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4 May, 115 tweets, 63 min read
The #SpyCopsInquiry hearings have started for another week.

First of all, we hear Elizabeth Campbell for the Inquiry, giving a short summary of 'HN301', who used the cover name 'Bob Stubbs'

Stubbs is of the opinion that he was chosen in part due to his dark complexion which may have assisted him to infiltrate groups focusing on Middle Eastern politics at a time when Palestinian hijackings were of significant concern. .
He was initially tasked to infiltrate the Palestinian Solidarity Committee – a group with no terrorist links
He moved on to infiltrate many other groups – including the International Socialists (initially Hammersmith & Fulham branch, later Wandsworth & Battersea branch, still later Paddington branch) from late 1971 - May 1976.
It is believed that he took on the role of Treasurer in at least one of these branches.
According to 'Stubbs', the objectives of the IS were 'subversive', although their day to day activities were not.
He used his position in the IS to infiltrate other groups, including the Fulham and Hammersmith branch of the Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association and the Troops Out Movement, West London branch.
He also reported on the South London branch of the Anti-Internment League from early 1972 to mid-73.
It appears that not one but 3 #spycops attended the AIL's national conference on 16th Oct 1972.
(HN298 and HN398 too)
He does not remember much about his time spying on the Troops Out Movement (TOM). Although the @ucpinquiry holds documents from 1972-76 HN301 now says he has no clear memory of his reporting in this period
@ucpinquiry There are huge gaps in the records held by the #SpyCopsInquiry for those years
- with no records at all of the telephone calls between HN301 and the SDS office (one of his regular methods of reporting info to the #SpyCops bosses)
@ucpinquiry He would also report back to the managers at weekly meetings at the SDS 'safe house' and remembers Sir Robert Mark (Commissioner at the time) attending one of these
@ucpinquiry He said he was given a significantly “free rein” to direct his own tasking.
@ucpinquiry He understood that the function of the SDS was to gather information about groups and individuals which posed a threat of public disorder and violence but states that the SDS “gradually morphed into more of a general intelligence-gathering unit”.
@ucpinquiry He would report on individuals involved in the groups he spied on. He assumed that this data was recorded/ passed on to the security services & Special Branch squads.
@ucpinquiry He states that he did not participate in any criminal activity while undercover, or become aware of any legally privileged information.
He didn't join any trade unions.
@ucpinquiry After around 5 years, his deployment ended. He told the group that he had been offered a job and moved to Portsmouth.
@ucpinquiry You can read more about 'Bob Stubbs' (and other #spycops who are not due to appear at the Inquiry) at Appendix 2 of the CTI's opening statement:…
@ucpinquiry @UndercoverNet This is the report of the Anti Internment League's national conference:…
@ucpinquiry @UndercoverNet Another officer who we won't be seeing or hearing from is 'HN303' - who used the name 'Peter Collins' to infiltrate the Workers Revolutionary Party, from early 1974 onwards
@ucpinquiry @UndercoverNet He spied both the fractious WRP and on a small, radical faction of the National Front called the ‘Legion of St. George’ for around a year.
@ucpinquiry @UndercoverNet Originally, sent to infiltrate the Workers Revolutionary Party, Collins was in turn sent by the WRP to spy on the fascist National Front – and senior management from the Metropolitan Police authorised it.
@ucpinquiry @UndercoverNet The SDS Annual report of that year says that ‘a leading member of the Workers Revolutionary Party’ with whom 'Peter' was close suggested the mission, and he was therefore ‘obliged’ to accede to the request and lead a 'treble' life’.
@ucpinquiry @UndercoverNet The police report said members of the ‘The Legion’ were ‘dissatisfied with the National Front leadership, and intended to move even further to the right.
@ucpinquiry @UndercoverNet It noted that
'Although few in number, such a group could well pose future public order problems’.
Despite, this SDS management decided that the group was not worth continuing to monitor.
@ucpinquiry @UndercoverNet The @ucpinquiry say they will not be calling HN303 to give witness evidence due to ill health, so we are unlikely to hear much more about his deployment.
Read more on pages 131-137 of the CTI opening statement.
@ucpinquiry @UndercoverNet Today we will be hearing from 'HN298' - but with the usual ten-minute delay.
In the meantime, his witness statement has finally been published:…
@ucpinquiry @UndercoverNet He served in Special Branch's 'C Squad' before joining the #spycops unit. This included attending some political meetings (usually of communists)
@ucpinquiry @UndercoverNet He says this gave him a good idea of what kind of intelligence Special Branch was interested in.

