Content tagged with "Events"

Sack Bob Lambert – Picket Friday 30 January

Bob Lambert then and now

Islington Against Police Spies (IAPS) have called a picket of London Metropolitan University, where former Special Demonstration Squad officer (and later boss) Bob Lambert lectures in criminology.

As reported in the Guardian, the university is under increasing pressure on its employment of Lambert to train tomorrow’s police managers, a role which Observer columnist Nick Cohen said Lambert is ‘uniquely unqualified’ to have.

The IAPS callout says:

Join us to demand the removal of Bob Lambert from London Metropolitan University.

Picket London Met
Friday January 30th
12.00 – 2.00pm
LMU Tower, 166-220 Holloway Road, 
London N7 8DB

Bring placards, banners, anything to make noise.

In November Islington Against Police Spies (IAPS) held a lively picket of London Metropolitan University in Holloway, launching our campaign to demand the sacking or resignation of Bob Lambert. Former police spy, Special Branch manipulator, abuser of women, agent provocateur, Lambert is now lecturing at London Met on policing and criminology.

As local residents we feel it is totally inappropriate for London Metropolitan to be employing a man with Lambert’s record in such a position where he has influence and power over the lives of students, who may be young or vulnerable. Most particularly Lambert has shown he cannot be trusted not to abuse and lie to women.

Islington Against Police Spies have committed ourselves to holding events every month at least, to keep putting pressure on the University and raising awareness of Lambert’s past, until he is forced to leave London Met. We know this CAN be done – but it’s not necessarily going to be easy. Hopefully this campaign will get stronger until it’s irresistible. BUT WE NEED HELP – we call on anyone who thinks Bob Lambert should not be working in a supposedly progressive university to support our campaign.

WHAT YOU CAN DO:

Come down and join the picket on January 30th. The bigger and noisier our protest, the more notice London Met will have to take of us.

Protest to the following in the London Met hierarchy, and demand that they sack Bob Lambert:

• John Raftery, Vice-Chancellor; email: j.raftery@londonmet.ac.uk Tel: 020 7133 2001
• Peter McCaffery, Deputy Vice-Chancellor; email: P.McCaffery@londonmet.ac.uk Tel: 020 7133 2401
• Jonathan Woodhead, Executive Officer; email: j.woodhead@londonmet.ac.uk Tel: 020 7133 2042
• Paul Bowler, Deputy Chief Executive; email: P.Bowler@londonmet.ac.uk Tel: 020 7133 2031
• Peter Garrod, University Secretary and Clerk to the Board; email: p.garrod@londonmet.ac.uk Tel: 020 7133 2004

You can also email Bob Lambert directly and let him know what you think of his activities: r.lambert@londonmet.ac.uk
Tel: 020 7133 4692/2911

Spread the word – tell others about this campaign, raise the issue in your networks, communities, union, etc – the more people know about Bob, the more pressure we all put on the university, the more likely it is that he will have to go.

This campaign is being organised by Islington Against Police Spies, a group of local residents and activists.

Email us: islingtonagainstpolicespies@riseup.net
(Please note our new email address)

Police corruption, spying, racism and accountability

CCJS conference flier

Over Friday and Saturday, 6 and 7 February 2015, an impressive line-up of speakers will offer powerful accounts on contemporary policing.

The Centre for Crime and Justice Studies and The Monitoring Group, in partnership with Imran Khan and Partners and Tottenham Rights, have organised a two-day conference at Conway Hall in London to seek common ground between families, community workers, journalists, academics, lawyers and affected communities, to understand and challenge the problem of police corruption, spying and racism.

The conference takes as its starting point that there is a profound crisis in policing across the UK that requires us to share information and experiences, develop ideas and create new partnerships that will spur a momentum for genuine state accountability.

