Real stories from the world of espionage and special operations



  • Number24Number24 NorwayPosts: 19,983MI6 Agent

    "Black Ops: The Life of a Legendary CIA Shadow Warrior" - with Ric Prado

    SpyCast: "Black Ops: The Life of a Legendary CIA Shadow Warrior" - with Ric Prado on Apple Podcasts

  • Number24Number24 NorwayPosts: 19,983MI6 Agent

    Last year a Norwegian maritime pilot boarded the Russian seismic ship «Akademik Nemchinov» on its way to a Norwegian harbour. On the bridge the pilot discoved this note:

    The text on the right above the photo of the ship translates; "This is what the enemy looks like".

    The ship is one of two Norwegian inteligence ships, the FS Marjata. It's one of the most advanced "spy ships" in the world. Nice to know how the Russian state saw us even before the invasion of Ukraine.

    FS Marjata

  • 00730073 COPPosts: 912MI6 Agent
    edited March 30
    "I mean, she almost kills bond...with her ass."
    -Mr Arlington Beech
  • Number24Number24 NorwayPosts: 19,983MI6 Agent

    Here is a link to many photos of equipmnet related to espionage and the Stay Behind:


  • Number24Number24 NorwayPosts: 19,983MI6 Agent
    edited April 18

    Cape Heer - The secret Soviet base in the Arctic.

    Svalbard is a group of islands about halfway between the far north of Norway and the North Pole. It's a part of Norway, but the countries that signed the Svalbard Act of 1925 have rights there. The Svalbard Act is the only part of the peace treaties after WWI that are still in effect. The Svalbard Act states that Svalbard must be completely demilitarized. Svalbard is shown in dark green on the map.

    Of the countries included in the Svalbard Act only Norway and the USSR (later Russia) had significant activity on Svalbard, mostly coal mining. But Svalbard has a great strategic importance because of where it is. The USSRs "last line of defence" were the submarines carrying ballistic nuclear missiles of the Northern Fleet based on the Cola Peninsula. If these submarines were to get into the north Atlantic they had to get past Svalbard, and the same was the case for NATO attack submarines intended to stop the Russian submarines. The seas around Svalbard was a "submarine traffic jam". Radio waves don't go very far this far north, so listening from the Soviet territory for the NATO submarines wasn't really effective. Svalbard on the other hand was perfectly placed for listning for NATO submarines.

    In the mid-70s the Soviet Northern Fleet buildt a base on cape Heer near Barentsburg, one of two Soviet settlements on Svalbard. Officially it was a geological surveying station. It had three MI.8 helicopters, tracked all-terrain vehicles and a lot of snowvehicles. The helibase had a tower with many antennas. The radio communications quipment was used to keep in contact with the helicopters, but as soon as they landed they litterally flipped a switch and the base listened for foreign submarines. Cape Heer also had an illegal radar. The next year Norway buildt a civilian airport near Longyearbyen and cape Heer got an extra purpose; To take control of Svalbard and particularely the airport in case of war. In a clear violation of the Svalbard Act they prepared to organise two infantry batallions there. 2500 Los hunting carbines were sent and hidden on the base.

    The miners for the coal mines were recruited from the Donbas region in Ukraine based on two qualifications - mining experience and military experience. If an infantry captain was needed a miner from Donbas who had served as a captain in the infantry was found and sent to the Arctic and so on. They didn't train in any obvious military skills, but the men wer sent on skiing and snowmobile trips. Only the highest tranking officers were aware of their real mission. The purpose of the two batallions was to get control of the airport and so spetsnaz units could land there. Then aircraft from the Northern Fleet could use the airport to contol the bottleneck between the Soviet strategic submarines and the Atlantic. Of course Norway followed the Svalbard act and had only one small helicopter and no military presence on the islands.

    The Cape Heer base:

    The MI-8 helicopters were painted in the colours of Aeroflot, but the pilots were military. On flights they were on the lookout for all activity around Svalbard and reported it to the Northern Fleet.

    When asked about the cold war history of the place, the technical officer on Cape Heer quoted and old Russian saying: "Those who remember the old evil will lose an eye".

