A big thank you for the kind comments posted in response to my come-back article. It’s nice to be back. I respectfully agree with ‘Brabantian’ by the way – it does take as long as you’ve been inside to recover from prison, at least for fairly short sentences. You could probably get over a 20-year sentence in 10.
Life in Prison
Judging from comments from fellow inmates who had done time in America our jails are nicer places to be. There certainly seems to be less violence, including sexual violence, in British jails. They only lost six prisoners from my wing in HMP Wandsworth in the year before I got there.
I am pleased to say I helped to keep the death toll down for 2015 by cutting down a suicidal cell-mate, who was trying to hang himself. The jail was so short-staffed there was no response to the emergency alarm for about 10 minutes, although it seemed longer. I had to fight the guy and prise his fingers off the makeshift rope made out of bedsheets.
With a genuine suicide attempt, you don’t get thanked, not at the time anyway. When he was transferred to a mental hospital, where he should have been sent as soon as he diagnosed with severe depression, he was all smiles and gave me his biscuits.
The food at Brixton was definitely nicer than at Wandsworth, although the wine list, frankly, was disappointing. My enquiry of a prison officer as to whether you had a cake cooked for your birthday was greeted with derision, sadly. No cake.
They were more responsive at Hollesley Bay, a nice open prison by the sea (I was only in an open prison for the last two months). After I commented adversely on the lack of apple sauce to go with the pork chops, triggering, I am sorry to say, a sarcastic comment from the officer on catering duty, the kitchens, to their credit, came up with apple sauce the following week.
The TV selection was a bit limited, as were the TVs. The Prison Service must be the only part of the British Government still buying cathode ray TVs. Goodness knows where they get them from, North Korea perhaps. They’re color, but only 14”, and no cable. This meant missing such fine TV as Justified (brilliant series – love the Deputy US Marshal), The Americans (ditto – portrays Cold War espionage with gritty realism) and Bosch (one of my favorite TV cops, well produced by author Michael Connelly).
Being the only barrister in each of the jails I was banged up which meant being asked for lots of legal advice of course. I was effectively running a one-man law center, and even had guys queuing up outside my cell in Wandsworth at one point. I was shocked by the poor quality of representation on legal aid.
Overall it was in interesting experience, although not one I would care to repeat. They’ve got to do something about those wine lists, however.
As many readers will know, the UK will be voting in a referendum on June 23rd on whether or not to denounce the Treaty on European Union and withdraw from the hated EU. This is an historic opportunity for my country to break free from the shackles of Brussels, end our disastrous continental entanglement and head for the open sea. I hope that I have put that neutrally.
Origins of the EU
The EU grew out of the European Economic Community. As I explain in Spyhunter the concept of the EEC was drawn up by the Nazi Government in 1939/1940, under the leadership of Reichsminister Fünk, a real scumbag (no offense intended). Fünk would not have looked out of place on the European Commission.
The idea was to create a post-war economic zone under German control, with a common border and a single currency. A series of European puppet states controlled by German assets would obviate the need for Germany to fund and find expensive armies of occupation.
The original plan for the EEC had to be revised of course in the light of Germany’s military defeat. Since the Allies failed to shut down German Intelligence, as revealed in Spyhunter, Germany had a small army of stay-behind assets in Britain and former Occupied Europe. They also had blackmail material on former Pétain protégé General de Gaulle, who was bisexual.
Amongst these assets were arms broker Jean Monnet and fellow German agent Robert Schuman, who by 1950 had become French Foreign Minister. He and Monnet started the ball rolling with the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC).
In a piece of propaganda nonsense which David Cameron still buys into, Schuman proclaimed that the idea was to make a further European war unthinkable. What he really meant was that he wanted to make war unnecessary.
Since most European wars since the creation of the Zollverein have been started by Germany (the last French leader to start a war was Napoleon) what he and Monnet were trying to do was to ensure German domination of Europe. Divided and defeated Germany no longer had the strength to dominate by force. The Krauts had moved to a soft power strategy, using blackmail, bribery, assassination of key opponents and propaganda.
How the EEC ensnared the UK
German asset Dwight Eisenhower, working hand in glove with another German agent, Harold Macmillan, ensured that Britain was deprived of the fruits of her military victory, alongside the Israelis and the French, at Suez. The great Anthony Eden MC, a long-time opponent of Germany, was forced out as Prime Minister.
Macmillan wasted no time in trying to get the UK into the EEC (Eden had correctly vetoed British entry in 1955). His key henchman was another German agent, the notorious pedophile Edward Heath, who was being supplied with teenage boys by GO2, the German operation in London.
Happily, British Intelligence had found out about De Gaulle’s gay relationships and his dealings with the Abwehr in World War II. They were able to counter German pressure on De Gaulle, and he twice vetoed British entry, the second application having been made by another German asset, a smooth scumbag named Harold Wilson.
In despair the DVD offloaded De Gaulle and GO2 organised a military coup in 1968, intended to install long-term German agent and dual British-Austrian national Louis Mountbatten (real name von Battenberg) as dictator. The plan was to cite pressure on the pound and create a fake economic crisis, justifying an emergency application to join the EEC.
