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Police Spies Out of Lives

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Nov 27 2013 19:02
Police Spies Out of Lives

Just some info about the ongoing legal case being brought by eight women against the Metropolitan Police and the Association of Chief Police Officers.
I thought I'd post the link to the site for the support group for women's legal action against British undercover police. There are probably already references on Libcom about this case but I though it would be useful to post the link to the site so that people can keep up to date with the case.

From the Police Spies Out of Lives website:

We are supporting the legal action by eight women deceived into long term intimate relationships with undercover police officers who were infiltrating environmental and social justice campaign groups.

http://policespiesoutoflives.org.uk/

Recent news about the case:

http://policespiesoutoflives.org.uk/adv-20-21-nov/

https://www.facebook.com/policespiesoutoflives

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Dec 7 2013 05:18

It is well worth reading the transcript of the oral evidence presented to the home affairs parliamentary committee, presented by three of the women affected by the placement of undercover policemen in long term relationships.

The performance of those giving evidence is extremely focused, all the more impressive given the upsetting and highly personal nature of the accounts.

Particularly well dealt with is the issue of institutionalised sexism in the police force, not only at the level of the agents, but also the commanding officers permitting or instructing the formation of the relationships by the agents, all of whom were already married.

transcript wrote:
There was an interesting interview with Peter Bleksley, who was an undercover policeman, on Radio 5 a couple of months ago. He said that he had slept with a target in his investigations. He mentioned on the radio that she was a very attractive woman, and the radio presenter said, "Would you have slept with this person if it had been a man?" and he said, "No, I’m not gay." I think that answers the question. This is not about a need to do it. It is about a desire to do it. They have the power and they think they can get away with it. That is what it is about.

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Dec 7 2013 05:17

They also maintain their integrity particularly well in response to questions on 'violence'.

"Have any of you ever supported the use of violence in a political cause?"

transcript wrote:
...

Lisa: One of the campaigns I was involved in was against an arms fair, which is against international violence.

Alison: I believe in self-defence against fascist violence.

Chair: Clare?

Clare: I have already answered this question, and I feel that these questions are a bit like a woman walking home in a short skirt or late at night. Does that make it her fault if she gets raped? It is not a relevant question. The eight of us are from a variety of backgrounds and none of us-

...

Clare: Okay. Well, I was involved with London Greenpeace, which campaigned against violence and oppression and was actually trying to create a fair and more just society for everybody.

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Dec 8 2013 12:39

Thanks for the link leomarinus.
You are right about the women's integrity. Their bravery is also remarkable.

It may not be long before vindictive stories are circulated in the media.

We can only hope that the women in this case get the maximum amount of support and practical back-up from anarchists.

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Dec 15 2013 10:47

Soon there will be news on the situation for the women involved in this legal battle:

"UPDATE: The hearing previously scheduled for 20 or 21 November has now been postponed. We will send out a new date as son as we hear."

"After a year-long battle against one secret court, the women face new obstructions and obstacles from the police, and a fresh fight against secrecy."

Police Spies Out of Lives

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Jan 15 2014 16:30

Update on the Police Spies Out of Lives website:

"Whistleblower (an ex-cop) and Channel 4 threatened by police"

"Senior Police are trying to force Channel 4 to hand over documents and unseen footage arising from their interviews with Peter Francis, a former undercover officer who turned whistleblower."

"Peter Francis featured in a Dispatches documentary The Police’s Dirty Secret, broadcast in June 2013. The documentary included his meeting with Helen Steel and Belinda Harvey, two of the claimants in this case, where they discussed the activities of the [police] unit and the use of undercover relationships."

"During the programme he also made shocking revelations about police spying on the family of murdered teenager Stephen Lawrence."

"Francis has offered to assist the women in their claim against the police and has already provided a statement to help them in challenging the police’s so-called “Neither Confirm Nor Deny” (NCND) policy. The police threat to use the Official Secrets Act and failure to offer protection to whistleblowers raises serious concerns that the police are seeking to undermine this case and prevent the whole truth from emerging."

http://policespiesoutoflives.org.uk/whistleblower-and-channel-4-threaten...

