9 November 2002. Cryptome files on David Shayler:
Qadahfi Assassination Plot, 14 February 2000
Public Friend No. 1, 16 February 2000
Libyan Intelligence Service Activity in the UK, 14 April 2000
Why Prosecute David Shayler?, 28 August 2000
Judgment in Steen v. HMG in OSA-Shayler Case, 21 March 2001
Shayler v. Court of Appeal - Judgement, 29 September 2001
MI6 Plot to assassinate Colonel Gaddafi, 11 November 2001
House of Lords - Regina v Shayler (On Appeal From The Court of Appeal (Criminal Division)), 22 March 2002
UK Bans News of MI Assassination Plots, 16 October 2002
R v. David Shayler - Public Immunity Certificate (10 April 2002), November 7, 2002
16 October 2002. Thanks to O.
O. writes: On October 7, UK government ministers signed Public Interest Immunity certificates ('D-notices') that ban the British media from reporting evidence currently being presented at the Old Bailey by David Shayler, and also ban them from reporting the fact of the gag order itself.
Following are texts of two newspaper articles. The first is coverage of the gag order, published yesterday in The Age, a Melbourne-based newspaper. The second was published on the front page of the Guardian on Monday, and subsequently removed from their website without comment (apparently other UK newspapers have done the same with their coverage).
By Paul Daley
October 10 2002
The British media have been gagged from reporting sensational courtroom evidence of former MI5 spy David Shayler, including his alleged proof that the British secret service paid $270,000 for al Qaeda terrorists to assassinate Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi in 1986.
In its efforts to contain Mr Shayler's allegations to the privacy of the court, the government has even stopped the media from reporting its successful attempt to win a gag order.
The decision by an Old Bailey judge to stop the media from reporting parts of Mr Shayler's evidence came on Monday after two senior ministers, David Blunkett and Jack Straw, signed Public Interest Immunity certificates.
The certificates, which were submitted to the court, insisted that the media and the public leave the court if the activities of the security and intelligence agencies were raised by the defence.
The then Labour opposition strenuously opposed the Tory government's use of the certificates during the arms-to-Iraq prosecution in the early '90s. Some guilty verdicts were subsequently overturned on appeal because the defence successfully argued that it had been deprived of relevant information.
When such certificates are issued, it is standard practice for the judge to read the applications and publicly hear the arguments for and against a gagging order, before ruling. But in the case of Mr Shayler - a 36-year-old former MI5 officer who is accused of disclosing government secrets to the media and in a book - the government wanted the judge, Justice Alan Moses, to consider the application in private.
The British media widely reported on Monday that lawyers acting for Mr Shayler had accused the government of trying to "intimidate" Justice Moses. But on Tuesday the newspapers - many of which had mounted their own legal case against the application of the certificates - reported simply that the court had heard legal arguments relating to Mr Shayler's trial. "The judge ruled that they (the legal arguments) cannot be reported," The Guardian reported.
Although Mr Shayler's jury trial is expected to begin next week in the Old Bailey, any evidence relating to sensitive security or intelligence matters will be kept private. After the judge's ruling on Monday, several articles detailing Mr Shayler's anticipated evidence - and the government's efforts to keep it secret - were withdrawn from newspaper websites across the country.
It is believed the government successfully applied to have parts of the trial heard in camera. This applies to evidence on "sensitive operational techniques of the security and intelligence services".
It is also believed that the court agreed to keep the identities of MI5 agents secret and to allow them to give evidence from behind screens.
Blunkett and Straw accused of trying to intimidate judge as Shayler case starts today at Old Bailey
Monday October 7, 2002
Ministers have demanded that part of the trial of David Shayler, the former MI5 officer, which starts at the Old Bailey today, be held in secret in what lawyers say is an unprecedented attempt to influence the course of criminal proceedings.
The home secretary, David Blunkett, and the foreign secretary, Jack Straw, have signed public interest immunity certificates - a device designed to gag a court - insisting that the media and the public leave if activities of the security and intelligence agencies are raised by the defence.
They signed identical certificates last Friday, three days before the long-awaited trial was due to open.
Conservative ministers signed a series of PII certificates during arms-to-Iraq prosecutions in the 1990s. Guilty verdicts were subsequently quashed on appeal, mainly because the defence was deprived of relevant evidence.
The use of the PII certificates was strongly attacked by the then Labour opposition as well as by Lord Scott, chairman of the arms-to-Iraq inquiry and now a law lord. The certificates were used at the time to persuade a judge to prevent the disclosure to the defence of documents considered sensitive. The normal practice is for a trial judge to read the documents and decide, after hearing the case for secrecy, whether they should be disclosed.
Now ministers are demanding for the first time that the trial judge agree in advance that the court should go into secret session, without providing evidence to back up the prosecution's case and without the defence having the opportunity to argue against it.
The government was accused by lawyers yesterday of trying to intimidate the trial judge, Mr Justice Alan Moses, and of interfering in the criminal process.
Michael Tugendhat QC will today oppose the demand for parts of the trial to be heard in secret on behalf of the Guardian and other national newspapers. He is expected to underline the importance of the principles of open justice and freedom of expression and argue that the government has provided no evidence that national security could be threatened.
Geoffrey Robertson QC, acting for the civil rights group Liberty, will also oppose the government's move.
Government officials and lawyers persuaded the two cabinet ministers to sign the PII certificates after they learned that Mr Shayler intended to defend himself at the trial. They appear to be worried that he will make further allegations about MI5 and MI6 knowledge of a plot to assassinate the Libyan leader, Muammar Gadafy, in 1996.
A book, Forbidden Truth, published this summer claims that British intelligence was in contact with "Osama bin Laden's main allies" who were opposed to Colonel Gadafy.
In an earlier case relating to Mr Shayler's allegations, the appeal court last year ruled that "unless there are compelling reasons of national security, the public is entitled to know the facts and as the eyes and ears of the public, journalists are entitled to investigate and report the facts".
Mr Shayler is charged under three counts with breaking the Official Secrets Act. They relate to disclosures published in national newspapers in 1997, including how MI5 held files on prominent politicians, - among them Jack Straw and Peter Mandelson - it once considered potentially subversive, and how it tracked the movements of a Libyan official suspected of being an intelligence agent.
The prosecution has put together five large files containing newspaper reports relating to allegations by Mr Shayler.
By coincidence, Mr Justice Moses was the prosecuting counsel in many of the arms-to-Iraq cases involving disputes over PII certificates signed by ministers, and Mr Robertson was defence counsel in the most controversial case involving three directors of the machine tool company Matrix Churchill.
The argument about whether any of the trial should be heard in secret will be held in public. The jury is unlikely to be sworn until after the matter is settled.