Campbell Martin is the author of ‘Was It Something I Said‘, an expose of the internal shenanigans of the SNP that saw some of its most qualified talent thrown out of the party, including himself. In his latest article Martin takes a hard look at the British State’s prime spy unit and finds some uncomfortable facts.
MI5 holds records of its activities in Scotland. Those should be handed over to Scotland on the advent of independence, and I mean records from Sir Francis Walsingham (1573) onwards, Queen Elizabeth’s person court spy who set up an efficient spy network on her behalf. They will be fascinating reading. Thereafter, England’s department of spying should be proscribed as an organisation excluded from access to Scotland. An independent Scotland won’t ever shake off a neighbour state’s surveillance but if it can identify folk, deport them and ban their re-entry.
Why our government tolerates a unit of the 77th Brigade, for example, operating from inside our border is a question they should answer. The SNP has been a political party ‘of interest’ ever since its inception when the early pioneers of self-governance, such as Hugh MacDiarmid, was spied upon relentlessly. How the current SNP expects to operate unhindered with naming and shaming is worthy of an article in itself. And there remains the ex-MI5 officer ‘operating’ in our Crown Office. He was there thought the farrago of the Salmond case, the Crown blocking or delaying vital evidence that exonerated Salmond. How comforting. I am happy to offer him right of reply over his alleged participation in that outrage.
One of the interesting aspects of colonised nations is how often individuals, compelled by injustice and artifice, feel compelled to explain the truth to the public as they encounter it, particularly when the functions of their nation is actively supressed or diverted by an alien power, legitimate organisations undermined by infiltration and disinformation. The subjugator himself is therefore undermined.
The other irony is the current head of MI5 is a state school educated Scot, Ken McCallum. He is a Glaswegian who joined the Security Service shortly after graduation. McCallum, who is in his forties, spent the first ten years of his MI5 career focusing on Northern Ireland terrorism and security and was involved behind the scenes during the peace process. (I am almost certainly on his books somewhere for my coinciding role working in BBC Northern Ireland. I do hope so, or I will be disappointed.) In 2012, McCallum took charge of all counter-terrorism investigations and risk management in the run-up to and during the London Olympics.
He was then seconded to the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (now BEIS) to develop his and MI5’s knowledge of digital issues and cybersecurity. After returning to MI5 he maintained contacts with the public sector and business and served for three years as a non-executive director of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority. From 2015 McCallum became the service’s strategy director, helping to develop closer working with MI6 and GCHQ.
He became deputy director-general of MI5 in 2017, “overseeing all operational and investigative work” during the period in which there were three terrorist attacks in London and the Manchester arena bombing. When Sergei Skripal and his daughter were poisoned in Salisbury in 2018, McCallum took charge of the MI5 investigation which, with Scotland Yard and others, identified Russian agents as the perpetrators. This is not necessarily a commendation considering the serious uncertainties surrounding the case, and how MI6 aided by the terrible twins SNP MPs Alyn Smith and Stewart MacDonald were busy chivvying us to believe Putin was the Devil and commies lie are under every bed in Scotland – a tactic instructed by USA for the preparation of a coup in Ukraine, in 2014. (Gay men are prime recruitment targets for the UK’s ‘intelligence’ services.)
And now for the humanising, nice guy bit: colleagues describe McCallum as “personable and friendly” and good to work with. (He leaves intimidating, untrustworthy and decidedly unfriendly to his staff in the field.) Apparently he is highly regarded in Whitehall and was seen as the natural successor to Sir Andrew Parker. He was appointed by the gremlin known as Priti Patel – and that should indicate the real Ken McCallum better than any puffery from the British State.
SNP AND MI5
by Campbell Martin
I have previously written about how British security services must have agents working within the Scottish National Party (SNP).
I believe rational people understand that, as the SNP has the stated aim of independence for Scotland at the core of its being, British security services wouldn’t be doing their job if they did not have people working within the party. Despite this being a statement of the obvious, my previous article produced a venomous backlash from some SNP activists, mainly young members, and also from British unionists. In relation to both groups, it seemed the truth really did hurt.
For SNP members who either don’t want to face the reality that their party has been infiltrated by agents of the British State, or who don’t like the public being made aware of what is actually happening, let’s provide the MI5 (Military Intelligence-5) definition of activities it considers to be worthy of investigation. The security service states it only investigates groups and political parties it believes are carrying out subversive activities.
Subverting the will of the people
From a British unionist perspective, ending the existing British Union by re-establishing Scotland as a sovereign, independent nation would certainly fall within subversive activities. To be absolutely clear, the dictionary definition of the word ‘subversion’ is: ‘referring to a process by which the values and principles of a system in place are contradicted or reversed in an attempt to transform the established social order and its structures of power, authority, hierarchy, and social norms’.
MI5 sets-out what it considers to be subversion worthy of investigation as: ‘activities which threaten the safety or well-being of the state and which are intended to overthrow or undermine parliamentary democracy by political, industrial or violent means’. Note that political and industrial means are listed alongside violent means. So, political parties and trade unions are considered to be as worthy of investigation by MI5 as a terrorist organisation. Also, the ‘parliamentary democracy’ the security service seeks to protect is the English parliament in London and the English establishment headed by the monarchy.
