Starling murmurations, new research


This video is about a starling murmuration in Britain.

From Science:

How bird flocks are like liquid helium

By Marcus Woo

27 July 2014 1:00 pm

A flock of starlings flies as one, a spectacular display in which each bird flits about as if in a well-choreographed dance. Everyone seems to know exactly when and where to turn. Now, for the first time, researchers have measured how that knowledge moves through the flock—a behavior that mirrors certain quantum phenomena of liquid helium.

“This is one of the first studies that gets to the details of how groups move in unison,” says David Sumpter of Uppsala University in Sweden, who was not part of the study.

The remarkable accord with which starling flocks fly has long puzzled researchers and bird watchers alike. In the 1930s, the ornithologist Edmund Selous even suggested that the birds cooperate via telepathy. Researchers have since turned to more scientifically sound ideas, using mathematical models.

In the 1990s, physicist Tamás Vicsek of Eötvös Loránd University in Budapest came up with one of the more successful models, which is based on the principle that each bird flies in the same direction as its neighbors. If a bird angles right, the ones next to it will turn to stay aligned. Although this model reproduces many features well—how a flock swiftly aligns itself from a random arrangement, for example—a team of researchers from Italy and Argentina has now discovered that it doesn’t accurately describe in detail how flocks turn.

In their new study, the team, led by physicists Andrea Cavagna and Asja Jelic of the Institute for Complex Systems in Rome, used high-speed cameras to film starlings—which are common in Rome and form spectacular flocks—flying near a local train station. Using tracking software on the recorded video, the team could pinpoint when and where individuals decide to turn, information that enabled them to follow how the decision sweeps through the flock. The tracking data showed that the message to turn started from a handful of birds and swept through the flock at a constant speed between 20 and 40 meters per second. That means that for a group of 400 birds, it takes just a little more than a half-second for the whole flock to turn.

“It’s a real tour de force of measurement,” says Sriram Ramaswamy of the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research’s Centre for Interdisciplinary Sciences in Hyderabad, India, who wasn’t part of the research.

The fact that the information telling each bird to turn moves at a constant speed contradicts the Vicsek model, Cavagna says. That model predicts that the information dissipates, he explains. If it were correct, not all the birds would get the message to turn in time, and the flock wouldn’t be able to fly as one.

The team proposes that instead of copying the direction in which a neighbor flies, a bird copies how sharply a neighbor turns. The researchers derived a mathematical description of how a turn moves through the flock. They assumed each bird had a property called spin, similar to the spins of elementary particles in physics. By matching one another’s spin, the birds conserved the total spin of the flock. As a result of that conservation, the equations showed that the information telling birds to change direction travels through the flock at a constant speed—exactly as the researchers observed. It’s this constant speed that enables everyone to turn in near-unison, the team reports online today in Nature Physics.

The new model also predicts that information travels faster if the flock is well aligned—something else the team observed, Cavagna says. Other models don’t predict or explain that relationship. “This could be the evolutionary drive to have an ordered flock,” he says, because the birds would be able to maneuver more rapidly and elude potential predators, among other things.

Interestingly, Cavagna adds, the new model is mathematically identical to the equations that describe superfluid helium. When helium is cooled close to absolute zero, it becomes a liquid with no viscosity at all, as dictated by the laws of quantum physics. Every atom in the superfluid is in the same quantum state, exhibiting a cohesion that’s mathematically similar to a starling flock.

The similarities are an example of how deep principles in physics and math apply to many physical systems, Cavagna says. Indeed, the theory could apply to other types of group behavior, such as fish schools or assemblages of moving cells, Sumpter says.

Other models, such as the Vicsek model or others that treat the flock as a sort of fluid, probably still describe flock behavior over longer time and length scales, Ramaswamy says. But it’s notable that the new model, which is still based on relatively simple principles, can accurately reproduce behavior at shorter scales. “I think that’s cool,” he says. “That’s an achievement, really.”

Sumpter agrees. “It’s kind of reassuring we don’t need to think about the telepathic explanation,” he says.

See also here.

