Secrets of the Bilderberg

One-World Altruist or the most Pernicious Cabal of the Twentieth Century?
Barry Robson investigates

Bilderberg Group, so called because of their first meeting in May 1954 at the Bilderberg Hotel, near Arnhem in Holland, are, according to the Christian US based Jeremiah Project:

‘Shrewd and calculating, their hearts are filled with lust for power and consumed with greed for money. Rich and aristocratic, they despise Christians and they loathe the lowly working class. They control the world’s press and virtually all our banks and financial institutions. They screen and choose who America’s leaders will be and even determine who will run on the Democratic and Republican Parties’ tickets.

‘Arrogantly, they plot the subversion and take-over of constitutional governments everywhere. Their goal is a World Government run exclusively by their hand picked puppets.’1

On the other hand to some, a world government might just be a better alternative to the nationalist strife and religious fundamentalism that has belaboured our planet for the last millennium. One thing is sure; the Bilderbergers represent the most wealthy and powerful establishment of every Western nation. They include royalty, executives of multinational corporations, leading statesmen, ex-military top brass and other elite influence peddlers. Their meetings, which take place at a different venue every year, go unannounced, their speeches unreported and their decisions unrecorded. This seems like the Mother of all Conspiracies and it’s been going on a long, long time.

The great conspiracy apparently goes back to the eighteenth century when one Adam Weishaupt, who greatly admired the teachings of Plato, formed a secret fraternity called the Illuminati in Bavaria based loosely on the lines of the Freemasons. They claimed superior knowledge and access to the revealed truths about the world. This was all to be used to elevate the human race to a brotherhood above fratricidal squabbling.

John Ruskin the noted English social critic and philosopher, revived these ideals in the 1870s through his teachings and writings at Oxford. He wanted to motivate the upper classes to use their education, breeding and money to ‘civilise’ the world. Cecil Rhodes the founder of Rhodesia (Zimbabwe) and South African diamond millionaire, who was a devoted disciple of Ruskin used his fortune to promote this grand scheme of federating the English speaking peoples around the globe and bringing all of it under their ‘benign’ imperial control.

To this end Rhodes and other acolytes of Ruskin, formed a secret society known as the Round Table Group in 1881. This group of academics, dreamers and aristocrats were able to gain access to Rhodes’ fortune after his death in 1902. Under the trusteeship of Lord Milner, another arch-imperialist, they sought to spread and carry out the ambitions that Rhodes derived from Ruskin.

John Ruskin, together with Cecil Rhodes, formed a secret society in 1881 known as The Round Table Group

Milner was Governor-General of South Africa between 1897-1905 and used his contacts to recruit a group of young men, chiefly from the intellectual elites of Oxford and Cambridge to assist him in fulfilling his dreams. These men were able to win important posts in government and international finance and became the dominant influence in British imperial and foreign affairs up to the Second World War. They were originally known as ‘Milner’s Kindergarten’ and after 1910 organised confidential, exclusive gatherings known as Round Table Groups, in the English speaking Empire and in the United States.

Cecil Rhodes

After the turmoil of the First World War and the triumph of the Anglo-Saxon West, it was at the Majestic Hotel in Paris during the peace conferences that the Round Table Groups emerged from their cloak of secrecy and officially became the US Council on Foreign Relations and the UK Royal Institute for International Affairs.

This evolution, in the opinion of the Liberty Lobby, another Christian ultra-conservative pressure group, based in Washington DC, was the beginning of what they call a Jewish-communist conspiracy to rule the planet by way of a ‘New World Order’ whose eventual goal is one world government - a sort of apocalyptic marriage between the Communist Manifesto and the fake Protocols of the Elders of Zion, (a supposed Judaic scheme to dominate the human race). The Bilderbergers are, according to the Liberty Lobby, direct descendants of the ‘Satanic-Marxist’ Illuminati, the Round Tables and the two subsequent foreign-relations organisations.

The ‘Bible’ of the conspiracy theorists is a book written in 1966 called ‘Tragedy and Hope’ by the late Dr Carroll Quigley, a distinguished professor at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service. In it he detailed how the complex financial and commercial relations between the major powers, especially the British and Americans, before 1914 influenced today’s global markets. Quigley used his book as the text of his courses on western civilisation at the University.