The coup got as far as having SAS troops at Heathrow Airport, but once again British Intelligence had spotted the Bad Guy. The Palace were briefed in, the SAS were ordered back to barracks and Mountbatten had to hurriedly change into a tuxedo and rush to a dinner party he pretended he had been at all night. (I know because someone I knew, who later headed one of our intel agencies, knew someone at the party.)
An above Most Secret committee was set up, co-ordinating the armed forces and intelligence services, in order to ensure that the Forces could never again be misused by Germany in this way. Yes, I know the name of that committee, yes I have been in contact with them from time to time and no, that name was not compromised in the illegal search by Thames Valley Police of my apartment.
I deliberately refrained from bolstering my intelligence credentials by bringing it out at trial, a former committee member being amongst the prosecution witnesses. The prosecution were so far out of their depth, they were completely unable to read the non-verbal communications between this slightly stressed former committee member and myself.
I took the option of going to prison rather than compromising national security by destroying the bad faith prosecution allegation that I was an “intelligence nuisance”, which I could have done by revealing highly confidential intelligence to which only a real intelligence expert would have access.
Mountbatten again played a key role in 1972, after German agent Roy Jenkins sabotaged Wilson’s re-election campaign with a deflationary budget, getting Heath into Number 10. He applied blackmail pressure in certain quarters (yes, I know what material he used, on whom and to whom he applied the pressure).
Parliament and the public were lied to, in a sustained campaign of disinformation designed to conceal the supranational nature of the EEC. Britain joined on January 1st 1973, the blackest day in the history of my country. Mountbatten had gone too far, once too often.
He was sanctioned by the committee. A termination request was issued to the IRA via an established backchannel with MI5 and he was taken out on August 27th 1979, although sadly the boys overdid the explosives and an innocent young boy died with him.
The Propaganda Leaflet
Europe Minister David Lidington promised the House of Commons last year that the government would play by the rules. There would be no government propaganda leaflet and the ‘Stay’ and ‘Go’ campaigns would have a level playing field.
David, who is quite a nice chap, is not the sleaziest member of the British Government by any means. It is entirely possible that he was telling the truth and that his civil servants were lying to him.
Even as he informed the House of Commons that there would be no leaflet the Cabinet Office and Foreign Office were working on it. It was distributed to every household in the UK last week, before the start of the referendum campaign and the kicking-in of expenditure limits.
At the same time the Cabinet Office ordered the Electoral Commission to select the softest group it could to be the official ‘Go’ campaign. They’re so weak they are even buying into the official export figures to the EU, indeed it’s not entirely clear whose side they are on, no offense intended.
The leaflet starts lying on the cover. It claims that the British Government believes that voting to remain is “the best decision for the UK”. I know it’s composed of venal, career politicians, but even the British Government isn’t that stupid. The government is controlled by the Civil Service, not the other way round.
The Civil Service is controlled by the Cabinet Office and the Cabinet Office has been penetrated by GO2. What the government really mean is that a vote to remain is in the best interests of Germany.
The UK is Germany’s third biggest export customer and exports count for about half the German economy. The UK is the EU’s most important export customer and absorbs surplus European labour by the million, at the expense of British workers.
On page 2 the leaflet makes the outrageous claim that the UK has secured a “special status” in a “reformed EU”. This is a classic example of Dr Goebbels’ ‘Big Lie’ propaganda technique. If you’re going to lie to the public, lie big.
The claim is worthless. The Treaty on European Union has not been amended. If my country votes to remain in the German orbit on June 23rd, the treaty will be applied against the UK in full measure. Since it has not been ratified by a single EU Member State, the deal Cameron struck is not legally binding in any event.
The “special status” claim is a reworked version of the lie fed to the British public before entry and during the last vote to leave, in 1975, to the effect that the EEC was just a free trade area and was confederal in nature. The EEC was always planned as a federation, with community law being supreme.
American readers will see the parallel with the issue – confederation or federation – which divided the USA in the 1850s and 60s. That issue had to be resolved by a civil war.
The claim on page 2 that the “we will keep our own border controls” is even more absurd. Free movement of labour was one of the founding ‘principles’ of the EEC. The key EEC Regulation was adopted as long ago as 1964.
If we vote to stay EU nationals will continue to be able to walk into this country. We can refuse to admit EU nationals, but only if the EU agrees. We don’t try very often. We probably only check about 10% of the trucks coming in from Europe.
The claim on page 4 that the EU is “by far the UK’s biggest trading partner” is only true if you treat the EU member states as one, but the EU is not a state, not yet at any rate. The US is the UK’s biggest trade partner. Unlike EU states you guys actually buy Jaguars, LandRover Discoveries and other fine British products. In the month of February alone you guys purchased £3.5 billion of British products, with a surplus for the month in favour of the UK of £600 million.
