PART TWO: THE 1980's AND BEYOND
To summarise the key features of 1970's Searchlight activities sketched so far: a close working relationship with the state, passing information on Leftists to Fascists, and Fascists to Leftists (often simultaneously), running stories deliberately designed to conform to secret state agendas and spying on Leftists for the state. There is a definite pattern: one that was to be repeated in the 1990's. Only this time, unfortunately for Searchlight, sections of the Left were to be rather more clued up about such things than we were the last time round.
RAY HILL, COLUMN 88
AND THE NOTTING HILL BOMB PLOT
The major Searchlight story of the 1980's was their thwarting of the supposed 1981 plot to bomb the Notting Hill Street Carnival in London. The official version states that operative Ray Hill uncovered a daring plan by fascists to foment race war in the UK by planting a bomb at this Black-run street festival, the largest in Europe. A key figure in the thwarted outrage was said to be the Nazi paramilitary fantasist Tony Malski. After Hill's hearing of the plot, the subsequent publicisation of it in the media is said to have frightened Malski and company, causing mayhem plans to be abandoned. I have already disposed of this fictional episode elsewhere and refer readers to that treatment, to which a promised reply by Searchlight has predictably not materialised.  A couple of points are worthy of mention here. The Searchlight operative who allegedly foiled this devilish plan was Ray Hill. His autobiography states he and his controllers decided to 'give the story to a national newspaper and just hope against hope that I would not be uncovered as the source of the information. A few days before the carnival, the Daily Mirror carried 'Carnival Bomb Plot' all over its front page.' 
Turning to the newspaper article in question, a direct creation of Searchlight, two recurrent themes of this study so far reappear: Special Branch and Column 88. According to the piece, 'Special branch officers have discovered that the neo-Nazis plotted to set off a suitcase bomb .... The Special Branch spies say ... Detectives believe ... Last night Special Branch officers said they were still investigating the men behind the plot.  While we now know the Bomb Plot was a fiction, there is no way a journalist working for a major circulation national newspaper like the Mirror would have dared to make such copius reference to the Special Branch in a controversial front page story without their approval. Which raises the further question: is it likely that Ray Hill was s state asset / agent provocateur? There is more to go on than just this story and the admission of its sourcing in his won autobiography to provide an
answer. Hill reached a position of some power in the British Movement, British Democratic Party and British National Party. An NF splinter group, the BDP was formed in 1979, led by Leicester solicitor Anthony Reed-Herbert; and on Hill's account engaged in gun-running. Unquestionably, one Luger pistol was obtained by an associate of Reed-Herbert's for sale to a US Nazi in 1981; key moments in the transaction were shown on a 'World In Action' TV programme  Beyond this one event (and the July 1981 conviction of another BDP member for possessing an unauthorised firearm) there is no proof of the BDP doing anything more: hardly 'Iran-Contra'!
Two aspects of this affair are disturbing. First, it was Ray Hill himself who claims to have introduced the idea of mixing overt (legal) and covert (illegal) political activity to Reed-Herbert. In his own words, "would it not be better, I asked if the Nazi movement could evolve a form of 'pincer strategy', appealing on the one hand as a respectable 'clean' political party, but still, on the other hand, retaining the capacity for 'underground activities' on Left-wingers and immigrants."  According to a news item on the BDP, Hill actively recruited to the BDP on the basis of this 'pincer strategy'.  That Reed-Herbert, a political lightweight, apparantly agreed to it doesn't negate the fact that the strategy was proposed by a so-called anti-fascist infiltrator, who recruited new thugs on that basis. Secondly, the US weapon buyer featured in the TV programme was a phoney as Hill, put up to it jointly by Searchlight / World in Action.  Given the role of what can only be described as agent provocateurs at both ends of this deal, it is ridiculous for Hill to bemoan the fact that 'to this day, despite all the evidence, there has been not one single prosecution arising from the entire affair.  Hill and his controllers might well retort that gun running was a habitual sideline of Reed Herbert's: what a pity then, that no evidence other than this contrived example has ever been produced. Furthermore, the idea that US citizens were genuinely interested in obtaining guns from British sources when you could buy them over the counter in much of the USA would have struck any genuine arms dealer as preposterous. The BDP folded shortly after the incident, providing a telling indicator of how manufactured the whole thing was.
