Change Your Image
Upload An Image
Crop And Save
British Intelligence (1940)
Note on Espionage Tradecraft used in Movie
These are notes on the type of espionage tradecraft used in the movie:
(a) Use of special "Morse Code" (in a German version) for secret communication between conspiring agents, even when others are listening. Example: Spy 1 at typewriter pretends to type (manual typewriter), but just keys in "X" characters, but in code pattern that purposefully is within hearing distance of nearby agent Spy 2.
(b) Use of short-wave radio. (but encrypted, and also "cleartext" during an emergency when there was no time to encrypt)
(c) Use of carrier pigeons (to fly hand-written messages from the UK to Germany (or to some pick up point))
(d) Code words. Use of secret code words, part 1 a "challenge" phrase, part 2 a "response" phrase. Agents used this within the context of ordinary conversation in order to identify each other without onlookers noticing.
2. Espionage Network
(a) A "chief of station" type (played by Karlov), who is disguised as a lowly butler.
(b) Even the other German agents do not know the true identity of the chief. They know he is part of the network, but he claims to be "taking orders" from the chief. He, of course, is actually the chief.
(c) Couriers. The milkman serves as a courier for information. Karlov as the "butler" each day gets fresh milk (delivered in those days by kart) and used the opportunity to pass on important information. Sometimes the information is spoken, sometimes passed along in a letter.
(d) Radio man. Separate person is assigned task of collecting information, encoding it, and transmitting it to Germany.
(e) Feigned death. One of the German agents, fakes his death in order to help cover up his activities, but is observed.
(a) Use of "deep plant" British agent who penetrates German intelligence then comes to the UK pretending to spy on the British, but with the single intention of helping locate the "chief of station".
(b) "Legend". The German agent is given a life story, completely false, that arouses sympathy, allowing them to be "taken in" (e.g. hired) by a targeted British family. (It is targeted because it is elite enough to be involved with British military or government.)
In general the story line is written in a way that only at the end are the true sympathies of the different agents and double agents known.
Useful and probing documentary of interrogation practices at Guantánamo Bay
This documentary was compiled by a two-person team based in Sweden. They investigate the Guantánamo Bay detention facility (GITMO) used by the United States in housing enemy non-combatants for purposes of interrogation to seek intelligence that can be used in the Global War on Terrorism (GWOT).
It is clear that the filmmakers do not like the facility; they raise issues regarding application of the Geneva Conventions, and also propose there is a linkage between tough practices for interrogation developed at GITMO and the disaster at Abu Gareb in Iraq.
The documentary, however, does present alternative views, and on the whole this work is balanced and not a piece of propaganda. It raises serious questions regarding the new environment of GWOT, including the role of private contractors and the issues raised by Al Quaeda not being a country, but rather a private organization. In other words, what are the legal and ethical issues that arise when "war" is not between countries, but between countries and private organizations.
The Good Shepherd (2006)
Tradecraft used in Movie
This is an excellent movie. Very complex. And without the simple "signals" many movies use to lead along the viewer. It's difficult to understand how truthful it is. Secrets are secrets. This comment is just to make a note of the tradecraft and other espionage activities found in the movie.
1/ Encrypted communications. There is use of (a) secure phones, and (b) telex machines (for communications).
2/ Token Passing. A U.S. dollar bill from which the serial number has been recorded is passed from Wilson to a Russian counterpart. When there is a need to make contact, even years later, the bill is passed back. Presumably such bills could be issued to many different persons forming a type of "latent" network.
4/ Operation Paperclip. It is not mentioned in the movie, but this was an operation designed to round up Nazi scientists and bring them to the U.S. in the immediate post-war period. Werner Von Braun from the Pnenumunde V2 rocket project was brought in to head up our rocket efforts.
5/ Wireless eaves dropping. (a) The book of Ulysses included an electronic bug of Wilson's office. To be such a long-lasting "bug", it would need to be "passive", using power only when needed. Seems a little bit unrealistic. (b) Hearing aid on German interpreter. This was a fake hearing aid that was sending a copy of all interviews (of defectors and others) to the Russians.
