Wednesday, July 21, 2010
Eyes on the Spies II
Well I don't know either. Why IS a pineapple called that? Sure wasn't named by a trained Botanist, I'll tell ya that! Has nothing to do with conifers, and doesn't taste like an apple.
Hey, did you know pine cones are differently gendered? I don't know how they tell each other apart, but they manage. There's a bunch of pine trees, right? Hmmm, what was I gonna type about... Oh yeah! Spies!
Homegrown turncoats, interesting people psychologically. And war-time, we presume to understand motives of 'our' spies. So these folks, among dozens I could name, may seem bland. Well first? You don't EVER have a handle on a first class spy. Second, each of these three? Could've minded their own biz. In fact? None were ordered to go dance around a very efficient, merciless death machine. In each case, military authorities FIRED them before they HIRED them. These people volunteered to dance with the Reaper...
Virginia Hall: Very intelligent, wanted to work in Diplomatic service. Woman, best job hope was clerk in those days, but OK. They mostly didn't want her sort. And she kinda shot her leg off in 1932 in hunting accident too; looks like stateside for Virginia. We never liked her anyway, too uppity. She happens to be in France when the Panzers roll and suddenly becomes quite popular with the OSS. Speaks French flawlessly, totally immersed in the culture, invisible except for the limp; wooden leg y'know. She usually went around disguised as an aged French peasant woman. When it got too hot, she barely escaped Gestapo by hiking across the Pyrenees Mountains, at night, with a wooden leg. And then those that didn't want her once, sent her back to France. She did pre-work for the Normandy invasion. That's my Virginia.
Juan Pujol: I like him some. He volunteered to spy for Brits and they declined. So he figgered to get hired as Nazi spy and then re-apply. Wicked smart and imaginative, Juan turned his entire spy network of 27 Nazi agents over to Brit Intel. But one thing? None of this spy network actually existed. The cat invented people, constructed all kinds of soap opera interactions among them, jobs they held, and fake info, long before OSS decided he might be all right. Nazis were paying Juan huge amounts of cash to support non-existent spy network. Juan Pujol was instrumental in convincing Nazis, the Normandy attack was a diversion; keep the Panzers at Calais. Juan Pujol. Only person I know of who was awarded both the Iron Cross and the MBE.
Nancy Wakes: Born in NZ. Married a French millionaire, and months later, the Panzers rolled through Paris. Nancy was initially suspect by Brits and OSS. Why would a millionaire's wife get involved? Actually, Nancy didn't ever apply for the job. She didn't ask permission; she set up her network of spies. Well, guess they did some espionage... nope, not much really actually. Mostly they killed Nazis and exploded stuff. Nancy's group had a 14 to 1 kill ratio against very well trained, very well armed SS. 14 to 1 is impressive. Might've bumped up some after Gestapo tortured and killed Nancy's husband, but I've not seen the graph.
Ms. Nancy never asked to work for Allied Intel, not far as I know. Just went ahead and did what she saw to be done. They eventually begged her to flank attack at D-day and have safe houses ready. She must've been one hell of a killer angel leader, to command such loyalty from her group. Gestapo called her 'White Mouse' because she could avoid any trap. Offered 5 million Franc reward for her, but no Nancy.
According to my sources? Nancy Wake, who once slit SS sentry throats and timed fuses beneath railroad bridges, now lives peacefully in a retirement home in Richmond, England, aged 97.
But perhaps my sources are conjured phantoms from Juan Pujoul, still active in the disinformation trade. And besides? One never really knows anything for sure about a spy.