Since 1997, when ex-MI5 Officers David Shayler & Annie Machon first went public with their claims about MI5 incompetence and MI6 wrong-doing, Notes From the Borderland (hereafter NFB) was on the case, subjecting their revelations to critical scrutiny in a way few others have, and none consistently. For almost the same time-period, we have been trying to get them to answer the increasingly troublesome questions and inconsistencies revealed by such scrutiny. Finally, some of these matters, & others arising from Machon's 2005 book 'Spies Lies & Whistleblowers', got a contested airing for the first time.
The NFB critique has developed over time, as genuine investigations should. The first, and most substantial in terms of length, coverage to date was in NFB issue 2. We considered various motives, including possible ongoing links with elements (as opposed to the leadership) of MI5 itself. The contradiction between a concern for MI5 'efficiency' and the defence of civil liberties, both causes espoused by Shayler/Machon, was discussed. His early foray into Libyan affairs, fingering that country for the 1988 Lockerbie bombing tragedy, was sceptically examined. As too the strange treatment given by Shayler to revelations about Peter Mandelson's MI5 file. A crucial area where NFB parts company from Shayler/Machon is their oft-repeated contention MI5 no longer monitors 'subversives', a situation they immodestly claim results from their own activities inside MI5. This we disagree with, instead contending many such people have merely been reclassified as 'terrorists'.
Examination of what is publicly known about MI5 operations against the Far Left (SWP, Class War), Far Right (especially Combat 18) & the Green movement, including revelations in various court cases, during the exact period Shayler/Machon were in MI5, tend (in our opinion) to support that view rather than the ex-MI5 officers. The sleights of bureaucratic hand used by MI5 to retain reclassified files was also explored. The uncritical way in which Shayler/Machon were welcomed into the bosom of civil rights organisation Liberty was also raised.
Finally, the article asked questions of Shayler/Machon concerning MI5 operations in specific areas/target groups. To date no formal answer has been received.
NFB issue 3 briefly returned to the Shayler affair, again discussing his views on Libya/Lockerbie, and the Hollingsworth/Fielding book putting Shayler's case in print, albeit mediated via them. His coverage of MI5's anti-IRA strategy also received some critical commentary. NFB issue 4 recorded an unsuccessful attempt to bring Shayler/Machon to account in Sheffield, and reprinted the catchily-titled leaflet 'Some Questions For David Shayler & Anne Machon'.
These concerned--highly selective disclosure of past/ongoing MI5 operations
--redefining subversion: an MI5 conjuring trick revealed?
--Libya, Lockerbie & Tomlinson: Time for some truth. .....and are still relevant today.
NFB issue 5 covered Shayler's 2002 trial and imprisonment for passing MI5 documents to the press, and after reiterating our total opposition to that trial, and his incarceration, looked at both his self-perception as an 'enemy of the state' and the ongoing spreading by Shayler of what we see as disinformation concerning the anarchist group Class War, using Bristol-based conspiracy theorist Tony Gosling as a conduit.
We were going to give Shayler a rest (!) but as NFB issue 6 was in preparation, news came through both that Shayler was planning to contest Tony Blair's Sedgefield constituency at the imminent General Election, and that Anne Machon's long-mooted book was nearing publication. Particularly intriguing were Mail on Sunday (30/1/05) claims that Tony Benn and TGWU veteran Jack Jones were involved in passing Polaris missile secrets to the USSR. That story was analysed, as too (again) various Middle Eastern matters including Libya. This allowed us to place on the record our agreement with Shayler that the two people jailed for the 1994 Israeli embassy bombing were fitted up, & MOSSAD most likely bombed the building themselves. Shayler and Machon's self-perception was also critiqued, and NFB issue 6 reiterated our long-standing view that until Machon & Shayler come clean on all key questions, the Left/Greens should give them a wide berth, for security reasons.
To put things in context, the book 'Turning Up the Heat:MI5 After the Cold War' covers MI5's domestic dissident agenda at precisely the time Machon & Shayler worked there, and as such provides an 'alternative history' of things they look at--as well as some they don't, for whatever reason.
THE 21/6/05 O'HARA/SHAYLER DEBATE (LONDON)
Steve Booth (Green Anarchist editor) wrote a very useful summary of proceedings which can be found at www.bluegreenearth.us/archive/article/2005/booth-1-2005.html.
Subsequently, things have hotted up somewhat.
In particular, Shayler/Machon & a well organised clique comprising of transatlantic goons & 9/11 'conspiraloons' mounted an unannounced intervention at the (London) Anarchist bookfair 22/10/05. On this occasion, despite attempted intimidation from their supporters, Larry O'Hara & co-editor David Pegg put both these characters under pressure, exposing further inconsistencies/lies.
NFB issue 7 had a keynote 5 page investigation of Machon/Shayler's infiltration of the UK 9/11 Truth movement, a must read for anybody interested in that movement and spooks generally.
This generated furious debate: visit www.paulstott.typepad.com or the cult-watching section on this web-site.