The Troodos Conundrum 433



The GCHQ listening post on Mount Troodos in Cyprus is arguably the most valued asset which the UK contributes to UK/US intelligence cooperation.  The communications intercept agencies, GCHQ in the UK and NSA in the US, share all their intelligence reports (as do the CIA and MI6).  Troodos is valued enormously by the NSA.  It monitors all radio, satellite and microwave traffic across the Middle East, ranging from Egypt and Eastern Libya right through to the Caucasus.  Even almost all landline telephone communication in this region is routed through microwave links at some stage, picked up on Troodos.

Troodos is highly effective – the jewel in the crown of British intelligence.  Its capacity and efficiency, as well as its reach, is staggering.  The US do not have their own comparable facility for the Middle East.  I should state that I have actually been inside all of this facility and been fully briefed on its operations and capabilities, while I was head of the FCO Cyprus Section in the early 1990s.  This is fact, not speculation.

It is therefore very strange, to say the least, that John Kerry claims to have access to communications intercepts of Syrian military and officials organising chemical weapons attacks, which intercepts were not available to the British Joint Intelligence Committee.

On one level the explanation is simple.  The intercept evidence was provided to the USA by Mossad, according to my own well  placed source in the Washington intelligence community.  Intelligence provided by a third party is not automatically shared with the UK, and indeed Israel specifies it should not be.

But the inescapable question is this.  Mossad have nothing comparable to the Troodos operation.  The reported content of the conversations fits exactly with key tasking for Troodos, and would have tripped all the triggers.  How can Troodos have missed this if Mossad got it?  The only remote possibility is that all the conversations went on a purely landline route, on which Mossad have a physical wire tap, but that is very unlikely in a number of ways – not least nowadays the purely landline route.

Israel has repeatedly been involved in the Syrian civil war, carrying out a number of illegal bombings and missile strikes over many months.  This absolutely illegal activity by Israel- which has killed a great many civilians, including children – has brought no condemnation at all from the West.  Israel has now provided “intelligence” to the United States designed to allow the United States to join in with Israel’s bombing and missile campaign.

The answer to the Troodos Conundrum is simple.  Troodos did not pick up the intercepts because they do not exist.  Mossad fabricated them.  John Kerry’s “evidence” is the shabbiest of tricks.  More children may now be blown to pieces by massive American missile blasts.  It is nothing to do with humanitarian intervention.  It is, yet again, the USA acting at the behest of Israel.



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433 thoughts on “The Troodos Conundrum

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  • N_

    You can’t write off Israel’s communications intelligence capability so quickly. Have you had a look at their Unit 8200? See in particular what the French have been saying about it? Their Urim listening base in the Negev is pretty damned capable.

    Many top Israeli techies have a background there. The Stuxnet virus, for example, was created at Unit 8200.

    Here’s a question you might ask your well-placed source in US intelligence: where are Unit 8200’s main bases abroad?.

    One of my guesses would be Singapore. Israel built up the Singaporean armed forces after the British left, and the Singaporean airforce has a presence on several airbases dotted around the world.

    Unit 8200 also run facilities at several Israeli embassies. Which ones?

    Note for those who don’t know already: Unit 8200 isn’t part of Mossad; it’s part of the army, although it supplies information to Mossad and other agencies. Some of the Israeli intelligence work in Syria is also done not by Mossad (which is civilian, like MI6) but by Aman, the military intelligence agency.

  • N_

    How can Troodos have missed this if Mossad got it? The only remote possibility is that all the conversations went on a purely landline route

    Replace “Mossad” with “Unit 8200” and the question weakens considerably.

    A physical tap on a landline is by no means the only possibility.

  • craig Post author


    Err, no. If “Unit 8200” could get it, so could Troodos. Israel of course has communications intercept facilities, but they are nowhere near the capability of the UK/US operation. The myth of effortless Israeli technological superiority in every field is a bit silly.

    Of course a physical tap on a landline is not the only possibility. It is however the only possibility I can think of which Troodos would not also be able to get, and even then only if the route was pure landline (unlikely). Your argument is that Israel would have the capacity to intercept communication; indeed they would. But they would not have the ability to intercept communication which Troodos could not intercept.

  • N_

    Craig, are you genned up on the battle between the CIA and other US agencies, most notably the NSA but also including the military, over who should appoint CIA Station Chiefs, including in London?

    See for example this article from the Spectator in 2009.

    The head of the CIA’s London station always used to be a de factor member of the UK’s Joint Intelligence Commitee. I don’t think that’s ever been mentioned in the UK press. It’s an important fact, though, if anyone needs further proof of the UK’s status as a dependency or neo-colony of the US.

    The NSA tried to muscle in and gain the right to appoint the top CIA guys at foreign stations, in particular the main guy in London. Part of their reasoning was that the NSA has a much bigger presence in the UK than the CIA does.

