Revealed: ‘black ops’ disinformation plot by Czech agents to blame the CIA for the murder of Lord Mountbatten and ruin the UK’s special relationship with the US during the Cold War
Even in the world of the cloak and dagger of Cold War espionage, it was a sinister – albeit improbable – plot.
Communist agents detailed plans for a disinformation campaign, using threats to kill MPs in an attempt to blame the CIA for the murder of Earl Mountbatten.
Code-named Operation Mount, it was intended to destroy the UK’s special relationship with the US during Margaret Thatcher’s premiership by suggesting that US agents, rather than IRA terrorists, attack Prince Charles’s beloved great-uncle in 1979. had blown up his fishing boat in Ireland.
The disturbing conspiracy involved Communist spies posing as CIA agents to bomb Enoch Powell and former Secretary of the Interior Merlyn Rees with “threatening and abusive” letters and messages stating that their “continued physical existence” was in danger.
The ‘Kafkaesque’ plot was part of a wider operation by Czech agents – who worked as surrogates for the Soviet KGB – to prevent the US from deploying more nuclear weapons in Europe.
Communist agents detailed plans for a disinformation campaign that used threats to kill MPs in an attempt to blame the CIA for the murder of Earl Mountbatten
The conspiracy has surfaced in declassified files from the archives of the Czech Security Service, dated January 1984 and marked ‘Top Secret!’
Agents came up with the plan after a newspaper report from The Guardian stated that Powell had falsely suggested that the CIA may have had a hand in Mountbatten’s murder.
Mr Rees, who had previously served as Secretary of Northern Ireland, was also quoted in the report suggesting that the CIA had contacts in both parts of Ireland.
Czech espionage headquarters adopted the article and planned to “prepare several exclusive letters” to send to MPs, focusing on the Guardian report speculating on US involvement in Lord’s death Mountbatten’ who is close to the royal family and an opponent of NATO. core strategy’.
The disturbing conspiracy involved Communist spies posing as CIA agents to bomb Enoch Powell and former Secretary of the Interior Merlyn Rees (pictured) with “threatening and abusive” letters and messages stating that their “continued physical existence” was in danger
The file said: ‘E. Powell and M. Rees will be warned in the letters that if they don’t refute the information and if they don’t stop raising the subject, they could face the worst possible personal consequences, as NATO’s interests outweigh the political activities of former members of the British Parliament and their survival.
“The contents of the letters should be offensive and threatening, and they should provoke public statements from both MPs,” the file said. It continued: “During the preparation of the letters, glued clippings from newspaper articles and other methods used by the CIA, of which we are aware at headquarters, should be used.”
Once written, the letters would be sent from Brussels, Washington and London over eight weeks in a coordinated plan to make MPs “feel intimidated for a long period of time.” It suggested that the letters would gradually become more menacing.
Operation Mount was part of a wider conspiracy called Operation Sepie, described as the “fight against the deployment of missiles in Europe.”
“The operation should call into question the so-called special relationship between Britain and the US and lead to interventions in parliament.”
Professor Anthony Glees, an intelligence and security expert from the University of Buckingham, said it was no surprise, showing that hostile intelligence agencies meddling in internal politics to cause mischief did not start with Putin’s Russia.
‘The Stasi’ [East German spies] were more hands-on during the Cold War and would ship weapons to the IRA. This was more subtle and refined, and Kafkaesque in its proportions. Instead of guns and bullets, the ammunition was fake ideas and fake news.’