Share, , Google Plus, Pinterest,


Britain’s Capt. Dreyfus affair. By David Burke.

There are some eery similarities between the Capt. Dreyfus affair in France and the Capt. Colin Wallace scandal in Britain.

1. France came to terms with its most shameful military scandal, the framing of Capt. Dreyfus. Britain still clings to the wreckage of its attempt to destroy Capt. Wallace after 50 years of lies and deception.

L’Affaire Dreyfus convulsed France for over a decade, 1894-1906. The scandal has come to symbolise an injustice perpetrated by a state against an individual, characteristically a whistle-blower who has exposed state malfeasance.

L’Affaire Dreyfus began in December 1894. Capt. Alfred Dreyfus, a 35-year-old Alsatian French artillery officer, spent five years imprisoned on Devil’s Island in French Guiana for allegedly spilling State secrets to the Germans.

The real culprit was  Ferdinand Walsin Esterhazy, a treacherous French Army major.

When evidence emerged against Esterhazy, the military  was obliged to convene a trial against Esterhazt, but acquitted him after two days.

The Army then laid additional charges against Dreyfus, based on forged documents.

Subsequently, Emile Zola produced his celebrated denunciation of the scandal, J’Accuse! It ignited public fury.

A new trial of Dreyfus resulted in another conviction for the innocent captain and a 10-year sentence. This, however,  did not wash with the public and eventually Dreyfus was pardoned and released. Finally, in 1906, he was exonerated and reinstated as a major in the French Army. He died in 1935.

Colin Wallace was also a captain in the military.

False evidence was concocted to blame him, inter alia, of leaking military secrets which had been spilt by others.

He was unfairly dismissed from his Army post in 1975.

He was later accused of murder.

As in L’Affaire Dreyfus, the prosecution relied upon perjury to secure the conviction. Dr Ian West, a Home Office pathologist, used his time in the witness box to disgorge one lie after another.

Wallace spent six years in prison, a year longer than Dreyfus.

Like Dreyfus, his conviction was eventually overturned.

Paul Foot and Emile Zola.

One of Wallace’s supporters in the British media was the late Paul Foot. He wrote of Wallace in April 1987 that the ‘most fantastic thing about Colin Wallace’s fantastic story is that every time you check it against the facts, it fits them’. The same cannot be said about the outpourings of Her Majesty’s Government (HMG). Despite repeated humiliations, the British Establishment is still swearing that black is white.

2.  Wallace exposed PSYOP dirty tricks. HMG said he was lying. When proof of dirty tricks emerged,  HMG had to rewrite its lies.

HMG lied about the work Wallace carried out while at HQNI at Lisburn.

One of Wallace’s tasks was to plan psychological operations (PSYOPs).

In 1987 and 1988 when Wallace’s case became a cause célèbre in Britain, HMG assured the Commons that Wallace had never had a PSYOPS role.

HMG also denied the existence of a particularly sinister programme run under the rubric of ‘Operations Clockwork  Orange’. Clockwork Orange fed lies to the media about British parliamentarians such as Harold Wilson, Denis Healey, Tony Benn and others.

Then, in 1989, files emerged which proved that Wallace had indeed served as a PSYOPs officer; moreover, that Clockwork Orange files existed.

David Calcutt QC.

Defence Secretary Tom King conspired with Margaret Thatcher to push this particularly embarrassing genie back into the bottle. Rather than hold a wide ranging inquiry, as certain civil servants had expected, King curtailed the terms of what became the Calcutt Inquiry.

David Calcutt QC turned out to be an honest man. He confirmed that Wallace had been dismissed unfairly, but little else. This was not Calcutt’s fault. His terms of reference were narrow and restrictive.

Wallace was paid £30,000 compensation.

3. Wallace raised the spectre of collusion and was accused of being a Walter Mitty. Now HMG is doling out millions to victims of collusion.

What had Wallace discovered during his time as a PSYOPs officer?

Wallace came to suspect the existence of collusion long before this became an accepted fact for which HMG has compensated many victims such as the families and survivors of the Miami Show band atrocity.

Yet, when Wallace raised the spectre of collusion between the British state and Loyalist paramilitaries, he was denounced as a liar.

Robin Jackson.