He said he thought that the existence of the SDS was well known to members of C Squad (their offices were close to each other inside New Scotland Yard).
@ucpinquiry @UndercoverNet Asked why he wanted to join the #spycops unit, he said
“It was an interesting thing to do”
@ucpinquiry @UndercoverNet And pushed for more, could only add
“It would be interesting to play a new role”
@ucpinquiry @UndercoverNet He went on to explain that he actively enquired about joining the 'Hairies' (as they were known) and was then informed that he was in

He does not remember any interview/ process, but does recall starting to grow his hair and beard.
@ucpinquiry @UndercoverNet He didn't receive any formal training
& doesn't remember any informal advice either
nothing about guidance around being arrested in his undercover identity, nothing about avoiding legally privileged conversations, nothing about the risk of going to court under his fake cover name
@ucpinquiry @UndercoverNet Barr then asked him what his understanding of 'subversion' was.

HN298's definition:“carry out acts that would endanger the well-being of the State”.

When pressed further about this 'well-being' he defined this as “the well-being of the people that live there”.
@ucpinquiry @UndercoverNet According to him, “most of the groups were not subversive but some of course had the potential to be, and that's what we were reporting on”
But no, the #spycops were not given any training on the definition of 'subversion'
@ucpinquiry @UndercoverNet He does not recall ever seeing the 1967 document - 'Home Office Circular number 97'.

According to him, it was no bad thing that the #spycops were “ left to get on with it”.
@ucpinquiry @UndercoverNet He went to Somerset House to find an identity that he could use. He chose someone whose birth date was close to his own.

He says he didn't use the date/ place of birth very often, as this isn't something people asked him.
@ucpinquiry @UndercoverNet HN298 gives the impression that he wasn't given any instructions about how to create his cover identity, but also that he didn't want any: “I wanted to do it my way”
@ucpinquiry @UndercoverNet He didn't carry out much of a risk assessment.
He didn't even bother checking if there was a death certificate for the name he'd selected.
@ucpinquiry @UndercoverNet "Why was that a risk?”
Fifty years later he still doesn't realise why this could have been a huge problem.
@ucpinquiry @UndercoverNet The real Michael Peter Scott might have ended up with a criminal conviction for example, pointed out Barr (Counsel to the Inquiry).
@ucpinquiry @UndercoverNet Did HN298 contemplate this risk?
“well it's hardly – I mean what – the circumstances what happened to me was not exactly a criminal record, it was really of no consequence really”
We'll take that as a no.
@ucpinquiry @UndercoverNet He used the Michael Scott birth certificate.
He also had a library card and driving licence in this name.

When talking about having a bank account in this fake name, he said “it might assist him because my credit record was good”
@ucpinquiry @UndercoverNet What did his managers say? Did they warn him that his identity might be tested?
“They didn't need to warn me”
@ucpinquiry @UndercoverNet He was asked if – with the benefit of hindsight – it might have been better to have had some guidance/ instructions from the managers?

He rejected this idea: “I was perfectly capable of doing it myself”
@ucpinquiry @UndercoverNet ...and went on to criticise the back-office admin staff as inexperienced in actual undercover work.
@ucpinquiry @UndercoverNet “There weren't any right-wing groups who were demonstrating, or causing any problems as far as I can recall, at the time” caused groans in the hearing room.
@ucpinquiry @UndercoverNet He admitted that some groups were “potentially less threatening but not necessarily less security-conscious”.

