13 October 2013


by Andy Weddington
Sunday, 13 October 2013

"All warfare is based on deception." Sun Tzu

Today is the 238th Birthday of the United States Navy.

Therefore, in keeping with our household tradition, the resident Marine provided the resident Sailor coffee and newspaper in the rack. That respectful gesture will be returned in kind on 10 November - when the 'Men's Department' of the United States Navy celebrates 238.

Those 238 years are not so long when considering Great Britain's Royal Navy traces its founding back to the 16th century - for some three centuries the most powerful navy in the world.

For today, a salute to Sailors.

And something to think about...

Captain, acting Major, William Martin was a Royal Marine.

Major Martin did not exist. But, he was a hero of World War II.

Martin was conceived and created, by Royal Navy officers, to deceive the Germans - as to the intentions of attack by Allied Forces.

In short, the corpse of an ordinary British citizen was transformed into a lie.

A biography was created. 

With a uniform as facade, pockets were filled with ordinary paraphernalia (e.g. identification; currency; cigarettes and matches; theatre ticket stubs; love letter; papers; etc.) and a briefcase held sensitive letters between senior officers - all trickery.

Within the grand lie were truths, half-truths, and falsities.

With subtlety nothing was left to chance though nothing overdone.

By means of an "airplane crash" at sea the British Navy did all possible to orchestrate an unfortunate leak and that Martin fell into the right hands. But luck, as in the ways of the sea, was in play. 

Sometimes you get lucky. The Brits (and Allies) did.

Major Martin, 'Operation Mincemeat,' fooled the Germans.

I've seen the 1956 movie 'The Man Who Never Was' a couple of times. Recently, I've visited the National Cryptologic Museum; mingled with cryptologists; read several books about World War II espionage; and am currently in the middle of a book about 'Operation Mincemeat.'

The conception and invention of Martin was genius. The operation's success was fantastic.

But scary the art of deception.

To be blunt, a dead nobody was transformed into a living somebody. It just so happened good prevailed. But evil could have. And either way, immortality, under both names, realized.

Now, to consider the contrary and perhaps not just as hypothetical.

Could a living nobody be transformed into a living somebody who, on both accounts, could enjoy immortality? And evil prevail?

That is, could a man (or woman) be a lie? Created to deceive?

A biography created?

Could pockets be filled with ordinary paraphernalia (e.g. identification; currency; cigarettes and matches; theatre ticket stubs; love letter; papers; etc.) and files stuffed with forged degrees, certifications, and credentials?

Could clever operatives and handlers, exploiting technology, get their lie into the right hands? Without an "airplane crash" could they float their man?

America is divided.

Our government is at war - amongst itself and with the public.

Per Sun Tzu, all warfare and deception go hand-in-hand. 

Has 'Operation Mincemeat' been retooled - with a twist of life?

Dead men speak never but the living lie; intentionally and not. Is anyone listening? Is anyone paying attention? Especially Sailors? And Marines?

Post Script

"In the graveyard of the Spanish town of Huelva there lies a British subject." Ewen Montagu (opening sentence of Chapter 1 - 'The man who never was'.)

1 comment:

George Schneider said...

Excellent book, interesting analogy. Consider other books by McIntyre, such as Agent Zigzag.