James Rusbridger

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Person.png James Rusbridger   AmazonRdf-icon.png
(author, spook)
James Rusbridger.jpg
Born 26 February 1928
Died 16 February 1994 (Age 65)
Cornwall, UK
Nationality British
Victim of premature death
Interests intelligence agencies

James Rusbridger was a British author on international espionage during and after World War II. He was a son of Gordon Rusbridger, an Army colonel and cousin of Peter Wright, the MI5 whistleblower of 'Spy-Catcher' fame.

Official Narrative problems

There are a number of factors which combine to make James Rusbridger a suitable subject for inclusion in Wikispooks. They include:

  1. His status as an alleged ex-MI6 operative
  2. His later sustained and acerbic criticism of the Official Secrets Act and the Security and Intelligence services (over 1,000 letter to national newspaper editors)
  3. The bizarre circumstances of his death which, in similar fashion to that of Stephen Milligan, eclipsed rational inquiry and arguably resulted in a premature 'case-closed' consensus.
  4. At the time of his death he was reported to be working on a book about the Royal Family, drafts and notes for which have never been made public.

Taken together, the probability of deep political shenanigans is high.[1]


His career started in the naval design office of Vickers Armstrong. Then he was salesman and managing director of a commodities firm specialising in sugar, and claimed to have been paid by the CIA to weaken the international market for Cuban sugar. He was an Eastern Europe courier for MI6 from 1962, retiring in 1974.

His books mainly relate to World War II, but his letters and articles after retirement were critical of British and American SIS's. He once told CA: I cast a jaundiced eye over the profligate work of agencies like Britain’s MI5 and MI6 and the CIA and NSA, which has earned me considerable unpopularity from the British government.

He was a prolific writer of letters to editors of UK national newspapers and regarded as something of a thorn in the side of the UK security and intelligence services.

Government acting hypocritically

PM Margaret Thatcher's "double standards on terrorism"

In his 1989 book "The Intelligence Game: The Illusions and Delusions of International Espionage", James Rusbridger wrote:

The government could well be accused of acting hypocritically over the Ryan affair. And indeed, on 7 December 1988, Patrick Haseldine, a Second Secretary in the Foreign Office, wrote to The Guardian accusing Mrs Thatcher of being soft on terrorism in connection with the case of four South African businessmen charged in 1984 with evading the ban on military exports to South Africa.

They had been released on £400,000 bail put up by the South African Embassy and then left the country, refusing to return to stand trial.

Haseldine alleged that Mrs Thatcher deliberately allowed them to return home because she did not want them on remand in prison during her talks with the South African President and Foreign Minister in June that year.

Whether the two cases are really similar is irrelevant to the fact that a member of the Foreign Office was willing to go public with a criticism that would almost certainly lose him his job and career.[2]

Bizarre circumstances of death

In the weeks before his death James Rusbridger had acted as an expert witness for the defence in the trial of alleged KGB operative Michael Smith[3] and was expected to do so again at Smiths appeal against his conviction [4]

Rusbridger was found hanging from a beam in his loft wearing a diving suit at Jasmin cottage, his home on Bodmin Moor, Cornwall in February 1994. He was dressed in a green protective suit for use in nuclear, biological or chemical warfare, green overalls, a black plastic mackintosh and thick rubber gloves. His face was covered by a gas mask and he was also wearing a sou'wester. His body was suspended from two ropes, attached to shackles fastened to a piece of wood across the open loft hatch, and was surrounded by pictures of men and mainly black women in bondage. Consultant pathologist Dr Yasai Sivathondan said he died from asphyxia due to hanging "in keeping with a form of sexual strangulation".

External Links

Books by Rusbridger

  • ISBN 0-370-31242-2 - The Intelligence Game: The Illusions and Delusions of International Esponiage (1989, The Bodley Head, London; also 1992, New Amsterdam)
  • ISBN 1854791621 - Betrayal at Pearl Harbor: how Churchill lured Roosevelt into War (1991, O’Mara, London)
  • ISBN 0712639756 - Who Sank the "Surcouf"?: The Truth About the Disappearance of the Pride of the French Navy

Books about Rusbridger

  • ISBN 0 340 66584 X - Far Eastern File: The Intelligence War in the Far East 1930-1945 Peter Elphick (1997 & 1998, Hodder & Stoughton, London)