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Peter Hain, Spycops Inquiry: “staggering scale” of covert monitoring of protestors.

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Peter Hain accuses undercover police of lying over reports on apartheid campaign

Former minister tells public inquiry of ‘staggering scale’ of covert monitoring of peaceful protesters.


The former cabinet minister Peter Hain has accused undercover police officers of lying in their secret reports about the campaign he and others ran against apartheid and racism.

The Labour politician told a public inquiry the officers “very rarely told the truth” and exaggerated the threat of violence posed by the campaigners in what he called “straight lies and pernicious smears”.

He repeatedly accused police spies of fabricating their reports on him and the other protesters in order to “justify their role or potentially to damage their targets, like me”.

On Friday, Hain became the first politician to give evidence to the public inquiry looking into the use of undercover police to spy on more than 1,000 political groups since 1968.

Peter Hain is not joking. Those who have read some of the documents, which cover other targets, are truly staggered at their detail and scale. They include other people widely known on the left. (Thanks DW).

UCPI Tranche 1 (Phase 2) Opening Statements Transcript – Day 3

Ordinary people’ were targeted by secret surveillance.

Camden Journal.

ALBERT Beale is one of more than 100 activists listed as “core participants” of the second phase of the undercover policing inquiry, due to open later this month.

The witnesses include environmental and anti-nuclear activists, political campaigners to anti-racists, to “ordinary people” caught up in campaigns for justice.

Represented by Camden lawyers firm Hodge Jones and Allen, they are demanding answers about the Met’s Special Demonstration Squad (SDS) tactics of “collecting information without limits” and “spying and reporting on their lives, with records and data stored for decades without any justifiable purpose”.

The SDS was set up initially to spy on protest groups in a bid to stop violent uprisings following Vietnam war demos in the late 1960s.

The legal team’s opening statement to the inquiry said: “You will hear how ordinary people campaigning against racism and police misconduct were targeted for spying by undercover policing – apparently with a view to finding ways to discredit their legitimate campaigns.”

The inquiry has heard that police surveillance was not only “politicised” against particular left-wing groups, but that interference from infiltrating officers actually “hampered” campaigns, sometimes diverting causes away from original goals.

In other evidence, undercover officers (UCOs) – using the codenames Jason Bishop and Jackie Anderson – are revealed to have been arrested themselves “a number of times” while infiltrating the groups they had spied on. Many “spy cops” assumed the names of children who had died in the past.

They infiltrated the Peace camp at Aldermaston, the International Socialists and Socialist Workers Party, and several black justice campaigns including one for Winston Silcott, who was wrongfully convicted of the murder of PC Keith Blakelock.

The New Journal reported last November about one SDS officer – codenamed “Dick Epps” – was given a mission to infiltrate the groups in Camden Town.

He would regularly sit in the back of political meetings in Camden pubs, jotting down notes of who was attending and taking details of car numbers plates and style of dress.

In a statement to the inquiry, Mike Schwarz of Hodge, Jones and Allen Solicitors, said: “The core participants want to know the truth about what happened to them. So far many have been told almost nothing about the way they were targeted for surveillance. They have many questions, and after years of waiting they are desperate for answers.”

Written by Andrew Coates

April 30, 2021 at 3:10 pm

What is left anti-semitism and how can it be confronted? Report on 13th of September Meeting.

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 Confronting Anti-Semitism.

Last night there was a Zoom meeting, “What is left anti-semitism and how can it be confronted”, Steve Lapsley (speaking in a personal capacity) and Daniel Randall (Alliance for Workers’ Liberty).

The event began with Daniel Randall explaining the roots of left anti-semitism in the 19th century. He outlined the hostility to Jews amongst early socialists and radicals such as Proudhon, and Wilhelm Marr, a hatred that combined very old prejudice against the Jewish ‘race’ with attacks on ‘Jewish’ finance (I was reminded of Les juifs, rois de l’époquehistoire de la féodalité financière, Alphonse Toussenel. 1847. The utopian socialist author was a disciple of Charles Fourier). The picture of secretive state-making Jewish power and money  was an influential theme across the European left for the rest of the century. Randall noted, it was the original “socialism of fools” denounced by  August Bebel. It has no “emancipatory” message, just a mustering of hatred. 

The speaker showed this quote:


Randall then traced the history of Stalinist anti-semitism. This reached a peak in the last years of Stalin’s rule as an Egocrat. After initially backing the creation of the State of Israel the Soviet Leader fomented purges of Jewish Communist leaders in the Eastern glasis. His openly anti-Jewish ‘Doctors’ Plot left an imprint on Communist Parties. This could be extended to the fall-out from the  6 Day War in 1967.  and the embrace of the Palestinian cause by leftists in the 1970s. The decade saw the rise of a parallel form of leftism amongst a minority of Palestinians – a process that has ground to a halt in the new millennium with the rise of Hamas and Hezbollah.

One enduring trait is that  many see Israel as a uniquely reactionary state (out to influence world events)  and Jewish nationalism, ‘Zionism’  as a uniquely reactionary nationalism. As he pointed out, people do not talk about Turkey as the ‘Kemalist’ state or harp on and on about the nationalism of other countries rather than political parties or leaders in power. Randall did not discuss the political traditions on the Jewish left, such as the Bund, which were hostile to creating a Jewish national homeland. One can only observe that the Bund has, tragically, not been a mass force since the Shoah.

It was perfectly right to campaign for Palestinian rights, Randall argued, giving forceful examples or oppressive Israel government actions,  which recognising that for most Jewish people worldwide Israel itself was a “raft” of hope. While the internationalist left is not a promoter of nation states, we would support people’s human right to make their own decisions on this.