Delving into Hill's past, he comes across as a mercenary thug: as early as 1962 sentenced to two years jail for attempted theft and ripping off a policeman's ear.  Also in the 1960's after he became a Nazi, Hill engaged in racial attacks, later stating that 'it all started as a bit of a game -- the odd night out attacking a few Pakis I even desecrated
a synagogue.  In September 1969, Hill assaulted a Jewish cafe owner for political motives, shortly after which he fled to South Africa.  In early 1979, Hill returned to England in rather a hurry, jumping bail on a fraud prosecution in Johannesburg arising from credit card fraud and alleged embezzlement of funds from a Masonic organization unfortunate enough to have put him in a position of trust.  Thus, even without knowing Hill worked for Searchlight, he matches the profile for a certain type of state asset: amoral, criminal, and racist. Hill supposedly 'saw the light' in South Africa and became an anti-racist overnight -- this seems unlikely. Consider what was revealed as a result of a court case arising from an indecency charge in which the alleged victims included Ray Hill's sons. This was reported in the Lincolnshire Echo, 26/3/88, thus relating to events well after Hill had supposedly surfaced as a redoubtable opponent of anti semitism / racism generally. Jewish businessman George Lewis was acquitted after he claimed that the 'allegations were made by a former friend who had found out about his past' (indecency charges in the former Rhodesia). This 'former friend' was Ray Hill, and the jury evidently believed Lewis' claim that he had become 'the victim of an attempted blackmail plot' cooked up by Hill, in collusion with his offspring. Of interest is the further contention that their friendship had been strained by Hills realization Lewis' "brother was a Jew. 'He doesn't particularly like Jews' alleged Lewis". Even in the Searchlight column under his own name (currently in abeyance) Holl sometimes finds it difficult to contain what I see as racist sentiments: describing Black Separatists on one occasion as a 'Gucci-outfitted bunch of middle class wankers ... Black fascism.'  In March 1988, just after Hill's autobiography was published, Searchlight spoke about his 'security arrangements'. Because a trio of presumed nazi thugs had visited his home looking for him while he was out 'one carrying a cricket holdall containing a long thin object.'  and the next day an 'anonymous caller' promised the Italian boys' wouldn't miss him next time. All hell was let loose. According to Searchlight, when the hit team's visit was reported to the local police they immediately installed panic button alarms in every room of the house, fitted new security locks and arranged for the property to be guarded by a patrol passing several times each hour.  This is not the sort of protection afforded to mere mortals: Hill was not even a witness in a forthcoming case, save that concerning the Jewish businessman just referred to. Victims of racist attack, or for that matter domestic violence from former partners, do not get this sort of protection: it is provided though, to people of 'political significance' and to those of use to the state, as we saw with Gable earlier. It is no doubt this state back up which makes Searchlight so free and easy with publishing the photographs and addresses of people they target -- for their victims will not get the state protection certain key Searchlight operatives evidently enjoy as a matter of course.
Returning to the 'Notting Hill Bomb Plot' the Searchlight-sourced Daily Mirror tale described (without naming) Malski. He was said to be 'now working for the ultra-right extremists who call themselves Column 88'. In which case, C88 were operating even later than Searchlight have admitted: yet more questions arise from this pronouncement. It is feasible of course, that C88 was a near-fictional organisation, as has been suggested by one plagiariser of my research. Even if that were so, it doesn't let Searchlight or their sponsors off the hook, for by seeking to coonvince the media, the Left, and the Right of the reality of C88 when they did, attention was being diverted from fundamental developments on the interstices of the state and the far right. And C88 was thus enabled to function as a 'honey trap' partly due to the activities of the Searchlight team, including Hill; who admits joining in 1981 but never taking an active part.  Either the Notting Hill Bomb Plot was a fiction from start to finish -- or Hill was privy to the plans of, and thus by definition active in, the very organization C88 who were seeking to carry it out. An anonymous 1982 fascist bulletin entitled 'Ray Hill Is A Police Informer' referred to his membership of C88: a breach of security or reference to something that was common knowledge due to Hill's activism?
DIRTY TRICKS AGAINST THE LEFT
Searchlight have shown themselves willing and able to play their part in dirty tricks against the Left, especially anarchists, something obviously related but not reducible to, the Stalinist origins of many Searchlight personnel. In 1985 close Searchlight associate journalist David Rose printed lies about the militant anarchist group 'Class War' implying they were 'run by former leading figures in the National Front.'  lies he later admitted came from Searchlight.  A couple of weeks later, Rose (who is always very well informed as to the opinions of Special Branch) retracted this specific charge in the course of making more general insinuations about Class War.  The (intended) damage had been done, and the recently formed street-oriented 'Anti Fascist Action' suspended Class War's membership, and set up a Commission of Enquiry. When AFA's report into the matter was finally published in 1986, they exonerated Class War, and had this to say'Despite the leading role of Searchlight magazine in the affair, and despite many approaches to the magazine for evidence, the sum total of material from Searchlight to the enquiry was nil. We are bemused by Searchlight's role in this affair.  They shouldn't have been bemused: this was yet another instance of Searchlight running errands on behalf of the state, disorganizing the anti-fascist movement by spreading disinformation. A fascinating article in the now defunct International Times (IT) illuminated the state operation against Class War and the similarity of specific lies spread by Gable to those coming more directly from the
state . When the IT reporters caught up with Gable, he repeated the assertion that 'Class War is being manipulated by the state (p3) There was, needless to say, no evidence for this in the slightest, but the episode shows how, as IT speculated 'Gable is using Searchlight's street-credibility and Fleet-street credibility to spread rumours about anarchists (p3) This is precisely the point -- by getting close to militant anti-fascists, Searchlight have been able, not just to spy on them, but disseminate tit-bits of genuine information, and thereby use this leverage to more effectively aid state operations of various kinds, including those against sections of the Left. The first lies about Class War surfaced in 1985 in the aftermath of the Brixton riots which had followed the shooting by police of a black woman in her home.  In October 1994 there was again rioting on the streets of London, this time against the Criminal Justice Bill (now Act) which curtailed many political and civil rights. As sure as night follows day, the lies about Class War were recycled, and one instance, not sourced to Searchlight freely admitted the state was the origin of the fantasies. It was reported that 'Special Branch officers believe that Class War itself has been infiltrated by elements of the extreme right ... in an attempt to stir up violence and thus encourage draconian laws banning all public protest.  That this story does not mention Searchlight shows very well the ultimate source of the disinformation being the state and not them. Which is not to say they didn't get in on the act: regular team associate Julian Kossoff in Time Out quoted Gable without criticism as stating that 'one of the leading members of Class War in the '80s fed information to the far right.' Kossoff supplemented this clear reference to Tim Scargill with his own slur: that 'Class War has attracted fascists to its ranks with their own sinister motives for creating chaos.'  In this (ongoing) operation against anarchists, Searchlight have only been one (albeit at times crucial) conduit. Not all 'favours' Searchlight perfoms in this way are on behalf of the national state or security agencies. A good example of a 'ground setting' operation intended to have local effects were the smears against anarchist squatters describing them as heavily infiltrated by nazis in Hackney (East London) which began in January 1988 (p2) and culminated in a lying one page spread in the March 1988 issue, which came just a couple of days after a massive police operation evicted the squatters.  It shows how useful Searchlight were to the local (Labour) Council in suppressing Left-field dissent and sowing dissention between the squatters and potential supporters. 
