31 July 2007

Martin Winstone of MBDA and the ALARM missile

I have been trying now for many years to resolve a key issue that arose at my trial, and which was fundamental to my conviction for espionage. This issue concerns a 9-page document marked RESTRICTED, which had been approved on 8 January 1982 by Martin Winstone. Mr Winstone at that time was an employee of Marconi Dynamics (Stanmore, Middlesex), but he currently works at MBDA (Stevenage).

Before my trial this document had been considered merely as a small part of the exhibits (Exhibit pages 51-59), and it had not received a lot of attention from the Prosecution witnesses. Apparently this lack of attention was a deliberate Prosecution trick, to avoid alerting the Defence team to the fact that this document would become the key exhibit during the trial. The RESTRICTED document can now be viewed on the Cryptome website.

The distribution list for this document contains a total of 16 individuals, but prior to my trial not one of them was interviewed by the police about the document’s significance. It was left to a MoD scientist, Professor Meirion Francis Lewis, to identify its use on the ALARM missile (he had never worked on this project).

It would seem remarkable enough, if it was possible for Professor Lewis to reach that conclusion himself, but he implicated others in this task. He explained from the witness box that, on the morning he was giving testimony (11 October 1993), he had been informed on the telephone by Marconi’s Technical Director that the document was used on ALARM.

The impression given by the sequence of events was that Professor Lewis had received this information from the “horse’s mouth”, from the Technical Director of the company that was responsible for designing ALARM.

It was not until July 2006 that I learned the identity of that Technical Director, whose name is Reginald Humphryes. The story then starts to look suspicious, because Mr Humphryes was the Technical Director of Marconi Defence Systems, which was NOT responsible for the ALARM project at all. The division of the company that worked on ALARM was Marconi Dynamics, which Mr Humphryes was not associated with.

Mr Humphryes could not remember any discussion with Professor Lewis regarding the RESTRICTED document, and neither could he have linked it to ALARM from his own knowledge, because he was not involved with the ALARM project. Mr Humphryes said he would have asked somebody in Marconi Dynamics to answer that question, and one of the people he mentioned as a possible source was Martin Winstone.

In January 2007 I traced Reginald Humphryes and phoned him about a couple of points that bothered me. Mr Humphryes admitted to me that he knew no more about ALARM than any layman might have learned from the public domain. Therefore, he would not have been in a position to have commented with any authority about the link between the RESTRICTED document and the ALARM missile project. In fact, Mr Humphryes said he could not remember who he might have got that information from, and so the origin of the evidence given by Professor Lewis is now impossible to confirm. What this story does prove, however, is that the link to ALARM given in court relies on third hand hearsay evidence.

Considering Reginald Humphryes unsuitability as an expert on ALARM, I asked him why he thought Professor Lewis would have contacted him about such a matter. Rather worryingly, I learned that Professor Lewis and Reginald Humphryes had been old friends, and so the reason Professor Lewis contacted Mr Humphryes had nothing to do with finding an accurate source of information about the RESTRICTED document.

So, putting aside for a moment the difficulty of confirming where Professor Lewis’s evidence about a link to ALARM had come from, he did make some bold statements about the information contained in that RESTRICTED document. According to Professor Lewis the document contained important information about the ALARM missile and how it functioned, and he claimed that this information would allow an enemy to jam the missile and stop it working.

As far as I can see, the important aspects of Professor Lewis’s evidence boil down to just two key points: was the RESTRICTED document:

(1) Used on the ALARM missile at the date of my arrest (August 1992)?

(2) Contain information that would enable the ALARM missile to be jammed?

My Member of Parliament, Mr Andrew Mackinlay, failed to get an answer from the Ministry of Defence on these points, and so far the Criminal Cases Review Commission has not fared particularly well in establishing the truth either. In an attempt to resolve these questions, which I feel are at the heart of my case, the CCRC decided to call upon Martin Winstone as the expert who could offer us the answers we needed.

