Saturday, October 29, 2016

Podcast Nuggets part 1

Being a regular listener of a wide range of intelligence and history podcasts, I discovered quite a few fascinating podcast nuggets that deserve to be highlighted. So let's kick of this series with a first batch of podcasts. Keep your ears open, as there will be many more to follow...

DAMN INTERESTING - The Spy who Loved Nothing is the story of U.S. Sgt Robert Lee Johnson who became a KGB spy and stole in 1962 lots of most sensitive U.S. and NATO cryptographic and military information from the high security vault of the Armed Forces courier center in Orly, France. The vault and its content had risen to a holy grail status within the KGB. Johnson succeeded and many documents, some of them classified higher than top secret, ended up in Moscow (hit the website's "Narrate" button to listen).

SPYCAST - Able Archer 83 Interview with Nate Jones about the large 1983 NATO Command Post Exercise that nearly triggered World War III. The exercise was a simulation of a conflict that culminated in a nuclear war. It was a communications only exercise with signals troops all across Western Europe, sending coded messages, lead from a NATO nuclear bunker in Belgium. The scenario included a gradually escalating situation, with communications between heads of states, periods of total radio silence and eventually a DEFCON1 alert, indicating an imminent nuclear attack. The only problem was that the Soviets believed it to be an actual NATO preemptive first strike against the USSR. More about exercise Able Archer and a video is found on my previous post.

STUFF THEY DON'T WANT YOU TO KNOW - Operation Gladio is the commonly used name for the highly secretive stay-behind organisations that were established during the Cold War in many European countries. Gladio's mission in an event of Soviet invasion was to pass strategic information to their governments in exile, establish resistance groups and carry out sabotage activities across Europe. As Churchill would put it: set Europe ablaze. They were so secret that, apart from a few intelligence officers, even some countries own government didn't know of their existence. Some stay-behind cells however had quite shady links to extremist and criminal organisations.

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