The last issue of Final Conflict carried an interview with accountant and author Morris Riley. It is with deep regret that we must report that Morris died June 17 from a heart attack. Before his historic victory over the powers of darkness, Morris’s name was all but unknown in far right circles. I first met him in the early 90s. In 1993, one of my first exposés of the Searchlight Organisation was reviewed by the parapolitics magazine Lobster. I was subsequently contacted by Morris who informed me that he had recently been libelled by Gerry Gable’s magazine, and that he knew Gable personally, having been recruited by him in the 80s to spy on far right organisations with anti-Semitic and neo-Nazi affiliations. The Libertarian Alliance and the Anti-Soviet Society were singled out for particular scrutiny.
Morris was opposed to undemocratic and subversive practices whether they emanated from the far left or the far right, so agreed to investigate these organisations and report back. What he found didn’t bother him, but what happened next did. There were no Nazis in the LA or the ASA, but the organisations were still smeared by Searchlight as fascist and anti-Semitic. Morris did not totally drop his association with Gable, whom he still regarded as a friend, although he treated both the man and his magazine far more critically. In 1983 he co-authored a now famous article in an anarchist magazine. The Sniper article, as it became known, was published anonymously, and was one of the first articles to suggest that the Searchlight gang had an agenda other than that of fighting the mythical fascist menace. It is known to have hurt Gable.
When ten years later the current writer and Larry O’Hara began our simultaneous (but coincidental) investigations into the Searchlight lie machine, Morris lapped it up, although he didn’t always agree with everything O’Hara or myself wrote. His view was that Gable would smear anybody “for a few pounds”.
When Morris asked me to assist him in his forthcoming legal action against Gable and Searchlight I was happy to oblige. Shortly after that I was the victim of a politically motivated fit up, which although instigated by Gable in the first instance went way beyond him. This has been documented thoroughly elsewhere, but it led to me spending six months on remand in Brixton Prison. The slime behind the fit up hoped to keep me locked up for a great deal longer than that, and things were at an all time low. And this was when Morris showed himself in his true colours.
Although I received incredible support right across the political spectrum, from Harold Covington on the one hand to my own party (the Islamic Party of Britain) on the other, no one was more supportive than Morris, who literally bombarded me with letters and did everything he could in my hour of greatest need.
As well as a true friend - and not just to me - Morris was a quiet, unassuming sort of person. I can honestly say that I never heard him raise his voice in anger against anyone. He wasn’t even angry with Gable, rather he was saddened that a man whom he had once regarded as a friend - and still liked - had knifed him in the back in such fashion.
Morris was a man of many talents. He joined the Army in 1960 and served a full twelve years, being discharged with an exemplary record. He subsequently became an accountant, but his army career, in which he saw service in Aden, left him with a fascination for the Middle East and in particular with the spy Kim Philby, about whom he subsequently wrote a ground breaking book.
Probably his greatest achievement though was putting an INLA terrorist cell behind bars. Morris edited a short lived journal named The Gulf, which was devoted to the Middle East, and on this account he was approached by a “former serviceman” who was trying to track down some old comrades. Although Morris took people at face value he was far from naïve, and tipped off the authorities. Needless to say, the former serviceman was not who he claimed to be.
Gable has claimed repeatedly that Morris had worked for both MI5 and MI6, although he has also claimed (simultaneously!) that Morris was a Walter Mitty character who fantasised about being a spy. Gable is definitely wrong on the second count, but Morris confided in me that on one occasion he had indeed done a “favour” for our internal security services. I have a feeling that he may well have done the odd errand for MI6 as well on his not infrequent trips abroad, not in James Bond fashion, but in the same way the late James Rusbridger outlined in his book The Intelligence Game.
Morris had the quiet demeanour that made him plausibly deniable as a Secret State “asset”, to lapse into the terminology of Larry O’Hara. This was not because of a dark side or Walter Mittiness a là Gable. The simple fact is that Morris was fiercely patriotic and as an ex-serviceman knowledgeable about political matters he had a potential to serve his country in a quiet, unassuming manner from time to time that surely didn’t go unrecognised. Having said that, he was no racial-nationalist, and had a number of Asian friends, including a former business partner.
His death though a surprise was not a shock. The last time I met him in London (when he invariably bought me lunch) he was in severe pain due primarily to heart problems. Morris will be sadly missed; it was a privilege to have known him for the past seven and a half years.
June 19, 2001
[This obituary was first published in Final Conflict issue 27. The original reported in the text that Morris died June 16; he actually died in the small hours of June 17].
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