(en) scotland yardies part 2

Ilan shalif (gshalif@netvision.net.il)
Sun, 30 Nov 1997 20:59:43 +0200


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Sun, 30 Nov 1997 13:11:51 -0800 From: Martin Howard <Martin.howard@qnet.org.uk>

This is part 2 of the article on police involvement in the so-called yardie crime wave, from Black Flag 212. A hard copy can be obtained from BM Hurricane London WC1N 3XX England.

Scotland Yardies pt 2

Whatever the reason, we can be sure it wasn't to stay a Yardie controlled crack epidemic. Any balanced examination of the drug scene in the UK would suggest that Ramm's "little and often" assessment of Yardie drug dealing activity remains correct. Jamalca Perera, from the Centre for Research on Drugs and Health, noted in a recent report on dealers in Kings Cross that all the dealers revealed their original supplies of crack came from white criminal families in Bermondsey. In 1988, Eddie Richardson was gaoled for the importation of 2 tonnes of cannabis and 153.8 kilos of cocaine - to a street value of 43 million, linked to the Cali cartel. The operation involved connections and communications, bank accounts and front operations between Britain and Bangkok.

More recently a joint police/ customs operation Operation Crayfish resulted in the conviction for importation of Curtis Warren, a mixed race Liverpudlian, "The Mr Big's Mr Big" as the Observer described him, who made the Sunday Times list of Britain's 500 richest citizens, and has alleged links with the Cali cartel. (There are many aspects of the surveillance operation which led to Warren's arrest and conviction, not least the procuring of drug buys by undercover cops, which give cause for concern, and an appeal is pending).

Vincent Ruggiero, a reader in criminology at Middlesex University, in his survey "Brixton, London: A Drug Culture without a Drug Economy" noted the clear absence in areas of south London targeted by the DRVIU - Brixton, Clapham, Peckham - of the money laundering and investment in legal business that illustrate a sophisticated, expanding drug economy. Quoted in The Guardian on 15/7/96, Ruggiero observed "The profits of the drug economy are nowhere to be seen in inner-city London areas." The major suppliers did not generally live in these heavily policed areas but in "respectable, affluent, white, areas."

The DRVIU seems, from all the reports of its activities to date, to do nothing but run informers. It is fair to say that street crime of the kind the DRVIU allege is committed by the Yardie gangs usually is contained by more obvious police methods - surveillance, stop and search, interviewing of witnesses, etc. In his book "Gangsta", John Davison details the operational methods of Operation Dalehouse; "a combination of intense surveillance and computer analysis.. large numbers of "spins", both looking for guns and to accumulate intelligence from interviewing suspects and analysing sheaves of their documents. Names and numbers in address books were particularly fruitful, as were numbers on itemised mobile phone bills, fed into a computer and cross checked with all dedicated Yardie databases in the Met, a detailed pattern of connections were built up, aliases and street names were unscrambled and addresses targeted." All standard operational routines. The protracted use of informers, however, suggests not the monitoring and containment of crime, but its procurement. Research carried out by Colin Dunningham of Durham University and Clive Norris of Hull University notes that "the most effective informers are actively involved in crime themselves and one consequence is that their handlers frequently turn a blind eye to offences committed by their informers, leaving numerous detectable crimes unsolved." (The Role of the Informer in the Criminal Justice System, 1996).

The Guardian's regular crime correspondent, Duncan Campbell, has written "many defendants, particularly in drug cases, claim that the main player in trafficking operations is often acting at the behest of his handler and that the crimes would not have taken place without their encouragement. A number have claimed that the police handlers encourage much larger deals than would have taken place or of Class A rather than a Class B drug, with cannabis smugglers being urged to move to ecstasy." (30/4/96) The particular history of the Yardie gangs may well make them especially susceptible to procurement by the state. Gangs linked to the right wing Jamaican Labour Party were covertly armed in the 1970s as a means of destabilising the social democratic Peoples National party government of Michael Manley.

CIA involvement in the arming of the JLP-linked gangs was revealed by the former agent Philip Agee. By the end of the 70s, JLP and PNP politicians bought gunmen as a means of sustaining political influence and handing out jobs and favours. After the 1980 election in Jamaica which brought the CIA stooge Edward Seaga to office, Jamaica became a sweatshop for American manufacturers, with Nike paying 20 cents an hour to handpicked cheap labour. Seaga turned the police and army onto the gun gangs whose expansion he'd overseen. By the mid 80s, the Americas Watch human rights monitoring group estimated that one third of the island's homicides were committed by the police. The gangs moved to New York and Miami, and many of them became street soldiers for the Cali cartel.

