24 August 2006

MoD and Gordievsky distortion at my appeal

I cannot begin to explain what a complete shambles my Appeal became, when I went to the Court on Appeal in The Strand of London in May and June 1995. The previous year I had sacked my trial solicitors Tuckers and my QC Rock Tansey, and I engaged what I thought would be the dream team of Mr Michael Mansfield QC (Tooks Chambers) and the high profile solicitor Gareth Peirce, who works for the firm of Birnberg Peirce & Partners.

The Appeal did not go the way I expected, and this was in no small part due to the underhanded tactics of the Prosecution team. They brought in last minute evidence, which consequently I had no chance to fully evaluate or comment on, and my lawyers were unable to research the material to my satisfaction either. Inevitably, my defence team were at a disadvantage from the word go.

But what caused me most surprise and concern was that the Appeal continued with the same approach as had been used at the Crown Court during my trial. There was still the same underlying assumption that I had been recruited to the KGB by Viktor Oshchenko in the 1970s, and that I had been dealing with the KGB at the time I was arrested on 8 August 1992. This was a particularly damaging position in which I was being presented during my appeal, because it went against the testimony of Stella Rimington of MI5, when she told the jury during my trial that MI5 had no evidence I had ever met Viktor Oshchenko.

The position that should have been taken at my appeal was to attack the very basis of the case, about how such assertions of my dealings with Oshchenko could be put to the jury without any actual evidence. Unfortunately, my grounds for appeal were not as well prepared as I would have liked, and I was given no opportunity to discuss the issues - which I believe could have won the case - with my solicitor before the appeal.

It may help to get an idea of the issues that dominated the appeal to read the Guardian reports by Richard Norton-Taylor, who attended my Appeal hearings.

Guardian 16 May 1995

Guardian 17 May 1995

Guardian 31 May 1995

The three important documents disclosed to the defence on the first 2 days of the Appeal have recently been published on Cryptome website here.

The first document shows the MoD's damage assessment report from my case, which was produced on 7 March 1994, but it was not released to my defence lawyers until the first day of my appeal on 15 May 1995. This shows that the prosecution were withholding this evidence because it actually would have assisted the defence case. The conclusions from this report were that no serious damage was caused to the UK by my case.

The very next day, 16 May 1995 (the second day of my appeal), the prosecution released a second MoD report which reversed the conclusions of the first report. Now the MoD are claiming that "serious damage" was caused by my case. This reversal of the assessment conclusions was due to the Solicitor General realising that the MoD's first damage assessment report did not agree with the evidence given at my trial.

The other document given to the defence, on the first day of my appeal, was the admission that Oleg Gordievsky's claims in his book "Next Stop Execution" were not correct. He had claimed in his book that he had given information that led to my arrest, but this was not true. The other admission by the prosecution was that Gordievsky's claim that George Robertson (then Secretary of State for Defence) was a KGB agent - this was also not correct. The prosecution admit that there may be other "errors" (or lies) in Gordievsky's book, but they chose not to investigate them. However, the prosecution judge that Gordievsky remained "a witness of truth".

These documents reveal how underhanded the prosecution case against me became. The MoD's original investigation of the damage caused by my case was that it was "not serious", but the prosecution had to modify that honest opinion to bolster their position that there was sensitive material involved. On the issue of Gordievsky, he was a key prosecution witness, and so the prosecution had to conclude that he could not be undermined by the errors in his book.

It is my belief that these documents demonstrate a conspiracy was at work to cause my Appeal to fail.

The First MoD damage assessment report, produced for the Security Commission’s investigation of my case contains the following text.

Michael John Smith

1. Smith was employed as a Senior Quality Assurance (QA) engineer and manager at GEC Hirst Research Centre from December 1985 to July 1992. During that time he had access, in the normal course of his duties, to a wide range of research and development tasks; manufacturing, assembly and test processes; and electronic components, devices and equipment.

