Hello friends and welcome to another
edition of Wacky WWII Hijinks! Get hype, today we’re gonna learn
about rad spy shit
okay, first some
background: the OSS, or Office of Strategic Services, was an American
intelligence agency during WWII that was in charge of clandestine
shit like espionage, propaganda, and counter-intelligence. It was run
by a dude called “Wild Bill” Donovan, because that’s the kind of
name people had back then somehow
the SOE, or Special Operations Executive, was a British organization
in charge of espionage, sabotage, and assisting local resistance
groups in Europe. It didn’t have a director with a weird nickname,
but it was sometimes called the Baker Street Irregulars, which
honestly I think is even better
as you can imagine,
these two organizations came up with a lot of weird shit to help
their agents infiltrate into occupied Europe, so let’s get to it
this one comes to us courtesy of the SOE and were intended for use in
boiler rooms, because the british figured that anyone finding a gross
dead rat while stoking a boiler would probably just chuck the corpse
into the fire and be done with it. Except this time the boiler would
Rat asses, as you can see from the pencil fuse in the image, could
also be rigged for timed explosions instead, for those occasions when
you’re on a tight schedule about raining down petrified rat entrails
in your enemy’s basement
unfortunately (???), the RATS, EXPLOSIVE, never saw actual combat
use, as the first box the SOE dropped into Europe was intercepted by
the Nazis, who probably had a read good “what the FUCK”
moment when they opened it
along similar lines but far less fucking weird were coal
bombs, which were essentially the same thing as the rat bombs but
with hollowed out coal instead. Both the SOE and OSS actually used
Poop bombs (lol)
they then went a bizarre step further and developed mule dung bombs
for use in Africa- “specially sculpted” replicas of mule poop
that were packed with explosives. These weren’t meant to be chucked
into boilers, but rather left around for enemy forces to drive over.
Here is an actual American soldier talking about collecting mule shit
for war purposes, from O'Donnell’s book Operatives, Spies, and
Mule turds were to be found in great abundance…we added a few
samples of local mule dung, and this was carefully packed and sent to
London. We took care to explain that the full, rich horse dung of the
British countryside would not do in Morocco; it was the more watery,
smaller mule type that would pass there without suspicion. Also, it
was important to have it a deep sepia color, sometimes with greenish
shades, the product of straw and grass, not of oats and hay. In due
course of time the British London office made up explosive turds from
these samples, and we used them to good effect later in Tunisia.
You do you, mule-poop-connoisseur-OSS-agent.
this is not an actual picture of a bat bomb, but I found it while
googling for images to use and I love it okay thanks
anyway are you sensing a theme here?
This one was, surprisingly, not the product of OSS or SOE, but of an
American dentist named Lytle S Adams. Everyone needs a hobby I guess.
The idea behind bat bombs was that you take a bunch of bats
(specifically Mexican free-tailed bats), tie some little bombs to
them, and stuff them into a plane. Then the plane flies over Japan
(because Japan has a lot of wooden buildings and therefore is
particularly susceptible to incendiary use), and drops the bats. The
bats fall down to building-level, then start flying around looking
for somewhere to hide because they are having a seriously bad bat
day. In theory, the bats would fly up into the eaves and roofs of the
buildings, at which point the timers on their little bombs would go
off, sending both bats and buildings up in flames.
This idea actually, somehow, made it into the testing phase, but was
never used because honestly what the fuck
guess what it’s another bomb! In this case, a plastic explosive that
looked like flour (hence the name) and could even be baked into
something resembling food products, although just a tad more
poisonous than most food you find outside of school cafeterias. Aunt
Jemima was easy to smuggle through enemy lines due to its innocuous
appearance, and the OSS sent a bunch of it to Chinese resistance
fighters against the Japanese
“wait what?”, I’m sure you’re saying. “finally something that
doesn’t explode and it’s…just a totally normal thing?”
yeah. Here’s the thing: if you sent an agent or resistance fighter
into occupied territory, there was a pretty good chance they were
gonna get frisked at some point, because that was a pretty routine
occurrence in places like occupied France. If said agent/resistance
member were carrying, say, a map showing escape routes or a code
sheet for them to use to send information, and they got searched,
either that paper is gonna be found with their other papers or, if
hidden on their person, make a pretty distinct crinkling noise when
the Gestapo agent gets friendly with that area. Plus, you know, paper
doesn’t do great when wet
the solution to this was printing stuff on silk, like this:
this is Leo Marks, the creator of the silk code keys and one time
pads that SOE used for their agents, holding a one time code pad that has
been printed on silk
these silk documents could be sewn into an agent’s clothing while
still being totally undetectable to a pat-down, or even hidden
somewhere like rolled up in a thin tube and then stuck inside a
shoelace. If you went a step further and printed the document using
invisible ink, agents could carry maps around in plain view as
handkerchiefs or have their codebook printed directly onto their
underwear, because hey why not
I know it sounds boring after all this exploding wildlife, but
silk-printed documents were hugely important to covert
operations during WWII
should not be guns but are, in fact, guns
tbh I’m just gonna let the pictures speak for themselves on this one
apparently there was an umbrella one too but I couldn’t find a picture of that one
you’re dropping people into enemy territory to gather intelligence,
you need some way to communicate with them. This was a problem, since
cell phones hadn’t been invented yet and radios at the time were
like, fucking huge, which
is not great when you’re trying to hide them from the Gestapo
got around this problem by creating the suitcase radio, which is
exactly what it sounds like- a big old radio disguised as a suitcase.
Obviously they weren’t gonna stand up to any examination more
rigorous than “yes that is suitcase shaped”, but it allowed
agents to at least walk around in public with it without attracting
too much attention
keeping with the “problems with radios” theme, we have the OSS’
Joan-Eleanor system. See, normal radio frequencies were monitored by
both sides in the war, which was Not Great. It meant both that radio
transmissions could be intercepted by the enemy (and subsequently
decoded, like Germany’s Enigma messages), and also that you could use
radio direction finders to pinpoint the location of a broadcasting
radio. Every time a covert agent turned on their radio to report
something, they ran the risk of being located and hella murdered
the Joan-Eleanor (or J-E) system, in contrast, was a Very High
Frequency (VHF) system. VHF bands couldn’t be easily monitored,
unlike the frequency bands used by other radios.
Why? I actually have no idea. Listen I just read things and ramble
about them on the internet, I don’t know jack shit about radios
anyway, as a result the system was hard to detect but very short
range, so it worked by giving the agent on the ground a hand-held
transmitter (the Joan), that talked to a bigger transceiver (the
Eleanor) that was in a plane. At prearranged times the plane would
fly over wherever the agent was and they could have an undetectable
it’s a compass! It’s a button! It’s a compass hidden inside a button!
okay this one isn’t technically equipment, but it’s cool and
was used by spies so you can deal with it
it turns out that during the war pretty much everyone listened to the
BBC, even at risk of arrest in occupied territories. The SOE used
this to their advantage by working with the BBC to broadcast
seemingly meaningless words or phrases at certain times, which were
actually pre-arranged coded messages or orders to agents or
if an agent had to win over the resistance’s trust or prove they were
actually spies and not just random dudes, they could ask the person
whose trust they were trying to win to provide them with a personal
word or phrase. Then the agent could radio the SOE, give them the
word/phrase and ask it to be broadcast at a certain time, which the
other person would hear, and bam best friends
is there anything more quintessentially spy? agents were often supplied with a little vial of invisible ink before being dropped into occupied territory, for communications outside radio broadcasts. the ink could be developed (made visible) by means of chemicals or exposure to ultraviolet light (some invisible inks are developed by heat, but the SOE at least avoided those because of the worryingly high risk of accidental exposure. “whoops I sat to close to the fire and now everyone can see I actually drew little devil horns on this poster of Hitler you gave me”)
REAL COOL FACT: Josephine Baker, the famous Black singer, was actually a spy for the French Resistance during the war, and smuggled information during her concert tours of Europe by writing it in invisible ink on her sheet music! wow!
okay I’m gonna stop now because I keep thinking of more shit to add
and if I do this will literally never end (sorry). For further
reading I recommend the O'Donnell book mentioned above and Leo Marks’
Between Silk and Cyanide. Also apparently H. Keith Melton’s
OSS Special Weapons & Equipment is really good, but I
haven’t read it personally (though I totally stole the pictures of
the OSS guns from there, hooray the internet)
Supreme Chancellor James Moriarty of the Galactic Republic.
Darth Veritan and Darth Vellian.
Jedi General Beth “Skywalker” L’Straid and private consulting detective Sherlock Holmes (formerly also of the Jedi Order).
Jedi General Beth L’Straid and padawan Deirdre*.
Jedi General Beth L’Straid and Senator Maré Amarina**.
Beth’s different-colored clothing isn’t a mistake, btw; it’s actually on-purpose. Realistically, a Jedi can’t wear the exact same robes every day. They do appear, however, to stick to the same color scheme once they’ve picked one (note the changes in Obi-Wan’s robes from TPM to RotS).
Also, coloring with pencils and making it look good is hard. Send help.
