They don't publish what they used to (but they still write them!)

"Novels of the earlier generations caused a stir, interested the minds of teenagers, and affected their beliefs and passions. Novels had an effect on the population and influenced their generation of readers. These days, novels cause gossip columns and new Halloween costumes. There is no emotional attachment; we don’t believe in the movement. [...]

Substance is the issue with our generation. What do our novels have to say? And more importantly, what are the readers getting out of them? What impact do they leave on our generation? Nothing of substance. Nothing to put these novels on shelves".

Source: http://hypervocal.com/culture/2011/has-our-generation-become-victims-of-the-unfortunate-evolution-of-literature/

Can't find what you'd like to read? Talk to publishers, they likely have these manuscripts colecting dust on their desks (slush pile) or, better yet, get them directly from authors.

Women Spies of the Civil War


"Raised in a wealthy slave-holding family in Richmond, Virginia, Elizabeth Van Lew developed strong abolitionist sympathies as a young adult, particularly after attending a Quaker school in Philadelphia. After her father’s death in 1843, Van Lew convinced her brother to free their slaves, many of whom stayed on as paid servants. When war broke out, Van Lew and her mother began visiting Union soldiers held in Richmond’s brutal Libby Prison, bringing them clothing, food and medicine. She helped men escape, smuggled out letters for them and gathered valuable information about Confederate strategy from both prisoners and guards.

In late 1863, Union General Benjamin Butler recruited Van Lew as a spy; she soon became the head of an entire espionage network based in Richmond. With the help of her servants—including Mary Bowser, an important spy in her own right—Van Lew sent coded messages to Union officers, often using invisible ink and hiding the dispatches in hollowed-out eggs or vegetables. She convinced new members to join her covert ring, including a high-ranking official at Libby Prison.

By war’s end, Van Lew had become a pariah in her own community but earned the respect of General Ulysses S. Grant, who appointed her postmaster of Richmond. She spent her final days in poverty, having used up her family’s entire wealth on espionage activities. The family of a Union officer she had assisted during the war—who happened to be the grandson of Paul Revere—provided for her until her death in 1900."

More: http://www.history.com/news/2011/08/23/secret-agents-in-hoop-skirts-women-spies-of-the-civil-war/


Fascinating reads for the end of summer | LitBash 37

Looking for a fascinating book to read before the end of the summer? Start with writers who were...

Born this week:

Maurice Maeterlinck, Belgium
"We are alone, absolutely alone on this chance planet: and, amid all the forms of life that surround us, not one, excepting the dog, has made an alliance with us."

Robert Merle, France

Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, UK

"It is justice, not charity, that is wanting in the world."

Theophile Gautier, France

"There is nothing truly beautiful but that which can never be of any use whatsoever; everything useful is ugly"

Walter Scott, Scotland
"A lawyer without history or literature is a mechanic, a mere working mason; if he possesses some knowledge of these, he may venture to call himself an architect."

William Saroyan, USA
"The writer is a spiritual anarchist, as in the depth of his soul every man is. He is discontented with everything and everybody. He neither walks with the multitude nor cheers with them. The writer who is a writer is a rebel who never stops."

Eldridge Cleaver, USA

"The price of hating other human beings is loving oneself less."

Edgar Rice Burroughs, USA
"I had this story from one who had no business to tell it to me, or to any other."

Paul Bourget, France
"At certain moments, words are nothing; it is the tone in which they are uttered."

Hans Aanrud, Norway

Ignacio Agusti, Spain

Francois de Chateaubriand, France

"As soon as a true thought has entered our mind, it gives a light which makes us see a crowd of other objects which we have never perceived before."

Leonard Frank, Germany

Died this week:

Henri Barbusse, France
"Two armies that fight each other is like one large army that commits suicide."

Ilya Ehrenburg, Russia
"You could cover the whole world with asphalt, but sooner or later green grass would break through."

Goffredo Parise, Italy

Giuseppe Giacosa, Italy

Francois Mauriac, France
"One can touch a living soul through a curtain of vice and crime no matter how dense and dark: but vulgarity is an insurmountable barrier."

Johannes Bobrowski, Germany

J.R.R. Tolkien, UK

"Wars are not favourable to delicate pleasures."

Ivan Turgenev, Russia

Jean Rostand, France

"I should have no use for a paradise in which I should be deprived of the right to prefer hell."

Victor Nekrasov, Russia

Georges Simenon, France

"Writing is not a profession but a vocation of unhappiness. I don't think an artist can ever be happy."

Q: War, what is it good for? A: Re-inventing old technology.

