Eveline Lubbers had already explored the undercover machinations of police spy Bob Lambert in her recent book Secret Manoeuvres in the Dark (Pluto, 2012). In a case study titled “McSpy” she revisits the ‘McLibel’ case and considers Special Branch’s cooperation with McDonald’s as a means to target animal-rights activists.
However, the full extent of Bob Lambert’s role, and the blueprint he left for future spies, has only now come to light.
We have copied an extract below, but you can head to the Secret Manoeuvres blog for the full post, in which she reviews a host of revelations, not limited to Bob Lambert’s exploits, that have surfaced since Secret Manoeuvres in the Dark was published a year ago this month.
You can also buy the book at a discount, directly from the Pluto website, here.
Fast–food company McDonald’s hired at least seven private detectives to identify who was responsible for London Greenpeace’s leaflet What’s Wrong With McDonald’s? which was distributed outside many McDonald’s outlets in the UK. The surveillance operation was exposed after McDonald’s sued the activist group for libel. Under cross–examination, the company was forced to provide many details of its extensive surveillance operation on London Greenpeace. Agents infiltrated London Greenpeace for varying lengths of time between October 1989 and early summer 1991. The court transcripts and notes made by the investigators reveal the lengths McDonald’s went to in procuring information about this small activist group.
The McSpy chapter in Secret Manoeuvres includes some serious questions about the cooperation between the private spies hired by McDonald’s to infiltrate London Greenpeace and Special Branch, more specifically the Animal Rights National Index, ARNI. The head of security at the fast food giant at the time was himself a former police officer (in South Africa, and in London Brixton in the early 1980s) who happily used the network of his old colleagues to exchange information on protesters.
I brought up possible further cooperation, with Special Branch using the corporate infiltration as a stepping-stone to target animal rights activists.
I was not far off the mark. Just before the book went to press, members of London Greenpeace exposed Bob Lambert as a spy. He claimed to have used his membership of London Greenpeace to build his cover story to move into the more radical circles of animal rights activists. The fact that his mission had taken place before McDonald’s had hired two different detective agencies to spy on the small activist group, confirmed my theory that it had been a joint operation from the start.
That McDonald’s wanted to know who was responsible for the leaflet was just a pretext – that was clear from my analyses of the court documents and the witness statements given at the McLibel trial. The Head of Security knew the names of the members of London Greenpeace before he hired. Special Branch had pointed them out, in exchange for a perch: an observation post within the McDonald’s premises to keep an eye at a picket outside.
Since it was illegal for the police to share any such information with others, McDonald’s had to ‘white wash’ it to be able to use it as evidence before the Court. The detectives were brought in.
Corporate and Police Spying on Activists
Exposes the covert attempts of corporations and government to infiltrate and spy on peaceful protest groups.
“In the recent frenzy over media phone hacking, the shadow warriors of corporate espionage have escaped scrutiny, until now. Eveline Lubbers’ book shines a timely and sharp light on the dark arts of serving and retired cops, spooks and squaddies who are spying, bugging and lying for big business with impunity.” – Michael Gillard, Journalist, The Sunday Times
“In this eye-opening, ground-breaking volume Evelyn Lubbers opens up a new field of research. A must-read for anyone interested in grey policing, social movements, social reform and corporate intelligence behaviour.” – Gary T. Marx, Author of Undercover: Police Surveillance in America