16 February 2007

Open letter to Professor Christopher Andrew

Dear Professor Andrew,

You have taken your place amongst historians as a respected academic, but this is a thin disguise for your true vocation, as the Cambridge Parrot. You have a parrot’s loquacity, and you love to repeat the words of your masters; in reality you are merely a pet - a mouthpiece for MI5 and MI6. Your party trick may be to mimic some well rehearsed phrases, but you are also quite happy to repeat unproven sources as evidence, and even material from newspapers as reliable research.

The Cambridge Parrot

In 1993, following my trial under Section 1 of the Official Secrets Act, I was sentenced to 25 years in prison based on some very doubtful evidence. I looked around for help to uncover the truth behind the allegations and anomalies in the intelligence, and a friend recommended me to approach you. On 25 March 1996 I wrote a letter asking for your help, but you never acknowledged or even replied to that letter. In hindsight it was hardly surprising that you didn’t reply, as at that time I was unaware you were (literally) in bed with our intelligence services. Also, it was only years later I learned that in the same month of March 1996 you were being groomed as the person who would publicise material from Mitrokhin’s so-called “archive”.

A major Prosecution argument at my trial was an allegation that I had been sent on a KGB training mission to Oporto in 1977. Although in reality this was only a camping and driving holiday with a friend, you must have been aware this was key evidence that led to my conviction - it was well-publicised in all major newspapers at the time of my trial and Appeal in 1993 and 1995. The key exhibit, which the Prosecution claimed supported their KGB story, was a tourist street map marked with various crosses that indicated the bus stops and a restaurant we had used during our stay in Oporto.

So was that the reason why you never replied to my letter in 1996, or why you have never questioned the evidence anywhere in the years since? Because Professor Andrew, that “official” story at my trial does not agree with what you wrote in your book, “The Mitrokhin Archive” (1999). What you are saying is that the Mitrokhin papers contradict the “official” story, when you wrote on pages 551 and 552 that I was sent on training missions to Spain (apparently in 1977), and to Lisbon (again, apparently, in 1979). Where does the city of Oporto come into your version of the story?

In January 2007 the Portuguese journalist Frederico Duarte Carvalho published an article about my case in the Lisbon magazine Focus, and an English language translation of this piece has been published on Cryptome:


It is clear that the Portuguese aspects of the evidence against me were some sort of imaginative creation of MI5.

But then you are not the sort of person who likes to admit you are wrong, you would rather leave us to puzzle over why the Prosecution case at my trial, and your claims in the Mitrokhin Archive, simply do not agree with each other. Your help in correcting that “mistake” about Oporto would have been invaluable to my Defence, but as things stood it allowed the Prosecution evidence to stand. That evidence allowed the Prosecution to call the American witness known as Mr “E”, who was used to introduce damaging material into my trial. Mr “E” had been living in London in the late 1970s, and was recruited to the KGB by Viktor Oshchenko. Documents from the debriefing of this American citizen are published on Cryptome:


I would like to know Professor Andrew, where does this Mr “E” appear in your books, because he seems to be a key player in Soviet spying in the UK? However, you knew that the CPS needed a connection with Portugal to introduce their star witness, Mr E, and the Oporto map provided them with that convenient link. In fact, I believe you have confused Mr E’s story with my case, and that is the reason why he does not appear in your book - I think Mr E’s KGB training missions are being attributed to me.

I have been documenting some of the material about what really happened on my blog:


You would have known that Mitrokhin had been in contact with British Intelligence before my arrest, and that there was no allegation about Oporto having been involved in my case. But then you are a trained parrot, you know when to remain silent!

Even an independent writer on intelligence matters, Trowbridge Ford, has put a question mark over where your true loyalties lie:


I now want to turn to a separate issue, which is my observation that I would not expect an academic historian to be merely a purveyor of dry detail from the past. Even historians are human, and they can interpret the human condition from the past, and empathise with situations that people had to endure at difficult periods in history. This is where I find you to differ from the normal - you are quite devoid of any human feelings.

