Lessons from a Guerrilla: Marine Raider Frank Sturgis, the Fight for Freedom and Mastering Logistics

Lessons from a Guerrilla: Marine Raider Frank Sturgis, the Fight for Freedom and Mastering Logistics


Awesome write up by NC Scout on former USMC Raider and CIA agent Frank Sturgis.

Being both a military history buff and a student of guerilla warfare the book Warrior: Frank Sturgis—The CIA’s #1 Assassin-Spy, Who Nearly Killed Castro But Was Ambushed by Watergate  is a treasure trove.

Highly recommended.


On this Day in History: Che Guevera Executed

On This Day — Che Guevara Is Executed (October 9 1967)


A red letter date in the fight against the spread of the cancer of Communism in the Northern Hemisphere.

Note: If you ever want to read a really entertaining novel about this incident, check out Killing Che by Chuck Pfarrer.

Espionage Files: The Long, Strange Trip of MK-ULTRA



The story below offers a rare close-up view of a man who is so creepy it’s fascinating. He actually performed some of the dirty, unthinkable deeds you read about in the various exposés on the CIA.

According to the author, the man “looks like Danny DeVito playing the Penguin, and talks like Edward G. Robinson as gangster Johnny Rocco in Key Largo.”

The Penguin in question is Ira “Ike” Feldman.  And the deeds he performed were for MK-ULTRA, the CIA’s program on mind control. They experimented on unsuspecting people, slipping them LSD without their consent, sometimes with devastating results. The project’s architect, Sidney Gottlieb, described in a 1953 memo the ways in which the drug could be used:

“‘Disturbance of memory; discrediting by aberrant behaviour; alteration of sex patterns; eliciting of information; suggestibility; creation of dependence.”

From all that has been written about the CIA, we find it easy to believe just about everything Feldman says on the subject. But the real value of this story is not so much the information it imparts; it’s the character it reveals about a major player — even if we see him only from the outside. Here, you can witness the way he talks, the attitude he exhibits, the contradictions he ignores, and the self-justifications he declares.

This was originally published in Spin Magazine in 1994, and is just as relevant today.

The author of that vintage Spin article, Richard Stratton, has recently published his memoirs,  Smuggler’s Blues: A True Story of the Hippie Mafia (Arcade Publishing, April, 2016)

Read the Original Article at WhoWhatWhy

Espionage Files: 10 Real ‘HoneyPot’ Operations


The honeypot might be the most glamorized espionage technique in fiction. It’s a tale of hushed phone calls and late-night rendezvous, of secrets whispered through lying lips. But femme fatales and lovers’ plots are not exclusive to fiction. Although the honeypot isn’t used as often as other spy techniques, it still has a place in the real world.

10 For The Love Of Clayton Lonetree

There was never a man lonelier than Clayton Lonetree. A Navajo native, Sergeant Lonetree was stationed at the US embassy in Moscow during the Cold War, and unlike many of the other Marine guards on base, Clayton didn’t have a wife or a girlfriend to write to him. He took to heavy drinking, which distanced him even more from his colleagues in the Corps.

Disconsolate and increasingly disillusioned with his assignment abroad, Clayton nevertheless refused to request a transfer. He came from a long line of proud Marines, distinguished Navajos who had died serving their country in past wars, and he wasn’t keen to be the one who stained the family name.

That’s when lonely Clayton Lonetree met Violetta Seina.

The two first crossed paths at a Marine ball in November 1985, and Clayton was smitten from the start. Violetta was a new translator at the embassy. She was beautiful, young, Russian, and exotic. Even better, she took a liking to Lonetree. They began taking long walks before sojourning to Violetta’s apartment for the night. Before long, Clayton Lonetree professed his love to Violetta. To his delight, she returned the sentiment.

It was a dangerous time to love a Russian. Lonetree recognized their situation for what it was, and he went to great lengths to make sure he wasn’t being followed to Violetta’s apartment. After they had been dating in secret for several months, Violetta introduced Clayton to her uncle, who lavished Clayton with just as much attention as Violetta had. Uncle Sasha seemed eager to learn about every aspect of Clayton Lonetree’s life, especially his work at the embassy. At some point, Clayton began to realize the truth . . . kind old Uncle Sasha was a KGB agent. In all likelihood, so was Violetta. He’d been duped.

But if love isn’t entirely blind, it’s, at least, tenacious. Lonetree doubled his efforts at secrecy and kept meeting with Violetta and Sasha for six more months until he was scheduled to return home. Only Lonetree didn’t want to go back. At his request, he was assigned to the embassy in Vienna where he continued to meet with Sasha. He began selling documents and embassy blueprints to Sasha, stashing the money for a return trip to Moscow to marry Violetta. He revealed the identities of CIA agents in Austria. He gave Sasha everything the man asked for, seduced by promises of a reunion with Violetta.

Finally, though, Clayton couldn’t take it anymore. In December 1986, Clayton got drunk and spilled everything to a CIA agent. He was subsequently arrested and tried for espionage. Clayton Lonetree served nine years in a military prison and never saw Violetta again.

9 The Blackmail Of Irvin C. Scarbeck

She was a young Polish girl in distress. He was a married man with three children. The setting was Warsaw in 1959, and it was a set-up from the very beginning.

The case of Irvin C. Scarbeck is a matter of historical certainty. While serving as a foreign service officer for the US State Department in Poland, Scarbeck, 41, had an affair with Urszula Maria Discher, who was 22 at the time. Polish agents broke into the apartment and took photos of the two in bed, then threatened to send the photos to Scarbeck’s family unless he turned traitor and gave them state secrets.

But at Scarbeck’s trial, what had originally seemed to be a clear-cut, sexy spy scandal turned out to be a tale more convoluted than anyone could have imagined. According to Discher’s testimony, their affair hadn’t been about sex—at least, not at the beginning. When Discher met Scarbeck, she’d been an orphan for over a decade. Her living quarters were nothing more than a store cellar that she shared with several other girls. She couldn’t afford food, let alone a mattress to sleep on.

Scarbeck took pity on the girl and gave her money for groceries and new clothes. Later, he moved her into an apartment and paid the rent himself, just so she would have a roof over her head. Even while he was being blackmailed, Scarbeck refused to take any money for the information he passed on. Instead, he got Discher a passport and made sure she had safe passage out of Poland and into West Germany.

Maybe it was all a lie intended to drum up sympathy from the jury. Maybe it wasn’t, and Irvin Scarbeck simply went too far while helping out someone in need. Urszula Discher was never formally connected to the Polish police, and she even flew to the US to be a witness at Scarbeck’s testimony. Regardless of how the affair played out, Scarbeck was found guilty of espionage and sentenced to three consecutive 10-year sentences. The terms were later reduced to concurrent sentences, and Scarbeck was released on parole in 1966.

8 The Sharon Scranage Scandal

The drought that plagued Ghana from 1981 to 1983 plunged millions of people into starvation. Seemingly overnight, the country became a famine-stricken wasteland, a situation that only got worse when Nigeria deported over one million Ghanaians back into a country that had no hope of feeding them.

The situation was dire, and it was into this sea of turmoil that Sharon Scranage landed on May 27, 1983. A clerk and stenographer for the CIA’s Directorate of Operations in Africa, Scranage was basically a nobody. She’d married once and divorced two years later, and when she arrived in Africa, the future was all she had. She had no way of suspecting that 39-year-old Michael Soussoudis would soon walk into that future.

Soussoudis was an intelligence officer for the Ghanaian government who’d studied in West Germany and New York City. He was handsome and charming, and by all accounts, he had a taste for American women. But Sharon Scranage wasn’t just another fling. For Soussoudis, Sharon was all business. He’d been assigned to her specifically, and it wasn’t long before Soussoudis had a leading role in her bed and her heart. Their romance lasted 18 long months, during which Soussoudis drilled Sharon for everything she knew about the CIA’s activities in Ghana. Scranage gave up the identities of agents, CIA informants, and communications information.

When Scranage returned to the US, she was given a polygraph test that revealed that she had been tossing out CIA secrets. The implications were enormous. Every single one of the informants she’d given up could be executed at a moment’s notice. But Sharon wasn’t quite ready to quit. Backed by the CIA and FBI, she asked Michael Soussoudis to meet her for one last night. It was time to set up a little honeypot of her own.

