Amazon seems to have lumped two separate books by Nicholas Anderson, NOC and NOC Twice, together as one book so I will review them separately below. Both books come from a disillusioned former U.K. intelligence officer writing on his experiences from a position of political asylum in France and labeling it as “fiction” to avoid the wrath of the U.K. Official Secrets Act. For the record, he fully admits to passing U.K. secrets to a French official in the first NOC book, which most anyone in the intelligence business would consider an admission of treason and probably relates to his eventual political asylum in France. He rationalizes it as just desserts for an SIS that allegedly tried to set up his friend as a patsy in Ambassador Christopher Ewart-Biggs’ assassination, but I don’t think any intelligence officer would view that as a valid excuse for passing state secrets. That being said, plenty of regular folks would and he fully admits to it!
Here are reviews of his two books:
In NOC, Nicholas Anderson (a pseudonym) details a time in the early 1990s when Her Majesty’s Secret Service yanked him back into the spy games he angrily quit without notice nearly a decade prior and then intermixes this story with disparate flashbacks of his past life as a non-official cover (NOC) covert action-focused case officer for the U.K.’s Secret Intelligence Service. Some real-life James Bond-esque derring do is described in exciting detail, such as parachuting into denied areas for special reconnaissance and ex-filtrating defectors. In other words, Anderson was not one of the prissy nancy boys under diplomatic cover sipping cocktails at the embassy parties, but actually one of the few, proud (and possibly insane) covert-action focused deep cover NOCs with no diplomatic immunity to save him from the Fingernail Factory. He risked his neck for Queen and Country, was even tortured for days by sadistic Bulgarians, and ultimately came to feel his courage and loyalty had been abused and misplaced.
The real focus of the book is Anderson’s relationship with ingenious Russian doctor and scientist Michal Molody (a pseudonym), who serves as the reason SIS coerced Anderson into one last unofficial mission. Back in the `70s, Anderson had ex-filtrated Dr. Molody and his wife as they defected from the Soviet Union to the West. Now that the oppressive Soviet system had been replaced with an attempt at capitalist democracy in the early `90s, Molody returns to Russia and notifies the British Embassy that he has special secret information to share, but he will only give it to his trusted old handler Nicholas Anderson. SIS sends Anderson on one last unofficial mission to Russia to find out what Dr. Molody has to say, and as earth-shattering as it is to Anderson and the reader, it falls on deaf ears back in the West.
NOC makes for a great read for its memorably poetic yet tough prose, richly detailed real-life suspense and excitement, and most of all for the following bombshell revelations:
-U.K. Ambassador to Ireland Christopher Ewart-Biggs was NOT assassinated by IRA terrorists, but instead by the U.K. government and deliberately pinned on the IRA as a false-flag attack! If Anderson knows all the real motives, he chooses not to make them clear, though he hints it was done to prevent Ambassador Ewart-Biggs from brokering a peace between Protestants and Catholics in Northern Ireland. Apparently, there was too much money to be made from selling weapons to both sides, or something along those lines.
-HIV/AIDS was created as a biological weapon by the U.S. government in the late 1950s! While this was a familiar Soviet propaganda line, Anderson does not let the Soviets off easy either. According to Anderson, the U.S. government created HIV as one of its attempts at a fast-acting cancer-causing virus in the late `50s, tested it on a handful of African villagers, and for reasons unclear it didn’t balloon into an epidemic across the continent until the late `70s. As for the HIV/AIDS epidemic among gays and blacks in the U.S., Anderson alleges that an American doctor who was secretly a Soviet agent deliberately infected scores of black and homosexual Americans in New York under the guise of a vaccination program. A woman that was arguably the love of Anderson’ life was killed by HIV/AIDS from a dirty blood transfusion so the issue is deeply personal to him.
-The Western medical establishment has too much profit to lose from admitting that Eastern so-called “alternative medicine”, which genius Russian doctor Michal Molody endorses, can be very effective and so discredits it and is uninterested in his potential cures for HIV/AIDS and other major diseases!
-Anderson went to college with the infamous Marxist terrorist (and Soviet agent) Carlos the Jackal at Patrice Lumumba University in Moscow! And he had a friendly run-in with him decades later while he was an international fugitive (and claims he contributed to his capture)!
-Disparate terrorist and criminal groups that seem ideologically incompatible often collaborate! Anderson claims to have seen IRA terrorists in Libya meeting with Qaddafi’s intelligence service and likewise palling around with Islamist terrorists!
While I can’t independently verify these bold claims, the book is certainly worth a read and can spur on some of your own further research into matters where the official story doesn’t quite add up.
In NOC Twice, Nicholas Anderson sticks closer to chronological order and details his original 1970s and early 1980s career in SIS as a non-official cover covert action-focused case officer on the political action staff and the gradual disillusionment leading to his angry exit without prior notice. Anderson endures numerous gruesome traumas throughout his career, which include being shot down as a young Royal Navy helicopter pilot in the not-so-secret war in Laos and killing scores of guerrillas in self-defense, giving cavity searches to corpses in search of a key piece of intelligence from a courier killed in West Africa’s senseless wars spurred on by oil-seeking Brits, and being captured and tortured by the Bulgarian security services.
The two main straws that seem to have broken the camel’s back for Anderson are his early `80s return TDY to Bulgaria and a brutal tour in Lebanon during the Sabra and Shatila massacres and the worst of the Lebanese Civil War. Anderson is disgusted to learn that many U.K. politicians and high-ranking intelligence officials profit from drugs, guns, and even human trafficking conducted by a shell company called Kintex, which is a front for the intelligence services of communist and Soviet-allied Bulgaria, a country that is supposed to be the U.K. and NATO’s enemy! Then caught in the middle of the horrors of Lebanon’s religious and sectarian war spurred on by foreign powers with expansionist designs, Anderson begins to feel like an imperialist intruder and can stand his line of work no longer.
NOC Twice comes more highly recommended than NOC for those curious to learn the dark secrets of U.K. intelligence operations or even gain insights into intelligence training and the overall mindset. However, NOC Twice does not flesh out any of its characters to three dimensions the same way that Dr. Michal Molody was in NOC, so the sequel is probably inferior on the human level. NOC Twice gives you a better sense of Nicholas Anderson’s philosophy and worldview, however. Here, Anderson comes across as a populist leftist who has slight Marxist sympathies, but is still no fan of the Soviet Union. He calls for a “third way” separate from both communism and capitalism, is a staunch atheist, despises organized religion, yet maintains a quasi-Buddhist spirituality and interest in psychic phenomena and a sense that certain things are meant to be. To Anderson, the U.S. and the Soviets were indistinguishably evil in the Cold War and he laments the fact that his native U.K. remains the U.S.’s loyal lapdog. Though I disagree with Anderson’s politics, worldview, and moral equivalency mental gymnastics, he never shoves them down the reader’s throat and spends more time presenting the facts and letting the reader decide how to feel about them. And like its predecessor, NOC Twice has some highly explosive revelations of its own:
-NATO countries feature highly secret and illegal shadow versions of their own legal and congressionally accountable intelligence services in joint operations, ultimately run by the U.S. , that are funded by guns, drugs, and sometimes even human trafficking! There is also a parallel structure of disturbing levels of cooperation in generating profits by officials from countries that are supposed to be enemies! The main example cited is communist Bulgaria’s Kintex front company sharing profits with NATO countries, which was probably more NATO corrupting Bulgaria away from its Soviet allies than some sort of Illuminati running both sides of a phony Cold War. Still, it raised my eyebrows!
-The most secret and trusted intelligence officers from NATO countries no longer work for their respective countries’ intelligence services per se, but instead for a joint NATO black ops group that is associated with Operation Gladio right-wing terrorist false flag attacks! Anderson claims to have been promoted into this group in the early `80s and to have become disgusted with it, prompting him to quit.
-Pope John Paul II’s would-be assassin was NOT a Bulgarian communist working for the Soviets as commonly reported, but was actually a right-wing Turkish Grey Wolves terrorist most likely working for NATO’s Operation Gladio in a false-flag attack!
-Late British media tycoon Robert Maxwell, long known to be an Israeli agent of influence, was ALSO involved in sharing guns, drugs, and human trafficking profits with communist Bulgaria’s Kintex front company and pressured British politicians to keep the illegal parallel structure Gladio networks going!
-Syria and Soviet Russia secretly instigated the Lebanese Civil War so that Syria could steal lucrative oil off the coast of Lebanon with Russia’s help and profit-sharing without any resistance from the Lebanese government!
-Many U.K. SIS officers are forced to undergo an electro-convulsive therapy forgetting process when they retire so there’s no risk of them blabbing about some of the most sensitive operations! Anderson claims he managed to avoid this process.
But the real juicy stuff will come with Anderson’s upcoming third NOC book, where he describes how the SIS sucked him in yet again in the mid-2000s in the Iraq War and he became more disgusted with U.S. and U.K. foreign policy than ever before and even lost an eye! This chapter in his life allegedly ended with him essentially defecting to France and receiving political asylum. Whatever the U.K.’s Chilcot Inquiry fails to reveal about the true origins of the disastrous Iraq War, Anderson’s third NOC book will surely unearth for the betterment of all who seek the truth.