Tuesday, February 23, 2016

I spy a numbers station

Rikki don't lose that number
You don't wanna call nobody else
Send it off in a letter to yourself
Rikki don't lose that number
It's the only one you own
You might use it if you feel better
When you get home
-- Steely Dan

Natasha callink Boris . . . Natasha callink Boris. . . . 

Important message for Boris!

Uno, dos, siete, cuatro, cuatro, seis, ocho, tres, nueve. . . . 

If you hear a strange station on shortwave that's just counting -- usually in Spanish -- it's a spy . . . somewhere . . . sending coded messages to other spies . . . somewhere.

I USED to pick up these stations all the time when I was a kid. They seemed incredibly mysterious back in the late 1960s and early 1970s.

That's because they were. And are.

Still, it's somehow reassuring to know the cloak-and-dagger folks stiil do that voodoo that they do old school, though Natasha here has incorporated a dial up-style modem into her sleuthy transmissions to Boris Badenov . . . wherever he might be.

In this case -- now that advanced computing is available to the average listener -- I was fortunate enough to decode this particular message in just a couple of hours. Here is the transcript:

Attention: Agent Badenov. STOP.
Inform Comrade Putin that Operation Combover is more successful than we had hoped. STOP. Now calculate odds of Donald Trump securing Republican nomination at 74 percent. STOP. The American voter is much more stupid than previous intelligence indicated. STOP.
With luck in November, American hegemony will be finished. STOP. With very good fortune, we could turn this into a second American civil war. STOP.

Awaiting further instructions. STOP.
Signed, Natasha.

No comments: