David Shayler v Larry O'Hara - Conway Hall Tuesday 21 June

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PaulMarsh's picture
Joined: 26-09-03
May 28 2005 08:38
David Shayler v Larry O'Hara - Conway Hall Tuesday 21 June

In a clash of the heavyweights, ex (?) MI5 officer David Shayler will debate with Larry O'Hara, editor of Notes from the Borderland, in central London on 21 June.

The meeting will be chaired by a member of Corporate Watch research group, and both speakers will take questions from the floor. More details to follow!

Jacques Roux's picture
Jacques Roux
Joined: 17-07-06
Jun 13 2005 18:08

Final details:

Just to tell you all that the logistics of the debate have now been sorted out. It will be at the Conway Hall, London, as stated in previous announcement, on 21/6/05, 6.30 for 7pm start. To cover the costs of hiring the hall/security etc there is a charge. Tickets are £4, or £2 for those on benefits/unemployed. To buy a ticket/get further information on the debate etc visit http://www.borderland.co.uk/notes_from_the_borderland_002.htm

I hope this all makes sense: there is an email on the web-site for queries. Opportunities to subject spooks, whether ex or otherwise, to severe public scrutiny are rare--and as such, I suggest, not to be missed!!

pingtiao's picture
Joined: 9-10-03
Jun 22 2005 10:57


Does anyone have a report from this?

How was it?

PaulMarsh's picture
Joined: 26-09-03
Jun 23 2005 13:37

Well, here's how I recall the meeting and questions.

Shayler came across to me as what I would call a good SWP type speaker, he is a bit posh, quite jolly and personable, and pushes the line of uniting against the "real enemy" - Tony Blair. He stressed repeatedly the miscarriage of justice concerning the 2 Palestinians who were found guilty of bombing the Israeli embassey in London, and MI6 involvement in an attempt to kill Colonel Gadaffi.

To Shayler those who criticise him are wasting time that should be spent on the things he considers important, and worse failing to unite, as all progressives should (that others may regard different issues as more important is not, as with the SWP, a possibility he considers)

Larry O'Hara spoke in quite a cutting, factual way, with occasional humorous barbs. He concentrated on the contradictions in Shayler's case on various issues - Libya, Princess Diana's death, Class War, IRA/INLA attacks in England, the SWP and two areas that were apparently in the draft of Annie Machon's book until taken out by lawyers - the miners strike and the trades unionist Jack Jones. Larry frequently referred to specific articles/interviews Shayler had given, many of which were contradictory.

Shayler is weak on detail, especially in areas where O'Hara put him under pressure. Here he tends to either blame wrong doings on MI6, claims he would like to tell you but can't as he would be jailed under the Official Secrets Act, or says he was at MI5 at the time but it was nothing to do with him/he opposed what was done but it happened anyway.

On Richard Tomlinson Shayler denied ever meeting him, and alleged Tomlinson tried to lure him to Libya. Annie Machon did not come (even though the book Shayler was selling is officially her's, not his) and Shayler had a few fans there, although the audience was mostly sceptical of him. Oddly, given his involvement with SWP front groups, no one from SWP/GR/STWC was there.

Shayler also alleged he had survived a probable assassination attempt, whilst driving, and that he was told whilst in MI5 that Tony Blair had given information to the service.

Two areas where Shayler was shockingly bad were when asked about Searchlight/Tim Hepple, and about the SWP. On Searchlight, Shayler professed ignorance, even though he was at one time responsible for monitoring the far-right, and Searchlight's editor does not even deny his links to the security services. To say he knew nothing here was an insult to our intelligence.

Annie Machon, Shayler's partner, was responsible for monitoring the SWP, and has even described hiding in a caravan at their old summer bashes in Skegness. Despite this, Shayler said she would not know the details of who the agents in the SWP were, as she would only have seen code names. Compare this to Class War, where Shayler de-briefed infiltrators, and you can see how likely it is he is telling a big fat porkie here......................

On the issue of Class War (who Shayler has previously described as a threat to public health!) I made the point to Shayler that the infiltrator he describes de-briefing in Class War does not fit the description of anyone who is in the group at the time.This person, according to Shayler was a cop who had gone native, drinking 6 cans of Special Brew in one de-briefing, and boasting of assaulting fellow police officers. And yet according to Shayler when this agent was pulled out, Class War collapsed, as he had been propping the group up with his administrative skills. Propping up the local off-licence sounds more likely!

Shayler's bizarre response at the debate was that because this person was a roving activist in various groups, we may not have particularly noticed him. His response to my question basically contradicted every he has said previously (and that was not very clear) - will the real David Shayler please stand up?

Finally on Andy Bryant (named in Class War five years ago as an infiltrator) it is worth remembering that the information on him did not come from Shayler, or Annie Machon, but from a court case in 1997, where it was feared by the defence barristers that Shayler/Machon had possibly undermined a fair trial for other anarchists (the Gandalf case for those who remember it)

Andy Bryant is a little remembered CW member from the early 90s (I think he may have been an ACF member as well) who people had forgotten about before the 1997 revelations, save for the fact that he botched the London CW bank account with the Co-Op, and seemingly ran off to France with about £100. Shayler did raise a laugh by saying we should have reported this to the police!

Anyway, I'm off to trim my dreadlocks, walk my dog on a rope and cash my giro before David Shayler's replacement spots me being subversive...........

Joined: 3-03-05
Jun 23 2005 22:26

It is however, useful to note people who have wandered about between groups in short duration, they are usually dodgy and worth the watching. Point of info. He did also have some info he could only have known if in MFI. Not a fan however.