Rupert Allason

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Rupert William Simon Allason (born 8 November, 1951) is a military historian and former politician in the United Kingdom. He was Conservative Party member of Parliament for Torbay in Devon, from 1987 until the landslide 1997 general election, when he lost his seat by a margin of 12 votes to Liberal Democrat Adrian Sanders, after an anti-EU candidate split the Tory vote. He writes books on the subject of espionage under the pen name Nigel West.


[edit] Political career

He was raised a Roman Catholic, the faith of his Irish-born mother, and attended the Benedictine Downside School. His father, James Allason, was also a Conservative Party MP. He married Nicole in 1979 and has two children.

Opposed to ceding greater power to Brussels, in 1992 he was the only Tory who refused to vote for the Maastricht Treaty when it was made into a no confidence motion. The vote was narrowly won but Allason's abstention caused him to have the party whip withdrawn for a year.<ref name="bbc-no-stranger> "Rupert Allason: No stranger to the courtroom", BBC News, 2001-10-17. Retrieved on 2006-08-20. "As John Major's prime ministership lurched from crisis to crisis, every MP's vote counting as the tiny Conservative parliamentary majority dwindled away after 1992, Mr Allason rebelled over Maastricht and then became the only Tory to refuse to back his government in a no confidence motion." </ref>

In 2000, Allason considered defection to the UK Independence Party (UKIP)<ref></ref>.

[edit] Legal action

Allason has been involved in a number of legal cases, and he represented himself without lawyers. In twenty out of twenty-three cases the courts found in his favour.[citation needed]

While in the House of Commons he campaigned against the use of Public Interest Immunity Certificates, and exposed the arms-dealing activities of the billionaire publisher Robert Maxwell. He was sued for libel by Maxwell, but won the case winning record damages for a litigant in person by counterclaim.

In 1996, Allason sued Alastair Campbell for malicious falsehood with regard to an article printed in the Daily Mirror in November 1992. The jury found in Allason's favour, although he was not awarded damages<ref></ref><ref></ref>. In a retrial in 1998, he was awarded £1,050 in damages and 75% of his costs<ref></ref>.

In 1998 he brought and lost a libel action against the BBC show Have I Got News For You, suing over comments made in a book based on the show published in 1996, which read: "...given Mr Allason's fondness for pursuing libel actions, there are also excellent legal reasons for not referring to him as a conniving little shit".<ref> "Ex-Tory MP loses libel action", BBC News, 1998-01-21. Retrieved on 2006-08-20.</ref>

In 2001, Allason sued Random House, the publishers of Enigma Spy, an autobiography of the Soviet agent John Cairncross. Allason claimed to have agreed to ghostwrite The Enigma Spy in return for the copyright and 50% of the proceeds. However, Allason lost the case, and was ordered to pay costs of around £200,000. In passing judgement the trial judge said Allason was "a profoundly dishonest man" and "one of the most dishonest witnesses I have ever seen". <ref> "Former Tory MP 'profoundly dishonest'", BBC News, 2001-10-16. Retrieved on 2006-08-20. </ref><ref></ref><ref>,6109,575414,00.html</ref>. In September 2005, Allason was given a suspended 6-month jail sentence for contempt of court in relation to paying the damages from the 2001 case.<ref></ref><ref></ref>

[edit] Literary career

He has concentrated on security and intelligence issues and his controversial books have frequently made headlines. He was voted 'The Experts' Expert' by a panel of other spy writers in The Observer in November 1989. In 1984 The Sunday Times had commented: "His information is so precise that many people believe he is the unofficial historian of the secret services. West's sources are undoubtedly excellent. His books are peppered with deliberate clues to potential front-page stories."

Allason has been a frequent speaker at intelligence seminars and has lectured at both the KGB headquarters in Dzerzhinsky Square and at the CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia, where he once addressed an audience that included the Soviet spy Aldrich Ames. He continues to lecture to members of the intelligence community at the Counter-Intelligence Centre in Washington DC.

