Read e-book online A brief history of the circumnavigators PDF

By Derek Wilson

ISBN-10: 1841197092

ISBN-13: 9781841197098

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The Guardian had already told the government’s most senior official, the Cabinet Secretary, that there were copies of the documents in the United States, and that he would be unable to prevent American news organisations from reporting on their contents. But the visitors were not to be deterred. One had arrived with a rucksack from which he took a machine resembling a microwave oven. It was a degausser, he said, a device that destroyed magnetic fields. Once the hard drives had been drilled and hacked with angle-grinders, the broken pieces were fed into it.

He memorised the entire treaty, dashed to the offices of the Globe and Traveller, a newspaper that he occasionally supplied with titbits of information, and quickly wrote down a summary. He was rewarded with forty guineas. The newspaper rushed out a special late-night edition, with its report headlined ‘The Berlin Congress Decided Upon! Terms of agreement between England and Russia’. Arriving at his office the following morning, Marvin discovered that none of his superiors were aware of the leak: they were not the sort of people who would read the Globe and Traveller.

5 In 1703, a year into Queen Anne’s reign, a ‘Decyphering Branch’ of the Post Office,* which opened mail and attempted to break codes, had been established under the control of an Oxford don, Edward Willes. He had turned the organisation into a family enterprise, with the role handed down to successive generations. 6 One key to the success of the Secret Department was the skill with which it made copies of the wax seals that it intended to break. 7 In the wake of the Mazzini investigation, the Secret Department was closed down and Willes and his assistant, another member of the family, were quietly pensioned off with money from a secret government fund.

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A brief history of the circumnavigators by Derek Wilson

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