The Unexpected Ways that Australians are Handing the Keys to their Intellectual Property to Scammers

With the rise of social media and an increasingly interconnected world, the internet has become a double-edged sword, offering countless opportunities for communication, commerce, and information sharing, but also providing fertile ground for scammers to exploit unsuspecting victims.

Australia, like many other countries, is no stranger to the scourge of online scams, but what’s surprising is the array of unexpected ways in which Australians are falling victim to these malicious actors – and how they are unknowingly feeding the beast.

Close to 75 per cent of scams are carried out by information the victims have supplied to the scammer themselves. And as platforms such as Instagram and TikTok explode in popularity, more and more people (primarily young adults) are pretty well handing the keys to their intellectual property over to scammers by unknowingly revealing personal information.

Many Instagram users are doing the exact same thing – with people flashing their overseas holidays and giving scammers a clear view into the fact that they aren’t at home or even in their home country.

The tactics employed by scammers are evolving and with the rise of AI – this will only make it harder for individuals to spot the warning signs. I’m going to discuss the ways Australians are being targeted that you have probably never thought of and what we can do to protect ourselves from falling into these deceptive traps now and into 2024.

TikTok & Take

As the algorithm favours people getting more personal on social media, there has been a massive spike in Instagram and TikTok personalities and alike showcasing all aspects of their lives on their public feeds – from talking to a camera while walking around the house or uploading a dance trend with the exterior of their home in full view.

Many wouldn’t realise scammers are harnessing this content looking for clues, personal information in the background or even trying to hone in on the exact address and movements of these characters – some making huge wealth on the platform. Australians need to get more aware of what they are posting online and how it might attract scammers – check your backgrounds excessively and make sure you’re not giving anything away.

The Crowdsourcing Criminals

With identity theft, a range of doors open for scammers – one that is seeing major prominence is the ‘GoFundMe’ fraudsters who use fake identities or create stories to source millions of dollars fraudulently.

A recent example out of the USA saw a woman face three years in prison for her part in raising close to $600,000 for a made-up homeless good samaritan that she wanted to support.

Stories like this pop up all the time and it pays to use your intuition when it comes to these fundraisers and do your background research to confirm the legitimacy of the fundraiser.

Fake Job Offers: Promises of Prosperity

Time and time again in my work, I hear tragic stories of people falling victim to the promise of a well-paying job. Not only that, but as a migrant myself – many people looking for a fresh start in Australia are some of the prime targets for these types of scams.

More scammers in 2023 are opting to pose as potential employers, offering fake job opportunities that require an upfront payment or asking someone to share a range of personal details – often leading to identity theft or financial losses.

Research is your best friend when it comes to protecting yourself from these scams in 2024 and never pay money upfront for employment opportunities. Legitimate employers will never ask for your personal or financial information before hiring.

Investment Schemes: A Mirage of Wealth

With the rise of more financial-related podcasts, books and content, more Australians are investing their hard-earned money in a range of different platforms in pursuit of growing their money quickly.

With this in mind and again with the rise of AI, we can see a spike in investment scams on the 2024 horizon.

Scammers entice victims with promises of high returns, but they have no intention of delivering. These schemes often lead to significant financial losses and shattered dreams.

Be sceptical of investment schemes that promise unrealistic returns, and never invest money you can’t afford to lose.

My top tip to stay scam-safe as we move into 2024 is to really use your imagination and try to ‘think like a scammer’ when posting anything online.

Using your intuition and being untrustworthy are two critical skills when it comes to protecting yourself online. My number one saying is ‘if it is too good to be true, it probably is!’. Do your research. While it may be challenging to completely eliminate the risk of online scams, awareness, caution, and scepticism can go a long way when it comes to falling prey to deceptive schemes.

Educate yourself and your loved ones and report any suspicious activities to the relevant authorities. By staying informed and cautious, we can reduce the opportunities for scammers and collectively work towards a safer online environment for all Australians.

The Cambridge Five are Four People Plus One

Whether it is done in the name of patriotism or treason, it is wrong.

The British aristocracy that spied for the Soviets

The “Cambridge Five,” arguably the best Cold War espionage outfit, compromised top officials in Western agencies to collect the most sensitive data from them, which they then sent directly to the KGB.

“Deny everything. Never acknowledge anything, not even when they wave proof in your face.”

This is the first and most important lesson that any top spy must learn in order to survive the service. In this way, Kim Philby, the Cold War’s greatest double agent, taught Stasi intelligence in East Berlin.

There are stories of intricate Cold War espionage networks that occasionally sound fabricated. However, few of those stories have the creativity and frightening potential that this one does.

Cambridge’s Five. They were not faceless bureaucrats buried deep within the federal government. These men belonged to the British aristocracy and had attended the University of Cambridge, one of the world’s most prestigious educational institutions.

As students in the 1930s, they formed friendships and ideas that would eventually take them down a path of deception, between the allure of communism and the frightening shadow of fascism.

Tensions in a Cold War-era world

During the interwar years, there was a lot of upheaval and change. Following World War I, Europe was traumatised by the conflict, dealing with the rise of new political ideas and the breakup of empires.

Despite its victory, the United Kingdom was not immune to the continent’s social and economic turmoil.

As unemployment rose and financial hardships exacerbated following the Great Depression, many people began to question the viability of capitalist democracies.

Intellectual circles provided a fertile ground for these waves of discontent, and universities evolved into centres of political discourse and debate.

The nation’s intellectual elite congregated at Cambridge University, where an exceptionally heated ideological battle raged. The institution had long been a bastion of tradition and conventional wisdom, but the 1930s saw the rise of left-wing student organisations, particularly communist sympathisers.

Despite the grim undertones of Stalin’s purges, others saw the Soviet Union as a light of hope against the rise of fascism in Europe, as personified by Mussolini’s Italy and Hitler’s Germany.

How they were hired

Even as the political situation outside its gates became more volatile, young minds were being shaped and influenced in the venerable halls of Cambridge University. Certain groups found communism especially alluring because it evoked ideals of a perfect society based on equality and the common good.

Many people, particularly the Cambridge Five, saw this worldview as a protective shield against the impending authoritarian storm.

However, their radicalisation was more than just a mental endeavour. It was deeply personal, driven by camaraderie in covert meetings and discussion groups, friendships, mentorship, and a sense of shared purpose.

In this situation, the Soviet intelligence agency saw an opportunity. The NKVD, which preceded the KGB, saw potential in these disillusioned young men not just based on their opinions, but also on the future leadership roles they were anticipated to hold.

The hiring process was careful and private. The Soviet officials, who were experts at psychological manipulation, used the young men’s combination of idealism and ambition. They were given the opportunity to actively combat the rise of fascism and develop communism, joining forces with something bigger than themselves.

For example, Kim Philby (about whom I previously wrote) was introduced to the field of espionage by a fellow communist sympathiser, and everything fell into place from there.

Through introductions and recommendations, a group was formed one by one. Every member is progressively meticulously assimilated into the group, believing that their concealed actions are not simply acts of disobedience, but rather an important contribution to a good cause.

What Exactly Were the Cambridge Five?

Philby, Kim
Kim Philby was the most important of them all. Sharp-witted and charismatic, Philby quickly rose through the ranks of the British intelligence agency, eventually gaining a senior position in MI6.

He was one of the KGB’s most valuable assets because of his position, which allowed him to offer the Soviets a wealth of essential information.

Beyond his espionage activities, Philby’s secret life demonstrated his considerable aptitude for deception, as he maintained close contacts with many in the intelligence establishment, including those entrusted to find Soviet spies.