Speakers on Friday will include:

  • Rosa Curling, Leigh Day Solicitors
  • Rebekah Delsol, Open Society
  • Rob Evans, Guardian journalist
  • Dr Jules Holroyd, University of Nottingham
  • Professor Gus John, Honorary Fellow, Institute of Education
  • John McDonnell MP, Hayes and Harlington
  • Rebecca Roberts, Centre for Crime and Justice Studies
  • Dr Mike Shiner, London School of Economics
  • Helen Steel, spied on environmental activist
  • Mark Thomas, political satarist and reporter
  • Dr David Whyte, University of Liverpool
  • Dr Patrick Williams, Manchester Metropolitan University
  • Harriet Wistrich, Birnberg Pierce and Partners solicitors

Speakers on Saturday will include:

  • ​​Janet Alder, sister of Christopher Alder
  • Raju Bhatt, Bhatt Murphy Solicitors (TBC)
  • Professor Ben Bowling, King’s College London
  • Richard Garside, Centre for Crime and Justice Studies
  • Courtenay Griffiths QC
  • Suresh Grover, The Monitoring Group
  • Lee Jasper, formerly Mayor of London’s Adviser on Policing
  • Imran Khan, Lawyer to the Stephen Lawrence family
  • Dame Doreen Lawrence
  • Lee Lawrence, son of Cherry Groce
  • Paul O’Connor, Director of Pat Finucane Centre, Derry
  • Sukdev Reel, mother of Ricky Reel
  • David Rose, Investigative journalist
  • Stafford Scott, Tottenham Rights

You can book for Friday, Saturday or both days.

The full programme and booking information are on the event’s page on the Centre for Crime and Justice Studies’ site.

Sack Bob Lambert: picket Friday 28th November

Bob Lambert then and now

Most of the revelations about Britain’s political secret police have involved Bob Lambert. As an undercover officer in the Special Demonstration Squad, Lambert infiltrated London Greenpeace and co-wrote the leaflet that triggered the McLibel trial – a fact which, like his existence, was kept from the court. He had a long-term relationship with Jacqui, fathering a son that he abandoned and had a second serious relationship. He went through a prosecution under his false identity. He has been named in parliament as the firebomber of a department store whilst in his animal rights activist persona, though he has strenuously denied the charge.

He went on to be manager of the SDS, overseeing officers such as Peter Francis who says he was tasked to ‘find dirt’ to discredit Stephen Lawrence’s family, and Jim Boyling who, following in his mentor’s footsteps, had children with a woman he spied on and caused a miscarriage of justice by going to court in his fake identity.

These days Lambert holds two academic posts, using what is euphemistically called his ‘counter terrorism’ experience to train tomorrow’s police managers at the University of St Andrews and London Metropolitan University.

At the COPS meeting at London Met earlier this month a local group, Islington Against Police Spies, announced their intention to campaign for Lambert to be removed from his post. They have organised a picket of the university (Tower Building, 166-220 Holloway Road, 
London N7 8DB) for this Friday, 28 November, from noon until 2pm.

See their post for more details on Lambert and the campaign.

We Do Not Consent

We do not consent

Defend the Right to Protest have organised a one day conference in London on Sunday 16 November. Under the banner We Do Not Consent, the programme includes many people involved in the exposure and campaiging on the undercover policing issue, as well as justice campaigns for thise killed in custody, trade union struggles, anti-fracking campaigns,  and protesters rights groups.

In Britain years of campaigning have exposed the extent of injustices past and present: the fitting-up of striking miners who took on Thatcher, the appalling response to the Hillsborough disaster, police spying on Stephen Lawrence’s family and the treatment of women activists by undercover cops. Those seeking accountability face a long, hard struggle with many powerful institutions ranged against them.

Now we see fresh attacks on our civil liberties. Despite the death of Ian Tomlinson in 2009, demonstrators continue to be kettled and physically abused by police. Trade unionists are hemmed in by anti-union laws and face further threats to their rights to strike and demonstrate. Legal aid cuts are stripping away people’s ability to challenge state policies and abuses. On top of this the Conservatives have pledged to withdraw from the European Convention on Human Rights.

Austerity, escalating inequality and the “war on terror” form a wider context to this assault. Protests, occupations, organising and solidarity are the only tools we have to fight back and raise alternatives – whether it is in Ferguson, Hong Kong, Cairo or here in Britain.

It’s hoped this conference will provide a space where we can come together to discuss what’s going on, share experiences, equip ourselves to defend our basic rights and think about how to build a stronger movement against injustice for the battles ahead.

