The Spy Who Saved The World

(dramatic music) – Washington, DC, Capitol
of the United States, stands at the epicentre
of world espionage. In fact, it has more spies than
any other city in the world. Spying has a long history here. From the halls of government, to tranquil suburban neighbourhoods, there are scores of dead drops, covert meeting places,
and secret facilities. Literally a constellation
of clandestine sites unknown to even the most
avid history buffs until now. Recently new books have been published that trace more than two centuries of secret espionage
history here in Washington, starting right back with spy master and first president George Washington. These books with accompanying maps list dozens of spy sites across the city. And now thousands of tourists
visit Washington each year to follow the footsteps
of moles and sleuths and trace the covert operations that influenced the outcome of wars and changed the course of history. In fact there’s so much
interest in espionage here that there’s even an
international spy museum that allows spy enthusiasts
to examine hundreds of gadgets, weapons, bugs, cameras, and secret technologies. The museum houses the
largest collection of international espionage artefacts ever placed on public display. All this is a reminder of our fascination with spies and espionage. Some are even obsessed by it. Just look at the cinema figures. Spy movies have always been popular. People just seem to love
the cloak and dagger escapades of these characters, whether James Bond in the Bond movies, or Ethan Hunt in the
Mission Impossible series. Spy thrillers are always
popular and often fun to watch. And though these are made up stories, the fact is that real life
spying goes on all the time. And though I doubt these real life spies have the kind of action that say James Bond might see in a single day, there’s no question that spying can be a dangerous business. It could cost the spy his or her life. Today we’re going to look
at the story of a real spy, someone who worked during
the very tense years of the Cold War. This spy, though not as
glamorous as James Bond, took a great risk to do
what he thought was right. And some believe that
his actions and bravery saved the world from
a nuclear catastrophe. Who was this spy? What did he do? And what lessons can we
learn from this story? We’ll find out in today’s programme, The Spy Who Saved The World. His story will surprise and inspire you. And it carries a special
message for us today. (dramatic music) (loud explosion) Though World War II ended
more than 70 years ago, we certainly still live with
the legacy of that war today. And one of the legacies
of the Second World War was the Cold War. Cold as in contrast to hot in the sense that though
the two sides were at war, it wasn’t an overt shooting war. The antagonists weren’t dropping bombs on each other’s cities. But the hostilities and animosities between the Americans and
the Russians ran deep. And in any one of a number of instances, the Cold War could’ve
turned hot, real hot. And that could’ve easily
led to World War III. There was, however, one
time in the early 1960s where the tension became so great that it brought the world
itself to the very brink. This was the Cuban Missile Crisis. Now if you wanna talk about a
manifestation of the Cold War, then there’s nothing
better than Cuba itself. The island of Cuba is
less than 150 kilometres off the coast of Key West, Florida. So in 1959, when
revolutionary Fidel Castro took over the country and
declared it a socialist republic, another name for communism, well, you can imagine how well that went over with the
American capitalists just to their north. Cuba now communist? The Russians now had an ally close enough to the United States
that people have actually swam from Cuba to Florida. Well, the Americans weren’t
going to stand for that. In fact though kept
top secret at the time, it’s now known that the United States Central Intelligence Agency, the CIA, had tried numerous times to
have Fidel Castro assassinated. Some of the stories sound right
out of a James Bond movie. Apparently the CIA tried everything from poisoning Fidel’s cigars, to planting a bomb in a conch shell in the water where he liked to scuba dive. The Americans even tried to get the mafia, generally efficient killers,
to do the dirty job for them. After all Castro had kicked
the mob out of the country. So they had plenty of reasons
to want to see him dead. However, the mobsters it seems didn’t have any more
success than did the CIA at getting rid of Castro. Then there was the Bay of Pigs fiasco when CIA-backed Cuban exiles
invaded the country in 1961 in an attempt to overthrow
the communist regime. Within a day, the whole thing collapsed. Many of the invaders
were killed or captured, and the Americans,
especially John F. Kennedy, came out looking pretty bad. The Bay of Pigs fiasco, however, was small potatoes in contrast
to what came the next year known in history as the