Mr. Donald Maclean
Then there was Donald Maclean, a man as committed to the Communist cause as Philby. McLean acquired access to nuclear and diplomatic secrets while working in the British Foreign Office.

During his tenure, he gently conveyed this intelligence to the Soviet Union, which had a direct impact on the geopolitical landscape of the early Cold War.

Burgess, Guy
Maclean’s friendship with Guy Burgess, another prominent ring member, complicated their espionage efforts.

Burgess appeared to be an unusual option for a spy due to his colourful personality and casual attitude.

Nonetheless, his work at the Foreign Office and then the British Embassy in Washington allowed him to provide critical intelligence to the Soviets on a regular basis, demonstrating the Cambridge network’s effectiveness.

Mr. Anthony Blunt
Anthony Blunt was an equally essential member of the group, even if his contributions were sometimes overshadowed by those of his contemporaries. Blunt was a well-known art historian whose covert operations contradicted his academic pursuits. He was a liaison between MI5 and MI6 in the United Kingdom, giving him access to many intelligence secrets.

Blunt definitely succeeded for many years in advancing Soviet objectives until confessing decades later in exchange for security.

Why did I begin my story with four plus one?

Because the stories about these spies were so widely spread in the early 1990s, the discovery of the fifth member of the group did not fit into anyone’s script.

Anthony Blunt, in particular, had a talent for spying and was drawn to John Cairncross.

Cairncross, John
The Cambridge Five’s story is completed by John Cairncross. Despite being marginalised in popular narratives on occasion, Cairncross made an important contribution.

During WWII, he worked at the code-breaking laboratory Bletchley Park and later in many government ministries, providing the Soviets with a diverse range of intelligence.

What details and secrets did they discover?

The revealed intelligence, which encompassed everything from nuclear research to war preparations, transformed the geopolitical landscape and immensely assisted the Soviet Union in its ambition for global dominance.

Kim Philby maintained an unrivalled position within MI6. He was based in Washington at the onset of the Cold War and had access to the inner workings of the Western intelligence system.

In this capacity, he was able to continue a steady supply of intelligence to Moscow while alluding to suspicion from other spies. Philby specifically briefed the Russians about Operation VALUABLE, a plan to incite an anti-communist revolt in Albania.

His timely intelligence enabled the Soviets and their allies to neutralise the project, ensuring its devastating collapse.

Donald Maclean made significant contributions in a different field. Maclean’s position in the Foreign Office provided him access to the most highly classified nuclear weapons information in the Western world. Subtly, he informed the Soviets about the atomic bomb and, later, US nuclear policy.

By revising its own nuclear plans, the USSR was able to level the playing field in the extremely competitive nuclear arms race.

Despite his troubled personal life, Guy Burgess was a valuable source of diplomatic intelligence for the Soviets.

While working in the British Embassy in Washington, D.C., he supplied the Soviet leadership with an intimate perspective of Western diplomatic attitudes and methods by passing along critical documents pertaining to Anglo-American negotiations.

Meanwhile, Anthony Blunt’s acts were less visible but no less powerful. Because of his position as a liaison between British intelligence services, he was able to obtain a wide range of secrets.

Up the years, he has passed up hundreds of documents ranging from MI5 operations to British agent identities.

John Cairncross, stationed at Bletchley Park, had access to Ultra Secret, which included deciphering the German Enigma codes, as one of the most valuable resources available to the Allies.

During the pivotal Battle of Kursk in 1943, he assisted the Soviets by giving them with critical pieces of this decrypted intelligence.

What prompted their discovery?

Regardless of how diligent the Cambridge Five were, the nature of espionage meant that the potential of detection was always present.

By the early 1950s, cracks in their protective shroud of secrecy began to emerge, thanks in part to Western counterintelligence efforts and the testimony of Eastern Bloc defectors. The intelligence community began to piece together a picture of severe betrayal within their ranks.

The defection of Igor Guzenko, a Soviet codebreaker in Canada (the guy who initiated the “Cold War,” about whom I previously wrote), sowed the first seeds of suspicion. Despite the fact that Guzenko did not provide direct evidence in regard to the Cambridge Five, his revelations about broad Soviet espionage operations in the West prompted intelligence organisations to reassess and scrutinise their operations.

As the investigations advanced, the web that surrounded the Cambridge network became tighter.

Donald Maclean was among the first to be probed since his profession allowed him to have access to nuclear secrets. By 1951, MI5 was on the verge of demonstrating his treason. As the noose tightened, the Soviets arranged Maclean’s escape with Philby’s help.

In an unexpected change of events, Guy Burgess, who was neither under suspicion nor planning to defect at the time, joined McLean, ostensibly to aid him. Burgess’ abrupt departure, paired with McLean’s, added to the mystery and raised further concerns.

Because of his strong relationship with Burgess and his respected position in MI6, Philby was definitely suspect. Despite being “cleared” in a cursory investigation, his reputation in the intelligence community has suffered. Philby opted to desert to the Soviet Union, where he would spend the rest of his life, as new evidence emerged and another session of severe interrogation.

Anthony Blunt’s presentation was longer and more detailed. Blunt was exposed as a spy in 1964 after American defector Michael Straight provided evidence. Blunt confessed in exchange for immunity from prosecution in a secret bargain to avoid public humiliation. He didn’t come out publicly until 1979, which startled many British establishment figures.

Despite being probed several times throughout the 1960s, John Cairncross only admitted to his espionage activities in 1964. His public exposure was delayed, as was Blunt’s, and his participation became well-recognised in the 1990s.

Their influence on the remainder of the Cold War

The idea that members of the nation’s elite, educated at its most prestigious institutions, might turn against their own country startled the establishment.

Western intelligence organisations, particularly Britain’s MI5 and MI6, were badly shocked by the Cambridge Five’s treachery.

Their impact has been felt in political corridors, intelligence services, and the broader social fabric, altering people’s notions of loyalty, trust, and the weakness of democratic systems.

It was emphasised how critical it was to examine internal security measures, screening methods, and recruitment practises as soon as possible.

Politically, the UK’s public relations suffered significantly as a result of the defection and the subsequent revelations.

They presented an establishment riddled with flaws that allowed ideological infiltration, as well as showing clear flaws in the nation’s intelligence system.

After Kim Philby, Guy Burgess, Donald McLean, Anthony Blunt, and John Cairncross, all screening agent procedures failed. There is still no open discussion on the damage they caused to their country.

The British MI-5 and MI-6 kept the 400-page record about them hidden for fifty years, maybe out of embarrassment or fear of the repercussions. They worked extremely hard to keep their operations covert, particularly from America, which they also dealt heavy blows to.

The lessons learned from their story are still pertinent to discussions about intelligence, national security, and the complexities of international combat today.

Disinformation – Is a pen more powerful than a sword at times?

Facts, in my opinion, don’t matter much these days and can be readily countered with a simple “what is it” query.

There are distractions for practically every topic, including the need to fix the economy, combat climate change, alleviate refugee misery, and cope with war.

The “simpler” past, in which the world was divided into two ideologically opposed camps expressing instantly recognisable ideals of modernity and government, has long passed. Naturally, Cold War propagandists twisted the facts to sell their ideas.

However, the facts were respected. As we enter the “post-truth era,” it appears that disseminating misinformation is the only game in town.

Is it correct or incorrect? The fight against misinformation

Today, it is clear to all of us that spreading false information is a low-cost, simple, and highly mobile tactic that is difficult to detect.

Certain techniques and methods may appear to be unique.

Understanding the methodologies, on the other hand, provides insight into their potential efficacy and explains why a competitor could employ unique strategies in the realm of information operations.

