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

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.

Learn more about the Association including membership requirements at

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.

Monday, 22 July 2013

WW 2 Censored Postcard Analysis

Some weeks ago I undertook to post an example of a censored postcard together with a short analysis by way of demonstrating the sorts of things that would be looked for in any incoming or outgoing mail for Australia

In this post we will look at one particular postcard and some of the aspects that could be of interest. By default we will see just how and where information or codes could be hidden.

Here's the postcard in question, it is from a Gentleman who has been on a tour of South America in 1943. From his writing style and the content it seems that he is well educated and able to afford what would be an expensive holiday especially in those times. There is another very interesting aspect to this card which we will discuss at the end of this post.

 First, let's take a look at the stamp. CIA notes, as published earlier on the blog, talk of the use of stamps, special red ink, miniature writing and a lens that would enable operatives to communicate with their HQ or controllers. The method was to write in miniature across the surface of an orange or red stamp in red of a different shade. The only way the message could be read was by using a particular colour lens. In this shot two areas have been highlighted that look to be of interest. Please take a moment to zoom in close to this image to see why.
 Here's a negative imnage of the shot above, again please take a moment and zoom in to see what if anything is to be found in the highlighted area.

Be aware that miniature writing is just that, very small and you will need to look carefully.
 This is a negative image of the central censor stamp. A number of interesting areas have been highlighted which are worth viewing. Zoom in and look at the darkened areas indicated, once more you are looking for very small details.
 Another shot of the stamp and on this image the chin area has been highlighted. An arrow points the direction of some lines on the chin that look promising.

A second highlighted area within the first shows another interesting set of lines but this time they don't run diagonally, they run left to right

Here we are looking at the address side of the postcard. It was known that agents would sometimes hide smaller letters or numbers within larger ones and thus three areas have been highlighted within specific letters that show promise. Zoom in when you're ready.

The line of dots is also of interest, this could contain a set of letters/numbers. and that's why it has been highlighted.

I did say at the beginning that there was another interesting aspect about this Postcard. I did a check on arrivals into Australia from 1920 onwards to see if the writer of the card had met up with the recipient during an earlier visit. There was no record of this person ever having made a trip to Australia that I could find.

Similarly I checked to see whether the recipient had ever left Australia which could explain how they knew each other. There was no record of the recipient ever having left Australia that I could find.

There is a need to be cautious here, there were other ways that people could get to know each other, in those days Pen Pals were common so that could be one avenue. They could have been related in some way, but again no record turned up in my brief search.

A final word or three, in this exercise we have looked at just a few of the areas on the card that were of interest, there are more and I would be very interested to hear of your findings.