Virgil Caine

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  1. #ReleaseTheMemo aka Watergate on steroids

    It would be nice to think that the MSM would sober up, step back and report news events in a more detached and less partisan manner but I doubt it is going to happen. The truth is that the people involved in the squabbles over the 2016 US Presidential election are more interested in fighting each other than worrying about the Russians. As a consequence I expect them to resume business as normal. This at the very least will be what definitely-not-gay definitely-not-gay Putin is hoping. Anyway the Russians did not start the playground scrap, they just started getting everyone else involved by putting up the chant "Fight ! Fight !"
  2. #ReleaseTheMemo aka Watergate on steroids

    The problem is that senior people in the MSM have no humility. They are so arrogant and wrapped up in the idea that their view on everything is right that they cannot admit the Russians may have taken them for a ride. As I said in an earlier post both sides, and particularly Trump's opponents, were so keen to down the other that they happily swallowed whatever disinformation was handed to them. It was also so cheap for the Russians to operate. Rather than lots of expensive field operatives to run they could just recruit people in Russia and sit them at a computer. Twitter and Facebook did the rest for them for free. In addition unlike online forums such as this one there was no problem with having to build credibility or deal with moderators etc as all they were interested was people retweeting hashtags and getting them as Facebook "friends" . The lemming like nature of Facebook and Twitter did the rest for them
  3. History - recommendations?

    Your Dad obviously was not watching the original broadcast in the mid 1970s because the World At War was made by Thames Television for ITV.
  4. History - recommendations?

    The 1960s BBC series on the Great War is another must watch (sadly something you could not say about anything on the So-Called BBC now). It is available on DVD and the whole lot can be viewed on YouTube. The episodes on the battles of Verdun and the Somme alone are worth the price of the set. Along with Anthony Beevors account of Stalingrad they are among the best accounts of the brutality and futility of war. Barbara Tuchmans books the 'Proud Tower' and the 'Guns of August' are a very readable account of the events leading to the First World War. Ian Kershaw's biography of Hitler is also highly recommended. It is also available as a talking book on Audible.
  5. Steptoe spied for Czech secret police & Soviet Union

    Steptoe first became an MP in 1983. The Iron Curtain came down and nearly all the Communist regimes collaped in 1989. During those six years Margaret Thatcher was in power in the UK and Steptoe was an opposition backbencher. Most of that time he was more of a nuisance to Neil Kinnock than the government. In fact his main achievement was to help keep Labour unelectable. Now I suppose that could have been engineered by his Soviet spymasters but it would only make sense if they had some high placed asset in the Tory government that they wanted to keep in power. As far as I can see his biggest contribution to Communism was to write a column in the CPGB's terminally boring rag the Morning Star. MI5's main reason for watching Steptoe was his known sympathy and contacts with Irish Republican para militaries rather than any suspicions of pro Soviet activities. By the mid 1980s it was known the latter was on its last legs following the deaths of three elderly hard line Soviet Leaders Brezhnev, Andropov and Chernenko in the space of three years. From 1985 Mikhail Gorbachev was leader of the USSR. His introduction of the era of glasnost and perestroika meant the Cold War was winding down fast and the Soviets were more worried about handling that process than anything else. By contrast the IRA remained a serious threat to the security of the UK well into the 1990s.
  6. Steptoe spied for Czech secret police & Soviet Union

    Philby and Co all went to Cambridge University where they mixed with the future elite of British society. By contrast Steptoe's highest educational attainment was dropping out of a course on Trade Union Studies at North London Polytechnic. I expect most of Steptoe's contemporaries at North London Poly went off to live in squats and sign on rather than occupying the great offices off state. Steptoe did a short time as a Trade Union organiser with NUPE and the AUEW before getting elected to Harringay Council. Doubtless once in that post he was able to give his Czech and Soviet controllers a complete and detailed breakdown of bin collection and meals on wheels in that part of east London.
  7. Which Father Ted character are you?