During his term as UK Home Secretary (1985-1989), Tory MP Douglas Hurd put on record the English government’s belief that: “The sole criterion in relation to a subversive threat is whether there is a deliberate intention to undermine parliamentary democracy and whether that presents a real threat to the security of the nation.” Hurd’s version of a subversive threat was enshrined in the Security Service Act (1989). Again, the ‘parliamentary democracy’ referred to in the definition is the English parliament in London, and the nation is England.
The 1960s saw independence movements come to the fore in the West Indies and Africa. Security service files, leaked years after the events, show MI5 working hand-in-hand with a secretive department of the UK Foreign Office, the Information Research Department (IRD), to undermine and attempt to destroy those Black Power-inspired independence movements in what were British colonies. Contained in the leaked documents is a letter from an IRD operative addressed to ‘Box 500’, which has since been established as MI5 headquarters in London. The letter seeks MI5 support in “collating, assessing and where necessary countering publicity and by other means the growth of Black Power in the area”. The area mentioned was Bermuda, which finally became an independent, sovereign state in 1995.
Scotland, a nation of interest
It would seem, therefore, that MI5 and the UK/English Government had at least 50-years experience in “countering publicity and by other means the growth” of independence movements before it got to work ahead of Scotland’s independence referendum in 2014.
We’ve already set-out, above, the overall, general purpose of MI5, but it is very difficult to establish how the security service operates. There is no legal statute defining the service’s role and there is a minimal framework of rules under which MI5 must operate. Statements from former service personnel show MI5 has burgled properties and monitored phone calls, text messages and social media activity of those it has under investigation. If any police force wishes to carry out such covert activities, they would require legal permission in the form of a warrant: no such requirement is placed on the UK’s clandestine security service. They could be monitoring you reading this right now.
Cathy Massiter was an MI5 agent between 1970 and 1984. After leaving the job, Ms Massiter wrote that during her time with the service, she noticed a fundamental change in emphasis regarding the role of MI5, noting that it shifted from being a counter-espionage organisation, aimed at ‘hostile’ foreign powers and their actions in the UK, to a domestic surveillance organisation, investigating and infiltrating political parties and campaign groups deemed to be a threat to the UK/English establishment.
Cathy Massiter recorded that the primary reason for her disillusionment with the work she was being asked to do as an MI5 Intelligence Officer was the steady politicisation of the service. I’ll come back to that in a moment. First, though, with regard to the SNP being infiltrated by MI5 and other organisations working for the British State, it’s worth setting-out the two roles performed by those ‘spies’. Not everyone who works for MI5 is an agent. There are also low-level informants whose role is to pass to the security service anything they pick-up through their role as an SNP member/activist. These people are not trained agents, they are simply informants.
The thing agents and informants have in common is that their motivation for betraying the independence movement can be wide and varied. Some will never have been supporters of independence, some will have become disillusioned with the idea, and some will simply like the feeling of being a CHIS. Prior to the huge success of the TV series ‘Line of Duty’, few of us would have been aware of what a CHIS was, but we now all know the acronym stands for Covert Human Intelligence Source. A CHIS will receive payment, with the amount depending on the value of the information they provide to the secret service.
Unlike a simple informant, agents will have been recruited by MI5 to perform a particular role in infiltrating the SNP. They will also have been provided with ongoing support to help them carry out their roles. Agents are not MI5 employees, but they will receive payment for their work. It is these agents who will, mostly, have been in-place for some time, and who may have risen within the ranks of the party. It is conceivable that agents of the British State now hold senior positions within the SNP-leadership and are able to influence party policy, such as adopting a soft approach to delivering independence, and promoting extreme niche-policies, which reduce delivery of independence to a secondary issue.
A rogue among rogues
MI5 is not alone in infiltrating the SNP. There are a number of books related to ‘spy cops’, which detail the work of Special Branch. Some serving police officers were allowed to enter into such deep-cover infiltration operations that they went on to have children with women they met in the group the were spying on. The women didn’t know the cop’s true position or even their real name.
Within Police Scotland, though, there is no such department as Special Branch. However, if pressed, the force acknowledges it does have officers carrying out duties that would normally be associated with the work of a Special Branch. The work done by those officers is usually covert and will include investigations into political, environmental and animal-rights groups. Intelligence secured through the investigations of Police Scotland’s ‘Not Special Branch’ is normally passed to MI5.
It is, therefore, possible that ‘Not Special Branch’ may have its own Covert Human Intelligence Sources providing ongoing information on the activities of political parties it deems to be of interest to the security service of the British State.
I recently spoke with a serving, senior police officer. The detective spoke on condition of anonymity. One of the things they said immediately made me think of the comment by former MI5 Intelligence Officer, Cathy Massiter, mentioned above. Like Ms Massiter, the Police Scotland officer said that, since the creation of the all-Scotland force, “The job has become much more politicised.” The officer indicated their belief that very senior officers, those in management positions, were acting on instructions from the Scottish and UK governments. The officer also believed the Crown Office Procurator Fiscal Service was no longer independent of government, but, like Police Scotland, was now acting on the instruction of politicians.
If this is true, Scotland’s police and prosecution service are being controlled by politicians who are, themselves, being controlled by faceless and secretive elements of the British State. While, to some, that will sound far-fetched and possibly a good plot-line for a spy novel, to others it would seem to explain how certain, recent prosecutions and political events have come about.
NOTE: Campbell Martin is a print and broadcast journalist, and a former SNP member of the Scottish parliament. ‘Was It Something I said,’ by Campbell Martin, is available from Amazon Books.