As an historian his special contribution has been in tracking down former agents and persuading them to tell their stories. He traced the wartime double agent GARBO, who was reported to have died in Africa in 1949. However Allason found him in Venezuela, and they collaborated on 'GARBO', published in 1985. He was also the first person to identify and interview the mistress of Admiral Canaris, the German intelligence chief, and he was responsible for the exposure of Leo Long and Edward Scott as Soviet spies.

His recent titles include 'Crown Jewels', based on files made available to him by the KGB archives in Moscow; 'VENONA', which disclosed the existence of a GRU spy-ring operating in London throughout the war, headed by Professor J B S Haldane and the Hon. Ivor Montagu: and 'The Third Secret', an account of the CIA's intervention in Afghanistan. 'Mortal Crimes', published in September 2004, investigates the scale of soviet espionage in the Manhattan Project, the Anglo-American development of an atomic bomb.

In 2005 he edited 'The Guy Liddell Diaries', a daily journal of the wartime work of MI5's Director of Counter-Espionage. He also published a study of the Comintern's secret wireless traffic, 'MASK: MI5's Penetration of the Communist Party of Great Britain', and the first of a series of counter-intelligence textbooks, 'The Historical Dictionary of British Intelligence', 'The Historical Dictionary of International Intelligence' and 'The Historical Dictionary of Cold War Counter-Intelligence'.

Allason is the recipient of the U.S. Association of Former Intelligence Officers (AFIO)'s Lifetime Literature Achievement Award. He is the European Editor of the World Intelligence Review, published in Washington DC.

[edit] Work

  • MI5 : British Security Service Operations, 1909-1945, New York : Stein and Day, 1982, 1981.
  • A Matter of Trust : MI5, 1945-72, London : Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1982; published in the U.S as The Circus : MI5, operations 1945-1972, New York : Stein and Day, 1983.
  • MI6 : British Secret Intelligence Service Operations : 1909-45, London : Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1983.
  • Unreliable Witness : espionage myths of the Second World War, London : Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1984.
  • The Branch: A History of the Metropolitan Police Special Branch. By Rupert Allason
  • Garbo co-written by Juan Pujol with Nigel West, London : Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1985.
  • GCHQ : the Secret Wireless War, 1900-86, London : Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1986.
  • Molehunt : the full story of the Soviet spy in MI5, London : Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1987.
  • The Friends : Britain's post-war Secret Intelligence operations, London : Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1988.
  • Games of Intelligence : the classified conflict of international espionage, London : Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1989.
  • Cuban Bluff : a novel, London : Seeker & Warburg, 1990.
  • Seven Spies who changed the world, London : Secker & Warburg, 1991.
  • Secret War : the story of SOE, Britain's wartime sabotage organisation, London : Hodder & Stoughton, 1992.
  • The Faber Book of Espionage: Faber & Faber, Dec 1994
  • The Secret War for the Falklands: SAS, MI6 and the War Whitehall Nearly Lost : Little Brown, Jan 1997, ISBN 0751520713
  • The Faber Book of Treachery: Faber & Faber, March 1998
  • The Crown Jewels : the British secrets exposed by the KGB archives, London : HarperCollins, 1999, 1998.
  • Counterfeit Spies: Time Warner Paperbacks, March 1999
  • VENONA: The Greatest Secret of the Cold War: HarperCollins, May 2000 ISBN 0006530710
  • The Third Secret: The CIA, Solidarity and the KGB's Plot to Kill the Pope: HarperCollins, Oct 2000.
  • Mortal Crimes : the greatest theft in history : Soviet penetration of the Manhattan Project, New York : Enigma Books, 2004.
  • The Guy Liddell Diaries: 1939-1942 v1: Frank Cass Publishers, Feb 2005
  • The Guy Liddell Diaries: 1942-1945 v2: Routlege, London, June 2005
  • Historical Dictionary of British Intelligence: Scarecrow Press, London, June 2005
  • Mask: MI5's Penetration of the Communist Party of Great Britain: Frank Cass Publishers, July 2005
  • On Her Majesty's Secret Service: The Chiefs of Britain's Intelligence Agency, MI6: Greenhill Books, London Oct 2006

[edit] References


[edit] External links

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by:
Frederic Mackarness Bennett
Member of Parliament for Torbay
Succeeded by:
Adrian Sanders

Rupert Allason

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