* Posts by Archtech

973 posts • joined 9 Jul 2016


One click and you're out: UK makes it an offence to view terrorist propaganda even once

Archtech Silver badge

... or history (very important).

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Re: @Blazde - I agree with you, but...

Yes - the well-known "chilling effect".

Way to encourage participatory democracy!

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Re: 1984

As it happens, "1984"was published in 1948. That was the exact year when Alan Turing wrote the complete technical specification of the world's first electronic, stored-program digital computer.

So Orwell knew nothing about the potential of computing and electronic networking, let alone social networking.

Thus "1984" greatly underestimates the resources available to a tyrannical government.

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Re: Goodbye Youtube? ...And it's even worse than that.

"We've now the ludicrous situation where we've serious stuff on sabotage available that's actually been supplied by government..."

That's not as paradoxical as you suggest. As I have said before, certain governments are by far the greatest purveyors and sponsors of terrorism in the world - and have been for a very long time.

For instance, all the current hostility being stirred up against Venezuela, Iran, Libya, China, Russia and other countries is essentially terrorist in nature. It is aimed at preparing public opinion for the massive use of deadly violence against those countries, in order to break up their social organisation and loot them.

How is this for an example of terrorism in action?


(If anyone is worried that the source is RT, the reason for that is that you have have to search far and wide to find any mention of Amiriyah in the Western media).

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Re: Goodbye Youtube?

Gavin Williamson being a glaringly obvious case in point. Whenever he appears in the news, I always want to request that he be sent back to primary school, from which he has apparently absconded.

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Re: Goodbye Youtube?

It looks as though the powers that be have finally discovered a solution to their longest-standing and most frustrating problem: how to stop people using the Internet and the Web.

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Re: Goodbye Youtube?

"There's no way to rule innocent men. The only power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren't enough criminals, one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws. Who wants a nation of law-abiding citizens? What's there in that for anyone? But just pass the kind of laws that can neither be observed nor enforced nor objectively interpreted - and you create a nation of law-breakers - and then you cash in on guilt. Now that's the system, Mr. Rearden, and once you understand it, you'll be much easier to deal with".

- Ayn Rand, "Atlas Shrugged"

(And please don't read this quotation as endorsement on my part of anything else Ms Rand may have said or suggested).

Archtech Silver badge

Re: Goodbye Youtube?

And goodbye restaurants, sandwich bars, clothing shops, car showrooms, DIY shops, garden nurseries...

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Re: Goodbye Youtube?

'It's only a matter of time before the definition of terrorism becomes "anything in opposition to the policies of the current government."'

Yes - that happened about 20 years ago.

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Re: Goodbye Youtube?

The proposed law would make it far too risky to open The Times, The Telegraph, The Guardian, The Independent, The Sun, The Daily Mail, or The Express - or to watch or listen to the BBC.

Those media outlets are all saturated with terrorist propaganda every day, in that they stenographically repeat the terrorist propaganda of the UK and US governments - by far the biggest and most dangerous terrorist organizations in the world today, and for decades past.

Such a law would effectively hand governments the right to censor almost everything of importance that is written about politics or war. If I were to read a report that speaks approvingly of, say, Mr Maduro - all my government need do is classify Mr Maduro as a terrorist, and send round a squad of masked men in a black van to disappear me.

Everyone of any intelligence who values liberty has consistently declared that freedom of speech must include the freedom to say things that other people dislike - otherwise it is meaningless.

The proposed law would go much, much further than forbidding speech about certain topics - it would actually forbid reading or hearing such speech.

Not even Nero, Caligula, Genghis Khan, Ivan the Terrible, or any of their fellow tyrants would have dreamed of trying to impose such a repressive law.

Housing biz made to pay £1.5k for sticking fingers in its ears when served a subject access request

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Oooooh, a whole £1,500!

That would just about pay for the big boss's lunch.

When he eats alone.

LibreOffice patches malicious code-execution bug, Apache OpenOffice – wait for it, wait for it – doesn't

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Re: The exploit was tested on Windows but should work on Linux

"Bugs bad. Platform-independence good. Brain hurts".

Thank you for brilliantly condensing at least a chapter of closely-argued text into seven words.

I may have to quote your lucid formulation many times, as I have never seen any way of saying it that was a tenth as good or a hundredth as short.

