13 June 2007

Daniel James prepares to make his plea

I met Daniel for the first time on 4 June but many things have happened since then. In the past 9 days there have been several developments, and I have during this time tried my utmost to help Daniel in any way I could. The plea hearing on 15 June 2007 is the time when Daniel has a chance to be heard, and the occasion at which he can make his demand to be tried before a Court Martial.

In the following letter I told Daniel that this hearing on 15 June will be ‘the most important day of your life’. This day is about to arrive, and it will be interesting to see if the following letter persuades him on his best course of action, or whether he has been successfully dissuaded away from this direction by those who are trying to damage his prospects. We will see the result in 2 days time.

Letter from: Michael John Smith
5 June 2007

To: Mr Daniel James XA6933
HMP Wandsworth
PO Box 757
Heathfield Road
London SW18 3HS

Dear Daniel,

I was really pleased to meet with you yesterday, and I enjoyed talking with you about the points you raised. I will do all I can to help you fight the charges that you are facing.

I spoke on the phone this afternoon with Mr Richard Jefferies, and from some of the comments he made, I thought I should write to tell you of my opinions. For example: (i) he said that he was not persuaded that a Court Martial was the best route for you to take; (ii) he stated that the 15th June was not an important day, and; (iii) he implied that he was considering making a separate application for a dismissal hearing at a later date. Of course, you do not have to do anything that I say, but I think you should carefully consider the following points in connection with the above.

I have discussed Mr Jefferies ideas with the friend I mentioned to you, John Symonds, and we both believe that next week’s hearing will be extremely important to you. You must understand that the 15th June is probably the most important day of your life, and not to be treated lightly (as some may advise you).

We have no doubt that YOU MUST ATTEND the Court on the 15th June (as is your right). You should REFUSE to plead either “guilty” or “not guilty” (as is your right). You must instead INSIST on making a Peremptory Plea (as is your right). See below for details about what these words mean.

I suggest that you immediately phone/write to Richard asking him to instruct a barrister to make this Peremptory Plea on your behalf on the 15th June. If you do not make that plea on that date you will be set on the road to a Crown Court trial (which is almost impossible to escape from). Any later applications for the ‘case to be dismissed’ are unlikely to succeed.

Your application will be quite simple, i.e.:
This is:

(1) the wrong court,
(2) the wrong judge,
(3) the wrong prosecution,
(4) the wrong charge,
(5) the wrong criminal justice system

This is the wrong criminal justice system because your case should not be heard by a civilian criminal court, but by a military Court Martial (as is your right as a soldier).

I am quite sure that your best and only chance is to make this Peremptory Plea to win a fair Court Martial (instead of a crooked trial).

Failing the above (and if Richard does not arrange for a barrister to make this Peremptory Plea on your behalf) you must then stand up and make the statement I sent you in my last letter, in a loud and clear voice (like an army order), because desperate situations require desperate measures.

This is why you need to be personally present at the Court, and not speaking through a video link. This will demonstrate to the press and the public that you are making a powerful stand for a Court Martial. The video link effectively stops you making this Peremptory Plea.

I advise you to apply for an interview with the prison Governor, in order to notify him of your application to attend court personally. This request will then go on the record (for any later Appeals).

Don’t be conned Daniel, this hearing on the 15th June is your best opportunity to officially apply to have this case dismissed from this Court, and to make clear that you have chosen a Court Martial. We can then see if Richard has carried out your instructions. However, I still believe that Imran Khan is the best solicitor for you.


I have copied the following explanations from the Wikipedia encyclopaedia for you. The stage at which you are about to start is called Arraignment, and you will see that this is the first stage on the road to a criminal (civilian) trial.

You will also see that a Peremptory Plea has to be made at this stage, and so this is the time at which you must make this plea. The further down the road you go the harder it will be to change from a Crown Court trial, and your fate will be decided.

Arraignment is a common law term for the formal reading of a criminal complaint, in the presence of the defendant, to inform him of the charges against him. In response to arraignment, the accused is expected to enter a plea. Acceptable pleas vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, but they generally include “guilty”, “not guilty”, and the peremptory pleas (or pleas in bar), which set out reasons why a trial cannot proceed.

In the UK arraignment is the first of eleven stages in a criminal trial, and involves the clerk of the court reading out the indictment. The defendant is asked whether they plead guilty or not guilty to each individual charge.

