Posts Tagged ‘WW2’

ClandesTime 085 – WW2 Spies and Hyperreality

Published September 25th 2016

Mutt and Jeff were a pair of Norwegian double agents during WW2, named after the popular cartoon characters. They played a crucial role in deceiving the Nazi intelligence apparatus by taking part in false flag sabotage and deception operations. Several of these operations have very curious codenames including Operation GUY FAWKES and Operation BUNBURY. In this episode I dwell on the relevance of MI5 operations sourcing their codenames from historical and fictional figures. I also analyse how an episode of Spooks in 2002 foreshadowed the declassification of government documents on these WW2 operations, before asking if MI5 are suffering from hyperreality.

16 Military and Intelligence Code Names Inspired by Popular Culture

Published June 22nd 2016

One of the most prominent influences of pop culture on government and on the deep state is in the use of code names. From the capture of Saddam Hussein to a counter-smuggling helicopter unit in Hawaii, from a mass surveillance program named after Blazing Saddles to Secret Service and MI5 code names taken from cartoon characters, this is a widespread and frequent phenomenon. It seems that the military and intelligence services are as obsessed with pop culture as anyone else, with both hilarious and terrifying results.

Review: The Double-Cross System

Published June 7th 2016

In my opinion, the importance of the intelligence war in World War 2 cannot be overstated. Economically, Britain was essentially bankrupt by the end of the war. Militarily they were not as well resourced and equipped as Germany with the exception of naval warfare, where the odds were much closer than in World War 1. The most decisive factor in Britain being on the victorious side of WW2 was their superior intelligence capabilities. There is nothing new in the technique of turning the agents of the enemy into channels for deception and misdirection, but the British in WW2 turned it into an art form. The Double-Cross System by John Cecil Masterman describes perhaps the most effective example of the use of double agents in modern military history.

The CIA and Hollywood 08 – The Quiet American

Published June 5th 2016

In this first episode of the new season Pearse and I discuss the 1958 spy drama The Quiet American, adapted from the novel by Graham Greene. We focus in on the role of Air Force and CIA officer Ed Lansdale’s relationship with the film-maker Joseph Mankiewicz, and how the CIA were involved in assisting Mankiewicz the first major American movie to be filmed in Vietnam. Mankiewicz met Lansdale in Vietnam while doing research for the movie and, apparently unaware that Lansdale is one of the inspirations for the Pyle character in the original book, befriended him. Lansdale later reviewed the script and wrote to Mankiewicz encouraging the changes he had made to the storyline and characters.

Graham Greene’s FBI File

Published May 23rd 2016

Graham Greene was one of the most important novelists of the 20th century, and one of the greatest spy novelists of all time. He also holds the dubious honour of having worked for MI6 during WW2 but being spied on by the FBI as a suspected Communist. Few spies have FBI files, so Greene is in a very small and distinct club. The FBI records cover over a decade during the early Cold War, and Greene himself wrote a response to them.

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