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The dark arts and useful idiots

April 23, 2014

I have written before – elsewhere – about my very first foreign jaunt for Her Majesty in what was then the Federal Republic of Germany.  It was a very long time ago.  The Berlin Wall was still standing robustly, and the Iron Curtain cast a very dark shadow across the European continent.

Within days of landing at RAF Gütersloh and making my way across country to where I was to work I was required to then turn around again and attend a seminar in Rheindahlen, then HQ Northern Army Group (NORTHAG), HQ British Army of the Rhine (BAOR), home of Second Allied Tactical Airforce (2ATAF) and RAF Germany (RAFG) – and other more interesting entities with far less imposing titles.

It was like a small town populated by British, American, Canadian, German and Belgian military and civilians.

Anyway, the purpose of my visit was to be reminded once again – and warned once more – of the “dark arts” of The Stasi and KGB.  Once again those present were reminded of the responsibilities of the positions they held.  We were all PV’d (positively vetted) due to the information we were likely to create, receive, read and control.  Remember at all times you are subject to the Official Secrets Act you have signed etc., etc.  “Be alert” the watchword of the era.

We, it was said repeatedly, would be very likely the choice targets for the opposition intelligence community.

The weight of the responsibilities we were to bear, and the results of failing to bear them with integrity, spelled out in no uncertain terms – repeatedly – over the 2 day seminar.

The methods of subterfuge, espionage, infiltration, coercion etc., laid as bare as could be.  Whatever human weaknesses you may have – keep them under control if not eradicate them.  Failure to do so would result in your blackmail by KGB (or somewhat less likely Stasi) personnel.

Blimey!

All of this of course before mobile telephones, fax machines and computers became the tools of the modern age.  In those days multiple copies of anything were done either with carbon paper between sheets of paper on a typewriter, or typed onto a “skin” and rattled off on an ink smeared drum duplicator.

I won’t bore you with the palava of actually accessing anything secret (or above) – suffice to say it was necessarily time consuming and the fact you had merely sniffed a document classified accordingly was heavily documented.

Fortunately, having been too stupid to attended Cambridge University – which holds the record for producing the most Soviet spies I believe – I was not approached in university, and neither whilst working in the Federal Republic of Germany by the opposition.

Certainly not Ian Flemming and only hardly John Le Carre either as far as I was concerned – unless you can get excited about what was predominantly a desk job.  Interesting yes – adrenaline pumping it wasn’t.

(I can also state that handling informants is not particularly adrenaline pumping either – something I had to do when returning to home soil and changing desks 25 years ago – there goes another myth.)

Anyway, returning to the issue of the then KGB dark arts  and their undoubted continued use and tactical expansion by the FSB and GRU today, I must state I find it entirely bewildering that so much of the western media still seems to be in denial over what is occurring in eastern Ukraine (and the continuing infiltration throughout the rest of the nation for that matter) and the activities of the Russian intelligence and special forces there.

Sat atop of the Kremlin is a man who was a KGB counter intelligence officer.  Whether the western media choose to believe the incidents occurring in eastern Ukraine are genuinely spontaneous local action – or as is the case, Kremlin shenanigans at their root, one simple question should be asked –  With such incidents occurring just over the Russian border, which Russian president (ex-KGB or otherwise) would not have deployed intelligence personnel there, no matter how these incidents came to manifest themselves?

It is willful ignorance to think an ex-KGB Lieutenant Colonel would not have intelligence operatives and special forces in eastern Ukraine.  It is also gross naivety in the current circumstances to think that those intelligence personnel will not be engineering the situation on the ground to the best possible advantage of The Kremlin.  It has vested interests in Ukrainian outcomes.

I suppose when The Kremlin unveils long term and/or financially rewarding deals in India, China, Malaysia and North Korea in a few weeks time during Mr Putin’s Asia-Pacific tour, the mainstream western media will report it as just that, business deals – and not the strategic Asia-Pacific pivot that it actually is, with the purpose of further weakening European influence over The Kremlin whilst expanding Kremlin  influence in Asia.

Forget the proposed US Asian pivot – The Russian pivot will have occurred by the end of the year in tangible form!

Thus with such predictable shortsighted western mainstream media reporting, and by failing now to unambiguously state that there are Kremlin run intelligence services meddling on Ukrainian soil, the media become nothing more than useful idiots in The Kremlin scheme.  It simply assists the Kremlin narrative of plausible deniability – even when such deniablity is implausible.

There is no “apparently” or “supposedly” or “inferred” or “claimed” or “asserted” presence relating Russian intelligence and special forces in Ukraine – They are there and those agencies would be failing in their roles not to be there – even if they weren’t charged with creating instability by The Kremlin, as they obviously are.

Ukraine is home to the last (relatively) free Russian speaking mainstream media on the planet.  It is perhaps time that the western media show some solidarity and clearly articulate when a spade is a spade – or more precisely when the dark arts of the FSB and GRU are indeed the dark arts of the FSB and GRU in Ukraine.

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