Margaret Thatcher ‘knew about child abuse accusations, did nothing’


This video from Britain says about itself:

Pretty Chilling: Jimmy Savile And His “Love” For Margaret Thatcher

29 December 2012

Jimmy Savile‘s hold over Downing Street in the 80s is revealed in a series of letters in which he declares his “love” for Margaret Thatcher, according to newly released records.

Very disturbing: Jimmy, UKs posthumous “worse than Jack the Ripper“, telling the Prime Minister about his jealous “girl patients”…

From daily The Independent in Britain:

Margaret Thatcher ‘was warned of Tory child sex party claims’

Thatcher’s personal bodyguard and former detective chief inspector said he warned PM about Peter Morrison

Loulla-Mae Eleftheriou-Smith

Sunday 27 July 2014

Margaret Thatcher’s personal bodyguard Barry Strevens has told of how he warned the Prime Minister of allegations that one of her top aides was involved in sex parties with under-age boys.

Mr Strevens, a former detective chief inspector, told the Sun on Sunday that he passed on allegations about her loyal confidant Peter Morrison before he was promoted to the position of deputy chairman of the Conservative Party in the 1980s.

Mr Morrison, who died of a heart attack in 1995 aged 51, has since been linked to claims of sex abuse at children’s homes in north Wales.

At the time, Mr Strevens was informed of the allegations by a senior Cheshire police officer. Mr Strevens knew Mrs Thatcher was considering appointing Mr Morrison to the position of deputy chairman after Jeffrey Archer had stepped down over prostitution claims, and he requested an immediate meeting with Mrs Thatcher and her private secretary Archie Hamilton, who reportedly took notes of what was said.

“I wouldn’t say she was naïve but I would say she would not have thought people around her would be like that,” he said. “I am sure he would have given her assurances about the rumours, as otherwise she wouldn’t have given him the job.”

Explaining the nature of the rumours he had been told, Mr Strevens said: “A senior officer in Chester had told me there were rumours going around about underage boys – one aged 15 – attending sex parties at a house there belonging to Peter Morrison.

“After we returned to Number 10 I asked to go and see her immediately. It was unusual for me to do that so they would have known it was something serious. When I went in Archie Hamilton was there. I told them exactly what had been said about Peter. Archie took notes and they thanked me for coming.

“There was no proof but the officer I spoke to was certain and said local press knew a lot more. This was just after the Jeffrey Archer scandal and I knew she needed to know about it because they were deciding on the appointment of the next deputy chairman.

“I always told her things straight, as I saw them. She listened and thanked me. I assumed Archie Hamilton would have spoken to Peter Morrison following that.

“When he was appointed I assumed there had been nothing to the claims – as there was no way on Earth she would have given him the job otherwise,” he said.

Responding to the claims, Archie Hamilton told the paper that Mr Strevens had gone to Number 10 for a meeting but that he could not recall the mention of underage boys.

He said: “I remember Barry Strevens coming in and what he actually said at the time was that there were parties at Peter Morrison’s home in Cheshire and there were only men who were there.

“I don’t remember him saying they were underage. There may have been but the point he was making to her was that there were only men involved in the party.

“She listened to what he said and that was it. It was merely a party and men were there,” he said.

Home Secretary Theresa May has already announced a full-scale investigation into historical claims of child abuse at Westminster, and of an alleged paedophile ring.

Lord Tebbit has said he confronted Mr Morrison over rumours about him and young boys and that he received a flat denial, while former Tory MP Edwina Currie had previously called him a “notable pederast”.

British World War I media censorship


This video abouyt United States armed forces is called Censored letters WWI.

From daily The Guardian in Britain:

First world war: how state and press kept truth off the front page

Threatening journalists with arrest seems unthinkable now

Not that unthinkable, unfortunately, see, eg, here and here.

– but that was just one of the obstacles they faced at the start of WW1

Roy Greenslade

Sunday 27 July 2014 19.00 BST

On this, the 100th anniversary of the day the first world war began, it is sobering to look back at the way that conflict was so badly reported. The catalogue of journalistic misdeeds is a matter of record: the willingness to publish propaganda as fact, the apparently tame acceptance of censorship and the failure to hold power to account. But a sweeping condemnation of the press coverage is unjust because journalists, as ever, were prevented from informing the public by three powerful forces – the government, the military and their own proprietors.

