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(en) Britain, Anarchist Class War Reply To The New Statesman “The New Spies”* and more.... (Alt Media)

Date Sat, 20 Sep 2008 15:43:27 +0300



The 7 August issue of the New Statesman has a lengthy piece by Stephan Armstrong
on “The New Spies”. ---- Amongst an analysis of the private security industry
targeting protesters at events like the Kent climate camp, Armstrong makes the
curious claim that Class War was run by the security services in the 1990s. News
to us. ---- Below is a reply from a member of London Class War to the New
Statesman: ---- As a member of Class War since 1992, I was staggered to read a
line in Stephen Armstrong’s article (the New Statesman 7 August 2008) on “The
New Spies”. Your reporter writes: ---- “Like the state security services, which
ended up running Class War in the 1990s after a hugely successful penetration……”

Can you back that claim up with facts, or is any old rubbish acceptable when it
comes to Anarchist organisations?

We do hope you have not been taken in by 9/11 ‘truth’ activists (and ex-MI5
officers) Annie Machon and David Shayler, who have both come out with
conflicting claims about attempted state inflitration of Class War in the early
1990s.

Shayler withdrew his (contradictory) claims about Class War at a public debate
with Notes From the Borderland magazine at Conway Hall in 2005. He now makes a
living claiming to be the messiah.
As for his former partner Annie Machon (freely quoted in your piece) the New
Statesman should treat with caution a woman who has pushed red baiting pieces
about Tony Benn, Jack Jones and the KGB in the Mail on Sunday, and who has
worked alongside some extremely dubious characters in the nuttier fringes of the
9/11 ‘truth’ movement.

As a revolutionary organisation, Class War is bound to be targeted - on occasion
- by the police and security services. Such is life - especially in a society
with seemingly never ending funds for public order policing and the secret state.

That situation will not be improved as long as we have ‘experts’ with the
limited or biased knowledge of Stephan Armstrong, Annie Machon and David
Shayler. It will certainly continue until we have the sort of radical change
this society needs.

Have Your Say: Class War Reply To The New Statesman
Please read our posting guidelines before posting.
Alternatively you can discuss this report here.
8 Responses to “Class War Reply To The New Statesman”

1.
stephen armstrong
Posted: Aug 9th, 2008 at 12:39 am

I never write anything unless it’s second sourced and Machon was not the
only source for the feature as even a casual read will show. I’ve never spoken
to Shayler, but clearly in preparing the feature I spoke to other security
service sources and ex-security service sources. To be fair, as the old
organisation pretty much fell apart in the 1990s you can see their point,
although your classic newspaper front pages were my favourite purchase on demos.
Page Three Hospitalised Copper. Love it.

And please- buy the book. Or, as you’re anarchists, steal it. Lots of
stuff about government sponsored mercenaries and private spies and Iraq and
Afghanistan and just everything. War plc. Faber and Faber. Really - its right up
your street.
Reply | Quote selected text | Link to this

2.
Paul Stott
Posted: Aug 9th, 2008 at 8:38 am

Hi Stephen - Thanks for replying. I hope the New Statesman are big enough
to publish the Class War reply as a letter.

As for your comments, what we seem to have is the word of someone who
campaigns for a reformed, more efficient MI5 (their ex-officer Annie Machon) and
anonymous ex or current security sources.

As Mandy Rice Davis would put it “well they would say that, wouldn’t they”………

I hope the book stands up better………..

As for Ms Machon, she has had 3 years to speak out against the
anti-semitism and fruitbats in the 9/11 truth movement, but is yet to do so.
However she finds time to push stories dissing revolutionary organisations in
the left wing media. If there is a story here Stephen, it is right under your nose.
Reply | Quote selected text | Link to this

3.
stephen armstrong
Posted: Aug 9th, 2008 at 11:07 am

Hi Paul

I don’t think its disrespectful to a revolutionary organisation - or
indeed any organisation - to say the security services penetrated it. In a weird
sort of way, quite the opposite. It’s well documented how thoroughly the KGB
penetrated SIS, well documented how MI5 penetrated CPGB, C18, SWP etc. - I would
expect the security services to attempt penetration of any organisation deemed a
threat. If anything, a revolutionary or socially disruptive organisation that
wasn’t on the receiving end of such activity would be broadly speaking
irrelevant and ineffectual. Why bother penetrating the remnants of the Communist
Party today?