His method was meandering:
“nothing was part of a plan really, it was , you know, going from one group to the next because it seems a good idea at the time”
@ucpinquiry @UndercoverNet He says he kept his managers fully informed of his activities.
He says he occasionally received feedback (generally good) from the #spycops managers.

He would move on to spy on groups that interested him, but says there were no targeting criteria.
@ucpinquiry @UndercoverNet Barr asked him how they avoided duplication (multiple officers spying on the same groups) and he responded:
“if things were duplicated, it didn't make a difference”.
@ucpinquiry @UndercoverNet He was asked about his reports and the weekly get-togethers at the SDS safe house.

He was asked if he could ask for files (on specific groups or individuals) and said “I would imagine so, yes”
@ucpinquiry @UndercoverNet He described the #spycops gathering together in their 'safe house' flat every week.

He clarified that if he wanted a private chat with his managers, they would go into a different room in the flat.
@ucpinquiry @UndercoverNet He still remembers some of their conversations clearly – eg one about lead soldiers – but not all.
@ucpinquiry @UndercoverNet Asked if he became particularly friendly with any of his #spycops colleagues, he recalled:
“HN299 – I was quite friendly with him”
There were others, but “not especially so because you didn't see them that much”.
@ucpinquiry @UndercoverNet He claimed that the #spycops didn't see each other that often, so he would only get to know them superficially.

According to him, not everyone attended all the weekly meetings.
@ucpinquiry @UndercoverNet By 1976-77, HN298 would have been “one of the old sweats” suggested Barr.

“Quite honestly they all seemed like old sweats” said HN298.
@ucpinquiry @UndercoverNet Was HN297 a 'ladies man' or have that reputation?
HN298 says “not to my knowledge he wasn't”
He denies hearing any banter or talk of sexual encounters with women undercover.
@ucpinquiry @UndercoverNet He said “it's just not the type of thing people would want to discuss, is it?"
and went on to say "It's a private thing and that's a matter for them”

Barr moved on to 'HN300' (who used the name 'Jim Pickford') and asked the same questions.
@ucpinquiry @UndercoverNet When HN298 joined the SDS there were still some women officers in the unit. However they left, and were replaced by male officers.
@ucpinquiry @UndercoverNet We heard his recollections of 'Bushy Bignell' (the Superintendant) coming to visit the SDS safe house.
What was he told?
“He wasn't told anything by me” - HN298 said he would have been kept informed by the units' managers/ office staff.
@ucpinquiry @UndercoverNet Deputy Assistant Commissioner Vic Gilbert also visited the safe house. HN298 assumed that this was to see for himself, get a feel for the unit and how well it was working etc.
@ucpinquiry @UndercoverNet He says that the first group he spied on was the Young Liberals.

He also spied on the Spartacus League, which he described as a 'revolutionary group'. He says now that he cannot recall anything specifically about them, He cannot remember attending any of their meetings
@ucpinquiry @UndercoverNet We were shown a report [MPS-0732350] from July 1971 – about a meeting held at Clapham swimming baths. The guest speaker was Brian Grogan; HN298 does not recall speaking to him.…
@ucpinquiry @UndercoverNet The IMG had organised a 'Revolutionary Training Camp' – a week-long event under canvas in the New Forest.
According to the report, this training would “include such subject as public speaking, theoretical teaching and instruction in the erection of barricades”
@ucpinquiry @UndercoverNet According to HN298,
“there has to be some roughing up of the system in order to get on the road to revolution”
but he also admitted that
“I don't think anyone was far down the road to revolution in 1971, but there was plenty of activity”.
@ucpinquiry @UndercoverNet We moved on to the Putney branch of the Young Liberals.
These reports cover January 1972 till August 1974.

