Saturday, February 03, 2024

Podcast Nuggets Episode 10

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After a long break, we resume the Podcast Nuggets series, covering a selection of excellent talks about signals, intelligence, wars and espionage. In other words, ordinary everyday life. Some of the podcast pages provide additional information, photos or videos. We start with a fascinating career in SIGINT, prisoners in Hanoi Hilton with a direct line to the CIA, the SAS raising hell in North Africa, how to steal paintings, and working for the CIA or FBI, or maybe not, who knows? If you want more podcast introductions, just click the above Podcast Nuggets icon.

COLD  WAR Conversations - Uncovering Cold War Soviet secrets with the USAF and NSA. In 1975, Tim joined the US Air Force to see the world. He hoped for a job in electronics but was redirected to the field of communications analysis. After basic training, he was sent to the Joint Cryptologic school at Goodfellow AFB (Air Force Base). He served at the Air Force Electronic Warfare Center at Kelly AFB in Texas, RAF Chicksands in the UK, working on SIGINT collection of USSR targets, the Cryptologic Support Group, Strategic Air Command HQ, and Offutt AFB in Nebraska, providing SIGINT briefings to US Strategic Air Command. In 1983, Tim transferred to the NSA, and was later posted at GCHQ, the British Government Communications Headquarter. An amazing career and lots of stories to tell.

SPYCRAFT 101 - POW Spy Ring in Vietnam with Jim Stockdale. Jim is the son of US Navy aviator, Admiral James Stockdale, who was shot down over North Vietnam in 1965. His father was  imprisoned in the Hualap prison, a.k.a. Hanoi Hilton, where the prisoners were interrogated and turtured. Despite the harsh prison regime, het set up a communications network within the prison to secretly collect information, and support and encourage fellow prisoners. From within the prison, they also established a covert communications channel with the CIA.

HISTORY HACK - SAS Forged in Hell. When David Sterling founded the Special Air Service in 1941, he described it as forged in hell, and they definitely raised hell in the deserts of North Africa. They were the pioneers of unconventional warfare, and to operate behind enemy lines, they had to cross thousands of miles in the Sahara desert. You simply could not order regular soldiers to carry out such suicide missions, but the SAS members were volunteers, despite all odds against them. This was thanks to officers like Paddy Mayne, because the soldiers knew he would never ask them things he would not do himself, and he often lead from the front. Following the capture of Sterling in 1943, Major Payne became commander of the SAS, the unit that, according to Field Marshall Rommel, caused more trouble than any other unit. A fascinating story about a brave man.

SPYCAST - The Most Famous Art Detective in the World. Andrew Hammond interviewed retired Special Agent Robert Wittman about the creation of the FBI Art Crimes Team, a special unit, tasked to locate and recover stolen works of art. Not quite the career you might expect when working in the FBI, but Bob quickly came to appreciate both the job and the artwork. He explains how art thieves operate, the inside jobs and how the Art Crimes Team uses intelligence tradecraft to locate stolen paintings. Robert also talks about working and living undercover abroad and how they brought home many priceless pieces of art, worth millions of dollars.

ALPHABET BOYS - Season One: Troyan Hearse. In two seasons, journalist Trevor Aaronson reveals secret investigations from the FBI, CIA, DEA, ATF, and other so-called alphabet agencies. He exposes secret undercover recordings that the government never wanted you to hear. Make sure to check out all the FBI documents, photos and undercover videos. In the first season, you learn how a mysterious antifa warrior in military fatigues arrives into town, driving a hearse filled with guns. Who is the man that infiltrates the 2020 protests, and who are the bad guys?

ALPHABET BOYS - Season Two: Up in Arms. The story of an undercover operation with a fake arms dealer and Colombian rebels. But who are the bad guys? The weapons dealer of course, but didn't he work for the CIA, or was it the FBI? No, of course he's a criminal, or a spy, but for whom? It's confirmed, and denied. One thing's for sure, it's a big mess. Two excellent seasons, well told, with audio interviews and covert recordings. Highly recommended!

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