TIM HEPPLE: THE AGENT THAT NEVER WAS?
The key Searchlight operative whose career is relevant to more recent events is one Tim Hepple, about whom I have written in great detail elsewhere: though few other people have. It is a standing inictment of not just the so-called 'investigative media' but most of the left that this case is not wider known than it is.  In a relatively short time, he got up to virtually all the activities I have attributed to Searchlight assets above, and in so doing confirmed the antics of Gable, Hill, Hochfelder, Roberts & company were not aberrations, but integral to Searchlight's occupation of the interface between the secret state and their targets. Starting as a 'football hooligan' in the 1980's, Hepple is distinct from the others in that he actually boasted about working for MI5 directly, and claimed he had witnessed executions by British Army death squads in Northern Ireland. Even his official autobiography admitted a period in the army, but enigmatically stated 'I do not wish to dwell on this experience.  Other of his actions include organising race riots (Dewsbury 1989) infiltrating Left-Green groups and trying to steal / access their membership lists and even petitions! At the same time, Gable approached the Green Party and tried to obtain a copy of their membership lists -- he was given short shrift.  Along with Ray Hill (and while simultaneously infiltrating the fascist British National Party) Hepple sought to try and take over one group under heavy state pressure, the Green Anarchist magazine / collective. As part of this infiltration into the group's orbit, Hill wrote Richard Hunt, then editor, a letter dated 20/6/91. He opened by declaring he had "recently read your booklet 'The Natural Society' which was given to me by a mutual acquaintance, Tim Hepple." In a sentence of rare coherence, Hill continued that he 'was very impressed with the content and any reservations which I may have are merely of detail and interpretation.' I stress Hill's involvement in this operation because the 'Ostrich Left' seek to deny the significance of Hepple's activities, portraying him as a lone nut fantasist, whose activities were mostly invention, and who was working on his own account when he entered the Left. This 'lone nut' theory can in no way account for Hill's involvement: and the idea that Hill actually believed any of the rubbish published under his name in Green Anarchist 28 (Autumn 1991 p 14-15) is just too much -- he works for a viciously anti-anarchist magazine, and neither before nor since has shown any sympathy for, or knowledge of, anarchist ideas. A 1994 article
under his name in Searchlight called for the banning from sale of Green Anarchist describing it as 'trash'.  It was the very appearance of an article by Hill in Green Anarchist that first alerted me to the fact a state operation was underway  Nor can Gable escape responsibility for Hepple's actions  yet absurd attempts to pretend Hepple was deranged / acting on his own have the effect of letting Searchlight off the hook, as perhaps they are intended to do.
Hepple offered Green Anarchist arms and high-tech communications facilities, and gave them lists of fascist names and addresses (many wildly inaccurate) to print and distribute as their own work. The reasoning for doing so was the gross fiction that 'the BNP have published the membership lists of Class War and Red Action.'  This was a blatant lie, but Leftists receiving these lists, and then acting on them, wouldn't have known that. And once the BNP / C18 or whoever got wind of the Left attacking their members (and others) using these lists, then they would have undertaken retaliatory action and so on (just like in the 1970's) When Green Anarchist didn't fall for this ploy (due in large measure to my intervention) Searchlight or MI5 directly passed the same lists to another anarchist (Tim Scargill) who did print them. After Scargill (an ex fascist) had fallen unwittingly for the state bait, Searchlight acted in exactly the way I had predicted, stating. 'Scargill has all the hallmarks of a sloppy nazi infiltrator ... or a state agent provocateur. His circulation of what he claims to be lists of C18 members could lead to undisciplined elements in the anti-fascist movement carrying out attacks on individuals -- which might suit both the fascists and the authorities. Searchlight has examined some of the lists and found them ludicrously inaccurate, to the extent they can only be deliberately false'  Sadly for them, Hepple had admitted in writing his own involvement in the lists production and Searchlight's knowledge of this. To date, there has been no satisfactory attempt by Searchlight to explain his activities, which also included setting up a UK newspaper for a branch of the US-run 'Church of the Creator' and weapons / street warfare training, as well as highly suspect foreknowledge of the contents of fascist hit lists (which did feature Class War and Red Action) months before they were produced. Since its publication in November 1993, they have never dared refer to my second (definitive) publication on Hepple 'At War With The Truth' whether by name or otherwise. That Searchlight have been able to get away with this suppression of a major scandal is a testimony to their agenda setting power: even Leftist Labour MPs are just not interested.
