Those Diplomatic Expulsions 146

There is a fascinating precedent for Putin’s refusal to retaliate for the expulsion of 32 Russian diplomats by Obama, an easy diplomatic win on the international stage. In 1985, my first year in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Margaret Thatcher expelled 25 Soviet diplomats identified as spies by a defector (from memory Gordievsky), and later a further six.

In return, the Soviets expelled 25 British diplomats – all of whom were not spies. This was a brilliant move which caught the British government completely on the hop. Such a high percentage of our “diplomats” in Moscow were spies, that it was a practical impossibility to accidentally expel 25 who were not. In other words the Soviets had just informed us that they knew exactly who our spies in Russia were. That sent such a juddering shock though the FCO it even reached this bewildered new entrant. Secondly, spies of course do nothing useful or practical, and expelling 25 actual diplomats was a much more crippling blow to the work of the Embassy. The FCO does not have lots of Russian speakers standing around doing nothing, ready to step in and replace.

I don’t claim any great reason for retelling this, except it is interesting and I have never seen it published elsewhere.

146 thoughts on “Those Diplomatic Expulsions

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    • Clark

      You must mean surgical strike darts, which can blow off a terrorist’s left pinkie without so much as singeing the wedding party he wasn’t actually attending.

      • Bhante

        No Clark, a surgical strike means a missile strike that annihilates the entire wedding party without survivors – including the main target who is a five year old child falsely alleged to be a terrorist – but miraculously leaving the doorframe of the church still standing amongst the rubble.

  • Putinister

    There can be a universal response to all this state snooping and sniping. A free app that allocates a definable proportion of any broadband customers bandwith free and open to anyone in the wifi vicinity, with a well recognised (eg the peace sign in yellow) sign that advertises the service. In that way we could have millions of anonymous broadband connections available to any potential whistleblowers, way out of sight of CCTV in libraries,etc. Any amount of state operative habbas required to moniter such IP free activity would not be enough.

  • Oliver Williams

    That is a great anecdote. Seems almost impossible to know what was really happening at the time amongst all the lies and misinformation. A very tangled web. Actions spoke louder than words.

  • Clark

    “There is a fascinating precedent… the Soviets expelled 25 British diplomats – all of whom were not spies”

    This time, couldn’t they find any US diplomats who hadn’t been spying?

  • John Goss

    Many years ago, nearly thirty five, I read how our secret services, particularly MI6 had been infiltrated by the KGB. It was done to a large extent through freemasonry. It is natural when you think about it. Both organisations operate in a clandestine manner. But as freemasonry was banned when the Bolsheviks came to power it was not as prevalent in Soviet Russia. Anyway the Chinaman report covers aspects of why Russian (then Soviet) intelligence was superior to ours. Little has changed since the days of Sikunder Burnes except a decline in lodge membership.

    Targeting MI6 was probably easier than MI5, but it is believed that Sir Roger Hollis, former head of MI5, was spying for the Russians for 30 years. Our intelligence has always been inferior. Today it is laughable: as laughable as MSM daily news. The only enemy either seem to target is a non-existent threat from Muslims. There might be a handful of businessmen doing work for MI6 in Moscow but nobody will ever know who they are really working for whereas . . .

    • John Goss

      “The only enemy either seem to target is a non-existent threat from Muslims.”

      Thinking more about this I will revise it. There was a non-existent threat from Muslims but now we have created, after the events of 9/11, a potential enemy that did not exist. Today some misguided (almost children some of them) Muslims in the west are prepared to die and take others with them because of what we have created to steal oil on behalf of Israeli interests.

      Now there is all the silly bear-baiting of Russia, provocation as in the Cold War years, which could escalate into something very serious. One thing seems clear to me. If you are a decent intelligence officer which ideology are you going to support? Is it that of the war-mongering, land-grabbing, thieving west? Or that of the BRICS countries offering an alternative to the corrupt dollar? Think about it, especially if you work for intelligence.

      • Habbabkuk

        “..which ideology are you going to support? Is it that of the war-mongering, land-grabbing, thieving west? Or that of the BRICS countries..”

        Would those be the same BRICs as those BRICs where

        – life expectancy is deceasing by the year (Russia)

        – the gap between rich and poor is increasing by the year (South Africa, Brazil, India)

        – millions of children are forced into work as child prostitutes while the govt does nothing (India)

        – capitalism is exercised as in as in the 19th Century and which carries out the highest number of death sentences in the world (China).

        Yup, I’ll buy into the BRICs ideology! 🙂

          • lysias

            Life expectancy in Russia did indeed drop in the 1990s, under Yeltsin and predatory caputalism, but since about 2000 it has been gradually rising.

          • lysias

            Piketty’s work has shown that there has been a marked increase in income inequality (and even more in wealth inequality) in recent decades in advanced Western countries. This phenomenon has been particularly pronounced here in the United States. The U.S. ranks around the 30th percentile in income inequality globally, meaning 70 percent of countries have a more equal income distribution.

