Nothing personal, it’s a political right to know #spycops’ names

Eveline Lubbers, Undercover Research Group, 10 February 2018.

The Undercover Policing Inquiry will reveal the real name of ‘Rick Gibson’, the undercover police officer who infiltrated the Troops Out Campaign and socialist group Big Flame 1974 – 1976. Gibson’s anonymity order was one of seven discussed at the Inquiry’s hearing last Monday at the Royal Court of Justice in London.

The worrying thing is that the Chair of the Inquiry, John Mitting, will only disclose it to ‘Mary’ – a woman the officer deceived into a relationship whilst undercover. Last month she came forward and issued a powerful statement asking for him to be named.

In doing so, Mitting creates a special category of ‘deserving victims’, and makes it a personal, rather than political right to know the real names of the spies.

This is not good, as there are – even within the Inquiry’s limited reasoning – plenty of reasons why Gibson’s name should be disclosed and his misconduct acknowledged in public. Even more disturbing is the fact that Mitting’s decision stems from an utterly conservative disposition, which makes you wonder whether he is the right man to chair an inquiry into institutional sexism within the police.  Continue reading

Two new undercovers – ‘John Clinton’ and ‘Alex Sloan’

Chart of communist parties in the UK in 1970s showing the INLSF / CWLB (ML)

Donal O’Driscoll, Undercover Research Group, 8 February 2018

Today the Undercover Policing Inquiry released the cover names of two undercovers who infiltrated the left wing groups in London in the early 1970s. Some details had been previously revealed by the Inquiry, but this was the first time we learned the names the pair used while undercover. This brings to five the number of undercover cover names revealed by the inquiry that had not already been know to campaigners.

Both the new officers were with the Special Demonstration Squad (SDS). The dates of their deployments indicate that they were part of a second generation of undercovers, when the unit moved beyond its original targets – the anti Vietnam war protests – to look at all forms of political protest groups.

The two names are:

  • “John Clinton” (HN343), who from 1971 to 1974 was with the International Socialists (I.S.).
  • “Alex Sloan” (HN347), who from 1971 to 1973 infiltrated the Irish National Liberation Solidarity Front (INLSF)

The International Socialists, now better known as the Socialist Workers Party, were Continue reading

Scottish Justice Minister rejects public inquiry into undercover policing

PRESS RELEASE, Public Interest Law Unit, 7 February 2018

The Scottish Justice Minister, Michael Matheson has today (Wednesday 7 February 2018) has announced that he will not be calling for a public inquiry into undercover political policing in Scotland. This is despite the fact that a report from the HMICS lists serious undercover political policing by the Special Demonstration Squad (SDS) and the national Public Order Intelligence Unit (NPOIU) in Scotland.

In his statement to the Scottish Parliament he noted that undercover political policing had taken place north of the border. Yet, he has refused the need for a public inquiry – stating that there was a lack of  evidence of undercover political policing, and that calling a public inquiry was not proportionate and too costly.

It is accepted that during the G8 Summit at Gleneagles in 2005, the Metropolitan Police sent SDS and NPOIU undercover officers into Scotland to spy on activists. It also talks of a wider ‘cadre’ (pt.176) where these Scottish officers? Amongst these officers was known undercover officer Mark Kennedy, who had, between 2003 and 2010, infiltrated numerous campaign groups and had formed intimate relationships with women, and Carlo Neri who had targeted a woman known publicly as ‘Andrea’, and had been welcomed into her Scottish family.

Additionally officers from Scotland where seconded to national agencies. (pt.169) Where they based in Scotland? Was there a Unit in Scotland?

The report from the HMCIS only scratches the surface of the extent of undercover political policing in Scotland. This is even something the authors of the HMICS report accept – “…it is our assessment that the information provided in our report as it relates to the NPOIU deployments to Scotland should be considered as provisional and not conclusive.” (pt.170)

Only a public inquiry would be and can be inquisitorial and conclusive. Continue reading