The book has become very hard to locate. Quigley had trouble getting it published; the original plates disappeared and the banking authorities and the higher echelons of finance voiced their displeasure about its revealing contents. Quigley himself once remarked how his academic career in government institutions had been stunted because of the book. It is for these reasons that ‘Tragedy and Hope’ became the Holy Grail of the conspiracy theorists, much to Quigley’s annoyance, who disparaged its revelations claiming it was just the sort of book any assiduous researcher could produce. The publication is for sale though mail order book clubs that specialise in the world of paranoia.

The Bilderberger meetings were the brainchild of the remarkable Pole Dr. Joseph Retinger. He was according to Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands an extraordinary character who flitted through fifty years of European history on close terms with prime ministers, trade unionists, industrial magnates, artists, intellectuals and even committed revolutionaries. His address book of intimates and confidants read like a Who’s Who of international Movers and Shakers. He was born in 1888 of gentry parents in pre First World War Krakow, then part of Austrian Poland. He went to the Sorbonne in Paris to complete his education and was soon part of the city’s literary and artistic circles. He was a fierce Polish patriot and this made him more than unpopular with the Germans and Austrians, who during World War One put a price on his head.

His machinations on behalf of the Polish people got him banned from London and jailed in the USA (he carried an enemy passport). These experiences sharpened his skills for both intrigue and diplomacy. He moved to England after the War and found entrée into the political circles that included Herbert Asquith and Lord Balfour.

Lord Balfour


In London he worked as secretary to the famous novelist and fellow Polish nationalist, Joseph Conrad. Although Retinger was crippled by polio, he never let this interfere with his amazingly active life.

At the outbreak of WWII he became an aide to the Free Polish General Sikorski and despite his painful disability parachuted into Poland to make contact with the Home Army to arrange the transfer of several million dollars.
When the Red Army moved into Central and Eastern Poland and turned it into a bastion of Stalinism, Retinger then devoted the rest of his life to uniting the West against Marxist hegemony - he acted as a sort of ‘Eminence Grise’, a Talleyrand without Portfolio. Cardinal Richelieu would have been impressed.

Being a realist he knew that Western Europe, devastated by war could not stand alone against the rising tide of communism and also the growing tide of anti-Americanism in all social classes. This seemingly illogical fear of Uncle Sam threatened the West’s defences against the power of invasion from the East. Retinger devised a plan to address the situation, but needed powerful allies to implement it. Convinced of the need to strengthen ties between the USA and Western Europe, he approached through numerous contacts, leading politicians, businessmen and ex-military leaders who were concerned to cement Atlantic co-operation.

They asked Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands to act as Chairman designate because they rightly thought it would be difficult to find a politician who would not be besmirched with partisanship and who could call on politicians no matter what their party, without fear or favour (it was quietly forgotten that as a German-born aristocrat, Bernhard had been an honorary member of the SS in the 1930s).

Thus was enhanced the cementing of the Atlantic movement, already founded by the Marshall Plan, NATO, and the European movement, which has led to today’s European Union. Both are the ‘children’ of Joseph Retinger. He has been called ‘a True Renaissance Man’, ‘a Machiavellian Jesuit,’ and having a ‘Borgian Brilliance for Intrigue.’ Although his name is virtually unknown today, his influence has been tremendous - either for good or ill, depending on your world-view. Until his death in 1960, Retinger devoted his life to strengthening the West against ‘the threat from the East.’ He would have been overjoyed at the collapse of communism, Poland’s entry into NATO and its application to join the European Union.

Towards the end of May 1954 at a small hotel at Oosterbeek in the deeply wooded Arnhem area the most eminent and powerful men from the principal western European nations gathered. There was absolutely no publicity. Security personnel surrounded the hotel and journalists, except those invited in a private capacity, were persona non grata. The participants sworn to secrecy, stripped of their official titles for the three days of the forum were just ‘simple citizens’ of their respective countries. Everyone could say what he liked without fear of repercussions. That meeting and all subsequent ones have had an enormous if impossible-to-validate effect on post-war history.

For the first 22 years of the Bilderberg meetings Price Bernhard was in the Chair until forced to resign in 1976 because of a bribery scandal involving Lockheed. Then the former British Prime Minister Lord Home took over, then his political ally Lord Carrington. There are no members of Bilderberg. Each year the chairman in consultation with the international steering committee compiles an invitation list. Individuals are chosen in the light of their knowledge of, importance to and standing in the world. To ensure a full and comprehensive discussion the list includes invitees from the full spectrum of political and economic points of view.