Boffin suggests Trappist monk approach for Spectre-Meltdown-grade processor flaws, other security holes: Don't say anything public – zip it

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Insecurity by obscurity

"Professor Gus Uht, engineering professor-in-residence at the University of Rhode Island, USA, argues that everyone would be safer if those who discover serious vulnerabilities refrain from revealing the details to the public, allowing the flaws to be secretly fixed by vendors and developers..."

... or not.

Fake fuse: Bloke admits selling counterfeit chips for use in B-1 bomber, other US military gear

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Re: No that's not "Upcycling"

Fraud - yes, absolutely.

"Counterfeiting" - no.


n adjective made in exact imitation of something valuable with the intention to deceive or defraud. Øarchaic pretended; sham.

n noun a forgery.

n verb imitate fraudulently. Øliterary resemble closely.


counterfeiter noun


Middle English (as verb): from Anglo-Norman French countrefeter, from Old French contrefait, contrefaire, from Latin contra- 'in opposition' + facere 'make'.

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Re: were remarked to pass as new chips

Bad luck Mage - many readers on The Reg are determined to believe what they believe, and if reality conflicts with their beliefs... too bad for reality. (And language).

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Re: IC marking

How many generals, senators and representatives have you bribed, er taken to lunch recently?

There's your problem.

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That's the free market for you, rewarding enterprise

"From July 2009 through around May 2016, according to the indictment, Vasquez acquired old, used or discarded chips that had been altered to appear as new from sources in China, and then proceeded to sell those integrated circuits (ICs) to subcontractors who resold them to customers in the US, including defense contractors".

It's the free enterprise system in action, folks - don'tcha love it? The government buys from the lowest bidder (among those with intimate Pentagon and Congressional friends, of course). Then the lowest bidder buys from the lowest bidder...

The good news about this is that the damn missiles and bombers are more likely to do nothing at all than fry us accidentally. It's a small price to pay for all the wonderful consumer goods we enjoy daily.

World's first robot hotel massacres half of its robot staff

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Back to basics?

It would be nice if TFA told us, anywhere easy to find, what the name of the hotel is and where it is.

Unless I missed something, the first tenuous hint comes in the ninth paragraph where we are tantalised by the fact that the hotel manager's name sounds Japanese. Of course the hotel might still be in Mozambique or Ireland, but it's the way to bet.

And of course the Japanese are known to be world leaders in lunatic automation schemes.

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Re: Hmmm

Perhaps a case of two nations separated by a common language (but with different ways of spelling the same word).

But seriously, hahahahahahhaha.

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Just like the F-35...

"They can travel only on flat surfaces and could malfunction if they get wet..."

Fake news? More like ache news. Grandma, grampa 'more likely' to share made-up articles during US election

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Re: Look At That Honey - Hillary Has Horns Under Her Fake Hair!

"President Trump can make pigs fly, too!"

Now now, don't be rude about the F-35.

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Re: Red herring

There is no "left" and "right", and there haven't been for decades. There was nothing in the slightest conservative about Margaret Thatcher or any subsequent Tory PM; and the Labour Party stopped having anything to do with labour when Tony Blair was appointed leader (if not before). Don't even get me started on the "liberals"... a more illiberal lot it would be hard to imagine. They would make Mr Gladstone puke.

As for the USA, Gore Vidal nailed it about 30 years ago:

"There is only one party in the United States, the Property Party… and it has two right wings: Republican and Democrat. Republicans are a bit stupider, more rigid, more doctrinaire in their laissez-faire capitalism than the Democrats, who are cuter, prettier, a bit more corrupt – until recently… and more willing than the Republicans to make small adjustments when the poor, the black, the anti-imperialists get out of hand. But, essentially, there is no difference between the two parties".

Although Julius Nyerere elegantly capped that with:

"The United States is also a one-party state, but with typical American extravagance, they have two of them".

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Re: Don't believe ANY of it

Balls, TomG.

First, why would a DEC salesman have been talking to the Secretary of Defense? Weinberger would have consulted some of his own experts - and you can believe the Pentagon knows a LOT about computers, especially leading American brands.

Second, DEC sales people were honest. Really. They didn't even get paid commission, because Ken Olsen didn't want them selling customers equipment they didn't need. Or lying. Or even exaggerating.

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Re: Or, just maybe...

Thanks, Big John. Well, it's the debate that matters, not the votes. After all, this isn't social media.

