Double Cross–Evaluating the Data

We are all flooded daily with data from the world.  This comes to us from  the papers, internet and news media not to mention our own research and investigation.  Our brains are overloaded with information that we have to assess and either give credence to or reject as untrustworthy.  A simple example is a stop light.  We see it green for us and we assume the other folks have a red light, but the truth is that is an evaluation of data and history.  Almost every time we have encountered a green light the other one has been red and we know it is supposed to be.  But there could be a malfunction and both lights could be green.  We take the information we received and quickly assign to it a reliability factor.  We have to do this to function.   We constantly sort through data to determine our future course of action.  The same is true with governments and intelligence agencies around the world.   They recieve data and make an informed interpretation of it to advise a future response.   At least we hope it is an informed interpretation.

We have to be aware of and leary of the data sometimes because someone or some entity may be trying to double cross us.   This is true in the competitive business world and in the arena of spying and national intelligence.   More than one business or government has put out “trial balloons” that may not be a proposal one is seriously considering at the moment but one that might have merit down the road.   It is put out and then the sponsor of the false information waits to see the reaction and evaluate the likelihood of future success in implementing the proposal for real.  If the reaction is strongly negative then the proposal is characterized as a “leak”  or misinformation by “enemies”.  

During WWII the British had the most successful double cross operation ever.  The Germans and the British both had active programs to spy on one another all during the war and sent many agents into the opposing camp.  They were all trained in those days to use Morse code and would use a keypad to telegraph/radio their messages and intructions from headquarters to the field and vice versa.   Each agent would develop a specific and tale tell method of stroking the keys when sending a signal.  Just like everyone has their own particularly identifiable method of striking the keys on a keyboard.   There is a rhythmn to them.  This individually identifying touch on the keypad was known as the sender’s “fist”.  It would be recognized by the listening post operatives very soon.  They were quite adept at this and could tell if the sender was genuine or not by the method of the senders touch.   Some one pretending to be the sender couldn’t duplicate the “fist” of the real spy. The Germans sent many agents to Britain during the war but every one without exception was caught.  Many of the British spies were also caught but not every one like the Germans lost.   The British “turned” almost everyone of the spies they caught.   They would have them send messages back to the Abwehr (German intelligence) and the messages were controlled by the British.  The Germans thought the messages were genuine intelligence reports from their agents when in fact they were hand crafted information from the British intelligence teams.  This was the famous Double Cross System.   Naturally much of the information that the doubled agents sent to German had to be real because the British wanted the occasional false information to be believed by the Germans.   Intelligence aircraft for example could verify some of the information as real.   If all the data was false then the value of the double cross would fail quickly because it would not be believed.   The British had to be careful when they wanted to send information that was a flat out lie.   This method was helpful in keeping the Germans confused about the true location of the invasion at Normandy for example.   So the same source was sending both true and false information depending on the instructions of the British.

So, today when you assess the information you receive be a little sceptical even with your own government.  Do your own evaluation.  Use your common sense and history to determine the worth to be given to the information.  Much false or at least fudged information is still being given out  daily from sources all over the globe.   Learn the “fist” of your source of information.  Its past reliability and verifiability.   Don’t let yourself be double crossed.

After the Spanish Armada in 1588 was defeated by the British fleet under Drake and then the terrible weather of the channel and north sea many of it surviving ships foundered on the coast of Ireland.  The Spanish fleet had tried to navigate all the way around Great Britain and Ireland.   Most of the surviving sailors remained in Ireland and married.  Some of their descendants are there to this day.  One of the prominent Prime Ministers of the 20th century, de Valera, was such a descendant of those shipwrecked Spanish sailors.

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Filed under Culture, Economics, history

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