Tickets are only £5 (£3 unwaged, £10 solidarity price). More info here.

 

COPS Public Meeting

On 12 November there will be ‘The Truth About Britain’s Political Secret Police’, a COPS public meeting at London Metropolitan University, hosted by LMU’s Unison branch.

Three people targeted by the spy units will be speaking.

Helen Steel has been a social justice activist in North London all her adult life. She was a defendant in the McLibel trial – the longest in English history. She later found out that her partner who lived with her for several years at the time of the case was an undercover police officer. She is one of the women in the Police Spies Out of Lives campaign and legal case.

Dave Smith was a construction worker who was a victim of an industry blacklist. A private company ran an illegal database of over 3,000 people known to raise health and safety issues, be involved in union activities or be politically active outside work. This illegal activity was built on information supplied by employers and police officers. He is now a lynchpin of the Blacklist Support Group.

Merrick Badger is an environmental and social justice activist. He was one of the group who became suspicious of their friend Mark Stone, confronting and exposing him as police officer Mark Kennedy in 2010. He has since helped to expose other police spies, researching and campaigning on the political policing issue.

The speakers will talk about their experience and the wider issues. There will be plenty of time for questions and discussion.

FREE ENTRY.
General public welcome.

Wednesday 12 November 2014, 6pm-8pm

Henry Thomas Lecture Theatre
London Metropolitan University Tower Building
166-220 Holloway Road
N7 8DB

Nearest tube: Holloway Road

Facebook event

No to Police Spying, Corruption and Racism – demo 21 October

Earlier this year the Ellison report found that Britain’s secret police unit the Special Demonstration Squad had spied on the family of Stephen Lawrence. They have subsequently admitted spying on another 17 similar family justice campaigns.

One was that of Ricky Reel, found dead after a racially motivated attack in October 1997.

His mother Sukhdev launched a petition that has already had over 75,000 signatures. She said:

My son Ricky was just 20 years-old when he was found dead in the River Thames after being racially abused by two men. The police said that they were never able to establish exactly how he died, that it must have been an accident. We spent years pushing for a proper investigation, to get justice for our son. We’ve now found out that because we were questioning their investigations, they spied on us.

There are no words to explain the pain me and my family were feeling, a time when we needed to be left alone to grieve for our son. We thought the police would be on our side and help our grief by finding out the truth.

We know that it wasn’t just us. Other grieving families who were seeking justice after being let down by the police were also spied on. These include the families of Stephen Lawrence, Cherry Groce, Rolan Adams, Michael Menson, Joy Gardner, Jean Charles de Menezes, Harry Stanley and many more. All of these families were spied on because they were pushing for the police to investigate the murder or suspicious deaths of loved ones.

It is devastating to feel betrayed by the people you are expected to trust. Police spy on criminals, what crime did we commit?

We have no faith or trust left in the police. In March this year, the Home Secretary Theresa May announced that there will be a Judge led Public Inquiry into undercover policing but this will not take place for another year, maybe after the next election when we may even have a new government.

I’m calling on the Home Secretary to immediately:

1. Seek a public apology from the Metropolitan Police Commissioner to all the families affected by police spying and take action against police officers for any wrong doing

2. Assure us that that the family justice campaigns would be consulted when drawing the terms of reference for the Public Inquiry into undercover policing

3. Assure us that affected families will be provided with legal aid so that they can be properly legally represented at the Public Inquiry

4. Assure us that the practice of police “spying” of family justice campaigns has stopped”

The Monitoring Group have called for a peaceful vigil on Tuesday 21 October at New Scotland Yard from 5-7pm.

Speakers include:

New Scotland Yard
8-10 Broadway
London SW1H 0BG

Blacklist Support Group: Protest, 10 July

Blacklist Support Group

Last week eight major construction firms involved in the industry’s blacklist made a fresh attempt at giving compensation for their illegal activity and the hardship it caused. It has been roundly dismissed by the workers and unions.