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Jan 22 2014 08:56

The Police Spies Out of Lives has another update:

Quote:
Drax Protestors Speak Out Against Undercover Police Secrecy.

Quote:
The UK’s top criminal court has today overturned the convictions of 29 climate change activists who blockaded a train delivering coal to Drax power station in 2008. The convictions were quashed after it was revealed that evidence gathered by undercover police officer Mark Kennedy had been withheld from the original trial. We applaud the success […]

This wider issue of police cover-ups is very relevant to the eight women who are fighting this case, as they face a major court hearing this spring

http://policespiesoutoflives.org.uk/drax-protestors-speak-out-against-un...

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Jan 24 2014 17:02

UPDATE!

From the Police Spies Out of Lives website:

Joint statement: No faith in Herne; call for full public inquiry

Quote:
This last autumn the women who are bringing this case, and their solicitors, met with other individuals, organisations and lawyers affected by undercover police operations. A statement (see below) below was issued as a result.

In the statement, the signatories – including those involved in this case – emphasise that they have “no faith in Operation Herne” (the official police inquiry into the activities of the Special Demonstration Squad) “nor any of the often secret, internal police or prosecutor reviews” and call for an “independent public inquiry” which “must have full powers to compel police officers to give evidence”.
Full Statement:

We the undersigned are a mixture of individuals, organisations and lawyers affected by undercover police operations or representing people who believe that they have been the targets of undercover policing

In June this year the public reacted with shock and outrage to revelations that undercover police surveillance was used against members of Stephen Lawrence’s family, to find “dirt” that could discredit them.

This is yet another revelation about the nature and extent of secret policing in Britain, showing decades long spying on and interference with political movements and campaigns. In addition to efforts to spy upon or smear people such as the Lawrence family who have lost loved ones, particular disgust has been expressed at the gross intrusion of undercover officers forming intimate sexual relationships with some of those upon whom they were spying; at the use of the identities of dead children to obtain cover; and at police links with the blacklisting of trade union members. It has also become apparent that many criminal convictions have been rendered unsafe as a result of misconduct by the police and prosecutors.

We have no faith in Operation Herne nor any of the up to 16 often secret, internal police or prosecutor reviews. They are not sufficiently transparent, robust or independent to satisfy public concern and they do not come close to addressing all of the issues raised.

The public is entitled to know what has been going on in their name and paid for by their taxes. We therefore call for an independent public inquiry into all the revelations that undercover policing has been used against political protest and campaigns. This inquiry must have full powers to compel police officers to give evidence. Such political policing has no place in a democratic society and a mechanism must be found to ensure that such unjustified conduct does not continue into the future.

http://policespiesoutoflives.org.uk/joint-statement-no-faith-in-herne-ca...

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Jan 25 2014 19:34

A new update on the Police Spies Out of Lives website.

There is now a set of dates for the next stage in this case.
The next hearing will start on ONE of the following dates: March 18, 19 or 20.

Advance Notice: Hearing scheduled for mid-March 2014.

Quote:
This is the hearing which was postponed from last November, and involves a fresh fight against secrecy:

- Five of the women will face an attempt by the police to have their common law claims struck out.

- These are the common law claims of “deceit, assault, misfeasance in public office and negligence” made by the women who were deceived into long-term intimate relationships with undercover officers.

