Loyalty or flawed judgement? Keith Vaz and the Janner child sex abuse investigation

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Keith Vaz, MP

There is a fine line between loyalty to a friend and colleague and poor judgement. Keith Vaz, the Labour MP for Leicester East, bound himself to the fate of the late Lord Janner when in 1991 he made a strong statement in parliament, staunchly defending Janner, then also a Labour MP, who had been accused of child sexual abuse. The case against Janner is still under investigation.

Why raise this now?

Well, recently, Vaz’s personal interests – and his judgements – have come under scrutiny as a result of a sex (and drugs) scandal of his own, which resulted in his resignation as Chair of the prestigious Home Affairs Select Committee.

It was reported in the Sunday Mirror that Vaz had been attending sex parties with male prostitutes. Such activity is entirely legal; nor can media intrusion of this kind be sanctioned. However, there is a public interest aspect here, given Vaz’s official role in making recommendations on prostitution and the use of ‘poppers’.

Vaz, pretending he was a washing machine salesman, paid for the services of the sex workers and asked one of them to bring along ‘poppers’, a sex-enhancing drug that was to be banned, but in the end was not, thanks partly to the recommendation of the Committee of which Vaz chaired. The Home Affairs Select Committee is also in the process of reviewing laws relating to sex work. In July, it released an interim report recommending that “the Home Office should immediately change existing legislation so that soliciting is no longer an offence and brothel-keeping laws allow sex workers to share premises, without losing the ability to prosecute those who use brothels to control or exploit sex workers”.

For someone like Vaz, who held such a high-profile position in a committee that also had oversight of national police matters, his sexual adventures undoubtedly demonstrated a profound lack of judgement. And it is inconceivable that, given their comprehensive surveillance capabilities, the intelligence services – GCHQ and MI5, in particular – were unaware of Vaz’s indiscretions.

In light of these recent and other indiscretions – and given that the Home Affairs Select Committee also has oversight of the work of the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse – it is entirely legitimate to ask whether Vaz’s defence of Janner should now be re-examined. Indeed, it could even be argued that the extensive delay by the police and the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) in addressing the allegations made against Janner, was partly a consequence of that defence.

Moreover, that delay may have impeded the wider investigations into what eventually became known as the Westminster/VIP child sexual abuse scandal – questions about which remain unresolved.

As a reminder, here is a summary of the Janner case and the alleged cover-ups that have surrounded it… Continue reading

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Chelsea Manning appeals for help, begins indefinite hunger strike

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Today, after years of requesting the care she needs for gender dysphoria, Chelsea Manning has released a statement about the start of her hunger strike. Chelsea is demanding written assurances from the Army she will receive all of the medically prescribed recommendations for her gender dysphoria and that the “high tech bullying” will stop. “High tech bullying,” is what Chelsea describes as “the constant, deliberate and overzealous administrative scrutiny by prison and military officials.”

Following her sentencing, Chelsea has respectfully requested that the US Government give her treatment for her gender dysphoria. Over a year later, Chelsea filed a lawsuit in September of 2014, where she sued the government to get a battery of treatments. As a result, she began hormone therapy in February of 2015.

However, the military has been making her cut her hair to the male length and grooming standards. As part of her treatment, her doctors recommended that she follow the military prison’s female hair grooming standards. In September of 2015 she amended her lawsuit, asking that the government allow her to grow her hair. The government’s response in December 2015 was “no.” The case is still active before a DC District court judge.

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Chelsea Manning Begins Hunger Strike to Protest Bullying by Prison and US Government

For Immediate Release: September 9, 2016
Contact: Christina DiPasquale, press@balestramedia.com

Statement from Chelsea Manning:

“I need help. I am not getting any. I have asked for help time and time again for six years and through five separate confinement locations. My request has only been ignored, delayed, mocked, given trinkets and lip service by the prison, the military, and this administration.”

“I need help. I needed help earlier this year. I was driven to suicide by the lack of care for my gender dysphoria that I have been desperate for. I didn’t get any. I still haven’t gotten any.”

“I needed help. Yet, instead I am now being punished for surviving my attempt. When I was a child, my father would beat me repeatedly for simply not being masculine enough. I was told to stop crying—to “suck it up.” But, I couldn’t stop crying. The pain just got worse and worse. Until finally, I just couldn’t take the pain anymore.“

“I needed help, but no one came then. No one is coming now.”

“Today, I have decided that I am no longer going to be bullied by this prison—or by anyone within the U.S. government. I have asked for nothing but the dignity and respect—that I once actually believed would be provided for—afforded to any living human being.”

“I do not believe that this should be dependent on any arbitrary factors—whether you are cisgender or transgender; service member or civilian, citizen or non-citizen. In response to virtually every request, I have been granted limited, if any, dignity and respect—just more pain and anguish.”

“I am no longer asking. Now, I am demanding. As of 12:01 am Central Daylight Time on September 9, 2016, and until I am given minimum standards of dignity, respect, and humanity, I shall—refuse to voluntarily cut or shorten my hair in any way; consume any food or drink voluntarily, except for water and currently prescribed medications; and comply with all rules, regulations, laws, and orders that are not related to the two things I have mentioned.”

“This is a peaceful act. I intend to keep it as peaceful and non-violent, on my end, as possible. Any physical harm that should come to me at the hands of military or civilian staff will be unnecessary and vindictive. I will not physically resist or in any way harm another person. I have also submitted a “do not resuscitate” letter that is effective immediately. This shall include any attempts to forcibly cut or shorten my hair or to forcibly feed me by any medical or pseudo-medical means.“

“Until I am shown dignity and respect as a human again, I shall endure this pain before me. I am prepared for this mentally and emotionally. I expect that this ordeal will last for a long time. Quite possibly until my permanent incapacitation or death. I am ready for this.”

“I need help. Please, give me help.”

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Holidaying Brits attacked for speaking English – not really, but this is what it’s like for ‘migrants’ in UK

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In Britain a 40 year old Polish man, Arkadiusz Jóźwik, lost his life after allegedly been beaten to death by five youths merely because he was speaking a language other than English. Notwithstanding rank hypocrisy of the tabloid press – which arguably colluded in this crime (see image above) – or the role of the far right in promoting racism, questions must be asked about how much hate there is in UK society of the ‘other’.

So how did we get to this point? And was it always like this?

The uncomfortable truth is that Britain has never been a tolerant country, though many people in other countries have been sold this myth. You only have to look at Britain’s colonial history to see that the British Empire was not about ‘civilising the world’, but about invasion, war, economic exploitation, massacres and even genocide.

So, is it no wonder that a nation built upon violence has so much hate? And can this be changed?

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Arkadiusz Jóźwik died after being attacked in Harlow

Most youngsters adopt prejudices learnt from their parents or from their peers (who in turn learn from their parents).

Perhaps it is significant that History is now only optional in schools. Old-style history tended to be about kings and queens and battles and how great Britain was. History needs to be a core subject again, but with a far more objective approach, in order that young people are able to form a wider perspective than the narrow, bigoted and blatently factually incorrect descriptions of the world as retailed by the tabloids or the purveyors of hate.

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Ignorance is an excuse, but does not need to be one. How many youths, never mind adults, know, for example, that during World War Two ‘the few’ who Churchill referred to in the RAF who gallantly took to the skies to see off German bombers were mostly Poles, who had escaped Nazi occupation, to join up with one of the few remaining countries that were still capable of resisting invasion? One could even say that if it was not for the Polish airmen, Britain may have lost the war. And how many of Britain’s youth know about the hundreds of thousands of men from India who joined the British army during that same conflict, to fight in the trenches of northern France and lose their lives? And how many youngsters know that when the British invaded Australia we almost succeeded in our campaign of genocide and massacres to wipe out an entire race of people?

History is not only important, but essential, if prejudice is to be combatted.

As a first act in a move towards ensuring schools become an incubator of tolerance, it would be helpful if every school in Britain at Assembly time give a short lesson on the role of Polish people in helping the UK defeat fascism. This would be a fitting tribute to the Polish man in Harlow who lost his life for merely speaking the language of his birth.

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acist cards sent in Huntingdon. Photograph: Huntingdon Living Facebook

The ignorant never see beyond their own prejudices. For example, they think it’s perfectly fine for Brits to work abroad, to live abroad in their hundreds of thousands, to migrate in their millions, to take up citizenship of other countries, but to retain their British culture wherever they are. However, to the ignorant, if ‘foreigners’ coming to Britain do the same, they are to be reviled.

Imagine if a Briton was kicked to death on a Spanish resort for merely speaking English? And if that was repeated and more Brits were attacked, they would naturally be afraid and perhaps want to return to the UK. The tabloids would be suitably horrified. Yet this is the exact situation many Eastern Europeans now see themselves in, particularly after the referendum on Britain’s EU membership. Many people from Poland, Hungary, Romania and the Baltic countries, etc, now feel threatened and under siege and in some areas are afraid to go out.

In the lead-up and immediately after Brexit, hate crimes soared. Police stated that 3,076 hate crimes and incidents were reported to forces across the UK between 16 and 30 June alone – one week before and one week after the referendum vote on 23 June. The real figures could be higher, with past studies suggesting just one in four hate crimes are reported to police: 52,000 hate crimes were recorded in 2015, but a national crime survey suggested 225,000 was the real figure.

So who will be next to be murdered out of hate? A boy with autisism? A doctor in an NHS hospital who looks foreign? A tourist visiting the sights in London?

Hate crime can be crime against people with disabilities, or people who adopt a new gender identity, or people who profess different religious beliefs, or people of different ethnic heritage, or people with a different sexual orientation.

Protests, nor protestations by leading figures, are not enough to curb this ignorance, this hatred. Anyone in any position of authority will be grossly failing in their responsibilities if they not only condemn the hatred, but also take positive steps to turn things around.

Back to schools – just two ideas… twinning and exchange projects with schools in other countries; inviting representatives from local cultural centres of ethnic minorities to come to schools to talk about their culture and their fears.

Combatting hatred is the duty of everyone – of all of us – to intervene at every moment it raises its ugly head.

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Minbiç women liberated from ISIS – their horror stories and their desperate appeal for aid

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A women slave market in ISIS territory

For more than two months there has been a relentless war in the area of Minbiç. Minbiç is strategically important as it connects Turkey with Raqqa, the headquarters of ISIS. The area is also important for the protection of the Kurdish province of Rojava. There is silence and ignorance on this war by the media, especially the tragedy of what has happened to women.
Civilians have been used as human shields by ISIS. Humanitarian support is only provided by the local authorities, which is not enough given the huge number of displaced persons. It is well-known that women and children are the ones who suffer the most in wars. In this war, though, the situation of women and children is even worse. ISIS began a special war against women, perceiving women and their bodies as dirty. Under ISIS, women are not evaluated as persons and become the property of men. Some of the horrors of what happened to women are described here. The women who suffered need help now.

As Kongreya Star, the women’s organisation in Rojava, which organises the society in all its aspects from  a women’s perspective, we write this report to share the experiences of the women living under ISIS in the region of Minbiç and who have now been freed.

(Note: this is a re-translated version of the original via The Free)

Lamiya Aji Bashar, an 18-year-old Yazidi girl who escaped her Islamic State group enslavers, talks to The Associated Press in northern Iraq in this May 5, 2016 photo. She described how she was abducted along with her sisters and brothers when IS overran her village in 2014 and was passed around from militant to militant, trying to escape many times. Finally she succeeded in March, but only after a mine exploded, killing two girls fleeing with her and leaving Bashar's face scarred and blinding her in one eye. (AP Photo/Balint Szlanko)

Lamiya Aji Bashar, an 18-year-old Yazidi girl who escaped her Islamic State group enslavers, talks to The Associated Press in northern Iraq in this May 5, 2016 photo. She described how she was abducted along with her sisters and brothers when ISIS overran her village in 2014 and she was passed around from militant to militant, trying to escape many times. Finally she succeeded in March, but only after a mine exploded, killing two girls fleeing with her and leaving Bashar’s face scarred and blinding her in one eye. (AP Photo/Balint Szlanko)

Introduction

Women don’t possess any rights under the regime of ISIS. We are left without a will or the possibility of self expression.  Women become prisoners in their own houses; besides giving birth to children, they don’t have any rights or value. We can call this: war against women.

The area of Minbiç is strongly affected by migration, because of the four years of on-going war in Syria. This area is mostly inhabited by the Arabic population. Refugees came especially from Aleppo and other towns from the beginning of the war. It is a tragedy that the area people fled to, to escape the war, became occupied by reactionary, inhuman and plundering forces of ISIS.

Civilians celebrate after they were evacuated by the Syria Democratic Forces (SDF) fighters from an Islamic State-controlled neighbourhood of Manbij, in Aleppo Governorate, Syria, August 12, 2016. The SDF has said Islamic State was using civilians as human shields. REUTERS/Rodi Said

Civilians celebrate after they were evacuated by Kurd-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) fighters from an Islamic State-controlled neighbourhood of Manbij, in Aleppo Governorate, Syria, August 12, 2016. The SDF has said Islamic State was using civilians as human shields. REUTERS/Rodi Said

The Situation of Women under the ISIS Regime

ISIS created laws against women. There are many rules and laws for the whole population, but especially against women. These laws affect the life of the women to an extraordinary degree. ISIS has their own police-force to control and to ensure everybody obeys. A system of punishment and torture is installed to enforce their regime.

Manbij survivors cut off their beards after ISIS defeat

Manbij survivors cut off their beards after ISIS defeat

The women we spoke with who have been freed of ISIS in the region of Minbiç, told many stories….

It is forbidden for women to leave the house, except when they do so they have to hide themselves totally with black clothes. The hands, eyes and, legs have to be hidden completely. When an eye or a small part of the finger of a woman is seen, this woman is arrested and will face torture.

The ISIS police have a special car in which the women who cross these rules are put in ‘to pay for their sins’. For example, when a part of a finger or eye has been seen these women have been taken away and put in a room for three days amongst cut off heads. This is done to scare, intimidate and disturb. Torture like this can be described as psychological warfare.

15/08/2016.Thousands of ISIS hostages passed from a medieval tyranny to a revolutionary and feminist area as Manbij fell to the SDF

15/08/2016. Thousands of ISIS hostages passed from a medieval tyranny to a revolutionary and feminist area as Manbij fell to the SDF

Once, seven women were arrested and taken away by the ISIS police. For a whole day they didn’t eat. In the evening they were given food and they fell asleep. The next morning the women awoke, naked, not knowing what had happened. They remembered nothing. It’s most likely that the women were drugged and raped. These women left the prison naked and returned home naked. Although their husbands might not be a part of ISIS, seeing their women naked, they threw the women out of their houses.

Once a mother fed her child; she didn’t see another possibility because her child was very hungry and crying. She felt sorry for her child and in a camouflaged way, she took care that a part of her breast wasn’t shown when feeding the child. The ISIS police arrested her for sinful behaviour. They killed her by placing an instrument with sharp knives in her breast, which cut off the veins.

Another woman, who showed a small part of skin, shared the same fate. She was arrested on the charge of sinful behaviour and was given the opportunity to choose between being lashed or being grasped by this same instrument. Not aware of the consequences, she choose this instrument and died a slow and painful death.

women removed and sometimes burned their burqas after ISIS defeat in Manbij

Women removed and sometimes burned their burqas after ISIS defeat in Manbij… Comment: This is the kind of positive image that incensed the reactionary male rulers of Assad, Turkey, Hesbollah, Iran and even Russia, who now collaborate in bombing and shelling the civilian barrios of Hassakeh, forcing the SDF to return from liberating ISIS held territory and defend the Rojava Revolution.

It is forbidden for the women to grow their nails, apply make-up, shape their eye-brows. The ISIS police lifts up the black clothes and removes gloves to control and humiliate women. When long nails are seen the nails are removed and when women apply make-up they face torture.

Women under the regime of ISIS are only an object, a thing – not conceived as a person or a human being with their own will or personality.

A young woman had been kidnapped against her will and married of with a man who was a member of ISIS. This man died and the woman got married off with another member of ISIS. He died too and again she got married to another man, who has been a member of ISIS. He died as well and again she got married to another man who also was a member of ISIS. Nobody asked her opinion. In this way she got married seven times and finally found herself pregnant, without knowing who the father was.

Syrian-Kurdish women carry the coffin of a female fighter in Syria's northeastern city of Qamishli on July 21, 2016 during the funeral of sixteen fighters killed battling the Islamic State (IS) group in Manbij. Thousands of IS soldiers were reported killed in the Manbij battles along with about 150 SDF volunteers, including six from the International Brigade.(William Savage, from the US was killed rescuing civilians).

Syrian-Kurdish women carry the coffin of a female fighter in Syria’s northeastern city of Qamishli on July 21, 2016 during the funeral of sixteen fighters killed battling the Islamic State (ISIS) group in Manbij. Comment: Thousands of ISIS soldiers were reported killed in the Manbij battles along with about 150 SDF volunteers, including six from the International Brigade.(William Savage, from the US was killed rescuing civilians)

Schools have been closed and forbidden. Men can get education in the mosque, where they learn the religion according to the doctrine of ISIS and rules and laws. They learn, too, about justice and life according to the views of ISIS.

For girls, there is no education. For ISIS, people who are able to think, reflect, ask questions or are curious, are seen as a threat.

The system of education under ISIS is based on blind obedience and fear. To be able to continue their regime, there is a requirement to stop people thinking and reflecting so they will accept ISI doctrines. There is no space for education or schools in a system like this. Thinking by yourself, interpreting religion by yourself, having opinions and beliefs are forbidden under the regime. There is only space for one opinion, one doctrine, one interpretation of religion and one way of living.

Other beliefs or religions are not accepted and people with different religions or of different ethnicities can be killed. For example Kurdish people always live under the fear of torture and killings. They have no chance to live according their own beliefs and customs. They have to hide their identity in order to survive. Only by behaving totally in the way ISIS prescribes has there been a chance to survive under their regime.

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Syrian women burn burkas to celebrate liberation from ISIS in Manbij

Over the last three months since the war started, life became even worse for the people in the region of Minbiç. Television, the internet and telephones were forbidden and satellite dishes were destroyed to prevent people having any connections with the outside world. As a result women have been stuck in houses, cut off from any information from other people or contacts with other people.

During the period when telephone and internet were available, the police of ISIS controlled the phones and Facebook all the time, their content and pictures. If the ISIS police detected any ‘wrong’ pictures, for example with the colours of Kurdistan, people could be charged and face torture.

syria3There is one example of a man who shared his happiness about the death of a fighter of ISIS on Facebook. This man was killed, his body torn apart and his head shown to the public for three days. The dead body was not handed over to his family. Measures like that serve to intimidate and spread fear.

Smoking is banned under the regime of ISIS and the police control it. They search houses for ash and ashtrays. If ash or a packet of cigarettes is detected, people face punishment. An older woman explained how she has been lashed 50 times and kept for three days in prison becauses she had been found with a packet of cigarettes.

ISIS can continue because it is based on fear, intimidation and divisions. Many people support ISIS and report the ‘mistakes’ of family-members or neighbours. In this way a regime of mistrust is installed, where nobody can trust anybody and everybody is isolated.

For example, a man killed his own brother, because he believed in the doctrine of ISIS and according to his views his brother, who didn’t believe in this doctrine, was considered to be a pagan, and deserved death.

A YPJ volunteer helps rescue civilians from ISIS in Manbij.

A YPJ volunteer helps rescue civilians from ISIS in Manbij.

Life becomes forbidden. Laughing about the wrong jokes, playing music, songs, playing football, wearing colourful clothes: all are forbidden by ISIS.

The women freed from ISIS in the region of Minbiç explained how some foods which weren’t available in the time of the prophet Mohammed were forbidden. Some vegetables (the cheapest and best available vegetables) such as lemons, as well as salt and some spices were forbidden.

In the last months before the liberation a new law was announced which stated that gas was forbidden and all food should be prepared with wood, as in the times of the prophet Mohammed, but the problem was that in Minbiç wood it is difficult to find.

When gas was allowed, it was very expensive for the people, but not for the members of ISIS. Gas cost 147 euros for the people and 6,30 euros for members of ISIS.

Man accused of being gay publicly executed by ISIS in Manbij

Man accused of being gay publicly executed by ISIS in Manbij

ISIS builds up a system of fear. For small wrongdoings, heavy punishments are given. For example a child who plays football lives in the danger of having his head cut off. This head will be shown to everybody for three days. This had the consequence that finally nobody dared play football.

The people don’t obey because they believe in the rightness of the laws, but because they don’t have another choice. In many places which have been freed from the regime of ISIS the people show their happiness that they can live normally and breathe again. Mostly they are especially happy about the possibility to smoke and play football.

Boys celebrated ISIS liberation playing football

Boys celebrated ISIS liberation by playing football

According to ISIS, women’s bodies are dirty and shameful. Therefore they can’t see a doctor in a normal way. Women can explain their problems to a nurse, who will relay them to the doctor and then the nurse provides the treatment. Whether the women can be healed in this way is not what counts. No man saw a part of their bodies and that’s what counts. Even in the hospitals the ISIS police ensure no ‘shameful behaviour’, i.e. so a sick or injured women doesn’t show parts of her body. Again the well-being of the women is not that what matters.

It was impossible to leave Minbiç, to meet family-members or going to a hospital in another town. It was only possible to go to Cerablus, Raqqa and Babe, which are also in the hands of ISIS. Besides these places, even if people were seriously ill, there was no chance to leave the area which was under the control of ISIS.

Women treated worse than animals

Women treated worse than animals

ISIS kidnapped the men and boys to strengthen their army. Many families have lost their male relatives and have no clue where they are.

This war against life, against women has a deep impact on the society and the personality. The regime of ISIS destroys solidarity, trust and love for the self and for other people. It only sows hatred, pain and mistrust.

Civilians used as human shields

Civilians are used as human shields in the war in the region of ISIS. ISIS doesn’t give permission to civilians to leave the town or the villages. ISIS shot civilians when they tried to leave. They put mines around houses to prevent civilians from leaving.

When people tried to rescue their injured family-members, ISIS shot them as well. Women, old people, children, even babies got hurt or killed by mines or gunshots by ISIS. Aliya is a young mother from Minbiç. Her father got shot, when they were trying to leave Minbiç. Her father died. When she tried to save her father, she, her mother and her brother were injured as well. Aliya is now in the hospital, but she doesn’t get any information about her brother or mother. There are many like Aliya who have been separated and since then have not had any information from their family-members.

50,000 refugees are waiting to return to the ruined city

50,000 refugees are waiting to return to the ruined city

An appeal for help

According to research by the people’s council of Minbiç 50.000 people have been freed. These people became refugees. Only the People’s Council of Minbiç supports the refugees. The support mainly comes from the canton of Kobanê, but the situation of Kobanê is not well itself. Rojava still faces an embargo, the borders are closed and Kobanê experienced a terrible war, with total devastation of its infrastructure and a lot of a damage to its people. Therefore the canton of Kobanê is not in an ideal situation to support 50.000 refugees; its resources don’t suffice.

The People’s Council of Minbiç has appealed many times to international organisations for humanitarian aid for the refugees, but untill now no humanitarian support has been delivered, although there is an urgent need for all  basic supplies for the refugees.

Manbij refugees shelter under bushes from the fierce heat

Manbij refugees shelter under bushes from the fierce heat

The People’s Council of Minbiç and the military council of Minbiç do what they can to support the refugees; sharing their own limited resources. There is a lack of everything: a lack of food, medicines, hygienic facilities, clean water, soap, medicines, blankets. The refugees sleep on the naked earth.

At first, the refugees lived in the desert. Now, there are camps set up for the refugees, but the facilities in these camps are very poor. Besides tents, there is nothing. The people have nothing to sleep on. Most refugees live in the emptied villages. But here the situation is not good.

refugees escaped but are destitute

Refugees escaped but are destitute

The villages are being cleared of mines, and there is still the chance that mines will explode. The public buildings are so badly destroyed that they are not in any shape to be used. The living standards are far below human standards and the refugees face serious problems in meeting their basic needs.

30.818 refugees are registered as living in the villages.

There is a lack of food, clean water, hygienic facilities and healthcare. In such situations contagious diseases spread fast. The refugees only receive bread once in three days. There is no milk for the children. Hunger and diseases threaten the life of the refugees, who are mainly women, children and elderly people.

refugee children and babies are the most vulnerable

Refugee children and babies are the most vulnerable

For three years ISIS ruled in the area of Minbiç and left deep injuries in the souls of the people and in the society. For three years the women in this region lived as slaves. Their lives weren’t counted as lives. The women weren’t valued as humans. The regime of ISIS has a very deep influence on the psychology, health, personality and society. These deep injuries won’t heal soon.

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Finally…

“We call on the international institutions to carry out their responsibility for humanity. This war is especially a war against women. Therefore we also call on women’s organisations to show solidarity with the women who have been living under the system of ISIS.

The people in the war region of Minbiç who have been forced to leave their houses and livelihoods are in urgent need of support for food and health-care. The restricted resources of the People’s Council of Minbiç don’t suffice.” The Committee of Diplomacy of Kongreya Star. Mail: r.women.d [at] gmail [dot] com

HOW TO HELP:

Rojava and the SDF liberated area are blockaded by Turkey, ISIS and Assad and get ZERO international aid. Now you can help HERE You can contribute to the Tactical Medical Unit (UMT) of YPG HERE

Monitoring UMT page Facebook Macer

Explanatory video of the UMT (in English): youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K1b3M77q5IU

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Religious fascism defeated by Feminist Revolution:  a woman embraces a Syrian Democratic Forces-fighter after she was rescued
Posted in no category, Resistance, War | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

What have war-ravaged Arab children, Calais jungle kids & abused Aboriginal youths in common?

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The boy’s face says it all. Bewilderment, resignation – immune to the horror of what is happening. He has seen war as commonplace for years. His family – mother, father, siblings – are still to be rescued. He casually wipes the blood from his forehead: it is no big deal. Then he waits patiently for the ambulance crew to bring in more children to be taken to hospital.

The boy is only 5 years old. His name is Omran Dagneesh. The place: Aleppo, Syria.

We are all horrified, numbed by the image and even more so, the video (see below). Both went global.

But we have already learnt from the image of Alan Kurdi lying dead on a Greek beach that such shocking images have a limited shelf life. For a few days or weeks after that image had gone ‘viral’, refugees were welcomed. Then, one by one, the borders were closed.

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Remember the 50,000 refugees stuck in Greece? Well, they’re still there. The process of assessing who is an asylum-seekers and who isn’t takes time and it takes even longer to organise a country to take them once that process is complete.

Back to Syria – here’s a few numbers to mull over…

  • 16,000: the number of under 18 year-olds who have been killed since the conflict began.
  • 250,000: the number of people in total who have died during the war.
  • 11,000,000: the number of people displaced – i.e. refugees – during the conflict.
    Source:: “Violations Documentation Center in Syria“;

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Over to Calais…

Altogether more than 88,000 unaccompanied refugee children have sought asylum in Europe. Thousands more have gone missing (possibly kidnapped by sex traffickers).

In Calais of the 400 or so unaccompanied children, 150 are entitled to live in the UK under the Dublin Agreement. A further 200 are eligible for sanctuary in the UK. So far, however, a mere 20 unaccompanied children have arrived in the UK from Calais under these arrangements.

Pathetic.

Central government blame councils. Councils blame central government. More children go missing. Indifference rules.

Governments are doing nothing about these children at Calais. On a daily basis their needs are met by individual volunteers with organisations such as Citizens UK, Help Refugees UKRefugee Youth Service. They need more help (and money). Big time.

In the meantime we still have the image of Omran. But for how long? A day, a week? And when will the indifference return?

Oh, yes…what about the Australian bit?

After news that Aboriginal youths were brutalised in detention centres in the Northern Territory, now news has emerged that Aboriginal youths are similarly abused in Queensland (still image below taken from leaked video):

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So what have war-ravaged Arab children, Calais jungle kids and abused Aboriginal youths in common?

Answer: white indifference.

More exact: each story of what has happened – of the Syrian boy in the ambulance, of the plight of the unaccompanied children abandoned in the ‘Calais jungle’, and of the dreadful abuse of Aboriginal kids in Australia – sees a wave of revulsion, of outrage that lasts for a few days, maybe even a few weeks. Then it all subsides. Distractions come along. Life continues.

So does the suffering.

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Posted in no category, Refugees, War | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Greece: more and more anarchist refugee collectives displace state-run detention centres

While the world’s media is suitably distracted by the Olympic Games in Brazil, the war in Syria and beyond continues to see thousands of people – men, women and children – killed each week and many more atempting the perilous journey as refugees to seek safety. Meanwhile in the last two months there has been a deafening silience in the media about the plight of the thousands of refugees still stuck in Greece. Only 2500 refugees have so far been granted asylum status – the process is excruciatingly slow and most of those granted this status have yet to be relocated. A report by the Greek Centre for Disease Control recommended all 16 of the refugee detention centres it inspected be closed due to unsanitary conditions and poor water supply. But while the Greek authorities seem unable to move forward, grassroots activists – anarchists – have yet again taken matters into their own hands and are providing shelter and food to those in need. However, this is not charity, or the result of a philanthropic endeavour, but direct democracy in practice.

(The above video of the Shisto refugee camp was filmed by anarchists.)

Anarchists in Greece have been providing squatted accommodation – abandoned schools, hotels etc – for refugees – since the current conflicts in Syria began. And as soon as the Greek authorities organised evictions of these premises, more buildings have been squatted.

Now there is a vast network of squatted refugee centres, all organised by anarchists: an estimated 200 centres, large and small – far too many for the authorities to deal with.

Perhaps the most well known squatted refugee centre is Notara 26, in the centre of Athens. The building was first squatted last September and can house around 100 refugees at any one time. For the first three months alone, more than 1700 refugees and migrants stopped over at the centre before travelling on.

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Nursery school at Notaro

Another squatted refugee centre in Athens is an abandoned hotel – the City Plaza. Others include Orfanotrofeio and Hurriya in Thessaloniki.

Nearby to Notara is EL CHEf, a food collective, set up in 2008 at the height of the economic collapse in Greece and now providing food not just for the homeless but refugees as well. Like Notaro, EL CHEf is not a charity, but organised by local grassroots activists.

Another food kitchen, Nosotros, which invites refugees to join them for cooking and meals, is just down the road from Notaro.

Other social centres include Micropolis and Steki Metanaston in Thessaloniki and Votanikos Kipos in Athens. There are many others.

Also, the occupied self-managed factory of Vio.Me in Thessaloniki became a warehouse for the collection, storage and transportation of basic items like clothes, sanitary items and baby food that had been gathered by solidarity collectives from all over Greece and Europe, prior to their shipment to the Eidomeni border, to be handed out to refugees.

It should be emphasised that these centres are run more like collectives, with decisions made by everyone – locals and refugees – on an equal basis. Likewise, all activities – cooking, cleaning, social events, etc – involve every person at the centre.

In short, these collectives are mini-societies, practising democracy on a day-to-day basis.

The anarchists who are organising these refugee centres do not look to the state for help, but seek to supplant the state and empower people to run their own lives. They are achieving this.

Their efforts are in stark contrast to leftists in not just Greece but everywhere who depend on the ‘goodwill’ of parliamentary politicians and parties to make society fairer. Anarchists have no truck with parliamentary ‘democracy’ and prefer direct action to achieve social justice.

Statement by Notaro 26:

Day by day thousands of people struggle to cross the borders , having to confront the rough sea conditions , the Evros fence, the smugglers, Coastguard and Frontex. Chased by the weapons of totalitarian regimes, western military operations and the horror of religious fundamentalism. Humans trying to escape from extreme poverty. Those who manage to enter Fortress Europe come face to face with states who profit from the migrant-refugee flow and the emergence of cheap labour, paying no interest to human life and dignity. They are confronted with xenophobia and racism, institutional or not. In this suffocating context, we are squatting an empty public building in Athens, 26 Notara Str., in order to territorialize our solidarity towards refugees/immigrants to cover their immediate needs (shelter, food, medical help). This project doesn’t stand for philanthropy, statal or pivate, but rather for a self-organized solidarity project, wherein locals and refugees-immigrants decide together. The decisive body is the squat’s open assembly where everyone is welcome to participate with no exclusions. Totally aware of the difficulty of our effort, we call every collective and individual not only to participate and support, but also to expand and create new projects for the same cause. We want to coordinate and interact with the numerous individual and collective initiatives throughout Greece and abroad to strengthen our solidarity to refugees and immigrants; we want to build our common future together. Let’s make the refugee’s Odyssey of survival, a journey of humanity towards freedom!

No Borders- Freedom of movement
Against Fortress Europe
Legalise immigrants – Grant asylum to refugees
Against racism and xenophobia
Against all detention centers
Against the war- No deaths for their profits

See also: Where refugee solidarity & the alternative economy converge: the anarchist refugee centres of Athens

Posted in no category, Refugees, Resistance | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

‘Restricted’ testimony of military intel agent sheds light on N Ireland ‘killing fields’

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Force Research Unit agents

A month back families of 200 people murdered in the Troubles accused David Cameron’s government of censoring files that could explain more the circumstances of their deaths (see copy of advertisement, below, published in The Guardian). The British Government has so far refused to release, unredacted, these files on grounds of ‘national security’. But peace in Northern Ireland can never be realised as long as Government cover-ups continue or vital evidence concealed. It has long been known that one British military intelligence section, the Force Research Unit, colluded with the Protestant paramilitaries and infiltrated Republican paramilitaries: its mission, to disseminate disinformation, direct paramilitary operations and – ultimately – eliminate Republican activists as part of a ‘strategy of tension’. A ‘Restricted’ document that provides the unexpurgated testimony of a FRU operative is published below and, when examined in relation to other key documents, provides further evidence of what some have referred to as Britain’s own ‘Killing Fields’.1860

A. The testimony Continue reading

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What Chilcot left out: over 1000 torture & unlawful killing legal claims in UK & ICC

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British soldier interrogating Iraqi prisoners at the Shaibah Logistics Base

Despite its size and the number of years it took to compile, the Chilcot Report, published last Wednesday, made only passing mention to the more than 1000 legal cases lodged by Iraqi civilians, alleging torture and unlawful killing by the British military. These cases are not only still being heard by the British authorities but also the International Criminal Court. Moreover, mllions of pounds in damages have already been awarded – an indication that the claims were/are valid. And the implication of course is that if the courts are agreeing that unlawful killing and/or torture took place by the British forces in Iraq, then responsibility for what happened should not merely limited to front-line troops, but to their commanders and, ultimately, those in government who authorised the operations. And that would include the ministers in charge of Defence and Foreign Affairs, as well as other relevant ministers, including the Prime Minister. An update on these legal claims is given below…

In the meantime it is interesting to note that there are moves afoot to seek prosecution of Tony Blair for misfeasance in office and, contrary to what has been stated so far, for war crimes.

Further, last week an ICC (International Criminal Court) prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, issued a statement making it clear that comments in the media on how Tony Blair could not be prosecuted for war crimes were, in fact, inaccurate. Bensouda explained:

Once a decision is made to open an investigation in any given situation, my Office may investigate and prosecute any individual suspected of committing crimes within the Court’s jurisdiction, namely war crimes, crimes against humanity or genocide.  We do this work without fear or favour and irrespective of the official capacity of the perpetrator(s).  In accordance with the scope of my Office’s policy, in fact, as a general rule, my Office will prosecute those most responsible for the commission of these serious crimes. The warrants of arrest issued to date by the Court have been line with this policy and principled approach.”

A. Introduction

The cases currently being examined have been brought by Iraqi civilians in both the British courts and at the International Criminal Court, alleging torture by British troops. The British Government has already settled 323 cases, with compensation totaling some £19.6 million. In the UK courts the Iraq Historic Allegations Team has fielded 3,363 cases since it was founded in 2010, including 325 that involved unlawful killings by British troops.

In late 2014 the Al-Sweady Inquiry cleared British soldiers of war crimes in Iraq and, instead, blamed lawyers – Leigh Day and PIL – who represented the victims of those alleged crimes. However, some of the cases investigated by that Inquiry – notably those associated with the Shaibah Logistics Base – are still being examined by the International Criminal Court as part of their wider investigation into more than 1200 cases of alleged UK war crimes in Iraq.

Two other investigations into alleged war crimes in Iraq by British military and intelligence – that of the Iraq Historic Allegations Team (IHAT) and the Service Prosecuting Authority (the UK miltary equivalent of the Crown Prosecution Service) – are continuing.

Updates on all three inquiries/investigations are given below, as well as a summary of some of the more prominent cases. Continue reading

Posted in no category, War | Tagged , | 4 Comments

EU referendum: real winner is radical right – and it’s about to get even nastier

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Just prior to the EU referendum Undercoverinfo published an article, “If Brexit is the answer, then the wrong question was asked by the wrong people“. The correct question would have been: “Do you want years of far-right Tory-governed austerity – yes or no?” But honesty was never the name of the game and many – not all – on both sides of the referendum debate excelled themselves in the retailing of half-truths and lies. The UK Referendum was a complete con – a mega distraction approved by a prime minister who misjudged the public mood and which has seen one of the biggest, if not the biggest, shifts to the right in modern-day British politics. Pulling out of the EU was merely a consequence of the referendum: a radical right takeover was the real goal.

Both remaining Tory candidates for PM – Andrea Leadsom and Theresa May – are of the radical-right. May portrays herself as ‘one nation Tory’, though that’s questionable given her determination over several years to introduce the Snoopers Charter via the Communications Data Bill and the Investigatory Powers Bill, – which together will see Britain become the most totalitarian society in terms of surveillance in the world (including the USA) – or the wide-ranging Counter Extremism bill. May also sent vans through Britain telling illegal immigrants to “go home”.

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Caricatured Leadsom supporter

Leadsom, however, is not only radical right, but extreme right and avowedly of a Conservative culture only found in darkened corners of the Shires – a throwback to the 1950s, where unrestricted fox hunting was not only legal but commonplace and where mono-culture (WASPs) was the norm.

Leadsom’s culture is the culture satirised by images of the upper-class twit – indeed, such creatures broke loose and were seen lomping around Parliament yesterday to show Leadsom their support. It was a truly shocking sight.

But more shocking is the possibility that Leadsom could be voted the next prime minister, regardless of her unsuitability. This is because the decision as to who will be the next PM is now down to the Tory membership. That membership of 150,000 is largely based in the Home Counties, is mostly male and is mostly people over aged 60. Voting in Leadsom would be their ultimate revenge on decades of political correctness, civil liberties and multiculturalism. Continue reading

Posted in Economy, Government, no category | Tagged , | 1 Comment

UK economy collapsing, but the pitchforks are already out as far right target scapegoats

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Hate-mongering Farage protected by besuited UKIP goons

Cameron’s hugely miscalculated EU Referendum saw a knife-edge result that merely succeeded, as Laurie Penny eloquently put it, in widening the divisions in society. As such, the referendum could be described as an abject failure in democracy: seriously flawed and based on lies, it should have been declared invalid. But, as has already been pointed out, Brexit is not legally binding and, if matters spiral completely out of control, there is nothing to stop MPs from refusing to trigger Article 50, or they could even refuse to agree to the election of a new Conservative leader (and, in the worst case scenario, a State of Emergency could be declared). For many on the Leave campaign their decision was simply a vote of protest against the  EU, which they were persuaded to identify by the Tory elite as the source of all their woes. As Paul Mason has commented, the Referendum outcome was not due to a rebellion, but of despair by the excluded. The consequence of the vote is now seeing the economy collapsing and so peoples’ finances and prospects will get even worse, with soaring inflation, job losses, rent rises, higher bills, cuts and more cuts. But with the EU on the outer, who will people blame next? The UK political order, of course – though there will be those – in UKIP and of the Far Right – who will endeavour to exploit the misery of the dispossessed by whipping up more fear – fear of the ‘foreigner’, the immigrant, the scroungers and, of course, ethnic minorities. Exaggeration? Well, on last night’s TV news, several vox pop Brexit supporters proudly gave dislike of immigrants and Muslims as the prime reason they voted Leave. And yesterday this writer personally witnessed a Portuguese woman – working in the UK for 10 years as a nurse and saving lives – screamed at by a man, euphoric at the Brexit victory. Examples of hate – but nothing compared to the death threats and assaults that some are experiencing. Seasoned commentator Nafeez Ahmed also argues cogently how Project Fear is not just a UK phenomena but has taken hold in many parts of Europe. When widespread discontent is corralled by the Tory and UKIP far right and the left remains in disarray – that is when fascism becomes mainstream. Make no mistake, Project Fear did not end with the vote: the pitchforks are out and the ‘mob’ is fired up.

“This Britain is not my Britain. I want my country back. I want my scrappy, tolerant, forward-thinking, creative country, the country of David Bowie, not Paul Daniels; the country of Sadiq Khan, not Boris Johnson; the country of  J K Rowling, not Enid Blyton; the country not of Nigel Farage, but Jo Cox” extract from article by Laurie Penny.

(Note: here’s one plan – by Paul Mason – to oust the Tories. No doubt there will be many more from others in weeks to come.)

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Day after Brexit victory The Sun features a Combat 18 (Nazis) member on front page

Cluj48sWIAAEe02Last week – only days after Jo Cox MP was murdered – Labour MP and shadow frontbencher Yvette Cooper revealed she had been threatened on Twitter. The message said “Hello, Yvette I have received your Stronger In propaganda e-mails 5 times please stop or I will kill your kids and grandkids.”

From Laurie Penny: “Nigel Farage, the rich, racist cartoon demagogue, boasts that this [Referendum] victory was won “without a single shot being fired”. Tell that to the grieving family of Jo Cox, the campaigning Labour MP gunned down last week. Farage promised that unless something was done to halt immigration, “violence will be the next step”. It looks like we’ve got a two-for-one deal on that one.”

Prominent Far Right groups that are active in Britain include Liberty GB – an anti-immigration political party, whose chairman is Paul Weston, the former UKIP parliamentary candidate – Britain First, the National Front, the British National Party, and the EDL. (Note that Liberty GB is fielding a candidate – Jack Buckby, a former BNP politician – at the upcoming byelection that will take place as a result of Jo Cox’s death.) See also ‘Appendix’, below, on the links between the BNP and Britain First. whose slogan, incidentally, is “Taking our country back” – virtually the same slogan the Brexiteers used during the Referendum campaign. Continue reading

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MI5 were informed of Thomas Mair’s links to neo-Nazi organisations in 2000

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Thomas Mair is portrayed by the right-wing tabloids as being ‘mentally ill’ – a label usually reserved for those perpetrators of a political assassination if they are white. But Mair’s far-right, neo-Nazi links not only span decades but countries: a network of hate and racism that knows no bounds. The network, both formally and informally, links fascist organisations and tendencies globally. In Mair’s case, his links extend to organisations that span at least three continents. Mair is charged with the murder of Jo Cox MP, who was a lifelong campaigner of human rights and spearheaded many humanitarian causes. She was just the sort of person Mair and his fascist associates detested. Some may believe his alleged vile act was not premeditated, but his history proves otherwise. That Mair allegedly chose to carry out the act in the lead up to the EU Referendum speaks volumes. Below is a mapping of the trail of hate that provides the topographical context to Mair’s beliefs and motivations. Moreover, what this trail shows is that Mair and his hate-filed colleagues were the subject of surveillance by an MI5 (and FBI) informer as far back as 2000.

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Photo showing, allegedly, Tom Mair holding Britain First banner (Dewsbury, 2015)

In the meantime Mair’s fascist friends – erstwhile or otherwise – no longer deny him, but rather have escalated their campaign, suggesting that more similar targets may be planned, such as ‘direct action’ against Mr Sadiiq Khan, the newly elected mayor of London.

Source: not known

Trail of Hate: the Britain First hub (source: not known)

Britain First grew out of the British National Party. Currently there is a by-election in Birstall, following Jo Cox’s death. The only person standing against Labour will be Jack Buckby, a former BNP politician (see photo below of the candidate with long-time BNP leader Nick Griffin).

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BNP pals: Nick Griffin with Jack Buckby

Thomas Mair had a long history of links to racist and far right organisations and it is now well known that as far back as the late 1990s he planned to shoot and bomb (in that he purchased the instructions for making a gun and explosives). He was also fascinated by the Nazi ideology (he possessed a manual on Nazi practice authored by Adolf Hitler). His links to far right organisations included the Springbok Club (white supremacists) and via that organisation to similar supremacist organisations in the USA – notably the National Alliance.

A. The US link

According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, the National Alliance was for decades the most dangerous and best organized neo-Nazi formation in America. Explicitly genocidal in its ideology, NA materials called for the eradication of Jews and other races and the creation of an all-white homeland.

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National Alliance members displaying their Nazi interests

National Alliance produced assassins, bombers and bank robbers. William Pierce, the founder of NA, penned a novel, The Turner Diaries, which notoriously became the inspiration for Timothy McVeigh’s 1995 bombing of the federal building in Oklahoma City (that left 168 people, including 19 children, dead) and many other acts of terror. Pierce once described how he hoped to lock Jews, “race traitors” and other enemies of the “Aryan” race into cattle cars and send them to the bottom of abandoned coal mines. In all, NA members were connected to at least 14 violent crimes between 1984 and 2005, including bank robberies, shootouts with police and, in Florida, a plan to bomb the main approach to Disney World.

At its height, in the 1990s, the National Alliance had chapters in several European countries and 1400 members. In the years after the death of Pierce in 2003, after a series of embarrassing revelations, National Alliance disintegrated.

B. MI5 knew of Mair’s fascist connections

According to Hatewatch, in May 2000 Thomas Mair and several other fascists met in a private room at a pub near the Strand, as attested by Todd Blodgett, an American who was then a paid informant for the FBI and who also met up regularly with MI5.

Blodgett had helped arrange the meeting at the request of William Pierce, then head of the neo-Nazi National Alliance. According to Blodgett, Mair was loosely affiliated with the Leeds chapter of the National Alliance, “He talked about a book he read by [David] Irving,” an infamous British Holocaust denier.

Others who met at the London pub included Stephen Cartwright, who was affiliated with the Scottish branch of the BNP, and Richard Barnbrook, a BNP member who in 2008 won election to a seat on the London Assembly.

The meeting was organised by Mark Cotterill, a Briton who was in the United States as the head of the American Friends of the British National Party and working to raise funds for the BNP.  Days after the meeting, Blodgett met with John Tyndall, who had been deposed in 1999 as leader of the BNP and replaced by Nick Griffin.

Details of the meeting, including Mair’s attendance, would have been provided to MI5 (and the FBI).

C. The Swinton Circle

According to World Social Website, the Springbok Club was associated with the Swinton Circle, which was set up as a Conservative Party fringe group in the 1960s by admirers of Tory right-wing xenophobe Enoch Powell. The Swinton Circle publication Tough Talking from the Right “held a special readers’ meeting and buffet in the City of London only recently, where the guest speaker was Mr. Nigel Farage MEP, the co-president of the Independence and Democracy Group in the European Parliament.”.

In 2014, Liam Fox and Owen Paterson, two former Conservative government cabinet ministers and now prominent Leave supporters, addressed separate meetings of the London Swinton Circle. In 1998, then-Conservative MP Neil Hamilton, who later defected to UKIP, spoke at a meeting of the Springbok Club.

D. The Greek connection and the Euro-wide dimension

According to XYZ Contagion, during the last week in March 2012, southern California National Alliance member MP and Alliance supporter “TH” visited Greece and spent a week with members and officials of Golden Dawn. (Source: The website of Annex Sacramento California Alliance of National, ‘ The Rising Sun Heralds The Golden Dawn ‘, 05/05/2012.)

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5th International meeting of Nationalist and Social Forces, Greece

In October 1998 the ‘5th European Conference of Nationalist and Social Forces’ was held in Thessaloniki. Among the participants were Wiliam Pierce (head of National Alliance), Florentine S. Rost van Tonningen-Heubel (head of Danish Nazi Party) and Matt Koehln (leader of ‘National Socialist International’ WUNS). Others representatives from Portugal, Romania, Flanders, Denmark, Netherlands, Germany, South Africa and Austria. Hosted by fascist Golden Dawn.

 

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Racism, far-right ideology & hatred of refugees: the toxic mix that killed Jo Cox

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Jo Cox

Jo Cox MP was a humanitarian and a tireless campaigner for refugees and, in particular, the war refugees of Syria. She was more than a politician: she was passionate about her work and had been involved in many charities/NGOs that were spearheading humanitarian causes. Her alleged murderer, Thomas Mair, was a vunerable individual who had a documented history of mental health problems. But he also had a long history of association with the far-right. At least three witnesses claim that when allegedly carrying out this heinous crime, Mair shouted “Britain First!” (the name of a far right organisation) or “Put Britain first”. Either way, his cause was that of nationalism; his alleged deed that of hate. Fuelling that hatred is the far right, but also the media and even certain political parties – all of which have been bombarding the British public over the last two years with lies and disinformation about refugees and in the lead up to the EU Referendum this campaign of hatred targetted against the ‘other’ reached fever pitch. Below, is the evidence of Mair’s far-right affilations and interests.

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Man in cap at Britain First demo, 2015, seems to be Tommy Mair (source: London Black Revolutionaries)

UPDATE 1: According to records obtained by the Southern Poverty Law Center, Mair was a dedicated supporter of the National Alliance (NA), the once premier neo-Nazi organization in the United States, for some decades. Mair purchased a manual from the NA in 1999 that included instructions on how to build a pistol (the pistol used to kill Cox?). Mair sent just over $620 to the NA, according to invoices for goods purchased from National Vanguard Books, the NA’s printing imprint. Mair purchased subscriptions for periodicals published by the imprint and he bought works that instructed readers on the “Chemistry of Powder & Explosives,” “Incendiaries,” and a work called “Improvised Munitions Handbook.” Under “Section III, No. 9” (page 125) of that handbook, there are detailed instructions for constructing a “Pipe Pistol For .38 Caliber Ammunition” from components that can be purchased from nearly any hardware store. Notice, too, that Mair purched a copy of a handbook on Nazism by Hitler. For more on this, see Appendix at end of this article that shows receipts of purchases by Mair.

UPDATE 2: UKIP’er Neil Hamilton linked to Springbok Club, the same far-right organisation Mair associated with.

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Mair showing off his political credentials

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Referendum campaign poster by UKIP (its true colours revealed)

A. Introduction

Perhaps the best tribute to Cox, to honour her legacy, would be for all political parties to agree, as per a suggestion by Peter Jukes, that 2000 refugee children from Syria immediately be brought to the UK to live in peace.

