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Steppenpig

Cunning Plans

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I just read my first Ken Follet which involved israeli agents buying a shipping company that was delivering uranium, transferring ownership of the company while the boat was at sea, swapping the crew over, and renaming it to that of a sister vessel which was simultaneously sunk. (As an aside, both the Israelis and the Russians had managed to get one of their men on board as a "sleeper", the ship was also being pursued by the russians the arabs and the palestinians, the egyptian turns out to be a palestinian double agent, everyone thinks the heros girlfriend is an arab Spy. But that's not important.)

I have trouble suspending my disbelief when reading this sort of thing, but was just wondering whether there really have ever been any really clever operations. Usually real life successful operations seem to rely on detailed preparation, sowing misinformation and audacity (maybe the Israeli raid on Entebbe, for example).

(Not conspiracy theories, unless they are officialy conformed or generally accepted as fact)

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Asking for 'clever' and 'officially confirmed' might be pushing things a bit. Why would officials ever confirm successful underhand ops?

How about Iran-Contra?

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/IranContra_affair

'The IranContra affair (Persian: ایران-کنترا‎, Spanish: caso Irán-Contra), also referred to as Irangate,[1] Contragate[2] or the IranContra scandal, was a political scandal in the United States that occurred during the second term of the Reagan Administration. Senior administration officials secretly facilitated the sale of arms to Iran*, the subject of an arms embargo.[3] Some U.S. officials also hoped that the arms sales would secure the release of several hostages and allow U.S. intelligence agencies to fund the Nicaraguan Contras. Under the Boland Amendment, further funding of the Contras by the government had been prohibited by Congress.'

*via Israel

Edit:

Otto Skorzeny's resume is quite impressive for this sort of thing...

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Otto_Skorzeny#Operations_by_Skorzeny

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Wow,for real? The history books are full of them, biographies even more so.

Back long ago there was this war that dragged on for years, till the invaders just scarpered one day, leaving a gift of peace made from some of their wrecked boats....

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Wow,for real? The history books are full of them, biographies even more so.

Back long ago there was this war that dragged on for years, till the invaders just scarpered one day, leaving a gift of peace made from some of their wrecked boats....

Horses for courses.

I've never really got into Deighton/Follett/Forsyth et al - I find they usually rely on some party having super-human omniscience - to me it often seems like a slightly improved version of the monday morning creative writing we were forced to do at primary school. (Probably for the teacher to see if everything was alright at home thinking about it...)

But I might give it another go, the plot in the OP sounds so crazy it could just work*.

(* Look up Marc Rich.)

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Horses for courses.

I've never really got into Deighton/Follett/Forsyth et al - I find they usually rely on some party having super-human omniscience - to me it often seems like a slightly improved version of the monday morning creative writing we were forced to do at primary school. (Probably for the teacher to see if everything was alright at home thinking about it...)

But I might give it another go, the plot in the OP sounds so crazy it could just work*.

(* Look up Marc Rich.)

They do, as well as being unbeatbale in a fight - see the Jack Reacher novels. But they are undemanding page turners with happy endings for the good people. I quite like them and they don't pretend to be great literature.

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How about the 2012 Benghazi attack, maybe?

The CIA has been subjecting operatives to monthly polygraph tests in an attempt to suppress details of a reported US arms smuggling operation in Benghazi that was ongoing when its ambassador was killed by a mob in the city last year, according to reports.

CNS: Benghazi Was About 400 Surface-to-Air-Missiles Stolen by 'Some Very Ugly People,' DiGenova Says

DiGenova says he doesn't know if the missiles were physically at the CIA annex on the night of Sept. 12 -- "but it is clear that the annex was somehow involved in the process of the distribution of those missiles." The CIA annex in Benghazi apparently was gathering the Libyan missiles to be sent to an unknown destination*.
*<cough> Syria <cough>

I've just noticed that the director of the Transformers series and Bad Boys II is in talks about making the movie. So the truth about what really went on is definitely going to come out.

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It is a good story, but US undercover agencies selling arms to whatever the current in favour rebel mob that will probably turn out to be even more mad and dangerous than the previous best friend who went bad, behind the back of the government, people, ever vigilant press (ho ho ho) etc, hardly counts as a cunning plan these days.

Funnily enough, even at the time, I was a bit surprised about the moral outrage over the contra affair. I can't believe thes days anyone (in authority) would give a damn.

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