*Deirdre is one of the Baker Street Irregulars in Sherlock Holmes in the 22nd Century. **Yes, Maré is Mary, emphasis on the second syllable of her name rather than the first.
Rest in peace Jeremy Brett, who died on this day September 12th, 1995. I was fifteen years old, and–while I was introduced to Sherlock Holmes when my dad handed me the canon–we watched the Granada series religiously as a family. Or at least it was religiously for me, because now I am a Baker Street Babe, Adventuress of Sherlock Holmes, and Baker Street Irregular, I can look back and thank Mr. Brett for giving me the first version of Sherlock Holmes who wasn’t solely in my imagination, the first solid human Holmes I ever loved, and when people ask me my religious affiliation, my answer is “Sherlockian.”
Thank you for all you did for Holmes fans everywhere. – lyndsayfaye
So, I’m having a grand time reading The Baker Street Reader right now, and I came across this curious similarity.
The essay ‘Watson was a Woman’ by Rex Stout is in there. For those who don’t know, it’s basically arguing that Holmes and Watson were a couple, except it’s phrased in veiled not so charming heteronormative and homophobic ways- with a classic sexist gem of “And we have been expected to believe that a man wrote these things!” I mean, the Very Idea. Shock, horror(!)
But then, straight after that essay, there’s a counter-argument by another Baker Street Irregular: ‘That Was No Lady’ by Julian Wolff. Here’s the part that grabbed my attention:
As a final clincher, we have only to quote the description of Watson obtained by Lestrade from members of Milverton’s household: “He was a middle-sized, strongly built man- square jaw, thick neck, moustache…” Obviously Mr. Stout will have to cherchez elsewhere for La Femme.
Rings a bell, eh? Mycroft tells Sherlock at the graveyard in TAB to “Cherchez la femme.” Obviously, it’s a well-used phrase, @deducingbbcsherlock especially has great theories on the implications of Mycroft saying it.
But, I also like to think that this line popping up in The Abominable Bride was a reference to these two essays. In TSo3, John asks “Am I woman? […] Yeah, but am I a pretty lady?” And as Sherlock ‘looks for the woman’ in the graveyard, “the cupboard is bare.”
In other words, there is no woman to be found. The story of John and Sherlock is a romance, yes, but not a heteronormative one.
I know a lot of Sherlockians here are big Granada fans, but I don’t hear much about the Basil Rathbone movies… probably due to the age of the fandom, I suppose.
But I just watched this as part of my ShSpesh prep work, and WOW. Recommended!
Key points of the Moriarty story arc from TGG and TRF comes from this movie, not to mention some delightful Sheriarty/foyay and Moriarty being deliciously weird about an orchid.
Also featuring the dressing gown from TAB, and Billy the Baker Street Irregular in drag. :) And it’s beautifully shot and acted.
@finalproblem has been theorizing a bunch about which ACD story is being referenced by the stained glass door in the trailers for TAB… But I wonder if it isn’t ACD canon at all, but the Star of Delhi from this film? After all, Moftiss have always felt free to count all adaptations as their “canon”.
Throwing spaghetti at the wall and seeing what sticks
(Or are we done yet?)
I apologize for this really long meandering post, but I just to get the WTFry out of my brain so I
can work on my grading…
first some info about me so you get an idea where I am coming from. I am a middle-aged academic currently
teaching in the Midwest, USA (known as Hoth right now), finishing up a terminal
degree, and a published writer. Originally
from the Washington State, while we were up, my sister and I were introduced to
lurid crime novels and gossip rags, the gorier the better, by our mother, and
one of the things we enjoyed doing was debating the “whys” and “hows” of the
crime or scandal. Our favorite book was “Hollywood
Babylon,” my copy of which still is on my sister’s book shelf.
came to the “Sherlock” fandom through Conan Doyle. I hung out with people who were part of a
chapter of the Baker Street Irregulars, a group that includes law enforcement,
housewives, businesspeople, et al. It
was a mixed bunch, but the thing we had in common was a love of dissecting the
stories in Doyle’s books, and this often led to dissecting stories in real
life, whether it was the Michael Jackson case, Jeffrey Dahmer, or Watergate (I
am dating myself here). The humor was
dark and the suspicions darker, and more often than not, we came onto the
answers through this debate, and in the process, my bullshit meter was honed.
someone on the spectrum, and considered high functioning, I also had to hone my
ability to read people by their actual physical actions-the tenseness in a
face, the position of the body, and also by the type of language: are they
being vague? Specific? While I don’t
think eye contact is a sure sign of lying, a sudden difference in the type of
eye contact usually represents some kind of waffling, avoidance, or outright obfuscation.