2. As a competent QA engineer, he would be checking that all manufacturing and assembly processes were carried out correctly in accordance with the various standards, rules and regulations that would apply. Much of this information is not classified, as Dr Cundy said in his statement. He would also get to know, and need to know, the timescales and priorities of the different projects for which he was carrying out his QA tasks. He would certainly be aware which projects he dealt with were for MoD or for other UK defence contractors - the QA requirements for each project differ and it is important to know which "customer" is which. This information is normally classified, for MoD contracts, at RESTRICTED. All the information that Smith saw would, however, be GEC COMMERCIAL IN CONFIDENCE, whether or not that privacy marking was printed on documents.

3. As far as I can see, Smith's work would give him knowledge on the fine detail of precisely how a given component, device or part was manufactured and assembled. He appears to have been particularly interested in the manufacturing processes (often chemical processes) for integrated circuits (both silicon and gallium arsenide) and for bulk crystalline devices, such as bulk acoustic wave (BAW) delay lines and filters, which are widely used in radar and communications equipment.

4. The material, both documents and devices/hardware, found in Smith's possession bear this out. The devices are samples of particular items on which GEC Hirst Research Centre were or had been working, and knowledge of how they were manufactured and assembled would be of considerable use to a country or company that found reliable and consistent manufacture of such devices difficult. The documents (notes, drawings, detailed explanation of process steps, etc) are all to do with the details of manufacturing processes for various devices and components; these would be useful to a country or company to enable them to make similar devices reliably and consistently. In reality, Smith was transferring technology and manufacturing know-how to his FSU contact.

5. The Rapier delay line is a case in point. The manufacturing know-how and processes for this and similar devices, widely used in radar and communications equipment, is well-established in the UK and has been so for about 20 years; the same applies to the USA and to some other countries, such as France and Japan. But the FSU may still have considerable difficulty in producing similar devices for use in their own radar and communications equipment which are as small, as rugged, and as reliable; and may not be able to do so consistently and in sufficient quantity to meet their needs. The detailed data given on the manufacture and assembly of the Rapier delay line would therefore be very useful to the FSU in saving them money, time and resources.

6. The GEC Hirst Research Centre is a major UK electronics research and development organisation: it is not a normal manufacturing plant and any production there would be for developmental samples and initial or small batch production. Smith was therefore able to see and gather knowledge of newer, more "leading edge" technology, processes and devices than he would have done if he had been a QA engineer at a normal electronics manufacturing plant. Clearly, this would be more valuable to his FSU contacts than more mundane manufacturing technology.

7. Overall, I assess that the information and knowledge Smith was able to pass on to his FSU contacts was of considerable commercial value to them, in improving their manufacturing technology in these areas and in saving them time and resources to catch up with the West. However, the technology was, in many cases, well-established in the UK and better or improved processes and devices were already available to the UK for defence equipment. I would therefore assess that, in terms of national security, Smith's activities have caused some damage to the UK, but not serious damage.

7 March 1994

J F MacCulloch
DD MoD Sy (S&T)

An amendment document was produced and given to my defence lawyers on the second day of my Appeal.


1. I am James Francis MacCulloch

2. I am the author of the security damage assessment dated 7 March 1994.

3. Since I completed that assessment, my attention has been drawn to the evidence given in the criminal trial by Dr M F Lewis, and I have had further discussions with Dr Lewis and Dr D Weatherley. In the light of this further consideration, the assessment dated 7 March 1994 is incomplete. I would therefore amend that statement as follows:-

a) Delete the last sentence of paragraph 7.

b) Add three new paragraphs, to read:-

"8. The details of the information and knowledge in the possession of Smith was of direct military significance, because it would allow the operating characteristics and parameters of certain UK in-service weapon systems to be inferred by Russian radar and missile experts. In particular, this is true of both the Rapier Air Defence Missile System and the ALARM airborne anti-radiation missile (ARM).