Guilty and Not Guilty pleas
If the defendant pleads guilty an evidentiary hearing usually follows. The court is not required to accept a guilty plea. During that hearing the judge will assess the offence, mitigating factors, and the defendant's character; and then pass sentence. If the defendant pleads not guilty, a date will be set for a preliminary hearing or trial.

What if the defendant enters no plea?
In the past, a defendant who refused to plead (or “stood mute”) would be subject to peine forte et dure (Law French for “strong and hard punishment”). But today in all common law jurisdictions, defendants who refuse to enter a plea will have a plea of not guilty entered for them on their behalf.

Peremptory Plea
In the common law, the peremptory pleas (pleas in bar), are pleas that set out special reasons for which a trial cannot go ahead.


Don’t forget, when you are asked to make a plea, you must refuse to make that plea (either “guilty” or “not guilty”), and you must say you wish to make a Peremptory Plea instead.

Well Daniel, I wish you the best of luck with the above. I hope I have made myself clear, but if I have not please contact me as soon as possible. I am concerned that we have so little time before the 15th June Court hearing. I shall try to visit you again to discuss the issues above, but it would help if you could phone me to confirm that you have understood these points, and I will send you some money to pay for it.

Yours sincerely,
Mike Smith

PS (1) JS also sends you his best wishes, and says you will be all right if you follow this advice.

PS (2) I don’t remember you having been given a committal hearing, if not how did you get to this court without one? It can only be with a secret authority issued by the Attorney General or Director of Public Prosecutions or someone high up in the government. Something stinks here somewhere. The rumour (Lord Patel blog) that you are a victim of political intrigue, could well be true? Don’t worry, we will get to the bottom of it, and we will keep going until we do.


12 June 2007

Daniel James wants to go before a Court Martial

Before I met Daniel James, on 4 June 2007, I intended to tell him that my advice was for him to request trial by Court Martial. I was worried that he may not see the benefits of the military option over the corrupt Crown Court system. I need not have worried, because one of the first things Daniel said to me was “how can I get a Court Martial?”

Daniel James’ desire to go before a Court Martial is a very important move for him to make, and one that will ensure that he gets the fairest hearing of the charges against him. We discussed the issues in some depth, but before I arrived at HMP Wandsworth prison I had already prepared a letter setting out my arguments, and I print this below.

Letter from: Michael John Smith
4 June 2007

To: Mr Daniel James XA6933
HMP Wandsworth
PO Box 757
Heathfield Road
London SW18 3HS

Dear Daniel,
I am sending you this letter to back up what I will tell you during my visit. As I said in my earlier letters, I am not trying to interfere in your case. Richard Jefferies sees a useful role for me in helping you prepare for a trial, and also to act as somebody independent who can raise new points and be critical about how things are going.

Like you, I had a previously good character before I was arrested, but I didn’t know the score. I believed I was innocent, that justice would be done, and I put my trust in the British Justice system. It was a great shock when I realised that the police told lies, that the judge was bent, and that I couldn’t even call the witnesses I wanted for my Defence. I have spent every day since trying to put right the things that went wrong in my case, but it is so much harder to overturn a conviction once the system has found you “guilty”. So my approach is that you must do everything you can to be found “not guilty”.

Luckily I have found some good friends to help me, and they also want to help you as well. One important friend is John Symonds - both he and I have been in a similar position to you, but John has had the experience of having been a policeman and a soldier, and John was also a KGB agent as well. John explained to me about how lies and tricks are used by the legal system, and that this is just the normal treatment you can expect - I now know that this is true. When John and I read about your case we were both unconvinced at the things being reported, and we recognised that you too were being fitted up for an unfair trial.

John was a lieutenant in the army and has sat on Courts Martial, and he was immediately surprised that you were not being dealt with before a Court Martial. The army officers who sit on Courts Martial are not in the habit of bending the evidence, like the civil courts did in my case, and John and I think a Court Martial is your only chance to get justice and fair treatment in the UK. You meet all the conditions to go before a Court Martial, because you were a soldier serving in a war zone, and if anybody deserves military justice it is you.

I still do not know all the details about your arrest. Who arrested you? When did you first hear about the allegations against you? If the civilian police arrested you then that could be important, because John believes you should have been arrested by the military police, and that you should have been taken into military custody, and not to a police station.

If you had been put into military custody you would probably have been released by now. There are two very important army cases, similar to yours, which happened in the 1990s: the cases of TA Captain Carole Maychell and Major Milos Stankovic. I have attached 2 newspaper stories that show what happened to them. Both were released without going through a trial at all. I think that is the reason the CPS does not want this to happen again, and why they want you to go before a Crown Court, where they can be sure of convicting you.

