May 2014).
  27. ABC Anarres, ‘Three undercover political Police unmasked as infiltrators into UK Anarchist, Anti-Fascist and Climate Justice movements’, Indymedia UK, 19/01/11 (accessed 10 May 2014).
  28. infiltrators, ‘Lynn Watson’, Infiltrators & Informers blog, 08/03/11 (accessed 10 May 2014).
  29. Sean O’Neill, ‘Police infiltrator in fear for her life after gang cover is blown’, The Times, 20/04/11 (accessed 10 May 2014).
  30. Rob Evans, ‘Prosecutors ‘behaving ludicrously’ in case of alleged undercover officer’, The Guardian, 27 January 2014 (accessed 5 June 2014).
  31. Daniel Foggo & David Bamber, ‘BBC accused of putting MI5 agents’ lives at risk’, Daily Telegraph, 10 November 2002 (accessed 2 June 2014).
  32. Simon Israel, ‘Policing undercover policing: how far is too far?’, Channel 4 News, 2 February 2011 (accessed 15 April 2014).
  33. Sean O’Neill, ‘Met chief’s report on undercover police was rewritten’, The Times, 24 March 2014 (accessed 4 June 2014).
  34. Rob Evans & Paul Lewis, ‘Police accused of allowing undercover officers to lie in court’, The Guardian, 19 October 2011 (accessed 4 June).
  35. HMIC, A review of national police units which provide intelligence on criminality associated with protest, Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary, February 2012, p4 (accessed 16 April 2014).
  36. Metropolitan Police Authority, ‘Transcript of MPA meeting’, MPA website, 27 October 2011, pp20-27 (accessed 23 April 2014).
  37. Paul Peachey, ‘Met head Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe ‘shocked’ by allegations of smear campaign against Stephen Lawrence family ’, The Independent, 24 June 2013 (accessed 4 June 2014).
  38. Simon Israel, ‘Was Stephen Lawrence’s family smeared by police?’, Channel 4 News, Channel 4, 24 June 2013 (accessed 15 April 2014).
  39. Chief Constable Mick Creedon, Operation Herne – Report 1: Use of covert identities, Derbyshire Constabulary, 2013 (accessed 16 April 2014).
  40. Chief Constable Mick Creedon, Operation Herne – Report 2: Allegations of Peter Francis (second edition), Derbyshire Constabulary, 2014 (accessed 16 April 2014).
  41. Home Affairs Committee, Undercover Policing: Interim Report, The Stationery Office Limited, 1 March 2013 (accessed 4 June 2014).
  42. Home Affairs Committee, Undercover policing: follow-up – Oral and written evidence, The Stationery Office Limited, 28 October 2013 (accessed 4 June 2014).
  43. Home Affairs Committee, Undercover Policing: Interim Report, The Stationery Office Limited, 1 March 2013, p51 (accessed 4 June 2014).
  44. Home Affairs Committee, Undercover Policing: Interim Report, The Stationery Office Limited, 1 March 2013, p54 (accessed 4 June 2014).
  45. Home Affairs Committee, Undercover Policing: Interim Report, The Stationery Office Limited, 1 March 2013, p45 (accessed 4 June 2014).
  46. Home Affairs Committee, Undercover Policing: Interim Report, The Stationery Office Limited, 1 March 2013, p47 (accessed 4 June 2014).
  47. Home Affairs Committee, Undercover Policing: Interim Report, The Stationery Office Limited, 1 March 2013, p61 (accessed 4 June 2014).
  48. Home Affairs Committee, Undercover policing: follow-up – Oral and written evidence, The Stationery Office Limited, 28 October 2013, p17 (accessed 4 June 2014).
  49. Home Affairs Committee, Undercover policing: follow-up – Oral and written evidence, The Stationery Office Limited, 28 October 2013, p22 (accessed 4 June 2014).
  50. Rt Hon Sir Christopher Rose, Ratcliffe-on-Soar Power Station Protest Inquiry into Disclosure, Crown Prosecution Service, December 2011 (accessed 16 April 2014).
  51. Chief Constable Mick Creedon, Operation Herne – Report 1: Use of covert identities, Derbyshire Constabulary, 2013, p3 (accessed 16 April 2014).
  52. Chief Constable Mick Creedon, Operation Herne – Report 1: Use of covert identities, Derbyshire Constabulary, 2013, p5 (accessed 16 April 2014).
  53. Chief Constable Mick Creedon, Operation Herne – Report 1: Use of covert identities, Derbyshire Constabulary, 2013, p9 (accessed 16 April 2014).
  54. Chief Constable Mick Creedon, Operation Herne – Report 1: Use of covert identities, Derbyshire Constabulary, 2013, pp9-10 (accessed 16 April 2014).
  55. Peter Taylor, True Spies episode 1, BBC2, 27 October 2002 (accessed 15 April 2014).
  56. Chief Constable Mick Creedon, Operation Herne – Report 1: Use of covert identities, Derbyshire Constabulary, 2013, p14 (accessed 16 April 2014).
  57. Chief Constable Mick Creedon, Operation Herne – Report 2: Allegations of Peter Francis (second edition), Derbyshire Constabulary, 2014, pp27-30 (accessed 16 April 2014).
  58. Chief Constable Mick Creedon, Operation Herne – Report 2: Allegations of Peter Francis (second edition), Derbyshire Constabulary, 2014, pp54-59 (accessed 16 April 2014).
  59. Mark Ellison QC, Stephen Lawrence independent review: summary of findings, HMSO, 2014 (accessed 16 April 2014).
  60. Mark Ellison QC, Stephen Lawrence review: volume 1, HMSO, 2014 (accessed 16 April 2014).
  61. Mark Ellison QC, Stephen Lawrence review: volume 2, part 1, HMSO, 2014 (accessed 16 April 2014).
  62. Mark Ellison QC, Stephen Lawrence review: volume 2, part 2, HMSO, 2014 (accessed 16 April 2014).
  63. Gareth Tobin & Gemma Jackson, Ratcliffe-on-Soar Power Station (Operation Aeroscope) Disclosure, Independent Police Complaints Commission, 2012 (accessed 16 April 2014).
  64. Rob Evans & Paul Lewis, Undercover: The True Story of Britain’s Secret Police, Faber & Faber, 2013, p244.
  65. Philip Johnston, ‘MP wins landmark test case over secrecy of MI5 files’, Daily Telegraph, 2 October 2001 (accessed 4 June 2014).
  66. unknown author, ‘MP wins landmark battle over MI5 files’, BBC News website, 1 October 2001 (accessed 4 June 2014).
  67. Arthur Mix, ‘UK, CYCLE OF REPRESSION’, A-Infos website/e-list, 2 February 2001 (accessed 4 June 2014).
  68. Richard Norton-Taylor, ‘Test case allows ‘right to know’ on MI5 files’, The Guardian, 2 October 2001 (accessed 4 June 2014).
  69. Sir Anthony Evans, Hon Michael Beloff QC & James Goudie QC, In the Information Tribunal (National Security Appeals Panel) between Norman Baker MP and Secretary of State for the Home Department, National Security Appeals Panel, 1 October 2001 (accessed via Bailii.org 4 June 2014).
  70. Sir Anthony Evans, James Goudie QC & Kenneth Parker QC, In the Information Tribunal (National Security Appeals Panel) between Philip Hilton and Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, Ministry of Justice website, 2003, p12 (accessed 4 June 2014).
  71. Sir Anthony Evans, James Goudie QC & Kenneth Parker QC, In the Information Tribunal (National Security Appeals Panel) between Philip Hilton and Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, Ministry of Justice website, 2003, p16 (accessed 4 June 2014).
  72. Sir Anthony Evans, Robin Purchas QC & Kenneth Parker QC, In the Information Tribunal (National Security Appeals Panel) between Tony Gosling and Secretary of State for the Home Department, National Security Appeals Panel, 1 August 2003 (accessed via FoIwiki 4 June 2014).
  73. Sir Anthony Evans, James Goudie QC & Kenneth Parker QC, In the Information Tribunal (National Security Appeals Panel) between Peter Hitchens and Secretary of State for the Home Department, National Security Appeals Panel, 4 August 2003 (accessed via FoIwiki 4 June 2014).
  74. Police Spies Out Of Lives, ‘Secrecy Hearing – why “Neither Confirm Nor Deny” should not stand’, Police Spies Out Of Lives website, 6 March 2014 (accessed 5 June 2014).


