Monday, 7 January 2008

MI6's Sir John Scarlett: A Career of Increasingly Dangerous Failure


by Trowbridge H. Ford

Part II - Covering Up the Fallout from the Soviet Collapse

The assassination of Sweden's statsminister Olof Palme was a classic example of what Britain's Secret Intelligence Service (SIS) aka MI6 was organized to carry out, and was quite prepared to talk vaguely about it, once suspicions of some kind of conspiracy, especially of an Anglo-American nature, had been ruled out. Its 'young Turks', thanks to efforts particularly by agent John Scarlett, had put together a capability to commit assassinations on demand, especially in Northern Ireland, and to cover them up almost effortlessly while demonstrating to other possible targets the dangers of not taking such threats seriously.

Reporter Mike Smith discussed a bit too fully in New Cloak, Old Dagger: How Britain's Spies Came In From the Cold - a title befitting how SIS had responded to the alleged threats by the KGB to take over the world that Anatoliy Golitsyn had discussed yet again in New Lies for Old - how British intelligence was taking the fight to the enemy rather than continue to engage in the spy games. It all got really going with the exfiltration of Oleg Gordievsky from the USSR where operatives played the role of 'a cross between James Bond and the SAS'. (Quoted from p. 163.) Captain Simon Hayward aka Captain James Rennie was ideally suited for this role by being the Ops Officer of the 14 Intelligence Company's South Detachment in Northern Ireland - a unit noted for covert surveillances and deadly ambushes.

In the Palme case, SIS put together a team, it seems, within a KMS, Ltd. security reassessment of the performance of his bodyguards where no one in it knew what anyone else's role was, especially
Hayward's. "The need-to-know principle is strictly adhered to," Smith added, "and individual contract officers will not be briefed on anything other than their own role in the affair." (p. 162) Little wonder as the Cold War finally wound down that MI6 put out word that "...the service's reputation for covert operations and clashes with MI5 had been 'overplayed'." (ibid.)

However, Tony Geraghty was so candid in discussing in his books the role of Major David Walker's KMS firm in Britain's covert operations worldwide that the Ministry of Defence Police raided his home in late 1998, arresting him on suspicion that he had violated the Official Secrets Act 1989 by the improper use of secret government information in the The Irish War which put lives at risk. The arresting officers ultimately told Geraghty that they were looking for the source of his information about its surveillance systems in Northern Ireland - the bomb disposal expert Lt. Col. Nigel Wylde - but Rear Admiral D. M. Pulvercraft, secretary of the so-called 'D' Notice Committee, was much closer to the truth when he was forced to review the book after its publication, and when it was being prepared for a paperback edition, indicating that he would see to the removal of anything which he disapproved of. (Tony Geraghty, "knock, knock, who's there?," The Observer, review, January 3, 1999, p. 3)

The only thing missing from the original hardcover edition was the picture of Captain Simon Hayward on the back of its dustpacket when it was transferred to the cover of the paperback, but the Crown still went through the charade of prosecuting Geraghty for divulging information about its Vengeful and Mannequin artificial surveillance systems in Northern Ireland, hardly matters which put lives at risk. At the trial of Lt. Col. Wylde for permitting it, though, investigative reporter Duncan Campbell presented a long report for their defence, indicating that the information about the computer surveillance systems had long been known far and wide, resulting in the collapse of the prosecutions. For more on this, see Campbell's November 2, 2,000 article in The Observer, "Led by the nose", at:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/comment/story/0,3604,391340,00.html

Of course, this still left unanswered Geraghty's source for Hayward being such an important covert operator in Northern Ireland and beyond. Scarlett assumed that Hayward had talked to him about it - what the Ministry of Defence Police expected to find when they went through all Geraghty's files. They didn't because Geragthy had just taken advantage of what Hayward had written, in light of Geraghty's earlier work, The Bullet Catchers. In it, he showed considerable interest in cases where bodyguards either failed to protect their principals or turned out to be poachers, possibly in Palme's case. Moreover Geraghty mistakenly had an attempt on American Ambassador to Sweden Gregory Newell's life occurring before Palme's (pp. 247-8), indicating that the statsminister's bodyguards had been well warned of the possibility when he went out on the town with his wife without them despite new threats on the fatal night (pp. 388-9), oversights which could easily be corrected in any new work.

