Friday, December 29, 2006

Hitlerism vs. Nazism: Handy Thules

According to one legend, the lost island of Atlantis was sort of a ghetto, the home of the non-white races. Famed psychic Edgar Cayce believed that the predominant, or typical Atlanteans left the continent first, migrated west, and for millennia lived in isolation from the rest of the world as the people we now call the (American) Indians: the Incas, the Mayans, the Cherokee, and so on.

Another celebrity seer, Madame Helena Blavatsky, believed that a superior race of blond-haired, blue-eyed “Aryans” lived north of Atlantis, on an island called Thule. Unfortunately for them, the Thules craved sex with the “lesser” Atlanteans of color. Their preferences wound up “polluting the bloodline” of Thulist descendents, and thus robbing them of their natural dominion. Since the Thules couldn’t shake their jones for brown sugar, as it were, they only had one way to ensure their powers: the total extermination of non-Thules.

Blavatsky’s view typified the esoteric German groups that separated from freemasonry during the eighteenth century. One such organization, Die Thule Gesellschaft consisted of royalist and aristocratic factions. When Germany united in 1871, their perspective became increasingly nationalistic. At the end of World War I, when the Axis cause seemed hopeless, they fantasized about creating and ruling a new Pan-Germanic state, where they would “disinfect” planet Earth of brown-skinned people once and for all.

Before it could do anything that grandiose, the Gesellschaft first had to address more mundane matters. The 1917 Bolshevik Revolution had ousted their cousins, the Romanovs and the White Russians. Those who fled to Germany warned their kin about the despicable nature of the Marxist state, concerned as it was only about the welfare of inferiors. Their German kin took the warning to heart, for the economic devastation caused by reparations formed an increasing rift between the haves and the have-nots. Many of the German working class embraced Marxist doctrine as a result. Even though the Deutsche left was more or less ecumenical, the Thulists rationalized it as a purely Jewish conspiracy--especially after the White Russians turned them onto “The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion,” anti-Semitic propaganda the Romanovs circulated back home.

In their book, Who Financed Hitler: The Secret Funding of Hitler’s Rise to Power, 1919-1933, James and Suzanne Pool did an excellent job of chronicling the events that led the Thule Society to stop fantasizing and start acting. One particular chain of events began in 1919, when communists had won a number of elections in Bavaria. Caught up in the apparent revolution, some of them raided the regional Thule headquarters in Munich and held everyone inside hostage. Lavish supporters of the Free Corps, an anti-communist militia network comprised mostly of embittered World War I veterans, the Thulists pressed troops into service to rescue their comrades; but way too late. The communists marched their captives down to Luitpold Hochschule, lined them up against the wall, and shot them. Of the seven killed, four were titled aristocrats among them Countess Helia von Westarp and Prince Gustave von Thurn und Taxis.

In response, the Gesellschaft stepped up a program that they had begun the year before. In 1918, they got the idea to siphon off future Marxists by creating their own labor party, one that they themselves would control. They asked one of their own, journalist Karl Harrer, to form and lead the strongly jingoistic ‘Workers Political Circle.’ Harrer wanted to help out, but decided that it would be in the organization’s best interest to decline. After all, none of them really knew anything about the lower classes, therefore making any such attempt ham-handed. Besides, would any worker in his right mind join a labor party with a known aristocrat at the helm?

They searched for a puppet leader instead, and eventually found a man named Anton Drexler, a patriotic, and anti-Semitic manual laborer – just what the Thulists were looking for.

Well, actually he would do for the time being.

Most Germans remained pretty apathetic to the new party, and the organization kept a lookout for a new leader: someone more dynamic, somebody charismatic. A friend to those in power, Hauptman Ernst Röhm, saw something of merit in his little, moustachioed corporal, Adolf.

The rest, as they say, is history.

Hitler joined the Workers Political Circle in 1919. In 1920, the Circle changed its name to the Nationalsozialistische Deutshe Arbeiterpartei (The National Socialist Worker's Party, NSDAP, NSP, or Nazis). That same year, Hitler and Drexler booted out Harrer from its board of directors. In 1921, Hitler took over from Drexler.

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Wednesday, December 27, 2006

WW 2.5: Hitlerism vs. Nazism

I thought I'd be posting about the Gemstone Files by this time, but I'm awaiting a response from concerning my book order. In the meantime, I'm going to continue a series begun with an earlier post.

Although the recognized leader of the National Socialist Party, the author of a bestseller, and out of jail, Adolf Hitler was still a minor figure in German politics as 1928 began. Five years later he would occupy the second highest office in the land. Serving under an aging, enfeebled president who could not control him, Hitler effectively ruled Germany from 1933 to 1945. Some might attribute his rising power to political genius, but as Ian Kershaw wrote in his 1999 biography, “Hitler’s own actions were of only secondary importance in bringing him to power.” His success relied not only on his abilities, but, in small part, to luck. Mostly, however, it depended on the timidity, arrogance, assistance and follies of others. Had Hitler made any egregious political blunder, we would have never heard of him. Had he not had financial backing from ambitious industrialists eager to further their own agendas, then again, we would never have heard of him. Nor could he have risen to the Chancellery if both the Allied and German governments acted more prudently. As Kershaw concluded, “[Hitler’s rise to power] was a consequence of the actions of others more than Hitler himself.”