Unfortunately, when it came, Mr Winstone’s reply was somewhat ambiguously worded, and it leaves open the possibility that the RESTRICTED document was not used on ALARM missiles in service at August 1992. I was not happy with Mr Winstone’s answers, and so I phoned him in January 2007 to clarify a couple of points that needed more detail. Mr Winstone was clearly not comfortable discussing even the generalities of the issues, and I got nowhere. I still had to make my points to him, and so I sent Martin Winstone an email outlining my concerns.

Date: Wed, 3 Jan 2007
From: mike smith
To: martin.winstone
Subject: Technical evidence submitted to the CCRC

Dear Mr Winstone,

Thank you for speaking with me on the telephone this afternoon, and I apologise if I was putting you in an awkward position regarding the statement you previously made to the CCRC. I am not trying to make you say anything that is not true, because I am only after the truth.

I just want you to know that the issues I raised with you are very important to me, because it was Professor Meirion Lewis’s evidence that the SAW filter specified in the “restricted” document was in fact identical to that used in the ALARM missile when it went into service. That may or may not be true, but I have never seen any evidence to support that proposition.

As a result of Professor Lewis’s evidence I spent 10 years and 3 months in prison, my wife divorced me, I lost my home, and I am now unemployable. Effectively my life has been ruined. So, I hope you can at least understand why I want to know that my conviction was justified on technical grounds.

The claim that I was intending to give the document to a Russian was undermined by the Head of MI5 (Stella Rimington) when she stated that there was no evidence I had ever met anybody in the Russian intelligence services, and the Russian defector who had been named as my “handler” admitted he had never recruited me as an agent. These issues were conveniently hidden away behind an “in camera” trial.

I may be right or I may be wrong in the understanding I have of the technical evidence, but I think it only fair that I send you a copy of the arguments submitted to the CCRC on my behalf in 2003, which you will find attached as a Word document. I will send you a longer document containing the sources quoted, if you are interested. I do not expect you to compromise any classified project, but I would be interested to know if you can criticise any of the points made in the attached document.

This submission to the CCRC does not include the point, only revealed later, that the Technical Director Professor Lewis contacted was Dr Reginald Humphryes, who in 1993 (at the time of my trial) was Technical Director at Marconi Defence Systems. Dr Humphryes not only cannot remember Professor Lewis contacting him, but it seems Dr Humphryes was not even responsible for the ALARM project at that time. No doubt you will be more familiar than I am with the hierarchy within Marconi.

Kind regards,
Michael John Smith

I was surprised that Mr Winstone felt it necessary to have a representative of MBDA’s legal Department telephone me and ask me not to contact him in future. I asked if this was a threat that some legal action might ensue, if I did not heed this advice, and I was told that this was not a formal warning of any kind.

On 12 February 2007 I made further submissions to the CCRC regarding this issue about ALARM, and considering Martin Winstone’s rather evasive behaviour I made a concerted effort to make my point as bluntly as possible. All military projects operate a system of
Configuration Management, which means that the build state of any particular weapon can be easily confirmed through a tightly controlled identification and documentation system. I knew this must apply to the ALARM missile, and so I insisted that we be informed whether issue 2 of the RESTRICTED document was listed on the parts list for ALARM missiles at August 1992.

I predicted that, if there was anything wrong with the evidence given by Professor Meirion Francis Lewis at my trial, then this issue of Configuration Management would resolve any confusion. I received a letter from the CCRC dated 19 July 2007, and sadly Martin Winstone has so far failed to provide the answers requested. I phoned my casework manager at the CCRC to enquire what the problem was, and I was told that it was probably “red tape” and due to the “sensitivity of the information”.

It is hard to comprehend how a document, now more than 25 years old, can still be considered so sensitive. No doubt MBDA or the MoD can come up with an explanation for this, although I doubt they will want to reveal the truth. When the matter is so simple, why should there be so much fuss about it? Is it possible that scientists and engineers are covering up the truth for some reason? I certainly have the feeling that there has been some conspiracy amongst the scientists and engineers involved in my case to prevent the truth being revealed.

And that brings me back to the source of that link between the RESTRICTED document and the ALARM missile. Could it be that Martin Winstone was the man who told Reginald Humphryes, who told Professor Lewis, who then told the court that the RESTRICTED document was used on ALARM? Certainly Martin Winstone must be one of the few people to have been involved in the history of that RESTRICTED document, over the more than 25 years of its life. Perhaps his knowledge of what went on at my trial is the reason why Martin Winstone has been so reluctant to answer simple questions with straight answers?

