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Huawei: China’s 5G Fifth Column

Saturday, 12 January, 2019

“He spoke great Polish. He was a really well-known Chinese guy in Poland and was always around.” The headline on the Wall Street Journal article is, “Chinese Huawei Executive Is Charged With Espionage in Poland.” Snippet:

“For years, Washington has labeled Huawei a national security threat, saying it could be forced by China to use its knowledge of the telecommunications equipment it sells around the world to tap into, or disable, foreign communications networks. Huawei has denied that forcefully through the years. Part of its defense has been that it hadn’t been implicated in overseas spying allegations.

Officers of Poland’s counterintelligence agency this week searched the local Huawei office, leaving with documents and electronic data, as well as the home of the Chinese national, said Stanislaw Zaryn, a spokesman for Poland’s security coordination office. The Chinese individual wasn’t named, but was identified by Polish state television as a graduate of one of China’s top intelligence schools, as well as a former employee of the Chinese consulate in the port city of Gdansk.

People familiar with the matter identified him as Weijing Wang. He is known in Poland as Stanislaw Wang, according to these people and a public LinkedIn page that matches his biographical details.

A person who knew Mr. Wang described him as a well-known figure in local business circles, often spotted at events sponsored by Huawei in Poland. ‘He spoke great Polish,’ this person said. ‘He was a really well-known Chinese guy in Poland and was always around.'”

China is determined to destroy the West. It’s time to close the door on its stalking horses, starting with Huawei.

 ChiSpy


The Fable of Edward Snowden

Tuesday, 3 January, 2017 0 Comments

Book of the Year? It’s a bit premature at this point to be talking about annual awards but How America Lost Its Secrets: Edward Snowden, the Man and the Theft by Edward Jay Epstein will be a contender for the title come the end of 2017.

How America Lost Its Secrets: Edward Snowden, the Man and the Theft Epstein gave the world a preview in the Wall Street Journal on Friday and the subhead encapsulated the story: “As he seeks a pardon, the NSA thief has told multiple lies about what he stole and his dealings with Russian intelligence.” Snippet:

“The transfer of state secrets from Mr. Snowden to Russia did not occur in a vacuum. The intelligence war did not end with the termination of the Cold War; it shifted to cyberspace. Even if Russia could not match the NSA’s state-of-the-art sensors, computers and productive partnerships with the cipher services of Britain, Israel, Germany and other allies, it could nullify the U.S. agency’s edge by obtaining its sources and methods from even a single contractor with access to Level 3 documents.

Russian intelligence uses a single umbrella term to cover anyone who delivers it secret intelligence. Whether a person acted out of idealistic motives, sold information for money or remained clueless of the role he or she played in the transfer of secrets — the provider of secret data is considered an ‘espionage source.’ By any measure, it is a job description that fits Mr. Snowden.”

He’s a thief and a traitor, is Mr Snowden.


The mole in the machine

Saturday, 17 September, 2016 0 Comments

Dame Stella Rimington was the Director General of MI5, the UK’s domestic counter-intelligence agency, from 1992 to 1996. After retiring from the world of enigmas, she turned her hand to writing spy thrillers, a genre she loved long before she became a spy herself. In July 2004, her first novel, At Risk, about a female intelligence officer, Liz Carlyle, was published. This was followed by Secret Asset, Illegal Action, Dead Line, Present Danger, Rip Tide, The Geneva Trap and Close Call.

Liz Carlyle is summoned to Switzerland in The Geneva Trap for a meeting with a Russian agent who has approached the British with an offer of information. But he will only speak to Liz. He tells her that there is a mole in the Ministry of Defence in London, working for an unnamed third country tasked with stealing information about a secret US-UK project involving the next generation of drones. When one of the drones ignores the instructions of its human operator and self-destructs, it becomes obvious that someone is able to gain control of them and the race is on to find the hackers. Who are they? The Russians, the Chinese, the North Koreans? Snippet:

“Clarity is concerned with the communication systems and commands sent to drones. We’ve developed protocols that let us send instructions to these new drones in natural language.”
“Natural?” asked Liz.
“As opposed to artificial – which is what computer languages are. Look.” And he flipped open the top of his laptop and tapped a key. The screen was filled with row after row of numbers and symbols. “That’s raw ASCII, the bits and bytes that tell this machine what to do.”
“Looks like Chinese to me,” said Peggy. Then realising what she’d said, blushed and added, “Oh, sorry. Let’s hope it’s not.”


Journalist of the day: Robert Bruce Lockhart

Friday, 11 April, 2014 0 Comments

When the Russian Revolution broke out in early 1917, Robert Bruce Lockhart was the Acting British Consul-General in Moscow. Working for the Secret Intelligence Service, he set about creating a network of undercover agents, but he and fellow British spy Sidney Reilly were soon arrested. Robert Bruce Lockhart Instead of getting the expected 9mm of lead in the back of their necks, however, they were exchanged for the Russian diplomat Maksim Maksimovich Litvinov. Lockhart wrote about his experiences in Memoirs of a British Agent — a bestseller that was made into the film British Agent in 1934.