          • Habbabkuk


            1/.” U.S. life expectancy started to drop last year.”

            It would be more correct and more honest to say “US life expectancy dropped last year”,

            Saying “started to drop” assumes that that will continue – which no one can say at the moment.

            On the other hand, Russian life expectancy (both male and female) has been dropping for two decades now.

            2/. Falling life expectancy, together with a birth rate at under replacement level, has meant that the population of Russia has been steadily dropping over the past two decades, despite some immigration mainly from the Caucasus Republics.

            3. Income inequality has indeed been rising in quite a few countries. And very much so in at least 3 of the BRICs whose “ideology” Mr Goss finds so much more attractive than ours.

            Over and out, Greatsman 🙂

          • Yonatan

            Get the real data from the Russian Federal Statistics Service.


            The first link ‘population’ provides a doc file containing annual total population figures from 1993 to 2016. The population was a little over 148 million in 1993. It dropped to a plateau of around 143 million from 2010 to 2013. It has been rising since and is now 146.5 million.

            There are other tables with other statistics. One crucial one is the death rate for infants under 1 year. It was 18 per 1000 births in 1992. It is now (2015 latest figure) 6.5 per 1000, the same as the US.

            The World Bank also gives summary data in graphical form


            Average (male and female) life expectancy reached a minimum of around 64.5 from 1995 to 2005. Since then it has risen steadily to reach 70.4 years in 2015.

          • John Goss

            Thank you Yonatan. Habbabkuk gets his information from under a little blue hat with a bell on it. He never, almost never, provides anything to corroborate it. That would mean work.

          • lysias

            A lot of the reason Trump won the election is that life conditions have been getting worse and worse for white Americans who are not well-to-do and well-educated.

            (And, lest somebody berate me for being a Trump supporter, I voted for Jill Stein.)

        • bevin

          “– life expectancy is deceasing (sic) by the year (Russia)”
          I’m assuming that the typo was not deliberate and that the information is correct. It has to be said that the plunge in life expectancy rates, throughout the Soviet Union, took place in the 1990s as the system was being replaced by the Dickensian capitalism of neoliberals. That was when the damage was done. Whether it has been reversed I am not sure. If it hasn’t Russia is in very bad trouble.

          “– the gap between rich and poor is increasing by the year (South Africa, Brazil, India)
          All three countries are run by neo-liberal regimes. In India the BJP is a fascist party with the RSS as an ideological guide and vanguard. In Brazil as most people know the mildly re-distributive Workers Party was replaced last year in a coup.

          “– millions of children are forced into work as child prostitutes while the govt does nothing (India).”
          Indeed, things are not much improved since the days of the Raj.

          “– capitalism is exercised as in as in the 19th Century and which carries out the highest number of death sentences in the world (China).”
          I’m not sure what this means but I’m guessing that you mean that Chinese capitalism is neo-liberal in ideology. And that China has overtaken the US in another area- the execution of death sentences. I suspect that the US, which still has the highest incarceration rate in the world (take a bow, Mr and Mrs Clinton!) actually sentences more people to death but, as a favour to the Prison Corporations whose revenues are based on per capita payments, doesn’t kill them.

          “Yup, I’ll buy into the BRICs ideology! ”
          I don’t think that BRICS has an ideology beyond the old liberal cause of peace and profits. It favours multi-polarity in foreign relations. The Balance of Power that Lord Salisbury and Metternich both supported.

          • Habbabkuk


            I allowed myself to point to a few of the disagreeable aspects of life in the BRICs in response to Mr Goss, who, after getting in his usual kicks against the West, offered the thought that the “ideology” of the BRICs was something to be striven for and emulated. This with the aim of demonstrating that the BRICs have nothing to teach the West in the matter of creating a better society.

            Nothing in your comments above invalidates that basic point.

          • Alcyone

            Utterly, completely and totally seconded! Unfortunate but true.

            The BRICS countries are some of the most corrupt on the planet combined with disgusting injustices and inequalities.

            John Goss really shows himself up as the rather thick dummy he is if he believes his stuff.

      • lysias

        Putin’s post-Communist government seems much more seriously Christian than Western governments are. What is a Christian to do?

      • Resident Dissident

        One can only hazard a guess as to how Mr Goss reacted when as a student in Moscow he would have been the subject of a friendly approach by those nice people in the KGB as was then the norm for foreign students. On the other hand perhaps he didn’t meet their exacting standards?

    • BJ

      If you haven’t read the book: The Defence of the Realm: The Authorized History of MI5 by Christopher Andrew., I think you might enjoy it.
      It’s a bit of a turgid read in places and I suspect much has been excluded or it’s impact minimised, however, what you say about our services’ periodic inferiority does seem to be born out rather honestly in the book.
      At a critical period prior to the Second World War, they were far too concerned about working men and the Communist party in Britain than they were about fascists amongst the establishment, or indeed fascists in Germany. That and their determination to recruit both men and particularly few women, if not from the services, then from a very privileged strata of society told me much about their attitude.
      Plus and rather more worrying, they appear to be free to decide for themselves who are their adversaries.
      Having convinced themselves of the danger of the enemy within, their regular infiltration of trade unions, will I’m sure come as no surprise to you.

