Monthly Archives: March 2021

Spycraft

I think it can be said that countries have at times won or lost wars based on efforts by their intelligence agencies. I remember reading one of Lex’s posts on the subject of the US nuclear submarine Scorpion. I doubt that we will never know what caused her sinking.

Reading up on John Walker awhile back, I shudder to think had we been at war with the Soviet Union, what would have been the outcome with our naval forces. He had given them the same kind information that we had on the Japanese in WW2 – cryptographic codes that let them know of not only naval unit movement, but intentions such as orders to launch missiles from our submarines.

I wrote on the Marburg Files, and how the efforts of Edward VIII may have helped the Germans in their invasion of France. One of the most amazing successful intelligence efforts was convincing the Germans that the D-Day invasion would occur at Calais, and not Normandy. It was so successful that even when Normandy was underway, Hitler believed that it was a feint and held his armor back waiting for the Calais invasion. Stalin refused to believe his spy telling him that the Germans had planned on invading the Soviet Union.

Aldrich Ames decided to betray his country – knowingly causing the deaths of 13 CIA assets in the Soviet Union, because he was going though a costly divorce and had a Columbian girlfriend with the tastes of Imelda Marcos.

Money was also the motivation of Robert Hanssen, who informed the Soviets of our counterintelligence efforts of the FBI. He cause the deaths of a number of Russians who were working with us. He was finally caught by the smallest of oversights.

I just finished a fascinating miniseries on Spycraft, which dealt with techniques, means of communication, and motivations of spies. It includes interviews with former CIA officers, and a colleague of Ames. It’s on Netflix.

I will also have to reread a book I read years ago, Secrets of D-Day. There were some surprising revelations. One of the biggest mysteries to me was the loyalties of the head of the German Abwehr, Wilhelm Canaris. How much he helped the Allies will probably never be known. He was executed by the Nazis in the closing days of the war.

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Some Rarely Seen WW2 Color Photos

I have on my bookshelf an interesting book of WW2 photos, taken by regular servicemen using what was then a tremendous luxury: color film. Some memorable photos: Immediate post war Germany, and a row of Mustangs in a field being cut up and burned by German civilians.

An American Spitfire squadron (didn’t even know that there was such a thing).

Anyway just got my Smithsonian Air and Space magazine today and as usual, there were plenty of good articles. They must be if not unique, nearly so, in that they post to the web most of their articles in their magazine.

Here’s an article on some more WW2 color photos – bet you haven’t seen them.

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Cliff Hanger

Posted By lex, on March 4th, 2012

Vlad Putin “wins” the “election” in Russia:

Vladimir Putin and his supporters are celebrating victory in Russian elections, that will give him a third presidential term after spending the last four years as the country’s PM.

With nearly all the ballots counted, he secured nearly 64% of the vote, election officials say.

Mr Putin told supporters in Moscow he had won in an open and honest battle.

But opposition groups claim widespread fraud, and plan a protest rally in Moscow later on Monday.

The independent election watchdog Golos says Mr Putin won just over 50% – far less than the official figure given by the election commission.

It says it received numerous reports of “carousel” voting – in which voters cast multiple ballots.

Credit where it’s due, Mr. Putin ran a great campaign. And the security services.

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Filed under Carroll "Lex" LeFon, Politics and Culture

Brinicle

Posted By lex, on March 5th, 2012

Kinda spooky. If you’re a starfish.

And self-aware.

Extended treatment here.

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Whittle on Breitbart

Posted By lex, on March 5th, 2012

Worth watching, if you haven’t already seen it.

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Watchful Rest

Posted By lex, on February 23rd, 2012

There’s a growing body of evidence which suggests that an “eight straight” sleep cycle is not so natural as we had been led to assume:

Continue reading

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Filed under Carroll "Lex" LeFon, Ships and the Sea

Bad Day at Yuma


Posted By lex, on February 23rd, 2012

This sucks:

Seven U.S. Marines were killed when two helicopters collided Wednesday night during training in a remote area of far southeastern Imperial County, near the California-Arizona border. Six were from Camp Pendleton and another was from the Marine air station at Yuma, Ariz.

There were no survivors aboard the aircraft, the Marines said. The cause of the crash is under investigation.

The mid-air crash between the AH-1W Cobra and a UH-1Y Huey was reported about 8 p.m. near sand dunes about a mile outside the military’s Yuma Training Range Complex, on federal Bureau of Land Management property.

It’s a dangerous business even in peacetime training, but you never quite grow used to this sort of thing.

Prayers for their families, if you’re the praying sort.

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Filed under Carroll "Lex" LeFon, Flying, Marines

Helos

Posted By lex, on February 25th, 2012

Honestly, I never gave the whirly-gigs that much thought, back before my son opted to fly them.

Now I find that they’re on my mind pretty much all the time.

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Filed under Carroll "Lex" LeFon, Flying

21st Century Politics

Posted By lex, on February 26th, 2012

President Barack Obama was elected to be the leader of the free world based on little more accomplishment than a pair of autobiographies.

Now, attention spans being what they are, he apparently intends to win re-election based on a 30-minute infomercial, directed by Al Gore’s “Inconvenient Truth” propagandist.

The sad thing is, it may even work.

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Only Nixon Could Go To China

Posted By lex, on February 29th, 2012

Leon Panetta is a Democrat who served in the White House budget office. In Congress he chaired the House Budget Committee. And he led the intelligence and military operations that led to DevGru popping Osama bin Laden.

In short, he is the perfect man for these lean times:

“No budget can be balanced on the back of defense spending alone,” said Mr. Panetta, “For that matter, no budget can be balanced on the back of discretionary spending alone.”

Discretionary spending refers to that portion of federal expenditure that is set each year by Congress, as opposed to the automatic mandatory spending every year on entitlement programs, like Social Security and Medicare.

“Real deficit reduction only happens when everything is on the table – discretionary [spending], mandatory spending, and revenues,” Mr. Panetta said.

The planned spending reductions in the administration’s new defense budget would result in a “smaller, leaner” force, he said.

“But at the same time it should be agile, it should be flexible, it should be ready, and it should be technologically advanced,” he added.

Nonetheless, Mr. Panetta acknowledged, “I can’t reduce the [defense] budget by half-a-trillion dollars and, frankly, not increase risks” to national security.

Preach it, brother.

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Filed under Carroll "Lex" LeFon, Military, Politics