Former activists who were spied upon by undercover police officers visited St Andrews to speak out against a lecturer and to preview a new film about their experiences.
Film director Jason Kirkpatrick and activist Merrick Badger said that they had chosen to come to St Andrews on their UK ‘Spied Upon’ tour because former undercover spy Bob Lambert teaches international relations here.
Dr Lambert was revealed as an undercover spy in 2011. He worked as a detective from 1980 to 2000 and spent many years working as an officer for a covert Metropolitan Police unit called the Special Demonstration Squad (SDS).
Earlier this year he admitted to having long term relationships with a number of women while working undercover. He also had a child with one of the women, who later described her experience as like being “raped by the state.”
During the Spied Upon event Mr Badger read the story of Jacqui, the woman who had a relationship and child with Dr Lambert. She said: “Since seeing the article [revealing Lambert’s identity] my life has been devastated… I feel so confused and hurt by what has happened. I don’t understand what I am supposed to have done that I was chosen by the state to be treated like this. I would never threaten home security and what was my child – collateral damage?”
Dr Lambert was also among a number of undercover officers who admitted using the identities of dead children to obtain fake birth certificates. He used the name of a boy named Bob Robinson, who had died aged seven of a congenital heart defect. Dr Lambert admitted to using this false name in court. He was also involved in writing the ‘McLibel’ leaflet, which led to the longest trial in English civil law history.
Caroline Lucas MP has also accused Dr Lambert of planting a firebomb in a Debenhams store in 1987, an allegation he has strenuously denied.
Mr Badger said: “I think it’s important that people here know who they are dealing with and realise that this man should not be teaching. This man is not a role model. This is a case study in how wrong it can go.”
While in St Andrews the former activists handed out leaflets outside the library to raise student awareness of the actions of Dr Lambert and other undercover police officers. The leaflet states: “A serial abuser of women, Lambert ran a disgrace unit that was more counter-democratic than counter-terrorist. After his past was revealed two years ago, he resigned from his position at Exeter university. There are calls for a public inquiry into the whole scandal, and in any other industry he would be a case study of worst practices.”
Mr Kirkpatrick explained: “As a documentary filmmaker, I’ve been stunned to see the impunity with which these British undercover police have acted especially when tricking women into having long-term relationships with them in order to improve their credibility within campaign groups. The case of Bob Lambert is at the moment the one in the spotlight after he was named in Parliament as ‘the third bomber of Debenhams’ and it came to light that he had abandoned a child and not paid child support while he he was working as an undercover officer.
“In the interest of balanced journalism I offered Bob Lambert a chance to give an interview as I thought it would be important to hear his side of the story. Yet, just like the London Metropolitan Police and the home secretary Theresa May, he refused the chance to present his side of the story for our film, Spied Upon. It appears as though anyone directly involved in this policing scandal wants to try to keep the truth swept under the carpet.”
Messrs Kirkpatrick and Badger explained that Dr Lambert was part of a network of undercover officers who were all using similar tactics. They both personally knew a man named Mark Kennedy through their work and said he had become “a very dear friend.” Mr Kennedy stayed in Mr Kirkpatrick’s home in Germany and Mr Badger claimed that they also had joint birthday parties. The men later discovered that he had been working undercover and spying on them. They have now decided to make a film about what it is like to be targeted in this way, focusing on the human cost of the spying.
They are in the process of securing funding for the work but they previewed a number of clips at the event in St Andrews, including an interview with a solicitor representing women affected by these cases and a number of activists who had been spied upon.
They hope to release the film, entitled Spied Upon, in 2014.