  • Alcyone

    Nice one Craig! Much needed dramatical relief.

    I remember very well the Spy v Spy cartoons back in the day in Mad magazine.

    If they’re still around I think I should renew my subscription.

    Btw have you or anyone read anything truly funny of late? I recall reading a book called ‘Are you experienced’ written by William Sutcliffe, based on his gap year in India–don’t recall the content now, but remember it being quite funny then.

    Separately, did you note my suggestion earlier of getting on Larry King? Good space to promote your book. Besides he wears a waistcoat, and a bow-tie to boot. You have recent contact with RT; at any rate your friends George G and Ray McG are in with them.

      • Alcyone

        Thanks Clyde, will check it out; already had a laugh or two at their website.

        Can people please keep the suggestions coming: Laughter is the Best Medicine! Beats alcohol.

        : D (Macky’s tm…hope it works!

  • Clydebuilt

    Mackay, it doesn’t matter if yer average Brit plays darts or skittles…… All that matters is that our ruling class play chess. Eton toffs and their chess boards. Aye right.

    • Macky

      Exactly, there”s a difference between chess being a national favourite pastime, and with some elite toffs thinking they are grandmasters because they played a few games !

      • Habbabkuk


        We know you consider yourself to be a grandmaster at blog repartee (if not reasoned argument and historical knowledge) but could you present any evidence for thinking that toffs who play chess consider themselves to be grandmasters?

  • bjsalba

    I think it has much more to do with insulting Obama and the Democrats and, at the same time, (visibly) manipulating Trump on strings. Putin may be as much of an egotist as Trump, but I think he is a whole lot smarter and far better versed in the ways of diplomacy.

    • Alcyone

      Are you alleging that Trump is less of a hypocrite?

      Fine with me, Bigly! I ‘get’ what he’s saying

  • Alcyone

    “On 19 July 1985, Gordievsky went for his usual jog, but he instead managed to evade his KGB tails and boarded a train to the Finnish border, where he was met by British embassy cars, and lying down in the boot of a Ford saloon, he was smuggled across the border into Finland,[5] then flown to the UK via Norway. Soviet authorities subsequently sentenced Gordievsky to death in absentia for treason,[6] a sentence never rescinded by post-Soviet Russian authorities, although it cannot be legally carried out because of Russian membership in the Council of Europe. His wife and children – on holiday in Azerbaijan at the time of his escape – finally joined him in the UK six years later, after extensive lobbying by the British Government, and personally by Margaret Thatcher during her meetings with Gorbachev.”

    There’s some hope for some magnanimity towards Julian Assange !!!???

    • Macky

      “There’s some hope for some magnanimity towards Julian Assange !!!???”

      Probably with Corbyn, unless Trump trumps him first !

      • Alcyone

        Macky, Corbyn needs to attract some magnanimity to himself first. His neighbours got together recently and bought him a Marks and Sparks suit; hasn’t helped his ratings yet. Does Corbyn tweet btw? If he does, it seems to be a well-kept secret.

      • Habbabkuk


        Mr Assange will be arrested for breaking his bail when he finally emerges from the Ecuadorian Embassy. That is a matter for the police and there seems little Mr Corbyn can do about it. After all, the UK is a country under the rule of law and not Mr Putin’s Russia or “President” Nicolas Maduro Moron’s Venezuela, where the law can be overridden by the autocratic Boss Man! 🙂

        • Macky

          “After all, the UK is a country under the rule of law”

          Don’t make me laugh ! Have you already forgotten Blair & his quashing of the Saudi Al-Yamamah Arms corruption scandal, on the grounds that Saudi Arabia helps us against terrorism !! 😀

          • Habbabkuk

            A one-off which is always trotted out by Grandmasters like yourself, Macks.

            No comparison with the systematic flouting of the rule of law by Boss men like rasPutin and the Maduro Moron. Such flouting is an integral part of states like those.

          • bevin

            And the USA is worse. See Guantanamo. Recall Jose Padilla. Look at the Snowden revelations. And what will happen to the DNC and Clinton for their fraudulent abuse of the public, legally constituted, primary system?

          • SA

            Moreover corruption is legalised by creation of exemptions and arrangements with powerful corporations for tax breaks, by tax havens available for the rich and by secrecy.

          • LeeJ

            I recently completed jury service. In one case ( a stolen plastic violin to the value of £20 ) the police evidence was so flimsy and amateurish we jurors were shocked that it came to court.

            When I consider ,in comparison,what evidence there is ,say against Blair, etc, there is no doubt in my mind that the justice system is geared only to prosecute the plebs.