A suppressed century-old technology may come back to life. Tesla's wireless electricity gets a new chance, and we can thank wars for it:

"The push for wireless power is a problem born of an increasingly technology-equipped military. GIs in the field lug a lot of handheld electronic gadgetry — about five to ten pounds of just battery weight, according to Darpa. On top of that, the Defense Department keeps coming up with ideas for yet more portable electronic gear, from Android-based smart phones to universal translators. All that gear needs juice to keep going on long missions. If troops are out on patrol, they can’t just find a convenient socket to stop and plug in. Darpa’s hoping its wireless power system can prove a solution to energy needs in the field without adding a tangled mess of charger cords.

Wireless power transmission may sound like Tesla-inspired science fiction, but the technology behind it isn’t that exotic."

Source and More

Although Tesla's invention taps into unlimited free source of power (the only cost being a transmitter and receiver), you can exect to pay for it through the nose.


What triggers Echelon?

While browsing through some old files I found this little ditty by Kieren McCarthy, from May 31, 2001:

"What are those words that trigger Echelon?  According to various UK media sources today, the buzzwords said to trigger the US, UK, Canada, New Zealand spying mechanism Echelon have been "posted on the Internet". We haven't found the file and it hasn't popped up on the authoritative site for these sorts of things, Cryptome.org, so we'd not put too much weight behind it. However, just for your interest, we give you a quick run-through on what some of the words are. There are the obvious phrases like "Kill the President" which caused two schoolboys from the UK to be quizzed by special branch, "anarchy", "echelon" :-), "nuclear", "assassinate".

Then there are ones that are dodgy (cause they fit in with X-file type paranoia) like "Roswell", "Waco", "World Trade Center", "Soros" - after George Soros, "Whitewater". Then there are a suspiciously large number of hacker names: Furby, Bugs Bunny, Bubba the Love etc. But just when we thought it was obviously some script-kiddie hoax, a few interesting words crop up: FRU - the cover name for the SAS in Northern Ireland, Lebed - an ex-Russian general, now a politician, HALO - a type of parachute jump, Spetznaz - the Russian SAS, Al Amn al-Askari - a member of the Iraqi cabinet, Glock 26 - a ceramic handgun that can't be detected by airport scanners (a reader informs us that the Glock 26 is only partly ceramic, the bullets are metal and is can be detected at airports - so we should really shift this one into the X-file list), Steak Knife - the codename for an IRA double agent, And so on and so forth. Go through them carefully to satisfy your paranoid fantasies (you'll be safe under the bed, trust us)."

I don't recall where this piece appeared so the only credit given is the above.

For more on Echelon visit SpyWriter.


Enhancing ebooks

"Enhanced books are truly amazing. It seems like everyday a new kind of enhancement is announced or shown off. Videos and images can be embedded or made to pop up, text can be hyperlinked, music can be played, table of contents and indexes can be reinvented and repurposed. But while it’s fascinating to see what can be done, we need to ask ourselves should it be done. Developers can build just about anything, because they’re such a talented bunch, but that doesn’t mean the reader wants it in their e-book."

More: http://www.booknetcanada.ca/index.php?option=com_wordpress&p=2514&Itemid=319

I suggest that the only enhancement in ebooks should be spelchecking...


Nuclear explosion caused earthquake

"A frightening foreign military intelligence directorate (GRU) report circulating in the Kremlin states that over the past nearly 48 hours the vast intercontinental military tunnel complex constructed by the United States Air force over the past nearly 45 years was hit with two powerful nuclear explosions at its main terminuses in Colorado and Virginia used nearly exclusively by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).

According to this report, this unprecedented nuclear attack began on the evening of 22 August when one of the main air pressure relief tunnels for this CIA tunnel, located at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa Florida, was forced open allowing millions of cubic feet of air to rush suddenly into the atmosphere.

Unbeknownst to the vast majority of the American people is that the vast military tunnel network constructed since the early 1960’s under their country has cost an estimated $40 trillion and with the exception of this attack shows no sign of abating."

From: http://nation.com.pk/pakistan-news-newspaper-daily-english-online/International/25-Aug-2011/Russia-reports-Nuclear-explosions-hit-vast-US-military-tunnel-network

That' what happens when CIA crosses ISI, who can flood the English-language newscasts with such tales.

Guineapigs battle the CIA

Vietnam veterans accuse the CIA, claiming that "at least 7,800 soldiers had been used as guinea pigs in "Project Paperclip."

The government allegedly administered soldiers with at least 250 and as many as 400 types of drugs, including lethal Sarin, amphetamines, barbiturates, mustard gas, phosgene gas and LSD.

Using tactics it often attributed to the Soviet enemy, the U.S. government sought drugs to control human behavior, cause confusion, promote weakness or temporary loss of hearing and vision, induce hypnosis, and enhance a person's ability to withstand torture [...]

The veterans say that some soldiers died, while others suffered seizures and paranoia."