It is undeniable that newspapers began by demonising the German enemy. They published fabricated stories of German barbarism, which were accepted as fact. Although Belgian and French citizens were executed as reprisals by the German army in the early months of the war, many unverifiable stories – later dubbed “atrocity propaganda” – were wholly untrue. Editors and journalists were therefore guilty.

Censorship was a different matter. It was imposed from the opening of hostilities and, although gradually relaxed, it remained sufficiently strict to constrain reporters from obtaining information or, should they manage to get it, from publishing it. Rigid government control was exercised in conjunction with a complicit group of committed pro-war press proprietors.

The Defence of the Realm Act, enacted four days after hostilities began, gave the authorities power to stifle criticism of the war effort. One of its regulations stated: “No person shall by word of mouth or in writing spread reports likely to cause disaffection or alarm among any of His Majesty’s forces or among the civilian population.” Its aim was to prevent publication of anything that could be interpreted as undermining the morale of the British people, but it did not stifle all negative reporting. If it had done so, then Lord Northcliffe could not have campaigned so relentlessly against war minister Lord Kitchener through his newspapers, the Times and Daily Mail.

It was the Times’s war correspondent, Charles à Court Repington, who broke the story in May 1915 of the shortage of artillery ammunition. What became known as “the shells crisis” had explosive political results. It forced prime minister Herbert Asquith to form a coalition government, catapulted David Lloyd George into the post of munitions minister and was a precursor to Lloyd George replacing Asquith.

Northcliffe’s campaign against Kitchener, a national hero then held in high public regard, resulted in a revolt by a million Mail readers and several advertisers. He was quoted as saying at the time: “I mean to tell the people the truth and I don’t care what it costs.” He was vindicated once that truth emerged; sales and advertising returned.

Northcliffe was aware of having two advantages in being critical of the war effort. First, his patriotism was never in question because his papers published hysterical anti-German propaganda. Second, he was assured of support from Lloyd George, with whom he connived in order to oust Asquith. But Northcliffe was far from the only newspaper proprietor who supported the war. CP Scott, editor of the Manchester Guardian, was initially opposed to it, as were his senior staff. After hostilities began, they felt compelled to back it. “Once in it,” wrote Scott, “the whole future of our nation is at stake and we have no choice but do the utmost we can to secure success.”

At the war’s outbreak, Kitchener banned reporters from the front. But two determined correspondents, the Daily Chronicle’s Philip Gibbs and the Daily Mail’s Basil Clarke, risked his wrath by defying the ban and acting as “journalistic outlaws” to report from the front line. Gibbs was arrested, warned that if he was caught again he would be shot, and sent back to England. Clarke, after reporting on the devastation in Ypres following the German bombardment, returned home after a similar warning.

Three months later, the government relented by allowing five “accredited reporters” access to the front and, over the following three years, several more journalists were also given accreditation. But censorship ensured that all sorts of facts were hidden from the readers of British newspapers. British blunders went unreported, as did German victories.

Even the bloodiest defeat in British history, at the Somme in 1916, in which 600,000 Allied troops were killed, went largely unreported. The battle’s disastrous first day was reported as a victory. The Daily Mail’s William Beach Thomas later admitted he was “deeply ashamed” of what he had written, adding: “The vulgarity of enormous headlines and the enormity of one’s own name did not lessen the shame.” Gibbs defended his actions, claiming that he was attempting to “spare the feelings of men and women, who, have sons and husbands fighting in France”. He had the gall to claim that the truth was reported about the Somme “apart from the naked realism of horrors and losses, and criticism of the facts”. After the war, both men accepted knighthoods for services to journalism. Others, like Hamilton Fyfe, previously editor of the Daily Mirror and later editor of the Daily Herald, regarded the honour as a bribe to keep quiet about the inefficiency and corruption he had witnessed.

Only later did the public learn of the high casualty toll and the horrific nature of trench warfare, such as the use of poison gas and the effects of shell shock. With these appalling conditions in mind, it was no wonder that Lloyd George confided to Scott in December 1917: “If people really knew [the truth], the war would be stopped tomorrow. But of course they don’t know, and can’t know.” He was speaking after listening to Gibbs’s description – at a private meeting – of the reality on the western front. He conceded that the censors “wouldn’t pass the truth”.

