The Greatest Itching Powder Prank in History

During World War II British intelligence and Secret Services were probably the best at spying and clandestine warfare in all of history.  Almost every major Allied operation had a good amount of deception and trickery which made the Germans chase their own tails on a number of occasions.  Often, their operations depended on advanced technology, a complicated network of spies and double agents, and a great amount of luck.  However, some British spy operations seemed less like James Bond missions and more like childhood mischief.

During the war, the British SOE (Special Operations Executive) began a program to smuggle itching powder into the Third Reich.  The itching powder developed by SOE was no common joke shop itching powder, but a powder so potent that exposure could be excruciating, with some needing hospitalization if exposed.  The itching powder was smuggled into Germany from Switzerland in foot powder tins, where resistance groups working as laundresses and clothiers sprinkled the powder on military uniforms.  The hardest hit was the German Kriegsmarine (navy), when in October of 1943 25,000 U-Boat crew uniforms were contaminated with the itching powder.  What resulted was a massive epidemic of severe dermatitis that swept through the U-Boat fleet.  The epidemic was so bad that one U-Boat crew had to turn around and return to port for medical treatment. 

German uniforms were not the only target for itching powder attacks.  Other targets included bedding, underwear, and toilet paper.  When a sizable amount of itching powder was smuggled into Norway, the Norwegian resistance made especially effective use of it by sprinkling the powder in condoms.  As a result in Trondheim throughout the war numerous cases of German soldiers being hospitalized for extreme pain from their private parts were reported.

On Spies (Personality)

“Intelligence work has one moral law—it is justified by results.”

-John Le Carre, The Spy Who Came In From The Cold. (10)

Spying is a difficult business. Writing about spies with any accuracy is also an incredibly difficult business; this is why the foundational giants of the genre from Ian Fleming to John Le Carre have been ex-intelligence. Without that background, it can be easy to misunderstand that the ability to be a spy comes from the tradecraft and the training. It’s common among writers to build the character first, then give them their skill set. While this will work for a vast number of different character archetypes, functional spies require a fairly specific outlook and it is developed by a specific type of background though that comes from a generic set of circumstances.

Spies can’t be good people and that’s okay, because good people can’t be spies.


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The Types as Assassins/ Spies

ENFP: They’re the type you least expect. This makes them particularly lethal. Their use of Ne-Fi gives them a multi-angle perspective on any situation and Fi will help them resist emotional manipulation. However since they are a feeling type, they would probably use poison since it’s more indirect.

INFP: A little quiet, a little offbeat, and very charming. Rely on manipulation to infiltrate the system before deploying a knockout gas and stealing the information. Only kills the witnesses. 

ENFJ: Probably a leader in their organization, they get in with the powerhouses of the organizations they need to take over and call in someone else to do the dirty work. 

INFJ: Unique and mysterious, they would probably take the job for the fascinating opportunity. They might want someone with them at first to show them the ropes and impress them later with a silently brilliant plan.

ESTP: Go big or go home. ESTPs are the most likely to go with a 007 approach. Fancy suits, gorgeous dresses. Sensual, stealthy, with just a touch of cliché. Would probably use simple double pistols or something that makes a statement like a flame thrower.

ISTP: More likely to be a hit man than an assassin, purely because they work alone. Just because they don’t have a fancy headquarters doesn’t mean that they don’t take their job seriously. As long as they don’t let their temper get the best of them, their mission is almost guaranteed to be a success. 

ESTJ: Their team will be like puppets dangling from their fingers. They take their job seriously, as well as their role in it. It’s all business to them, but it’s a successful one.

ISTJ: They don’t mess around. They may have the tact of a squirrel that was hit by a car, but who needs words when you’re skillfully avoiding all contact with the people you’re about to annihilate? Would most likely use something detached and quick like a turret.

ESFP: They would be on the front end of the cool technology you see, but only if it matches their outfit. ESFPs make up the femme fatales and tall-dark-handsomes of plenty of spy movies. 

ISFP: A bit more quiet than the ESFP, but that gives them a mysterious touch that they use to their advantage. They probably use a weapon you’ve never seen and never will (and live to tell about it.)

ESFJ: It’s hard not to trust them, and they can be much more intelligent than they show off. Once you underestimate them they’ll show their potential as your worst nightmare. M-16s are a likely choice of weapon.

ISFJ: Similar to the ESFJ, ISFJs aren’t really the assassin “type.” That means when they do choose that path, they’re determined to prove themselves. Look. Out. Probably use a semi-automatic weapon of sorts.

