Tag Archives: The Telegraph

GCHQ “hidden past” in the press

Benhall Aerial View (Source: GCHQ.gov.uk)

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Kris Partridge, who writes:

You recently posted about the on going GCHQ exhibition at the Science Museum here in London.

I now offer you two more GCHQ items. Both radio related.

First one from BBC Radio:

How Scarborough saved the world

The Secret History of GCHQ

Stories from the intelligence agency’s hidden past – and how it’s been listening in for the last 100 years. With BBC security correspondent Gordon Corera.

Click here to listen online (when available).

This will be transmitted tonight at 20h00 London (BST, UTC +1) that’s at 15h00 East Coast time! This will be available after TX on BBC Sounds, the replacement for BBC iPlayer radio.

The second, also radio related, is/has US interest:

GCHQ’s secret hilltop site in Scarborough revealed as having pivotal role in Cuban missile crisis

he pivotal role in the Cuban missile crisis played by a secret outpost of GCHQ in Scarborough has been revealed.

The task of the tiny bunker on the North Yorkshire coast, described by staff as dank and often smelly, had been to monitor the Soviet Baltic fleet and merchant shipping in the northern hemisphere.

In 1962 this somewhat unglamorous job for Britain’s cyber spy agency was thrust into the centre of world affairs as tensions between the West and the Soviet Union threatened to escalate into nuclear war.

On October 16, 1962, US President John F Kennedy had been told the Soviet Union was secretly shipping nuclear missiles to Cuba, just 90 miles off America’s south eastern coast.

US forces established a naval blockade, preventing the arrival of any ships, but some Soviet vessels were already on their way to the island. Any confrontation between the two naval forces risked escalation into nuclear war.

The operators in the Scarborough bunker were able to intercept the Soviet ships reporting back their position and establish where they were heading.

“Traditionally just another task at the bottom of Scarborough’s priority list, suddenly escalated to the very top priority for British intelligence,” Tony Comer, GCHQ’s historian told the BBC.[…]

Click here to continue reading the full story at The Telegraph.

and [from the BBC]:

Scarborough’s role in the Cuban missile crisis revealed

A secret base in Scarborough played a key role in resolving the Cold War’s Cuban missile crisis, it can now be revealed.

Up on a hilltop, not far from a caravan park in England’s North Yorkshire coast sits what is believed to be the longest continually running listening station in the world.

The GCHQ base at Scarborough was established just before World War One because its position was ideal to intercept German naval radio signals in the North Sea.

During World War Two, it helped locate German U-boats in the Atlantic. By the Cold War it shifted to monitoring Soviet communications.[…]

Click here to read the full story at the BBC.

I hope, for you in time to hear it “live”, and the online version for your blog readers.

I managed to do just that, Kris! Thank you so much for sharing these links and stories. I especially look forward to the Radio 4 piece later today.

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When held captive, radio provides escape

Analog Radio DialMany thanks to Any Sennitt who shares a link to this article by Telegraph journalist, 

(Source: The Telegraph via Andy Sennitt)

Along with the glaciers of the Arctic and the sand dunes of the Sahara, northern Somalia is one of the loneliest, most godforsaken places I’ve ever visited as a foreign correspondent. You can wander its Arizona-like landscape for days without seeing another soul, and when I was held hostage there in 2008, I could see why so many British troops posted to Somalia after the Second World War committed suicide through loneliness.

That I did not succumb to the same urge is thanks to many factors – one being the good cheer of the photographer held captive alongside me, another being the Telegraph’s heroic efforts in securing our release.

But during the six weeks we spent held at gunpoint in a cave, one thing that stemmed the despair was the tiny, battery-operated radio that our kidnappers sometimes lent us. On the short wave channel we could get a faint BBC World Service signal, and while it was often fuzzy as it bounced round the cave’s walls, it was better than yet another game on our chess set made from cigarette foil.

So I’m pleased to hear that this lifeline is now being extended to inmates of another, much larger prison – the 25 million citizens of North Korea, who are denied access to any outside media by their leader, Kim Jong-un. As the Telegraph disclosed on Thursday, the World Service is to plan a new North Korea channel, giving the country’s brain-washed citizens a much-needed alternative to the relentless propaganda of the world’s last Stalinist regime.

[Continue reading at The Telegraph…]

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