Of the 100 or so participants, approximately one third are from government and politics and the rest from a wide variety of fields including finance, journalism, academia and labour. They attend in a personal and not in an official capacity. From the beginning the conferencees are overwhelmingly from America and Western Europe and the two debating languages are English and French. The significance of the gathering can not be underestimated. The participants on most definitions would be labelled as members of the ‘Ruling Class’ in Europe or the USA - the most powerful men (for they have been overwhelmingly men) in the corridors of power of the western democracies.

The meetings take place in a different venue every year, alternately in Northern America and Western Europe. Officially, the discussion at each meeting is centred on ‘...topics of current concern in the broad fields of foreign policy, world economy and other contemporary issues. Basic groundwork of the symposium is laid by means of working papers for general discussion. In order to assure freedom of speech and frankness of expression, the gatherings are closed and off the record. No resolutions are proposed, no votes taken and no policy statements issued during and after the meetings.’2

It is the Bilderberg custom to book a hotel for a weekend or more, with the whole building being cleared of all other guests, no matter what their standing and status. Two days before the meeting the various secret service personnel move in and go through the place with a fine tooth comb to make sure there is complete privacy and safety for the delegates. All staff are thoroughly vetted and any suspect ones are removed for the duration. To the outsider, this looks like a real cloak-and-dagger operation, where publicity shy power-brokers lock themselves into a tight security grid.

The meetings are never dull and not always with consensus. Sparks regularly fly. At St Simons in 1957 the French, British and Americans almost came to blows over Suez. At another it was the Chinese offshore islands of Quemoy and Matsu. The Europeans could understand the American attitude about defending Taiwan, but holding up the Big Stick to the Communists for a couple of insignificant outcrops seemed military madness ‘for the sake of tweaking the dragon’s tail.’ Other controversial issues have been the American and British attitudes to European unification and the US’s heavy handed policy towards Cuba.

This is known as ‘Son of Bilderberg’ and is more or less a global version of its bilateral parent, with the Japanese being invited. It has an interlocking membership with Bilderberg and also holds closed-door meetings. Both George Bush and Bill Clinton were long-time members of the Commission and got promoted to Bilderberg when the time was thought right. Having consecutive US presidents mixing with the same people puts the Bilderbergers in a win-win situation.

Former President Bill Clinton is a member of the Bilderberg Society

Obviously, considering the guest list, the Bilderberger/Trilateral get-togethers are certainly not an inconsequential gabfest. In recent years some conferencees have broken their Trappist-like silence and revealed some items on the agendas. In retrospect they read like a menu of the world’s most historic events: the USA and UN recognising Communist China was mooted before Nixon made it so; the idea of a single European currency was debated in the late 1980s. Apparently, Margaret Thatcher was removed as British PM because of her opposition to surrendering British sovereignty to a federal Europe.

The invite list reveals that those in power or reckoned to be on its threshold are immediately incorporated to the inner sanctum. All the Presidents of the US or their close aides since Eisenhower have attended; the same goes for British Prime Ministers and senior Cabinet members. Lords Home and Carrington headed Bilderberg and Tony Blair, Peter Mandelson and George Robertson were recently there. Robertson, of course will be a regular attendee now he has been appointed to the Secretary- Generalship of NATO. Every major banker in America and Europe has turned up at one time or another and David Rockefeller who heads the Chase Manhattan Bank is almost a permanent feature. European royalty active in public life such as Prince Charles, make frequent appearances.
More recent debates have started alarm bells ringing with both the Left and Right. It’s claimed that NATO has decided to become a world policeman after its intervention in Kosovo and it also promised to turn a blind eye to Russia’s complete obliteration of Chechnya’s attempt of secession and the recent razing of Grozny, all at the behest of Bilderberg. Eventually there will be a unification of the dollar and the Euro making a de facto world currency, and encouraging of ‘socialist’ governments like Tony Blair’s New Labour to implement New Right policies so as to appear to ameliorate their harshness. After all it might be easier for someone claiming to be a socialist to push the stringent changes through.