  • Sharp Ears

    Treeza’s holding forth on the ‘shared society’ and mental healthcare. You have never heard so much hypocrisy,

    She should remember her predecessors – Thatcher – there is no such thing as society and Cameron’s Big Society. What happened to the latter?

    She is speaking at the Charity Commission’s London HQ. Its budget is £21.4m and its chairman is Sir William Shawcross, a fervent Zionist.

    ‘In 2008 he became a Patron of the Wiener Library and in 2011 he joined the board of the Anglo-Israel Association and was appointed to the board of the Henry Jackson Society.’

    Great qualifications for the job?

    • Habbabkuk

      I too find no particular reason to see Shawcross’s “fervent Zionism” , his patronage of the Wiener Library, his membership of the Anglo-Israel Society and his being on the board of the Henry Jackson Society as being qualifications for his chairmanship of the Charity Commission.

      I also see no reason why those activities of his are brought to our attention in the context of the subject of this thread.

      I wonder why the poster in question makes a point of always informing readers about public figures’ connections with Israel irrespective of what any thread is about?

      • bevin

        There is clearly a conflict of interest. Most Zionist organisations operate as Charities, for example, and not just in the interests of social jollity, either.

        • Resident Dissident

          Perhaps we should also point to your conflict of interest – living the hog on the back of western democracies while disparaging everything they do? I have no problem with you doing so – relative free speech is one of virtues of western democracies, but let is not pretend that you don’t have conflicts of interest and are somehow purer than William Shawcross.

        • Habbabkuk


          Don’t be daft. By your “reasoning” there would also be a conflict if the head of the Charities Commission were a committed Christian because there are many charities for Christian causes. By your “reasoning” any head of the Charities Commission would have to be a political, economic and social neuter in view of the incredibly wide range of registered UK charities.

          I’m puzzled that you should be attempting to defend the habit of one regular poster on here of pointing to the Jewish/Israeli connections of every single person she informs us about (usually in total disregard of the subject of the thread).

    • Sharp Ears

      I wonder if Treeza noticed the hordes of the citizenry trying to get to work today as she was transported in the Downing Street Jaguar the 1.5 miles to 1, Drummond Gate?

      Very pleasant location for the CC staff.

      4m people use the Underground every day. The TESSA union is striking because TFL have cut the numbers of station staff which is considered dangerous for the travelling public in the event of an incident or overcrowding.

      Not a word from her about it today or from the pathetic Grayling. Two days ago he called for bosses’ tolerance!.

      • Habbabkuk

        “I wonder if Treeza noticed the hordes of the citizenry trying to get to work today as she was transported in the Downing Street Jaguar the 1.5 miles to 1, Drummond Gate?”


        PMs are “transported” by car for security reasons, dear. As you well know. After all, we don’t want trrrrists trying to assassinate the PM, do we? Well, at least I don’t.

        • Sharp Ears

          Nothing like stating the obvious is there.

          There is a correction to my comment. Treeza was speaking at the Royal Society in Pall Mall. The CC organized the event.

          Quentin Letts humorous take on the proceedings.

          Christmas? You’ve had your fun…it’s time for a Mrs May lecture: QUENTIN LETTS on a pitch for the caring voice
          Westminster’s year began with a morning lecture – that was how it was billed – from the headmistress. Theresa May gave it to a room full of tame worthies at the Royal Society, a high-ceilinged, three-star hotel sort of place near the Mall. Not that we inkies were allowed into the gathering until the last minute. Beforehand we were detained for 45 minutes in a chairless, over-heated ante-room by a young woman who had clearly spent her Christmas training to be a martinet. …read

  • Trowbridge H. Ford

    Nice diversion about the lead-up to the non-nuclear showdown with Moscow when Trump has finally admitted that the Russians did hack those Democratic emails in the hope of finding evidence that ‘Lock Her Up’ Hillary was a pedophile of under=age drug addicts.i

    • philw

      Trump is being very heavily lent on. The official line is that the Russians hacked the elections, Trump had better swallow it or else.

      I find it incredible that Americans are so ready to believe what the CIA tells them, even after all the lies down the years, most notably over Iraq. There is absolutely no evidence that there was a Russian hack, but slowly but surely everyone has fallen into line. This is hugely reminiscent of Iraq, and I think Russia is lined up to be the next Iraq. The US military reckons its ‘star wars’ defence will work, it has successfully hacked Russian planes, probably confident it can take over or knock out Russian command and control systems, so why not give it a go? Maybe one or two nukes will get through, but hey, London, who’ll miss it?

      • Mark Golding

        In other words the lie has become truth. Fiction has become fact. In this universe a war exists against truth. The military intelligence services are actively conjuring a Russian ‘existential threat against Britain to justify the ‘Enhanced Forward Presence’ on Russia’s borders, at least two astute class in the Barents Sea probably with tactical nuclear weapons and the largest squadron of Typhoon I have recorded at RAF Akrotiri according to support personnel.