11 April 1929: “Priceless story of Lenin and the death of his mother-in-law (Krupskaya’s mother). Krupskaya tired of watching at the death-bed asked Lenin to sit by her mother while she slept. He was to call her if her mother wanted anything. Lenin took a book and began to read. Two hours later Krupskaya came back. Her mother was dead. Lenin was still reading. Krupskaya blamed him: “Why did you not let me know?’ Lenin replied: ‘But your mother never called me!’ Still, Lenin was not inhuman.” Robert Bruce Lockhart (1887 — 1970)

And thus ends our week of journal entries. It’s good for mind and soul to keep a journal says Oliver Burkeman: “Write about your most profound fears, your feelings of loneliness, of regret and grief. Then hide it somewhere where nobody will ever find it, don’t tell a soul…”


Black and white in the pre-PC days

Tuesday, 5 November, 2013 0 Comments

Back in March 2006, Garry O’Connor of the Scottish football side Hibernian agreed a £1.6 million transfer to Lokomotiv Moscow. He was not, however, the first Scot to play football in Russia. Robert Bruce Lockhart won the Moscow league championship in 1912, playing with Morozov — a textile factory team. But all this was a cover for his real profession: espionage. And if one believes the conspiracy theorists, he was at the centre of a plot to assassinate Lenin.

British Agent Robert Bruce Lockhart was Acting British Consul-General in Moscow when the first Russian Revolution broke out in early 1917. Working for the Secret Intelligence Service, he had been given £648 worth of diamonds to fund the creation of an agent network. Diamonds are said to be a girl’s best friend and it was almost inevitable that Moura Budberg, the beautiful widow of Count Johann von Benckendorff, became his mistress. With all the dramatis personæ in place, Lockhart was ready to strike, but Felix Dzerzhinsky, the cunning head of Cheka, struck first. Lockhart and fellow British agent, Sidney Reilly, were arrested, but instead of being shot, they were exchanged for the Russian diplomat Maksim Maksimovich Litvinov. Lockhart wrote about his experiences in Memoirs of a British Agent — a bestseller that was made into the film British Agent in 1934.

Spy, author and broadcaster Robert Bruce Lockhart was a talented, prolific diarist with an eye for detail and an ear for anecdote:

5 November 1928: “Heard a very good story on Mussolini and crown Prince [Wilhelm of Germany]. Latter had been to Tripoli and his father asked him what he thought of the natives. He replied, ‘I prefer dealing with black men in white shirts than the white men in black shirts.'” Sir Robert Bruce Lockhart

Tomorrow, here, Cesare Pavese, the Italian writer and diarist, who once said, “We do not remember days, we remember moments.”


Will Cochrane kills and cooks

Wednesday, 18 September, 2013 0 Comments

“Will waited. The sailor looked around, but not back at Will. Beside the man was the Lubyanka building. It was the current headquarters of the Border Guard Service, and it also contained one directorate of the FSB. But during the era of the Soviet Union it had been a notorious prison for political dissidents and spies.”

Sentinel That’s a snippet from Sentinel by Matthew Dunn and the “Will” there is the novel’s protagonist, Will Cochrane of Her Majesty’s Secret Service, or MI6. In these days of ascendant Putanism, the West needs heroes to take the fight into the heart of darkness and if that means going mano-a-mano with the enemy on Smolenskaya Naberezhnaya in the middle of Moscow, our spycatcher is up for it:

“Will sprang to his feet and jumped onto the hood of the second Range Rover, ignoring the target, who was still in the vehicle. He ran over its roof, jumped onto the Audi, and dived right over it towards the FSB man, who was now in the rear of the car and had leveled his gun at Roger. Crashing midair into the man, Will wrapped his arms around the Russian’s upper body and limbs, pinning his arms tight against his sides before they hit the ground. He kept squeezing him tight.”

Unlike James Bond, who spends a lot of time squeezing tight members of the opposite sex, Will Cochrane is a rather monkish secret agent. Instead of flirting, he longs for love and that Bondsian double entendre with Pussy Galore is definitely not his cup of tea. Whereas 007 despises domestic duties, our Will is ever so useful in the kitchen:

“Expertly, he peeled and diced shallots and tossed them into the pan with olive oil and butter. Then he deboned and portioned the chicken, pan-fried it with crushed garlic, pepper, and finely chopped herbs, splashed red wine into the pan, and allowed the alcohol to burn off before tasting the liquid and adding some salt and sugar.”

This is far superior to the bacon and scrambled eggs that Bond manages to cook. Still, 007 fans will know that he did eat a doner kebab in From Russia with Love. With Will Cochrane, Matthew Dunn has created a spy with potential, but he needs to make him less nerdy and more witty if he’s going to win over a greater public. The eight-page glossary at the end of Sentinel is useful for those who need to know that the AEK-919K Kashtan submachine gun fires 9mm rounds, but it does reflect the weight of terminology that the reader has to cope with.