Competing disinformation attempts will harm the economy, business, and life if effective mitigation measures are not put in place.

There is no vaccine that can protect against incorrect information.

Nonetheless, historical lessons provide insight and encouragement for countering the expansion of hostile information operations.

I previously covered this topic in the post “Misinformation vs. Disinformation: Differences” where I observed that because the information environment is constantly changing, it can be difficult to distinguish between what is true and what is untrue. This is especially true for the numerous types of information that may be accessible on the internet, such as incorrect and misleading information.

But first, let’s go back to the beginning of the counter-disinformation campaign: the Cold War.

Most CIA covert operations used misinformation tactics as a common approach, and the Soviet Union elevated the practise to an art form during the Cold War.

Journalist for Agents

During the Cold War, journalists were used as influence brokers.

A foreign journalist would manufacture reports favouring the opposition, either because they were paid to do so or because they despised a regime that had harmed their family.

Using the media to influence a country’s political system is a standard intelligence operation; the Russians, Americans, British, and French have all done it, and everyone does it.

That’s how things used to be done.

Cold War propaganda was essentially “truth campaigns” or struggles for people’s hearts and minds centred on a simple binary decision.

On the one hand, Americans applauded democracy and the free market while portraying totalitarian communist authority as a threat to all forms of freedom. In contrast, the Soviets emphasised social justice while emphasising the disastrous consequences of capitalism-induced inequality.

Journalists had an important role in this.

The effectiveness of both American and Soviet propaganda, however, was predicated on relative truth: for example, it could not be contested that individual freedom was poorly recognised in the Soviet bloc.

Poverty and homelessness were other visible consequences of capitalism’s shortcomings. Effective Soviet and American propaganda did not require the development of new facts, but rather a focus on the most convenient ones.

Disinformation happens when a government plants a false report in a newspaper while concealing the authorship. When it publicly presents false “alternative facts,” this is disinformation.

Strategy and tactics for disinformation

While disinformation is receiving a lot of attention in the media right now, it can be difficult to define.

It is best defined as the deliberate dissemination of incorrect, misleading, or distracting information. To be effective, it must be untraceable to a government, which usually necessitates the cooperation of a clandestine intelligence outfit.

It is distinct from propaganda, which is designed to persuade, and misinformation, which is false or misleading information distributed freely and publicly by a government.

Disinformation has been employed in warfare for a long time.

On the other side, it experienced unprecedented institutionalisation in the twentieth century.

In Soviet Russia, the Bolsheviks expanded on the deception methods used against them by their tsarist predecessors. Following that, the Bolsheviks used deception in their political war against both internal and external ideological opponents.

The foreign intelligence branch of the Soviet secret police, the Cheka, later renamed the KGB, had a disinformation unit from the start.

During World War II, Soviet Russia and the other major warring nations used deception in their military endeavours.

Following the dissolution of the wartime Grand Alliance, its members — the United Kingdom, the United States, and the Soviet Union – used deceit as part of their respective ideologically driven Cold War grand designs in the postwar years.

Although Kremlin misinformation tactics were similar to Western deception efforts throughout the Cold War, they differed in scope, breadth, and type. British and American intelligence used disinformation to aid clandestine operations tactically.

The Kremlin used disinformation to achieve a geopolitical goal: to destabilise the society of its “Main Adversary,” the United States, and to disrupt relations between it and other Western nations. It did so to defend its strategic interests from perceived US and NATO aggression.

In response, Western intelligence agencies used covert, unrecognised propaganda to widen schisms in Soviet and Eastern Bloc groups.

However, unlike Soviet intelligence in the West, these intelligence organisations were unable to undertake information warfare behind the Iron Curtain since they were police nations with no press or expression freedom.

Thus, there was a fundamental gap between Soviet and Western deceit during the Cold War.

Furthermore, Soviet “political warfare” at home was extended into international disinformation campaigns against Western nations, with the former Soviet Bloc populace serving as the primary targets of Soviet active measures.

During the Cold War, Western governments did not use deception as effectively against their own citizens.

Are Cold War reprisal measures still effective in the digital age?

The digital revolution of today constitutes the most significant transformation in the history of ideas being transferred since the creation of the printing press in the fifteenth century, which created decades of social turmoil and contributed to civil wars in both Europe and the New World.

Perhaps it is too early to predict how social media will affect society in the future.

Never before has so much information been made available to so many people as a result of the internet. 90% of the world’s data was created in the two years before 2018.

The exceptional and exponential data surge has altered both the distribution and consumption of information. As a result, it is tempting to conclude that the history of misinformation from pre-digital times does not apply to the present.

Nonetheless, the history of deceit throughout the Cold War provides useful insights.

In every aspect of our life, we draw lessons from the past, including what went well and poorly, as well as any lessons that might be applied to the present. On a daily level, we use history in this way.

“Actionable measures”

During the Cold War, the KGB utilised a range of “active measures” to try to influence world events. They were covert, aggressive weapons of Soviet foreign policy, aimed to destabilise international relations, disparage Soviet enemies, and sway foreign governments’ policies in favour of Soviet programmes and aims.

Active measures included a variety of covert operations such as manipulating the media, forming fictitious groups, fabricating documents, conducting influence operations (via bribery, blackmail, and defamation of opponents), and carrying out “special actions” with varying degrees of violence.

To put it plainly, they participated in what Moscow called “political warfare.”

The KGB & GRU are focused on active measure

Service A, a unique section inside his overseas (previously “First Chief”) Directorate, was in charge of them. In the 1950s, Service A was given its own Directorate, or Department, within the KGB in acknowledgement of its importance.

KGB political officers stationed abroad were expected to dedicate around 25% of their time to active measures, indicating the importance placed on them by the “Centre,” the KGB headquarters in Moscow.

Following that, the KGB emphasised the importance of proactive measures even more.

President Putin, a former KGB officer skilled with Soviet active measures, has updated the old KGB craft’s harmonics for the current digital era.

However, since the Cold War’s conclusion, the information environment that Russia and other countries use to distribute false information has evolved dramatically.

Lies are spreading faster than they have ever before in history. Real groups are no longer required to propagate misleading information, as they were during the Cold War; instead, fictional Twitter and Facebook pages are the new front for misinformation.

Worse, when it comes to new technology, people in Western countries appear to be more likely to believe factually incorrect information, garbage, on the internet.

Unlike during the Cold War, any effective effort to combat misinformation in today’s climate will require the incorporation of technology and social media corporations, as they have provided platforms for the spread of misinformation.

Disinformation poses fundamental concerns for civilisations such as factual accuracy, which will require societal efforts and extensive education to overcome rather than spies and their covert weapons.

In the age of social media and the internet, it appears that asking questions and expressing disagreements has become commonplace.

It is difficult to imagine any facts or concepts that can be debated without causing harm. Beliefs are now absolute, but facts are no longer.

As a result, the stakes are higher for everyone who believes that the world is not flat.

Fortunately, they remain the majority.

“Climate weapons”: Are they real or the stuff of conspiracy theories and urban legends?

Since the entire world has been affected by weather events characterised by high temperatures on one side and heavy precipitation on the other, lunacy has reigned among conspiracy theorists, and many of them talk about “climate weapons” and “climate terrorism” that can harm the planet, people, or specific countries.

Such weapons development has been ongoing for decades, and these projects have consumed enormous funds, hinting that they still exist as endeavours.

But where do you draw the line between fantasy, science, and fact?

Is the administration trying to hide something?