For further information please check the Police Spies Out of Lives for ways of supporting the women who are engaged in this legal battle against the Metropolitan Police and the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO):

http://policespiesoutoflives.org.uk/hearing-march-2014/

Regular updates also on: Police Spies Out of Lives: Facebook

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Jan 27 2014 18:02

The support group have produced a PDF version of a leaflet that can be downloaded and printed out:

Quote:
Please print copies of this leaflet and distribute, and share it on social media and online campaign networks.

http://policespiesoutoflives.org.uk/uploads/2013/09/Leaflet.pdf

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Feb 18 2014 22:09

Just posting an update:

Quote:
Helen Steel and Harriet Wistrich to speak at public meeting 27 Feb, London

Quote:
One of the women in this case, Helen Steel, and the solicitor for this case, Harriet Wistrich, will both be speaking at a public meeting is to take place in London on Thursday 27 February 2014. As we announced in January, several individuals and groups affected by undercover policing have joined forces to call for a public inquiry. This meeting is to launch COPS – Campaign Opposing Police Surveillance.

http://campaignopposingpolicesurveillance.wordpress.com/

Please pass this event information on to your friends and networks – the leaflet artwork is displayed below.

Don’t forget to book: we have been advised by the organisers that the event may be oversubscribed.

http://policespiesoutoflives.potager.org/public-mtng-27feb2014/

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Feb 26 2014 13:45

The support group are encouraging solidarity actions in mid-March. They are thinking of a picket outside Royal Courts of Justice on Wednesday 19th March, 9am-10am but this date has not been confirmed yet.

Quote:
What can I do?:

*Picket outside Royal Courts of Justice
*Gather with your friends in solidarity
*Support us on social media
*Sign up to the supporters’ email list
*Add your name to the ‘Where We Stand’ solidarity statement
*If you are a journalist or blogger, ask to be added to the press list

PICKET – LONDON
Picket outside Royal Courts of Justice, The Strand, London, WC2 (Holborn or Temple tube)
9am-10am
Wednesday 19th March - this date is provisional since the court date hasn’t been announced. It could be the day before or after. Please sign up to the email list on the website for details nearer the time or follow us on facebook and twitter.

Here is a PDF leaflet that can be circulated via any networks that come to mind:

http://policespiesoutoflives.org.uk/...LonMar2014.pdf

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Mar 5 2014 19:36

UPDATE:

Quote:
London – Picket outside court – 18th March, 9am (confirmed)

Please share amongst London friends and networks:

Picket outside Royal Courts of Justice, The Strand, London, WC2 (Holborn or Temple tube)

9am – 10am, Tuesday 18th March

http://policespiesoutoflives.potager.org/londonmarch2014/

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Mar 7 2014 14:57
Spanner Films on Fri 07/03/2014 10:59 wrote:

Press Release: 7th March 2014

The Age of Stupid team joins forces with Simon Beaufoy and Tony Garnett for true-life undercover cops TV drama

Spanner Films announces UNDERCOVERS, a four-part television drama series based on the incredible true story of the police spies who infiltrated British activist groups over the last 50 years and the women who had long-term relationships and even children with the spies.

The Home Secretary Theresa May yesterday announced that there will be a full Judge-led Public Inquiry into these undercover police, who also spied on Stephen Lawrence’s family.

The UNDERCOVERS writing team is Slumdog Millionaire and Full Monty’s Simon Beaufoy, who recently scored another smash hit with The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, together with Age of Stupid and McLibel writer/director Franny Armstrong, and former Chumbawamba singer/lyricist Alice Nutter, screenwriter of My Generation and The Accused, who was herself an activist for two decades and knew some of the police spies as friends. Director & cast TBC.

Beaufoy says “This true story of love, politics and betrayal has more drama, suspense and moral complexity than anything we writers can ever dream up. I think it has the potential to be a smash hit in the UK and abroad”.

One of the true-life stories is that of activist Helen Steel who was planning a future with her partner of two years, “John Barker”, convinced he was the love of her life. After he disappeared suddenly, not knowing whether he was alive or dead, she spent 18 years searching as far afield as South Africa and New Zealand. Eventually she discovered he was in fact married police officer John Dines, who had taken the name John Barker from a child who had died of leukaemia aged eight, without the parents knowing anything about their dead child’s identity being used by the police.

