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At 1815Z on 03/03 BBC2 TV broadcast a television programme in its 'Correspondent' series entitled 'Saddam's Weapons of Mass Destruction' and covered allegations that Iraq had actually tested a Nuclear device prior to the Gulf War.
Any one who found this programme interesting might like to refer to a copy of Frederick Forsyth's book 'The Fist of God.' The book, which has a like theme, was first published in 1994.
It is difficult to assess if Forsyth's book is pure fiction or what is now loosely termed 'faction'.
Some of the characters within the book were also named in the BBC2 program.
[Thanks to D of Kent for this interesting comparison].
'Dayton's Code Breakers' can be found on 'www.antioffline.com'[See relevant web sites] and attempts to recount the making of the US Bombes which were used to tackle the enigma codes.
The article adequately covers the masterpiece of design by the late Joe Desch of the devices made by NCR. These machines were known to be faster than the British Bombes and whilst in the design stage were negatively commented on by Alan Turing. Unfortunately the piece appears to inflate or exaggerate the actual worth of the US Bombe's in the code war against the Nazi enigma machine and one could be led to believe that the Bletchley effort was only a shadow compared with that of the Americans. The subtitle for Part One 'How Joe Desch, based in Dayton, beat the Nazi code and helped win the war' promotes this.
However the article itself does correctly state [part 5, para 7]: "In the end the NCR Bombe was too late to be the only decisive factor in the Battle of the Atlantic...."
The history of Hut 8 in Bletchley Park, NARA RG457 HCC NR 4685 Box 950 in the National Archive, Washington, USA documents the British side to OP-20G co-operation on the Bombes.
According to that held in the Washington National Archive the first break using a US Bombe occured on 25th July 1943.
The History Channel on Good Friday [13/04] screened a documentary entitled 'The Secrets of U-110' and documented the true exploits of a Royal Navy Sub-Lt David Balme. He removed an Enigma machine and other code related items from U-110, a disabled U-Boat in the Atlantic. The submarine was forced to the surface by HMS Bulldog on 9th May 1941. This may have been the basis of the Hollywood film 'U-571', which brought strong criticism from British historians. The real U-571 commanded by Kapitanleutnant Helmut Mohlmann was responsible for a number of successful attacks in US Coastal waters. [Another German vessel, U-175, was actually boarded (May 1943) by Lt Ross-Bullard from the US Coast Guard cutter, who intended to toss a grenade down the conning tower. However the boat was already sinking and there was nothing he could do to save the craft]. The code war was well underway by 7th December, 1941, a turning point, when America entered the war, after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. The Enigma code originally having been broken by a Polish Mathematics Graduate, Marian Rejewski, and in its more difficult military useage, by Alan Turing and others at Bletchley Park..
'Thirteen days: The real story', can be found on www.troikamagazine.com. Written by William Reed it outlines the true story of the Cuban Submarine Crisis. This is good factual stuff and is of worth to anyone with an interest in intelligence and radio. This covers a programme that was classified Top Secret and referred to by the codeword 'BORESIGHT'. It covers the events from 1956 to 1964 and answers a few questions that British monitors may be asking. Worthwhile reading.
Mr Geoffrey Prime, 62, was released from Rochester Prison, Kent, on 13th March at 0700 after serving 19 years of a 38 year prison sentence. Before his release he was apparently taken to an unknown address at 0600 a few days prior and debriefed by MI5 officers. He was then returned late at night after lights out and under the cover of darkness.
Mr Prime had worked for the RAF on intelligence duties in West Berlin and also for GCHQ as a linguist. He was sentenced at the Old Bailey in 1982 for 14 years of treachery during which time he passed photographs of hundreds of documents to his Russian handlers. His code name was 'Rowlands'. He was a section head and translator at GCHQ and involved in some of its most sensitive operations. One such operation was Project Argus, a very sensitive secret of GCHQ and NSA. The satellites that formed part of the project had the capability to listen in on the microwave links used in Russia's phone network. It is believed that this project was made worthless thanks to the information passed by Mr Prime. It was reported that Mr Prime was granted parole and it was originally planned that he would move to a flat, apparently selected by Special Branch, but was moved to another location as details were leaked to the news media. It is also reported that Mr Prime may also be given a new identity, to protect him from 'illegal' recompense for his other offences, involving three girls aged 11 to 14, which led to his downfall as a spy. A further report states that 'spymasters' are worried that he may attempt to blow the whistle on Britain's espionage failings during the last war.
The ENIGMA 2000 article in Issue 5 will be 'Geoffrey Prime, Radio Operator, Linguist, Spy! '
NEW Zealand's spy agency, the Secret Intelligence Service, is advertising for secret agents. Seen in Vacs columns the advertisement states the job "requires people who are mature and have excellent communication and interpersonal skills, flexibility, good judgement, initiative, strong analytical skills and the ability to work in and lead teams".
The proposed new national radio system for Police forces in Great Britain may cause vital electronic equipment to malfunction. As a result users of this technology will be told to turn their personal radios off when in hospitals or when they are involved with speed traps or electronic breath screening.
The new system is called Airwave and is expected to be complete by 2004. The system is also called the Public Safety Radio Communications Project.
This problem was discovered by the Jersey Police who are already using tetra when it interfered with their speed measuring and drink drive equipment.
Sir Roger Hollis has been named, yet again as the fifth man in the spy ring that included Burgess, Maclean, Philby and Blunt.
The spy ring existed in the 1960's and various accusations have been previously made, most notably by Peter Wright, in his book Spycatcher.
This time the accusation has been made by Miss Christine Keeler  who was the centre of a scandal in 1963 causing the Minister for War, Mr Jack Profumo, to resign and the eventual fall of the Macmillan government. A book detailing her life contains the details. A recent ITV production followed the book in detail and included interviews with Miss Keeler and others. Mr Profumo was notable by his absence.
An annual protest at Waihopai spy base near Blenheim NZ once again took place in Januaru this year. Much like the events chronicled at Menwith Hill persons made their protest at the function of the station and also that serves American interests. About 50 persons turned up to hear speeches made outside the base gates.
It is believed that the two satellite dishes at the base intercept emails, telexes, faxes, phone and mobile phone calls.
Dr Rafat Zbikowski of Cranwell University (Royal Military College of Science, Shrivenham, Wiltshire) described a miniature aircraft weighing only 100grams (about 3.5oz) which was 150mm (6 inches) long as having 125mm (5 inches) long flapping wings. The device, the «flapping-wing micro air vehicle» is capable of carrying miniature cameras into hostile areas or other places of some interest.
The design is based on the hover fly well known for its feats of fluttering over flowers as it draws nectar.
The devices ability to mimic insect flight was essential to the design as it would need to fly at «low speed, hover for precise observation and have high agility.»
The inspiration was apparently due to difficulties experienced by our troops in Sarajevo where Serbs used the cover of flats as cover to shoot their targets. Satellites and Observation flights were of no use and such a device as this could be seen to reduce the risk to civilians should bombing be necessary.
The Metropolitan Police Service has shown interest in this device.
After dragging the American flag along the ground outside the gates of the US Base RAF Menwith Hill in North Yorkshire Ms Lindis Percy was accused of being motivated by racist hatred of the American people.
Apparently the flag emblazoned with 'Stop Star Wars' was dragged across the road at the gates to the US base and then driven over by a member of the American Legion. [Patriotic ex-serviceman's Association based at Menwith]. In America ex-serviceman's groups along with politicians have campaigned for the desecration of the flag to be a federal offence.
Although originally charged with obstruction of the highway the Crown Prosecution Service are pressing for this matter of 'racist hatred of the American people' to proceed.
The flag in question was never confiscated and preserved as evidence, although CCTV evidence is known to exist.
This action, by a 59 year old British woman, is said to have caused 'harassment, alarm and distress' to US personnel driving out of the base. This is the first time that the new anti-racism powers introduced under the Crime and Disorder Act 1998 have been used. If she is found guilty she can apparently expect a huge £2500 fine as punishment for dragging the flag on a North Yorkshire road.
Two Iraqis, suspected of working for the Mukhabarat were arrested in Heidelberg. Situated there are the Headquarters of the US Army's 5th Corps.
It is known that the BND has also been actively obtaining detailed intelligence on Iraqi missile sites.
The two unamed agents were arrested, on orders from Germany's chief prosecutor, because they were suspected of carrying out missions for an intelligence service in a number of German towns since the beginning of 2001.
It has been rumoured that preparations have been intensified for terrorist actions; and well know that there have been Iraqi threats of retaliation for the British and American air raids on Iraqi defence targets during the week 10th to 17th Feb 2001.
Given also the apparent military movements by Iraq [see Voice Stations column] and the probable effects on US and Israeli intelligence agencies the reasons for these arrests can be seen.
It has been mentioned that there is a group of Mukhabarat agents actually working in Germany, although the chances of success are limited by the previous defection to the west of Jaber Salim, the head of its operations in Eastern Europe.
Three Arab men were arrested in Kuwait and 300lbs of high explosives recovered after the Kuwaiti police were tipped off after an operation said to involve both MI5 and MI6.
It is believed that the terrorists were going to target Camp Doha, situated north of Kuwait City.
The camp contains heavy weapons and American servicemen. It is also thought that another phase of the attack would have targeted British and American officers.
An American source in Washington praised the efforts of the British agencies, brought about by a security review after the murder of the British Military attaché in Athens.
Around 160 employees of the CIA are reported to have been involved in a 'by- invitation-only' chatroom that existed in the classified computer system. All sections of the agency are affected by staff who were members, but to date up to 10 employees were suspended for the duration of the inquiry.
The chatroom was not used for the exchange of pornography but went undetected until it was discovered during routine security checks. It is believed to have existed for five to ten years.
Some of the members were employed in jobs directly involved in the running and maintaining of the agency's computer system.
As a result of a seven month in depth investigations the CIA sacked four employees and suspended at least 10 others. Security clearances of nine private contractors were also withdrawn. The CIA made a public statement to the effect that there had been no unauthorised disclosure of classified information
CIA Shuts Chat Room, Fires 4, Suspends 10
A spokesman for the Indian Border Security Force spokesman said that a falcon fitted with a transmitter which Indians suspect of being used on cross-border spying missions had been captured in Jaiselmere, in the Indian state of Rajasthan.
Two similar birds had been previously caught, the spokesman confirmed; but agreed that the radio sender could well be a location device fitted to a hunting bird.
Sakhalin Island, where Russia carries out secret weapons research has been reported as being hit by an earthquake with a magnitude of 5 on the Richter Scale.
There were no apparent casualties and damage appears to have been limited to cracked walls and windows.
To finish this issue's 'News and Items of Interest' an interesting extra article from 'C':
[The Herald Reporting: This article, part of the extensive coverage of the Lockerbie bomb trial verdict, was published in the Scottish newspaper The Herald on 1 February 2001].
'The problem with the Lockerbie trial has been the man who supplied the timer for the bomb which brought down the aircraft was never put on trial. Western intelligence agencies knew of the activities of Edwin Bollier as far back as 1971. The envelope which should have brought Edwin Bollier's career to an end - he was then an agent for the Stasi East German intelligence - was handed to MI6 in the summer of 1971.
I know because I handed the envelope containing the evidence to "W" my MI6 controller, retired Perth Detective Superintendent, in an office in Guild Street, Aberdeen. In the harsh reality of the cold war unscrupulous businessmen like Bollier, operating out of neutral Switzerland and with Swiss passports could operate internationally with virtual impunity.
Bollier and his partner Erwin Meister were then in their early thirties and termed themselves "radio engineers". Their partnership gave birth to the Zurich company Mebo Telecommunications AG, registered on March 24, 1971, which operates to this day and which was named in the Lockerbie warrant issued by the Lord advocate in November 1991.
In 1970 they launched a pirate radio ship on to international waters off the Dutch coast. How the Zurich radio repairmen who had a line in "spy bug" transmitters came by the cash to float a sophisticated pirate radio ship was a mystery. Radio North Sea International was bigger, better and flashier than any other pirate. It came on air on January 23 1970. Its conventional Medium wave transmitter was more powerful than any other pirate radio ship, and most European national radio stations. Surprisingly it also broadcast on two shortwave bands and on VHF. It was difficult to discern any commercial rationale behind the operation.