There are a lot of acronyms in this article, so here’s a handy guide to all them initials…


  • ACPO: Association of Chief Police Officers (private company acting as a forum for senior cops – with no statutory foundation and no democratic oversight – which at times has had authority over units including NPOIU, NDET and NETCU)
  • ACPO (TAM): ACPO Terrorism and Allied Matters (ACPO ‘business area’ responsible for devising and driving counter-terrorism and anti-‘domestic extremism’ policy within UK policing, which operated NCDE and its subordinate units NPOIU, NDET and NETCU)
  • ARNI: Animal Rights National Index (precursor to NPOIU and NETCU whose remit was widened out to include environmentalists)
  • CIU: Confidential Intelligence Unit (sub-unit of NPOIU)
  • NCDE: National Coordinator Domestic Extremism (ACPO-controlled office commanding NPOIU, NDET and NETCU until they were all brought together as NDEU in 2010)
  • NDEDIU: National Domestic Extremism and Disorder Intelligence Unit (rebranded NDEU, under control of Metropolitan Police’s SO15)
  • NDET: National Domestic Extremism Team (investigatory ‘domestic extremism’ unit set up in 2005 to provide national strategic support to localised investigations, which later developed its own intelligence-gathering capability; merged into NDEU in 2010 and moved from ACPO to Met control in 2011)
  • NDEU: National Domestic Extremism Unit (merged unit formed in 2010 from NPOIU, NDET and NETCU and transferred to Met control in 2011)
  • NETCU: National Extremism Tactical Coordination Unit (preventative ‘domestic extremism’ unit set up under Cambridgeshire Constabulary  in 2004, coming under the control of NCDE in ACPO until merged into NDEU in 2010 along with NPOIU and NDET , and then transferred to the Met’s Counter Terrorism Command in 2011)
  • NPOIU: National Public Order Intelligence Unit (intelligence-gathering ‘domestic extremism’ unit set up under Metropolitan Police Special Branch in 1999, moved to ACPO in 2006, and after merger with NETCU and NDET into NDEU transferred back to the Met in 2011 under Counter Terrorism Command/SO15 as a single unit, NDEU)
  • SDS: Special Demonstration Squad (originally Special Operations Squad, later Special Duties Section; political infiltration unit of Metropolitan Police Special Branch)
  • SO12: Metropolitan Police Special Branch (intelligence-gathering police unit most concerned with ‘subversion’, ‘domestic extremism’ and terrorism)
  • SO13: Anti Terrorism Branch (investigatory unit)
  • SO15: Counter Terrorism Command (formed through the union of SO12 and SO13 in 2006)


  • CPS: Crown Prosecution Service (responsible for bringing about prosecutions on behalf of the state)
  • DPA: Data Protection Act (1998) (enumerates the responsibilities of any organisation which holds or processes data on individuals)
  • FOIA: Freedom of Information Act (2000) (providing public access to information held by public authorities)
  • GCHQ: Government Communications Headquarters (the national signals intelligence agency of the UK)
  • NCND: Neither Confirm Nor Deny (the position surrounding the avowal or otherwise of undercover officers claimed as an official policy by the police)
  • NSAP: National Security Appeals Panel (hearing appeals made to the Information Tribunal where a data controller has invoked s28 ‘national security’ defence under the Data Protection Act 1998)
  • RIPA: Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (2000) (legislative framework governing undercover policing and the use of informants)

Edited 12 June 2014 for minor typos & style points.
Edited 29 July 2014 for minor typo.

PC Alex MacFarlane racist arrest trial two: second jury fails to reach verdict

Following the failure of the jury in the first trial of Met cop PC Alex MacFarlane to come to a consensus on his guilt or otherwise, a second jury has done likewise.

Are we to draw a conclusion from this?

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?


[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.

PC Alex MacFarlane racist arrest trial: day four – jury fails to reach a verdict

The jury in the trial of Metropolitan Police officer PC Alex MacFarlane for a racially aggravated public order offence failed to reach a verdict today.

The judge has ordered a retrial, which will take place next week from Monday.

» Day one tweets
» Day two tweets
» Day three tweets

PC Alex MacFarlane racist arrest trial: day three – summing up

Today the Judge at Southwark Crown Court has been summing up the evidence in the trial of Metropolitan Police officer, PC Alex MacFarlane, who is accused of making racially aggravated threats or provocations of violence.

BBC London’s Nick Beake has been livetweeting from the courtroom. The jury has now retired to consider its verdict.

PC Alex MacFarlane trial, day three: 17 October 2012

  • Morning. I’ll be tweeting from @cSouthwark court where @metpoliceuk officer Alex MacFarlane denies racist abuse towards black suspect
  • Will give updates as and when I can. Judge expected to start summing up case shortly
  • Judge: this is a “very serious case” from the defendant, the public and the complainant’s point of view
  • Judge: Claimant had “set views about how the police behaved” from the beginning of the incident
  • Judge to jury: ask yourself if you can accept as truth what the defendant, Mr Demetrio has told you
  • Judge: Mr Demterio is of bad character, but that doesn’t answer the questions you (the jury) have to decide
  • Judge: defendant says being called a n***** left him violated and abused, really really low- like a bad dream
    • ian bishop ‏@bish1964
      @Beaking_News defendant????
  • Judge : Mr Demetrio was provoking the police in the back of the van
  • Judge: “entirely inappropriate” that fellow officer of Pc MacFarlane called suspect a “c***
  • Judge: same officer (not Pc Macfarlane) admitted on tape, “I did strangle you” to suspect who alleges abuse
  • Judge: wrong that police called “scumbag” . Judge: clearly this should never be said by a police officer
  • Judge: defendant says being called a n***** left him violated and abused, really really low- like a bad dream
    •  ian bishop ‏@bish1964
      @Beaking_News defendant????
  • @bish1964 good spot. judge did use word defendant, but has just clarified that he meant complainant
  •  @Beaking_News CLARIFICAITON: Judge: COMPLAINANT says being called a n***** left him violated & abused
  • Judge: defendant says he was repeating the N word after suspect had used it first
  • Judge: did PC’s use of N word come out of blue, or was continuation of a conversation – which wasn’t recorded
  • Judge : one officer said “calm it down” after PC used N word. Judge: at this point “tensions are raised”
  • Judge asks did PC use N word in a “horrible, abusive way” ?
  • Judge: suspect was in control of the recording that was made. Was the suspect goading officers ?
  • Judge: Pc MacFarlane had @metpoliceuk training in 2001 which told him he should never use the N word
  • Judge: background of PC – teacher training for a year, then in banking – joined Met in 1994
  • Judge: PC is of good character and has never been in trouble before.
  • Judge: you (jury) must decide what weight to place on PC ‘s good character
  • Judge: it may be reasonable for him (PC) to ask you to place considerable weight on his good character
  • Judge: not surprisingly Pc was exhausted after dealing with riots that week
  • judge: Pc was told in week of riots an eye problem was skin cancer – since been treated for that
  • Judge: lots of anti police feeling that week. Very stressful for officers. None of those officers knew what was going to happen next
  • Judge: first PC says he knew of suspect was when he heard “white c***s” being shouted from police van
  • Judge : Pc said “if I were to use the word black c*** I’d lose my job” to suspect
  • Judge: Pc says he was pointing out to suspect he cd only have 5 years to live because of his drug lifestyle – may get attacked by dealer
  • Judge: Pc denies that he made sexual reference to suspect’s mum
  • Judge: in fact PC says he did say he may have to tell suspect’s mother one day he’d been killed in drug related violence
    • Bristle KRS ‏@BristleKRS @Beaking_News
      Did Judge say that “in fact” MacFarlane said that re mum, or that “in fact” MacFarlane /claimed/ that he said that?
  • Judge: PC says suspect was the one making sexual and racist comments about officers’ families
  • Judge: Pc admits it was stupid to use he N word in the “heat of the moment”
  • Judge: pC Adamantly denies committing the offence he is accused of.
  • Judge: PC says he was repeating the N word which suspect used first
  • Judge: PC said suspect had left him with impression that he had low self esteem because he called himself a n*****
  • Judge: PC thought it was time this young make should start to take responsibility for his life – and that’s why he told him …
  • Judge: … To be proud of who he was and proud of his black skin.
  • Judge has sent jury out to consider their verdict.
    • Bristle KRS ‏@BristleKRS @Beaking_News
      Did Judge say that “in fact” MacFarlane said that re mum, or that “in fact” MacFarlane /claimed/ that he said that?
  • @BristleKRS it’s the latter – judge was summarising PC’s evidence to jury

» Day one tweets
» Day two tweets

PC Alex MacFarlane racist arrest trial: day two

Tweets by Guardian journalist Peter Walker from the second day of the Southwark Crown Court trial of PC Alex MacFarlane for the racially aggravated threat or provocation of violence. Walker’s full report from the trial is here.

In other racism related news, today is the 153rd anniversary of abolitionist John Brown’s raid on Harpers Ferry, and also the 19th anniversary of the Unity march on the BNP bookshop in Welling.

PC Alex MacFarlane trial, day two: 16 October 2012

  • Back at Southwark crown court for trial of PC Alex MacFarlane, who denies racially aggravated public order offence
  • Court heard yesterday that MacFarlane told Mauro Demitrio, 21: “The problem with you is that you’ll always be a nigger.”
  • Court currently being read details of MacFarlane’s interview with IPCC investigators in January, five months after alleged offence
  • In first interview MacFarlane said he could not remember “the details of what was said”, though he argued with Demetrio
  • MacFarlane now giving evidence
  • MacFarlane says he has never previously been accused of racism, whether in work or elsewhere
  • MacFarlane said he had worked 66 hours in previous few days on riot duty. It was “very stressful”, he said.
  • MacFarlane says Demetrio was abusive when arrested, calling police, “white cunts”
  • MacFarlane “confident” Demetrio used word “nigger” first in relation to himself, he tells court
  • MacFarlane says he was used to abuse & it did not annoy him: “Sadly, it comes with the job.”
  • MacFarlane looks down in witness stand as “you’ll always be a nigger” recording is played in court.
  • MacFarlane says he said “nigger” phrase to make Demetrio “reconsider his lifestyle” and not blame others for problems
  • MacFarlane: “I wanted him to be proud of who he was and stop his life of crime.”
  • MacFarlane: “I wanted him to understand that the police didn’t deal with him as a black man.”
  • Asked if, in retrospect, he regretted use of word, MacFarlane says: “I should never have used it.”
  • But he denies it was meant to be racist or to upset Demetrio
  • Said he was exhausted, not thinking straight, and wrongly repeated word first used by Demetrio
  • Under prosecution cross examination, MacFarlane again concedes he should not have used word
  • MacFarlane: “It is a word I would choose not to use, whether I’m a police officer or not.”
  • Asked by Duncan Atkinson, prosecuting, if word was meant to “put him in his place”, MacFarlane says “no”
  • MacFarlane says by the time he and Demetrio arrived at police station he had forgotten he had used the word
  • Odd pause as dry throated MacFarlane asks for a Strepsil. “I’ve got a Fisherman’s Friend,” says defence counsel
  • Even when complaint from Demetrio arrived next day, MacFarlane says he could not remember using language mentioned
  • Atkinson asks why MacFarlane’s claim Demetrio used “nigger” first did not appear in first 3 IPCC interviews
  • Did he “think it up to justify yourself” after hearing tape in 4th interview, Atkinson asks? No, he says
  • Atkinson quizzing MacFarlane on how he formed impression Demetrio was drug dealer. Based on colour? No, he relies
  • Atkinson: “Were you making assumptions about this man effectively from when you first met him?” Reply – no.
  • Atkinson refers to other officer calling Demetrio a “scumbag” and “cunt”. Asks if this is appropriate. MacFarlane: no
  • Atkinson asks if MacFarlane’s comments were “continuation of this process of demeaning Mr Demetrio”. He says not.
  • PC Alex MacFarlane trial back from lunch. Duncan Atkinson, prosecuting, continuing cross examination
  • Just before lunch we heard from 2 character witnesses who have both known MacFarlane for long time & insist he is not racist
  • DC Andrew Bete, who is black, said he had been close friend of MacFarlane for 18 years. Asked if he had been racist…
  • … Bete said: “If he had he would not be one of my best friends.”
  • Court again hears “nigger” recording, and MacFarlane agrees he then says “That’s your problem” several times…
  • Atkinson asks: “In what way, Mr MacFarlane, was his skin colour a problem?”
  • MacFarlane replies: “There was no problem with his skin colour from my point of view.”
  • MacFarlane again argues he felt problem was Demetrio’s lack of pride in being black. Tuts audible from D’s family in gallery
  • Atkinson asks if “that’s your problem” comment meant Demetrio “in some way had a problem because he was black”
  • MacFarlane says not. Disagrees also that comment was to “put him in his place”
    •  more fire ‏@voiceoffrisson
      RT @peterwalker99 Odd pause as dry throated MacFarlane asks for a Strepsil. “I’ve got a Fisherman’s Friend,” says defence counsel <gripping
  • @voiceoffrisson You had to be there
    •  more fire ‏@voiceoffrisson
      @peterwalker99 truly, I felt like I was – address?
  • Court haring written statements from other officers in the van. One, PC Andrew Adams, said he heard no racist language from police
  • Adams says police sang “Wheels on the Bus” to drown out Demetrio’s swearing. D then laughed along, he says
  • Adams says Demetrio was abusive in racist and sexually explicit way, threatening to rape niece of officer
  • Another PC, Dan Godfrey, says he also heard abuse from Demetrio but none from any police, and saw no assault
  • 3rd PC, David Jacques, also mentions racist & sexually aggressive abuse from Demetrio. Did not hear racism from any police
  • Defence case ends with reading of one more glowing character reference. There are 10 more similar, jury told
  • Just had closing argument from Duncan Atkinson, prosecuting. MacFarlane, he said, “let the British public down that day”
  • Atkinson: is “interesting to wonder” where Demetrio’s complaint would have got without his recording, given denials by police
  • MacFarlane comments should not be seen alone but in “a chain of demeaning conduct” by police in van, Atkinson says
  • Richard Atchley, defending, concludes by warning jury to be wary if “edited highlights” of events
  • Atchley singles out the news media as example of how events are routinely distorted. Few furrowed brows in press box
  • My @guardian story on 2nd day of PC Alex MacFarlane trial so far http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2012/oct/16/police-officer-man-self-esteem …
    •  ian bishop ‏@bish1964
      @peterwalker99 @guardian Peter was an explanation given by ipcc as to why it took them until interview 4 to disclose the use of N word?
  • @bish1964 Not in court
  • Atchley tells jury MacFarlane’s comment “be proud” prove his good intentions. Mutters from Demetrio’s family in public gallery
  • Atchley: “They are the words of a man trying to get a young black man to reassess his life.”

Getting away with murder – 1,433 deaths in police hands since 1990 and not a single cop convicted

It’s not just one fat-fingered thug from Carshalton who has got away with murder here – besides Simon Harwood there are others with blood-stained hands involved in the needless death of Ian Tomlinson, commissioners of crimes of omission, intent, neglect, inaction and untruthfulness.

Alex Robertson, Steve Discombe, Alan Palfrey, Andrew Moore, Kerry Smith, Nick Jackson, Jon Bish, Trevor Stevens, Clive Wilkinson, Colin Nye, Carl Small, Ryan Cowlin, Andrew Massey and others there at the scene.

Timothy Williams, Mike Bowron, Paul Stephenson, Bob Broadhurst, Anthony Crampton and others who set the tone either for unchecked brutality or for shameless cover-up.

All share in the culpability of the acts that led to the death of Ian Tomlinson, and in the acts that prevented the timely and accurate investigation of the circumstances of his death.

All uniformed police officers.

All off scott-free.

And as the statistics compiled month after month, year after year by INQUEST – a charity working with the families of those who die from contact with the police – show, the snuffing out of Ian Tomlinson’s life at the feet of officers who batoned him, set attack dogs on him, threw him to the ground without a thought for his welfare, his health, is sadly, enragingly, all too common.

1,433 deaths across England and Wales since 1990. 1,433 families bereaved.



Every dot, a life.

Every dot, justice denied.

1,433 deaths in police hands, and not a single police officer convicted.

RIP Ian Tomlinson. Rest in Peace all victims of police violence.

JUSTICE? Carshalton killer cop PC Simon Harwood acquitted



Michael Gillard on bent cops, the ‘Untouchables’, investigative journalism and The Guardian (2001)

Note: This is an article by journalist Michael Gillard published on the Belgium-based website MaoMagazine in 2001. That website has been offline for several years, and despite attempts to access it via the Wayback Machine and Google caches, I have previously been unable to do so. However, having recently located a printout of the article which I made at the time and which was stamped with the full URL, I have been able to bring up this one page, thus saving me the trouble of retyping it out.
I have not edited or trimmed or ‘corrected’ the text. I have formatted it as close to the original printout as possible, except in two areas of style: (i) The first paragraph originally contained the bolding of words and phrases, which I have not replicated; (ii) I have italicised all newspaper names, where the original did not. In addition I have added annotations to provide context, in particular for non-UK political trainspotters. I reproduce the entire article without claim to its authorship or copyright, on the basis that it relates to matters of great public interest at the moment, but is essentially unavailable. BristleKRS.

Who can you trust?

The Guardian, the journalists and the letter…

When the Guardian newspaper in the UK lost two of its award winning investigative team1 few people noticed. But behind this seemingly ordinary happening lies a tale of police letters, denials, security services and off the record briefings…by Michael Gillard.

Recently Guardian2 editor, Alan Rusbridger3, complained about an ancient law that could theoretically be used by the government to imprison editors who campaign in their newspapers for the establishment of a republic by lawful means.4

The Guardian‘s challenge to the 1848 Treason Felony Act- on the grounds that it was incompatible with new Human Rights legislation, in particular freedom of expression – was in reality little more than a transparent publicity stunt. Ramping up a non-existent threat against the editor.

Undoubtedly there are some who would have enjoyed the fantasy of the Guardian editor cowering in the prison showers with disgraced minister Jonathan Aitken or even the great storyteller, Jeffrey Archer. But this was never on the cards.

However when Scotland Yard wrote to Rusbridger informing him that fellow investigative journalist Laurie Flynn and I were under investigation for a serious criminal offence, one which carried an automatic prison sentence, there was no clarion call to defend a free press against this smear campaign. Instead the letter remained in the Guardian‘s files as the nation’s self-styled sleaze-buster continued to secretly kill our troublesome investigation into police corruption.

What follows is a sordid story of the Guardian‘s betrayal of core journalistic principles in the face of a real and continuing assault on press freedom by Scotland Yard.

The Untouchables

In March 2000 Laurie Flynn and I led the Guardian with a lengthy investigation of a secretive anti-corruption unit inside Scotland Yard called the Untouchables. The front-page and inside articles revealed the truth behind the biggest anti-corruption probe in the history of British policing.5

Only a handful of very senior officers and Home Office mandarins knew about the secret corruption offensive when it was first launched in 1993. Four years later London’s Metropolitan Police commissioner revealed to the House of Commons that he had up to 250 bent cops in his ranks.6

It was a startling public admission. The figure was based on ‘intelligence’ gathered by the Untouchables7. Excitable crime correspondents were told these anti-corruption crusaders had bugged, followed and secretly integrity tested the suspect detectives.

But our articles revealed a different reality. After seven years and millions of pounds the Untouchables had in fact only secured nine convictions for serious corruption. None of them were senior officers.8

The articles questioned whether the low conviction rate meant the ‘intelligence’ about 250 corrupt cops was poor and over-exaggerated. Financial deals to secure the co-operation of supergrass witnesses had been hidden from the courts. And an illegal filtering process, known internally as “cleansing”, meant inconvenient allegations of corruption against senior or well-connected officers could be easily buried.

We also revealed some of the so-called Untouchables were themselves under investigation for unethical, illegal or corrupt behaviour9 – facts that clearly reinforced the need for a new independent system of investigating police misconduct.10

Police pressure

Crude police pressure on the Guardian began almost immediately after this first series of critical articles were published. Keeping the media on message is a key Scotland Yard strategy confirmed Chris Webb, a senior spin-doctor.11 This was achieved, he said, by a round of discreet “visits” from the Met commissioner and others to key media bosses.

They were asked to trust the Yard to carry out its internal investigation unhindered by inquiring reporters. The Untouchables’ targets, editors were told, were in every case cunning, experienced detectives who had gone native armed with the latest anti-surveillance techniques. They were ruthless and would use anything, including the media, to avoid detection or prosecution.

In reality it is Scotland Yard which is using the media, largely through the grubby lobby system of authorised correspondents, most of whom will not bite the hand that regularly feeds them and the appetite of news desks for ‘sexy’ crime stories.

Unsettled by the Guardian articles, in March 2000 the Yard asked the Attorney General’s Office12 to prosecute the newspaper on the grounds that our stories jeopardised future corruption trials. On this occasion the Attorney General declined.

However, by July the position changed after the Yard became aware we were preparing two further articles this time investigating the links between the Stephen Lawrence scandal13 and the Untouchables’ anti-corruption crusade.

Police sources and lawyers had suggested to us that the launch of the secret anti-corruption probe in late 1993 was a damage limitation exercise following the bungled police investigation into the racist murder in April that year of Stephen Lawrence.

The parents of the black teenager continue to believe that corrupt links between Scotland Yard and organised criminals linked to the murder suspects14 partly explains the failure to make early arrests.

Their campaign culminated in a landmark public Inquiry in 199815 that severely criticised the police for incompetence and institutional racism. On the issue of corruption however the Met assured the Lawrence inquiry that its squad of Untouchables was “scoping” the problem with ruthless efficiency.

We had already shown this was not the case in our March investigation. Now we were trying to publish in the Guardian a major article documenting well-supported claims by the Lawrence Inquiry that it had been “bugged” and “burgled” ahead of publication of its landmark report in February 1999.

Senior inquiry sources believed a draft version of the report had been stolen and then leaked to the right-wing Sunday Telegraph.16 The police or intelligence services were suspected. Indeed the Inquiry had been tipped off that the police planned to bug its offices.17

The second article concerned worrying and detailed allegations of police corruption that surfaced before, during and after the Lawrence Inquiry but which the Untouchables had mysteriously failed to properly investigate or raise with the Inquiry.

On bended knee

We had already spent two weeks in increasingly tense conferences with Rusbridger and his number two, Paul Johnson18, when in July we discovered indirectly the Untouchables were seeking another injunction against the newspaper. They were especially concerned about the second article.

Again senior officers claimed publication would jeopardise an on-going police corruption trial. This was nonsense, as the articles contained nothing to do with that trial. But the way the injunction threat was made guaranteed the prejudice argument advanced by the Yard. Rather than notify the newspaper directly, Treasury Counsel19 instead stood up in front of the jury in the police corruption trial and announced the intention to gag the Guardian over some forthcoming articles.

In general the media has been asked by the Yard to suspend any critical analysis of this unprecedented anti-corruption crusade until all the trials are concluded. This will be some time next year.

The oppressive use of injunctions and blanket contempt orders to gag the independent media during these trials has been very effective largely because newspapers, including the Guardian, refuse to challenge this real threat to press freedom.

On 14 July the Attorney General’s office faxed Rusbridger a warning against publication of our articles.

We had already noticed a change in the Guardian‘s appetite for our follow-up investigation of the Untouchables. Rusbridger was more directly involved. He and the Guardian‘s legal team were by now also having significant meetings without us.

We had come through many tough debates with them during the previous two years. But this was the first time that an adverse legal opinion on our copy was given even before the lawyers had seen the police responses to our detailed questions and allegations. Rusbridger and his lawyers seized on the threat of an injunction and the Attorney General’s letter as further reason not to publish.

On 2 August, a date that will become very significant in this grubby tale, we were told the Guardian had “hit the brick wall” and no rewrites or any further inquiries would change the editorial decision not to publish our articles.20

The Yard was snorting that it had derailed publication, Graham McLagen21 of the BBC, one of the Yard’s most trusted reporters, told us. On bended knee McLagen would later oblige the Untouchables with a Panorama ‘documentary’ that was the journalistic equivalent of fellatio.22 This novel form of deep throat journalism did not attract an injunction threat even though the programme was broadcast during two major police corruption trials.

The double standard was clear: Those who swallow the Yard’s line can publish or broadcast during corruption trials without fear of injunctions, those who pose a threat will be threatened.

We had also received word from two sources that the Yard was briefing against us and claiming we had been “sacked” from the Guardian.

Undeterred, we continued our investigation but with increasing strain inside the newspaper. A police source warned us we were under investigation with a watch on our bank accounts. This squared with earlier information that the Untouchables were also looking at unauthorised relationships between independent journalists and police officers.23

In early September, shortly after these tip-offs, a very senior establishment figure told us he heard that Rusbridger had reassured the Met commissioner there would be “no more stories” about the Untouchables in The Guardian.

Of course editors can reasonably end investigations. But the Yard and government pressure, difficulties with Rusbridger, precipitous legal advice, rumours of being sacked or under investigation were all impossible to ignore. But still we didn’t have a clear picture of what was going on inside the Guardian.

It was only when I saw hard evidence that the Yard’s campaign to derail our investigation had reached into the belly of the editor’s office, that I realised we had been betrayed by our own in the high politics of media manipulation and self-censorship.

The letter

The Guardian had kept from us an explosive letter it received from the commander of the Untouchables stating we were under investigation for a serious criminal act that carried an automatic prison sentence.

The letter was marked “strictly confidential” and not intended for publication. It was addressed to Rusbridger and dated 2 August 2000. The date was important for several reasons. It came shortly after the injunction threat and the Attorney General’s letter to the editor. In addition, it coincided with Johnson’s irreversible decision that our investigation had “hit the brick wall.”

The letter was written by Commander Andy Hayman, an officer who appears to have risen without trace within the Yard. Commander Hayman is responsible for operations and investigations by the Untouchables.24 He had invited himself to the Guardian in March last year to try and blunt our first expose of his secret squad. He claimed then that corrupt cops, who he refused to identify, were using us. Unspecified intelligence I reminded him, is not evidence.

This time the tactic was different. Hayman would not have written the letter to Rusbridger without higher authority and possibly some sense of how it might be received.

The two-page text was subtitled “RE: PROPOSED ARTICLE BY GILLARD AND FLYNN” but strangely Hayman didn’t go on to discuss which article he was referring to. Instead he suggested to Rusbridger that we were under investigation for conspiracy to pervert the course of justice by “unethically or unlawfully” helping one of his targets to escape serious charges of the same nature.

The target was a private investigator25 whose trial was not due to begin for another eight weeks. We had never written, nor proposed writing, anything about him. Hayman appeared unbothered by these inconvenient facts. His letter was building up for the kill.

Commander Hayman not only threatened us with prosecution, he boldly requested from Rusbridger his assistance in obtaining confidential journalistic information to aid that prosecution. Namely, details of our sources and when we met them. A file would then be submitted to Treasury Counsel for a decision on whether to proceed against us.

To cap it off, Hayman offered Rusbridger a confidential security briefing where he would see secret intelligence of an alleged “campaign” by unnamed individuals to undermine unspecified prosecutions.

Presumably this was not the sort of letter that comes into the Guardian every day. It demanded the immediate attention of senior editors and probably the legal department. They would have had to respond somehow to Commander Hayman’s imperious assault on press freedom, the threat of prosecution and the formal request to help the Untouchables with its inquiries into two Guardian reporters.

Whatever the nature of any subsequent discussions between the Guardian and Scotland Yard we do not know, because the newspaper won’t come clean. We do know however that no one from the Guardian told us about the letter or discussed with us its serious implications.

By the time we found out about the Hayman letter already a significant number of weeks had passed since it was sent. Yet despite numerous opportunities to do so, Guardian managers remained suspiciously silent.

Assault on a free press

We later discovered that Paul Johnson, our direct line manager, had received a copy of the Hayman letter but he too never sought to raise it with us. Instead on 2 November, twelve weeks after the letter was sent, Johnson told us we must “stop investigating” the Yard and its squad of Untouchables.

The Met’s smear campaign against us and the Guardian‘s deafening silence over the Hayman letter is deeply disturbing, but we continued to investigate this clear public interest story in our own time.

Eleven days later I attended a committal hearing of three detectives arrested by the Untouchables.26 I was the only reporter at Bow Street Magistrates Court. It was a tiny courtroom and I was sitting directly behind three Untouchables. There was no reporting restriction in place and both the court and the police knew I was a journalist. But on the second day when the usher handed out headphone sets – we were about to listen to a secret recording the anti-corruption squad had made of the defendants – one Untouchable decided the freedom of the press was a freedom too far.