  • Number24Number24 NorwayPosts: 19,983MI6 Agent
    edited April 27

    You may have heard of Ben Johnson who was a contemporary and friend of Shakespeare and like him an actor and playwright. You may have heard he was also a spy. He wrote a short poem called "On spies".

    On Spies


    Spies, you are lights in state, but of base stuff,

    Who, when you’ve burnt yourselves down to the snuff,

    Stink and are thrown away. End fair enough.

  • Number24Number24 NorwayPosts: 19,983MI6 Agent
    edited April 29

    The port of Sevastopol is being guarded against divers by dolphins! Sevastopol is perhaps the most important port in Crimea and has been occupied by Russia since 2014. The Russian Navy has had their own dolphin program for decades and also "adopted" the Ukrainian program when they invaded Crimea eight years ago. the dolphins are trained to find and destroy abjects like mines, but also finding (and attacking?) enemy divers. Dolphin pens have been spotted near the Sevastopol port where Russian navy ships are placed.

    Russia confirms Vladimir Putin is commander of highly-trained 'spy dolphin' units seized in Crimea from Ukraine | Daily Mail Online

    These photos are from when the Sevastopol dolpin program was in Ukrainian hands;

    This is very bondian! I wish dolpins carrying magnetic mines were used in the PTS of TND instead of the silly underwater drill that somehow could turn without being in water.

  • Number24Number24 NorwayPosts: 19,983MI6 Agent

    A hugely interesting podcast on Ian Fleming's involvement in the intelligence community:

    We Have Ways of Making You Talk: James Bond's War on Apple Podcasts

  • Number24Number24 NorwayPosts: 19,983MI6 Agent
    edited May 20

    The "real" Number 24 was Gunnar Sønsteby (1918-2012) was rated by the Special Operations Exectutive as their best agent in Europe. This is from a talk he held in 2010.

    Friends and colleagues died around him, and resistance hero Gunnar "The Chin" Sønsteby went with a suicide bomb in his pocket.

    Still, he thought it was fun.

    - What was it like to be in the war? asked one of the young people the resistance hero Gunnar Sønsteby in Gamle Losjen. (Where the Nobel Peace Prize is given every year). The simple answer caused laughter in the audience, but the answer was perhaps even more surprising.

    - It was extremely interesting and fun. We got support from all sides. Of course, it was sad when the boys went missing and we had to be extremely careful not to tread wrong, but the chances of getting caught were extremely small," the 92-year-old war veteran replied. After the lecture, the newspaper Nettavisen asked how he could experience the war as fun.

    - I enjoyed it like hell. You had to think and be on alert all the time. We were young. I don't have any other way to put it," he says.

    In the war from day 1

    Back to April 9, 1940, the day of the German invasion. On this day, 22-year-old Gunnar Sønsteby came to work at the insurance company Gjensidige at Karl Johan (Oslo's main street) .

    - I came to the office in the morning and there had been an air alarm that night. It was completely unreal, but we realized it hadn't been an exercise. In the office we were a 10-12 young person talking about what had happened. That day Philip Hansteen came to the office and told us that he was a reserve officer and wondered if we wanted to join a skier's company, says the aging but still still sharp Sønsteby.

    In 1943 he got to know Asbjørn Sunde - the leader of the Osvald Group, or "Execution Squad" as Milorg (the military branch of the resistance) chief Jens Chr. Hauge called them. This group that lost 35 members, but received no honors or medals after the war.

    (I have written about Sunde here: Real stories from the world of espionage and special operations — ajb007

    Many were forgotten

    When I met Sunde, I couldn't sabotage myself because I was an intelligence officer. I knew everything and it would be a disaster if I was caught alive. At that time, I always carried three hand grenades in case - two for them and one for myself," says Sønsteby. He strongly rejects that the Osvald Group's communist background was the cause of a lack of medals. "No one in the resistance who was not subject to the government in London received a medal," says Sønsteby, adding that many Norwegian resistance fighters and women have been forgotten in history despite heroic efforts.

    "No one risked their life to get a medal. I'd rather choose life," says Sønsteby. Later in the war he became an active saboteur as leader of the Oslo gang together with Max Manus.

