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.
Of course, this was all part of Lambert’s attempt at creating a new identity – that of a respectable academic, working closely to promote good relations between Muslims and non-Muslims. His new Muslim friends no doubt welcomed his overtures, little suspecting that Lambert’s entire working life had been a fraud. But Mr Lambert, in his arrogance, clearly forgot some of the basic rules of spycraft and happily – cockily – thrust himself centre-stage.
And, so, it was also in September 2011 that Lambert published a book, “Countering Al-Qaeda in London: Police and Muslims in Partnership’, on police efforts to deal with Muslim extremism in London. The Cordoba Foundation, a London-based Muslim Brotherhood related think-tank, promoted the parliamentary launch of the book, which clearly stated on the book jacket that Lambert had previously worked for Special Branch. This event was jointly organised with the Council for Arab-British Understanding and Jeremy Corbyn MP.
It is assumed that nothing of Lambert’s more ‘colourful’ undercover policing background was known or revealed to those whom he was attempting to befriend and ‘groom’ (i.e. exploit). Indeed, the typical spycops’ modus operandi – which Lambert had mastered both as a police officer and in his new guise – was simple: to be ‘nice’, helpful and to show empathy to those who were targeted. But it was less than a month after his very public book launch that Mr Lambert was finally – and spectacularly – stopped in his tracks and exposed by activists. Lambert was speaking at a conference, organised by Unite Against Fascism, to promote anti-racism and multiculturalism (again, all fitting in to his new persona). He was outed by members of London Greenpeace. (There is poetic justice here: using the alias “Bob Robinson”, Lambert had posed as an activist in London Greenpeace between 1984 and 1988 and was also responsible for writing the infamous McLibel leaflet.)
It was, perhaps, supremely ironic that one of the leading spycops in his post-policing ambitions not only allowed himself to be outed, but in doing so may well have helped expose his former colleagues in undercover policing and, subsequently, the entire spycops scandal.
Once Mr Corbyn had been made aware of Mr Lambert’s undercover activities he issued the following statement: “I worked with Bob Lambert around Finsbury Park Mosque, he was good in that role. Later I was interested in his book at the time and I was involved in the launch. But for all I know he could have had me under surveillance. I am looking forward to what the inquiry gives me and I think I should be given the full report without any redactions.”
Elsewhere Mr Corbyn gave a speech in the House of Commons on undercover policing, mentioning Mr Lambert: “The Guardian reported at great length on Saturday the behaviour of two undercover police officers, Bob Lambert and John Dines. Bob Lambert is known to some of us in this House and is a very clever operator—there is no question about that. It is also clear that during the undercover operations used against the Lawrence family and in the McLibel case and a number of other cases, senior officers in Scotland Yard must have known who was doing what and known of the disreputable personal behaviour of such people, and must still know. I hope the inquiry is not restricted within the police force but, in the words of my hon. Friend the Member for Eltham (Clive Efford), is open and public, and that heads roll at a high level in Scotland Yard for those who have covered up the truth and allowed smearing and injustice to go on for a very long time. Unless that inquiry gets to the bottom of these matters, there will be no credibility and no public confidence in policing.”
(A full transcript of the Commons speeches on this matter is here.)
In an email to the Islington Tribune, Lambert responded by saying: “I was employed by the Metropolitan Police from 1977 until 2007. To the best of my recollection, at no time during that employment was I involved in any kind of surveillance against Jeremy Corbyn.” But this statement only referred to himself and not to any of the officers under his supervision or within the SDS.
Merrick Badger, an activist with Islington Against Police Spies, commented: “Bob Lambert was running the unit [SDS]. He sent the spies out to do the work and was managing the unit. The spies in the 1990s were modelled into his image, using his methods developed in the 1980s. If spying on MPs was going on and he was the manager, then he is either complicit, or was at best incredibly negligent.”
Note: Lambert was (is?) also director of the European Research Muslim Centre (ERMC) along with Jonathan Githens-Mazer, his co-director. Interestingly the Cordoba Foundation, described by the Prime Minister in March 2008 as a ‘front for the Muslim Brotherhood’, donated £50,000 to the ERMC for the year 2009/10; and Islam Expo, whose registered directors and companies secretaries have a variety of links to the Brotherhood, another £50,000.
(For the wider context on the above saga, click here.)
B. Lambertism and the Quilliam Foundation
In 2015 the Quilliam Foundation published a report, “Counter-extremism: a decade on from 7/7”. It is almost entirely about the ideas and work of Bob Lambert and his entryist approach re the Muslim community. The report is authored by Jonathan Russell and Alex Theodosiou. In 2014 Russell wrote a White Paper on ‘Prevent’. Theodoiou is a researcher and writes on terorism matters.
Below is a quick insight into Lambertism, courtesy of the QF document (to save time, extracts are presented as visuals – the text does not require commentary)…
Firstly, Lambertism is characterised as the approach, adopted by Rob Lambett, of courting ‘non-violent extremists’ in order to counter radicalisation. In the document Lambert is described as the head of the Muslim Contact Unit (MCU): no mention of his former career as a spycop is given.
The document goes on to define Lambertism as follows…
The document includes a defence of Lambertism by Lambert himself:
But there are also criticisms of Lambertism…
Lambert refutes some of these criticisms…
And the document continues with further arguments, for and against – notably on pages 39-43.
Other papers discussing Lambertism include:
- “Europe’s New Security Dilemma”
- Why Lambert and Githens-Mazer are wrong on radicalisation
- A Dummy’s Guide to Lambertism
1 (ACPO) Police Prevent strategy document
2: Prevent implementation strategy