THE BLACKLIST AND STATE SPYING

The construction blacklist was run by a company called the Consulting Association. When the Information Commissioners Office (ICO) raided in 2009 they found 44 firms had used it including most of the big names in the industry. More than 3,000 people were on the list, many with files dozens of pages long including information about their family.

Most were on the list for workplace organising.  Dave Smith told parliament

Virtually everything in my file relates to where I have raised concerns about health and safety, asbestos, toilets overflowing on building sites and a young lad falling off the third floor of scaffolding… Throughout my file, there is nothing that mentions my doing anything other than raising concerns about health and safety, conducting normal trade union activities, giving interviews to various organisations and raising concerns about unpaid wages. Nowhere am I accused of doing unofficial strikes or anything like that; that just isn’t the case.

Whilst most information came from employers, the files also included material that could only have come from the police or MI5. The Independent Police Complaints Commission has conceded that it was likely to have been a routine part of Special Branch work across the country to supply this illegal list. Undercover police whistleblower Peter Francis says he not only infiltrated anti-racist organisations and was sent to find material to smear Stephen Lawrence’s family – he also believes his intelligence was used for the construction blacklist.

The undercover National Public Order Intelligence Unit (NPOIU) that deployed the likes of Mark Kennedy was only one of three units run by the Association of Chief Police Officers. They also ran the National Domestic Extremism Unit that collated the intelligence from NPOIU officers, and the National Extremism Tactical Co-ordination Unit (NETCU) which advised companies who were the target of protesters. It is known that NETCU met with the Consulting Association but the ICO is refusing to release the details of what went on.

The Metropolitan Police initially dismissed a complaint from the Blacklist Support Group alleging police collusion but, following publication of a posthumous interview with the Consulting Association’s Ian Kerr detailing a meeting with a ‘key officer’ from NETCU, they’ve launched an investigation. There can be no credibility in yet another self-investigation from police who’ve already demonstrated their reluctance on this issue.

The scale of the blacklist is staggering.

In the period between 1996/7 and 2003/04,  the Carillion group, (trading as Tarmac/ Carillion/ John Mowlem)  paid £83,161.00, and was then the third largest supporter and user of the blacklist. This spending broke down as an annual fee of £3,500, plus a fee of up to £2.20 per name to check information on the unlawful database.

At £2.20 a time, it means they made nearly 30,000 name checks – and there were two even larger users. As the list was secret, there was no way to check the veracity of the information, nor to get off it. Workers were cast out of their trade for life. Some people were never in the trade – one was a teacher who had a file due to being on an anti-racist demonstration. Around 200 environmental activists also had files.

THE INSULT OF THE OFFER

Ian Kerr, the man who was paid £46,000 a year to ruin thousands of lives with the Consulting Association, was fined £5,000. The companies who paid for it were let off with a warning. The eight of those firms in the compensation offer make pre-tax profits of over a billion pounds a year.

This week’s basic compentsation offer is for a fast-tracked £4000, rising to £20,000 for those who can prove discrimination. With blacklisters by definition having suffered hardship and waited years for compensation, many will be tempted to take the offer. For those prepared to spend up to six months arguing and have irrefutable proof of the worst damage done, there is a cap of £100,000 compensation. Some of these people went without work for many years. For a lot of people on the blacklist the loss of earnings exceeds £100,000, and that’s before interest, let alone any consideration of the impacts on their privacy,  psychological welfare, their home life and the upbringing of their children. As Dave Smith said,

I was a qualified engineer and during one of the longest building booms this country has ever known, my children were on milk tokens

People had breakdowns, some attempted suicide. Some changed their identities to try to get work. Whilst the companies have issued a statement saying they believe were wrong to use the list, the insultingly paltry figures in this attempt at a settlement suggest otherwise. It appears that their only real regret is that they have been caught.

THE DEMAND FOR JUSTICE

The construction blacklist is yet another example of different pillars of the establishment unethically and illegally working in concert to protect their position. It is further proof of the anti-democratic remit of the undercover police who sought to stifle active politics on the spectrum outside the sliver that is represented in the House of Commons. The construction workers’ fight for truth and justice is another facet of the same struggle of the black justice campaigns, environmentalists, social justice activists, anti-fascists and others who were spied on and abused by Britain’s political secret police.