More: http://www.courthousenews.com/2011/08/19/39136.htm

Secret tunnels to queen's bedchamber

"In the late 1890s and early 1900s, Seoul was a city filled with intrigue, espionage, assassins and thieves. Even the royal court was not exempt from these dangers. Thus it is not surprising that measures were taken to ensure the royal family was able to be conveyed to safety in a precarious situation.

[It] is popularly supposed that deep down in the ground lying between the present imperial palace and the Russian legation there runs a tunnel built to insure the emperor taking no chances should any other stray agitator try to secure an audience without permission."

Source: http://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/news/art/2011/08/135_93349.html


UN chief's plane was shot down

"New evidence has emerged in one of the most enduring mysteries of United Nations and African history, suggesting that the plane carrying the UN secretary general, Dag Hammarskjöld, was shot down over Northern Rhodesia (now Zambia) 50 years ago, and the murder covered up by British colonial authorities.

A British-run commission of inquiry blamed the 1961 crash on pilot error and a later UN investigation largely rubber-stamped its findings. They ignored or downplayed witness testimony of villagers near the crash site which suggested foul play."

The event illustrates "US and British anger at an abortive UN military operation that the secretary general ordered on behalf of the Congolese government against a rebellion backed by western mining companies and mercenaries in the mineral-rich Katanga region.

Hammarskjöld was flying to Ndola for peace talks with the Katanga leadership at a meeting that the British helped arrange. The fiercely independent Swedish diplomat had, by then, enraged almost all the major powers on the security council with his support for decolonisation, but support from developing countries meant his re-election as secretary general would have been virtually guaranteed if he had lived until the general assembly vote due weeks later." More: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/aug/17/dag-hammarskjold-un-secretary-general-crash/print

Harry truman said: "Dag Hammarskjöld was on the point of getting something done when they killed him. Notice that I said, 'when they killed him'."

JFK called Dag Hammarskjöld the "greatest statesman of our century."

E-book buyers expect discounts, buy more

"UK e-book buyers are expecting digital titles to be discounted heavier than their counterparts across the Atlantic, a new survey has found.

The survey, undertaken in April by consultants Simon-Kucher and Partners among 250 book buyers from the US, UK and Germany, concluded an e-book without additional features should cost around 65% to 70% of the print price, though admitted there was "no simple formula" in hitting the pricing sweet spot. The survey also found current e-book users spend more on books than book buyers in general. According to the survey, 48% of book buyers in the US used e-books as well as audio and print, 45% in the UK, but just 15% in Germany."

More: http://www.thebookseller.com/news/e-book-buyers-expect-discounts-do-buy-more.html

Anatomy of CIA recruitment techniques


How Marja-Liisa Linkoaho, a Finnish consular employee, was recruitted by CIA to smuggle agents out of East Berlin:

“When I was going to work in the morning, before nine in the morning, the car was not on Prenzlauer Allee, where I had left it. I was quite desperate. I owed much money, and the money had been invested in the car that was now stolen.”

It was as if someone had been waiting for this determined woman to have a weak moment.

A few days later Linkoaho was contacted by the US Central Intelligence Agency, which offered her an opportunity to work for the CIA. In return she would get some monetary compensation, as well as a Western car of her own.

“The CIA had contacted me a few times before. I always said that I felt that I had enough to do already. I did not want more responsibility, so no thank you.”

Now the situation was different, and Linkoaho agreed to the proposal. Her mission was to be an assistant and a rescuer in case things go wrong. If a CIA agent in East Germany were to need to flee quickly to the West, it would be the task of the Finnish woman to bring the agent across the border hidden in her car.

Now Linkoaho got a 1959 model Opel Rekord beige-coloured car with the registration number IA 61-15.
It was an ordinary Opel, but its twin included American espionage technology. The CIA vehicle had a mechanism installed, which made it possible to hide a person in the back seat. The CIA even had to put a dent in the sister vehicle in the same location where Linkoaho’s car was also dented."


1) CIA tries to recruit the woman several times, but she refuses each time.

2) She borrows money to buy a car.

3) The car gets "stolen", but the debt must be repaid.

4) CIA offers to pay off her debt, if she agrees to spy...

More: http://www.hs.fi/english/article/Finnish%2Bconsular%2Bemployee%2Brecruited%2Bby%2BCIA%2Bto%2Bsmuggle%2Bagents%2Bout%2Bof%2BEast%2BBerlin/1135268587387


Silly Season Blues | LitBash 36

Had enough of the silly season? Forget the newspapers. Pick up a book. Start with writers who were...

Born this week:

Ray Bradbury, USA
"Insanity is relative. It depends on who has who locked in what cage."

Juliette Adam, France

Jorge Luis Borges, Argentina
"Reading ... is an activity subsequent to writing: more resigned, more civil, more intellectual."