I have already made contact with Stephen Harvey QC, a barrister who worked on the Maychell case, and he is prepared to help Richard Jefferies to understand what happened in that case. Richard will let you know if he finds out anything useful.

Coming back to the Court Martial. This gives you the best chance of a fair deal, in front of soldiers who understand your background and the situation you were in when serving in Afghanistan, and if you were convicted at a CM you would not have to spend the next 20 years trying to overturn that conviction. After a Court Martial there is a much more straightforward method of appealing, as your case will go almost directly to the House of Lords (Law Lords), which is something you would find impossible after a Crown Court trial. Once convicted in a Crown Court you would have to go through an Appeal, then the Criminal Cases Review Commission, etc, etc and this would take up the rest of your life.

This short-cut from a Court Martial to the Law Lords could mean that there is a good chance that the military authorities would simply drop the charges, rather than risk pursuing a weak case, as they did in the cases of Maychell and Stankovic and others.

I tried putting a question about this on the Army Rumour Service website (ARRSE) at 1 a.m. on Friday night, but it was taken down in only 10 minutes. This goes to show that the army people who run that website are worried about anyone making any comments on your case.

Between now and the trial you only have one last big chance to make a difference to the way your case is dealt with, and that is on 15 June when you are due to make a plea. You will be asked whether you plead “guilty” or “not guilty”.

After I have spoken with you I will be in a better position to advise you as to the best way to achieve the objective of securing a fair and just Court Martial. But whatever my advice is, or whatever happens, it is up to you to stand up and claim your rights to be tried by Court Martial.

The judge expects you to say “not guilty”, but if you say that then you will be recognising that the Crown Court has the right to try you. Even if you say nothing, the judge will enter a plea of “not guilty” for you, and so there is no danger to you if you use this day in court to make a stand for your rights.

I think when the judge asks you to plead you should say:

“I do not recognise this court. I am a soldier who served in a war zone. I demand my right to be tried by Court Martial.”

I know this is a very brave thing to do, but it would cause the lawyers to stop and think, and the press will make a big news story about it as well. You need something like this to stop the case. If it works then you could go free much quicker.

The correct procedure is for you to instruct your solicitor to get your barrister to stand up and say these things on your behalf, but if Richard Jefferies cannot or will not say these things for you, then you must stand up and say these things for yourself.

You should not be in Wandsworth at all. You should be in military custody, somewhere such as Colchester, where you will be treated with dignity as a soldier, and have much better conditions than you suffer in Wandsworth, or any other civilian prison for that matter. I believe you will receive much better treatment and respect in a military prison.

The Court Martial cannot be anywhere near as bad for you as a Crown Court trial. Just think what it will be like with a civilian jury, full of housewives and other non-military people. Will they be able to understand what it was like in Afghanistan? You will be much better off facing a military court, where your record can be read out and understood, and where you are less likely to experience the unfairness that happens in the Crown Courts.

I have copied some paragraphs from the Armed Forces Act 2006, which I think applies in your case. These few excerpts show some of the points I have made above. The 2006 Act was coming into force as you were arrested, and so I am unsure if you are covered by the old legislation or the new one. I don’t think there is any big difference between them as far as your case is concerned, but you will have to take advice from Richard Jefferies about that, as he is a lawyer and I am not.

Assisting an enemy, misconduct on operations etc

Section 1: Assisting an enemy
(1) A person subject to service law commits an offence if, without lawful excuse, he intentionally-
(a) communicates with an enemy;
(b) gives an enemy information that would or might be useful to the enemy;
(c) fails to make known to the proper authorities any information received by him from an enemy;
(d) provides an enemy with any supplies; or
(e) harbours or protects an enemy other than a prisoner of war.

Section 17: Disclosure of information useful to an enemy
(1) A person subject to service law commits an offence if-
(a) without lawful authority, he discloses information that would or might be useful to an enemy; and
(b) he knows or has reasonable cause to believe that the information would or might be useful to an enemy.


Court Martial

Section 50: Jurisdiction of the Court Martial
(1) The Court Martial has jurisdiction to try any service offence.

(2) In this Act "service offence" means-(a) any offence under Part 1;


Powers of arrest

Section 67: Power of arrest for service offence
(1) A person who is reasonably suspected of being engaged in committing, or of having committed, a service offence may be arrested in accordance with subsection (2), (3), (4) or (5) by a person subject to service law.