9. The specification headed "Demonstrator Programme Requirement Specification Bandpass Filter Assembly" dated 8th January 1992 gives particular concern. If this specification was specifically identified as linked to ALARM, it would allow the identification of certain key operating parameters of that weapon system, which in turn would allow an intelligent enemy to develop effective countermeasures. The fact that Dr Lewis was able from his own knowledge to link this specification to ALARM indicates that the same linkage could be made by a hostile intelligence service.

10. For these reasons, my overall assessment now is that, in terms of national security, Smith's activities have caused some considerable damage to the UK's interests, but serious damage in the case of ALARM. Some of this damage is potential, in that countermeasures to these systems could be developed, but we have no way of knowing if the Russians have or not."

16 May 1995

J F MacCulloch
DD HQ Sy (S&T)

The Crown's Reply to the criticism of Oleg Gordievsky’s claims in his book "Next Stop Execution" caused them to produce a document to exonerate Gordievsky’s tarnished image in the eyes of the three Appeal Judges.

Court of Appeal (Criminal Division)

- v -

1. The Crown are satisfied that the reference to Smith on page 395 of the book "Next Stop Execution" is not correct. Gordievsky gave no information so that "MI5 were later able to arrest Michael Smith".

2. Gordievsky gave much information about Line X but none of that information enabled the Security Services to identify Michael Smith as a KGB agent.

3. We have not, and in the circumstances, do not intend to ask Gordievsky for an explanation of this passage.

4. We understand that this is not the only passage in the book in which Gordievsky exaggerates his role in such matters.For example, we are instructed in respect of the footnote on page 360:

(i) that his account of this incident is not correct; and

(ii) that Gordievsky was in no position to know what the KGB thought since by the relevant date he had already defected.

5. No exhaustive analysis has been undertaken to identify all such passages. Such an analysis would necessarily involve extensive research and would take some weeks.

6. We have made all necessary inquiries and, notwithstanding the above, in the Crown's judgement Gordievsky remains a witness of truth.

15 May 1995

22 August 2006

The Carole Maychell Affair, the spy who never was

The other day I was going over some old press cuttings I had saved, and I came across one that had puzzled me around the time I was awaiting my trial. The Carole Maychell case intrigued me, because it seemed to have some very unlikely issues surrounding it. Exactly what had happened to her - and who really controlled her actions and arrest - will probably never be revealed in detail, but her story certainly has all the indications she was a victim of an MI5 or MI6 entrapment plot.

The article is printed below, but you can also see it in its original form in the photocopy version. Ask yourself: “what was this case really about?”

The article appeared in the Mail on Sunday of 3 January 1999

£50,000 for the TA officer grilled as Spy
By Daniel Foggo

A woman Territorial Army intelligence officer interrogated and kept in solitary confinement for four months wrongly accused of spying for the Russians has won compensation from the Ministry of Defence.

Carole Maychell - dubbed 'the spy who never was' - has been offered what is believed to be more than £50,000 in an out-of-court settlement.

It is compensation for the mental torment caused by her ordeal at the hands of MI5 and the Army's Special Investigation Branch six years ago that she says drove her repeatedly to attempt suicide as she teetered on the brink of madness.

And, following the damaging revelations of renegade M15 agent David Shayler, her case is yet more evidence of the need for a review of the outdated and unaccountable nature of the Official Secrets Act. Carole, a 38-year-old secondary school teacher, was the first, and now probably the last, British officer to be held in solitary confinement under the Act.

She was incarcerated after the authorities became suspicious over her friendship with an East German businessman, Peter Zuckermann, whom she visited in the former Eastern Bloc without Army permission.

Carole, who is constrained from talking publicly by a confidentiality clause imposed by the MoD as part of its settlement, told The Mail on Sunday shortly before signing the document: 'I was a confident and secure person before this happened, but in the past six years I have had my world shattered.

'I was so proud to be a captain in the TA at such a young age and then suddenly it was all gone. The MI5 interviews were terrible, with three men taking turns to interrogate me, belittling me and being very aggressive.