Helen went on to become one of the two defendants in the infamous McDonald’s libel trial in the ‘90s – the longest-running court case in English history. UNDERCOVERS creator Franny Armstrong followed Helen’s story for almost 10 years in her multi-award-winning documentary “McLibel”, seen by 26 million viewers. Helen is part of the Campaign Opposing Police Surveillance, ”COPS” (campaignopposingpolicesurveillance.wordpress.com) as well as one of eight women taking legal action against the police (policespiesoutoflives.org.uk).

Franny Armstrong and producer Lizzie Gillett pioneered the now-ubiquitous crowd-funding finance model back in 2004, raising £900,000 for their climate change film The Age of Stupid, which reached No 1 at the UK box office, won a Guinness World Record for the biggest-ever premiere, caused the UK government to change its policy on coal power stations and led to the formation of the 10:10 campaign (1010uk.org) in 42 countries. Franny was named one of the World’s Top 100 women by the Guardian and one of London’s 1000 most influential people by The Evening Standard.

Franny and Lizzie have developed a new crowdfunding model for UNDERCOVERS. The first financing round (£150K) is fully subscribed and the next (£3 million) launches in April 2014.

Franny says “There are very few stories compelling enough to dedicate five years of my life to, but the deeper I get into the world of Undercovers, the more committed I become to making a heart-stopping drama which touches and angers millions of people all round the world.”

Legendary producer Tony Garnett (Cathy Come Home, Kes), has come out of retirement to act as Executive Producer: "The arbitrary power of the police seems free of all constraint. They casually ruin the lives of idealistic protesters - mere collateral damage; they routinely lie under oath in court; they trample on ancient, hard won liberties. Maybe when we see their actions brought to life on screen we will collectively be galvanised to assert our rights over them."

John Battsek from Passion Pictures, who has produced two Oscar-winning films (Searching for Sugarman, One Day in September) joins the team as Executive Producer: “TV shows like Breaking Bad, Borgen and House of Cards are combining impeccable writing, fabulous casting and innovative finance and distribution models to herald a new golden age of TV drama. Undercovers dreams of joining this list and has an ace up its sleeve – our story is true. ”

Four further seasons – each focussing on a spy-activist couple from a different activist group in a different decade - are planned if season one is a success.

Contact:
Lizzie Gillett, Producer
lizzie (at) undercovers.tv
07789 862 011
@lizziegillett
@frannyarmstrong

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Mar 13 2014 21:44
Quote:
PRESS RELEASE: Metropolitan police withdraw motion to strike out womens’ case, as legal battle continues:

http://policespiesoutoflives.potager.org/press-release-metropolitan-poli...

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Mar 18 2014 20:28

March 18: PRESS STATEMENT: "Women condemn ongoing police obstructions to legal case"

"Today’s hearing has closed after a long debate in court over who will have to disclose what information when. The women have just issued this statement via their solicitor, Harriet Wistrich."

http://policespiesoutoflives.potager.org/hearing-march-2014-statement/

A few photos and low resolution video clips of the solidarity picket at the court today.

http://policespiesoutoflives.potager.org/

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Jun 4 2014 17:23

PRESS RELEASE: Court Hearing 5-6th June, London.

"Court to hear issues against Met police over SDS deployments, as women issue legal challenge to NCND."

* Women’s legal action over undercover relationships
* Court hearing 5-6 June 2014, Royal Courts of Justice, Strand, London"

"On Thursday 5 June and Friday 6 June 2014, the main issues in a case against the Metropolitan Police over undercover relationships will be laid out for the first time in open court. The High Court will hear an application to require the Metropolitan police to drop their “neither confirm nor deny” (NCND) stance. NCND has been one of many delaying tactics used by the Met to maintain secrecy over the legal action against them, despite the very serious allegations that have been made by the Claimants."

"Eight women are bringing common law claims of assault, deceit, negligence and misfeasance in public office; this hearing concerns five of the women. The officers’ deployments were part of the Special Demonstration Squad (SDS), which was infiltrating environmental and social justice campaign groups. Several officers entered into long-term relationships, causing lasting disruption and psychological damage."

