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The Somerton Man Case. The body of a man found on an Australian beach close to a major Atomic Testing ground, he was probably poisoned, a copy of the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam and an unbroken Code page found and associated to him. Set against a Cold War background in 1948, was this man a spy? We think so and this blog focuses on the evidence that was left behind and in some cases missed, the Code page, Dry Cleaning numbers, A Poem and a small, torn piece of paper bearing the words TAMAM SHUD.

Sunday, 1 September 2013

Somerton Man: Just what did the SA Police send to Naval Intelligence?

Given the times and what is known about Australian Military intelligence and its close connections with MI5, MI6 and earlier SOE, do we really think that the discovery of a book with a code written into it would be treated so lightly as to send a single photograph of what the local Police had found using UV light?

 Let's put this into perspective, imagine being in what is arguably amongst the most tumultuous times in history with a Cold War getting chillier, Israel in turmoil, open distrust of the Australian Government by a major ally, the British Navy announces the relocation of a Submarine Squadron to Sydney, in South Australia Atom Bombs are being developed ready for testing as well as a whole raft of other weaponry including rockets and radar, the fastest jet fighter in the world publicly put through its paces at Parafield, the Prime Minister of our country visits Adelaide on the day before SM turns up and apparently later a book is found and associated with the the man and it contains what appears to be a mysterious 'code' written onto it. And the SA Police send a photograph of what they have found to Naval Intelligence in Melbourne?

 It strikes me that both Naval Intelligence and the SA Police were not exactly wet behind the ears, both had relatively recently emerged from WW2 and would have been throughly trained and familiar with the tricks, tools and techniques of those involved in espionage.

When you think about it why was it Naval Intelligence in Melbourne that was informed? Who was it that suggested the code; finding should be sent there? You would think that South Australia, because of it's involvement with massive weaponry developments, would have been alive with counter intelligence agencies.

Wouldn't you at least think they would have sent a group of images showing the original book with its markings plus what the book looked like under UV light prior to being marked up by the Police? On that issue, the use of iodine vapours was a common way to uncover secret writing, given the markings on the 'code' page it seems to be entirely possible that was in fact the method used. At that time it is also likely that the technique was still under wraps and not for public knowledge. But no mention is made of anything other than the marked up image being sent. Would our smart and advanced Naval intelligence people really leave it to Mr. Plod in South Australia to decide what was or what wasn't written on the book? I don't think so.

Where does that leave us?

1 comment:

peterbowes said...

...... no mention of the phone number being included in the submitted photograph either. Somebody made a decision there.