Thursday, October 20, 2011

yet another one bad apple

There's the old urban myth about glaziers who go round bricking windows at night then drop their card through the door the next morning. In Apocalypse Now the medics help soldiers of both sides, drawing the comment that 'we cut them in half with a machine gun and give them a Band Aid'.

Bob Lambert is a liberal academic who pushes for greater racial harmony and acceptance of multiculturalism. Here he is speaking at a Unite Against Fascism conference a couple of weeks ago, here he is writing for Al-Jazeera, lefty journal New Statesman and being praised in the Guardian.

For more than 25 years, Bob Lambert was a special branch undercover officer, actively undermining the work of protest groups including anti-racist groups.

Lambert's biography on his academic webpage, presumably self-written, describes his time in the police force working

in counter-terrorism, gaining operational experience of all forms of violent political threats to the UK

Under the alias of Bob Robinson, he infiltrated London Greenpeace in the 1980s. Not to be confused with Greenpeace International with whom they have nothing in common but half a name, London Greenpeace was a long established direct action group of an eco-anarchist bent whose public activities mainly involved a lot of leafleting.

They were perhaps best known for the McLibel case - after handing out What's Wrong With McDonald's leaflets they were prosecuted for libel. The multinational spent thousands of pounds per day on lawyers whilst the defendents represented themselves in the longest trial in English history.

During the trial it was revealed that the group was heavily infiltrated. Indeed, meetings occurred where the activists were in the minority and most people in the room were either undercover cops, private detectives hired by McDonald's, or a second group of detectives hired to spy on the first lot.

After his time with London Greenpeace, Lambert moved to backroom stuff, overseeing officers deployed in other groups. He put Jim Boyling into those well-known terrorists Reclaim The Streets.

More pertinently, he put 'Pete Black' into anti-racist groups for four years. Having had a stint obstructing the Anti-Nazi League's attempts to prevent the rise of the BNP, Black then infiltrated and undermined people fighting for justice for under-investigated black deaths such as the Stephen Lawrence campaign.

The dignified tenacity of the Lawrence family and those around them eventually led to an admission of 'institutional racism' from the Metropolitan police, and serious subsequent changes to the acceptability of racism in the force. But all this was after they'd done their best to scupper the campaign.

Where was the terrorism being countered? Where was the threat of political violence? The only threat they posed was to the credibility of the police by drawing attention to their incompetence and racism.

As we've seen with the Mark Kennedy case, groups are not infiltrated according to their threat to public safety but in proportion to their political unacceptability to the status quo. And nothing draws the police's attention and ire quite as much as an attack on police credibility.

This is why senior officers ordered constables' statements to be altered at Hillsborough disaster.

Last two pages require amending. These are his own feelings. He also states that PCs were sat down crying when the fans were carrying the dead and injured. This shows they were organised and we were not. Have [the PC] rewrite the last two pages excluding points mentioned.

Like all concentrations of power, the police's maintenance of their position becomes paramount, other considerations are secondary where they exist at all. Lambert - whose police work garnered an MBE - is the seventh undercover cop to be exposed, compounding a body of incontrovertible evidence that the same methods were used against the same kind of groups for more than thirty years.

Knowing it is indefensible, the various self-investigatory reports will try to hang their underlings out to dry and tell us Mark Kennedy was a rogue officer straying off-mission. When all seven exposed officers behaved more or less identically, the police need to tell us how many it takes to prove that far from following orders, this was strategy. And more than that, who devised, approved and ordered this political policing?


Feeling My Age said...

Nice to see Brislting Badger ahead of the game - four days BEFORE the Guardian broke big with Bob Lambert on their front page today. The romantic duplicity thing is simply horrendous - who knows how widepsread this (hand in hand with the infiltration of peaceful protest groups) may turn out to be...

BristleKRS said...

Good piece, one minor point - Pete Black was put into Youth Against Racism in Europe (YRE), not the ANL.