Probe chairman says more identities will be revealed
THREE more spycops’ identities were exposed yesterday by the public inquiry into undercover police operations.
The inquiry is investigating the behaviour of police officers who infiltrated left-wing political groups over a 40-year period.
It is the first time that the inquiry, chaired by Sir John Mitting, has revealed the names used by officers who were working on undercover spy missions.
Those who have previously been uncovered as spies were unmasked by campaigners who became suspicious of their activities.
Last month it was revealed that 250 police officers spied on over 1,000 campaign organisations since the late 1960s.
These included trade unions, environmental campaigns, anti-racist groups, peace activists and even the grieving parents of murder victims.
One of the spies exposed yesterday went by the name of “Rick Gibson” who infiltrated the left-wing organisation Big Flame and played a leading role in the Troops Out Movement, which opposed Britain’s campaign in the north of Ireland.
He was active between 1974 and 1976 before his cover was almost blown after activists found a death certificate that appeared to show he had died as a young child.
The undercover police spy — who has since died — told the group that he used the fake identity to evade police capture.
However the spycop operation regularly used the birth certificates of dead children to obtain official documents including passports and other forms of identification for undercover police officers.
Another of the spies went by the name “Doug Edwards” who infiltrated a number of groups including the Independent Labour Party. To his comrades, he was working as a long-distance lorry driver.
He told the inquiry: “Some of the people in these groups were really nice, pleasant, intelligent people. They were different politically in their views, but in this country you can have different political views.”
The third spy used the moniker “John Graham” and targeted anti-war groups in the late 1960s.
He was active in west London branches of the Vietnam Solidarity Campaign, a group that organised large demonstrations in London including the protest at the US embassy in Grosvenor Square.
The inquiry has been held up as police attempt to block the release of names of undercover officers.
Inquiry chair Mr Mitting said he will announce the names of a further three spycops who have died along with those of seven officers who helped with the operations “in due course.”