Past invitees claim that some of the speeches are so dull and esoteric that they would be instant cures for insomnia. One thing is certain: the participants can be relied on to keep mum about what goes on at the Bilderberg. Even the world’s press barons and their editors who are regularly invited to attend, make sure that absolutely nothing is printed or broadcast in their media. Excommunication would not be in their interests. Once you have been invited to Bilderberg you have arrived. You are a privileged member of the Grandees of the World; the Patricians with ‘Pull’ or what the journalist Tony Gosling calls ‘The High Priests of Globalisation’: a select forum whose talk results in the making of history.

Not everyone succumbs to the lure of the Bilderbergers though. Computer billionaire and sometime US presidential candidate Ross Perot received an invitation and gave them short shrift. He told them pointedly,
‘You boys don’t want to know my views, you want to impose your views on me. If any of you have anything to tell me, write or give me a call.’3

Those who are considered mavericks or gauche will not get the call. Pat Buchanan, the powerful leader of the American religious right is never likely to go through the hallowed portals, and interestingly, Rupert Murdoch has never been invited - maybe he didn’t want to be bound by the promise of silence.

The disquiet about Bilderberg has reached the level of European parliamentarians. Patricia McKenna MEP of the Irish Green Party tabled a question to the European Commission in December 1998 about the attendance of Commissioners at Bilderberg. Did their presence in any way conflict with their duties towards Europe? The reply was bland and resembled Bilderberg’s own vague description of the activities the Group involved itself in.
With concern about the amount of ‘sleaze’ British MPs were involved in during John Major’s administration, the incoming Blair government assured voters that they would be a squeaky clean act. It came as a bit of a surprise therefore to discover that the trip Tony Blair, then shadow Home Secretary, and Kenneth Clarke, then a Cabinet Minister, took to the Athens meeting in 1993 had not been declared by them in the Parliamentary Register of Members’ Interests. Blair belatedly entered his details in 1995 but Clarke never did.

In 1998, after the Labour election landslide, several questions were asked in Parliament about ministers’ attendance at Bilderberg meetings, the Group’s influence on European policy and world agricultural prices. To all the questions the reply was either in the negative or evasive.

Magazines such as Freedom Today, published by the Freedom Association, a British right wing pressure group virulently opposed to European federalism and the single currency, regard Bilderberg as part of planning the death of Britain’s independence, ‘Ordinary people do not know Bilderberg exists, and hence are powerless to scrutinise the highly questionable activity of this treasonous, corporatist oligarchy of influence.’4

Conspiracy theory is more than just a belief in just the occasional cabal. Simply put, it is a conviction which asserts that world events are being controlled in secret by a group of ultra-powerful puppeteers behind the curtains. Is it the stuff of fiction that at once thrills and chills? The basic storylines of conspiracy theory have a striking resemblance to the anti-Semitic propaganda manufactured by the Nazis in the 1920s and 30s. Indeed the Nazis accusations against ‘international bankers’ and ‘Zionist-Cosmopolitanists’ are echoed today by the American Militia and Patriot movements. Similarly many of these latter-day ‘saviours’ of sturdy independence openly revile Jews.

The fact that some of today’s international bankers are Jews lends them more ammunition. It is no coincidence that the Liberty Lobby, which publishes Spotlight Magazine is the same organisation which claims the Holocaust is a Jewish invention to milk compensation from the hapless Germans. The wild claims of insider manipulation of the lives of millions go back to the beliefs about the Illuminati - a group that divined special and secret knowledge not available to the common people. The accusers have ‘figured out’ that if you do not see it then you are just one of the dupes controlled by The Puppeteers who have the Concealed Enlightenment.

Of course, it’s not difficult to conclude that the magazines which exist to expose ‘schemes for world domination’ can find ammunition when they investigate Bilderberg. Most nationalists are hostile to supra-national attempts, which threaten a country’s sovereignty - some regard the European Union as a Catholic conspiracy to resurrect the Holy Roman Empire in another guise! The Bilderberg group is attacked from both sides of the political spectrum. The far right regard them as a Zionist-Marxist plot, whilst the far left see them as an offshoot of the Rothschild-Rockefeller Grand Design to Rule the World.

The length to which the Bilderbergers go to achieve the level of seclusion and solitude for their deliberations raises deep suspicions about the group’s motives and objectives. The critics may be not so far off the bulls-eye when they accuse the group of being supra-governmental, intent on ‘re-educating’ governments to relinquish their sovereignty.