Moreover, Geraghty put the so-called 'shoot-to-kill' deaths of six unarmed republican volunteers in Northern Ireland during the fall of 1982 into the same category - the work of assassins. (pp. 383-4) More important, he wrote that John Stalker's investigation of the false cover stories by RUC Special Branch about the killings was stopped without reason, and that Attorney General Sir Patrick Mayhew had rejected calls in January 1988 for their prosecution on the grounds of national security - a decision which gave renewed credibility to the Provisional IRA despite its recent bombing of the Enniskillen Centopath. Again, there were mistakes and omissions which could be corrected in another effort - e. g., the involvement of MI5 in the killings, the existence of a tape of what happened to one of the volunteers, Michael Tighe, in the fall of 1982, and the fact that Britain was involved in another such operation at Gibraltar in 1988.

Little wonder that Scarlett hit the overhead when Geraghty' s The Irish War first appeared, thanks to what Hayward had already written, and MI6 had helped see to the publication of The Operators in the hope of giving credibility to his new persona, Captain James Rennie. Hayward had indicated in his biography, Under Fire: My Own Story, that the Special Branch officers could well have been covering up his role in the 'shoot-to-kill' incidents during the emergency in South Armagh in the fall of 1982, and that he was Rennie too. (p. 40) Moreover, Geraghty indicated that the 'shoot-to-kill' policy was in response to shipments of Libyan arms to the Provisionals from 1973 to 1988.

And Rennie made his association with all of this crystal clear when he wrote The Operators, especially by what he added in its Frontispiece about his military intelligence career, and what the Secretary of the 'D'-Notice Committee put his stamp of approval to. (See Arthur's Note.) In sum, HMG, despite all Scarlett's efforts, was still Geraghty's source about Hayward's role.

And there can be no doubt that Scarlett was responsible for initiating these illegal, disruptive prosecutions despite efforts to blame it on clueless officials like Attorney General Williams and SOD Geof Hoon since he had then become MI6's Director of Security and Public Affairs - what was his job to prevent the appearance of. Scarlett was most concerned that Geraghty was deliberately exposing SIS's deepest hitman who he had gone to the greatest lengths to give a new persona to.

The photograph on the back of the dustjacket for the hardcover edition of The Irish War had been taken by Philip Jones-Griffiths whose photographs of the Vietnam War had made him world famous, and it had not been cropped to prevent easy identification of Hayward since it included his right hand, noted for Hayward's shortened middle and ring fingers because of an accident incurred while serving in Cyprus. Moreover, Geraghty noted Rennie's recounting his special language training as a covert operator in Northern Ireland, though in doing so he placed Rennie's name in single quotation marks (p. 141), indicating that it was an assumed name, and not his original one that Hayward had claimed in The Operators. (p. 66)

And this was all occurring just after the 1999 Swedish Parliamentary Commission report on the Palme
assassination had appeared. It recalled the failure by Swedish police investigating the crime to follow up effectively on the picture aka "The Phantom" that a young artist drew of the suspected assassin she almost ran into about 10 minutes after the murder - what seemed to confirm what a subway ticket seller had claimed about a man stalking the statsminister before the assassination. The drawing looks much like the photograph of Hayward on the cover of Under Cover, and had induced MI6 to send over an informant to Stockholm three days after the assassination to tell former journalist Karl-Gunnar Bäck that the South African intelligence service was behind the assassination to throw investigators off The Phantom's trail. The success of the ruse is well demonstrated in the latest book on the murder, Jan Bondeson's Blook on the Snow, which maintains this covenient claim about the killing for SIS's benefit.