ENTP: Simultaneously the operations and technology specialist, ENTPs are a great option for getting rid of who you need gone. Their creativity can get them out of sticky situations they may find themselves in and their charm can get them into the deepest secrets of their victims. Would use something fun like katana blades or throwing knives.

INTP: They make quick work of their missions, but they explore the possibilities to get something out of it. Quick to get inside their victim’s mind, they may leave with more than just a success sticker. Would probably use a machine gun or sword.

ENTJ: Definitely the organization type, they probably lead their headquarters. They pick the juiciest missions for themselves and are quite secretive about how they always get off without a scratch. Poison and daggers are their weapons of choice.

INTJ: They’re strategic masterminds when it comes to getting in and getting out with maximum efficiency and effectiveness. Probably use a revolver.

Inspired by a challenge from funkymbtifiction


Another number station broadcast called “The Swedish Rhapsody.” Number stations send out encrypted messages to what most consider to be spies, usually involving white noise interrupted by an unknown person reciting numbers. These cannot be tracked. The presumed spy simply needs a radio and they’re set. 

This is one of the first I’ve ever heard with music. How about that lovely melody.

spies ~ they trade secrets for money and they kiss with their guns. (in the morning you’ll remember a bloodstained shirt and a deadly smile, but not the shadow that wore them.) listen download

one. the drop john powell  two. selina kyle’s theme hans zimmer three. mombasa hans zimmer four. chase across d.c. james newton howard five. pretender ninja tracks six. setting up the lair blake neely seven. shangai drive thomas newman eight. wolf suite pt.1 danny elfman nine. flight to compound alexandre desplat ten. cannon fall rick smith eleven. beyond fire t.t.l. twelve. atonement john powell


The Bulgarian Umbrella Gun,

Created by the Bulgarian Secret Service with the help of the KGB, the Bulgarian umbrella was a pneumatic gun hidden within an umbrella.  When fired compressed gas would shoot a small pellet about the size of a pinhead.  While on its own such a weapon would not seem deadly, all that was need was for the pellet to pierce the skin, as it contained small amounts of the toxin ricin.  Ricin is an extremely potent toxin which even in tiny amounts can kill a person within days.

On September 7th, 1978 the Bulgarian dissident writer Georgi Markov was waiting for a bus in London when he felt a sharp sting on the back of his thigh.  When he looked behind him, he saw a man with an umbrella, who quickly ran away and drove away in a taxi.  Later that day, Markov fell ill and had to be rushed to the hospital.  He recounted the events with the umbrella man, and expressed that he believed he was poisoned.  Three days later he was dead.  An autopsy found a 1.7mm diameter pellet in his thigh which held minute amounts of ricin.  Cause of death was officially noted as assassination by poisoning.  


The Largest Infiltration of the US Government in History —- Operation Snow White

Spies have had their place in history ever since the beginning of city states, kingdoms, and empires, providing important intelligence about an adversary and enemy.  Perhaps the golden age of spying occurred during the Cold War, where American and Soviet spies seemed to be behind every corner, listening in to every conversation and collecting every scrap of data that could be found.  So it would be no surprise to learn that the largest infiltration of the United States Government occurred in the 1970’s.  However, the source of the infiltration was not from the Soviet Union or any of the other communist bloc countries of the Cold War.  Rather, the infiltration came from a most unexpected and unusual source; The Church of Scientology.

Formed in 1954 by science fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard, the Church of Scientology had been under the suspicion of governments throughout the 1960’s and 70’s.  The church was especially under close scrutiny by the US Government, who suspected the church was a cult which brainwashed and manipulated it members, and suspected the organization of tax fraud.  In the late 1960’s a plan called “Operation Snow White” was drawn up by L. Ron’s wife, Mary Sue Hubbard, 2nd in command and head of the Guardian Office.  The Guardian Office was a section of the church devoted to protecting the interests of the Guardian Office, especially against defamation and legal actions.  Organized and planned by the Guardian Office, Operation Snow White called for the infiltration of various agencies in the US Government.  Scientology members were to get jobs within these agencies, then use their positions to steal any government documents which portrayed the Church of Scientology in a negative light and plant false information.  Between 1973 and 1977, covert agents managed to infiltrate 136 government agencies, among them; the FBI, CIA, IRS, FDA, DEA, Coast Guard Intelligence, the Department of Justice, the Treasury Department, dozens of US Embassies, the American Medical Association, and the National Institute of Mental Health.  In addition, they infiltrated foreign governments such as Canada and the UK, infiltrated numerous private agencies, and infiltrated other law enforcement agencies such as the LAPD, NYPD, Washington D.C. Police Department, and INTERPOL.