(3) A person of or below the rank or rate of warrant officer may be arrested under subsection (1)-
(a) by an officer;
(b) by a warrant officer or non-commissioned officer of superior rank or rate;
(c) by a service policeman;
(d) by a person who is lawfully exercising authority on behalf of a provost officer

Custody after charge

Section 105: Custody after charge
(1) Where a person (referred to in this section and sections 106 to 109 as "the accused") is kept in service custody after being charged with a service offence, he must be brought before a judge advocate as soon as practicable.

(2) At a hearing under subsection (1), the judge advocate may by order authorise the keeping of the accused in service custody, but only if one or more of conditions A to C in section 106 are met.

(3) The period for which a judge advocate may, by an order under subsection (2), authorise the keeping of the accused in service custody is such period, ending not later than eight days after the day on which the order is made, as he considers appropriate having regard to the evidence before him.

(4) For the purpose of deciding whether condition A in section 106 is met, the judge advocate must have regard to such of the following considerations as appear to him to be relevant-
(a) the nature and seriousness of the offence with which the accused is charged (and the probable method of dealing with him for it),
(b) the character, antecedents, associations and social ties of the accused,
(c) the accused's behaviour on previous occasions while charged with a service offence and released from service custody or while on bail in criminal proceedings, and
(d) the strength of the evidence that the accused committed the offence,

as well as to any other considerations which appear to be relevant.

(5) If-
(a) the accused is charged with an offence under section 42 as respects which the corresponding offence under the law of England and Wales is-
(i) murder,
(ii) manslaughter,
(iii) an offence under section 1 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003 (c. 42) (rape), or
(iv) an attempt to commit an offence within sub-paragraph (i) or (iii),
(b) representations are made as to any of the matters mentioned in condition A in section 106, and
(c) the judge advocate decides not to authorise the keeping of the accused in service custody,the judge advocate must state the reasons for his decision and must cause those reasons to be included in the record of the proceedings.

(6) An order under subsection (2) does not authorise the keeping of the accused in service custody-
(a) if the accused is subsequently released from service custody, at any time after his release; or
(b) at any time after he is sentenced in respect of the offence with which he is charged.

(7) Subsection (1) does not apply where the accused is charged with a service offence at a time when he is kept in service custody by reason of a sentence passed in respect of a service offence or of an order under subsection (2), unless that reason ceases to apply.

Section 106: Conditions A to D
(1) Condition A is that the judge advocate is satisfied that there are substantial grounds for believing that the accused, if released from service custody, would-
(a) fail to attend any hearing in the proceedings against him;
(b) commit an offence while released; or
(c) interfere with witnesses or otherwise obstruct the course of justice, whether in relation to himself or any other person.

(2) Condition B is that the judge advocate is satisfied that the accused should be kept in service custody for his own protection or, if he is aged under 17, for his own welfare or in his own interests.

(3) Condition C is that the judge advocate is satisfied that, because of lack of time since the accused was charged, it has not been practicable to obtain sufficient information for the purpose of deciding whether condition A or B is met.

(4) Condition D is that the accused's case has been adjourned for inquiries or a report and it appears to the judge advocate that it would be impracticable to complete the inquiries or make the report without keeping the accused in service custody.


Right to elect Court Martial trial

Section 129: Right to elect Court Martial trial
(1) Before hearing a charge summarily the commanding officer must, in the way specified by rules under section 153, give the accused the opportunity of electing Court Martial trial of the charge.

(2) If the accused elects Court Martial trial of the charge-
(a) the commanding officer must refer the charge to the Director of Service Prosecutions; and
(b) the charge is to be regarded for the purposes of Part 5 as allocated for Court Martial trial.


Just one final point: it would be useful if you can send me the phone number of a friend or relative that visits you, or who you speak with regularly on the phone. I can then keep them informed if I find out anything, and so make sure you are updated on the news.

John Symonds said he will also try to visit you if he can, but he said he hopes you will then be in Colchester rather than Wandsworth.

Yours sincerely,
Mike Smith

10 June 2007

Compare Daniel James spy case to Milos Stankovic

Anyone following the case of Daniel James will get a strong sense of déjà vu after reading about the story of Milos Stankovic. The two cases are so remarkably similar that they could have been based on the same agenda to undermine the good name of the British army.

Both of these men were born outside the UK, and through their family background they became fluent in their native languages, which enabled them to communicate with the local people when they worked under British command in war zones. In both cases these men were accused of having communicated information to the enemy, but in Mr Stankovic’s case those allegations were later dropped. Only time will tell if Mr James’ case goes the same way.

