Spooks on the Internet?

I have concentrated in this study on the C88/C18 stories particularly, because in their symmetry they provide great insights into the Searchlight organisation's rationale and methodology. One of their current themes, 'fascism on the internet' is [Page 26] worth looking at too. As is the case in the US, certain state agencies are lasciviously eyeing the internet as a means of expanding their powers and finding a use for surveillance personnel/equipment left relatively inactive with the end of the Cold War. Along with porn on the internet, the spectre of Nazis/Holocaust revisionists using it [to] spread their ideas is a key argument used to legitimate increased state power. In running this errand for the state, Searchlight are not alone, and a keynote report on the subject appearing in the March 1996 issue was written by a colleague of theirs, Louise Bernstein. There is no way any casual reader would realise that in her political past she was supposedly, an anarchist, occasionally writing for Black Flag, respected for its serious coverage of the secret state. One contributor to Black Flag, the late Leo Rosser, wrote consistently well informed articles on a variety of topics, including Searchlight. [58] His partner until his death in 1990 was Louise Bernstein. It might have been thought that Bernstein would therefore be very well informed about the nature of Searchlight and what value is to be placed upon it. Imagine my surprise (and dismay) when I came across an article written by Bernstein in a 1992 book published in French on fascists in the UK. [59] The whole analysis parroted that of Searchlight, even describing a ludicrous disinformational pamphlet of theirs as "excellent" (p. 70). It is either the case that Bernstein had no awareness of her former partner's acute understanding of Searchlight, and was thus able to enthusiastically promote the magazine with an easy conscience and an empty head: unlikely, especially given she wrote for Black Flag. Or, she miraculously changed her mind and scrambled her brain very quickly: which would be an insult to her intelligence. Or there is a third possibility, that her presence in Black Flag's orbit was itself some kind of 'operation', and once completed she moved on to another task. Veteran anarchist the late Albert Meltzer after paying a fulsome tribute to Leo Rosser, had this to say in his recently published autobiography. Leo and I "talked about an event that was coming up in Spain the following year which we both wanted to attend. He also mentioned investigating some stories about drug dealers and the Spanish police in the next few weeks. But within a week of the conversation he was dead. The evidence, that he had been depressive for some weeks but concealed it from people, that his relatives and girl friend had finally decided to take him to the hospital for observation for suicidal tendencies, that he had left the hospital, being left unsupervised, and jumped from the nearest high building, seems undeniable. My suspicions as to what really happened are different but unprovable. I am not to be convinced otherwise." [60] In the early 1990's the magazine did become defunct for a time; mostly due to personal reasons, but has now made a welcome return. As to Bernstein's subsequent trajectory, she was heavily involved with the militant French anti-fascist publication Reflex, and (according to a reliable source) influenced their move closer to Searchlight: they have a monthly article in Searchlight, under the highly-unfortunate description I hope for their sake [Page 27] isn't true, that "Reflex is the French equivalent of Searchlight." [61] Currently, Bernstein is in an even more prestigious position, working for the anti-racist/fascist network 'United for Intercultural Action' based in Amsterdam the Netherlands. In that guise she writes to (and therefore possesses the details of) anti-fascists throughout the whole of Europe. How adequate is the security of 'United' and those who communicate with them in that situation? No doubt history will provide the answer to that one.