        Antiwar will shortly become a criminal infraction as the path to war becomes terminal.

  • Habbabkuk

    The facts are in fact readily available (eg on Wikipedia) although it is true that there is no mention of the work of the Embassy having been crippled.

    This is before your time but you will nevertheless be aware that Alec Douglas-Hume chucked out about 90 Soviet diplomats and members of various Soviet entities in the UK (Trade Mission, etc) in 1971. As per usual, the Soviet Union retaliated but with a considerably smaller number.

    • fred

      There were a few anecdotes around about how the Russians were cleverer than us in the cold war. There was the one about Russian planes using vacuum tubes in their radios and the one about America spending millions developing a ball point pen that would work in space while the Russians just used a pencil.

      I don’t think there was too much factual about any of them.

      • Habbabkuk

        And there are still people around gleefully claiming that “our intelligence has always been inferior” (see Goss, above).

        Now that can be argued about. But what is certainly factual is that the Soviet Union spent the devil of a lot more money on its intelligence services than did the UK (and let us not mention the secret police, latterly known s the KGB).

        Some would say that had the USSR had spent less on its intelligence services and its secret police – using the money instead on providing a better standard of living for its citizens, – the Evil Empire would not have collapsed ignominiously when it did.

        In fact, it might still exist – as does the UK, whose intelligence services were always “inferior”. 🙂

        • Phil Ex-Frog

          You old civil servants can’t escape your aspirations to grandeur. It would probably be more useful to compare UK intelligence service expenditure with another satellite, such as Hungary, and the US to the Soviet Union..

          • Habbabkuk

            Perhaps you should have addressed that to Mr Goss, who was the one comparing the British and Soviet intelligence services?

          • Habbabkuk

            BTW, apologies if my reference to the ignominious collapse of the Evil Empire upset you.

          • Phil Ex-Frog

            Perhaps you should learn how threaded comments work.

            Of course I hold no torch whatsoever for the Soviet Union. Nor any other empire. Nor any state actually. Let me know if you want a meaningful exchange for a change. I am always more than happy to discuss anarchism.

          • Habbabkuk

            Wrong addressee again, Phil – it’s “Loony” you need to instruct about the meaning and finer points of anarchism.

          • Phil Ex-Frog

            No. I am definitely answering your comments and you are certainly confused to think that anarchism involves supporting the ex Soviet Union.

          • Habbabkuk

            Just to round off, Phil, my old anarchist mucker, this is what Habbabkuk thinks:

            – supporters of the Soviet Union were/are useful idiots

            – the unconditional supporters of Mr Putin are useless idiots

            – anarchists are a waste of space.

            No confusion there, all clear, I hope?

          • Phil Ex-Frog

            “anarchists are a waste of space”

            But until an hour ago you thought an anarchist would defend the Soviet Union. So I’m sure you’ll understand that I can’t take you seriously.

      • Phil Ex-Frog


        I remember both those stories well. I had understood that the pens/pencil story was false but to this day I have held to the idea that vacuum tubes are less prone to radiation damage than ICs. Is that not true?

        • fred

          It certainly is true that vacuum tubes withstand electromagnetic pulses better than semiconductors and I have seen the miniature vacuum tubes which were used by the British Air Force, little bigger than a transistor they were.

          But in practice adequate screening and anti surge circuitry is just as effective.

          • Kempe

            It was the defection of a Mig 25 pilot to Japan that exposed this. Like a lot of Russian kit today the Mig 25 was credited with incredible performance and the ability to wipe out NATO before breakfast etc. These stories were spread and created by a cabal of right wing politicians and American defence contractors for obvious reasons.

            Close examination of the Mig 25 exposed it as a bit of a crock, it was made from nickel steel as the Soviets then hadn’t worked out how to machine titanium which made it incredibly heavy, the engines couldn’t drive it at full power without wrecking themselves and yes, its avionics relied on glass valves (vacuum tubes if you must). Although better at withstanding EMP they are heavy, slow, unreliable, take up a lot of space and create a lot of heat.

          • fred

            They also had high input impedance and could handle higher frequencies and more power than transistors at the time, they were superior that’s why we used them as well.

          • Phil Ex-Frog

            Ha! Nicely explained.

            Next you’ll be telling me a Vox AC15 is no better than an HH IC100.

          • Node

            When cockroaches rule the world, their history classes will teach that the Space Pen was the pinnacle of human achievement. I’ve carried one in my pocket for 25 years. The 3.5″ ‘bullet’ casing converts to a comfortable and elegant 5.5″ writing implement. The pressurised cartridge and gel ink mean it always writes ….. ALWAYS. When the day comes that I have to write upside down on a greasy chip wrapper immersed in boiling water, I’ll be glad I have something better than a Russian pencil.