In addition to the payment of compensation to victims of State-Loyalist collusion, a string of enquiries including that of the Police Ombudsman for Northern Ireland, the Historical Enquiries Team, along with the publication of various books,  have confirmed that British agents were working inside Loyalist paramilitary organisations. The most infamous of these killers was Robin ‘The Jackal’ Jackson. He was one of the gang which bombed Dublin and Monaghan in 1974 murdering thirty-three people.

Wallace has maintained for decades that there were reasons to believe the State had colluded with the UVF gang that bombed Dublin and Monaghan in 1974.

Various British government have refused to release their files on the twin atrocity.

4.  Wallace said the State knew about the child abuse at Kincora. He was vilified for decades. In 2022 the Police Ombudsman criticised the RUC for having failed to act on knowledge it had of the scandal.

What else did Wallace reveal only to be traduced as a Walter Mitty type fantasist?

Wallace has told the truth about the infamous Kincora Boys’ Home child sex abuse scandal.

Kincora Boys’ Home.

All of the inquiries set up by HMG have ordained that the only abuse suffered by the residents of Kincora was that perpetrated by the staff members at the home. This is entirely wrong.

In recent decades countless former victims have come forward with detailed accounts describing how they were abused by people from outside of the home.

HMG still libels the victims as liars and fantasists.

One of the victims, Richard Kerr, is trying ti get his case heard in Belfast. He has become frustrated at one delay after another in the case.

Richard Kerr.

Wallace has produced contemporaneous records which prove that he and others in the Army knew about the abuse at the time.

RUC records prove that the police knew about it too in the 1970s.

In 2022 a report by the Police Ombudsman for NI acknowledged this and criticized the RUC for not acting on the information it had about the abuse.

Nonetheless, various inquiries have held otherwise, all  in the face of a mountain range of evidence.

5.  Wallace said he was unfairly dismissed. We now have a letter from the PUS at the MoD to the D-G of MI5 describing how his appeal was going to be rigged by a corrupt tribunal chairman called Jock Shaw.

Colin Wallace

Wallace was turfed out of his job because he was trying to stop the abuse at Kincora, was unhappy about collusion, and did not want to smear British politicians as part of Clockwork Orange.

He paid a high price for his principled stance.

Dirty tricks were deployed to have him dismissed. It is now clear precisely how he was shafted by dirty tricks by two of the most senior officials working for HMG.

A letter has emerged from the vaults. It was written by the Permanent Undersecretary (PUS) at the Ministry of Defence (MoD) to the Director-General of MI5 on 11 December 1974. It reveals malfeasance in public office and fraud. Ostensibly, Wallace was dismissed for leaking secrets to a journalist. Behind-the-scenes, MI5 and the MoD were peddling the lie that he was a member of the UVF to people involved in hearing of his appeal against his dismissal.

The D-G of MI5, Michael Hanley, knew full well that Wallace had become a thorn in the side of MI5 and its use of dirty tricks in Northern Ireland. It is inconceivable that PUS Cary did not know the truth as well since British military intelligence reported to him and they definitely knew about PSYOPs, Kincora and much more besides.

Lieutenant Colonel Henry (who framed Dreyfus) and Sir Michael Hanley (who framed Wallace)

It is an open question whether another key individual, Jock Shaw, was part of the anti-Wallace conspiracy or a dupe. Shaw was the chair of the appeal board which reviewed Wallace’s dismissal. He may have fallen for the line that Wallace was really being pushed out because he was in the UVF.

The letter from Cary to Hanley outlines how Shaw had a secret meeting with PUS Cary.  Cary then wrote to Hanley at MI5’s HQ advising him that he had ‘had a strictly private and personal word yesterday with Jock Shaw, the Chairman of the Civil Service Appeals Board. … Jock Shaw, whose background in personnel security work enabled him without difficulty to read between the lines, reacted very helpfully indeed. On the first point, he said that it would undoubtedly be of assistance to him if he were able to be fully briefed on the background. …  He said it was open to him to choose his two fellow Assessors. He had it in mind to pick those whom he had used for the [Redacted] hearing. Not only in his opinion where they are absolutely reliable, but also, and from our point of view even more important, he felt that if he, having been briefed on the background, asked them to take his word on its significance and relevance, they would do so. .. The purpose of this letter then is to secure your agreement, and (NIO boss) Frank Cooper’s, to briefing Jock Shaw on the background to this case. What I have in mind – and he agreed – was that we should put together a dossier of the key documents and allow him to sit in a corner of my office and read it. He would not take the documents away, nor would he wish to (though it would also be most helpful if you could make available your Case Officer to answer any suplementaries).’