Cuban Missile Crisis. An American U2 spy plane had helped confirm what a Russian spy had already told the Americans, that the soviets were constructing nuclear missile sites in Cuba. Nuclear-armed missiles just 150 kilometres off the coast of the United States? The Americans had to do something because from Cuba, no city in
the United States was safe. First, the United States set
up a naval blockade of Cuba. They would not allow
Russian ships with arms to enter Cuban waters. Second they demanded that
the missiles be removed. This too was a gamble. If the Russians who declared the blockade an illegal provocation
tried to enter Cuban waters, a military confrontation
could’ve quickly escalated into a nuclear Armageddon. One later account expressed it like this. – [Man] In a television
broadcast on October 22nd, 1962, the President notified Americans about the presence of the missiles. He explained his decision
to enact the blockade and made it clear that the US was prepared to use military force if necessary to neutralise this perceived
threat to national security. Following this public declaration, people around the globe nervously waited for the Soviet response. Some Americans, fearing their country was on the brink of nuclear
war, hoarded food and gas. – Eventually realising just how dangerous the situation had become, the Russians sent a letter to Kennedy agreeing to remove the missiles if the Americans promised
not to invade Cuba and would eventually remove
American nuclear missiles stationed in Turkey. The crisis ended, but nerves
were so frayed on both sides that they soon created a direct hotline communication link between
Moscow and Washington. The idea was that in the
event of another crisis, they could at least talk
to each other quicker than they had before and not come so close to wiping out the world. Though the Cold War went
on until the early 1990s, many historians agree
that at no time before or after this crisis had we come so close to what could’ve been
nuclear annihilation. Some have argued too that
were it not for one man, a man most of us have never heard of, the dreaded nuclear war would’ve come. The man’s name is Oleg Penkovsky. And some have dubbed him
the Spy Who Saved The World. Who was he? What did he do? And what message does
he have for us today? Well, Oleg Penkovsky was a
senior intelligence officer, a colonel, in the Soviet
military intelligence, the GIU. Among his jobs, he was
to collect scientific and technical intelligence
from the United States, Britain, and other Western allies. Starting in the early 1960s, Penkovsky began passing secrets to the British and the Americans. He tried contacting the CIA first. But they dragged their feet. Eventually in Moscow, he met
with a British businessman who was really a spy for MI6, the British Intelligence Agency. They went to a hotel room where Penkovsky revealed a hidden pocket in his trousers. He took a razor and cut open the pocket and handed the agent the documents. Among these documents was a letter that Penkovsky had hand written to the Queen of England and
to President John Kennedy. In it he said this. – [Penkovsky] I ask you to
consider me as your soldier, henceforth the ranks of your armed forces are increased by one man. – Before long, both the
Americans and the British were working as closely as
possible with Penkovsky, who, working under the cover of being the head of a Soviet trade
delegation in London, would meet with the Americans and British and pass on documents. At the same time when in Moscow, he would meet with Janet Chisholm, a wife of a British diplomat
in Moscow and an agent of MI6 and would pass on secrets to her there. One account described
the meeting like this. Janet Chisholm and
Penkovsky made their way separately to the small, narrow city park on the 2nd of July. It was busy. And Penkovsky waited for the rain to come and the crowd to thin before approaching. Janet was wearing a brown
suede jacket as agreed. He gave the children a box of sweets. Inside were two sheets of
paper and seven rolls of film. The material was so important that parts of it would be communicated personally to the President
of the United States nine days later. It would be the first of a
dozen such brushed contacts between the two in the coming months. Her husband was under heavy surveillance, but she believed hers was minimal. Can you imagine the risks
that this man was taking? Can you imagine what
would’ve happened to him if he was caught? Yet Col. Penkovsky truly believed that he was doing the right thing. – [Penkovsky] Henceforth I consider myself a soldier of the free world fighting for the cause
of humanity as a whole and for the freedom from tyrannical rule of the people of my homeland Russia. – Penkovsky soon turned into an invaluable asset to the West. For 18 months, he had
supplied the Americans and the British with a treasure trove of valuable information. It was his information that
first alerted the Americans about the existence of the missiles there. And so when they sent their planes up, they knew where to look. And second, he showed the Americans that the Russians had nowhere near the nuclear capability
that the West thought, and that a lot of the Russian
talk was mere bluster. This gave the Americans
some breathing room, that is instead of being
so afraid of the Russians and perhaps striking
first out of that fear, thanks to Penkovsky, Kennedy
knew that he had time and that the Russians
were really bluffing. And so many believe that we
have Oleg Penkovsky to thank for the crisis not
turning into World War III which, had it turned nuclear, could’ve wiped us all out. Now, what did the Spy Who Saved The World get for his great work? After all, not everyone gets
a chance to save the world. Well, he was betrayed by a double agent working for the Americans. He was arrested, tried publicly, and shot by the Soviets. Some argue that he committed
suicide in his cell. Either way, what an unjust ending for a man who had saved the
world and done so much good. What is the saying? No good deed goes unpunished. But, you know, maybe you’ve
noticed something along with me, and that is we don’t see a lot of justice in this world, do we? All around us every day, our senses are bombarded by the injustice, the unfairness of life. Evil so often, it seems, goes unpunished, while over and over the innocents suffer. Look at the innocents, the children, suffering in wars around the world? Children. And I haven’t even touched on issues like human trafficking, poverty, exploitation. And on and on we could go. And then, yes, there’s the issue of the gap between the rich and the poor. We’ve heard about the 1% club comprising the top 1% of
the world’s richest people. Well, according to one agency
that works for the poor, this 1% club has as much wealth as the rest of the world combined. And though some dispute their numbers, there’s no question that the gap between the rich and the poor is vast and deep and seems so utterly unfair, doesn’t it? And, you know, in this context, the question arises,
doesn’t all this injustice prove that God doesn’t exist? Isn’t injustice like
this one of the excuses that people use to deny
the existence of God? They argue that with all this injustice, pain, and suffering in the world, it’s not possible for a good
and all powerful God to exist. And while on one level that
may seem to make sense, on another, it makes no sense at all. Why? Well, because the same Bible writers that reveal the existence of God spend a great deal of
time recounting stories of terrible injustices as well. For the Bible writers,
the existence of injustice didn’t negate the existence of a loving and all-powerful God. In a Bible that has 900
pages, by page four, four, we have the story of Cain
murdering his brother who is later called Righteous Abel. Now, Righteous Abel, the
good son, so to speak, is murdered by the bad one. Talk about injustice. Again, the Bible is barely getting started and here already we have
a case of injustice. And then there’s the story of Joseph, a young lad sold into
slavery by his brothers. And then he spends years as
a slave and as a prisoner. Now, yes, if you know the story, it does have a happy ending. But think about Joseph’s
grieving father who, for years, decades even, believed that his son had been killed by wild animals, while all that time his
brothers knew the truth. Listen to that father’s grief recorded in Genesis
chapter 37 and verse 35. For I shall go down into the
grave to my son in mourning. Thus his father wept for him. All through the pages of the Bible, the injustices of our world are not sugar coated at all. Many of the stories in scripture
don’t end like fairy tales and they lived happily ever after. No. The Bible’s stories don’t all end that way because many of the stories of real lives don’t end that way now, do they? Have you ever read the story
of David and Bathsheba? King David gets a soldier’s wife pregnant while the soldier’s away in battle. In the end, the only
way to solve the problem is to make sure the soldier gets killed, and that’s exactly what happens. David gets the soldier killed and then gets the slain
man’s wife for himself. Talk about injustice. Oh yes, there’s also the story about a man who owned a vineyard
that King Ahab wanted. Well, the man refused
to sell it to the king. So before the story is over, the queen has the man falsely accused. Here’s what the Bible says. And two men, scoundrels,
came in and sat before him and the scoundrels witnessed again him, against Naboth, in the
presence of the people saying, “Naboth has blasphemed God and the king.” Then they took him outside the city and stoned him with
stones so that he died. And by the way with a vineyard
owner Naboth now dead, the king gets his vineyard. Injustice. So here’s the reality. All the injustices, the evil that we see in life around us and they can make people doubt the existence of God, all of them and more are portrayed in one way or another in the
