The spycraft has been with us since the beginning of time. This craft has been used by many countries and traditional communities to gather very sensitive and important information that helped them win wars. In this day and age, the craft has evolved into a corporate tool where companies employ the same tricks from the intelligence community to get a step up on their competition. Torture techniques have evolved over the years currently, the use of psychological torture is more rampant. Methods of psychological torture include threats of harm to family members, humiliation, good cop bad cop and the silent treatment. The torture techniques from the past were far more brutal and ended in death such as Crucifixion, cutting and stretching of limbs and the dreaded brazen bull among many others.There is no doubt however that torture methods are never justified. It is clearly stated in the Geneva Convention that there should be no violence to life or cruel treatment. Did you know that yoga texts mention torture recovery techniques?
Mata Hari was the most renowned female spy in history. She was also an exotic dancer and a famous courtesan. Her father was a Dutch hat maker who also invested in oil, meaning that he had money to spoil his only daughter. At six years old she was already a flamboyant character, and it is reputed that she travelled in a goat-drawn carriage, a gift from her father. When her mother died, she was sent to train as a kindergarten teacher but the headmaster, Wybrandus Haanstra, became infatuated with her, causing a massive scandal. After a later disastrous marriage, she went to Paris and used her experiences to create a new erotic persona. At this time, the name Mata Hari was born and has since been shrouded in Mata Hari facts and fiction. She wore jewels and exotic perfumes and danced seductively in salons. Adding to her mystique, she spun fantastic stories about her life, pretending that she was an exotic Javanese princess. The Mysterious Mata Hari, in Dance, was alluring and captivating and soon became famous. She also travelled extensively, collecting numerous lovers who helped to pay for her extravagant lifestyle. During World War I, she was frequently moving across borders with a variety of male friends, and she was eventually accused of espionage by the French. They arrested her on February 13, 1917, and conducted a private trial which led to her being sentenced to death by firing squad. On October 15, that same year, Mata Hari was executed at the young age of 41 years old. Of all the Mata Hari facts and fiction, it remains true that she was Europe’s queen of eroticism, courtesan and harlot, spendthrift and deceiver. Whether or not she was a spy or guilty of espionage has never been proven.
Sidney Reilly Ace of Spies is probably the most famous spy in history, and his life and death remain shrouded in mystery. Born Shlomo Rosenblum in 1873, he was Ukrainian and had a trail of false identities, fraudulent activities and Russian contacts that made him invaluable. He was recruited by SIS (later named MI6) as a secret agent and was sent to the Far East, and Russia on spying missions. He was later involved in an assignment to infiltrate the Bolsheviks and in 1918 planned a counter-coup against Lenin. The conspiracy was discovered by the Bolshevik secret police, and he was forced to flee the country. After this failure, the Soviets condemned Riley to death, despite his absence. He was later awarded the Military Cross for his espionage work but was suspected of having compromised the whole operation. Sidney Reilly Ace of Spies very much created his own legend. He claimed to have worked undercover for many different countries and was a master of deception. He loved gambling, led a jet-set life and was infamous for his many wives and mistresses. His death also remains a mystery. Whilst working undercover, spying on anti-Soviet activities, Reilly ignored advice not to return to Russia and was shot. Questions surround the shooting, with many conflicting stories. It was originally claimed that he was killed by Bolshevik border guards whilst trying to cross the Finnish border. However, a later MI6 report stated that he had been captured by Stalin’s secret police and interrogated in their Moscow headquarters. He was then shot in the back on Stalin’s direct order. to this day, providing both the inspiration for the character of James Bond and the biography by his son, Ace of Spies.
