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Britain’s Secret Political Police

Britain’s Secret Political Police

A who’s who of the U.K. radical left over the past half century was infiltrated by “spycops,” reports Asa Winstanley, who has personal involvement with this story. 

New Scotland Yard, headquarters of the Metropolitan Police Service, the territorial police force responsible for policing most of London. (Can Pac Swire, Flickr, CC BY-NC 2.0)

In December 2018 I received a text message that changed my life.

“Do you know anyone involved in [the] UK group of [the] International Solidarity Movement?”  it read. A public inquiry had released the name of “an undercover officer who apparently infiltrated them – Rob Harrison.”

Long buried memories slowly began to surface. I knew that name.

In my mid-20s I had indeed been involved with the International Solidarity Movement, known as ISM, first as a volunteer in Palestine and later with their U.K. chapter, ISM London. Rob had been a friend – or so I’d thought. We’d drunk in the same pubs, I’d danced to the records he’d spun as a DJ at fundraisers and we’d endured the same interminable meetings together.

But all along he’d secretly been an undercover British police officer, leading a double life and reporting who-knows-what to the authorities.

I swiftly turned to my old emails and found dozens from “Robert Harrison.” He’d even offered to drive me to the airport on one trip to Palestine. Luckily, I had declined.

There was no doubt – it was the same man. The man we’d thought had been our friend had actually been a spy for the state all along.

Looking back at that text message now, I think I was in shock and experienced some sort of trauma. I processed all this by snapping into professional mode – it would make a great story. And I was well placed to tell it. I called around some of my old comrades.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

 

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