Tag Archives | Cold War
German artist Simon Menner has a bundle of photos taken by East Germany’s secret police during Cold War. Offering a glimpse into the small absurdities of life as a Communist spy, included are snap shots of suspicious household objects, agents modeling their “normal civilian” disguises, and West German spies who knew they were themselves being spied on, et cetera:
… Read the rest
East Germany, until it ceased to exist in 1989/90, had one of the most advanced surveillance system ever in operation, the Ministerium für Staatssicherheit (Department of State Security) or STASI. In terms of number of agents per capita it even outranked the Russian KGB by far.
Soon after the fall of the Berlin Wall, it was decided that most of its archive should be made accessible to the public and for historic research. Even though the access is restricted, this was very much in contrast to what most of the other nations of the former Eastern Block did.
While the fiery debates surrounding Wikileaks continue to move from content of cables to personal dramas surrounding founder Julian Assange, hyperbolic accusations of “high tech terrorism” and promises of retribution, the website Cryptome continues to publish its own archives of suppressed information. On Christmas, Cryptome released two documents from the mid-1950’s which briefly highlight the CIA’s interest in using hypnotism as a covert weapon (via Mother Jones) in the cold war against Communism.
The first document, titled “The Military Application of Hypntism (sic),” details two “practical applications” for hypnotism. The first would be using a subject as a courier. A hypothetical colonel would be given a message in deep hypnosis, would have no memory of being hypnotized, the nature or contents of the message. When the hypothetical colonel reached the intended recipient of the message, its recipient would retrieve it via another hypnosis session.… Read the rest
A Japanese artist named Isao Hashimoto has created a series of works about nuclear weapons. One is titled "1945—1998" and shows a history of the world's nuclear explosions. Over the course of fourteen and a half minutes, every single one of the 2,053 nuclear tests and explosions that took place between 1945 and 1998 are is plotted on a map. After a couple of minutes or so, however, once the USSR and Britain entered the nuclear club, the tests really start to build up, reaching a peak of nearly 140 in 1962, and remaining well over 40 each year until the mid-80s. It's a compelling insight into the history of humanity's greatest destructive force, especially when you remember that only two nuclear explosions have ever been detonated offensively, both in 1945. Since then, despite more than 2,000 other tests and billions of dollars having been spent on their development, no nuclear warheads have been used in anger.
With all the hubub about NASA blowing up the Moon last October, I thought disinfo.com readers would like to know the U.S. (and the Commies!) had it in mind all along.
Here’s another chapter from my book 50 Things You’re Not Supposed to Know, published in 2003.
For more on me, check out: The Memory Hole.
You’d be forgiven for thinking that this is an unused scene from Dr. Strangelove, but the United States and the Soviet Union have seriously considered exploding atomic bombs on the Moon.
It was the late 1950s, and the Cold War was extremely chilly. Someone in the US government got the bright idea of nuking the Moon, and in 1958 the Air Force Special Weapons Center spearheaded the project (labeled A119, “A Study of Lunar Research Flights”).
The idea was to shock and awe the Soviet Union, and everybody else, with a massive display of American nuclear might.… Read the rest
Most of us don’t know much about what the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) actually does. Without some degree of mystery, after all, it can’t carry out its purpose to covertly collect information about foreign governments, corporations, and individuals for American policymakers. So when we do learn anything about a specific CIA program, it’s usually after the fact, and usually because it was a big enough failure to garner media attention. With the understanding that all details about the agency’s dealings are sketchy, unconfirmed, and, well, secret, here are four of the twentieth century’s biggest CIA flops. 1. Operation Acoustic Kitty: The Cold War era of the 1960s was the CIA’s heyday. Americans were so worried about what the Communists were doing and whether they had nuclear weapons that we would have done just about anything to find out. And the secret agents, glorified in spy novels and movies, who did get the dirt on the Reds were our heroes. The CIA’s carte blanche in chasing Communists led to rumors of some pretty bizarre ideas, like Operation Acoustic Kitty, which supposedly ran from 1961 to 1967, and involved the CIA’s surgically implanting cats with audio equipment to use them as bugging devices.
From The Independent:
Forget poison-tipped umbrellas and exploding cigars. At the height of the Cold War, the CIA issued its top spooks with a more prosaic piece of equipment: a beginner’s guide to magic, educating them in the old-fashioned arts of conjuring and sleight-of-hand.
The Official CIA Manual of Trickery and Deception was written in 1953 by a well-known performer called John Mulholland. It included tips for hiding objects up your sleeve, spiking someone’s drink (while pretending to light a cigarette) and communicating with colleagues by tying your shoelaces in a special way.
In 1973, as the Cold War showed signs of thawing, the CIA ordered every copy of the “top secret” document to be destroyed. But one managed to escape the agency’s paper shredders and was recently unearthed, in mysterious circumstances, by the espionage historian H Keith Melton and Robert Wallace, an author and former CIA staffer.
[Read more at The Independent]
Barely a month after the fall of the Berlin Wall in November 1989, the city that had been divided by politics for more than 40 years was united in song. And leading the chorus of several hundred thousand voices was a man hitherto known to the rest of the world for driving a talking car. David Hasselhoff, star of the hit 80s TV series Knight Rider, is renowned in celebrity-obsessed circles for being Big In Germany; not only as an actor, but as a purveyor of soft rock anthems. For that seminal concert, on New Year's Eve 1989, Hasselhoff stood atop of the partly-demolished wall and belted out a tune called "Looking for Freedom." (Continued on BBC News)