I Spy a Spy: Animal Spies
The title does give the vibes of being a name of some cartoon series, but alas, that’s not the case. Animals are being increasingly used for espionage & reconnaissance all-round the globe. Alarming incidents of animals being trained and genetically engineered just to meet the military demands are coming up. On another note, due to animals being appointed as secret agents, animals are also being accused of being spies for foreign nations. The latest about a stork in Egypt being detained on charges of spying adds to the already existing stories of animals being trained to gather intelligence.
Without further ado, let’s look at the animals accused of espionage.
Stork – Egypt:
A stork was arrested in Egypt on charges of being a spy. The French were blamed to be behind this spying incident, thus charge being strongly refuted by French who claimed their scientists were only studying the bird’s migration patterns. So much for envisioning a secret stork alliance.
Vulture- Saudi Arabia:
Another feather friend was suspected spying because it was found carrying a transmitter with leg bracelet; this time it was a vulture. Again another university claimed to be studying migration patterns, this time Tel Aviv University scientists in Israel. Talk about bizarre coincidence.
Cats – America:
This one dates far back to the 1960’s, when the CIA reportedly started surgically inserting microphones and transmitters into cats. The project was aptly (& ironically named) “Acoustic Kitty.” The first wired cat which was used for spying ended up taking only a few steps towards the target before meeting a tragic (not to mention so suspicious & circumstantial) death where a taxi ran over it.
Dogs – Soviet Union:
The Soviet Union used anti-tank dogs during the Second World War to destroy German tanks. Dogs were strapped with explosives on their backs & trained to seek food under tanks after which the explosives were set off with a detonator triggering an explosion. This would have been funny & ingenious had they used toy dogs, but since they didn’t, this seems utterly disgusting.
Squirrel – Iran:
In 2007, Iranian Police reportedly captured 14 squirrels on charges of spying. Foreign intelligence services indicted the squirrels for carrying equipment for eavesdropping, though a Foreign Office source trashed this this story as rumors. And here we thought ‘Chip & Dale’ was just a kid’s fantasy.
Dolphins – America:
Dolphins have been serving the U.S. Navy for an astounding 40 years & counting. Dolphins were used because of their higher intelligence quotient. Dolphins were deployed during the Vietnam War and Operation Iraqi Freedom. These are trained to detect, locate and mark mines & to note suspicious swimmers and divers. Welcome the under-water patrolmen.
Bear – Poland:
Wojtek or Voytek, was the legendary Syrian brown bear cub found in Iran by soldiers of the 22nd Artillery Supply Company of the Polish II Corps. Wojtek would help move ammunition in the Battle of Monte Cassino & was trained to be a soldier. He was officially enlisted in the Polish Army with name, rank and number. The bear traveled with the unit during the war after which he was transferred to the Edinburgh zoo. What happened to ‘Care Bears’?
Hawks – India:
Indian officials suspected hawks of spying after the birds were found carrying something akin to high-tech surveillance equipment. India initially accused them of being Pakistani “spy-hawks,” but later it was stated that the birds were simply assisting with hunting expeditions.
Emily Anthes covers animals that are being genetically engineered in her book ‘Frankenstein’s Cat: Cuddling up to Biotech’s Brave New Beasts’. From her own book, the following excerpt – “We are heading towards a world, in which anyone with a little time, money and imagination can commandeer an animal’s brain” is enough to give us an idea as to what future plans the humans have for animals. Personally, until an animal volunteers its service to the nation or signs up for the military, I don’t think anyone has the right to force them into being soldiers or spies; keep ‘em animals out of the human wars, please.