Activism, State Surveillance

Undercover police officer co-wrote leaflet in McLibel case.

The McLibel case was the famous case that took place in the 1990’s.

McDonald’s Corporation v Steel & Morris was an English lawsuit for libel filed by McDonald’s Corporation against environmental activists Helen Steel and David Morris (often referred to as “The McLibel Two”) over a factsheet critical of the company.

The case was adjudicated by Hon. Mr Justice Rodger Bell. He concluded that McDonald’s had contributed to cruelty to animals, used advertising to manipulate children, and paid employees so little as to depress wages in the catering industry in England.1

According to this article by the Guardian, the leaflet was co-written by an undercover police officer. The name of the officer is Bob Lambert. Lambert was deployed by the Special Demonstration Squad (SDS) – a top-secret Metropolitan police unit that targeted political activists between 1968 until 2008, when it was disbanded.

Lambert was one of two SDS officers who infiltrated London Greenpeace; the second, John Dines, had a two-year relationship with Helen Steel, who later became the co-defendant in the McLibel case.

Lambert’s role in helping compose the McLibel leaflet is revealed in the book titled  ‘Undercover: The True Story of Britain’s Secret Police’ written by Paul Lewis and Rob Evans.

The book reveals how Steel became the focus of police surveillance operations.


  1. Marlene Arnold Davidson. McLibel: A Case Study In English Defamation Law. Winsconsin International Law Journal. p. 4

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