But why did these two cases arise in the first place? There have been rumours that they were both the result of jealousy by the CIA, because the British had been more successful than the Americans in dealing with local people. The heavy-handedness of US strategy has been only too evident in the past, when they have resorted to carpet bombing and machine gunning the local population, which usually leads to tragic results. The British have tended to favour the more humanitarian tactics of appealing to the locals, in order to win over their hearts and minds.

Whatever is behind the Daniel James’ case, he has not been treated in a very compassionate way. Locked up in Wandsworth prison for 6 months, Daniel has already effectively served a one-year sentence, and so far he has not been convicted of anything.

Like Mr Stankovic, Daniel James has received great support from the army comrades he worked with, and he is clearly much liked by those who know him. Perhaps Daniel is respected because he shows such genuine kindness and sympathy to those he meets. One report stated that Daniel had given $70 from his own pocket in order to help a destitute family he met in Afghanistan - money he had earned from teaching salsa dancing, but no doubt this will be viewed with suspicion by those behind his prosecution.

It is apparent that political motives lie behind both the cases of Daniel James and Milos Stankovic. Maybe we shall never know the truth, although it is obvious that some person or organisation made an accusation that Daniel had communicated with the enemy. Let us see whether this accusation amounts to anything serious, or if it is merely another CIA man crying “wolf”.

I came across an old newspaper cutting that I had saved about the Milos Stankovic case. At the time it was published I was surprised by the story, and I never believed that anything like it could ever happen again. How wrong I was.

Sunday Times 2 May 1999

‘Spy’ smears wreck major’s career
by Jonathon Carr-Brown

A high-flying officer in the Parachute Regiment is to sue the Ministry of Defence for compensation because his career was blighted by a 20-month investigation into false allegations that he spied for the Bosnian Serbs.

Major Milos Stankovic, who believes the allegations against him were politically motivated, also wants to use the legal action to force the ministry to open files that will reveal the identities of his accusers.

In the front line: Milos Stankovic in Bosnia in 1993

Last week friends of Stankovic revealed for the first time the full details of his ordeal which started in October 1997, two years after he had finished his service in the Balkans. There, as chief liaison officer for two United Nations commanders, he had been highly commended, by senior officers and recommended for promotion. He was arrested at the Joint Services Staff College, Bracknell, Berkshire, while studying for exams that would have enabled him to become a lieutenant-colonel.

Stankovic is not allowed to speak to journalists because he is a serving officer. This weekend Stephen Barker, his solicitor, said he would demand full disclosure plus compensation for the infringement of Stankovic’s legal rights. “This was a man who was responsible for saving the lives of hundreds of people through his negotiations,” Barker said. “He risked his life every day to talk with men he hated. His reward is to be ruined by people who lack the slightest comprehension of the environment in which he was forced to operate.”

The officer, whose father is Yugoslavian, had already made a successful career in the army when the Bosnian conflict broke out. His fluency in Serbo-Croat, coolness under pressure and ability to talk to Bosnian Serb leaders on equal terms made him invaluable. He soon became an aide to General Sir Michael Rose and later to Lieutenant-General Rupert Smith.

Top man: General Sir Michael Rose relied on Stankovic

However, he also became a target for Bosnian Muslims and for the CIA, who resented the access he had to General Ratko Mladic, the former Bosnian Serb army chief, and Radovan Karadzic, the former Bosnian Serb leader. They became suspicious that he was passing on intelligence.

Friends say that immediately after his arrest, Stankovic was denied basic civil rights such as telephone calls. Later he was refused access to items taken from his home and was shown complicated witness statements only 24 hours before his final interview - allowing him no time to prepare a proper defence.

The friends also allege that although he was told he had been arrested under a section of the Official Secrets Act which deals with “damaging disclosures”, nobody was able to tell him what he was alleged to have disclosed or to whom.
They also complain that:

• He was denied access to army funds or lawyers for his defence.

• Serving army officers were told not to co-operate with his defence.

• A Royal Marines officer was questioned about an incident in which Stankovic saved a woman shot by a sniper and suggestions were made to him that details of heroism were untrue.

• Stankovic’s home was ransacked in a “high intensity” search.

Barker said: “They took everything, including sandpaper, an A-Z map of London, holiday snaps, Christmas cards and an ancient copy of Playboy - it was indiscriminate.”

When the 12 defence ministry police officers assigned to the case finally interviewed Stankovic in October last year, after spending tens of thousands of pounds interviewing 107 people in America, Germany, Switzerland, Cyprus and the Balkans, their only specific area of questioning was over the contents of Stankovic’s letters to his father Radomir, who died shortly after Stankovic returned from Bosnia.