just posted on the changes in Benjammin’s behavior over the past seven or so
months. The physical signs are there and I agree with her 100%. There are
also way too many players in this PR battle, and it must be making B’s mind whirl,
and I would bet dollars to donuts the man is burnt out.
mentioned what does Squidly have on the man, but I think Carmen came the
closest. The change in B’s behavior
began when the wedding announcement was put in the papers. Why would it even matter that such an action
was taken? The rumors would have done
enough for his campaign run and the promotion for TIG, and I think Weinstein was all for the rumors and a
face to go with them. It would work and
then Squidly could go back to whatever it was she was doing.
runs with a special crowd. Pretend
artists, and trustfund babies, and those too cool for school. There’s occasionally a talented bugger in the
bunch, and the others see this as a sign of how special they all are by
association. Rich entitled brats who somehow are emotionally stunted and
an escort seems to be one of those “cool” things young women and some men in these
circles can do for pocket change. Tea on
young (and some very young) socialites being escorts comes out in the gossip
rags, and sometimes make the “real” news.
Most of these young women don’t need to do this, but they must get a
rush out of manipulating men and traveling and pretending to be badder than
said, I don’t think being an escort is an immoral issue. I will admit I am squicked about it, but I
think it should be legal so that women who are in the business get equal
protection under the law, have access to medical care and retirement, and
everything that goes with many jobs. It’s the scamming and lying that irks me.
issue is that on the money side, these people have access to cash, from allowances to trusts to investments. They are often on boards of nonprofits
(because there have to be so many officers) their mothers and fathers form to
put cash in a place where it’s nontaxable, invested usually in stocks, and any
money paid out further saves on taxes for the donor. It’s a completely legal shenanigan, and it’s a
part of that social system of wealthy people who have these grand non-profits that
supposedly work for the “poors,” when in fact it’s to buff their own image and
pretend they are better than they are.
Often there are catches to any organization who actually works with ill,
disabled, or impoverished people to see any of this money. We see demands with the Bill Gates Foundation in
the schools, and with the Komen American Cancer Society-to get money, an
organization must meet certain criteria. So not only do these people stash money, they put their own moral stance on how the money is spent regardless of evidence of effectiveness (see also: Autism Speaks).
non-profits can be a way of siphoning money.
What if he who must be named is part of a group whose wealthy families
do these things? Some of these young
people, who are on the boards, actually are paid as part of the
non-profit? Good example: Sarah Palin’s
daughter Bristol was a paid member of one of her mother’s PAC’s, which operated
in a similar fashion. Being a board member entitles one to a regular income if the non-profit is set up for it. That’s why Palin was criticized-what did Bristol do for her wages? Much waffling was made.
These are also great places to hide money not quite “legal." Start a nonprofit, put in money, say $30,000, and call it a donation, and no-one will question it. There is a catch: there has to be a plan for the money if it is used unless it is to go for pay for executive officers. Taxes do have to be filed on those wages, but so what? They are now legal. Money laundering.
know I am rambling, but what if Benjammin’s got involved in a group he thought
were the “cool” kids, and fell in with sharks instead? What if what this group plays nice until they
see an opening and then take advantage of a weakness? This
situation wouldn’t even be very organized until a mark was made. Once a mark was in play, then the
organization would formalize and the scam would take place. Since some of the
young women were playing at escort among the wealthy, they would be privy to
lots of weird stuff, and many people would be vulnerable. Remember the blind about the escort of the fiancée
of an actor who had blackmailed an A list director? What if it was this bunch, and the money was
siphoned off into one of these trusts.
another blind from Enty discussing the cashflow strapped boyfriend of said fiancée. These funds can only spit out so much money
before coming under the scrutiny of the feds. What if they lived beyond their means or overdealt their hand? If Squidly’s “friend” he who can’t
be named got himself in trouble, and Squidly’s contract was about up, or the
producer caught wind of their shenanigans and threatened to cut them off
earlier, and that would explain the wedding announcement. As someone discovered, the wedding
announcement is no longer listed in the paper that published it. The paper pulled it recently which means they know it’s not legal. Interesting.
I digress. So not only did the wedding announcement appear at the moment she was
about to be booted, there began to be rumors of pregnancy at the same
time. Cue Palm Spring Debacle.
who must not be named is also involved with another celebrity who has been
embarrassed by a leak of photos onto the net that are not very flattering. I cannot say he’s involved, but it seems odd
that this is happening during a time of great fuckery on this other front. Our actor is not the only person these people
have scammed, and that situation may bear looking into as well, especially if
the money he who must not be named is not flowing very much.