Several things appeal to people about the life of a spy – exciting travels, new places, and covert operations. But whether you actually need it in the field or just want to bring some excitement of your own to your non-spy life, spy jargon is just one of the things that can give you a taste. You can Learn spy jargon from the newJason Bournemovie, which strives to be realistic, or you could pick up some tips from other sources. Some useful spy jargon to know is terms like asset, blown, cobbler, handler, and naked. Asset is another word for a clandestine source or method, like an agent. Blown is when a clandestine asset (agent) has their cover revealed. Cobbler is someone who forges passports and other relevant documents, handler is an agent’s contact or middle-man, and naked for an agent means going on a mission without a cover. The list of terms and words is long, and it can be exciting and fascinating to learn them all. However, the idea of spy jargon is to elude other people when you talk. So, you could always make up your own words with a friend and create a code of your own to confuse the people around you.
Spies of today aren’t like the spies you see in traditional spy story media, or even most modern spy films and books. Rather than skulking around in dark alleys, most work of the spies of today revolves around the formally illegal data gathering from computer systems, though that is not to say that the spy work of old has been put out to pasture.
There has been recent breaking news announcing Canadian Spies acknowledged for work in Afghanistan and, given the technological status of modern Afghanistan, it’s not surprising to see old techniques again finding their day in the sun.
Without much of the technological framework from which modern governments have been able to use to spy on their citizens, these Canadian spies have had to rely on the much more dangerous and hands-on approach of direct interaction and apparent assimilation with their enemies.
This included being invited into these groups that they intend to stay with, maintaining their cover for vast periods of time, and reporting back to their superiors without identifying themselves as the leaks. Unlike most digital forms of spying, this direct course of action is still held in high regard by citizens the world over, and thus the Canadian government had no problem acknowledging these men and women for their work.
While this kind of spying becomes less common as technology improves, it is likely that it will always have a place in modern espionage, and you have to admire the tenacity and bravery of those who submit themselves to this lifestyle, even if you don’t agree with their actions.
Being a spy means doing things secretly. Whether it is following the target or gathering information, the conventional ways do not work. Let us take a look at some modern gadgets that make being a spy really cool and exciting.
(1) Spy Pen – No, it does not explode like the pen in the 007 movies, but it has a camera and also doubles as a USB storage device. This gadget is very good if you want to gather information or do video surveillance on the target.
(2) Night Vision Goggles – You can see clearly at night using this gadget. These are really awesome and now can be bought online at Amazon. A must-have for spies as most of the spying happens in the dark of the night.
(3) GPS Locator – Bugs on a person or a moving object have become much easier to track with GPS. This technology helps to pinpoint the location very accurately, and it’s a great gadget in a spy’s bag.
(4) Hollow Coin – This is a very old gadget, but still very useful. It can be used to hide information written on paper or stored on a microchip. You can see its use in the famous Tom Hanks movie, “Bridge of Spies”.
(5) Spy Bolts – These hollow bolts can be used to hide things very easily. First used by the KGB, it is one of the best gadgets that is less technologically involved.
The Enigma machine & it counterbalance was a secret during the war and its story faded into obscurity. Designed by the Germans after world war 1, the machine designed liked a typewriter sent coded messages from one machine to another. It worked by the operator typed in a message then the machine scrambled the letters by means of notched rotors, which could produce billions of combinations. The only means to decode was by another enigma machine. The original inventor, Arthur Scherbius, was hopeful it would have a commercial value; the German high command realised its value and by 1928 the German navy had its own version, followed by the German army in 1933. Confident they were a secure way of sending secure information the Germans used the machine for for top secret messages.
In 1931 the allies became aware of the machine but cryptologists could not crack the code. In the years 1933-1938 the Germans were unaware that the Polish Cipher Bureau had unlocked the machine and even built copies. This information they shared with the British government in 1939 just prior to the invasion of Poland.
Bletchley park became the cipher school and center and it is here that top mathematicians and problem solvers came together to work on the enigma messages. They built ‘bombes’ huge computers, including the Colossus, to manage the huge output of enigma settings. Alan Turing was one of the mathematicians. Ultra was the term given to any intelligence gained from an Enigma message.
The excellent film released in 2014 starring Benedict Cumberbatch, The Imitation Game; reminded people of the work that went on behind the scenes, the unsung heros but they took quite a bit of movie license in the making.