I refer particularly to the case of Nelli Genkova. It was your false conclusions that caused this completely innocent and harmless Bulgarian woman extreme suffering. When your flawed work was pointed out to you, Professor Andrew, you tried to deny you had done anything wrong, and you had to be dragged to court in order for Nelli to correct the lie you had published in your book, “The Mitrokhin Archive”. It might be perceived that you were a misogynist, or that you hold some grudge against the Bulgarian people, but you do not come out of that episode particularly well.

I print below the statement made on behalf of Nelli by her sister. None of Nelli’s family or friends could understand why she had been singled out by you, and denounced in the way she was. The only explanation that makes any sense is that she was made to suffer in order to indirectly punish John Symonds, and that it was British Intelligence who were ultimately behind The Parrot.

Justice for Nelli

I am writing this statement in the hope that British justice will prevail and that the ordeal of these past terrible months during which the health of my sister Nelli has severely deteriorated and her good reputation has been destroyed, will come now to an end.

The period of time between 17-23rd Sept. 1999 was a nightmare for our family. The Bulgarian media “uncovered” and denounced my sister as a KDS agent during the 70s when the KDS (Directorate for State Security) was the main instrument of the communist repression in our country. At the first moment I could not believe that such an absurdity could be printed. This is an extremely serious accusation for all honest and intelligent Bulgarians. Such a libel can ruin a sensitive person like my sister. I am happy now that she has managed to recover enough to start her fight for justice.

My sister is a fighter in the mould of our father who was a respected professor and the rector of the Institute of Agriculture, Sofia. As a student he came to believe in the socialist idea, for a world of better justice, beguiled by the communist ideal, as were many other intelligent people all over the world in the 1930s.

Our father was one of those highly educated people who could make their children and students believe that words like honesty, dignity, incorruptibility, patriotism and national pride are not hollow and devoid of meaning. This was during that time when only someone who was living in Bulgaria could understand the morass of utter baseness and lies which encompassed us all. Our father gave us courage and faith that whilst there were people like him, there was hope that Bulgaria would find a way to democracy.

Our father had realized that the ideals of his youth had nothing to do with what happened when the dictator Todor Zhivkov came to power. That was why he started to oppose him with all the means he had. There was not a single occasion at the meetings of scientific and academic councils when he did not stand by his principles on the discussed scientific and political issues, without being afraid, and without worrying about whom of the men in power he might offend. I personally witnessed this.

Our father’s professionalism and his solid scientific career formed the basis of this stance, for example he published more than 120 scientific papers, he authored students’ manuals and books of instruction, he also wrote scientific books and contributions to encyclopaedias.

In connection with this example, and as I myself am a person with a career in science, I must express my doubts about the professionalism of this professor from Cambridge because I have before me the example of our father. A scientist by vocation researches and publishes only facts which have been checked and re-checked to ensure their authenticity beyond doubt.

In the case of my sister Nelli instead of dealing with the alleged “facts” in such a way, this Cambridge professor took the liberty to write an unchecked (or invented) base libel worthy of appearing in the “yellow” press but not in any so-called “authoritative” book.

I gather that for this gentleman Bulgaria is a country populated by all sorts of riff-raff and dregs of society. For that reason it is of no consequence for him to besmear the honourable name of one of us. “What does it matter, so what - she is only some Bulgarian woman.”

Our country is small, but it has been established for more than one thousand and three hundred years, its people are dignified and proud. As to the fact we are now poor, for our father and scores of people like him, money was not of great consequence. For him (and he brought us up to believe in this too) it is more important for a man to hold his head high and not to bend his back to any creature lacking in intelligence, but having a solid position in the Communist Party thus enjoying material wealth and power.

When I learned from the newspapers that my sister was declared an agent of the KDS I could not believe my eyes. For I had observed the whole difficult life of Nelli. It was in a way quite a lonely life because any relationship with her was not always safe for her acquaintances. This was because she also never bent her back. Wherever she worked she would not accept injustices silently. For that reason she often lost her job. Twice she was not awarded good posts after successfully winning open competitions for them.

Nelli was not afraid to collect and tell political jokes, such jokes were an important vent for us. I think that for the people from the west this may sound ludicrous but at that time the situation in Bulgaria was frightful. For listening to and spreading such jokes, which were considered treasonous against Todor Zhivkov’s rule you paid a very high price, and you could be even killed. For telling such a political joke Alexander - “the sweet”, one of the most talented and loved musicians in Bulgaria was taken to a labour camp and killed for this “crime”.

