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Cargo of Lies

Cargo of Lies: The True Story of a Nazi Double Agent in Canada

Copyright Date: 1996
Pages: 244
  • Book Info
    Cargo of Lies
    Book Description:

    Beeby argues that Canadian authorities were woefully unprepared for the subtleties of wartime counter-espionage, and that their mishandling of the case had long-term consequences that affected relations with their intelligence partners throughout the Cold War.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-5976-6
    Subjects: History, Sociology

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. ix-xii)
    Dean Beeby
  4. [Illustrations]
    (pp. xiii-2)
  5. Prologue
    (pp. 3-5)

    Just how many enemy spies washed up on Canadian shores during the Second World War is anybody’s guess. Like subatomic particles, their existence can often be inferred only from the faint flash-traces they leave across the historical record. Alfred Langbein, rowed ashore from a U-boat near St Martins, New Brunswick, in the spring of 1942, is one of only two documented arrivals. Apparently never intending to carry out his mission, Langbein travelled with little trouble to Montreal and Ottawa, where he lived for more than two years on money supplied to him by the Abwehr, the German military-intelligence service. Running...

  6. ONE Broken Boats, Broken Bodies
    (pp. 6-18)

    Gordon Hardy, steward aboard the iron ore-carrierRose Castle,prepared to dive from his ship into the frigid, choppy waters off Bell Island, Newfoundland. Sweeping searchlights from the shore regularly rolled into the pitch black that November night in 1942 as Hardy raced onto the deck, dressed only in boxer shorts and a thin life-jacket. ‘Where are you going, Hardy?’ barked one of the engineers standing on deck. Tm going over the side,’ he announced, climbing with determination onto the railing. ‘Don’t jump in that cold water. It’s too cold. It’ll kill you,’ came the shouted reply.

    But Hardy knew...

  7. TWO The Stranger in Room 11
    (pp. 19-43)

    Sleepy New Carlisle, on the south coast of Quebec’s Gaspe Peninsula, is today little more than a gas stop on the shore highway that dips and curves wildly towards the tourist haunts around Perce Rock. A town brochure meekly promotes its CN Rail station, a war veterans’ monument, an Anglican church, a local museum, and a restored house as visitor attractions. But the few tourists who do stay briefly seem more interested in a two-storey, white frame house on a corner lot nearly obscured by trees. For New Carlisle is perhaps best remembered as the boyhood home of one of...

  8. THREE A Fluent and Fertile Liar
    (pp. 44-75)

    Clifford Harvison began his thirty-six-year career with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in October 1919 with a bold-faced lie. A gangly six-footer, with narrow eyes and a long humourless face that was almost doglike, Harvison stepped off the train at Regina a determined seventeen-year-old. He got a haircut, had his suit pressed, bought a new shirt and tie, and checked into his first-ever hotel. The next morning, spruce and jittery, he hired a taxi to take him to the headquarters of the Royal North-West Mounted Police, located at the edge of the city. At the administration building, he asked permission...

  9. FOUR Bobbi Calls Home
    (pp. 76-101)

    One of Janowski’s first Abwehr assignments in Canada was to send a letter back to his German masters announcing his safe arrival. Somehow the material had to get past vigilant postal censors, who inspected all mail bound for continental Europe. Janowski told his captors the initial plan was for him to send an innocuous letter to a Canadian prisoner of war held in a German camp, the pages impregnated with a secret, invisible message. Prison-camp officials would know what letters to forward to the Abwehr by spotting prearranged signatures. The plan fell through shortly before Janowski left for Canada, however,...

  10. FIVE C’est la guerre
    (pp. 102-125)

    Cliff Harvison, whose ignorance of the Abwehr organization had allowed his prisoner to weave elaborate lies, struggled to save face now that Watchdog was singing like a canary. Mills had urged a hard line against Janowski, but Harvison portrayed this final confession as the product of his own velvet treatment of the prisoner. ‘In my report of February 2nd, I expressed the opinion that Watchdog would, in the near future, voluntarily supply information regarding certain parts of his own career which he had considered it advisable to withhold during early questioning in order that he, personally, might be considered in...

  11. SIX Collapse
    (pp. 126-139)

    Long before the Watchdog case began to go sour – before the Quebec press leak, before the unauthorized message about local German war workers, before Hamburg’s admonition against ‘helpers’ – Janowski began to plot his departure from Canada. Harvison’s belated re-interrogation of his prisoner had finally extracted details about Abwehr counter-espionage operations in northern France, Belgium, and Holland. Janowski saw an opening. He now formulated a ‘proposition’ in the event the Watchdog case failed, and Harvison had him put it in writing for examination at RCMP headquarters. ‘I would be willing and enthusiastic to work in Belgium and France,’ Janowski wrote. ‘I...

  12. SEVEN Operation Grete
    (pp. 140-166)

    On Sunday, 29 October 1944, Alfred Langbein placed a sheet of white paper on the writing table in his room and nervously composed a message that was to turn his quiet life upside down. He printed each tight, awkward letter of the two-sentence note, then signed his name, slightly losing control of the last ‘n’ in Langbein as he attemped a calligraphic flourish. He attached his National Registration Certificate, which gave his name as Alfred Haskins, and placed both pieces of paper in an envelope.

    Langbein, small and mousy-looking, had tried to live in obscurity for the last thirteen months...

  13. EIGHT Autopsy
    (pp. 167-198)

    Janowski was the first and only Abwehr spy captured in Canada while on a wartime mission from Germany. For years, the RCMP and other police forces had warned Canadians to be alert against Nazi espionage agents, especially on the East Coast where U-boats could silently approach isolated coves and inlets under the cloak of night. In the tiny Gaspe community of New Carlisle, the public-education campaigns had paid off handsomely: civilians, with the help of the local police, trapped a spy less than twelve hours after he set foot on Canadian soil. The initial police work may have been shaky,...

  14. Sources
    (pp. 199-204)
  15. Index
    (pp. 205-213)
  16. Illustration Credits
    (pp. 214-214)