The media also share the guilt in Mair’s alleged crime – in particular the right-wing, jingoistic and xenophobic, refugee-hating press (The Sun, Daily Mail, etc). And the Leave campaign played its part too in fueling such hate. Continue reading

Posted in Government, no category, Refugees | Tagged , | 7 Comments

Dysfunctional CPS gives green light to rendition/torture; fails to prosecute spy chief

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Sir Mark Allen (ex-MI6)

The UK Crown Prosecution Service is supposedly impartial, though several recent cases have disproved that, with three cases in particular demonstrating how the CPS not only concealed evidence, but interfered in the process of justice and even closed down a case merely because it would involve the prosecution of a senior figure in MI6. The three very different cases highlighted – MI6 and rendition (section ‘A’), undercover police and the climate activists trials (section ‘B’) and undercover police and ‘institutionalised rape (section ‘C’) are reprised below, together with examples of how the CPS either concealed, manipulated or disposed of evidence.

A. MI6 & extraordinary rendition

Yesterday the CPS announced that it would not be prosecuting their ‘suspect’ (former MI6 deputy chief, Sir Mark Allen) in the case relating to the kidnapping, rendition and torture of Libyan dissidents who were in opposition to Colonel Gadaffi. The CPS decision makes it known to countries around the world that British spy chiefs are beyond the law and that MI6 can still boast immunity from prosecution. Moreover, the decision sends out a clear message that if the UK can get away with this, then other countries that authorise rendition/torture can get away with such crimes too. In making this decision, the CPS can be accused of colluding in crimes against humanity.

The CPS has since released a statement regarding this decision:

“Following careful review, the CPS has concluded that there is sufficient evidence to support the contention that the suspect had been in communication with individuals from the foreign countries responsible for the detention and transfer of the Belhaj and Al-Saadi families; disclosed aspects of what was occurring to others within this country; and sought political authority for some of his actions albeit not within a formal written process nor in detail which covered all his communications and conduct.”

But despite that statement and the 28,000-page file of evidence compiled by the Metropolitan Police service, the CPS refused to proceed with the prosecution of Sir Mark Allen or Jack Straw (the Foreign Minister whom Allan reported to). Also in the frame are former prime minister Tony Blair and the former head of MI6 Sir Richard Dearlove.

In response to the decision by the CPS, Cori Rider of Reprieve, commented:

“Top British officials helped abduct a pregnant woman and four children, and so far we have no apology, no explanation, and now no one held responsible. Sir Mark Allen took credit, in writing, for the operation. Jack Straw, we are told, signed it off. The head of MI5 was so incensed about all this she wrote to Tony Blair at the time. Strangely, the CPS’s attitude to all this is ‘see no evil, hear no evil, and speak no evil’. It is hard to escape the conclusion that this decision has a great deal to do with political power and very little to do with the rule of law. While these families have been denied justice at every turn, we are determined to keep fighting for it.”

Here is the original Letter of Claim Against Sir Mark Allen by Abdel Hakim Belhadj and Fatima Bouchar (Leigh Day & Co.), January 2012′.

So what was the evidence the CPS referred to? Continue reading

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Destruction/witholding of spycops files symptomatic of decades of police/CPS cover-ups

QPE 66 1/8/5 identified as missing Special Demonstration Squad (spycops) files

Endemic police corruption and cover-ups of evidence are generally more associated with developing countries, or countries where there is a dictatorship, but in Britain such corruption is rife though handled far better, with the occasional public inquiry as a sop to satisfy a gullible or politically-weary populace. Some of these inquiries have been judge-led; others have been restricted and headed by senior police officers who are expert at hiding the truth. The litany of cover-ups is immense – Birmingham 6, Guildford 4, Hillsborough, Orgreave, the Stephen Lawrence murder, the VIP paedophile allegations, the Kincora/MI5/6 allegations, the Omagh bombing, the Finucane murder, and, of course, the”spycops” scandal. There were many, many more cover-ups. Put simply, it’s all about closing ranks, mutual protection (by police of police) and the ongoing political policing of those individuals and groups who are opposed to the ruling establishment. Multiple police constabularies colluded in cover-ups because multiple police constabularies were involved in the undercover operations – see for example evidence below that Thames Valley was core to Kennedy’s surveillance on the Ratcliffe op…

Firstly…

In January 2013, Deputy Assistant Commissioner Patricia Gallan told MPs, sitting as part of a Home Affairs Committee (HAC):

“Operation Herne, as you will be aware, has been running for some time. Initially it quite properly concentrated on potentially criminal matters, whether there may be any miscarriages of justice or not, and indeed in criminal allegations. One of those allegations, as you will be aware, was made in Parliament by an MP, and that is being investigated. Since the Olympics we have been able to put additional resources into Operation Herne, but I must stress we are looking at the activities of a unit, the Special Demonstration Squad, which was initially funded by the Home Office and set up in 1968 and ran for 40 years. There is not a dusty file sitting somewhere within Scotland Yard that we can pull out that will provide all of the answers. There are more than 50,000 documents, paper and electronic, that we need to sift through. Many people have been long retired and need to be visited, and we need to look at all the records. What I should say is that if anybody has any information or evidence they can give to us, we do want to hear from them.”

She later added: “Many of them [documents] have been classified as secret, so we have had to put in a special IT system specifically to manage it. There has been a huge quantity of documentation, because it goes back over 40 years.”

These were astounding statements made by Gallan – the complete interrogation is here – who clearly slipped up. Continue reading

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Blacklisting: the leaked document(s) that opened the floodgates

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Phil Chamberlain’s excellent article, “Finding the blacklist“, reveals how the ‘Services Group’ blacklist of construction workers held by the Consulting Association was discovered, as well as the events that led up to that. A much larger blacklist – of workers, ‘extremists’ and political radicals – was held by the Economic League (the predecessor to the Consulting Association). Much of the EL list was leaked and the story of how that took place has been told, in part, both here and elsewhere – notably via Spies At Work. But the campaign to destroy the EL could be characterised, in retrospect, as ‘part one’ of a drama that eventually saw, some thirty years later, a £250 million payout to blacklisted construction workers, with the CA expose as the crucial ‘part two’. Though, in some ways, it could be argued that the first domino to fall was an own goal by the EL: what happened is described in detail in an internal EL document that was subsequently leaked, together with masses of other documents, to political activists going under the name of ‘League Watch’. A link to that document is published below, together with selected extracts and background commentaries that show, for example, that the notorious “Services Group” existed as far back as the early 1980s…

(Disclaimer: the author of this article was a co-founder of League Watch.)

Note: extensive appendices are given at the end of this article – lists of companies and EL organisers, derived mostly from the leaked documents.

A. Introduction

Earlier this week Open Democracy published a well written research paper on how political activists may have been forced to change tactics as a consequence of the extensive infiltration by #spycops on several political campaigns over several decades. The research, however, does not take into account other forms of direct action that have emerged since then – such as the Occupy movement, the student protests, and the London riots, etc. Nor does it examine some of the counter-intelligence operations that quietly but determinedly acted as a rearguard to protests over several decades.

One such operation took place some thirty years back and involved no more than a handful of individuals, deploying very unconventional methods (for activists) and which led, in time, to enormous repercussions – namely, the multi-million pound payout to blacklisted workers in recent settlements.

A. Background

The Economic League was created in 1919 by a small group of men, including Rear Admiral William Reginald Hall – who had retired as the Head of Naval intelligence to stand as a Conservative MP – and representatives from leading industries. Originally the EL was named the National Propaganda Committee and was itself part of an organisation known as the British Commonwealth Union. In 1925 the NPC was renamed the Central Council of the Economic League. Core to its work was blacklisting, intelligence-gathering and propaganda. The EL – as it eventually became known by – continued to expand in the years leading up to World War Two, during the war and in the post-war period. But by the 1980s its fortunes were on the wane.

In 1983 Peter Savill, the EL’s national director attempted to rationalise the organisation via amalgamations of regions. This did not go down well with EL stalwarts, who were very protective of their manors. That same year saw an attempted mutiny within the EL and the publication of the document, “The need for a change in direction”. This document was later leaked to League Watch by Richard Brett (by then the EL was run by Michael Noar, who was determined to rid the League of all the regions and discipline Brett in the process).

Based on the actual numbers known for certain regions, it is estimated that between 30,000 and 45,000 names of workers were blacklisted throughout the UK.

For a full history of the Economic League, read Spies At work.

B. The leaked document: “The need for a change in direction”

“Of course, the police and Special Branch are interested in some of the things we are interested in. They follow the activities of these groups in much the same way as we do and therefore they do get in touch with us from time to time and talk to us and say ‘were you at this demonstration or that’.. In the course of discussions, there is an exchange of information just in the ordinary course of talking.” Michael Noar, Economic League director-general.

Here is the full text (pdf) of that internal Economic League document (marked “Strictly Private & Confidential”) and authored by Sir Gerald Thorley, chairman of the EL. The document clearly shows that by 1983 the rot was setting in.

Continue reading

Posted in Economy, Intelligence, no category, Resistance, Surveillance | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

Chelsea Manning’s legal appeal forces FBI to admit it’s concealing evidence against Wikileaks

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Images of war crimes exposed by Manning

Chelsea Manning’s legal team have lodged an appeal against their client’s conviction and sentencing. Her attorneys have asked a military court to dismiss her case or reduce her sentence to 10 years. It has taken the team three years to get all the documents together for the appeal and it may be another three years before the appeal is actually heard. Notwithstanding that there is still an ongoing campaign to seek a presidential pardon from Barack Obama. Meanwhile, the FBI has admitted that it will be restricting documents related to Manning’s appeal because to reveal these would jeopardise its investigations (and prosecution?) of Wikileaks.

UPDATE: See excellent article summarising Manning’s appeal case.

A. Persecution of Wikileaks

A few days ago a document released to Manning’s legal team showed that the US authorities – namely the FBI and the Department of Justice – would be limiting the availability of evidence needed for Manning’s appeal, so as not to jeopardise their ongoing investigations into Wikileaks – see extract below (note: “civilian involvement” is code for Wikileaks).

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However, in an article published in The Guardian last year, Manning observed:

“…when I was court-martialed for providing government documents and information that I felt were in the public interest to a media organization, the government charged me with “aiding the enemy” – a treason-related offense under the US constitution and military justice system that even civilians may be charged with. During one of my pre-trial hearings in January 2013, the military judge in my case, US Army Colonel Denise Lind, asked the government lawyers: “Does it make any difference – if we substituted Wikileaks for The New York Times: would the government still be charging this case in the manner that it has and proceeding as you’re doing?” An assistant trial counsel for the government answered a straightforward “Yes, Ma’am”…”

The point is that the New York Times was not prosecuted and Manning was. Thus the trial against Manning was a farce.

Manning continued..

“The government further argued that there was no distinction to be made between any media organizations that provided information to the public, if the government felt that would “aid” the enemy: whether such information was published by a small-time blog, a controversial website like Wikileaks, a national newspaper like the Washington Post, or an international one like the Guardian, to the government, they can all be “aiding the enemy”.”

In the end Manning was not convicted of the charge of “aiding the enemy”, which, ironically, was probably a relief to the Government as it was not only an absurd charge to make in the first place, but had Manning been found guilty of it then the USG would, logically, have to prosecute those media outlets that published the leaks too. That wasn’t going to happen. Continue reading

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Consulting Association: the destruction/concealment of documents – testimony of an insider

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Ian Kerr

One of the testimonies given at the Construction Industry Vetting Information Group Litigation court hearings, earlier this year, was that of Mary Kerr, the wife of the late Ian Kerr, who was a leading figure in both the Economic League and, after its demise, the main organiser for the Consulting Association. That testimony – which is given in full below – offers an insight not only into the day-to-day operations of the Consultancy Association, but also what happened to the blacklisting files and other evidence. In section 10 of the testimony Mrs Kerr confirms that ‘back-up paper copy record cards’ were retained by her husband after the raid by the Information Commissioner’s Office and how the ICO failed to remove the (approx. 800) “green and pink record cards” of animal and environmental activists. She also confirms how the Consultancy Association files – together with those from Caprim Ltd – were all sourced from the Economic League trove (which is estimated as being around 30,000 names).

(Note… Ian Kerr was a former private investigator and had been involved in blacklisting for more than 30 years. Michael Noar, the Economic League’s director-general between 1986 and 1989, said Kerr had worked for the organisation for a long time, infiltrating “a lot” of trade union and political meetings, recording who had said what and taking away documents such as attendance lists. Here is a copy of Mr Kerr’s oral evidence to the Scottish Affairs Committee: Blacklisting in Employment, shortly before he died. More on the Consulting Association – via a report by the Scottish Affairs Committee – is here.)

A. Introduction

Mary Kerr’s testimony details:

a) how Economic League files were transferred – “sold” – to the Consultancy Association and Caprim Ltd;
b) how David Cochrane retained copies of 500+ blue and orange cards (pertaining to Economic League records) prior to the ICO raid;
c) the background to the infamous Consultancy Association meeting at which Gordon Mills, the National Extremism Tactical Co-Ordination Unit officer, spoke;
d) the role of Callum McAlpine, the eminence gris and former Chair of the Consultancy Association and who represented the construction firm Sir Robert McAlpine Ltd;
e) confirmation that Consultancy Association client companies expected Mr Kerr to ‘play ball’ and take the blame for everything;
f) and how Sir Robert McAlpine Ltd secretly paid the fines and other costs levied against Mrs Kerr’s husband.

(See also Blacklister admits destroying Consulting Association evidence; now has own vetting service.)

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Cullum McAlpine

B. The testimony by Mary Kerr

1. Economic League

The Economic League operated on a much larger scale than the Services Group and the
Consulting Association and covered all industries, not just construction. There were six
regions in the Economic League, each with a definite hierarchy under a regional director.
From what Ian told me, references were held in the same way but the information for the
Economic League was generally sourced internally by the Economic League employees
themselves. Continue reading

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Blacklister admits destroying Consulting Assoc evidence; now has own vetting service

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Court records show that in an unguarded moment a former chair of the blacklisting agency, the Consulting Association, admitted to destroying vital files belonging to that organisation in order to conceal evidence and, thus, contradicting all previous denials on this matter. Furthermore, it is now known that since the collapse of the Consulting Association this man is continuing his work in employment ‘consultancy’ – albeit on a smaller scale and on a self-employed basis. Evidence is presented below…

The demand for justice by blacklisted construction workers may now be entering a new phase. A week ago over 700 construction workers were awarded more than 75 million pounds compensation in an out-of-court settlement – the money coming from the coffers of the constructions firms who were at the heart of the blacklisting project. The firms concerned issued an apology, which was seen by the workers as hollow and meaningless. But if the construction firms thought by issuing that apology and paying out the £75 million, that would be the end of it, they were sadly mistaken. Now the blacklisted workers are seeking to prosecute Mr Cullum McAlpine – a director of Sir Robert McAlpine – who was chairman of the blacklisting organisation, known as the Consulting Association – and Mr David Cochrane – who was HR manager at Sir Robert McAlpine and, later, also chairman of the Consulting Association.

More than 3000 names were discovered on files held by the the Consulting Association during a raid in 2009 by the Information Commission Office (ICO). But it is known – as per ICO evidence (see below) – that many more files existed, containing thousands more blacklisted names.

Those files were believed to have been destroyed by Consulting Association chief executive, Ian Kerr (who died in 2012). Proof of this is in the form of a handwritten note, which is reproduced above. Mr Cochrane also made a disposition to the High Court – quoted below – that would appear to back this claim.

The infamous note, taken from Mr Kerr’s notebook, is from a meeting on 2 March 2009 and records Mr Cochrane instructing Kerr. It reads “Ring everyone – Cease trading – Close down. We don’t exist anymore – Destroy data – Stop processing of …” Continue reading

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Blacklisted: 600 UK companies yet to be sued by 30,000 workers on Economic League files

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Today it was announced that 256 construction workers would receive £10 million in compensation as a result of blacklisting. Earlier this month 420 trade unionists secured damages of around £50m and there have also been out-of-court settlements. Altogether 800 building workers have sought compensation: the unions calculate that the total paid out will amount to £75m (plus legal costs). However, The Consulting Association blacklisted more than 3000 workers – some on the TCA ‘green list’ (where there is little proof of defamation) – and it’s uncertain whether many of these cases will ever get to court. But there is a much bigger figure to ponder: namely, the list managed by The Consulting Associations’s predecessor, the Economic League (which had regional offices throughout the UK and which survived for more than 70 years). The EL list is believed to contain around 30,000 names. The current battles against blacklisting afford a glimpse into what, in reality, was class warfare on a sustained and massive scale over many decades: indeed, the Economic League list (names of the businesses and the key players are given below) shows that almost every major company in the UK was complicit.

UPDATE: Building firms have agreed to pay about £75m to 771 blacklisted workers, under out-of-court settlements to avoid a trial. Details here.

Notes: 1. See Appendix (end of article) on how the Economic League was ended. 2. For more on blacklisting – its history and how it works today, see: Blacklisting, a book by Dave Smith and Phil Chamberlain and the Spies At Work website.

A. Introduction

Blacklisting of trade unionists, political protesters, etc has been going on for decades (and is still rife). The main blacklisting agency, until its demise in 1993, was the Economic League. Much of the EL’s work was taken over by the The Consulting Association, led by Ian Kerr and which was closed down in 2009. Undercover police also infiltrated unions, according to testimony given earlier this year.

In 2009 the Information Commissioner’s Office seized a Consulting Association database of 3,213 construction workers and environmental activists, used by 44 companies to vet new recruits and keep out of employment trade union and health and safety activists. Talks between GMB and construction employers (Balfour Beatty, Carillion, Costain, Kier, Laing O’Rourke, Sir Robert McAlpine, Skanska UK and VINCI PLC) on a compensation scheme for 3,213 blacklisted workers broke down in June 2014 over the amount of money being put into the scheme by the employers. Employers unilaterally launched a cut price scheme (GMB estimated it would cost less than 2% of the combined profits of the eight construction firms). Claims for compensation were served by law firm Leigh Day for GMB members. GMB’s claims were joined with a further 449 claims by other unions and parties at the High Court. There was a directions hearing on all 571 cases, beginning 17th December 2014, 13th February, 14th May and 14 July 2015. Only 1,724 out of the 3,213 workers on the list knew they are on a blacklist. 467 of these were identified by themselves or by their unions. 571 cases were covered by claims in the High Court. The ICO contacted direct a further 1,257 and of these 776 were sent a copy of their files.  That still left 1,489 from the CA list still to trace.

But that’s just the TCA listing. What about the Economic League listing? The full details of the estimated 30,000 blacklisted workers on the EL listings are yet to be revealed.

In the meantime here is a breakdown of the 600 plus companies that were at the forefront of blacklisting industry over many decades.

The list shows that nearly every major company in the UK was complicit: it was class warfare. Continue reading

Posted in Economy, Intelligence | Tagged , , | 5 Comments

Erdogan jails journalists re banned video – shown here – on Turkey/ISIS arms pipeline

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Erdem Gulwere and Can Dundar

This week journalists Can Dundar, editor-in-chief of “Cumhuriyet”, and Erdem Gilwere, Ankara bureau chief, were jailed for more than five years for merely reporting in May 2015 on evidence that the Erdogan government had, via the National Intelligence Organisation (MIT), been secretly ferrying arms from Turkey across the Syrian border. On the day Dundar arrived at court an attempt was made on the life (see video below). The journalists – who are appealing their convictions – were initially accused by Erdogan of being ‘terrorists’ under Turkey’s catch-all definition. The EU requires Erdogan to tighten that definition if the final go-head for Turks to get visa-free roaming across Europe is granted. But this week – the same week when Erdogan gave his prime minister the boot – the ever unpredictable Erdogan pointedly refused to comply to this condition and threatened to scupper the EU-Turkey deal on refugees (as he did on a previous occasion). Meanwhile the core evidence – a video – that the journalists originally referred to and which led to their successful prosecution for “leaking state secrets” is still officially banned in Turkey. This video is also reproduced below (section ‘B’) as well as other evidence (section ‘C’) that shows how Turkey has long been working with ISIS, not just in regards to the oil trade, but arms too.

UPDATE (22 May): Journalist Arzu Yıldız has been sentenced to 20 months in jail and stripped of legal rights over her children for publishing video (see second video below) and associated story regarding a search of trucks belonging to Turkey’s MIT intelligence agency as they travelled to Syria in 2014 with arms for jihadists.

See also: ISIS oil: the Erdogan family and UK business connections

(Video below shows gunman shooting at Mr Dundar.)

A. The arms smuggling incident

President Erdogan, who was a complainant in the trial of the two journalists, accepted that the trucks referred to in the trial belonged to MIT and were carrying arms into Syria, but claimed they were destined for Turkmen miitias, who are opposed to Assad. Erdogan argued that the video (see below) that showed security officers discovering the arms hidden underneath medicine supplies in the trucks was a ‘state secret’ and demanded it remain censored.

The video, which Cumhuriyet posted on its website, showed trucks of the MIT inspected by the security officers in January 2014. The officers then spotted cardboard boxes inside the metallic container with “fragile” marked on them. On opening the boxes they then found munitions hidden in crates below boxes of medicine. Cumhuriyet said the trucks were carrying around 1,000 mortar shells, hundreds of grenade launchers and more than 80,000 rounds of ammunition for light and heavy weapons. Today’s Zaman (whose editors were replaced by Erdogan loyalists earlier this year) subsequently reported how the Government ordered a gagging order to prevent the video from being published.

The Turkish government also arrested four prosecutors who ordered the search of the vehicles near the Syrian border, as well as more than 30 security officers – all of whom faced charges of military espionage and attempting to overthrow the government.

Human Rights Watch commented at the time that the incident exposed “murky dimensions to Turkey’s involvement with the conflict in Syria and the Turkish government’s concern to prevent any legal scrutiny of Turkish intelligence operations”.

It’s likely the arms were destined for ISIS and affiliated gangs – see Section ‘B’ below.

Here is the banned video (recommend you download a copy before Google deletes it): Continue reading

Posted in Government, War | Tagged , | 6 Comments

It’s official! Australia in court re Crimes Against Humanity

A case has been lodged against the Australian Government for Crimes Against Humanity. No, not in the International Criminal Court – that’s still live, see Appendix below – but in the High Court in Australia and in relation to those hundreds of men detained illegally, as per the recent Supreme Court ruling in Papua New Guinea. The case has been raised by Russell Byrnes solicitors as a class action. It has been lodged successfully. but is yet to be formally listed. If the high court finds against the Australian Government it will be yet another blow to the credibilty of the so-called Pacific Solution. Furthermore, it may encourage similar action in the court on behalf of those illegally detained on Nauru.

The lawyers who lodged the case will be seeking an injunction to order the immediate release of 757 detainees. It is understood that the Australian high court action alleges that the PNG and Australian governments have committed gross human rights violations and international crimes, constituting “crimes against humanity”, including: forcible deportation; arbitrary and indefinite detention; and torture, inhuman and degrading treatment.

The asylum seekers at Manus specifically allege that following the Rudd government’s announcement in 2013 that no asylum seeker arriving by boat would be settled in Australia, they were forcibly deported to PNG by the Australian Government. They also allege their detention on Manus Island constitutes arbitrary and indefinite detention, which is illegal under international law. They further allege negligence re duty of care contributed to the death of Reza Berati, who was killed during a riot at the centre in February 2014.

The PNG supreme court stated in its judgment last week that it had been “the joint efforts of the Australian and PNG governments” that brought the asylum seekers to PNG and kept them at the Manus Island processing centre “against their will”, and that their detention had been illegal from its inception. Continue reading

Posted in Refugees | Tagged , | 25 Comments

Spycops impresario Lambert referred to as core influence on entryism in Quilliam report

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Bob Lambert as spycop activist and later as spycop godfather figure

The Government’s flagship ‘counter-extremism’ think tank, the Quilliam Foundation, extensively references the ideas and approach associated with discredited spycops impresario Bob Lambert, according to a document seen by UndercoverInfo. The document, published by Quilliam, refers to ‘Lambertism’ (or entryism into the Muslim community – specifically the ‘non-violent extemist’ element) to describe this approach. A detailed analysis of Lambertism and its application to current counter-extremism strategies is provided in the document. What is astounding, however, is that Quilliam Foundation document mentions nothing about how Lambert is a core player in the spycops scandal, currently under investigation via the Pitchford Inquiry.

(Notes: 1. See also role by Research, Information and Communications Unit (Ricu) overseen by the ISC, in the UK government’s Prevent strategy (see also Appendix below). 2. Lambert is currently under investigation by the police in relation to allegations he was involved, as part of a covert op, in the planting of an incendiary device at a Debenham’s store. 3. Lambert resigned from two university positions last year after a campaign to have him sacked because of his sypcops role. 4.Many thanks to Spied Upon Film for the heads up on the QF doc.).

A. First, the context…

Bob Lambert was one of the undercover police officers who had spied on environmental and animal rights activists (and who formed relationships with at least one woman – and fathered a son with one – to advance his intelligence activities). At some point Lambert attempted to associate himself with Jeremy Corbyn MP, who had been placed under surveillance by Peter Francis. The latter was an undercover police officer assigned to Special Branch between 1990 and 2001, and who was subsequently deployed at the Special Demonstration Squad – his manager being none other than Lambert. It is generally understood that Jeremy Corbyn and Bob Lambert had met up together in 2005, when the latter headed up the Metropolitan Police’s Muslim Contact Unit, which was set up by Lambert (and spycop Jim Boyling) in 2002 and was involved in helping turn Finsbury Park Mosque away from the radical cleric Abu Hamza.

