The Background To Riley v Gable & Others
In November 1990, I met Mark Taha, having been introduced to him by Britain’s leading Libertarian Chris Tame, who was then Director of FOREST. At the time I was organising a legal campaign - the subject of which is best forgotten - and I needed someone to help me hand out leaflets, etc. The meeting with Taha was fateful, to put it mildly. At some point early on in our relationship he gave me a copy of a book to read. The Other Face Of Terror was said to be the autobiography of Ray Hill, a one-time Nazi who had experienced a spiritual conversion and had subsequently risked life and limb working undercover for the “anti-fascist” movement first in South Africa, and then in Britain.
Taha said that he had written down all the mistakes (and lies) in the book, and that he was planning either to review it or send his comments to the author. I dissuaded him from this latter course of action and read the book myself, finding quite a few more errors. Then I decided that I must write and publish a book on Hill and his collaborators, the Searchlight Organisation. I began writing such a book, but it soon became apparent that one book would not suffice, and as money was tight I decided in the first instance to publish a pamphlet or two as we continued our researches. Eventually, a slim book was published specifically as a deconstruction of The Other Face Of Terror. This was called Liars Ought To Have Good Memories, and was launched upon a largely unsuspecting world on August 2, 1994, my 38th birthday.
In the course of our researches into this filthy cabal, Taha and myself have read every single issue of Searchlight magazine to date, and a great many articles by/about/inspired by them. One day, hopefully, I will publish an extensive bibliography relating to this. (1)
The first of my Searchlight exposés was published the previous September. Searchlight On A Searchliar was a substantial pamphlet, as poorly written as its title, but nevertheless very revealing. Like many of my publications it is now available on-line. (2) A somewhat better written pamphlet was published simultaneously. Editors! Are You Being Fed A Load Of Bullshit?… was reviewed favourably in the December 1993 issue of the parapolitics magazine Lobster, and as a result of this I received a phone call from a man named Morris Riley.
I can’t remember now if Morris had read the review or if he had received a copy of the pamphlet from Lobster editor (3) Robin Ramsay, (4) but he was very impressed with it, and was equally unimpressed with both Searchlight (5) and its head honcho, Gerry Gable. He told me that he knew Gable personally, and that he would “smear anybody for a few pounds”. This was a phrase he was to use occasionally over the years.
At the time of my initial researches into Searchlight I had concurred with my fellow independent researcher Larry O’Hara that Searchlight was basically an arm of the “Secret State”. Although I had never fully endorsed this position, it seemed to me that the magazine and the organisation itself did have agendas which went far beyond fighting the mythical fascist menace, that it was funded mysteriously, and that at times it did have access to information which could have been obtained only from intelligence sources.
O’Hara published his ground breaking exposés around the same time as I published mine. These were specifically Notes from the Underground: British Fascism 1974-92; Part 2; (6) A Lie Too Far; (7) and At War With The Truth. (8)
However, as my researches developed I began to disagree first marginally and then profoundly with O’Hara’s thesis. In the first instance, the funding of Searchlight was not such a mystery. It is hardly surprising that a magazine of this nature should not be entirely open about its funding; many political magazines and organisations are similarly wary of naming their backers. It also became apparent that Searchlight had received funding from public bodies, in particular from the GLC (9) and from the London Boroughs Grants Unit. (10) Later, the Searchlight gang were to con the National Lotteries Board into funding them to the tune of £156,000. This grant was made to the newest arm of the Gable octopus, the Searchlight Educational Trust. (11)
In the second instance, Searchlight’s raison d’être began to look anything but a “Secret State” agenda. To take just one example, in 1986, wearing his other hat as a TV “researcher”, Gable set up a gullible junior civil servant named Brian Gentleman as a Czech spy.
Spying for the Comrades, a programme in the 20/20 Vision series, was broadcast on Channel 4 on April 12, 1986. The next day an article in the Observer newspaper reported Civil servant was spy: MI5 BLUNDER OVER THE CZECH CONNECTION.
The truth turned out to be a lot more prosaic. Gentleman had no access to classified information; his Czech connection was a drinking pal. A far more accurate assessment appeared in the New Statesman the following July. (12) The point of this is that this exposé wasted considerable police time in the subsequent investigation, and also showed the Security Services in a far from flattering light. This is hardly the remit of a “Secret State asset” to lapse into the parlance of Larry O’Hara.
The other major piece of evidence that Gable is working for or has worked for the Secret State is no more impressive when viewed in the proper context. This is the now notorious Gable Memorandum which was exposed by the New Statesman, as long ago as 1980. (13) The fact that Gable has (or claims to have) high level contacts in various security agencies is far from impressive. Gable is a journalist, and many journalists working in his and related fields receive information from time to time from the police and other agencies. Indeed, there is a long tradition in Britain of official and unofficial leaks from various arms of government, national and local. Not all of this information is accurate, some of it is wilfully misleading, and sometimes undoubtedly journalists are parties to official disinformation and subterfuge. It goes without saying that this is something that cuts both ways.
When all the above is considered, the evidence that Gable and his gang are working with or for the security services - British or otherwise - is tenuous indeed, although Gable himself certainly revels in this image, and likes to portray himself as a sort of latter day Kosher James Bond.
In the November 1993 issue of Searchlight, Gable libelled me, and bit off more than he could chew. The story of how I shafted him and his gang has been documented thoroughly elsewhere. (14) This current publication is the story of how Morris Riley shafted him too.
This publication was written primarily from contemporaneous notes, including especially of the trial itself; I was present throughout.
July 20, 2002
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