When I read the newspapers mentioning my sister I immediately went to see her. She categorically refused to talk to me. I tried everything but she would not say a word. It was obvious that she was in a state of severe shock. I could not convince her to go to her doctor. I would like to explain to Professor Andrew that the accusation “an agent of KDS” is extremely serious for Bulgarian people. During all those long and oppressive years the three letters KDS inspired terror. We associated these letters KDS with repression, breaking peoples lives and to the people carrying out these activities with the utmost baseness.

And so, according to this dubious author Andrew, my sister was an agent of that oppressive machine. I would like to point out to him that if that had been true, my sister would not have had to endure the hard life which she had chosen for herself.

After Nelli refused to talk with me about the newspaper publications I got in touch with some of her close friends. They were very reserved and more than cool. I realized that they did not want to have anything to do with her. Nelli lost most of her private students for the same reason, My sister continued to keep silent. She refused to see anybody including myself. And she was visibly getting thinner and thinner.

My nephew, Nelli’s son, was also suffering and he even tried to defend his mother’s name by using his fists. Sometimes I even think that it was better that our father did not live long enough to read what was written in the newspapers for it would have surely killed him.

Nelli met John twenty-five years ago. He was an Englishman working in Bulgaria and they undoubtedly fell in love. This relationship was not approved of by our authorities, and I remember how my sister was summoned to the militia station several times. There she was threatened and intimidated in order to stop her relationship with John, but Nelli never gave in to them. I was so much afraid that some day Nelli would disappear and I would never learn what had happened to her. At that time many people disappeared without trace after answering summons to the militia station. After John left the country my sister never took any interest in any other men and devoted her life entirely to work and caring for our mother and her son.

Not so long ago Nelli asked me to become her witness. I felt a great relief that she was now determined to fight for justice and to clear her name. I cannot but feel rage towards the authors of the book who smeared my sister’s good reputation, harmed her health and deprived her of her friends. The fact that we come from a small and poor country destroyed by a totalitarian communist regime does not give the right to anybody to hurt the feelings and dignity of a Bulgarian woman, even less to a pseudo scholar tempted by the financial gain from exploiting cheap and dishonourable sensationalism.

Dr. Iva Genkova

You finally had to apologise in 2003, didn’t you Professor Andrew? You conceded that you were wrong.

Professor Christopher Andrew's letter of apology

Who’s a pretty boy now then?

I will not say what I think of you. I think that is really for John Symonds to say:

“In my opinion Professor Andrew does not fit the popular conception of a Cambridge Don; he is a pseudo historian. I am sure he will be despised by the real historians of our time. He has sold his integrity in the public market place, and he is an attention-seeker.

The apology to Nelly must destroy the myth of the ‘infallible historian’ that he has built up around himself. No real historian would write a definitive book without being allowed to see the core material, which was all written in Russian, of which Andrew understands not a word. All he was given were summaries prepared by the KGB, or rather spun summaries by MI5 of KGB summaries, of the actual documents - it was really a three-stage process of hearsay, a classic case of Chinese whispers.”

Yes, one would expect a true academic to be very thorough in conducting research, to go back to the original sources, and talk to those with first hand evidence. However, I get the impression that for Professor Andrew he thinks it satisfactory to conduct his research in newspapers, and to use hearsay from other second-hand sources; after all it is much easier to do that. No wonder he has got it so wrong. I do not think this way of working would be acceptable when writing fiction, but it is inexcusable when one realises we are here concerned with historical fact.

Professor Andrew, I apologise for comparing you to a parrot, that is quite an insult to parrots, because they are more intelligent than you.

And finally, isn’t it is about time the original text of Mitrokhin’s so-called “Archive” was available to be read by the British public.

Yours sincerely,
Michael John Smith

08 February 2007

Professor Christopher Andrew and The Mitrokhin Archive

Professor Christopher Andrew’s function as an agent of the British intelligence services is becoming clearer now, and some details are set out in the spin doctor article by Trowbridge Ford. It is obvious that Andrew plays a major role in spreading material that the intelligence services would rather not become associated with, either because of its doubtful origin, or because it is blatant propaganda.