    "I led 18 missions in succession without losing a single man. There was no point losing your life," he says.

    - Damned allegations.

    - I was a friend of Sunde's during World War II. After the war, I helped him find a job, and in 1947 he came to my house with his book. Luckily, I might have got away from him before he started his damned snitching," says Sønsteby. After the war, Sønsteby traveled to the United States for five years. "If I had been home, I might have stopped Sunde. Yes, I think I could have done it," he said today.

    Sunde was sentenced in 1954 to eight years in prison for treason and espionage in favor of the Soviet Union. After serving 2/3 of his sentence, Sunde was released on parole. After his imprisonment, he lived an anonymous life withdrawn from public view until his death in 1985.  Gunnar Sønsteby worked to ensure that Sunde was given a war pension, without success.

  • Number24Number24 NorwayPosts: 19,983MI6 Agent

    Comandoes in canoes - the SBS in WWII

    This podcast is an informal, but entertaiing, chat on wartime exploits of the SBS.

    Ep 367: Commandos in Canoes – We Have Ways of Making You Talk Podcast (

  • emtiememtiem SurreyPosts: 4,766MI6 Agent

    I enjoyed this podcast today which talks about Fleming's role in the war, and just how important his role was

  • Number24Number24 NorwayPosts: 19,983MI6 Agent
  • emtiememtiem SurreyPosts: 4,766MI6 Agent

    Ah cool; great minds 😁

    Sorry, I didn't see your post.

  • Number24Number24 NorwayPosts: 19,983MI6 Agent

    I think I can find it in my heart to forgive you. And sometimes average minds think alike too. 😁

  • Number24Number24 NorwayPosts: 19,983MI6 Agent

    A 90-minute documentary with many eye-witness interviews: (4) SAS - The Iranian Embassy Siege - YouTube

  • Number24Number24 NorwayPosts: 19,983MI6 Agent

    The head of the Norwegian PST (Police counter-inteligence) has been sacked because he kept an unregistered and illegal revolver in his office for years. Not something that would've happend in a Bond movie, but I do appriciate the idea that the law is equal for everyone.

  • The Domino EffectThe Domino Effect Posts: 3,547MI6 Agent

    You always find some great stories, N24. Many I am familiar with (although I always appreciate re-reading/re-listening/re-watching), but many others I wasn't aware of. Thanks for sharing so much fascinating information of real heroes.

  • Number24Number24 NorwayPosts: 19,983MI6 Agent

    Thanks. Feel free to contribute. 😀

  • 00730073 COPPosts: 912MI6 Agent

    Well you never know when the need to plant evidence arises.

    Do you know how it was discovered? Some one squealed, he brought it up/bragged about it by mistake, routine inspection, cleaning woman, what?

    "I mean, she almost kills bond...with her ass."
    -Mr Arlington Beech
  • 00730073 COPPosts: 912MI6 Agent

    But here is something from our (Finland) southern neighbors, having its 10th anniversary:

    Then there was of course Herman Simm:

    "I mean, she almost kills bond...with her ass."
    -Mr Arlington Beech
  • Number24Number24 NorwayPosts: 19,983MI6 Agent
    edited June 3

    I don't know exactly how the guns (he had three unregistered guns, one in the office) were discovered, but a newspaper made it public and revealed several issues. Apparently the PST chief got the guns as gifts from a widow, but he failed to register them. It's very unlikely he kept the guns for personal protection. HIs office in the top floor of Olso police HQ must be among the safest in the country and a man in his position can get all the bodyguards he wants. Not to mention he can get a registered gun if he wanted to. The PST leader also made threats to a police officer to make him register the guns while keeping his boss' name out of it. The inteligence boss probably pulled him to the side and whispered "PST!" 😁

  • 00730073 COPPosts: 912MI6 Agent

    A question: If some one makes an easy and stupid mistake like that, how can you trust that person to hold a highly responsible security office?

    Probably for the better that he was sacked!

    Meanwhile in Finland:

    "I mean, she almost kills bond...with her ass."
    -Mr Arlington Beech
  • Number24Number24 NorwayPosts: 19,983MI6 Agent

    Your former intelligence chief is worse than our former intelligence chief. Not good.