W. needs a RCG for his star? Cool.
Squidly has the looks and background and a history with B, so W. pops
her in. It becomes apparent that W. doesn’t care if this relationship goes on
after the awards and may be considering axing her earlier because she’s such a
negative PR force on the RC; B is definitely not going to continue it because he’s not interested. So in
desperation the wolves bury their claws into their mark with threats to sink
the PR if W and B don’t continue the campaign and then seal it with the wedding
announcement. Any side could have posted the announcement as a concession, but it looks like itw as probably Squidly’s team. Then the pregnancy rumors start to swirl until the reveal
at Palm Springs, which was all Squidly and he who must not be named’s plan. Since the pregnant fiancée fit the scenario somewhat, W tries to salvage PR. But now it is affecting him and his image.
Then plans for the wedding.
Why the sudden rush and all of the drama with the wedding? My
only explanation is that W. is pushing for some kind of control until after
Oscars, as a scandal right now would derail everyone, and W already
is trying to burnish his own image. The
fact he is on the front lines of this particular picture is telling, because it
means the standard (and now messed up) PR was not working, and if the real
situation got out, could sink a lot of careers, and definitely impact W. W. has to show he was sincerely in this for
the film and to take the focus off the sidelines. So B is convinced that the best way out is to play along until the campaign is over.
whole wedding debacle is related to cash flow.
It was tacky, and cheap, and the way the information was handled was
manipulative and abusive. It definitely
smacked of the Kardashian stinky style of promotion, with twits coming from different
corners of the fiasco and the slow trickle of photos and information that
seemed to get tackier and tackier. The chopper was so WTF, but I think most people responded the same way. The over the top
nature of the whole thing was disgusting.
While Benjammins is trying to distance himself from the nannies and
fannies, all of this PR is aimed at them to get clicks.
They are aiming at the “50 Shades” crowd, those who follow no matter the
problematic nature of the subject of their focus. I think while he’s being fed lines, he is so
done and worn out, he can barely care, so he focused on what does excite him:
now the tickets for Hamlet being confirmed.
Really? How far does this rabbit
hole go down? Or is someone’s PR telling
the Barbican to use this information to gain themselves more PR? I don’t know, but it makes everyone look
tacky, manipulative, and, in the end, abusive. We see it in the fandom with fans
dropping like flies, and the infighting on all sides. Is this cool?
I can’t think any of it can be considered okay.
attempted save during the Oscar campaign is a massive PR project, certainly not beyond W.’s means (though not his temper), and with some of the
other players that would have to be involved, certainly possible. The unpredictability of grifters complicates the process, and now PR for B and W are
desperately trying to stay ahead of the shenanigans at least until after Oscars,
and probably a bit beyond that. That so
many people are involved means we will probably get bits and pieces, and
indeed, we have gotten some very strong hints that not all is right in this
case. That he who must not be named came skulking out of the woods to sniff at
the air to determine where the threat was coming from is no coincidence, and I
bet he discovered people were closer to the truth than he thought, so back to
the woods he went. A couple of pokes with the stick and the sceptics poking
back scared him. We not only figured out
who his current “gf” was, but that she is one of the FOSH, on a nonprofit
board, and is another entitled twit who thinks she’s all that. It’s all there. There’s too much not to find.
do believe Squidly was an escort because so many in that crowd look at it as a
thrill and Squidly probably needed to do the job because of her own cash flow
problem. This puts her in a position to troll for marks. According to some comments on DL, someone in
the field mentioned she showed up as one of the escorts for a party of wealthy
businessmen, and stuck out by her attitude, and I’m inclined to believe it to
be true. She certainly sticks out now. Am I absolutely sure? No. But it fits the facts on the ground
situation sucks. B seems to be a talented, nice,
and naïve guy, who wanted to play with the cool kids, sucked up a bit of his
own Koolaid, and got burned. W is not
innocent, but I don’t think this is what he planned for TIG, but he also has
the means to deal with it, but too many people know the truth, but so far he
has kept off the wolves.
a final statement, I don’t know if any of this is true as there are few receipts. It’s just that when I read the stories,
looked at the timeline, and looked at the people involved, there was an awful
lot of smoke. Why so much
negativity? Why the obfuscation? Why the weird language? Why the weird gossip leaks? But I think there is
something hinky going on, and if I didn’t get it out and shared it to get
feedback, I was not going to get anything done today.
now I can return to my own work!
want to thank everyone in the sceptic blogs, especially BTT, TFOE, Carmen1969, and
what-the-fry, for providing places to discuss this looniness and to share
information. I don’t know how this WTFry
is finally going to end up but it’s very, very sad for B.