Saturday, May 21, 2005

Smears and Lies

The following is taken from Socialist Worker:

A history of smears and lies

The intelligence services have used forgeries and concocted evidence time after time to discredit governments and individuals.

In the 1970s the British intelligence services conducted an extraordinary campaign of dirty tricks to smear Harold Wilson’s Labour government.

Colin Wallace

A British MI5 intelligence operation known as Clockwork Orange, led by Colin Wallace, conducted a dirty tricks operation to smear the Republican movement in Northern Ireland, and then the Labour government itself.

Incredibly they believed not only that Harold Wilson was a Soviet agent, but that Tory leader Edward Heath was one too. Wallace’s team forged a variety of Labour Party leaflets.

In one fake document, five senior Labour figures were added to the list of sponsors for a Bloody Sunday event. Wallace later refused to participate in such actions, and was himself smeared.

In the 1990s Rupert Murdoch’s Sunday Times ran an entirely false story about former Labour leader Michael Foot. Posters appeared around the country saying, “Michael Foot is a Russian spy.” When Foot took the paper to court he won £30,000 in damages.

Zinoviev letter

One of the most famous forgeries took place in 1924 with the “Zinoviev letter”. This produced a “red scare” which helped defeat the first ever Labour government.

On the eve of the general election the Daily Mail published a copy of a letter which was supposedly written to the British Communist Party by Soviet leader Grigori Zinoviev. It took 75 years for the authorities to officially admit that the letter was forged.

The miners

A vicious witch-hunt was launched against miners’ leader Arthur Scargill in 1990. The Tories and MI5 wanted to take revenge on all those who had taken part in or supported the 1984-5 miners’ strike.

Their allegations were published in the Daily Mirror. Scargill was accused of taking money from Libya.

Roger Windsor, the NUM’s chief executive during the 1984-5 strike, claimed that Scargill had taken £70,000 from money supposed to go to strikers to clear his £25,000 home loan from the NUM.

Socialist Worker was almost alone in defending Scargill and the NUM. Three years ago the highest court in France found that Windsor had signed documents that he claimed were forged by Scargill.

In May 2002, Roy Greenslade, the editor of the Mirror during its witch-hunt against Scargill, admitted he had been taken in by lies.

Last week Greenslade wrote, “Galloway has achieved the dubious honour of being the media’s new left wing whipping boy, following in a line that includes Arthur Scargill, Tony Benn and Ken Livingstone. Like them, he has dared to confront not only the old establishment but also its Labour alternative.”

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