With 2.6% of the vote and only twelve seats in the Reichstag, the NSP was only one of the many small parties clamoring for attention in the Weimar Republic. The election of 1928 marked the further decline of the Social Democrats and other leftist groups since 1919. The Nazis, however, had made some progress, with membership at 108,717 and rising. The Party might have expanded more rapidly if not for its financial difficulties. Their income came from membership dues, newspaper sales and collections taken at Hitler’s speeches and personal appearances. However, as James and Suzanne Pool noted in their 1978 biography, those revenues could not cover their debts, which by August of that year were in excess of RM 14,000.

Hitler himself lived quite comfortably from 1925-1930, with a house and new Mercedes Benz. Many attributed his newfound influence to royalties derived from the sale of Mein Kampf. Although moving briskly in the bookstores, most of the copies were given away for propaganda purposes, and reported as sales, thus inflating the number. Hitler could not have earned royalties from books that never sold. It was therefore unlikely that this could have been his only source of income.

A lot of his money came from a patron, steel magnate Fritz Thyssen. Like most of the industrialists at that time, Thyssen supported the conservative National Party led by Alfred Hugenberg. Fritz, however, became increasingly impatient with the NP’s failure to control the Reichstag. Although his leadership in most national business organizations was well-known, Thyssen’s membership in the super-secret Ruhrlade, a cabal formed by twelve corporations based in the Ruhr section of Germany, would have the greatest bearing on Hitler and the NSP.

At a meeting held on March 3, 1928, the Ruhrlade decided to take over and manage the funds of the political parties they supported--mostly conservative and moderate groups such as the NP and the German People’s Party. But these power brokers, who had invested in their favorite parties for a number of years since the end of WWI felt that they weren’t getting the biggest bang for their bucks. Even worse, no matter how hard the cabal pressured them, their benefactors acted independently. Some, like the Catholic Centrist Party, whose agenda came from Rome, were out of their control completely.

Thyssen, joined by fellow ultraconservatives Emil Kirdorf and Albert Vogler, found a kindred spirit in Hitler. Despite the fact these men and the rest of the Ruhrlade considered the Nazis to be nothing other than a fringe group, the ambitions of these three men compelled them to marshal large international support for themselves and their new leader.

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Thursday, December 21, 2006

Answering Someone Else's Tag

I've read your responses to the last post. Here are mine.

(1) Since all life forms evolved from other life forms long ago, then there was a time when chickens did not exist. At some point, we would have to have the first chicken, a mutation of some other species of fowl long extinct. The parents of that first chicken would not themselves be chickens. Thus the egg came first.

And when you think about it, since all chickens are hatched, no chicken can precede its egg.

(2) Trick question. An irresistible object can never encounter an unmovable force.

If we had what we believed to be an irresistible object, and we tried to get it past what we conceived of as an unmovable object, one of three events would happen. Either the irresistible force would stop immediately, or the unmovable object would move allowing the irresistible force to pass through unimpeded, or the unmovable force would give some, and the momentum of the irresistible force would decrease. In the first case, the irresistible force is not irresistible because it has been successfully resisted. In the second case, the immovable force isn’t immovable, and in the third neither are what they claim.

(3) Everyone knows that the history books tell us that World War II ended in May of 1945. But I am one of a number of researchers who strongly suspect that the malevolent forces that started WWII never died out completely, and eventually regained strength. This is one area I’ve only touched upon briefly, and will return to as the blog progresses towards its end.

(4) The “bomp-she-bomp-she-bomps” the “rama-lama-ding-dongs,” and the “yip-yip-yip-yip-yip-yip-yip-yip-mum-mum-mum-mum-mum-mums” of ‘50s rock were attempts by amateur singers to imitate musical instruments, which they either couldn’t afford, or didn’t have the patience to learn. While ideal for the wannabe crooner hanging out on the street corners of Brooklyn or Philly, the doo-wop style of singing developed an aesthetic independently of its roots. By 1959, most doo-wop singers weren’t imitating musical instruments. They were imitating other doo-wop singers.

(5) John says there’s no reason to assume that differences in possibilities would occur as we expect, or along a normal curve. He would know better, since he’s the official scientist of the X-Spot.

Nevertheless, if a normal distribution of our parallel existences turns out to be the case, then I’m hoping I’m kind of on the low end of middle. After all, I’d hate to think that this is about as good as my existence can get.

(6) The problem is, I don’t know what I did during those fifteen hours, although I like to think that any one of your responses is true. The fifteen hours are really what started me to write and research the topics you find here. The purpose of the blog is to explain those fifteen hours, bit-by-bit, context-by-context. If you’ve been paying attention, you will have caught little glimpses of this partial day in a few select posts. By blog’s end, you will know the entire story.

So stay tuned.

As you may or may not know, our fellow blogger, Castor (Hans Peter Sfiligoi) passed away recently. Cocaine Jesus informed me earlier today. Herr Sfiligoi was a very witty writer, and a talented artist. I enjoyed his posts. We will all miss him.


Sunday, December 17, 2006

Someone Else’s Tag

Kate, of Someone Elses Horoscope fame, gave me a tag about a month ago. Her site is a mixture of biography, humor, news, and the occasional polemic. So I wondered what kind of theme I could come up for her tag.

I decided to do a tag on weird things I’ve thought about at length. Here are six of them. Your thoughts and insights on these questions would be most appreciated.

(1) Which came first, the chicken or the egg?

(2) When an irresistible object encounters an unmovable force, what happens?

(3) Did World War II end?

(4) Who put the “bomp” in the “Bomp-she-bomp-she-bomp?”

