Thursday, May 10, 2018

An "inquiry" with no witnesses

The British government had a problem: their police had been secretly infiltrating and spying on peaceful protest groups, leading double lives, stealing the identities of dead children and lying in court about who they were. Some even fathered children with the people they were spying on, then abandoned them. So they did what the British establishment always does: hold an inquiry. Not to establish the truth, expose the police's activities to public scrutiny, or hold those responsible to account, of course - that would be damaging. Instead, it was the usual PR stunt, designed solely to "draw a line" under the issue and give politicians and police something to point to and claim "problem solved" while everything continued as usual.

But they've done this so often that everybody knows the game, and they know how to deal with it. At the first sign that the inquiry would be a whitewash - when it decided to keep the identities of police spies secret - their victims boycotted it. And now a crucial witness, former police spy Peter Francis, has joined them:

A former undercover police officer who has become a whistleblower has joined a boycott of a public inquiry into the covert infiltration of political groups, saying it was concealing the state’s misconduct.

Victims of the undercover spying had previously walked out of the inquiry, criticising the judge leading it for allowing too much of it to be cloaked in secrecy.

On Wednesday, Peter Francis, a key figure in the controversy over the police’s use of undercover officers whose revelations had helped to force the government to set up the inquiry, boycotted its latest hearing.

He told the judge, Sir John Mitting, that his decisions giving anonymity to police spies undermined the ability of the inquiry to uncover the truth of how the police had infiltrated more than 1,000 political groups since 1968.

This is just the latest of a long string of major British inquiries to be boycotted by the people they're ostensibly held on behalf of. Inquiries into torture, child abuse, Grenfell Tower. And in each case, its because the inquiry has not been honest, has been focused on protecting those in power from accountability rather than justice for victims. People are right to boycott these establishment con-jobs. The sad thing is that the establishment keeps trying the same scam, even though their game is obviously up.