The letter continued: ‘This approach may appear somewhat unorthodox but nonetheless there does seem to me to be a strong case for giving Jock Shaw access to the background in order to satisfy him that the Department’s actions were not, as might be concluded from the overt facts of the case, an over-reaction to what could at its most serious be described as an individual error of judgement, but rather that it was the final step in a series of events which convinced us that, whatever Wallace’s motives, we could no longer continue to employ him in public service. Conversely, I think there are virtually no risks involved. Certainly, insofar as the documents lie within my discretion, I am completely happy to act in this way. Jock Shaw is absolutely trustworthy and the information would not go beyond him. (I should say here that I hope everyone concerned will respect Jock Shaw’s confidence in the meeting which, to use his own words, ‘did not of course take place’). …. I should be glad to discuss with you and Frank Cooper should you wish.’

6. Wallace said he was framed for manslaughter. 15 years later, the Court of Appeal quashed his conviction.

Wallace was not left alone after his dismissal.

A few years later the Kincora scandal erupted. The following year Wallace was convicted on false evidence and sentence to 10 years in prison. (He served six.)  Clive Ponting was working at the MoD during this time. He has since revealed that he attended meetings with MI5 mandarins at which Wallace was discussed. “There was never any suspicion that Wallace was making these stories up or that it was totally unfounded and very easy to rubbish. It was very much a matter that, ‘okay the story was being contained at the moment because he was in jail, but that in a few years’ time he would be back out again and could be expected to start making the allegations again and that would be a serious problem.”

Wallace maintained his innocence all along. He appealed his conviction and, finally, in 1996 the Court of Appeal in London vindicated him.

7. Parliament was misled by Tory MPs. The record has yet to be corrected. The politicians do not care. 

On 30 January 1990, the Minister for the Armed Forces, Archie Hamilton, admitted in the House of Commons that disinformation had been disseminated in NI, just as Wallace had maintained for over a decade in the face of denials from HMG.

Hamilton, however, then proceeded to tell the Commons that: ‘It has not since the 1970s been the policy to disseminate disinformation in Northern Ireland in ways designed to denigrate individuals and/or organisations for propaganda purposes’.

Yet, in his report to Parliament in 2012 regarding the murder of Belfast solicitor, Pat Finucane, Sir Desmond de Silva QC, stated that MI5 officers had continued to engage in PSYOPs in NI until at least the 1980s. One of the aims was to unnerve Republicans. The PSYOPs tool used against the IRA was disinformation.

Hamilton’s comments have not been corrected. Hamilton was obviously fed these lies by MI5. He does not appear to have questioned their veracity.

Hamilton added that Clockwork Orange had existed but never proceeded beyond the planning stage. It had ‘contemplated’ the dissemination of materials to unnerve the IRA. He added that no evidence had emerged to show that it had extended to cover Protestant organisations and individuals or to include Northern Irish and British politicians.

While Britain has just witnessed a robust Privilege Committee probe into allegations that former PM Boris Johnson misled parliament, no one is yet calling for an inquiry of any sort into the misleading of the Commons in the Wallace case. Johnson’s case involved lies about partying. Wallace’s case involves State collusion with Loyalist killers, child abuse and the smearing of British politicians.

Many of the falsehoods fed to Parliament about Wallace remain on the record. This is perhaps fitting at they stain the record of an institution which can hardly be said to have much by way of self-respect.

The full story of Wallace’s David and Goliath battle with the British Establishment can be accessed here:


David Burke is the author of ‘Deception & Lies, the Hidden History of the Arms Crisis 1970’  and  ‘Kitson’s Irish War, Mastermind of the Dirty War in Ireland’  which examines the role of counter-insurgency dirty tricks in Northern Ireland in the early 1970s. His new book, ‘An Enemy of the Crown, the British Secret Service Campaign against Charles Haughey’, was published on 30 September 2022. These books can be purchased here: