Thursday, February 28, 2013
Commander Ian Fleming reported to the reception area of the large country house in Bedfordshire, as he had done nearly every day for the last few weeks.
'Good morning sir.' said the marine Sargent behind the desk
'Good morning. Any messages?'
'Yes sir. C would like to see you before you talk to the prisoner again. He's in his office.'
'Thank you.' and with that he took the stairs to C's office.
'Go straight in sir, he's expecting you.' said the army captain who was seated in the outer office
Major General Sir Stewart Graham Menzies sat behind a large desk. 'Whisky?'
'No thank you sir, a bit early for me.'
'Nonsense. It's my private stock, laid down by my grandfather. Aged for twenty four years. You can't say no to that can you.'
'A small one then sir.'
C handed Fleming a very large glass of malt.
'He's ready to talk you know. But only to you.'
'About time, I would have thought he would have wanted to after a day or so. Do you want be to see him now sir?'
'No, no. Lets leave him for a few more hours.'
Fleming looked though the small spy hole drilled in to the cell wall. The man within looked like death warmed up. Naked unshaven, dirty, unclean in the worse possible way and above all weak in spirit as well as body.
'Get him out of there and clean him up.'
'Yes sir.' The corporal didn't look to pleased at the order, Fleming didn't blame him, he wouldn't have wanted to do it. 'feed him as well sir?'
'No wait, just clean him up, and give him some tea, or coffee.'
'Yes sir, and then sir?'
'Bring him to my office and don't forget to dress him.'
An hour later John Cairncross was slumped in an armchair in Fleming's office.
'What do you think of our methods?' asked the commander 'Got the idea from your Russian friends. Very nice friends if you ask me. Left you to hang out and dry didn't they?'
'What do you mean by that?'
'Which part the methods?'
Cairncross just nodded.
'Keeping the light on for twenty fours hours? Leaving you naked? No bed?'
Again just a nod.
'At least we did leave you a pot to piss in, that was nice of us wasn't it. Now the quicker you tell me what I want to know the quicker you can have something to eat. That's fair isn't it.'
He started to talk.
'Do you believe him?' asked C
'Yes I do sir. It's not as much as I would have hoped for, a couple of names, one of which we knew already. He wasn't within the inner circle as far as I can tell, but if he was we'll never get him to admit it. The new name was a bit of a surprise.'
The two continued to talk for another half hour. It was decided that the commander would go to Cambridge, just to keep an eye out. See if he could find the three of four other men that he was sure were there, of at least had been.
As Fleming leaving he asked C one last question 'Any idea what we do with him now sir?'
'I haven't thought that far ahead. He's helped us. Took a bit of time but he has. Might keep him from the hangman's noose.'
Intelligence in WWIII 1946
Outside the Lubyanka Prison,
In Feliks Dzherzinsky Square,
Moscow, The U.S.S.R.
It was half past two in the morning, and there was an electric feeling in the air. Though he had been here many times before, he could not help feeling excitement and dread all at once. He had reached the most impenetrable part of the Soviet Union, having crafted as close to an impeccable and unassailable alias as humanly possible, and having had help in doing so, for himself and his team, from the Ukrainian Insurgent Army, with whom he still had contacts. The Lubyanka was, perhaps, the most guarded government building in all of the Soviet Union, obviously after the Kremlin and Stalin's personal dacha.
He took a moment and drew a deep breath, gathered up his courage and proceeded to play his part: he boldly went up to the guard post and announced himself, in Tatar-accented Russian, as NKVD Colonel Maksim Avramyevich Shtein, Special Prosecutor for Hitlerite War Crimes Against the Soviet People. This allowed him to have unfettered access to the target and the target's associates. Yes, it was a ballsy move, but it was now or never, since the target's execution date had been moved up, to the day after tomorrow. He was banking on the fact that he closely resembled the Cheka prosecutor and that not many people outside Stalin's Inner Circle knew what he actually looked like. It would take only a matter of a few days, maybe only hours, for the actual Shtein to be found, murdered, in his Arbat office.
Through the months of planning, weapons and keys had been pre-positioned, escape routes and diversions were planned, plans were devised and revised, again and again, until they knew the final plan and could execute it in their sleep. Each man was smart enough to improvise, and deviate from the plan, if they absolutely needed to. Everything that could be done had already been done in support of this operation. All that was left was the execution of the plan.