COMBAT 18: SEARCHLIGHT BUILD THEM UP
The decision to form this neo-nazi group, in which the numbers (like C88) stand for letters: 1 = A(dolf), 8 = H(itler), was taken after events at a meeting in Kensington (london) in May 1991, when the fascist League of St George meeting was turned over by opponents.  The precise origins of C18 aren't the main point at issue here , but Searchlight's account and role is highly relevant.
Hepple's autobiography put it this way: 'I was witness to the early events in the life of C18 and I reported them back to Searchlight. My and other information led the Searchlight team to set in motion a thorough investigation into every aspect of C18.'  What were the fruits of this 'investigation' ? These were divulged for the first time in the April 1993 issue of Searchlight. , with C18 described as Nazi gangsters, and as 'instigator, the American Nazi Harold Covington.' (p3) The magazine went on to say 'what has become clear in charting the development of this terror group is that for the first time since the mid-1960's British nazis have been able to put together an organization, albeit inspired from abroad, which is able to gather intelligence, analyse it ... and send out thugs and arsonists to act on it.' (p 7 / my emphasis) In their written evidence to the Parliamentary Home Affairs Select Committee, submitted in May 1993, Searchlight continued this theme of Covington being the key, adding a fluorish that the 'South African state security services' were possibly involved too, though no real evidence was given. (p3) In December 1993, verbal evidence to the committee by Gable called for MI5 (no less!) to 'take the lead' in the fight against C18. According to close Searchlight associate, journalist Ken Hyder, Gable said 'a shift to MI5 would make sense because ... Combat 18 had links with Northern Irish terrorists like the outlawed Ulster Defence Association.  This was followed up by a keynote editorial in the January 1994 issue of Searchlight, (p2) which had a clarion 'call for the investigation of nazi terror groups either to be put in the hands of a special police unit ... or to be turned over to MI5 or MI6.' This subtle difference of emphasis, in which MI5 were only one of the agencies named can be accounted for by the slightly different audience, Searchlight after all, with considerable success, present their magazine in
some circles as quite 'radical' even a touch 'anti-Establishment'. The cost of running such a blatant errand for MI5 as they did before the Home Affairs Select Committee meant the tension between their dual roles of sometimes pretending to be part of the Left and in reality being creatures of the state had been exposed. Some indication they were aware of this was shown by the subsequent admission that 'this proposal might astonish some of our readers' (p2) It would not have been a shock to readers of my work, for as recently as November I had published a calculated guess that Searchlight's written evidence to the Committee (not yet seen) was consistent with 'an MI5 sponsored agenda' and would 'regale the Select Committee with the latest briefing from Ms Rimington' (then Director General of MI5)  At War With The Truth was published at a very embarrassing time indeed for the team and their sponsors, and its distribution to all Committee members will not have helped much (despite Sir Ivan Lawrence's efforts) The final report of the Committee took specific issue with Searchlight's criticism of Special Branch / the police generally, and call for MI5 to exclusively take over monitoring the far right. They urged 'the police, Special Branch and the Security Service to continue to monitor extreme right wing groups 
The argument about C18 from Searchlight up to this time was quite clear, almost consistent. It was portrayed as a group of Nazi thugs, acting autonomously, who had nonetheless been inspired by US Nazi Covington (definitely) and South African Intelligence (perhaps) Their activities were worrying because of links with Ulster Loyalists. Special Branch, with whom Searchlight worked closely in the 1970's when the key inter-agency rivalry was MI5 versus MI6, had by now entered into a 'turf war' themselves with MI5. This reached something of a crescendo with the April 1992 achievement by MI5 of wresting primacy in Loyalist and Republican 'terrorist' matters from Special Branch. In this situation, twilight operators like Searchlight were faced with something of a choice to make as to which side to back in this new inter-agency conflict. Gable and his team unambiguously chose MI5, hence his attack on London Special Branch (the largest and most powerful) who had allegedly 'failed to comprehend the dangerous nature of groups like C18 here and abroad.' 