You may consider it a convenient smokescreen, but I do have to respect
the anonymity of sources when they ask for it. You don’t know me or my work so
you have no reason to trust this statement but I would not print a claim like
that unless I had reason to believe it and that would involve checking it with
people I felt were expertly qualified to verify it.

Of course, unlike the penetration of CAAT by private spies, no paper
trail has been left to identify the names of the individuals involved in the
penetration that I believe took place so you are perfectly within your rights to
dismiss everything I say.

As the feature was concerned with identifying a new and, I believe,
terrifying trend amongst former spooks to enter the private sector and use their
skills against organisations such as Class War, CAAT and Plane Stupid for the
profit of corporations I do faintly resent being classed in the same sentence as
a man who now believes he is the messiah and described as limited and biased.

But then, the combative nature of Class War has always been something
I’ve admired so I can’t really complain.
Reply | Quote selected text | Link to this

4.
Paul Stott
Posted: Aug 9th, 2008 at 2:26 pm

Stephen - The one person in Class War we have established worked for the
‘other side’ in the era was an Andy Bryant.

As I assume Annie Machon will have obeyed the Official Secrets Act and
not mentioned his name to you, you can familiarise yourself with his case on the
link below.

It is worth noting that whilst Machon and Shayler could have provided
considerable service to radical groups by honestly discussing state operations
against them, both have always declined to do so. Indeed during their
flirtations with the Stop the War Coalition it is hard to imagine they did not
meet operatives they had previously run!

Most of the information we have about Bryant appeared only because Green
Anarchists barristers we going to go for a contempt of court in the Gandalf
case, after Shayler’s red baiting revelations about Anarchists in the Mail on
Sunday.

http://libcom.org/library/david-shayler-class-war-left-groups
Reply | Quote selected text | Link to this

5.
Sean Hogan
Posted: Aug 9th, 2008 at 3:53 pm

Class War’s demise has been something often trumpeted, but the facts
speak a different story. Both Class War the paper and Class War the group
continue in rude health. And rarely ruder than when looking at Shayler and
Machon. Machon’s the subject of an article in the latest Class War, issue 94,
which makes the timing of her recent pronouncement on state control of CW
interesting, to say the least.

As a current member of CW, and a member during the period CW were alleged
to be run by the state, I don’t recognise the picture she (and unnamed others)
are trying to paint. Whilst at the time we in CW recognised the state’s
attention, we had, and continue to have, measures in place to limit the
potential for infiltration. The difficulties we faced in the 1990s were internal
divisions: a split in the early 1990s, which saw the formation of the ephemeral
Class War Organisation, and the departure in 1997 of a number of members who
decided the CW project had had its day. As far as I know, MI5 has claimed credit
for neither of these divisions.

What Shayler has said is that we were run by an alkie who went back to
his wife and children on the weekend. He made this claim in public at the debate
with Larry O’Hara a couple of years ago. Now, we’ve had our fair share of
drinkers, but we’d have noticed someone who never turned up to actions and demos!

Talk is cheap: and there is no substance to the claims Shayler/Machon
have made. SImply put, what they and these anonymous sources claim doesn’t
measure up to what actually happened in the 1990s. Any decline in CW was due to
other circumstances, to people leaving and not being replaced, to a hangover
from the Poll Tax, and to the ebb and flow of life in the anarchist milieu. As
in other areas of life, we had some fat years followed by some lean years.

When groups have been prone to infiltration, journalists have often got
on the bandwagon. The ‘revelations’ printed in the press about the Wombles,
about the environmental protestors of the 1990s, about the Mayday protests and
the protests against DSEi illustrate this. By contrast, there is no comparable
article about journalists infiltrating Class War. This is not because there’d be
nothing to write about! It’s because we’ve long taken security seriously. This
itself suggests that we’re secure; as does the experience of one member who was
asked by the police, in the run-up to Mayday 2001, for information on Class War
and the Movement Against the Monarchy, being told that in contrast to other
demonstrators they were ‘beyond the pale’.