    In terms of substance rather than surface, that particular NSA-CIA spat may be about control over the JIC being taken by a certain shitty little country in the Middle East…

  • N_

    Nobody was coming from any myth of effortless Israeli techie superiority.

    What’s your basis for thinking the Israelis are nowhere near the capability of the US and UK? Maybe you have been misled. If you reject the French assertions published in Le Monde, is that because you think they are disinformation or is it because you think the French genuinely get it wrong whereas the information you received in British service was correct?

    Or one could ask, was it only because of a commitment to honesty and correctness that these assertions were hardly touched in the British and US media? 🙂

  • craig Post author


    The CIA certainly get JIC reports, and of course their intelligence material is a major part of the input. But they are not de facto members and they don’t attend the meetings, either of JIC or its sub-committees. Again, I do speak as a first hand witness.

    I don’t think the NSA have a hope in hell of getting control – or meaningful input – on Heads of Station appointments. In both UK and US, NSA and GCHQ are much more important than CIA/MI6 in useful intelligence provision, but remain politically a very great deal weaker. Anyway we are getting off topic!

  • Donald

    “The Stuxnet virus, for example, was created at Unit 8200.”

    This is partly why Fukishima is such a massive disaster – 4 times more radioactivity released than Chernobyl with a run-away core eating through th earth’s crust and poisioning the Pacific Ocean.

    The TEPCO engineers were unable to shut the reactors down after the earthquake and before the Tsunami hit. This is what Stuxnet was designed to do, prevent Iranian engineers from stopping their reactors from destroying themseleves in the event of a malfunction. Israel and the US basically caused Fukishima with their reckless use of ‘cyber weapons’.

    They really are a monkies with grenades, as people wise up to the damage these two nations have done to the Earth and it’s people one really must have genuine concern for their fututre well-being as nations.

    One day we might have to go in there and the stop the Americans and Israeli regime from killing their ownm people.

  • Krishnamurky

    The fake conversation contrived between the israeli attackers and the mavi marmara crew which they leaked after the incident in their defence is a classic pointer of the mossad capabilities.

  • Matt

    I don’t think you even need to question the validity of the intelligence, we all know it’s fake, they’ve been doing the same thing for years. The way the current military and propaganda operation is currently playing out, it seems like this has been a planned operation from the start. On the 2oth of August, the day before the chemical attack, Press TV’s Youtube account was cancelled by Youtube. According to Press TV this was due to pressure from the Israeli-American Anti-Defamation League (ADL).

    This is the first rule of warfare, insure that you control the propaganda.

  • Ed Davies

    It’s all a bit odd but I think you’re deducing way more than the evidence supports. Microwave links are pretty much point-to-point. If you’re not roughly in-line with the link you won’t hear a lot. Israel has more land close enough and also, perhaps, more motivation to insert repeaters to do interception so is more likely to be able to listen in. Or maybe both Israel and the UK physically received the RF signal but Israel, via some method or other (human intelligence, stuxnet-style attacks or whatever) had the encryption keys. Who knows?

    Similar sort of thing to wonder about: supposedly both Greenwald in Rio and Poitras in Berlin had complete copies of the Snowden files from their meetings with him in Hong Kong. Yet, for some reason, Miranda was supposed to be carrying a copy of some of that data from Berlin to Rio. Why? Could be something mundane like Greenwald had forgotten the key on some of the data or something. Or maybe somebody else has leaked additional material to Poitras. Or what?

    Frankly, taking whatever anybody says at face value is getting rather hard.

  • Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!)

    “The head of the CIA’s London station always used to be a de factor member of the UK’s Joint Intelligence Commitee. I don’t think that’s ever been mentioned in the UK press.”

    I don’t think that’s correct (about it never having been mentioned in the press, I mean). And I think you can replace “used to be” by “is”.
    And finally, I don’t find that especially strange (or reprehensible for that matter).

  • craig Post author


    No they can pick up microwave links all over the area. Remember they have budgets in billions and thousands of people, many of them extremely brilliant, working on this. I know specifically that they can do this – indeed they could do it very effectively twenty years ago, and presumably even more efficiently now.

  • Je

    Well, apparently Kerry’s speech began with a fake photo.

    That’s a bad indicator re the rigour behind the other information he presented.

    Even from the military point of view, this is a botch up. The last thing to do when launching a strike is to signal the intention before hand, so that they can take cover. But as its much to with Obama’s vanity… and nothing to do with pushing for peace…

    In their mad rush they’ll lose any leverage they have – just as soon as they carry out the attack. The sword hanging over Assad’s head will be gone. And if subsequent evidence implicates the rebels… or says it wasn’t a nerve agent…

  • andreas w mytze

    may I remind you of the fake israli transmission(s) concerning the tripoli bombing by the Reagan gang in 1986 (I think, not sure)just after (or was it before?) the “la belle” berlin discoteque incident,giving the impression that the Libyans were involved — details you find in Victor Ostrovsky’s books, and there were many other strange things in the past in connection with various (attempted)bombings (Hindawi affair, lockerbie, 7/7 etc.)

