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George Galloway Claims that Police Officer with Role Investigating “Radical Muslim Groups” Engaged in Dirty Tricks Against Him

George Galloway writes to the Home Secretary:

I am writing to you to ask you to investigate the behaviour of a senior member of the Metropolitan police’s counter-terrorism squad SO15 who, I believe, has been carrying out a campaign of vilification – a dirty tricks operation – against me in my constituency using police facilities and resources. I would also like to know whether this unwarranted intrusion was sanctioned by the Commissioner or other senior SO15 officers. 

The officer’s name is xxxxx. It is my understanding that his role is to investigate and report on radical Muslim groups. But perhaps you can clarify his remit precisely?

Galloway goes on to claim that the police officer had been introduced to him as a “security adviser” by his assistant following a break-in at his house. However:

…within hours of that I learned that he and xxxxx had been sleeping in my house, and without permission, while I was abroad. This came out because he had to tell the officers investigating the burglary that his fingerprints would be found in the house.

…I have now discovered that she has been leaking and distorting information from within my office and handing it on to xxxxx who, apart from using his Met police email address, has set up at least two others to pump out false information to national newspapers.

One’s first thought, inevitably, is that the use of police resources to make George Galloway look bad is somewhat superfluous to requirements.

According to a quote in the Bradford Telegraph & Argus:

A Metropolitan Police spokesman said: “We can confirm we received a complaint from a member of the public on October 15 with regard to the actions of an officer based within specialist operations. The matter has been passed to the MPS Directorate of Professional Standards to investigate and a voluntary referral is being made to the Independent Police Complaints Commission. The officer has been placed on restricted duties pending the outcome of the investigation.”

Footnote: Much of the Telegraph &Argus article consist of a long digression about a woman who has allegedly been subjected to intimidation by persons unknown for criticising Galloway’s comments on rape. While this is certainly newsworthy, we can only speculate as to why the paper decided to bundle the two stories together in the way it has.

(H/T , A Very Public Sociologist, writing on Twitter)

UPDATE: The Guardian has more: it turns out that Galloway’s former assistant is actually married to the police officer in question, and that she was “upfront about her spouse’s sensitive day job in the Muslim contact unit”. Further, she insists that her husband

never slept in the house, but simply “popped in to use the loo” one night before the break-in, and so warned officers investigating that they might find his prints. She says the emails Galloway has seized on as evidence of a plot against him are nothing of the sort. And that far from showing a police handler and his spy, they show a couple making “silly jokes”.

…She admitted asking [her husband] to set up a fake email address so that she could email the Guardian when she found out the paper was planning to do a report on Galloway and Respect six months on from the byelection victory. He did it for her, she says, “because I’m not that literate with computers”. (A “laughable” claim, according to Galloway.)

This extra context may be significant; but we still have a situation in which an SO15 police officer appears to have been colluding in surreptitious behaviour that was designed to have political consequences. It’s also unfortunate that there’s an ambiguity in the phrase “one night before”: does that mean “the night before”, or is it a non-specific “one night”?

The former assistant also makes accusations about attitudes within the Respect political party:

Some men in Respect hated the fact that she was a non-hijab-wearing Muslim woman, she says. “The atmosphere around Respect was so hostile to women. I was seen as an outspoken, opinionated woman who had ideas, who made things happen, who organised events and the guys didn’t like it at all… In his mind, he believes that if he discredits me, and makes me out to be a complete slag, then his supporters, the majority of whom are men, will not believe anything that comes out of my mouth … Also, I think it was a form of intimidation…”

Meanwhile, a report in the Daily Mail has the detail that

Mr Galloway said he felt ‘violated’ by the events

Given Galloway’s claim that the rape allegations against Julian Assange amount to no more than a case of “bad sexual etiquette”, that has to be the worst possible word he could have chosen.

UPDATE 2 (2016): The story has not ended well for Galloway:

George Galloway has been forced to pay out an undisclosed sum in damages to a former aide over claims that she conspired to run a “dirty tricks” campaign against him.

…Ms Ali-Khan’s solicitor, Mark Lewis, told Mr Justice Warby the statement said that a very senior officer in SO15 (Counter Terrorism Command) had been feeding disinformation aimed at damaging him to a national newspaper and to others.

…Mr Lewis said Ms Ali-Khan had not been feeding disinformation or deceit to national newspapers or acting as a police agent and had not slept with the officer – whom she had married in a sharia law ceremony – at Mr Galloway’s home.

Mr Galloway’s counsel, Adam Speker, said he accepted that the article and interviews given by individuals for whom he bore responsibility in relation to Ms Ali-Khan contained defamatory accusations for which he apologised.

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