Sunday, September 28, 2014

The Smoking Gun of the Rosetta Deception

After writing the book the Rosetta Deception (available for free at ), I have been in a constant search for corroborating information to bolster the theory that the Ghost Rockets over northern and southern Europe in 1946 were the product of a strategic deception operation by the US and UK against the Soviets with the endgame being the breaking of the Soviet diplomatic code. I have now uncovered the smoking gun evidence for the deception.

I didn’t have to dig through Government archives - those records are for sure still classified and will remain so despite any Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests - I simply had to examine the open source evidence that the deception planners could not hide away in locked file cabinets marked Top Secret - the New York Times online newspaper archive for 1946 providing the necessary clues.

At the same time the Ghost Rockets were flying over Europe, another geopolitical event of enormous importance - the Paris Peace Conference was being held July 29, 1946 to October 15, 1946 – also playing a role in the Rosetta Deception. The Paris Peace Conference involved the victorious WW2 powers of the US, UK, France and the Soviet Union negotiating war reparations and the redrawn borders of Italy, Romania, Hungary, Bulgaria and Finland. But it is how these two events played out in the US news media that reveals the inner workings of the Rosetta Deception.

If you have taken the time to read the book, you will understand how complicated the deception operation was and how important the timing of each step was to pull off a successful operation. In Chapter 53 of the book, titled appropriately “Timing is Everything” I explained the chronological rationale for the events that took place. I will reiterate some of that here but first let me recap for the reader who has not had the chance to read the book or who maybe started and never finished it, the crux of the deception operation. To break the Soviet diplomatic code, this was the blueprint followed:

         1.     Create anxiety on the part of the Soviets that some country was experimenting with advanced missile technology first over northern Europe in Scandinavia and later over southern Europe. The Soviets knew they were not involved but would be desperate to find out who was.

2.       Influence the Scandinavian countries to declare a news blackout on the Ghost Rockets at the end of July 1946 but keep the stories alive in the American Press.

3.       Because of heavy FBI surveillance, Soviet agents in the United States were operating at reduced capacity with most of the intelligence gleaned coming from the American Press. Any sensitive intelligence that a Soviet agent wanted to communicate to Moscow was done through Soviet diplomatic channels. Since the Soviets could only use radio in the event of an emergency, they relied on US commercial telegraph carriers to transmit encrypted messages back to Moscow.

4.       Known as Operation Shamrock, the major US telegraph companies were making copies of encrypted Soviet messages and sending these to the Army Security Agency (ASA), the predecessor of the NSA. The attempted breaking of these Soviet messages is what became later known as the Venona Project.

5.       The ASA had two major challenges to deal with to break the Soviet diplomatic code as the code was double encrypted – first by a code book and second by a one-time pad. The ASA had already discovered at this point a tedious method to break the second layer of encryption based on a Soviet screw up in their cryptographic practices as each one-time pad had been manufactured more than once and was essentially a two-time pad. The code book however had to be rebuilt completely from scratch.

6.       To speed up the whole process, the US/UK used a technique known as gardening – planting text that the Soviets would unknowingly encrypt as intelligence and send back to Moscow. The intercepted traffic could then be decrypted by exploiting the Soviet screw up in pad manufacture. Through comparative analysis the second layer of encryption could be removed revealing the first layer of encryption that required a code book to read.

7.       To reconstruct the Soviet code book – the first level of encryption would be examined for tell- tale “cartouches”, code groups that contained Anglicized names that literally had to be spelled out character by character from a spell table that represented the Latin characters. Once these Anglicized names were isolated, the surrounding code groups that represented Russian words from the code book could be guessed based on knowledge of the planted text. This would allow the code book of 10,000 Russia words to be reconstructed out of thin air. The more plain text that could be planted and communicated by the Soviets through diplomatic channel, the better the chances were of reconstructing the Soviet code book.

8.       Once the code book was reconstructed, it could be put to use decrypting all other Soviet diplomatic code messages hoping that the messages contained information about Soviet spies in the United States and other persons of interest to US/UK counterintelligence.

The wild card that the deception operators were most concerned with was how to force Soviet intelligence in the US to send planted text in the American press via encrypted Soviet diplomatic channels rather than through open non-encrypted channels. In other words, what was stopping the Soviet TASS news agency from sending US newspaper stories in the clear via standard wireless radio or telegraphic communication, and not via encrypted Soviet diplomatic channels? The answer? Using what the Soviets claimed their system of Communism championed – the rights of the common worker.