Lloyd George was sufficiently concerned about sagging public morale in 1917 to encourage the creation of a propaganda body, the National War Aims Committee. He also offered Northcliffe a chance to join the cabinet. He refused that post, but accepted an appointment as director for propaganda at the ministry of information. So Britain’s most influential media tycoon became the war’s official propagandist. The prime minister extended his press control by appointing the newly-ennobled Daily Express and London Evening Standard owner, Lord Beaverbrook, as the first minister of information. Lloyd George used press proprietors as a private reporting service, with censored articles being passed on to the cabinet.

But self-censorship played a big role. As Gibbs wrote later: “We identified ourselves absolutely with the armies in the field. We wiped out of our minds all thought of personal scoops and all temptation to write one word which would make the task of officers and men more difficult or dangerous. There was no need of censorship of our despatches. We were our own censors.”

A fuller version of this article is published in the latest issue of the British Journalism Review.

The posters that sold World War I to the American public: here.

The U.S. confiscated half a billion dollars in private property during #WWI: here.

World War I, fiction and reality


This video is called Trench warfare at its worst – Battle of Somme 1916.

From daily The Guardian in Britain:

Untold stories of the war

Jeremy Paxman, Michael Morpurgo, Pat Barker and other writers tell some of the surprising and heart-rending stories still emerging from the conflict

Saturday 26 July 2014

Jeremy Paxman

For much of the first world war the official Royal Navy fleet included a battleship that was quietly rusting at the bottom of the sea.

In 1914, the British navy was the greatest seagoing force in the world. HMS Audacious joined the fleet the previous year, a new, state-of-the-art battleship with 10 13½in guns, 16 smaller guns and a crew of 900.

On 27 October 1914, the Audacious emerged from the fleet’s deep-water anchorage in Lough Swilly for gunnery drills off the coast of Donegal. Just before 9am the crew heard a low thud. A sublieutenant Spragge, who was having a bath at the time, thought it was the signal to start firing. It was not: the ship had struck a mine – almost certainly laid by a German passenger liner that had just passed through the area – and the British battleship had been holed. The captain attempted to take Audacious back into Lough Swilly, hoping to beach the ship for repairs. But, with the engine room flooded, it soon became unmanoeuvrable. As the great battleship settled further and further into the water the crew began to be evacuated to other ships.

One British warship after another attempted to give the Audacious a tow. All failed. At this point the luxurious liner the Olympic (a sister ship of the Titanic) appeared on the scene, nearing the end of a crossing from New York to Britain. The liner evacuated the remainder of the crew and attached a line to the Audacious. This rope broke and it was clear that the pride of the Royal Navy would have to be abandoned. At about 9pm, survivors on the Olympic heard a tremendous explosion aboard the Audacious and she sank beneath the waves. The wealthy passengers on the Olympic gave the rescued sailors their spare clothes. They later disembarked in dancing slippers, evening waistcoats and top hats.

At the highest levels of government the decision was taken that the public were not to be told about the catastrophe. The Olympic was detained and its radio silenced. One of its richest passengers, the American steel magnate Charles Schwab, who was on his way to London to try to secure a lucrative munitions contract, was allowed off the ship, having given a strict promise of silence. British passengers disembarking later in Belfast blithely told reporters they’d had “a marvellous passage”.

To maintain the lie, the Admiralty redistributed the crew of the Audacious around other vessels in the navy, while the battleship remained on the official complement of the Royal Navy throughout the war. It was only on 14 November 1918 that the government admitted that their prize battleship had spent almost all the war on the seabed.

• Jeremy Paxman’s Great Britain’s Great War is published by Viking. …

Sebastian Faulks

A hundred years ago, the Great War destroyed Europe’s claim to be the most civilised continent in the world and seemed to make a mockery of terms such as “the Renaissance” and “the Enlightenment“. Three empires were lost. Our grandfathers killed 10 million soldiers and 7 million civilians; they introduced the idea of genocide as a political solution – and 20th-century Europe proved eager to embrace it. It did not feel like that to the soldiers at the time. They responded in a traditional way – by forming close bonds with those next to them. It was dangerous to make a best friend because you might need a new one tomorrow. But that didn’t stop them.

