Tag Archives | tunnels

America’s Cold War Spy Tunnel For Tapping Berlin Phone Calls Discovered After 50 Years

Spy vs. spy strangeness, via Bloomberg:

A section of an ingenious tunnel built by U.S. and British spies to intercept Russian phone conversations in Cold War Berlin has been found after 56 years in a forest 150 kilometers from the German capital.

The 450-meter-long tunnel, built in 1955, led from Rudow in West Berlin to Alt-Glienicke in Soviet-occupied East Berlin. By tapping into the enemy’s underground cables, Allied intelligence agents recorded 440,000 phone calls, gaining a clearer picture of Red Army maneuvers in eastern Germany.

Codenamed “Stopwatch” by the British and “Gold” by the Americans, it was funded by the U.S. at a cost of $6.7 million (then a vast sum) and operated jointly by the CIA and the British SIS.

The tunnel operated for 11 months and 11 days, intercepting some of the Red Army’s most secret communications, including those between Moscow and the military headquarters in East Berlin.

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Mole Man’s Lair In London Sold For £1.12 Million

It has popularly been attributed to insanity, but building a subterranean network of tunnels underneath the middle of London is quite an achievement. No word on whether the new owner of ‘Mole Man’ William Lyttle’s house will be able to access the web of underground passageways. Via the BBC:

The home of a man who dug a labyrinth of tunnels under his property in east London over a period of 40 years has been sold for £1.12m.

William Lyttle, 79, who earned the nickname Mole Man, had made tunnels up to 60ft (18.2m) long under the 20-room house in Mortimer Road, Hackney. He was evicted in 2006 and rehoused in a flat, where he died in June 2010. Hackney Council discovered the network of tunnels under the house, which originally belonged to Mr Lyttle’s parents.

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Drug Cartels Building High-Tech Tunnels Below U.S.-Mexico Border

drugtunnel-afp1Gives new meaning to “underground economy.” The Globe and Mail writes:

When architect Felipe de Jesus Corona built Mexico’s most powerful drug lord a 200-foot-long tunnel under the U.S.-Mexican border with a hydraulic lift entrance opened by a fake water tap, the kingpin was impressed. The architect “made me one [expletive] cool tunnel” Joaquin (Shorty) Guzman said, according to court testimony that helped sentence Mr. Corona to 18 years in prison in 2006.

Built below a pool table in his lawyer’s home, the tunnel was among the first of an increasingly sophisticated drug transport system used by Mr. Guzman’s Sinaloa cartel. U.S. customs agents seized more than 2,000 pounds of cocaine that had allegedly been smuggled along the underground route.

In the past five years, a crackdown on drug smugglers in Mexico and tighter U.S. border security above ground has led to a dramatic increase in the use, and the sophistication, of tunnels under the border.

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Hundreds Of Mystery Underground Tunnels Below Germany

image-239154-galleryV9-wqggWhy were vast networks of carefully constructed “goblin tunnels” built below Bavaria during the Middle Ages? Why is there not a single written word about their purpose or construction? Der Spiegel delves into the darkness:

There are more than 700 curious tunnel networks in Bavaria, but their purpose remains a mystery. Were they built as graves for the souls of the dead, as ritual spaces or as hideaways from marauding bandits?

At least 700 of these chambers have been found in Bavaria alone, along with about 500 in Austria. In the local vernacular, they have fanciful names such as “Schrazelloch” (“goblin hole”) or “Alraunenhöhle” (“mandrake cave”). They were supposedly built by elves, and legend has it that gnomes lived inside. According to some sagas, they were parts of long escape tunnels from castles. Similar small underground labyrinths have been found across Europe, from Hungary to Spain, but no one knows why they were built.

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