For those readers who have previously not seen Andrew’s writing on my case, I reprint below those sections of the Mitrokhin Archive (1999) that refer to me.

Cold war operations against Britain

[page 550]
The most important British S&T agent recruited during the decade after operation FOOT was, almost certainly, Michael John Smith (codenamed BORG), a Communist electronics engineer. (35) The secretary of the Surrey Communist Party in the early 1970s, Richard Geldart, recalls Smith as an ‘out-and-out Tankie’ - a hardline supporter of the crushing of the Prague Spring by Soviet tanks: ‘Not to put too fine a point on it, he was the total nerd. There was socializing going on, but he was not part of it.’ (36) A Line X officer at the London residency, Viktor Alekseyevich Oshchenko (codenamed OZEROV), made initial contact with Smith in a pub near Smith’s flat at Kingston upon Thames after a trade union meeting held in May 1975 before the referendum on British membership of the EEC. On instructions from Oshchenko, Smith left the Communist Party, ceased trade union activity, became a regular reader of the Daily Telegraph, joined a local tennis club and - as his operational file quaintly puts it - ‘endeavoured to display his loyalty to the authorities’.

35. vol. 7, ch. 14, item 12.
36. John Steele, ‘25 Years for the Spy Who Stayed in the Cold’, Daily Telegraph (18 November 1993).

In July 1976, helped by bureaucratic confusion in MI5, caused by the remarkable coincidence that the Surrey Communist Party contained another Michael John Smith, he gained a job as a test engineer in the quality assurance department of Thorn-EMI Defence Electronics at Feltham, Middlesex. Within a year he was working on the top secret project XN-7I5, developing and testing radar fuses for Britain’s freefall nuclear bomb. (37) The KGB passed the documents on project XN-7I5 provided by Smith to N. V. Serebrov and other nuclear weapons specialists at a secret Soviet military research institute codenamed Enterprise G-4598, who succeeded in building a replica of the British radar fuse. Smith’s intelligence, however, seemed too good to be true. Serebrov and his colleagues were puzzled as to how Smith had been able to obtain the radio frequency on which the detonator was to

[page 551]
operate. This information, they believed, was so sensitive that it should not have appeared even in the top secret documents on the design and operation of the detonator to which Smith had access. Armed with a knowledge of the radio frequency, Soviet forces would be able to create radio interference which could prevent the detonator from operating. One possibility which occurred to the specialists was that the frequency supplied by Smith might be merely a test frequency which would not be used in actual military operations. But they remained suspicious of the extent of the detailed highly classified information which Smith had been able to supply. (38)

37. Report of the Security Commission (Cmnd 2930) (July 1995), chs. 2-4.
38. vol. 7, ch. 14, item 12.

The Centre also seems to have been suspicious of the ease and speed with which a well-known pro-Soviet Communist had been able to gain access to one of Britain’s most highly classified nuclear secrets so soon after going through the motions of leaving the Party and switching from the Morning Star to the Daily Telegraph. Its suspicions that Smith’s intelligence on the radar fuse might have been a sophisticated deception seem to have strengthened when he told his controller in 1978 that he had lost his security clearance and, for the time being, could no longer provide classified information. (Though Smith did not realize it at the time, MI5 had discovered its earlier error and secretly informed Thorn-EMI of Smith’s Communist past.) (39)

39. On the information about Smith passed by Ml5 to EMI in 1978, see ‘Phone Call that Trapped a Spy’, Independent (19 November 1993).

To try to resolve its doubts the Centre devised a series of tests to check Smith’s reliability. The first test, which Smith seems to have passed, was to remove two packets of secret material from a dead letter-box in Spain. The second, more elaborate check on Smith, personally approved by Andropov and termed in KGB jargon ‘a psycho-physiological test using a non-contact polygraph’, was conducted in Vienna in August 1979 by Boris Konstantinovich Stalnov and two OT (operational-technical support) officers. Stalnov began with a brief prepared speech, duly entered in Smith’s file:

I am personally satisfied with the way things are going and with our mutual relations and I am therefore extremely glad to congratulate you. From today you are a full member of our organization. This means that the organization will take care of you. Believe me, you will have gained friends who are ready to come to your help in any circumstances. Your participation and help to the organization will be duly recognized. The organization is based on two principles: voluntary participation and sincerity.