"Despite widespread public outcry over what appears to be a systematic pattern of abuse, the Metropolitan Police have not entered a defence against the claims, instead resorting to a series of delaying tactics and bids for secrecy, including their so-called Neither Confirm Nor Deny “policy” (NCND). The Met police withdrew their application to strike out the Claimants’ claims last March after the Home Secretary announced a public inquiry."

"Harriet Wistrich, solicitor for the eight women said: “This will be the first hearing in open court when the main issues will be set out in the case against the Metropolitan police over the deployments of SDS officers. We will be providing detailed evidence of what the Claimants have discovered and what is already now known about the four undercover officers in the case which undermines the MPS’ reliance on NCND. NCND appears to be a smokescreen to cover up the extent of wrong-doing, and should not be permitted.”

http://policespiesoutoflives.potager.org/5-6june-sds-ncnd/

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Nov 26 2014 18:05

Sack Bob Lambert

Picket London Metropolitan University

This Friday 28th November

12.00 – 2.00pm

Outside London Metropolitan University Tower, 166-220 Holloway Road, 
London N7 8DB

Islington Against Police Spies demands that London Metropolitan University sack lecturer Bob Lambert - Police spy, agent provocateur, exploiter of women.
- See more at:

http://theoccupiedtimes.org/?p=13640

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Dec 22 2014 10:51

Just posting this as an update not because I agree with what he's written.

Guardian journo Nick Cohen has written an article for Comment is Free in The Observer.

"When you are in a radical movement, it’s wise to assume that the person arguing for the most extreme action is an agent provocateur."

"Why must we tolerate police spies in our midst?"

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/dec/21/why-tolerate-police...

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Dec 30 2014 01:51

Nick Cohen wrote: "When you are in a radical movement, it’s wise to assume that the person arguing for the most extreme action is an agent provocateur."

When you're in a radical movement it's wise to exercise your critical faculties. The person advocating "the most extreme action" (which is a loaded way of putting it) could've been Marx, or could be an advanced thinker today and product of the revolutionary proletariat.

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Jan 8 2015 10:55

Apologies for the posting of links to various articles in the The Guardian, The Telegraph etc.
I suppose this thread is really just a place for updates on the issues and news surrounding the fight by eight women against the Metropolitan Police and The Association of Chief Police Officers. Anyway here's a couple more articles that may be of interest:

University under pressure to sack controversial former undercover spy Bob Lambert

Police stole identities of dead children as old as 17

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Jan 18 2015 14:54

Another up-date.
This picket is part of the ongoing campaign to get Bob Lambert sacked. Lambert is the ex Special Branch cop who was part of the Special Demonstration Squad and now works as a college lecturer at London Metropolitan
University.
Here's the info about the picket:

Quote:
Islington Against Police Spies:

SACK BOB LAMBERT!
Former Police Spy, Serial Liar & Exploiter of Women

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

Picket London Met

Friday January 30th
12.00 – 2.00pm

LMU Tower, 166-220 Holloway Road, 
London N7 8DB

Bring placards, banners, anything to make noise…

In November Islington Against Police Spies (IAPS) held a lively picket
of London Metropolitan University in Holloway, launching our campaign to
demand the sacking or resignation of Bob Lambert. Former police spy,
Special Branch manipulator, abuser of women, agent provocateur, Lambert
is now lecturing at London Met on policing and criminology.
For a brief account of Bob Lambert’s dubious record, check out the PDF
leaflet attached to this email. Which you can also spread as wide as
possible…

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

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

WHAT YOU CAN DO:

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

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

• John Raftery
, Vice-Chancellor; email: 
j.raftery@londonmet.ac.uk


Tel: 020 7133 2001




• Peter McCaffery
, Deputy Vice-Chancellor; 
email:
P.McCaffery@londonmet.ac.uk. Tel: 020 7133 2401



