Wednesday, 16 May 2012
London 8 November 1975
'So The Service has had an agent in Angola?'
'Yes sir, completely deniable naturally. The operation is codenamed SILVERBACK. An agent was infiltrated into the group of mercenaries recruited by Carlo Shannon in London on behalf of the FNLA.'
'Shannon is dead though...'
'And the FNLA's offensive was a fiasco, Shannon should never have attacked when he did. SILVERBACK is telling us that he didn't want to but Holden Roberto insisted on it. Apparently Shannon was killed in street fighting in Caxito, leading from the front. A house was booby trapped and his command group was caught in it. They were fighting Angolans but the Cubans were running the show. SILVERBACK thinks that the group Shannon was with were leading an attack on a Cuban command post.'
'Hmmm...what now? It appears Castro is sending everything he has to Luanda and after the St John's incident he's doing it overtly. The whole of his merchant marine has been mobilised.'
'The Cuban's will get stronger. They'll have thousands of men on the ground within a month. SILVERBACK tells us that the FNLA are stepping up recruitment again in Paris and Callan has reports that Banks is active in London...'
'God help us. And the Soviets?'
'Very quiet. They must be giving Castro approval. It's only a matter of time before Soviet heavy lift aircraft start moving Cubans to Luanda. They'll use the Cubans as proxies. This is part of their plan to expand their influence in the region sir.'
'Hmmm...yes. Well keep me informed. And make sure Callan watches Banks.'