Having previously reported on this site about the discovery of drug smuggling pigeons, a new and disturbing development has emerged in the ever-raging field of world conflict – animal spies. The most recent incident centres on a nefarious spying monkey captured in Pakistan, just near the border with India. The monkey was arrested for spying, but later taken to a local zoo. His new keeper has described him as a clever monkey, saying that visitors were very happy to see him. But it seems as though Pakistan is being way too relaxed about this huge diplomatic incident. After all, a monkey spy is genetically 99% identical to a human spy. What’s to say his “happy visitors” are not spies themselves, recovering the trove of state secrets the monkey has obtained for them?
Perhaps this giant lapse in state security can be put down to inexperience – it’s in the Middle East where animal spies have become so common I assume human Mossad employees are being made redundant. In 2008, Iran successfully captured two pigeons hovering around their secret nuclear facilities. Despite the pigeons’ ongoing denials and protestations of innocence, naturally the Iranian authorities figured they were spying for Israel. Iran also captured 14 squirrels the year before on similar charges.
And if you think those arrests would have been enough to scare a bird straight, think again, because in 2011 Saudi Arabia caught a vulture wearing a GPS transmitter with Tel Aviv University stamped on it. Clearly Israeli spy agencies are smart enough to train a vulture to become an undercover spy, but not quite sharp enough to remove its Israeli name tag before sending it into enemy territory…
And in case you think you’re safe, that animal spying won’t affect you, you better think twice, because according to the governor of Egypt’s South Sinai province, Mossad also has shark assassins! His comments came after a spate of shark attacks in the resort of Sharm el-Sheikh. And before that sounds too outlandish, remember, the shark did attack Germans and Russians… Then again, if you’re trying to wreak havoc in the Middle East, shark assassins don’t seem like the best choice to me. Why would you confine yourself to sea-based monsters in a largely desert-based region? Why not tiger assassins? At least they could attack on land.
I know what you’re thinking – these are all a bunch of insane conspiracy theories. And that would be a very sensible conclusion to draw. Having said that, I’d like to finish off with a little history lesson. In World War II tens of thousands of pigeons were used by all sides of the conflict to carry secret messages back to military bases. When this technique became a little too successful, both the British and the Germans trained peregrine falcons to take out messenger pigeons from the opposing side. In 1943 The Dickin Medal was established in the UK to reward animals that have displayed “conspicuous gallantry or devotion to duty while serving or associated with any branch of the Armed Forces or Civil Defence Units”.
One of the most famous recipients of the Dickin Medal was G.I. Joe (March 24, 1943 in Algiers - June 3, 1961 in Detroit). During World War II, G.I. Joe saved the inhabitants of Calvi Vecchia in Italy, and the British troops occupying it. The village was to be bombed by the Allied Forces but the message that the British had captured the village, delivered by G.I. Joe, arrived just in time to avoid the bombing, saving the lives of a thousand people. He was presented with his medal by the Lord Mayor of London, and is currently mounted and on display at the U.S. Army Communications Electronics Museum at Fort Monmouth.
Photo by Thermos