The case is back in court next week (hence the timing of the new offer of compensation). The blacklist Support Group has organised a protest outside the hearing which has already had pledges of support from union members from UNITE, UCATT, GMB and the RMT as well as environmental activists.

Where: Royal Courts of Justice, Strand, London WC2N 5HX
When: 9-10am on Thursday 10th July.

Blacklist Support Group blog
Blacklist Support Group on Facebook
Dave Smith on Twitter

Police Corruption and Racism: An Endless Legacy?

Next Monday in London there is a talk and discussion about police corruption and racism, with particular focus on the work of undercover officers to disrupt and undermine campaigns for justice, and looking ahead to the public inquiry and beyond.

Police corruption and racism: an endless legacy?
Monday 23rd June, 7pm – 8.30pm
Committee Room 10, House of Commons
Free admission. Register for attendance here

As a result of the Ellison Review into the allegations of police corruption and spying of the Stephen Lawrence family and campaign, the Home Secretary has been forced to announce a Judge-led public inquiry into under cover policing. This is likely to take place next year in 2015. What is the significance of the Ellison review and what can done to ensure that the Inquiry is totally open and transparent to the public?

What we know:

– Families fighting against injustice and police corruption are monitored, spied upon, infiltrated and, if necessary, smeared

– Documented evidence of police spying on justice campaigns is routinely destroyed

– Police spies are still operating undercover in family and community-led justice campaigns

– Internal police investigations refuse to accept charges of corruption. Only independent investigations force the police to be accountable for their actions

What we need to know:

– What right do the police have in criminalising campaigns seeking justice for their family or community members?

– Where are the records of who has infiltrated campaigns?

– What effect has spying had on how the police respond to campaigns challenging deaths in custody, violence and corruption?

What needs to change:

– Peaceful campaigns for justice must be recognised as necessary for democracy to function, not criminalised by the police

– Records of all police spying must be made available to the effected individuals and groups

– Officers who have acted unlawfully or in a corrupt manner must be brought to justice through the courts, not internal investigations

Speakers:

Imran Khan (eminent human rights lawyers and solicitor for Doreen Lawrence)

Suresh Grover (Director of The Monitoring Group, former coordinator of Lawrence family campaign)

Chaired by Stafford Scott, project manager of Tottenham Rights and civil rights leader

Doreen Lawrence and Imran Khan lecture

Baroness Doreen Lawrence and human rights lawyer Imran Khan, who has acted for the Lawrence family for many years, are giving a lecture on Thursday evening in London.

stratford

Police Corruption, Inappropriate Undercover Policing and Spying on Victims’ Families: The Stephen Lawrence Independent Review 2012–14 – meaning and impact

This lecture offers a unique opportunity for the renowned human rights lawyer Imran Khan and the mother of Stephen Lawrence, Baroness Doreen Lawrence, to address the public on the topical issues of police corruption, inappropriate undercover policing and spying on the families of victims of crime. Imran Khan and Baroness Lawrence have many years of professional and personal experience to share with the public.

The lecture will deal with the meaning and impact of the findings of the Ellison Review on the following:

• evidence of corruption in the Metropolitan Police’s original Lawrence investigation
• evidence withheld from the Macpherson Inquiry
• inappropriate undercover activity directed at the Lawrence family.

Refreshments will be provided.

Date: Thursday 12th June 2014
Time: 6:30–9.00pm
Location: University Square Stratford, University of East London, 1 Salway Road, Stratford, London E15 1NF

Booking: There is no payment required to attend this lecture however any donations would be welcome. Your donations will support the law clinic’s pro bono legal services to the local East London community.
Online booking: www.uel.ac.uk/les/booking
Email booking: n.antoniou@uel.ac.uk / p.hassan-morlai@uel.ac.uk

Partners of Undercover Officers Back in Court

This week the women duped into long term relationships with undercover police officers are back in court in London and have called for a solidarity demonstration outside.

psool

Eight of the women are supported by the Police Spies Out of Lives group. One of them, ‘Alison‘, lived with Mark Jenner for four years. She told her story to Newsnight earlier this year [on Youtube starting at 16.35]. Today she published an article on the Guardian site about the next stage of the court case.