Some people talk about “weather cannons,” as if anybody can build them to produce showers or droughts, while others talk seriously about “climate attacks” or “geophysical weapons,” even if there is no evidence that everything that happens in the atmosphere is caused by the employment of such weapons. There were few instances that stick out.

The Popeye Project

So far, it is safe to say that the weather has only been changed once with the intention of causing military and political harm to the enemy.

The American army carried out “Operation Popeye” in Vietnam from 1967 until 1972.

Military transport planes sprinkled silver iodide between the clouds during the rainy season, causing more rain to fall.

In 1966, neighbouring Laos developed this technology, which was later used in combat against the Viet Cong.

“Operation Popeye” was a top-secret weather modification attempt at the time that resulted in the monsoon period being extended by 30 to 45 days on average with considerable rainfall in targeted locations.

Truck traffic was suspended because of the continual rain, and the operation was declared a success. The CIA and then-Secretary of State Henry Kissinger decided on a chemical weather manipulation programme in Southeast Asia without consulting the United Nations.

Dr. Donald Hornig, the US President’s approved science and technology adviser and a former member of the nuclear weapons development team, started the whole thing with a simple experiment.

Rain-soaked segments of the Viet Cong army’s communication and logistical lines, as well as parts of the tunnels used by Vietnamese combatants for supplies and movement.

The operation’s short-term impact, which could not have a major impact on the course of the war, was its failure. Ordinary bulldozers were far less expensive and more efficient for the same “job.”

Unlike other conspiracy theories, none of this was concealed.

Scientists have been investigating active disturbance and its influence on the climate since the 1930s. Only the Americans chose to “try it in practise” after finding silver iodide’s activity in 1946.

The Cold War

During the Cold War, but also before it, the USSR conducted extensive research in this area and was far ahead of other countries, if not militarily, then economically.

Techniques to avoid hail formation, for example, were created and are currently used in agriculture in the Caucasus, Moldova, and Central Asia, particularly to safeguard grapes and cotton.

Such military initiatives were developed by Soviet researchers in order to impair the electronic and optical tracking equipment of the time due to adverse weather.

Simply defined, these devices were created with the intention of “blinding” the opponent by dispersing particles in the atmosphere that formed “impermeable curtains,” such as opaque crystalline fog.

Alternatively, they manipulated the environment and improved atmospheric conditions to allow their own radio waves to flow more freely.

Finally, because it was learned how fog crystallises at freezing temperatures and how to reduce the threat to civil aviation in the far north, the result was economic.

“Stormfury” is a TV Show

However, all of the above is a scientific and technological routine that most conspiracy theorists are disinterested in.

Dealing with typhoons, on the other hand, is already far more exciting. Few people realise that this was attempted by both sides of the Cold War at the same time.

The Americans tested on their own country because typhoons are often there and no one paid notice, and the Soviet Union worked on research and testing with Cuba and Vietnam.

The Americans believed that it was sufficient to destroy any piece of the cloud in certain locations, modify the cloud’s energy balance, and change the path and direction of the typhoon.

The goal for US scientists was not to launch a “strike” on certain foggy areas but to calculate precisely which way the storm would turn next.

The project proved impractical even with the Pentagon’s supercomputers at the time, and the “Stormfury” programme was gradually phased out after 1980. However, some amateurs and enthusiasts were so captivated by Hollywood that they achieved “great results” there.

In the Soviet Union, people thought differently.

They wanted to find the typhoon’s “weak points” so they could change its direction and strength. Using this approach, Soviet scientists advanced and discovered how to shape typhoon forms, giving them some control over them.

However, that is only one of the Soviet Union’s achievements, and the typhoon offers no remedy.

The key concern, as it was in the United States during “Operation Popeye,” was expense.

It takes unfathomable amounts of energy to create a typhoon powerful enough to demolish a big modern metropolis for military purposes. Such technology is simply not available now.

That’s the end of the narrative.  Or ?!

Is the government hiding something?

Prior to the 1980s, the world was entertained by a wide range of hoaxes perpetrated by the governments and secret agencies of the Soviet Union, the United States, and a few other countries, including the United Kingdom, Canada, and South Africa. Psychics, super-soldiers, and “racial plagues” in South Africa, which were supposed to be viruses that only plagued the Zulu tribe, were among them. “Alien intelligence” and weapons such as ion, seismic, and climate change should never be mentioned.

The turning point was a new wave of scientific and technological developments, and most of the “exotic programmes” were gradually forgotten.

Many years later, both Russia and George W. Bush were deemed responsible for the devastation caused by Hurricane “Katarina” in Louisiana. Barack Obama was blamed with “ordering” Hurricane Sandy just a week before the election. According to one version, Governor Schwarzenegger ordered California to go through a drought so that the wealthiest state in the country could get federal subsidies. Americans may have started “sending” hurricanes to Panama and Nicaragua as early as 1969.

Former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad should be added to this list because he openly blamed Washington for the country’s thirty-year drought. Ironically, a heavy rainstorm hit Tehran just as he finished his speech.


The majority of theories continue to centre on the American HAARP system, a huge high-frequency antenna system built in Alaska in 1997.

The US Defence Advanced Study Projects Agency (DARPA), which assists the US in understanding anything unknown, has officially directed it to do a study on the ionosphere and atmosphere.

Nonetheless, the research has produced no helpful results and is prohibitively expensive.

The US Air Force shuttered the Alaska centre in 2014, stating that they will instead develop other techniques for ionospheric research and monitoring, however they did not specify which.

DARPA cancelled the remaining programme and assistance offered to the facility that summer and the entire complex was transferred to the University of Alaska a year later and no longer performs military responsibilities.

In any case, conspiracy theorists continue to blame the complex’s antennae for the advent of unusual diseases, accidents, and disasters.

There are two other comparable molecules with much less energy. They are in northern Norway, near Tromso and Longyearbyen.

The secrecy of these facilities has given rise to numerous rumours. A forerunner to the HAARP facility was also decommissioned in the same city in Alaska in 2009, and another is being rebuilt in Puerto Rico.

Russia has two ionospheric research facilities, but they utilise significantly less energy than those in Norway. Both are operational.

The “Sura” project in the Nizhny Novgorod region appears “scary” in the same way that HAARP does, and another is under construction at the Siberian Physical and Technical Institute in Tomsk.

Finally, climatic weapons could be considered “urban legends” comparable to the American “Bogeyman” or “War of Mutants in the Moscow Subway.”

This is not to argue that having an active influence on the atmosphere is impossible.

To be serious, advanced countries have sophisticated environmental monitoring systems in place.

There are not only atmospheric and submarine activities, but also seismic activities, but using such weapons is simply impossible since it makes no sense to generate challenges and expenses that outweigh the influence of such technologies on the battlefield.

Conspiracy theories will always exist, but the most important thing to remember is to investigate while also knowing the measure.

“Everything supernatural is actually natural, it just hasn’t been explained yet,” Nikola Tesla famously said.

Gaddafi’s Amazonian Guard, the Revolutionary Nuns – Haris al-Has

Gaddafi’s Amazons: Strict training, no sex

Muammar Gaddafi’s female bodyguards were known as the Revolutionary nuns. In Europe, they were known as Amazons, and in North Africa, they were known as Haris al-Has.

Their aim was to protect Libya’s leader at all costs.

For years, Colonel Muammar Gaddafi of Libya was surrounded by forty made-up and fashion-decorated virgins who kept an eye on him and maintained his personal safety.

The Colonel was scared for his life and was guarded by a “gang” of attractive and well-trained female bodyguards for decades. Forty girls were in charge of his security.