Then there’s the confusion of prime minister and president, which could be a consequence of Putinism as the Russian leader has held both offices. But more about that here next week.


The Andropov Apprentice

Tuesday, 17 September, 2013 0 Comments

Yesterday, here, we mentioned Radek Sikorski, Poland’s Minister for Foreign Affairs, who claims he was the first to suggest that Moscow should assume responsibility for Syria’s chemical weapons stocks. It’s worth noting that Sikorski is married to the American journalist Anne Applebaum, a long-time observer of Vladimir Putin and his philosophy of power. In February last year, Applebaum gave a talk at the London School of Economics titled Putinism: The Ideology in which she detailed the autocrat’s suffocating dogma:

“Applebaum identifies the central tenet of Putinism as the carefully managed elections that ensure there are no accidental winners because there are no accidental candidates. Putin very carefully maintains the appearance of democracy — building up a campaign atmosphere during elections despite doing little actual campaigning and allowing fringe opposition parties to exist — but Russian voters are at no stage allowed to genuinely intervene in the democratic process.”

Anne Applebaum has spent many years developing her theory of Putinism. On 10 April 2000, the Weekly Standard published an article by her titled Secret Agent Man in which she revealed that Vladimir Putin tried to join Yuri Andropov’s KGB “at the tender age of 15”. Yuri Andropov Eventually, Putin fulfilled his dream of Soviet espionage and when he came to power in the Russian Federation that succeeded the USSR he enacted a tribute ceremony that was truly revelatory. “He chose the site with care: the Lubyanka, once the headquarters of the KGB and its most notorious jail prisoners once exercised on its roof, and were tortured in its cellars — and now the home of the FSB, Russia’s internal security services,” wrote Applebaum. “He also took heed of the date: December 20, a day still known and still celebrated by some, as ‘Chekists Day,’ the anniversary (this was the 82nd) of the founding of the Cheka, Lenin’s secret police. In that place and on that day, both so redolent of the bloodiest pages of Russian history, Vladimir Putin solemnly unveiled a plaque in memory of Yuri Andropov.”

Andropov’s apprentice is flying high now, but his repressive agency, the FSB, is not having it so easy. You see, Will Cochrane stands in its way. Never heard of Will Cochrane? He’s the “Spycatcher” and we’ll meet him here tomorrow.


An American Spy

Tuesday, 18 June, 2013 0 Comments

With all this talk of the NSA and its activities, espionage has stormed back onto the front pages. Perfect time to publish a spy novel set in China, the USA and Germany, one should think, and cometh the hour, cometh the man in the form of Olen Steinhauer. That surname suggests another Nordic star but Steinhauer was born in Baltimore and attended the University of Texas, Austin. He now lives in Budapest and he’s bidding to be the new John le Carré. Given the quality of An American Spy, he’s got a great hand of cards.

An American Spy And better again, Steinhauer has got a great sense of the Zeitgeist because he’s peopled An American Spy with characters such as Comrade Colonel Xin Zhu, the corpulent head of the Expedition Agency within Beijing’s Sixth Bureau of the Ministry of State Security. He’s had 33 CIA agents killed across the world in a breathtaking act of liquidation, but he’s got to watch his back because Wu Liang and his associate, Yang Qing-Nian, of the Supervision and Liaison Committee, a branch of the Central Committee’s Political and Legislative Affairs Committee, are not fans. Xin Zhu speaks:

“It wasn’t just revenge, you know. Everyone thinks that’s what it was — the committee, you, probably even the Americans. Revenge factored into it, but it was also a practical decision. That’s something I’ll have to explain on Monday morning. By eradicating one of their secret departments, we have sent a serious message to the Americans, the same message we want to send with the Olympic Games. That we are the primary force in the world. We are a nation that has suffered long enough — that’s the past. The present is this: We are a superpower of unfathomable riches, and we will not stand for interference, particularly from a country on the other side of the planet that still refers to itself as the world’s only superpower.”

Yes, it’s only fiction but le Carré’s fiction was infused with fact and there’s a lot in An American Spy to suggest that Steinhauer intimately understands the nexus of global strategy and dirty deeds, too. His portrayal of Zhu is measured and menacing and the useful idiots who marched in Hong Kong at the weekend in solidarity with Edward Snowden would do will to read An American Spy. There are no paradises upon this earth.


Spy Wednesday

Wednesday, 27 March, 2013 0 Comments

Today, the Wednesday before Easter, is known as “Spy Wednesday“, indicating it’s the day Judas Iscariot conspired with the Sanhedrin to betray Jesus for 30 silver coins. An ideal day, then, for an espionage thriller and our recommendation is Rip Tide by Dame Stella Rimington, the former Director General of the British security service MI5. […]

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