Paulo Coelho, Brasil

Frederic Forsyth, UK

Jules Romains, France

"Healthy people are invalids who don't know it."

Hans Zbinden, Switzerland

Julio Cortazar, Argentina

"The snail lives the way I like to live; he carries his own home with him."

Theodore Dreiser, USA
"Literature, outside of the masters, has given us but one idea of the mistress, the subtle, calculating siren who delights to prey on the souls of men."

Ira Levin, USA

Johann von Goethe, Germany

"There is strong shadow where there is much light."

Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu, Ireland

"He has attained supremacy in one particular line: he succeeds in inspiring a mysterious terror better than any other writer."

Died this week:

Roger Martin du Gard, France

Ignazio Silone, Italy

Simone Weil, France

"Art is the symbol of the two noblest human efforts: to construct and to refrain from destruction."

Eyvind Johnson, Sweden
"One should think that you're someone living in the future and that you have to judge - approve or disapprove - the I that acts today, the I that keeps up or fails."

Truman Capote, USA
"The brain may take advice, but not the heart, and love, having no geography, knows no boundaries."

Mika Waltari, Finland
"Life is a hot day, perhaps death is a cool night. Life is a shallow bay, perhaps death is a clear, deep sea."

Robert Pinget, France

Lope de Vega, Spain

Konstantin Simonov, Russia

Michael Ende, Germany

"Time is Life."

Psychic Chocolate Killers


NSA is preparing to employ psychological warfare against online threats:

"Operational attacks against an Internet threat would begin by locating and identifying the individuals involved in the hacks. NSA psychic warfare operatives would assess the targets to identify personality vulnerabilities and determine an operational strategy to remotely influence and effect changes in the bio-physical responses of the targeted individuals. An individual's propensity to develop a specific disease might be enhanced to 'post-select' development of the illness in the target, via emotional influences remotely driven by the operational officer. Feelings of illness or weakness might be enhanced to discourage unwanted behavior." From: http://www.americanchronicle.com/articles/view/239048

Should these psychic tactics fail spies can always turn to chocolate:

"A leader of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, Haddad was accused by Israel of responsibility for several terrorist operations, the last of which was the hijacking of an Israeli passenger plane en route to Entebbe in 1976. According to a recently published book by the Israeli journalist Aharon Klein, Haddad had a great fondness for Belgian chocolates. Mossad obtained some of these special chocolates, coated them with a slow-acting poison, and had them delivered to Haddad, who was then living in Baghdad, by an Iraqi official who was a Mossad agent and who had struck up a friendship with Haddad. Klein relates that the deadly substance was first developed in the IIBR and that its slow-acting and undetectable properties ensured that the agent and the instrument of death would not be discovered.

And indeed, following a gradual but severe deterioration in his health, Haddad was flown to a hospital in East Germany where he was diagnosed with leukaemia and eventually died on 28 March 1978." From: http://weekly.ahram.org.eg


Breaking Mews: Iran attacks (the publishing industry)

This just in: Iran floods the market with pirated books!

"In pirated books from Iran you can’t see pictures of men and women together, they separate them from each other. As for the women, you can only see the hands or feet of the women, not their faces. Women’s faces are blurred. Iranians don’t care for dogs and always replace photos of them with ones of cats. Not only the photos, but the actual word “dog” is exchanged in the text for those of other animals. If the text mentions the term girlfriend and boyfriend, they replace the terms with the word “friends” which significantly changes the meaning. You can still work with these books though, as they don’t change the grammar,"

Source: http://finchannel.com/Main_News/Geo/92466_Iran_Exporting_Pirated_English_Language_Books_to_Georgia/

Enough talk. Send in the troops.

Sex hormone plan to feminise Hitler


"British spies looked at an even more audacious way of derailing the man behind the German war machine - by giving him female sex hormones.

Agents planned to smuggle doses of oestrogen into his food to make him less aggressive and more like his docile younger sister Paula, who worked as a secretary.

Spies working for the British were close enough to Hitler to have access to his food".

Source: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/8701024/Revealed-sex-hormone-plan-to-feminise-Hitler.html

Would Hitler's hormone therapy affect the course of the WWII? Are women less prone to waging wars? Was the opposite done to Margaret Thatcher? What about those women in the upper echelons of recent and past U.S. administrations who incite and cheer for invasions and wars (unless, of course, they're victims of insidious hormone change ops...)

The Art of Spy Disguise


"What did East German spies wear to work? Archival photographs uncovered by a Berlin-based artist reveal disguises that included fur hats, upturned collars, and, naturally, sunglasses. The images from the Stasi secret police course on the 'art of disguising' provide a sometimes absurd perspective on what the Cold War era spies considered inconspicuous."