On August 7, 1946, a strike by 300 Press Wireless workers was called in New York, Washington and San Francisco by the American Communications Association (ACA). Press Wireless, Inc. supplied newspapers and press associations with news reports from abroad, not obtaining news but transmitting messages by radio between the United States and fourteen countries in Europe, Asia and South America. In its peak year, 1945, it handled 157,000,000 words or an average of over 430,000 daily. In 1946, communication from the US to Europe was sent either through standard radio communication, radio telegraph or transoceanic telegraph cable. The first voice over transoceanic cable was not functional until the 1950s.

The reason for the strike was the decision by Press Wireless to lay off or reduce the wages of 46 employees because of a sharp reduction in traffic since the end of WW2.  Despite a no-strike clause in the labor management contract, the Union refused to call off the strike until the employees were reinstated and the company refused to reinstate until after arbitration.

A week later, the ACA extended the strike, ordering its members in all other cable and wireless companies and foreign operations centers not to handle overseas press messages. The New York Newspaper Guild in turn told its members not to handle Press Wireless messages, prompting the New York Times to issue front page apologies from August 14 till the news embargo ended on August 19, stating that because of the strike, certain foreign news stories could not be published. The strike effectively curtailed most of the radio and cable transmission of international news to and from the US.

Affected by the expanded news embargo which began at 2 PM on August 12 was the Soviet TASS news agency. The Telegraph Agency of the Soviet Union (TASS) was the central news agency for the collection and distribution of internal and international news for all Soviet news media (newspaper, radio and television). It had a monopoly on official state information, most of which was not published in the Soviet Union but issued as information for Soviet officials. The agency was frequently infiltrated by the Soviet intelligence and security agencies and many of its employees also voluntarily served as information sources for the KGB.

So imagine you are a TASS/KGB agent and the method you have used for normally transmitting media reports of intelligence importance has suddenly been cut off. What do you do? You find a different channel of communication. The strike affected all news agency message traffic, but commercial traffic was exempted. Soviet diplomatic personnel relied on US commercial telegraph companies to transmit encrypted messages to Moscow, a communication channel which was also routinely used by the Soviet intelligence agencies.  In light of normal overt communication channels being cut off, the commercial channel could act as the backdoor for transmitting media articles on the Ghost Rockets and the Paris Peace Talks to Moscow - media articles that were planted by the deception planners with the full cooperation of newspapers like the New York Times.

Rosetta assets had considerable experience infiltrating labor unions, learning from the best of the best – British Intelligence in the guise of British Security Coordination (BSC), also based in New York City. For these experienced operatives, it was child’s play to kick off the strike and manipulate both sides until the deception planner’s goals were met.

The Rosetta deception planners created a bottleneck of information flow for the Soviet intelligence agencies in the US at a very crucial time – a time when Moscow desperately needed overt information to flow on the Ghost Rockets and what the US media was reporting on the Paris Peace Conference. That bottleneck forced transmission through the commercial telegraph carriers who were more than happy to transmit encrypted news media stories while rejecting all overt news media and simultaneously feeding these encrypted messages back to the ASA/GCCS where allied codebreakers would attempt to break the Soviet diplomatic code. Ingenious really – and the fact that this story has only come to light some seventy years later – attests to both the thorough detailed planning and execution of the deception and the extreme compartmentalized secrecy of the operation.  

From August 12 – 19, 1946, just one short week when TASS was forced to use the encrypted Soviet diplomatic channel to send US news media stories to Moscow, the US/UK deception planners completely controlled the information flow between Soviet Intelligence on American soil and Moscow Centre, a code breaking feat that even the Anglo code breakers of the enigma code and the Japanese cypher could not claim.

The US/UK governments have no reason to hide the details of this operation from the world. The events transpired almost 70 years ago and the methods used no longer apply in a world where information flows across the globe in fractions of a second. It is time for the truth to be told and the deception planners acknowledged for their ingenuity and resourcefulness. If the history books on the Cold War have to be revised accordingly, so be it.

It is time for the magicians of Rosetta to take a bow for their incredible performance.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

The Rosetta Deception - Chapter 1

For a synopsis of the book and corroborating documents, please start here: 

Setting the Stage

I am going to spoil things up front by telling you that this entire story is actually about a very cheap magic trick, one that is so chintzy and so simplistic that perhaps only a five year old would be truly impressed with it. The fact that the magician had the gall to perform it on a world stage with an international audience of adults, is itself the most amazing part of the story.