Its role in the 1970 general election was extraordinary. It mounted a campaign against the Labour government, which lost the election, and was, in turn, jammed by the post office and the military.
As a journalist and worker with another pirate radio ship, Capital Radio, anchored just a few miles away, I was able to infiltrate the Mebo office operation which was located in a sea view suite in the Grand Hotel in Scheveningen on the Dutch coast. Bollier, with his psychedelic kipper ties and expensive Italian suits, was clearly the dominant partner although he left Meister to do most of the talking with people like me.
I became aware of shipments of radio transmitter parts in East Germany and discovered in that outgoing mail copies of air freight waybills addressed to the "Insititut fär Technische Untersuechungen" in East Berlin. This equipment of US origin was being shipped by Mebo Telecommunications (then un-registered) of Zurich to East Berlin, via Amsterdam's Schiphol airport.
I spirited away the mail that looked interesting, steamed it open using a technique learned from the Eagle annual, photocopied it, popped it back in the post and laid the copies aside for my next trip back to the UK.
Back then, usually in Aberdeen, I would be contacted by a Special Branch officer who would set up my meeting with "W", the man from MI6. From the extensive questioning and discussions it became quite clear that "W" was particularly interested in the East German connection and the interference by the radio ship in the general election.
I was never paid a penny for my minuscule part in winning the cold war. Tony Henn - then postmaster general - had sworn a warrant for my arrest under the marine broadcasting offences act for my part in setting up Capital Radio. I was simply granted immunity from prosecution. However, evidence soon emerged that the activities of European and American intelligence had borne fruit. On July 8 1971 the Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf published a leaked report from the CIA. It revealed that 10 pirate radio ships based on the North Sea operation , were under construction in the Polish port of Gdansk. The programme was under the direction of the Insititut für Technische Untersuechungen. This was believed to be a cold war riposte to the US based operation Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty. It was also likely that such vessels would also incorporate a SIGINT capability, which was also clearly a feature of the North Sea operation. Publication of the report compromised the operation and work on the ships ceased.
In May 1971, Radio North Sea was sabotaged by frogmen who attached plastic explosives to the hull in a botched job by the BVD Dutch secret service. In January 1977 it sailed from Rotterdam to Libya. As the ship sailed, a photograph of Bollier's new patron Colonel Gaddafi was pasted up in the studio. The ship was sold to Gaddafi and used to broadcast the Koran. When Gaddafi tired of his toy he had his air force jets bomb it and send it to the bottom of the Mediterranean.
However, the relationship between Gaddafi and his Swiss friends was one which would flourish for 10 years right up to the night of December 21, 1998 when Flight 103 crashed on to the town of Lockerbie. That may not have been predictable. But preventable it certainly was. The world's intelligence community knew all about Edwin Bollier. The enduring question must be why his activities were tolerated.'
Paul Harris writes for Jane's Intelligence Review.
«The Offshore Radio Guide wrote the following critical comment on the piece:
Critical comment by Hans Knot: I wanted to know what "Ome" Bull Verwey will think about the story of the Dutch secret service being responsible for the fire bomb on the Mebo II. So he must have spent one year in prison as an innocent man ?
I did speak to Bull of course and read him the whole article. His first reaction was: "I remember very clearly, I first met Meister and Bollier in Zurich. They told me that they could deliver to anyone interested very sophisticated equipment which could help in espionage." They told Bull: "Wo Krieg sind wir" (that means: "Where ever there is war - we are there")- of course to earn a lot of money. Their involvement in Biafra is known, too. Regarding the sentence on the bomb attack Bull quoted: "the biggest nonsense I've ever heard. We, and not anyone else, were responsible." I do recall that during the last day of prosecution the Judge told that a letter with a request had arrived from Meister and Bollier asking the judge not to prosecute Verwey. Of course this didn't work. So as in the seventies I have my own thoughts on Paul's stories. A part may be true but he overwalks himself again. »
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Thanks to the contributors, C, 'D', D of Kent, JMM and all others.
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