If Mr Armstrong feels there is something to the MI5 claims, please put up
- or else retract.
Reply | Quote selected text | Link to this

6.
Kenyon
Posted: Aug 12th, 2008 at 12:06 pm

Interesting debate. One thing I do know here is that Annie Machon is not
always telling the truth - I spent years in the London 9/11 movement and was
present on occasions when she and David clashed with anarchists. Larry O’Hara is
not my cup of tea, but I think he got it right when he suggested that the 2 are
dubious. My own feeling is that the 2 are infiltrating the 9/11 movement. Most
of us are not drug taking, messianic, anti-semitic spooks.
But throw them in, along with David Icke and Belinda Mackenzie, and a
sloppy or slanted journalist can ignore eyewitnesses such as William Rodriguez
and Rick Siegel, they can trash the science which contradicts the US gov report,
and they can spread misinformation. Perhaps Armstrong would like to commnent on
deliberate misinformation and opinion slants in the press? Or take a real look
at Shayler and Machon and just how they got invovled with us - just when Jimmy
Walter was spending over $1m to promote the research - and how they muscled
their way in with Belinda Mackenzie - whose source of money is a mystery - and
who never really accounted for her actions in Iran Aid, which the gov closed
down after it destroyed its records and could not tell the Charity Commission
why £5m went into a personal account? Just a few questions there that Mackenzie
does not like to answer.
In the meantime, the NS needs to get better sources than Shayler and
Machon. Speaking of the NS, why did it give space to these Johnny-come-lately
clowns when it ran its piece on the 9/11 movement a couple years ago? Where was
its research on William Rodriguez, Kevin Ryan or Scott Forbes?
Reply | Quote selected text | Link to this

7.
Louise
Posted: Aug 12th, 2008 at 8:39 pm

Kenyon, I found reading your comment interesting. I also used to be
involved in the 9/11 movement and particularly found your comments about Belinda
Mackenzie fascinating…especially about the Iran Aid…never knew that!

Thanks.
Reply | Quote selected text | Link to this

8.
Sean Hogan
Posted: Aug 21st, 2008 at 4:22 pm

Although at this late stage I doubt Mr Armstrong’s going to return here
to defend his position, if his ‘research’ for this article resembles the
research for his book, War Plc, it’s no wonder he makes unsustainable claims
like this one about Class War. In his book he claims first that private security
firms were granted immunity from prosecution ‘immediately after the invasion’ of
Iraq (p. 5). Yet further on we get the truth: ‘Bremer’s final move was the
notorious Order 17′, issued in June 2004, more than a year after the invasion
(p. 87). This is just one of the more glaring bits of internal evidence pointing
to a pisspoor standard of research and of reading the drafts. There’s a chapter
about ‘Mark Britten’ which doesn’t seem to have the second source Mr Armstrong
claims to always seek. For a journalist of many years standing, and a Sunday
Times contributing editor to boot, this is - depending on one’s standpoint -
either very disappointing or just what one would expect.
=========================================

* The new spies by Stephen Armstrong Published 07 August 2008


When the Cold War ended, it didn't spell curtains for the secret agent. Private
espionage is a booming industry and environmental protest groups are its prime
target

As you hunker down for the last few days of the Camp for Climate Action,
discussing how to force your way into Kingsnorth power station in an attempt to
prevent the construction of a new coal facility, cast your eyes around your
fellow protesters. Do they look entirely bona fide to you? And don't look for
the old-school special branch officers - Kent Police are a tiny force. It's the
corporate spies hired by private companies you need to watch out for.

According to the private espionage industry itself, roughly one in four of your
comrades is on a multinational's payroll.

Russell Corn, managing director of Diligence, one of a growing number of
"corporate intelligence agencies", with offices high in the Canary Wharf glass
tower, says private spies make up 25 per cent of every activist camp. "If you
stuck an intercept up near one of those camps, you wouldn't believe the amount
of outgoing calls after every meeting saying, 'Tomorrow we're going to cut the
fence'," he smiles. "Easily one in four of the people there are taking the
corporate shilling."

In April this year, for instance, the anti-aviation campaign network Plane
Stupid, one of the main organisers of the eco-camp built to protest against the
expansion of Heathrow Airport, announced that one of its activists, Ken Tobias,
was actually called Toby Kendall, was working for a corporate espionage firm
called C2i, and had been leaking information about the group to paying clients
and the media. He had been hired by an as yet unknown private company to provide
information and disrupt the group's campaigning.

When Tobias first turned up at Plane Stupid's meetings in July 2007, he seemed a
committed former Oxford student dedicated to reducing aircraft emissions. The
group gradually became suspicious because he showed up early at meetings,
constantly pushed for increasingly drama tic direct action and - the ultimate
giveaway - dressed a little too well for an ecowarrior. When they showed his
picture around Oxford they found an old college pal who identified him as Toby
Kendall. A quick Google search revealed his Bebo page with a link to a corporate
networking site, where his job as an "analyst" at C2i International, working in
"security and investigations", was pasted in full public view.