Lambert retired from the police in 2008. Three years later, in September 2011, he gave a speech – “Partnering with the Muslim Community as an Effective Counter-Terrorist Strategy” – at Chatham House and in that speech references Mr Corbyn. (Here is the full transcript of the speech.) This, incidentally, neatly tied in with the Government’s much-criticised ‘Prevent Strategy’  that was launched in 2008. Continue reading

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Australia’s refugee ‘Pacific Solution’ begins to unravel – time to kill it once and for all

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Aussies demanding refugees be brought to Australia

It’s not been a good week for the Australian Government. A few days ago the PNG (Papua New Guinea) Supreme Court declared that the Manus Island refugee detention centre was unconstitutional and contrary to all notions of human rights. A couple of days later the PNG prime minister stated that the facility should close as soon as possible (see letter below). The Australian Government is also to be sued for compensation that could amount to more than 1 million dollars for their illegal detention of people on Manus.

And now it has been revealed that Ferrovial, the Spanish company that owns more than 50% of the shares of Broadspectrum (formerly Transfield) and which hopes to buy it outright, has announced it intends to withdraw from the detention centre business. If this materialises this would leave the Australian Government without a prime company to manage its offshore detention centres (although it may decide to contract the Broadspectrum services out to Serco or G4S) . This includes the detention centre at Nauru, which is currently seeing its 43rd day of an ongoing protest by refugees. All this, after a week when one of the Iranian refugees at Nauru set fire to himself rather than be forced back to Iran, where he feared death (he later died from his injuries after it took the Australian authorities more than 24 hours to provide adequate treatment).

Now is the time for Australians to give the boot to this entirely illegal, immoral, inhuman and neo-colonialist ‘Pacific Solution’ that successive Australian governments have practised in complete disregard of world condemnation. The offshore detainees, held arbitrarily in contravention of UN protocols – many after being kidnapped by the Australian navy on the high seas – should be released. This could be organised via a coordinated program supervised by Amnesty International. New Zealand has already offered to take an initial 150 refugees; more countries may well make similar offers.

This approach would be the ‘Peoples Pacific Solution’.

(BREAKING: Another young man has attempted self immolation at the Nauru detention centre: yesterday afternoon the 20 year old known as Milad doused himself with petrol, but was arrested before he could follow through with the act; he is known to have mental health issues, as do many if not all of the refugees on the 22km square island, which is being used by Australia as a human dumping ground as part of its refugee policies – this is at least the sixth suicide attempt in the last week.)

Here is an extract from a statement by Ferrovial: “In relation to the provision of services at the regional processing centres in Nauru and Manus province, these services were not a core part of the valuation and the acquisition rationale of the offer, and it is not a strategic activity in Ferrovial’s portfolio. Ferrovial’s view is that this activity will not form part of its services offering in the future”.

Should, however, Ferrovial decide to act otherwise, there are plenty of militant workers in Spain – where there is a long and continuing tradition of union militancy and industrial and community action – who, no doubt, would be more than happy to show their solidarity with the refugees detained.

Here’s a good analysis by X Border of the Ferrovial takeover bid.

Here is a comprehensive listing of all the companies and (mainly Christian) NGOs that have profited so far from the Pacific Solution (i.e. illegal detention of refugees). Continue reading

Posted in Refugees | Tagged , , , , | 9 Comments

How a far-right Tory, the media & Blairites tried to ambush Corbyn re #AntiSemiticGate

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Paul Staines (aka Guido Fawkes)

AntiSemiticGate was engineered by a loose alliance of tabloid media, Blairites and, primarily, a far-right blogger who tends to support Tory extremism. Below we examine the timelines, expose the main player who stage-managed the ‘crisis’ (and on the way show just how ignorant politicians and elements of the media are on history – ignore it at our peril).

Paul Staines is otherwise known as the blogger Guido Fawkes. He also has a fascinating history. Staines, worked as “foreign policy analyst” for the Committee for a Free Britain, a right-wing Conservative pressure group, alongside David Hart. Staines also acted as editor of British Briefing, a long-standing publication by the group that was a “monthly intelligence analysis of the activities of the extreme left” that sought to “smear Labour MPs and left-leaning lawyers and writers”. British Briefing was originally called The Background Briefing on Subversion , written by Charles Elwell (formerly of MI5’s F branch which targeted ‘subversives’) and was part of an intelligence operation conducted by Brian Crozier, who was prominent in the Institute for the Study of Conflict.

Paul Staines likes to boast. Yesterday he published details of the central role he believes he played in organising AntiSemiticGate. Hoisted by his own petard? No, because he also knows that the public read and believe a lot of tosh, particular the tosh retailed by the tabloids, which in this particular affair did not just come along for the ride, but smelt blood and while Livingstone was the initial target it was Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn, who was the ultimate target – the end-game being to see his fall from grace.

Furthermore, Staines knew there were plenty of Brutus waiting in the wings, their proverbial daggers at the ready: chief amongst these was MP John Mann, who detests socialism and Ken Livingstone’s brand of it and wants to see the Blairites back in power.

But what was not foreseen in this drama as it unfolded was the piss-weak reaction by left of centre media, which made not the slightest attempt to analyse the real motives involved, nor who the real players were, never mind whether any of the accusations levelled were remotely true. In this respect, journalists ceased being journalists, ignored history, and gave up all pretence of investigative analysis.

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So let’s look at the timeline as to what happened according to Staines: Continue reading

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ACPO guide advised spycops on online infiltration of political activists

A 2013 guide by ACPO (Association of Chief Police Officers) marked ‘Protected’ advised police on how to conduct undercover police operations online, including tips on forming (online) relationships with targets and how to best use fake I.Ds – all sounds very familiar. The guide also provides advice on when officers should not use police equipment for online surveillance (to avoid compromising the police). Extracts from the guide are discussed below. In addition, we also examine some of the associated training materials, provided by private industry to Britain’s police and government agencies, as well as an array of online investigation tools (available to anyone). An Appendix provides links to resources on how to avoid political police surveillance.

(Note: the ACPO guide complements the College of Policing Guide on Undercover Policing.)

First, an introduction…

Political policing has always been with us and takes many forms – from the Norman invasion onwards: the crushing of the Peasants Revolt, the decimation of the Levellers and the Diggers, the prosecution of the Chartists and their massacre at St Peter’s Fields, the transportation of early trade unionists, the blacklisting of workers from the General Strike onwards, the bloody world wars that saw hundreds of thousands of workers killed, Orgreave, Hillsborough, the framing of innocents for the Guildford and Birmingham pub bombings, the extra-judicial killings in the dirty war of Northern Ireland… And in more recent years, the physical infiltration of political protests organisations – Sizewell B, CND, Greenham Common, Faslane, Drax, Ratcliffe – and the exploitation of women whom undercover police used in long-term relationships as a means to gain information or merely to use as cover.

The Pitchford Inquiry into undercover policing is supposed to look into all of this – well, the last 50 years or so – though it is absurdly clear that if it was not for the heroic actions of many of the victims in exposing what has happened, or the research work of bloggers and certain sections of the press, Pitchford would have little to inquire about. Indeed, each week, if not each day, more revelations about undercover political policing are produced – in some cases real or false names of UCOs; in other cases, further details of their activities.

But the Pitchford Inquiry is already severely truncated in its scope – many of the spycops worked all over the UK and in other countries too – yet the Inquiry is limited to just England and Wales. Moreover, the Inquiry is limited by the known unknowns (to paraphrase a former notorious US politician): those undercover police officers who have been ‘outed’ so far – not the ones who have not, nor their supervisors, nor the people at the top who authorised everything.

And it is unclear if the Inquiry will look beyond the specifics of traditional undercover political policing – for example, current internet-based methodologies – never mind the very nature and raison d’etre of political policing and its role in protecting the establishment.

But an ACPO guide, published two years prior to Pitchford and which still has relevance today, provides some insight into how undercover policing ops online work. Training courses provided by private industry to the police and private investigators alike also indicate the direction of undercover surveillance…

A. The ACPO guide on undercover online policing (2013)

The ACPO guide, marked ‘Protected’, states: “This document is intended to provide guidance to police officers or staff engaged in research and investigation across the internet”.

The guide’s authors are listed as follows: Chief Constable Steve Kavanagh (ACPO Open Source Lead), Commander Richard Martin (ACPO Undercover Lead) and ACC Jon Boutcher (ACPO RIPA Lead).

UPDATE: for the unredacted (Powerpoint into pdf) version of the guide, click here.

Continue reading

Posted in Intelligence, no category, Surveillance | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

PNG rules refugees detention by Australia illegal: next – compensation, liberation, ICC re-submissions?

Asylum seekers housed in Delta compound look on from behind a fence as a court appointed party inspects the Manus Island detention centre in Papua New Guinea, Friday, March 21, 2014. Papua New Guinea expects to start resettling refugees detained in Australia's offshore processing centre on Manus Island as early as May. (AAP Image/Eoin Blackwell) NO ARCHIVING

Yesterday the Supreme Court of Papua New Guinea declared that the detention of refugees at the Manus Island detention centre on behalf of Australia was unconsitutional – i.e. illegal. Lawyer Ben Lomai will be applying to the Court for the immediate release of all 909 detainees, as well as full compensation. Some detainees have been held on Manus Island for years and Mr Lomai said they could be entitled to compensation of over A$100,000 each.

BREAKING: PNG PM has announced Manus refuge detention centre to be closed ASAP & Australia to organise resettlement outside PNG – see statement below.

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UPDATE: Refugee on Nauru sets himself alight while UNHCR inspectors watch.

The ruling by the Court was in relation to Section 42 of PNG’s constitution, which guarantees freedom of persons entering the country, including foreigners unless the foreigner has broken a law of PNG.

The Australian Governmernt wants the transportation (note the irony) of all 909 refugees to Christmas Island, where more refugees are detained in an overcrowded camp.

But there is another solution – one that the Australian Government is unlikely to accept – namely that the UNHCR organise the safe removal of all 909 refugees to countrries of their choice, where those countries have offered places. In recent months New Zealand and certain Scandinavian countries have offered to take in refugees detained offshore by Australia. Continue reading

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The Camerons, the Blairmore project and the unanswered tax questions

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David Cameron and father Ian

Details of the offshore company that was set up by Ian Cameron, the father of Britain’s prime minster David and which paid no UK taxes is given below. The business of Blairmore Holdings Inc is no ‘private affair’, as David Cameron prefers to put it, nor are the questions raised about Blairmore merely about legality. On the contrary, this is a matter of morality, involving issues that goes straight to the heart of Britain’s class system and of how the establishment in government and industry circles enables the rich to retain their wealth to the detriment of everyone else. There are many unanswered questions, not least about the entire tax avoidance system with which Britain leads the way (see Appendix)…

(See also: Blairmore Holdings: its current fund nomenclature and dealings)

UPDATE 1: Entire prospectus (78 pages) of Blairmore Holdings.

UPDATE 2: to see a spreadsheet of all known (exposed/declared) British peers’ and MPs offshore interests (tax havens etc) click here or here (alternatively click here to see this as a report in pdf format).

Screenshot from 2016-04-10 08:45:53

UPDATE 3: David Cameron’s tax return ‘lite’ is a summary only (image below shows main page). Here are all four pages of the schedule via RNS accountants. According to the Guardian, “The records show that the prime minister received a considerable boost to his savings in 2011. Following the death of his father in 2010, Cameron was left £300,000 tax free as an inheritance. However, his mother also transferred two payments of £100,000 to him in May and July 2011.” No doubt further questions will be asked.

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Main story… Continue reading

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Spycops (and their supervisors): the knowns, the unknowns and the disparities

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Spycops seeking anonymity

The Pitchford Inquiry is in imminent danger of turning into a farce. While almost all the victims of abuse (miscarriages of justice, relationship abuse, blacklisting etc) are disclosing their identity in the belief that the Inquiry should be as open and as transparent as possible, the perpetrators of this abuse – abuse of which the police and courts have already officially acknowledged – are employing the exact opposite approach, doing everything they can to keep their identities anonymous and ensure their evidence is given in closed sessions. If the Inquiry chair, Sir Christopher Pitchford, complies with the requests by police for anonymity, then that means a number of crucial questions (see below) are likely not to be answered fully, if at all, and that evidence will therefore be skewed and the inquiry rendered meaningless. Below is a list of known UCOs and some of their supervisors, as well as UCOs listed as Core Participants to the Inquiry (note the disparity).

(Note: if there are any corrections needed to the information below, or omissions identified, these will be dealt with.)

What is expected to happen at Tuesday’s Pitchford Inquiry hearing: click here – explanation by a lawyer.

Meanwhile, there are some important outstanding questions that should inform any decisions made by Justice Pitchford. Unless these questions are addressed and answers given, then the Inquiry will have failed the public.

Here are 10 starter questions…

  1. How many UCOs are not Core Participants (CPs)? Details needed.
  2. Of those UCOs that are not appearing at the Inquiry, how many will be compelled to give evidence? Details needed.
  3. How many UCOs (CPs or otherwise) are still functioning as UCOs? Details needed.
  4. How many supervisors of UCOs will be giving evidence re their own accountability? Details needed.
  5. How many UCOs (CPs or otherwise) have formed intimate relationships in order to provide cover? Details needed.
  6. How many UCOs are still in intimate relationships as patt of their cover? Details needed.
  7. What are the real names of all UCOs who formed intimate relationship abuse? Details needed.
  8. How many UCOs have worked or are still working undercover overseas? Details needed.
  9. What are the links between UCO ops in England & Wales and other parts of UK? Details needed.
  10. What are the links between UCO ops, MI5 and other state surveillance agencies over five decades of political policing? Details needed.

A. Known UCOs/Supervisors (list needs expanding/updating)

(The following links are mostly from Powerbase, which in turn compiles information from a variety of sources.) Continue reading

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Erdogan threatens to bus 1000s of refugees into Europe unless (accession/funds) demands met

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Refugees crossing to freedom?

A document – see four images below – suggests that Turkey threatened to bus into the European Union thousands more refugees from war zones unless the EU met Turkey’s demands for visa-free roaming (and accession) to the EU. The document demonstrates how politics is the main driver in the way Turkey ‘manages’ the refugee crisis, with the refugees mere pawns in a greater political chess-game. The document – a memorandum that purports to have been released by euro2day.gr – concerns a meeting between Turkey and EU officials, including the head of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker and the President of the European Council Donald Tusk, at which Turkish president Tayip Erdogan threatened that if the EU did not link the refugee issue with Turkey’s accession negotiations, Turkey would “open the doors to Greece and Bulgaria and put the refugees on buses”. Juncker tells Erdogan that ‘visa-free’ deal for Turks will not happen if Schengen collapses. (As for the 3 billion euros that, consequently, have been given to Turkey by the EU, Erdogan’s original demand – which could still be met – is for 3 billion euros per year.)

(Note: according to Reuters, the meeting referred to in the memo, reproduced below, took place in November last year; also that the EC would neither confirm nor deny the correctness of the memo – which probably means it is accurate at least in its substance. UPDATE: Peter Spiegel in the FT has since reported on a Tusk-Erdogan leak too.)

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The EU/NATO/Turkey pipeline that disappears refugees back to the war zones

Captured refugees on ship taken back to Turkey

In recent weeks evidence has emerged showing how the European Union may be complicit in the ‘disappearing’ of hundreds of displaced persons back to the Middle East war zones – an illegal practice known as refoulement – via EU-funded Turkish detention centres. And with the deployment of German-Turkish naval operations under the NATO umbrella in the Aegean, the final section of this refugee removal pipeline has been secured. EU and Turkish documentation regarding these detention centres is provided below, together with a report and commentary by Amnesty International on their true and very shocking role.

First, a recap… Two months ago Amnesty International published a damning report on civil rights abuses in Turkey. The report was called ‘Europe’s Gatekeeper’, a reference to Turkey’s role in deciding how many hundreds and thousands of refugees it will hold back or allow to enter Europe in its political bargaining stance with the EU. Indeed, Turkey appears to be winning: late last year the EU agreed to pay 3 billion euros to Turkey – which it designated as a ‘safe third country’ –  to keep back refugees from crossing to Greece. The European Commission also agreed that by late 2016 all Turkish citizens will be able to move about Europe, visa-free – giving them defacto EU membership.

Further, last week, after a summit meeting between Germany’s Chancellor Merkel and Turkey’s President Erdogan, it was revealed that the Turkish and German navies (as part of a NATO initiative) are to patrol the Aegean, seeking out refugees to return to Turkey.

A. The EU-Turkey pipeline (documents)

‘Project Fiche’ – an agreement between the EU and Turkey on the management of refugees – has its roots in the National Action Plan, which was largely about humanitarian aid to refugee camps in Turkey. Last November the EU and Turkey agreed on a subsidiary plan to Project Fiche – a Phase II – that would provide funding for several detention centres in Turkey (and paid from out of the $3 billion euros).

Altogether six, possibly seven, Reception and two ‘Removal’ Centres are covered by the funding. Reception/Removal centres named in the document include: Kırklareli, Van, Kayseri, Gaziantep, Izmir, Erzurum, and Ankara. Each centre is expected to hold up to 750 detainees (around 5000 in total). Continue reading

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UK determined to arrest Assange and risk international condemnation; evidence of US indictment

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The UK authorities have stated unequivocally that should Mr Julian Assange, the editor-in-chief of Wikileaks, step outside of the Ecuadorean Embassy in London he will be arrested for skipping bail. The UK Government also stated that it will be contesting today’s announcement from the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention that Mr Assange has been detained arbitrarily. In a statement it said: ” We completely reject any claim that Julian Assange is a victim of arbitrary detention. The UK has already made clear to the UN that we will formally contest the working group’s opinion”. However, the UK and Sweden were provided the opportunity to appeal the UN ruling, but chose not to do so. The UK Government statement also added that the UK Government does not recognise diplomatic asylum (which means they may still opt to raid the Ecuadorean Embassy, even though that would mean breaking international conventions). The UK Government further stated that the UN ruling is not binding on English law. The Swedish Prosecution Authority released a statement that said that the ruling by the UN Working Group would have “no formal impact on the ongoing investigation, according to Swedish law”.

Updates:

  • International Criminal Court lawyer points out that arbitrary detention is “an international crime” – the implication that failure by UK & Swedish Govts to abide by UN ruling could see case examined by ICC or (more likely) the European Court of Human Rights.
  • Dinah PoKempner, General Counsel for Human Rights Watch, issued a statement that concluded: “And now the UK and Sweden are big losers as well. Their fatuous dismissal of the Working Group won’t impugn this necessary and neutral body that was established by the world’s governments to uphold rights. But both have severely damaged their own reputation for being so ready to dismiss upholding inconvenient human rights obligations and their credibility as global advocates for rights by refusing to respect the institution of asylum”.
  • Here’s a 32 page US counterintelligence investigation into Wikileaks (begun 2008):

(See articles on these matters by John Pilger Craig Murray, Human Rights Watch (comment), “Julian Assange, the UN and the meaning of ‘Arbitrary Detention”. WISE UP Action, “Assange’s stitch-up is a lesson for us all”, “Julian Assange Versus A Culture Of Arrogance”, “Intense satisfaction” de RSF à propos de la position de l’ONU sur Assange”.)

Mr Assange’s lawyers remain confident that a negotiated solution can still be arranged. But should the Swedish authorities decide at some point that they no longer wish to question Mr Assange (or that after questioning has taken place, that no charges would be raised) then Mr Assange will still need a guarantee from the UK Government of safe passage to a country of his choice – e.g. Ecuador – as the US authorities may well issue an arrest warrant against Assange for offences such as copyright infringement, computer fraud, or aiding a fugitive – Edward Snowden. The US authorities may also be inclined to hijack any plane conveying Mr Assange to another country (the US authorities previously organised the downing of the plane carrying Evo Morales, the Bolivian president, in the mistaken belief that Edward Snowden was on board).

And while the far-sighted Jeremy Corbyn – his tweet was in 2010, after the sex allegations had been made – clearly understood that Mr Assange might well be forced to seek refuge to avoid eventual extradition to USA, the Tory Government, which respects only laws it judges are in their favour, will happily disparage a respected UN body. (In any case, Tories are US led and given their blatant class war agenda are the natural enemy of transparency.)

Meanwhile, the Wikileaks Grand Jury has been in place for some years – see details below from journalist Alexa O’Brien…

Quote: ‘Tracy D. McCormick or Tracy Doherty-McCormick (Source: Original Twitter Secret Order sent to Twitter Dec 14, 2010, NOTICE of Entry of Appearance and Request for Notice of Electronic Filing (“NEF”) by Jacob Appelbaum & RESPONSE by USA as to Jacob Appelbaum, Rop Gonggrijp, Birgitta Jonsdottir, Twitter, Inc. re 58 MOTION for Hearing for Objection re 57 Order dated 5/4/11MOTION for Hearing for Objection re 57 Order dated 5/4/11 & Letter Informing David House he was supoena’d to WikiLeaks Grand Jury).’ 

(See also Unsealed indictment to Twitter as part of Wikileaks Grand Jury indictment.)

From Alexa O’Brien (February 2014):

Newly published documents, including sealed court orders from the secret Department of Justice grand jury investigating WikiLeaks, shed light on the manner and scope of the criminal and intelligence probes into Julian Assange and civilians associated with the online publisher of censored material.

Continue reading

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‘Dossier’ confirms RUC & MI5 were warned of Omagh bombing

Aftermath of Omagh bombing

Two documents – in the form of an undisclosed ‘dossier’ and testimony marked ‘Restricted’ – confirm what many have long known or suspected: that the security services were informed well in advance of the bombing that took place at Omagh in 1998 and could have prevented it. Indeed, the scenario resembles but to a greater degree the events that led up to the earlier 1993 Shankill Road bombing in which the IRA operative who planned it was, in fact, an informant and who had warned his Special Branch and MI5 handlers of what was to happen (but the bombing was allowed to proceed). An undisclosed statement made by a British undercover agent to the 2011 Smithwick Inquiry alleges that details of the Omagh bombing were provided to UK intelligence via the RUC in advance. This statement – running to 24 pages and known informally as the ‘Hurst Dossier’ – is published below. A second document – marked ‘Restricted’ and submitted to the Bloody Sunday Inquiry – is in the form of testimony by the same whistleblower: it expands upon these claims and also alleges that agents working to the Force Research Unit, a covert British Army unit, colluded with paramilitaries on all sides of the sectarian divide in order to direct and control the conflict. These matters are explored – de-constructed…

(Note: all documents referred to were sourced via deep web searching.)

First… A story was recently published about the 1993 Shankill Road bombing in Belfast. The bomb targeted a meeting of the UDA (Ulster Defence Association) leadership but because of a tip-off by a double-agent the meeting was abandoned. However, to protect the informer it is alleged that Special Branch decided to allow the bombing to go ahead. It transpired that the bomb was timed to go off once the area had been evacuated: as it was, the bomb went off too early and the IRA operative carrying the device together with nine civilians, including two children, were killed. According to documents stolen by the IRA from a break-in at the Castlereagh barracks in 2002 the informer was codenamed ‘AA’ and is believed to have been in charge of IRA intelligence for the Ardoyne district.

What this story illustrates is exactly how the security forces during ‘The Troubles’ operated: a ‘mole’ had to be protected at all costs, even if that meant the loss of civilian lives. More troubling, the story provides a glimpse into the darker world of ‘deep state’ collusion in which security forces infiltrate loyalist paramilitary organisations and republican paramilitary organisations alike to not only gain intelligence but to direct operations and even to arrange killings of insurgents and civilians. It was a time when the ‘strategy of tension’ formula was tried, tested and perfected

(Note: ‘Collusion’ – see video above – was a documentary commissioned and funded by RTÉ.)

And, so, the bodies of the ‘Disappeared’ lie long buried in the peat bogs – though questions as who actually carried out the killings or on whose orders remain unanswered. One shadowy group that is known to have infiltrated the paramilitary organisations is the FRU (Force Research Unit): an insight into some of its workings is provided by the documents published below.

But, first, let’s reprise what happened on that dreadful day in Omagh…

A. Background to the Omagh bombing

In 1998 the Omagh bombing killed 29 men, women and children of different religious backgrounds and injured about 220 others. It was carried out by the Real IRA, though evidence (see below) suggests that the bombing could have been avoided as details of it had been passed to the RUC (Royal Ulster Constabulary) and via them to MI5. Three phone calls were made, warning of the bomb in Omagh, using the same codeword that had been used in the Real IRA’s bomb attack in Banbridge only two weeks earlier. Two of these warnings were to Ulster Television (15 and 30 minutes prior to the time the bomb was due to explode). The third warning was made to the Samaritans, who passed on the information to RUC. The police then tried to evacuate the area, but misinformation resulted in civilians being directed to where the car carrying the bomb was parked. Continue reading

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Turkey’s ‘deep state’ terror squads: the ‘spycops’ licensed to kill

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Reconstruction of interrogation by JITEM

Most people in the West are blissfully unaware of what is going on in Turkey, a NATO ally, though some are shocked when they see stories about Kurds – who are the frontline against ISIS – being attacked, jailed or killed by Turkish police and paramilitaries. But those who know Turkey’s history and its dark secrets are not surprised when these atrocities happen – they have been happening for decades – against Kurds, progressives and anyone who challenges the corrupt establishment that forms successive Turkish governments. One of Turkey’s darker secrets is what has been described as its ‘deep state’ – a clandestine, extra-legal network of, basically, assassins, whose origins go back to post World War Two, NATO-backed ‘Gladio’ days and whose aim, ultimately, is to see a revived Ottomon Empire, the decimation of Kurds and of anyone else who gets in the way. JITEM is the main strand of this ‘deep state’: a secret organisation of spycops – members of which were exposed in the wake of the Cizre trial (see below for names/codenames) – and which is now suspected of being behind the recent executions of Kurds and their leaders (politicians, lawyers, activists, etc). Then there is Ergenekon – another powerful network, with its own agenda and modus operandi (see below for more). But providing Turkey stems the flow of refugees and acts as a bulwark to ISIS (with which it is aligned) then NATO will turn a blind eye to this dirty war that much of the world’s media is equally ignoring.

