Wednesday, May 12, 1999 Published at 20:26 GMT 21:26 UK
UK acts to stop spy Website
Tomlinson complained of MI6 censorship on his Geocities Website
By Internet Correspondent Chris Nuttall
The UK Government is trying to shut down a Website which it says is putting the lives of intelligence agents at risk by publishing their names.
Agents of the Secret Intelligence Service (SIS), formerly known as MI6, have been named in a list published on the US-based site.
Ex-MI6 agent chased
The government's Defence Advisory Notice Secretary, Rear Admiral David Pulvertaft, issued a notice to the UK media urging editors not to publish the address of the Website or details of its contents without first contacting him.
He planned to publish his memoirs in Australia and on the Internet. A seven-page synopsis included information on secret service training and methods.
Tomlinson was released on probation after six months of his one-year sentence and has been pursued around the world since by UK Government injunctions.
Gave evidence at Diana inquiry
Tomlinson was arrested in Paris last July when he was preparing to publish more details about MI6. He was released again and went to New Zealand, where he was served with an injunction.
He later returned to Paris to give evidence at the inquiry into the death of the Princess of Wales, claiming that Diana's driver, Henri Paul, was working for British Intelligence.
He went on to live in Switzerland where he expressed support for former MI5 agent David Shayler, who also tried to release information about the security services over the Net.
In an interview with Channel 4 News, Mr Shayler said the UK Government should tread carefully with Tomlinson. "I think the government's running a great deal of risk because they have in some ways persecuted Richard Tomlinson."
He told the programme: "I think he's out to do damage because of the way he feels ... By making an international pariah of him they perhaps have driven him to the wall."
Swiss Website shut down
Tomlinson's Website maintained in Switzerland was shut down when the UK Government obtained an order against him on 30 April after he had threatened to publish sensitive information.
Last week, he set up another site with an American-based company, Geocities, intending to put up a map of MI6 offices worldwide and a directory of agents' names.
When Geocities was made aware of the Swiss injunction, it acted to prevent the publication.
The case reveals the difficulties governments face in preventing publication in the Internet age.
Websites can be set up anywhere there is an Internet connection in a matter of minutes and can then be read anywhere in the world.