Other films has mentioned the Enigma have included U-571 (2000)that whilst being popular in the States was not well received by the British as it was the British Navy in 1941 who captured the first Enigma Machine. Again do not learn your history from films, it reflects its own messages not necessarily the truth.
Everybody loves the daring and intrigue surrounding spies and George Blake, born in the Netherlands in 1922, started his brilliant spy career in the middle of World War II. It was in 1950 that he was sent as a British agent to Seoul and was captured there by North Korean troops. He was held captive for 3 years. George Blake began his spying career during World War II. In 1950, he was sent to Seoul as a British agent but was soon captured by North Korean troops and held captive for three years. This mastermind spy became a communist, switching sides and betraying scores of British agents to the KGB, claiming to be doing God’s work on earth He was released in 1953, returning to Britain as a hero and as a double agent.
He gave details of over 40 MI6 agents to the Soviets such as Hans Mohring and Bernd-Rainer Barth, a German historian. In 1961, his espionage activities got him 42 years in prison. He escaped however, fleeing to Moscow where he lives. It is believed he has handed over thousands of top-secret documents to Moscow. Aged 92, and regarded as a hero by Putin, the findings of his spy activities are now presented in a film called ‘Masterspy of Moscow’.
Continuing from where I left last time, I will showcase some more talented spies in this post.
Known famously as “Artemis”, Virginia was the most sought after spy during World War II. She was instrumental in keeping together the French Underground operation. She supplied vital information to the allied which eventually helped in winning the war. She later became an integral part of CIA. Sometimes referred to as “Limping lady” by the germans, she had one leg amputated from knee. This did not stop her from doing her work proficiently. In fact she was one of the few who evaded Gestapo arrest and continued working.
James Armistead Lafayette
A African-american slave but a spy to the core. James was allowed by his master to spy on Brigadier General Benedict Arnold. He passed vital information which helped the Americans to win at Yorktown against the British. The American revolution and the confederate forces owe a lot to this man. Later Lincoln was able to pass the 13th amendment to abolish slavery, realizing the unspoken dream of James. The above bust was made by UGA faculty member Kinzey Branham to commemorate to honor American patriots.
Yes he was responsible for the phrase “Casanova”. very popular with women but a spy against Venice for the Church. He also wrote a famous book ” The story of my Life” on which many hollywood flicks are made. He was exiled from Venice in 1782 and lived rest of his life as a librarian in Chateaux of Dux in Bohemia.
Spies have always been enigma for the common people. But they are normal people fighting for survival as we do. Their images outgrow the human beings they are. We will try to understand the Psyche of some spies who were famous. Just a brief one.
Mata Hari, The German spy
The most famous spy of all time, and a woman? Yes folks it is not someone like James Bond who is the most famous spy. It is a woman who worked as a prostitute in Paris and spied for the Germans during World War I. Being a Dutch national helped her enter enemy territory as Netherlands was a neutral country during the War. She was a woman fighting for survival since she was an orphan. No one ever saw this angle of her life. She almost bought victory for Germany during the war. If she was not captured in January 1917 and executed, the information she was giving could have ended the war much earlier. Her code name was H-12 and her execution led to a major intelligence failure for Germany ultimately resulting in defeat.
The Rosenberg, Spies from the Soviet Union
The Rosenberg couple were one of the most famous spies living in America. Julius Rosenberg was a KGB agent who used to pass on Nuclear weapon secret to the Soviets during the Cold War. The famous shooting of U-2 was allegedly engineered by Julius Rosenberg. The couple were caught in 1951 and a long battle in the court room ended in their execution in 1953. Ethel Rosenberg’s involvement in the spying activities was not confirmed but the court ruled against her. The only Americans to be executed as spies made them famous. Let us look into their lives a little. They were victims of Capitalization in their childhood and natural enemies of Capitalism. SO, what they did was natural.
That was some information on famous spies. More is coming in the next edition.