He boldly and confidently strode through the halls of the infamous prison, barking orders and making his way to the basement dungeon, where the target and his cohorts were being held, only occasionally being challenged and being passed through. As he reached the final checkpoint, he fingered the hilt of the blade strapped to his wrist, and ordered the NKVD guard to open the cell block. The guard stated that he needed permission from the guard commander to do that. As the hapless guard turned to reach for the telephone, he never saw the blade that slashed his exposed throat, causing geysers of blood to gush from the carotid artery that had just been so brutally severed. The fake NKVD officer merely stepped a safe distance away to keep the blood from splashing against his pristine uniform. As the guard finished bleeding out, he wiped the blade of his knife against the poor bastard's uniform and grabbed his keys. Before unlocking the cell door, he cut the electrical wire that connected the lock to an alarm that sounded when the key made contact with the wire. Having done that, he unlocked the cell door and announced to everyone there that they were getting out. At first, having been blinded by the dim lights from the hallway, they could now see clearly that an NKVD officer was standing before them, and they immediately thought that this would be the end of them.
As he unshackled each of them in turn, he told them that they had absolutely no time to waste, they must leave immediately or be executed on the spot. Only momentarily shocked, they readily complied and followed Shtein.
His team, having taken their supporting positions earlier, before his entry, were now in their NKVD uniforms and now joined him, armed like a guard detail, allowing for the appearance of “Shtein” transferring the high-value prisoners, presumably for final interrogation and “liquidation.” As the final member of the “guard detail” joined them, he and “Shtein” began quietly conversing, the new stranger speaking a heavily foreign-accented Russian, like a German. The prisoners certainly looked all of the pitiful part they were encouraged to play, if they were going to pull the caper off. As they neared the front gate of the Lubyanka, the first alarm began to sound and orders were given to lock down the prison. Fighting their way out had always been a part of the plan.
The fake guard detail, dragging their prisoners with them, assaulted the front gate, firing their submachine guns and automatic rifles, slowly making their way to the front gate. They braved the withering fire from the NKVD soldiers inside the prison....then there were very loud explosions that came from the front gate that concussed everyone who was within range. “Shtein” and the guard detail recovered as quickly as they could and continued to drive on to the obliterated front gate, still dragging the prisoners along, but beginning to take heavy casualties now. Quickly crossing the courtyard of the prison, they were in sight of their smoky, smoldering, ruined objective. The foreigner gave “Shtein” an order and detailed two of the “guards” to go with him. “Shtein” and his men pulled the prisoners with them, while the rest of the “guard detail” remained behind and delayed the real NKVD soldiers from catching them. It seemed that this was an integral part of the escape plan all along.
The fake NKVD officer and his men got the prisoners across the ruined gate, into the square, boarding waiting trucks which sped off into the night. During the next few days, while they were on the run, they had heard what the fate of their compatriots, that so bravely stayed behind to allow them to escape, was: Soviet propaganda claimed that in their desperate assault on Soviet order and murdering heroic Soviet soldiers in the process, they had ultimately been unsuccessful in their mission, and had all taken the coward's way out. They knew that it was all a lie. However, what was true was the identity of the dead ringleader as reported by the Soviet Pravda News Agency: the leader of the dastardly attack was none other than the infamous Otto Skorzeny, architect and commander of the Gran Sasso raid, which freed Benito Mussolini from a mountain-fortress prison and delayed complete Italian capitulation to the Allies until the end of the war. The crude photos of NKVD soldiers posing with Skorzeny's mutilated and desecrated corpse were splashed in full gory detail all across every copy of Pravda and Izvestia they came across. They all felt he deserved better.
As they crossed the Soviet frontier into China, “Shtein” took the occasion to reintroduce himself to the men he had broken out of prison, which included Wilfried Strik-Strikfeld, Helmuth von Pannwitz, Timofey Domanov, Andrei Shkuro, Pyotr Krasnov, and last but most definitely not least, Andrei Andreyevich Vlasov. These were the most influential anti-communist Russian leaders of the Russian Liberation Movement, whom the Ukrainian Insurgent Army was promised military assistance to aid in their escape from custody, and from the Soviet Union. Most of them had an idea who “Shtein” really was, but none of them had ever really met him personally. “Shtein” was none other than the renowned Abwehr spy “Artur Holmston” and commander of Sonderkommando R and the First Russian National Army, General Boris Smyslovsky.
As Smyslovsky and the other leaders of the Russian Liberation Movement reached the Chinese Turkestan city of Urum-chi, where there had already been a training facility set up and expatriate Russian troops and Soviet Red Army deserters were already being armed and formed into units. The generous American and Chinese military aid helped make all this possible, and now they would begin to hold up their end and infiltrate the Soviet frontier, to strike at the very heart of the communist juggernaut and bring it down, for good.