Although the performance was basic, the tall tales that have sprung from it, told around campfires till this day…makes that performance a complete and utter masterpiece of the magical deception arts. After all, it is every magician’s dream that their magic be remembered long after the curtain has fallen.

Equally amazing is that the magician only cared to really impress one particular audience member. Now realize this was a very important audience member, one whose name you would readily recognize if you have achieved any education above the sixth grade. His name was Iosif Vissarionovich Stalin, known to the world as the infamous Soviet leader – Joseph Stalin. For the remainder of this story, I will simply call him Uncle Joe.

Now coincidentally, I have a real Uncle Joe in my family, and I apologize to him a millions time over that I am using his dear name as the shortened label for a brutal dictator, but real Uncle Joe is from Chicago, a retired cop and tough as nails with a thick Chicago beat skin. I pray to God his service revolver retired with him, at least before our next family get together.

Oh yes, let me not forget to tell you who the magician is. Well, actually that is going to be kind of tricky, because in fact there were many magicians who were part of the performance. From a distance they appeared as one crisp starched white shirt and one silk black top hat and cape, but in reality a multitude of performers took the stage.

These many magicians did have one commonality – they belonged to the same magician’s guild – a very special guild - international in its nature, and funded by the citizens of its charter member countries. Unlike the egocentric super magi one would encounter today in Las Vegas with slicked back hair and chiseled chins gracing super billboards on the strip, this guild of magicians preferred to hide behind a mask of anonymity, preferring their audience be focused on the performance and not on the performer. For the purpose of this story I will simply call that magician’s guild - Rosetta.

Continue to Chapter 2:

Saturday, August 30, 2014

The Rosetta Deception - Chapter 2

When the Circus came to Town

Let me paint a very vivid and morbid scene for you. It is 1945 and the war in Europe is over. It’s aftermath - 60 million dead. The citizens of Uncle Joes’ country the USSR, made up a third of those 60 million – 20 million Soviet casualties of war.

This incomprehensible scope of human suffering is ghastly, but what is equally disturbing is that modern historians now believe that Uncle Joe was ultimately responsiblefor killing 20 million more of his own citizens on top of those who died in WW2. No one disputes that Uncle Joe was one very bad person and as maniacal dictators rank he is truly in a class of his own.

You would think that Uncle Joe would be satisfied to enjoy his hard fought peace - spend some time at his dacha on the Black Sea - fishing with his buddies and trading war stories, while being served shots of Vodka by German prisoners of war. But Uncle Joe had other plans – plans as grandiose, demented and as sick as Adolph Hitler – plans for world domination. As he mulled over rebuilding his country, he didn’t picture new apartment complexes overlooking the Volga, instead he had visions of a multi-million man army sweeping across the world landscape armed with the latest weaponry, convincing normal folk that Communism would grow on them.

But it was also around this time that Uncle Joe asked himself the question every megalomaniac must ask themselves sooner or later: Who can stop me and my diabolical plans? He already knew the answer. “Perhaps those pesky Americans and their British cousins…” They were his comrades fighting Hitler during WW2 but that was then - in 1947 they were just in Uncle Joe’s way on his road to ultimate conquest.

And it was in the aftermath of WW2 victory that brutal Uncle Joe, still gloating over his defeat of Hitler and the Third Reich, began overtly behaving like a spoiled brat who is never content with the toys he has. You see, one of the other kids in the schoolyard, the United States, had an even bigger toy than Uncle Joe – namely the only nuclear capable arsenal in the world at that time. It would be four years after the first nuclear bombs were dropped over Hiroshima and Nagasaki before Uncle Joe could light the fuse of his own nuclear weapon in 1949.

But in this story the circus came to town in May of 1947, not in 1945. Colorful train cars filled with exotic animals, rough stage hands and eager performers pulled into the Moscow train station. Uncle Joe was right there waving at the menagerie of characters, giddy as a school boy and anxiously waiting to be the first to buy a front row ticket to the greatest show on Earth. This was a performance he highly anticipated and he didn’t want to miss a thing.

The circus advertisement he clutched in his hands had appeared in mid-May 1947 newspapers all over the United States.[1] Uncle Joe was an avid reader of the American news. Here’s a copy of the original ad:
Hold on - that’s not a circus ad! You are correct, it is not – but it might as well be, because that was its intended purpose – to get Uncle Joe extremely excited and animated about what this simple diagram portrayed.