(5) According to Dr. Michio Kaku (City University of New York, Graduate Center) and other experts on quantum theory, there is a possibility that we exist in other dimensions, that we inhabit myriad parallel universes. This premise served as the basis of the science-fiction television series Sliders.

I reckon that if that’s true, then the range of our existence would resemble a normal curve, with most of living somewhere in the middle of our potentials, and others of us living at either extreme. In other words, most of our other lives would be recognizable to us, although not quite the same. But in some lives, we’re rich and famous. In other lives, we’re living difficult lives full of strife, pain, poverty and frustration.

So, I’ve often wondered where on this normal curve lies the existence that I experience now? (Where would your life be now?)

(6) What did I do during those fifteen hours?


Friday, December 15, 2006

Sunny’s Delightful Relationship Tag.

In keeping with the theme of those who tagged me, Sunny Delight’s page frequently features posts discussing love, romance, sex, and relationships.

Me, I’m more into straight research and hard data. So I thought I’d combine the two and give you data on six of my ex-girlfriends. Spy on them if you wish. I have no interest.

Heights: 4’11”, 5’7”, 5’9”, 5’9”, 6’1”, 6’1”

Religions: Jewish, Jewish, Lutheran, Presbyterian, Quaker, Roman Catholic

Birthplaces: Atlanta, GA; Bristol, TN; Buffalo, NY; Cincinnati, OH; Hoboken, NJ; Mt. Pleasant, TX

Years of Birth: 1953, 1954, 1957, 1962, 1963, 1965

Education: High School Diploma, BA History, MS Sociology, JD (Law); PhD Music, PhD Sociology

“Our Songs:” “The Joker,” by the Steve Miller Band; “Love at First Sight,” by XTC; “Psychotic Reactions,” by Count Five; “Struttin’ with Some Barbeque,” by the Red Onion Jazz Babies; “Superwoman,” by Stevie Wonder; “Tear the Roof off the Sucker,” by Parliament.

Years of First Contact: 1978, 1982, 1987, 1988, 1988, 1990

Years of Last Contact: 1980, 1990, 1994, 1999, 2002, 2005

Methods of Meeting: introduced by relatives, introduced by friends, took the same class, worked for the same organization, kept bumping into each other in the elevator, introduced by friends.

Best Artistic Talents: dancing, dancing, drawing, drawing, playing the piano, singing

Zodiac Signs: Capricorn, Pieces, Gemini, Cancer, Virgo, Scorpio.

Best at Writing: articles, erotica, letters, non-fiction, poetry, shopping list

Platonic Incubation Periods (i.e. the time between meeting and romance): three days, ten days, six weeks, eight months, two years, four years.

Lengths of Courtship: four years, three years, three months, two months, five days, twenty seconds

Reasons for Ending: off to college, off to grad school, found out about her husband, dumped me when she realized she loved me, married someone else in the middle of our relationship, we discovered we were mortal enemies

One of the fun things about Sunny’s Page, Confessions of a Cyberqueen, is a regular feature, in which she lists ten words. In the comments section, we respond by placing next to each term, a word or phrase that comes to mind. Feel free to play along.


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Wednesday, December 13, 2006

The Maple Leaf Tag

JeannieGrrl, our friend (ahem!) from up north gave me a six weird things tag. But I’ve done one of those before. So I’m doing something different. In honor of her native land, I’m listing the six things that I like most about Canada (in no particular order)

1. The Toronto Star--When doing research on conspiracy topics, Canadian mainstream media seem much more willing to take a serious look at subjects that America media deem risible. I’ve gotten a lot of great articles from the Star. Reading through the newspaper, one gets an immediate sense in how it differs from many US dailies. Perhaps that’s due in some part to one of its early editors, Joseph Atkinson, who had strong beliefs in the advocacy of the working person, civil rights, and Canadian independence.

Today, the paper is part owned by a corporation that has financial interests (part ownership) in a number of local Ontario papers. I’m thinking, though, it’s only a matter of time before Rupert Murdoch buys them out.

2. Black Op Radio--One of the best (if not the best) Internet radio shows on the topic of conspiracy, Black Op Radio features weekly in-depth analysis and discussion on a wide range of topics with a number of A-list sources, among them Lisa Pease, Dr. Jim Fetzer, John Judge, Kristina Borjesson, Mike Levine, Dr. Alan Cantwell, April Oliver, Virginia McCullough, Scott Enyart and Jean Hill.

And don’t let the accent fool you. Hosts Len Osanek and Anita Langley might sound like a couple of rubes who’ve been suckin’ back the wobbly pop with Molson chasers all day, eh. But they’re as sharp as they come, well read, and quite knowledgeable.

3. The CKLN-FM (88.1 on your listening dial) mind control series hosted by Wayne Morris-- Audiotapes of these programs are available for purchase. Otherwise, the transcripts are available for free on the Internet. They feature a wide variety of speakers, one of whom, psychiatrist Dr. Colin Ross, has done extensive research at Langley, using CIA resources.

4. The City of TorontoI could swear Toronto is the cleanest major city I’ve ever set foot in. I’ve heard from residents that parts of town are filthy. But then again, I would have to ask, “Compared to what?” I mean, what’s filth to a native of Toronto might be clean enough to pass a white glove test in New York.

JeannieGrrl’s daily posts about dealing with Canadian bureaucracy and social ills have enlightened me to the fact that Toronto is probably not the Eden that some Americans stereotype it as. Still, it is a gem of a city, one worth checking out if you’re in the neighborhood.

