David Shayler
David Shayler is a British
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

A journalist collects and distributes news and other information. A journalist's work is referred to as journalism.A reporter is a type of journalist who researchs, writes, and reports on information to be presented in mass media, including print media , electronic media , and digital media A...

 and former MI5
The Security Service, commonly known as MI5 , is the United Kingdom's internal counter-intelligence and security agency and is part of its core intelligence machinery alongside the Secret Intelligence Service focused on foreign threats, Government Communications Headquarters and the Defence...

 (Security Service) officer. Shayler earned notoriety after being prosecuted under the Official Secrets Act 1989
Official Secrets Act 1989
The Official Secrets Act 1989 is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. It repeals and replaces section 2 of the Official Secrets Act 1911. It is said to have removed the public interest defence created by that section....

 for his passing secret documents to the Mail on Sunday
Daily Mail
The Daily Mail is a British daily middle-market tabloid newspaper owned by the Daily Mail and General Trust. First published in 1896 by Lord Northcliffe, it is the United Kingdom's second biggest-selling daily newspaper after The Sun. Its sister paper The Mail on Sunday was launched in 1982...

in August 1997 that alleged that MI5 was paranoid about socialists
Socialism is an economic system characterized by social ownership of the means of production and cooperative management of the economy; or a political philosophy advocating such a system. "Social ownership" may refer to any one of, or a combination of, the following: cooperative enterprises,...

, and that it had previously investigated Labour Party
Labour Party (UK)
The Labour Party is a centre-left democratic socialist party in the United Kingdom. It surpassed the Liberal Party in general elections during the early 1920s, forming minority governments under Ramsay MacDonald in 1924 and 1929-1931. The party was in a wartime coalition from 1940 to 1945, after...

 ministers Peter Mandelson
Peter Mandelson
Peter Benjamin Mandelson, Baron Mandelson, PC is a British Labour Party politician, who was the Member of Parliament for Hartlepool from 1992 to 2004, served in a number of Cabinet positions under both Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, and was a European Commissioner...

, Jack Straw
Jack Straw
Jack Straw , British politician.Jack Straw may also refer to:* Jack Straw , English* "Jack Straw" , 1971 song by the Grateful Dead* Jack Straw by W...

 and Harriet Harman
Harriet Harman
Harriet Ruth Harman QC is a British Labour Party politician, who is the Member of Parliament for Camberwell and Peckham, and was MP for the predecessorPeckham constituency from 1982 to 1997...

. David Shayler's website (davidshayler.com) is no longer being maintained by him.

Early life

Shayler was born in Middlesbrough
Middlesbrough is a large town situated on the south bank of the River Tees in north east England, that sits within the ceremonial county of North Yorkshire...

. He attended John Hampden Grammar School
John Hampden Grammar School
John Hampden Grammar School is a boys' grammar school in High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, England. It is named after politician and English Civil War participant John Hampden.-History:...

 in High Wycombe
High Wycombe
High Wycombe , commonly known as Wycombe and formally called Chepping Wycombe or Chipping Wycombe until 1946,is a large town in Buckinghamshire, England. It is west-north-west of Charing Cross in London; this figure is engraved on the Corn Market building in the centre of the town...

, Buckinghamshire
Buckinghamshire is a ceremonial and non-metropolitan home county in South East England. The county town is Aylesbury, the largest town in the ceremonial county is Milton Keynes and largest town in the non-metropolitan county is High Wycombe....

 whose head teacher once described him as "a born rebel who sails close to the wind ... and suffers neither fools nor their arguments gladly". He later attended the University of Dundee
University of Dundee
The University of Dundee is a university based in the city and Royal burgh of Dundee on eastern coast of the central Lowlands of Scotland and with a small number of institutions elsewhere....

 starting in 1984 where he was editor of the student newspaper Annasach and was responsible for publishing extracts of the book Spycatcher
Spycatcher: The Candid Autobiography of a Senior Intelligence Officer , is a book written by Peter Wright, former MI5 officer and Assistant Director, and co-author Paul Greengrass. It was published first in Australia...

by another former MI5 officer Peter Wright
Peter Wright
Peter Maurice Wright was an English scientist and former MI5 counterintelligence officer, noted for writing the controversial book Spycatcher, which became an international bestseller with sales of over two million copies...

 (banned in England at the time). He graduated with a 2:1 degree in English
English language
English is a West Germanic language that arose in the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England and spread into what was to become south-east Scotland under the influence of the Anglian medieval kingdom of Northumbria...

 in July 1989. After leaving university he worked as a journalist at the Sunday Times
The Sunday Times (UK)
The Sunday Times is a Sunday broadsheet newspaper, distributed in the United Kingdom. The Sunday Times is published by Times Newspapers Ltd, a subsidiary of News International, which is in turn owned by News Corporation. Times Newspapers also owns The Times, but the two papers were founded...

newspaper although his employment was terminated six months later.

MI5 career

Shayler joined MI5 in October 1991 after responding to an oblique job advertisement in the 12 May edition of The Observer
The Observer
The Observer is a British newspaper, published on Sundays. In the same place on the political spectrum as its daily sister paper The Guardian, which acquired it in 1993, it takes a liberal or social democratic line on most issues. It is the world's oldest Sunday newspaper.-Origins:The first issue,...

entitled "Godot isn't coming" a reference to the play Waiting for Godot
Waiting for Godot
Waiting for Godot is an absurdist play by Samuel Beckett, in which two characters, Vladimir and Estragon, wait endlessly and in vain for someone named Godot to arrive. Godot's absence, as well as numerous other aspects of the play, have led to many different interpretations since the play's...

in which Godot never arrives. The advert asked if applicants had an interest in current affairs, had common sense and an ability to write. Believing the job was media related, Shayler applied.

He claims that he started work in F branch, which dealt with counter-subversion, including the monitoring of left-wing groups and activists, where he worked vetting Labour Party
Labour Party (UK)
The Labour Party is a centre-left democratic socialist party in the United Kingdom. It surpassed the Liberal Party in general elections during the early 1920s, forming minority governments under Ramsay MacDonald in 1924 and 1929-1931. The party was in a wartime coalition from 1940 to 1945, after...

 politicians prior to the 1992 election
United Kingdom general election, 1992
The United Kingdom general election of 1992 was held on 9 April 1992, and was the fourth consecutive victory for the Conservative Party. This election result was one of the biggest surprises in 20th Century politics, as polling leading up to the day of the election showed Labour under leader Neil...

, later being transferred to T branch, which handled Irish terrorism, in August 1992. While at T branch he alleges that he was involved in an investigation of Sean McNulty.

Shayler moved again, to G9 branch, responsible for Middle Eastern terrorism where he allegedly headed the Libyan desk as G9A/5. It was during his tenure at the Libyan desk that he claims that he learned of the MI6 plot to assassinate Libyan leader Colonel Gaddafi from his MI6 counterpart David Watson (PT16B) and Richard Bartlett (PT16) who had overall control and responsibility for the operation. He left the service in October 1996.

After MI5

Shayler stated that MI6 had been involved in a failed assassination attack on Libya
Libya is an African country in the Maghreb region of North Africa bordered by the Mediterranean Sea to the north, Egypt to the east, Sudan to the southeast, Chad and Niger to the south, and Algeria and Tunisia to the west....

n leader Muammar al-Gaddafi
Muammar al-Gaddafi
Muammar Muhammad Abu Minyar Gaddafi or "September 1942" 20 October 2011), commonly known as Muammar Gaddafi or Colonel Gaddafi, was the official ruler of the Libyan Arab Republic from 1969 to 1977 and then the "Brother Leader" of the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya from 1977 to 2011.He seized power in a...

 in February 1996 without the permission of the then foreign secretary Sir Malcolm Rifkind
Malcolm Rifkind
Sir Malcolm Leslie Rifkind KCMG QC MP is a British Conservative Party politician and Member of Parliament for Kensington. He served in various roles as a cabinet minister under Prime Ministers Margaret Thatcher and John Major, including Secretary of State for Scotland , Defence Secretary and...

. The plot involved paying the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group
Libyan Islamic Fighting Group
Libyan Islamic Movement formerly known as The Libyan Islamic Fighting Group also known as Al-Jama’a al-Islamiyyah al-Muqatilah bi-Libya is a group active in Libya which played a key role in deposing Colonel Muammar Gaddafi's regime, allying itself with the National Transitional Council.However...

 with supporters in London and links to Al-Qaeda
Al-Qaeda is a global broad-based militant Islamist terrorist organization founded by Osama bin Laden sometime between August 1988 and late 1989. It operates as a network comprising both a multinational, stateless army and a radical Sunni Muslim movement calling for global Jihad...

Pound sterling
The pound sterling , commonly called the pound, is the official currency of the United Kingdom, its Crown Dependencies and the British Overseas Territories of South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands, British Antarctic Territory and Tristan da Cunha. It is subdivided into 100 pence...

100,000 to carry out the attack. The group was paid to plant a bomb underneath Gaddafi's motorcade. The attack happened in March 1996 in the coastal city of Sirte
Sirte is a city in LibyaSirte may also refer to:* Sirte Declaration, a 1999 resolution to create the African Union* Sirte Oil Company, a Libyan oil companyIn geography:* Gulf of Sirte, alias for Gulf of Sidra on Libya's coast...

. The bomb was planted under the wrong car and failed to kill Gaddafi but did result in the deaths of several innocent civilians. In November 1999 he sent a dossier of detailed evidence of this including the names of those involved to then home secretary Jack Straw
Jack Straw
Jack Straw , British politician.Jack Straw may also refer to:* Jack Straw , English* "Jack Straw" , 1971 song by the Grateful Dead* Jack Straw by W...

 who stated that he was "looking into the matter" as well as Parliament's Intelligence and Security Committee
Intelligence and Security Committee
The Intelligence and Security Committee is a committee of parliamentarians appointed by the Prime Minister to oversee the work of the Intelligence machinery of the United Kingdom...

 and the police. In 2005, the LIFG was banned as a terrorist group in Britain.

He also stated that the intelligence services were deliberately planting stories in newspapers and the mainstream media by feeding willing journalists with misinformation, such as a November 1996 article in the Sunday Telegraph
Sunday Telegraph
The Sunday Telegraph is a British broadsheet newspaper, founded in February 1961. It is the sister paper of The Daily Telegraph, but is run separately with a different editorial staff, although there is some cross-usage of stories...

by Con Coughlin
Con Coughlin
Con Coughlin is a British journalist and author, currently an editor for the Daily Telegraph.-Early years:He was born in London, England, the son of the Daily Telegraph crime correspondent C.A. Coughlin. The eldest of four children he grew up in Upminster, Essex...

 linking Colonel Gaddafi's son with a currency counterfeiting operation citing the source as a British banking official when in reality the source was MI6. This was later confirmed when Gaddafi's son served the paper with a libel writ which later admitted the true source of the information.

According to Shayler the 1994 bombing of the Israeli embassy
Israeli Embassy Attack in London
The Attack on the embassy of Israel in London was an attack on the Israeli embassy building in London on July 26, 1994, that injured 20 civilians.- The attack :...

 in London was known to the intelligence services before it happened, and could have been prevented.

The British government later placed an injunction on the republication of Shayler's claims although this was later lifted on 2 November 1997 allowing the paper to print his claims of how the bombing of the Israeli Embassy in London in 1994 could have been prevented if the service had acted on prior knowledge it had obtained. On 19 June 1998 he told The Spectator
The Spectator
The Spectator is a weekly British magazine first published on 6 July 1828. It is currently owned by David and Frederick Barclay, who also owns The Daily Telegraph. Its principal subject areas are politics and culture...

magazine that the security service had information that could have prevented the 1993 Bishopsgate bombing
1993 Bishopsgate bombing
The Bishopsgate bombing occurred on 24 April 1993, when the Provisional Irish Republican Army detonated a truck bomb in London's financial district in Bishopsgate, City of London, England. One person was killed in the explosion and 44 injured, and damage initially estimated at £1 billion was caused...

After revealing information to the Mail on Sunday in August 1997 Shayler fled the day prior to publication, first to Utrecht
Utrecht (city)
Utrecht city and municipality is the capital and most populous city of the Dutch province of Utrecht. It is located in the eastern corner of the Randstad conurbation, and is the fourth largest city of the Netherlands with a population of 312,634 on 1 Jan 2011.Utrecht's ancient city centre features...

 in the Netherlands
The Netherlands is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, located mainly in North-West Europe and with several islands in the Caribbean. Mainland Netherlands borders the North Sea to the north and west, Belgium to the south, and Germany to the east, and shares maritime borders...

 and then later to France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

 with his girlfriend and former colleague Annie Machon
Annie Machon
Annie Machon is a former British Security Service intelligence officer who left the Service at the same time as David Shayler, her partner at the time, to help him blow the whistle about criminality within the intelligence agencies...

 and was arrested by French police on 1 August 1998 with an extradition warrant on the request of the British government and then held in La Santé Prison
La Santé Prison
La Santé Prison is a prison operated by the Ministry of Justice located in the 14th arrondissement of Paris, France. It is one of the most famous prisons in France, with both VIP and high security wings....

 for four months under the prisoner number 269151F. On 18 November 1998 the French courts decided that the British government's extradition request was politically motivated and therefore not grounds for extradition
Extradition is the official process whereby one nation or state surrenders a suspected or convicted criminal to another nation or state. Between nation states, extradition is regulated by treaties...