Their apparent power to manipulate global finances and monetary rates puts them on a par with the IMF and the World Bank and the selection of important figures who are either groomed for power or removal is scary. The most damning indictment is that, rather than pursuing aims which would solve macro environmental and health problems, the group pursue goals which guarantee to propagate their own influence and the enrichment of Bilderbergers at the expense of human rights and the global ecology.

The Bilderbergers are protected from all forms of petty bureaucracy that face ordinary citizens. Airport formalities disappear as if by magic, no visas are required. They travel around in armoured limousines with police escort and their presence at a hideaway venue, screened by a phalanx of armed guards is hardly likely to be conducive to open disclosure. Therein lies the problem.

There are many ‘secret’ organisations in the western world today whose shibboleths are the subject of scrutiny by ‘watchdog’ groups hoping to pick up evidence of plots and subversion. The Freemasons, the Afrikaner Broederbond and Opus Dei are three which have been powerful on the international stage. America itself, the centre of suspicion about the Bilderbergers, has dozens of ‘fraternal’ organisations with weird and dubious sounding names: The Royal Arcanum, The Nobles of the Mystic Shrine, The Maccabees etc. Most are harmless if not beneficial to society on account of their charitable work. Conversely there are the Ku Klux Klan, The Militias and the Mafia whose activities cause a shiver of revulsion. Even the respectable groupings of the right, such as the John Birch Society are not to most people’s taste.

Yet, the doings of the ultra powerful have always been a part of the modern international scene since the Congress of Vienna in 1815, which began to re-arrange Europe into its modern form. The concept of Bilderberg is not new. Two years before its inception in 1952 field Marshal Bernard Montgomery suggested to Eisenhower, NATO’s European commander an extension to Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers in Europe (SHAPE) to include other topics and exercises of mutual interest. Since then the SHAPEX meeting has been held every year at SHAPE near Mons in Belgium.

In 1957 the first of the Pugwash Conferences on science and world affairs took place with India hosting the inaugural meeting. Albert Einstein and Bertrand Russell were its founder members. In the 1970s Pugwash took in a range of issues including wars around the world. One of the latest groups to emerge is the Williamsburg Asian Window. Its first meeting was sponsored by John D Rockefeller in 1971 and still continues today. It brings together Asian leaders and the Americans and was particularly effective in bringing the Vietnam conflict to an end.

Today of course we have the annual winter meeting of the rich and omnipotent at Davos, the Swiss ski resort and G7/8 the meeting of the world’s seven - or eight if you include Russia - most industrialised countries. Both of these conclaves discuss themes of importance that affect the world but none has attracted and provoked global myths the way Bilderberg has. As Tony Gosling has stated:
‘One cannot help but be suspicious when priorities for the future of mankind are being considered by those who have real influence over that future in total secret.’5

The fate of the ordinary citizen is and always has been in the hands of the powerful and secretive. They manipulate our daily lives and most of the time we are not even aware of it. We can only be grateful up to a point that the Bilderbergers see themselves as a force for stability and bourgeois values in a world of political violence and economic turmoil.

1 The Bilderbergers.
2 The Bilderbergers - Invisible powerhouse. Armen Victorian Nexus Magazine Vol 3#1 January 1996
3 The Bilderbergers. Spotlight Magazine. May 10 1993
4 Bliderbergers Aiming for World Government. Freedom Today Vol 22 The Freedom Association 1992
5 The Bilderberg Group; Planning the World’s Future. Charles Overbrook. Matrix Magazine June 1998

Works Used
The Global Manipulators. Robert Eringer. Pentacle books 1980
The Time of My Life. Denis Healy. Penguin 1989.
Some Bilderbergers Break Silence. Tricia Katson. Spotlight Magazine. June 1996
International Brokers Meet To Discuss World’s Future. Portugal today. May 1999
Secret Society-Hidden Agenda. Gibby Zobel. Big Issue. Nov 1999



The release of Richard Tomlinson’s book - The Big Breach: From Top Secret to Maximum Security, sent shudders through MI6 headquarters at Vauxhall Cross. Tomlinson is the former MI6 officer who, despite numerous attempts by the government to silence and entice back to Britain, has vowed to get even because of his sacking in 1996. He has moved from country to country, allegedly avoiding capture and harassment by the UK’s overseas intelligence service. MI6 deny this.