He says the group “were actually quite active” at that time – recounting their involvement in stopping sports tours - “so it was a public order issue”.
@ucpinquiry @UndercoverNet 'Michael Scott' attended meetings of the Putney Young Liberals in the Hain family's living room.
@ucpinquiry @UndercoverNet According to HN298, demonstrations which entailed disruption would have been considered interesting by the #spycops – the Young Liberals used non-violent direct action, so this would explain why they were targeted.
@ucpinquiry @UndercoverNet He talked more about the young Peter Hain and the campaigns against the South African cricket and rugby team
“He was the one who made a lot of these things happen”
@ucpinquiry @UndercoverNet Was HN298 praised by his managers for successfully infiltrating this group?

“No, I think they're actually too frightened of these things”
@ucpinquiry @UndercoverNet He went on to say that he suspected that the SDS office staff/ managers would have thought his work was 'risky' (in terms of the unit's reputation –
saying that if things “were to flare up, they could make a lot of fuss in the Houses of Parliament”
@ucpinquiry @UndercoverNet He says “I was an observer” at the meetings; these other people did the actual organising work.
This included Ernest Rodker and Prof Jonathan Rosenhead (who both gave evidence last week too).
@ucpinquiry @UndercoverNet He says neither of them were well-known in those days, so he didn't know about them until he attended these meetings.
@ucpinquiry @UndercoverNet…

We were shown a report
[UCPI0000008240] from January 1972.
@ucpinquiry @UndercoverNet The report shows that 'Michael Scott' (HN298) was elected as the group's Membership Secretary' at that meeting.
HN298 explained that “as the Membership Secretary you have access to all the members” so this would have meant he was able to collect useful details for Special Branch
@ucpinquiry @UndercoverNet He can't recall how his managers reacted to this news.

On page 2, names of those who attended the meeting are listed by HN298.
“Did you realise there were children in the room?” Asked Barr, referring to Jo-Ann and Sally Hain.
@ucpinquiry @UndercoverNet “I've got no recollection at all of Jo-Ann or Sally Hain or any children at any meetings because of course they're of no relevance” says HN298.
@ucpinquiry @UndercoverNet He claims not to remember this meeting, or producing this report, at all.

When asked more about this report being attributed to him, he said “it bears my name in a format I would never have used”
@ucpinquiry @UndercoverNet Asked more about reporting on children, he came out with this extraordinary statement:
“As has been shown by the green movement, there are young ladies of tender age that can be quite significant, and so I would have possibly put them down anyway if they were in attendance”
@ucpinquiry @UndercoverNet He went on to say that the “whole point of collating information is that you ...put them down, and if they constantly turn up at meetings all over the place, they start to be significant”
@ucpinquiry @UndercoverNet He says he was never conscious of any unease on the part of his managers, including HN294, who was "the leading man” at this time, says HN298
@ucpinquiry @UndercoverNet [UCPI0000008254]
Another report on the Young Liberals, dated 12th April 1972.
At this meeting, there was discussion of the traffic on Putney High Street – the contributions made by a member of the Putney Society are recorded.
@ucpinquiry @UndercoverNet HN298 justifies this by saying that they were talking about closing the high street, so of course this was of interest to the police.
@ucpinquiry @UndercoverNet “I think that the activities of the SDS were well -directed and I think it was money well spent”.
@ucpinquiry @UndercoverNet The Young Liberals' annual conference is the subject of the next report [UCPI000008255]…

In it, Peter Hain is described as being “centre-Left”.
@ucpinquiry @UndercoverNet There are some extremely distasteful details in this report – including a mention of the “Blagdon Amateur Rapist” and “John Morton's right leg (the one that limps)”
@ucpinquiry @UndercoverNet “These people were activists in one way or the other” insisted HN298.
“The fact they are there and saying these things – you can't ignore it.”
@ucpinquiry @UndercoverNet He went on to attend meetings of a small grouping (within the Young Liberals/) called Commitment because in his estimation they seemed to the ones who were likely to cause trouble.
@ucpinquiry @UndercoverNet…
He was asked why he reported on the car used by Peter Hain and his secretary in this report [UCPI0000008248]
@ucpinquiry @UndercoverNet The document [UCPI0000008248]…
was called up on screen but failed to job HN298's memory.
@ucpinquiry @UndercoverNet He says he may well have submitted this report (but does not remember doing so)
“because it's related to other reports and it's only by adding bits and pieces like this that you subsequently find out who is of interest and who isn't”.
@ucpinquiry @UndercoverNet…
The next report [UCPI0000008269] is on a Young Liberals Council meeting held in Birmingham on 22-23 June 1974
@ucpinquiry @UndercoverNet One of the motions passed was about the recent death of Kevin Gately in Red Lion Square, and the calls for a public inquiry in the way the police had handled this demonstration and the events that led to Kevin's death.
@ucpinquiry @UndercoverNet HN298 has no recollection of this reporting, but in his opinion “it is significant what they say and it should be reported”

