7 June 1999
Date: Mon, 07 Jun 1999 09:19:56 -0400 From: Pharaoh Chromium 93 <pc93[at]cwix.com> Subject: int. w/ tomlinson To: jya[at]pipeline.com June 2, 1999 Interview w/ Richard Tomlinson conducted by Pharaoh Chromium 93 PC93: Can you fill us in on any of the latest developments in regards to the British governments actions and Net censorship campaign against you? What are they doing right now that you are aware of? Richard Tomlinson: It seems that the British police are not taking any action against me, as they realise that I was not responsible for the list. However, MI6 are continuing to do everything they can to cause me legal problems around the world. Their latest move is to file charges against me in NZ. PC93: The British governments assertions that you had released 100's of names of SIS MI6 agents on your GeoCities website was patently false, yet they successfully stopped you from being able to have a webpage telling your story by making such a claim. This has occurred on two such occasions. What are your thoughts on this attempt at Net censorship? What do you plan on doing about it? or what do you think should be done about it? RT: Yes, this is quite true. They used all the fuss about the list as an excuse to take down my website. I think that they just objected to me criticising them in my site. My site contained nothing illegal. I could challenge the injunction against me in the Swiss courts, but I have decided not to do this because I can't afford the legal fees. I guess if some philanthropist stepped in to pay my fees I would do it, but the unfortunate reality is that the UK government has unlimited legal funds whereas I do not. PC93: I am interested in knowing (that is if you are "allowed" to speak to such questions)--Do you need any assistance? If so what is your message to those who may be interested in helping? RT: I have really appreciated all those people who have mirrored my site worldwide. I think that this is the best way of helping. It shows that the freedom of speech provided by the Internet is far more powerful than the outdated secrecy laws of a minor state. I think it will also force countries like China and Malaysia to rethink their internet censorship laws. PC93: Being that the ability to communicate freely has been and is now part of a widely accepted paradigm among those of intelligence in the Net community has anyone approached you in regards to providing site space so that you can be able to tell your story and communicate freely? RT: Yes, many people have offered to host my site. I have been reluctant to take up their offers just at the moment, but as soon as my legal position has become calmer I intend to put my site back up. PC93: There has been death threats, etc. and apparently a publication or newspaper (Sun Times?) encouraged people to write you electronically -- more than likely resulting in such threats occuring by suggesting that you were a traitor? What did they say? What are your thoughts? RT: Some of the mail I received after the Sun published my address was unpleasant and some really quite frightening. However, I thought it interesting that despite the Sun's hostile and one sided article, I still received more messages of support than criticism. I guess that that says a great deal about MI6's lack of public support in Britain. PC93: Is it true that you are in hiding? or is this an unfounded rumor? Aren't you now essentially in exile because of the British Government? You no longer can move freely between countries in the world. Can you fill us in on some details? What are your thoughts? RT: I am not really in hiding - just keeping a low profile. I certainly find the restrictions on my movement very irksome. I am banned from France, USA and Australia, and dare not move from Switzerland for the moment for fear of being arrested elsewhere. MI6 are able to cause me these problems by using their liaison with friendly foreign intelligence agencies. Unfortunately there is nothing I can do about this as MI6 are not legally accountable. PC93: Do you think that certain elements in the British government were and are really more afraid because of the information that you had on your website in regards to the death of Dodi Fayed and Princess Diana? i.e. the similarlity of what happened with a proposed plan to assassinate Slobodan Milosevic in 1993? RT: I am not sure. I suspect that they are more concerned that I am demistifying intelligence work and so diminishing their budget-negotiation power in Whitehall. PC93: You wrote a book which the British Government attacked you for and ultimately prevented you from publishing? Is this the case? RT: Yes. Indeed I was jailed for it! PC93: What was the British Government afraid of in that book? Wasn't it because of the contents of the book that you were jailed under the pretense of violating the Britain's Official Secrets Act? What are your thoughts, etc.? RT: My book contained nothing damaging, as I changed all the details. It was closer to a novel than a biography. They basically wanted to make sure that I didn't make any money - hence their strenuous efforts to block it. PC93: The British government has so far, in your case, been able to avoid accountability in judicial matters (industrial tribunal?), etc. by invoking the arguments of what in the US would be called "National Security" issues, that agents lives would be endangered by them appearing in court, etc. this in regards to a proceeding you had against them in the past in which they had dismissed you for no apparent cause. What is the story behind this? How has it panned out? And ultimately what would you like to see happen? RT: Yes, this is true. These arguments that "agents lives would be endangered" are really absurd. If that were really the case, how come they went to court to prosecute me? Just as in the USA, the government here abuses the secrecy laws by applying them selectively. It's one rule for them, and another for everybody else. It is this sort of hypocrisy that really makes me angry! PC93: Any further issues that have not been covered or commentary? RT: No, I think that's it! PC93: Thank you very much. --- Notes: Shayler says: Official Secrets Act was 'incompatible with the European Convention on Human Rights'. 'The act is so wide in its scope it allows full control to the state. It falls well below the democratic standards and traditions of the UK.' The French Government has signed a new EU Convention which ends the notion of 'political' crimes in Europe.