Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Misusing secrecy in the UK

The UK is currently preparing to hold a whitewash inquiry into police spying. The police - whose spies spied on critics, fathered children under false pretences, encouraged crimes, and perverted the course of justice - are demanding that all evidence be heard in secret to protect their methods. But it turns out that they're quite happy to disclose their methods, targets, even the identity of their undercover offices if it suits their spin:

In 2002, the BBC broadcast a three-part documentary series that looked at how the police spied on political groups. (See this for the BBC’s website about the series).

The letter - seen by the Guardian - discloses that the Metropolitan police was “keen to support” the documentary series and helped former officers to take part in it.

In the series, the officers revealed details of how they developed their fake personas and operated undercover.

These techniques are known within the jargon of the covert world as their “legend building and tradecraft”. The undercover officers also disclosed the groups that they infiltrated.

So, happy to have all of this broadcast on national television to promote themselves when budgets are under threat, but not happy to have it heard openly at a public inquiry into their criminality. Its hypocritical and dishonest. And it makes it clear that for the UK police, secrecy is about spin and image control, not about security or the law.