Daily Archives: April 26, 2012

MI6 spy missing for a week before boss raised alarm

Associated Press | Apr 25, 2012

By DAVID STRINGER

LONDON (AP) — The boss of a British spy whose naked and decomposing body was found locked in a sports bag waited for a week before raising the alarm after his colleague went missing, an inquest into the codebreaker’s mysterious death was told Wednesday.

Cryptology expert Gareth Williams, 31, worked for Britain’s secret eavesdropping service GCHQ, but was attached to the country’s MI6 overseas spy agency when he was discovered dead in August 2010 under bizarre circumstances at his central London apartment.

Police have made no arrests in the case and are still not certain how exactly Williams died. The spy’s family rejects British authorities’ claim that his death was unconnected to his intelligence work.

An inquest charged with deducing how and when Williams died heard anonymous evidence Wednesday from three British spies who acknowledged it took seven days after the codebreaker first failed to show up for work before his MI6 boss contacted his family.

The codebreaker’s direct manager, a witness identified only as “G,” said Williams shared a small office with three other people and had carried out some operational work on behalf of the spy agency in addition to his technical work.

Williams was a “quiet intellectual” who was almost always punctual and had never been absent from work through illness, his manager said.

“He was clearly very clever but there were those that say he was shy, an introvert and a very quiet person,” the manager told the inquest.

UK intelligence officer: No cover-up in ‘spy in the bag’ case

Shortly before his death, Williams had visited Las Vegas as part of his duties but had been due at work in London on August 16. When he didn’t arrive, the manager said he and other colleagues assumed William was having transport problems.

A day later, with still no signs of the spy, the manager said he called Williams but received no response from his phone. By August 20, the manager visited the apartment where William lived but failed to raise any response.

Coroner Fiona Wilcox told the manager she was “really struggling to understand why you took no action at this point.”

The witness told the inquest hearing that he had a “gut feeling that he was away doing something that I was not made aware of.”

Only on August 23 did the spy’s manager raise the alarm with senior bosses and the spy’s family. His body was found later that day.

“In hindsight, knowing what I know now, should I have taken action? Absolutely,” the manager acknowledged, giving his testimony from behind a screen to protect his identity.

A lawyer for the spy’s family said previously that relatives suspect an “unknown third party” may have tampered with the scene after Williams died, or interfered with other evidence that could help explain how he died.

Kilwinning Abbey: Home to the Knights Templar and birthplace of the Freemasons


Kilwinning Abbey in Scotland, Masonic HQ also Templars’ HQ.  Image: Wikimedia Commons

Freemasonry’s mysterious symbols and rituals were developed in secret in Kilwinning, nearly 200 years before the movement was officially founded.

Sun | Apr 25, 2012

by Michael Schofield –

Glasgow – HUNKY historian Ashley Cowie has been taking Scottish Sun readers on an Indiana Jones-style adventure all this week.

The TV star — whose worldwide hit telly show Legend Quest hit Britain this week on the satellite channel SyFy — has been unravelling the biggest Scottish mysteries of all time.

Today, in part four of our exclusive series, Ashley goes on a search of Biblical proportions . . .

LOOKING through my binoculars I scanned the countryside for clues to the location of one of the most sacred mountains mentioned in the Bible.

No, I wasn’t in Jerusalem — but the quaint Ayrshire town of Kilwinning.

Now before you think I should be searching for my lost marbles instead of lost treasures, I can explain…

The story begins at the end of the 12th century when the infamous Knights Templar, a highly-trained military order who fought in the Holy Land during the Crusades, returned to Europe.

With their military presence no longer required they remained powerful as bankers and money lenders and many of Europe’s dynasties were indebted to them.

To wipe out his debts to the Templars, King Phillip of France hatched a plot to destroy them.

Backed by the Pope, on the evening of Friday 13th of October, 1307, Templars were arrested all over France and charged with heresy. That earned Friday the 13th its place in superstition for being unlucky — it certainly was if you were being burned at the stake!

But when the Templars’ vaults in Paris were raided, they were found to be completely empty.

The order had been tipped off and moved their gold, silver, gems and sacred relics to a safe place.

Many Templars fled to Portugal and Spain but legend claims they shipped the bulk of their treasures to Scotland where they found safety with their kilted brother Knights led by Robert the Bruce.