By 1977, the Church of Scientology had one of the largest spy networks across the globe, with around 5,000 secret agents infiltrating organizations across 30 countries.  It was in that year that everything fell apart.   It started when two agents, Gerald Wolfe and Michael Meisner were arrested in Justice Department offices with fake ID’s.  The two tried cover story after cover story, but eventually spilled everything and turned state’s evidence for a plea bargain.  On July 8th, 1977 the FBI raided Scientology centers in LA, Hollywood, and New York City.  The Los Angeles raid alone lasted 21 hours and resulted in the filling of a 16 ton truck with documents and other evidence.  The investigation revealed that the Church of Scientology had stolen 90,000 confidential documents, had wiretapped government officials on a number of occasions, and exposed almost all of the 5,000 agents that made up Scientology’s spy network.  The investigation also revealed another program called “Operation Freakout”, a plan to frame journalist Paulette Cooper, who was critical of the church, with making false bomb threats in the hope of having her arrested or committed to a mental institution.  

By 1978, the Scientology spy network had been completely dismantled.  Mary Sue Hubbard and 11 other high ranking members of the Church of Scientology were indicted on charges of obstruction of justice, burglary, theft of documents, and theft of government property.  All either were found guilty or pleaded guilty, and were charged with a 5 to 6 year prison sentence and $10,000 fine.  L. Ron Hubbard was named as a co-conspirator, but was never charged as he spent the rest of his life in hiding ( a time when he wrote Battlefield Earth, avoiding various charges by the US government, French government, and numerous private lawsuits.  


Government plans to monitor and influence internet communications, and covertly infiltrate online communities in order to sow dissension and disseminate false information, have long been the source of speculation. Harvard Law Professor Cass Sunstein, a close Obama adviser and the White House’s former head of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, wrote a controversial paper in 2008 proposing that the US government employ teams of covert agents and pseudo-”independent” advocates to “cognitively infiltrate” online groups and websites, as well as other activist groups.

Sunstein also proposed sending covert agents into “chat rooms, online social networks, or even real-space groups” which spread what he views as false and damaging “conspiracy theories” about the government.

Ironically, the very same Sunstein was recently named by Obama to serve as a member of the NSA review panel created by the White House, one that – while disputing key NSA claims – proceeded to propose many cosmetic reforms to the agency’s powers (most of which were ignored by the President who appointed them).

But these GCHQ documents are the first to prove that a major western government is using some of the most controversial techniques to disseminate deception online and harm the reputations of targets. Under the tactics they use, the state is deliberately spreading lies on the internet about whichever individuals it targets, including the use of what GCHQ itself calls “false flag operations” and emails to people’s families and friends. Who would possibly trust a government to exercise these powers at all, let alone do so in secret, with virtually no oversight, and outside of any cognizable legal framework?

How Covert Agents Infiltrate the Internet to Manipulate, Deceive, and Destroy Reputations

Are you being gamed?

K☭B Operative: Black Widow


                                   B L A C K   W I D O W

Before Natalia defected to the USA she was Russia’s greatest super spy, the KGB codenamed her The Black Widow. Why was she called a “Sexy Soviet Agent” in “Kiss Or Kill.” Take a look into the widow’s mysterious past »

Soviet Super Spy

During the 1940s, the Widow normally operates as a seducer and femme fatale - in KGB slang a ласточка (“lastochka”, meaning “swallow” ; male agents doing the same job were also birds as “ravens”). Her assets are thus her intelligence, beauty and manipulative skill, and she has ample amounts of all of those. Romanova is often considered to be one of the world’s most beautiful women, and with her wiles has been known to have guys make really, really stupid things for her. Sometimes after she openly admitted that she was manipulating them.

The Widow said this on one occasion:

“It is fortunate that he is taken with my beauty ! I will be able to twist him around my little finger ! But he must not learn that I am really a Red spy.

Natalia was trained since childhood as a spy, actress, martial artist, athlete, acrobat, pilot, markswoman, assassin, special operations soldier, survival expert, etc. She was already an excellent actress and manipulator, and a proficient killer and shooter, by age 10 or 11.


Haunted Past

What happened between 1945 and 1956 is unknown. However, the second half of the 1940s is the least problematic era for the rest of the Red Room memories implantation, biochemical modifications and special training to have taken place.

The late 1940s are also the least problematic time span for Natalia and Ivan to have trained with Commissar Bruskin, a renowned KGB senior officer. Bruskin was apparently very close to his two students, and would contact them for help in 1976. He nicknamed the young Natalia “the Black Pearl”.

