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The Real MI6- No Gadgets, No Martinis, No Bonds

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The Real MI6- No Gadgets, No Martinis, No Bonds

Post by Ted-Pencry on 10/11/2012, 16:48

The real MI6 - no gadgets, no martinis, no Bond
By James Blitz
The millions of people who will watch Daniel Craig playing James Bond in Skyfall this weekend will not want to be told the awful truth about Bond movies: they bear little or no relation to the real world of MI6, Britain’s Secret Intelligence Service.
The film, which is expected to break box office records, will see Bond getting up to his usual antics, jumping from trains, blowing up villains and escaping gruelling torture at the last moment. But this is all a long way from MI6’s real role – which involves the painstaking gathering of secret intelligence, mainly by working with foreign nationals who have access to confidential information.
“The Service has never really gone in for people like Bond,” says one person well acquainted with the secret world. “Bond is in every sense of the word an actor. What the real SIS is all about is gathering information on foreign governments and movements in order to face down threats to the UK. That is a business that requires silence, discretion and waiting around endlessly in strange places.”
That said, when people who know the British Intelligence world are asked about the new film, they make two observations. First, SIS, as an institution, does not seem to mind the public excitement about Bond and actually quite enjoys it.
“Among SIS officers, there is a greater reverence for [John Le Carre’s] Smiley, who is in many ways the founding text,” says one former Whitehall official. “But SIS has always been happy to assist the Bond people with their filming.” Another former official concurs. “It is good for morale,” he says, adding that it would not surprise him if SIS were organising a free screening of the new film inside its Vauxhall Cross headquarters.
The second observation is a more serious one. This is the concern that while Bond’s kinetic style is not SIS’s way of doing things, it is increasingly the modus operandi of its US counterpart, the Central Intelligence Agency.
“The CIA is increasingly becoming a paramilitary organisation, one increasingly relying on the use of drones and special forces to eliminate American foes overseas,” says the ex-Whitehall figure. “MI6 and the CIA have collaborated intensively on intelligence and gathering for decades. But the CIA is getting up to some very questionable practices. This does raise questions about whether the CIA and MI6 will eventually be driven apart by their different ways of operating.”
Based in its iconic building on the banks of the Thames, the core of MI6’s work is something ministers and officials refuse to talk about. MI6’s British case officers encourage foreign born nationals – or “agents” – to betray their governments and hand over secrets. In a speech in 2010, Sir John Sawers, the Chief of SIS underscored how these foreign agents are “the true heroes of our work ... many of them show extraordinary courage and idealism.”
This does not mean SIS restricts itself to information gathering. According to some analysts, one of Sir John’s key goals in the last three years has been to get MI6 to take actions that are in Britain’s interests. “He is very conscious on the need for the Service to have impact,” says one of the ex-Whitehall figures. “One good example of this is the way SIS has helped disrupt the supply of technical equipment to Iran’s nuclear programme.”
That said there are clear limits to what MI6 does. Unlike Bond, SIS officers do not carry arms or have military rank. If they need close protection it is provided by other units, such as the Special Air Service. Moreover, MI6 is bound by UK law and needs specific authorisations from the foreign secretary for a wide variety of operations – like paying an agent money overseas or impersonating someone else.
This has not been an easy year for SIS. It faces police questioning over allegations that it illegally transferred two militants to Colonel Gaddafi’s Libya in 2004. It was forced to apologise this year over its handling of an investigation into the mysterious death of Gareth Williams, an intelligence employee. Above all, the legacy of the Iraq war – when MI6 got the intelligence over Iraq’s alleged weapons of mass destruction wrong – continues to haunt the service.
Those who know the organisation say its achievements are considerable. “There is a strong action-orientated mentality and it is a world of defined projects and defined success,” says one person who knows SIS well. “It is not as aggressive as Bond. But for all the constraints, it still gets things done.”

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Re: The Real MI6- No Gadgets, No Martinis, No Bonds

Post by visioneer on 10/11/2012, 22:35

Not quite right about the gadgets. :)

In my dim and distant youth, supplying the Film Industry, we used to have runners turn up from the Bond sets at Pinewood Studios with sketches on the back of a beer mat, asking us to fake some gadget up.