Source and more: http://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/0,1518,777716,00.html

Coco Chanel 'was a Nazi agent during Second World War'


"according to Sleeping With the Enemy: Coco Chanel's Secret War, the creator of the mythical Little Black Dress was a numbered Nazi agent working for the Abwehr, Germany's military intelligence agency.

[...] the celebrated designer had an Abwehr label: Agent F-7124. She also had a code name: Westminster, after her sometime lover with whom she spent weeks salmon fishing in his estate before the war.

[...] a British secret intelligence report documenting what Count Joseph von Ledebur-Wicheln, an Abwehr agent and defector, told MI6 agents in 1944. In the file, Ledebur discussed how Chanel and Baron von Dincklage travelled to bombed-out Berlin in 1943 to offer Chanel's services as an agent to Heinrich Himmler."

More: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/world-war-2/8704910/Coco-Chanel-was-a-Nazi-agent-during-Second-World-War.html


How to cross Dublin without passing a pub

"Good puzzle would be cross Dublin without passing a pub," muses Leopold Bloom in James Joyce's classic novel Ulysses. It's a conundrum that has intrigued literary visitors to the city for years and, until now, frustrated them.

The Joycean quandary has just been solved by software developer Rory McCann, who came up with an algorithm to help him chart a pub-free route through Dublin's streets. Starting by plotting out 30 points around the city's canals, to represent the size Dublin would have been when Ulysses was published, he used data from the online editable map, OpenStreetMap, to pin down the locations of Dublin's 1,000-plus pubs,. He then set his algorithm to work to find a winding path across the city that does not pass within 35m of a pub."

More: http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2011/jun/17/joyce-puzzle-dublin-passing-pub


How to restore profits in America

Worried about the state of the economy? You're not the only one. Others worried before you, and they had a plan... Here's a piece that sends chills for its resemblance to current affairs:

"In 1934 a special Congressional committee was appointed to conduct an investigation of a possible planned coup intended to topple the administration of president Franklin D. Roosevelt and replace it with a government modelled on the policies of Adolph Hitler and Benito Mussolini.

The Congressional committee had discovered that some of the foremost members of the economic elite, many of them household names at the time, had indeed hatched a meticulously detailed and massively funded plot to effect a fascist coup in America. The owners of Bird's Eye, Maxwell House and Heinz, among others, totaling about twenty four major businessmen and Wall Street financiers, planned to assemble a private army of half a million men, composed largely of unemployed veterans. These troops would both constitute the armed force behind the coup and defeat any resistance this in-house revolution might generate. The economic elite would provide the material resources required to sustain the new government.

The plotters hoped that widespread working-class discouragement at the stubborn persistence of the Great Depression would have sufficiently disenchanted the masses with FDR's policies to make the coup an easy ride. And they were appalled at Roosevelt's willingness after 1933 to initiate economic policies that economists and businessmen considered dangerously Leftist departures from economic orthodoxy. Only a fascist-style government, they thought, could enforce the kind of economic 'discipline' that would reverse the Great Depression and restore profits."

Source: CommonDreams, August 2, 2007

Stand by for Jack King's suspense novel that was inspired by the above events: www.spywriter.com

A eulogy for a bookstore

"There's something about a bookstore, hard to put your finger on. You stroll into one with nothing particular in mind, and before you know it half the day's gone. What have you done in all that time? Nothing — simply read a paragraph of this book, skimmed a chapter of that, made the acquaintance of a stray thought or two, and you leave at last feeling slightly disoriented; the familiar everyday world, for that final moment or two before the spell fades, seems a little transformed. Nowadays of course you can search for and buy any book you need online, but there is a peculiar state of bibliophilic reverie that only a bookstore can induce."

Source: Japantimes.co.jp June 5, 2001

The ever narrowing literary bestseller list

"Trends come and go, but the best seller remains essentially serendipitous. An editor can be no more certain of finding the next one than a writer can be assured of writing it. "As a rule of thumb," writes John Sutherland, an English scholar who has studied the phenomenon, "what defines the bestseller is bestselling. Nothing else."

"The term best seller has always been a misnomer. Fast seller would be more appropriate, since the pace of sales matters as much as the quantity. The first list of books "in order of demand" was created in 1895 by Harry Thurston Peck, editor of the trade magazine The Bookman.

From the start, Peck seems to have had mixed feelings about the arbitrariness of the mechanism he had chosen to anoint books. "The period during which a popular novel enjoys favor is growing shorter all the time nowadays," he wrote in 1902, lamenting "the flood of fiction that is being placed upon the market and vigorously promoted practically every month in the year."

