British Intelligence: Book Review of 'GCHQ' by R Aldrich

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British Intelligence: Book Review of 'GCHQ' by R Aldrich

Postby rerevisionist » 16 Apr 2011 11:24

It occurred to me I might post this review of 'GCHQ' by Richard Aldrich here. The review was removed by Amazon, which in my experience is quite unusual for them. The book is now about six months old (published late 2010) and didn't impress me. Obviously there are points of intersection with the nuclear world. I'm afraid it's rather long. In fact in a sense it's a not a review - it was to remind me of the contents before the impression faded.

1 star

Aldrich GCHQ cover

Unintelligent, Unresearched, Unhelpful. Boys Adventure Stories, 6 Oct 2010
By Rerevisionist (Manchester, England) - See all my reviews

This review is from: GCHQ (Hardcover)

Aldrich doesn't describe his methodology: the sources he gives are British National Archives, plus some unpublished archives, e.g. British Telecom's, and about 50 sets of British and American 'Private Papers' - including Churchill, Lyndon Johnson, various Admirals, Air Commodores, Generals and the like. It's not clear how much of each, if any, was consulted. The notes begin with an (incomplete) list of abbreviations. The bibliography includes about 450 books - a couple of Billy bookcases full - largely on warfare, and biographies of politicians, spies and 'spymasters'. Technology, cryptography, and finance seem to be not Aldrich's strong suits. The book has a flavour of thrilling boys' action adventures; I don't think there's one single lesson drawn by Aldrich. Is 'intelligence' worth the money? Maybe worth more? Is it true that not one single difficult cypher has been cracked? Are these people perhaps careerists? What's the balance sheet between historical success and failure? What of events that might have taken place, but didn't? What general laws seem to apply to secrecy? Is it better to have many small intelligence groups - Norway, Holland, and other small countries are praised. Could negotiation be improved to bypass some of this? - Aldrich gives no answers.

Judging by the endnotes, we can reconstruct Aldrich's writing technique: I'd guess Aldrich made a list of topics that were published in the general press - 'burst onto the front pages'; then opened some popular books by (for example) Tony Benn, P Calvocoressi, Montgomery Hyde, H Sebag-Montefiore, Duncan Campbell; on such topics as the Cold War, nuclear weapons, Iraq, jungle warfare, Suez, Turkey, spy satellites, U2 and Gary Powers, 'the war on terror'. And then looked up private papers or biographies illustrating some picturesque act of derring-do, or, perhaps, heavy bombing against soft targets - for example, what he still calls 'communists' in Malaya.

The approach is 'open source research' - pioneered perhaps by James Bamford (American), and possibly Duncan Campbell (British). The idea is to fish through published material and look for disregarded but important bits, supplemented by Freedom of Information requests. It's similar in approach to Arthur Butz on the so-called 'Holocaust'; and Frederick Forsyth, who used published sources on the entire layout of 10 Downing Street for a novel.

Aldrich has the curious moral imbecility which comes with accepting all conventional views. Aldrich talks of the 'notorious South African secret service (BOSS)' but thinks nothing of the millions of deaths of Vietnamese, for example, and the forcible movement of populations there - some of the biggest ever in human history. His book gives the general impression that powerful countries can afford expensive intelligence, which helps them do what their steering elites think they want - the quality of the intelligence being more-or-less irrelevant.

The later chapters naturally can't use old documents - because these are still secret (or non-existent). So we have scattered topics - Diana and 'Squidgygate', drug crooks in south America using a computer, banks not wanting to reveal online frauds. And of course the fall of the Soviet Union - my guess is because the Jewish mafiosi no longer thought it worth keeping on - Aldrich prefers to think it was magic. And 9/11 - Aldrich, comically, repeats all the Al Quaeda stuff; this alone shows his book is official and worthless. Many generally-censored topics don't make it into the book: there's just a little bit about massacres in Indonesia - compare Pilger on this. The genocide in Clinton's time in Africa doesn't get in. Nor do many of the wars in Africa - Biafra was one - although intelligence must have been involved. No comment even on Pakistan/India war in 1948.

Other omissions include: Caversham Park listening station, part of the 'independent' BBC; weather forecasting as part of the MoD. Aldrich doesn't seem to know that physical examples of the Enigma machine were needed - there's an account somewhere of a U-boat tricked into surfacing. Nor does Aldrich mention the Berlin microphone, listening for settings of the wheels. There's little detail of cryptography; Littlewood pointed out that 'every cipher is breakable' is a legend (1953) and it follows inevitably that indirect methods - stealing coding pads, tapping phones, interceptions, bribing 'assets', have to be used. The only convincing thing I found is an account of 'public key cryptography' described as two padlocks (a technique relevant only to computers). There's not much on Hong Kong and China or Japan.