However, one thing is certain - while the truth remains buried I shall have to dig even deeper to expose it.

30 July 2007

I’m No Spy by Laura Smith

On 5 June 2007 I gave an interview to Laura Smith, a journalist at the Echo. It is impossible to cover all the details of my story in a short article, but I gave her as much information I could to understand the background to my case.

I made the point to Laura that I felt the Official Secrets Act is often used to prevent embarrassing revelations about sinister government activity, and that I felt it was legitimate for such information to be leaked. There have been a number of such cases over the years, including the Clive Ponting case, but more recent OSA victims include the imprisonment of David Keogh & Leo O’Connor, and other cases such as Katharine Gun and Sarah Tisdall.

Laura did make a mistake about one point however; I was on the same wing as Donald Nielsen ("The Black Panther"), not Dennis Nilsen.

The article was published in the Echo on 7 June and is printed below.

A convicted spy jailed for selling military secrets to the Russians is still fighting to clear his name.

Michael John Smith was found guilty in 1993 of three offences under the Official Secrets Act and jailed with high-risk offenders. He served ten years.

He has now applied to the Criminal Cases Review Commission in the hope of overturning the conviction.

Mr Smith, 58, was accused of making £20,000 by selling secret documents, including details of a missile project, to KGB double agent Viktor Oshchenko.

The former Communist Party member worked at a research centre with Ministry of Defence contracts.

Why I am fighting to clear my name

A spy who was sentenced to 25 years in prison for selling military secrets to the Russians is still trying to clear his name.

Michael John Smith, 58, has protested his innocence since he was arrested in 1992 for espionage and sent to Full Sutton Prison in Yorkshire.

Mr Smith was eventually found guilty of three offences under the Official Secrets Act after a trial at the Old Bailey in November 1993.

His case is now being reviewed by the Criminal Cases Review Commission, which has already rejected a previous appeal. During his trial, he was accused of passing on top secret documents relating to the ALARM system, an anti-radar device that can jam missiles.

Mr Smith worked as a quality assurance engineer for Thorn EMI Defence Electronics, which had contracts with the Ministry of Defence. He then went on to do similar work at the Hirst Research Centre in Wembley - a research laboratory for GEC Marconi, which is also contracted to the MoD.

The prosecution claimed he used his position to obtain top secret documents. He was then contacted by KGB double agent Viktor Oshchenko to sell the papers and made £20,000 cash.

However, Mr Smith insists the papers related to satellite dishes and were not secret. He claims he passed them on to an Englishman called Harry Williams, who he thought was just a commercial rival, but now believes to be an MI5 agent.

He said: “He arranged to meet me in local places like Harrow town centre and gave me cash.

“It was always in £50 notes, brand new pound notes, which seemed very odd. It seemed it was a risk doing that. I suppose if he was MI5 and getting that money, they’d get that out of the bank.

“But I’ve heard the KGB would use old notes in small denominations because it’s easier to get lost in the system.”

Mr Smith said he was under threat of being made redundant and had decided to sell on old documents which were mainly about technology used in satellite dishes. He first received a phone call at work, and once received a letter in relation to meetings. But soon after he and his contact decided at each rendezvous where they would next meet.

He explained: “I thought it was easy money. I know it’s wrong. There are a lot of people who, if they are put in that situation and realise they are under threat of redundancy, would just take the risk.”

Mr Smith was arrested after police staged a phone call to his home, asking him if he knew a man called Viktor and telling him to meet at a phone box in 15 minutes.

He was photographed at the booth and later arrested by police, when he screamed out: “You are not the police. I know who you are. I am being kidnapped. Help me!”

Mr Smith insists this was police entrapment and that he had only responded to the call because he had been curious about people lurking around his flat in recent weeks, and was still groggy after a night out drinking at a restaurant.