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Re: I didn't downvote you

Francis Boyle, both Rinat Akhmetov and Serhiy Lyovochkin have been living and running their businesses in Kiev since the illegal coup four years ago. They are clearly acceptable to the Kiev junta; if they were not they would have suffered consequences, or fled to Russia to avoid them.

Lyovochkin seems to be good at keeping in with all sides; but the fact that he is an MP in the Kiev Verkhovna Rada demonstrates his acceptance of the illegal junta. When his TV station was attacked and set on fire in 2016, he had this to say (inter alia):

"It is popular these days to point to Russian propaganda, if not Russian interference in political affairs, as our greatest threat. It looms so large that we forget to consider local factors that undermine our freedom and integrity as a nation. True to this trend, the terrorists who attacked our station accused us of being pro-Russian. This is not true. If it were, why would millions of Ukrainians tune into our news programs every evening?...

"If we are to keep alive the hope of integration with the West, we will need the help of those who share our values of democracy and free expression to let the Kiev government know that we are not alone in this fight".


As the following article explains, Akhmetov is upset that property belonging to one of his companies was seized by the Donbass authorities. Since the Donbass republics are supported by Russia - and, indeed, are mostly populated by people of Russian descent - that alone would be enough to make Akhmetov an enemy of Russia.


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Re: Or, just maybe...

I notice that someone has now been going through my previous comments - before this thread - methodically downvoting them.

Nice - and mature.

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Re: Or, just maybe...

Voland's right hand, there was no sarcasm in my comment. As to the example you wrote about, the "Syrian chemical weapons" nonsense, I wrote that older people might well have been forwarding stories that said "the Syrian government did NOT use poison gas" - and that those stories were NOT fake.

So you seem to be agreeing with me.

You also write, "Real fake news of the kind which I often get from my mom (and other grandma age people are sharing) has none of it. It is outrageously fake".

As it happens, I am 70 years old and do quite a lot of forwarding (mostly within my family). I do so precisely to give my family the advantage of some filtering, so they see the stories that are interesting, useful and (probably) true. As opposed to the wall-to-wall lies in the media.

I don't like the insinuation that I am disseminating "fake news", because I am not. Exactly the opposite: I spent a lot of time and effort getting to the bottom of things before I pass anything on.

The idea that old or elderly people are less intelligent, shrewd, experienced or generally capable than younger ones is appalling. It's "ageist" (one -ism that apparently no one minds in the least) and it is utterly counterfactual. I often see patronising articles and books with titles like "Computers for the Elderly". Well, I have news for the authors and publishers of those: the Internet, and computers, were invented and pioneered by people who are now quite old. Alan Turing, had he survived, would now be approaching his 107th birthday.

And still no one has explained all the down votes.

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Re: Where did they get these people?

You yourself wouldn't happen to be exactly 30 by any chance, would you, Cuddles?

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Re: Or, just maybe...

Would any of the four downvoters of my original comment like to tell us what it is that they disagree with?

Do they believe that all elderly people are necessarily foolish, confused and incompetent?

Or do they disagree with any (or all) of my examples of fake news that was propagated by the mainstream media, but turned out to be utterly untrue? In which case, which and why?

Oh, I forgot to add the utterly ridiculous Skripal saga.


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Re: Or, just maybe...

What has your comment to do with mine? I honestly can't see any connection, except for a vague feeling of incredulity. But what are you incredulous about? What is your precise objection?

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Another example, just today - one of hundreds

Here is a typical example of what you might fairly call "fake news", which I just saw a moment ago. Originally reported as a clear-cut proof of the Trump team passing important information, through intermediaries, to Russian oligarchs. And loudly trumpeted by all those who detest Trump and Russia.

Then... oops, turns out the information was actually send to Ukrainian oligarchs - deadly enemies of Russia, but on very good terms with Washington. (Victoria Nuland, $5 billion, cookies, Yats is the man, etc.) So a short retraction was published... while the rest of the media and many politicians went on spreading the original "fake news".


Ah, I hear you cry, why have you cited RT? Simple really - you won't find this story in any of the Western media. The fake news is published, a day or two later a quiet retraction follows, but everyone goes on citing the fake news as if it were true.

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Re: Don't believe ANY of it

Thanks, Gene. Although I think that "don't believe any of it" is a council of despair. My strategy has been to look online and at selected books, using a "friend of a friend" method to assess reliability. But one always has to bear in mind that even the greatest and best of us have gaps in their knowledge. The very best are those who tell it as they see it about what they know, and decline to opinionate on other topics, saying, "I just don't know, and I don't wish to guess". What Montaigne called "epoche", after the ancient Greek Pyrrhonists and other sceptics.