Jack Dorgan, a sergeant in the 7th Battalion of the Northumberland Fusiliers had a German shell drop in among him and his friends during the attack in St Julien on 26 April 1915. In the aftermath, he discovered bodies lying a few yards from the shell-hole. “All I could see when I got up to them was their thigh bones,” he recalls on a recording in the archive of the Imperial War Museum. “I will always remember their white thigh bones, the rest of their legs were gone.”

One of those wounded, a Private Bob Young, was conscious right to the end. Jack Dorgan lay down beside Young and asked if there was anything he could do for him. Dorgan recalled: “He said: ‘Straighten my legs, Jack’, but he had no legs. I touched the bones and that satisfied him. Then he said, ‘Get my wife’s photograph out of my breast pocket.’ I took the photograph out and put it in his hands. He couldn’t move, he couldn’t lift a hand, he couldn’t lift a finger, but somehow he held his wife’s photograph on his chest. And that’s how Bob Young died.”

There were millions of Bob Youngs. It has fallen to later generations to try to interpret the disaster that befell – then shaped – our world.

• Sebastian Faulks is the co-editor with Hope Wolf of A Broken World: Letters, Diaries and Memories of the Great War (Hutchinson). …

Richard J Evans

On 5 January 1919, almost two months after the end of the war, a curious ceremony took place in a small colonial settlement on the eastern coast of New Guinea. A column of about 20 native soldiers emerged from the jungle, headed by a German officer in the full-dress uniform of the Prussian army, and made its way over to a waiting detachment of Australian troops to surrender in what must have been the final act of the first world war.

The officer was Captain Hermann Detzner, an engineer and surveyor, and he had an extraordinary tale to tell. When the war broke out in August 1914 he had been mapping the border between the British protectorate of Papua, occupying the south-eastern quarter of the island, and the German colony of Kaiser-Wilhelmsland, occupying the north-eastern quarter. The German part of the island formed part of the kaiser’s possessions in the Pacific, gained during the colonial scrambles of the late 19th century. At the beginning of the war Germany’s Pacific territories were overrun by Australian and Japanese forces – Japan was an ally of Britain during the war – and their governors and commanders surrendered virtually without a shot being fired.

Not so Detzner. Receiving an order from invading Australian forces to surrender on 11 November 1914, he decided to keep the German flag flying and marched away from the border eastwards on to the Huon peninsula. Here, according to Detzner’s memoir Four Years Among the Cannibals, published after the war, they made a German flag from dyed loincloths and marched through the jungle singing patriotic German songs such as “The Watch on the Rhine” to keep their spirits up. By this time the Australian troops on the island were under orders to shoot him on sight. His second-in-command was captured, and Detzner himself, a small, wiry man, fell ill, weighing only 40 kilos when he surrendered. Nevertheless, his memoirs became a bestseller in Germany, calling to mind the lost days of Germany’s overseas empire and its achievements, which Detzner claimed in his case included the discovery of many new species of flora and fauna previously unknown to science.

Unfortunately, however, his claims were eventually revealed to be false. According to the Australian forces on the island, he had not roamed the jungle at all: he had been staying all the time in a German Lutheran missionary compound, retreating to the hills only when they drew near. He was a civilian, not a soldier, and he undertook no military action during the entire war. His scientific claims were discredited by other German explorers, who pointed out that they were frequently plagiarised from their own work, or, where this was not the case, pure invention. In 1933 he was forced to issue a retraction and apology, and he retired into private life, dying in 1970 at the age of 88. His tale is a reminder of the fact that the Great War was fought not just in the mud of Flanders but in many locations all across the globe.

• Richard J Evans’s Altered Pasts: Counterfactuals in History is published by Little, Brown. …

Douglas Newton

When many people think of Britain’s decision to go to war in 1914, fatalism descends. They mutter that there was no alternative. They imagine that Britain did all it could to avert heading to conflict. It was a response to German aggression against Belgium; Britain stood up for democracy.

This tale scarcely matches the evidence. Britain’s war-makers forced the pace, “jockeyed” the Cabinet, blindsided parliament, and rushed to a premature decision – before Belgium’s invasion.

