“There are more spies at the U.N. than diplomats.”

(Reuters) – The mysterious cloak and dagger world of international espionage and its real-life heros and villains are exposed in a new exhibition, the first to be sanctioned by U.S. intelligence agencies.

“Spy, the Secret World of Espionage,” which opens at the Discovery Times Square on Friday, includes hundreds of artifacts, some from the vaults of the CIA and FBI and the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO).

They range from a World War Two-era collapsible motorbike that could be dropped by parachute and deployed in 10 seconds and a German ENIGMA machine to create secret messages to a camel saddle used by one of the first CIA agents in Afghanistan after the 9/11 attacks to bugging devices, microdots and surveillance equipment.

“This is the first and only time these items will ever travel. It is kind of an unparalleled cooperation and collaboration with the CIA and FBI,” said H. Keith Melton, an author, intelligence historian and expert on spy technology who contributed items from his own collection.

The interactive exhibit, which will travel to 10 U.S. cities, offers a glimpse into a part of history and a secret world peopled with real-life agents, who Melton says are often completely misdefined by Hollywood and are nothing like James Bond.

“Pop culture is about two things — assassination and seduction. The real world is about information and communication. The sad thing is information and communication don’t sell movies,” said Melton.

“James Bond wouldn’t last four minutes in the real world.”

Melton, the author of several books on espionage including “Ultimate Spy,” has spent decades gathering unusual spying gadgets from Germany, Russia, Mexico, Australia, Canada, Great Britain and the Czech Republic that explain what espionage is.

“I have devoted most of my life to tracking down obscure bits of spy gear around the world,” he said.

The exhibition, which runs through March 2013, traces the world of international intrigue from the start of World War Two, to the establishment of the first U.S. spying agency, Office of Strategic Services (OSS), after Japanese forces attacked Pearl Harbor in 1941, through the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Cold War, the downing of Pan Am flight 103 in 1988 and the September 11, 2001 attacks.

It also includes the expulsion by the U.S. of 10 Russian spies in 2010, including Anna Chapman, who had been dubbed a modern-day Mata Hari by the popular press.

Although Melton said Chapman was a “darling of the media,” he added that she was not a trained intelligence officer. The best spies, he added, are the ones no one knows about.

“They stay beneath the radar,” he explained. “We hear of the ones who are caught but the ones we should worry about are the ones we don’t hear of.”

Oleg Penkovsky, a Soviet military intelligence officer who spied for the U.S. and Britain in the early 1960s is one of the most valuable double agents to work with the U.S. because of the Soviet missile secrets he provided to the United States during the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962.

A U.S. Navy chief warrant officer named John Walker has the dubious distinction of being the most damaging spy in U.S. history.

He offered to sell secrets to the Soviet intelligence agency, the KGB, in the 1970s. Codenamed “number 1” by the KGB, by the time he was arrested in 1985 he had recruited his best friend, his brother and his son into his spy ring.

The exhibit’s debut in New York seems appropriate.

“New York is a hotbed of spies,” said Melton. “There are more spies at the U.N. than diplomats.”

Arrest made in bombing that killed two Bodyguards

A suspected FARC guerrilla has been arrested in the southern section of  Bogota in connection with the bombing last week targeting former Colombian  Interior Minister Fernando Londoño that killed his driver and a bodyguard,  officials said.

Andres Felipe Rios Giraldo, who allegedly belongs to the Antonio Nariño Urban  Network, or RUAN, of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC,  appeared before a judge on Wednesday, media reports said.

Police found bomb-making materials and FARC propaganda at Rios Giraldo’s  residence in Bogota’s El Paraiso neighborhood.

Rios Giraldo is the first person arrested for the May 15 bombing, which  occurred a few blocks from the financial district in Bogota.

President Juan Manuel Santos has said on several occasions that it was not  clear who carried out the bombing.

Londoño, for his part, said in a press conference Wednesday that FARC rebels  staged the attack with a limpet bomb.

The bomb was meant to kill Londoño, who served as interior minister from 2002  to 2004 in the administration of Alvaro Uribe.

Londoño called on Santos to show the leadership expected of him as president  in the war against the rebels or Colombia “will have to find another one.”

Thirty-nine people were wounded in the bombing, which destroyed a bus and  several other vehicles, and damaged nearby buildings and businesses.

Londoño’s vehicle was going through a busy intersection in the northern  section of Bogota, near the financial district, when the bomb exploded.

The FARC, Colombia’s oldest and largest leftist guerrilla group, is on both  the U.S. and EU lists of terrorist groups. EFE

Read more: http://latino.foxnews.com/latino/news/2012/05/24/suspect-arrested-in-colombia-bombing/#ixzz1vrNTyKgV

Five foreign aid workers kidnapped in Afghanistan

KABUL: Two foreign women and three Afghan colleagues doing aid work in northeastern Afghanistan were taken hostage on by unidentified kidnappers.
An official in the Badakhstan province told the dpa news agency that it was possible that criminal gangs had carried out the kidnapping, hoping to secure ransom money.

“An African and a European woman working for the Med Air organization were traveling from Yaftal district to Ragestan district when armed men stopped their vehicle and took them hostage,” Abdul Maroof Rakish, the provincial governor’s spokesman, told dpa – also issuing similar comments to other agencies.

Med Air is a not-for-profit Christian NGO that aims to “seek out and serve the vulnerable women, children and men in crisis who live in often difficult-to-access regions in Africa and Asia and other areas with extraordinary need,” according to its website.

The kidnapping is thought to have taken place roughly 90 kilometers (56 miles) north of the provincial capital Faizabad in the remote northeast close to the border with Tajikistan. Government spokesman Rakish said the hostages might have been taken to the Shahr-e-Bozorg district in the mostly peaceful province.

Ten members of a volunteer medical team were found killed in August 2010 in Badakhstan.

 

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