Mark Watts Profile picture
Journalist, broadcaster, author. Co-ordinator @FOIACentre, Former Editor-in-Chief, Exaro. Views are my own – except, perhaps, retweets.
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17 Nov 20
Day 12 of #SpyCopsInquiry – fireworks expected: Dave Smith, of Blacklist Support Group, due to give his belated opening statement on what was due to be a non-sitting day.

Then lawyers for non-core participants to make an application on the scope of questioning for witnesses.
Dave Smith tells #SpyCopsInquiry that Blacklist Support Group represents union members who were blacklisted by construction companies. “When we first spoke about being blacklisted for our union activities we were ignored by the authorities and ridiculed as conspiracy theorists.”
Dave Smith in opening statement to #SpyCopsInquiry: “But blacklisting is not a conspiracy theory. It is a real life conspiracy: secretly organised by multinational construction firms with the collusion of the police and the security services.”
Read 34 tweets
16 Nov 20
Day 11 of #SpyCopsInquiry: two #spycops who operated in 1969-72 due to be called – “Dick Epps” and “Alan Nixon”/”Alan Bailey”.

Summary of evidence from third #spycop in 1968-69, whose cover name (as well as real name) is being kept secret, due to be read out by inquiry lawyer.
“Dick Epps” in his statement to #SpyCopsInquiry on Conrad Dixon, who set up and headed Met’s SDS, its initial #spycop unit. “Conrad was a clever man, but also an ambitious and devious man. He saw an opportunity for himself as well as an opportunity to create something useful.”
As a Special Branch officer but before becoming a #spycop, “Dick Epps” was deployed to US embassy at time of the anti-Vietnam war demonstrations.

He says in statement: “The Americans had set up a machine gun inside the lobby of the building, ready to defend it if necessary.”
Read 23 tweets
13 Nov 20
Day 10 of #spycops inquiry: two #spycops due to be called, first from management/back office, second used cover name, “Douglas Edwards”.

Summaries of evidence from three further #spycops – including “Don De Freitas” and “William Paul Lewis” – to be read out by inquiry lawyer.
Summary of statement by #spycop “Don De Freitas” read to inquiry: he was in SDS during 1968. He worked elsewhere in Special Branch before + after his brief time in SDS.

He targeted Vietnam Solidarity Campaign, and posed as boyfriend of “Margaret White”:
Summary of statement by #spycop “William/Bill Paul Lewis” read to inquiry: he was in SDS 1968-9; says that any #spycop arrested while undercover would have the issue resolved later.

Summary of statement by a third #spycop, cypher “HN322”, says that he did not use a cover name.
Read 30 tweets
12 Nov 20
Day 9 of #spycops inquiry: three #spycops who infiltrated campaign against Vietnam war – “John Graham”, “Barry Morris” and “Margaret White”.

Plus statement to be read from Ernest Tate, of Vietnam Solidarity Campaign and an organiser of Vietnam war protest in London in 1968.
First up today, “HN329”, a #spycop in the Met Special Branch’s “Special Demonstration Squad” from 1968.

He used the cover name “John Graham”.
In his written statement, “John Graham” says that before he joined Met’s SDS he was in “C Squad” where he was “carrying out Communism related enquiries” and “engaging in covert work”.
Read 28 tweets
11 Nov 20
Today, finally, #spycops inquiry is due to start hearing evidence, but it is not being live streamed to public.

We have been hearing core participants’ opening statements since last week. There may still be one or two more of those today before evidence begins.
Despite suggestion by Sir John Mitting yesterday that we would hear one or two further opening statements this am (we still have not heard from Dave Smith, a blacklisted construction worker, and Helen Steel, one of the McLibel 2), #spycops inquiry is going straight into evidence.
Sir John Mitting, chairman of #spycops inquiry, clarifies that Dave Smith cannot give his opening statement because he has contracted coronavirus.

