Foreign Policy

Shakil Afridi and the CIA

Shakil Afridi and the CIA

Miles Copeland
Miles Copeland
On May 2, 1944 Miles was born in London, England, to Miles Axe Copeland, Jr., the founder of the CIA, and Scottish Lorraine Adie, who was in British intelligence. Due to Miles Jr.'s profession, the family moved throughout the Middle East, in particular Syria, Egypt and Lebanon. He is now an American Entertainment executive and music icon. | Photo: Aaron Stipkovich | Miles Copeland, The Copeland Chronicles, Cia, Icon,

The Pakistani Doctor, CIA, and Austerity.

When Miles Axe Copeland III was born on May 2, 1944, there was a very bright star in the sky, though no one is quite certain which star it was. There were also V-1 and V-2 rockets dropping in the near vicinity, as it was the height of the World War II blitz of London. Miles' father, Miles Axe Copeland, Jr., was stationed in England in the American army doing counter-intelligence for the O.S.S. (Office of Strategic Services), where he met and married Miles' future mother, Lorraine Adie, who was in British Intelligence S.O.E (Special Operations Executive). Miles' passport shows his birth date as April 2 because father Miles made a mistake on the original application. Throughout life, Miles has had surprise birthday parties thrown on April 2 and people wish him happy birthday one month early. Rarely has anyone, except close family, wished him happy birthday on May 2. (The psychological damage done to him due to this fluke is unknown).

After the war, the family moved to Washington, D.C., where father Miles and a small nucleus of intelligence officers were given the task of organizing a central intelligence gathering organization combining the best of the various forces intelligence corps including the O.S.S. This resulted in the foundation of the C.I.A. In 1948, he was sent to Damascus, Syria as the CIA operative with the title "Culture Attach?." While in Damascus, he was directly involved in the overthrow of the Syrian government, the first overthrow of a foreign government by an U.S. government operative using covert means. While in Damascus, young Miles became fluent in Arabic, which has come in handy recently with his launch into World Music, particularly music emanating from the Middle East. Apparently losing some of this aptitude over the years, Miles' current Arabic fluency is convincing only to those who don't speak a word of Arabic. He is, however, quite proficient in French.

The family then alternated between Middle East posts and Washington D.C. In 1953, father Miles Jr. was loaned by the C.I.A. to Gamal Abdul Nasser (President of Egypt) to organize the Egyptian secret intelligence, The Mukabarat. He soon became Nasser's closest western advisor. It was here that Lorraine Copeland took up archeology and Miles III took up an interest in collecting anything ancient, from mummy parts to coins. It was also here that young Miles became friends with Col. Hasan Tuhami, Nasser's machine gun toting bodyguard who lived next door. In later years, this friendship became extremely useful as Mr. Tuhami became Vice Prime Minister of Egypt and came to the rescue of The Police, whose equipment was stuck in Egyptian customs, jeopardizing a concert at the Cairo University that night. Father Miles' exploits are recounted in three books: Game of Nations, The Real Spy World and his autobiography, The Game Player.

From 1957-68 the Copeland family was stationed in Beirut, Lebanon during the hey-day of that city. Miles attended high school at the American Community School where he was president of his senior class. Along with his archeologist mother, he further developed his fascination for ancient civilizations, especially their art and architecture. This interest took him to travel widely throughout Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, and Egypt. During the summer breaks, he taught judo, having previously earned a first-degree black belt. He was the first person ever to put on a judo exhibition for Lebanese television, his first television appearance. He was also presented with a license to teach Judo to the Lebanese Army. He accepts no responsibility for the ineffectiveness of that army in subsequent years.

From 1962-66, he attended Birmingham Southern College (receiving his B.A. in History and Political Science) in Birmingham, Alabama, the birthplace of his father and home to various Copelands (cousins, grandmother, etc.). He spent one semester at American University in Washington, D.C. (the Washington semester program), studying the workings of the US government up close and personal. From 1966-69, he attended the American University of Beirut, earning his M.A. in Economics. Courses focused largely on how to bring a third world country into the 20th century (without huge oil revenues). Meanwhile, times were strange in Beirut as the seeds of civil war were finding soil and at one point, Miles and other Americans were secretly whisked out of the country for their own protection, returning months later when deemed "relatively safe."


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Updated Jan 2, 2019 12:29 PM EST | More details


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