NEWSFLASH AS OF 25/5/13

Read the article below, and when you have done so, read our post-script that follows. In all honesty, were anybody other than Gerry Gable involved, the police would have him in for questioning. Any of the late Mr Robertson's relatives should consider this possibility.

“Ever get the feeling you’ve been cheated?” The sad life and mysterious death of Duncan Robertson, infiltrator.

By Larry O’Hara & Dave Hughes 19/5/13

With due apologies to Johnny Rotten, we thought that quote apposite for this salutary tale, exclusive to Notes From the Borderland, though no doubt others will soon rush in. Duncan Robertson (hereafter DR) was a British National Party (BNP), and more recently National Front (NF), member, who died a couple of months ago, at the early age of 48. He was, we believe, no ordinary member, but an infiltrator: precisely for who is a moot question. We have known about this for some time, and had Duncan’s death never been mentioned publicly would not have referred to it. But the BNP obituary of 29/4/13 [1] changed all this, so we are breaking the story, not least because we have pertinent questions to ask of those pulling his strings. DR was not, to our knowledge, an agent provocateur along the lines of Tim Hepple/Ray Hill/Matthew Collins and others NFB has covered, though any credible evidence he was we would be interested to hear. Rather the reason for covering his career is we think it eminently possible (given what we surmise to be the manner of his death) that his handlers failed in their duty of care towards him, and if so, as with former Met police infiltrators featured heavily in the Guardian, exploring this possibility is in the public interest. Step forward Paul Lewis and Rob Evans? Or maybe not...

WHO WAS DUNCAN ROBERTSON?

An Edinburgh-born Scot (albeit a Rangers supporter), DR was chronically unhappy but intelligent, an unfortunate combination. Accepted for a place at Cambridge University in his youth, DR never went, due to a severe accident. Perpetually unlucky in love, it has been rumoured that DR approached the Community Security Trust (intelligence arm of the Board of Deputies of British Jews and very close to the police, hereafter CST [2]) circa 2004 and was then passed over to Searchlight, and (we believe) Special Branch. It would be interesting to know if he maintained contact with all three, indeed make it four once Searchlight split with Hope Not Hate. Clarification, indeed correction, from relevant parties welcomed. The CST, of course, has a legitimate interest in monitoring anti-semitism, holocaust denial and the far right generally that we have no problem with per se. If however they are (hypothetically) doing this in such a way as to allow the police to unaccountably run proxy agents using third parties--in which category come Searchlight/Hope Not Hate--that would be a different matter entirely, and of great public concern. We understand he suffered from both psychiatric problems (depression) and alcohol difficulties, hence the question: did pressure from handlers tip this unhappy man over the edge?

Turning to DR’s sphere of infiltration, he joined one of the most important BNP branches, Croydon, in 2004. The BNP membership list leaked in 2008 had him living at Flat 135 Carlton Towers, Carshalton, Surrey, described as an “activist” whose membership number was previously 16949 (04) [3]. Croydon BNP was pivotal for various reasons: historically, it had been large, and fascist presence in the area dated back to when the old National Front were headquartered in Pawson's Road Croydon. When Nick Griffin left the International Third Position to join the BNP, he hitched up with the Croydon branch, soon editing their influential magazine The Rune, thereby building a power-base for later successfully challenging John Tyndall for leadership. It was for articles in The Rune that Nick Griffin was in 1998 convicted of incitement to racial hatred, albeit receiving a suspended sentence [4]. The Rune also had another function, allowing Griffin (using the pseudonym Geoff Peters initially) to develop and articulate his strategic ideas on counter-power and such-like [5]. A stalwart of the branch, including when it was formerly in the National Front, has been long-time activist and strategist Paul Ballard, much underestimated by opponents. Our information is that prior to Griffin editing The Rune Ballard himself, along with John Merritt, did so. Continuing into modern times, Croydon BNP has always been an ideological/difficult to control branch, often supporting dissenters against any BNP leader, including Griffin himself: such as the abortive 2011 Richard Edmonds leadership challenge.

Through Ballard DR was able to get involved with the late Tony Hancock’s Historical Review Press, especially through the medium of selling books at various far right gatherings, with a nice by-product of gathering names and addresses from those seeking that elusive Savitri Devi book or Hitler’s Last Testament...Being close to a printer/disseminator of holocaust denial literature like Hancock would have greatly (and rightly) interested the Community Security Trust. In a comment following the BNP Tribute to DR, Vernon of South East BNP (who we take to be Vernon Atkinson, former BNP candidate for Gossops Green Crawley) spoke of having driven “Duncan home from a couple of Trafalgar Club dinners and also have leafleted with him in the Dagenham council elections”. This ticks two more boxes in terms of intelligence gathering, another couple were his perennial attendance (until December 2012) at New Right and IONA meetings in London. While it may have been him rather than Claire Khaw who leaked details of these gatherings, it may also be that in addition to DR (as in the GK Chesterton novel ‘The Man Who was Thursday’) a considerable number of assets were present: we can certainly think of more. As if that were not enough, DR regularly turned up at the BNP’s Red White & Blue festivals, and certainly went to the 13/10/12 John Tyndall Memorial meeting in Preston. As Searchlight magazine put it a “Historical Review Press stall—the name goes on despite the death of its owner Anthony Hancock in June—was run by Londoners Paul Ballard and Duncan Robertson, who word has it has finally kicked the booze” [6].