Helen Steel cannot give hers because of unspecified different reasons. They may give their statements at some later point.
Read 13 tweets
10 Nov 20
Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, #Spycop

Day 7 of opening statements today, including on behalf of Baroneess (Doreen) Lawrence, Neville Lawrence, Michael Mansfield.

Due to be live streamed at link.

Ahead of start of evidence sessions from tomorrow.…
We start by hearing a broadside delivered at both #spycops inquiry and the Met delivered by Baroness Lawrence via her barrister, Imran Khan.
Baroness Lawrence, mother, of course, of Stephen Lawrence, “is losing confidence, if she has not already lost it, in the inquiry’s ability to get to the truth,” says Imran Khan to #spycops inquiry.
Read 38 tweets
9 Nov 20
We are hearing this am at undercover policing inquiry from Philippa Kaufman the truly mind-blowing story of state sexual abuse of 20 women whom she represents by #spycops, and how these women unearthed who their “boyfriends” really were and exposed them.…
Philippa Kaufman also represents a 21st woman who developed a friendship, albeit not a sexual relationship, with a #spycop.

You can see her giving her and others later today giving opening statements at this link:…
Note that Philippa Kaufman’s opening statement was only live streamed this morning because she undertook not to state #spycop Carlo Neri’s real name.

I have no idea why because his real name is already in public domain. This is eerily like #CSAinquiry attempt to erase history.
Read 16 tweets
8 Nov 20
East Germany had the Stasi.

UK have the #spycops.

Key points in utterly staggering submissions to #spycops inquiry in opening statements last week on behalf of a wide range of core participants that show the sheer scale of secret political policing in UK have gone unreported.
For example, James Scobie, barrister for several CPs, said on Day 5 of undercover policing inquiry on Friday, that #spycop Rick Gibson helped run the Troops Out Movement in 1974-76 by becoming its London organiser and ultimately joint national secretary.…
Lord (John) Hendy, representing Fire Brigades Union and Unite the Union, and other unions that were REFUSED core-participant status, spoke also on Day 5 (same link as above) of their deep concern about use of #spycops intelligence for “blacklisting” of trade unionists from work.
Read 6 tweets
6 Nov 20
How secret state in UK has long policed politics:

MI5, working with #spycops, policing MPs, campaigners and anyone seeking social change, as set out in lengthy opening statement by Rajiv Menon, for some core participants in undercover policing inquiry.…
“Undercover policing was severely tainted – corrupted – by political motivations and political bias,” says Matthew Ryder, representing many other core participants in #spycopys inquiry, in opening statement.

A common target for #spycops was anyone who campaigned against racism.
One #spycop, Mike Ferguson, targeted Peter Hain because he was campaigning against apartheid in South Africa.

He is said by other #spycops to have become Hain’s “right hand man”.

But Lord Hain cannot confirm this because inquiry REFUSES to tell him #spycop’s COVER NAME.
Read 4 tweets
2 Nov 20
Even MPs came under the scrutiny of UK #spycops, says David Barr, counsel to undercover policing inquiry, in his opening statement in Day 1 of hearings today.
Some former #spycops continued to operate in the private sector, with at least one continuing to use exactly the same cover name, David Barr says in opening statement to undercover policing inquiry.
First witness in #spycops inquiry is due to be Tariq Ali on Wednesday next week, says David Barr.

He explains that #spycops began by targetting Vietnam Solidarity Campaign in 1968, and so Tariq Ali became one of their first targets.
Read 6 tweets
28 Oct 20
Day 13 of Janner hearings of #CSAinquiry behind closed doors again:

Kevin Yates, of Leicestershire Police’s ‘Operation Magnolia’, who was too ill to testify last Weds.

Matt Hewson, of ‘Operation Enamel’, due back.

And four witnesses from Labour party.

Gregor McGill, director of legal services at CPS, who began his testimony yesterday (linked below), has been slotted into finish before Kevin Yates is called.

All happening behind closed doors.

Kevin Yates, who is testifying today at Janner hearings of #CSAinquiry behind closed doors, joined Operation Magnolia as a detective inspector in 2001.

