05 February 2007

Holiday in Portugal or KGB operation?

Those readers who have managed to struggle through any of the "The Mitrokhin Archive" (1999) - that intensely boring book by Professor Christopher Andrew - will realise it makes War & Peace seem like an easy page-turner in comparison.

Everybody knows that Andrew is a puppet and mouthpiece for the British intelligence services, so you would expect him to be privy to some pretty important and compelling information. It is disappointing therefore that much of his revelations about my case appear to have been cobbled together from old newspaper articles, rather than the fresh and accurate "intelligence" you might have expected from one so exalted as he.

I just want to concentrate on one issue here. I want you to find for me, in Andrew's "Archive", where he identifies me being sent to Oporto on a KGB training mission. After all Andrew, unlike our elected leaders, was alone given sight of Mitrokhin's scraps of paper revealing what the KGB is alleged to have known about me.

This was a key issue that led to my conviction: the fact that I had saved an old street map of Oporto, from my holiday in Portugal in 1977. The crosses and marks on this map were indicative of KGB instructions, Oleg Gordievsky had claimed at my trial in 1993. As this was such a vital part of the Prosecution case, this one small map was used to allow in all sorts of other evidence, such as the role of the American KGB recruit Mr E, and the use of Portugal as a place where the KGB used to meet its agents. It was a very damaging map to my Defence at trial, simply because I had kept the map in a drawer for 15 years as a memento of that holiday.

So where is this Oporto operation referred to in the "Archive". I would be very interested if you can point me to it. Please let me know on which page I will be able to find it. If you cannot find a reference to Oporto, then ask Christopher Andrew to point out where that detail is located in his book. You can contact Professor Christopher Andrew at Cambridge University:

Corpus Christi College
Tel: (+44) (0)1223 335340

I shall return to this matter in a later post, because the full story is rather interesting.

Now, I would like to introduce you to some "unused" evidence. This was a Witness Statement taken by Special Branch police from my friend John Watson. The reason it is called "unused" is because this was evidence that was not considered useful to the Prosecution at my trial.

You may ask: "why was it not useful, if Mr Watson referred to the holiday in 1977"? Well, that is a good point, and it shows that the Prosecution is not interested in the truth, but merely to show the jury all the evdience that they believe would lead to a conviction. Despite my protestations that I was only on a holiday in 1977, here we have the Prosecution saying "no, we have removed all the evidence that suggests it was a holiday, which allows us to conclude it was a KGB mission"

Here is John's evidence to the police:

Witness Statement


John Philip Watson

Dated 15 September 1992

On Tuesday 15th September 1992 at my home address I met with Detective Inspector Nicolson and Detective Sergeant Walsh of Special Branch, New Scotland Yard, who told me that Michael Smith, an ex friend of mine, had been detained in connection with offences against the Official Secrets Act. In respect of Michael Smith, who I know as Mick, I can recall the following. I met Mick in 1974/5 when we shared ex-council accommodation in Norbiton, Surrey with Philip Cutler and Clive, whose surname I cannot remember. In 1975/6 we moved to a flat at 65A St Albans Road, Kingston, Surrey which was shared by Phil Cutler also, until Phil Cutler left about 1976. My last personal meeting with Mick was at his flat in Burton Road, Kingston while I was still at St Albans Road. The landlord up till about 1977/8 was Christopher Berry. The last time I spoke to him was around 1988 when he telephoned me at my home. In the period I knew him we were friends until 1978/9 as a result of two of his relationships with women caused friction between us. The first of these was a woman called Maggie Bennett around 1977, he was passionately involved with her but she did not share the same interest. This relationship ended with him pestering her by late night visits and making a nuisance of himself. I did not like this aspect of it. In 1979 he met with Pamela, who I believe he met through a dating agency. Something about her personality conflicted with everyone in my social circle. I had no desire to meet them socially. I can recall Mick as being interested in music, particularly Flamenco guitar and guitar playing. I don’t recall him being interested in playing any sport. In this time I remember Mick being a member of the Communist Party and Young Communist League. He made no secret of his politics and for as long as I can remember he did not change his political views. I can remember him being active in politics and trade union activities but this tailed off towards the end of the time I knew him, approx 1979. I think this is because he became more interested in improving life style, earning and settling down. We did have a mutual friend in Tim Summers, who I introduced him to in 1974/5. As I remember Tim was a member of the W.R.P. Of possible eastern block contacts I can recall only him talking about a meeting with a correspondent from one of those countries. Mick’s account was memorable because of a reply to a question from Mick about trotskyists being a problem, and the man telling him that he should sort the problem out. My memory of a 6' x 4' portrait of Lenin was at his request I should paint one to decorate a hall for a meeting around 1977/8. Of a holiday we spent in France, Spain and Portugal, I can remember the following. It was around June and July of 1977 for 3 to 4 weeks. I believe Mick suggested we go on this holiday because of a car he had recently acquired, an orange Triumph Spitfire. I believe Mick must have made the arrangements and bought the tickets and maps. I do not recall making any arrangements or purchasing any maps prior to the holiday. I believe we had a lose plan of the route we would take and this led us through France into northern Spain along the west coast into Portugal, where we visited only Oporto, and then into Spain again where after various stops we returned east coast northwards through France and back to England. As best I recall we spent the 1st night sleeping in car in France, then travelled south, camped in Biarritz, and then went to Spain via San Sebastian. We camped somewhere on a site on the north coast. We then went direct to Oporto where we spent 2/3 nights. In Oporto I can remember only walking around the town, visiting the port lodges, visiting a tower by a bridge, and a Fado restaurant, and we spent most of the time together and never using any form of transport. I do not recall going anywhere on my own. I do not recall visiting any tourist offices. I would think we have used the campsite office for any information. The most memorable occasion was a local festival at a place called Vitoria, where we met local people who invited us to return the following night. We declined as we were leaving the next day. I think this was after we visited the Fado restaurant, which featured children dancing in a local style. I had no map, I think Mick must of had a map to find our way there. I do not recall meeting any particular person; we did not speak the language. I do not recall myself or Mick using the telephone during our stay there or at anytime on this holiday. My only recollection of bars we used was of one in the main square, which I think we visited twice. I cannot remember how or why we used that particular campsite in Porto. I certainly did no research into the selection of this or any other campsite used on the holiday. After Porto we went straight to Madrid and there after to the best of my knowledge to Granada, Seville, Fuengirola, Benidorm and then travelled north to Sitges. We stayed in a mixture of campsites and hotels at these locations, the average duration of each stay was about 2 or 3 days. Detective Inspector Nicolson showed me a photocopy of a map, which I recognise as of being of Oporto. I do not recall seeing this map before and I did not have one myself. I note there are crosses and marks on this map, but they have no significance for me. I can recall the main square, which has been circled, and walking round there on more than one occasion, this was the location of a bar we visited, I cannot recall being alone there at any time. I suppose this must be the map he had at the time, one of the crosses appears to relate to the Fado restaurant and another to the bar in the centre of town. I was then shown two further photocopies, one of which appears to be the campsite and the other appears to relate to the Fado restaurant. Mick probably got these from the campsite office, the handwriting on them was not mine, the times shown possibly relate to the starting time of a coach trip to the restaurant at 8 o’clock, but we went there on foot. I’m curious as to why he kept them all this time, they are not particularly interesting things to keep. On the campsite map areas circled and those marked with crosses are of no significance to me. I have timed, dated and signed the three maps shown to me in photocopy form. In the period that I knew Mick he was at Rediffusion as a development engineer, and then around 1976/1977 he moved to EMI at Feltham, where as far as I can recall he was involved in Electronics, and later he moved to EMI in Hayes where he was involved in the development of a medical scanner. When he talked about work it was about salary, job satisfaction. I do not remember him as being ambitious in wanting to achieve high status, but was interested in self improvement and further education.

Signed J.P. Watson
Signature witnessed by M. Nicolson D/I

John Watson Witness Statement page 1

John Watson Witness Statement page 2

John Watson Witness Statement page 3

John Watson Witness Statement page 4