Anorak News | Pebble Dashed

Pebble Dashed

by | 24th, January 2006

‘WHERE’S the trust these days? Four MI6 spies posing as Foreign Office Officials in Russia have been caught “red-handed” collecting information. Fair enough.

The rock knows all

But did the Russians have to film them going about their undercover work and then broadcast the footage to the nation?

How dare the Russians suspect us of spying. Aren’t we all friends these days, sheltering from the threat of terrorism under a big Eurovision umbrella? As we ask, where’s the trust? Russia: nil points.

Oleg Gordievsky, a KGB officer who defected to the West, is heard by the Mail saying that the film is a sign of the Russian’s desire to “hurt Britain”, it’s an “advertisement for the KGB”.

It’s view shared by Alex Standish, editor of Jane’s Intelligence Review who says it’s “naïve” not to see the operation as a public relations exercise for Vladimir Putin’s government.

Or it might just have been a chance to inject a bit of winter cheer into the Russian people’s hearts, a kind of Rosa Klebb’s Home Videos.

A look at a still from the video suggests that the four-strong British spy squad were not all that good at their jobs – an idea supported by their capture.

The thinking is that the spies would store their information on handheld devices then, when wandering past a covert boulder on the outskirts of Moscow, flick a switch and retrieve and transmit vital secrets.

Yes, a boulder. So as you know, this is a “dead letter drop”, a place where sources can leave information without ever meeting an agent.

The Express says the information might have something to do with non-governmental organisations – the MI6 team are accused to channelling funds to human rights groups in the area.

But while the voiceover on Russian TV warns of nefarious foreigners, the pictures tell a different story.

The Express publishes a shot of one of the four, Andrew Fleming, wandering past a rock in which a hi-tech transmitting device has been stored. He then “logs on” by drawing back his right leg and giving the rock a kick.

While the Russians talk of danger, the need for vigilance and the enemy in our midst, the pictures show a “bumbling” spy checking the robustness of his equipment with a kick.

Another shot, this time in the Sun, shows one of the cunning crew lifting up the stone as if it’s, well, hollow. Another agent is seen standing close to the rock and pretending to nonchalantly wee against a tree – otherwise known as Agent Bark.’

Posted: 24th, January 2006 | In: Tabloids Comment | TrackBack | Permalink