In 2000, Shayler appeared on Have I Got News For You
Have I Got News for You
Have I Got News for You is a British television panel show produced by Hat Trick Productions for the BBC. It is based loosely on the BBC Radio 4 show The News Quiz, and has been broadcast since 1990, currently the BBC's longest-ever running television panel show...

via satellite. He was the subject of many jokes on the show, including when team captain Paul Merton receiving huge applause for switching off David Shayler's TV screen.

Return and trial

In August 2000 he voluntarily returned to the UK on condition he was not remand
The term remand may be used to describe an action by an appellate court in which it remands, or sends back, a case to the trial court or lower appellate court for action....

ed in custody pending his trial. He was arrested and subsequently released on bail.

He was charged with three charges of breaching the Official Secrets Act 1989
Official Secrets Act 1989
The Official Secrets Act 1989 is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. It repeals and replaces section 2 of the Official Secrets Act 1911. It is said to have removed the public interest defence created by that section....

 on 21 September 2000, one charge of passing on information acquired from a telephone tap (a breach of Section Four of the Act), and two others of passing on information and documents obtained by virtue of his membership of the service (a breach of Section One of the Act). The judge at the trial was Mr Justice Moses. At pre-trial hearings he ruled that Shayler had to disclose all information and argument he intended to present to the jury to the judge and prosecution beforehand. At the trial Shayler represented himself, claiming that the Official Secrets Act was incompatible with the Human Rights Act and that it was not a crime to report a crime although these arguments were dismissed by the court with the latter being ruled irrelevant. Shayler's defence attempted to argue that there were no other avenues to pursue his concerns with the service and its performance. The judge ruled that while this was true it was irrelevant. The judge instructed the jury to return a guilty verdict and that the House of Lords had ruled in another case that a defendant could not argue that he had revealed information in the public interest. After more than three hours of deliberation the jury found him guilty.
In November 2002 he was sentenced to 6 months in prison, of which he served three weeks in Belmarsh prison and just under five weeks in Ford Open Prison
Ford (HM Prison)
HM Prison Ford is a Category D men's prison, located at Ford, in West Sussex, England, near Arundel and Littlehampton. The prison is operated by Her Majesty's Prison Service.-History:...

, with the four months served on remand in France being taken into consideration, finally being released on 23 December 2002 although he was electronically tagged and under a 7pm to 7am curfew for a further seven weeks.

9/11 Truth Movement

Following the release of the 9/11 Commission Report
9/11 Commission Report
The 9/11 Commission Report, formally named Final Report of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, is the official report of the events leading up to the September 11, 2001 attacks...

, David Shayler joined the 9/11 Truth Movement
9/11 Truth Movement
9/11 Truth movement is a collective name for loosely affiliated organizations and individuals who question the accepted account of the September 11, 2001, attacks....

, a movement which holds as a primary tenet the belief that the official explanation for the September 11, 2001 attacks
September 11, 2001 attacks
The September 11 attacks The September 11 attacks The September 11 attacks (also referred to as September 11, September 11th or 9/119/11 is pronounced "nine eleven". The slash is not part of the pronunciation...

 is partly (or completely) fraudulent. The New Statesman
New Statesman
New Statesman is a British centre-left political and cultural magazine published weekly in London. Founded in 1913, and connected with leading members of the Fabian Society, the magazine reached a circulation peak in the late 1960s....

has reported Shayler stating "no planes were involved in 9/11" and that the apparent "planes" were missiles camouflaged by holograms. Shayler allegedly argues that the planes seen crashing into the World Trade Center
World Trade Center
The original World Trade Center was a complex with seven buildings featuring landmark twin towers in Lower Manhattan, New York City, United States. The complex opened on April 4, 1973, and was destroyed in 2001 during the September 11 attacks. The site is currently being rebuilt with five new...

 were switched out planes with detonation pods underneath, although he says the attack on the Pentagon was not the result of a plane impact.

These and other public statements led some in the 9/11 Truth Movement to dismiss him as an agent of government disinformation and a provocateur working to discredit legitimate questions about the events of September 11, 2001.

In February 2007, Shayler appeared in Ireland with Annie Machon
Annie Machon
Annie Machon is a former British Security Service intelligence officer who left the Service at the same time as David Shayler, her partner at the time, to help him blow the whistle about criminality within the intelligence agencies...

 and William Rodriguez
William Rodriguez
William Rodríguez was a janitor at the North Tower of the World Trade Center during the September 11, 2001 attacks and was in the basement of the North Tower when American Airlines Flight 11 crashed into the building. After the attacks he received several awards for heroism for helping in the...

who unsuccessfully sued President Bush and 155 others in federal court alleging their complicity in the 9/11 attacks.

