Tag Archives: Metropolitan Police

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.

 

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‘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!

Notes

  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).

Glossary

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

Police

  • 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)

Other

  • 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?

Notes:

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

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

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

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

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.”