The British judicial system has many factors on its side: not only does it administer the law in a way that makes it difficult to investigate exhibits impartially, but once a decision is taken the system is designed to make it even harder to reverse. The only way I can protest is to use my weak voice and make arguments on paper. Britain is a strong country, which can deploy weapons such as the ALARM missile anywhere it wishes - in the past in Iraq and the Balkans - perhaps in the future in Iran and North Korea. On the other hand, all I have at my disposal is language … my words are my weapons.
When I received no reply to my letter, I sent out a large number of copies of it to try to resolve the issues I had raised. I sent copies to Just Television (Channel 4), several journalists and a couple of dozen MPs. However, it is clear that most people simply do not understand the science involved in these arguments, and it needs the attention of an expert to see the subtle way in which information can be misleading. See whether I am asking too much, or am being unreasonable:
From: Michael John Smith
HMP Full Sutton, York
10th January 1997
Your Ref: Ke.0983/96
To: Mr J K Barron
Secretary to the Security Commission
London SW1A 2AS
Dear Mr Barron,
Thank you very much for your letter of 20 December 1996 and for your helpful comments on the work of the Security Commission. As a consequence of your letter I am encouraged to raise some additional matters for your attention, which I have set out below.
With regard to the first paragraph of your letter, I apologise if it appeared from my letter of 21 October 1996 that I was expecting you to comment on my sentence - I can assure you that this was not the case - rather, I was merely pointing out that the length of my sentence had caused me to focus on an apparent anomaly in the Security Commission's report, concerning the RESTRICTED document, the only classified document involved in my case.
Let me say at once that, in this letter, I am not criticising the integrity or impartiality of the Security Commission. Nevertheless, I believe that the Commission's report has distorted the truth, and I presume that one or more witnesses, of those who gave evidence, have deliberately misled the Commission.
I shall raise some issues concerning the RESTRICTED document, which are related to your letter and to the Security Commission's report:
1. The Document's Classification and Apparent Sensitivity
The Security Commission's report concludes that the RESTRICTED document was 'wrongly classified’ (S.C. Report, 1.7, 5.5). This is a direct criticism of the competence of individual staff at Marconi Space & Defence Systems (Stanmore), and it also raises an issue of negligence on the part of the MoD representative, who I believe is permanently located at Marconi's Stanmore site.
Question 1: Did the Security Commission investigate the reasons given by Marconi for classifying the document at RESTRICTED?
I would have expected that the Marconi project staff were in the best technical position to assess the sensitivity of the document. A factor the Security Commission may not have considered is that the RESTRICTED document was effectively a procurement specification, to be sent to another GEC site (Hirst Research Centre), where the security regime was less rigorous.
Question 2: At the time the document was created (January 1982), did Marconi classify all documents on this project at RESTRICTED, or did they classify them according to sensitivity?
The claim that the document was wrongly classified was not an argument used by the prosecution at my trial, and this makes me suspicious that there has been some degree of duplicity by the MoD. The MoD were approached about my case even prior to my arrest, and they subsequently had over 14 months in which to produce convincing evidence that I had damaging material in my possession. If the classification of the RESTRICTED document was 'clearly wrong’ (S.C. Report, Annex A.5), then I cannot believe this was not identified before my trial. It was easy to investigate the RESTRICTED document, because Marconi's name and address appear on the front page, and the staff responsible for the project are identified. I repeat that this was the only classified document involved in my case, and it would be incredible if this document was not fully investigated before my trial.
Question 3: Did the Security Commission investigate why it took the MoD so long (August 1992 to May 1995) to decide that the RESTRICTED document was wrongly classified?
The further conclusion of the Security Commission's report is that the document should have been classified SECRET (S.C. Report, 6.2, Annex A.3 & A.4), or at least classified CONFIDENTIAL (S.C. Report, Annex A.5). I am not convinced that classification can be made retrospective - the document in my possession was marked RESTRICTED - and it is hypocritical of the MoD to move the classification "goal-posts", in order to give the impression that I had access to sensitive military secrets at GEC; this was simply not true.
To classify one small component, of a complex weapon system, as SECRET is an act which needs to be justified. Whilst I appreciate that the Security Commission's report might be an inappropriate place for this, the report relies for its accuracy on such a justification (see section 4 below for my doubts that this evidence exists). Not all information will be sensitive in a weapons system; the frequency band given in the document is not necessarily sensitive information. Take, for example, the frequency band of the Rapier surveillance radar, which was another issue in my case; this frequency band has been widely publicised and so cannot be regarded as sensitive SECRET information.
