A place to honour those young people who were abused, tortured and murdered whilst on the 1979 British Intelligence INSET course, which had its base at the ex-Powergen building in Solihull, West Midlands. This blogsite will be linked to others in order to compile the hidden history of those who survived the horrific torture and abuse they underwent, during this course.
Why were they murdered by MI5?
Kathleen was too disfigured to be run as an MI5 prostitute and Sev had begun to remember the torture used during the MI6 mind control experimentation, during his military training. He had also begun to talk about it.
Powergen, Solihull, West Midlands: 1979
Main base for the British Intelligence INSET course besides Fort Monckton and various MI5/ex-SOE bases, located around the UK.
The actual building has apparently been vacant since Powergen left in 1995. Solihull Council have rejected proposals from other companies, to take over the site e.g. ASDA. The building has now been 'vacant' for 12 years. Here is a map of the general area - West Midlands, UK. The nearest city is Birmingham. Many recruits arrived at the Powergen building from Solihull railway station (five minutes walk away):
At that point, Stella Rimington introduced herself as ‘middle-management, secretarial’, 10 years later she was to become Director-General of M15. The whole of the 3rd floor at Powergen in Solihull, was reserved for ‘special government projects’. The rest of the building was nearly empty. Removals men were still moving in office equipment and Stella told me that Powergen had only just started to recruit staff to work there.
The others on the supervisory team included John Scarlett who was in charge overall; Eliza Manningham-Buller who taught political history and Russian; a Scottish SAS officer who taught us martial arts and Stephen Daldry (graduate trainee) who taught us drama. ‘Acting’ being one of the most crucial skills in spy training.
The first day:
I entered the Powergen building (surprised that they were hardly any cars in the car park - apart from a few, very expensive-looking ones around the back) and realised that there was hardly anybody in there. The receptionist called up to the third floor and Stella Rimington came down to meet me.
She took me up to the third floor, explaining how Powergen had only just begun to recruit. On the third floor, not only was there nobody around but there was literally nothing in the first few rooms, apart from tables. Rimington took me into a small room with a door to the left, which led into another. There were no chairs - only a box on the floor (with a computer in it) next to an empty and open filing cabinet. I was a bit bemused by it all but Stella was very friendly and chatty. She made me a cup of tea and went out to find some chairs. While she was out, I began to feel very drowsy and when she came back with the plastic-backed chairs I sat down, lay my head on the table and promptly fell asleep.
When I awoke, I felt very light-headed and passive - my will to resist had left me and I no longer felt on edge. Stella didn't seem to think it odd that I had fallen asleep and I put it down to being unused to cycling to work, in the early morning. She gave me an IQ test and oddly enough, my light-headed state didn't interfere with my score. I did very well, according to Stella.
She then took me into the adjoining room. This was about four times the size of the other one but completely empty. However, there were two men in there. The large one dressed in a khaki/green, army pullover and the other smaller man, was all in black. They looked nervous, impatient. There were three chairs arranged as if around a square and they told me to sit down on the first one. I did so, Rimington to my left and the army guy (who I later learnt to be John Scarlett) in front of me. The SAS guy (who introduced himself later) stood with his back to us - gazing out of the window.
Rimington and Scarlett then briefly explained that they were working on a secret military government project and asked me if I wanted to join. I asked them what they meant by 'military'. Scarlett began to talk like an 'British Army commercial' in terms of all the different skills you could learn in the military. I replied that this was all very well but didn't you also have to be prepared to kill people? There was an uncomfortable silence.
Rimington then turned the question back onto me by asking whether or not there was any situation where I might be able to kill somebody. I replied that in a war situation, as in WWII in defence of my country, in a 'kill or be killed' situation...then I might be prepared to do so. Scarlett then handed me a copy of the OSA. I read through it quickly - it seemed innocuous enough. Nothing too binding in the legalese jargon and I couldn't imagine that I would ever contemplate breaking it. However, something held me back.
I asked them if I could take it home and consider it. Scarlett told me that I could not. I had to decided there and then. I looked towards the door to see that the SAS guy had moved to stand in front of it. I didn't know what to do and so read through the form again. Finally, I decided that it didn't look like I was signing my life away by putting my signature on a form which appeared to be only about 'keeping quiet' and so I agreed to sign.
How wrong I was. I wasn't going to be paid as a clerical assistant. I wasn't going to be paid at all. They were going to send me on 'training'. I wondered briefly how I would explain this to my mother who had wanted me to start bringing some money in, to pay for my keep at home.
Rimington then took me back into the smaller room where three young people (slightly older than me) were waiting for her. I could see others arriving and walking down the corridor. She introduced me to them and told me that I would be part of their 'team'. Shana (17), Peter (18) and John (19). I never learnt their surnames and was told that everyone had a code name. Mine was to be 'Rose'. We were not allowed to give our real names to anyone but the controllers of the operation. Rimington then pointed out the 'graduate trainees' who were slightly older than the rest of the recruits, at 21 years old. I was to follow whatever orders they might give.
My team then took me down the corridor to the main room which was used for lectures. The 'graduate trainees' did not attend this . The room was full of young people waiting for the lecture to begin. So full that several people were crouching at the back. There were not enough chairs in this room, either. The lecture began - it was on 'political strategy' and as it continued, I began to realise that most of the young people there, were not of a particularly high intelligence (average college students) but more importantly, that the lecturer himself, didn't appear to have much of an idea of the subject he was supposed to be teaching.
Scarlett then popped his head around the door and asked Shana (my new 'team' member) to leave the room. She followed him out. I looked around at the others and felt uneasy. Something was wrong.
I asked one of the army guys positioned around the room, if I could go to the toilet. He refused, saying that I would have to wait another hour. I asked him politely if I could pee on the floor then because that is what would happen if I wasn't allowed to go. He relented after checking this out with the lecturer (to my embarrassment) and accompanied me out down the corridor. He was walking along to my right and told me to keep looking straight ahead. I thought, this is probably in keeping with military training but if someone orders me to do something, my natural reaction is to do the opposite.
To my right were two, small cubicle rooms which had large, open windows in them. I was startled to glimpse inside one of them, what appeared to be the graduate trainees and Scarlett who were bent over, standing around a table. Shana was lying on her back on the table and Scarlett was holding her head up. He had something under her head which I couldn't quite see - it looked like a small black truncheon.
Suddenly Shana's body jerked and jumped off the table in convulsions - like frog's legs being electrocuted in a biology lesson - it was horrific. The graduate trainees were trying to hold her down but they couldn't manage to do it because the seizure was so violent. The army guy with me realised that I had seen this and gripped me round the shoulders whilst trying to cover my eyes with his other hand.
'Don't look, don't look' he said in a low voice. 'It'll only upset you.'
He then proceed to frogmarch me to the toilets at the end of the corridor, past the escalator which now had an SAS guy stationed in front of it. I was to learn later on, that this man had a dual purpose: to stop any Powergen employees from entering that floor from the other levels of the building and also to prevent British Intelligence recruits from escaping.
Once in the toilets, I checked the windows. All of them were locked. I didn't know what to do. The army guy outside started to shout at me, telling me to hurry up. I opened the door to find him blocking the doorway. My mind was racing - how could I escape? What were they going to do to us? What were they going to do to me? I was escorted back to the lecture, frightened out of my mind.