THE FINAL COUNTDOWN

Reading the BNP obituary, you could be forgiven for thinking DR was in the BNP when he died—referred to as a “keen Party member and an active supporter over the last eight years…the life and soul of many Party events”. This, however, is not the whole story—our understanding is that last year he was redeployed into the National Front. In that capacity, he helped canvass for Richard Edmonds who stood for the NF in the November 2012 Croydon North by-election, and attended the 9/12/12 London NF relaunch when Tess Cullinane took over from Steve Rowlands as organiser.

Around this time DR moved to East London, and was mugged, which severely incapacitated him (he used crutches thereafter) and most likely worsened Duncan's depression. Discussing depression is relevant because while the BNP obituary says he “passed away recently after a brief illness” we have heard a disturbing rumour that he in fact committed suicide, at a London hotel. If, and when, an inquest is held, the truth will come out.

It is not our business, or intent, to aid any fascist counter-intelligence effort, though the obituary and comments show, yet again, BNP naivety regarding their own security. We understand the National Front, at least in the shape of the indefatigable Richard Edmonds, have not been so naïve. But all that’s a fascist problem, not ours.

Before the Searchlight:Hope Not Hate split in 2011 [7], most agents were run by Gerry Gable, but Nick Lowles, now HNH head honcho, did play a role, and loose tongues strongly suggest he met DR at least once recently. Intriguingly, a March 2012 HNH blog article with Matthew Collins’ name on it contained DR’s picture, but no identification [8]. The article implausibly claimed Collins sat downstairs in the Fountains Abbey pub (Praed Street London) while a New Right meeting took place upstairs. Perhaps the whole story was aimed at pressuring DR to continue providing HNH with information. We shall see…

Visually identifying Robertson in either Hope Not Hate or Searchlight might have been useful for genuine anti-fascists, not least because DR bore a more than passing resemblance to the late unlamented Terry Liddle, and (like him) would not have seemed out of place at many Green/Left meetings. It would be interesting to know from his various handlers the full extent of groups Left Right & Green DR was tasked to infiltrate. Though as long-term NFB readers know full well, aiding genuine anti-fascists is hardly in the remit of HNH or Searchlight.

Reflecting on what we know so far, NFB has our own questions, hopefully to be taken up by others, although as usual won’t hold our breath waiting for either this or answers.


A) When exactly did each of those who may have been Duncan Robertson’s handlers in the Metropolitan Police, Community Security Trust, Searchlight and Hope Not Hate meet him last? As stated above, correction, clarification, even denial: all welcome at this stage of the investigative process.

B) What exactly was Robertson’s mental state, in particular did he give any indication he was thinking of harming or indeed killing himself?

C) If DR did indicate he harboured suicidal thoughts, what, if anything, did any handlers do to evidence their duty of care towards him?

REFERENCES

[1] see www.bnp.org.uk/news/national/obituary-duncan-robertson-rip (29/4/13): grab a screen-shot before the BNP pull the article…

[2] see Community Security Trust Annual Report for 2012 p.3/8/18 for example, available at http://www.thecst.org.uk/docs/Annual%20Review%202012.pdf

[3] see www.bnpmembership-mirror.blogspot.co.uk

[4] on this see Sunday Telegraph 10/5/98, Spearhead 335 January 1997 p.12, Spearhead 352 June 1998 p.4-7

[5] see (all except the last written under the pseudonym Mike Peters) 'White Counter-Power' The Rune issue 5 p.12-13 1993, 'Nationalist Growth' issue 6 p.12-13 1993, 'Grey Matters' issue 7 p.8-9 1993 and 'Where is the Dragon?' issue 9 p.8-9/11 1994. To put all this in historical context see Larry O'Hara 'Creating Political Soldiers? The National Front 1986-90' PhD thesis, University of London 2001 Chapter 12 'Towards the Fragments?', especially p.289

[6] Searchlight issue 448 November 2012 p.10

[7] on this see the never-refuted definitive account in Notes From the Borderland issue 10 p.34-80, available via www.borderlandmagazine.co.uk

[8] ‘Nazis defeated, curry completed’ (25/3/12) www.hopenothate.org.uk/blog/article/1680/nazis-defeated-curry-completed

POST-SCRIPT 25/5/13

As the late Harold Wilson might have said, six days is a long time in parapolitics. Since the above piece went live on 19th May, Searchlight magazine issue 453 [9], has come out, arriving to subscribers on 23rd & 24th May, and on their website 24th May. Notwithstanding the fact NFB got there first, the magazine does not admit this, nor, we suspect, will they ever. It features the late Duncan Robertson (DR) on the front cover, describing him as a 'Searchlight Intelligence officer'. The visible deterioration of his appearance in the six photos shown is hardly an advert for their agent-handling: by age 48 DR looked more like 68! The story inside (p.5-9), carefully read, does little for Searchlight's reputation either. Before we get to that, one factual error in our article--we thought Robertson attended the London NF relaunch 9/12/12. He didn't: that was another asset, our apologies.