'Once I hadn't slept for four days when they took me in for questioning.

'After four months in solitary I was kept on a strict bail for a further six months. I had to notify the Army if I left the house for more than three hours.'

Then, 10 months after her arrest in November 1992, Carole was told that all 'allegations against her were being dropped. But the nightmare continued as she battled for compensation. She recalled: 'I used to think about suicide all the time. It was the paranoia. I got to the point where I thought the MoD wanted me to kill myself and that's why they were dragging my claim out so long.

'I have tried to kill myself - three times with paracetamol and once with sleeping pills. I take Prozac now and I have tried to overdose on that, too. It would have been easy to let it go and retreat, but my mind would never have been able to rest until they had paid for what they did.'

Carole came to the notice of the secret services after she made two unauthorised trips to East Berlin in 1989 and 1990 - after the fall of the Wall - in the company of Zuckermann, who had befriended her on a train journey from her native Lancaster to London when she was 24.

They met several times in London, Hamburg and later Berlin over a period of years. Carole insists the relationship was platonic and, at least on her part, entirely innocent. But, by travelling to a Soviet-occupied area without obtaining permission she had broken Army rules.

Worse still, it eventually became apparent to Carole that Zuckermann was trying to set her up.

On their last meeting, in East Berlin during the spring of 1990, he introduced her to a man named Viktor who, she was told during her subsequent interrogation, was a known Soviet intelligence officer.

Carole says then she ceased contact with Zuckermann after guessing, probably rightly, that he had been attempting to groom her as a contact for a Soviet Bloc intelligence service. Her position as a specialist in home defence within the Intelligence Corps would have made her an attractive proposition to foreign information gatherers.

Carole hoped the episode was behind her, but she had failed to tell her Army superiors of her experiences with Zuckerman and Viktor and, when they found out from another source, she was taken in for questioning by MI5 and Special Investigation Branch. She was held without charge in solitary confinement for weeks on end, her only human contact the daily grillings meted out by her inquisitors.

She was released only after a public outcry and when legal representations forced the Army officially to assess her weakened mental condition.

After the charges against her were dropped she was assessed as 50 per cent disabled due to her mental state and given a medical discharge from the TA.

At the time of her interrogation Carole had been training to be a teacher. After her release she resumed the course but, racked by paranoia, took an overdose and failed the exams. She has since qualified and teaches at a secondary school in East London, where she lives with her three Spitz dogs.

Carole, who last summer was diagnosed as suffering from post traumatic stress disorder stemming from her imprisonment, added: 'Needless to say my faith in the Army has been shattered beyond repair. I had been proud to be a part of it before all this.

'I was the first, so the procedures were hazy and unsure. But none of that makes me forgive them for what they did to me. I am having a daily battle to keep myself on track and stable.'

The Ministry of Defence yesterday refused to comment on the case.

So, who was this man Peter Zuckermann, if that was his real name, and could he have really been a MI5 or MI6 agent or officer tasked with entrapping Maychell? With the background of entrapment in my own case, and the open entrapment in the more recent cases of Rafael Juan Bravo and Ian Parr, it seems very likely that Maychell was being used as a test run on how to “create” spies, so that the Intelligence services could then show how clever they were at catching them!

Carole was arrested after my arrest, but she was released about September 1993, just as my trial was starting. The timing of this may be significant, and it is possible there were some links between what happened to Carole and what happened in my own case.

The story she tells, in hindsight appears rather improbable. It is very unlikely that this was a chance encounter on a train, but whether Carole is withholding some of truth is perhaps not the reason to doubt her story. It is more likely that she was targeted, and the mysterious Herr Zuckermann was deliberately placed on the train to set up the entrapment operation. It is just too much of a co-incidence for Carole and Zuckermann to get into a conversation on a train for this meeting to be pure chance. Why was an East German businessman on the same train as Carole - there must have been a good reason if it was a legitimate trip? Such questions appear not to have been answered or properly explained.