No sooner were the headphones in my hand when detective sergeant Sean Buckland lent over the bench separating us and grabbed me violently, shaking me as he tried to snatch the headphones back. At my request the judge intervened and reminded him that it was an open court. He turned to me and said: “I’ll see you outside.”27

I took statements from witnesses and the next evening made a formal complaint to the Met commissioner, Sir John Stevens.28 The decision to complain about Buckland was not taken lightly. Investigative reporting is a rough and tumble business. But I was determined this common assault would be the last in the series of attacks by the Yard on my right to investigate the activities of its much-vaunted anti-corruption squad. If DS Buckland would behave like that in open court, what would he do with a warrant at 6 am at my front door? The National Union of Journalists could see the issues and backed me immediately. At the Guardian it was a very different story.

Stop investigating or resign

As I was still on contract to the Guardian I informed them of the complaint letter and requested an immediate meeting with Rusbridger to discuss the events leading up to the assault. It had now been fifteen weeks since the Hayman letter was sent to the paper. Despite frequent opportunities to do so, its existence had still not been revealed to us and none of our many articles on the Untouchables and police corruption had been published.

On 22 November we met first with Johnson and then later that afternoon with Rusbridger. The two men had spoken about the situation after morning conference and clearly had an agreed line. Immediately Johnson went on the offensive. The Guardian had read my complaint with “increasing anxiety and worry”, he said. He then accused me of not being “collegiate” by complaining about the assault without first seeking their permission, which would not have been forthcoming, he admitted.

Johnson was clearly unaware that we knew he had not been exactly “collegiate” with us over among other things the Hayman letter. But then Olympic sanctimony and even hypocrisy have become an unfortunate trademark of the Guardian in recent times.

Johnson ploughed on. As a result of my complaint, the “guillotine” had come down, he said. We were not to investigate Scotland Yard or police corruption, even in our own time. If we couldn’t accept this we’d have to resign.

It was clear my complaint was being used as a pretext to now formally justify what had already been secretly killed off. Johnson denied this. But Laurie then asked if he knew anything about an attempt by the Yard to open a split between the Guardian and us. This was Johnson’s last chance. He paused. The paper had “never ever come under any pressure under anything you have written,” he said boldly. The Guardian is “not malleable to pressure,” even from Commander Hayman, he assured us. Yet for all his collegiality, Johnson again forgot to mention the Hayman letter.

Sword of truth

Some hours later we interviewed Rusbridger in his office. We sat opposite each other across a big table strewn with newspapers. It was a picture postcard. Mounted on the wall behind Rusbridger’s head was the so-called “Sword of truth” – a memento from the Guardian libel victory over disgraced Conservative minister and liar Jonathan Aitken.29

We told Rusbridger our police sources had informed us there was a “back channel” between him and Scotland Yard. Our question was partly prompted by an earlier conversation when he had claimed he could “get to” the Met commissioner, Sir John Stevens. Nervously rubbing his chin, Rusbridger told us it was “categorically untrue”. There was no back channel.

We then described to him the smear campaign against us and informed him that only recently his own well-respected home affairs editor30 had taken an anonymous call asking whether it was true that we had left the Guardian because the Attorney General was very disturbed by our activities. Rusbridger rubbed his chin some more and shook his head.

Had he been told formally that we were under investigation by the Untouchables, we asked. Had he been written to asking for details of our sources? Someone was “winding us up”, he replied. “I’m not that kind of editor.”

Rusbridger however did recall that four months earlier in July he had spoken to the Attorney General31 at a Society of Editors32 bash. He claimed they only discussed why the government was going for the Guardian over an innocuous email sent by MI5 whistleblower David Shayler33. It was remarkable that only two days before this bash the Attorney General’s office had taken an unusual step and written to Rusbridger warning him against publishing our articles yet none of this came up in their conversation.

We then asked Rusbridger whether the Untouchables had offered him in writing a confidential security briefing? He said no, but volunteered that he had recently taken one from MI634, at their initiation. The spooks wanted to discuss the Guardian’s coverage of the security services he said, but the Liberal crusader instead took them to task over their levels of “openness.”

Rusbridger was in his stride. The decision not to carry on our investigation was an editorial one based on legal advice, he claimed, and not in any way influenced by outside pressure.

A serious breach of trust

Overdosed on collegiality, we left the editor’s office having asked that his extraordinary order – to stop investigating the Met, even in our own time, or resign – should be put in writing. It came almost three weeks later, again without any mention of the Hayman letter.

In our reply on 22 January we told Rusbridger he was trying to “gag” us. His “improper” order was “an unacceptable restriction of our freedom of inquiry and at odds with the declared policies of the nation’s leading liberal newspaper,” consequently we refused to accept it.

We asked for our contracts to be paid out. But first, after laying out a precise summary of the Hayman letter, we challenged the Guardian to continue to deny its existence or that there had been any pressure from the Yard.

We wrote: “Clearly such an approach should have been shared immediately with us so we could defend ourselves. Your decision not to do so left us dangerously exposed and constitutes at the very least a serious breach of trust and good faith.

“It is also worrying that five months have passed and although we have presented you with several opportunities we still have not been told the truth about a matter that severely impacts upon our professional lives. It is with sadness we now realise our suspicions over the last five months that the Guardian was backing off, discouraging independent investigation of (police) problems and censoring our work were well founded.”

Come as clean as you can

While we waited for a reply, over at Westminster the favours-for-passports scandal35 had gone from bad to worse for government minister, Peter Mandelson.36 The Guardian decided to offer some advice.

In a lead editorial entitled ‘The price of prevarication – Mandelson should have come clean,’ the minister was excoriated for his “incurable deviousness”.37

“We have recommended this precept for people in government,” crowed the Guardian. “At times like this, do not try and wriggle your way out of trouble, come as clean as you can as soon as you can.”

The editorial gave us hope the paper would heed its own advice. It didn’t. Rusbridger wrote back on 29 January with a truly remarkable explanation.

He said he was “truthful” when he claimed he had come under no pressure and had not been offered a confidential security briefing. But he thought we were so certain about the existence of the Hayman letter that he immediately asked his colleagues to comb their offices. “On searching through their files,” he wrote, “they have (his italics) unearthed a letter Mr Hayman wrote to me dated August 2, 2000.”

Imagine our surprise. But Rusbridger went on to claim he “knew nothing” of it and hadn’t even seen the Hayman letter until the search discovered it buried in the files of unnamed colleagues.

Rusbridger wrote that he and his PA were on holiday when the letter arrived. It was “passed by the temporary PA to Paul Johnson who was himself about to go on holiday. He placed it in a file and forgot about it until yesterday. No-one within the Guardian responded to the letter or gave it any thought until your letter,” he explained. There was “no conspiracy”, not even a mystery, he added helpfully. The letter simply “went astray”.

It is true Rusbridger was on holiday by 2 August. But it is also true that he was still in the UK when the letter arrived. Furthermore, internal emails show the editor was in regular contact with Johnson at this very time. One of the things they were discussing was whether to put on the front page our article on the bugging and burglary of the Stephen Lawrence Inquiry.

Rusbridger helpfully concedes that Johnson, not he, saw the damaging Hayman letter. So it is remarkable Johnson will not explain why he decided not to tell Rusbridger about the Hayman letter. Or why he failed to tell Laurie when they met soon after it had arrived to discuss the bugging story. The Guardian subsequently refused to publish that story too so we gave it to The Independent to splash soon after we left.38

A knowledgeable source close to the editor’s office told us that all Rusbridger’s important mail and faxes would have been given by the temporary PA to the acting editor Georgina Henry39 while he was away. But she too refused to say whether she had seen the Hayman letter or spoke to Rusbridger about it.

There was however one good thing about the Guardian‘s Mandelsonian response. Rusbridger sensibly rescinded his improper order that we stop investigating the Yard even in our own time. He asked if we would like to continue working the remainder of our contract but on other subjects.

Free thinkers not welcome

The Guardian‘s fantastical explanation – that no one paid any attention to the Hayman letter, that it was put in a file and forgotten about – could just be true, like a well-crafted X-files script. But any newspaper, the Guardian included, receiving such an explanation from a government minister or spin-doctor would not believe it without further and better particulars to help close, well, the credibility gap.

So alongside requesting a copy of the Hayman letter, in February we replied to Rusbridger asking ten routine questions of the kind Guardian reporters every day are encouraged to put to public bodies and private companies. In whose dusty drawers, for example, were copies of the Hayman letter unearthed?

The reply was disappointing for a paper that runs its own ‘Open Up’ campaign for government departments and encourages errant ministers to come clean.40 There were no answers to any of the questions. And no copy of the now far from private Hayman letter. But instead Rusbridger agreed to pay out the remainder of our contracts.

Rusbridger’s position more than justifies the comments of his valued columnist Henry Porter41 who wrote recently in the Guardian that “editors are less answerable to the public than any other group, and it is time they were made to explain their actions.”

In the absence of transparency and professional decency came informed speculation from a veteran staff reporter who suggested there had been a “deal” between the Guardian and Scotland Yard.