While the Anglo-American assassination of Palme - what Scarlett had been instrumental in arranging from Scandinavia, London and Paris - had gone off without a hitch, its fallout was completely counterproductive as the killing did not work out as planned. Instead of it triggering a non-nuclear conclusion to the Cold War - once his apparent assassin Stig Bergling and his new wife had fled to the USSR, what would have happened except for the spying for Moscow by CIA's Rick Ames, the Bureau's Robert Hanssen and others - it became an utter fiasco, resulting in the executions or imprisonment of the double agents still in the USSR who were to make all the necessary connections for the complicated conclusion to become a reality. Moreover, there were unexpected problems which made matters beyond recall, even after another attempt to restart the process in mid-March.

Thanks to the tip offs in Washington by Ames and Hanssen, the Soviets were not caught by surprise by the assassination - what KGB Chief Viktor Chebrikov alluded to when he gave his unprecedented press conference in Moscow during the 27th Congress of the Soviet Union's Communist Party on the morning of the shooting, and the agency underlined by closing its residency in Stockholm on the night in question so that the Berglings, if inclined, would be unable to do so. Säpo, the Swedish security service, had even bugged, with the help of the CIA's Stockholm chief Jenonne Walker, the Solna apartment of the Soviet ambassador to Sweden, Oleg Grinevsky, learning that even Moscow knew that the statsminister was going to be assassinated. Moscow just didn't know exactly by whom, and where.

Instead of Soviet nuclear-armed submarines hurriedly going on station - what US Chief of Naval Operations James Watkins had announced to the London Times readers just days before would result in their being sunk within a matter of minutes, resulting in Moscow no longer having any second-strike capability in case nuclear war broke out - its boomers were safely secure under the Arctic icepark or protected on station by killer subs. Consequently, US Navy Secretary John Lehman's fleet of 44 attack submarines, stalking them in the White and Barents Seas, had no easy targets to destroy, resulting in a most tense waiting period during which both sides were anticipating something dramatic would happen. It was fortunate, though, that nothing did for if it had, Moscow would have soon launched its 82 unknown, nuclear-armed SS-23 missiles on West Europe - what would have soon engulfed the whole developed world in nuclear Armageddon.

While Palme's apparent assassin Hayward easily made his escape from the murder scene on Stockholm's Sveavägen, possibly catching a half-hour later the overnight train to Göteborg when it stopped at the city's South Station, the double agents in the USSR had no such escape. Around a score of agents were ultimately captured - those who were to report Moscow's reaction to the surprise in Stockholm, and its response, plus any others suspected of playing some still undetermined role. The most obvious ones arrested were Sergei Motorin, Valery Martynov, and Boris Yuzhin who were to inform respectively the Americans that the scapegoat Berlings were on their way to Leningrad, the Soviets were not preparing their land-based ICBMs for launch, and the Red Banner Fleet boomers were rushing on station in anticipation of a Western attack.

The CIA did not learn of the full extent of its losses, and their causes for at least another six months, assuming that the disappearances were the result of some unknown factor. The KGB, consequently, decided to take further advantage of the confusion by offering in late March a 'dangle', who Langley dubbed 'Mr. X', to explain the losses, starting with the failure of Gennady Varenik to meet his case officer in Berlin, Charles Leven. Varenik had claimed that the KGB had contingency plans to murder American soldiers and their families with minibombs when they went out to public places. 'Mr. X', an alleged friend of Varenik's, claimed that the KGB had intercepted the cables that CIA was sending from its secret communications center in Warrenton, Virginia, thanks to a mole it had there. The Agency spent the subsequent time, testing 'Mr. X's claims, ultimately determining that they were untrue.