HOW HIGH IS UP? … An idea of tremendous height to which the navy’s new rocket missile ‘Neptune’ is expected to soar is given by this diagram, comparing its projected flight with altitudes previously attained by various missiles, balloons and planes. Chart was prepared from data obtained by Glen L. Martin Company, builders of the Neptune, from the Naval Research laboratory.

Why was Uncle Joe so exuberant over this newspaper article? To answer that question, let’s rewind to April, 1947. Just one month prior to this ad being splashed across many newspapers in America, Uncle Joe had convened a very special conference in Moscow. All of Uncle Joe’s top scientists and military planners were invited.[2] The agenda of this very important conference was to discuss how the USSR could make reality the vision of an amazing new weapon – an airborne craft capable of soaring over 160 miles into the atmosphere and skipping around the world with the greatest of ease.[3]

This visionary airborne weapon was a toy that Uncle Joe didn't have but desperately wanted, just like the nuclear weapon he craved – and now this other kid in the schoolyard had beaten him to it AGAIN!

“Hold on”, Uncle Joe thought, “this looks like a missile and not the airplane type bomber discussed at the conference.” And something else was odd about this ad, one of Joe’s advisors pointed out- it was not even an official news release, just some ambiguous reference to data obtained from the Naval Research Laboratory. It also had no byline, another advisor pointed out. But then again, Circus ads seldom do.

The ambiguity did not calm Uncle Joe’s nerves as he conceived there could be some grain of truth to this weapon. In fact, this thought made him feel downright nauseous, imagining if the missile was real, and could carry a nuclear bomb as its payload,for sure the end of its trajectory flight was zeroed in on Moscow.

If the Americans had both nuclear weapons and a way to deliver them quickly around the world in a continent skipper like the one Uncle Joe was dreaming of, then that would put his plans for world conquest in serious jeopardy. What a way to ruin a dictator’s day and their evil plans for mayhem. And that’s exactly how Rosetta intended it.

Back to Chapter 1:               Continue to Chapter 3:

Friday, August 29, 2014

The Rosetta Deception - Chapter 3

Mad Science

To explain why Uncle Joe went to bed with an ulcer in May of 1947 after reading an American newspaper, I need to rewind again to two years earlier, to the end of WW2. In vanquished Germany and surrounding areas, there was a great Easter egg hunt going on. In the ruins of German factories and castles, underground bunkers and burned out government buildings, both American and Soviet intelligence agents were in a desperate competitive search for the geese that laid the golden eggs.

The geese were German scientists and their golden eggs were scientific intelligence – German research on exotic new weapons of war like the V2 rocket. Some of these German scientists you may know by name like missile pioneer Werner Von Braun and the Chemist Otto Hahn.

The Americans located and then moved vast numbers of these scientists and their scientific papers and equipment out of Germany under such fancy names as Operations Overcast (renamed Paperclip), Alsos and Lusty. The Russians spirited away equal numbers of scientists to the USSR, many never to be heard from again. But both the Americans and the Soviets initially missed one very important scientist – brilliant Austrian Eugen Sänger.

Eugen Sänger and his equally brilliant wife, mathematician Irene Bredt had collaborated, first as colleagues and then as husband and wife, on designing an amazing new aircraft which they dubbed the Amerika Bomber. Eugen had already invested over a decade of his time on the concept and he was passionate about seeing his idea come to life.

What was so interesting about Sänger-Bredt’s Amerika Bomber? Well let’s say it was way ahead of its time, a futuristic novelty that sounded more like science fiction than science fact. The manned bomber was designed to lift off using rocket propulsion from an almost 2 mile sled track, shoot over 160 miles into the atmosphere and on the ballistic reentry, rather than glide back to earth, it would bounce off the atmosphere and achieve additional forward motion. This bounce and skip effect  would then repeat itself, propelling the craft across the world – dropping bombs on American cities before returning back to Germany in a little over one hour.  

