Secret War in Portugal [1939-1945]
For SOE [British Special Operation Executive] 24 Land was the code name for Portugal

31 July 2012

Popov's serum of truth...

Sometimes a good book will surprise but a lack of accuracy. Estoril loas Años Dorados, by Ricard Mateos Saínz de Medrano is a masterpiece in the art of telling the way the royal heads and other nobles lived in Cascais and Sintra during WW2. Places, people and events are described in an attractive despite sometimes in a repetitive way. But the reader feels the very ambiance and see History on the making.
For my research it's an impressive tool. But what astonishes is to read things like that in 1941 Ian Fleming and "Dusko" Popov had rooms at Hotel Palácio and the first injected the serum of the truth to check if the second was a loyal spy.
It is true that Commander Fleming, with his Chief Admiral Godfrey, both working in the Naval Intelligence Divison, arrived in May 1941 and found a room in Hotel Palácio. And it's also true that the Serbian Dusán Popov, a commercial lawyer working for the Germans as agent Ivan and for the Brits as Tricycle was also in the same Hotel for several times. And true as well it's that after his retirement from NID Fleming's first novel Casino Royale was in a way inspired both in a Casino - but not the sombre one in Estoril and in 007 James Bond has some features of Popov's, mainly the glamour.
But what is completely unreal is the story of the serum of true. And not necessary if I may say it!

17 July 2012

Os "Centenários": propaganda e estratégia

O filme é típica obra de propaganda, encomiástica, a voz alteada em narrativa laudatória. É um documentário sobre a Exposição do Mundo Português. Teve lugar na zona ribeirinha de Lisboa, sendo seu comissário o capitão Henrique Galvão.
O facto político que a exposição traduz é, porém, significativo. Enquanto a Europa se dilacerava em guerra, enquanto pairavam sobre Portugal as ameaças da invasão alemã e - afinal dos próprios aliados para a prevenir - o Estado Novo quis dar mostra pública de dois valores simbólicos: primeiro, o da sua independência - e pela Comemoração dos Centenários se junatavam 1140 e 1640, a primeira a data aproximada do surgimento da Nação, a segunda o da libertação dos cinquenta anos de sujeição ao domínio de Castela - e segundo o «haver habitualmente» que Salazar havia definido ser o modo tranquilo do português que idealizava.
Acto de propaganda, sim, mas não só interna, sobretudo externa, a Exposição, os Centenários foi naquele ano no domínio dos símbolos políticos o que a declaração de neutralidade foi no plano das representações geo-estratégicas.
Sem essa compreensão pouco se entende da vital inportância desse ano.
A Inglaterra, a nossa mais velha Aliada far-se-ia representar ao mais alto nível pelo Duque de Kent. Um outro Duque surgiria, porém... [a ele voltaremos].

Entrevista ao JN de hoje

15 July 2012

Garbo at Bertrand

About Juan Garcia, alias Garbo [for the Brits] or Arabel [for the Huns], the double-agent that was ruled by Thomas Harris, from the XX Committee, and was so relevant for the D-Day strategic deception, I have this quotation for a book I will probably write relation his adventurous life in Lisbon: «In fact, Garcia lived in Estoril some of his peculiar stories, mainly that one of stealing a passport from a Galician who was installed at the same Hotel as him, the Suiço Atlântico in Lisboa, with the purpose of taking a photograph to the visa stamp, allowing the manufacture of false visas for further purposes.To grant the adequate conditions to that purpose, Garbo convinced Jaime, the Galician, to move to Hotel Monte Estoril were both share the same room and from where both left several times for the Casino to gamble with the large sum of 10 000 escudos, a false move just suggested to allow the double agent with time enough to take the necessary photos, later developed in typographical terms by Bertrand / Irmãos at Rua Condessa do Rio, nº 7».
Thanks to this blog that collect antique pictures and photos I could review an advertising from this printing house and remember him and the plan for the book.


14 July 2012

Lisbon: lights and shadows

«"Look, how happy, peaceful and beautifully illuminated I am"», Lisbon said. "Can they choose me as a target when I so carefully refuse to hide? When I am so vulnerable?"». It was Antoine Saint-Exupéry in Lisbon, watching the city in 1940, traveling for America. The Exposition of the Portuguese World was a triumphal effort of the Regime to congratulate Salazar celebrating 1140 and 1640. But the war was near and so the danger. [from a letter published here, in Portuguese].

08 July 2012

Brit's old double game

I wrote a first draft of the account. Now, reviewed, and updated, it will be published this week by Oficina do Livro. The essential of the story remains the same: John Beevor, SOE man in Lisbon, accepted contacts with the right-wing anti-communist Legião Portuguesa and was trapped by PVDE, the political police. England, our oldest ally, betrayed us, because official negotiations were, at the time of the organisation of SOE clandestine networks, being conducted in England in order to organise the "demolition plans", that is, what Portugal would accept to destroy in order to prevent German invasion o this country after Operation Felix signed by Adolph Hitler. Salazar, the Portuguese Premier, decided, diplomatically to invite Ambassador Campbell to dismantle the "reseau" and ask Beevor and some of the men of his team to leave but deported our nationals to Tarrafal concentration camp. This was made so the Germans could not prevail from the knowledge of Brit's double game.