“You need as much info as you can glean” in order to make decisions, he says,
@ucpinquiry @UndercoverNet Offers some examples of making decisions about where to allocate police at future demonstrations
Barr points out that there were no upcoming demos; this report is of a political nature, about lobbying the Home Secretary to set up a public inquiry into the actions of the police.
@ucpinquiry @UndercoverNet HN298 confirms that he had (and blatently has) no concerns about reporting on political activity of this nature.
@ucpinquiry @UndercoverNet “As far as I know there weren't any problems with the far right” HN298 repeated what he'd said earlier.

“I suppose you mean the National Front? I wasn't aware of too many demonstrations organised by them”
@ucpinquiry @UndercoverNet Commitment – the libertarian anarchist group – were a small group who met in South London.
[UCPI 0000008560]…
HN298's report on Croydon Commitment mentioned a forthcoming action against Rio Tinto Zinc's proposed mining in Snowdonia national park
@ucpinquiry @UndercoverNet He cannot recall any public disorder, criminal offences being committed by 'Commitment'
So why infiltrate them at all? he was asked.

“They could have caused chaos in the streets. The fact that they didn't was probably lack of organisation rather than a will to do so”.
@ucpinquiry @UndercoverNet According to him, speaking about such things “that was enough to be of interest".
He went on to say "because clearly if you can speak about it you can carry it out” (!)
@ucpinquiry @UndercoverNet He says that he realised this group were all talk and no action, and so made the decision to move on.
He got more involved in the Croydon Libertarians, which overlapped with Commitment.

“as far as I was concerned they didn't do anything that was too bad and I moved on “
@ucpinquiry @UndercoverNet…

[UCPI0000008152] report from April 1973.

The Croydon Libertarians used a length of chain to block a road as part of a campaign to create a pedestrian precinct. The chain only stayed in place for 5 minutes or so, to the consternation of the group.
@ucpinquiry @UndercoverNet It seems clear that HN298 was responsible for this.

He explained that much of this group's activity was on “this level – nothing too dangerous or dramatic”.
He says he wasn't aware that Ernest Rodker was involved with this group as well.
@ucpinquiry @UndercoverNet Next we heard about the now-infamous 'Star and Garter' incident.

HN298 was shown [UCPI0000034071] – a picture of the hotel – to aid his memories.
@ucpinquiry @UndercoverNet…

This report [MPS-526782] from 16th May 1972 is about a pre-action meeting of around 20 people.
@ucpinquiry @UndercoverNet The activists planned for look-outs – who would keep an eye on the movements of the South African players – and for cars (and hired skips) that could be used to block the coach from leaving the hotel.
@ucpinquiry @UndercoverNet There was discussion in this meeting about methods of signalling to each other.

The report includes a story of Jonathan Rosenhead offering flares for this purpose, and later lighting one in the car-park.
@ucpinquiry @UndercoverNet Jonathan himself told us last week that he has never handled a flare in his life.

