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Journalist in Tommy Sheridan libel trial infiltrated G8 'anarchist' camp

Ferguson McBride | 06.07.2006 13:32 | Analysis | Repression | Workers' Movements

Investigative journalist at heart of Tommy Sheridan libel case infiltrated G8 'anarchist' camp in 2005

I've just done a search on Google on the name "Allan Caldwell" who is an investigative journalist who sold his story to the News of the World about Sheridan supposedly being spotted at a swingers club by an alleged "mystery businessman", who he refused to name under cross-examination.

Rather strange and intriguing though that he didn't write such a scoop of a story himself. A topic that might be worth further investigation in itself!

Anyway, Allan Caldwell is the SAME undercover reporter who successfully infiltrated many of the 'anarchist' camps and groups that were set up around the G8 conference and wrote a lot of articles deriding the activities and lifestyles of the participants. He was also at the same five hundred strong People's Assembly meeting in Edinburgh University's debating hall on July 3rd, that former BBC journalist Andrew Gilligan got beaten up at and thrown out of after trying to sneak in.

"Record reporter ALLAN CALDWELL inflitrated the anarchists, then lived and marched with them. This is his diary."

Seems to also have a predilection for sex scandals. He also had a story in the Evening Times in 1999 "SECRET OF SCOTLAND'S PORN KING

Named Daily News Journalist off the Year in the BT Scotland Press and Broadcast Awards.

Written a couple of 'inside stories' on Celtic Football Club

Also seems to be involved in a probably ongoing journalistic investigation into the Andrew Ramsay disappearance.

Might be a good idea to take a note of his mugshot so that you can spot him at meetings and such like! Pictures of him leaving the court can be viewed here:

Ferguson McBride


Andrew Gilligan

06.07.2006 15:27

It would be more correct to say Andrew Gilligan was slight roughed up rather than beaten up at the meeting he was asked to leave.

On Sunday 3rd July I arrived at 'an open discussion to co-ordinate direct action during opening days of the G8 summit, 2005'. The hall was packed and when I arrived no more could get in so I spoke to others outside about some plans for Tuesday/Wednesday. A bit of re-arranging of position of people happened inside room, after introductions over, and those waiting outside were able to enter. A call for consensus on the general blockage framework was called and comments on this made, many gave comments on preferences for type of blockade counterpoising one form against another, with an emphasis from most people toward city based blockades with some making sweeping statements about effective action not being possible near Gleneagles. I contributed by letting people know whatever was decided at this meeting the general framework for blockading was out there, and many groups would be doing blockades nearer Gleneagles, as it did turn out.

It was only later on that I recognised Andrew Gilligan sat in back corner on other side. I felt obliged to ask him to leave. So approached him and asked him if he remembered me as it has been getting on for ten years since I had last seen him. I asked who he was working for and he said the London Evening Standard. He asked me what I was doing as he was surprised that I was involved with such meeting. I said it would be good to catch up with him and suggest he come with me out to bar. I find being talking to people in friendly fashion is best way when first persuading people to do something. I said also I felt obliged to ask him to leave. But he was reluctant and seem content to spin conversation out till end of meeting. So I told him I was serious and gave him an ultimatum that if he did no leave then I would announce his presence to the meeting. He called my bluff and not on to back down, and let him string things out longer.

Now with hindsight from a personal point of view it may have been better to for the ultimatum to be that I would call over one or two of the organisers of the meeting not because I think they would have any better luck persuading him to leave without bringing it to attention of whole meeting, but I then there would not have people think with hindsight they could have handled spotting him better than I did.

Anyway once it was brought to attention of whole meeting events took their course, which given the effort put into securing use of Teviot in months before, I was very concerned would endanger further use of space, which lead to me being a quite upset bunny. I wanted to do whatever possible to mitigate any problems that could be caused for continued use of the space. In the end the space continued to be used with other interuptions due to unrelated building management angst.

With this in mind, on coming out of Teviot I saw Gilligan was just outside still not having run to police lines as Allan Caldwell states, allways prepared to fill in gaps with something that fits the spin he puts on events. I was concerned that when the meeting still going on finished those coming out lead to further exchanges with Gilligan that would not be helpful.

Gilligan was concerned about a blue notebook he had lost inside the building, that had notes from interviews taken in previous days. I gave him my contact details and said I would ask around to see if anyone had found it and if it came to me I would return notes from interviews of previous days. As we continued to talk in a civil and courteous manner while another comrade chanted scum, scum, scum at him due to him working for racist London Evening Standard. While it would have been interesting to see how this headfuck experiment would have panned out there. I felt best to encourage Gilligan to not hang around till end people came out after end of meeting and so again made my offer to go for a drink and talk thing over there and allow me to mitigate some potential repercussions. As I walked away some one shouted to me how I would regret giving an interview to him, given I tend to avoid talking to mainstream journalists, and certainly had not given any interviews concerning G8 organising. I did reply that it was more just going for a drink with someone I have know before, although I am under no illusion that Gilligan wouldn't treat anything I said as more grit to the mill of his job. But the embarrassing shouted insult of 'bald fucker' just made be me more keen to wrap up things with Gilligan elsewhere, which was right thing to do not for Andrew's sake but that of maintaining use of the space, which the Reshape group and others had put a lot of work into securing.