What interests me more is the identity of the Russian intelligence officer named “Viktor”. Could it be that this Viktor was the same man as was involved in my own case - Viktor Oshchenko? It would seem to be a possibility, or do MI6 always use the name Viktor when they try to entrap a victim? If Oshchenko had been involved in this case, in the Spring of 1990, then it would suggest Oshchenko was acting as a double agent at that time, and was doing MI6’s dirty work for them. Nothing would surprise me any longer, but nobody would admit such a story, because that would then result in questions being raised about why he defected in July 1992.

The strange thing, also revealed by this article, is that Carole was arrested because “another source” revealed she had met Zuckermann and Viktor. It would be very unlikely for this information to just surface, unless it was from either a double agent working within East German or Russian intelligence, but if the whole episode was engineered by British intelligence then they already knew everything about Carole’s contact with these people. This again could be an indication that Viktor Oshchenko was the man talking to the British - but who knows the truth, and who will blow the whistle?

18 August 2006

The Probation Service gives me a warning

I was quite surprised to receive a Warning Letter from the Probation Service in this morning’s post. I had been thinking that the date of my next appointment was next Thursday, but it seems I got it wrong and it was in fact yesterday.

The Probation Service's Warning to Me

It might seem from the wording of this letter that I was in the habit of missing appointments, but the Probation Office’s records will show that this is the first time I have missed one of their meetings in more than 3 years and 8 months. So it might seem a bit harsh to start threatening me with court action, or to make it appear that some serious offence was being caused by me.

I had actually forgotten the date of this appointment as I have been working quite hard to prepare my case for the Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC) - working towards an appeal to prove that some corrupt and unethical practices had been used to gain my conviction in 1993. Not only do I believe the judge was extremely biased and doing all in his power to present me as guilty, but also the actual evidence being used to convince the jury was incorrect, fabricated and based largely on tricks employed by Special Branch to supply the prosecution with the evidence they could not obtain by the proper legal process.

So, while I was busy trying to prepare my case that those working in the British legal system were corrupt, the last thing on my mind was to attend a rather pointless meeting with my Probation Officer. I had intended to be there, but I am only human, and this time I was too wrapped up in my own problems to remember the date.

Yesterday morning, at the very time when I should have been at the Probation meeting, I was trying to contact my solicitor to discuss my case against my conviction. There are piles of documents and many complex issues for me to consider in how I might best present my arguments to the CCRC. So what was so pressing about me attending this Probation meeting yesterday, which caused them to get so upset?

In all the time I have been attending these Probation Office meetings I have failed to see what benefit they actually offer to me or the public. The few minutes a month that I am with my Probation Officer can serve no useful purpose in helping me “integrate back into the community”, or to protect the public in case I start selling secrets to the Russians, because nobody is taking any interest in what I am doing for the other 99.99% of the time, when clearly they are not watching me. To an observer, the small talk during these conversations would show what a poor service the Probation Office offers to the public, and I have never had the feeling that this organisation was competent, effective or efficient.

As far as I can see these Probation Service meetings are a complete waste of time and money for everybody involved, and this is particularly so when I was told very early on by my Probation Officer that I was considered a low risk - so why am I still having to see these people 3 years and 9 months after my release from prison? I have done nothing during all this time that would give anyone the idea that I was a threat to the nation or I had any criminal intent, and yet I have one of the longest periods of Probation that any Briton is likely to experience. All the Probation Service has done is to prevent me from getting on with my life by putting obstacles in my way, to ensure I am forced to live in the UK and to remain unemployed. Such an idiotic and ineffective system could only exist in a country like Britain.

09 August 2006

Richard Tomlinson new blog

Following the suspension of Richard Tomlinson's blog by Typepad, it is clear that the British authorities have again attempted to silence his campaign to reveal the unpleasant characteristics of MI6. This time the London Metropolitan Police have succeeded in closing down Richard's blog.

Undaunted by this latest set-back, Richard has immediately started a new blog at www.blogger.com, which can be found here.