Just a month earlier, a woman called Cara Schaffer had contacted the
Student/Farmworker Alliance, an idealistic bunch of American college students
who lobby fast-food companies to help migrant workers in Florida who harvest
tomatoes. Like the cockle-pickers of Morecambe Bay, many of these workers are
smuggled into the US by gangs which then take their passports and force them to
work without pay to clear often fictitious debts to regain their papers.

Digging up dirt

Again, Schaffer's excessive eagerness aroused suspicion, and again, the internet
revealed her true identity. She owned Diplomatic Tactical Services, a private
espionage firm which had previously hired as a subcontractor one Guillermo Zara
bozo, today facing murder charges in Miami for his role in allegedly executing
four crew members of a chartered fishing boat, an allegation he denies. Schaffer
turned out to be working for Burger King - the home, perhaps appropriately, of
the Whopper.

The cute thing about these two bozos is that they got caught pretty early on,
but that was because they were young and had no background in espionage.

The real market is in proper, old-school spies who are suddenly entering the
private sector. For professional spooks, the 1990s were no fun at all. The Cold
War was over, defence spending was down and a detailed knowledge of cold-drop
techniques in central Berlin was useless to governments looking for Arabic
speakers who knew the Quran.

From New York and London to Moscow and Beijing, any decent-sized corporation
can now hire former agents from the CIA, FBI, MI5, MI6 and the KGB. The
ex-spooks are selling their old skills and contacts to multinationals, hedge
funds and oligarchs, digging up dirt on competitors, uncovering the secrets of
boardroom rivals and exposing investment targets. They are also keeping tabs on
journalists, protesters and even potential employees.

"MI5 and MI6 in particular have always guided ex-employees into security
companies," explains Annie Machon, the former MI5 agent who helped David Shayler
blow the whistle on the security services back in 1997. "It's always useful to
them to have friends they can tap for info or recruit for a job that requires
plausible deniability. The big change in recent years has been the huge growth
in these companies. Where before it was a handful of private detective agencies,
now there are hundreds of multinational security organisations, which operate
with less regulation than the spooks themselves," she says.

Corn's company Diligence, for instance, was set up in 2000 by Nick Day, a former
MI5 spy, and an ex-CIA agent, Mike Baker. Before long, the duo had built up a
roster of high-paying clients including Enron, oil and pharmaceutical companies,
as well as law firms and hedge funds. In 2001, a small investment by the
Washington lobbying company Barbour Griffith & Rogers propelled their growth.
However, BGR and Baker sold their stakes in 2005, shortly before a scandal shook
Diligence. KPMG, the global professional services firm, accused Diligence staff
of impersonating British spies to gain information on a corporate takeover for a
Russian telecoms client called Alfa Group. Diligence settled the lawsuit without
admitting liability.

Since then, it has recruited the former Conservative Party leader Michael Howard
as chairman of its European operations. And it is that sort of respectability
and lobbying power that big players are after. In 2007, the parent company of
the US private military firm Blackwater, which hit the headlines for gunning
down Iraqi civilians in Baghdad last September, entered this market through
Total Intelligence Solutions (TIS), a new CIA-type private operation, to provide
intelligence services to commercial clients.

Discreet investigations

Blackwater's vice-chairman, J Cofer Black, who runs TIS, spent three decades in
the CIA and the state department, becoming director of the Counterterrorist
Centre and co-ordinator for counter terrorism, a job with ambassadorial rank. He
describes the new company as bringing "the intelligence-gathering methodology
and analytical skills traditionally honed by CIA operatives directly to the
boardroom. With a service like this, CEOs and their security personnel will be
able to respond to threats quickly and confidently - whether it's determining
which city is safest to open a new plant in or working to keep employees out of
harm's way after a terrorist attack."

Black also says TIS will operate a "24/7 intelligence fusion and warning centre"
that will monitor civil unrest, terrorism, economic stability, environmental and
health concerns, and information technology security around the world.

The established firms already operating in this area include Kroll, Aegis,
Garda, Control Risks, GPW and Hakluyt & Co. More firms are opening every day and
there is little regulation of the sector.