Everyone who has at one time or another found themselves on the bank of a river or on a lakeshore has hunted for that perfect round flat stone to throw across the surface of the water, counting the number of skips obtained. The Amerika Bomber operated underthe same concept – it would skip along the atmosphere like a stone would skipacross the surface of water.[1]

Although the envisioned payload was a conventional 5000 pound bomb, this bomb was special – wrapped in multiple blankets of radioactive sand so that when it exploded above an American city, a radioactive cloud of  silica particles would cover the entire city, sickening and killing the entire population. This would have been the world’s first dirty bomb.[2]

The German government issued Sänger a patent for his idea with the ominous title of “Gliding Bodies for Flight Velocities above Mach 5”.[3]  The German High Command also took an interest in his work, setting Eugen up in a posh new secret research facility at Trauen, Germany to experiment with and then perfect the Amerika Bomber.[4]

Sänger wrote a whitepaper on his continent skipper - “On a Rocket Propulsion for Long Distance Bombers”. The German military promptly published a few hundred copies - stamping each one in large black letters “Secret Command Report”.[5] Three of these copies reached Moscow at the end of the war – a nice little Easter egg more valuable than a Faberge, delivered right to Uncle Joe’s front door.[6]

After being translated into Russian, the paper was handed to Uncle Joe who read it with great enthusiasm. “If I had this weapon”, he mused. “I can bomb the United States from the comfort of my dacha! And when I do get my atomic bomb, I will have the perfect delivery vehicle to lob it across the ocean at those arrogant Americans” he thought further. “I must have it without delay. Then and only then I can chat the way I intend to with Truman."[7]

“Beria!” he screamed at his chief of police Lavrentiy Beria. “I want to talk to this Austrian Sänger! Bring him to me at once!” Beria looked at him sheepishly. “I am sorry Generalissimo, but we don’t have Sänger” and hoping to cushion the blow he was expecting, he then added, “but neither do the Americans.”

Uncle Joe’s face turned the same shade of red as the Soviet flag that hung near his desk and if he could have pulled the sickle off that flag and lopped Beria’s head off, he would have right there and then. After his tantrum subsided, he barked out another order. “Beria, put together a conference with my top scientists. We have a new weapon to develop! And tell that no-good son of mine that I want to see him at once!”
Back to Chapter 2:               Continue to Chapter 4:

Thursday, August 28, 2014

The Rosetta Deception - Chapter 4

Family Affair

Vasily Iosifovich was just 26 years old and a newly minted Lieutenant-General in the Red Air Force when he was assigned the strangest mission of his military career - kidnapping. Now Vasily was no squeamish light-weight; he knew the horrors of war having flown many combat sorties, personally shooting down one or two German fighter planes in the process. But a kidnapping? That seemed more suited for the mafia types that made up Beria’s secret police goons – the KGB - and completely inappropriate for a Red Air Force General.

However, there was no use in Vasily protesting that kidnapping was not his area of expertise. He knew all too well that anyone questioning orders from this man usually didn’t live to see the next day. Even if that man happened to be Vasily’s own father, good old Uncle Joe.

“Look on the bright side” Vasily said to himself. “I get to take an unplanned European vacation and more importantly I get to be away from him.” There was no love lost between father and son. Vasily still felt very deep emotional hurt over his father’s abandonment at a time when the younger Stalin at age 11 was at his most vulnerable, right after the death of Vasily’s mother. Although Vasily didn’t care for his father, he did deeply fear him.

And so like any good Soviet soldier, Vasily obediently departed on his very strange mission to Berlin. Upon arrival he was assigned a cohort in crime, Lieutenant Colonel Grigory Tokaty-Tokayev, whose profession as a Soviet scientist meant he knew as much about kidnapping as Vasily did.  

Their kidnapping target was Austrian scientist Eugen Sänger,[1] whose scientific whitepaper was the toast of the Moscow April 1947 conference and the object of Uncle Joe’s obsession. There was nothing that Uncle Joe wanted more than have Eugen Sänger develop the Amerika Bomber – one sporting a Soviet red star instead of a Nazi swastika.

Vasily and Grigory were ordered to first try and convince Sänger that the weather in Moscow was pleasant year around and that Sänger would really enjoy working for the Soviets. But if that tactic proved fruitless, well then they were deliver him to Moscow anyway in a “friendly compulsory way”.

Hans Motsch, a German aviation specialist and test pilot who knew firsthand how ‘persuasive’ the Russians could be after he was deported to the USSR in October, 1946 recalled his frequent encounters with the young Stalin.[2]
I remember Vasily Stalin, son of the USSR’s iron-fisted dictator Josef Stalin. He’d come frequently to Podberese’je (about 100 miles from Moscow). We’d all drink vodka, of course. Well each time Vasily came to visit, he’d always tell us right at the start: ‘I will give to anyone their weight in gold who can tell me where to find Eugen Sänger.’

