Covert Operations Document Archive

This part of the archive is where documents relating to covert operations are posted. From collusion in Northern Ireland to the CIA's coup in Iran, this is one of three main sections that will be updated on an ongoing basis with new links to valuable material. The main headings are CollusionOperation Cyclone, (the transnational black op to support the mujahideen in Afghanistan), Training the Terror (terrorism training manuals) and World War 2.

Collusion in Northern Ireland

CAIN collusion timeline - Chronology of critical events in the history of the three inquiries into collusion by Sir John Stevens.

Stevens Inquiry, Third Inquiry Overview & Recommendations - Summary of the third inquiry by Sir John Stevens.  Contains some of the most explicit passages of any British inquiry into any issue: 'I conclude there was collusion in both murders and the circumstances surrounding them. Collusion is evidenced in many ways. This ranges from the wilful failure to keep records, the absence of accountability, the withholding of intelligence and evidence, through to the extreme of agents being involved in murder.'

British Army Killings document collection - collection of documents either relating to collusion or investigating collusion.  Of particular interest is a Ministry of Defence report into Subversion in the Ulster Defence Regiment - the dedicated British army regiment responsible for security in Northern Ireland.

Pat Finucane Centre Declassified Documents page - page of declassified documents shedding light on collusion between the British state and loyalist militants.  Perhaps most important are two documents detailing a meeting in 1971 between a senior British army officer and the Attorney General.  The soldier, JM Parkin, wrote a memo noting how, "the Attorney General is doing all within his power to protect the security forces against criminal proceedings in respect of actions on duty."

Statement by Police Ombudsman on her 2001 report into the Omagh bombing (version 1)(version 2) - Nuala O'Loan's statement in December 2001 on her investigation into 'intelligence failures' prior to the Omagh bombing.  O'Loan looked at possible warnings received prior to the bombing, including one from double agent Kevin Fulton, and the failings of the police investigation.

Northern Ireland Police Ombudsman's report on 'Operation Ballast' - Nuala O'Loan's 2007 report into collusion, which found that Ulster Volunteer Force informers had committed murders while paid by the state.  In some cases, Royal Ulster Constabulary officers gave false statements, 'babysat' suspects durings interviews, and generally disrupted and obstructed police investigations. 

Criminal Justice Inspectorate's report into the Independence of the Office of the Police Ombudsman for Northern Ireland (OPONI) from the Police Service for Northern Ireland (PSNI).  This piece of bureaucratic meta-oversight (overseeing the Ombudsman, who are themselves overseeing the police) concluded in trying to carry out its role looking into past and current investigations by the PSNI that OPONI had suffered a 'lowering of operational independence.'

Hansard record of statement by Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Owen Paterson apologising for state collusion in the murder of Belfast human rights lawyer Pat Finucane. 


Operation Cyclone

Jimmy Carter memos authorising covert action in Afghanistan, June 1979 (1)(2).  These were the first Presidential authorisations for Operation Cyclone, months before the Soviet invasion.

September 1979 memo to Zbigniew Brzezinski on 'What Are the Soviets Doing In Afghanistan?'.  NSC advisor Thomas Thornton explained, 'Simply, we don't know.'  The following analysis shows that embarrassing the Soviets was the main focus at this stage. 

September 1979 memo to Zbigniew Brzezinski on 'Regional Cooperation re Afghanistan'.  Thornton outlines different approaches to the objective of a regional collaboration to help drive the Soviets out of Afghanistan.  'Group B' policies included having Iran play a key position in arming and otherwise supporting the mujahideen.

December 1979 memos from Brzezinski to Carter (Dec 26th memo)(Dec 29th memo).  The December 26th memo consider whether Afghanistan could give the Soviets their 'Vietnam', and the December 29th memo outlines the diplomatic situation in detail. 

Cold War International History Project e-dossier number 4, 'Documents on the Soviet Invasion of Afghanistan.'

Cold War International History Project document reader compiled for the international conference "Towards an International History of the War in Afghanistan, 1979-1989" April 2002.  American view: Table of Contents, Documents Part 1 (1978-79), Documents Part 2 (1980-89); Soviet view: Table of Contents, Documents (1974-1989).

CIA/OSS document on the original (WW2 era) Operation Cyclone.  This was a spying mission whereby members of the US army disguised themselves as German soldiers to observe troop movements and equipment locations.

Office of the Prime Minister (Britain) files on Soviet Invasion of Afghanistan: Part 2 (Jan 6th-20th 1980), Part 3 (Jan 21st-Feb 28th 1980), courtesy of the Margaret Thatcher Foundation.  However, if you refuse to even enter such a website let alone download files from it, you can find the same documents on the British National Archives website under the catalogue references PREM 19/135 and PREM 19/136.  Parts 1 and 4 in this series are available in physical form at the National Archives in Kew Gardens, but not in electronic form as yet.