During this time, the US Navy continued its attempts to trigger a Soviet response to its provocations, hoping that it would show that Moscow was really behind the Stockholm shooting, despite the fiasco resulting from the attempt to have the Admiral Carl Trost's Task Force Eagle coopt NATO's Anchor Express Exercise into a real assault on the Soviets' Kola peninsula - what Palme had clearly indicated he would fight if he were still around. Olso had given the conspirators time for a new attempt by merely ordering an inquiry into the killing of its engineers while they were attempting to negotiate their way through avalanche-prone Vassdalen rather than immediately sacking those responsible, starting with Commander-in-Chief Frederick Bull-Hansen. Nothing happened, though, when the fleet of a half-dozen subs, led by the USS Dace on March 17th, entered the Barents Sea, and ships of Admiral Frank Kelso's Sixth Fleet operated just off shore from the Black Sea fleet headquarters at Sevastopol.

To keep British officialdom on board in case there were still Soviet responses to Lehman's continuing provocations, SIS now paraded Scarlett's prize defector, Oleg Gordievsky, before its conference on recent developments in the USSR at its headquarters in London. While officials of all Britain's intelligence agencies were invited - obviously to have broad departmental support in case London was required to join some surprise - no ministers were in attendance in order to keep any possible contingencies still secret.

Gordievsky presented the usual picture of the new Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, a typical apparatchik who was hiding Moscow's aggressive designs by acting as if he had new ideas for dealing with its problems. Mark Urban repeated in UK Eyes Alpha Gordievsky's recollection of how his SIS
colleagues had reacted to his claims: 'Good, good, you've got them eating out of your hand'." (Quoted from p. 30) For good measure, SIS had Gordievsky repeat shortly thereafter the performance at the Chief of Staff seminar at its operation facility at Fort Monkton on Britain's south coast.

When the second US Navy intrusion into Soviet waters was producing no surprises, the KGB, it seems, arranged the bombing of Berlin's La Belle Discotheque on April 5th, killng an American Army sergeant and a Turkish woman while wounding another 230 persons - what Varenik had claimed the KGB was planning. The attack was just the kind of action that Libya's Muammar Qaddafi, a leading Soviet client state, was notorious for carrying out, and what Moscow exploited in order to clear the air surrounding the still unsolved Stockholm shooting.

The Tel Aviv government had installed an unmanned radio transmitter (Operation Trojan) near Tripoli -as Victor Ostrovsky, a Mossad whistleblower, has described in By Way of Deception - to send messages worldwide in the name of the Libyan leader, and Vladimir Kryuchkov, the chief of its FCD who was most angry with Libya for helping sic the Anglo-Americans on the Soviets by arming the Provisionals, took advantage apparently of the capability before and after the attack by announcing its occurrence on the radio transmitter - what resulted in the American air attack on Tripoli a few days later from British bases, thanks to the support Scarlett had helped supply to its leaders through Gordievsky's efforts after France had refused permission for the overflights.

It was then that the National Security Council's Oliver North paid $100,000 to Walker's KMS firm for services rendered - what was clearly for arranging the shooting of the statsminister without any troublesome blowback. The payment was allegedly for the firm to take the rap if the arms-for-hostages dealings with Iran started being exposed. The Palme assassination had interrupted its efforts to get Gaddafi for apparently shooting up the Rome and Vienna airports the previous Christmas
(Christopher Andrew, For The President's Eyes Only, pp. 482-3), and now the Pentagon had made it look as if Libya had been responsiblbe for all the terrorism when, in fact, London, Washington, Moscow and Tel Aviv had been more so. When a C-123K supply plane for the Contras, carrying Eugene Hasenfus, was shot down on October 5th, he was, consequently, supposed to declare that he was workíng for Walker's firm, but he made it quite clear that he worked for the CIA's 'Max Gomez' aka Felix Rodriguez.