Vasily and Grigory soon found out that despite their differences in chosen profession and social upbringing – they did have something in common – a love of drinking and for women. First scouring Berlin and then Paris, the dictator’s son and the Soviet scientist did their absolute best to locate Sänger – looking for him in every brasserie and brothel they could find in both cities; but for some odd reason Sänger would never show up.

Defeated and drunk, they returned to Berlin admitting their failure and claiming that Eugen Sänger must have died during the war – never mind, that he was alive and well and living under his own name. In fact, the Americans had no problem locating Sänger, although they were not successful in recruiting him.

As fate would have it, the bungled mission of the crime incapable duo of Vasily and Grigory, however historically comical during a tragic time, proved to be a very good omen for the magical performance Rosetta was about to put on.

Back to Chapter 3:               Continue to Chapter 5:

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

The Rosetta Deception - Chapter 5


Uncle Joe was furious at his son’s failure, further aggravating the stomach ulcers that plagued him. But it was the front page news story of June 13, 1947[1] that made them erupt like volcanoes.

English Nations Have New Weapon
AUCKLAND, N.Z., June 13 (CP) A secret weapon that may play a vital part in world affairs because it is so powerful that it is said to have capabilities approaching the atomic bomb in effectiveness, is reported to have been developed in New Zealand.

The weapon did not ‘reach the stage of practical application during the war, but work still is being pursued in the strictest secrecy by scientists in the United States, Britain and New Zealand,’ the Canadian Press said. ‘No hint of the details of the weapon has been revealed, but it is stated that one means of application would have some similarity to one method of using the atomic bomb.’

Disclosure of the secret weapon follows the announcement last week that the Australian cabinet has approved a five-year defense program at a cost of $800,000,000. The expenditure on research was said to cover projected rocket range experiments with radio-guided rockets, including missiles with atomic warheads.[2]

Beria very grudgingly placed the newspaper translation in Uncle Joe’s hands and stepped away. Uncle Joe began to read and suddenly a strange grimace came over his face. His hands began to shake first out of fear, than in anger. Looking up at Beria he tried to speak, but his words seemed stuck like bugs on fly paper. “Can this really be true?” was all he could manage as he reread the headline.

Beria cleared his throat before replying, “We know nothing of this Anglo weapon, Comrade Stalin, and I don’t think there is anything to this story. It is probably just American propaganda because if there was such a weapon, our spies would have known about it by now.”

“How can you be so sure” Uncle Joe asked incredulously. Beria couldn’t be but he didn’t want to betray his lack of certainty. Uncle Joe didn’t wait for the response. “Get your best people on this and report back to me when you are sure”, Uncle Joe said with a tone of what would be certain if Beria failed him.

Dig into that news story Beria did - tasking his entire network of spies to track down every lead, to question every contact and to milk every clandestine source for information on this alleged new weapon of war. What he found out was not comforting in the least.

Less than a week later, Beria paid Uncle Joe a second visit. Clutching the assembled report, Beria looked thin and pale, feeling with a sense of extreme dread that this day would be his last on earth. Resigned to his fate, he handed Uncle Joe the dossier and tried to maintain some sense of composure.

Uncle Joe read the summary, flipped to the second page, flipped back to the first, and read the summary again before sinking into his large armchair with a look of utter despair. “So it is true,” Uncle Joe said softly to Beria. “The Americans are already developing a weapon comparable to the Amerika Bomber”. And that was not even the first rabbit, Rosetta managed to pull out of its hat.

Back to Chapter 4:               Continue to Chapter 6:

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

The Rosetta Deception - Chapter 6

Magic Down Under

Thomas David James Leech looked like the kind of guy you wouldn’t mind pounding back a few beers with at a local Auckland pub. Rotund and rosy-cheeked with an inviting warm smile, Leech was not your classical looking intellectual. In fact, if you did meet him at the bar, you probably would never guess at his very illustrious academic and scientific career first in his native Australia and then in New Zealand.

College Dean, distinguished lecturer, text book author – all titles he could rightly claim. But the title he was most proud of, was one that came as a surprise to him in June of 1947 - Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (CBE). One step below knighthood, the Monarchy awards a CBE for important services rendered to the crown.

