Saturday 19 December 2015

Frederick Forsyth was a REAL Spy

One of the world's top thriller writers is the British novelist Frederick Forsyth. He's best known for the books The Day of the Jackal, The Odessa File and The Fourth Protocol. These have been made into many films. I've read a couple of his books and I've found that his style is very matter-of-fact and he is good at inventing interesting plots. The stories are event driven rather than focusing on characterization and that might not appeal to everybody. However if you're in the mood for a bit of good old "bloke-lit" then Forsyth is perfect. He was also famous for his daredevil lifestyle. In researching his stories he used to make contact with real gangsters, terrorists, mercenaries, black market arms traders etc. He put himself in danger and sometimes had to flee for his life. The literary critics call him a "real James Bond". They used to put that down to his adventurous personality, but new information has recently come to light, from the horse's mouth, that provide and alternative theory. In his autobiography, called The Outsider- my Life in Intrigue, see:, he reveals that he has worked for the British intelligence organization, MI6. This comes as no surprise to me. He is known to have many friends and contacts in the world of serious espionage and some of the details in the books have led many experts to express astonishment at how much he seems to know that he really shouldn't. Also there are precedents for the real and fictional intelligence worlds occasionally overlapping. Ian Fleming is world famous for creating the fictional spy James Bond, but he himself spied on the Moscow show trials and during the Spanish civil war; he was also head of British naval intelligence during World War II and was involved with the Helen Duncan affair, see: Forsyth was also an international journalist. He worked for Reuters and the BBC from 1961 to 1967 where he reported on the Nigerian civil war. When the BBC tried to take him off the case he resigned and went freelance. It's quite likely that it was during this period he was approached for recruitment by MI6. It makes me wonder how many more of the news reporters we see on our TV screens are moonlighting in such a way. The Channel 4 News presenter Jon Snow has aroused controversy several times; he refuses to wear a poppy on the air during Remembrance, which is highly unorthodox in the British media and some people find it offensive. In 1976, at the start of his career, he reports that he was approached by some people who offered to give him a large amount of money, in cash, tax free, much more than his journalists' salary, in exchange for private information on some of his colleagues and research subjects. There's no doubt the people who made him that offer were in the intelligence services. Snow, to his credit, turned them down. The question is, if Jon Snow said "no", how many others said "yes"? Jeremy Paxman? Huw Edwards? Gavin Esler? Fiona Bruce? We now know that Frederick Forsyth said "yes" and he was working for the BBC. Some of his books include disturbing themes, although I've only read a couple of them. The Fourth Protocol is especially interesting. The story is about a plot by the Soviet Union's intelligence service, the dreaded KGB, to smuggle a nuclear bomb into the UK in order to detonate it at RAF Woodbridge, in Rendlesham Forest, and destabilize an upcoming general election; this would allow one of their agents to become prime minister. (Interestingly Peter Wright, the renegade MI5 officer who wrote the book the government tried to ban, Spy Catcher; spoke of an attempt by the British intelligence services to commit electoral fraud in a UK general election. This may well have happened in Scotland last year, see: The attack is foiled in the end by British counter-espionage efforts, but there is a subtle hint in the story that the whole operation is really a false flag. How much does Forsyth really know? A lot less than he's willing to say openly, you can be sure. However dropping hints is a good way of letting secrets out without anybody finding out. Is Frederick Forsyth trying to do that?  

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