By the time the smoke settled from all this deception, London discovered that it was in a new policy environment with Thatcher determining that she could indeed do business with Gorbachev, and that Britain should establish similar relations with Gaddafi rather than trying to kill him, especially since
Swedish investigators had given up pursuing convenient scapegoats for the Stockholm shooting. Hans Holmér, the cocksure leader of the investigation who was convinced that the Kurdish People's Party (PKK) had done it, had hastily resigned on March 5, 1987 when his efforts led nowhere. This was just when Captain Hayward was putting the finish touches on his credentials for a top military post in Whitehall, having successfully ambushed the Provos' leading terrorist Seamus McElwaine back in Northern Ireland the previous April, and had just taken the PQS 2 examination for promotion to major. He was now on leave again, this time with his brother Christopher on another SIS assassination mission - to kill the Libyan leader.

This mission created a serious confrontation between MI6 and MI5 when the Haywards were obliged to close it down, and go to Ibiza to await further instructions. Shortly after their arrival at this Balearic island, there was a most serious meeting between them, agents working for the British Army's Force Research Unit (FRU), three agents from, it seems, SIS, CIA and France's secret intelligence service, and Provos' leading informant working for British counterterrorists, code name 'Steak Knife' apparently aka DOOK. The problem was that the Haywards' mission clashed the FRU's one to capture the Eksund, loaded with 150 tons of heavy arms from Libya for the PIRA's long-awaited 'tet' offensive.

The clash was further intensified by the fact that 'Steak knife' knew all about Simon's potting of Provos, thanks to the revelations that convicted Soviet spy and MI5 officer Michael Bettaney had supplied to other PIRA agents while on remand with them in Brixton prison, and would have nothing further to do with its capture unless Hayward was disposed of. While 'Steak Knife' apparently threatened to kill Hayward, he was willing to see him set up in Sweden for alleged drug-trafficking. (For more on this, see Under Fire, p. 57ff.)

The crucial arrangements for the set up were made by Simon's brother and his apparent MI6 handler, either Scarlett from Paris or someone working in his stead. Christopher Hayward arranged for Simon to drive his Jaguar - which the FRU had loaded with cannabis after it had been stolen while he was drinking with other of its operators - under the pretence that it was being purchased by someone in Sweden, and once Simon met up with his contact there, he was soon arrested by Swedish narcotics police.

Then it was just a question of whether the British authorities would allow him to be prosecuted or not - what depended upon SIS - with the help of the Swedish ambassador in Paris, Carl Lidbom, who just wanted any "suitable" solution to the fiasco - being able to establish a convincing scapegoat, especially the Berglings, finally fleeing to the Soviet Union. What finally tipped Stockholm's hand in prosecuting Hayward was his admission that 'Steak knife' was involved in his incarceration, what threatened IRA reprisals if he were simply released into British custoday. (p. 195)

When Anglo-American agents in Sweden were not able to arrange this in time - the Berglings belatedly fleeing to Leningrad in October 1987 - Hayward was prosecuted in July, believing that he was being punished by British intelligence officials for the shoot-to-kill murders in Northern Ireland that John Stalker was investigating. The tensest moment for the prosecution occurred when Hayward's appeal of his conviction was in recess, and he arranged for the Ulster Defence Association's John McMichael to kill 'Steaik knife' for setting him up, but the FRU's Brian Nelson redirected McMichael's assassins to murder Francisco Notarantonio instead so that the Eksund's capture by SIS was still on. The tensest moment for Hayward's British intelligence superiors occurred when they arranged his early release from prison in May 1989 - assured by their Swedish counterparts that drug-addict and notorious troublemaker Christer Pettersson would be convicted of the statsminister's shooting - only to learn that this was not the case when his appeal against it was affirmed when Hayward was released.

While this was going on, Scarlett was apparently deeply involved in seeing the the Eksund was captured by French DST agents off the Brittany coast - where the gun-seeking PIRA had been introduced to Libyan agents in 1972, and SIS was most eager to arrange the capture of without exposing its secret agent within the PIRA Council.