5. Dale--See previous post.

6. JeannieGrrl


Sunday, December 10, 2006

….And the Superstar: Margaretha Zelle MacLoed (French Army, Imperial German Army), Pt. II

The accounts of Mata Hari’s espionage career follow two separate lines of thought. Some say she was a French spy. Others peg her as a German double agent. A review of her MI5 files, released in 1996 and 1997, complicated matters even further, for they supported a conclusion as convoluted as a legend her size deserves.

Mata Hari’s boyfriend, Vadim, reported to the front in 1916, where a mustard gas attack left him blind in one eye, and with failing eyesight in the other. She immediately went to see him. But because she was a civilian, and the hospital was located within a combat zone near Vittal, she needed special permission to visit. She got the name of the officer in charge, a Capt. Georges Ladoux, and pleaded her case. Perhaps she didn’t know that Ladoux was really the counterintelligence officer.

Ladoux questioned Mata Hari about her politics and loyalty. He gave her permission to see Vadim, but not before asking her to consider a career in espionage. He figured with her previous contacts with high-ranking German sugar daddies, she might be able to glean some valuable pillow talk during the afterglow. Ladoux even sweetened the pot by promising to pay her handsomely for her work, a prospect that would allow her to stay with Vadim without sleeping with other men for money.

Ladoux assigned Mata Hari to Brussels, where she contacted an old friend who knew German general Moritz von Bissing, with whom she began an affair. Apparently someone noticed her and von Bissing together for when she went to England, via a circuitous route through Spain, to receive further orders, British authorities confused her with a known German spy named Clara Bendix, who happened to resemble the dancer. The British eventually cleared her, and allowed her to return to the continent, whereupon she seduced German intelligence officer Maj. Arnold Kalle.

In bed, Mata Hari regaled Kalle with local gossip, much of which he already knew, in hopes that he would open up and give her military secrets. He responded by telling her that a submarine would be dropping off some Turkish and German officers in the French zone of Morocco.

She eagerly passed along the information to Ladoux the next day. But when she later met with Ladoux expecting another assignment, he informed her that the French Army already knew about the alleged drop, which they correctly saw through as a ruse. But that wasn’t the real problem. The problem was an encoded radio transmission that the French had intercepted. The message stated that Agent H-21 had given the Germans bad intelligence, and on top of it had betrayed their trust by transmitting the old German-and-Turkish-officer-submarine-to-Morocco canard to the French. The transmission advised command to issue a check for H-21 and no longer use her services.

In other words, Kalle set Mata Hari up. By transmitting a code that the Gemans already knew that the French had broken, they had thus given her an identity as Agent H-21 of the German Imperial Army. After a long cat and mouse game of whose-side-are-you-really-on, the French arrested her, convicted her of espionage in a kangaroo court-martial, and sentenced her to death at an undetermined date. She languished in a filthy prison near Vincennes (which really irked her, because she was a neat freak). They allowed her only 15 minutes a day outside of her cell for exercise, which, combined with the high-fat diet they fed her, bloated her face and figure. A firing squad executed her on October 15, 1917.

She undoubtedly did some intelligence work. But the question, for many years has been for whom. In her 1990 book Eye of the Dawn: The Rise and Fall of Mata Hari, Erica Ostrovsky asserted that Mata Hari attended Dr. Elsbeth Schragmüller’s infamous spy school. If that information came from Army sources, the French would have had good reason to suspect that Agent H-21 had been sent to Ladoux as a spy. Some also think that when going to England via Spain, she met her alleged German handler. Meanwhile, The French had suffered numerous intelligence leaks during the war, and word on the street implicated agent H-21. Despite the lack of evidence against her, the French most likely saw the high-profile execution of Mata Hari as a morale booster for its troops, for she alone could take the fall for the acts committed by so many French soldiers secretly under Dr. Schragmüller’s command. And if the allegations were true, they would be rid of a dangerous spy. But her intelligence files gave no indication that Mata Hari ever spied for the Germans, nor had had any contact with Schragmüller.

Most likely, Schragmüller and others at German Intel simply recognized a good thing when they saw it. In order to protect their spies in the French Army, the Germans concocted a notional asset, H-21. H-21 never existed. But Mata Hari did. So, the logical thing was to get the French to believe that Mata Hari and H 21 were one and the same, by connecting them via a radio transmission that the German Army knew their foes would intercept. In effect that made Mata Hari a double agent: a French swallow, and a German not-witting. Paramount for the Germans would be making fantasy agent H-21 bigger than life, a legend. Thus, the legend that spawned a number of movies really began in the imagination of Axis Intelligence.

Nevertheless, it seems clear after almost ninety years of hindsight, that she spoke the truth when she said her loyalties were with France.

In closing, this series was inspired by the death of Lt. Col. Alexander Litvinenko, the former-KGB/FSB officer poisoned to death in November of this year. The story has dominated the papers here in the US, and around the world, with a lot of people, including the late Mr. Litvinenko, jumping to conclusions as to why he was murdered, although the means seem pretty clear. As of this writing, everything seems to point to President Vladmir Putin as the culprit, and that may well be.

I’ve been following the case, and have yet to reach any conclusions or develop any opinions on it. After all, history tells us that in the world of cloak-and-dagger, common sense does not apply. The methods used are highly imaginative and designed to point professionals and amateurs toward the wrong conclusions. The usual suspects can very well be innocent. The guilty can be the people you wouldn’t suspect in a million years.
I mean, can you imagine St. Peter asking a perspective entrant into the Pearly Gates how he died, and the guy responding, “I got whacked by Dr. Ruth”? How does that sound?