My own epiphany came about 35 years ago, when I was working for DEC. I turned on the radio while driving somewhere - just for diversion - and happened to hear Caspar Weinberger (at the time US Secretary of Defense) inveighing against some ghastly scofflaws who had tried to export a VAX 11/782 to the USSR. It was put to him that the US government had approved the export of several VAX 11/780s to the USSR, so what was the big difference?

Weinberger replied that a VAX 11/782 was to an 11/780 as a 16-inch naval gun was to a Colt 45.

As I had quite recently installed and maintained both machines, I knew that an 11/782 was actually two 11/780s sharing a memory - an asymmetric multi-processing (ASMP) design - and had an absolute maximum performance (if well programmed for a suitable application) of about 1.7 times an 11/780. Under some workloads it would actually perform worse than an 11/780.

That was the moment when it occurred to me that people in high office could stand up and deliberately tell appalling, immense lies. The Secretary of Defense cannot possibly have been ignorant of the simple facts I explain above. The only explanation of what he said was that he knew hardly any listeners would know he was lying - and so he lied.

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Red herring

It has absolutely nothing to do with right and left, Republicans and Democrats, Conservatives and Liberals, etc.

It has to do with truth versus deliberate falsehood.

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Or, just maybe...

Older people, with much more experience of life, may be able to see that what someone (usually anonymous) has casually labelled "fake news" is actually the truth - whereas what the media are all saying is false.

For instance, a few years ago they might have been forwarding stories about how Iraq did NOT have any WMD. And Colonel Qadafi had NOT issued his soldiers with Viagra. And the Syrian government did NOT use poison gas. And the Russians did NOT shoot down MH17. And the Russians did not "collude" to make Donald Trump President. And...

Just saying.

Just updated Windows 7? Can't access network shares? It isn't just you

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When the two obvious options are both bad...

"Microsoft has doubled down on efforts to persuade users to migrate to Windows 10 by breaking Windows 7 networking for some..."

Migrate to Linux, you mean. Talk about "out of the frying pan into the fire"...

And lo! Tim Cook becometh tech Jesus. But with more awards

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Not very Christ-like

"Apple CEO decries the sins and moral turpitude of all tech companies but his own".

Actually, didn't Jesus come out quite strongly AGAINST hypocrisy? Motes, beams, etc.?

Boeing 737 pilots battled confused safety system that plunged aircraft to their deaths – black box

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Re: Really?

"In order to pass the FAA's longitudinal stability requirement, Boeing came up with MCAS..."

Great. In other words, to satisfy some legal requirement they stuck a bag on the side of the airplane's control systems.

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Lack of systems thinking

I appreciate the many helpful and informative comments in this thread. But one thing strikes me rather forcibly: a strong tendency to place the blame here or there - on the software, no on design decisions, etc.

Surely the underlying issue is a lack of whole systems thinking. It's never enough to design an automatic subsystem to correct apparent stalling risks, or to write correct software implementing such a subsystem.

It's necessary to consider the aircraft and its human crew - and possibly even its passengers - as a single system, whose subsystems can interact in complex and sometimes unexpected ways.

One salient example that has emerged from these comments is that, even if the avionics are virtually perfect in themselves, that very fact exerts strong influence on the pilots. They may become over-confident in the automatic systems, and unsure of their own manual flying skills. They may even forget, in the heat of a sudden emergency, how to do certain vital things.

Shocker: UK smart meter rollout is crap, late and £500m over budget

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Re: Home security problem

"All it'll take is a cash-strapped sysadmin..."

Tautology alert!

Behold, the world's most popular programming language – and it is...wait, er, YAML?!?

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"Popular" as in...?

The most popular in the sense of "widely used"?

Or in the sense of "well liked"?

There must be a huge difference.

OK Google, why was your web traffic hijacked and routed through China, Russia today?

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Long on indignation, shortish on facts

The fine article does not - as far as I could see - mention a couple of rather important facts.

1. Were users actually prevented from connecting to Google, etc.? Or did they manage to connect and use the sites normally - just by a circuitous route?

2. The article speaks of "theft" and suggests that packets were "stolen". Again, that implies that the packets were never delivered to the intended destinations. True or false?

