Enemas and Enemies. Duncan Campbell. ace spook-buster and Scottish scourge of the security services. appears in his bijou (Islington borders) Stoke Newingtom ﬂat. lean-framed. tense-faced and outwardly nonplussed by all the fuss and bother that surrounds him. His one-man battle to penetrate the darker recesses of Britain‘s secret state causes strong and sometimes strange reactions.
Item: an enemy of Duncan Campbell — and he has many. not just within M15. M16 and the cabinet. but great packs and sects of people on the left who hate his guts too - leaned closer across the lightly toasted asparagus. her eyes swivelling the restaurant for possible eavesdroppers in the classic fashion of the conspirator about to let slip a factual bomb. and spoke. ‘A friend of mine went to school with him. He was the sort ofschoolboy who wouldn‘t let you copy his homework.‘
Item: when Campbell broke the story of how extensive phone tapping was in Britain in 1980. he was written to by a stranger. obsessed with enemas. ‘The letter was accompanied by crude illustrations. depicting men and women giving each other enemas‘. (for the full comic effect of this pronouncement. it is necessary to hear it in Campbell‘s deadpan. clipped Scots).
Item: when in 1977 he wrote an article in Time Out about a British radio eavesdropping centre in Cyprus. based on an interview with a former soldier. he was busted under the Official Secrets Act. that diseased fig leafwhich supposedly covers up Whitehall‘s private parts. (The Russians. ofcourse. have seen it all.)
[We‘re talking here about the New Statesman‘s Duncan Campbell. the brilliant sapper of the British security state. who has been hounded in the courts and had his home broken into by the funny peculiar sort of policeman who don‘t spend their time chasing those who rob and hurt. but enquire in to other people‘s ‘patriotism’. The other Duncan Campbell. also a left-wing investigative journalist works for Robert Maxwell‘s London Daily News and is married — lucky sod — to Julie Christie. Occasionally one Duncan Campbell has written about the exploits and trials of the other. The funny peculiar policemen paid to listen to their phone conversations must find it all terribly confusing. The two Duncan Campbells once held a synonymous summit on changing their names. but they decided they enjoyed the confusion too much.]
The Duncan Campbell who isn‘t married to Julie Christie is wedded to a one-man investigation into what those set above us would rather keep to themselves, such as a secret network of tunnels under London or the Government shelter for its chiefs in Wiltshire. nicknamed the Maggie Bunker. But Campbell has not only upset the current administration.
Duncan Campbell. the man who gave directory enquiries a new meaning. has been in the news more than usual recently by revealing mor ‘ about the Zircon project than the government cared to have revealed. As the country turns its attention to the nature of governments. John Sweeney talks to the self-appointed
watchdog of Britain‘s secret society.
\‘s 35 i
The previous Labour government was responsible for Campbell‘s first prosecution. a trial which irnploded when it was disclosed that one of the jurors was a highly biased cx-SAS man.
This spring Campbell caused exquisite embarrasment to the BBC. the Ministry of Defence. the Government. the Labour Party leadership and Uncle Sam Cobbleigh and all with the Zircon affair.
His anti-secrecy campaigning is based on scientific ‘rigour‘. a tool which he uses like a scalpel to cut through the dead limbs ofstate secrecy. With rigour he has no great need for contacts. moles or sources. Just publicly available information will do. For example here‘s how in 1980 Campbell worked out that something funny peculiar was going
.. tar-.- ° on at number 7172 (j rosvenor Street. home of MIS‘s political files.
‘Its cover was blown by contrasting two public directories - a street directory that lists the premises as occupied by MOI) (Army) and a Civil Service Directory which fails to mention the place in its MOI) (Army) section. A ground ﬂoor Esta Lauder cosmetic shop fails to distract attention from obvious government fittings. heavy lace curtains and tight security".
He is then a brilliant muck-raking star. an establishment-goading journalist so famous that he has to double up his interviewing time. My chat with him was shared by an Italian hack. flash clothes. blue earing. Lambrusco-lilt. who asked questions ofsuch evident na'ivete that Campbell wondered whether he was quite who he said he was. But
paranoia is a besetting vice of investigative journalists.
Had Campbell ever felt in personal danger‘.’ ‘Not really no. Visibility is a tremendous protection. An assassination is not yet part of the repertoire ofthe British Security State.‘The Italian started chuntering on about the ‘disappearing scientists‘. those unhappy Marconi men who only have to look at a top secret document before they leap off the nearest suspension bridge. or so The Sun says. Has any one tried to bump him off. the Italian asks again. Campbell and I sniggered. ‘I‘ve been doing this for ten years. I‘ve only had four pieces of hate mail. No death threats.‘ The Italian looked crushed. 'I‘hen Campbell told us about the enema drawings. The Italian appeared mystified: my eyes were filling with laughter-tears behind my notebook. The Italian banged on about the disappearing scientists. so much so that with an audible ‘I’shahl‘ of irritation. worthy of an inmate of the Carlton Club. Campbell turned his Alpha (Oxford. physics) mind to the topic.
"I‘he first death was almost certainly suicide. The second death was deeply suspicious. . . Butafter the first two deaths 1 went on various foreign radio stations and prophesied that more scientists working on top secret projects would kill themselves in bizarre ways.‘ Campbell went on to explain how a rash ofsuicides can trigger further ones. and how the media ean pick up a stringofunrelated events and make a causal sausage out of them.
The Italian said he knew someone who said the deaths had been caused by the KGB. A certain frostiness enveloped the room . Campbell was losing his patience. ‘Where‘s your evidence‘." There wasn‘t any. But the Italian had not finished: ‘Can 1 tell you what is happening in England...‘
Campbell‘s eyes ﬂashed. ‘Can I tell you one thing'.’ I am a Scot. England is merely a province in southern Britain.‘ Exit Italian. with pall bearers. And with that the nature of the man became clear: Campbell may not suffer fools gladly. but his fierce antagonism toward the clubby closed security world has much to do with the plain. almost puritanical Scottish dislike of English elitism.
He may not be what Mrs 'I‘ chooses to call ‘One of Us‘. but he is no Philby or Blunt either. Campbell just prefers a broader more democratic definition of ‘Us‘ and a belief that the public has a right to know. Allied with this beliefis an intelligence with both a big and a little ‘I‘ which runs in the family: his father was at Dundee mathematics professor. his mother. Mary. worked at the Government code-cracking establishment in Bletchley Park during the Second World War. No traitors in his genes. In reality. Campbell‘s customised version of counter intelligence is consistent with his social and scientific background. Campbell comes from the the intellectual Brahmin of Scotland. a cast which has always treated the dunderhcads in power in London with scant regard. And rightly so.
The List 29 May— I 1 June 3