Over time, however, shorter becomes not only the period 'during which a popular novel enjoys favor', or a list of authors who enjoy the mega-popularity, but limited becomes the choice of genres:

"A combination of factors brought about the homogenization of the best-seller list that began in the late '70s and continues today. [...] the "superstores" pioneered by Barnes & Noble began to edge independents out of the market, which made publishers less inclined to publish the quirkier fiction in which the smaller bookstores specialized. Meanwhile, the conglomeration of publishing houses under larger and larger umbrellas meant that profits were often managed by distant executives who prioritized the bottom line over promoting literary culture, making editors less likely than ever to take risks on anything beyond the mainstream. The result was that for a new author, making the best-seller list was more like winning the lottery than ever before—in terms of both payout and probability."

Market favors writers-manufacturers who mass-produce books:

"With the regulars bringing out a new book every year or so, the number of open slots naturally decreased. And so a novel by a new writer has a smaller chance of becoming a best seller today than at any other time in history."

Source: bookforum.com, Nov. 30, 2010


How do defectors adjust to their new lives?

"How do defectors adjust to their new lives?

You have spent years in the half-light, betraying those closest to you. And now your secret is out.

Spirited away to the foreign power you covertly served all along, you know you can never return to the homeland that now reviles you as a traitor.

With your loyalties out in the open, you must make a life for yourself in your adopted nation. How?"

Read on at: bbc.co.uk, June 27, 2011, By Jon Kelly.


Five Popular Espionage Techniques

Nr 2:

"Live Drops

Live Drops are very similar to brush passes and dead drops. In a live drop, two agents make an exchange, but the exchange is hidden in plain sight.

This is because one of the agents is disguised as someone who commonly exchanges items with the general public.

For example, a man walks up to a hot dog vendor and purchases a hot dog. The man pays for the concession and leaves. However, the man is an agent and has just passed the hot dog vendor, his co-conspirator, a note mixed-in with his money or written on the actual bills.

Transactions such as these took place on city streets across the globe. There is nothing suspicious about someone buying food from a street vendor."

Source: http://www.topsecretwriters.com/2011/07/five-popular-espionage-techniques-of-the-former-soviet-union/

Writers who have nothing to say, but say it just right | LitBash 35

Some writers have nothing to say, but they say it beautifully, passionately, and engagingly. Find out for yourself; start with writers who were...

Born this week:

Bernardo Guimaraes, Brasil

Edith Nesbit, UK

Charles Bukowski, USA

"People with no morals often considered themselves more free, but mostly they lacked the ability to feel or love."

V. S. Naipaul, UK / India
"Everybody is interesting for an hour, but few people can last more than two."

Alain Robbe-Grillet, France
"The true writer has nothing to say. What counts is the way he says it."

Ogden Nash, USA
"A door is what a dog is perpetually on the wrong side of."

Howard Lovecraft, USA
"The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown..."

Vilhelm Moberg, Sweden
"I have met the town idiot, who declares that all the automobiles in the world are of less value than a single human life. I have met the most harmless inhabitant of Pine Beach: a wise man."

Mary Margaret Kaye, UK

Died this week:

Margaret Mitchell, USA
"Death and taxes and childbirth! There’s never any convenient time for any of them!"

Honore de Balzac, France
"Equality may be a right, but no power on earth can convert it into fact."

Leonhard Frank, Germany

Tibor Dery, Hungary

Blaise Pascal, France

"I would have written a shorter letter, but I did not have the time."

Federico Garcia Lorca, Spain

"Old women can see through walls."

Ladislav Fuks, Czech

Henrik Pontoppidan, Denmark


How to Enrich your Life

Do you find your life bland? Would you like to enrich it? Start here:

"Literature is not merely a depiction of reality; It is rather a significant value-addition to reality. Literary works are portrayals of the thinking pattern sand social norms prevalent in a specific period in the society. Behind every book is a man; behind every man is a race; and behind race are the social and natural environments the influence of which is unconsciously reflected in the written works. Men of letters play a crucial role in national integration. Societies that have been woven into bonds of unity have always enjoyed permanence, stability and peace. Literature can move the world; what swords could not do was done by a small poem, what legendary empire builders could not do was done by lonely thinkers."

Source and More: http://www.groundreport.com/Business/Importance-of-Literature/2939658

Spies to Predict the Future

"The theory is simple and reasonable: the more you know about what is happening right now, the better you'll be at predicting what will happen next. One United States intelligence agency is planning to do just that -- using Google, Twitter, Facebook, and anything else that provides a window on current events and trends. [...]

The kinds of sources of information that the project will be consulting are referred to as OSI, or Open Source Indicators -- such as "web search trends, blogs, microblogs, internet traffic, webcams, financial markets, and many others" according to the notice. Using "continuous, automated analysis" of these indicators, IARPA hopes to "anticipate and/or detect societal disruptions, such as political crises, disease outbreaks, economic instability, resource shortages, and natural disasters."

