NOC by Nicholas Anderson
 NOC/ANDERSON, Nicholas Cmdr.





by the author

"Military Intelligence" is an oxymoron,
just like "Government Organisation" is.
A bloody game with no rules.

The Secret Intelligence Service (SIS) of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland doesn’t have a logo though verification of staff on its dark green triangular badges clearly states “Semper Occultus” (“Always Secret”); doesn’t have its name on the door though it works from a crystal palace on London’s River Thames; doesn’t have to report its cheques and balances to any government ministry nor to the denizens of the Houses of Parliament it stares at across the water; and is largely unknown even to its own country’s citizens, much less the rest of the world. The only external notion that it even exists is that its personnel’s salaries are paid by the Foreign & Commonwealth Office through Hambro’s Bank. And much like its famous American cousin, the Central Intelligence Agency, its employees are sworn to never talk or write about their work and are bound so by signing the UK Official Secrets Act.

When I first joined SIS (also known as MI6 for Military Intelligence Department Six, its original name) from the Royal Navy in 1973, following extensive training, I was originally assigned to the Special Political Action section. But within a few months it was closed down.

Most of SPA's younger officers were then integrated into a newly formed secret sub-division with no official name (to this day it still cannot be published) but was later externally known as "Operational Support Branch", an updated version of the old Section D in World War II, which specialised in sabotage. For American readers the US equivalent of the UK's now defunct SPA and SD is the Special Activities Division of the CIA's Clandestine Service, which is under the dominion of its Directorate of Operations. I was one of the few who were actually SIS officers and not special forces-trained, so I used my head more than brawn. We were institutional killers* that undertook disruptive actions on the black, that is to say we made illegal entries across borders to perform dirty work then returned home mostly without the knowledge nor connection to the local British embassy's staff assigned to other covert affairs.

Then I was promoted. The main job description was called deep cover within SIS though the US-led NATO preferred NOC or non-official cover – either description was undeclared. SIS' dozen NOCs were then and still are subservient to the whims of NATO and the US government's policies but operate separately from the CIA's Office of External Development, which runs the US' 150 or so own NOCs. Amazingly though, the CIA's London-based Chief-of-Station gets to sit in on the UK's Joint Intelligence Committee's weekly analysis report, the Red Book, for the eyes only of the British Prime Minister and select cabinet ministers to be assessed over each weekend. The American version is the early morning President's Daily Brief. My countrymen have no reciprocal access to this and thank goodness they drew the line at full divulgence between the CIA's OED's secret operations and ours when it comes to NOCs.

As far as I am aware I am the only NOC in both the UK and the US to be recruited from the armed forces who graduated through the spy system to the most secret of the secret intelligence officers…and the sole person to chronicle it. But I did so for a more than noble cause: ideological, not for riches or fame.

Nevertheless, the distribution list for disclosure of chain of command information within SIS was limited to two – the teller and the receiver – usually the line officer at Requirements & Production and myself. Who was above him I'll never know but it was purposely designed to stay that way. [Note: Eventually I did get to learn the name of the man at the top issuing the orders but let me just call him "Martin Mackenzie", a take on his real name. Insiders can figure it out and know that I know, OK?]

From there I served in various SIS divisions in charge of different continents, often living like a mole. I suppose I was known to be good under pressure and not soil myself when the going got muddy. I got to know a lot of what went on, most of it was unpleasant and would shock ordinary people if they knew. These days when sceptics ask me to provide evidence, I can only smile. SIS files don't link its officers or its agents’ code names to their real identities, so it's well nigh impossible to provide the elusive proof. Instead every dossier is colour coded, for example, green means it is still active while those with a yellow card indicate it's still an accountable document rather than a draft proposal, and so on. Pink files are the most sensitive of the top secret category. (Do you really think an experienced hacker can access Chronos, NATO's coded computer system? I think not. It's virtually the same thing for me. But what is in my head is permanently imprinted.)

Besides my favourite response to cynics is, "If you have not been informed about it then how could you comment and deny it?"

Plus there are those in the know who will say, preceded by clearing of their ruling class throats, "Ah, yes, this is somewhat of a selective telling of a story – yours – and it is supported by multiple hearsay. Moreover we can't admit your disclosures, old chap, as our jobs, mortgages and reputations are at stake…therefore we hope you understand why you are deemed completely and utterly misinformed."

So it's my word against theirs. That's what it boils down to in the end. It slowly dawned on me that I was being employed by a criminal organisation – they believe they had the right to be above the law.

They can't actually prove I did not, while I can't prove I actually did either. But I do invite investigative journalists to closely follow my story: They will see truth emerge and that my 'imagined characters' do exist in real life. By the end of my narrative, even though I presented it in what I term ''informed fiction'' for easier dissemination, individuals checking the facts will be convinced beyond reasonable doubt that I am sincerely imparting inner knowledge while, at the same time, hopefully they will understand why I had to write it in this manner. It is accurate to the spirit and the letter of what transpired.

Yet "Mr Mackenzie", a Cabinet Office mandarin, and his SIS lackeys in tow (me included down the bottom of the totem pole) were more often than not following directives themselves – always issued by Americans either at NATO, mainly from its Mons HQ, Belgium, though other orders originated from the naval intelligence unit at Verona (far from an Italian port), with additional input from Stuttgart in Germany where the US European Command is based (which is linked to US Central Command in Tampa, Florida). All have a say about how European lives are to be lived. This does not include all the military bases and spy satellite gathering posts dotted throughout all the continents like the pox. War mongering is its chief business globally.

In the end, there's not a lot of difference between history and fiction anyway because the former has been written by people with the latter in mind. Secret intelligence, especially in non-traditional platform programmes, in a supposed liberal democracy does not equal evidence that it can be presented. It especially should be known that any unprocessed SIS, CIA or NATO file has no number assigned to it therefore officially it does not exist. Ultra top secret SIS records that are actually processed are withheld from the UK Public Record Office for 50 years after their date of creation and then may be designated another 30 years or more, if assessed to be extraordinarily sensitive. I know the Duke of Edinburgh, the Queen of England's husband, and a Royal Navy officer himself, is allocated 300 years holdback. The US government believes that the Constitution allows it to defer secret covert action notification to Congress indefinitely if it felt circumstances so warranted.

Enough! Please feel free to pigeonhole my book whatever you wish. I have told my "memoirs" as I know it to be. Is it an admission of guilt or a case of just following formatted orders (a euphemism meaning it was verbalised and not written), the latter in itself a response to an effective command that can't be legally translated to include accountability? You be the judge. But I do know that by writing this account I feel as if I have finally lifted a great weight off my shoulders. And there is so much more too to tell than I've narrated herein so retaining that information will be my saving grace.

– Nicholas Anderson (pseudonym)

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* A licence to kill is known at SIS as “supreme breach of law” was written in the employment contract as: “In extreme situations of summum jus, summa injuria, laws may be disobeyed if said disobedience is deemed legitimate and in furtherance to the cause.”

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