NOTICES:



A WARNING: Those site visitors of Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islander Culture should be aware that there are photographs and images of the deceased.


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The author of this blog is a member of the Association of Former Intelligence Officers and as such the views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not represent the views and opinions of the Association of Former Intelligence Officers, its staff or Directors.

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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, 11 August 2019

SOMERTON MAN: KGB COVER NAMES AND TACTICS


KGB COVER NAMES


Our recent posts have been in large part based on the work of Alexander Vassiliev whose notebooks on the KGB and its operational methods have provided valuable information to all Cold War researchers.

There are many interesting and I think pertinent facts in the notebooks and what you see below is I think, amongst the most valuable. It is a description of the way that cover names were used and sometimes reused by KGB operatives in those times.


VASSILEIV'S NOTEBOOKS & KGB COVER NAMES

 Cover names are often changed.  Julius Rosenberg, for example, had three different cover names during his association with the KGB.  Each cover name has its own entry with citations to the pages where it appears.  The real name entry cites where the real name appears and repeats the cover name citations as well.

 Cover names are reused.  Four different persons, for example, had the cover name “Smith” at one time or another.  When more than one person had the same cover name this index attempts to separate out the different “Smiths”.  Usually, this is without difficulty because the multiple uses are well separated by time or activity.  Occasionally, however, it is difficult and in those cases, the lack of certainty is indicated in the entry.

Identifying the real name behind a cover name.  Often this is without difficulty because the text of Vassiliev’s notebooks or the deciphered Venona messages simply provides the real name without ambiguity.  Where the real name is not provided by the text, then the description of that person’s activity, where he or she worked, where they lived, or what trips they took at a particular time may make identification possible.  In the case of the Venona decryptions, when the text did not provide a real name, most of the work of identification was done by the FBI whose field agents used the information about the activities of a cover name to pin down the real person behind it.  Often, however, the information was insufficient to establish identification.  Consequently, more than half of the cover names in this index are unidentified.  When the evidence about a cover name suggests an identification but is not conclusive, the uncertainty is noted.

Two separate but overlapping set of documentation.  Vassiliev’s notebooks contain long quoted extracts and summaries he made of KGB archival material on KGB activities in the United States from the early 1930s to the early 1950s with some scattered later material as well.  The deciphered cables of the Venona project dated from 1941 to 1950 with the bulk in the period 1943 to 1945.  Most are also about KGB activity in the United States although there are also decoded cables of other Soviet agencies as well.  There is, consequently, a considerable overlap in the two sets of material for KGB activity in the United States in the 1940s.  In a number of cases, a passage in Vassiliev’s notebooks turns out to be the complete text of a Venona cable that was only partially decoded.  Vassiliev’s notebooks and the Venona decryptions have identical real-name identification for nearly two hundred cover names.  Vassiliev’s notebooks provide the real names for more than sixty cover names that were unidentified in the Venona decryptions.  The Venona decryptions provide the real names behind nearly thirty cover names that are unidentified in Vassiliev’s notebooks.  Vassiliev’s notebooks correct misidentification of four cover names in the Venona decryptions.

Partial decoding and partial names.  In the case of the Venona decryptions, while some messages were fully decoded, most had passages that were indecipherable and sometimes names were only partially spelled.  These partial spellings are indexed with eclipses indicating the missing letters.  In both the Venona cables and Vassiliev’s notebooks often only the surname of a person is given in the text.  When originally written, this would have been perfectly understandable to those reading the message or document because they were aware of the identifies of the persons being discussed.  And even today, often the context of the name allows one to attach a given name to a surname without difficulty.  Still, however, there remain numerous surnames where the lack of information about the person prevents the attachment of a given name and leaves the person named only partially identified.  A question mark, ?, indicates that a given name or, occasionally, a surname, is missing.


Saturday, 10 August 2019

SOMERTON MAN: HARRY DEXTER WHITE, HIS FRIENDSHIPS AND HIS REAL ROLE...


KEY SOVIET AGENT
HARRY DEXTER WHITE


Much has been discussed about Harry Dexter White, in particular, his friendship with Pavel Fedosimov and the manner of his death, Digitalis poisoning. A method of ending it all he apparently shared with the Somerton Man.

This video reveals some details which may shock some followers, the real nature of HDW's activities and his purpose and roles not only as described in the Venona cables but also the major part he played in the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour.