At some point between 1941 and 1956, Natalia and Ivan left the USSR. They apparently lived as international adventurers and no longer were on speaking terms with the government. The timing and nature of these events is unknown ; documentation restarts in 1956 with Ivan and Natalia in Berlin. At this point Natalia looked in her 20s, though the art style prevents a reliable assessment.

It is possible that their relationship with the Party went sour right after Stalin’s death (1953), based on a flashback about Ivan’s life.

After Stalin’s death, Nikita Sergeyevich Khrushchev discovered the plots that had been running under his predecessor, and was horrified by the brainwashing of little Soviet girls by the Red Room. His intent was to peacefully retire the Black Widow agents, but Natalia and Ivan were either unreachable or did not agree to come back to USSR.

The Red Room

One of the main mysteries is the nature of an espionage training program called the Red Room, which plays a critical role in Natalia Romanova’s life.

For decades the Black Widow program was thought to have been a Cold War program to train the deadliest female spy in the world. It eventually emerged that some sort of training facility called the Red Room was behind the Black Widow program, but it was assumed to have been some sort of collection of KGB experts training and mentoring the most promising girls the KGB could recruit.

In more recent years four things became obvious :

  • The Red Room and its Black Widow program are significantly older than the Cold War.
  • A mysterious person called Romulus was behind it. Romulus is apparently an ancient, inhuman mastermind with some sort of ties with Wolverine, but it is exceptionally unclear.
  • The Red Room wasn’t simply a training facility, but employed biochemical enhancements for its agents and also implanted them with false memories reminiscent of those used by the Weapon Plus program in NATO countries.
  • “Who runs the Red Room and what is their agenda” apparently has a very complicated answer, in part because the answer apparently changed several times over the decades. It is even possible that there are several organisations called the Red Room, or that changes were so sweeping on one or more occasion that the organisation was completely transform

The ballerina memories were chosen as something most girls would like. They would find these slightly fairy-tale-ish childhood memories soothing, remain fond of them, and thus become reticent to consider they might be fakes even if presented with evidence or incongruencies. It was also meant for them to reflexively associate the Soviet Union with some of its most admirable features, such as the Bolshoi Ballet, to reinforce their patriotism.


Kudrin Enhancements

The girls in the Black Widow program, including Natalia, received extensive biochemical treatments designed by a Soviet genius, professor Kudrin. These bolster the subject’s constitution to peak human levels - endurance, pain resistance, temperature extremes tolerance, power of recovery, etc.

They constantly repair the subject’s body - wounds close at a four times the human norm and heal without a trace, toxins and pathogens are attacked by a superhumanly efficient immune system, infection is much less likely to occur than it should, ageing is constantly erased, malady seldom if ever occurs and the subject effortlessly retains good looks - hair never falls out and always remains shiny, skin cannot be damaged by wind or sun and always remains healthy, etc. Pregnancies are also immediately miscarried.

Red Room Timeline:

  • 1934-1938 - the girls are trained as child assassins and child spies, using then-traditional methods.
  • 1938-1939/40 - Natalia (and presumably the others) receive their first infiltration mission, perhaps as a sort of exam or weeding out process.
  • 1940-1941 - the least problematic dates for the first stages of the Kudrin treatments and first stages of the Pchelintsov conditioning to take place.
  • 1941-1945 - the program is interrupted by the Great Patriotic War, the young Black Widows are deployed among the Red Army as irregular assets. During the war Natalia becomes pregnant but spontaneously aborts - our main reason to suspect that she has received at least part of the Kudrin treatment just before the war.
  • 1945-late 1940s - the least problematic dates for the remainder of the Kudrin treatments and the remainder of the Pchelintsov conditioning to take place.
  • The activities of the Red Room past that point are very much unclear.
Natalia graduated the red room ready to take espionage to a new level by joining the KGB > > >  KGB

The KGB classified its spies as agents (intelligence providers) and controllers (intelligence relayers). The false-identity or legend assumed by a USSR-born illegal spy was elaborate, using the life of either a “live double” (participant to the fabrications) or a “dead double" (whose identity is tailored to the spy). The agent then substantiated his or herlegend by living it in a foreign country, before emigrating to the target country, thus the sending of US-bound illegal residents via the Soviet embassy in OttawaCanada. Tradecraft included stealing and photographing documents, code-names, contacts, targets, and dead letter boxes, and working as a “friend of the cause” or agents provocateur, who would infiltrate the target group to sow dissension, influence policy, and arrange kidnappings and assassinations.