Tomlinson, 38, was recruited into the SIS after gaining a first class degree in aeronautical engineering at Cambridge. He later went to serve in 21 Special Air Service (the territorial arm of the SAS) and gained top marks in his training. However, his career spiralled downwards after receiving a damning report over his service in Bosnia and he was sacked. Tomlinson was furious and believed he had a good case for unfair dismissal. However, MI6 do not operate like an ordinary company. Their lawyers simply stepped in with what is called a Public Interest Immunity Certificate (PII) and cited “national security.”

Tomlinson then sought to clear his name and persisted with writing brief notes about his time in MI6. He was arrested and sent to prison for one year for breaching the Official Secrets Act (OSA) after presenting a synopsis of an intended book to an Australian publisher. He claimed that MI6 had threatened him with arrest and “lifelong harassment” to force him to hand over anything he wrote about the extremely secret intelligence agency.

After serving part of his sentence, he was released from Belmarsh top security prison in May 1998. He was soon on the move again, fleeing from one country to another to avoid what he called “further harassment instigated by MI6.” On his travels, BfV (Bundesamt fur Verfassungsschutz) the intelligence service of Germany and later France’s DST (Direction de la Surveillance du Territoire) tried desperately to entice him into revealing facts about MI6. He refused. As for intimidation, Tomlinson says he has been arrested, assaulted, held for questioning, and raided by armed police on no fewer than 11 occasions in six countries. He is already banned from entering America, Australia, France and Switzerland. He has been harassed in Germany and also New Zealand. Currently living in Italy, Tomlinson believes he is under “surveillance.” In late Spring 2000, Italian police entered his apartment in Rimini and removed his computer, mobile phone, computer disks and other legal papers. They were given to two British police officers believed to be from Special Branch. They have never been returned.

Britain’s most wanted intelligence man says that MI6 hired Italian private detectives who told his landlady she was harbouring a convicted paedophile. The same story was circulated among his friends.

Parts of the book were filtered out of Russia for review, and it was always unlikely that MI6 or the government would be able to stop hard copies from entering the UK, especially with the Internet being able to route information in seconds. “MI6 prosecuted and imprisoned me under laws which on 20 July 2000 were scathingly condemned by a United Nations report on Britain’s human rights’ record,” says Tomlinson in the book’s epilogue. “They took out an expensive injunction against me in the UK, Switzerland, Germany, the USA and New Zealand, all in disregard of laws governing freedom of speech, guessing correctly that I did not have the funds to appeal through the courts.”

But many in Britain sympathise with MI6, saying that they have no option but to try and silence Tomlinson because of what he knows and has already revealed. Already published is the alleged MI6 plot to kill the former Yugoslav leader, Slobodan Milosevic and that Henri Paul, the driver killed alongside Princess Diane was an MI6 contact in Paris adding fuel to the controversy over her death.

Former MI6 officer Richard Tomlinson

The publisher printed 10,000 copies, the majority of which were snapped up by specific companies and individuals in an effort to promote the undercover work. This led to further deals. Such was the interest in the book, Tomlinson could receive substantial royalties. However, he is adamant that far from wanting to get rich from the book, he simply wants justice. “Three times I offered to submit the book for vetting by the D-notice committee,” he said. MI6 allegedly responded “with menacing letters threatening me with imprisonment or used my admission of having a text to confiscate my computers,” he said. It is unusual for the SIS to comment on such matters, but they say no book has been sent to vet. Furthermore, whilst acknowledging it has “no proof” of the publishing company (Narodny Variant), they believe it was under the control of one of three Russian intelligence services, either the FSB, GRU or the SVR. MI6 agents trailed the head of the publishing company, Mr Korovin to America and throughout Europe. They have learned that he established the company shortly before the book was published and that he uses false documents to travel throughout the world (he travels under the name of Kirill Tchashchin). He allegedly offered Tomlinson $50,000 to print the book.

Tom King, chairman of the parliamentary Intelligence and Security Committee, said: “It would be naive to believe there was no backing for the book by Russian Intelligence.”