        • nevermind

          Hi Phil, valve switches are less prone to EMP, and the west has used them in various applications, for example the hawk system. Its radars, PWR, CWR and ROR had valves, so had the HPR tracking system.

          Hawk is not much in service now but the principle stays, Valves are much less susceptible to EMP, can withstand hard vibrations and are used in military applications for exactly that reason.

          As for the nuking of London, be rest assured, there is no need to , the targets are mostly outside it here in East Anglia in the west and North, but the inevitability of Londons demise can be clearly seen at every high tide, it will be flooded eventually and become rather soggy along the river. Those living in Muswell Hilll and Islington have only a slight reprieve.

          For the second day our US allies are treating us to early morning high altitude training flights, providing the roar to the lions den, they are planning something and we are not part of it, will not be asked.

  • michael norton

    Frau Nicola Sturgeon rules out indyref in 2017
    Ministry of Truth

    she is a busted flush

    • michael norton

      Yet only yesterday

      Nicola Sturgeon warns PM she is not bluffing on indyref2

      So is it a double bluff

      I must admit I am confused

      • michael norton

        Bella Caledonia website facing closure due to funding issues

        1 hour ago
        From the section Scotland politics

        It became an important voice during the Scottish independence referendum campaign.

        • fred

          The Unionist blogs seem to manage fine without constant fund raisers. George Laird doesn’t have a donate button, Kevin Hague doesn’t ask for money, you don’t see Fraser Whyte begging.

          How come so many Nationalist blogs are after people’s hard earned?

          • Squonk

            I’ve had a quick look and all three of these unionist blogs are running on free blog hosting either from Google or WordPress. bellacaledonia is running on dedicated server hosting with fasthosts by the looks of it. Their server is currently overloaded and is often taking longer to generate a page than the nginx front end timeout allows. They are using WP Super Cache but are not offloading static content to a CDN such as Cloudflare. They should sign up for a free Cloudflare plan and move to lower cost but more powerful hardware with another provider! There’s also a simple cache setting change they could make when under heavy load but the menu option to change it in WP Super Cache is insanely broken/stupid and you have to edit the webserver config file by hand to get it right.

          • Squonk

            Checking back in time Bella Caledonia was running on a free site until a year or two ago, Wonder if they were asked/told to move to dedicated hosting because of traffic or other issues?

          • Phil Ex-Frog

            “Wonder if they were asked/told to move to dedicated hosting because of traffic or other issues?”

            I’ve never heard of any restrictions on traffic. And seem very tolerant of political content. I had a blog suspended once but they quickly sorted it out with no restrictions. I can’t imagine that BC offended them.

        • michael norton

          I hope The Donald visits Scotland, soon after he becomes POTUS.
          I am sure Frau Nicola Sturgeon would be welcoming?

  • Bhante

    In return, the Soviets expelled 25 British diplomats – all of whom were not spies.

    Ha! Brilliant! Thanks for that one, Craig.

    It is hardly surprising that the Western agencies are so incompetent, when they are so utterly morally degenerate and corrupted. After all, without the slightest trace of morality the Western agents have no moral bearing to rely on, and are therefore permanently lost. Furthermore, the Slavic mentality is not so hopelessly superficial as the Western mentality.

  • Becky Cohen

    If one country wants to gain the upper hand over another surely it makes more sense to refuse to let the other country’s diplomats leave as opposed to expelling them. I’m no expert, but I’d guess that once you prevent the opposing country’s citizens from going home you will then in effect have hostages – which will be an advantage as you can use them as leverage to get what you want from the other country. Probably violates a shed full of international human rights laws, though – LOL:)

  • squirrel

    If the brave soul who actually leaked the DNC emails is still alive, this would be a fantastic time to claim responsibility, as the system would find itself paralysed in going after him. Probably best done from another country of course.

  • michael norton

    Something Geopolitical is going on, OIL has dropped 3% today.
    Maybe it is news of the massive Methane field in the Eastern Mediterranean and PEACE breaking out in Syria?

    • michael norton

      Those Israelites are awash with Methane, all to be piped to Cyprus. “Crocodile reservoir” 1.1 trillion cubic feet of natural gas
      so far the third biggest find for Israel. They intend to make themselves the energy hub, with Cyprus & Greece.
      Energy Triangle
      Vasilikos Power Station is the newest power plant of Electricity Authority of Cyprus. Located between Larnaca and Limassol and with an installed capacity of 640 MW, it was still under development prior to the Evangelos Florakis Naval Base explosion of 11 July 2011.

      I think Israel is so confident of its Geopolitical position, that it is not fearful of any other country.
      They are kings of all they survey.

      • John Goss

        I can imagine Wren, especially when you think of the furore when there is no evidence. This is from the Canary report.

        “Describing Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn as ‘crazy’, Masot said he had set up a youth wing of the Conservative Friends of Israel in 2015 and wanted to do the same inside the Labour Party, but had been unsuccessful because of the ‘crisis’ surrounding Corbyn’s election as leader.