This success, however, hardly seemed worth the blowback. The Provos reacted to the Eskund's capture by blowing up Enniskillen on Remembrance Day in the hope of killing many British soldiers during a changing of the guard there, and Thatcher's government retaliated by arranging the killing of three, unarmed Provo volunteers when a similar event was planned at Gibraltar in March 1988 in the hope finally compromising 'Steak knife' with the PIRA Council, but to no avail. After that, the war in Northern Ireland started to spiral out of control, so much so that Thatcher was ultimately forced to resign in December 1990 after she decided to seek an unexpected, negotiated settlement with the IRA.

By this time, Scarlett was busily arranging the set up of Libya for more terrorism. On December 21,1988, Pan Am Flight 103 had blown up over Lockerbie, Scotland, killing 270 people, including
Charles McKee's CIA investigative team returning from Bierut where it had been uncovering the deepest secrets of the Iran-Contra scandal - apparently Syrian Monzar Al-Kassar's efforts to free hostages there, and in Africa for the French in return for continued protection of his drug-smuggling operations. While this was going on, Al-Kassar's people learned everything they needed to know about how to stop it from returning to the States. When CIA's handlers of Al-Kassar in Washington
learned of this, they allowed a suspicious suitcase on the plane despite a NSA warning of an attack on an airliner, thinking, it seems, that it was just more of his drug operations when, in fact, his associates slipped a Semtex device on the flight originating from Frankfurt.

Uncovering the real cause of the Lockerbie tragedy was most politically inexpedient as London and Washington were increasingly focusing on a showdown with Iraq's Saddam Hussein. In any confrontation with the dictator, it was essential to have both Syria and Iran at least on the sidelines, something impossible if Al-Kassar, brother-in-law of Syria's intelligence chief, and lover of its despot Hafez Al-Assad's neice, were ever indicted for the crime. As in the Palme assassination, the failure to find some apparent culprit for the mass murder - what could increasingly not be simply blamed on unknown terrorists - was putting more and more pressure on West Germany's counterterrorists for apparently allowing it to happen. The real story had to be buried, as Jonathan Vankin and John Whalen wrote in The 60 Greatest Conspiracies of All Time, "in the graveyard of geopolitics." (p. 286)

Scarlett, it seems, was the grave digger. On September 19, 1989, a Union des Transport Aériens (UTA) flight exploded over the Sahara in Niger while on its way from Brazzaville to Paris, via N'Djamena in Chad, killing all 171 passengers, including American Ambassador to Chad Robert Pugh's wife Bonnie, leaving "...a scene all too reminiscent of Lockerbie, Scotland." (Ted Gup, The Book of Honor, p. 310) The similarity was not missed by France's DST, and Scarlett, the SIS resident in Paris, either, and they soon started connecting together the two bombings at Libya's expense.

Robert Pugh was the deputy chief of mission in Beirut who had had to clean up the mess when the American Embassy was bombed in April 1983, and the resulting CIA Counterterrorist Center (CTC) to stop such atrocities required a no-holds-barred solution to the Lockerbie bombing. Inter-agency cooperation of the highest degree, both domestic and foreign, was required if any culprits were ever to be caught, given the new legal restraints on how intelligence operations were to be conducted.

The task was to link Libya as having "...been ulimately responsible for both Pan Am 103 and UTA 772." (Ibid.) While authorities were searching the desert for the wreckage of the French airliner, they apparently found the circuit board which was responsible for the IED explosion - what reminded investigators of what had happened to the same UTA flight back on March 10, 1984 when it exploded without loss of life while parked on the tarmac in Brazzaville - and now Anglo-American authorities worked together to create the same scene in the Scotland wreckage. A CIA agent planted parts from the same kind of detonator in the wreckage area of the Lockerbie crash while looking for belongings of its deceased personnel which was found by Bureau agents in early 1990 while they were searching for evidence of what caused the crash.