Given the posses origins, their attitude to the state was necessarily more ambiguous than was the case with other criminal gangs, and informers and supergrasses have a long history within the posses.

Eaton Green was recruited in 1991 following his arrest by Steve Barker for a minor traffic offence. During his time with SO11 he provided 168 intelligence reports on Yardie-related activity (at 1000 a time). On the back of this, Barker went from being a bent Brixton cop to a big fish at the Yard. John Davison and Nick Davies would argue that "in order to combat the bad men the police need bad men on their side - and in some respects the badder the better."

But according to the Clark report, the new unit was established to combat "sharply increased incidents of murder, violence, drug-related crime and crack availability." The reality is that the unit clearly and deliberately managed such incidents.

Again, if the anti-Yardie work of Scotland Yard had been stepped down to almost nothing prior to Clark's report, why were Barker and his associates spending thousands on informers and why did Barker go to Jamaica in the summer of 1993, at a time when, according to Davies, "officers had been forced to spend their own money to fund operations"? Why was the unit set up despite the Eaton Green fiasco?

Any answers to these questions are necessarily speculative, but it's clearly the case that the answers Nick Davies and Scotland Yard would like us to swallow won't do.

What if money was channelled covertly to officers like Barker while the official monitoring of Yardie gangs was stepped down? What if this was done because publicly accountable expenditure was not justifiable on the basis of the evidence of the real extent of the Yardie gangs' involvement in crack dealing, but that infiltrators of the Yardie gang served some other purpose? What if, when the shot hot the fan the best form of defence was seen by the Yard as attack - to blame a combination of politicians over-sensitivity to complaints of "racism" and inept "policy-makers" for the mess, and propose as a solution the formalisation of the covert activities which had led to the mess in the first place?

Even if any of the above speculation makes sense, the question remaining to be answered is why?

In an article in The Guardian of 15/7/96, Mark Olden interviews a Ladbroke Grove crack dealer named Eric. In answer to the question "What about the police?", Eric replies "when we were out on the streets, we paid. When we were visited, we paid. Some of the gear I've had taken off me, I can't swear to it, but I'm sure it's back out there within weeks."

Media hype over crack epidemics in the US resulted in a "War on Drugs" which allowed parts of urban America to be under permanent police siege while drug rehabilitation projects were closed due to cutbacks. under the guise of anti-gang activity, the LAPD has compiled a "gangbangers" register which lists more suspects than there are black and latino youth in LA! The LAPD carry out semi-permanent community occupations, "narcotic enforcement zones", which serve a dual purpose of whipping up middle class fears of crime, which serve as a useful justification for directing more resources towards policing, while justifying the virtual lockdown of working class communities. Equally, the containment of drugs and drug related crime within working class areas effectively serves to divide and to pacify working class communities. The US anti-drugs activist, Clarence Lusane, in his book "Pipe Dream Blues" asserts: "In numerous black communities, police departments have launched what are essentially full scale military assaults. With the logistics of the kind usually reserved for invasions of other nations, police raid black neighbourhoods weekly...The proliferation of hard drug use in these communities plays the dual role of social control and economic delusion. A drugged out community, pacified, subdued, and bent on self-destruction, is not going to rise up against the white corporate power structure. The youth of these communities, who are most likely to rebel, are at the centre of the drug epidemic and the government sponsored drug war."

If police strategy is in reality about the confinement of crime within working class areas; if, whether for political purpose of private gain, some police are actively involved in the drug trade in inner cities, then, far from being an embarrassment, the Eaton Greens of this world are doing exactly what they're paid to do, and the only embarrassment comes from the public disclosure of such activities.

It couldn't happen here? Maybe not; but consider, finally, the following two points:

1. According to HM Customs & Excise 89% of all drugs aimed at the UK market get past them and the police. If the police and customs aren't involved in the drug trade the figure is meaningless, just a guess from the number of port/ street seizures per annum. So, either police /customs expenditure is based on nonsensical guesswork, or, to state that 89% get past them, the Customs & Excise must have knowledge of, and control of, drug traffic in the UK.

2. Steve Barker is still operationally active with the SO11-linked unit. He likes to brag that he's been nicknamed John Wayne. It's fair to say that someone who's overseen an armed robber, a rapist and a murderer and a $45,000 con-artist as informants wouldn't normally have been sitting pretty at the Yard. There can only be one reason why "John Wayne" is still running his show. There are more Eaton Greens and Delroy Dentons out there, and Barker is still needed to handle them.

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Ilan Shalif (Psychological Ph.D.)(Alternative Psychologist)
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