HN298 insists that his reports were accurate; there is no way that he would have made a mistake about Rosenhead's identity.
@ucpinquiry @UndercoverNet The report also includes a note of what Rodker told the group – that they should deny having met together and say that they had received details of the demo in the post – in order to avoid any conspiracy charges. He also circulated legal numbers in case anyone was arrested.
@ucpinquiry @UndercoverNet HN298 agreed that there was always a risk of arrest with this kind of action, and says that he wasn't provided any legal numbers.
@ucpinquiry @UndercoverNet…

Barr read from this report of the demo itself – which tells of activists sitting in the road to block the British Lions rugby team bus – as each small group was arrested, another group would replace them. HN298 does not recall this.
@ucpinquiry @UndercoverNet 'Michael Scott' was one of those arrested that day.
He confirmed that he was present at meetings of the defendants and their lawyers.
@ucpinquiry @UndercoverNet [UCPI0000033628]…
We are shown a handwritten letter sent to Ernest Rodker in June 1972.

The Inquiry then took a break for lunch – it will start again just after 2pm.
@ucpinquiry @UndercoverNet @tombfowler is now catching up with Jonathan Rosenhead -one of those co-arrestees - and getting his reactions to the evidence we've heard so far today. That film will be online soon.

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More from @copscampaign

5 May
Having heard from Richard Chessum, a 'non State core participant' (ie someone who was spied on), the #SpyCopsInquiry is due to hear from another former undercover officer, 'HN200', this afternoon.
This is being streamed on youtube, with a ten-minute delay:
This means you'll be able to see it (and our tweets about it) from about 15:15 onwards.

In the meantime, you can read a summary of HN200's deployment on pages 171-174 of the Counsel to the Inquiry's opening statement:…

He used the cover name 'Roger Harris' to infiltrate the International Socialists (IS) – the Twickenham branch – and also reported on the Troops Out Movement (TOM).

He was deployed between April 1974 and October 1977.
Read 80 tweets
5 May
The #SpyCopsInquiry is taking a short break. Next we'll be hearing from a non State core participant, Richard Chessum.
You can watch this morning's hearing at

The opening statement of Richard Chessum and 'Mary' is at…

This morning's session is being streamed with a ten-minute delay...

Read 61 tweets
5 May
The #SpyCopsInquiry is starting again - you can watch this morning's session at
We will hear summaries of HN353 (who used the cover name 'Gary Roberts') and HN351.(who used the cover name 'Jeff Slater').
Neither man will be providing any evidence in person.
HN353 used the name 'Gary Roberts' ( this identity was stolen from a deceased child).
Read 33 tweets
4 May
This afternoon's #SpyCopsInquiry hearing will start just after 2pm.
If you'd like to see a moving transcript of what is said (10 mins after it's said) you can watch this on
Or follow our and @tombfowler 's tweets...
@tombfowler David Barr (Counsel to the #SpycopsInquiry ) took us back to the Star & Garter hotel car-park.

HN298 – using the cover name 'Michael Scott' – was arrested at this demo, blocking the British Lions rugby team bus (they were about to head off on a tour of apartheid South Africa).
@tombfowler HN298 claims to have been in the road at the time of his arrest. He has no recollection of his actions on the day, but says he “would have been going through the motions” (of participating in the direct action).
Read 162 tweets
2 May
Great to see #spycops placards and signs at yesterday's #KillTheBill demo in London
The #SpyCopsInquiry hearings recommence on Tuesday morning - catch up on the last few weeks at and
@out_of_lives ImageImage
@out_of_lives We don't trust the police.
Nobody can.
We remember the #SpyCops

Check out the new podcast series at ImageImageImage
@out_of_lives The police continue to spy on all kinds of campaigners, and curtail our right to protest.
This is why it's important to oppose the proposed new Police Crime & Sentencing Bill... ImageImage
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30 Apr
The #SpyCopsInquiry starts again this morning, hearing from Lord Peter Hain.
He was involved in campaigning against apartheid.
As his opening statement says:

"From the 1960s onwards, the international movement against the Apartheid regime in South Africa was one of the world’s largest social movements. Abhorrence at the racist and murderous regime was shared by people aroundthe globe."
"They formed campaigns in support of those in South Africa who were struggling for change and people in Britain played a central rolein campaigning for, and eventually achieving,that change"
Read 110 tweets

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