Plot to frame Scottish PSC

Lawyer Matthew Berlow faces £500 fine for his part in plot. Image: Daily Record

JVL Introduction

The campaign to demonise supports of Palestinian right reached a new low as this report from the Scottish Daily Record shows.

Lawyer Matthew Berlow played a key part in faking a graffiti attack at his home in Glasgow, then used the bogus incident to smear the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign.

It is not the first time evidence of false Facebook pages has surfaced, used to spread malice or antisemitic slurs. which are then attributed to supporters of Palestine.

This article was originally published by the Scottish Daily Record on Mon 7 Sep 2020. Read the original here.

Top pro-Israel lawyer faked vandalism attack at Scots home in plot to frame Palestine group

Matthew Berlow played a key part in faking a graffiti attack at his home then used the bogus incident to smear the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign.

A top lawyer has been slammed by legal watchdogs for a bizarre plot to discredit a Palestinian pressure group.

Matthew Berlow played a key part in faking a graffiti attack at his home then used the bogus incident to smear the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign.

He now faces a £500 fine for his part in the conspiracy after an initial probe by the reporter of the Law Society of Scotland.

Berlow knew his associate Ed Sutherland, a teacher at Belmont Academy, Ayr, had created a fake Facebook identity under the name Stevie Harrison to infiltrate the SPSC in January last year.

Ed Sutherland created fake profile on Facebook which posted graffiti claim Image: Jamie Williamson

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Berlow and Sutherland are linked to Friends of Israel, which aims to promote the interests of the country in the UK.

The fake Palestinian supporting activist “Stevie Harrison” wrote a social media post highlighting vandalism daubed on Berlow’s home in Glasgow.

The post said: “A certain Jewish lawyer woke up this morning to find ‘Free Palestine’ spray-painted rather ­prominently – no idea who was responsible.”

Berlow fuelled the story of the fantasy attack by playing the victim and commenting on the post: “Idiocy. Typical SPSC behaviour criminal.”

He later admitted to the LSS that he knew the scenario to be faked. But he claimed he went along with it because the Harrison character was being used “to monitor various ­disruptive activities of the SPSC”.

A preliminary ruling found Berlow failed to maintain the standards of behaviour expected for a ­solicitor.

It stated: “The pertinent issue is the solicitor’s comment, ‘Typical SPSC behaviour’ and the association between the SPSC and the supposed act of vandalism in the post. The post was made by the alias Stevie Harrison.

“The reporter has been provided with no evidence to find that Harrison was recognised as a member of the SPSC.

“Conversely, as the reporter is satisfied that Harrison is an alias and the social media profile fake, Harrison would naturally be unable to attend any ­demonstrations or meetings organised by the SPSC.

(Image: Daily Record)

“Furthermore, following the words ‘no idea who was ­responsible’, there are a number of emojis portraying a wink.

“The reporter is satisfied that the choice of the words and emoji were intended for readers of the post to draw the inference that the act of vandalism had been committed by Harrison.

“The reporter is therefore satisfied that the comment made by the solicitor ­associating the act of vandalism with the SPSC was unfounded.”

The LSS reporter also makes it clear it was part of a plot by Berlow and a “Mr Y” – who can be identified as Ed ­Sutherland and who faces his own probe by the General Teaching Council for Scotland.

The reporter states: “Mr Y, like the solicitor, is a supporter of the state of Israel.

“The reporter is satisfied that Mr Y ­impersonates an anti-Israeli activist and in order to convince other anti-Israeli ­activists, Mr Y targets Israeli supporters, including the ­solicitor.

“The reporter is satisfied that when commenting on the post, the solicitor would have known that the post was false and no vandalism had taken place.

“The reporter is satisfied that the purpose of the comment was to associate the ostensibly ­criminal act with members of the SPSC despite the solicitor being aware at the material time that no criminal act had taken place.”

Berlow claimed last night he had launched a sting to catch out a person who was stalking him.

He said: “Unfortunately I made it too real and named an organisation I shouldn’t have. It wasn’t my intention to blame the SPSC for a fictitious event.”

But victims are demanding the Society’s ­professional conduct sub committee forces the lawyer to pay compensation to those smeared by the plot.

Mick Napier, chair of SPSC’s Glasgow branch, said: “We welcome the finding against Berlow but the gravity of the offence clearly merits more than a £500 rap on the knuckles.

“I believe those who have been defamed, including myself, should be awarded exemplary damages. We have been smeared as anti-Semitic and that is serious and quite unacceptable.

“The LSS decided no damage had been done to myself or the SPSC but I would urge it to ­reconsider this because the damage to our reputation, in accusing us of such criminal acts, is impossible to deny.”

Comments (6)

  • geoff rouse says:

    Vile as this action was it is quite tiny when one recalls the immense and probably libellous statements made against Jeremy Corbyn in recent times. None of which have ever really been challenged although mountains of evidence exists.

  • Chris Owen says:

    Surely he should be struck off for this sort of behaviour particularly as he seems to show no remorse for his actions. The SPSC should definitely press on with this case. Plenty of support for finding out here

  • James Hall says:

    This is only the latest in a series of disgraceful tricks played in order to smear SPSC.

    https://www.scottishpsc.org.uk/complicity/berlow-is-part-of-a-much-wider-dirty-tricks-campaign

  • Les Hartop says:

    Great to see they got caught out 🙂

    Am I displaying excessive cynicism to admit that I’m surprised a British court showed such fairness ?

    Perhaps the Corbyn -Ware case would be best heard in a Scottish court lol.

    Bit of a sting in the tail if SPSC do not get proper damages, but all credit to Mick Napier and SPSC for this achievement.

    Can someone shove / share this on the JC website or something ? It’s a great example, and a warning, of classic ‘agent provocateur’ behaviour.

  • RC says:

    Don’t you suspect that many – perhaps all – of the 143 allegedly genuine examples of AS allowed by Alan Maddison in his excellent analysis of Jennie Formby’s listing, were in fact no more genuine than this disgusting example? The same is probably true of the many cases Gurinder Singh Josan boasts of processing in one of his posts asking for votes for his bid for the NEC. Since we have no evidence, we assume his and other victims are innocent until he can prove them guilty to our satisfaction as LP members.
    Note, by the way, that Anne Black is standing for the NEC as part of an Open Labour slate, is she not? She should explain why she is endorsing their libellous slur against JVL.

  • DJ says:

    More evidence of the dirty tricks of the pro Israel lobby in the UK. What has been unearthed here and elsewhere by the Electronic Intifada and others may well be “just the tip of the iceberg” Israeli apologists always denounce those uncovering their wrongdoings as conspiracy theorists.

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