• Jonathan Woodhead, 
Executive Officer; 
email:
j.woodhead@londonmet.ac.uk
. Tel: 020 7133 2042



• Paul Bowler
, Deputy Chief Executive; email: 
P.Bowler@londonmet.ac.uk


Tel: 020 7133 2031



• Peter Garrod
, University Secretary and Clerk to the Board;


email: p.garrod@londonmet.ac.uk
. Tel: 020 7133 2004


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


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

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

For more info on undercover police spies see:[/i]
http://campaignopposingpolicesurveillance.com
@copscampaign
http://policespiesoutoflives.org.uk/

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Jan 22 2015 10:58

Here's a link to a very short clip (couple of minutes) from a BBC London News item on 20th January:

"Ex-Met Police spy Bob Lambert 'should be sacked' as lecturer"
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-30908597

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Jan 22 2015 11:17

Out of interest, has the UCU branch at his university been approached or had owt to say on it?

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Jan 22 2015 16:08

http://www.mintpressnews.com/6-ways-police-used-sex-infiltrate-disrupt-p...

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Apr 27 2016 15:34

‘Alison’ one of the eight women that sued the Met police writes a critique of the BBC series 'Undercover'.

https://policespiesoutoflives.org.uk/bbc-undercover-series/

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Apr 27 2016 15:46

Also some other news from about a week ago.
(sorry for the long quotes)

Cop Investigated for firebombing.

"Former Special Demonstration Squad officer – and later unit chief – Bob Lambert is to be investigated by police over allegations he firebombed a department store."

"Stealing the identity of a dead child called Bob Robinson, Lambert went undercover to infiltrate animal rights groups in the mid-1980s. In 1986 he co-wrote the McLibel leaflet that triggered the longest trial in English history, though his involvement was kept secret from court throughout."

"The following year Lambert was part of a small, secret group of animal rights activists who planted incendiary devices in branches of fur-selling department store Debenhams. They were set to ignite during the night, triggering the sprinkler system and dousing the stock – it was designed to be economic sabotage rather than an attack on people."

http://campaignopposingpolicesurveillance.com/2016/04/20/bob-lambert-inv...

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Apr 27 2016 20:40
rat wrote:
Also some other news from about a week ago.
(sorry for the long quotes)

http://campaignopposingpolicesurveillance.com/2016/04/20/bob-lambert-inv...

Don't be sorry this is very interesting and important stuff, and I'm glad your keeping us informed here.

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Apr 28 2016 18:07

What makes my blood run cold, is the thought that there probably have been many other cases of undercover police conning women into relationships which haven't been exposed yet.

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May 2 2016 19:54

Analysis from Helen Steel on the “Neither Confirm Nor Deny” policy of the police:

"Clear, comprehensive and authoritative, her speech ended with a round of applause from the court."

http://campaignopposingpolicesurveillance.com/2016/03/30/helen-steel-dem...

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May 3 2016 19:57

The Pitchford inquiry into Undercover Policing has published some document on an aspect of the investigation.

This text below has just been put out by the Police Spies Out Of Lives organisation. There seems to be disappointment but the report still has to be analysed to work out what the implications are.

Police Spies Out Of Lives:

"Pitchford's ruling on secrecy around the Public Inquiry into Undercover Policing has been published. It is lengthy, and complex, although they have published the over view below."

"Pitchford says that the presumption is that the Inquiry should be held in public, but leaves it wide open for many requests for secrecy to be entered. He plans to respond to each request about secrecy (a request for a 'restriction order') individually and rejects the police's request for blanket use of their policy of 'neither confirm nor deny'.
However, there is dismay that the ruling does not include releasing the cover-names of officers, and that Pitchford does not accept that the inquiry has a duty to disclose to the public where someone’s privacy has been breached by undercover policing."

The legal teams, and core participants in the Inquiry will be digesting the ruling over the next couple of days, so expect more reaction coming soon."