Moscow and Tomlinson have rubbished the MI6 claims: “There is no evidence to support these allegations, but if they are true then I’m grateful to the Russians for supporting freedom of speech,” said the author.
The Big Breach is an attack on the running of MI6 and reveals much about its overseas’ operations and its management style. Some analysts having read the content say the SIS is caught in a “time warp”, but its supporters believe secrets should remain just that - secret. Other chapters detail how agents are sent for “special training” to Fort Monckton in Portsmouth. Tomlinson also says MI6 is keen to show how recruits can hide their true careers from family and friends and to create new identities. Obviously some operations are detailed and it is these that are a cause for concern.

Nevertheless, it was for MI6 a tricky period. Some of the quotes filtered out of Vauxhall Cross were seen as an effort to limit the damage. “Tomlinson has mixed fact with fiction,” is one such statement.
Some analysts believe Russia’s support of the book is simply retaliation for MI6’s backing of a 1999 book that exposed KGB secrets - The Mitrokhin Archive. MI6 reject this and also dismiss Tomlinson’s claim that The Big Breach is all about freedom of speech. Indeed, some intelligence sources claim they already have the evidence that contradicts such a statement.

MI6 Entrance, Vauxhall Bridge, London

Extracts from The Big Breach

Following the release of the book in Russia, it soon became clear MI6 and the government were going to fail in their attempts to block The Big Breach reaching these shores. By early February, some 1,500 books had been imported and sold, though the publishers could easily have sold ten times that number.
Richard Tomlinson has given a unique insight into the SIS, though much of it is already in the public domain if one looks hard enough. However, there are many fascinating tid bits.


Of MI6’s CX reports, the former spy writes:
“MI6’s intelligence product is known as CX, an anachronism from the earliest days of MI6 when the chief was Mansfield Cumming and intelligence reports were marked “Cumming Exclusively,” abbreviated to CX.”
He then goes on to say how several major British companies have MI6 “liaison officers” who receive relevant CX. Anyone you suspect?!

The CX report, intelligence or “product” as Mr Tomlinson says is collected internationally by small cells working within British Embassies called “stations”. The CIA use identical expressions - Middle East Station, for example. The CX is graded for its importance prior to being sent to Britain. Two-star CX is of little importance and often receives attention by junior officers. Three star could interest the head of a Foreign Office or MOD department. CX carrying four stars is important and would be seen by a permanent secretary, for example. And a five-star CX would go all the way up the ladder to cabinet level


The Secret Service has approximately 50 stations around the world. Its head is “usually a senior officer in his forties, working undercover as a counsellor, and is normally declared, to the secret service of the host country,” says Mr Tomlinson. Other MI6 officers are “mostly undeclared.”

Each station is serviced and administered by MI6 HQ at Vauxhall Cross in London. A ‘P’ officer (production) based at the station determines strategy and targets. He also oversees and plans operations and administers budgets. An ‘R’ officer (requirements) distributes intelligence products to “customers.”

MI6 has 2,300 full-time staff of which 350 are in the intelligence branch or IB officers. Some 800 are general service officers (GS), who work in technical and administration departments. Around 1,000 people are employed as secretaries, clerks, guards, cooks, drivers and mechanics.


Besides an interesting number of operations revealed in the book, Mr Tomlinson gives a genuine and unique insight into recruitment and training, and it is perhaps this information that Whitehall did not want publishing.
Mr Tomlinson refers to part of his training at Fort Monckton in Portsmouth, known by agents as the ‘Fort’. This is how he described being driven to the base after a training exercise:
“Fort Monckton, MI6’s dramatic and atmospheric training base is situated on the bleak tip of the Gosport peninsula. The only access through the thick walls is across a drawbridge. Spread among its wings are a gymnasium, an indoor pistol range, photographic studios, technical workshops, laboratories and lecture rooms. At the extremity of the east wing is a helicopter landing pad and an outdoor pistol and submachinegun range.”


One of Mr Tomlinson’s first assignments was to set up a fraudulent news agency in the heart of London. The aim was to get Russian military and intelligence personnel to defect to Britain. After a wasted £40,000 and some three months later, MI6 had not acquired one single ‘hit’.
The agency was called ‘Truefax’ and most certainly did exist. Indeed, this has been confirmed by a Russian military analyst whom Mr Tomlinson tried to recruit in 1992.

By the spring of that year, Mr Tomlinson had been attached to MI6’s Russian section in London where he was to perform much work for the service.