The question was how far did the Met really need to push the ‘new’ Guardian under Alan Rusbridger? One clue comes from the prescience he displayed soon after the Guardian‘s libel victory in February 1997 against detectives from Stoke Newington police station who had caught the eye of the anti-corruption squad following allegations of drug dealing.42

Although victorious, Rusbridger wrote at the time in the Evening Standard how “many editors reading (the) judgement will think twice in future. The next time they learn of wrongdoing in the police they will remember the hundreds of thousands of pounds The Guardian risked and they will instruct their reporters to forget stories about police corruption.”43

The Stoke Newington case certainly shaped, perhaps even permanently scarred, the Guardian’s editorial view of investigating the police. This is partly due to the awesome war chest the Police Federation control for suing journalists that upset its rank and file members.44

But the libel case in 1997 had another more interesting consequence: It brought Rusbridger and the Guardian very close to the upper echelons of Scotland Yard and to the intelligence chiefs running its anti-corruption squad – a special relationship that we would cut across two years later.

The anti corruption squad had sourced the Stoke Newington articles and senior Scotland Yard officers were also willing to come to court for the Guardian.

Conversely, we were two reporters outside the control of the crime correspondents’ club45, who by 1999 were investigating double standards and even allegations of corruption inside the secret anti-corruption squad itself. Senior Scotland Yard officers were apparently prepared to use their relationship with the Guardian to threaten us with prison, and the newspaper kept this from us.

Under Rusbridger’s editorship, the ‘new’ Guardian appears to have been seduced further into the security loop of unattributable briefings from spooks in oak-panelled rooms that was once the reserve of the right wing press and honourable correspondents.

The former bastion of civil liberties journalism has even decided there is no danger or conflict in using senior ‘retired’ MI6 officers like Michael Oatley46 to do the work of journalists and dig into the finances of disgraced minister, Jonathan Aitken.

Perhaps Cambridge luminaries such as Rusbridger are comfortable with retired spooks who, like guests at Hotel California, check out but never leave. But what would his readers make of this?

Of course with its Media website, thankfully the Guardian is now on hand 24-hours-a-day to keep an eye on the unholy alliances and unethical behaviour of other media organisations.

But will this self-appointed watchdog be allowed to post the Hayman letter on its website and ask reporters and editors what should be done when a secret police unit sends such correspondence?

A senior Guardian executive told a colleague that the newspaper had now “become part of the story”. Our investigation into police corruption continues and will be published as a book next year.47

I recently confronted the newly appointed deputy assistant commissioner Andy Hayman about his letter to Rusbridger. He provided an illuminating answer that underscores the depth of the Guardian‘s treachery.

Before running away to his chauffeured squad car, Hayman said Scotland Yard wanted to ensure the security of its operations so it decided to “fire a shot”, clearly to see how the Guardian would react. Now they know. Muckrackers beware.

Michael Gillard

© Copyright 2001 MaoMagazine, postbox 1483 in 2000 Brussels – Belgium


1 Michael Gillard and Laurie Flynn.

2 The Guardian is a liberal-leaning daily newspaper in the UK, published six times a week. Its sister paper is The Observer, which is published on Sundays. Both, alongside the Guardian.co.uk (formerly Guardian Unlimited) website, are published by Guardian News & Media (GNM) and owned by Guardian Media Group (GMG), which is controlled by the Scott Trust.

3 Editor of The Guardian since 1995, on the boards of GNM, GMG and the Scott Trust. Via Wikipedia: “Rusbridger was born in Northern Rhodesia, the son of B.E. (née Wickham) and G.H. Rusbridger, the Director of Education of Northern Rhodesia (now Zambia). He was educated at Cranleigh School, a boys’ independent school in Cranleigh, Surrey, and at Magdalene College, Cambridge, where he read English.” See also the lengthy biographical article, ‘Alan Rusbridger: The quiet evangelist‘ by Peter Wilby, New Statesman, 30/5/12.

4 See The Guardian, 6/12/00: “The paper’s editor, Alan Rusbridger wrote last week to the attorney general, Lord Williams of Mostyn, asking for an assurance that he will not be prosecuted, given that he has no intention of advocating overthrow of the monarchy by force. In his letter, he argued the Treason Felony Act breaches article 10 of the European convention, the right to freedom of expression.” See also The Guardian, 7/12/00: “The editor of the Guardian, Alan Rusbridger, last night wrote to the attorney general challenging him to prosecute him under the Treason Felony Act of 1848 for supporting a republican government.” Note the conflicting dates of the letter to the Attorney General.

5Corruption squad under fire‘, The Guardian, 4/3/00

6 On 4/12/97 the then Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, Sir Paul Condon, claimed that there were 100-250 corrupt officers within his Force whilst giving evidence to the Parliamentary Home Affairs Committee. HAC records that far back are not published on the Parliamentary website, but there are references to Condon’s evidence elsewhere, including (ironically perhaps) Inside Time, a national newspaper for prisoners.

7 ‘The Untouchables’ were members of CIB3, a secret unit within the Metropolitan Police’s Complaints Investigation Bureau tasked with tackling police corruption. See ‘Untouchables‘ by Michael Gillard & Laurie Flynn (Mainstream, 2003; Cutting Edge Press, 2004; Bloomsbury Reader, 2012); ‘Bent Coppers‘ by Graeme McLagan (Orion, 2003).

8 The numbers here are not straightforward. During the period when the Ghost Squad/CIBIC and then the Untouchables/CIB3 were starting up through until this article was published (1993-2001), there were nine serving and three retired police officers convicted of corruption offences across five trials. The ball started rolling with South East Regional Crime Squad (SERCS) Detective Constable John Donald, who had been convicted in 1993 of corruption; but he hadn’t been through the Ghost Squad/Untouchables system, so let’s discount him. I doubt either that Gillard is including Duncan Hanrahan, the ex-Detective Constable-turned-private eye who became the first supergrass on the books in 1997, implicating serving officers; no one was convicted on his evidence except himself (sentenced in 1999). Five officers from the Dulwich-based SERCS were convicted on the supergrass evidence of former Detective Constable Neil Putnam (who had himself been sentenced in 1998) and drug dealer Evelyn Fleckney in 2000: Detective Constables Robert Clark and Chris Drury were convicted of conspiracy to supply drugs and perverting the course of justice in a trial in February, whilst Detective Sergeant Terry O’ Connell and Detective Constables Tom Kingston and Tom Reynolds were convicted in August. In January 2001 a further five serving and retired officers – this time from the Rigg Approach Flying Squad – were convicted on a range of corruptions charges: Detective Constables Terry McGuinness, Kevin Garner (retired) and David Howell, plus Detective Sergeant Eamon Harris and ex-Detective Inspector Fred May. In that case, McGuinness and Garner were acting as supergrasses. And Detective Constables Martin Morgan and Declan Costello (Barkingside police station) only faced trial in June 2002. So I suspect Gillard’s total of “nine convictions for serious corruption” encompasses the five convicted at the Rigg Approach trial, and the five convicted at the two contested SERCS trials, minus O’ Connell, who was acquitted of conspiracy, but gaoled for two years for “committing acts tending or intending to pervert the course of justice”. By way of a postscript, Clark and Drury had their convictions quashed in 2010, and were acquitted at their retrial in October 2011. The men’s lawyers specifically criticised then-CIB3 Detective Superintendent John Yates (see note 22), who “devised a system of informal conversations, partially recorded “debriefs”, tape recorded interviews under caution with these witnesses, followed by formal witness statements at the end of the investigation. In these conditions, [Putnam and Fleckney] incriminated various police officers. The opportunity for unfair and unrecorded threats, inducements, promises and pressure was obvious.”

9 Such as John Yates, Andy Hayman, Bob Quick, Chris Jarratt, Roy Clark, etc. See ‘Untouchables’.

10 Since this article was first published, the nominally Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) was set up, replacing the Police Complaints Authority, which operated from 1985-2004.

11 Chris Webb remains a “senior spin doctor” at the Met, having replaced his former boss at the Directorate of Public Affairs, Dick Fedorcio, who resigned following revelations at the Leveson Inquiry. Webb is also Vice-Chair of the Association of Police Communicators, known as APComm. Despite currently serving as Acting Director of Public Affairs, Webb’s role is not mentioned on the relevant Met web page where previously Fedorcio’s did. Webb’s name also crops up on some documents submitted to Leveson.

12 The Attorney General is the chief law officer for England and Wales within the UK, providing legal advice to the government and to the Crown. As well as holding non-Cabinet ministerial rank, Attorneys General also have a supervisory role over a number of Crown bodies, including the Treasury Solicitor’s Department and the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS).

13 Stephen Lawrence was a black teenager who was killed by a racist gang in Eltham, south-east London, on 22 April 1993. Despite a number of witnesses naming suspects, a Metropolitan Police murder inquiry failed to bring anyone to trial. The following year, after the Crown Prosecution Service claimed that there was not enough evidence to secure convictions, the Lawrence family initiated a private prosecution. Charges against two suspects were dropped for lack of evidence before trial, which eventually took place in 1996. The judge then directed the jury to acquit the remaining three in the dock. An inquest into the death of Stephen Lawrence took place in 1997, and found that he was a victim of unlawful killing. Later that year the government ordered the establishment of a public inquiry, headed by Sir William Macpherson, to look into the circumstances of the killing and the subsequent investigations. The Macpherson Report, published in 1999, found serious failings on the part of the Metropolitan Police, which it described as “institutionally racist”. Following changes to the ‘double jeopardy’ law which meant that fresh trials could take place of acquitted suspects if significant new evidence was available, two suspects – Gary Dobson and David Norris – were in 2010 rearrested and charged with the Lawrence murder. Following a trial which began in 2011, both were convicted, sentenced and imprisoned in 2012.