    Its got to be Ted. So many times I have gone to meetings with senior management in my career to explain some straight forward technical issues and ended up experiencing the following
  8. Steptoe spied for Czech secret police & Soviet Union

    Much more pertinent IMHO. Steptoe has a lot of questions to answer in that a area.
  9. Steptoe spied for Czech secret police & Soviet Union

    That is precisely what I think I doubt there was any need for the Czechs to cultivate Steptoe as a paid spy as he was a left wing fellow traveller who was already hugely sympathetic to the Soviets. In terms of intelligence there was relatively little he had to offer as he was on the outer fringes of the Parliamentary party. Doubtless the Czechs were keen to cultivate sources of information wherever they could find them but they could probably get it from Steptoe and his ilk via the usual 'fraternal' meetings and social contacts that occurred between the Soviet bloch and western socialists. On terms of agents they would be hoping someone with far more access and influence than Steptoe was likely to get.
  10. Steptoe spied for Czech secret police & Soviet Union

    Well he was certainly an agent of influence for Sinn Fein and potentially the IRA who were our enemies. With regard to the Soviet espionage claims all I can say is the person in Czechoslovakia making the allegations has not actually provided any documentary evidence which he rather winsomely described to the Mail as 'Confidential'. The current Czech state which took over the Soviet era archive intact when the Iron Curtain fell and have since opened it up to historians don't think Steptoe was on their books. I doubt they are going to arrest Steptoe on the say so of an ex Soviet era hood feeding titbits to the British press especially now we know what ex KGB operative definitely-not-gay Putin's chums have been up to in the USA. Still if you want to believe stuff fed to you by old Soviet spy for a bit of dosh don't let me stop you. As for the Official Secrets Act 1911- which incidentally I have signed more times than I care to mention - it was once so wide ranging that it used to be an offence to reveal what was on the menu in Civil Service Canterns There are plenty of reasons for not wanting Steptoe in power but in my view the main one is he is a dangerously naive idiot.
  11. #ReleaseTheMemo aka Watergate on steroids

    You have rather got to admire the way those devious Ruskis used Facebook and Twitter those banes of the internet to coordinate their activities. They were also completely cynical in playing off the gullible idiots who inhabit those online spaces After the election of Donald Trump in or around November 2016, Defendants and their co-conspirators used false U.S. personas to organize and coordinate U.S. political rallies in support of then president-elect Trump, while simultaneously using other false U.S. personas to organize and coordinate U.S. political rallies protesting the results of the 2016 U.S. presidential election. For example, in or around November 2016, Defendants and their co-conspirators organized a rally in New York through one ORGANIZATION-controlled group designed to “show your support for President-Elect Donald Trump” held on or about November 12, 2016. At the same time, Defendants and their co-conspirators, through another ORGANIZATION-controlled group, organized a rally in New York called “Trump is NOT my President” held on or about November 12, 2016. Similarly, Defendants and their co-conspirators organized a rally entitled “Charlotte Against Trump” in Charlotte, North Carolina, held on or about November 19, 2016. Just goes to show you the dangers of basing your view of reality around trending hashtags.
  12. #ReleaseTheMemo aka Watergate on steroids

    The indictments make for quite amusing reading. In order to collect additional intelligence, Defendants and their co-conspirators posed as U.S. persons and contacted U.S. political and social activists. For example, starting in or around June 2016, Defendants and their co-conspirators, posing online as U.S. persons, communicated with a real U.S. person affiliated with a Texas-based grassroots organization. During the exchange, Defendants and their co-conspirators learned from the real U.S. person that they should focus their activities on "purple states like Colorado, Virginia & Florida." After that exchange, Defendants and their co-conspirators commonly referred to targeting "purple states" in directing their efforts. So basically the Russians spent thousands of dollars setting up fake userids used to dupe US political activists into telling them that they should concentrate their attention on the 'purple' swing states. Alternatively, they could have simply read any media or academic account written over the past 50 years about how US election campaigns are decided which would have probably cost them less than 20 bucks.
  13. Steptoe spied for Czech secret police & Soviet Union

    I should imagine MI5 have a pretty thick files on all leading politicians. People who think Russian spy's only ever operated among left wing groups are being a bit naive IMHO. The latter are also full of people who are on the payroll of British intelligence including a number who turn up waving flags and shouting at demos. Steptoe has never held ministerial office and probably has had virtually no access to secret government data. He had potential influence on the left of the Labour party but since most of his career has effectively been pursuing causes that have kept his party out of power and in opposition I doubt the Soviets would have thought him that useful unless they were keen to get Margaret Thatcher in office. BTW the current Czech government who control the entire Soviet era intelligence archive of their country have stated that the allegations are not supported by any evidence in it.
  14. #ReleaseTheMemo aka Watergate on steroids

    Not according to the front pages of the British papers this morning who seem to be soft pedalling the whole thing.
  15. #ReleaseTheMemo aka Watergate on steroids

    On a slightly unrelated topic I don't know if this video of a talk by Sharyl Attkisson on the subject of 'fake news' has been posted before bit it is well worth a listen.