The first means that, having joined the organization of your own free will,

[page 552]
you may leave it at any time if you think it necessary, without any [adverse] consequences for yourself, provided you give prior notice.

As for the second principle, sincerity, you must inform us of all details which directly or indirectly affect the interests of our organization. This is understandable as the security of both sides depends on it. Joining the organization is also in a certain sense a formal act. In connection with this I am required to put a number of questions to you. I regard this as a pure formality. You should do the same.

It will simplify the task and save time if you simply answer ‘yes’ or ‘no’.

Smith was then asked over 120 questions and his replies secretly recorded. Subsequent analysis of the recording and Smith’s response to each question persuaded the Centre - doubtless to its immense relief - that he was not, as it had thought possible, engaged in a grand deception orchestrated by British intelligence. Though Smith had been led to suppose that the ‘psycho-physiological test’ was a routine formality, it had never been used before by the KGB outside the Soviet Union. The Centre was so pleased with its success that it decided to use the same method to check other agents. It none the less decided to give Smith a third (and apparently final) test of his ‘sincerity’ by instructing him to remove a container holding two rolls of film from a DLB in the Paris suburbs and to deliver it to a KGB officer in Lisbon. (40) The KGB would doubtless have been able to detect any attempt by Smith or another intelligence agency to open the container.

40. vol. 7, ch. 14, item 12.

From 1979 onwards Smith was paid a 3oo-pound monthly retainer by the KGB. His file also records additional payments for documents supplied by him of 1,600 pounds, 750 pounds, 400 pounds and 2,000 pounds. Though Mitrokhin’s notes do not record the dates of these payments, they probably relate chiefly to Smith’s two years in Thorn-EMI Defence Electronics. (41) The excitement of working for the KGB, copying highly classified documents, emptying DLBs and going to secret assignations with his case officers in foreign capitals seems to have rescued Smith from his earlier existence as a ‘total nerd’. A hint of the exotic began to enliven a previously drab lifestyle. In 1979 he got married, took up flamenco dancing, began experimenting with Spanish and Mexican cuisine, and gave dinner parties at which guests were served his home-made wine. (42)

41. The Security Commission later concluded that Smith had held on to some of the classified documents he had obtained at Thorn-EMI and given them to the KGB some time after he lost his security access in 1978. One or more of the payments recorded in his file may thus refer to a period after his loss of access. Since Mitrokhin’s notes end in 1984, the details of KGB payments to Smith cannot refer to his later years as a Soviet agent.
42. ‘ “Boring” Idealist Who Spied for Russia Gets 25 Years’, The Times (19 November 1993).

Smith was so taken with his life as a secret agent that he made strenuous efforts to recover the security clearance he had lost in 1978,

[page 553]
even drafting a personal appeal two years later to Margaret Thatcher to intercede on his behalf. ‘There is a cloud over me which I cannot dispel,’ he complained to the Prime Minister. ‘I have been wrongly suspected and have lost my position most unjustly.’ Though Smith seems never to have posted his letter to Mrs Thatcher, in June 1980 he succeeded in putting his case to an MI5 officer. Smith began by denying that he had ever been a Communist, was confronted with evidence that he had, then apologized for lying and said he had joined the Party only to find a girlfriend. (43) Amazingly, Smith’s campaign to recover his security clearance survived even this setback. More amazingly still, a few years later it succeeded. (44)

43. Report of the Security Commission (Cmnd 2930) (July 1995), pp. 8-9. ‘Dear Maggie, Please Let Me Spy for the KGB!’, Daily Mirror (21 September 1993). Laurence Donegan and Richard Norton-Taylor, ‘Spy Who Slipped Through the Net’, Guardian (19 November 1993).
44. See below, p. 568.

[page 567]
The greatest known success of KGB operations in Britain during the Gorbachev era was the reactivation of Michael Smith, probably the most important British Line X agent since the retirement of Norwood.