A friend said: “They were insinuating that Stankovic was feeding secrets through his Serbian father. It was ridiculous because his father spent years fighting the Nazis and the communists.”

Stankovic’s second and final interview was to have lasted two days. It took just 1 hr 50 min after the custody sergeant at Guildford police station in Surrey pointed out that the questioning was illegal under the Police and Criminal Evidence Act.

The Crown Prosecution Service dropped the charges against Stankovic last week, claiming that there was insufficient evidence to mount a prosecution.

During his ordeal Stankovic received enormous support from senior army officers. One of the first to stand up for him was Lieutenant-General Mike Jackson, commander of Nato forces in Macedonia, who told defence ministry police they were investigating a grudge.

Martin Bell, the independent MP for Tatton and former BBC war correspondent who won acclaim for his coverage of the Bosnian conflict, has started moves to identify Stankovic’s accusers. He has written to Doug Henderson, the armed forces minister, demanding that Stankovic be told who had smeared him, The campaigning MP has also called for an adjournment debate so he can cross-question the minister in the Commons and force him to make a statement.

A spokesman for the defence ministry police said the Official Secrets Act prevented Stankovic being told the source of the allegation but insisted it had been duty-bound to investigate.

For Stankovic, any explanations will come too late. The stress has caused his girlfriend to leave him, brought heart-ache and worry to his mother and. led to his own mental and physical deterioration. His career was damaged because he was unable to complete studies for promotion exams.

This weekend a high-ranking officer said: “The British Army was Milos’s life. But it has been-ripped from him and he’s just been left to twist in the wind for 20 months. It’s scandalous and an awful waste when the army desperately needs men of his calibre, knowledge and expertise in the Balkans.”

01 June 2007

Fair Deal for Daniel James?

I put a post on The Army Rumour Service forum concerning the Daniel James espionage case. The post was up on the forum for barely 10 minutes before it was taken down by the moderator (and was viewed 32 times!).

The post was based on public domain material, and it seems that ARRSE is scared of repeating what the rest of the public are allowed to see. This is censorship - or is this site under the control of the British intelligence services?

Take a look at my post (below) and see if you think I have done anything wrong. After all, there are plenty of other near-the-knuckle posts with bad language and extreme comments on the ARRSE forums.

Could it be that we are getting too near the truth with references to CIA involvement, and the obvious use of ECHELON to snoop on a British army general?

Joined: Jun 02, 2007 Posts: 1

Fair deal for Daniel James?
Posted: Sat Jun 02, 2007 1:08 am

I don't understand why Corporal James is apparently being deprived of his right to an honest, fair and just Court Martial.

I don't understand how he came to be arrested by civilian police, and why he has been confined in a civilian prison whilst awaiting a civilian trial. I can only guess why.

James is being accused of having an intent to commit an offence against Section 1 of the Armed Forces Act 2006, but he is being prosecuted under Section 1 of the much maligned Official Secrets Act of 1911. This has brought Cpl James into the hands of the civilian police and their much maligned criminal justice system.

Why should this be? Could it be that the last 3 or 4 alleged identical offences - Carole Maychell, Milos Stankovic, Nigel Wylde, etc - that have followed the correct path of Court Martial, all resulted in the exoneration of the above named. Whereas, those civilians who have faced the same charge, but under the Official Secrets Act, have all been convicted after trials riddled with alleged instances of corruption, perjury, trial and jury rigging, tame judges prosecutors and witnesses; in other words the traditional bent old bill fit-up, followed by a rigged trial and years of Appeals.

Is it that the powers that be are particularly anxious to run this trial in camera to hide from the public what is freely being discussed in the various rumour mills, for example as on the Postman Patel blog.

The situation is that Corporal James is a Territorial soldier, of good character, who was serving his country as a volunteer in a war zone, in a responsible position as an aide to the GOC, when he was accused of formulating an intent to commit an offence against Section 1 of the Armed Forces Act 2006.

If anybody has the right to face a Court Martial, it must surely be this man? And the question must be - why is he being deprived of this right? Could there be any connection to the allegations about the CIA involvement, the illegal tapping of the GOC's phone by the CIA, who were allegedly the informants against James in the first instance. This was apparently an attempt by our US allies to discredit our Brit GOC. Also, it now seems (as Lord Patel says) James was just the unfortunate 'Piggy in the middle'.

I would like to hear from anybody who could make a contribution.