14 Such as alleged corrupt links between former SERCS Detective Sergeant John Davidson from the Lawrence inquiry team, and Clifford Norris, a career criminal and father of suspect David Norris. Gillard and Flynn revisited this theme in an article for The Independent more than a decade later, ‘The copper, the Lawrence killer’s father, and the secret files that expose a “corrupt relationship”‘ (6 March 2012). Links were also alleged in the Macpherson Report that Clifford Norris had a relationship with Detective Sergeant David Coles.

15 The Stephen Lawrence Inquiry heard evidence throughout 1998. Its report was published in February 1999.

16 On 21 February 1999, right-wing broadsheet newspaper The Sunday Telegraph, which has close ties to Scotland Yard, published a story by Tom Baldwin based on a leaked copy of the Macpherson Report, three days before it was due to be presented before Parliament. See also ‘Untouchables’ chapter 16 (pp394-405). The issue of the ‘leak’ – suspected by some to involve bugging and burgling of the Mapherson team’s homes and/or office – was revisited at the Leveson Inquiry in 2012, when Jack Straw, who was Home Secretary from 1997 until 2001, said he had been “furious”.

17 ‘Untouchables’ p397: Secretary to the Inquiry Stephen Wells “received an alarming call. Someone with extensive contacts in the police had warned him ‘the Met had a plan to bug the Inquiry’. The Inquiry secretary was horrified.” Wells contacted Deputy Assistant Commissioner John Grieve, then leading CO24, the new Racial and Violent Crimes Task Force, which had been set up to reinvestigate the Lawrence murder. Unbeknownst to Wells, Grieve was also a “leading member of the secret anti-corruption management committee and would continue to share intelligence and staff with the Untouchables” (p398). Grieve consulted with the Commissioner, and then relayed back to Wells that Condon “was ‘furious’ the Inquiry secretary could seriously suspect his force.” Grieve then arranged for the National Criminal Intelligence Service (NCIS), an elite nationwide law enforcement agency, to sweep the Inquiry’s offices and the homes of its advisers and chairman in search of surveillance devices.

18 Paul Johnson is now deputy editor of The Guardian. A 2009 conference biography notes that he studied at Cardiff University before working as a trainee reporter at the Express & Star in Wolverhampton. On joining The Guardian he worked first as Midlands reporter, then Irish correspondent, and was involved in the paper’s investigation into ‘cash for questions‘, which linked lobbyists Ian Greer Associates and Harrods owner Mohammed Fayed to Tories MPs.

19 Treasury Counsel are barristers who receive briefs from the Director of Public Prosecutions – who heads the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) – to prosecute criminal cases on behalf of the Crown.

20 Note the gap between June and September 2000 in this chronological list of articles about the Stephen Lawrence case on the Guardian webiste.

21 Actually Graeme McLagan, a former BBC Home Affairs Correspondent, and author of ‘Bent Coppers‘ (see note 7).

22 The Panorama episode was called ‘The Bent Cop‘, and was broadcast on 3 December 2000. It was based around the evidence of CIB’s supergrass, Detective Constable Neil Putnam in relation to corruption at the South East Regional Crime Squad (SERCS). It featured interviews with CIB3 Detective Superintendents (by then Commander) Dave Wood and John Yates, without mentioning that either were ‘Untouchables’, preferring instead to describe them as ‘investigating officers’ from an ‘anti-corruption branch’. A transcript of the programme is available. John Yates subsequently led the Special Inquiry Squad, before promotion first to Deputy Assistant Commissioner and then in 2006 to Assistant Commissioner, the third highest rank in the Met. He replaced fellow CIB3 alumnus Bob Quick in 2009 as chief of Specialist Operations, under which the likes of VIP protection, counter-terrorism and security functions fall. He conducted the notorious 2009 review of the Met’s earlier phone hacking investigation (which had been executed under the purview of Assistant Commissioner Andy Hayman), and concluded no more action was required – an opinion he also put to the Home Affairs Committee that year. By 2011, however, it was shown that he had failed to look into evidence of endemic corrupting or criminal activity, and following another appearance before the HAC, he resigned, to be replaced by Assistant Commissioner Cressida Dick (the officer responsible for the operation in which innocent Brazilian electrician Jean Charles de Menezes was shot dead by police in 2005). Yates later took up a role as adviser to police in the Gulf state of Bahrain at a time when pro-democracy demonstrations threatened to topple the government there. Allegations of brutality and torture carried out by Bahraini police persist from human rights organisations.

23 A similar situation developed in 2011 when Guardian Special Investigations Correspondent Amelia Hill was questioned by the Met in relation to what they considered to be ‘leaks’ from inside Operation Weeting, the new inquiry into phone hacking. Hill was subsequently informed that the CPS would not take action against her.

24 Commander Andy Hayman joined the Met from Essex Constabulary in 1998. He worked in CIB3 and CIBIC – the Complaints Investigation Bureau Intelligence Cell, previously known as the ‘Ghost Squad’ (Gillard & Flynn, passim) from 1999 before taking overall charge of first CIB (McLagan pp322 &326) and then its successor organisation Directorate of Professional Standards (McLagan p409), the latter after promotion to Deputy Assistant Commissioner. He left the Met in 2002 to become Chief Constable of Norfolk Constabulary, but rejoined in 2005 as Assistant Commissioner in charge of John Yates’ old directorate, Specialist Operations. As such, he led the investigation into the July 2005 London bombings, during which Jean Charles de Menezes was killed. For this he drew criticism, as did his Commissioner, Ian Blair. In 2006 he was responsible for the original phone hacking inquiry, which again was subsequently criticised. In 2007 he left the Met following a number of allegations of inappropriate behaviour towards Nicki Redmond, female official at the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC), questions about his relationship to his staff officer Sergeant Heidi Tubby, and concerns over travel expenses. From 2008 Hayman was a paid columnist for The Times newspaper, owned by the News International Group which also owns the News Of The World tabloid, which he had been investigating in 2006. He made a memorable appearance before the Home Affairs Committee in 2011 when he admitted receiving hospitality from those whom he had been investigating.

25 Presumably Jonathan Rees of Southern Investigations, a suspect in the murder of Daniel Morgan, the founder of the company and Rees’ co-director. In December Rees went on trial for planting cocaine in the car of one Kim James, with the intention of causing her to lose custody of the child she had by her estranged husband Simon. Rees, James and corrupt police officer Detective Constable Austin Warnes (ex-SERCS) were all found guilty in December. The plot to frame Ms James was uncovered during CIB3’s ‘Operation Nigeria’ reinvestigation of the Morgan murder, which entailed extensive surveillance and bugging of the Southern Investigations offices.

26 13 November 2000?

27 The only references I can find to DS Sean Buckland are in ‘Bent Coppers‘ (pp314, 317 & 320). I have found no reference to him in ‘Untouchables‘.

28 Sir John Stevens was the Metropolitan Police Commissioner from 2000 until 2005, succeeding Sir Paul Condon, and succeeded by Sir Ian Blair. Prior to his appointment to the senior position in British policing, he served for two years as Deputy Commissioner at the Met. In addition he had stints as Chief Constable of Northumbria Constabulary, Chief Inspector of Constabulary, and control of the Stevens Inquiry into collusion between police, army and loyalist paramilitaries in Northern Ireland. Following his retirement from policing, he was paid for a column for the News Of The Worldtabloid newspaper (ghost-written by tabloid editor-turned-PR consultant Neil Wallis).

29 Jonathan Aitken was a former journalist who worked for a number of papers, including the London Evening Standard, before following in his father’s footsteps to become a Conservative MP in 1974. After receiving information from former Central Intelligence Agency counter-intelligence chief James Jesus Angleton, he alleged in a confidential letter to then-Prime Minster Margaret Thatcher that former Security Service (MI5) director-general Roger Hollis had been a KGB mole. The letter, along with input from senior MI5 officers Peter Wright and Arthur Martin, formed the basis for a controversial book by Express journalist and intelligence conduit Chapman Pincher, ‘Their Trade Is Treachery’ (Sidgewick & Jackson, 1981). Wright subsequently developed the theme further in his own memoir, ‘Spycatcher’ (Dell, 1987), which the government tried (and failed) to suppress. He served in the John Major government first as a defence procurement minister, then as Chief Secretary to the Treasury, a Cabinet post. In 1995, following a story in The Guardian (which was backed up by a World In Action television documentary) alleging that he violated ministerial rules by accepting a stay at luxury hotel the Paris Ritz paid for by a businessman, he took legal action against the paper, infamously stating that “if it falls to me to start a fight to cut out the cancer of bent and twisted journalism in our country with the simple sword of truth and the trusty shield of British fair play, so be it”. However, documentary evidence that the allegations made by The Guardian and WIA were substantially true was presented, and his libel action collapsed. In 1999 he was convicted of perjury and perverting the course of justice, and sentenced to eighteen months imprisonment.

30 Possibly Alan Travis, who is the current home affairs editor of The Guardian. His LinkedIn profile lists Guardian political correspondent (1985-1992) as his previous post.

31 The Attorney General in 2000 was Gareth Wyn Williams, Baron Williams of Mostyn (served 1999-2001).

32 The Society of Editors is a trade body open to “people who work in or with the news media in a senior editorial or policy making role,” with membership extended to “those who work within publications, broadcasting, new media, academia and media law.” It was formed in 1999 following a merger between the Guild of Editors and the Association of British Editors.