A CONTRASTING VIEW OF COMBAT 18
My contemporary reading of the internal situation in C18 was radically different to Searchlight's. Way back in April 1993, I wrote that MI5 was seeking to operationally influence C18  and as already stated predicted in October 1993 before seeing Searchlight's written parliamentary evidence that they would seek to justfy and
facilitate this.  A more detailed treatment published in 'Turning Up The Heat: MI5 After The Cold War' (hereafter TUTH)  developed the argument. I outlined allegations Covington was an FBI asset, something never mentioned by Searchlight until after my publicising that possibility  I also drew a distinction between 'Mark I' C18, most of whom I take to be genuine 'Nazi thugs', and 'Mark II' state assets. It was (and is) my contention that the gameplan of MI5 involves supplanting this leadership by Mark II controlled assets, in order to 'turn it in practice (as opposed to rhetoric)' in a 'terrorist direction'.  As intimated above, I viewed Searchlight's call for MI5 to 'investigate' C18 as an errand run on MI5's behalf, aimed at job creation for the agency and legitimation of illegal activity already in progress. When, in March 1995, Searchlight printed my illegally taken photograph, work and home details, as the culmination of a set of linked lies implying I (a Catholic) was setting up meetings for the purpose of drug deals between C18 and Ulster Loyalists, I was rather perturbed.  I sezed the opportunity to attend a meeting addressed by number 2 in the Searchlight 'team', office manager Tony Robson, and put these points forcefully to him. He had no satisfactory reply, and was still peddling the line that 'we have called for MI5 to take over surveillance of extreme right wing groups because that is what they should have been doing all along.' 
COMBAT 18 REVISITED:
SEARCHLIGHT CHANGE THEIR TUNE
A few days after I confronted Robson, the April 1995 issue of Searchlight went to print, and its contents included a dizzying somersault. It was now announced that MI5 had in fact set up C18 as a 'honey trap' in order to 'know the extent of ... joint operations' between fascists and Ulster Loyalist paramilitaries. This claim has been repeated subsequently, and is still Searchlight's position.  In the context of Searchlight's history, and the line they propagated enthusiastically up to this point, their C18 coverage is plainly a disinformation project on behalf of MI5. Disinformation is not to be confused with complete fiction, and many of the published names, photographs and even addresses of C18 are genuine. All this does not negate the fact that when it mattered, Searchlight were begging for MI5 to 'investigate' the very group they would now have us believe was set up in the first place by .... MI5! Searchlight have never even referred to this inconsistency, much less explained it. Both their line pre-April
1995, and the change subsequently, are emineny understandable when viewed as a task undertaken, indeed the two diametrically opposed positions don't make much sense any other way. Unless you accept the hypothesis that all Searchlight's analysis of both fascists and the state is largely fiction. My research published in Lobster and elsewhere of what fascists actually get up to would certainly point to that being likely. However it is not all fiction, and it is the area of overlap between Searchlight's coverage, reality and the state that concerns us most here. The current Searchlight justification for MI5 setting up C18 puts in perspective Gable's 1993 comments cited above that their links with Loyalist paramilitaries necessitated MI5 investigation; clearly taken from the same page of the script. In July 1996 Searchlight claimed that 'since the embarrassment C18 nazis caused in Dublin at the Ireland v England football match in February last year, the word is that the state has been looking hard for a good reason to dump them (p5). Using Searchlight's logic (not mine) a reason for their change of tune on MI5 and C18 in the April 1995 issue is thereby suggested. Given the Dublin riot (for which C18 were given unjustified credit both by themselves and others occurred on the night of February 15th 1995, and Searchlight were inundated by over 200 media enquiries concerning the matter, it would have been too late for them to make significant alteration to the March issue, then just going to print. Therefore, the earliest possible issue in which Searchlight could have reflected faithfully any change in secret state policy over the C18 was the very issue which did see such a change: April 1995! Using their own reasoning and public domain evidence therefore, would it not be consistent to see this abrupt change of line by Searchlight as yet another indication of them conforming with alacrity to MI5's agenda?
If you believe, as I do, that MI5 didn't set up C18, then what strategic purposes did the Searchlight change of line serve over and above obeying orders? One aim would have been to preserve Searchlight's 'leftist' credentials: my continually calling them to account for MI5-friendly activities was increasingly worrying for them, as hinted at above  To superficially (and uniquely) criticise MI5 helped Searchlight to regain some lost ground. If more Left / Greens become as fully aware of Searchlight's real purposes as open-minded readers of my research do, then their ability to spy on, lie to and manipulate the Left / Greens will be severely diminished. In this circumstance, the secret state would certainly look elsewhere to other conduits, a prospect that fills Gable and his cohorts with great fear. The second strategic purpose served by Searchlight announcing MI5 set up C18 is to facilitate the very take-over of C18 by Mark II state assets that I have long surmised has been their intention. An apparant throwaway remark in a recent Searchlight gave the game away, conjecturing about a scenario whereby 'a new leadership, not under or influences of the state security services, emerges in the NSA, as appears to be happening.' (NSA stands for 'National Socialist Alliance' another name for C18)  If key figures in the Mark I C18 leadership go to prison for various offences: as is a distinct possibility given certain trials pending, the way will then be clear for Mark II personnel to take over. Should
the accused avoid jail, the idea is to imply this will have been due to them being state agents from the start, and hasten their being pushed aside anyway.  Either way the secret state is supposed to win: and for anti-fascists that means being on the receiving end of more state-sponsored violence of a potentially fatal nature. The third strategic purpose behind Searchlight alleging MI5 set up C18 is to cover the whole MI5 operation concerning neo-nazis in a thick fog of disinformation, the better to enable state operatives to escape unscathed and operations to remain undetected.
THE BNSP: ANOTHER SEARCHLIGHT CO-PRODUCTION ?