        Masot also described Corbyn’s supporters as being ‘weirdos’ and ‘extremists’.”

        Cue Habbabkuk.

        • Wren

          The antisemitism slur campaign almost certainly eminated sprung from the same polluted well.

  • Sharp Ears

    Jonathan Cook, ex Guardian, now freelance, writing from Nazareth.
    How many British MPs are working for Israel
    by Jonathan Cook / January 8th, 2017

    Al Jazeera is to be congratulated on an undercover investigation exposing something most of us could probably have guessed: that some Israeli embassy staff in the UK – let’s not pussy around, Mossad agents – are working with senior political activists and politicians in the Conservative and Labour parties to subvert their own parties from within, and skew British foreign policy so that it benefits Israeli, rather than British, interests.


  • eldudeabides

    That is a wonderful story…..very insightful. Thanks for sharing it.

    The Russians are shrewd folk. It’s like a game of chess to them.

    They do far more damage in expelling the 25 Brits who were NOT spies – it sends a clear message (that they know EXACTLY who are spies are), and it cripples the daily workings of the embassy. WIN-WIN.

    Who would have imagined modern times, where everything is upside down, where the Dems are at war with Russia….and a new Republican president is defending Putin and his people. Reminds me of Orwell……black is white, up is down, lies are truth.

    Putin doesn’t have to sabre rattle, or rant.

    The truth is bringing down the western regimes.

  • RobG

    I get really bored with the post deletions on this board, so I’ll stick this here instead of the latest thread…

    This is the last nail in the coffin of democracy in America, and there’s no way that Obama, in the final days of his presidency, would take such unprecedented action if he believes that Trump will become President; because President Trump can just repeal it.

    There’s now 11 days until Donald Trump gets sworn-in as President. 11 days that might well change the world.

    • RobG

      Oh, and you may notice that Paul Craig Roberts, for all the flak he gets, remains suspicious of the team surrounding Trump.

      I wouldn’t dare predict how this is all going to turn out, except to say that we’re in for a hell of a ride.

  • Paul Woods

    Then there was the time in September 1972, when I graduated from Oxford with a degree in Russian and History. The Heath government expelled 105 Soviet KGB agents that month, which made it really difficult to find a job using Russian unless you wanted to become a teacher of Russian or join MI5 / GCHQ and become a spy yourself! Fortunately I chose neither and enjoyed a long career overseas working for the British Council, where people sometimes took me for a spy, so I got the kudos without any of the disbenefits.

    • Habbabkuk

      Yes, Paul, 1971 – as I mentioned in my post yesterday (12h03, above).

      But I’ll give you 105 as opposed to around 90.

      Modern Languages and History, eh – which college was that, if I may ask?

    • Habbabkuk


      I am puzzled that you should say the expulsion made it difficult to find a job other than as a teacher of Russian or something in the security services; I don’t really see the connection given that in the UK then – as no doubt now – arts graduates go into all walks of life and what was/is important was/is that you should have a degree rather than what your degree was in. As you having found employment with the British Council would seem to demonstrate?

      • Paul Woods

        Yes arts graduates get jobs in all walks of life. But after the expulsion of the 105 Russians, trade relations went very very cold for quite a long time. So there weren’t many jobs where you could combine Russian language skills with business, for example

  • Sharp Ears

    Obama continues to throw his toys out of his buggy. Good riddance to him. Only another week to go.

    ‘US sanctions five prominent Russians including Litvinenko suspects

    The Obama administration has blacklisted five prominent Russians, just 11 days before he leaves office.

    Chief federal investigator Alexander Bastrykin and two men wanted in the UK for the murder of Russian dissident Alexander Litvinenko are among them.

    The sanctions come amid worsening ties, including claims Russia ran a cyber campaign to influence the US election.

    President-elect Donald Trump is seeking to restore closer relations with Russia.
    US officials say the sanctions are not related to the hacking but come under a 2012 law designed to punish human rights violators.’


    • Edward

      As a thought experiment:

      Trump is assassinated by the CIA. The assassination is signposted as being “the Russians.” Perhaps a Russian passport in the book depository next to a literal smoking gun and portrait photo of Putin. Cheney protégé Mike Pence inherits the role of figurehead.

      What happens next in such scenario?

          • michael norton

            I am really looking forward to the Scottish Donald
            taking the helm at the White House.
            i wonder if he will do Scotland the honour of visiting them first, that would be gracious of him, considering how rude
            and obstructive the SNP have been to him.

          • michael norton

            Turkey is the only member state of the United Nations that does not recognise Cyprus

            Turkey is quite an unpredictable country.
            They are jumpy about Syria and they are jumpy about Russia and they are jumpy about Israel, Iran and America
            and also Cyprus.


            As of August 2011, the Cypriot media has shown widespread alarm at Turkish threats to intervene against the drilling program, and has remonstrated with the Turkish position as evidence of a violation of national sovereignty and the rights of the Cypriot people.