More: http://hken.ibtimes.com/articles/176564/20110708/us-government-to-use-internet-to-predict-the-future.htm


Albert Camus vs. KGB

Albert "Camus, a philosopher, novelist and journalist, who won the 1957 Nobel Prize for Literature, died on January 4, 1960, during a road trip from Provence to Paris. Camus had initially planned to accompany his wife and children on a train ride to Paris, but changed his mind at the last minute, after his trusted friend and publisher, Michel Gallimard, offered him a ride in his car to the French capital. That evening, as Gallimard and Camus were driving through the small town of Villeblevin, Gallimard’s Facel Vega FV3B rammed into a tree at high speed. Camus was killed instantly, while Gallimard died in hospital several days later. But an article published last week in one of Italy’s oldest newspapers, Corriere della Sera, claims that the two men may have been killed after Soviet intelligence agents sabotaged Gallimard’s car."

More: http://intelligencenews.wordpress.com/2011/08/08/01-783/


Paolo Coelho scores riches through piracy

Author Paolo Coelho finds riches in piracy:

"His view is that letting people swap digital copies of his book increases sales. He gives this example of his experience in the Russian market where his books sold a mere 1,000 copies. He uploaded the Russian translation of his copy and the sales went up from 1,000 to 10,000 and more.

Once he found this avenue he says he set up his own site called ‘The Pirate Coelho. He went to BitTorrent and got all his pirated editions and put them on his site. “Since then, my books have sold about 140 million copies worldwide,” he noted in his article.

According to him this gives a reader the possibility of reading your book and choosing whether to buy it or not."

Source: http://www.ibtimes.com/articles/189585/20110730/paulo-coelho-piracy-books-authors-the-alchemist.htm


Complete a Writer | LitBash 34

A writer is incomplete without readers. Complete one now, start with those who were:

Born this week:

Pamela Lyndon Travers, UK
"A writer is, after all, only half his book. The other half is the reader and from the reader the writer learns."

Jorge Amado, Brasil

Alex Haley, USA

"In my writing, as much as I could, I tried to find the good, and praise it."

Fernando Arrabal, Spain

John Galsworthy, UK

"The world's a fine place for those who go out to take it; there's lots of unknown stuff' in it yet."

Died this week:

Frederick Marryat, UK

Hermann Hesse, Germany

"it matters little that you suffer, so long as you feel alive with a sense of the close bond that connects all living things, so long as love does not die!"

Ulrich Plenzdorf, Germany

Edith Wharton, USA

"No insect hangs its nest on threads as frail as those which will sustain the weight of human vanity."

Sandor Brody, Hungary

Thomas Mann, Germany
"We are most likely to get angry and excited in our opposition to some idea when we ourselves are not quite certain of our own position, and are inwardly tempted to take the other side."

Ian Fleming, UK

Gilbert Cesbron, France

H. G. Wells, UK
"Money and credit are as much human contrivances as bicycles, and as liable to expansion and modification as any other sort of prevalent but imperfect machine."

Rainer Brambach, Switzerland

Bertolt Brecht, Germany
"People remain what they are even if their faces fall apart."

Elias Canetti, Austria
"The great writers of aphorisms read as if they had all known each other very well."


Reality of Espionage vs. Literature

What are the tools of spies: daggers, poisoned pins, silencers, and exploadings cigars, or an office chair?

Reality gets in the way of fiction writers:

"Nowadays the task for a spy writer, particularly an ex-insider, is different. Readers demand reality. Ever since Frederick Forsyth told us in The Day of the Jackal exactly how to get a false passport by acquiring the birth certificate of a dead child, accurate detail is expected. And much more is public nowadays. Greater openness and oversight, judicial and other enquiries, trials in which intelligence officers give evidence, authorised histories, have all lifted the veil.

But the reality is that the life of today’s intelligence office is as likely to be about waiting and watching, listening and explaining and trying to work out by painstaking analysis what is going on as it is about directly confronting the nation’s enemies. And those enemies are less likely to be the sinister representatives of foreign powers working to the arcane rules of a game which both sides understand than terrorists working to no rules, whose motives and objectives are unclear."

source: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/books/ways-with-words/8608316/Ways-With-Words-The-truth-about-spies.html


Resistance through Literature

Le Clezio, a literary Nobel recipient:

“Every piece of literature is written in one language, and therefore is given its nationality,” he said. “Yet it has to connect with the people who do not share that nationality. Literature is an effort to understand the common experience of men.”

A piece of literature, after all, has to let its readers understand the universality of human experience, which transcends national and cultural differences, he said.

Le Clezio said the modern international public is often unconsciously manipulated by the mass media, and writers should resist such manipulation by writing.

