I came across a recent article in the Observer by Euan Ferguson that attracted my attention, in which he attempts to be humorous about spies and the game of spying. Unfortunately, to people like me, this business is far from funny when you have spent over ten years locked up in prison for espionage activities that never actually happened.
I decided that I should invite Euan to investigate a real story, and to offer a public service by uncovering the truth about my “spy” case. See my open e-mail to Euan Ferguson below:
I have only just noticed your article in the Observer of 2 December: "Spies; I want them to be very boring". I presume that the reference in your article to "Mike Smith" refers to me, and that "Peter Hill" is the Peter Hill arrested last month, as yet another alleged top-level Russian spy?
I agree with you that this whole business of spying should be more boring, but it seems that when it does get interesting then this is the very time that journalists like you choose to bury your heads in the sand.
I'll tell you the true spy story, and dare you to print it. On my blog I have published almost too much detail about my conviction as a "KGB spy", and most of my legal documents and all of those top secret exhibits are now published on the Internet for everybody to read. So, there is no excuse for any journalist to say that they were prevented from knowing about the "secrets" that I was convicted of betraying during my in camera trial.
Far from there being evidence that I was meeting a Russian intelligence officer, and handing over sensitive national secrets, the Prosecution offered up evidence of a tourist map of Oporto from one of my holidays, and a bungled entrapment operation by Special Branch on the morning of my arrest. There was no evidence of a real spying operation, because even Stella Rimington (remember her?) had to testify that MI5 had no evidence I had met any Russian intelligence officers.
I am sure the jury were heavily influenced by the claim that I had put British serviceman's lives at risk through my possession of a document, dated 1982 and marked "restricted", which it was claimed was used on ALARM missiles in service during the Gulf War of 1991. It is now known that this document was made obsolete in 1984, and superseded by a different document that was actually "unclassified". And I wonder just what effect that evidence would have had on my jury - if they had had the chance to hear it?
This is where the story gets vague, and needs the expertise of a journalist such as you to dig for the truth. Somebody decided it was not necessary to interview any of the 16 people who had been on the circulation list of that "restricted" document, all of whom should have known that the document was made obsolete in 1984. 1984 - it has even got a hint of George Orwell about it, hasn't it? As a consequence my Defence lawyers and the whole courtroom were deceived into believing that an old obsolete document was still in use on the current production of ALARM missiles.
Whether this miscarriage of justice at my trial was due to incompetence, or mistakes, or the deliberate actions of wicked people, is not within my knowledge to prove. However, to those who seek the truth and wish to make public the failings of a real “spy” trial, then my case is crying out for the attention of the best investigative journalists. It may not have the glamour of the James Bond style that is considered sexy, but rather than fiction this is a real story about real people and actual events.
Oh yes, and I shall print this email on my blog to show the world what a scoop I have given to you on a plate.