Despite having graduated from Gaddafi’s elite women’s military institution in Tripoli in 1979, they all seem ready for the catwalk with their camouflage, high heels, and designer eyewear.

That academy came to symbolise “women’s liberation” for Libyan women.

Gaddafi is said to have rationalised his decision by declaring, “I promised my mother that I would improve the position of women in Libya.”

Gaddafi had previously been protected by East German secret services. The majority of his bodyguards came from Poland, Germany, and Bulgaria.

The Academy of Sciences

Although it was impossible for outsiders to gain access to this military institution, evidence gradually emerged that demonstrates how rigors the training programme is: rising up at 4:30 a.m., exercising for 90 minutes, and then attending classes focused on assault and defence strategies.

The three-year training programme covers all aspect of the military programme.

Hand-to-hand combat, rocket-guided grenade launching, and aeroplane piloting were among the abilities taught to pupils at the Academy.

The female bodyguards all renounced marriage and sex in order to defend Gaddafi till his death.

During the 1998 Islamic extremist attack, one of them carried out the oath when she threw herself at Gaddafi’s commander. Aisha was her name. A hail of bullets killed her and injured two other female bodyguards.

He was apparently convinced that female assassins would shoot more powerfully, although he never explained why he chose only female bodyguards.

Furthermore, he believed that a combative, well-trained woman, like women in other Arab countries, would be able to protect herself in order not to fall victim—that is, become easy prey.

Their camouflaged clothing, high heels, and sunglasses belied their true identities, as they were all trained assassins who had completed their training at Tripoli’s elite women’s military academy.

Before they could begin bodyguard training, every female bodyguard had to be a virgin. If they pass the training and are individually selected for duty by the colonel, they must commit to celibacy.

They were all skilled with firearms and cold weapons, as well as martial arts.

They were intended to be combat-ready for formal gatherings, yet while wearing military uniforms, they were allowed to wear jewellery, high heels, and makeup.

Many close to him, however, claimed that the colonel just preferred the company of young women.

Libyan ladies during Muammar Gaddafi’s reign

In 1975, Gaddafi published the Green Book, a small pamphlet detailing his political ideas. Throughout his presidency, teachers used his works in the classroom, and his quotations could be found all around Libya.

One of the chapters was about women and their place in society.

Although men and women are born equal, Gaddafi believes there are intrinsic differences between the sexes. As a result, they have distinct and specific functions in everyday life.

The Libyan leader went on to remark that while women have the right to work, their appearance should be tailored to them rather than the other way around.

Despite stating this in the Green Book, Libya’s leader was emphatic that “women should be trained to fight, so that they do not become easy prey for their enemies.” Having female bodyguards, he believes, is a step towards women’s liberation.

Under Gaddafi’s rule, women were permitted to attend colleges and universities. They could also work as engineers, doctors, nurses, or police officers.

At the time of his death in 2011, more than half of the university’s students were female.

“Revolutionary nuns” at work

In 1981, the Revolutionary Nuns made their global premiere in Syria. During the trip, Gaddafi met with Syria’s then-president, Hafez al-Assad.

In 1998, a mob of fanatics rushed Gaddafi’s limousine in Derna, Libya.

In an attempt to save the Libyan leader’s life, one of his bodyguards was killed; seven others were also injured.

Aisha, the Revolutionary Nuns’ main security officer at the time, was the female bodyguard who saved his life.

In November 2006, Gaddafi and about 200 heavily armed bodyguards arrived at Abuja International Airport in Nigeria. When airport security refused to let them enter because they were armed, Gaddafi became enraged.

Following a brief clash between security and bodyguards, Libya’s enraged leader prepared to march to the capital. The intervention of Nigeria’s president at the time, Olusegun Obasanjo, only made matters worse.

Gaddafi arrived in Italy in June 2009, escorted by approximately 300 bodyguards.

He slept in a huge Bedouin tent in a central Rome Park during his vacation.

Is it also conceivable that Gaddafi was the first to identify today’s global trend, which is the increased discretion required of female bodyguards?

Gaddafi’s Amazons were dubbed “The Amazons who dress in Kalashnikovs like Gucci accessories.” They sparked debate in the West because they were well-trained, handsome intelligence operatives who were also fashion oriented.

These were ladies who could knock you off your feet. And not only metaphorically!

The media labelled Gaddafi the “Libyan Hugh Hefner,” accusing him of discrimination since he is surrounded by attractive girls; on the other side, some believed that the Gaddafi regime’s decision to assign female bodyguards reflected its current views on gender equality.


The vast majority of women who served in the Revolutionary Guard were barred from seeing their families or spouses.

In 2001, a Libyan psychologist began researching the Revolutionary Guard’s recruitment process. Only eight ladies testified because they were afraid to testify. They were afraid that fundamentalists and family members would assassinate them.

Despite the fact that many women considered Gaddafi as a liberator of women, numerous women accused the Libyan leader of sexual assault and abuse after his death.

Many women claimed that they were approached for sexual favours or coerced into joining the unit in order to be picked.

They testified that Gaddafi and a few other members of the leader’s close circle sexually attacked them.

Tsar Bomba’s – Final Act

Is the world dividing into two antagonistic blocs, as it did during the Cold War?

When Russia invaded Ukraine in February, Vladimir Putin declared that the world was witnessing a conflict between Moscow and Western civilisations. The split of Russia into two distinct entities brought back memories of the Cold War when Russian authorities openly discussed the use of nuclear weapons.

Take a look back about sixty years.

On a cold October day in 1961, a remote island in the Arctic Ocean hosted an event that would shake the world to its core.

The Soviet Union, which was engaged in a furious arms race with the United States, had just tested the Tsar Bomba, the largest nuclear weapon yet built.

With a yield of 50 megatons of TNT, the detonation was more than 3,000 times more powerful than the bomb that demolished Hiroshima only sixteen years before.

The testing of the Tsar Bomba, which remains the most powerful nuclear bomb ever detonated, marked a turning point in the development of nuclear weapons.

What was the Tsar Bomba?

During the Cold War, the Soviet Union developed the Tsar Bomba nuclear weapon. It was the largest and most powerful nuclear bomb ever exploded, producing 50 megatons of TNT.

The bomb was developed by a group of Soviet scientists led by Andrei Sakharov and tested on October 30, 1961.

The US and the Soviet Union were engaged in an arms race that culminated with the Tsar Bomba test, which brought disarmament and nuclear non-proliferation treaties back into prominence.

The current context of the nuclear weapons race

During the Cold War, the Soviet Union and the United States both produced and tested more powerful nuclear weapons at a rapid rate, which was known as the nuclear arms race.

The race began in the late 1940s after the United States successfully detonated its first atomic weapon in 1945. Seizing the opportunity to compete with the US nuclear weapons, the Soviet Union quickly began work on its own nuclear programme.

The two superpowers were engaged in a dangerous game of supremacy in which they were always vying to create more powerful and sophisticated nuclear weapons.The United States detonated the first hydrogen bomb in 1952, which was ten times more powerful than the atomic bombs used on Hiroshima and Nagasaki during WWII.

In retaliation, the Soviet Union tested its own hydrogen bomb a year later.

Throughout the 1950s and early 1960s, both sides continued to develop and test nuclear weapons in an attempt to create weaponry that was more lethal, effective, and capable of eliminating their foe.

The arms race was fueled by both a desire for strategic advantage and a mutual fear of each other’s nuclear capacity. Each side was dedicated to maintaining the balance of power so that the other could not gain an advantage, and both were convinced that having more nuclear weapons would make them more secure.

As a result, tensions between the United States and the Soviet Union remained high, raising the prospect of nuclear war and making the world more dangerous and unstable.