Soussoudis flew to the US, lured by the promise of more secrets and more Scranage. Sharon had him meet her at a motel where he was immediately arrested by the FBI. But when the Ghanaian government heard of Soussoudis’s arrest, they took measures of their own and arrested the informants whom Sharon had unmasked to Soussoudis during the past year. It’s believed that one of these informants was executed in the ensuing chaos, but finally, the dust settled, and the rest of the informants were traded for Michael Soussoudis.

Sharon Scranage was sentenced to five years for exposing the CIA operatives, although she was later released after serving eight months.

Read the Remaining Seven Stories at ListVerse

The Espionage Files: The “Spider” James Jesus Angleton


Long before Game of Thrones dubbed its spymaster The Spider, James Jesus Angleton earned that name. His internal witch hunts still leave us wondering—madman, genius, or both?

“Mr. Dickey? This is Jim Angleton.”

I looked at the phone. I wasn’t sure what to say. This was 1978. I was a 26-year-old reporter on the Metro desk of The Washington Post, and James Jesus Angleton was the most famous, or infamous, spy in America.

Angleton had been forced to resign from the Central Intelligence Agency more than three years earlier after two decades of running its counterintelligence operations. In news reports and in outright fiction, Angleton was portrayed as amazingly eccentric and wildly paranoid, the mastermind who kept American intelligence operations safe from Soviet “moles,” and the madman whose “sick-think” destroyed careers and paralyzed the agency with his obsessive hunt for traitors. Indeed, there were some who said he’d done so much damage that Angleton must be the mole.

His name became part of every enigmatic event of the 1960s, including the assassination of President John F. Kennedy and the subsequent murder of one of his mistresses (the ex-wife of another CIA man).

What seemed to be certain was that over the years Angleton had come to believe there was a “monster plot” by Moscow to deceive the United States at many different levels, wheels turning in wheels, a “wilderness of mirrors,” as he would say, taking a line from T.S. Eliot’s poem “Gerontion.”

But what could he possibly want from me?

Angleton was interested, he said, in a story I’d been covering: the trial of an alleged Vietnamese spy named David Truong and his American accomplice, Ronald Humphrey, an employee of the United States Information Agency.

The Vietnam War had come to its messy, humiliating end three years before with the fall of Saigon, but the wounds of that defeat were still carved deep into the American psyche, and the Truong case seemed at the time an awkward, and rather pitiful, attempt to win something back. But this was pretty small potatoes. Why would that interest the man known around the agency as “Mother”?

In Eliot’s poem, the line after “the wilderness of mirrors” asks “What will the spider do…?” Of course, one wanted to know.

 And so, a few days later, I met the master-spy at one of his favorite haunts in D.C., the Army and Navy Club on Farragut Square, a sea of white tablecloths amid an opulent 19th century décor, with a bar, in those days, at the far end of the room.

His appearance was as it had been described in countless caricatures: gray on gray, with gray hair, grayish skin, a gray suit. His build was tall and lanky but slightly stooped, and he had long, thin fingers. He was, indeed, a little spidery. His glasses were heavy-framed, and they were worn, one might think, as much for their symbolic weight as for their optical correction.

The hour was, I believe, about 1 o’clock, and apparently Angleton had not made a reservation. All the tables were filled. So, we started drinking.

Angleton’s poison may have been whiskey. I know it was hard liquor, because I was trying to keep up with him and the afternoon grew rather foggy rather quickly. My poison was scotch on the rocks. A real mistake. The drinks kept coming; the food did not. I switched to scotch and soda. And glasses of water. I had a Coke. But it was too late.

Mother asked me about the spy case I was covering. What was interesting about Truong, the personable son of a former South Vietnamese presidential candidate who’d run on a peace platform in 1967, was that he’d positioned himself in Washington as a voice of sanity in an increasingly insane war. He seemed to know anybody who was anybody in D.C. who had an interest in Vietnam.

Angleton started talking about William Colby, who had been the Saigon station chief, head of the agency’s Far East Division, and director of the by-then infamous Phoenix Program “that sought to attack and destroy the political infrastructure of the Viet Cong,” as the CIA’s in-house history puts it. President Richard Nixon appointed Colby Director of Central Intelligence in 1973. In 1974, to end “the great mole hunt,” Colby fired Angleton before, he, too, left the agency in 1976.

Read the Remainder at The Daily Beast