[page 568]
When Mitrokhin last saw Smith’s file in 1984, he had been trying for six years without success to recover the security clearance which had made him such a valuable agent in the Thorn-EMI Weapons Division in 1976-8. By now, the Centre was close to writing him off. The last contact with Smith noted on his file was in March 1983. In 1984 it was decided to put him ‘on ice’ for the next three years. (111) In December 1985, however, Smith was taken on as a quality assurance engineer by the GEC Hirst Research Centre at Wembley, in north-west London, where seven months later he was given limited security clearance for defence contracts on a need-to-know basis. (112)

111. vol. 7, ch. 14, item 12.
112. Report of the Security Commission (Cmnd 2930) (July 1995), p. 10.

In 1990 Line X at the London residency renewed contact with Smith, arranging meetings either in the graveyard of the church of St Mary at Harrow on the Hill or in the nearby Roxeth recreation park at South Harrow. Security procedures were devised at each site to warn Smith if it was under surveillance. At St Mary’s church he was told to look for a white chalk line on the vicarage wall near a fire hydrant. If the line was uncrossed, it was safe for him to enter the graveyard. He was also told to look at the church noticeboard. A small green dot, usually on a drawing pin, indicated that the meeting with his case officer was still on; a red dot was a warning to leave immediately. Though Smith had originally been an ideological agent, his motives had become increasingly mercenary. At meetings between 1990 and 1992 he was given a total of over 20,000 pounds for material from GEC defence projects, some of which he spent on an expensive flamenco guitar, a musical keyboard and computer equipment. Smith became increasingly confident and careless. When he was arrested in August 1992, the police found documents on the Rapier ground-to-air missile system and Surface Acoustic Wave military radar technology in a Sainsbury’s carrier bag in the boot of his Datsun. (113)

113. Report of the Security Commission (Cmnd 2930) (July 1995), pp. 13-14, 32-3. ‘Phone Call Hoax that Trapped a Spy’, Independent (19 November 1993); ‘Vital Clues to a Traitor’, Daily Mail (19 November 1993).

[page 725]
The conclusion of the Cold War, so far from ending Russian S&T operations in the West, created new Line X opportunities through the expansion of East-West scientific exchanges and business joint ventures, which the SVR was eager to exploit. The reactivation in the early 1990s of the leading British Line X agent Michael Smith was one sign among many of the continued priority given to S&T collection in the Yeltsin era. (49)

49. vol. 7, ch. 14, item 14.

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

02 February 2007

Frederico Duarte Carvalho Focus espionage article

KGB spy conspiracy in Oporto

The Englishman Michael John Smith was convicted of spying for the KGB. Two maps of Oporto were used as evidence against him

It was two minutes past nine on the morning of Saturday, eighth of August 1992, when the English engineer Michael John Smith, then aged 43, received a phone call. The caller identified himself as George and said he was a friend of a certain Victor, who was someone that would be known to Michael Smith. The dialogue was brief and the engineer, who had barely awoken, just answered “yes” and “ok”.

George seemed to have a foreign accent and asked that, within 15 minutes, the Englishman should go to a phone kiosk in a street near to his home. Michael took a shower and he went out to search for the phone kiosk.

Trap - Before the arrest, MI5 photographed Michael Smith after the trick that led him to a phone box

He had no idea that George was in reality an agent of the British Secret Service, MI5, which had set up a trap. All of Michael Smith’s steps on that morning were recorded at a distance by the Secret Service’s cameras. On return to his home, the engineer was detained by plainclothes agents, who put him into an unmarked car and took him away for an interrogation that lasted four days.

For having followed those instructions on the telephone, Michael Smith ended up by falling into the MI5 trap and this led to the accusation that he was an experienced spy of the KGB. The trial began a year later in London’s Old Bailey court. On the18th of November 1993, Michael John Smith was sentenced to 25 years of imprisonment, but he had the penalty reduced to 20 years after an appeal. He was released on parole licence in November of 2002, although, even so, he is prohibited from travelling outside the United Kingdom until August of this year [2007].

After 10 years in prison, divorced, without children, he survives thanks to the help of his octogenarian mother, and, at almost 60 years of age, he cannot find a job. Michael John Smith has not yet given up his fight for Justice. He prepares successive appeals and has created a blog to denounce the case (http://parellic.blogspot.com). He says that he is innocent, the victim of a cabal of the British Secret Services.