Is this video and its content another part in the Somerton Man puzzle? Was HDW's friendship with Pavel Fedosimov a cover story for the delivery of top-secret information to Soviet Intelligence? Did he deliberately set the stage for the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour? Is this why the apparent cover-up of the Somerton Man case was so thorough and so long-lasting?

Tuesday, 6 August 2019

SOMERTON MAN: PAVEL FEDOSIMOV, SPYMASTER?


THE SPYMASTER

Our aim in this series of posts is to build as complete a profile of Pavel Fedosimov as possible, this will include his movements, his appearance in numerous VENONA cables, the complex question of various code names associated with Pavel and why to this point we have only been able to find the one photograph of him. Whilst a man with his name has been mentioned numerous times since 1948, there is no photographic evidence that this the same man. We do have evidence that says Pavel as STEPAN, was under suspicion of planning to betray his motherland and it was this that led to his being recalled to Russia supposedly aboard the POBEDA on July 31st 1948. However, as pointed out, the entire passenger list for the ship on that date was never certificated, no one knows exactly who was on board and in fact if they were on board.

FLESHING OUT THE TIMELINE:

In the previous post, we created the beginnings of a timeline that revealed the travel history of Pavel Fedosimov. We know that in 1939 he traveled to America aboard the Queen Mary ex Cherbourg. We know that he traveled again to the US in 1940 but this time accompanied by his wife Vera Fedosimova.

What we don't have at this stage is when and how he went back to Russia to bring out his wife. We do know that he went to work for AMTORG, the Soviet owned American Russian Trading organisation.

AMTORG

It later became known that AMTORG was a front for Soviet espionage activities especially for the GRU, Russian Military intelligence. In May 1941, an AMTORG employee and NKVD (Peoples Commissariat for Internal Affairs) resident was arrested by the FBI his name was GAIK OVAKIMYAN his code name was GENNADY, he was also known as the 'wily American'. GENNADY is mentioned specifically in Vassiliev's Black notebook as a network leader. His team included BEAM, IDEALIST, SINGER and TALENT. We do not at this stage know the other identities of the GENNADY network.

What does this have to do with Pavel? Pavel, like GAIK was an Engineer and it was in 1941 that Pavel returned to Russia to act as a Spymaster in the war against Germany.

At this stage we do not have information on how, when and even if Pavel made the trip to his homeland. What we do know from Vassiliev's White notebook is that the man known as STEPAN was involved in running Russian agents in occupied territories:

 STEPAN (Pavel) September 1941: 

“As head of an operational group, participated in massive operation to relocate Volga Germans. November 1941 — handpicked two probationers (“Roman” and “Anna”) from the Germans of Kuybyshev Region to train in radio communications and drop behind German lines 1942 and 1943 — composed cover stories and fabricated documents with which probationers legalize themselves behind German lines January 1944 — departed for the country. (A reference to Pavel's return to the US, he arrived there, according to our notes on February 21st 1944.)

In regards to this, we will be checking out other information sources related to the period 1941 to 1944

In the next update, we will discuss the association between Harry Dexter White & Pavel Fedosimov.


Monday, 5 August 2019

SOMERTON MAN: PAVEL FEDOSIMOV TRAVEL MOVEMENTS


PARTIAL TRAVEL MOVEMENTS 

FOR PAVEL

This is a shortlist of travel undertaken by Pavel during the period 1939 to 1948. As you will see there is only one outbound record with 4 inbound. The records, at this stage at least, are incomplete. You will also note some variations in the spelling of Pavels name, this could be down to immigration department mistakes or possibly, but not likely, deliberate.

With sincere thanks to Byron Devison for his help and input in creating this post.

1.1939

 Inbound, ex Cherbourg to New York, 18th March 1939, PAUL FEDOSSIMOV, RMS QUEEN MARY, unaccompanied, documents Certificated

2. 1940

Inbound,   September 1940, PEVEL Fedosimov and Vera Fedosimova arrived New York September 1940, no ship named

3. 1944

Inbound, Vladivosk (Vladivostok?), March 17th 1944, SS BALKHASH, to TACOMA, WASHINGTON STATE. He is accompanied by Vera Fedosimova as his wife. Docs issued 30 Dec 1943. Manifest was certificated

4. 1945

Inbound, Washington State, By Air, 21st February 1945, Pauel Fedosimoo, DIPLOMATIC clearance document signed.

