Most of the revelations about Britain’s political secret police have involved Bob Lambert. As an undercover officer in the Special Demonstration Squad, Lambert infiltrated London Greenpeace and co-wrote the leaflet that triggered the McLibel trial – a fact which, like his existence, was kept from the court. He had a long-term relationship with Jacqui, fathering a son that he abandoned and had a second serious relationship. He went through a prosecution under his false identity. He has been named in parliament as the firebomber of a department store whilst in his animal rights activist persona, though he has strenuously denied the charge.
He went on to be manager of the SDS, overseeing officers such as Peter Francis who says he was tasked to ‘find dirt’ to discredit Stephen Lawrence’s family, and Jim Boyling who, following in his mentor’s footsteps, had children with a woman he spied on and caused a miscarriage of justice by going to court in his fake identity.
These days Lambert holds two academic posts, using what is euphemistically called his ‘counter terrorism’ experience to train tomorrow’s police managers at the University of St Andrews and London Metropolitan University.
At the COPS meeting at London Met earlier this month a local group, Islington Against Police Spies, announced their intention to campaign for Lambert to be removed from his post. They have organised a picket of the university (Tower Building, 166-220 Holloway Road,
London N7 8DB) for this Friday, 28 November, from noon until 2pm.
See their post for more details on Lambert and the campaign.
Defend the Right to Protest have organised a one day conference in London on Sunday 16 November. Under the banner We Do Not Consent, the programme includes many people involved in the exposure and campaiging on the undercover policing issue, as well as justice campaigns for thise killed in custody, trade union struggles, anti-fracking campaigns, and protesters rights groups.
In Britain years of campaigning have exposed the extent of injustices past and present: the fitting-up of striking miners who took on Thatcher, the appalling response to the Hillsborough disaster, police spying on Stephen Lawrence’s family and the treatment of women activists by undercover cops. Those seeking accountability face a long, hard struggle with many powerful institutions ranged against them.
Now we see fresh attacks on our civil liberties. Despite the death of Ian Tomlinson in 2009, demonstrators continue to be kettled and physically abused by police. Trade unionists are hemmed in by anti-union laws and face further threats to their rights to strike and demonstrate. Legal aid cuts are stripping away people’s ability to challenge state policies and abuses. On top of this the Conservatives have pledged to withdraw from the European Convention on Human Rights.
Austerity, escalating inequality and the “war on terror” form a wider context to this assault. Protests, occupations, organising and solidarity are the only tools we have to fight back and raise alternatives – whether it is in Ferguson, Hong Kong, Cairo or here in Britain.
It’s hoped this conference will provide a space where we can come together to discuss what’s going on, share experiences, equip ourselves to defend our basic rights and think about how to build a stronger movement against injustice for the battles ahead.
Tickets are only £5 (£3 unwaged, £10 solidarity price). More info here.