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The war, spying – then and now

Journalists sometimes muse over the choice for “spy capital of Europe”. Any place that is easy for Russians spies to blend with the rest will attract representatives of other agencies.

Over the years, Geneva has been singled out for Switzerland’s lax banking regulations and rigorous neutrality. New York is another for being the world’s financial capital and seat of the UN providing diplomatic cover for thousands. Vienna has been named for its closeness to the former Soviet Bloc and its lax regulations in regards to spying.

Berlin, the backdrop for films and books, was seen as the epicentre of Cold War spying. With the looming presence of the Berlin Wall, it symbolized East-West tensions. And, of course the Glienicke Bridge – Bridge of Spies – the site of famous prisoner exchanges. Faux nostalgia made Berlin the stage of dramatic spy activity.

For focusing on the U.S.A., Mexico City has been named as a Russian (also Chinese, Iranian and Cuban) spy destination. It’s close to its target. But why not Canada? It’s thought to be less aggressive in counterintelligence than its neighbour. But Canada’s intelligence service, CSIS, sharing info with i...

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