Some omissions probably exist for ideological reasons. Hungary 1956 is omitted. Vanunu is omitted. A Rothschild made money after the defeat of Napoleon, by reliance on a private signalling system - and no doubt the lesson has been retained, though of course Aldrich wouldn't mention that (though there was a Director of Economic Intelligence - Michael Kaiser - in the MoD who intercepted 'a large number of commercial telegrams'). Given that Soros and others speculate, presumably with more or less indefinite backing, against other currencies, this is of some public interest. Not just currency, but also raw materials are omitted, as is customary with hack historians: no mention of oil stealing by Kuwait. There's nothing on military actions around uranium ores. Tony Collins' '25 Mysterious Deaths in the Defence Industry' (1990) isn't even in the bibliography. A practical example of the downside of spying - the Tupolev TU-144 built from smuggled Concorde plans of a rejected design - is omitted.

Technology: Aldrich appears to have no serious grasp of technology, and accepts what must be a great deal of mythology - suitcase nuclear bombs, for example. He has no inkling that there's something odd about the entire nuclear issue. Microwave controlled microphones sound like someone's little joke. NASA- why didn't intelligence listen in to the 'moon' stuff? With their unmatched radio technology! Aldrich's accounts of old computers read like PR ads of the time, designed to promise the earth and hide unreliability. Aldrich discusses the rise of satellite transmission, though I don't think he has any idea how they work or what they do.

He dodges technology, but, possibly because it's easy to grasp, or is human interest as recommended to scriptwriters, gives descriptions - though not analyses - of numerous rivalries: RAF vs NSA, GCHQ vs SIS, secrecy vs exposure by legal systems, police vs GCHQ (amusing account of Prime), CIA vs NSA, NATO vs MI5, 'tradecraft' vs buggings. And US manufacturers of cypher machines vs European manufacturers - notably Swedish; US army vs US navy vs US airforce; Chile vs Argentina; land based spying vs spy ships vs satellites; competing unions (once) in GCHQ; KGB interdepartmental jealousies. Aldrich likes to use what presumably is still the language of military intelligence - 'assets', 'acquire their targets with their radar', 'assisting SIS on the ground', 'degrade Argentine intelligence systems'. He also likes to judge people, in a way which rationally is hardly possible: '.. distinguished security intelligence operator .. most skilled interrogator' [How can he be sure?]. One thing that amused me was '.. Denis Healey, one of the most intelligent people ever to hold ministerial office..'

Finance: It seems odd, in a world where 'foreign aid' from Britain is tens of billions per annum, and the costs of immigration fraud are probably greater, that Aldrich should have no idea of the relative costs of intelligence. Throughout his book there's a sense of "just look at this great big number!" I think this is a by-product of secrecy; I suppose hacks like to pretend they know these things. A typical example is the Manhattan Project, which allegedly produced the atom bomb. More money was spent on radar (according to Chrysler).

Bias: the bias most obvious to me is the complete omission of Jewish influence, notably over the USA, but also of course in Europe. The post-war money-making fraud of 'the Holocaust', and control over countless pressure groups, trusts, quangoes, unions, media and what have you goes unmentioned. The spies for the USSR, and indeed USSR as Jewish, is unmentioned; so is the secret export of western technology to the USSR. The Anglo-Israel War gets virtually no mention. The 'Liberty' - an intellidence gathering ship - is 'controversial'. Kissinger seems to have almost monopolised US foreign policy under Nixon - in fact the Vietnam War may well have been an attempt to get overall Jewish control of money in parts of south-east Asia. Many publicity outfits in the UK - the Rowntree foundation, the Scott trust of the 'Guardian', the New Statesmen, many unions, the violent 'Searchlight' organisation, are Jewish-funded. And so on up to 9/11. At any rate, here there are innumerable intelligence links which are completely unexplored by Aldrich.

Readers might be amused at this mistake - someone 'was born in the Soviet Union in 1908' (page 80). Something similar applies re Islam: Gaddafi and Libya, Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Muslims in the heart of Serbia have some cursory account, but the full complications with oil and gas are omitted. And of course the third world inevitably get the sticky end; for example after World War 2 they were sold Enigma machines by the British, deliberately, as they were known to be crackable. Aldrich seems not to know about innumerable interventions in the third world, many of course very bloody.

Failures of intelligence are listed very rarely, in little paragraphs. They include: Pearl Harbor in 1941 - unbelievably, Aldrich professes to think this came figuratively out of the blue. We also have: Hitler's attack on the USSR, the 'outbreak' of the Korean War 1950, 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis, 1967 'Six Day War', 1968 Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia, 1973 'Yom Kippur/Ramadan War' by Egypt and Syria, 'failed to predict the end of the Cold War' 1989, 1990 Iraq against Kuwait. Aldrich draws no useful lessons from all this. Needless to say, the third world gets little mention. However, there's Ireland. The bombings suggest this was an intelligence failure - it looks like a failure to me! - but Aldrich doesn't draw this rather obvious conclusion. (Nor does he have anything useful to say on legalities - is the legal system up to the job?)