Note… Nothing is quite what it seems in Turkey. JITEM, for example, is simultaneously a legal entity, though its activities are often criminalised (when its agents are caught, that is). Similarly, Ergenekon is made up of establishment figures, but attacks state and anti-state forces alike. To the outsider, this would seem confusing; to a Turk, this – like the corruption openly practised at all levels of government – is business as usual. The ‘rationale’ of the state is simple: nurture the conditions for instability so that government can be seen as a stabilising factor. Let’s examine this in more detail…

A. JITEM

JİTEM was made a legal entity through Article 5 of the Law 2803 on the Establishment, Duties and Jurisdiction of Gendarmerie and Article 4 of the Law Concerning the Transfer of Our Borders, Coasts and Territorial Waters’ Protection and Anti-Smuggling Activities to the Ministry of Internal Affairs No. 6815. The gendarmerie intelligence finally gained legal status with the Law Concerning Amendments to Some Laws No. 5397, accepted on 3 July 2005, effective since 23 July 2005, thus becoming the Gendarmerie Intelligence Department within the General Command of Gendarmerie.

But there is another view of JITEM – namely, that it is one – albeit the main – strand of the Turkish ‘deep state’. Its prime function is to execute Kurdish PKK members in particular and Kurdish activists in general.

In the past JITEM has made use of informers to kill PKK members, raid villages in guerilla dressing, detain, torture or make people “disappear”. The Human Rights Association estimates that between 1989 and 2008 JİTEM was involved in 5000 unsolved killings of journalists, human rights defenders, intellectuals and political activists and was responsible for 1,500 cases of “disappearances”. It has also been estimated that JİTEM is responsible for more than 1,500 disappearances in custody and more than 5,000 murders during the 1990s alone. In short, JITEM are the Turkish spycops licensed to kill.

JITEM is organised as cells, with each cell completely independent – just as terrorist cells are organised. JITEM cells are found in every city in Turkey. Its higher echelons – the order-givers – include senior officers of the military and the gendarmerie, politicians, government ministers, as well as former activists of the fascist Grey Wolves.

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Anatomy of JITEM cell

But JITEM cannot boast complete immunity and occasionally its agents get caught. Last year several members of JITEM were committed to trial, concerning the matter of 21 missing persons, who had been taken into custody, as well as victims of a number of unsolved murders. The murders and disappearances took place in the Kurdish town of Cizre, between 1993 and 1995. It was during the mid-1990s that an intelligence/assassination group – a JITEM cell – was formed by the Commander of the Police of the city of Cizre – Cemal Temizöz. This “counter-terrorist group”, as it styled itself, was basically responsible for the torture and killing of at least 20 people suspected of helping Kurdish PKK rebels or for other reasons. Continue reading

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Tarnac: more evidence re UK spycops’ role – grounds to drop charges, extend Pitchford

More evidence has been found regarding instructions given to undercover  police officer Mark Kennedy by his spycop supervisors to infiltrate a group of French environmental protesters, subsequently dubbed the ‘Tarnac 9’. A week ago we published an extract from Kennedy’s police files, revealing the authorisation he was given to spy upon certain targeted individuals living in the remote French village of Tarnac. Now a second extract from the same files has been identified, providing specific instructions to Kennedy on what he should do at Tarnac. The defence team representing the Tarnac accused have long argued that the legal case made against their clients is predicated on Kennedy’s role in the French operation. Given the documented and other evidence regarding that role, there is now a cogent argument that all charges against the Tarnac accused should be dropped. 

A. The Kennedy authorisations

Firstly, here again is the order specifically given to Kennedy – who, at the time, was working for the National Public Order Intelligence Unit (NPOIU) – to infiltrate a group of people living in the French village of Tarnac. This authorisation was extracted from a tranche of files called ‘Operation Pegasus’ that mostly relate to Kennedy’s role in a 2008 protest by environmentalists, who stopped a train carrying coal to the Drax power station in north Yorkshire.

The extract states that on January 29th, 2007, authorisation was given by Assistant Chief Constable Sampson (and, later, renewed on 22nd January, 2008 by Acting ACC John Parkinson) to UCO (Undercover Officer) Kennedy to infiltrate a group of people in Tarnac that included Sandra Gobels and Julien Coupat. (The French authorities later described Coupat as the ‘ringleader’ of a group of environmental activists, based mostly in Tarnac).

Screenshot from 2015-12-26 14:34:39

Secondly, these same files include another reference to the Tarnac deployment – an item that is brief and easily overlooked, but is highly significant. This item is reproduced here too (see image below). The reference, timed at 12.30, is a brief update by Kennedy to his handler, Detective Inspector Hutcheson. Continue reading

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The spycops experiment: from blacklisting agents to social pariahs – and next?

Recently it was revealed how the late Tory prime minister Edward Heath had not only been aware of but encouraged the broadcasting of a TV documentary critical of the Shrewsbury pickets. These were men who merely wanted better working conditions, including a minimum wage but jailed for doing so. It was an age when the intelligence services and the Tory press worked hand-in-glove to smear unions at every opportunity and disseminate disinformation to weaken them forever. But a decade or so on, despite the demise of the private blacklisting agency, The Economic League, attention switched to protest groups (and it didn’t take long before this new ‘enemy within’ was labelled ‘extremist’). Undercover ops were consigned to a new breed of James Bond wannabees – complete with licence to infiltrate – who would go on to portray themselves as ‘eco-warriors’ and ‘anarchists’, adopting libertarian guises (one spycop cheekily named himself after one of those jailed for Angry Brigade actions). Officially, the affiliations of the ‘spycops’ were to esoteric-sounding outfits like the NPOIU, NDET or the SDS, etc, though unofficially they were regarded as being nothing less than an arm of UK corporate-state intelligence. And it would be a mistake to think of these spycops as ‘lone wolves’ or an aberration: in truth, their orders and authorisation came from the highest levels of policing. But it didn’t take long for this phase of police-espionage to be brought to an undignified halt – partly due to the sheer cockiness of these ‘new kids on the block’, but also via the efforts of a handful of anarchists and the women victims the spycops had abused in the process. As for the next phase, spycop as ‘terrorism expert’ is still in the making. Let’s examine this trajectory further…

(Note: in case there are sound problems with videos shown in this article, here are the three transcipts: Episode 1; Episode 2: Episode 3.)

A. How Heath got his secret industrial relations briefings

Ned Walsh was a key conduit of intelligence from the blacklisting agency The Economic League to the Heath government and in 1988, as part of a series of exposes on The Economic League (see below), “World in Action” revealed that Walsh had been working undercover in the trades union ASTMS, now MSF, for more than twenty years. It was via Walsh and other EL officers that trade union intelligence was passed to (Lord) Victor Rothschild and from Rothschild to Ted Heath. The prime minister’s ‘interest’ in the Shrewsbury pickets case, however, was merely an instance of many, many briefings he had on ‘industrial relations’ from around the country – provided to him not just by the EL but also by MI5.

It was an age of unblinkered class war. And there were to be no prisoners. Continue reading

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The Mark Kennedy police files that CPS hid – part 2: ‘Operation Pegasus’

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Drax protesters occupy train

Mark Kennedy was a prolific spycop, working as an agent provocateur in numerous countries on behalf of UK intelligence (via the National Public Order Intelligence Unit) and, later, via private security firms. One of Kennedy’s more publicised operations saw him infiltrate a group of campaigners who were targetting a goods train carrying coal for the Drax power station in North Yorkshire. 29 of the campaigners involved were charged and convicted, but in 2014 these convictions were overturned after Kennedy’s role in the action and – a CPS cover-up – was exposed. Below, we publish and forensically examine extracts from a collection of police files that describes Kennedy’s undercover movements, the ‘orders’ he received and – more importantly – the names of the supervisors who authorised his actions. Overall, it is clear that knowledge of and approval of Kennedy’s operations (and, by implication, the operations of all ‘spycops’) was extensive. Also, the documents include a section that appears to provide authorisation to Kennedy to spy on French environmental activists (later dubbed the ‘Tarnac 9’).

Part 1 of The Kennedy Police Files (Operation Aeroscope) can be found here.

Police officers identified in the files below, or related documents, as being either aware of Kennedy’s role in Operation Aeroscope, or who provided authorisation to Kennedy, include:

  • Detective Inspector Hutcheson (now believed to work for the Met)
  • Detective Superintendent (?) Wilson
  • Assistant Chief Constable (?) Pavey
  • Superintendent Phil Trendle (British Transport Police)
  • Chief Inspector (?) Flood
  • Detective Sergeant (?) Trimble (believed assigned to Special Branch)
  • Assistant Chief Constable (Colin?) Sampson
  • Acting Assistant Chief Constable John Parkinson (West Yorkshire constabulary, then counter-terrorism etc)
  • Assistant Chief Constable Anton Setchell (National Coordinator, Domestic Extremism and who headed Kennedy’s and related undercover units)
  • Detective Superintendent Young

Notes:

  1. The bulk of the files are not published here in order to ensure the privacy of the activists is not intruded upon.
  2. The specific undercover intelligence operation involving Mark Kennedy and his ‘deep cover’ work with environmental activists targetting the Drax power station was referred to under the wider operation name of Operation Pegasus (which also covered an earlier action on the Drax facility in 2006 that involved Kennedy).
  3. The files – headed ‘West Yorkshire Police’ and referencing the ‘National Public Order Intelligence Unit’ – are marked ‘Confidential’.
  4. The files provide an insight into how the 2008 Drax operation was managed, with every move planned by the activists logged.
  5. The files also show how every aspect of the operation was approved, together with the names of the authorising and supervising officers, none of whom have been prosecuted.
  6. Mark Kennedy worked for the National Public Order Intelligence Unit (NPOIU), which was part of the National Domestic Extremism Team.

A. First, a recap…

29 protesters were convicted of various offences in 2009 after they had blocked a train carrying coal heading for the Drax power station in North Yorkshire.

Kennedy had used £250 of state money to hire a van to ferry the protesters to the site where the train would be ‘hijacked’ (Kennedy was the sole driver). He then posed as a builder with another activist, awaiting information about the approaching coal train. Kennedy dropped off approximately 15 other people from the back of his van. Kennedy then drove off.

After it was shown that the role of spycop Mark Kennedy in infiltrating the protesters’ group had been excluded from evidence at the trial of the activists, the DPP, Keir Starmer, invited the 29 people who were convicted of stopping the coal train in June 2008 to appeal.  Subsequently the 29 convictions were overturned.

Here is the full judgement of the court hearing. The judgement stated: “The result of his investigation is that although it was beyond argument that the involvement of Mark Kennedy should have been disclosed, it was not. It appears that this was either the fault of the police or someone in the Crown Prosecution Service, or possibly counsel involved at that time. Each of those interviewed has given a different account. It is not the function of this court to enquire into the position, save for one matter with which we shall deal at the conclusion of our judgment. What is important, however, is that the applicants were all convicted without disclosure having been made of the role of Mr Kennedy”.

In June 2015 prosecutors were ordered to pay the legal bill of the 29 protesters unjustly convicted. In his jugement, Lord Thomas said that Kennnedy had kept a detailed record of what had happened and had made regular reports to his handler, who communicated them to senior West Yorkshire police officers. He added: “None of that was disclosed at the trial or at any time prior to it” and that either the prosecutors or the police were at fault for what eventuated.

B. The extracts from the Kennedy Files

Note: where it says ‘Intelligence states’ or ‘Source’, this is referring to Mark Kennedy (also known as UCO 113). Continue reading

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The Mark Kennedy police files that CPS hid – part 1: ‘Operation Aeroscope’

Mark Kennedy arrested and charged, Easter Monday 2009

Mark Kennedy was a prolific spycop, working as an agent provocateur in numerous countries on behalf of UK intelligence (via the National Public Order Intelligence Unit) and, later, via private security firms. One of Kennedy’s more publicised operations saw him infiltrate a group of campaigners targetting Ratcliffe-on-Soar, a coal-fired power station in Nottinghamshire. The campaigners were arrested and prosecuted, but had their convictions overturned once Kennedy’s role was exposed, as also the concealment of vital evidence by the CPS. Below we publish and forensically examine extracts from a collection of police files – the CPS undisclosed evidence – that describes Kennedy’s undercover movements, the ‘orders’ he received and – more importantly – the names of those who authorised his actions. What these files show is that knowledge of and approval of Kennedy’s undercover operations (and, by implication, other undercover ops) was by no means limited to one or two handlers but involved a range of senior officers.

(Part 2 of The Mark Kennedy Police Files (Operation Pegasus) will be published next and includes evidence that links the operation to a covert op in France.)

Police officers identified in the files below (section ‘C’) or in related documents as being either aware of Kennedy’s role in Operation Aeroscope, or who provided authorisation to Kennedy, include:

  • Detective Inspector David Hutcheson (now believed to work for the Met)
  • Assistant Chief Constable Ian Ackerley (now retired)
  • Detective Inspector Bateman (assumed to be Nottinghamshire Constabulary)
  • Detective Chief Inspector Nightingale (assumed to be Nottinghamsire Constabulary)
  • Detective Chief Inspector Andy Robbins (currently head? of NDET)
  • Detective Inspector Hedley (NDET)
  • Detective Superintendent Adrian Pearson (Nottinghamshire Constabulary)
  • Detective Inspector Andrew Roberts (Nottinghamshire Constabulary)
  • Detective Constable Nigel Malik (Nottinghamshire Constabulary)
  • Manjeet Matharu (‘Civilian Investigator’, Nottinghamshire Constabulary)
  • Detective Constable Mark Zajac (Nottinghamshire Constabulary)
  • Detective Chief Superintendent Neil James (retired)
  • Assistant Chief Constable Anton Setchell (who headed Kennedy’s and related undercover units)

Reports – see section ‘E’ – also show close liaison between police officers Setchell, Pearson and Roberts with CPS prosecutors Ian Cunningham and Nick Paul.

(Note: the bulk of the files are not published here to ensure the privacy of the activists is not intruded upon.)

Firstly, here is a summary of Kennedy’s spycop roles…

A. The ubiquitous Mr Kennedy

Mark Kennedy spent seven years undercover, from 2003 until his exposure in October 2010. He worked with groups such as Dissent!, Rising Tide, Saving Iceland, Workers’ Solidarity Movement, Rossport Solidarity, Climate Camp, Climate Justice Action and many others. Kennedy is believed to have worked undercover in Scotland, in Ireland, in Germany, in Spain, in Denmark, in France, in the USA, in Italy, in Belgium, in Poland and in Iceland, amongst other places. His exposure led to demands in many of those countries for official information about his activities.

‘Lily’ was an activist mobilising for the 2005 G8 summit in Scotland, when she had a long term relationship with Kennedy (she co-wrote an article about the impact of this relationship for the Guardian). Jason Kirkpatrick was a Berlin-based anti-G8 activist, who Kennedy used as a springboard into German activism (more recently he has been researching Britain’s political secret police and is making a documentary, Spied Upon). Harry Halpin is a digital rights activist who was spied on by Kennedy in several countries. (See also Mark Kennedy: A mole in Tarnac (France & Euro-wide ops) and “Using false documents against ‘Euro-anarchists'”.)

In January 2010, before leaving the police, Kennedy set up a company called “Stanage Consulting” in Basingstoke and another called Tokra Ltd, which was linked to Global Open (run by former Animal Rights National Index and Special Branch cop-turned-private sector spymaster, Rod Leeming). In March 2010 Kennedy set up a second company, Black Star High Access Limited. In December 2011, Kennedy also applied for work with the US intelligence company, Stratfor (he didn’t get a job). Another company Kennedy worked for, from March 2012, was the Densus Group, for whom he was a consultant (Densus is a US surveillance company, specialising in spying on political activists, including those involved with Occupy).

For a summary of Kennedy’s undercover activities, click here.

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Kennedy on duty as an ‘environmental activist’

B. Ratcliffe on-Soar actions (summary)

In January 2009 activists met with Mark Kennedy and he agreed to drive them on a recce to the Ratcliffe-on-Soar power plant.

Some weeks later, after a sighting of police cars by the power station, Kennedy agreed to check the scene out again. He later returned to where some of the activists were preparing briefings and equipment for the raid and told them that the police cars had gone.

The next day Kennedy attended a day long briefing prior to the raid. Kennedy had originally agreed to drive the activists to the power plant and drop them off, but changed his mind and agreed to climb into the facility with them. As it was, the police pre-emptively raided the planning metting and arrested 114 of the climate activists, including Kennedy.

Charges of conspiracy to commit aggravated trespass were subsequently brought against twenty-six of those arrested. Twenty of these admitted participation, but said their actions were justified (the other six said they had not participated in the plan). The trial of the 20 accused in December 2010 saw all convicted, though not jailed.

C. Extracts from the Kennedy Files

The specific undercover intelligence operation involving Mark Kennedy and his ‘deep cover’ work with environmental activists targetting the Ratcliffe-on-Soar power station was known as Operation Aeroscope.

All of the files are marked ‘Secret’ and reference the National Public Order Intelligence Unit (NPOIU). In totality they consist of the following:

(i) The authorisation documentation in relation to Kennedy whereby he was authorised throughout to participate in “criminal damage, obstruction and aggravated trespass onto land” and to use audio-recording equipment.

(ii) Kennedy’s note book with entries between 10 January and 13 April 2009.

(iii) Intelligence reports by NPOIU officers between 12 January and 7 May 2009.

(iv) The audio recording made by Kennedy of the discussions at Iona School on 12 April.

(v) The draft transcript of that audio recording.

(vi) The corrected transcript.

vii) A draft statement by Kennedy.

(viii) A statement signed by Kennedy on 23 September 2009.

(ix) “A de-brief document”.

This first extract (below) outlines the risks faced by Kennedy (referred to as “UCO 133”), including the possibility of having the same solicitor as his fellow defendants (which would contaminate any trial proceedings). Indeed, the document clearly states that to avoid this any prosecutions may have to be halted. It was recommended that if Kennedy is arrested he should decline any offer of a solicitor; better still, that he should avoid arrest by not attending the action (though he could drive the activists to the power plant). Kennedy’s supervisor is named as David Hutcheson.

Screenshot from 2015-12-19 07:55:19

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MI5, “black ops” and the spycops continuum: a case study (and a murder)

Lord Justice Pitchford has opened up a can of worms – not because of what will be examined by the Undercover Policing Inquiry, but what will not. The Inquiry will investigate matters as far back as 1968a nominal cut-off date, presumably because prior to that, undercover policing was non-existent(!). There are also many ‘cold cases’, post-’68, that Lord Pitchford is anticipated to ignore. One such ‘cold case’ is that of the ‘black ops’ unit contracted by British intelligence to spy upon and intimidate environmental protesters who tried to halt the building of Sizewell ‘B’ nuclear reactor in Suffolk. Precisely how the secret backers – a peer of the realm and an internationally renown industrialist – of this ‘black ops’ unit were exposed is reported below. Interestingly, one of the backers of the ‘black ops’ unit also has links with a ‘spycop’ (his official status has never been clarified). Meantime, Michael Mansfield QC, who has maintained an interest in this case for the last 30 years, just happens to be a core participant in the Undercover Policing Inquiry. So, some interesting days ahead…

A. Introduction

On 30 January 1981 the Central Electricity Generating Board (CEGB) applied to the Secretary of State for Energy for consent under Section 2 of the Electric Lighting Act 1909, as amended, for the construction of a Pressurised Water Reactor (PWR) nuclear power station, Sizewell B, next to an existing nuclear power station near Sizewell, in Suffolk, and for a direction under Section 40 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1971 that planning permission for the development be deemed to be granted.

Following objections from the Suffolk County Council and Suffolk Coastal District Council and others, the Secretary of State appointed Sir Frank Layfield, QC, to conduct a public inquiry into the CEGB’s applications under Section 34(1) of the Electricity Act 1957. The Inquiry was opened by the Inspector, Sir Frank Layfield, QC on 11 January 1983 and sat for 340 days, mainly at the Maltings, Snape, Suffolk. It closed on 7 March 1985. The Inspector delivered the bulk of his report to the Secretary of State on 5 December 1986. The remaining sections were delivered by 13 January 1987.

B. The murder of a rose-grower

Hilda Murrell was a British rose grower, naturalist, diarist and campaigner against nuclear power and nuclear weapons. She had had a extraordinary life. During World War II she assisted in the care and resettlement of Jewish refugee children in Shropshire’s foster homes and schools. There is also some evidence that she assisted in the Bletchley Park code-breaking operations. She was a founder-member of the national Soil Association, promoting organic horticulture. She was also a passionate anti-nuclear campaigner and a prominent opponent of the Sizewell B nuclear power station in Suffolk.

On 21 March 1984, she was preparing to present her paper An Ordinary Citizen’s Viee of Radioactive  Waste Management at the first public inquiry into the power plant. At about midday, following a break-in at her home, she was apparently abducted in her own car, which was seen driving erratically by many witnesses. A farmer promptly reported the car abandoned on the side of a lane that ran through his land just outside Shrewsbury. Continue reading

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How the ‘grooming’ of Jeremy Corbyn by an ex-spycop helped expose the entire scandal

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While the revived ‘Snooper’s Charter’ (Investigatory Powers Bill) will likely see the legitimation of mass surveillance by the UK’s intelligence and security services, the resumption of the Pitchford Inquiry into undercover policing acts as a timely reminder of the underlying political nature of policing. Indeed, you only need to glance at the Inquiry’s list of core participants to see that it reads like a Who’s Who of agitprop over the last two decades or more. Undercover policing targets included workers of all types as well as many political activists/groups – and even MPs. The undercover police officers who form part of the Inquiry are listed as core participants too – but only as coded numbers (even though their identities are already known). Prosecutions of the undercover police officers are still possible, as are legal challenges to the previous decision by the CPS not to prosecute. But one very prominent person – Jeremy Corbyn MP – is not listed as a participant at the Inquiry – which is surprising, given he was spied on by one of the undercover police officers listed and was arguably being ‘groomed’ by a former ‘spycop’ supervisor, whose indiscretion probably – and ironically – helped expose the entire spycop scandal. But Mr Corbyn has an ally at the Inquiry: Ken Livingstone MP – who is listed as a participant. So, in the weeks or months to come we may well see Mr Livingstone (and possibly Mr Corbyn too, if he is called to testify) in the same hearing as not only the officers who spied on the MPs, but also the undercover police officer who turned whistleblower and who will have the opportunity to elaborate further on what is detailed below…

A. Introduction

The Pitchford Inquiry has been rightly criticised for its narrow terms of reference. For example, the Inquiry will be restricted to the activities of undercover policing in England and Wales – yet some of the officers concerned operated elsewhere in the UK and with certain individuals outside of the UK too. Nor does it appear that the inquiry will examine the role of those who supervised the undercover police officers – and the authorisations that were given for their activities. Furthermore, the inquiry will not examine the activities of those undercover police officers who, after leaving the police, took up positions in private industry – as ‘intelligence consultants’ for constructions firms, or for private surveillance companies, or in academia.

The main thrust of the Inquiry will be to examine a policing culture that was allowed to ruin and compromise the lives of women with whom these undercover police officers befriended and had formed sexual relationships; to ruin the lives of workers, who simply wanted better working conditions; and to ruin the lives of political activists, who merely sought more justice in our societies.

In the meantime, there is a sub-narrative to the scandal that deserves our attention – if only for the political implications…

B. Jeremy Corbyn and the spycops (and MI5)

First, some background…

In the 1970s and 1980s undercover policing and infiltration of left-wing groups was largely organised by MI5 in co-operation with Special Branch. According to ex-F2 (MI5) staffer (then whistleblower) Annie Machon, F Branch regarded the following well-known individuals worth monitoring:

“John Len­non, Jack Straw MP, Ted Heath MP, Tam Dalyell MP, Gareth Peirce (soli­citor), Jeremy Corbyn MP, Mike Mans­field (bar­ris­ter), Geof­frey Robertson (bar­ris­ter), Patri­cia Hewitt MP, Har­riet Har­man MP,  Garry Bushell (journ­al­ist), Peter Man­del­son (European com­mis­sioner), Peter Hain MP, Clare Short MP, Mark Thomas (comedian), Mo Mow­lam (politi­cian), Arthur Scar­gill (NUM leader, who fam­ously had his own record­ing cat­egory: unaf­fili­ated sub­vers­ive), Neil Kin­nock (politi­cian), Bruce Kent (peace cam­paigner), Joan Rud­dock MP, Owen Oyston (busi­ness­man), Cherie Booth aka Blair, Tony Blair MP, David Steel (politi­cian), Teddy Taylor MP, Ron­nie Scott (jazz musi­cian), Robin Cook MP, John Prescott MP, Mark Steel (comedian), Jack Cun­ning­ham MP, Mohammed Al Fayed (busi­ness­man), Mick McGa­hey (former union leader), Ken Gill (former union leader), Michael Foot (politi­cian), Jack Jones (former union leader), Ray Bux­ton (former union leader), Hugh Scan­lon (former union leader), Har­old Wilson (politi­cian), James Callaghan (politi­cian), Richard Norton-Taylor (Guard­ian journalist)…. I also came across a file called: ‘Sub­ver­sion in con­tem­por­ary music’, which con­sisted of press clip­pings about Crass, then a well-known, self-styled ‘anarch­ist’ band; the Sex Pis­tols; and, rather sur­pris­ingly, UB40.”