In recent months a transparent state front, the British National Socialist Party (hereafter BNSP), has arisen, bearing the characteristic hall-marks of Searchlight / MI5 input. Searchlight's hysterical coverage of the BNSP, contain9ing almost as lies as paragraphs, only tends to confirm my suspicions as to their involvement. The BNSP is described as 'not a genuine nazi party but a state honey trap ... a state operation.'  Searchlight hope that by slamming a phantom outfit run by a trans-sexual fall-guy (or fall-girl?) they will be able to recover some anti-state credibility themselves in the process. The BNSP's activities are undoubtedly an embarrassment to BNP leader John Tyndall, as illustrated by his uncomfortable statement admitting that BNSP letters were sent out using BNP membership and subscription lists stolen from Alf Waite's home in July 1995.  It is equally the case however that the front person for the BNSP, A McHugh, is no friend of C18, as Searchlight lyingly implied. In March 1995 issue 11 of C18 magazine The Order denounced McHugh as a 'vile pervert who was for over 25 years active with the reds.'  More recent information in my possession tends to confirm this allegation of McHugh's involvement in Stalinist fringe politics. This is something I will return to elsewhere.
THE COLUMN 88 AND
COMBAT 18 OPERATIONS COMPARED
Searchlight themselves have drawn attention to C88: C18 parallels, stating that 'those who have watched C18 have noted that in some ways it resembles a little
too closely a nazi underground group called Column 88. C88 turned out to be a 'honey trap operation' set up by British intelligence ... [and] disappeared into the wilderness of mirrors that is intelligence once Searchlight and Members of Parliament started to ask too many questions and even infiltrate its ranks.  With hindsight, what are we to make of this? Aside from the posthumous rehabilitation of Dave Roberts, this account of how C88 panned out is an inversion of the true sequence of events. For as we have seen it was Searchlight's publicising C88 in 1975 and feeding stories to the media and MPs in 1976 concerning the Savernake forest exercise and so on that led to the effective launch of C88 nationally, without which it could not have functioned as a 'honey trap'. And as I have repeatedly stated, there is no evidence MI5 created C18, indeed the only motive suggested by Searchlight for them doing so is preposterous, that concerning Ulster Loyalists. For virtually all 'extra-parliamentary' groups Ulster Loyalist paramilitaries are the most susceptible to infiltration by the state. The case of the UDA's Chief Intelligence Officer 1987-1990, state asset Brian Nelson, under whose auspices Loyalist paramilitaries were flooded with arms via South Africa, springs immediately to mind. Given that in any fascist-Loyalist co-operation the Loyalists would unquestionably be the senior partner, MI5 would already know, via their assets inside the Loyalists, precisely what 'joint activities' might be going on; indeed they'd be in a good position to organise them! C18 has far more of a reality and street presence (although a patchy record on functioning cells) than C88 ever appeared to have, so the parallels there are not exact. No significant reports of substantial power struggles within C88 were ever filed, this is not the case concerning C18, for close observers like myself. There are two similarities between C88 and C18 though. The first is one that would not unduly perturb Searhclight: the operations (real / imagined) of both are clearly matters within the province of the secret state generally, both Special Branch and MI5. The second similarity is one which would, and should, make Searchlight very uncomfortable indeed were it to gain wide circulation, and will hopefully already be apparent to those of you who have read this far. Just as Searchlight lied about C88 on behalf of the state when it mattered, so they have already done, and are still doing, in relation to C18. If C18 is a 'honey trap' then Searchlight have helped it become effective, by building it up so much; the first TV programme featuring it was co-produced by them and old friend Andrew Bell for 'World in Action' April 1993. On the 'honey trap' scenario, Searchlight acted in exactly the same way concerning C18 as they did with C88. On the other hand if C18 (no matter how distasteful a band of neo-nazi thugs they evidently are) is at present run by a leadership who are largely independent of state control, by lying about the allegiance of this Mark I original leadership, Searchlight are facilitating a take over by real state operatives. Such a take over would not be undertaken for pacifist purposes, that much is for sure.
SPOOKS ON THE INTERNET ?