Our Chief Engineer, a bloke called George Hill, would turn the 'pseudo' gadget out in a couple of days. Like all good engineers, given some fags and beer time to think about it, he'd then go away and actually build something pretty damn close. (Which we would then show to a 'friend of a friend' at The Met.)

Hence my introduction to world of of doing strange things with cameras.

A lot of this sort of work used to be undertaken by DRA (Defence Research Agency), until it was privatised and flogged off to QinetiQ. (Whose list of investors made such interesting reading, that a large number of Gov't Agencies, dropped them like a hot brick.)

There are actually a few Gov't establishments of one sort or another that DO develop their own toys, certainly at prototype or 'one off' levels, although they now tend to subcontract to a few outside companies.


Last edited by visioneer on 10/11/2012, 22:37; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Typo)
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Re: The Real MI6- No Gadgets, No Martinis, No Bonds

Post by Sabre on 10/11/2012, 23:16

There has always been a mystique surrounding the gadgets of the Intelligence Services , mainly due to the Bond films. We know they exist in some capacity , i`m sure everyone remembers the famous cases of the `Poison Umbrella` and the `Russian Rock`.

It`s good to keep this technology well hidden to keep our enemies and adversaries looking over their shoulders. I`m sure we (the public) are at least a decade behind the real juicy tech.

More recently i heard rumours about one well known company fixing CCTV to small , cute furry animals!

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Re: The Real MI6- No Gadgets, No Martinis, No Bonds

Post by visioneer on 10/11/2012, 23:30

Decade behind ? These days it's about 2 years between a piece of tech being introduced, and it's being available commercialy at huge price tag. Another 2 years, and it's in Maplins !. http://www.maplin.co.uk/swann-pencam-discreet-camera-and-video-recorder-226766

I'd like to stress that no small furry animals were harmed during the recent test.

....other than a flicked ear when one of the lil buggers tried to steal fags out of my pocket. :)
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Re: The Real MI6- No Gadgets, No Martinis, No Bonds

Post by Sabre on 10/11/2012, 23:53

So i`m only four years behind Bond then?!

I think your little friend got off lightly after that , the cheek of it!

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Re: The Real MI6- No Gadgets, No Martinis, No Bonds

Post by Ted-Pencry on 11/11/2012, 16:25

Agree with all the above, the press states one thing and the reality is another thing.

The world top intel services obviously have squads and units that get their "hands dirty".

Whilst its all good and well using technology and intercepting intel through different means sitting behind a desk, you need people on the ground as well getting rid of threats.

These people obviously need some very good "gadgets" in order to get the job done and I am pretty sure "special geek units" exist who make and invent techy geek stuff.

Umbrellas and pens and poison being fired from various objects were already being mentioned many years ago for the KGB and MI6, so I would hate to think what is going on now....

Regarding the Israeli Services, the following 2 deaths were attributed to them by press:




At the time of his assassination, allegedly carried out by the Mossad, arch-terrorist Imad Mughniyeh was cooperating with the Syrians in planning an attack against Israeli targets to avenge an Israel Air Force strike on a Syrian site in September 2007, according to "informed Israeli sources" quoted by the British Sunday Times on Sunday.

According to "Israeli intelligence sources" quoted by the paper, Mossad agents replaced the headrest of the driver's seat in Mughiyeh's SUV with another headrest containing a small cache of explosives.

Israel, according to the Times report, believes that Mughniyeh was also charged with rehabilitating Hizbullah's arsenal after the blows it suffered during the Second Lebanon War. Mughniyeh allegedly rearmed the group with Iranian Fateh 110 rockets, which can reach Tel Aviv and, according to the report may also be capable of delivering a chemical payload.

According to a source quoted by the report, on the day after the assassination Mossad Chief Meir Dagan was summoned by Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to Jerusalem, where he was "complimented by his boss" on a job well done and told that his contract at the helm of the intelligence agency would be extended through the end of 2009.

The above shows that whoever carried out the attack, geeks work on different ways of getting rid of threats.

Yahia Ayyash, known as the engineer, Hamas chief bomb maker


Following the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin, the Palestinian Authority began to cooperate more closely with Shin Bet in hunting Ayyash. Shin Bet learned (through means that remain classified to this day) that Ayyash had, on occasion, spent the night in the Gaza City home of Osama Hamad, a childhood friend of his.

