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Yuri Nosenko and John Watkins


John Simkin
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John Watkins was Canadian Ambassador to the USSR (1954–1956). In 1961 Yuri Nosenko was a member of the Soviet delegation to disarmament talks in Geneva. While in the city he was robbed of $200 by a prostitute. In an attempt to repay the money he approached a US official he knew to sell secrets. Nosenko was put into contact with Tennant H. Bagley, a senior figure in the CIA. While being interviewed Nosenko told Bagley that John Watkins had been compromised in KGB "honeytrap" stings, which had revealed by an earlier defector, Anatoli Golitsin.

For some reason Watkins was not questioned about this claim. However, in 1964, Watkins was secretly detained in a hotel in Montreal, Quebec by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and the CIA. Several days into the interrogation, he died. The official obituary claimed that he suffered a heart attack in the company of friends during a farewell supper celebrating his illustrious career.

This was eventually revealed by Ian Adams, the author of Agent of Influence (1999). According to Adams, the CIA was out to get Lester B. Pearson, who had been appointed prime minister of Canada on 22nd April, 1963. Adams argues that the CIA tried to get Watkins to implicate Pearson in a spy-network. James Angleton was of course convinced that Pearson and Harold Wilson, the prime minister of Britain during this period, were both Soviet spies.

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The dates of this case are interesting. It seems that during the time that CIA agents were involved in planning the assassination of JFK they were also involved in conspiring against the leaders of political parties in friendly states, Canada and the UK, because they thought they were Soviet agents.

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