Friday, December 08, 2006

…And the Superstar: Margaretha Zelle MacLeod (French Army, Imperial German Army)

Irony is, the woman regarded by legend as a super spy and a traitor, was neither.

On her way to becoming a kindergarten teacher, Margaretha Zelle got sidetracked by life. Her well-to-do father, Adam, had fallen upon hard times, so she spent her teenaged years living with relatives and family friends. At the suggestion of an uncle, she enrolled in a normal school, but washed out for two reasons. First, her professors considered her too soft because she refused to beat little kids with switches. Secondly, although sexually harassed by one of the school’s administrators, everyone blamed her for his unwanted advances.

Worse yet, because of her height (5’10”), and her skinny flat-chested figure, her family considered her unmarriable, and thus destined for a life of poverty. But she proved them wrong when she met a career Dutch military officer named Rudolph MacLeod through a personals ad. A heavy drinker and black belt womanizer whose wanton ways made M’greet sad and lonely, MacLoed left the family to take a commission in Java. But after awhile, he sent for her and their children, and she came to his house, a palatial mansion stocked with servants. For the first time in their marriage, they seemed happy, for MacLeod found, to his surprise, that she was an excellent hostess who could really throw a party, an important asset to a career officer looking for his next promotion.

But tragedy struck suddenly one night when she woke up to the sound of screaming. She raced to her children’s room to find them in pools of black vomit, in various stages of dying. Someone--they figured a disgruntled former-servant--had poisoned the kids all of whom died except for one, her daughter Non. The tragedy tore apart the marriage, and she left what remained of her family for Paris.

Despite not knowing how, and despite the fact that at the age of twenty-nine she was a little over-the-hill to learn, she reckoned that she could be a dancer. The key, she thought, was to come up with an exotic persona that would capture the imagination of local audiences. Using what she had learned in Java, Lady MacLeod reinvented herself as Mata Hari, a mysterious woman willing to display the secret dances of the Orient.

Mata Hari debuted on March 13, 1905 at Paris’ Musée Guimet to a packed audience, and thunderous applause. She immediately became the toast of the town. At this time, many powerful men developed a romantic interest in her, and she subsequently embarked on a series of flings and affairs. But after a few years in the limelight, her star dimmed, with audiences dwindling no matter how many clothes she took off. Using the social contacts she made as a famous dancer, she then began a new career in her late-thirties as a type of prostitute known as a ‘courtesan.’ As such, she had monogamous affairs with a rapid succession of sugar daddies of various nationalities, who took care of her, and paid for the extravagant lifestyle to which she had become accustomed. Among these men were Traugott von Jagow, a German police chief and intelligence officer, and Prince Wilhelm, son of the Kaisar, both of whom she slept with as late as 1914.

In 1916, amid the cannons and carnage of WWI, Mata Hari, then forty, fell in love with Russian Army officer Vladmir “Vadim” Masloff, a man nineteen years her junior. From here, her story becomes rather murky. One thing for certain: it was the beginning of her end.


Wednesday, December 06, 2006

…The Famous….

Below are a number of famous people who also spied.

Harriet Tubman (United States Army)—The famed conductor of the Underground Railroad had already developed an underground network of her own. Furthermore, she knew the geography of the South like the back of her hand. She was an expert in the use of firearms and tactics. Not surprisingly, President Abraham Lincoln thought she had excellent qualifications to be a spymaster during the US Civil War (or for those of you below the Mason-Dixon line, The War between the States).

Lincoln took the unprecedented step of granting a woman (a former slave, no less) the authority to design, coordinate and administer intelligence operations from Washington. Thus, among her many achievements, Tubman broke both the gender and color line of intelligence offialdom.

Moe Berg (OSS)—A Major League catcher drafted by Enemy’s beloved White Sox, Berg finished his lackluster career with the Boston Red Sox. During the 1930s, he played for US All-Star teams as they toured Japan, playing exhibition games with the local baseballers. When not striking out at the plate, Berg took a number of photographs and films of Japanese defense installations that became invaluable to the war effort after 1941. Upon retiring from baseball, he joined the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) an important forerunner of the CIA.

While the official version of his life story states that he became a spy only after his playing days, one would have to suspect that this intellectual Ivy-leaguer might have taken assignments earlier, and that his trips to Japan had been organized by someone in US Intel. After all, how could a backup backstop with a lifetime batting average of .238 be reasonably considered an All-Star? As one player wryly noted, Berg could speak six languages fluently, but couldn’t hit in any one of them.

David Niven (MI6)—Until his death in 1986, the extent of David Niven’s espionage activities were not well-known. As it turns out, this actor, who would later play James Bond in the original Casino Royale, was pretty much playing a comic version of himself.

As an actor, who spoke fluent German without any hint of a British accent, Niven often infiltrated behind enemy lines during WWII. Posing as a German Army officer, he and those under his command conducted sabotage and scouting missions for British Intel.

Gene Roddenberry (United States Army Air Corps, LAPD)—Roddenberry was called to active duty on December 8, 1941, and flew a number of reconnaissance missions. After leaving the service, he flew for Pan Am, until a crash in the Syrian desert ended his aviation career.