Those with long-standing acquaintance and friendship with Jewish people do not perhaps need talk of the “community” to know that most are strongly attached to Israel.  Yet you can still be surprised to find those, in the Labour Party, who are not aware of the depth of feeling this stirs up.

Steve Lapsley talked of his own – unhappy – experience of dealing with the former MP ‘anti-Zionist’ Chris Williamson, and his own Labour Party, within which some activists gave priority to the Palestine and Israel issue over all other international causes, and even British politics. He spoke of how even members of his Liberal Synagogue had become so incensed by what the problems with anti-Semitism in the Labour Party that it has caused him great pain.

In the discussion (TC did not contribute) there was some debate over Randall’s belief that administrative means were very far from the best way to deal with any indication of anti-Semitism. But can discussion be the only way to confront left anti-semitism? It was pointed out that some individuals are not deliberately provocative but held views and acted in way  incompatible  with  membership of a democratic socialist party.

The meeting was a model of clarity and genuine  debate.

Why Now?

There is a view that the recent LP problem was brought out not just because of these long-standing issues. When Jeremy Corbyn was elected leader the most ‘anti-Zionist’ campaigners on Palestine believed they would be able to take the Labour Party along with them and lead a campaign on Israel on their terms. They thought they were at a ANC moment (when anti South African apartheid campaigns became a mainstream priority). Believing Labour open to their movement, they were mortally offended to find that could not do this. Their own ultras reacted at the top of their voice. The valves opened.

Historic  anti-semitism lives on in conspiracy theories, the openly racist far right, and national populism.  It also has echos on the fringes of the ‘anti-globalist’ left and red-brown movements, like Alain Soral’s Shoah denying Égalité et Réconciliation. Stalinist and other ‘absolute anti-Zionist’ movements bear the imprint.

As if to illustrate the point Tony Greenstein’s latest ‘anti-Zionist’ crowing arrived on Facebook this morning.

And this got posted in the comments here, a link to Ian Donovan’s latest rantings,

Labour: A Racist Party led by Pogromists

The election of Keir Starmer as Labour’s leader in April was the revenge of Labour’s contingent of the neo-liberal bourgeois elite for the ‘aberration’ of Corbyn’s election in 2015.”
Truth seeking Donovan asks
the “question of how it is possible, in terms of Marxist sociology and materialist analysis, that a far-right, bourgeois supremacist trend such as Zionism can come to play such an unusual role in the British Labour Party. Why is it that all candidates for the Labour leadership election that were voted on by the membership should swear what amounts to an oath of loyalty to the Board of Deputies of British Jews (BOD).

He finds that,

the role of Zionism in a dissolving bourgeois workers party whose bureaucrats and privileged layers are in transition from being lackeys of finance capital in the old sense, with its more concentrated industry and proletariat, to being lackeys of today’s imperialism with its qualitative enhancement of financialised capital.

Donovan’s New Course:

The strategic aim of Marxists in working with layers of militants such as those who are currently leaving the Labour Party in droves and beginning to coalesce around initiatives such as that of Chris Williamson, has to be to create a genuine working class party, where the functionaries are materially and politically subordinate to the working class membership, not the other way round.

A key part of the political basis for such a party must be to draw a very hard line against Zionism, which is playing an insidious role as an anti-working class, destructive far-right force, seeking to destroy any trace of working class politics and consciousness in Labour. 

So ‘Zionism’ is responsible for “dissolving” Labour and making it into a party of “lackys of imperialism”  etc etc etc….

For an explanation of this mindset:

See: The left and anti-semitism. Daniel Randall. 

A video of the meeting will be available.

Written by Andrew Coates

September 14, 2020 at 11:41 am

Tankies Fuck Off: Anarchists “Make enemies” of the Chinese Communist Party and “any leftist willing to challenge Washington’s destabilisation efforts from the core of empire.”

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“Vile”, Says Alex Rubinstein of the Radical Left  Grayzone.

Always ahead of the curve Spiked magazine carried this story yesterday,

Why the West must stop bashing China. Phil Mullan.

In words dear to the heart of every sovereigntist and national populist Mullan wrote,

 “….what is illegitimate and should be challenged is other governments’ interference in China’s own affairs. Just as problems in the US are for American people to resolve, and problems within Britain are for British people to sort out, the same applies with regard to China’s national sovereignty.

Repression against Chinese people, the same as the repression meted out by authoritarian regimes anywhere, will not be resolved by other governments or international bodies stepping in with economic or other weaponry. External state intervention in a country’s affairs is a repudiation of democracy at the higher nation-state level.”


As anger grows one can understand the outrage at the pipsqueaks who carried out this action:

They certainly look xenophobic!

The AWL Paper Solidarity gives the latest,

Chen Ying.


The National Security Law would punish acts deemed to constitute secession, subversion, terrorism, collusion and foreign interference in Hong Kong. It bypasses the Basic Law, Hong Kong’s mini constitution established in 1997 as the basis of the One Country Two Systems framework. It cuts through the Common Law approach to justice, and undermines a judiciary which is supposed to be independent of the executive branch. The Chief Executive has powers to nominate which judge should preside over specific National Security court cases. Even within the government’s inner circle, the Executive Council, opinion is divided whether there will be jury trials for National Security court cases. In special cases, China can take over a case and conduct the trial in the mainland instead of in Hong Kong.

All parties on the democratic camp have already declared their opposition to this National Security law. The next move from Beijing is now expected to be using the National Security Law to disqualify pro-democracy candidates in the forthcoming September Legislative Council elections, unless they swear allegiance to this new law.

Written by Andrew Coates

June 25, 2020 at 9:10 am