As in the Palme fiasco, Scarlett worked with the former SIS agent in Oslo, Robert Andrew Fulton apparently aka Mack Falkirk, who became its chief agent in Washington. While Scarlett was persuading his superiors to allow the CIA and FBI complete access to the Lockerbie crash site, Fulton was priming their superiors back in Washington to make the most of the opportunity. Scarlett put the icing on the cake, it seems, by persuading Abd Al-majid Jaaka, a Libyan intelligence officer who had defected to the British embassy in Tunis, to tell his story to the Americans in Rome, and claim that
two former colleagues had prepared the bomb which blew up the airliner in revenge for the UK/USA bombing of Tripoli after the Palme assassination. The ruse was so successful that by the time Libya finally handed over the two fallguys for trial in Holland, Anglo-American covert operators were completely in charge of the prosecution.

Scarlett's particular contribution to their conviction, as MI6's Director of Security and Public Affairs, was to persuade disgruntled MI5 whistleblower Daivd Shayler to join SIS, and to claim that Gaddafi's destruction of Pan Am flight 103 had so angered SIS that it had plotted to assassinate him, with Al-Qaeda's help, in 1995/6. As Shayler and his former mistress Annie Machon have written in Spies, Lies & Whistleblowers: while there was no credible evidence that the Iranians were behind the Lockerbie bombing (pp. 126-7), there was no question that Gaddafi was. (p. 3) With everyone fixed on the alleged SIS assassination of the Libyan leader, it helped make their claim about Lockerbie tragedy a foregone conclusion.

To add injury to injury, Machon and Shayler made it sound as if Scarlett was the victim of some kind of British Stalinism where intelligence service chiefs were obliged to go along with what their political bosses demanded. As Dame Stella Rimington had explained her appointment to head the Security Service in her autobiography, Open Secrets, as learning to go along with her superiors, so Scarlett became SIS director general after his time as head of the Joint Intelligence Committee where he supinely agreed to the doctoring of the 'dodgy dossier' on Iraq's alleged WMD to suit the demands of Downing Street. (p. 7) They added:

"David has always said that the intelligence services are anything but meritocratic, with those not rocking the boat more likely to be promoted than those who stand up for what is right. Scarlett's appointment has provided more than ample proof of that." (p. 357)

To show that this was anything but the truth, Scarlett then arranged for his buddy Andrew Fulton to officially resign from SIS, and take up a visiting professorship at Glasgow's School of Law, though he had had no legal training, much less any legal degrees. In 2000, he volunteered his services as legal advisor to the Lockerbie Commission on briefing the press about the trial, and his handiwork became so notorious that he was forced to resign, once his background became known. For a sample of it, see what Machon and Shayler did with the British media's attempts to exonerate Qaddafi for
Lockerbie. (p. 120ff.)

To put the lid on Britain's last miscues of the Cold War, SIS entrapped Michael John Smith (code name BORG) as a spy for Moscow while Scarlett was still serving in Paris in the hope of clearing up all the deaths of scientists involved in America's Strategic Defense Initiative at Smith's and apparently Soviet expense. The Thatcher government had hoodwinked the scientists into joining the Initiative under the misconception that they were working for a similar British spy satellite program, ZIRCON. Britain's effort in the program was, consequently, low-keyed, covert, and bilateral, as Trevor Taylor explained in "Britain's response to the Strategic Initiative" in the spring 1985 issue of International Affairs - what became truly known to all the scientists when Downing Street went to special efforts to prevent reporter Duncan Campbell publicizing anything further about it in January 1987.

While around two dozen scientists died under suspicious circumstances, some obviously the result of accidents, and suicides caused by private concerns, the most troubling ones were caused by six employees of Marconi Company, Ltd., a subsidiary of Britain's largest-defense contractor, the General Electric Company (GCE). An article in The Independent claimed that the suicide rate at Marconi was twice the national average of mental healthy people, and either it was employing very unstable scientists or something was very wrong there, so much so that its managing director, Lord Wienstock, ultimately ordered an internal investigation of the deaths. Since December 1985, Smith, despite his having lost his security clearance in 1978 because of his Surrey Communist Pary connections, had been working as quality assurance engineer at GCE's Hirst Research Centre in Wembly.