Claims of divinity

In an article in the Daily Mail Shayler claimed that he was the son of God stating, "I am the messiah
A messiah is a redeemer figure expected or foretold in one form or another by a religion. Slightly more widely, a messiah is any redeemer figure. Messianic beliefs or theories generally relate to eschatological improvement of the state of humanity or the world, in other words the World to...

 and hold the secret of eternal life
Immortality is the ability to live forever. It is unknown whether human physical immortality is an achievable condition. Biological forms have inherent limitations which may or may not be able to be overcome through medical interventions or engineering...

," and that he was the reincarnation
Reincarnation best describes the concept where the soul or spirit, after the death of the body, is believed to return to live in a new human body, or, in some traditions, either as a human being, animal or plant...

 of various historical figures. This claim is echoed on his official website where he notes that "David Michael Shayler -- ‘Sheylr’ in Hebrew ... was anointed Messiah on 2 July 2007 and proclaimed on 07.07.07, in line with ancient prophecies." He also claims to have divine powers which allow him to influence the weather, prevent terror attacks and predict football scores.

Claims of antisemitism

Shayler has quoted the document The Protocols of the Elders of Zion
The Protocols of the Elders of Zion
The Protocols of the Elders of Zion is a fraudulent, antisemitic text purporting to describe a Jewish plan for achieving global domination. It was first published in Russia in 1903, translated into multiple languages, and disseminated internationally in the early part of the twentieth century...

approvingly. Searchlight
Searchlight (magazine)
Searchlight is a British anti-fascist magazine, founded in 1975 by Gerry Gable, which publishes exposés about racism, antisemitism, and fascism in the UK....

magazine reported in 2008 that Shayler remarked in a speech that "we know from documents like The Protocols of the Elders of Zion that the New World Order were going to use control of the money supply to create depressions and recessions."


In an article in the Evening Standard
Evening Standard
The Evening Standard, now styled the London Evening Standard, is a free local daily newspaper, published Monday–Friday in tabloid format in London. It is the dominant regional evening paper for London and the surrounding area, with coverage of national and international news and City of London...

, David Shayler further discusses the Messiah claim and reveals that he is now living as a woman in a squat in Abinger Hammer, Surrey. Shayler has since told newspapers that his transvestite 'alter ego
Alter ego
An alter ego is a second self, which is believe to be distinct from a person's normal or original personality. The term was coined in the early nineteenth century when dissociative identity disorder was first described by psychologists...

' is called 'Delores Kane': "I don't give a fuck what other people think of me. A bloke in a frock is whole lot less offensive than blowing up innocent people in Iraq and Afghanistan." In August 2009 UK based tabloid Metro
Metro (Associated Metro Limited)
Metro is a free daily newspaper in the United Kingdom published by Associated Newspapers Ltd . It is available from Monday to Friday each week on many public transport services across the United Kingdom.-History:The paper was launched in London in 1999, and can now be found in 14 UK urban centres...

 reported that Shayler had been evicted from a squat, quoting him as saying the eviction would not matter to him as he was "the son of God".

Middlesbrough Football Club

Shayler is a supporter of Middlesbrough Football Club
Middlesbrough F.C.
Middlesbrough Football Club , also known as Boro, are an English football club based in Middlesbrough, who play in the Football League Championship. Formed in 1876, they have played at the Riverside Stadium since August 1995, their third ground since turning professional in 1889...

. It was hypothesised by the BBC
The British Broadcasting Corporation is a British public service broadcaster. Its headquarters is at Broadcasting House in the City of Westminster, London. It is the largest broadcaster in the world, with about 23,000 staff...

 that part of his reason for returning to the UK was to watch a home fixture against Tottenham Hotspur. In 2007 Channel 4 reported he claimed that his "channelling of the light" put Middlesbrough into the 2006 UEFA Cup Final
2006 UEFA Cup Final
The 2006 UEFA Cup Final was a football match that took place at Philips Stadion, Eindhoven, on 10 May 2006. The match was contested by Middlesbrough of England and Sevilla of Spain. Sevilla won the UEFA Cup with a 4–0 win.-Match details:...

. Both he and his former partner, Annie Machon
Annie Machon
Annie Machon is a former British Security Service intelligence officer who left the Service at the same time as David Shayler, her partner at the time, to help him blow the whistle about criminality within the intelligence agencies...

, have repeatedly claimed that the mainstream British media has misreported their statements and judgments passed against them in an attempt to smear their reputation.

External links

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