Friday, 22 February 2013

Blacklisting & Special Branch

Claims by blacklisted workers that information on some of the Consulting Association blacklist files emanate from undercover police officers are to be investigated as part of Operation Herne, an ongoing investigation into the activities of the Special Demonstration Squad, a deep undercover section of Special Branch. The investigation into police collusion with blacklisting has been set up after a complaint was submitted by the Blacklist Support Group (BSG). The Metropolitan Police originally refused to investigate the BSG complaint but was forced into a U-turn after a successful appeal to the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) by Christian Khan solicitors. 

Sarah McSherry - partner at Christian Khan said: 
'The IPCC’s decision to uphold our clients’ appeal and require the Metropolitan Police Service Directorate of Professional Standards (DPS) to record their complaint is in stark contrast to the DPS’ original view that “the complaints process is not the correct vehicle to forward their concerns or allegations. We will be making further representations to the IPCC that, given the seriousness of the allegations of widespread corruption and criminal behaviour on the part of Metropolitan Police officers, the DPS should have no involvement in the investigation of this complaint which should be the subject of an independent investigation.'

The issue first came to light in January 2012 when David Clancy (head of investigations at the ICO and himself an ex-police officer) gave evidence to an Employment Tribunal that 'information on some of the blacklist files could only have come from the police or the security services.' Mr. Clancy repeated the assertion when giving evidence to the Scottish Affairs Select Committee investigation into blacklisting. 

The involvement of police or security services in the blacklisting of trade unionists has been raised in parliament by shadow Employment Minister Ian Murray MP and Labour's John McDonnell MP and Michael Meacher MP have both demanded a full Leverson style Public Inquiry, a call which is supported by the TUC and all the major trade unions. 
In addition, Ian Kerr (the now deceased Chief Executive of the Consulting Association) told The Times about a meeting in 2008 where 8 construction industry directors were addressed by a "key officer" of a police organization - the National Extremism Tactical Co-Ordination Unit (NETCU) and agreed a two way sharing of information. 
Only this week it was disclosed that the names of over 200 environmental activists also appear on the Consulting Association blacklist - which make claims about the involvement of undercover police officers even more credible. 
Dave Smith - Blacklist Support Group: 
'There are entries on some blacklist files that are detailed surveillance reports about anti-racism demonstrations that took place nowhere near a building site. We already have other evidence to suggest that this information was compiled by undercover police officers. There are entries on other blacklist files that contain private sensitive information that has never been in the public domain and that no manager or Director of a building firm would ever have access to. It is difficult to conceive of any possible way this information could appear on the construction blacklist without the police, security services or some other arm of the state being the original source.  Undercover police and big business spying on trade unionists and anti-racism campaigners - where are we living: Nazi Germany? Apartheid South Africa? We want to know why information collected by the police has ended up on a secret blacklist of trade unionists operated by multi-national companies. If police collusion is proven, at best it is individual corruption. At worst it is systematic state involvement in a major human rights conspiracy.'

Plus Sarah McSherry and Roy Bentham just did a great interview on Radio 5 Live with Sarah Derbyshire 

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