Book cover

Book cover
There are some 'clues' if you wish to find them!

Friday, 20 April 2012

'Spies' come in all shapes & sizes

There are all sorts of people employed by the security services. There are the so-called professionals at the top, with teams of specialists reporting to them. In this day and age, there is obviously a strong emphasis on technology: communications interception, cyber crime and the like.

But there is also a need for 'foot soldiers'. These are the people who travel around; meeting, talking, observing, recruiting and, of course, disposing of the opposition when it is necessary. They do not have formal identification and, more often than not, they are pursuing another career. That cover, plus the ability to travel unhindered, are key to the contribution they make. They may be businesspeople, academics, writers, ex military personnel or even semi-retired. That last one is near perfect. He sits on a the board of a few charities, occasionally has to travel up to London for a meeting, but otherwise is all his neighbours believe him to be. Most of them are not on any official government payroll and if they are paid, it is often in cash; available from a suitably anonymous office.

Despite the cover and/or the training, these are all human beings; with weaknesses, idiosyncracies and occasional dark secrets. In short, they make mistakes or create indiscretions. If they are important enough, they are rescued in some way; if not, they are abandoned or denied in a biblical manner. Here are just two of many examples I have personally experienced.

On one occasion, I was taking a fairly well-known person to lunch at a famous London restaurant. My reason was straightforward business. However, a few days before the meeting I was informed that this person had fairly strong links to the security services. More importantly, I was advised not to go into the gentlemen's washroom at the same time as him! I have never figured out whether this advice was imparted to save me embarrassment or pre-emptive, to keep him out of trouble.

The other was an elderly Belgian gentleman (not Poirot!) who still did a little work in his spare time. I think that he worked for the French, but cannot be certain. Anyway, on one of his fact-finding missions he discovered an address where a member of the UK security services resided from time to time. This person was known to him socially, but not through any 'spooks' network. At Christmas, they would exchange cards; sent to their home addresses. The mistake arose when the elderly Belgian gentleman sent his annual christmas card to the other address! Age catches up with all of us.


  1. Anglesey born and raised MI6 agent Gareth Williams was found murdered in his flat in Alderney Street Pimlico Central London . His body was found in a holdall . Gareth who loved cycling and spent a lot of his spare time cycling around Angelsey was discovered in the bath of the property in Pimlico, a short distance from MI6 headquarters.

    His parents, Ian and Ellen, who live in Valley near Holyhead, returned from holiday on Tuesday and were taken by police from Manchester Airport to London to identify their son’s body. His younger sister Ceri, who lives in the Wrexham area, is believed to have joined them.

    Mr Williams’ uncle, Anglesey Plaid Cymru councillor William Hughes of Trefor near Bodedern, said he had a phone call on Tuesday morning to say the body had been found.

    He said: “It was an enormous shock. I have been to see his grandparents and they cannot believe what has happened. We are all devastated.”

    A former pupil at Ysgol Morswyn, Holyhead and Ysgol Uwchradd Bodedern, Mr Williams later studied Maths at Cambridge University.

    “He was very, very talented but very quiet with it and didn’t mix a lot. He was very fond of cycling and always had his bike with him when he visited the island,” he said.

    A former schoolfriend at Ysgol Uwchradd Bodedern said: “He was a really decent honest person, he was such a nice lad, quiet and hard working.

    Mr Williams, who was officially employed as a communications officer at the GCHQ “listening post” in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, was on secondment to the MI6 and was due to return to Cheltenham next week after working in London for about a year.

    A post-mortem examination carried out by a Home Office pathologist last night found he had not been stabbed as earlier thought. Further tests, including toxicological analysis of his blood for evidence of drugs and alcohol, will now take place

    Gareth flat was rented from a company named New Rodina. An MI6 front company registered in the British Virgin Islands and unlisted in Companies House.

    The property was purchased for £675,250 in 2000 with a mortgage from the Royal Bank of Scotland which in 2000 when it was bought was the biggest money laundering bank in the world run by a former Tory Minister with MI6 connections. The Bank of Scotland suffered looses through covert arms deals that went wrong following the 'arms to Iraq scandal'

    Documents show the owner of New Rodina operated using a law firm called Park Nelson which occupied a rented office in Bell Yard, off Fleet Street, but no longer appears to exist. This is a standard proceedure and no doubt the cleaners will be working overtime. Michael Howard, the former Conservative Party leader, and Leon Britten are among a host of politicians and bankers who also live on the street.

    A few weeks ago two letter bombs were sent from Caearnafon North Wales (a few miles from where Gareth grew up) one to MI6 headquaters and one to 10 Downing Street as a protest by intelligence agents in North Wales.

    Gareth was caught up in a secret intelligence war which this january led to thousands of documents on 'arms to Iraq' being siezed by the Derby Police from an address in North Wales situated between Cearnarfon and Valley in Angelsey where Gareth grew up.

    Some of these documents have been requested by the Iraq Inquriy but the Derby Police who walked into North Wales and escalated an itelligence war refuse to return them.

    This is the first obvious death in the Secret Intelligence War there will be many more

  2. William this is the best explanation I have seen about how covert intelligence works on a day to day basis.

    Those of us have who become embroiled in the secret world never really escape its tentacles as it changes your life forever.

    There is so little known about the many different organizations and how they interact and what their prime motivation is. Even when functioning as an important pawn you do not know who you are working for really or what the full game plan is.

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