Tsar Bomba’s creation

In the late 1950s, a group led by physicist Andrei Sakharov, who had previously been key in the development of the Soviet Union’s hydrogen bomb, began work on the Tsar bomb.

Sakharov’s group’s bomb design would use a complex fusion process to achieve an explosive yield of up to 100 megatons.

However, Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev ordered that the design be cut back to 50 megatons due to concerns about the weapon’s potential political ramifications.

The Tsar Bomba was finally developed as a three-stage thermonuclear device with a length of more than 26 feet and a weight of almost 60,000 pounds.

The weapon was developed in secret, and not even the Soviet military was aware of its existence until just before the test.

The explosive situation

Because of its size and weight, the bomb had to be dropped from a height of 10,500 metres by a specially modified Tu-95 bomber.

A parachute was fitted to the bomb to delay its descent in order to give the crew ample time to fly the bomber outside the detonation radius.

The bomb exploded four thousand metres over the remote North Island in the Arctic Ocean.

The explosion created a fireball with a diameter of more than 8 kilometres and a mushroom cloud 64 km tall.

Windows were shattered up to 900 kilometres from the epicentre, and the shock wave was felt as far away as Norway and Finland.

The explosion created a seismic shock equivalent to a magnitude 5.0 earthquake.

Could you imagine it?

If the Imperial bomb had exploded over a densely populated area, the potential devastation would have been enormous.

The Soviet Union, on the other hand, had no intention of using the bomb as a weapon. The purpose of the test was to demonstrate to the United States that the Soviet Union was a substantial nuclear power and to demonstrate to the rest of the world the scope of its nuclear capabilities.

The new bomb’s terrifying realism

The nuclear weapons race between the United States and the Soviet Union reached a climax with the Tsar Bomba test.

Both nations built increasingly powerful nuclear weapons in the 1950s and early 1960s, but the Tsar Bomba test convinced both sides that the development of such weapons should be limited.

In 1963, the United States and the Soviet Union signed the Partial Test Ban Treaty, which prohibited nuclear testing in the atmosphere, ocean, and space.

The consequences of the Emperor Bomb, the most powerful nuclear weapon ever detonated, are still being felt today.

The development of these weapons reintroduced disarmament measures and the importance of nuclear non-proliferation treaties into the public consciousness.

The Car-bomb test served as a sombre warning to future generations to avoid utilising nuclear weapons at all costs, as well as a stark reminder of their lethal potential.

Sixty years after the first test of this lethal nuclear weapon, we are on the precipice of a nuclear war with multiple nations armed with significantly more powerful and lethal weapons.

End-of-the-World Tool Construction is a Deadly Game

Fear, anxiety, and political tension dominated the Cold War, which was characterised by intense rivalry between the two superpowers, the United States and the Soviet Union.

The race to build the most powerful and cutting-edge weapons was at the heart of this competition. Both sides have spent billions of dollars on R&D, pushing the boundaries of military technology and engaging in a high-stakes game.

‘Arms race,’ you say?

During the Cold War, the two superpowers, the United States and the Soviet Union, engaged in a furious armaments race.

Both sides were fighting to maintain the balance of power, which included building military capabilities, particularly nuclear weapons and delivery systems.

As a result of this race, both sides produced increasingly powerful and complex nuclear weapons, resulting in a massive buildup of nuclear arsenals. The arms race had an impact on several military technologies, including tanks, aeroplanes, and other armament systems.

What was the significance of the competition?

The main motivator of the arms race was the Cold War-era strong political and ideological confrontation between the United States and the Soviet Union.

Both sides competed for global economic supremacy, and deploying military power was seen to be crucial to achieving that position. They suspected the other was aiming to acquire a military advantage, which fueled the arms race.

The development of nuclear weapons by the US and the USSR also contributed to the arms race as both sides wanted to maintain a balance of forces to deter the other from launching a nuclear attack.

An explanation of how it all began

Following World War II, the United States and the Soviet Union emerged as the world’s two dominant superpowers, laying the groundwork for the current arms race.

Following the war, international relations shifted into a new era marked by bitter political and ideological conflict between the two sides.

In their opposing perspectives of the post-World War II era, the United States and the Soviet Union backed capitalism and democracy, as well as socialism and communism, respectively.

Because each side perceived the other as a threat to its own security and way of life, tensions quickly arose between them.

When nuclear weapons were produced in the 1940s, the rivalry between the United States and the Soviet Union took on new significance. During the war, the United States developed an atomic bomb, while the Soviet Union successfully tested one in 1949.

This marked the beginning of a new era in which both sides tried to maintain the balance of power by building increasingly powerful and complicated nuclear weapons.

Both parties have made large investments

As both sides developed increasingly advanced nuclear weapons and delivery methods in the 1950s and 1960s, the arms race became more heated.

The United States developed the Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM), a long-range missile capable of delivering a nuclear payload anywhere in the world.

In response, the Soviet Union developed its own ICBMs as well as a large fleet of nuclear submarines capable of firing missiles from below the surface. The arms race has had an impact on other aspects of military technology. Both sides developed new tanks, aircraft, and other weaponry in an attempt to outmanoeuvre the other.

While the US and its NATO allies created a substantial military presence in Europe, the Soviet Union maintained a massive permanent army and deployed troops all over the world.

How everything ended

Both sides felt the effects of the arms race. The US and the Soviet Union spent billions of dollars on military research and development, diverting funds from other areas such as education, health, and welfare.

The looming prospect of nuclear war created an atmosphere of fear and anxiety on both sides of the Iron Curtain, as populations on both sides confronted the possibility of a cataclysmic global tragedy.

The arms race peaked in the 1980s, when the United States and the Soviet Union accumulated unprecedented nuclear arsenals.

However, the enormous costs of maintaining these arsenals, along with a growing understanding of the dangers of nuclear war, resulted in a shift in priorities.

In the late 1980s and early 1990s, the United States and the Soviet Union began debating weapons control accords, which culminated in the signing of the Strategic Weapons Reduction Treaty (START) in 1991.

I have a question for everyone: Has everything come to an end?

The Implications for the Modern World

For decades, the Cold War armaments race dominated the era, impacting international relations and global politics.

Although it had a significant impact on both the US and the Soviet Union, it also had broader global implications, raising questions about the role of military strength in international affairs and the need of diplomacy and arms control in conflict prevention.

Is the race for weapons over?

It’s not.

Other countries were participating, and now, in addition to Russia and the United States, we have super powers like China and India, as well as small countries like North Korea and Iran, that have built nuclear weapons.

We can only wait and watch what the next phase brings and hope that logic triumphs.

Recognising the Cold War Communism vs. Capitalism

The Cold War lasted from the end of World War II until the early 1990s, and it was characterised by political tension and military competition. That era was more than just a geopolitical battle between the US and the Soviet Union.

It was an intellectual battle, a clash between two fundamentally opposing ideas about how society should be organised, controlled, and economically structured.

On one side stood communism, a system promoted by the Soviet Union and its allies with the goal of eradicating class divisions and encouraging community ownership.

On the other hand, capitalism, as embodied by the United States and the Western world, was a system that prized individual entrepreneurship and open markets.

The Fundamentals of Communism

Communism, as a political and economic philosophy, seeks to create a classless society in which everyone owns a part of the means of production. Egality and the distribution of resources based on need are essential components of communism. In a communist society, there is no private ownership of capital goods, and the government is frequently in charge of organising and managing the economy.

Throughout the Cold War, the Soviet Union was the most well-known communist state, and its laws and practises were frequently viewed as the pinnacle of this worldview.