The police are obliged to provide disclosure and properly outline their case. They have failed to do so, citing a policy of ‘Neither Confirm Nor Deny’ (NCND); they say they cannot ever confirm whether somebody was an undercover police officer, and that this policy is essential to the integrity of important and dangerous undercover work. They went as far as applying to have the case struck out on the grounds that, as they would refuse to give proper testimony in court, they would be denying themselves a fair trial.

There is only one flaw with this policy – it doesn’t really exist. It’s a common practice, but that is all. As Police Spies Out of Lives note

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. You might think if there had been such a long standing policy this would have been highlighted in the first police response.

There have been innumerable exceptions to NCND, and the women gave the court two large files documenting some instances. After that, and the Ellison review‘s revelations earlier this year about spying on Stephen Lawrence’s family, the police abandoned their strike out the case. They’re still sticking to the ‘policy’ of NCND though.

This puts them in the bizarre position of not naming Mark Kennedy as an undercover police officer. Kennedy hired Max Clifford to sell a gossipy version of his story to the Mail on Sunday – he could scarcely be less secret. More than that, he has been identified in numerous official statements, including a report by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) in February 2012 that said

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.

The information is out there and, like toothpaste out of the tube, you can’t put it back in. Mark Kennedy has not been magically de-identified. The current backslide shows that the stonewall use of NCND is both a recent invention and a tactic of obstruction.

Of the other four officers named in the womens’ case, John Dines and Mark Jenner have been extensively documented, and Bob Lambert has not only been identified in the press and the Ellison Review but has given interviews candidly admitting to large parts of his work.

The fifth, Jim Boyling, who was undercover as Jim Sutton, has also been comprehensively reported in the press, television and beyond. It would be hard to suspend him from police duty in January 2011 if he were not a police officer. Later in 2011 Metropolitan Police Commissioner Bernard Hogan-Howe confirmed that ‘Jim Sutton’ was an undercover officer [PDF, p22].

Because Boyling went through a 1997 court case under his false identity as Sutton, a convicted co-defendant has won the right to have the conviction overturned. But in a farcical twist at the hearing earlier this year – after this long-standing policy of NCND had been invented –  the police backtracked and would not fully identify Boyling. They confirmed he was a police officer but not an undercover one. As if he might have done the undercover work as a hobby in his spare time. As if confirming that this man whose picture is all over the internet was a police officer doesn’t put him at just as much of a risk as admitting he was an undercover one.

Police lawyers said they weren’t compelled to give any reason why they didn’t oppose the quashing. ‘What kind of justice is that?’ asked the judge. It’s a question we should all be asking.

NCND is another manifestation of the ‘double injustice’ faced by so many victims of police abuse; there is what was done to them, and then there are the tricks of delay, distraction and denial to try to avoid accountability. Many of those who have been spied on – the family of Stephen Lawrence and numerous other black justice campaigns, anti-fascists, environmentalists, Hillsborough families and more – can tell a similar story.

An police service interested in justice would do precisely the opposite. More, these blocks are such blatant decoy tactics, and they know it’s obvious to everyone. But as long as they aren’t forced into actually admitting that’s the case, they can conceal the truth of what they’ve done and deny justice to the citizens they abused.

If this is their response to being caught committing the starkly cruel abuse of these women – the most complete invasion of privacy that it is possible for the state to enact – then what hope can we have for the promised public inquiry?  The fight against NCND is not just a fight for the women concerned, but for everyone spied on by Britain’s political secret police, and for the hope of eventual truth and justice for the wider society.

Their hearing is on Thursday 5th and Friday 6th June at the Royal Courts of Justice on The Strand in London. Police Spies Out of Lives have asked:

  • If you are in London, please join us outside the Royal Court of Justice, The Strand, from 9am–10am on Thursday 5th June to show your support for the women.
  • Please share the graphic (above)
  • Please tell friends, family, colleagues, groups and organisations about the Where We Stand statement

You can follow the case’s progress on Thursday and Friday via the Police Spies Out of Lives Twitter.