Which brings me back to the reason given in the report for the document's wrong classification: that 'at the time the document was created it was not specifically linked to a particular weapons system’ (S.C. Report, Annex A.5). I believe the truth is that the document was quite correctly classified as RESTRICTED. I say this based on what I know and not because of any bias on my part. From my own experience documents are classified more highly at first, and reduced following re-evaluation at routine reviews - not vice versa. I am further encouraged from the evidence given by prosecution witness Mr Harry Alexander Deadman at my trial, who said that documents did not need to be classified unless they referred to particular equipment.
Question 4: Subsequent to the MoD's argument about wrong classification, at what date was the RESTRICTED document raised in classification, and has it been raised to CONFIDENTIAL or SECRET?
2. The Document's History
The way the RESTRICTED document was treated in the past is a good indication of its perceived value. The document has an interesting history, which can be confirmed from documentary evidence:
8 January 1982 The document was created. The device specified in the document was part of a 'Demonstration Programme ... to be completed by June 1982’, and there would then be a 'Full Scale Project Definition and Development Programme, leading to an in-service date of 1985/86’. Also, 'It is anticipated that a second design iteration will be required in order to achieve the desired performance’ (Exhibits, p.54).
It was never revealed at my trial how many design iterations there were, or what the final specification was. I have seen no convincing evidence that this Demonstration Programme was in fact linked to ALARM at all. I have read that ALARM was barely in production at the time of the Gulf War!
Question 5: Was the Security Commission shown the evidence linking the RESTRICTED document to ALARM?
1982-84 The document was used in a BS9450 Capability Approval Exercise. A discussion was held at Hirst Research Centre on 23 May 1983, which clearly shows that the device specified in the RESTRICTED document was used in the Exercise, and it was identified as CQC-SAW 5 (Exhibits, pp.116-8). Material from the document was copied and supplied to the British Standards Institute (Exhibits, pp.161-70), and this information would have been further distributed to those involved in the Capability Approval Exercise.
28 February 1984 GEC were approved to manufacture the device to BS9450 standard, as recorded in an 'Abstract for inclusion in PD 9002’ (Exhibits, p.103-4). Apparently the same device was either already being manufactured commercially by GEC Semiconductors at Lincoln, or it became a new commercial product about this time, identified as type number DW9210 (GEC Semiconductors Products Catalogue).
2 December 1985 I joined HRC and took possession of the document. It is completely untrue to allege that it was a document which it 'appears he had stolen from the filing cabinet of a former colleague in his room’ (S.C. Report, 5.5); no evidence was given at my trial to support such a claim. The document was amongst a considerable amount of paperwork I found in the desk I inherited from a Mr D.T. Lewis, and I worked with Mr Lewis for about 3 weeks prior to his retirement from HRC, at Christmas 1985.
It is true that an allegation was made at my trial that I had stolen another non-military document - unconnected with the RESTRICTED document - from a colleague named Bill Tatham (Judge's Summing-up Volume I, p.103, pp.116-7; Volume II, p.46). However, the evidence for this was weak, and there was stronger documentary evidence to support the truth, which was that he had given me this document for work which we were jointly engaged upon.
Question 6: What evidence was presented to the Security Commission, that I had stolen the RESTRICTED document 'from the filing cabinet of a former colleague in [my] room’ ?
31 July 1992 I left GEC, and on the same day I removed the RESTRICTED document and some other material from GEC.
6 August 1992 The first reference I have that the MoD were involved in my case is a statement by a Mr Alan Rennie (Witness Statement, p.184).
8 August 1992 I was arrested. I raised the issue of the RESTRICTED document myself, on 10 August 1992, during my police interviews (Interviews, pp.373-5).
3 November 1992 Dr Meirion Francis Lewis was definitely aware of the document by this date, because he mentioned that he had seen it (Witness Statement, pp.113-4).