First, Britain’s decision-makers frogmarched events. They did very little to restrain Russia or France. Britain itself was provocative; on 28 July, the fleet was ordered to “War Stations”, before news of a Balkan war. The following day its “Warning Telegram” was sent across the empire, two days before the comparable German proclamation.

Second, the interventionist minority in Asquith’s Cabinet “jockeyed” the neutralist majority. The naval moves, the shunning of all negotiations on neutrality, the army mobilisation, and the calling out of the Naval Reserve, were all decisions taken by the Asquith clique – between meetings of the Cabinet.

Third, cheerleaders for war were active in London. Influential men, in government and the press, linked with the French and Russian embassies, campaigned for Britain’s instant intervention – for the sake of Russia and France, irrespective of Belgium.

Fourth, democracy was sidestepped. Parliament learned almost nothing of British policy until Monday 3 August. The leaders fostered the impression that any war for Britain would be naval only. Asquith sought to squash all parliamentary debate. On 6 August, the government gave MPs the famous “White Paper”, amending various diplomatic cables to hide Russia’s pressure for war. Effectively “bounced”, the parliament backed war.

Finally, Britain’s choice for war was made on Sunday 2 August, when Cabinet authorised Grey to pledge naval assistance to France – before the Belgian disaster. This pledge almost wrecked the Cabinet. So appalled were neutralist ministers at their own government’s haste that four resigned. Nowhere else did this happen in Europe.

The demand for neutrality was never a demand that Britain should simply walk away if Germany invaded Belgium. It was a demand for a credible active neutral diplomacy during the crisis. That might have averted war.

• Douglas Newton’s The Darkest Days: The Truth Behind Britain’s Rush to War, 1914 is published by Verso.

British politician’s domestic abuse


This video from Kenya says about itself:

Activists demonstrate in support of law against domestic abuse

24 July 2014

Civil society workers sent a petition to parliament seeking to protect the Protection against domestic violence bill which they did not want amended.

They wanted appropriate mechanisms for stopping or preventing domestic violence as well as providing effective sanctions and enforcement.

By Joana Ramiro in Britain:

Domestic abuse MP David Ruffley should face sanction

Friday 25th July 2014

A TORY MP who assaulted his partner should “face strong disciplinary sanction,” women’s rights campaigners said yesterday.

David Ruffley announced last week that his now former partner had accepted an apology for the assault in March.

The Bury St Edmunds MP was let off with a police caution and a Conservative Party spokesman said he believed the case was closed after having been “dealt with at the time by the police.”

But feminist organisation Women’s Aid expressed concern over the whole procedure.

The charity’s chief executive Polly Neate argued that “physical violence in relationships is almost always accompanied by ongoing psychological control and abuse.”

Ms Neate added that she was surprised with the sluggishness of the Conservative Party to address the issue.

“We would expect that a parliamentarian who admitted committing a violent crime would face strong disciplinary sanction,” she said.

Mr Ruffley said he hoped the episode would “remain private” as a sign of respect for his ex-partner.

However Ms Neate pointed out that “domestic violence is a criminal, not a private matter” and that authorities should “take action accordingly.”

In Mr Ruffley’s constituency many have also come out with complaints about the MPs actions arguing his position is now “untenable.”

St Edmundsbury cathedral dean the Reverend Dr Frances Ward sent a letter to Mr Ruffley urging him to step down and arguing that he had “lost the confidence” of his constituents.

She sent copies of the letter dated July 18 to several several Tory frontbenchers — including new Chief Whip Michael Gove.

“It is my belief that you have lost the confidence of a significant proportion of your former supporters,” she wrote.

Dr Ward added that she “received sufficient comment and concern from a wide circle of people, both within the cathedral and through the town and county, to have arrived at the opinion that [Mr Ruffley’s] position is untenable.”

When contacted by the Star, the Conservative Women’s Organisation declined to make an extensive comment, but national chairwoman Niki Molnar labeled the case an “unfortunate incident.”

Bury St Edmunds Conservative Association has brought its annual meeting forward from September to next week given Mr Ruffley’s behaviour.

David Ruffley to stand down at the next election after assault on ex-girlfriend. MP has been under pressure to resign and will face constituents at local party meeting on Thursday to discuss his future: here.