Scarlett attempted to connect Smith to the suicides, especially at Marconi, by having Soviet double agent Viktor Alekseevich Oshchenko (code name OZEROV), who had been a Line X officer at the London residency before Smith lost his clearance, make up stories about his original spying for Moscow, and now try to connect him to the dead scientists, one way or another. The only thing of any substance regarding the former was Smith's alleged supplying the Soviets with information about, and a replica of the radar fuse used for its freefall nuclear bomb, the top-secret project XN-715 - what Soviet nuclear weapons scientists at a military research institute called Enterprise G-4598 used to build their own fuse. (For more on this, see Christopher Andrew and Vasili Mitrokhin, The Sword and The Shield, pp. 422-3.)

Scarlett's more ambitious project was to get Smith to supply documents from GCE to Oshchenko, showing that it was his spying which led to the suicides or murders of the scientists, especially Vimal Dajibhai, a computer software engineer at Marconi Underwater Systems; Ashaad Sharif, a computer consultant at Marconi Defence Systems; Victor Moore, a design engineer at Marconi Space Systems; David Sands, a satellite project manager at a Marconi sister company; Trevor Knight, a computer engineer at Marconi Space and Defence Systems; and John Ferry, an assistant marketing director at Marconi. "Perhaps these scientists have been blackmailed into supplying classified data to Moscow and could no longer live with themselves," a report on the internet suggested. "One or more have have stumbled onto an espionage ring and been silenced."

To make it appear that Michael Smith was this Soviet agent, SIS arranged for a Mr. Harrison, apparently either Oshhenko or an agent of his, to contact Smith, and get him to provide any secret information he could lay his hands on by an means. Smith seemed the ideal candidate for such entrapment, given his CPUK past, and his present employment. And he was willing to make some
extra money, disclosing commerical secrets, given the fact that the Cold War was now over, and he provided material for which he was paid £19,000 over two years.

The trouble with the take from Smith that Oshhenko received was that it did nothing to supply answers about the most troubling deaths of the scientists, and did nothing to show that he was an important,
blackmailing spy, as Mark Urban explained in UK Eyes Alpha after he had been convicted of serious spying, and given a harsh sentence: "An equally good case could have been made that the low-grade civilian material Smith supplied was not damaging to national security." (p. 222)

The reason that the security services threw the book at Smith was for fear that a more convincing answer to the fate of the scientists would be supplied by others, especially by counterparts in the collapsing USSR. To make Smith's exposure look like a big deal, SIS coordinated the exfiltration of Colonel Oshchenko from France in July 1992, as if it were a repeat of Oleg Gordievsky's troubles with his KGB employers seven years earlier back in Moscow, and Smith was hoodwinked into meeting a MI5 agent, calling himself 'George' and feigning to be a friend of Oshchenko's, the following month in Kingston-upon-Thames where he was arrested by Special Branch officers.

While this was just the beginning of Smith's problems, it just supplied more for Scarlett's continuing ones.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I suspect it is written by an American who has read a few books from a variety of writers each with a variety of accuracy.

It follows that all spy stories have mystery attached and it is sad that the mysteries here are those used to supply the links between each piece from respective volumes.

I liked the reference to the fated Zircon satellite but I doubt that Shayler would care for the description of Annie Machon (both of whom I have met) as his 'mistress.' To be a 'Mistress' of a lover the lover must be married; not surprisingly, neither were.

Then we have a reference to Michael Smith, another subject of this piece I have met.

The Crown convicted him as a spy for Russia but according to Mr Smith's blog the evidence was tainted. Whilst he does not deny the selling of documents, Mr Smith does deny the Russian 'spy'/'British traitor' label. If this is as true as it seems why would someone with that negative spion lineage be related to the apparent deaths of scientists just by name of the place he worked or supplier name.

I worked on some equipment with Marconi parts in in 1993; I hope I'm not in the frame also.

I find this piece very disturbing; it is an incredible piece that travels far beyond the description of a conspiracy theory.