  • Arbed


    Yet, for some reason, Miranda was supposed to be carrying a copy of some of that data from Berlin to Rio. Why? Could be something mundane like Greenwald had forgotten the key on some of the data or something. Or maybe somebody else has leaked additional material to Poitras. Or what?

    If both Poitras and Greenwald have the whole stash there wouldn’t be any need to courier it between them. So it must be something extra to that. Poitras is in the middle of making a film about whistleblowers (inc. the footage she’s shot of Edward Snowden, obviously) – perhaps it was material related to that film? Or additional materials gathered to help with the analysis of the original documents?

    Greenwald is insistent that David Miranda was NOT carrying a password on a piece of paper, or at least not the password to the Snowden docs:

    Anyone claiming that David Miranda was carrying a password that allowed access to documents is lying. UK itself says they can’t access them.

    Read the whole thread. I believe him, because this:

    Well-placed source tells me government genuinely worried that it will lose on #Miranda challenge to legality of schedule 7 detention.

    There’s a link within that thread to Miranda’s lawyers’ statement following this latest hearing.

    It stands to reason that GCHQ would not have to “reconstruct” 75 files if they already had the decryption key to 58,000.

    The lying bastards.

  • Someone

    “The Niger uranium forgeries are forged documents initially revealed by SISMI (Italian military intelligence). These documents seem to depict an attempt made by Saddam Hussein in Iraq to purchase yellowcake uranium powder from Niger during the Iraq disarmament crisis.”

    “Blair, moreover, appears to be sticking by the Niger uranium allegation despite the White House retraction”,8599,463779,00.html

  • Arbed

    Je, 11.07am

    And if subsequent evidence implicates the rebels… or says it wasn’t a nerve agent…

    If it isn’t Sarin, what is it?

    Dan Kaszeta is the author of “CBRN and Hazmat Incidents at Major Public Events: Planning and Response” (Wiley, 2012) as well as a number of magazine articles and conference papers. He has 22 years of experience in CBRN, having served as an officer in the US Army Chemical Corps, as CBRN [Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear Defense] advisor for the White House Military Office, and as a specialist in the US Secret Service.

  • Je

    Arbed… I said “if”. I don’t have a link, as I don’t remember where, but another well-credentialed expert somewhere was saying it was missing some of the features that he would expect with Sarin.


    What might be more effective than a strike would be to leave the promise of one hanging for a long time so Assad’s forces are impeded by having to take cover. Plus a push for a truce, negotiations, peace. But Obama has his prove-myself-tough timetable to keep.

  • Someone

    Those who govern us are devoid of anykind of humanity, morals or scruples, being a megalomaniac is indentured into their very being.

    They cultivate their children into their way of thinking, it goes on through their generations, they send them to very expensive schools to out think those who would oppose them.

  • StupidBloke

    I’m expecting a big laff in response to this but…does SIS have reciprocal representation at US Intel mtgs?

  • Arbed

    Je, 11.29

    Sure, I think we’re on the same page. That pdf report – it’s only 6 pages long – is very, very interesting.

    Personally, I think there is far more evidence that whatever the chemical was, it was used by the US-armed and trained rebel forces. That was also the conclusion of the last UN inspector of chemical weapons use in Syria, Carla del Ponte, but there was little coverage of that report in the Western media (quel surprise). What Kerry said about the attack being in a rebel-held suburb is also false.

  • Phil


    Infowars? You are linking to infowars? I am taken aback.

    I have just looked at the site for the first time in a very long time. I admit it looks far less carzy than it use to. But I assume you do know alex joneses history. He used to claim all the lizard stuff. He used to show hazy videos of people in the distance jumping around a fire as proof of the iiluminatis dreadfullness. He used to make outrageous claims based more on his own madness than the grain of truth he clings to. He is a clown.

    Either my assessment of infowars as a fucking joke or you as a wise man is fucked. I’d be very interested to know why you think infowars is source worth linking to.

  • Keith

    I don’t believe that the zionist colonists are the tail wagging the dog, I think it’s convenient for the US empire to pretend that they are and it’s a version of blaming the contractor. The zionists have been able to extract a higher price for US complaisance only because the other US base – Iran escaped their grasp in 1979.

    Zionist machinations in Syria may have a certain autonomy from US interests but only up to a point Lord Copper. Iran is the prize, pipelineistan will follow if it falls and that’s what Caesar wants.

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