IN HIS opening statements to the Undercover Policing Inquiry, the lawyer acting for the mother of murdered teenager Stephen Lawrence condemned the inquiry for granting anonymity to police spies who mounted an undercover surveillance operation against the family and their supporters.
Doreen Lawrence said she still had no idea why she and her family and their supporters had been spied upon, describing it as ‘unforgivable’.
Stephen Lawrence was an 18-year-old brutally murdered by a racist mob in April 1993. Despite the public outcry and a massive campaign by his family, it took nearly 20 years before two of his killers were jailed for this crime.
An inquiry into his death later found that the police investigation was institutionally racist and flawed, and it allowed Lawrence’s killers to largely escape the justice they deserved.
In the course of their campaign for justice for Stephen, his family and supporters were targeted by police spies posing as anti-racist activists in a blatant attempt to smear the family and the entire campaign.
This was the reason that undercover spies targeted the Stephen Lawrence campaign – to smear and discredit it in order to cover up the ‘flawed’ investigation by the police.
Reacting to the decision by the inquiry chairman, Sir John Mitting, that the cover names of 51 officers, along with the real names of 119 undercover spies, remain secret, Stephen’s parents said this suggested the inquiry was more interested in protecting the perpetrators than the victims.
In fact this decision was made not just to protect the identities of individual police spies but to protect the entire state’s involvement in a long running illegal campaign of infiltrating campaign groups and trade unions to act as agent provocateurs and spies for the bosses.
In his opening statement to the inquiry last Friday, Lord John Hendy QC, representing trade unions, revealed that undercover police officers were spying on trade unionists for four decades.
The Unite union has said that infiltration dates back to at least 1973 and that there are references to it in the 1974 annual report of the Special Demonstration Squad (SDS) infiltrating the Shrewsbury Two defence committee.
The Shrewsbury Two (Ricky Tomlinson and the late Des Warren) were jailed for two years on trumped up charges of ‘conspiracy’ following a building workers strike. According to Unite: ‘There is a great deal of evidence that a combination of government, security forces and the police conspired to frame the pickets on trumped up charges.’
Lord Hendy went on to detail how, in the 1990s an undercover officer, Mark Jenner, infiltrated the construction union Ucatt, highlighting the close connection between the police and the Economic League, a company that specialised in providing the construction industry with the names of trade unionists who were subsequently placed on an industry wide secret blacklist.
Gareth Peirce, on behalf of the National Union of Miners, said that the NUM suspected undercover police ‘played a role’ in the nationwide police operation to break the miners’ strike in 1985. All these operations and activities were illegal.
Not surprisingly, this inquiry is doing everything possible to cover up the state’s illegal activities against unions and perfectly legal campaign groups.
They won’t have to bother now though, after the Tory government, with the support of the Labour leadership, passed the Covert Human Intelligence Sources Bill that gives the police and security services the legal right to commit any crimes they like, including the right to kill, free from the danger of prosecution.
Their duty now is not just to protect national security or prevent crime but also to prevent ‘disorder’ that affects ‘the interests of the economic well-being of the United Kingdom.’
This covers any strike or demonstration against mass unemployment, wage-cutting or any of the austerity cuts the Tories are preparing to bring in to pay off the massive national debt run up to bail out the bosses and bankers.
The only answer to these class war preparations is to build the leadership of the WRP in the unions and amongst the youth, to mobilise the strength of the working class to seize the power and carry out a socialist revolution to smash the capitalist state and establish a workers government and a workers state.