National Security Archive Electronic Briefing Book 57, 'Afghanistan: Lessons from the Last War.'  Particularly amusing in this collection is the transcript of a conversation between Soviet Premier Alexei Kosygin and Afghan President Mohammed Taraki a few months before the Soviet invasion.  It emerges during the conversation that Taraki has essentially no support among the Afghan people, and virtually no army with which to counter the Islamic uprising being fostered by outside influences.  Kosygin offers to send Soviet tanks and other vehicles, but Taraki responds by requesting Soviet pilots to drive them.  When Kosygin explains that it would too big a risk if it were discovered that Soviet troops were piloting the Afghan army, Taraki suggests dressing them up in Afghan army uniforms, saying, 'No one will recognise them.'

Training the Terror

US Army Field Manuals on Psychological Warfare

FM 33-5 Psychological Operations, January 1962
FM 33-5 Psychological Operations, Techniques and Procedures, October 1966
FM 33-1 Psychological Operations, June 1968
FM 33-1 Psychological Operations, August 1979
FM 33-1 Psychological Operations, February 1993
FM 33-1-1 Psychological Operations, Techniques and Procedures, May 1994
FM 3-05.301 Psychological Operations, Tactics, Techniques and Procedures, December 2003
FM 3-05.30 Psychological Operations, April 2005
FM 3-05.302 Tactical Psychological Operations, Tactics, Techniques and Procedures, October 2005

US Army Field Manuals on Counterinsurgency and Unconventional Warfare

FM 31-15, Operations against Irregular Forces (1961)
FM 31-16 Counter-guerrilla Operations (1963)
FM 90-8 Counterguerrilla Operations (1986)
FM 31-20-3 Foreign Internal Defense: Tactics, Techniques and Procedures for Special Forces (1994)
FM 3-05.130 Unconventional Warfare (2008)

'Al Qaeda' training manual - Manual largely authored by Egyptian triple agent Ali Mohamed, found in Manchester in 2000 during a terrorism raid connected to probable double agent Anas Al-Liby.  Is partly based on the US military manuals above.

School of the Americas training manuals.  Training documents used at the US Army's School of the Americas (SOA) in the Panama Canal Zone.  These manuals were declassified in the 1990s.  The SOA in Panama was shut down in the 1980s and was reopened at Fort Benning in Georgia as the Orwellian 'Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation'.  Alongside the SOA manuals readers should also consider the Kubark interrogation manuals, here, and the CIA's assassination guide written for trainees during the coup in Guatemala in the 1950s, here

Psychological Operations in Guerrilla Warfare - another 1980s manual used to the Nicaraguan Contras.  Original CIA document PDF version here, searchable text PDF version here.  The manual advocates intimidation, the 'selective use of violence for propagandistic effects', assassinations and 'taking demonstrators into clashes with the authorities, to provoke riots or shootings, which lead to the killing of one or more persons, who will be seen as the martyrs; this situation should be taken advantage of immediately against the Government to create even bigger conflicts.'

IRA 'Green Book' training manual (1956 edition)(1977 edition) - Induction manual of the Irish Republican Army.  The earlier version outlines the history of Irish Guerrilla warfare against the British, the doctrines of the IRA, and the tactics and techniques of the Guerrilla.  The later version is much more concerned with counterintelligence and resisting interrogation.  This may be a result of the increased infiltration of the IRA by British spies during the late 60s and 70s, or possibly as the IRA became aware of counterinsurgency doctrines being developed by the likes of General Sir Frank Kitson (countergangs, low intensity warfare). 

Mini Manual of the Urban Guerrilla - Carlos Marighella's 1969 terrorism manual, written for anti-imperialist guerrillas in Brazil.  Advocates, 'executions, explosions, seizures of weapons, ammunition and explosives, assaults on banks and prisons, etc.'


World War Two

Office of Strategic Services (OSS) Sabotage manual.

Special Operations Executive (SOE) training manual.

WW2 double agent Eddie Chapman (codenamed ZIGZAG) dossier.  Documentary about Chapman on the Investigating the Terror vimeo channel available here.  Further documents on the Chapman case including photos of a faked sabotage attack at the De Havilland aircraft factory available here

Historical Dictionary of World War 2 Intelligence.  Great resource for exploring different operations, agents and technology used in the WW2 spying war.

CIA files on Project Paperclip.

MI5 files on German saboteurs infiltrating the United States (National Archives catalogue reference KV 3/413).  Alternate download link here

Dossier on Mutt and Jeff, two Norwegian double agents recruited by the Nazis and turned by the British.  Similar in many ways to the Chapman/ZIGZAG case. 

FBI file on Graham Greene, a British spy during WW2 who went on to become a famous author of spy novels.  Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4