Leech did render significant service to the British Empire in its time of need during WW2, serving in the most distinguished role of New Zealand’s Acting Director of Scientific Developments in support of the war effort.
All CBE honorees were listed in the London Gazette with Leech’s name appearing in the Gazette’s June 12, 1947 third supplement detailing the King’s birthday Honors list.[1]  

The KING has been graciously pleased, on the occasion of the Celebration of His Majesty’s Birthday and on the advice of His Majesty’s New Zealand Ministers, to give orders for the following promotions in, and appointments to, the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire:
To be Commanders of the Civil Division of the said Most Excellent Order: Thomas David James Leech, Esq., Dean of the Faculty of Engineering, Auckland University College.

The reading of the honors list is symbiotic with the Trooping of the Colors, that most spectacular of Royal displays annually held in June regardless of the reigning monarch’s true birth date so as to compensate for the unpredictability of London weather.

Even though Leech was one of many who were awarded royal title in June, 1947, curiously enough he among all the honorees was the only one to make newspaper headlines across the world, the day after his name appeared on the prestigious list.

Leech’s sudden notoriety had nothing to do with him being a commonwealth citizen, as many others from every reach of the empire – from Burma to India to Jamaica were also honored by King George VI. Rather it was the nature of Leech’ contribution to King and Country that aroused the interest of journalists and newspaper editor’s world-wide.

Report New Secret Weapon Developed[2]

June 13, 1946 Auckland, N.Z. (AP) The Canadian Press said today that development of a secret weapon, “with capabilities approaching the atomic bomb in effectiveness,” lay behind the naming of an Auckland University Professor to the birthday honors list of King George VI.

The professor, T.D. Leech, received a commandership of the Order of the British Empire. He was identified as director of research for the weapon project.

The weapon did not reach the stage of practical application during the war, but work is still being pursued in the strictest secrecy by scientists in the United States, Britain and New Zealand, the Canadian Press said. No hint of the details of the weapon has been revealed, but it is stated that one means of application would have some similarity to one method of using the atomic bomb.

The secret weapon project originated with the idea of a Wellington, N.Z. man who communicated the plan to Britain and the United States.  Both countries immediately made development plans. The project was to have been carried out in Florida, but was moved to New Zealand and Pacific areas owing to the fears of espionage.

Leech was selected to lead the research because he had previously done work distantly related. He had a team of 170 American and New Zealand experts, most of whom were given no idea of the ultimate objective, for security reasons.

It is not exactly clear how or when Rosetta first leaked these details to the New Zealand press but the news story spread like wild fire to Britain and to the United States before being delivered by newspaper boy Beria to a very displeased Soviet dictator.

The media frenzy that followed was exactly what Rosetta planned – seeding the press with a little clue here and another clue there over many days – forcing Beria’s analysts to painstakingly piece together the puzzle of why an Australian living in New Zealand could cause Uncle Joe so much angst. In the deception black arts, subtlety is everything.

When Beria returned with the newly compiled dossiers that he fearfully handed off to the dictator, he hoped that Uncle Joe would at least finish reading the first page before firing a bullet into Beria’s temple.

Sovershenno Sekretno (Top Secret)
KGB Report on Anglo Secret Weapon Project

Comrade Stalin,
In response to your request to research the facts surrounding the recent Anglo press reports on a new secret British/American/New Zealand weapon project, we have compiled the following dossier on the principals involved, an Australian and an American.

Subject: Thomas David James Leech
Profession: Scientist/Academic
Factual checks of what was reported on the subject in the International Press.
1.                  KGB has ascertained that subject’s credentials are accurate and match those released to the press. Thomas David James Leech is the Dean of the Faculty of Engineering at Auckland University. KGB’s Australian sources have confirmed that the subject was the Acting Director of Scientific Development and Research for New Zealand during WW2 and was involved in Top Secret research on behalf of the British and the Americans.

2.                  Subject is an expert in aerodynamics and is the author of an aeronautical textbook: The Principles of Flight: An introduction to Aerodynamics.[3] Subject’s association with Professor W. A. Miller of the Sydney University Civil Engineering Department has been confirmed, and Professor Miller’s statement that subject had expert knowledge of and enthusiasm for aerodynamics, in conjunction with subject’s confirmed expertise, lends credence to Miller’s statement that the new secret weapon might be in the nature of an airborne missile such as the German rocket bomb.[4]

3.                  Regarding subject’s stated role as the Director of the Top Secret Weapons project, KGB sources have confirmed subject’s relationship with the American scientist (see page 2).[5]

Additional Corroboration:

An Australian cabinet member and fellow traveler has confirmed that the AustralianGovernment has allocated the equivalent of over 100 million US dollars tofuture missile research - for the Empire rocket range in Australia where experiments will be conducted with radio-guided rockets, including missiles with atomic warheads. Subject’s role in that future research is not confirmed but plausible.