British police spied on De Menezes, Lawrence families


This music video is called Roger Waters – The ballad of Jean Charles de Menezes (subtitulado en español).

From daily The Independent in Britain:

Police stored information on a relative attending a funeral

Kashmira Gander

Thursday 24 July 2014

The Metropolitan Police secretly held information on 17 grieving families running justice campaigns for murdered family members, a report has revealed.

In his latest report from Operation Herne, investigating the conduct of undercover officers from Scotland Yard’s Special Demonstration Squad (SDS), Derbyshire Chief Constable Mick Creedon said on Thursday that “emerging evidence” showed the Stephen Lawrence Campaign and a number of other families were mentioned in secret records.

This video from Britain is called Stephen Lawrence: Justice For A Murdered Son Part 1.

And this video is the sequel.

The campaigns ranged between 1970 and 2005, and were the result of people who died in police custody, died following police contact, or were murdered, he said.

Officers were in the process of telling the families concerned, and would share the knowledge and information held “where possible”. More families may emerge in time, the document adds.

The relatives of Jean Charles de Menezes are among those implicated. The Brazilian electrician was shot dead by police in 2005 after he was mistaken for a terrorist suspect, and his family are currently considering legal action against Scotland Yard following the report’s findings.

The Stephen Lawrence Campaign, and references to the death of Cherry Groce, which sparked the Brixton riots, and Ricky Reel, who died in mysterious circumstances in 1997, were also found.

An account of an unnamed individual planning to attend a funeral was among the information stored, despite the document acknowledging: “there was no intelligence to indicate that the funeral would have been anything other than a dignified event”.

Mr Creedon said the information should not have been retained unless it prevented crime or disorder, and admitted bereaved families are like to find the findings “distressing” and “inexplicable.”

While the report found no evidence that covert operations targeted grieving families or justice campaigns, it heavily criticised the fact that information that had no relevance in preventing crime.

This 23 July 2014 video from Britain is called Police ‘spied on Ricky Reel’s family’.

Sukhdev Reel, who fought for answers about the death of her son Ricky Reel in 1997, told Channel 4 News on Wednesday, prior to the publication of the report: “Rather than them helping us pick up the pieces trying to find out what happened to us they were spying on us.

“I don’t understand it, I just feel I’ve been stripped of my dignity… I feel really angry,” she added.

A spokeswoman for the Jean Charles De Menezes Family Campaign said it was “shameful” that the Metropolitan police had spied on the legitimate campaign activities of a grieving family “who were simply trying to get the answers they deserved after their loved one was killed by police officers.”

Mr Creedon was called in to lead an inquiry into the SDS after a series of allegations were made about the unit, including that officers used the identities of dead children without permission and tricked women into serious sexual relationships.

It was also accused of having infiltrated campaign groups close to the family of murder victim Stephen Lawrence and gathering information to “smear” his relatives.

Assistant Commissioner Martin Hewitt, from Scotland Yard, stopped short of apologising to the families, but said: “I regret enormously the distress that has been caused.”

He added he had been moved by interviews with Sukhdev Reel, Ricky Reel’s mother.

“There have been a number of families out there for whom this has caused much distress. I was moved by the interviews with Mrs Reel last night, and that’s why it’s so important that we are clear about the facts of what actually happened.

“There are very clear criticisms about what subsequently happened to the information gathered by individual officers, and I am not surprised by that.

“The decision to retain information or not is a challenge and getting the balance right is difficult.”

The next stage of the report that will continue for another year will be an assessment on culture of the SDS and allegations of inappropriate behaviour.

Undercover police gathered evidence on 18 grieving families. Intelligence covering high-profile campaigns was collected between the mid-1980s and 2005 and affected families including those of Jean Charles de Menezes and Stephen Lawrence: here.

THE family of murdered young Brazilian Jean Charles de Menezes and the bereaved mother of teenager Ricky Reel yesterday condemned undercover spying on their campaigns for justice: here.

See also here.

SUKHDEV REEL’S description of how sick she felt on learning that her family had been spied on by police after the death of her son Ricky is gut-wrenching. The fact that a secret unit in the Metropolitan Police could collect information on campaigns set up by bereaved families displays a previously unimagined level of depravity: here.