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Bob Lambert: as then and is now

And then there were the ‘spycops’…

Mr Bob Lambert was one of the undercover police officers who had spied on environmental and animal rights activists (and who formed relationships with at least two women to advance his intelligence activities). At some point Lambert attempted to associate himself with Jeremy Corbyn MP, who had been placed under surveillance by Peter Francis. The latter was an undercover police officer assigned to Special Branch between 1990 and 2001, and who was subsequently deployed at the Special Demonstration Squad – his manager being none other than Lambert. Continue reading

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Sex, lies and the CPS: a forensic examination of spycops (and other) cover-ups

Alison Saunders, DPP

Alison Saunders, DPP

Law is not sacrosanct and its imperfections must always be overridden by a higher sense of justice. The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) is the UK Government’s gatekeeper of which alleged crimes get to go to court and which do not. The CPS would argue that its legal advisers do their utmost to interpret the law the best they can. But politics invariably get in the way and this is manifestly clear with regard to certain high profile cases – that of Lord Janner, Julian Assange and now the infamous spycops/sex scandal. The latter saw the Metropolitan Police issue a written and televised apology to eight women who were victims of undercover policing. The CPS’s earlier decision not to prosecute the officers involved, or their supervisors, was a gross act of injustice – and we have covered this earlier, though the CPS ruling needs unpicking further, not only because there may be other women victims of abuse by these particular undercover officers, but also because there are many more – at least 1200 (this figure excludes Scotland and Northern Ireland) – undercover cops yet to be exposed. A forensic examination of the CPS ruling is given in section ‘B’ below.

In the meantime, here are just two more undercover operators who infiltrated political protest groups…

Paul Mercer:

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Mercer, was actively involved with environmental and animal rights campaigns in Nottingham, including Nottingham Against Incineration and Landfill (NAIL). Mercer was involved in groups in Nottingham in the period 2002-2007. Mercer was publicly exposed for his role in spying on anti-arms trade campaigners, Campaign Against the Arms Trade (CAAT) in 2007. His contract for the operation was finalised through a private security company – Global Open. More…

Mark Cassidy:

Mark Cassidy walked into the Colin Roach Centre in Hackney early in 1995. Within weeks he had thrown himself into virtually every area of the centre’s political life and quickly began writing for our internal bulletin and that quarterly magazine sold to the public. As the owner of a van he could also be relied upon to transport people and equipment to meetings and ensure they got home safely afterwards. Always polite and happy to help out he soon became well liked and respected. More…

A. Over 1200 spycops: the unanswered questions:

According to Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) there were 3,466 undercover operations in England and Wales between October 2009 and September 2013 alone and that at the most recent count, 1,229 officers in 39 units were trained as undercover officers. Continue reading

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CPS intervened at every stage to ensure no spycop was prosecuted: the evidence

We previously reported how the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) had withheld vital evidence from the trials of environmental protesters who had been infiltrated by ‘spycop’ Mark Kennedy, resulting in an attempt to pervert the course of justice. This disclosure takes on new significance, given that it was the CPS again that ensured undercover police officers who formed sexual and even marital relations with eight women ‘targets’ would not be prosecuted. The part the CPS played in almost every aspect of the spycops scandal amounts to nothing less that collusion. Below is the evidence of this collusion (as well as a copy of Mark Kennedy’s operational instructions).

See also Part 1 of this article on spycops and the CPS: “The spycops and their supervisors who remain accountable (fraud, abuse, rape…)”

[Note: The above video features three activists, targeted by Mark Kennedy, speaking at the Chaos Communication Camp in Germany earlier this year. ‘Lily’ was an activist mobilising for the 2005 G8 summit in Scotland, when she had a long term relationship with Kennedy (she co-wrote an article about the impact of this relationship for the Guardian). Jason Kirkpatrick was a Berlin-based anti-G8 activist, who Kennedy used as a springboard into German activism (more recently he has been researching Britain’s political secret police and is making a documentary, Spied Upon). Harry Halpin is a digital rights activist who was spied on by Kennedy in several countries.]

A. The background

First, a quote by Gordon Mills, a former senior spycop who was attached to the National Extremism & Tactical Coordination Unit. According to Mills “A section within the NPOIU – the ‘Confidential Intelligence Unit’, which controlled assets such as covert human intelligence sources (CHISs) had failed to properly manage a police undercover officer (UC) Mark Kennedy…”.

Kennedy’s boss was Anton Setchell, who was the National Co-ordinator for Domestic Extremism (NCDE). Setchell had oversight of three political policing units – Kennedy’s National Public Order Intelligence Unit (NPOIU), the corporate advisory National Extremism Tactical Co-ordination Unit, and the National Domestic Extremism Team (which included the unit that Mills worked for).

In other words, Setchell takes overall responsibility for all of Kennedy’s operational activities – his infiltration of the environmental protest groups, his role as agent provocateur, Kennedy’s personal relationship with women activists, etc. He must also take responsibility for how Kennedy disregarded his written intructions (see imge below – signed ‘Mark’).

Screenshot from 2015-11-22 18:03:48

Kennedy’s signed orders

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The spycops and their supervisors who remain accountable (fraud, abuse, rape…)

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Today, the Metropolitan Police issued a contrite apology to those women deceived by undercover police officers who had adopted false identities and formed sexual and marital relationships, purely to gain information about political activities. The women were cynically used, abused and basically raped. Nor can the police say what happened was an aberration: several of the spycops had relationships with activists and one officer had more than one relationship, while two of the officers fathered children. Hence, there was a pattern that suggests a deliberate strategy, approved from above. In time, the abused women took legal action that saw undisclosed compensation awarded to seven of the eight women, with the proviso that no further action would be taken against the police. But that proviso does not apply to anyone else – journalists, researchers, etc. Consequently, below, we name and provide the details of not only all the officers involved, who must certainly be held to account, but, most importantly, their supervisors too, who presumably gave approval to their subordinates’ activities. There is also the matter of a legal challenge against the CPS’ ruling not to prosecute the spycops…

(For Part 2 of this article (CPS intervened at every stage to ensure no spycop was prosecuted: the evidence) click here.)

Note: the sections on Bob Lambert and Belinda Harvey been updated and a new section on ‘Jacqui’ has been added.

To see today’s Metropolitan Police apology – click here.

Back in August, 2014, the Crown Prosecution Service ruled that there was insufficient evidence to bring against the undercover police officers who had formed relationships with the women. The judgement was flawed in many aspects. One aspect clearly stands out more than others: that of consent. Consensual sex can only truly be consensual if the persons participating are not doing so under pretence – e.g. adopting a false identity – in order to gain (in this case, information). That CPS ruling needs to be re-examined in every aspect and the cases reviewed and other cases – e.g. that of the supervisors – examined too.

One analysis of the CPS decision quotes from a legal expert: “I do think they [the police officers] should have been charged and prosecuted for these activities. The women would clearly not have consented to sex had they known the men were undercover police officers. I think there is a level of deception in these cases which raises them above the ‘I love you’ sort of deception [where someone pretends to in love to convince someone else to have sex with them].”

The question of consent and undercover policing is examined in detail by lawyer Ben Fitzpatrick. His conclusions – see below – suggest a legal challenge to the CPS ruling may well be required (perhaps by an NGO?):

  1. It is possible, particularly in the light of recent developments in the caselaw, that the undercover status of the officer affects the free choice of the complainant such as to negative consent as partially defined in s. 74 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003.
  2. It is doubtful whether the undercover status of the officer changes the ‘nature’ of the act such as to (i) vitiate consent for the purposes of the common law (relevant to pre-2003 Act undercover behaviour) or (ii) trigger the conclusive presumptions regarding lack of consent and lack of belief in consent for the purposes of s. 76 of the 2003 Act.
  3. It is possible that the undercover status of the officer involves a deception as to the purpose of the act, which could trigger the conclusive presumptions under s. 76 of the 2003 Act. This would not apply, of course, to behaviour which took place prior to the coming into force of the 2003 Act.
  4. It is possible that the undercover status of the officer involves a deception as to identity which would vitiate consent at common law.
  5. It is questionable, given the statutory language, whether the undercover status of the officer involves an impersonation of a person known personally to the complainant, such as to trigger the conclusive presumptions under s. 76 of the 2003 Act.

A. The undercover police officers (spycops):

The following 10 people were employed as undercover police officers, whose remit was basically to spy on political/environmental protesters, using any means possible. There may be many more individuals not yet identified (it is believed that more than 1200 police officers are involved in undercover operations in the UK). All those named below should be held accountable and subject to justice (regardless of any ‘agreement’ by the Pitchford Inquiry).

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Bob Lambert, right, posing as London Greenpeace activist

1. Mark Kennedy

Mark Kennedy’s undercover name was Mark Stone. He spent seven years undercover, from 2003 until his exposure in October 2010. He worked with groups such as Dissent!, Rising Tide, Saving Iceland, Workers’ Solidarity Movements, Rossport Solidarity, Climate Camp, Climate Justice Action and others. He worked undercover in Ireland, Germany, Spain, Denmark, France, the USA, Italy, and Iceland, amongst other places. His exposure led to demands in many of those countries for official information about his activities. Kennedy had a six year relationship with one of his ‘targets’.  He also had an eight month relationship with another ‘target’, whom he continued to befriend for another five years. A third ‘target’ saw a relationship that lasted three years; (See also Mark Kennedy: A mole in Tarnac (France & Euro-wide ops).)

2. Bob Robinson (Robert/Bob Lambert)

Lambert infiltrated London Greenpeace and the Animal Liberation Front from 1984-88. He had sexual relationships with four women while he infiltrated animal rights and environmental groups between 1984 and 1988. His relationship with one of his ‘targets’ lasted 18 months. He also had a relationship with another “target” that lasted four years, during which time Lambert fathered a child (for more on this, see Jacqui’s story, below.) Lambert was accused in parliament by Caroline Lucas MP of participating in an arson attack on a department store. Later Lambert was promoted to Head of Operations in the Special Demonstration Squad. The outing of Bob Lambert, MBE, took place after the former Detective Inspector had just spoken at an anti-racist conference in London. He was challenged by five members of London Greenpeace, who called on him to apologise for the undercover police infiltration of London Greenpeace, Reclaim The Streets and other campaign groups – an operation he took part in or supervised over two decades, whilst rising to the rank of Detective Inspector and taking charge of the Special Demonstrations Squad. Lambert helped in the conviction of two activists from the Animal Liberation Front, who had been charged with planting incendiary devices in branches of Debenhams in protest at the sale of fur in July1987. After leaving the police Lambert ran the Muslim Contact Unit, a Scotland Yard department. Later he worked as a lecturer at Exeter and St Andrews universities. He is currently a lecturer at London Metropolitan University.

3. Jim Sutton (Andrew James Boyling)

Boyling infiltrated Reclaim the Streets from 1995-2000. He formed a relationship with a “target” for 18 months, before he disappeared, then resurfaced a year later, admitting to the woman that he was a police officer. He had another relationship over nine years with an activist: they married and Sutton fathered two children. He and his ‘target’ divorced in 2009.

4. John Barker (John Dines)

Dines infiltrated a number of groups including London Greenpeace and squatting groups between 1987 and 1992. He had a two year relationship with one of his “targets”. (Incidentally his adopted name was coincidentally the name of one of those accused of being a member of the insurgent group, Angry Brigade.)

5. Lynn Watson

Based in Leeds, from 2003-08, Watson infiltrated numerous environmental, anti-capitalist and peace groups: Aldermaston Women’s Peace Camp, UK Action Medics Collective, Drax Climate Camp, Dissent! and others.

6. Mark Cassidy (Mark Jenner)

Jenner infiltrated the Colin Roach Centre, the Building Workers Group, Hackney Community Defence Association and, allegedly, Anti-Fascist Action and Red Action between 1995 and 2000. He had a five-year relationship with a woman now known publicly as ‘Alison’. Note: Bob Lambert was his boss.

7. Simon Wellings

Wellings was exposed after five years with the group Globalise Resistance (2001-05) when he accidentally phoned an activist friend whilst discussing photos of and information on the group with officers at a police station.

8. Peter Daley/Pete Black (Peter Francis)

Francis infiltrated anti-racist and anti-road campaigns between 1993 and 1997 and slept with two activists during that time. He was in Special Branch before joining the Special Demonstration Squad, where he used the identity of a four-year old who had died of leukaemia as his cover. His real name is unknown, but he went to the press with stories of his time as an undercover officer in March 2010, before the exposure of Mark Kennedy in October.

9. Rod Richardson

Richardson infiltrated anti-capitalist and hunt saboteur groups, in particular working with groups protesting against political summits such as the G20. He went abroad to Sweden, France and Italy at various times.

10. Mark/Marco Jacobs

Jacobs operated from 2004 to 2009 and infiltrated anarchist, anti-militarist and migration campaigns. He travelled abroad to Germany and France (on a number of occasions with Mark Kennedy).

B. Undercover police supervisors

The undercover officers with whom the women had relationships were employed by the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS). Four of these officers worked within the MPS’s Special Demonstration Squad (SDS). Other officer worked within the National Public Order Intelligence Unit (NPOIU).

(Note: most of the following is courtesy of PowerBase.)

  • Detective Chief Inspector Richard May: described in newspaper articles as Mark Kennedy‘s boss while at the NPOIU. He is noted for confirming to French police that the NDEU had intelligence related to the Tarnac case, which is thought to have come from Kennedy’s attendance at a 2008 meeting of European anarchists in France. However, he also told police that the ‘source of this intelligence will never be revealed and no formal statements will be provided’.
  • ACC Anton Setchell was the National Coordinator Domestic Extremism, with rank of Assistant Chief Comissioner, answering to ACPO from July 2004 to November 2010. Setchell was on secondment from Thames Valley Police, where he had previously organised policing at the biotech lab being targeted by the SPEAK campaign. He subsequently became head of Global Security for the infrastructure and services company, Laing O’Rourke.
  • DCS Adrian Tudway had served as deputy to Anton Setchell from January 2010; in November 2010 he was appointed Setchell’s successor as National Coordinator Domestic Extremism, though at the rank of Detective Chief Superintendent. He would oversee the merger of the different units into the National Domestic Extremism Unit, remaining as its head until replaced by Greany. He was later seconded to the Home Office.
  • DCS Christopher Greany replaced Adrian Tudway as head of the National Domestic Extremism Unit in March 2012. In 2010 he was appointed head of counter terrorism for City of London Police and in 2011 led Operation Withern, which investigated crimes committed during the London Riots of 2011. DCS Greany oversaw the transformation of the NDEU into the NDEDIU, remaining as head of the latter. Towards the end of September 2014 he left NDEDIU and was promoted to Commander, heading up the National Police Coordination Centre.
  • Ronnie Liddle was ACPO ACC for Counter Terrorism, December 2012 – February 2014. Based at the Metropolitan Police, he was co-ordinator of ‘UK Counter Terrorism functions and operations’, part of his remit included ‘Responsibility for National Domestic Extremism and Disorder Intelligence Unit, including business engagement’. However, it is noted that during this period he was actually seconded to the Terrorism and Allied Matters Committee within ACPO, which indicates that ACPO was still overseeing the NDEDIU, despite its transfer to the Metropolitan Police.
  • Melvyn Young: Deputy National Coordinator Domestic Extremism (NCDE), September 2004 to September 2009. Prior to this he had been with specialist operations & major crime at Thames Valley Police. From October 2009 he was Global Head Extremism and Risk for Novartis and their Deputy Head for Global Security in January 2012, remaining there until June 2013. It is of note that another NDET officer, Jim Sheldrake, also joined Novartis’ Issues and Risk Communications Team in April 2010. This was one month after the NDEU set up a sting, with the complicity of Novartis, that resulted in the jailing of SHAC activist Debbie Vincent, whereby a member of the unit, ‘James Adams’ posed as an executive of Novartis, meeting Ms Vincent in the company of Novartis’ Head of Global Security, Andrew Jackson.
  • Marc Vincent: Deputy Head of NDEU, Oct 2008-Sept 2012; since October 2014 he was Assistant Inspector with HM Inspectorate of Constabulary. From January 2003 to January 2007, he was Head of Special Branch for Lancashire Police, before seconded to NDEU. He subsequently returned to Lancashire Constabulary as Head of Covert Policing and Authorising officer for undercover work. For three months in 2006 he was part of the national review of police forces planning, preparation and readiness to deal with terrorism and domestic extremism. In 2008-2012 he was involved in rolling out the PREVENT programe on a national level, and was the lead officer on piloting the CHANNEL Project for the Home Office.
  • Supt. Steven Pearl: a Cambridgeshire officer involved in the policing of protest around Huntingdon Life Sciences. In March 2004 he established the National Extremism Tactical Coordination Unit, based in Huntingdon. He remained as its head until forced to retire in 2010. He has since become a director of Agenda Risk Management, which vets applicants for jobs in the animal research industry.
  • According to another source DS Maria Smith was head of NPOIU in 2006.
  • Also: Chief Supt Mitchell (do not have first name) was the line manager for the National Public Order Intelligence Unit in 2001.

C. Today’s statement by the eight women (courtesy of ‘Police spies out of our lives’):

Note: One of the eight women, Kate Wilson, has not settled in the case and says that she discovered a GPS tracking device attached to her car earlier this year.

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In the apology issued today by Assistant Commissioner Martin Hewitt, the Metropolitan Police finally conceded that “officers, acting undercover whilst seeking to infiltrate protest groups, entered into long-term intimate sexual relationships with women which were abusive, deceitful, manipulative and wrong” and that “these relationships were a violation of the women’s human rights, an abuse of police power and caused significant trauma”

AC Hewitt issued this public apology on behalf of the Metropolitan Police as part of the settlement of seven out of our eight claims arising from intimate relationships we were deceived into by undercover police officers Bob Lambert, John Dines, Mark Jenner, Jim Boyling (all Special Demonstration Squad officers) and Mark Kennedy (of the National Public Order Intelligence Unit), all of whom infiltrated environmental and social justice campaigns.

The apology is the result of our four-year legal battle to bring to public attention these state sponsored, deceptive relationships and to prevent future abuses. We have worked together on this painful and deeply personal legal case in order to expose the serious and systemic abuse of power by undercover police officers and their managers. Although no amount of ‘sorry’, or financial compensation, can make up for what we and others have endured, we are pleased the police have been forced to acknowledge the abusive nature of these relationships and that they should never happen.

Our relationships, spanning a period of nearly 25 years, had remained hidden until we exposed them through a series of media reports starting late in 2010. By linking our cases together we have been able to evidence a clear pattern of abusive, discriminatory behaviour towards women which amounts to institutional sexism by the Metropolitan Police.

Five years ago it would have seemed inconceivable to the public that state employees would go to such lengths, but the scale of the abuse uncovered demonstrates that this was accepted practice for many years. Other cases arising from intimate relationships are still ongoing and we are aware of more relationships yet to be publicly exposed.

While the UK purports to be a democratic country, the level of deception perpetrated by state agents seeking to undermine movements for social change is more akin to that of the Stasi in East Germany. These professionally supported relationships – some of which bore children – lasted as long as nine years and have remained hidden from the public for decades. Indeed, the police still refuse to publicly acknowledge the harm caused to the children born of and into these relationships or even bring themselves to refer to them in their apology today.

One of the key reasons we brought the case was to ensure that such relationships would not happen again. As part of the settlement, the Metropolitan Police acknowledged that “sexual relationships between undercover police officers and members of the public should not happen”, that “these cases demonstrate that there have been failures of supervision and management” and they recognised “that this should never happen again and the necessary steps must be taken to ensure that it does not.” The police also recognise that “these relationships, the subsequent trauma and the secrecy around them left these women at risk of further abuse and deception by these officers after the deployment had ended.”

Alongside this comprehensive apology, the Metropolitan Police made substantial financial settlements to seven of us, meaning we are unable to take this matter forward to open court. However, one of us is able to continue her case and the rest of us will support her and continue the fight to obtain disclosure, and to have the legal framework governing undercover policing examined by the courts.

The apology from the Metropolitan Police is a clear admission of responsibility for what happened to us, and we will now be working hard together and with others to ensure that the Public Inquiry into undercover policing is robust and transparent. Secret political policing undermines social progress for justice and equality and should have no place in our society.

D. Individual statements released by the women

These quotations from the women in the case were released for the press conference on 20th November 2015. See also Additional cases following this section.

‘Alison’

I am known in the  public domain as ‘Alison’. I had a five year relationship with Mark Jenner who was known to me as Mark Cassidy. We lived together in what I  believed was a monogomous relationship for more  than four of these  years. I met him when he joined the Colin Roach Centre in Hackney where I was a member. The Colin Roach Centre worked to expose police  corruption, to promote trade unionism and to challenge racism and fascism. Mark and I attended relationship counselling for over a year before he disappeared in Spring 2000 because I wanted children and he did not. I later discovered he was married with children throughout this time. I loved him very deeply and have suffered significant psychological damage from the experience of suspecting and then proving he was an undercover police officer.

Five years of my life, documented in photographs and videos, are tainted by the presence of a person I never really knew. The experience has eroded my confidence in my own judgement and impacted negatively on my ability to trust new people. I have a strong sense of having been violated by this relationship which to date I have been unable to resolve. Since beginning the litigation, the Metropolitan Police has   maintained a position of neither confirming nor denying Mark Jenner’s identity which has aggravated the damage done to me. Answers and disclosure would help me piece together the missing parts of my life;   continued obfuscation and avoidance of the truth simply prolongs the pain. I hope the public inquiry, therefore, will be robust and transparent.

Helen Steel

I had a two year relationship with a man who called himself John Barker but who was in fact an undercover policeman called John Dines.  We met through London Greenpeace and became close friends over the next three years before starting a relationship and renting a flat together.  Our relationship seemed ideal and we made plans for the future and discussed starting a family.  Then John followed the SDS pattern of appearing to have a breakdown and disappearing abroad.

I was left distraught and I spent years searching for him.  In the course of that search I found he had been using the identity of a child who had died.  The discovery that someone I thought I knew so well didn’t actually exist has had a lasting impact on my life. I spent 19 years searching for the truth, while the police took active steps to conceal it from me.  It was only through Rosa that I found out the truth, her ex partner Jim Boyling had confirmed it.

I am glad that the Metropolitan Police have finally admitted that these undercover relationships are abusive and indefensible and I call on them to now come clean about political undercover policing.  Through our case alone we know that these relationships spanned a period of nearly 25 years, while the vast majority of undercover officers who have been exposed by campaigners are known to have had relationships while undercover.

The public is entitled to know the true extent of these and other human rights abuses committed by undercover political policing units.  To that end the police and the Public Inquiry should now release the cover names of those officers who spied on campaign groups so that those who came into contact with them can make sure the truth is heard by the Inquiry.

Kate Wilson

I’ve been active in environmental and social justice movements for over 20 years. From 2003-2005 I lived with a man calling himself Mark Stone. He not only became part of my world but also that of my parents and my brother’s family. After we separated he kept in close contact, travelling to see me even after I moved to Spain and then Germany. For 7 years I believed he was one of my closest friends and companions. In 2010 friends uncovered that he was, in fact, Mark Kennedy, a police infiltrator working for a unit that targetted political movements in the UK and  abroad. The personal implications of that discovery for my life’s  projects, and my sense of who I am and what I can believe, have been devastating, and I remain haunted by unanswered questions.

Even after four years of litigation, the police are still refusing to give us any disclosure. I recently made a DPA application for my police files: the response does not mention Mark or any of the 5 other police  spies I now know that I have known, or the GPS tracker that I found  under my car.  Was I targetted for my political beliefs and they are lying to cover it up?  Or am I simply “collateral intrusion” in a secret  operation against political dissent, that sidelined my life, my family, my body and myself, and did not even consider it worthy of a mention in an operational authorisation? The political implications of either of those possibilities are also devastating. I am not able to discuss what occurred during our mediation proces with the police. However I can say that my courtcase will continue, and I hope that through that process, through the public inquiry, and through the amazing work of activists and whistleblowers, that we will eventually get answers.

‘Lisa’

My name is given as “Lisa” and I was in a six year relationship with Mark Kennedy.  He was my closest friend, my partner and my confident for most of my  30’s. I believed him to be part of my  family. I  found out that he was an undercover officer whilst we were still  together, and it has had a profound  traumatic effect on me. I have had difficulty forming relationships ever since I discovered the truth and  it will continue to have an impact on my life for years to come.

This is  not simply about a man lying in a relationship, it was a deception  perpetrated, overseen and supervised by the state. He had a handler that  knew his every move. There were anonymous back-room faces who will  have  listened to our telephone conversations, read all of our intimate  text  messages, seen our holiday photos, may have even come along to  monitor  him from afar on our holidays. There were employers instructing  and  supporting his deception with fake I.D. and overtime paid.  I welcome the fact that The Metropolitain Police have admitted  responsibility for their actions, and have clearly stated that what  happened to us was wrong, but no amount of money or ‘sorry’ will make up  for the lack of answers about the extent to which I was spied upon in every aspect of my most personal and intimate life.