Capitalism’s fundamentals

In contrast to communism, capitalism is an economic system that prioritises private ownership and the free market.

Individuals and businesses possess the means of production under capitalism, which is predicated on profit. Market competition determines prices, while supply and demand determine how resources are allocated. Governments, while occasionally interfering, normally let the market run its course.

During the Cold War, the United States was a poster child for capitalism ideas, promoting free trade, individual business, and economic independence.

What was the source of their squabble?

During the Cold War, there was a deep and often unbridgeable ideological divide between communism and capitalism.

Capitalist trust in market power contrasted sharply with Communist belief in government control.

These divisions frequently presented themselves in politics as opposing views on democracy, human rights, and government.

Capitalist countries favoured multi-party systems and democratic principles, whereas communist countries favoured centralised control and one-party rule.

Economic disparities

In the communist economic paradigm, the state is primarily responsible for economic planning and management. The government frequently sets production targets, price tactics, and distribution strategies, and the means of production—including factories, land, and resources—are collectively owned.

Throughout the Cold War, the Soviet Union’s command economy was the most visible manifestation of this tactic.

Despite the fact that the purpose of centralised planning was to meet the needs of the entire society, it frequently resulted in inefficiencies and a lack of inventiveness.

In contrast to communism’s central planning, capitalist economies rely on the free market to determine production, distribution, and prices.

Markets are typically driven by private ownership and competition, with governments intervening only to regulate or correct market failures.

During the Cold War, Western Europe and the United States backed this paradigm, which advocated open markets, free trade, and individual business.

The ideological clash between capitalism and communism had a huge impact on the world economy during the Cold War.

The superpowers sought for influence by imposing their own economic models on developing countries, highlighting this division.

The states that comprise the Non-Aligned Movement, which have not formally joined any bloc, have attempted to navigate this difficult climate by employing a variety of economic tactics.

Differences in Government Structure

A communist political system is distinguished by a centralised administration that frequently has complete command over all aspects of political life.

During the Cold War, the Soviet Union’s one-party system became synonymous with communist rule.

Opposition parties were either controlled or suppressed, and the Communist Party dominated politics.

The government was in charge of not only the economy, but also the media, education, and other aspects of daily life under
this system.

Political and civic liberties of residents were curtailed, and decision-making was severely centralised.

Other communist countries, such as China, Cuba, and East Germany, followed similar political systems, but with differing types of governance and control.

Democratic administration, on the other hand, was commonly associated with capitalist political systems, particularly in the West during the Cold War.

In countries such as the United States, the United Kingdom, and Western Europe, multiparty systems enabled competitive elections and power sharing.

Although capitalism does not require any particular political framework, it was usually associated with democratic principles such as the rule of law, individual liberty, and free speech during the Cold War.

Throughout the Cold War, democracy and authoritarianism interacted in complex ways inside the communist and capitalist blocs.

Although Western capitalist states have typically supported democratic standards, there have been instances where these nations have aided authoritarian regimes in order to achieve geopolitical goals.

How various systems affected their people

Throughout the Cold War, both the Communist and Capitalist blocs engaged in major propaganda campaigns to demonise the opposite side and propagate their own beliefs.

The absence of freedom and human rights under communism was stressed by Western media, whilst state-controlled media in communist countries typically depicted capitalism as dishonest and exploitative.

This rivalry has seeped into literature, art, film, and even sports. Ideological disparities influenced educational systems as well.

Even in everyday life and consumer culture, communism and capitalism can be distinguishable.

While life under communism was portrayed as regimented and homogeneous, the affluence and range of consumer products in the West were marketed as symbols of freedom and prosperity. (Ovde moeti ubaciti svoje iskustvo).

The heated struggle between the two ideologies was visible in the cultural areas of music, fashion, technology, and even gastronomy.

The employment of espionage and diplomacy by both sides

During the Cold War, many summits and agreements were held to manage tensions, negotiate arms control, and settle other international matters.

During the Cold War, both sides conducted extensive espionage and intelligence activities.

The CIA, KGB, MI6, and other intelligence services conducted covert operations, surveillance, misinformation campaigns, and other covert actions.

The spy war contributed to the Cold War era’s technological growth, cultural intrigue, and mystery, in addition to its impact on diplomatic connections.

The Cold War had an impact on the operations of the United Nations and other international organisations. The United Nations’ chambers were frequently riven by ideological dispute, which had an impact on resolutions, peacekeeping efforts, and international cooperation.

Other international organisations, such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, were also affected by Cold War dynamics, which had an impact on global development programmes and economic policy.

The best-kept Cold War Secrets

The Cold War, which lasted from the conclusion of World War II to the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991, was a period of intense geopolitical rivalry and warfare between the United States and the Soviet Union.

Despite the fact that much has been written about key events and personalities in this age, certain mysteries have remained unsolved for many years. During the Cold War, there was never such much secrecy and intrigue, from espionage to covert weapon development.

Prepare for an in-depth look at some of the Cold War’s best-kept secrets.

Operation Blue Bird

The CIA has its own mind control projects, as I previously explained with Zerestung and the Stasa (see link here).

Operation Bluebird gave birth to Project MKUltra, a CIA project to investigate various mind control and questioning tactics.

The programme, which was initiated in the 1950s, entailed human subjects being subjected to hypnosis, electroshock therapy, and other psychological manipulation research.

The goal of Operation Bluebird was to investigate methods for acquiring intelligence from POWs and other people deemed a threat to US national security.

Prisoners, drug addicts, and mentally ill people were among the willing and unwilling participants tested on by CIA agents working on the programme.

The program’s experiments sparked widespread outrage, and many of the procedures used were later condemned as cruel and unethical.

Some of the victims suffered permanent psychological impairment as a result of the research, and some died.

In the middle of the 1950s, Operation Bluebird was renamed Operation Artichoke, and it continued to explore mind control tactics until Project MKUltra took its place in 1953.

The Azorian Project

Project Azorian, originally known as “Project Glomar Explorer”, was a clandestine CIA mission carried out during the Cold War in the 1970s.

The mission’s principal purpose was to recover the Soviet submarine K-129 from the depths of the Pacific Ocean. When the ballistic missile submarine K-129 sank in 1968, all 98 crew members perished.

The CIA was eager to recover the submarine’s remnants in order to evaluate its technology and learn more about Soviet submarine capabilities.

The project’s platform was the Hughes Glomar Explorer, a deep-sea mining vessel customised for the job. A grapple vehicle, a huge claw-like device used to raise a submarine from the ocean floor, was installed on the ship.

The 1,500-ton submarine had to be hauled from the ocean floor, and developing a capture vehicle was just one of several engineering challenges imposed by the mission’s complexity. Because the Soviet Union was likely apprehensive of any American ship operating in the area, the CIA needed to devise a cover story for the mission.

Despite these challenges, the Glomar Explorer was able to recover a large amount of the submarine’s debris, as well as other objects and some important documents. Because the CIA has never made the specifics of the operation public, it is uncertain how much intelligence was acquired during the trip.

Ford’s Project West

As part of the Cold War, the United States carried out the West Ford Project, also known as the West Ford Needles, in the late 1950s and early 1960s.

The West Ford project aimed to create an artificial ionosphere—a layer of charged particles in the upper atmosphere that may reflect radio waves—by launching millions of tiny copper needles into space.

In May 1961, an Atlas rocket launched 480 million copper needles into orbit from Cape Canaveral. The needles, which weighed less than a human hair and were about an inch long, were designed to stay in orbit for a few years before gradually returning to Earth.