At the time of the arrest, inside the trunk of his car were papers taken from his desk at work. The MI5 agents would say later that they were documents containing State secrets; plans for missiles.

At Michael Smith’s house, besides about two thousand pounds in cash, there were several maps of European cities together with some souvenirs he kept from trips abroad. A map of Oporto city centre, where the engineer had been with a friend in the summer of 1977, was among these souvenirs. The document aroused the curiosity and suspicion of the MI5 agents, because it was marked with four crosses, two arrows and a circle.

The maps have arrows and crosses that MI5 said was from a KGB mission

The map ended up being used by the prosecution to prove that Michael John Smith had been a KGB spy during the 70’s. According to MI5, the Oporto map would correspond to an “espionage training mission” in support of the Soviets. The engineer tried to prove that the crosses and arrows corresponded to tourist directions, but in vain. To support that Portugal was a location for KGB spy missions, MI5 even presented during the trial the example of a mission by an American living in the United Kingdom, identified as “Mr. E”, who had been in the Campo de Ourique area, in Lisbon, in the summer of 1979. (See separate section at the end of the article).

A former KGB double agent and refugee in England, Oleg Gordievsky, also testified in support of MI5 on his expertise in espionage procedures. This Russian had been chief of the Soviet secret services in London during the 80’s, but he had never had any knowledge of the spy Michael John Smith - an extremely common name in England. The testimony of the ex-KGB agent, however, showed it was vital the jury got the idea that the Oporto map could have served perfectly for meeting spies of the former Soviet Union. According to Oleg Gordievsky’s opinion, Michael John Smith could have followed a particular route within the marked places, being watched by somebody to identify him in order to later establish contact.

At the time he was faced with the map Michael John Smith defended himself and said that he had travelled to Oporto between 11 and 13 August 1977, but always in the company of a friend. They had travelled in his car, a Triumph Spitfire, and had stayed at the Parque de Campismo da Prelada: “The map was given to us by the campsite’s receptionist. I left my car parked at the campsite and the crosses, arrows and circle represented the bus stops for the centre of Oporto and return to the campsite”, he told us.

Prelada - He stayed in the Prelada camping park with a friend. Here they picked up the bus for the centre

In fact, at the place where there is a cross with a pointer to the right and identified by MI5 with the number one, at Sá da Bandeira Street, the number six bus used to stop there, coming from the Prelada campsite.

Sá da Bandeira - The marks on the map that MI5 considered to be indications of a KGB espionage mission identify bus stops. The English engineer says that there was clear manipulation of the evidence

The second cross, accompanied by the arrow pointed to the left, is in Liberdade Square, in Oporto’s downtown, in front of the Central Bank of Portugal, a place where also could be found a number six bus stop to return to the campsite.

Drop-off - One of the “suspicious” marks indicates the bus stop to go back in the return direction

Lisboa Square - Another of the marks on the map indicates Lisboa Square, close to the symbolic Clérigos Tower

The other two crosses identify the Lisboa Square, next to the historic and symbolic Clérigos tower, and also highlights the S. João Novo Square near the tourist area of Ribeira, where the O Fado restaurant is located. Let us also add, that in Lisboa Square is the number six bus stop nearest to this restaurant. A second Oporto map, provided by the Prelada camping site, displaying an advertisement for the O Fado restaurant, was also found amongst the papers at the engineer’s home.

Vacation - Michael Smith says that he was only in Oporto for a holiday. He kept the maps as a memento

O Fado - Michael Smith had dinner in the O Fado restaurant. This tourist place was also marked on the map

But for MI5, none of Michael John Smith’s logical explanations were enough to convince them that he had never been on a spy mission at the request of the KGB. Another fact was discovered in Oporto by FOCUS, that even today there is a photo of Michael John Smith in an album at Associação Recreativa da Vitória, halfway between the O Fado restaurant and the number six bus stop in Lisboa Square.

Vitória - In the club on Vitória Street there is a photo of the English engineer’s time in Oporto, in August 1977

“When I left the restaurant, with my friend, we saw a street party. We stayed there drinking beer and socializing. When I returned to London, I sent them a photo as a souvenir”. The photo is still there today, glued into the association’s photo album.