‘Naomi’

I had an eight month intense relationship with a man I knew as Mark Stone. I had been involved in social justice campaigning since I was a teenager and met Mark through a friendship network of people connected with those campaigns. During our time together we went travelling, went to my  brother’s wedding and connected over a shared belief in openness and  honesty.  When I ended the relationship, he cried in my arms. Our close friendship over the next five years was influenced by that relationship. That all ended when I received a call five years ago to tell me that  Mark Stone did not exist and was actually an undercover policeman called Mark Kennedy. He had been paid by the Metropolitan police for the seven years that I knew him to spy on me and everyone I loved. In the time since then I have struggled to reconcile my personal memories with everything I have learned about Mark Kennedy and the police force that controlled him.

I would never EVER have consented to this relationship if I knew who he was or what he was doing and why.  The fact that all eight of us are here today demonstrates that this institutionalised sexism and abuse has gone on for decades.

‘Rosa’

I was in a relationship for 9 years with a man who initially introduced himself to me as fellow activist, Jim Sutton. We moved in together. Months later I weathered his mental abuse when he claimed to be suffering a breakdown, I searched for him for a year and a half when he went missing, clung to my sanity when my tracking exposed that he did not exist whilst he emailed me riddles and telling me to speak to no one. Then he walked into my work. The new tales he told me – of being the partner I knew and slept next to every night, the misunderstanding of his deployment, that he was the only one, that our country doesn’t spy on peace or green movements, of being a turncoat and needing my help to escape the police – they were more believable than the truth. The unlikely truth was this: my life partner was fabricated by the state. He never existed. I was pregnant within two weeks of his reappearance and bore children by the actor, a random police officer, who had played my partner. A stranger planted in my political movement, one of many, trained to undermine both everything I stood for and my traumatised self. He used his professional skills of deception and manipulation to try to control my feelings and actions. He had me isolated from all my friends, comrades and associates, and I lived in an abusive relationship with him. I eventually escaped to a women’s refuge with my children.

Once they have you conceive by them, they permanently have a surveillance officer placed in your life, who can never be removed as he gains legal voting rights in your family. The operation never ends. Looking at what little we have uncovered of the 100 officers deployed, I believe there are many more families and children affected. I have been damaged and traumatised for ever by my relationship with Jim Boyling. He has fathered children with me who never asked to be tainted by the extreme levels of state abuse and manipulation.  Both he and his police handlers are responsible for generations of damage. The police have yet to extend this apology to my children nor even refer to them in the apology today. I am angry after all we have lived through.

Additional cases:

Belinda Harvey

Belinda met a man using the name Bob Robinson at a friend’s party in 1987.  They had an intense relationship lasting over 18 months, which led her to believe they would be together for ever.  However he announced he had to go on the run from the police, but he would send for her when it was safe.  She never heard from him again. In August 2012 she was contacted by Helen Steel to tell her that she had found out he was really an undercover police officer called Bob Lambert.

‘Ruth’

Ruth met a man in the mid 1990s presenting himself as Jim Sutton, an activist in Reclaim the Streets.  They had a deep and serious relationship lasting over 18 months.  Ruth was not aware until January 2011 that Jim Sutton was really Jim Boyling, an undercover police officer.  She has joined with the other eight women in working to expose the outrageous misconduct of the police, and even now, is still struggling to come to terms with the obscene level of intrusion into her personal life.

‘Jacqui’

A comprehensive and very detailed account of what happened with ‘Jacqui’ and Bob Lambert can be found here via an interview in the New Yorker magazine.

See also:

How the scandal of Scotland Yard’s secret spy unit emerged

Mark Kennedy: the spycop who disappeared into the cold

The curious case of the UK spycop, the (French) ‘Invisible Committee’ and the FBI

Spycops/CPS conspired to pervert course of justice via undisclosed evidence

Lisa Jones, girlfriend of undercover policeman Mark Kennedy: ‘I thought I knew him better than anyone’

Bob Lambert: the spycop who fathered a child with women activists

Helen Steel on her relationship with an undercover policeman: ‘I feel violated’

Police apologise to women who had relationships with undercover officers

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ISIS survives largely because Turkey allows it to: the evidence

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Kurdish (YPJ) frontline troops

The real frontline confronting ISIS is not US or French bombers (the latter currently targeting Raqqa, a city with 140,000 civilians, who are virtual prisoners of ISIS) but the Kurds of Iraq and northern Syria. Just over a week ago the combined Kurd forces, under the command of the Yezidis, liberated Sinjar from ISIS. For the Kurds, their war is not just about defeating ISIS, but about creating their own autonomous region – a region that would link all the Kurd cantons. This will not be easy, especially as the Iraq-based Kurds (Peshmerga) are allied with Iran and benefit from US support (nor are the Iraqi Kurds in any hurry to secede from Iraq). But the largest hurdle to an autonomous Kurdistan is Turkey, which not only has rekindled its war with the PKK (Kurdish Workers Party), but has done everything it can over the last 12 months or so to ensure Kurd victories against ISIS were minimised. So where is the evidence for this? It comes from a a range of sources, including the Institute for the Study of Human Rights (Columbia University) and leading commentators/analysts Nafeez Ahmed and David Graeber. See below…

A. Introduction

The Kurds of northern Syria, together with the Kurds of Turkey and Iraq, have been at war with ISIS since the latter rose up and declared their so-called caliphate. It was the Syrian Kurds and their Kurdish comrades in Turkey who helped rescue the Yezidis, after they had fled the ISIS onslaught to take refuge in the Sinjar mountains. It was the Syrian Kurds and their comrades in Turkey who liberated the city of Kobani from ISIS.

But the Kurds of northern Syria have not just been waging war. They have also been waging peace: creating new, democratic structures, declaring autonmous cantons; setting up schools, universities, hospitals. They have taken their inspiration from the Zapatistas of Mexico, who in their thousands retreated into the jungles of Chiapas and together with the Mayans created a new society, free from the oppression of the Mexican authorities.

In short, the northern Syrian Kurds have created and are living a social revolution. It is no wonder, therefore, that the authoritarian and neo-Islamist Erdogan Government of Turkey is doing everything it can to break the Kurds, including providing covert support to the Kurds’ main enemy, to ISIS.

In a recent article in the Guardian, Professor David Graeber of the London School of Economics stated how “Back in August, the YPG, fresh from their victories in Kobani and Gire Spi, were poised to seize Jarablus, the last Isis-held town on the Turkish border that the terror organisation had been using to resupply its capital in Raqqa with weapons, materials, and recruits – Isis supply lines pass directly through Turkey.” Graeber added: “Commentators predicted that with Jarablus gone, Raqqa would soon follow. Erdoğan reacted by declaring Jarablus a “red line”: if the Kurds attacked, his forces would intervene militarily – against the YPG. So Jarablus remains in terrorist hands to this day, under de facto Turkish military protection.”

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Kurds celebrating liberation of Kobani

B. Turkey’s support for ISIS

For well over a year the Turkish Government has been secretly supporting ISIS, but the US and NATO turn a blind eye to this because of Turkey’s geopolitical position. ISIS as an armed force – though not ISIS terrorists outside the Mid East region – would most likely have been defeated long ago had it not been for Turkey’s support.

According to journalist, Nafeez Ahmed: “Earlier this year, the Turkish daily Today’s Zaman reported that “more than 100,000 fake Turkish passports” had been given to ISIS. Erdogan’s government, the newspaper added, “has been accused of supporting the terrorist organization by turning a blind eye to its militants crossing the border and even buying its oil… Based on a 2014 report, Sezgin Tanrıkulu, deputy chairman of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) said that ISIS terrorists fighting in Syria claimed to have been treated in hospitals in Turkey.”

Dr Ahmed adds: “In January, authenticated official documents of the Turkish military were leaked online, showing that Turkey’s intelligence services (MIT) had been caught in Adana by military officers transporting missiles, mortars and anti-aircraft ammunition via truck “to the al-Qaeda terror organisation” in Syria. According to other ISIS suspects facing trial in Turkey, the Turkish national military intelligence organization (MIT) had begun smuggling arms, including NATO weapons to jihadist groups in Syria as early as 2011.” Also: “Turkey has also played a key role in facilitating the life-blood of ISIS’ expansion: black market oil sales. Senior political and intelligence sources in Turkey and Iraq confirm that Turkish authorities have actively facilitated ISIS oil sales through the country. Last summer, an opposition politician estimated the quantity of ISIS oil sales in Turkey at about $800 million — that was over a year ago.”

Finally, Dr. Ahmed shows how consistent transfers of CIA-Gulf-Turkish arms supplies to ISIS have been fully documented through analysis of weapons serial numbers by the UK-based Conflict Armament Research (CAR), whose database on the illicit weapons trade is funded by the EU and Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs.

Latest – see link in tweet below – is an article that reports on a group “involved in making arms deals on behalf of the Islamic State leaders in Syria, including buying FN-6 portable air defence systems and other weaponry, which were shipped to ISIL in Syria through Turkey… transferring money to Turkish bank accounts…

Other allegations re Turkey’s support for ISIS:

[Note: the following is compiled from a Report by Columbia University’s Program on Peace-building and Rights, which assigned a team of researchers in the United States, Europe, and Turkey to examine Turkish and international media, assessing the credibility of allegations made against Turkey. This report draws on Turkish sources (CNN Turk, Hurriyet Daily News, Taraf, Cumhuriyet, and Radikal among others) as well as a variety of mainstream media – The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Guardian, The Daily Mail, BBC, Sky News, etc.]

1. Turkey Provides Military Equipment to ISIS

• An ISIS commander told The Washington Post on August 12, 2014: “Most of the fighters who joined us in the beginning of the war came via Turkey, and so did our equipment and supplies.” Continue reading

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MI5, spycops, the media baron and the ‘counter-subversion’ think-tank

In a recent article by journalist Nafeez Ahmed on right-wing and far-right entryism into the counter-terrorism think-tank sub-culture, one reference immediately stood out. This reference was to the Institute for the Study of Conflict, a think tank that was very influential within the counter-terrorism community in the UK in the 1970s and 1980s. During that period the ISC was closely linked to the MI5 divisional head responsible for organising the surveillance of the radical left – including barristers and Labour politicians who went on to become Government ministers (and a politician – Mr Corbyn – who may well become prime minister). The ISC was also responsible for several dirty tricks campaigns, including the publication of a magazine that specialised in smears against the left – a magazine, incidentally that was funded by a certain media mogul, who is still very much influential today, in our daily and world affairs. See below for more…

(Note: the above video on the plot to overthrow Harold Wilson features Brian Crozier – see below.)

A. Introduction

According to the article by Nafeez Ahmed, the ISC was “created jointly by the British and American intelligence services, specifically the CIA and the Foreign Office. The ISC’s point-man in the British intelligence establishment was Sir Peter Wilkinson, a former officer with the Special Operations Executive during the Second World War (an agency that was later subsumed into MI6), who was later appointed Coordinator of Intelligence and Security in the British Cabinet Office and Cabinet Office intelligence chief.”

Earlier, in 1968, Brian Crozier set up the Current Affairs Research Services Centre, and two years later wrote to Wilkinson to ask for his help in transforming the research unit into a fully-fledged Institute for the Study of Conflict (Wilkinson was to eventually become a member of ISC’s Council of Management and also edited an issue of ISC’s journal, ‘Conflict Studies’).

Crozier was regarded as an ‘expert’ on terrorism; another so-called ‘expert’ and member of the ISC was Richard Clutterbuck. Crozier provided advice to MI5, the Foreign Office and to the CIA. Notoriously, Crozier was identified as one of the cabal who promoted the idea of a mutiny by the British military of the Government (then under Harold Wilson).

Interestingly, among a tranche of documents leaked from the ISC to Time Out magazine in 1975 was a memo from John Whitehorn urging member companies of the CBI to increase their funding to five organisations working against “subversion” in British industry. ISC was one of the five organisations. Others included were the Economic League, Common Cause, Aims of Industry and Industrial Research and Information Services – all far-right organisations committed to countering trade unions.

Let’s explore more…

B. The MI5 connection

In the 1970s and 1980s undercover policing and infiltration of left-wing groups was largely organised by MI5 in co-operation with Special Branch. Charles Elwell was the head of MI5’s ‘F Division’, which specialised in domestic subversion, until 1979. Elwell also happened to be a senior figure within the Institute for the Study of Conflict. ‘F2’ Division was the section of MI5 that was later shown to be responsible for the surveillance of ‘left wing’ radicals, some of whom went on to become Labour MPs and Ministers in Government.

According to ex-F2 staffer (then whistleblower) Annie Machon, F Branch regarded the following well-known individuals worth monitoring:

John Len­non, Jack Straw MP, Ted Heath MP, Tam Dalyell MP, Gareth Peirce (soli­citor), Jeremy Corbyn MP, Mike Mans­field (bar­ris­ter), Geof­frey Robertson (bar­ris­ter), Patri­cia Hewitt MP, Har­riet Har­man MP,  Garry Bushell (journ­al­ist), Peter Man­del­son (European com­mis­sioner), Peter Hain MP, Clare Short MP, Mark Thomas (comedian), Mo Mow­lam (politi­cian), Arthur Scar­gill (NUM leader, who fam­ously had his own record­ing cat­egory: unaf­fili­ated sub­vers­ive), Neil Kin­nock (politi­cian), Bruce Kent (peace cam­paigner), Joan Rud­dock MP, Owen Oyston (busi­ness­man), Cherie Booth aka Blair, Tony Blair MP, David Steel (politi­cian), Teddy Taylor MP, Ron­nie Scott (jazz musi­cian), Robin Cook MP, John Prescott MP, Mark Steel (comedian), Jack Cun­ning­ham MP, Mohammed Al Fayed (busi­ness­man), Mick McGa­hey (former union leader), Ken Gill (former union leader), Michael Foot (politi­cian), Jack Jones (former union leader), Ray Bux­ton (former union leader), Hugh Scan­lon (former union leader), Har­old Wilson (politi­cian), James Callaghan (politi­cian), Richard Norton-Taylor (Guard­ian journalist)…. I also came across a file called: ‘Sub­ver­sion in con­tem­por­ary music’, which con­sisted of press clip­pings about Crass, then a well-known, self-styled ‘anarch­ist’ band; the Sex Pis­tols; and, rather sur­pris­ingly, UB40.”

Annie Machon confirms Elwell’s role in ISC smear campaigns:

She explains: “The ‘sub­ver­sion’ of cab­inet min­is­ters Har­riet Har­man and Patri­cia Hewitt was to have been lead­ing mem­bers of the National Coun­cil for Civil Liber­ties (NCCL — now Liberty), the very organ­isa­tion designed to pro­tect us from such unwar­ran­ted abuses of our liber­ties.  At one point David [Shayler, her MI5 colleague who was responsible for monitoring the left, including anarchists] came across a series of minutes on a file dat­ing from the early 1980s.  They were writ­ten by Charles Elwell, a pub­licly named and notori­ously para­noid former head of F2 ,who saw a red under every bed, and who had suc­cess­fully argued that mem­bers of the exec­ut­ive of the NCCL were record­able as ‘sus­pec­ted sym­path­iser: Com­mun­ist’, simply for being mem­bers of the exec­ut­ive.  He based this assump­tion on the fact that, as one or two lead­ing mem­bers of the NCCL had Com­mun­ist sym­path­ies, the organ­isa­tion was there­fore by defin­i­tion a Com­mun­ist front organisation.”

Elwell undoubtedly would have passed on information from F2 research to the ISC and from there to ‘Background Briefing’ (see below).

Machon also comments: “It [F2] jus­ti­fied its work against legit­im­ate non-subversive organ­isa­tions such as trade uni­ons, CND, the NCCL and the Green­ham Com­mon women by say­ing that it was not invest­ig­at­ing these organ­isa­tions or their mem­bers per se but was invest­ig­at­ing sub­vers­ive pen­et­ra­tion of these groups….MI5 could invest­ig­ate an indi­vidual — that means tap their phones, fol­low their move­ments, break into their houses, place a bug in their homes — simply for being a mem­ber of the Exec­ut­ive of the NCCL, without hav­ing to estab­lish any other con­nec­tions to com­mun­ism….”

[Currently, the Cameron Government claims that MPs will not be monitored under the Investogatory Powers Bill, if it becomes law. However, Ms. Machon reminds us that… “[NCCL heads] Har­riet Har­man and Patri­cia Hewitt learnt of the infringe­ment of their rights when former MI5 officer Cathy Mas­siter blew the whistle on the [Intelligence] ser­vices in 1984.  As a res­ult, they took their case to the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) and won because MI5 was not a leg­ally con­sti­tuted and demo­crat­ic­ally account­able organ­isa­tion, the min­imum stand­ard in a demo­cracy.  It was only as a res­ult of this rul­ing that Par­lia­ment finally put MI5 on a legal foot­ing for the first time and made it account­able to min­is­ters in the 1989 Secur­ity Ser­vice Act.”]

According to Guardian journalist Richard Norton-Taylor, Elwell also targeted Harman’s husband, Jack Dromey. “He opened a file on him during the late 1970s after the Grunwick dispute, in which Dromey, now Labour party treasurer, played a leading part. Other trade union leaders on whom Elwell and his MI5 team kept files included Jack Jones, the transport workers’ leader, and Hugh (later Lord) Scanlon, president of the engineers’ union, the AUEW. “Fact sheets” on the two trade union leaders were regularly distributed to 10 Downing Street and selected ministers. In 1977, Scanlon was prevented from becoming chairman of British Shipbuilding because MI5 advised that he should not see documents marked confidential or above.”

C. The spycops connection

Elwell’s ‘F2’ branch also undertook the sort of undercover work later associated with what are now dubbed ‘Spycops’. Anarchist groups were one target – these included the Direct Action Movement (later renamed Solidarity Federation) and Class War. Liaising with the undercover cop who was tasked with infiltrating Class War was the responsibility of David Shayler.

According to Machon: “Some years before David had joined F2, a Met­ro­pol­itan Police Spe­cial Duties Sec­tion (SDS) agent, code­named M2589, had pen­et­rated Class War.  Unlike the vast major­ity of agents recruited by MI5, he was not a mem­ber of an organ­isa­tion who had been ‘turned’ by the ser­vice.  He was a full-time police­man from Spe­cial Branch under deep cover.  For six days a week, he lived, ate and breathed the life of a class war­rior before return­ing to his nor­mal life with friends and fam­ily for a day. Whether Class War mer­ited this kind of resource intens­ive cov­er­age is open to debate.  I quote David: “When I met M2589 in Feb­ru­ary 1992, at a safe house in Lon­don, it was quite obvi­ous that this pecu­liar arrange­ment had affected the agent psy­cho­lo­gic­ally.  After around four years of pre­tend­ing to be an anarch­ist, he had clearly become one.  To use the ser­vice jar­gon, he had gone nat­ive.  He drank about six cans of Spe­cial Brew dur­ing the debrief, and regaled us with stor­ies about beat­ing up uni­formed officers as part of his ‘cover’.  Partly as a res­ult, he was ‘ter­min­ated’ after the 1992 Gen­eral Elec­tion.  Without his organ­isa­tional skills, Class War fell apart.”

There was also a link between the ISC and undercover policing: John Alderson, the director of the Bramshill Police College in 1972, asked ISC’s Peter Janke to help the college develop a course on terrorism and counter-subversion. This was signs of things to come re. think-tanks…

D. The media mogul & the smear campaigns

One of ISCs projects was ‘Background Briefing on Subversion’, a bulletin that was circulated privately to those on the right, including Tory MPs. ‘BB’ (as it became known) specialised in smears against well known charities, such as Oxfam and Shelter and NGOs such as the National Council for Civil Liberties. One of the publication’s early researchers was Paul Staines (aka blogger Guido Fawkes) who worked for the Committee for a Free Britain (which involved David Hart, Rupert Murdoch and Sir James Goldsmith), the Adam Smith Institute and the Libertarian Alliance. Other contributors included Crozier, who was also closely linked to the CIA.

Charles Elwell, after his retirement from MI5 in 1979, was appointed editor of ‘British Briefing’ (the successor to ‘Background Briefing’). Richard Norton-Taylor explains that BB “consisted of ill-founded claims about Labour and trade union activists, pressure groups, charities and writers. Among those it accused of helping the communist cause were Chris Mullin, Labour MP for Sunderland South. British Briefing’s targets included the housing charity Shelter, Lord Gifford QC, the leftwing barrister, and the playwright Howard Brenton.”

But what was possibly most revealing was the person who part funded ‘Background Briefing’ – namely Rupert Murdoch. According to an Australian report, ‘In his autobiography, [Brian] Crozier acknowledged his financial backers, including “Rupert,” subsequently identified as Murdoch by one of Crozier’s associates. In December 1990, the Guardian reported that Crozier’s publishing business, Sherwood Press, was bailed out by News International, Murdoch’s British holding company. News took a half-stake in the business and assumed liability for its debts, then said to total £90,000.’

From the Daily Telegraph: ‘In spite of everything, [David] Hart worked his way back into favour, maintaining his political profile by founding the Campaign for a Free Britain and issuing newsletters propounding his anti-Soviet views. With some help from Rupert Murdoch, he secretly financed a newsletter, British Briefing, edited by Charles Elwell, a former MI5 officer in charge of “counter-subversion”.’

Note: An anarchist paper, called ‘Black Flag’ was believed to have been the first to expose Murdoch’s funding of BB (via basic research at Companies House). Poetic justice? In December 1990, The Observer subsequently ran two stories on the smear campaigns, including how as a result of these revelations Murdoch would not be receiving an honorary knighthood. (P.S. Thanks to Peter Jukes for locating and rerinting the two Observer articles.)

Needless to say, once his connection with ‘Background Briefing’ was exposed, Murdoch promptly distanced himself. Hart – who was an adviser to Margaret Thatcher and who set up a scab union to defeat the miners during the 1984 strike – then took over the funding of the paper, which was renamed the equally innocuous ‘British Briefing’.

E. On to the present…

In 1977 the ISC published a report co-written by Caroline Cox on how leftwing “radical minorities” were subverting “capitalist, free market civilisation.” Cox went on to become Baroness Cox and a former deputy speaker of the House of Lords and also a special representative for the Foreign Office Freedom of Religion Panel. In 1987 she co-founded the Committee for a Free Britain – also, incidentally, funded by Ruper Murdoch.

According to Nafeez Ahmed, “In his book, Conservative Party Education Policies, 1976-1997, historian David Callaghan documents how in the 1980s, Cox and [Dr. John] Marks operated a network of neocon ideologues known as the Hillgate Group, which coordinated various publications to influence government policy. Their focus was hyping up the threat of Marxist, left wing or “radical” infiltration of British academia. Another Hillgate Group member, philosopher Roger Scruton, told Callaghan that these policy reports were in fact “quietly encouraged by 10 Downing Street to concoct an outside pressure group to influence policy.” Cox and Marks also campaigned against peace groups, which they labelled as “subversive” organisations exploiting their charitable status to promote pro-Soviet propaganda. “Key institutions, particularly educational institutions” were being “infected” by “institutionalised leftism,” they opined, especially in the media, schools,and universities, undermining the “moral legitimacy of British society”.

Sounds familiar?

For a time the ISC shared offices with first RUSI (Royal United Services Institute) and later the Institute for European Defence and Strategic Studies. In late 1989 the ISC merged with Paul Wilkinson’s Research Foundation for the Study of Terrorism to form the Research Institute for the Study of Conflict and Terrorism (RISCT), which was disolved in 2001.

There is probably no exact equivalent to ISC today, though no doubt Dr Ahmed would nominate their ‘spiritual successors’ as the Henry Jackson Society or the Centre for Social Cohesion, or even the Quillam Foundation.

What is not in doubt is that the ‘counter-subversion’ industry connects all sections of the ruling establishment – the military, the political establishment, the police, the intelligence community and certain sections of the media. This industry is expert at manufacturing consent (to borrow a phrase from Noam Chomsky) – though only the kind of consent that the establishment approves of. Step out of line and…

P.S. To see more articles on spycops, MI5, etc, just click on the relevant tags in the Tag Cloud on the right.

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GCHQ becomes Spectre as Snoopers Charter 2.0 is licenced to chill

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Inside GCHQ

Today (Wednesday) the new version of the “Snoopers’ Charter” was revealed in the guise of the draft Investigatory Powers bill. It is a bill rife with obfuscation, weasel words and deceit. But look beyond the soundbites, spin and headline pullers and the truth begins to emerge. This is not to a watered-down, ‘post-Snowden’ version that the Government tries to sell to the British public, but adheres as close as it can to the original intent of the Snoopers Charter – the colloquial name for the draft Communications Data Bill that stalled as a consequence of parliamentary opposition. The new bill seeks to provide an array of powers for the police and security services, to enable them to exploit fully the vast resources long developed by GCHQ – in collaboration with the NSA – in that agency’s zeal for totalitarian surveillance. In short the draft legislation enshrines decades of bulk communications collection into law. Thus, the spectre of GCHQ, watching everyone’s moves and activities day-by-day, may well loom large over all our lives for the forseeable future.

Below, using a variety of sources – mostly revelations by Edward Snowden via article by Ryan Gallagher in The Intercept – is a mapping of what the draft bill is really about…

Note: for a more forensic analysis of the draft bill, see “Investigatory Powers Bill: The Juicy Bits”

  1. Encryption:

Encryption will not be ‘banned’, as banking and other financial services depend on it. However, measures in the draft bill will require that tech firms and ISPs provide unencrypted communications to the police or spy agencies if requested through a warrant. These firms will not be able to comply with this requirement unless they provide encryption to their users that can be decrypted.