I have concentrated in this study on the C88 / C18 stories particularly, because in their symmetry they provide great insights into the Searchlight organization's rationale and methodology. One of their current themes, 'fascism on the internet' is
worth looking at too. As is the case in the US, certain state agencies are lasciviously eyeing the internet as a means of expanding their powers and finding a use for surveillance personnel / equipment left relatively inactive with the end of the Cold War. Along with porn on the internet, the spectre of Nazis / Holocaust revisionists using it [to] spread their ideas is a key argument used to legitimate increased state power. In running this errand for the state, Searchlight are not alone, and a keynote report on the subject appearing in the March 1996 issue was written by a colleague of theirs, Louise Bernstein [libcom note - on these allegations against Louise, please see the comment below, and this forum discussion]. There is no way any casual reader would realise that in her political past she was supposedly, an anarchist, occasionally writing for Black Flag, respected for its serious coverage of the secret state. One contributor to Black Flag, the late Leo Rosser, wrote consistently well informed articles on a variety of topics, including Searchlight.  His partner until his death in 1990 was Louise Bernstein. It might have been thought that Bernstein would therefore be very well informed about the nature of Searchlight and what value is to be placed upon it. Imagine my surprise (and dismay) when I came across an article written by Bernstein in a 1992 book published in French on fascists in the UK.  The whole analysis parroted that of Searchlight, even describing a ludicrous disinformational pamphlet of theirs as 'excellent' (p70) It is either the case that Bernstein had no awarenes of her fomer partner's acute understanding of Searchlight, and was thus able to enthusiastically promote the magazine with an easy conscience and an empty head: unlikely, especially given she wrote for Black Flag. Or, she miraculously changed her mind and scrambled her brain very quickly: which would be an insult to her intelligence. Or there is a third possibility, that her presence in Black Flag's orbit was itself some kind of 'operation', and once completed she moved on to another task. Veteran anarchist the late Albert Meltzer after paying a fulsome tribute to Leo Rosser, had this to say in his recently published autobiography. Leo and I 'talked about an event that was coming up in Spain the following year which we both wanted to attend. He also mentioned investigating some stories about drug dealers and the Spanish police in the next few weeks. But within a week of the conversation he was dead. The evidence, that he had been depressive for some weeks but concealed it from people, that his relatives and girl friend had finally decided to take him to the hospital for observation for suicidal tendencies, that he had left the hospital, being left unsupervised, and jumped from the nearest high building, seems undeniable. My suspicions as to what really happened are different but unprovable. I am not to be convinced otherwise.  In the early 1990's the magazine did become defunct for a time; mostly due to personal reasons, but has now made a welcome return. As to Bernstein's subsequent trajectory, she was heavily involved with the militant French anti-fascist publication Reflex, and (according to a reliable source) influenced their move closer to Searchlight: they have a monthly article in Searchlight, under the highly-unfortunate description I hope for their sake
isn't true that 'Reflex is the French equivalent of Searchlight'  Currently, Bernstein is in an even more prestigious position, working for the anti-racist / fascist network 'United for Intercultural Action' based in Amsterdam the Netherlands. In that guise she writes to (and therefore possesses the details of) anti fascists throughout the whole of Europe. How adequate is the security of 'United' and those who communicate with them in that situation? No doubt history will provide the answer to that one.
SEARCHLIGHT AND THE JEWISH COMMUNITY
Their relationship with the Jewish community is a theme Searchlight return to when in difficulty, they feel that by manufacturing scare stories about, or exaggerating, anti-semitism, this will ensure a ready flow of funds from Jewish sources. The Union of Jewish Students (UJS) provides personnel to perform various tasks for Searchlight, although thankfully some of their number are aware (and horrified) of what Searchlight gets up to. I have elsewhere stated my suspicion about Searchlight producing / distributing anti-semitic propaganda, as well as the possible involvement of their personnel in cemetery desecrations.  One fascist hit-list circulating in 1993 contained not just details of Jewish students resident in Nottingham, but their family addresses elsewhere in the country ('Sieg Redwatch, p1) This doesn't look like information that would have been available from just one or even two person's stolen address books, but rather an extract from a far greater data base, such as for example membership lists of the Union of Jewish Students. How might such information have passed into fascist hands? The most likely way is straightforward theft, although if we grant the possibility of discreet 'leaking' then Searchlight had the means, track record and motive: to keep the UJS 'mustard keen' in terms of providing shock troops for Searchlight activities.
The longest-standing Jewish organization in the UK is the 'Board of Deputies of British Jews' an inherently conservative body with extensive Establishment links. Their 'Community Defence Organisation' purports to monitor fascists, but their 'intelligence-gathering' capacity is minimal, seeming to consist of little more than the ability to phone two numbers: the Home Office and Searchlight. The evidence given by the Board to the Home Affairs Select Committee in 1993, the same one Searchlight tried to nobble, was (apart from detailed statistics on anti-semitic incidents) of poor quality and showed their lack of an independent research capacity, consisting mainly of reproductions of fascist documents! A more recent offering by Board Defence Director Mike Whine on the internet was similarly lacking in detailed original research. . I have it on good authority that (in conjunction with Searchlight) the board has taken an active part in smear campaigns against Greens including myself. Indeed the Board are
so subordinate to Searchlight's agenda that they have suppressed criticism of former Green Party member David Icke, who has been wandering around propagating the anti-Jewish forgery the 'Protocols of the Elders of Zion' as though it were fact, and getting large paying audiences to listen to him. That I have played a prominent part in the campaign to oppose him (not fitting in with their labelling me a fascist) has been reason enough for Searchlight to ignore the affair. But that is no good reason for the Board of Deputies and more recently the Jewish Chronicle to do the same.  There is no public branch of the US based (and notorious spying group) the Anti Defamation League in the UK (unlike many other countries): with the existence of Searchlight one is hardly needed. The ADL have never, to my knowledge, featured in Searchlight more than once or twice, and tiny uncritical mentions at that. Therefore, a reasonable working hypothesis is that Searchlight collaborates with the ADL behind the scenes, and is perhaps even (covertly) affiliated. Keeping it quiet would after all, make it easier for Searchlight to gather intelligence on US anti-fascists, to then be passed to the ADL or even the FBI directly. The FBI gets a very easy ride from Searchlight, much of their coverage of it / the US Right seems to verge on more or less blatant and unapologetic disinformation from state sources. 
IS THE WRITING ON THE WALL ?