But in his brilliant book Born in Blood, American historian John J. Robinson found evidence that the Knights Templar sought refuge with the monks of Kilwinning who lived in the Abbey.

By the late 13th century there were around 600 Templar properties throughout Scotland.

But by far the greatest concentration of them was in Ayrshire around Stevenson, Irvine and Kilwinning.

Kilwinning, with its domineering 12th century Abbey and tower, has a rich history with several valuable relics taken there for safe keeping.

Recently, historian Jamie Morton, from Ayrshire, presented new evidence that made Kilwinning a focus of Grail Seekers by claiming the legendary artefact used by Christ at The Last Supper is hidden in a chamber beneath Kilwinning.

While the old Mercat Cross in the Main Street is said to contain part of the cross on which Jesus was crucified. But there are also clues that Kilwinning is the location of Heredom — the sacred Biblical mountain.

The meaning of the word Heredom is greatly argued upon in Masonic circles, while it also appears in the Bible as the name of a mystical holy mountain.

But it can also mean ‘New Temple’.

That’s why I believe Heredom may not actually be a mountain but a secret Knights Templar HQ.

In 1747 French naval officer Chevalier de Berage wrote about the origins of Freemasonry: “Their Metropolitan Lodge is situated on the Mountain of Heredom where the first Lodge was held in Europe.

“The General Council is still held there and it is the seal of the Sovereign Grand Master in office.

“This mountain is situated between the West and North of Scotland at 60 miles from Edinburgh.” Well, guess what? When I measured the distance between Edinburgh and Kilwinning on my ordnance survey map, the distance was EXACTLY 60 miles.

What’s more, not only was Kilwinning, home to Scottish Templars, but it was the womb of another shadowy secret society which has become the focus of many conspiracy theories around the world — the Freemasons.

Masonic records confirm that Kilwinning Lodge is known as Mother Lodge No 0.

This means Freemasonry’s mysterious symbols and rituals were developed in secret in Kilwinning, nearly 200 years before the movement was officially founded in London by Grand Lodge England in 1717. But this is only scratching the surface of Kilwinning’s mysteries. Another secretive movement within Freemasonry is called the Royal Order of Scotland.

Masonic traditions tell that King Robert the Bruce established the Chief Seat of the Royal Order of Scotland at Kilwinning, reserving the office of Grand Master to himself and his successors.

Entry is restricted to Freemasons and candidates must undergo two highly secretive rites of initiation named ‘Heredom of Kilwinning’ and ‘Knight Of The Rosy Cross’.

It has always intrigued me that for centuries the unsuspecting little town of Kilwinning was and is STILL the heart and brain of such a powerful secret society.

But having relentlessly searched the landscapes around the Ayrshire town there is no mountain which the legends could refer to. So it must relate to this secret Templars HQ. But if so, where is it? Well all over Europe and the Holy Land the Knights Templar built tunnel networks connecting their holy buildings with their castles and farms, and they are believed to have dug extensive tunnels beneath Kilwinning Abbey.

Locals talk of a tunnel leading from Kilwinning Abbey for about two miles which terminates at Eglington Castle near Irvine.

And there’s even a living eye witness. In 2009, Kilwinning pensioner, Tommy Lauchlan told how he was once shown a secret tunnel near the Abbey.

He said: “I was just a wee boy but there were tenement houses on the site of the Abbey and Mrs Longmuir’s kitchen kept a secret.

“Behind her dresser was a door and this led to a tunnel, I just had a look down, but her boys were convinced it led to Eglinton Castle.”

Having inspected the Abbey grounds, I recently walked the landscape following the tunnel’s alleged route.

I found several straight depressions running through fields which could indicate the presence of a subterranean tunnel created by the Templars.

I would call on the authorities to give me permission to perform a proper archaeological dig.

Maybe, lying inside these ancient passageways for the last 700 years are the lost Templar treasures, taken from vaults in Paris in 1307.

See Also:

Kilwinning Abbey

Oldest Masonic Lodge

Shakespeare’s All’s Well that Ends Well may have been co-written by Thomas Middleton


William Shakespeare’s All’s Well That Ends Well may have been co-written by Thomas Middleton

Daily Mail | Apr 25, 2012

Shakespeare’s All’s Well That Ends Well might have been co-authored with a fellow playwright, Oxford University academics have found.