Hakluyt & Co was founded in 1995 by former British MI6 officers, with a
reputation for discreet and effective investigations. The company butler, a
former gurkha, greets visitors to its London HQ, a town house off Park Lane. In
winter, meetings can be conducted beside the fire. Computers are rarely in
sight. Hakluyt's advisory board has become an exit chamber for captains of
industry and former government officials. Members have included Sir Rod
Eddington, a former BA CEO, and Sir Christopher Gent, former chief executive of
Vodafone.

"It is hard to work well for an oil company without knowing who all the key
decision-makers in a government are and having the right contacts to reach
them," explains Stéphane Gérardin, who runs the French private security company
Géos. "We have an intelligence section where we employ some investigative
journalists, people from the finance sector, from equity banks and some from
security backgrounds.

"It is an important part of image protection for our clients as well. We have
our own tracking and monitoring centre, with analysts doing risk mapping and
preparing our clients for every potential problem. It could be about alerting
them to local sensitivities. Or, in this globalised internet age, it can be a
group of students in Cambridge who have launched a protest website, who may be
sending out a petition.

"So we need to be able to understand and prepare our own propaganda to counter
such attacks. This is work we do to protect our clients."

Trusted friend

Like the state security services, which ended up running Class War in the 1990s
after a hugely successful penetration, these spies work to become reliable
members of any protest movement. In April 2007, the Campaign Against Arms Trade
called in the police after court documents showed that the weapons manufacturer
BAE Systems had paid a private agency to spy on the peace group.

BAE admitted that it had paid £2,500 a month to LigneDeux Associates, whose
agent Paul Mercer - accepted as a trusted member of the campaign - passed
information, including a legally privileged document, to BAE's director of
security, Mike McGinty.

Unlike the security services, however, these services don't bother with
penetrating the far left or anti-fascist groups. Their clients are only
interested in the protest movements that threaten corporations. And as that is
the nature of much protest in these times, it is a wide field, but with a
particular impact on environmental groups.

At any of this summer's green protests the corporate spies will be there,
out-of-work MI5 agents tapping green activists' mobile phones to sell the
information on to interested companies.

Russell Corn knows of incidents where a spook at a meeting has suggested a
high-street bank as a target, then left the meeting to phone the officers of
said bank, telling them that he has penetrated an activist camp planning an
attack and offering to sell the details. Corn has no time for such behaviour,
however.

"The thing about a really good private spy," he tells me, "is that you'll never
know he's around and he'll never get caught.

"The fact you can't see them . . . it means nothing at all."

"War plc: the Rise of the New Corporate Mercenary" by Stephen Armstrong is
published by Faber & Faber (£14.99)

Spooks for hire

Alyssa McDonald offers tips on how to protect your business

Unsure a potential employee is the person for the job?

Try Géos's "violence assessment and prevention" service. "Security Experts and
Board-Certified Forensic Psychologists" will help keep potential troublemakers
out of your company. Previous clients include the CIA, the FBI and various
Fortune 500 companies.

Worried your business may be undercut?

"Commercial and competitive intelligence" services from Diligence can help.
These will identify potential rivals, their respective strengths and weaknesses,
their allies in commerce and government; they will assess their strategies, vet
potential suppliers and "identify and counteract any rival effort to weaken [the
client's] reputation".

Business at risk from radical activists?

Then you need "close protection analysis" from Diligence. A "prominent European
scientific research group" suspected of animal testing used the service to
provide early warning of possible attacks by animal rights activists. Diligence
identified factions within the activist organisation with differing opinions
about the use of violence in their campaigns. Playing on this friction,
Diligence learned about upcoming attacks and warned the research group.

Concerned that your flight might not go smoothly?

Géos has an online database tracking air carriers' financial position,
maintenance practices and history of accidents, as well as their pilots'
"training, background and experience". Also available for helicopter services.

Need to find out who your colleagues have been emailing?

Kroll's "computer forensics" can help. They can uncover lost or hidden files,
break encrypted files and "re-create events from electronic footprints". Kroll
will work onsite if necessary, "even in the middle of the night, so that users
are unaware" of what is happening to their computers.

Need to make a sharp exit?

Why not sign up for Géos's "emergency evacuation support" system? Dangers that
you may face will be mapped by the company's "intelligence division and global
monitoring programme". When security conditions "escalate to a potential crisis
point", you can be removed from whatever situation you are in.
_________________________________________
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