He subsequently joined the Los Angeles Police Department, and rose to the ranks to become the assistant of Chief William Parker, who relied heavily on intelligence collection (in fact, LAPD Intel is arguably the foremost local police spy apparatus in the world, due to Parker’s development of it). Ever concerned about depictions of the LAPD in Hollywood films and television shows, Parker took Roddenberry (loosely portrayed by Kevin Spacey in the movie L.A. Confidential) off of the task of coordinating internal police matters (including Intel) and assigned him to act as a liaison between the department and filmmakers. Thus a career was born.

Trivia: Parker was well known for suppressing his rather virulent emotions, thus coming across as cold, unflappable, and logical. Remind you of any specific Star Trek character?

More trivia: Roddenberry also worked with a number of producers, writers, and actors, among them Jack Webb of Dragnet fame. Does Parker remind you of one of his characters?

Lt. Josephine Baker (French Resistance, French Women’s Auxiliary Air Force)—Baker had a number of duties after the Germans occupied France in WWII. As a celebrity, she had access to powerful people, many of them Vichy collaborators. They would invite her to parties during the occupation, and she would remember as much of what they said as possible, and upon getting home write down as much as she could on small strips of paper that she pinned to her underwear. Because of her high-powered associates, the Germans were skittish about searching her, so they never did. She also served as a courier, taking information encoded within the margins of her sheet music.

After the war, she was awarded the Legion of Honor, and the Medal of the Resistance.

Julia Child (OSS)—Served as the head of registry of the OSS’s China office. After the war she moved with her husband to France where she learned the culinary arts.

Ian Fleming (British Royal Navy)—The creator of the James Bond joined the Navy’s intelligence unit in 1939. Because of his facility with languages, British Intel offered him a chance to do “hush-hush” work, for which he trained at Sir William Stephenson’s spy school, Camp X. Among his achievements was the formation of Operation GOLDENEYE, a spy network inside Spain set to operate in case Generalissimo Franco decided to join WWII on the side of his friend, Adolf Hitler. Fleming also drafted parts of the American’s OSS charter at the request of CIA architect Gen. William Donovan.

Gloria Steinem (CIA)—After World War II, a number of student organizations held a World Youth Festivals in Vienna, meetings in which collegians from all over the world could come together in order to discuss ways of achieving world peace--an understandable concern in the aftermath of the bloodiest conflict in the history of mankind. A number of American veterans, many of whom went to school on the GI Plan, attended these congresses, where they heard a number of socialist viewpoints from their colleagues behind the iron curtain. Startlingly, the CIA suspected that most of the Youth Festivals’ funding came from the Soviet Union.

Concerned about a fifth column of disgruntled vets trained in combat, the CIA formed its own leftist youth group, the National Student Association. By the 1950s, most American leftists were anti-Stalinist, and thus anti-USSR, so they felt no guilt about receiving CIA help, often in the form of money, but also in the form of real estate and training. NSA members made their presence known at the youth festivals by spreading socialist ideals that were counter to those offered by the Eastern bloc participants.

In 1958, journalist Gloria Steinem, then having difficulty breaking the pressroom gender line, accepted a job at the Independent Research Service, which some alleged was a CIA front from the beginning. That is not clear. What is clear, however, is that once with the IRS, she became involved in the NSA’s CIA-backed efforts.

In 1967, after the NSA’s connection to the CIA was exposed in Ramparts, a Roman Catholic laity news magazine, Steinem later admitted that she had been involved with the organization, and stipulated that the bulk of its funding came directly from the CIA. She denied knowing at the time, however, that the CIA sponsored the NSA. Steinem also claimed she never actually spied on anyone, but a leaked 1961 memo clearly indicated that she had in fact spied on other Festival attendants, giving assessments of their ideological positions, their backgrounds, and so on.

While Alex Jones and reactionary investigators others have tried to establish other links between Steinem and espionage (mostly to discredit feminists and liberals), no evidence has since surfaced to indicate that she is anything other than what she appears to be. In a 1976 speech, Director William Colby specifically cited Steinem’s service to the Agency as evidence that the CIA was non-partisan, and dedicated to the protection of US national security.

Dr. Ruth Westheimer (Haganah)—Having fled Germany to a foster home that took care of Jewish children fleeing the Holocaust, the future sex expert immigrated to Israel in 1946, where she joined the Haganah, a militia dedicated to the defense of (or clearing out of, depending whose side you take) Palestine, and an important precursor of the MOSSAD. Trained as an assassin, Westheimer claimed as late as 2004 that she had never actually killed anyone. She said, however, that she was once wounded in the line of duty, but did not elaborate on the circumstances.


Monday, December 04, 2006

...The Notorious....

A few more spies. Perhaps you'll see one of them on Survivor soon.

Cheryl Hanin Ben Tov (MOSSAD, CIA?, FBI?)—A native of Pennsylvania and Florida, Hanin (codenamed Cindy) grew up partially in Israel, where she graduated from high school in 1978. She enlisted in the Israeli Army immediately after, and later married senior intelligence officer Ofer Ben Tov. Twenty years ago, she volunteered for a special MOSSAD assignment that’s still making the papers.

In 1986, The Sunday Times (London) began a multi-part exposé on the Israeli nuclear weapons program, based on interviews with one of the scientists who worked on the project, Mordechai Vanunu (born John Crossman). Worried that Vanunu might be a hoaxer, The Times investigated his story after the first installment, hoping to verify his identity and credentials. Vanunu, impatient with the delay in publishing the next installment, then turned to a rival newspaper, The Sunday Mirror, and offered the story to them. Mirror editor Robert Maxwell sought confirmation from British Intel, an action that tipped off the MOSSAD.

The MOSSAD wanted Vanunu, then in London, to come back to Israel to face charges of violating his confidentiality oath. Yet, they could not touch him legally in England, and were loath to aggravate British authorities, upon whose cooperation they often relied, by flagrantly violating their laws and kidnapping him.

Enter Cindy.

The MOSSAD sent Ben Tov to London to meet Vanunu. Posing as an American tourist, she charmed the nuclear scientist, and ultimately convinced him to fly off with her to Rome, where the MOSSAD had no compunctions against kidnapping him.

Vanunu began what would be his first prison sentence (he was released in 2004, and then put back in the slammer after a few months for mouthing off politically). Meanwhile, Cindy returned to Florida where she managed a small chain of beauty shops that she herself owned. The papers would only say that an unknown woman lured Vanunu away to Rome where MOSSAD agents captured him. But the name of the woman was not known, nor did any picture of her surface until she was outed by a disgruntled former employee from one of her salons.

Vanunu currently believes that Ben Tov was not actually MOSSAD, but rather CIA or FBI. Whatever she might be, she currently lives in Lakewood, Florida where she works as a real estate agent.

Whittaker Chambers (NKVD, FBI?)--In 1939, Chambers, a senior editor for Time magazine, walked into the office of then-Assistant Secretary of State Adolf Berle, and admitted to having been an NKVD agent. He also claimed that Berle’s chief aide, Alger Hiss, was also an NKVD agent, one who had given him State Department documents, which he in turn gave to his Soviet handler in Washington.

Berle dismissed Chambers as a crank, and didn’t disclose Chambers’ visit to the FBI until 1941, when the Bureau nailed Elizabeth Bentley, a fellow Soviet spy. She would later echo much of what Chambers told the FBI himself.

Chambers produced into evidence sixty-five typewritten pages, and four allegedly in Hiss’ handwriting. He had hidden them in, of all places, hollowed-out pumpkins -- hence the Press dubbed them “The Pumpkin Papers.”

When asked by the FBI, Hiss could not immediately recall ever meeting Chambers. Nevertheless, Hiss had met Chambers some years back. They met at some liberal function, conversed, and then parted. About one year later, Chambers came to New York. Hiss offered to let him crash at his apartment for a couple of days, and loaned him the use of his car.

Chambers had a history of lying about himself, and much indicates that he lied about Hiss. In 1991, an examination of the handwritten Pumpkin Papers showed that they were forgeries. Although Hiss allegedly owned a Woodstock typewriter, any typewriter of that make and model could have produced said documents.

The evidence that Chambers actually served the NKVD as an American asset is overwhelming, however. Since that’s the case, one might speculate that he might have attempted to hide real State Department leaks by attributing them to a false source, a variation on the concept of notional assets. Since the FBI and its director, J. Edgar Hoover, did not like “liberals,” Hiss probably made an attractive target.

After a White House investigation, President Harry Truman dismissed all charges against Hiss, characterizing them as red herrings. Nevertheless, because of the efforts of a young, zealous Congressman named Richard Nixon, Alger's slow recall in remembering Chambers, and the forged papers, Hiss was convicted of perjury at a second trial in 1950 (the first ended in a hung jury).

In 1989, President George Bush Sr. posthumously awarded the Medal of Freedom to Whittaker Chambers, a man whose only claim to fame was spying against the US.

Victor Marchetti & John D. Marks (CIA & US State Department)—Marchetti (left) and Marks’ 1974 book The CIA and the Cult of Intelligence is a must read, for so many reasons. First of all, the authors were both high-ranking espiocrats, who saw dangerous developments within US espionage. Among other things, they outlined a number of ways the CIA fed false information to the press to enhance its political clout and to shield it from public ridicule. They also told about how such un-elected civilian elites as the Council on Foreign Relations had usurped the National Security Council’s oversight over the CIA.

Secondly, the book itself had a history that’s almost as important as the book itself. The CIA tried to ban its publishing on national security grounds. After a number of hearings and legal movements, the courts ordered the book’s publishing, provided that the authors redact some passages in order to comply with CIA concerns. However, when the Agency reviewed the manuscript again, they made additional redactions, forcing the authors back into court for the right to publish them.

The authors and publisher then decided to allow the reader to see how much had been taken out of the book, by leaving blank the space that the original text took. So in this book, you have a lot of blank words, sentences and pages that are left to your imagination as to what they really say.

Because of Marchetti and Marks (left), all US spy organizations added a clause in the contracts of assets and case offices that forbid them to write non-fiction unless reviewed and approved by the agency. This is the reason why Mike Levine and other ex-spies write novels.


Friday, December 01, 2006

...The More Infamous....

Maj. Gen. Reinhard Gehlen (Wehrmacht, BND, ODESSA)—As the Nazis’ chief military intelligence officer during WWII, Gehlen maintained extensive files on Soviet activities. After the war, he struck a deal with the US and UK that allowed him and the spies in his network to escape prosecution as war criminals at Nuremberg. The Allies released him from prison camp, and allowed him to take his place as the President of the Bundesnachrichtendienst (Federal Intelligence Service, or BND). Unbeknownst to the Americans and Brits, he also fed intelligence to the USSR in a patented confidence scheme to play all sides against the middle. During the 1950s and 1960s, he deliberately fanned the flames of Cold War paranoia by inflating the defense estimates on both sides, and by ratting out everybody’s assets.

Most likely, he also served as a key member of the Organisation der ehemaligen SS-Angehörigen (Organization of Former SS Members, or ODESSA), a group dedicated to advancing Nazi plans for world dominion despite their defeat in WWII. With the probable help of parties located in the Vatican, US and UK, the ODESSA established the ratlines; the escape routes for Nazi personnel, money and other economic assets to South America.

With the help of future-CIA Director Allen Dulles, Gehlen also set up Operation OVERCAST, later named Operation PAPERCLIP. PAPERCLIP whitewashed prior Nazi affliliation of approximately 1,300 scientists and spies, thus clearing them of war crimes prosecution and allowing them to emigrate to the US.

Sir William Stephenson (MI6)—Stephenson (codenamed Intrepid) is a spy highly esteemed by both his superiors and his victim, the US. Whereas Ian Fleming incorporated the daring do of Sid Reilly into the character of James Bond, 007’s suave and polish definitely came from Stephenson, Fleming’s most important mentor.

Stephenson, a Manitoba native, fought for the Royal Air Force in WWI. During the 1930s, MI6 stationed him in New York City with the task of ending US neutrality, with the hopes that the Americans would ally with the Brits. Stephenson’s task was made easier by the help he received from pro-British factions within the US, among them Amy Thorpe Pack; journalists Drew Pearson, Walter Lippmann and Walter Winchell, CIA founding father Gen. William Donovan, Time-Life founder Henry Luce, and The Rockefeller family (who donated several floors of 30 Rockafeller Center, then as now the home of NBC Studios—a building you see every week if you watch Conan O’Brien or Saturday Night Live).

Stephenson’s white ops included harassment of pro-neutrality speakers and advocates, among them aviation hero Charles Lindbergh. At one Lindbergh rally scheduled at Madison Square Garden, Stephenson’s people printed counterfeit tickets and distributed them for free, hoping that the resulting overcrowding would cause rioting, an action that would have given the pro-neutrality side a black eye. Over the years, others accused Stephenson’s group of manufacturing a scandal against US. Representative Hamilton Fish III (R-NY) by making it look as though he had been on the Nazi payroll. They were also accused of manipulating the 1940 Republican Convention into nominating pro-British candidate Wendell Willkie for President.

Today, the US and UK are locked into what seems to be the most intimate political alliance between two sovereign nations in the history of the nation-state. Not surprisingly, a statue of Sir William Stephenson currently adorns the grounds of CIA headquarters in Langley.

Klaus Fuchs, Harry Gold & David Greenglass (NKVD)—Klaus Fuchs (left) was a nuclear scientist who fled Germany before WWII to escape persecution as a communist. He came to England, where authorities deemed him a security risk that would be deported at the end of the War. But upon hearing of his background in nuclear physics, the US invited Fuchs to help them with the Manhattan Project, the research and development program that produced the atom bomb.

Fuchs worked at the nuclear facility located in Oak Ridge, TN, where he smuggled out information about the bomb. Aided by two American NKVD (precursor of the KGB) agents, Harry Gold and David Greenglass, Fuchs boosted the Soviet weapons program by solving their problems concerning the nuclear gaseous diffusion used to create fission within the uranium atom. He managed to keep it all a secret until 1949, when an FBI probe nailed him. The Americans rounded him up, then deported him to England where he was tried by the UK.

In an effort to save his skin, Fuchs named names. In turn, his names named names of just about anyone who came to mind. For Greenglass, this meant dropping dime on his sister and her husband, Ethel and Julius Rosenberg. The Rosenbergs wound up railroaded in a kangaroo court, and jeered by hysterical anti-red public opinion.

Harry Gold fingered another man, Morton Sobell, plead guilty and was thus sentenced to thirty years. Paroled in 1965, Gold quietly retired to Philadelphia where he died in 1972. David Greenglass (left) got only a fifteen-year sentence in exchange for his cooperation. He was paroled in 1960, and currently lives in New York City. Fuchs also managed to escape execution due to a loophole in England’s Official Secrets Act, which states that giving classified information to an enemy is a capital offense. Problem was, during the war, the Soviets were officially an ally of the UK. Released in 1959, and deported to East Germany, he was named the Director of the Central Institute for Nuclear Physics, and served in that capacity until his retirement in 1979. He died in 1988.

The major players, those who really aided the Soviet nuclear program, lived long lives. Ethel, Julius and Sobell, were executed.

Harold “Kim” Philby and the Cambridge Circus, aka the Cambridge Five (SIS, MI5, NKVD, KGB)—Arguably the most devastating mole in the history of modern intelligence, Philby, an openly communist activist, was recruited early in his youth by the NKVD. Soviet Intel convinced Philby to renounce his Marxist leanings and refashion himself into a right-wing hardliner so that he could gain a position at SIS (precursor of MI6, British Intelligence). Quietly, Philby worked his way up the ranks, eventually becoming the head of Section IX, British Intel’s anti-Soviet counterintelligence division in 1944.

Over the course of his tenure at MI5, Philby recruited other Soviet agents and moles, including four fellow Cambridge alums: Anthony Blunt, Donald MacLean, Guy Burgess, and John Cairncross. Suspicion about their activities led to a number of investigations against the Cambridge spies during the 1950s.

In 1963, after a defector all but pointed the finger at him by name, Philby defected to the Soviet Union, where he died in 1988.


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