SpinWatch Supports the work of Bob Lambert, the Police Spy and Lobbyist

On David Miller’s SpinWatch site is an open letter to spy master Bob Lambert, soliciting him with an opportunity to clear his name in the face of recent “allegations”.

Miller opens the letter with some boilerplate text about being firmly opposed to “the infiltration of activist groups by the forces of the state, corporations and the private security industry”:

Spinwatch has – from the very beginning in 2004 – been involved in investigating the infiltration of activist groups by the forces of the state, corporations and the private security industry.  One of the earliest cases we examined was the infiltration of London Greenpeace, with which you have reportedly been associated. Since then we have done extended work on the infiltration of the Campaign Against the Arms Trade (The Threat Response Spy Files) and most recently on the 2010/11 case of police spy Mark Kennedy. We have done this work in close collaboration with the activists who have been infiltrated, destabilized and betrayed. Spinwatch stands in solidarity with the infiltrated.


Consequently, we think that you need to make a public statement confirming or denying the specific allegations so far made public.  In addition, if any of the allegations are true, you need to give an account of what you now think of your previous activities.  We repeat: In our view your current activities and your alleged past activities are not compatible.  If you now disavow any previous activities, you should also publically apologise to the activists who you allegedly betrayed.

But as you know, Bob Lambert has already confirmed that he was a member of the Special Branch when he was both ‘spy team leader’ and was himself involved as police spy when he personally inflitrated various left-wing groups including London Greenpeace. Have these salient facts passed over Miller’s head? Here, for Miller’s edification, is Lambert admitting as much on the pages of the Guardian:

Nor would I want to deny that the Met’s special branch undercover policing existed, or that it played a key role in countering political violence over a long period. Some of the bravest police officers I ever had the privilege to work with were undercover. Their work helped mount successful criminal prosecutions against groups and individuals engaged in a range of violent and threatening activities. And it is worth noting that the serious threats of violence many covert police officers face do not end with their operational deployments.

The undercover aspect of special branch work has been well reported byPeter Taylor in his groundbreaking BBC documentaries. What strikes me is the extent to which they record a shift away from counter-subversion in the 1970s and towards countering political violence and intimidation.

And yet, in spite of SpinWatch’s so-called credentials of opposition to police infiltration tactics, Miller is unusually keen to accept Lambert’s “apology” prima facie:

As part of my cover story so as to gain the necessary credibility to become involved in serious crime, I first built a reputation as a committed member of London Greenpeace, a peaceful campaigning group.

I apologise unreservedly for the deception I therefore practiced on law abiding members of London Greenpeace.

I also apologise unreservedly for forming false friendships with law abiding ctizens and in particular forming a long term relationship with [Name of person removed] who had every reason to think I was a committed animal rights activist and a genuine London Greenpeace campaigner.

I am grateful to Spinwatch for giving me an opportunity to apologise and also to begin a process on conflict resolution in this difficult and sensitive arena.

This will not be easy for any of us but as a result of the recent work I have undertaken with Spinwatch in defence of Muslim organisations, I am confident we can make progress.

So, there you go, SpinWatch seems to be perfectly willing to relax its principles on opposing police spying and Lobby groups in the case of Lambert. But why?

You only have to look at the East London Mosque website to find the answer. It’s an advertisement for an evening at East London Mosque for a 3-way book launch by these people. No prizes for guessing who the protagonists are:

Prof. David Miller
Professor of Sociology in the School of Applied Social Sciences, University of Strathclyde. He has written widely on propaganda, spin and lobbying and is a director of Spinwatch. His recent publications include: A Century of Spin: How Public Relations Became the Cutting Edge of Corporate Power (Pluto Press, 2008), Thinker, Faker, Spinner, Spy: Corporate PR and the Assault on Democracy (Pluto Press, 2007), and recently coauthored Cold War on British Muslims (Spinwatch).

Dr Robert Lambert
An academic with a police career in counter-terrorism (1977-2007), who in the aftermath of 9/11 established the Muslim Contact Unit to work emphatically and in partnership with London Muslims.
He is co-director of the European Muslim Research Centre at the Exeter University and lecturer at the Centre for the Study of Terrorism and Political Violence, University of St. Andrews.

Rizwaan Sabir
A doctoral researcher at the University of Strathclyde, researching Islam in British and Scottish government policy with a special focus on counter-terrorism. In May 2008 he was detained for seven days as a suspected member of al-Qaida for being in possession of primary research literature. He was released without charge. In September 2011, the Chief Constable of Nottinghamshire Police paid
£20,000 in compensation to Sabir for his wrongful arrest and detention under the Terrorism Act 2000.

Now that Bob Lambert has been exposed as a police spy, will his name be entered into the SpinWatch database?  Also, it would be pertinent for David Miller to address the question on whether he will be entering his own name and that of SpinWatch into the SpinWatch database now that it is inextricably linked to validating and aiding the work of Bob Lambert.

If SpinWatch really did what it says on the SpinWatch tin, and if David Miller is prepared to eat his own dogfood, he would be doing exactly that.

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One Comment

  1. Alan
    Posted October 28, 2011 at 1:12 PM | Permalink

    Poor Lambert – he nearly pulled it off. If only he’d kept a low profile : )

    Last year, Lambert and his boys were accusing Quilliam of supporting spying on Muslims, yet it turns out that Lambert and his merry men have been doing the spying all along!

    What a disgrace.

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