I asked him was he hurt and he said no. I think main thing was he was just a bit shook up.

Anyway I did ask around about his note book but alas it did not show up.

In the end Andrew Gilligan did not write about incident himself infact he published nothing directly from his experainces in Edinburgh durring the G8 as far as I know. I don't think he came specifically for that meeting it was just one of many things he was checking out with his time.

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Re: Andrew Gilligan

07.07.2006 10:20

> In the end Andrew Gilligan did not write about incident himself infact he published
> nothing directly from his experainces in Edinburgh durring the G8 as far as I know.
> I don't think he came specifically for that meeting it was just one of many things
> he was checking out with his time.

Actually, he wrote about it the next day in the Evening Standard:

The howling mob set on me, grabbed my bag, then said sorry
Evening Standard (London), Jul 4, 2005 by ANDREW GILLIGAN


If there is anywhere that represents the dark heart of residents' fears for a repeat of the riots of Seattle, Gothenburg and Genoa, it is probably the university union building on Bristo Square, meeting- place for some of the hardcore activists and protesters, or at least the hardcore activist and protester wannabes.

What's believed to be the first violence of the G8 summit took place there yesterday - an extremely localised outbreak, against me, as it happens.

The venue was the debating chamber of the union building, a sizeable, vaguely Gothic room and the political cradle of one Gordon Brown, a former Edinburgh student. The event was a large planning meeting for the Dissent anarchist network, which includes many of the same people involved in past disturbances at Seattle, Gothenburg and Genoa, but definitely not evil, capitalist journalists.

"On a technical point, chairman," said the anarchist who'd been to university with me and unfortunately recognised me loitering in the audience.

"There is a journalist in the corner!" Have you ever been denounced in front of hundreds of hard-line G8 protesters, who then turn nasty and assault you?

Not an experience I would necessarily recommend, but it happened to me yesterday.

The meeting instantly descended into chaos, with a mob of dozens of people screaming at me, grabbing me, tearing at my clothes and trying to take my bag. My glasses were snatched and kindly reconfigured into a pince-nez. I lost the bag after a struggle.

I had, as a precaution, put myself quite close to the door, but it was still quite an unpleasant couple of minutes before I could extricate myself, with the help of some people in the crowd who wanted to protect me.

(Later, when I was talking to people outside, some came up and apologised, and my bag was returned.) This could be the cue for one of those "I saw the true face of anarchist menace" pieces; but, in fact, having sat through the preceding 45 minutes, what struck me about the whole business was the sheer unlikelihood of this particular group of would-be revolutionaries being able to cause any major bother for anyone better protected than a solitary hack.

" We have a confrontational agenda," promised the man in charge of the meeting, who introduced himself as a member of the Wombles, a group particularly active at Genoa. But not all the gathering seemed to have the basic facts at their disposal.

"What Ordnance Survey map is Gleneagles on?" asked one lad.

" You've been talking about blockading the red zone," said another fellow.

"Where is that, exactly?"

"Gleneagles," said the chairman, with a slight air of bemusement.

There was a fierce discussion about whether the anarchists should go to the summit venue itself - ringed with police and security fences - or concentrate on " blockades" in Edinburgh and Glasgow, where many of the delegates and support staff are staying.

Edinburgh's Sheraton hotel, home to at least one delegation, was mentioned as one priority target.

In the end, it was sort of decided that they would do both Edinburgh and Gleneagles, but, as one member of the meeting said, to general laughter, "I've been to this movie before. We all decide to go somewhere a long way away. And the next day nobody turns up."

It would, of course, be unwise to take this gathering as the complete story of the attempts to disrupt the summit violently. More serious, better-organised people may be waiting in the wings. The real planning is done in much smaller groups. But several of the core activists did seem to be present; and their aims seemed remarkably modest. "We blockaded the EU-US summit [in Ireland] last year," said one Irish delegate. "We took 20 minutes out of George Bush's life and it's one of the things I'm most proud of."

The G8 summiteers can take comfort not just from this, but from the way in which Bono and Geldof have taken the sting from much of the peaceful part of the anti-G8 protest.




07.07.2006 12:22

Allan Caldwell, "Investigative Reporter"
Allan Caldwell, "Investigative Reporter"

Knows a lot about swingers' clubs
Knows a lot about swingers' clubs

Douglas Wight, News of the World
Douglas Wight, News of the World

...from stv report. Now cropped and in jpg.