Nonetheless, the idea has sparked considerable controversy and resistance. Numerous scientists and astronomers have expressed concern about the potential consequences of copper needles on astronomical observations and prospective space missions. Concerns were raised about the needles’ capacity to create space debris and collisions, as well as their long-term environmental effects.

The West Ford project was ultimately regarded mostly unsuccessful. The project was eventually cancelled in the middle of the 1960s because the artificial ionosphere created by the needles did not perform as intended. While many of the needles that were previously launched into orbit have already broken apart or returned to Earth, microscopic bits of copper needles remain in the upper atmosphere.

The Dead Hand Project

During the Cold War in the 1980s, the Soviet Union developed the Dead Hand, also known as the Perimeter, as a nuclear control system. As a last resort, the system was designed to ensure that, even in the case of a surprise attack, the Soviet Union could retaliate with a nuclear strike.

The Dead Hand system was built on a network of sensors, communications cables, and computer systems spread across the Soviet Union. In the case of a nuclear assault, the system would automatically launch a counterstrike without the need for human intervention.

The Dead Hand was intended to serve as a warning against an initial attack by the US or any other potential enemy. The Dead Hand system ensured that a nuclear reprisal would be launched even if a surprise attack deposed the Soviet leadership.

Many people regard the Dead Hand system as one of the most terrifying examples of the dangers of nuclear proliferation and the possibilities of unexpected events in the event of nuclear war. Even while it was intended to avert a surprise strike that resulted in a catastrophic loss of life, the technology created the risk of an unintended launch or mistake that may have fatal ramifications on the entire world.

The Paperclip Initiative

Following WWII, the United States initiated Operation Paperclip, a secret operation in which it employed German scientists, engineers, and technicians to work for its military, intelligence, and government agencies. The goal of the programme was to gain German technological know-how and expertise in order to provide Germany a competitive advantage over the Soviet Union during the Cold War.

The program’s name is derived from the practise of attaching a paper clip—a symbol of approval for admission into the United States—to a foreign scientist’s visa application. Under the effort, nearly 1,600 German scientists, many of them were active in the Nazi leadership, and their families were relocated to the United States.

Among those hired as part of Operation Paperclip were prominent scientists such as Wernher von Braun, the rocket scientist who designed the V-2 rocket for Nazi Germany. Later in his career, Von Braun became a crucial role in the US space programme, overseeing the development of the Saturn V rocket that would take Americans to the moon.

Many Americans were initially averse to recruiting former Nazi scientists and officials. Supporters of the effort, on the other hand, said that the Soviet Union was also recruiting German expertise and that the United States should do all possible to stay ahead of the arms race.

The Great War. Some secrets should be kept hidden.

Is the world once again in the grip of the Cold War?

The Cuban Missile Crisis erupted when the United States learnt that the Soviet Union intended to station nuclear missiles on Cuban soil, which is only 90 miles from Florida’s territory.

To prevent missiles from reaching Cuba, the United States imposed a naval blockade on the island.

In a speech broadcast on October 22, 1962, President John F. Kennedy informed the American public about the missiles and explained his decision to establish a naval blockade on Cuba. He declared that his administration will use military force to eliminate this “threat to national security” if necessary. The nuclear weapons of the United States and the Soviet Union were then activated.

At the moment, the globe was on the precipice of war.

After 13 days of arduous bargaining, Kennedy and the Soviet Union’s then-leader, Nikita Khrushchev, negotiated an agreement to defuse tensions. In exchange for Washington’s assurances to remove US nuclear missiles from Turkish territory near Russia and to desist from invading Cuba in the future, Moscow promised to withdraw its armaments.

Since its socialist revolution, which was victorious in 1959, Cuba has faced enmity from Washington. It was led by Fidel Castro and aimed to destabilise a government sympathetic to the United States. Cuba is still governed by a communist government, and Washington sanctions imposed in the 1960s remain in place.

Chinese spy station in Cuba

A Wall Street Journal claim that China will offer Cuba billions of dollars in exchange for the construction of a “secret Chinese spy base” reminded me of the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis between the United States of America (US) and the former Soviet Union.

Despite China and Cuba’s official denials that China has a spy station there, US officials have confirmed that the site has been functioning since at least 2019 and that talks are presently underway to improve and expand it.

Monroe’s Doctrine

The Monroe Doctrine was founded by the United States in 1832, and it came to mean that foreign powers should not interfere in internal issues in the Western Hemisphere (North, Central, and South America).

Despite forming a quadruple strategic alliance with Japan, India, and Australia, as well as a strong alliance with Japan and South Korea and the right to use military bases in the Philippines, Washington has yet to respond to Beijing’s allegations that it is planning to militarily encircle the country.

The network of US friends in China’s region enables the deployment of tens of thousands of US soldiers, hundreds of boats, and aerial bombers near to Chinese territory.

During his speech at a security forum in Singapore, Chinese Defence Minister Li Shangfu scolded the US and ordered it to mind its own business. “The best way to prevent an incident is for American military ships and planes not to approach our waters and airspace,” he said.

During a press conference, Wang Wenbin, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, stated that “the Biden administration is trying to legitimise its reconnaissance missions and espionage activities around China’s territorial waters and airspace by making accusations that are actually baseless.”

Gameplay guidelines

According to Wenbin, if China decides to set up a surveillance centre in Cuba to spy on the US in the future, it will do so in full compliance with international law and the rules of the big powers’ common game.

As long as the Cuban government agrees, the US has no jurisdiction to make accusations. “The United States has established numerous military bases and intelligence organisations near China, and China has yet to take comparable steps to station its soldiers near American territory,” the speaker concluded.

Lourdes Foundation

The greatest comparable is the “Lourdes base,” an eavesdropping and surveillance station that the Soviet Union and later Russia operated in Cuba for many years.

The station, located outside of Havana, was one of Moscow’s most important overseas intelligence operations during and after the Cold War. Moscow pays Cuba hundreds of millions of dollars every year in exchange for permitting the Soviets to intercept a wide range of American radio and telecommunications broadcasts. As a result, they gained important knowledge, but the Soviet Union’s final demise was unavoidable.

The complex employed about 1,500 KGB, GRU, Cuban DGI, and Eastern Bloc technicians, engineers, and intelligence operatives during the Cold War.

The US government has long suspected that China is gathering intelligence in this hamlet that once held Soviet nuclear warheads.

The US believes the little-known outpost, located just 116 miles (187 km) from Key West, Florida, is used to collect US electronic communications, according to a November 2022 Federal Communications Commission (FCC) paper.

China’s Communist Party maintains a physical presence at Soviet-era espionage stations at Bejucal in what looks to be a signals intelligence collection operation.


The facility’s announcement comes at a time when Washington is witnessing a significant escalation of Chinese threats and strategic competition with Beijing, as well as the US’s sustained animosity and sanctions imposed on Cuba more than six decades ago.

The relationship between the two countries only hit rock bottom last year, when then-US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited Taiwan, which Beijing considers Chinese territory.

The visit, the first by a House speaker since Newt Gingrich in 1997, prompted China to launch military drills around Taiwan and routinely violate its airspace.

Tensions between the two countries rose when the US shot down a Chinese spy balloon that had infiltrated US territory earlier this year. In two separate incidents in recent weeks, a Chinese warship and an American destroyer came dangerously close to colliding in the Taiwan Strait.

The two vessels are only 150 metres apart, which is incredibly close given their size.

A few days before, another important aviation incident occurred when an American surveillance plane nearly crashed with a Chinese plane that had obstructed its path over the South China Sea.

And, in response to the question presented at the opening of the essay, I would argue that we have never truly exited the Cold War context.