The UK trades with other EU member states at a massive deficit. Taking February again (the most recent month for which official stats are available) the Krauts sold us £5.3 billion worth of goods and services. They bought just £2.8 billion worth from us. That’s a huge £2.5 billion deficit, just with Germany, in just one month. We need to get those tariff barriers up against the EU states and fast.
Official figures show a staggering £23 billion deficit with the EU in the quarter ending on February 29th. Including cash transfers a whopping £107 billion walked out of the UK in the direction of the EU in 2014. Our biggest export to the EU is fresh air – empty containers going back.
These are only the official figures. The propaganda claim, repeated in the leaflet, is that 44% of UK exports go to the EU. That figure however is a con. Over 20 years ago, a phenomenon known as ‘The ‘Rotterdam-Antwerp Effect’ (TRAE), was uncovered by two brilliant British researchers, Keith Carson and Ian Milne.
In order to inflate the export figures to the EU all exports to the Rest of the World via the giant European container ports of Rotterdam and Antwerp are counted as exports to the Netherlands and Belgium respectively.
Thus the official export figures to the EU count exports to South Korea and China as exports to the EU! Under the official EU import figures the Netherlands should be a land of nodding donkeys, as officially Holland is a major producer of crude oil. Huh? I just got back from a business trip to Holland. I saw plenty of tulip fields, but not a single nodding donkey.
Quantifying TRAE isn’t easy, but as a rule of thumb you should discount the export figures for Holland and Belgium by two-thirds.
Then you have to factor in the Republic of Ireland. The Irish need continued access to the UK market, including our job market.
Hundreds of thousands of Irish Citizens are employed in the UK in trades for which they would never get a work permit. The true ratio for UK exports to the European members of the EU (i.e. not including Ireland, which is in the British Isles) is probably around one-third.
In a major boo-boo the government have also recycled the discredited claim (page 5) that “over 3 million UK jobs are linked to exports to the EU”. Under this formula every job at Jaguar LandRover is dependent on EU membership, because the Krauts actually bought a couple of XFs last year. In reality import substitution is going to create hundreds of thousands of quality jobs in the UK after Brexit.
On the next page the government run the scare story that Brexit would led to higher consumer prices. Rubbish. Leaving the Common Agricultural Policy alone would see substantial reductions in the cost of food.
The claim on page 10 that being in the EU makes us safer went up in smoke, along with a bit of Brussels Airport, on March 22nd. I was in the departure lounge of Schiphol Airport that afternoon, wondering if all flights were going to be cancelled, along with the trains. Security in the EU is a joke.
All the indications are that the leaflet has backfired. It has led to deeper acrimony inside the Tory Party. If Cameron loses the referendum he will be finished. The slide in the polls for the pro-EU/German side continues unabated. Internal polls are obviously showing a commanding lead for the patriotic, pro-British side as Government ministers have started to panic. A delighted City already appears to be factoring in Brexit.
This Week’s Movie Review: Bridge of Spies (2015), dir. Steven Spielberg
This is an outstanding spy movie. By my reckoning it is Spielberg’s first attempt at the genre. He is one of the greatest movie producers of all time, and it shows. The period detail is outstanding and the movie captures the mood of the Cold War.
Tom Hanks is good, as one would expect, as the lead, former OSS attorney Jim Donovan, but watch out for Mark Rylance as Colonel ‘Rudolf Abel’ of the KGB and the great Alan Alda as Thomas Watters. The character based on my former client (‘Bill’ in Spyhunter), a CIA instructor on the U-2, is seen lecturing Powers and the other U-2 pilots in Pakistan.
What the movie does not do is portray what really happened with the Powers shoot-down. With some departures, artistically justified (hey, it’s a movie, not a documentary), the movie sticks to the published record. What Steven’s attorney, who once lunched with me in Century City, should have done, as soon as he heard that his client was making a movie about the Powers Incident, was to buy him a copy of Spyhunter.
Had Steven researched the episode more thoroughly, with respect, he would have discovered that a 1960-era SA-2 SAM could not reach 75,000 feet, typical operating altitude for the early version of the U-2. My initial source on that used to run an SA-2 battery and knew what he was talking about. Like every other SA-2 battery commander in the Warsaw Pact he knew that the official US and Soviet versions of the shoot-down were phonies.
Powers was ordered to descend to FL480 (48,000 ft). ‘Rudolf Abel’ was German, not British, or Russian. He was only paid by the KGB. He worked for the Abwehr and, after the war, the DVD. Donovan was close to his namesake and former boss, German agent ‘Wild Bill’ Donovan, a colleague of ‘Abel’s’ in the DVD.
Steven Spielberg is a brilliant movie-maker. He should have realised that, just as movie-makers often fake reality, so too do governments present false images when commenting on intelligence matters. The story that Steven presents so skilfully in Bridge of Spies is as close to the truth as Jurassic Park is to paleontology. There are bits missing.
Michael Shrimpton was a barrister from his call to the Bar in London in 1983 until being disbarred in 2019 over a fraudulently obtained conviction. He is a specialist in National Security and Constitutional Law, Strategic Intelligence and Counter-terrorism. He is a former Adjunct Professor of Intelligence Studies at the American Military University.