In Britain under the 30 year rule, a  bundle of secret government papers of 
1970 have been partially made public.

Some of these show the extent of espionage around the dockers' strike. The 
Guardian report suggests that more information may be published by the 
former head of MI5 when her book comes out later this year.

>Focused mainly on the role of communists and their allies in the strike - 
>which was led by the then TGWU general secretary, Jack Jones - the reports 
>reveal the extent of MI5's undercover penetration and surveillance of the 
>left at the time and contain a relatively sophisticated analysis of the 
>private differences among the dockers' leaders.
>Their release comes at a time when Stella Rimington, who headed MI5 in the 
>early 1990s, is about to publish her memoirs in the teeth of fierce 
>resistance in Whitehall.
>Dame Stella worked for MI5's political subversion department, F branch, in 
>the early 1970s, when its role was massively expanded in response to 
>increasing industrial militancy on the left. She later headed MI5's 
>"counter-subversion" operations against the 1984-85 miners' strike.
>The 1970 docks strike was the first of a series of increasingly effective 
>stoppages during the Heath administration, which culminated in the miners' 
>strike of 1974, the three-day week and the Tories' electoral defeat.
>The MI5 briefings on the July docks walkout - passed to the prime minister 
>every couple of days and based on agents' reports, phone tapping and 
>bugging - include accounts of private meetings between Communist party 
>officials and dockers' shop stewards and even internal discussions about 
>the editorial line of the Morning Star, described as "the subject of much 
>anxious consideration".

Perhaps Dame Stella and Melita Norwood could jointly host a Truth and 
Reconciliation Commission.

Chris Burford


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