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EDITIONS
True Spies Monday, 28 October, 2002, 11:50 GMT
Your comments on the programme
Your comments on True Spies: It Could Happen To You will be posted at regular intervals until 1700 GMT, Tuesday 12 November 2002.

Have your say

We try to publish as many of your comments as possible but, due to the high number sent, we cannot post them all. We always aim to use a good cross-section of your comments.


Surely it's a Catch 22? The Secret State investigate groups, in order to maintain our rights to set up any group we like which is then investigated, etc, etc.
Andy, Birmingham


The secret services have my full support

Dave, Bradford
I'm not frightened by these stories, I suppose, because I do believe that when a decision has been made in a democratic way, those violently opposing those decisions - or things that have been accepted in society - can be called subversives.

It's not freedom of speech or thought that is repressed here. It's the illegal ways in which they are put into action.
Marttin, Eindhoven, The Netherlands

The secret services have my full support.

The "individual" is not as important as the whole and the methods depicted in the programme were justified, and always will be.
Dave, Bradford

When government policies continue to allow police agencies to further intrude on any part of a person's life, or an organisation's right to civil, peaceful protest; that protest is stifled and those groups marginalised.

Is it any wonder that those groups become a microcosm of good and bad?
David, London


I think MI5 and Special Branch are the real subversives

Steve Brand, London
'Parliamentary Democracy' is an oxymoron.

The Parliamentary 'first past the post' system is only a limited form of democracy; a cross on a piece of paper every 4-5 years.

Many of those labelled 'subversives' believe in changing our system to "direct" democracy.

I think MI5 and Special Branch are the real subversives. They are unelected and unaccountable.
Steve Brand, London

I think the programme was very interesting, but did not take the spooks to task nearly enough.

The various representatives of the Secret State were never challenged on their assumption that 'the defence of the state' and 'the defence of democracy' are the same thing: they are not.

Unaccountable, secretive institutions breed corruption and institutionalise the abuse of power.
Tim Dawtry, Leeds


People who break the law are criminals and should be treated as such

Egil R Orndal, Manchester
Good to see that someone is out there protecting us from those who believe that their agenda and opinions are more important than those of the rest of us.

What I found shocking was that someone can defend anyone who's harming other people, their property, or preventing them from going about their legal business.

If they think that business should not be legal then that is something that they should work to change through the established political channels.

The problem is that these people know that they have no chance whatsoever of achieving these aims in that way because most people disagree with them or simply are not interested.

People who break the law are criminals and should be treated as such.
Egil R Orndal, Manchester


We cannot let the government or big business rule without checks ...

S Dunning, Brighton
Peter Taylor and his team have done it again! Provos and Loyalists and now another superb programme that has left me thinking deeply.

I believe my father was spied on in the 70's as a trade union activist and Irish Nationalist. For years I recounted to my friends how this affected our family but people seemed to think I was paranoid.

Thank you for all your hard work and impartial journalism of the highest calibre. I feel Mr Taylor and his team are a credit to the BBC. Provos made me think about my own views and Loyalists did too.
Eamon, Leeds

I must say the programme made me feel very uneasy about protesting and also made me question whether I live in a democratic society.

I now feel nervous about going to fringe meetings in case there is a spy planted there. The programme left me with a feeling of powerlessness; we cannot let the government or big business rule without checks.
S Dunning, Brighton

What exactly is this constant unquestioned reference to communism all about? Hello, this is the 21st century. Stella Rimington etc seem to be stuck in the 1950s.
David Greenhalgh, Bristol


I'm afraid the MI5 and Special Branch are a necessary evil

Barry Murphy, Surbiton

I think the use of video and still photography by police at demonstrations and rallies of a peaceful and legitimate nature is a cause of great concern.

Whilst it is understandable that this might be used to stop possibly violent groups, why is it now acceptable that this type of behaviour is acceptable at legitimate rallies?
Tommy, Middlesbrough

You did not emphasize the fact that a lot of these protesters were breaking the law in following their aggressive actions. We cannot have one law for the law breakers and one for the authorities.
D Brazier, Aylesbury

The tactics used by MI5 and Special Branch to investigate and derive information are exactly what is needed to ensure that genuinely unscrupulous and possibly dangerous individuals and organisations do not exploit groups that are protesting in legal ways.

I'm afraid the MI5 and Special Branch are a necessary evil.
Barry Murphy, Surbiton


Why worry about having a file?

Chris, Lowestoft
If there is a threat then it should be dealt with, by whatever means possible, to stop danger and risk to the state and individual lives.

Information is a must to determine the level of risk and security services will do this forever to protect us as a whole. Why worry about having a file?
Chris, Lowestoft

What do people who resort to criminal acts expect the state to do? Just sit back and allow things to happen? I applaud the so-called spies; they really do take a risk to get close to possible bad guys.

I take my hat off to the police service in general for doing a thoroughly professional job.
Mike, Wigan

It is easy to understand we need some form of secret police to keep us safe, the problem comes when they are turned against activities that may cause the government of the day problems.

Even when we're told it is done for our benefit, it should always be taken with a pinch of salt.
Colin, Derby


People who are innocent should be grateful for the vigilance that protects them

Nicky Light, Kidderminster
I am appalled by Sir Charles Pollard's comment that "if you are innocent you have nothing to worry about".

This is the standard response of someone who is about to violate an individual's rights and is, I think, untrue since there have been many cases of innocent people having been convicted.
Paul, Milton Keynes

The anguish of those who are innocent when being investigated is nothing when compared to the anguish of those who lost a dear brother and two close friends in the nail bomb attacks in London just over three years ago.

People who are innocent should be grateful for the vigilance that protects them. "Secret State" surveillance would have made a difference to us for the rest of our lives.
Nicky Light, Kidderminster

True Spies was OK but it was only what "they" wanted you to know. In fact it was yet another smoke and mirrors event to distract the masses!
CG, Chesterfield


I cannot understand how MI5 believe it is protecting democracy

Joey Talbot, Bradford on Avon
Mr Taylor's programme demonstrates merely that rather a lot of people were mildly inconvenienced, if that.

As a result of the activities highlighted, Britain has not become a police state, is not a dictatorship of Left or Right and we all still have the freedom to participate in democracy.

In the meantime violent extremists have been prevented from carrying out their intentions. The London nail bomb campaign is a case in point as to what happens when the "Secret State" is not vigilant.
David Cameron, Glasgow

I cannot understand how MI5 believe it is protecting democracy. Surely their work is much more subversive than the activities of the road campaigners and trade unionists that they spy on?
Joey Talbot, Bradford on Avon

The policeman's comments in the programme re: Newbury and animal rights protestors were quite frankly absurd.

So all protesters are criminals are they? So anyone who protests against something that is so clearly wrong is a subversive? Rubbish. That has nothing to do with the security of the state as a whole.

Wake up and fight the real threats to society and leave people to protest in peace and stop wasting money on police time when they should be targeting real criminals.
Tes, Bristol

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