Conway Hall’s Thinking on Sunday series continues this weekend with a talk by investigative journalist and Guardian reporter Rob Evans, whose blog and 2013 book ‘Undercover’ revealed extraordinary details of a top secret state surveillance operation that targeted British ‘subversives’ over a period of more than 40 years.
Invisible even to many high ranking officials at the time, agents of the undercover unit were sent to infiltrate a range of political groups from animal rights activists to arms protesters, with many going to extreme lengths to conceal and rewrite their identities. Little was off limits in terms of tactics, including sex, drugs, intimate relationships and betrayal, and some even started families with those they were sent to spy on.
Not recommended for the paranoid, Sunday’s talk promises to lay out the truth about secret police operations, focusing on the emotional turmoil, psychological challenges and human cost of a lifetime of deception, and will ask whether such tactics can ever be justified.
By Abi Silvester