33 David Shayler was a Security Service (MI5) officer who turned whistle-blower in 1997, and in 2000 was subsequently prosecuted, convicted and (briefly) imprisoned for breaching the Official Secrets Act.

34 MI6 is a popular name for the Secret Intelligence Service (SIS), Britain’s agency for gathering foreign intelligence. Its domestic counterpart is the Security Service (MI5), though there is overlap, with MI5 officers working beyond the shores of the UK, and MI6 officers working within the national boundaries.

35Favours-for-passports‘ was a scandal which brewed up in 2001 over the involvement of government ministers Keith Vaz (Europe) and Peter Mandelson (Northern Ireland Secretary – see note 36), as well as other MPs, in petitioning the Home Office on behalf of Indian businessmen Srichand and Gopichand Hinduja, each of whom were applying for British citizenship. At the time both, along with their other brother Prakash, were under investigation by the Indian government in relation to the Bofors scandal.

36 Peter Mandelson was a prominent senior Labour Party MP at the time, closely associated with Prime Minister Tony Blair and with the ‘New Labour’ faction. He was appointed Director of Communications for Labour in 1985, and ran its general election campaign in 1987. He became an MP in 1992, a seat he held until 2004. On Labour’s general election victory in 1997, he was first appointed minister without portfolio, being promoted to Trade & Industry Secretary the next year. In 1998 he resigned from the Cabinet following a scandal over an undeclared interest-free loan from Geoffrey Robinson MP. Within a year he returned to Cabinet as Northern Ireland Secretary, before resigning a second time over the Hinduja affair (see note 35). He resigned his parliamentary seat in 2004 so that he could take up office at the UK European Commissioner. At the end of this posting, he was ennobled as Baron Mandelson of Foy, and rejoined the Labour government (by now with Gordon Brown at the helm) as Business Secretary.

37 Leader column, The Guardian, 26 January 2001

38 Unfortunately The Independent‘s website search only goes as far back as 2003, so I have been unable to find the article in question.

39 Georgina Henry is the head of Guardian.co.uk website, and assistant editor of The Guardian. From 1995-2006 she was deputy editor, and was on the board of Guardian Newspapers 1996-2006. She is in a relationship with Ronan Bennett, a writer who as a young man was wrongly imprisoned for a murder attributed to the Official IRA, and then later was held on remand for the ‘Persons Unknown’ anarchist trial, where he and his co-accused were acquitted. (See ‘Conspiracy: Law, Class and Society’ by Robert Spicer, Lawrence & Wishart, 1981, for more on ‘Persons Unknown’.) Bennett co-authored the television drama Fields Of Gold with Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger in 2002.

40 I have searched the Guardian website for signs of an ‘Open Up’ campaign in 2000 or 2001 but can’t find anything concrete.

41 Currently a columnist for the Guardian‘s sister paper, The Observer, Henry Porter has been London editor of Vanity Fair magazine since 1992, following a stint as executive editor at broadsheet The Independent On Sunday.

42 In February 1997 The Guardian won a libel case brought against it by the Police Federation on behalf of five officers at Stoke Newington police station in east London. The five – Reynold Bennett, Robert Watton, Bernard Gillan, Paul Goscomb and Gerald Mapp – had been among eight described by crime correspondent Duncan Campbell in a 1992 article as having been transferred following allegations of drug-related corruption. Combined costs for that case were put at around £600,000.

43 Unfortunately the London Evening Standard‘s website search only goes as far back as 2003, so I have been unable to find the article in question.

44 The Police Federation of England and Wales is a representative body of all police officers up to the rank of Chief Inspector, set up by a statute in 1919 which also prohibited a police trade union. The Fed, amongst other services, provides a wide range of legal support to police officers. Up to the Guardian‘s 1997 victory, the Fed was said to have had an unbroken run of 95 libel victories, with a 50% increase in cases brought since 1990, and more than £20 million secured in damages.

45 There really is such a club – the Crime Reporters Association. It has been frequently name-checked at the Leveson Inquiry in ways that suggest a cosy relationship between certain top cops and some journalists to the exclusion of other reporters and wider public scrutiny.

46 Michael Oatley was a Secret Intelligence Service (SIS or MI6) officer, most notable for his work in Northern Ireland, where he constructed various back channels between the British government and the Provisional IRA from the 1970s to the 1990s. He subsequently joined Kroll Associates, a private investigation company specialising in corporate investigation and risk consultancy.

47Untouchables‘ by Michael Gillard & Laurie Flynn (Mainstream, 2003; Cutting Edge Press, 2004; Bloomsbury Reader, 2012).

  • Edited 11 June 2012 to correct minor typos in the notes.
  • Edited 19 September 2012 to correct minor typos in the notes.
  • Edited 16 July 2014 to correct a mistake in the notes (‘Complaints’ rather than ‘Criminal Investigation Bureau’).

WHO MURDERED DANIEL MORGAN? 25 years on and killers yet to face justice

On 10 March 1987 after having a drink with Jonathan Rees, his partner in Southern Investigations, at the Golden Lion pub in Sydenham, Morgan was found dead in the pub car park[3] next to his car, with an axe wound to the back of his head.[4] Although a watch had been stolen his wallet had been left and a large sum of money was still in his jacket pocket. The pocket of his trousers had been torn open and notes he had earlier been seen writing were missing. Subsequently a match to the DNA sample found on Morgan’s trouser pocket was allegedly made.[5] Morgan was alleged to have been investigating drug-related police corruption in south London before his death.[5]

Detective Sergeant Sid Fillery, stationed at Catford police station, was assigned to the case but did not reveal to superiors that he had been working unofficially for Southern Investigations.[4] In April 1987 six individuals including Sid Fillery and Jonathan Rees, the brothers Glenn and Garry Vian and two Metropolitan police officers were arrested on suspicion of murder but all were eventually released without charge.[4]

At the inquest into Morgan’s death in April 1988 it was alleged that Jonathan Rees, who had had disagreements with Morgan, told Kevin Lennon, an accountant at Southern Investigations, that police officers at Catford police station who were friends of his were either going to murder Danny Morgan or would arrange it, and Sid Fillery would replace Morgan as Rees’s partner. When asked, Rees denied murdering Daniel Morgan.[6] Sid Fillery, who had retired from the Metropolitan Police on medical grounds and joined Southern Investigations as Rees’s business partner, was alleged by witnesses to have tampered with evidence and attempted to interfere with witnesses during the inquiry.[7]

Via Wikipedia.

Ian Tomlinson death cop PC Simon Harwood to stand trial for manslaughter

So, PC Simon Harwood – the TSG officer who batoned and shoved Ian Tomlinson in a manner which three pathologists concluded significantly contributed to his death – is to face trial for manslaughter in October.

It looks like those who trained and directed Harwood – as well as hundreds, thousands of other police deployed to control the citizenry with whatever level of physical force they see fit – have got away with it.

For now.

PC Simon Harwood due to give evidence at inquest into Ian Tomlinson’s G20 death at 2pm

He’s in the room now, being shown the layout. Not such a tough man without his Action Man gear.

His TSG boss, Inspector Tim Williams, was giving evidence this morning. Harwood should be giving evidence from 2pm this afternoon.

G20 police witnesses to fatal Ian Tomlinson assault – UPDATE

Two years ago, when this project began ten days after Ian Tomlinson died at the hands of PC Harwood of the Territorial Support Group under the noses of the Forward Intelligence Teams and others, it it looked like it was going to be another brushed-under-the-carpet death-by-police-contact.

Here we are now two years on, and are we any closer to justice? How much more heartache for the Tomlinson family? Will Smiley Culture’s family have to endure the same agony as they try to get at the truth?

One thing we do know, and that’s that the police, collectively and as individuals, have singularly failed to be as candid or as honest as they could have been from the very beginning. Everything has been prised from them, not volunteered by them.

So we must continue prising; prising and prising until every mailed fist is broken open.

Accordingly here is the updated list of police witnesses to the deadly assault on Ian Tomlinson:

A = PC Simon Harwood, (4TSG, Met – Aitken Road, Catford, driver, U4103)

T1 = PC Andrew Moore (L2, Met – Fulham, driver, FHxxx)
T2 = PC Kerry Smith (L2, Met – Fulham, driver, FH521)
T3 = PC Nicholas Jackson (L2, Met – Fulham, driver, FH268)

D1 = PC Jon Bish (City of London, dog handler, CP807, same serial as PC Stevens) & Max the black & tan German Shepherd
D2 = PC Trevor Stevens (City of London, dog handler, ???, same serial as PC Bish) & Finn the black German Shepherd
D3 = PC unknown (City of London, dog handler, CP788)
D4 = PC Clive Wilkinson? (City of London, dog handler, ???)
D5 = PC unknown (City of London, dog handler, A712)

F1 = PC Alan Palfrey (Forward Intelligence Team, Met – Camden, EK127)
F2 = PC Steve Discombe (POIU/CO11/Forward Intelligence Team, Met, CO2558)
F3 = unknown (FIT)
F4 = unknown (FIT)
F5 = PC R Cowlin (POIU/CO11/Forward Intelligence Team, Met, CO5466)

C1 = unknown (City of London, 204)

U1 = unknown (City of London, possibly PS Timothy Slade, superior of Bish & Stevens?)
U2 = unknown (possibly not a cop)
U3 = unknown (possibly not a cop)

Pictures and further updates to follow.

[Edited 24/1/12 to add small details based on rereading inquest transcripts]