To what extent are political activists (or even the media) becoming wise to Searchlight, in the light of the above despicable record of lies, incitement, targeting anti-fascists, multiple fabrication and supine subordination to the secret state? There are positive signs: Anti Fascist Action no longer advertise Searchlight and AFA's most militant component street-wise, Red Action, launched a savage attack in Summer 1995, declaring that 'for Searchlight ... there can be no way back. One way or another, their number is surely up.'  Greenleaf Bookshop in Bristol took the brave step of banning Searchlight of their own volition in 1995, for which they are to be commended. Aware of in just what contempt clued up anti fascists hold them, the fact that AFA were no longer prepared to tolerate the practice of selectively ommitting certain branches, Searchlight were forced as from the March 1996 issue to announce they were no longer listing contact points for anti-racist and anti-fasacist organizations. (p2) Even more positively, it is my belief that certain 'team' members of their association with the organization that they write articles elsewhere under false names: Steven Silver may well write using the pseudonym Peter Brighton for a reason he probably thought clever, once. Sometimes the name-changes are only slight: Rob
Lowell formerly a supposed Trotskist  is very shy indeed: no articles have appeared under his actual name in Searchlight, although maybe in another publication  Given that Searchlight have always thought it perfectly acceptable to target anti-fascists and publicise their personal details, it is high time more Searchlight personnel stepped forwards from the shadows. Why shouldn't the readers know full details concerning the younger and expanded team they boasted of in September 1996? 
On the other hand, Searchlight's monopolisation of media coverage of fascism shows no signs of being weakened. Very recently, they have sought to launch a 'Trade Union Friends of Searchlight' front-organization, to gather intelligence on, and money from, the working class. A recent series of connected libel-cases brought against them / their printers (good) and radical bookshops stocking Searchlight (bad) that have arisen in part because of ridiculous (and characteristic) lies by the magazine, have had an unfortunate effect. Media coverage of the proceedings thus far has completely left out the fact that not only did Searchlight partly cause the problems in the first place by its scurrilous content, they gave no help whatsoever to the book shops initially targeted (Housmans and Centerprise in London)  Therefore, these book shops felt compelled to settle the first couple of libel claims, creating a precedent that will do them no good in court when related claims are discussed, and encouraging the litigants to pursue the further claims that have led to the current situation, where bankruptcy is possible. Even more appalling for a magazine that habitually prints lies and libels about virtually everyone it mentions, Searchlight have refused to provide book shops with a 'libel indemnity' covering legal action. This would have been equitable, because Searchlight themselves, as a shadow company with virtually no share capital and which doesn't submit proper accounts, can easily escape legal liability for their own contents, an escape route not available to small book shops. Yet not only has no criticism come their way, Searchlight are obscenely seeking to make political capital and no doubt real money from the whole thing. In this regard it is essential for them to give the impression that it is only sections of the far right who have it in for them. The above text shows that isn't the whole story, and Searchlight's attempts to use the episode to enhance their ability to spy on Leftists by getting closer to them should be strenuously resisted. The weekly newspaper of the largest far let group here in the UK, the Socialist Workers Party (SWP) in covering the case described Searchlight as 'respected': this from an organisation whose members MI5 / Searchlight asset Tim Hepple boasted of beating up with enjoyment.  Furthermore, any 'respect' the SWP have for Searchlight certainly isn't reciprocated: the team have spoken contemptuously
of 'the SWP's odious track record of stirring up anti-semitism in the student world ... armed with propaganda material that rivalled that of the nazis.' 
It is vital to distinguish between support for radical book shops (including that run by the SWP, now also targeted) and the question of what Searchlight is, and who it really represents. The SWP 'model resolution' circulated in the book shops defence signally fails to do this, again describing Searchlight as 'respected'. Not only have the media and much of the Left not broken with Searchlight, the only potential competitor in terms of analysing racism / fascism, the bi-monthly CARF, in its most recent issue, had this to say. Referring to the BNSP they routinely report, without criticism, that Searchlight has suggested that the security services may have had some involvement.  Needless to say, CARF, despite being a split from Searchlight (that I even used to write for) have never informed their readers of my own analyses concerning state / far right connections, and in citing Searchlight as an opinion source without qualification thereby show just how analytically dependent they are. This is bad both for CARF and the anti-fascist movement / Greens generally, for the hydra that is the Searchlight organization (the magazine being merely the public face of such) cannot be reformed or reasoned with, it must be destroyed and replaced, as soon as possible. It is not for me personally to replace it, that is for anti-fascists as a whole to do.
CONCLUSION: SEARCH FOR THE MILITANT
Without an independent means of gathering information and analysing it accurately, Searchlight will keep its position of malign influence. Rather than think for themselves, too many anti-fascists have been content to on Searchlight, who are only too pleased (when it suits them and their sponsors) to hand over low-grade information such as meeting locations, redirection points, names and addresses. This enhances their ability to spy on and manipulate those they supposedly 'help'. The facts about Searchlight being a state sub-contractor, with privileged media access for their lies / fantasies / disinformation, playing a plausibly deniable part in state operations ging back two decades: all these things are well established. Key Searchlight personnel receive state protection in return for these tasks, and thus imagine themselves to be in a deliciously immune situation whereby they can 'dish it out' but not be on the receiving end. For how much longer? The answer lies in your hands.
Larry O'Hara 1/10/96.