His car and house were searched, and a map of Portugal was found with crosses marked on it, which the prosecution claimed related to a training mission he had been on in the town of Oporto in 1977. Mr Smith insists this was simply a travel map he had used for a recent holiday to the country, and that the crosses were to mark things such as restaurants, camp sites and bus stops. In the boot of his car, police found a plastic bag full of documents. Among them were handwritten notes headed “Micromachining Project”, “Micron-Valve Project” and other subjects. A document was also found which an expert at his trial linked to the ALARM project.

Other documents were found in his drawer which police claimed were KGB “tradecraft” papers. Mr Smith had joined the Communist Party when he was 24 and had gone on to become the secretary of the Kingston branch of the Young Communist League. The prosecution in his trial claim he decided to defect after meeting Oshchenko, and left the party abruptly so he could go underground and appear respectable - gaining access to important information.

His clearance was high enough for him to be compelled to sign the Official Secrets Act twice.

He is angry because he felt his case was under-funded, and he had only one expert witness to counter the prosecution’s team of experts. He was also prevented from contacting the media while in prison for reasons of national security, until he sought a judicial review.

Mr Smith served ten years and was released on probation in 2002. He lives in a small, yet carefully furnished flat, where he’s in constant fear he is being bugged or watched.

Recently he received information he had been under surveillance in the past. The informant relayed details to him, such as a team of builders who spent a whole day by his car, and an incident in which Mr Smith had walked past two cars that almost crashed.

He said he had now lost faith in the system and the worthiness of the Official Secrets Act.

He said: “I don’t think selling secrets is always wrong; I’m not talking about military secrets.

“The Official Secrets Act is not about protecting secrets necessarily - it’s about preventing embarrassment.”

Timeline of a spy

1972 Joined the Communist Party

1976 Started work as quality assurance engineer at Thorn EMI Defence Electronics in Middlesex. Had security clearance up to level of “secret”.

1977 Trip to Oporto in Portugal. Prosecution said this was for KGB training. Smith claims it was just a holiday.

1992 Arrested for espionage after police called his home pretending to be agents.

1993 Smith convicted of three offences under the Official Secrets Act. He is sentenced to 25 years.

1995 Smith’s appeal is quashed, but sentence is reduced by five years because there is no proof of which documents he passed on.

2007 CCRC opens another review at the request of Smith.

Locked up with IRA and murderers

Michael Smith spent his first two years in jail living with category A prisoners in Full Sutton Prison - including murderers and members of the IRA.

The 58-year-old was incarcerated on a high-security wing of the Yorkshire prison before being downgraded to category B.

He said: “There were a few occasions you’d find somebody gets stabbed over a fight, usually over something trivial.

“People had been attacked for £10 of drugs; it’s incredible. People had their cells burnt because they didn’t pay their drug dealer.”

At one point, he was placed on the same wing as Jeremy Bamber, who was imprisoned for shooting dead his adoptive parents, sister, and his twin six-year-old nephews in Tolleshunt D’Arcy, near Maldon, in 1985. Mr Smith was also on the same wing as infamous serial killer Dennis Nilsen, who murdered and mutilated lovers he brought back to his apartment.

Nilsen was sentenced to life imprisonment in 1983 for the murder of six people and attempted murder of two others. Despite this gruesome company, Smith found many inmates who were “not much different from anybody else” - including members of the IRA.

He said: “Some of them are now in government in Ireland.

“They were an inspiration. They would stand up for their rights.”

Mr Smith said what affected him more than anything else during his time at Full Sutton was when there was a riot in January 1997.

He said: “Two wings were destroyed and it was all over nothing. I think there was a lot of tension at that time over new regimes coming in. Some of the prisoners didn’t like what was going on - it all exploded.

“I just locked myself in my cell.”

The next day the prisoners were all moved and Smith found himself at Wakefield prison, locked up with sex offenders and paedophiles, where he says he kept himself to himself.

During his time in prison he also divorced from his wife Pamela Winter, whom he had married in 1979.

Michael Smith has offered his support to a man who is facing trial under the Official Secrets Act.

Mr Smith has been writing letters of advice to Daniel James, a corporal who has been accused of passing secret information to Iran about military operations in Afghanistan. James appeared before City of Westminster Magistrates’ in December 2006, but it could take a year for his trial to be heard. Mr Smith has been contacting James’s defence team about how to tackle a case under the Official Secrets Act, which he believes is usually weighted against the defence.

