MI5, MI6 and the Shayler Affair by Annie Machon (Book Guild, 2005)I desperately wanted to change MI5 so that it performed a useful job well and lawfully, but I did not then feel that I would have been able to do that either from outside the organisation or from a lower level job. In every potential situation, I therefore came up against a dead end. To complain would mark you out as a troublemaker. To leave took you outside any potential ability to alter things. --
But I soon realised that people regarded you with suspicion if you asked too many questions, so I learned to keep quiet ... I knew that open protest was not likely to to be successful. If one got a reputation as a revolutionary, one would be regarded as suspect and written off. --
Dame Stella Rimington, former Director General MI5
I know all too well that I'm taking on the Establishment, but I am no traitor. All I am guilty off is exposing wrongdoing at the highest level. As a result of that my life has been changed irrevocably. This is not the prosecution of someone who has given away State secrets, but of someone who has embarrassed the Government. --
You are working for an intelligence agency and you find it to be rotten to the core. What do you do: do you keep your head down and pretend not to notice what is going on all around you, do you raise your concerns with your superiors, or do you go public with what you know?
This was the dilemma facing David Shayler, an intelligence officer in MI5, the British internal intelligence agency. David Shayler took the riskiest option of the three and went public with what he knew, in doing so putting his life and freedom at risk.
MI5 and the government went on the offensive, doing their best to discredit David Shayler and the sordid tale he had to tell. Facing arrest and possible imprisonment, David Shayler fled to France.
In the meantime, Annie Machon, David's girlfriend and herself an MI5 officer, appalled at the treatment of David, went public too to say that what he was telling was the truth.
And if that was not enough, Richard Tomlinson, an MI6 officer, spoke out at the abuses and lack of accountability at MI6.
David Shayler voluntarily returned from France to face trial. He was one of the first to try to make use of the Human Rights Act, which should guarantee the right to a fair hearing.
Unfortunately it was anything but. What David Shayler faced was a political show trial. He was even gagged and not allowed to speak in his own defence....read more