  • Number24Number24 NorwayPosts: 19,983MI6 Agent

    Deep-cover Russian agent tried to inflitrate the International Criminal Court.

    Sergey Vladimirovich Cherkasov is an agent of GRU, the Russian military inteligence agency, He worked for about five years on his "legend" or deep cover as a Brazilian to inflitrate the ICC in Hague. The ICC is investigating Russian war crimes in Ukraine, so it 's nice to know Putin worries about himself and his cronies ending up in prison. The Dutch inteligence service managed to reveal Cherkasov as a Russian agent , but it's worrying how these agents work for years to create their legend.

    Russian Spy Outed After Trying to Get an Internship With the ICC (

  • Number24Number24 NorwayPosts: 19,983MI6 Agent

    Lars Findsen, former head of Danish Military Intelligence (FE), has been charged with leaking secrets on nine different occations. He has shared classified information with journalists, his girlfriend, his brother, a former collegue and his mother. 🤣

  • 00730073 COPPosts: 912MI6 Agent

    What's wrong with these people!? Now we have former intelligence directors in Finland, Norway and Denmark charged with crimes; with DK and FIN for leaking sensitive information!!! I dread to imagine what comes to light when Swedish intel people hit the news! 😲

    "I mean, she almost kills bond...with her ass."
    -Mr Arlington Beech
  • Number24Number24 NorwayPosts: 19,983MI6 Agent

    I too dread the upcoming news about a Swedish intel blooper. I can't imagine there isn't one (or more).

  • Number24Number24 NorwayPosts: 19,983MI6 Agent
    edited August 12

    Arne Randers Heen - mountaineer, tailor. spy.

    Growing up some of my friends were active mountain climbers and there was one man they spoke of with great veneration: Arne Randers Heen (1905-1991). He lived in the north of this county, in the Rauma region. He was a tailor by profession, but he became known as a mountain climber. The area was perfect for mountain climbing with high, steep peaks all aver the place. You can admire the landscape in the upcoming Mision Impossible movie where the "Orient Express" scenes are filmed here. From the 1920's to the 60's Randers Heen was the leading member of the Norwegian mountain climber community, a community otherwise dominated by the upper class in Oslo. His wife Bodil was also a mountain climber. Randers Heen was the first to climb the mountain Romsdalshorn (1550 meters/5085 feet above sea level) in 1930 using simple climbing gear. He climbed the mountain 233 times in his life, the last time when he was 80 years old, and even buildt a simple hut there. He was called "The king of Romsdalshorn".

    Arne Randers Heen was the first to climb several peaks and is probably been the first on more mountain tops in Norway during the winter than anyone else.

    When Norway was invaded by Germany in April 1940 he was in the Lofoten islands in the north selling clothers to the fishermen, and when he got home he found his house burnt to the ground during the fighting. (Ian Fleming's brother Peter was an active intelligence officer in the same area at the time), BTW). Randers Heen drew maps of German military positions in the area, got in contact with the resistance and handed over the information. The resistance gave him a camera and invisible ink for secret messages. He used the camera to clandestinely take photograps of German activity. He even took photos of German positions from the top of Trollveggen - the Troll Wall. The top og Trollveggen is 1700 meters above sea level and has the longest vertical drop of any mountain in Europe. You can drop a stone from the top and it will fall 1000 meters before it hits the ground. MI6 was convinced Randers Heen must have somehow used a plane to get the photos!

    Arne Randers Heen was trained in sabotage and the use of weapons, and also hid weapons and explosives. Joachim Rönneberg, the leader of the legendary heavy water sabotage mission in Vemork, was also supplied by Heen while he was preparing for railroad sabotage in the Tafjord mountains. Randers Heen was also a mountain guide for agents and Russian POWs on the run from the nazis. Arne Randers Heen is mostly known for his climbing and not his secret work during WWII.

  • BarbelBarbel ScotlandPosts: 33,442Chief of Staff

    Every time I come back to this thread I wonder why it's taken so long. Wonderful stories and pictures.

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