Australian sources have also indicated significant military maneuvers nearby, with heavy construction equipment being transported to, the Flinders Mountains in South Australia. This may corroborate press reports that missile tests firings would begin in that area in a couple of months.

Acquiring new sources and agents in New Zealand was a low priority during and after WW2 and it is possible that an Anglo Top Secret project could have been conducted without our knowledge and that it is still ongoing. It would be remiss to point out to Generalissimo Stalin that KGB’s primary task was infiltrating the American atomic bomb project and all of our resources were successfully focused on that pursuit.

The last sentence did not appear to placate Uncle Joe in the least, but fortunately for Beria, Uncle Joe’s thoughts were spinning too fast to think of KGB’s espionage faux pas. The report had his full attention.

What started out as just a dubious newspaper reveal had grown into a full intelligence panic after KGB pieced together the scattered clues gathered from the press and its network of sources and a slightly clearer picture of this Top Secret project began to emerge. But what Uncle Joe and company could not have known in 1947 was that among some of the ‘truths’ leaked to the Press were some bold faced lies that could only be revealed through the modern day lens of forensic historical analysis.

In 1947, the picture Rosetta was painting looked all too menacing and all too real to discard as fiction or propaganda. Too many things did add up, and it became Uncle Joe’s obsession to find out why.

Other American news articles appeared to corroborate that the US was already developing something similar to the radioactive dirty bomb that Sänger envisioned for his Amerika Bomber with the June 14, 1947 Amarillo Daily News speculating that the secret weapon could be radioactive dusts or mists.[6]

Their possibility was explained to President Roosevelt by scientists in 1939 and more recently Glen Martin mentioned them as bombs that American military authorities are studying.

Remember Uncle Joe’s Circus ad? The president of the same Glen L. Martin Company that was developing the Neptune missile was now also openly discussing new American weapons of war. Although I could not locate a 1947 news source for Mr. Martin’s alleged comments, I did find his comments made a year later on March 25, 1948 where he was quoted in the Salt Lake Tribune saying:[7]

The United States has developed a radioactive cloud more deadly than the first atom bomb and fatal to any human touched by it. The deadly new sky weapon is almost ready for use, just in case.
Martin said tests of radioactive clouds still are a top military secret but that he was able to make the general disclosure because the subject had been mentioned recently in a scientific magazine.

Martin, president of Glen L. Martin Co., also said that the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima was now obsolete. He said military security prevented his elaborating.

It is odd that Mr. Martin was rehashing the media speculation on the Leech-Snodgrass super weapon from a year earlier but what is even odder is that Mr. Martin’s claimed he had insider knowledge from his ties to the defense industry. We know today that all of this talk of radioactive mist and nuclear weapons being obsolete in the 1940s is pure rubbish. But in 1947, Rosetta was using its close contacts with the military industrial complex to get its message out.

But before I delve any deeper, let’s not forget about Thomas David James Leech. By all accounts, Leech took his international front page appearance in stride, neither confirming nor denying the media speculation and only volunteering his surprise that the press was reporting the Atomic Bomb obsolete. No worse for the wear, Leech took his CBE and went back to his ordinary academic life.

Leech, because of his important war service, deserved his CBE regardless of Rosetta’s meddling and his newly acquired title allowed him on official occasions to wear the CBE’s fleur-de-lis shaped military ribbon emblazoned with the Order’s motto “For God and the Empire”.

When the royal pomp and circumstance of the Trooping of the Colors was over and after the precisely parading troops had long returned to their barracks and the Royal Air Force flyboys were back on terra firma, Leech could be found at his favorite local Auckland pub downing a New Zealand draught while minding the Six O’clock swill.

If you were grateful enough to buy him a round, for service to his country, he may have flashed back in appreciation a glimpse of the other ribbon he acquired that day. One that he didn’t normally show off publicly – one that only the initiated would understand anyway – the one shaped like a dancing faun that bore Rosetta’s motto: “For the Magical Deception Arts”.

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