So - what is the point of this book? So far from being uncensored, it clearly follows the official establishment line at every step. It's possible it was commissioned by the 'Labour' regime disaster - it was recommended by the BBC, a sure sign of official approval. The idea may be to show the government is in control and despite a few understandable small mistakes, knows what it's doing for our benefit. Scarlett - appointed by Tony Blair - is virtually omitted, though there's a 2003 photo giving evidence into David Kelly's death. And yet he seems to have been complicit in public lies on Weapons of Mass Destruction. Presumably the entire organisation is under the control of people who will lie if their promoter pulls their strings. This must surely have some effect on morale at 'the doughnut'. Typically there are accounts of bodged reforms - '[Roger] Hurn's review team .. included Alice Perkins (a.k.a. Mrs Jack Straw) and David Omand...' It's almost incredible that Strawinski, who undemocratically decided to open the UK to mass immigration - no public consultation - let's not mince words; he's scum - should have a wife who is officially permitted to tamper with arrangements that might have a permanent damaging effect. There isn't much consideration of the mass of employees at GCHQ; they seem mainly interested in money and one gathers quite a few computer experts leave - politicians may reward bureaucrats, PFI schemers, lawyers, and company board member shareholders, but people who actually do useful work get left out in the cold.

If you're looking for a compendium of official views on GCHQ, in a form mimicking genuine research, this book might do. If you think the control of information is an important and difficult issue, you might decide to cross off Warwick University from future consideration.
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Re: British Intelligence: Book Review of 'GCHQ'

Postby rerevisionist » 16 Apr 2011 11:56

On Vanunu, the idea he was a plant, or whatever the technical word might be, is certainly convincing.

[1] He was from Morocco, one of about ten siblings. Why would such a person be employed in a supposedly top secret nuclear installation?
[2] He was 'debriefed' by Frank Barnaby -and a journalist! Not very plausible to me.
[3] Vanunu helpfully provided estimates of supposed plutonium production over the years; how could he possibly have been able to estimate production in that way?
[4] He was supposedly in solitary confinement for more than ten years, under the tender care of Israelis. Nevertheless he was in robust physical and mental health.
[5] The whole story of his abduction by a sexy agent sounds made up to appeal to the popular mind. So does the business of writing on his palms, then exposing the writing to journalists through a bus or car window.
[6] The whole story of conversion to Christianity (and adopting the name 'John Crossman') sounds ditto
[7] He occasionally surfaces to give 'secretly filmed' interviews etc; again this is less than convincing....

Musing over this, the thought stuck me that some of the 'atom spies' publicised during the 'cold war' might have been in it purely for money. Or even for telling the truth. Maybe they had a special secret they wished to publicise? ...
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Re: British Intelligence: Book Review of 'GCHQ' by R Aldrich

Postby rerevisionist » 27 Jun 2011 22:39

Someone called Pauline Neville-Jones... the following is a typical online comment... NB some of the information may be outdated, e.g. 'QinetiQ' was privatised, sold off at a small fraction of its true value. This is the sort of trash in high positions.

Pauline Neville-Jones Is On The List Of 911 Suspects (along with Blair)
There is a website which lists out the individuals who are believed to have foreknowledge of 911, and who took part in the event in one form or another. There are 103 people on the list. Two of those are British.
Here is the full list - - hattip Jim Corr

Pauline Neville-Jones — International Governor of BBC on 9-11; Chairman of UK Joint Intelligence Committee (1991-1994); Chairman of QinetiQ Group, a war technology company with government customers in UK and USA; Chairman of Information Assurance Advisory Council (IAAC)

One question I would like to put to Pauline Neville-Jones is why did the BBC announce the collapse of WTC 7 23 minutes before it fell?

FURTHERMORE - what is she doing now running counter-terrorism for David Cameron?

The Baroness, 70, was appointed Minister of State at the Home Office in charge of security and counter-terrorism by David Cameron – a more junior position than the one she hoped to get, which restricts her responsibilities to domestic intelligence issues. She hoped and expected to be appointed National Security Adviser to Cameron.

The demotion is said by sources to have ‘infuriated’ the feisty former career diplomat so much that she threatened to resign even before she took up the post.

A senior security source revealed that the Baroness’s appointment was blocked after MI5 produced a report about her links to two controversial Russian oligarchs.

According to a source, MI5 sent the Prime Minister’s aides a confidential briefing about her connections to two billionaires with alleged links to organised crime and a Russian mafia leader.

The source said: ‘The job of National Security Adviser to the Prime Minister needed a high-security vetting clearance because it involved knowing and handling sensitive state secrets.

Read more:

It's not nice to think that Britain's counter-terrorism is in the hands of someone who knows all about false flag terrorism, and is suspected of taking an active role in it.

Did she actually have a hand in it, as the 911 suspects website suggests?

Again ask her the question -
'How did she know that WTC 7 was going to fall. Why did she have it announced that it had fallen 23 minutes before it actually fell?

Did Cameron know she is suspected of being involved in false flag terrorism before having her appointed with responsibility for Britain's counter-terrorist intelligence?

Surely we deserve to have someone who wants to prevent terrorism, not to use terrorism against us, and keep us locked up in wars by killing us and making us think it's being done by others.

from [url][/url] - the two British suspects, who will no doubt one day face trial for their actions on, before and after 911 and 7/7, ex-Prime Minister Blair and Pauline Neville-Jones.
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