5. 1948

Outbound, New York, July 31st 1948, POBEDA to Odessa. Pavel Fedosimov. He is not accompanied by Vera Fedosimova. There is a Vera Sholoukhova on the manifest. Manifest was not certificated, that means that the list was taken as being accurate without being checked. Without Certification, we cannot assume that Pavel boarded the Pobeda.

1941

 Mentioned in Dept Immigration and Naturalisation. Paul Fedossimov, 6th February 1941. AMTORG TRADING COMPANY. File BIGAMY

We will be adding some of the Vassiliev notes to this timeline, they describe Pavel's time in active service in Germany. In particular, they cover his setting up of espionage and spy networks in that country.

In the near future we will have a much clearer picture of Pavel and his activities from the late 1930s through the war years and the post-war years leading up to July 31st 1948. 

Saturday, 3 August 2019

SOMERTON MAN: PAVEL FEDOSIMOV, IN REVIEW & QUESTIONS...





The last few posts have focused on the PAVEL FEDOSIMOV issue and what proof exists that he could be the Somerton Man.

Briefly, we first published that Pavel may be the Somerton Man in February 2017, since then we have regularly posted additional information. But what separates these latest posts from those initial ones from more than 2 years ago is the recently found information from a series of documents written by a one time Russian KGB operative. Pavel's name and some of the circumstances surrounding his work are contained in those files. (READ: https://tamamshud.blogspot.com/2019/07/somerton-man-kgb-vassilievs-notebooks.html )

Whilst there was some repetition of things that we already knew and had published, there were some quite new and truly enlightening pieces of information.

THE POBEDA

Of these, perhaps the most impressive was that Pavel had been recalled to Russia not because it was the end of his tour, no, he was recalled because he was under suspicion of planning to betray his Motherland. He was believed to be a traitor to Russia and therefore he would have been seen as a likely candidate for defection. He was booked to return to Russia via Odessa on the Black Sea on the ship the POBEDA. I say booked as we do not have any proof that he was on the ship when it headed out into the Atlantic.

As those following this series of posts will know, the POBEDA had a disastrous fire on board, a fire that killed 2 crew members and 40 passengers when it was literally just a few hours away from its final destination. some 270 passengers survived, we are currently attempting to get the two related lists as in the names of those who died and those that survived.

ESPIONAGE?

Amongst the victims was a high ranking ex Chinese Nationalist Government member who had betrayed his cause and was attempting to meet with Mao via the good offices of the Russian Government. Whilst publicly the blame was laid on the Captain of the POBEDA and two crew members, it is known that Stalin had reason to believe that the fire was an act of espionage and he was not well pleased.

PAVEL FEDOSIMOV & THE SOMERTON MAN

But back to Pavel. Here we have a man, a KGB man who was a known spy and handler for other spies including some engaged on the Manhattan project.

We have a description of the man from Harry Gold from his meeting with Pavel at the Earl Theater in the Bronx, he was described as very tall, he walked on the balls of his feet, he had big hands and was very well built. The reference to his walking on the balls of his feet was of great interest not only to me but in earlier years, to JOHN RUFFELS, a once enthusiastic researcher on the case. People who walk on the balls of their feet tend to develop high calf muscles just like the Somerton Man.

We know also that the SM's teeth were a feature, Cleland made mention of the fact that you would notice his missing teeth if he were to smile as you would have done from Pavel's photograph above.

My belief is that Pavels ears are a match for SM, see photos below, one feature was, at first glance, not that similar, that being Pavel's nose. However, under different lighting the somewhat 'pug' looking nose, some call it a saddle nose, was affected by the lighting and possibly it had been subjected to some manipulation, see below.


   Nose Superimposed? Shadows?


Ears



Looking at Pavel's ear in comparison to SM's you can clearly see the strong similarities in shape and form. You must make some allowance for the lighting and angle of the images.

THE QUESTIONS

Are very straightforward ones. Pavel would likely have known he was under suspicion, the man was a trained operative having gained valuable frontline experience in Germany in the early 40s and then on the Manhattan project.

Would he have looked for and seized the opportunity to make a run for it ahead of what could have been a very much shortened career? Our ex KGB friend says that execution was likely, long term of imprisonment a distant second and found innocent would mean never leaving Russia again.

Could he have boarded another ship in New York, one of many that plied their trade between New York and Australian Ports? It would have been a 4-week journey and such ships would have called in at Fremantle, Melbourne, and Sydney.

Did Pavel contact people smugglers in Australia? There was a post that suggested that Prosper may have been involved in that business. Or was he in touch with another agency attempting to set up a meeting and arrange for a defection?