Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Spies Beneath Berlin documentary film

Posted: 6 April 2011; Updated: 16 April 2011

On the second weekend in March Birgitta and I traveled to the home of the US Army Corps. of Engineers at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, to participate in a documentary filming by London based film company ORTV. They had invited four surviving individuals, of which I was one, associated with Project Stopwatch/Gold, to be interviewed about their operational experience at the famous Berlin spy tunnel of 1955-56 during the Cold War. Below is a scan of a recent Los Alamos Monitor news release about the project.

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Los Alamos Monitor, March 27, 2011

This documentary is based on British historian David Stafford's 2002 book titled Spies Beneath Berlin, which I first became aware of in 2005 when one of my sons lent me his copy during the 2005 Salt Lake Sunstone Symposium. [See two previous blog sites here and here.]  After I published an Amazon review of the book in 2005, other participants contacted me, one of which was John Quirk, another of the above mentioned four. Unfortunately missing was Colonel Robert Browne, who also contacted me after the Amazon review and who helped promote this film project, having participated in the Washington, D.C. side of the operation at the time I was in Berlin.

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Lou Mehrer, the CIA historian responsible for declassifying this project in 2007, gave a lecture about the project to an audience of over 500 young officers of the US Army Engineer School. After the lecture, Mehrer asked the four of us mentioned in the above news article to come on stage to receive a "Certificate of Appreciation" and to answer questions from the audience. We were also given a copy of CS Historical Paper No. 150: THE BERLIN TUNNEL OPERATION 1952 - 1956.

Cover page CIA Historical Paper

Afterwards, we met individually in the auditorium foyer with those who had more personal questions or comments. One young officer, having noticed the Russian Orthodox Soldiers Cross around my neck, came over to me and said, "I notice you are a man of God. I want you to have this," whereupon he placed a medal in my hand, which I now carry in my pocket wherever I go.

FLW medal side 1

FLW medal side 2

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Attending the Los Alamos Unitarian Church

Posted: Sunday, 3 April 2011;  Updated: 27 April 2011

This morning I attended the early session of the local Unitarian Church at the suggestion last December of my friend Joseph Dillard after he responded to my IDL dream interview of an Orthodox priesthood forest dormitory.

There I met Felicia Orth and Evan Rose, who knew my son James when he lived here in Los Alamos and occasionally attended their church. Interestingly, I learned that Evan is responsible for arranging 45-minute forums that the congregation is invited to attend between the 9:00 and 11:00 sermons. They had both seen the local newspaper article of last Sunday about Birgitta's and my visit to Fort Leonard Wood to participate in a British documentary about the celebrated MI-6/CIA Berlin Spy Tunnel of the middle 1950s.