THE Pitchford Inquiry into police undercover operations directed against various protest movements – trades unions, political movements and MPs – is to be gagged on behalf of the government and the capitalist state after police demands that crucial parts of it be heard in private.
What has emerged is that police officers were organised to join different protest groups, to take leading roles in them, urging fellow members of those groups to take illegal actions, and, as cover, were encouraged to marry a member of these groups, have families and to live together as loving couples.
This is until the day that they were redeployed, when they walked out of the families that they had created, leaving wives and children in shock and then acute distress about their unexplained desertion for years, until the truth began to emerge of who their partners or fathers really were.
The police have applied for sweeping legal orders to have large parts of the judge-led public inquiry held in private. They have made this request to try to prevent the truth that the British ruling class maintains an army of police spies and provocateurs to spy on the workers movement and protest movements, and that these spies routinely break any number of laws on behalf of the state.
The Metropolitan Police are arguing that significant portions of the inquiry must sit in secret in order to protect the undercover officers who have infiltrated hundreds of political groups.
In a detailed legal submission made in February, the Met said it wanted to be clear ‘at the outset’ that it would be ‘applying for much of the detail of past or current deployments’ to be considered in the absence of the general public and those who were spied upon.
Five barristers hired by the Metropolitan Police said it is likely that ‘in the overwhelming majority of instances’ the Met are to argue that ‘the fact of, or details of an undercover police deployment’ must not be disclosed in the open sessions of the Inquiry. Nothing that identifies an undercover officer should be made public, they added.
They are desperately keen to protect their state apparatus of spies and provocateurs and their illegal activities. Baroness Doreen Lawrence, Stephen’s mother, has already called for the undercover officers who embedded themselves in political campaigns and spied on her family to be named.
A majority of those monitored by the police, who are taking part in Pitchford’s Inquiry, are pressing for the publication of the fake names of the undercover officers and the groups they infiltrated to be published.
Helen Steel, a social justice campaigner who was deceived into a two-year relationship with undercover spy John Dines, said: ‘The inquiry was set up to investigate human rights abuses by undercover officers. How can anyone have any faith in it if it is held in secret? Why should those who committed the abuses be protected above those who suffered the abuses?’
In the legal submission published last week, the Met’s barristers said: ‘Undercover police officers and their families are likely to face real harm if anything is disclosed that tends to identify them, and will suffer the unfairness of losing a lifelong expectation that their roles would not be made public’. They say that this harm could range from revenge attacks to ‘social ostracisation’ and ‘subjective fears leading to serious emotional unhappiness’.
After the Hillsbrough inquest verdict, and the campaign for an inquiry into the violent police foot and mounted attack on the miners and the NUM at Orgreave, the state has clearly a lot to hide and answer for. There are a number of questions that must be heard and answered publicly. Some of them are: How and why did officers have relationships with women? How many did so? Why did they use the names of dead children as part of their cover? How many miscarriages of justice have they been involved in? Which MPs and trade unionists have been and are being monitored? Did they infiltrate campaigns such as the fight by Stephen Lawrence’s family?
They will not answer these questions. The capitalist state and its machinations are above the law. Justice, and the required answers, will only be achieved through a socialist revolution that smashes the capitalist state into smithereens and buries the capitalist system which sponsors and owns it!