searchlight.org.uk


Roberts and Liddle Circulate Hit Lists

A noteworthy and bizarre modus operandi of Searchlight operatives in the 1970's was the almost simultaneous infiltration of Left and Right-wing groups, as well as the passing of information from each side to the other to facilitate the circulation of 'hit-lists', including details of supposed former 'comrades'. Take, for example, the magazine Forewarned Against Fascism published between 1978 and 1981 by Dave Roberts and Daphne Liddle, the latter even today a photographer for the Searchlight 'team'. From issue 5 (November 1978) they began publishing 'hit-lists' of fascists, giving hundreds upon hundreds of names/addresses/work-places. This understandably upped the political temperature, and the publication of these lists preceded those produced by fascists in Bulldog and South London News. [30] Issue 9 of Forewarned recognised [that] the fascist hit-lists were probably a response to their own publication of such (April 1981 p. 3). The point isn't that fascists needed hit-lists targetting them to act violently: they never have, the significance is that Forewarned, run at 'arms length' from, but clearly connected to Searchlight (and their ultimate protectors) pro-actively took the initiative in pouring petrol on the flames of political violence. At the same time Roberts and Liddle were calling upon the state to increase its surveillance and powers of the very organisations whose members were intended to be the targets of attack and thus public disorder. While urging state intervention and publishing 'hit-lists' made some political sense, the combination of the two simultaneously seems highly illogical. Looked at from the hypothesis that Forewarned was a state operation conducted at 'arms length' designed to escalate political turmoil and justify concomitant increased powers to deal with the same, these two positions make perfect sense. Starting in 1978 the Nazi League Review featured extraordinarily well-informed articles on anti-fascists under the pseudonym 'Heimdall' (in Norse mythology a look-out for the gods) Issue 26 (August 1979) saw 'Heimdall' helpfully giving fascists the home details of 'Anti-Nazi League' Committee Members: a body to which Roberts had very recently narrowly failed to be elected. In the atmosphere of conflict then prevailing this was clearly intended to set those of them lacking police protection up for attack. Issue 27 carried an article by 'Heimdall' which supposedly rubbished Roberts but which would [Page 9] have built him up greatly in Leftist eyes. This article printed personal details of many associates with whom Roberts had fallen out or never liked, and displayed a detailed knowledge of the arcane by-ways of Stalinist theory I've never seen matched before or since in any fascist publication. Significantly 'Heimdall' left out Roberts' then address, sagely informing readers that "we shall of course inform our readers of Roberts' new address as soon as he finds one." [31] They never did! A normally reliable source has suggested that 'Heimdall' was in fact a codename for Roberts himself, which would make sense. Eventually, Roberts fell out with Searchlight and the August 1981 edition disowned him: but his work for them had been completed: they had concocted new fantasies for which he was no longer necessary. He died in June 1982.



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