One amusing passage in The Big Breach relates to IONEC, the intelligence officers’ entry course. Mr Tomlinson and several other prospective officers and agents were given a quite unusual task.
Here he reflects on one part of the course:
“In the first of many increasingly complicated tests, we had each been assigned a pub in which we had to approach a member of the public and extract his or her name, address, date of birth, occupation and... passport number.

“Pushing open the door of the Hole in the Wall on Great Southsea Street, I was alarmed to find it was empty. I was on my second pint of Guinness before the first customer, a smooching couple, appeared. A rowdy bunch of youths marched in to play pool. The exercise was getting awkward.
“At last two girls wandered in. They were casually dressed, one pretty, the other overweight.”
After managing to gain their confidence and pretending to be a yacht skipper looking for a crew to sail to Cherbourg. he asked, “do you know anybody who might be interested in helping this weekend?” The girls who worked as nurses in a local hospital agreed to help. “Sure,” said the pretty one.
Mr Tomlinson continues: “On the pretext that I needed to clear them with Customs, I asked for their passport numbers. The pretty one telephoned their flatmate to get them. With only a few minutes to go, all the details were in my notebook.”

En-route back to London the IONEC minibus was “bursting with chatter,” regarding tales of how gullible people were. Andrew Markham (pseudonym) had pretended to be a French citizen who bet some pub regulars that all British passport numbers ended in 666. One man quickly ran home to bring his passport and although he won the bet, Markham got his passport number. Another MI6 rooky, Ian Castle, a former merchant banker, posed as a marketing consultant and distributed to each drinker a questionnaire that requested the relevant details. Each drinker got a pint for their trouble.

One of the gang was not so lucky. Andrew Spender, “a laid-back former Scots Guards officer,” won a great deal of money on a gambling machine, bought everyone in the pub a drink and ended up hopelessly drunk. Unfortunately, he also forgot about why he was in the pub in the first place and failed the course!

Editor: One may or may not agree with the manner in which Richard Tomlinson has gone about his business. However, his decision to write the Big Breach has given every single person in this country an opportunity to grasp quite an insight into the highly secret world of MI6. If you have not purchased The Big Breach yet, then I would urge you to do so. Mark Ian Birdsall.

EYE SPY! REF: ES/520 £11.99 (includes p & p)

Copies of this book can be purchased in shop

Footnote: Richard Tomlinson, issued the following statement:

I expect that when this book is published, MI6 will spend yet more public money seeking to disrupt its distribution, attempting to confiscate profits from its sale and trying to have me arrested and extradited back to the United Kingdom.

To justify this expenditure, it will use its pliant friends in Whitehall and parliament to spread malicious rumours that my dismissal was justified because I was “unreliable” and “went frolics”, and will spin to friendly press contacts that I am a “traitor” who has “sold secrets” and “endangered agents’ lives”, without substantiating these claims with reasoned argument.

MI6 could save itself all these efforts, legal battles and the British taxpayer considerable expense if it were to accept a simple pledge from me.

I will come back to the UK voluntarily, hand over to charity all my personal proceeds from the sale of this book, accept whatever legal charges MI6 wish to bring against me, and if necessary go to prison again, on one simple
condition: that I first be allowed to take it to an employment tribunal.

If MI6 were a noble and fair organisation, genuinely interested in protecting national security and accountable for the public money that it spends, then it would accept this offer with alacrity. But having worked both for it and been targeted by it for nearly a decade, I doubt that it will do so.

A step towards greater democratic accountability was taken when the parliamentary intelligence and security committee, chaired by Tom King MP, was given limited powers to examine the activities of the intelligence services. But its role remains entirely advisory, and attempts by King to extend its powers have been resisted by MI6, which pays only lip service to his recommendations.

In his 1998 annual report to the prime minister, among several other criticisms of MI6 King wrote that “recent experiences on both sides of the Atlantic underline the importance of having a range of effective measures for dealing with staff problems as they arise”.

After MI6 paid no attention to King’s recommendation, he repeated it more strongly in his 1999 report,

“We strongly support the right to have access to an employment tribunal”.
Still MI6 paid no attention to this criticism, or many of his other recommendations. It will continue to ignore King’s recommendations and there will be no true democratic accountability of the service until the intelligence and security committee is given executive powers.