Thomas Middleton, writer of The Changeling, was the most likely co-author of the comedy in the First Folio of 1623, according to analysis of the text, spelling, speech prefixes and narrative phrasing.

Professor Laurie Maguire and Emma Smith, both of Oxford University’s English faculty, said writers have their own distinctive literary fingerprints and anomalies within the play show ‘markers’ strongly linked to Middleton.

Dr Smith said: ‘We are not saying that Middleton and Shakespeare definitely worked together on All’s Well but Middleton’s involvement would certainly explain many of the comedy’s stylistic, textual and narrative quirks.

‘The narrative stage directions, especially ‘Parolles and Lafew stay behind, commenting on this wedding’, look as though it is the point at which one author handed over to another.’

Londoner Thomas Middleton lived between 1580 and 1627 and became a celebrated writer, remembered for works such as Women Beware Women.

An analysis of the textual composition of All’s Well supports Middleton’s involvement, with whom Shakespeare also collaborated on Timon Of Athens at the same time, the academics said.

‘The proportion of the play written in rhyme is much higher than usual for Jacobean Shakespeare: 19 per cent of the lines are in rhyme, which fits Middleton’s norm of 20 per cent,’ added Professor Maguire.

‘Shakespeare tends to use ‘Omnes’ as a speech prefix and ‘All’, preferred by Middleton, only occurs twice in the Folio: both times in All’s Well.’

The research suggests act 4, scene 3 was written by Middleton, Professor Maguire said.

‘This scene sees Parolles describing Bertram as ‘ruttish’, a word whose only other occurrence as an adjective is in Middleton’s The Phoenix,’ he said.

‘It also sees an unusual number of Middleton’s known spelling preferences.’

The word ‘ruttish’ means lustful – and its only other use at that time is in a work by Middleton.

More of his ‘modern’ grammar can be found in the text and its phrasing and spelling is closer to Middleton’s style than Shakespeare’s.

It is believed that if Middleton and Shakespeare did collaborate on All’s Well, it could provide an interesting insight into the way Shakespeare worked.

Dr Smith explained: ‘Where we know Shakespeare worked with other playwrights, it tended to be in a master-apprentice relationship, with Shakespeare as the apprentice in the early years and as the senior writer in his later years.

‘But if, as we suspect, All’s Well and Timon Of Athens were written in 1606-7 while Shakespeare was in the middle of his career and working with a dynamic, up-and-coming playwright like Middleton, the relationship seems not unlike an established musician working with the current big thing and is about more than just professional training.’

Research leader Professor Laurie Maguire said many plays of the time were written in partnership, but it was thought Shakespeare always penned pieces by himself.

He was thought to not want to share the glory with contempories due to his inconic status.

Prof Maguire said: ‘The picture that’s emerging is of much more collaboration. We need to think of it more as a film studio with teams of writers.

‘We are confident there is a second hand in the authorship of the play and that hand belongs to Thomas Middleton.’

DARPA creates “virtual humans, programmed to appear empathetic” for soldiers with PTSD

telepresenceoptions.com | Apr 26, 2012

by Katie Drummond

The Pentagon hasn’t made much progress in solving the PTSD crisis plaguing this generation of soldiers. Now it’s adding new staff members to the therapy teams tasked with spotting the signs of emotional pain and providing therapy to the beleaguered. Only this isn’t a typical hiring boost. The new therapists, Danger Room has learned, will be computer-generated “virtual humans,” used to offer diagnostics, and programmed to appear empathetic.

It’s the latest in a long series of efforts to assuage soaring rates of depression, anxiety and PTSD that afflict today’s troops. Military brass have become increasingly willing to try just about anything, from yoga and reiki to memory-adjustment pills, that holds an iota of promise. They’ve even funded computerized therapy before: In 2010, for example, the military launched an effort to create an online health portal that’d include video chats with therapists.

But this project, funded by Darpa, the Pentagon’s far-out research arm, is way more ambitious. Darpa’s research teams are hoping to combine 3-D rendered simulated therapists — think Sims characters mixed with ELIZA — with sensitive analysis software that can actually detect psychological symptoms “by analyzing facial expressions, body gestures and speech,” Dr. Albert Rizzo, who is leading the project alongside Dr. Louis-Philippe Morency, tells Danger Room. The therapists won’t treat patients, but they will help flesh-and-blood counselors by offering a general diagnosis of what ails soldiers, and how serious the problem is.