June 1993 My technical expert, Dr Eamonn Francis Maher, issued a report which dismissed the importance of the RESTRICTED document. Dr Maher referred to the device specified in the document as 'a *** MHz Device - MEDL number not revealed in the exhibit but probably DW9210’ (Maher Report, p.24). In describing the document's contents he said: 'The information that is not in the public domain and may be of military significance is in relation to the *** MHz SAW device being used in an airborne guided weapon (page 53 of the exhibit bundle). This is not of use without details of the weapon system itself and as Mr Senior [a defence expert] states it would appear that both the *** MHz device and the 200 MHz device are, or were, commercially available in any event’ (Maher Report, p.26).
23 July 1993 Dr M.F. Lewis had read Dr Maher's report by this date, but he did not specifically refer to the RESTRICTED document (Witness Statement, pp.313-4). Although Dr Lewis had a perfect opportunity of rejecting Dr Maher's conclusions, he did not do so. Since Dr Lewis was the only witness likely to comment on this document, the prosecution had still not identified the system in which the device was used, almost a year after my arrest.
7 & 11 October 1993 Dr Lewis said in court that the document was linked to ALARM and that it would enable an enemy to jam the missile. Dr Lewis claimed that his evidence was supported by "hearsay" evidence he had received from a man (alleged to be Marconi's Technical Director) in a telephone conversation on the morning of 11 October 1993, before he gave his final evidence. I wrote to Marconi on 21 November 1995, and they refused to acknowledge that Dr Lewis had spoken to their Technical Director on 11 October 1993; this reluctance to confirm such basic information is further evidence of the suspicious circumstances surrounding this issue, and calls into question what dialogue there had been between the MoD and Marconi about the RESTRICTED document.
Question 7: Was the Security Commission given information about communications, prior to my trial, between the MoD, prosecution and Marconi to determine what breaches of security might have occurred - and what significance was the RESTRICTED document given at that stage?
(This is very relevant to the reasons why the claims about wrong classification were not produced at my trial).
3. Interference Between the Security Commission Inquiry and My Appeal
The Security Commission's report states that 'certain further matters have come to light as a result of Smith’s appeal. In particular, it has emerged that some of the material supplied by MoD on which we based our damage assessment, was seriously incorrect’ (S.C. Report, 1.7). Later in the report, it is stated that 'In May 1995, in the course of preparing for Smith’s appeal, a discrepancy between the damage assessment report dated 8 March 1994 and the case presented on behalf of the Crown at Smith’s trial became apparent’ (S.C. Report, Annex A.3).
Question 8: At what date was this discrepancy first noticed?
I am confused about how the discrepancy 'became apparent’, because I had no specific grounds on scientific evidence which would have raised the RESTRICTED document as an issue at my appeal. From your letter, I am also concerned about the role of The Solicitor General, Sir Derek Spencer, who was not listed in your report as a witness.
Question 9: What were the circumstances under which Sir Derek Spencer came to see a copy of the MoD damage assessment report prior to my appeal in May 1995?
In your letter, you appear to believe that the issues surrounding the changes in the MoD damage assessment report were 'covered fully’ at my appeal hearing; this was not so. The MoD stated their position, but the facts behind the RESTRICTED document were not aired to my satisfaction. There is a technical issue to be resolved, concerning specifications and operational modes, and whether the RESTRICTED document would facilitate jamming. The original MoD report was moderate: 'no serious damage’, etc (in accord with my own comments during my police interviews), and I believe that this was far nearer to reality than the revised MoD report. No justification has been produced, by a recognised expert in ALARM, that "serious damage" could be caused by the contents of the RESTRICTED document.
Whether the effect was beneficial or not, it cannot be denied that a certain amount of cross-fertilisation has occurred between the Security Commission's inquiry and my appeal. This caused an interference in both directions:
(a) the Solicitor General was able to affect your inquiry with material from my trial.
(b) the MoD report dated 7 March 1994, and the amendment dated 16 May 1995, had a significant effect on the course of my appeal.
Question 10: Was the damage assessment report requested from the MoD with the intention that the information would be shared with the prosecution?
The Original MoD report was not shown to the defence until my appeal had started on 15 May 1995, and on the 16 May 1995 Mr MacCulloch's amendment was given to the defence. This caused considerable difficulties for my defence, and led to the adjournment of my appeal.
With all due respect, I cannot agree with the assertion in your letter, that 'the inquiry was completely separate to any criminal proceedings’.
