Posts Tagged ‘declassified’

Seven things we learn from the latest MI5 declassified files

October 24th, 2014

2. The US feared Robert Oppenheimer would ciprofloxacin 500 mg defect to the Soviet Union on a trip to Britain


Robert Oppenheimer (AP)

Oppenheimer, the US physicist and a “father of the atomic bomb” was closely monitored by MI5 on a trip the UK in 1953 over fears he would defect to the Soviet Union.

A cable sent the MI5 by the US Embassy said: “Information has been received that Oppenheimer may defect from France in September 1954. According to the source, Oppenheimer will first come to England and then go to France, where he will vanish into Soviet hands.”

3. MI5 put Julius Nyerere under surveillance despite having “no credible evidence” linking him to subversion


Julius Nyerere (AP)

The security service began monitoring Nyerere, leader of the independence movement in Tanganyika and later first president of Tanzania, during independence negotiations in London as a result of a request by the Colonial Office.

“The alarmist case for a Home Office Warrant on Nyerere made by successive Colonial Secretaries and accepted by successive Home Secretaries now appears flimsy,” Prof Christopher Andrew, MI5’s official historian, noted in an analysis of the files.

“There was no credible evidence linking Nyerere to subversion. On the contrary, the evidence in his file shows him to have been a devout Catholic as well as a popular leader, profoundly opposed to violence, striving to create a non-racial society.”

4. Eric Hobsbawm was monitored by MI5 for more than 20 years


Eric Hobsbawm (Rex)

The security services opened the Marxist historian’s letters and bugged his telephone calls and meetings, learning that he was in contact with leading members of the now defunct British Communist Party.

Among his associates were James MacGibbon, a wartime British intelligence officer who passed secrets to the Russians, and Alan Nunn May, the British atomic scientist who had been convicted as a Soviet spy

A member of the now defunct British Communist Party since 1936, Hobsbawm had unsuccessfully fought to see the files before his death in 2012.

One report noted that Hobsbawm “dresses in a slovenly way”, while another reported that he was “in difficulties” with his wife, “who does not consider him to be a fervent enough Communist.”

5. MI5 came close to capturing the commander of the Greek-backed Eoka guerrilla movement


Georgios Grivas (Getty Images)

Files on Georgios Grivas, the Cyprus-born general of the Greek Army who led the Eoka guerrillas fighting for union with Greece, show that he was almost captured by MI5’s leading officer in Cyprus, Brigadier Bill Magan.

Magan, who died in 2010 aged 101, did not go ahead with the move for fear it could jeopardise the negotiations which led to the creation of the independent Republic of Cyprus in 1959.

Grivas’s files contain a lengthy profile of him by Magan, who noted that his report could be considered “a trifle colourful for an official paper”.

6. The “genius” MI5 agent who smoked out British Nazi sympathisers was a bank clerk


Eric Roberts (AP)

The identity of the MI5 spy who posed as a German agent to infiltrate the ranks of British Nazi sympathisers is revealed as Eric Roberts, a bank clerk and father-of-three who lived with his family in Surrey.

Files released in February had disclosed the existence of the so-called “fifth column” case. At the time King was thought to be John Bingham, the MI5 officer who partly inspired John le Carré’s character George Smiley.

The latest disclosure shows that King’s true identity was Roberts, who worked at the Euston Road branch of the Westminster Bank in central London.

The file shows that Roberts’s employers were confused after receiving a letter requesting his urgent service for a special task of national importance.

In a letter dated June 11 1940, RW Jones, the bank’s assistant controller, said: “What we would like to know here is what are the particular and especial qualifications of Mr Roberts – which we have not been able to perceive – for some particular work of national military importance which would take him away from his normal military call-up in October?”

7. A future Israeli deputy prime minister worked for British intelligence during the Second World War


Abba Eban (Srdja Djukanovic/The Telegraph)

Abba Eban, who was born in Britain, appeared to have a career as a brilliant academic ahead of him before the start of the war.

However the files show that he went on from a research post at Cambridge University to work for British intelligence, including in the Intelligence Corps and SOE, the Special Operations Executive.

He went on to become deputy prime minister of Israel and the country’s ambassador to the USA.

His files include copies of letters sent to Eban and his wife Suzy while they lived in Highgate, north London, sent by his father-in-law in Cairo, and a report on his appointment as Israel’s ambassador to the US.


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