The new legislation will attempt to force companies outside the UK to adhere to this requirement, though even if this did not happen, according to one document  the NSA’s troves of data are searched by GCHQ for data on British citizens anyway. Also, what Theresa May fails to understand is that there are a myriad of tools and applications that are outside the reach of UK legislation – consequently, GCHQ will end up mostly monitoring stuff about shopping habits (that may be of use to the capitalist establishment).

Note, too, that British police already have the power to compel someone, on penalty of imprisonment, to disclose cryptographic keys under RIPA (i.e., to compel decryption on the order of intelligence or police authorities – with no judicial or ministerial warrant required). Continue reading

Posted in Intelligence, Surveillance | Tagged , | 6 Comments

When asylum-seekers become a global commodity

The Australian Government has come up with a novel wheeze to get rid of its asylum-seekers and end the notorious ‘Pacific Solution’ (illegal detention of asylum-seekers on Nauru and Manus Island). The new scheme is simple: auction off the asylum-seekers to the lowest bidder – that’s right, the lowest bidder – and instead of the Australian Government getting the cash from the deal, it works the other way round with the recipient country being paid to the tune of millions of dollars. The first country flagged to be approached is Kyrgyzstan – which has a wonderful human rights record – see the Human Rights Watch report (2014) below. Other countries may also be approached, though if there are no suitable takers there is always ISIL – they’re more than happy to take ‘tarnished goods’ for ‘onward sale’.

Note: This move by the Australian Government (which is expert at bribery) is called progress: in the 19th century women were regularly bartered for marriage purposes and this variant on that archaic practice is non-gender specific. Moreover, countries can always be bribed to take raped asylum-seekers at a discount – or would that be at a ‘premium’?

See also, Australian Government’s official advice on travel to Kyrgyzstan and the International Crisis Group’s report on Kyrgyzstan. According to a Guardian article, Kyrgyzstan is ranked in the bottom 30 countries for levels of perceived corruption by Transparency International in its annual survey.

Human Rights Watch report on Kyrgyzstan:

Shortcomings in law enforcement and the judiciary contribute to the persistence of grave abuses in connection to the ethnic violence in southern Kyrgyzstan in June 2010. Ethnic Uzbeks and other minorities remain especially vulnerable. Courtroom attacks on lawyers and defendants, particularly in cases related to the June 2010 events, occur with impunity.

Human rights defender Azimjon Askarov remains wrongfully imprisoned. In 2013, authorities proposed legislative initiatives to tighten restrictions on nongovernmental groups. Violence and discrimination against women and lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) persons remain concerns. Some religious groups have faced harassment by the authorities. “Insult” and “insult of a public official” remain criminal offenses.

Government officials and civil society representatives formed a national center for the prevention of torture in 2013. In practice, ill-treatment and torture remain pervasive in places of detention, and impunity for torture is the norm.

Access to Justice

Three years on, justice for crimes committed during the ethnic violence in southern Kyrgyzstan in June 2010 remains elusive. The flawed justice process has produced long prison sentences for mostly ethnic Uzbeks after convictions marred by torture-tainted confessions and other due process violations. Authorities have not reviewed convictions where defendants alleged torture or other glaring violations of fair trial standards. At least nine ethnic Uzbeks continue to languish in pretrial detention, some for a third year. New convictions in August 2013 of three ethnic Uzbeks in Osh, and pending extradition orders of at least six others in Russia again point to judicial bias against ethnic Uzbeks.

The authorities failed to tackle the acute problem of courtroom violence by audiences in trials across Kyrgyzstan, including at the trial of three opposition members of parliament in June, perpetuating an environment that undermines defendants’ fair trial rights. Lawyers were harassed or beaten in court in 2013, including for defending ethnic Uzbek clients in June 2010 cases. Mahamad Bizurukov, an ethnic Uzbek defendant, and his lawyers have been subjected to repeated threats, harassment, and physical attacks for two years, most recently in September 2013, with no accountability for perpetrators.

Torture

Despite the adoption of a national torture prevention mechanism in 2012, and the organization of a related National Center for the Prevention of Torture in 2013, authorities often refuse to investigate allegations of torture and perpetrators go unpunished. On rare occasions when charges are filed against police, investigations, and court proceedings are unduly protracted.

A telling example is the criminal case against four police officers following the August 2011 death of an ethnic Uzbek detained on charges related to the June 2010 ethnic violence. Usmonjon Kholmirzaev died several days after his release without charge, apparently from injuries he sustained from beatings in custody. The prosecution has been subjected to repeated delays over the last two years and no one has yet been held accountable for his death.

In July 2013, Nurkamil Ismailov was found dead in a temporary detention facility in southern Kyrgyzstan after police detained him for disorderly conduct. Authorities alleged he committed suicide by hanging himself with his t-shirt. The Jalalabad-based human rights group Spravedlivost intervened after which authorities opened a criminal investigation on charges of negligence. In September, Ismailov’s relative and the police settled out of court for an undisclosed sum, with no admission of liability.

Freedom of Expression

In April 2013, internet providers in Kyrgyzstan lifted a 14-month ban on the independent online Central Asian news agency Ferghana.ru, after Kyrgyzstan’s state media agency wrote a letter stating its previous notice urging providers to block Ferghana.ru was only a recommendation, not compulsory.

In June, OSCE representative on freedom of the media, Dunja Mijatovic, noted Kyrgyzstan’s “progress in promoting media freedom and freedom of expression.” Mijatovic urged authorities to bring to justice individuals responsible for the 2007 death of journalist Alisher Saipov, whose killers have not been identified.

Although Osh-based Yntymak Radio began broadcasting in Russian, Kyrgyz, and Uzbek languages in March 2012, concerns persist regarding restrictions on Uzbek-language media in southern Kyrgyzstan. In March 2013, the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) noted “that the use of minority languages in media has decreased in particular in the Osh region.” In July, an Osh court banned the Uzbek-language news site Harakat.net for allegedly inciting racial hatred.

Sexual Orientation and Gender-Based Violence

The authorities’ approach to long-standing problems of gender-based violence, including domestic violence and bride abduction, remains ineffective. In December 2012, the Kyrgyz legislature adopted an amendment to increase the maximum jail sentence for bride-kidnapping from three to seven years (10 years if the girl is younger than 17).

In 2013, Labrys and Kyrgyz Indigo, LGBT rights groups, documented at least four new cases of police extortion and harassment of at least seven LGBT people. Gay and bisexual men are at particular risk of extortion, beating, and sexual violence. They rarely report abuses to the authorities due to fear of disclosure and retaliation, and abuses largely go unpunished. In March, unidentified assailants attacked two Labrys staff in Bishkek at a disco; one suffered a concussion. Police initially refused to register their complaint, which alleged the attack was a hate crime, and had yet to investigate at time of writing.

Civil Society

On November 17, 2012, agents of the State Committee on National Security (GKNB) temporarily detained an international staff member of the International Crisis Group (ICG), an international NGO working on peace and security issues, and without explanation, illegally searched and interrogated him, and confiscated his computer. He was later expelled from Kyrgyzstan. The GKNB later summoned five people for questioning apparently in connection with the ICG’s work.

In 2013, the government sought to tighten control over civil society, proposing three legislative amendments that would impose burdensome reporting obligations and restrictions on civil society groups. Activists successfully lobbied to remove discriminatory provisions from two proposals. The third would require groups accepting foreign funding to register and identify themselves publicly as “foreign agents.” At time of writing, it had not been reviewed by parliament.

In May, human rights lawyerUlugbek Azimov, an ethnic Uzbek, and two members of his family were viciously assaulted after a traffic incident in Bishkek. Police found and prosecuted one of the attackers, but others remain at large. Azimov’s colleagues believe the attack may have been ethnically-motivated.

Azimjon Askarov, a human rights defender who worked to document police treatment of detainees, continues to serve a life sentence, despite a prosecution marred by serious violations of fair trial standards. Askarov was found guilty of “organizing mass disorders,” “inciting ethnic hatred,” and taking part in killing a police officer on June 13, 2010. Despite repeated complaints filed by Askarov’s lawyer, including in 2013, prosecutorial authorities have refused to investigate Askarov’s credible allegations of torture in custody. Askarov’s November 2012 complaint to the United Nations Human Rights Committee is under review.

Refugees

In recent years, Kyrgyzstan’s efforts to host refugees and asylum seekers have been undermined by the government’s failure to implement fully its obligations to protect the rights of asylum seekers and refugees from Uzbekistan. After a long court battle, in May 2013, a Bishkek court overturned the Prosecutor General’s Office’s extradition order for Khabibullo Sulaimanov, a former Imam from Uzbekistan, after he was granted refugee status by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. In February, Shukhrat Musin, a refugee from Uzbekistan who fled religious persecution, was reported missing in Bishkek. In October, he was located in a pretrial detention center in Andijan, Uzbekistan.

Freedom of Religion

In December 2012, President Atambaev signed amendments to Kyrgyzstan’s religion laws authorizing greater control over religious literature deemed “extremist.” Forum18, an international religious freedom watchdog, reported harassment of smaller religious communities in 2013, including of Jehovah’s Witnesses and Ahmadi Muslims.

Key International Actors

Kyrgyzstan’s partners raised human rights concerns throughout the year, but did not consistently seize opportunities to urge concrete improvements.

Statements issued by European Union leaders on the occasion of Kyrgyz president’s September 2013 visit to Brussels noted challenges in upholding the rule of law and the rights of minorities, but stopped short of urging any concrete improvements. The ministerial-level cooperation council meeting with Kyrgyzstan, held in November, urged “further steps to address human rights concerns,” stressing “inter-ethnic reconciliation” and the “significant role” played by civil society.

In December 2012, German Chancellor Angela Merkel specifically noted concern about Azimjon Askarov’s imprisonment and the rights of ethnic minorities. During a Kyrgyzstan visit in May, UN Assistant Secretary General for Human Rights Ivan Simonovic raised Askarov’s case, violence against women, and the need to address discrimination on grounds of ethnicity, religion, and gender.

Following her mission to Kyrgyzstan in April 2013, UN special rapporteur on the sale of children, child prostitution, and child pornography, Najat Maalla M’jid, highlighted the country’s insufficient protection of children from violence, exploitation, and abuse, and urged law enforcement agencies to do more to investigate, prosecute, and punish perpetrators.

In its March 2013 concluding observations, the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) voiced serious concerns about the treatment of ethnic minorities in Kyrgyzstan, including due process violations in court proceedings following the June 2010 violence, allegations of torture, restrictions on Uzbek-language media, and violence against ethnic minority women. The committee also noted a few positive developments, including the adoption of a policy on inter-ethnic relations.

During its review of Kyrgyzstan in November, the UN Committee Against Torture noted that “[fundamental safeguards] were not upheld in practice” and expressed “serious concern about prison conditions.”

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Australia’s asylum-seeker detention program: the four ICC submissions summarised

International Criminal Court session

According to lawyer Greg Barns and MP Andrew Wilkie, this coming week will see Australian Immigration minister Peter Dutton MP subject to a request re. Australia’s offshore asylum-seeker policy by International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutors (see also Update, below). This may be a good time to reprise all four submissions to the ICC – including the latest from RAC (Vic), which is provided in full below . Note: we have previously reported on the three earlier submissions by a) Julian (part 2) Burnside QC, b) Greg Barns (lawyer) and Andrew Wilkie (MP); and c) Tracie Aylmer (refugee agent and lawyer): these three are summarised first…

UPDATE: here is a copy of the latest update sent by Andrew Wilkie MP (in conjunction with his submission with Greg Barns) to the ICC.

1. Submissions by a) Julian Burnside, b) Greg Barns & Andrew Wilkie, and c) Tracie Aylmer

A. Julian Burnside:

In March of this year Julian Burnside QC made inquiries with lawyers who specialise in ICC cases to see if the ICC would investigate Mr Abbott and Mr Morrison.

B. Greg Barns and Andrew Wilkie:

In October 2014 Andrew Wilkie MP and lawyer Greg Barns commenced a case in the ICC against the then prime minister Tony Abbott, Minister for Immigration and Border protection Scott Morrison, Assistant Minister for Immigration and Border Protection Michaela Cash, Minister for Foreign Affairs Julie Bishop, Former Chief of the Defence Force General David Hurley, and Commander of Operation Sovereign Borders Lieutenant General Angus Campbell (in total, 19 members of the Abbott cabinet). The submission called on ICC prosecutors to use Article 17(2) of the Rome Statute in relation to all onshore and offshore processing. The submission alleged that the Australian government committed atrocities in breach of Article 7 of the convention.

Here is the full submission lodged earlier this year with the ICC.

Here is a summary:

• Tony Abbott and his Cabinet treat people who arrive by sea in search of Australia’s protection (‘asylum seekers’) as a specific class of person, engaging in a systematic attack on this class, intentionally carried out with full knowledge of the consequences and warranting ICC attention.
• Tony Abbott and his Cabinet are responsible for the fact that people in this class are isolated for the purpose of mandatorily and arbitrarily detaining them, removing access to legal recourse, and placing them in conditions causing great suffering and serious injury to mental and physical health.
• The scale and severity of this attack is of sufficient gravity to constitute a crime against humanity. There are several provisions in Article 7 of the Rome Statute, to which Australia has acceded, that are particularly relevant:
o Article 7(1)(d) relating to the deportation and forced transfer of persons. This is applicable to the transportation of people (including children) against their will to foreign sovereign nations such as the Republic of Nauru and Papua New Guinea;
o Article 7(1)(e) relating to imprisonment or other severe deprivation of physical liberty. This is applicable to the mandatory and indefinite detention of people in violation of international law including international treaties to which Australia is a party, despite the fact these people have not committed or even been accused of any crime at the time of detention;
o Article 7(1)(k) relating to other intentional acts causing great suffering or serious injury. This is applicable to the conditions to which detainees are subjected, which have led to widespread sickness, mental health deterioration, self-harm and suicide attempts, and death.
• The policies are in violation of fundamental principles of international law including, inter alia, those contained in the Refugee Convention, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the Convention against Torture and the Convention on the Rights of the Child. These are breaches in their own right, and also form a foundation for several contraventions of Article 7.
• Tony Abbott and his Cabinet have knowledge of the effects of their actions through their close involvement in administering these policies. They are aware of the scale and severity of the harm, which has affected thousands of people and is continuing to affect thousands more. They know there is a direct causal link between their policies and the suffering experienced by these people.
• Through numerous reports and findings, Tony Abbott and his Cabinet know that their policies breach international law. Relevant findings include the UN Committee against Torture’s Concluding observations of 26 November 2014, comments by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in an address to the Human Rights Council on 2 September 2014, reports prepared by myriad domestic human rights organisations, and individuals with first-hand knowledge of the treatment of asylum seekers,

C. Tracie Aylmer:

In May 2014 Tracie Aylmer submitted a case with the ICC for the prosecution of Mr Tony Abbott and several of his colleagues, regarding the treatment of asylum-seekers. In September the ICC informed Ms. Aylmer that her submission would not be considered, however the information she had submitted would be maintained in ICC archives and the decision not to proceed would be reconsidered “if new facts or evidence provides a basis to believe that a crime within the jurisdiction of the court has been committed”. However, in January 2015 Ms Aylmer was informed by the ICC that the case she submitted had been re-opened and that if, subsequently, a decision is made to prosecute, investigations based on evidence already received will commence. For more on this, see main part of this article. (See also the African dimension.)

2. Refugee Action Group submission to ICC (in full)

Communiqué for the Office of the Prosecutor regarding the application to the International Criminal Court by Refugee Action Collective (Victoria), July 2015.

Refugee Action Collective as a group, reflecting the dismay and revulsion of many other Civil Society groups and professional associations toward the current treatment of asylum seekers by the Australian government, wishes to file:

Notice of intention to request the ICC to investigate and act against the following persons: Continue reading

Posted in Refugees | Tagged , , | 12 Comments

Australia’s refugee policy under siege: PM ignored at UN, re-submission to ICC, lawyers seek global help

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Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull cut a lonely figure as he outlined his immigration policy at the UN on 20 September. Increasingly under pressure for his government’s transport of refugees from the open seas to detention centres on Manus Island and Nauru, civil society groups have been stepping up their resistance to what they consider his divisive and damaging policies. You wouldn’t know that from his speech, though. Speaking to a fairly empty room at the UN General Assembly and at a special meeting on refugees hosted by Barack Obama, he only referenced the offshore detention policy indirectly. But Greg Barns and Anna Talbot of the Australian Lawyers Alliance have since made it very clear what they think about Turnbull’s views…

To read more, click here.

Note: here are just a few of the many civil society organisations in Australia that are supporting refugees and asylum seekers:

Refugee Action Coalition (Sydney)

Refugee Action Collective (Victoria)

Refugee Action Collective (Queensland)

Refugee Rights Action Network (WA)

Refugee Action Committee (Canberra)

RISE Refugees survivors and ex-detainees

Whistleblowers and Citizens Alliance (WACA)

…and the thousands of refugee activists across Australia.

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BREAKING: Aussie lawyers take direct action to resolve impasse on Nauru & Manus refugees

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In August 2015, The Canary published an article – Without immediate action, Australia’s ongoing crisis will just get worse (and a longer version was published here). The article argued that when a Government reaches an impasse of its own making and is proving incapable of finding a solution, then it is time others should step forward to take charge and relinquish that Government of its responsibilities. Well, here is one intervention that attempts to do just that…

A group of Australian lawyers has dispatched letters to New Zealand, Canada, Germany and the US in a bid to help resettle refugees that it says Australia is keeping in offshore detention. Four letters have been sent to the relevant ministers of New Zealand, Canada, Germany and the US, appealing for foreign powers to resettle those refugees that Australia has not.

Here is the letter sent to New Zealand, the letter  sent to Canada, the letter sent to Germany, and the letter sent to the USA.

Benedict Coyne, president of Australian Lawyers for Human Rights (ALHR), said these countries have a record of generosity and the ALHR hoped they could provide refuge to the 2,000 people who remain “trapped” on Nauru and Manus Island.

Mr Coyne added:

The ALHR is concerned that if countries such as these do not offer resettlement places, refugees will be sent to countries that do not have the capacity to adequately protect and provide for their rights. International cooperation underpins the entire refugee protection regime. Responding to refugee crises, such as the situation on Nauru and Manus Island, is a global responsibility.

According to a ALHR media release more than 1,400 out of the 2,000 people detained in Australia’s offshore facilities on Nauru and Manus Island have valid refugee status. Mr Coyne also added that the Australian government’s unwillingness to deal with the problem prompted the group to call for international powers to intervene.

Australia has failed to initiate any major policy change after some 2,000 leaked documents alleging abuse and self-harm from within the Nauru detention centre were made public in August.

Coyne again:

If the Australian government will not act, then the international community must. Resettlement on Nauru or Manus Island is not a feasible or durable solution for those found to be refugees.

Rebecca Dowd, ALHR refugee rights subcommittee co-chair, said it was contradictory for Australia to effectively deny control over allegations of mistreatment in offshore detention, but also block any alternative resettlement offered by other countries.

“We expect that if one or more of these countries were to offer to resettle refugees from Nauru or Manus Island, Australia would attempt – again – to block it,” Ms Dowd said. “The Australian government is determined not to offer any ‘incentive’ for people to board boats in Australia’s direction. But they cannot have it both ways,” she said.

The Australian Government has proved incapable of acting justly or of seeking a viable solution. It is now up to the Australian people either directly or via NGOs to intervene and take charge.

(For further information… Benedict Coyne: President, Australian Lawyers for Human Rights Email: president@alhr.org.au Phone: 0434915713. Rebecca Dowd: Co-Chair, Refugee Rights Sub-Committee Email: refugees@alhr.org.au Phone: 0476 271 853.)

To read more articles by Tom Coburg in The Canary, click here.

Posted in Refugees | 4 Comments

Theresa May prefers refugees are out of sight, out of mind: try explaining that to the Yazidis

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Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron described Britain as “mean” for the attitude it displays to refugees. There are many Britons who would welcome refugees, and Farron was no doubt referring to a certain type of British citizen (either conservative or chauvinist) rather than the population as a whole. He was also, presumably, referring to the government. Perhaps the meanness of the British government is best illustrated by the number of Yazidi refugees it has welcomed so far. The answer is one, while Germany has embraced around 70,000. If there was a World Cup stakes in humanitarianism, right now Britain would be at the very bottom, and Germany would win hands down.

To read more on this, click here.

 

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Mid-East war goes Orwellian: ISIS fighters (Kurds and their US allies) are now ‘terrorists’

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YPJ (Kurdish militia) fighters)

It may have been just lazy journalism, but a BBC Radio 4 news update stated how Turkey was now determined to beat both Daesh (Isis/Isil) and YPG “terrorists”. No qualification or caveat was added to that statement, in spite of the fact that the Kurdish-led YPG has been at the forefront of the fight against Daesh. It was just left like that.

 

Here’s why that is incredibly dangerous…

To read more, click here.

 

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Lists of UCOs and their supervisors

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To see the article – “New revelations show just how nervous the police are about the undercover policing inquiry” – that accompanies this list, click here.

To see a covering letter to the Pitcford Inquiry by D.S. Neil Hutchison re his request that two ‘counsellors’ assigned to UCOs not be identified, click here.

Appendix: lists of UCOs and their supervisors

These lists are subject to updates.

A. Alleged UCOs

(Note: there are around 150 UCOs, but only a few have previuously been identified.)

Mike Chitty (aka Mike Blake): UC
Rod Richardson (alias): UCO
Lynn Watson: UCO
Marco Jacobs: UCO
Mark Jenner (aka Mark Cassidy): UCO
Jason Bishop: UCO
Mark Rayner (alias codename): UCO
Carlo Neri (alias): UCO
RC (alias): UCO
Christian Plowman; UCO
Peter Bleksley: UCO
Pete Black (alias): UCO (real name Peter Francis, N43)
Becki Todd: UCO
Simon Brenner: UCO (real name Bromma, based in Germany)
Simon Wellings UCO?
N81 (code name only; see also next section): UCO
Mark Kennedy (aka Mark Stone): UCO
John Dines (aka John Barker): UCO
Gary R: UCO
Abigail L: UCO
Mike Ferguson (UCO – N2?)

B. Alleged UCO supervisors/managers

(Note: this listing, culled from police UCO docs and other sources, is also incomplete in terms of numbers and details.)

Richard Walton: Commander
Phil Gormley: Commander
Anton Setchell: Assistant Chief Constable
Adrian Tudway: Det. Chief Superintendant
Steven Pearl: Superintendent
Marc Vincent: Deputy Head of NDEU
Melvyn Young: Deputy National Coordinator Domestic Extremism
Ronnie Liddle was ACPO ACC for Counter Terrorism
Christopher Greany Detective Chief Superintendent (NDEU)
Richard May: Detective Chief Inspector (NPOIU)
David Hutcheson (now believed to work for the Met): Detective Inspector
Ian Ackerley (now retired) ?
Andy Robbins (currently head? of NDET): Detective Chief Inspector
John Parkinson (West Yorkshire constabulary, then counter-terrorism etc): Acting Assistant Chief Constable
Roger Pearce UCO, then SDS Commander, then head of Special Branch

Also:

  • ? Bateman (assumed to be Nottinghamshire Constabulary): Detective Inspector
  • ? Nightingale (assumed to be Nottinghamsire Constabulary): Detective Chief Inspector
  • ? Hedley (NDET): Detective Inspector
  • Adrian Pearson (Nottinghamshire Constabulary): Detective Superintendent
  • Andrew Roberts (Nottinghamshire Constabulary): Detective Inspector
  • Nigel Malik (Nottinghamshire Constabulary): Detective Constable
  • Manjeet Matharu (‘Civilian Investigator’, Nottinghamshire Constabulary)
  • Mark Zajac (Nottinghamshire Constabulary): Detective Constable
  • Neil James (retired): Detective Chief Superintendent
  • ? Wilson: Detective Superintendent
  • ? Pavey:Assistant Chief Constabl
  • Phil Trendle (British Transport Police): Superintendent
  • ? Flood: Chief Inspector
  • ? Trimble (believed assigned to Special Branch): Detective Sergean
  • Colin? Sampson: Assistant Chief Constable
  • ? Young: Detective Superintendent
  • ? Mitchell: Chief Superintendent (NPOIU)
  • Maria Smith (Detective Superintendent): NPOIU
  • John Parkinson: Acting ACC

Submissions made by UCOs who intend to attend Inquiry (via their code names):

N10 (Bob Lambert): Open Application; Draft Order; Personal Statement
N14 (Jim Boyling): Open Application; Draft Order; Open Application
N15 (anonymous): Draft Order; Personal Statement
N58 (anonymous): Open Application; Draft Order; Personal Statement
N81 (anonymous: Open Application; Draft Order; Personal Statement
N16 (anonymous): Open Application; Draft Order; Personal Statement
N26 (anonymous): Open Application; Draft Order; Personal Statement
N123 (anonymous): Open Application; Draft Order; Personal Statement
N15, N16, N26, N58, N81 and N123: Gisted Risk Assessment
N15, N16, N123, N26, N519 (anonymous), N58 and N81: Open application (and submissions)

Out of over 200 listed as core participants for the Inquiry, only 14 are UCOs – 6 less than the above UCOs identified. None of the above supervisors are listed.

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