We heard from two of his colleagues on Day 8, when he was due to testify before he reported in ill:

Read 33 tweets
27 Oct 20
Day 12 of Janner hearings of #CSAinquiry:

Statement from Tony Blair – to explain why he made Greville Janner a Lord – due to be read. In closed session.

NOT being questioned.

Helen Ewen, head of honours secretariat at Cabinet Office, due to be called.

As I revealed, all of the many people who accused Greville, later Lord, Janner of child sexual abuse have been frozen out of #CSAinquiry.

But a cyphered person, “JA-B24” due to be called today. Not sure whether this person is a survivor or a relative.

Janner hearings of #CSAinquiry also due to hear today from Gregor McGill, CPS director of legal services.

He will be asked why the late Greville Janner, Labour MP and peer, was not prosecuted despite three criminal investigations into him. Partly in open session, partly closed.
Read 33 tweets
26 Oct 20
Day 11 of Janner hearings of #CSAinquiry behind closed doors ALL DAY again:

Michael Creedon.

Former chief constable of Derbyshire Police.

Effectively led probe into Frank Beck in 1991.

Says that he was ORDERED not to arrest Janner.

Testifying in SECRET.

Christopher Thomas, SIO of Operation Dauntless (2006-7) is being slotted in to complete his evidence in closed session before Michael Creedon is called.

Thomas testified on Day 9, but did not finish then. But I tweeted what he has to say on Day 9:
Michael Creedon is testifying behind closed doors at #CSAinquiry.

However, I AM able to tell you what he has to say because it is already in PUBLIC domain, again demonstrating the farce of hearing all of his evidence – and indeed, much of all witnesses’ evidence – in secret.
Read 42 tweets
23 Oct 20
Day 10 of Janner hearings of #CSAinquiry behind closed doors ALL DAY yet again:

Another retired officer from Leicestershire Police, Alistair Helm. On ‘Operation Dauntless’.

And Roger Rock, senior prosecutor at CPS. On why it did not prosecute.
Alistair Helm, as a detective chief superintendent, was in the ‘gold group’ that launched Operation Dauntless in 2006.

He is testifying behind closed doors at #CSAinquiry, but the publicly available evidence suggests that the gold group had minimal insight over the operation.
Freemasonry is known to have been rife at Leicestershire Police (and the county council).

However, Alistair Helm is unlikely to have been a mason because he was ordained mid-career. He retired from Leicestershire Police in 2008 and went on to be a priest in the Yorkshire Dales.
Read 26 tweets
22 Oct 20
Day 9 of Janner hearings of #CSAinquiry behind closed doors ALL DAY again:

Three witnesses, all officers who worked on ‘Operation Dauntless’ in 2006, Leicestershire Police’s third investigation into Lord Janner…

David Swift-Rollinson, Kevin Barrs, Christopher Thomas.
I will start my coverage of this behind-closed door hearing that started at 10.15am shortly.

Meanwhile, I can reveal that a statement from Tony Blair is due to be read to Janner hearing BEHIND CLOSED DOORS next Tuesday.

See you next Tuesday.
Tony Blair, as prime minister, ennobled Greville Janner in 1997.

But #CSAinquiry is not calling him to answer questions at the Janner hearing.

It has, however, ordered Blair to prepare a statement, which will be read in closed session next Tuesday.
Read 56 tweets
21 Oct 20
Day 8 of Janner hearings of #CSAinquiry: three officers who worked on ‘Operation Magnolia’, Leicestershire Police’s investigation into Lord Janner between 2000 and 2002...

James Wynne, Kevin Yates, Richard Keenan.

Each witness partly in open – and partly in closed – session.
Junior counsel to #CSAinquiry says that Kevin Yates has been taken ill is unfit to give evidence today. He will be rescheduled for next Wednesday.

