It was the day after the Guardian revealed that officers from the Special Demonstration Squad had used stolen identities of dead children, and it had happened in around eighty cases. As the Guardian's live blog of the hearing reported, Gallen cast doubt on the figure.
She says she does not know if the figure of 80 children's identities being used is accurate. She knows of two cases....It has been confined to the SDS and the NPOIU (National Public Order Intelligence Unit).
The admission it was the NPOIU is interesting. The police had tried to spin that the cases were in the 1970s and 1980s, yet the NPOIU was only formed in 1999.
But hang on a minute. If she knows of two, and of it happening in two units, then that's one per unit.
Details came out this week of the presumed NPOIU officer, who used the identity of Rod Richardson. There's an Indymedia post with photos and list of his activities by activists who knew him, and a Guardian piece that interviews the dead baby's mother.
So that leaves the Special Demonstration Squad officer. Except we have John Dines, who posed as John Barker from 1987-1992, and also the officer known as Pete Black who stole that name in 1993, as he explains in this video.
So Gallan can't count the three already exposed, yet we're supposed to have faith in her helming yet another secret self-investigation into the dozens of cases.
Asked why she hadn't told the parents or apologised she explained that
It would be inappropriate to rush to make statements in haste
That's a broad definition of haste. She conceded that she found out about the dead children's stolen identities five months ago.
WHY SHE REFUSES TO COUNT TO THREE
Asked by the Committee's chair Keith Vaz whether the parents of the dead children should be informed, she dodged, saying
it's important to find out all the circumstances and whether they are accurate... ethical and legal issues also need to be considered.
Indeed there are. I'm sure they want to consider legal issues and prevaricate, hoping the clamour for families to be told will dissipate. The Richardson family are already suing. The brother of John Barker, an eight year old who died of leukaemia whose idenetity was used by John Dines, points out the seriousness of such claims and the danger police put citizens in.
In our case, we now discover, there was a girlfriend who was left behind when the policeman pretending to be my brother disappeared from the scene. Apparently she was so worried about him that she tracked him down to the house we had moved out of a few years earlier.
Imagine that policeman had infiltrated a violent gang or made friends with a volatile person, then disappeared, just like this man did. Someone wanting revenge would have tracked us down to our front door – but they wouldn't have wanted a cup of tea and a chat, like this woman says she did.
Eighty-odd cases - and with the NPOIU added in that could be over a hundred - would be hugely humiliating and expensive for the police. So, as is their habit, they are playing down their wrongdoing and trying to avoid us knowing the truth; the opposite of what a body concerned with justice would do.
THE TRUTH? YOU CAN'T HANDLE THE TRUTH
A few years ago a Freedom of Information request was lodged asking for Special Branch records on people with alleged affiliations to London Greenpeace, a group we know was heavily infiltrated.
The police information manager responded in October 2006, readily admitting that records existed and it "would contribute to the quality and accuracy of public debate" to release them. However they refused to do it as it was not in the public interest.
They explained – and get ready to have to read this twice to believe it - "The Public Interest is not what interests the public, but what will be of greater good if released to the community as a whole." Disclosure is therefore not in the public interest because it could "undermine their goodwill and confidence in the Metropolitan Police and could result in a lack of engagement with the MPS" and may "endanger the health and safety of our officers".
In other words, if you really knew what we did to you, you'd lynch us.