A photograph taken during the holiday in Oporto, in 1977, shows Michael Smith being sociable with local people

About three years before Michael John Smith was arrested, the Berlin Wall fell and the eastern governments believed that, with the end of the Cold War, the spying game had finished. In 1991, one year before, there was also the end of the Soviet Union and the KGB itself. However, Michael John Smith’s case was then presented as an example that the danger from Russian espionage was still very real and, therefore, MI5 should continue to receive more financial funding from Her Majesty’s Government. It is a case that is still quoted today as a serious example in espionage studies.

“I believe that my case was ‘arranged’ during the years that followed the fall of the Berlin Wall. To be used at the appropriate occasion. I was a ‘scapegoat’ for preserving MI5’s power and their high budget”, the English engineer told FOCUS.

Citizen Smith, who was born in September 1948, the same year when George Orwell wrote the novel 1984 - on which he denounces a society controlled by it’s rulers through the monitoring system of “Big Brother” - has grounds to show that a plot against him might have started two years prior to his arrest.

On the eve of his arrest, Michael had been considered redundant and was fired from his job. He worked as a quality control engineer at GEC - Hirst Research Centre - a private company whose list of clients included the British Ministry of Defence. Two years before, in 1990, the engineer received a phone call while at work. He later met that person in a pub. The caller’s name was said to be Harry Williams. For the next two years, Williams paid good money to the engineer. About 20 thousand pounds (30 thousand euros), in exchange for papers that Michael swears to be “of little importance”.

“Williams was not foreign and it seemed to me that he was pleased with these documents. They were not State Secrets and, at that time, I was discontented with my salary. The company was firing people and I believed that my name was also to be included on that list. Williams’ extra money was, therefore, welcomed. I thought that it was a case of industrial espionage, but never a betrayal in favour of the Russians”, says Michael Smith who planned to emigrate to New Zealand after being fired.

Oschenko - Ex-KGB agent denounced him in exchange for exile

A few days before his arrest, a Russian agent at the Paris embassy, Victor Oshchenko, defected to England. There is now the suspicion that he was a MI5 double agent, and the arrest of Michael Smith was his exchange deal to justify the exile. Oschenko never appeared in court to testify.


Mission in Campo de Ourique

A meeting between KGB spies occurred in July 1979, in front of a Hi Fi store, next to the Europa cinema.

Example - MI5 presented the mission in Lisbon as an example of the importance of Portugal in the spy game

During the trial of Michael John Smith, in 1993, the London court was presented with the case of Mr “E”, a North American who lived in the United Kingdom and who was recruited to the KGB. One of the training missions that Mr “E” had to make involved a trip to Lisbon, between the 21 and 23 of July 1979. As soon as he arrived from London, he was lodged at the Flórida hotel, in Marquês de Pombal Square, and later he took a taxi to Campo de Ourique. Mr “E” carried notes for a route that he should follow in that area and that, in practice, would take him on a walk around the Jardim da Parada in order to be identified. The meeting with his KGB contact was to be later in front of the shop window of a store of Hi Fi products, Minimax, that then existed next to the Europa cinema, in Francisco Metrass Street. The spoken code words would have been: “Oh yes, you liked JBL. I liked Tannoy.”

The route of Mr “E”

(1) Mr “E” arrived by taxi near to the Europa cinema, in Francisco Metrass Street. There, he was to look in the shop window of the old Hi Fi store, Minimax, for five minutes.

(2) Then he walked to the corner of Coelho da Rocha Street and turned left in the direction of Tomás da Anunciação Street.

(3) He turned left into Tomás da Anunciação Street and continued until Almeida e Sousa Street.

(4) He turned right into Almeida e Sousa Street in the direction of Ferreira Borges Street, passing by the south side of the Jardim da Parada.

(5) He turned left into Ferreira Borges Street, in the direction of Infantaria 16 Street.

(6) He followed Infantaria 16 Street until the corner with Francisco Metrass Street, passing by the north side of the Jardim da Parada.

(7) He turned left into Francisco Metrass Street and continued to the meeting place with the KGB agent, in front of the Minimax, where he said the code words to the person who was waiting next to the shop window.