“Of course a writer does not have much power compared to the mass media and television,” he said. “But writing can be a meaningful way of resisting. We’ll just have to keep writing.” Source: koreaherald.com

Others second Le Clezio's belief that writers can play a crucial role:

[...] "in the past dialogue used to be a weapon in our society, but now weapons have taken the place of dialogue in our society and there was urgent need to fight this mindset and literacy figures can play a crucial role in winning this war against terrorism." Source: ftpapp.app.com.pk June 18, 2011


Sitting on a bayonet

'The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country. We are governed, our minds are molded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of.' --- Edward Bernays, 1928

We're all victims of propaganda, regardless of the level of education, and the higher the education the more susceptible to brainwashing we become:

"This ignorance and gullibility among the college-educated modern public is despite the fact that Western academe is at the forefront of the vast majority of behavior control and social engineering research studies, often funded by, or in collaboration with, Western intelligence, military services, and private tax-exempt foundations such as the Rockefeller Foundation, Carnegie Endowment, Ford Foundation, etc. The highly compartmentalized nature of such research ensures that few students and professors in on the ground breaking studies into human behavior can ever glean the bigger picture towards which they work so diligently to respectively earn their Ph.D. and research funding! Those few who do comprehend are invariably already engaged with empire in the largely unhidden orchestration of social engineering, or, recruited into it as agents and assets of the Mighty Wurlitzer.

The indoctrination of belief in authority figures and “experts” has reached pandemic proportions in the West. It is today perhaps the greatest public plague afflicting the mightiest superpower on earth, a direct consequence of “dumbing down” the public in the name of higher education to craft self-obsessed economic widgets, narrow specialists, and superficial generalists, for the Technetronic Era."

Source and more: scoop.co.nz June 2, 2011

Why the Soviets Built the Berlin Wall

Here's a take on the reasons behind the erection of the Berlin Wall, a Cold War symbol:

"during the 1950s, American  cold warriors in West Germany instituted a crude campaign of sabotage and subversion against East Germany designed to throw that country’s economic and administrative machinery out of gear. [...]

The United States and its agents used explosives, arson, short circuiting, and other methods to damage power stations, shipyards, canals, docks, public buildings, gas stations, public transportation, bridges, etc; they derailed freight trains, seriously injuring workers; burned 12 cars of a freight train and destroyed air pressure hoses of others; used acids to damage vital factory machinery; put sand in the turbine of a factory, bringing it to a standstill; set fire to a tile-producing factory; promoted work slow-downs in factories; killed 7,000 cows of a co-operative dairy through poisoning; added soap to powdered milk destined for East German schools; were in possession, when arrested, of a large quantity of the poison cantharidin with which it was planned to produce poisoned cigarettes to kill leading East Germans; set off stink bombs to disrupt political meetings; attempted to disrupt the World Youth Festival in East Berlin by sending out forged invitations, false promises of free bed and board, false notices of cancellations, etc.; carried out attacks on participants with explosives, firebombs, and tire-puncturing equipment; forged and distributed large quantities of food ration cards to cause confusion, shortages and resentment; sent out forged tax notices and other government directives and documents to foster disorganization and inefficiency within industry and unions"...

Source and more: Consortiumnews.com, July 28, 2011

Taste, chew, swallow, and digest | LitBash 33

Francis Bacon said: "Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested." Gobble up as many as you want. Start with authors who were...

Born this week:

Herman Melville, USA
"It is better to fail in originality, than to succeed in imitation. He who has never failed somewhere, that man can not be great. Failure is the true test of greatness."

Romulo Gallegos, Venezuela

Witold Gombrowicz, Poland
"Any artist who respects himself ought to be, and in every sense of the term, an emigre."

Knut Hamsun, Norway
"And love became the world's origin and the world's ruler, yet littered its path is with flowers and blood, flowers and blood."

Guy de Maupassant, France
"Conversation. What is it? A Mystery! It's the art of never seeming bored, of touching everything with interest, of pleasing with trifles, of being fascinating with nothing at all."

Jiri Weil, Czech

Carl Brosboll, Denmark

Died this week:

William Burroughs, USA
"A paranoid man is a man who knows a little about what's going on."

Joseph Conrad, Poland / UK
"It's only those who do nothing that make no mistakes, I suppose."

Sidonie Colette, France
"There are days when solitude, for someone my age, is a heady wine that intoxicates you with freedom, others when it is a bitter tonic, and still others when it is a poison that makes you beat your head against the wall."

Alexander Solzhenitsyn, Russia
"Literature that is not the breath of contemporary society, that dares not transmit the pains and fears of that society, that does not warn in time against threatening moral and social dangers — such literature does not deserve the name of literature; it is only a façade. Such literature loses the confidence of its own people, and its published works are used as wastepaper instead of being read."

Hans Christian Andersen, Denmark
"Death walks faster than the wind and never returns what he has taken."

Salama Musa, Egypt

Jorge Amado, Brasil

Rosario Castellanos, Mexico