Bible in the word of God. Yes, in the word of God, war, famine, crime, pain, suffering, everything that we hate about life here is depicted in this book
because that’s reality. And the Bible is about reality. I mean, who’d believe the Bible if it did nothing but depict this world as a wonderful and happy place
filled with wonderful people living wonderful lives
that always end nicely. But that’s not how it is, is it? No, of course not. And that’s why scripture doesn’t
portray it that way either. And yet at the same time the
Bible over and over again talks about the reality of God, of God’s love, of God’s goodness, and of God’s promise to one day bring the justice that is so lacking now. So amidst stories of war,
of violence, of famine, of oppression, of all
the things we see wrong with this world, the Bible also says this. The Lord has appeared of old to me saying, yes, I have loved you
with an everlasting love. Therefore with loving
kindness I have drawn you. You don’t think these
writers knew of the pain and injustice of this world? Of course they did. They suffered from it themselves. And yet amid it all, they had known and experienced the reality not only of God’s
existence but of His love. That’s why they could
write about it as they did. And then there’s Jesus
himself saying this. For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whoever believes
in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. You want to talk about injustice? God himself, in the person of Jesus, comes to this world and He does only good, does nothing but heal the sick, comfort the sorrowing,
help the poor, the needy, the outcasts. And what does he get for it? Well, read the story
of Jesus on the cross. Here is the loving, caring God of justice experiencing for himself the reality of all the injustice this
world itself has to offer. And He does it because He loves the world. Even despite the evil and injustice in it. The story of Oleg Penkovsky is just one of billions of stories of
injustice in this world. Yet this is the same world that God loves. A world that through Jesus he promises to completely fix and make over. He promises to bring the justice that we will never see now. God knows all about the injustice here. He knows it first hand. He’s experienced it Himself
in ways that we never will. And he asks you trust in him, to give yourself to Him in order that you can
have hope, true hope, that this world can
never, never offer you. That’s why he came and died for you. Paid the penalty for your mistakes. Don’t turn away from all
that He has done for you. Rather reach out and
accept the gift of hope, happiness and peace that He
offers you right now as we pray. Dear heavenly Father. Today we wish to thank You
for the reality of Your love. What a hope it offers us in a world that is so full of injustice. We look forward to the
day when Jesus will return and make all things new. We all want to be ready to meet Jesus when He comes so that we
can spend eternity with You. We ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen. The story of Oleg Penkovsky is like so many other stories
of injustice in our world. He certainly did the right thing. But sometimes in our own lives, we don’t always know just
what the right thing is. Making decisions can be difficult. It’s not always easy to
determine right from wrong. And we sometimes wish we could
divine guidance to help us. If you’re struggling with
the challenges of life and would like God’s guidance, then I’d like to recommend
the free gift we have for all our viewers today. It’s the Bible study guide
“The Secret of Happiness”. You’ll find it most helpful in guiding you regarding how to make right moral choices and
follow God’s leading. And again as I said, it’s absolutely free. There are no costs or
obligations whatsoever. So please don’t miss this
wonderful opportunity to receive the gift we have for you today. Here’s the information you need. – [Presenter] Phone or text us
at 0436-333-555 in Australia or 020-422-2042 in New Zealand. Or visit our website to request today’s free offer and we’ll send it to you
totally free of charge and with no obligation. So don’t delay. Call or text 0436-333-555 in Australia or 020-422-2042 in New Zealand. Or visit our website to
request today’s offer. Write to us at GPO Box 274
Sydney, New South Wales, 2001 Australia. Or PO Box 76673 Manukau, Auckland 2241, New Zealand. Don’t delay. Call or text us now. – If you’ve enjoyed our
journey to Washington, DC, and our reflections on
the hope and happiness that God offers us, then be sure to join us again next week when we will share another
of life’s journeys together. Until then remember the
ultimate destination of life’s journey. Now, I saw a new heaven and a new earth, and God will wipe away
every tear from their eyes. There shall be no more
death nor sorrow nor crying. There shall be no more
pain for the former things have passed away. (calm music) (dramatic music)

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