Ever the consensus-seekers, we start with two areas where the Searchlight story broadly concurs with the known facts above. First, they admit he was involved for ten years (p.7): we had it at nine. Second, they admit his involvement with Croydon BNP, IONA/New Right and the Hancock publishing entity (p.5-7), as an infiltrator on their behalf. These things we already knew, and put into the public domain before Searchlight.

Next in order of interest are some outlandish claims. For a start, he was a long-time member of the Australian Labor Party in Britain (p.7). That is probably true, but can we really believe he "often met.....government ministers visiting from Australia". Are they that hard up for company? Or maybe Robertson had so many beers he thought Sir Les Patterson a government minister? Then the general tenor of the article: it makes DR out to be on the same level as the heroes of Telemark, whereas the greatest difficulty Searchlight claim he faced was a threat (no actual violence) when stuffing envelopes (p.7). They mention he was under suspicion from Tony Lecomber (yes, of Lecomber plot fame: see elsewhere on this site), something we do not doubt. In this respect it is interesting that somebody calling himself 'BNP Happy' posted on the Democracy Forum yesterday regarding DR, commenting on how he messed up canvas returns and was whacked by two members for it [10].

Gable states that "when Duncan dropped out of sight late last November as his health was failing rapidly, he asked me to act as the Executor of his will, as in his and our eyes, he was part of our family" (p,7). If indeed he was part of Gerry's family, why was he not cared for in the 'family home' rather than abandoned in a London hotel? Then an important subsidiary question: who, pray, benefits from that will Gerry has executed? It is clear from the article Searchlight has got hold of the bulk (if not all) of Robertson's papers. Did he have any financial assets that might have come Gerry's way? If so, the duty of care questions raised above are only amplified.

Sometimes, an important fact can be revealed obliquely, and unintentionally. In this respect ponder the claim that "attempts by [Richard] Edmonds to locate the funeral failed as we had given instructions that he and other Nazis should not be told" (p.8). Granted that Gable was doing so in his capacity as executor, who exactly was "given instructions" that Edmonds came into contact with? It would be good to know, as too who tipped the BNP off DR had died and what story they were spun.

The final item of interest is, as Sherlock Holmes would have said, the dog that didn't bark. DR's date of death (19/3/13) is given (p.5), but nowhere in all the five pages is a precise cause of death given. This does nothing to dispel our hypothesis (based on far more knowledge than is here revealed) that he may well have committed suicide. That, we are still investigating, but marked silence from Searchlight on this matter speaks volumes.

We conclude with further questions, but before then, three observations.

One, We set up, and continue, this magazine because we are sick and tired of the way certain important stories, eg the Soho nail-bombing scandal, are swept under the carpet by the mainstream media and their camp-followers in the Last Century Left. We are made of sterner stuff, and while remaining firmly on the Left, are not prepared to take our lead as to what stories to follow from others, or back down because of few takers. Once we decide on a story, we do not give up: and this is one of those times, and bad news for anybody with something to hide. Nonetheless, as a magazine we believe in readers exercising the 'little grey cells', and not disclosing everything we know either straight away, or sometimes at all. We are not journalists, nor have we any wish to be.

Two, now Searchlight have 'come out' regarding Robertson, isn't it time the police, Hope Not Hate, and Community Security Trust did too? Again though, we'll not hold our breath.

Three, a final thought, which might surprise you. Though Searchlight have featured the DR story for their own motives (providing copy/appealing for more funds from 'friends' and others), it is possible to feel a bit sorry for them, because for anybody reading our article (which got in first remember) and this update it has spectacularly backfired. When the full tale comes out, as it might, will anyone trust Gerry to run a tombola, never mind an agent? We think not. Cruel but true.

Now for those final two questions, in addition to the three above, which, it should be noted, were not answered in the Searchlight article. The last is elliptical, though those conversant with such matters in general will already know what we are driving at:

D) Who exactly benefits from the will Duncan Robertson made, to what amount, and when was it dated?

E) What, exactly, does it say on DR's death certificate, or is that a leading question?

FURTHER REFERENCES

[9] http://www.searchlightmagazine.com/archive/duncan-robertson-dedicated-searchlight-intelligence-officer

[10] http://www.democracyforum.co.uk/showthread.php?t=123585

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About NFB Magazine

Welcome to Britain's premier parapolitical investigative magazine Notes from the Borderland (NFB). We have been producing the magazine since 1997 but some published material before then.

Our political perspective is Left/Green, but we welcome truth-tellers, whatever their affiliation. Research interests include the secret state (MI5/MI6/Special Branch, now SO15) & their assets, including those in the media. We are resolutely anti-fascist, and to that end investigate the far right and state infiltration of various milieus. In a shallow age where many TV programmes and print/internet stories are spoon-fed to servile journalists/bloggers by shadowy interests, NFB stands out as genuine investigative research. 

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