4. The Document's Contents - Accuracy of Evidence
The Security Commission's report suggests that evidence was given at my trial that the RESTRICTED document 'was potentially of great value to an intelligent enemy in connection with one of the UK’s current weapons system’ (S.C. Report, Annex A.3). I would challenge the accuracy of the evidence given at my trial on this issue. It was only Dr M.F. Lewis and Dr D.I. Weatherley who said anything notable about the RESTRICTED document at my trial, and they made no claims to be experts in the details of ALARM or jamming.
Dr Lewis gave the most significant technical evidence on which the jury were invited to convict me. However, Dr Lewis was called as an expert on SAW (surface acoustic wave) technology, not on ALARM, and he stated from the witness box that he was not an expert in missile technology nor in jamming.
Dr Weatherley gave only an administrator's view of the RESTRICTED document; he never claimed that it was used in ALARM, or that it would enable ALARM to be jammed. It was Dr Weatherley who stopped the cross-examination of Dr Lewis when he started to reveal relevant information about the usefulness of the RESTRICTED document. Dr Weatherley's lack of expertise in airborne weaponry was identified by the judge at my trial, when he said: '[Dr Weatherley] had general scientific expertise. He had no precise detailed expertise about any one of them [the individual scientific subjects in my case]; that is not his job. His job ... was scientific adviser to the MoD for all matters relating to land warfare’ (Judge's Summing-up Volume I, pp.88-9).
A serious weakness of the Security Commission's inquiry is that Mr MacCulloch's amendment (dated 16 May 1995) was heavily influenced by Dr Lewis and Dr Weatherley. No evidence for the MoD's views, about the sensitive nature of the RESTRICTED document, has been presented, as far as I am aware. I would also draw your attention to the fact that no experts from the ALARM project were used by the prosecution at my trial.
Question 11: Was technical evidence, apart from Dr Lewis, presented to the Security Commission to support the MoD's claim that "serious damage" could have been caused by the RESTRICTED document?
Whatever the Solicitor General thought, when he saw Mr MacCulloch's original report, he would have known that Dr Lewis had not claimed any expertise in missiles or jamming. Rather than believing what was said at my trial by a non-expert, I would have expected that the MoD report would have set alarm bells ringing in the Solicitor General's head. But it was quite clear from my trial, that the Solicitor General believed published and widely available material was sensitive (which was the line he pursued in court); therefore, I would suggest, he is not the best judge of what is sensitive.
Since my appeal, I have investigated Dr Lewis's evidence myself, and I have concluded that it cannot be correct; much of Dr Lewis's evidence is quite erroneous and exaggerated, and he could not have deduced that ALARM was identifiable from the RESTRICTED document alone. I can now confidently accuse Dr Lewis of giving misleading evidence, and I can only assume that Dr Lewis has mistakenly done so to support the MoD's case, possibly with the prosecution's knowledge. If Dr Lewis did not get his evidence from his own experience, then it is uncertain where it did come from - because it seems that the accuracy of the Security Commission's report is based upon his evidence.
Question 12: Is it within the Security Commission's remit to request an independent analysis (by a non-MoD expert) of the evidence presented to the Security Commission about the RESTRICTED document?
Towards the end of your letter you state that the Security Commission report 'needed to reflect accurately all the events surrounding your case’. With what I have stated above, and with all due respect to the members of the Commission, I cannot agree with you on the issue of the RESTRICTED document. I know, from my own experience of the technical issues, that some key evidence has been withheld; not, I surmise, by the members of the Security Commission itself, but by those who gave evidence to the Commission.
I am aware that the Security Commission could have been persuaded that material was sensitive, because scientific arguments are not understandable to non-experts. Due to the circumstances of my trial and appeal, I was seriously disadvantaged by not having access to an expert who could challenge the evidence of Dr Lewis at the time. I anticipate that the Security Commission have been similarly misled about the RESTRICTED document.
In conclusion, I am of the firm opinion that the details in the Security Commission's report, about the classification and sensitivity of the RESTRICTED document, are not accurate, and will be proved to be so in the course of time. I should also point out, that I am aware of a number of other serious errors in the Security Commission's report, although they are not related to the issue of the RESTRICTED document.
I apologise that this letter has necessarily become a little lengthy, although you will appreciate that I have only summarized the issues, and I could go into much greater detail if it is required. I look forward to receiving your reply on the matters which I have raised, and I would be grateful if you can particularly address the questions which I have numbered.