6/ Use of "Honey Trap" and Sex Blackmail. Wilson's son is seduced by a Russian agent, their sex is videotaped, under low resolution, and it reveals she pried from him the name of the landing point for the Bay of Pigs invasion.
7/ Technical Services. Much work in analysis of the blackmail tape. Included (a) refinement of resolution on film. (b) linking of clock time to background sound of aircraft taking off, (c) identification of type of overhead room fan, (d) sound of church bells and timing, (e) accent of honey trap woman, (f) noise filtering and frequency scanning/blocking to clarify what is said, (g) identification of surrounding trees (type of vegetation) from shadows on wall. All of these elements together helped determine the location of the honey trap.
8/ Cryptology & Cryptanalysis. Nothing much in the movie.
9/ Betrayal. Plenty of this. (a) English traitor has Wilson's tutor killed. (b) Wilson betrays his tutor, not knowing tutor himself is under cover attempting to expose Nazi organization efforts in the U.S., (c) Wilson turns in Dulles by revealing copies of Swiss bank statements. (d) Wilson saves son by having honey trap wife killed, but without telling him.
10/ Blackmail. By compromising Wilson's son, Russian KGB/GRU? operative attempts to compromise Wilson.
11/ Use of "legend". Russian double-agent is a fake defector using a name of someone else. Provides "useful" information for years, before being found out.
12/ Interrogation techniques: (a) beating, (b) true-enhancing drugs, here LSD used, (c) water-boarding (but without the board).
13/ Use of Cover. (a) Wilson as "trade attache", (b) Wilson's agent in central America is advised to stop wearing a class ring, does not take it off, is identified, and killed. (evidence of poor training on the US side).
14/ Coordination with FBI. (a) Exchange of information by leaking of CIA information to FBI in order to discredit enemy or traitor, (b) FBI used to arrest double agents operating in US.
15/ Radio communications. Some use of shortwave radio to coordinate operations.
Other notes: (a) No computer technology used! (b) All documents were paper files, and kept in filing cabinets with combination locks.
If anyone noticed something else, I'd love to hear about it.
1/ Wilson seems to like girls who have a disability (a) his love who is deaf, and (b) the German interpreter who pretends to be deaf.
2/ Does anyone know if the Skull and Bones rituals were/are really like that? If so, this group of people are certified nuts (or at least they are made out to be in the movie). I mean, grown men, including Senators dressing up in drag and performing in front of their mates and wives?
3/ To me, the most convincing persons in the movie were (a) Pesci playing the Miami mobster, and (b) the Russian counterpart.
A Good Year (2006)
Good movie, comment on sound track
This was a wonderful movie. I tried to find glitches or faults but could not. Peter Mayle, for those of you who have not read his books, tends to write wonderful fantasy stories set in Southern France. Everything works out perfectly, and it always is the story of a rich American or Brit discovering the wonderful beauty of France, learning to enjoy the good things in life, particularly the food. This movie was good in this respect, but there were several scenes in which the assumed taste of the food could have been brought out more. Example: 1/ he smelled the green ink of his uncle; 2/ when to his surprise he was presented with a bottle of wine and selection of cheeses, the editing cut short what could have been at least a taste and surprise on his face; 3/ at the dinner party, there could have been a little more detail on the taste of what must have been a great meal. Finally, the mystery of the CP wine was not spelled out clearly in the movie, although it was the subject of a 0.5 second flashback of memory. In addition, the chemistry from his visiting cousin from America and his real estate broker could have been resolved. It was a very nice movie. I loved it. However, for IMDb members, I have a question: WHERE IS THE JIMI HENDRIX MUSIC TRACK? It does not seem to appear on the album (at the Apple iTunes store) and I'm dying to hear it. Does anyone know where to find this French version of "Hey Joe"?