Shin Bet had previously had dealings with Kamil Hamad, Osama Hamad's uncle.
In October 1995, Shin Bet operatives approached Kamil Hamad. Kamil Hamad demanded money and Israeli identity cards for himself and his wives.

After the Shin Bet threatened to inform Hamas of his betrayal, Kamil Hamad agreed to cooperate. Shin Bet agents gave Hamad a cell phone, and told him it was bugged so they could listen in on Ayyash's conversations.

They did not tell Hamad that, in addition to eavesdropping devices, it also contained 15 grams of RDX explosive.

Kamil Hamad gave the phone to his nephew Osama, knowing that Ayyash regularly used Osama's phones.

At 8:00 am on 5 January 1996, Ayyash's father called him. Ayyash picked it up and talked with his father. Overhead, an Israeli plane picked up their conversation and relayed it to an Israeli command post. When it was confirmed that it was Ayyash on the phone, Shin Bet remotely detonated it, killing Ayyash instantly.

The Militant, an international communist newsweekly, reported that "100,000 Palestinians... attended the funeral".

The State of Israel has a policy that it never confirms or denies its participation in selective assassinations. Per this policy, Israel did not confirm or deny its role in killing Ayyash. This led to wild rumors and speculations as to the extent of their involvement.

Another proof that whatever agency is behind this, special "gadget" units/specialists exist.

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Re: The Real MI6- No Gadgets, No Martinis, No Bonds

Post by Sabre on 11/11/2012, 16:30

Interesting articles. The Isrealis have never been ones to `beat around the bush`!

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Re: The Real MI6- No Gadgets, No Martinis, No Bonds

Post by visioneer on 11/11/2012, 16:46

Talk of the Devil....

I've just been booked for one 'seriously' secret squirrel exhibition next year, and another, not QUITE so superspook. :) : http://www.securityandpolicing.co.uk/
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Re: The Real MI6- No Gadgets, No Martinis, No Bonds

Post by Ted-Pencry on 11/11/2012, 16:54

That looks fantastic Visioneer! Will definitely try and attend.

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Re: The Real MI6- No Gadgets, No Martinis, No Bonds

Post by Sabre on 11/11/2012, 17:12

visioneer wrote:Talk of the Devil....

I've just been booked for one 'seriously' secret squirrel exhibition next year, and another, not QUITE so superspook. :) : http://www.securityandpolicing.co.uk/

Is the Security And Policing Exhibition open to SIA license holders? Looks interesting.
I`m not even going to ask about the "secret squirrel" one!

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Re: The Real MI6- No Gadgets, No Martinis, No Bonds

Post by Sergic08 on 11/11/2012, 18:14

If someone happens to be around Washington D.C. with some spare time in his hands, it's worth paying a visit to the International Spy Museum, it has a nice collection of gadgets and all sort of stuff related to the trade.

http://www.spymuseum.org/

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Re: The Real MI6- No Gadgets, No Martinis, No Bonds

Post by visioneer on 11/11/2012, 18:40

Sabre wrote:
visioneer wrote:Talk of the Devil....

I've just been booked for one 'seriously' secret squirrel exhibition next year, and another, not QUITE so superspook. :) : http://www.securityandpolicing.co.uk/

Is the Security And Policing Exhibition open to SIA license holders? Looks interesting.
I`m not even going to ask about the "secret squirrel" one!

errmmm...possibly. :)

It used to be strictly plod /mil / HMG, with my particular techy toys, and held at a venue that was well out of the way of the normal 'exhibition circuit'. However, over the years it's got bigger, to include assorted stuff that goes bang or has sharp edges, and everything from boots / tacvests, to scaling ladders. At same time, the last one I attended before it moved to its new venue at Farnbro', we had Town Centre CCTV Managers, and guys from G4S and the other security companies. Entrance IS tightly controlled / vetted, but wtf, give it a try. :)
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Re: The Real MI6- No Gadgets, No Martinis, No Bonds

Post by Sabre on 11/11/2012, 18:53

Thanks for the info Vis, i will look into it.

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Re: The Real MI6- No Gadgets, No Martinis, No Bonds

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