We are hearing from James Wynne, initially in open session.
James Wynne was a detective sergeant during ‘Operation Magnolia’, which ran from 2000 to 2002, investigating allegations of physical and sexual abuse of children at two Leicestershire children’s homes, including allegations against Lord Janner.
Read 40 tweets
20 Oct 20
Day 7 of Janner hearings of #CSAinquiry: three witnesses from Leicestershire county council...

John Sinnott, chief executive, due to begin at 10.30am in open session before going behind closed doors.

Then Robert Parker and Brian Waller – each behind closed doors.
John Sinnott, chief executive of Leicestershire county council since 1994, is first witness to testify in open (at least, partly) in FIVE days of Janner hearings at #CSAinquiry.
John Sinnott accepts that in the past there was no oversight by senior managers at Leicestershire county council’s social services department of complaints of sexual or physical abuse of children in the council’s “care” homes.
Read 33 tweets
19 Oct 20
Day 6 of Janner hearings of #CSAinquiry behind closed doors ALL DAY again for fourth day in a row:

James Coussey of CPS, Jeremy Naunton also of CPS, and evidence read from the late Barbara Fitt, manager of a children’s home in Leicester, and her widower, Ray.
James Coussey, retired senior prosecutor, made the newspapers in 1986 when he had to placate a furious magistrate who threatened to free a man on a murder charge because of prosecution blunders by DPP office.

Nothing compared to prosecution blunders over Greville Janner MP.
Jeremy Naunton, senior lawyer for DPP then CPS, faces qus this pm – behind closed doors – as to why Greville Janner, then Labour MP, was not prosecuted in 1991. Just as he had to explain why Peter Hayman was not prosecuted in 1978, as revealed @FOIACentre:…
Read 19 tweets
16 Oct 20
Day 5 of Janner hearings of #CSAinquiry behind closed doors ALL DAY again for third day in a row:

Peter Joyce, prosecutor in Frank Beck’s trial;

Iain Groundwell, retired from CPS;

Reading statement by the late Peter Hollingworth, former chief prosecutor for Leicestershire.
Peter Joyce was prosecuting counsel in Frank Beck’s trial in 1991.

At the request of police, he advised how to deal with allegations that arose at the time against Greville Janner, then Labour MP.

He is giving evidence in closed session at #CSAinquiry.

Peter Joyce made a late, successful application to become a “core participant” in #CSAinquiry investigation re Greville Janner after inquiry sent him a “detailed request” in May for a statement...
Read 25 tweets
15 Oct 20
Day 4 of Janner hearings of #CSAinquiry behind closed doors ALL DAY again:

Tony Butler, senior Leicestershire Police officer who oversaw investigation into Frank Beck in 1991 in which allegations against Greville Janner MP arose. And Mark Williams of CPS.

After I highlighted how #CSAinquiry had been seeking to keep secret even the operational name of the police investigation into Frank Beck, and then, Greville Janner MP in 1991, it has finally made public what it was called: Operation Intern.
Tony Butler was Leicestershire’s assistant chief constable when he oversaw Operation Intern, inv into Frank Beck and then Greville Janner MP. He later became deputy chief constable and has since retired. He is giving evidence behind closed doors at #CSAinquiry. #SecretCSAinquiry
Read 19 tweets
14 Oct 20
Day 3 of Janner hearings of #CSAinquiry behind closed doors ALL DAY: three Leicestershire officers who were on first police probe into Labour MP Greville Janner in 1991 as part of Frank Beck case... DCI Kelvyn Ashby, Ch Supt Graham Carr, Det Supt Tim Garner.

DCI Kelvyn Ashby was SIO on police probe into Frank Beck, who ran a Leicestershire children’s home.

He investigated allegations against Greville Janner, then a Labour MP, in 1991 as part of that case.

He is giving evidence behind closed doors at #CSAinquiry. #SecretCSAinquiry
Police in this first probe into Greville Janner passed a file to the CPS, which decided against pressing any charge against the then MP.

Janner was named as an abuser by a witness at Frank Beck’s trial.

Janner denied the claims in Parliament. Many MPs spoke in his support.
Read 32 tweets