I stumbled across the incredible story of Colin Wallace in 2018, the story seemed so outlandish it was hard to believe it could be true. Colin Wallace had worked as a Senior Information Officer in Britain’s Ministry of Defence, in a psychological warfare and propaganda department in Northern Ireland called Information Policy. He claimed to have targeted British politicians and members of the clergy among others in PsyOps and fake news campaigns orchestrated by various elements in Britain’s vast secret state. Colin Wallace had a falling out with sections of the intelligence community after he refused to continue work in areas of PsyOps that he felt were undermining parliamentary democracy. He was subsequently accused of leaking a classified document and made to take voluntary redundancy, he was given the choice between taking voluntary redundancy and keeping his pension or being sacked. He attempted to gain redress by contacting MPs and he engaged with the press. One day he found himself accused of a murder.
No-one I spoke to in 2018 had heard of Colin Wallace, yet he was alive and well, living in the same house where he had been accused of knocking out antiques dealer Johnathan Lewis with a karate style blow in 1980 and then having dumped Lewis’ body in the river Arun. Wallace received a 10-year sentence. When he was released from prison he had nothing, and it was largely through the help of a few independent minded journalists, radical politicians, friends and an iron will to persevere that Wallace managed to clear his name at an appeal in 1996 and gain some recognition for his work in psychological warfare on behalf of Army Intelligence, the IRD (Information Research Department) and MI5. An incredible story that had faded from public view, it had become yesterday’s news, despite Colin Wallace’s claims of political interference and the operation of a vice ring at a boys home by the British intelligence services not having been resolved.
In 2018 when I came across Colin Wallace’s story, a book by the investigative journalist Paul Foot titled “Who Framed Colin Wallace?” published 6 years prior to Colin Wallace’s appeal hearing had its last printing in January 1990. When I searched for recent mentions of Colin Wallace on Google in the autumn of 2018, page one on Google stretched from 2018 to 2014. I found a statement Wallace had released through Ciaran McAirt of Paper Trail, McAirt kindly passed on a message to Colin Wallace.
Wallace seemed apprehensive at first and it took a little while to arrange a meeting and gain his trust to commit to a film. Wallace had his career destroyed, was removed from the land of his birth, where his friends and family lived, where he had lived all his life. He was accused of a murder, smeared in the press, described as a Walter Mitty and imprisoned. While Wallace remains proud of most of his work at Information Policy and is a supporter of the armed forces, his experiences have given him a deep insight into what can happen when unaccountable elements in the secret state no longer follow the law but become the law. History has taught us how pervasive and dangerous such a secret state can be.
I did my best to try and get funding to make the film, in the end the effort was to no avail. I decided to proceed with no budget. I bought a second-hand Panasonic GH5 for £850 and an £80 plastic lens to shoot the film and started production. Rory Cormac an Intelligence Historian and author of numerous books on intelligence agreed to share his insights into the Information Research Department, the British Foreign Office’s cold war propaganda outfit. Richard Jenkins, who was an undergraduate Anthropology student in Northern Ireland in 1973, shared how he came to write a book about a PsyOps witchcraft scare that Colin Wallace had been a part of. Stephen Dorril who has known Colin Wallace for 35 years and who has immersed himself deeper than most into the murky world of British intelligence agreed to take part. Stephen Dorril is currently writing a book on Colin Wallace. Robin Ramsay of Lobster Magazine, shared how he met Colin Wallace when he came out of prison, and the obstacles Wallace faced from the British establishment. Fred Holroyd, a former Military Intelligence Officer who had met Colin in Northern Ireland shared how he had investigated the manslaughter of Johnathan Lewis Colin Wallace was alleged to have committed.
In November 2019 I released the trailer for The Man Who Knew Too Much. The weeks following the upload of the trailer, the profession military officer appeared to take an interest in my wife’s LinkedIn profile. Upon further enquiries the interest appeared to have spread to my wife’s LinkedIn contacts. Stephen Dorril had mentioned that: “still to this day Colin is a problem, there are major efforts to restrict what he says.” Was Colin Wallace really still a problem? Were there major efforts to restrict what he was saying? And what can we learn from Colin Wallace’s experience. The Man Who Knew Too Much is independently funded through individual donations and supporters on Patreon.com and GoFundMe.com and independently produced at a budget of £3500. It features a bespoke soundtrack by Marc van der Meulen. The film will be released in October 2020, premiere and festival calendar to be confirmed.