Which scientist should be on the new £50 note? El Reg weighs in – and you should vote, too

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Re: A humble suggestion


Grumbling about wobbly Windows 10? Microsoft can't hear you over the clanging cash register

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This takes me back

In 1999 I remember giving the same talk to a few audiences. I warned them of the boiling frog syndrome, and pointed out that if, year after year, they went on taking the cheapest and easiest short-term decisions, in a few years they would find themselves with no choices or decisions left. In effect, they would find they had outsourced all their IT to Microsoft.

That happened some time ago.

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Re: !!!!!

"macOS is simply Not An Option due to the ludicrously expensive hardware requirements - nobody sane shells out £1000+ for everyone in the company when a £150 PC is more than good enough for the majority of staff".

Thanks for providing such a perfect example of the broken thinking that has put today's corporate computer users into such a bind.

You assert that "nobody sane" pays over £1,000 for a computer when PCs can be bought for £150. I rather doubt that you can buy an adequate PC for £150 - unless it's a diskless one - but that's not important right now.

The point is this: how on earth can you say what is "too much" to pay for hardware when you haven't even mentioned the costs of software, training, maintenance, etc.?

For 30 years and more I have been astonished at the way decision-makers pay no heed to total long-term system costs, preferring to obsess about the sticker price of some plastic box.

But then that's what happens when the PHBs don't lsten to the Alices and Dilberts.

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Re: !!!!!

"The pain of moving to an entirely different operating system is greater than the pain of sticking with Windows".

Yeah, just as its easier and nicer to go on smoking than it is to quit - in the short run. In the long run you may encounter pain such as you could never imagine, when your lifelong habit gives you cancer.

The predicament of the Windows user is exactly that of the boiling frog.

41% of Brit biz: Setting up a price-rigging cartel is all good... isn't it?

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Purely decorative laws

Laws forbidding cartels and price-fixing (or agreeing levels of service, quality, etc.) are essentially dead letters. The laws were passed so that politicians could be seen to be "doing something". They are not enforced partly because it would be well-nigh impossible to do so, and partly because the main beneficiaries of cartels are precisely the big corporations who contribute most to campaign funds.

It's like insider trading. Let any ordinary person take advantage of a tip heard from an acquaintance to buy a few thousand pounds worth of shares and make a profit of a few hundred - off they go to prison. (Martha Stewart was a classic example).

Meanwhile whole financial industries revolve around the systematic exploitation of insider information; they, however, are off-limits to prosecutors.

GitHub.com freezes up as techies race to fix dead data storage gear

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Re: The Microsoft Curse?

"Seems everything MS touches or wants to touch goes to shit".

That is axiomatic. But wise people have been debating for decades whether it's intentional or the results of incompetence.

Unless someone intentionally puts someone incompetent in charge...

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Re: Cloud based services

Yes, it's a "share your code" service - in the cloud.

Core-blimey! Riddle of Earth's mysterious center finally 'solved' by smarty seismologists

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One hopes these very tiny waves do not turn out to be like Schiaparelli's canals on Mars.

The fur is not gonna fly: Uncle Sam charges seven Russians with Fancy Bear hack sprees

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Re: Same guys?

They have grotesquely overdone it. But experience has shown them that Western citizens will believe absolutely anything, no matter how obviously untrue.

The basic thesis itself is self-evidently absurd: that the Russians are wicked, powerful and adept, but also sloppy, stupid and incompetent.

Then there are the specifics.

1. That GRU officers (not agents - they are equivalent to officers in, say, British military intelligence) would undertake operations in the field at all. Intelligence officers don't do that - they hire locals or foreign criminals, precisely so that the operations remain plausibly deniable. (Now, what country's leaders coined that familiar phrase?)

2. That anyone carrying out such an operation would travel under their own identities and papers, or any identities and papers traceable to themselves or their organization.

3. That they would go around together in a hire car loaded with exactly the kind of equipment that a TV script writer would give glamorous international spies.

4. That their computers and phones would contain masses of detailed information about contacts, operations, dates, times, places - and, most ridiculous of all, about previous operations in different countries.

I blush for my compatriots when I realise that they did not all roll around on the floor laughing when they first saw those allegations. I also fear for them - and myself - when I remember that all this is being done in order to justify attacks (of whatever kind) on Russia, whose leaders can render the UK totally uninhabitable within half an hour if they wish.


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