Revelations of cop who infiltrated Youth Against Racism in Europe during the 1993-1997 period – he engaged in violence alongside antifa, had sex with his antifa “targets”, and eventually became a leading figure in various campaigns.
As this pig brags today, “My role was to provide intelligence about protests and demonstrations, particularly those that had the potential to become violent. In doing so, the campaigns I was associated with lost much of their effectiveness, a factor that ultimately hastened their demise.”
During the 1990s there was lively debate on this side of the Atlantic about the degree to which antifa should cooperate with police and the state. During the Clinton administration there was a mass far right mobilization – the militia movement – and some people felt that “we” should work with the state against the fascists, as the lesser of two evils.
While it differs as to who the ostensible immediate targets were, the so-called “Grant Bristow Affair” in Canada already provided ample proof of the state’s involvement in attacks on antifa here. And across this continent there continue to be numerous examples of heavily-funded “antiracism experts” (think SPLC) who openly advertise their function as auxiliary political police – and during the current era of far-right “tea party” mobilizations, these state allies are receiving a hearing in some quarters where folks should know better.
But this most recent case provides a stark example of even anti-state, anti-capitalist comrades being infiltrated and manipulated by the police — and it would be ridiculous to assume that “Officer A” in England did not have his parallels in North America. While there is no way to guarantee that one will not be targeted and neutralized by such “deep cover” agents, their open existence should put to rest naive ideas of “working with the police” (hate crimes units, etc.) against the fascists. If the capitalist state is “anti-fascist”, its antifascism is of a completely different sort than out own, and stands in direct opposition to us. Any cooperation simply increased our vulnerability.
An officer from a secretive unit of the Metropolitan police has given a chilling account of how he spent years working undercover among anti-racist groups in Britain, during which he routinely engaged in violence against members of the public and uniformed police officers to maintain his cover.
During his tour of duty, the man – known only as Officer A – also had sexual relations with at least two of his female targets as a way of obtaining intelligence. So convincing was he in his covert role that he quickly rose to become branch secretary of a leading anti-racist organisation that was believed to be a front for Labour’s Militant tendency.
“My role was to provide intelligence about protests and demonstrations, particularly those that had the potential to become violent,” he said. “In doing so, the campaigns I was associated with lost much of their effectiveness, a factor that ultimately hastened their demise.”
His deployment, which lasted from 1993 to 1997, ended amid fears that his presence and role within groups protesting about black deaths in police custody and bungled investigations into racist murders would be revealed during the public inquiry by Sir William Macpherson into the death of south London teenager Stephen Lawrence.
His decision to tell his story to the Observer provides the most detailed account of the shadowy and controversial police unit that has provided intelligence from within political and protest movements for more than four decades. He believes the public should be able to make an informed decision about whether such covert activities are necessary, given their potential to curtail legitimate protest movements.
Officer A – with a long ponytail, angry persona and willingness to be educated in the finer points of Trotskyist ideology – was never suspected by those he befriended of being a member of the Special Demonstration Squad (SDS), a secret unit within Special Branch, whose job is to prevent violent public disorder on the streets of the capital. Known as the “hairies” due to the fact that its members do not have to abide by usual police regulations about their appearance, the unit consists of 10 full-time undercover operatives who are given new identities, and provided with flats, vehicles and “cover” jobs while working in the field for up to five years at a time.
The unit has been credited with preventing bloodshed on numerous occasions by using intelligence to pre-empt potentially violent situations. Unlike regular undercover officers, members of the SDS do not have to gather evidence with a view to prosecuting their targets. This enables them to witness and even engage in criminal activity without fear of disciplinary action or compromising a subsequent court case.
Officer A joined the SDS in 1993 after two years in Special Branch. It was a time of heightened tension between the extreme left and right and almost every weekend saw clashes between the likes of the Anti-Nazi League, Youth Against Racism, the British National party and the National Front. The SDS is believed to have infiltrated all such organisations.
During Officer A’s time undercover, all 10 covert SDS operatives would meet to share intelligence about forthcoming demonstrations. The information was used to plan police responses to counter the threat of the demonstration getting out of control.
A key success for Officer A came just two weeks into his deployment during a demonstration against the BNP-run bookshop in Welling, south-east London. His intelligence revealed that the protest was to be far larger than thought and that a particularly violent faction was planning to storm the bookshop and set fire to it.
As a result of intelligence provided by Officer A, police leave was cancelled for that weekend and, despite violent clashes, the operation was deemed to be a success for the Met. The then commissioner, Sir Paul Condon, met the members of the SDS to thank them.