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(en) Freedom 6321 Nov 2nd 2002 - Spooks, spies and trickery

From Worker <a-infos-en@ainfos.ca>
Date Thu, 21 Nov 2002 08:18:27 -0500 (EST)


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Last week's revelations that MI5 and Special Branch
infiltrated the highest levels of the left and trade unions in the
1970s came as no surprise to us. Unlike sections of the left,
we've never had any illusions about the state. We've never
doubted that it'd do anything to protect itself. Not only have
anarchists been aware of the likelihood of infiltration by state
agents, we've actively exposed them and their private sector
equivalents like the Economic League.
The BBC True Spies programme, which was shown on 27th
October, exposed Joe Gormley of the National Union of
Miners and Ray Buckton from train drivers' union ASLEF
(both are now dead). They were among 23 'senior trade
unionists' who passed information to police, it was revealed.
Special Branch also had undercover officers, known as
'hairies', who 'went native' and infiltrated left-wing groups
and campaigns. Once inside organisations, they worked their
way up by being prepared to do the boring jobs, which
coincidentally gave them access to membership lists and so
on.
Sometime Marxist Tariq Ali, in a late bid for the title of most
naive lefty around, said last week that he was shocked by the
revelations. "That's the undemocratic nature of the
intelligence agencies," he said. "The state is defending itself
against its own democratic citizenry. In order to do so, it has
to disregard some of the democratic values it believes in."
For us, it's a fact of life that there will be agents in our ranks.
Others will be pressured for information, or bought. We can
take steps to minimise this, but it's better to operate on the
assumption that phones are tapped, emails are read and
meeting rooms bugged. But a balance needs to be struck.
Although we need to be aware of what's being done, we can't
become paranoid. Paranoia is the secret state's best possible
weapon.
Martin H.



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