He wrote: “It will not affect me if you are found guilty and receive a ten or 15-year prison sentence, but I do not want that to happen if you are an innocent man. Probably, you think your defence is being correctly dealt with by your solicitors, and so I wish you good luck that you can defeat the prosecution’s arguments at your trial.

“If you think I can help you, I will do anything I can to assist you.

“Meanwhile, try to keep positive and remember the next few months are the most important time to prepare yourself for trial.”

29 July 2007

Official Secrets Act Section 1 cases

I noticed that Spyblog has commented on my previous post about Daniel James NOT being the first Official Secrets Act case since the Cold War.

Spyblog has also made the point that there was another case under Section 1, in which Katharine Gun had been charged with leaking information that the USA planned to bug the offices of certain countries at the United Nations. This was an attempt to gain acceptance for the US's illegal policy to invade Iraq.

It was not entirely clear why the Gun case was dropped, but it is likely it was the concern of the British government, and their intelligence services, that the Prosecution would be required to reveal more sensitive information and documents during the trial.

Hopefully something similar will apply in the Daniel James case, because the Prosecution will be required to explain how they came by the evidence to charge Daniel, and whether that evidence was obtained by legal methods.

15 July 2007

Disinformation about Daniel James

It was refreshing on 13th July to see Daniel James stand up before an Old Bailey judge, and at that hearing demand his right to face a Court Martial. The offences Daniel is alleged to have committed relate back to his Army service in Afghanistan during 2006, and so he should have been given the choice of trial by military justice. Instead a Crown Court trial is being forced onto Daniel against his wishes.

Daniel James in Afghanistan

Rather than reveal the true allegations against Daniel, the Criminal Prosecution Service decided to confuse the public by focusing attention on the information contained in a “USB computer device”. This is nothing but a diversion, because the Prosecution know full well that there is nothing damaging to national interests on that device. No doubt the release of this “evidence” was designed to give the impression that Daniel was found in possession of military secrets - nothing could be further from the truth. Why do they not disclose the true details explaining what Daniel’s case is all about?

The other lie being put out by British intelligence is that Daniel James ‘is the first person for more than 20 years to be tried for spying’ (Matthew Moore, Daily Telegraph), and that this is ‘Britain’s first spy trial since the Cold War’ (Peter Graff, Reuters). It has also been widely publicised that there has not been an Official Secrets Act trial in Britain since that of Michael Bettany in 1984.

This is clearly disinformation, and it is not hard to understand for whose benefit it is intended. Anybody who has followed history will know that there have been several Official Secrets Act cases since 1984. Notably, AFTER the Cold War ended I went through an OSA trial in 1993, followed by Rafael Juan Bravo in 2001 and Ian Parr in 2003. Is the public meant to simply forget about our cases! No, what the Prosecution want you to forget is that I was found “guilty” based on false evidence and tricks, and Bravo and Parr were convicted due to MI5 entrapment operations.

So, for what purpose could it be that you are expected to believe Daniel James’ trial will be the first spy trial since 1984? It would not be a good idea to compare Daniel’s trial with the false evidence and frame-up used in my trial and those of Bravo and Parr, so what better way to cover up the dirt than to pretend that our trials never took place? Write us out of history by a process of judicial cleansing. This then leaves the way open for the media to play up and exaggerate the importance of the Daniel James’ trial, and if the Prosecution manage to convict him he will be given a sentence out of all proportion to the trivial nature of his alleged offences. I’ve seen it all before, it happened to me, and poor Daniel is being prepared for the same fate.

Another of the errors published in the past couple of days was the claim that Daniel James was in Woodhill prison (Matthew Moore and BBC report). Daniel has never been in Woodhill; he is currently at Wandsworth prison.

These errors in the reports about Daniel’s case could be seen as mistakes or oversights by journalists. However, these false details then get copied throughout the media, and become a permanent record for future readers to be misled by. If so blatant and easily disprovable fabrications are circulated, then what other lies have been told about the Daniel James case?

Daniel now has a long wait until February 5, when his trial is scheduled to start. Don’t be fooled by the false stories you read about this case.