            In late February 2014, Cypriot president Nicos Anastasiades threatened to pull out of the new round of negotiations over the Cyprus dispute if Turkish vessels continue to intrude in Cyprus’ exclusive economic zone.

            Reading about the massive Methane reservoir of Eastern Mediterranean, it is rather coincidental that the year 2011, just keeps jumping off the pages.
            “2011 is the start of the Syrian “Civil” war.
            Turkey is envious of the massive Methane fields of Cyprus / Syria / Lebanon / Israel / Egypt.

          • michael norton

            Potential for escalation to armed conflict between Cyprus and Turkey

            Turkey has organised a major air and naval exercise to take place at the same time as drilling by the Cypriot contractors is due to begin in September 2011.

            A possible sign of concern has been raised by reports that the Russian Navy had been ordered in late August 2011
            to scramble two nuclear attack submarines to the Eastern Mediterranean to observe the situation,
            as Cyprus and Russia have enjoyed close political and economic ties in recent years.

            Evangelos Florakis Naval Base explosion – 11 July 2011

          • michael norton

            “accident” 10 July, 2002
            The Government of Cyprus has declared three days of national mourning after a helicopter crash on the island killed the commanders of both the national guard and the air force. The aircraft carrying guard commander General Evangelos Florakis and air force chief Vassilis Dervenagas went down near Paphos in the southwest.

            Three other officers also died.

            It remains unclear what caused the helicopter, a Bell 206, to crash, but sabotage appears to have been ruled out.

            Defence Minister Socratis Hasikos and President Glafcos Clerides, who both visited the site, have promised a full investigation into the incident – the first to hit the national guard since its air wing was established.
            The Evangelos Florakis Naval Base explosion was the worst peacetime military accident ever recorded in Cyprus.[1] The incident occurred on 11 July 2011, when 98 containers of explosives that had been stored for 2½ years in the sun on the Evangelos Florakis Naval Base near Zygi self-detonated.[2][3]

            The resulting explosion killed 13 people, 12 of them immediately, including Captain Andreas Ioannides, the Commander of the Navy (Cyprus’s most senior naval officer), and the base commander, Lambros Lambrou. Also killed were four navy personnel and six firefighters, while a further 62 people were injured. The explosion severely damaged hundreds of nearby buildings including all of the buildings in Zygi and the island’s largest power station, responsible for supplying over half of Cyprus’ electricity.

            How unlucky!!!

          • michael norton

            The Evangelos Florakis Navy Base is a Cyprus Navy base, situated near Zygi, between Limassol and Larnaca.

            In open storage on the base were 98 containers of 120 mm, 122 mm, 125 mm, and 160 mm high explosive artillery shells, 7.62 mm shell casings, compressed gunpowder, silver dollar-sized slugs[quantify], primers, and magnesium primers that had been seized by the United States Navy in 2009 after it intercepted a Cypriot-flagged, Russian-owned vessel, Monchegorsk, travelling from Iran to Syria in the Red Sea. According to leaked US cables through WikiLeaks, released in 2011, the US through

            Hillary Diane Rodham Clinton

            exerted pressure on Cyprus to confiscate the shipment. The ship was escorted to a Cypriot port and the Cyprus Navy was given responsibility for the explosives, which it moved to the Evangelos Florakis a month later.

          • michael norton

            Russia is helping Israel and Cyprus to export Methane.
            Possibly also Egypt, Lebanon and Syria.
            We are honeing down now.

            Energy Ministers of both Cyprus and Israel in 2011 announced that the two countries will export some of their gas, reportedly examining plans to ship liquefied natural gas, or LNG.
            The Cypriot media reported that the country could receive natural gas from Israel in early 2015, at reduced prices,
            if discussions on the supply of small quantities are completed by 2012. This plan stated that Cyprus would import by ship only enough natural gas to power its 450-megawatt Vassilikos power plant.
            Discussions are also held regarding the exporting of natural gas through a proposed pipeline that comprises a pipeline from Israel’s Tamar, Leviathan and Cyprus Block 12 to Cyprus, where Gazprom has committed to provide a floating LNG terminal to convert Israeli and Cypriot gas for onward transmission, then, an LNG pipeline connecting Cyprus with Crete, and, finally, an LNG pipeline from Crete to mainland Greece and then to Italy and Bulgaria to the rest of Europe.
            In October 2015, Cyprus’s Energy Minister, Giorgos Lakkotrypis, and Egypt’s Minister of Petroleum, Tarek El Molla discussed bilateral agreements over oil and gas cooperation.

            On 19 October 2015, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu agreed to allow major concessions for Gazprom to develop the Leviathan reserves

            This all seems to have kicked off in 2010-2011 with The Arab Spring, the eXplosion of the Cypriot Naval base and main electricity station and the Syrian “Civil” War and the agression & expansionist manoeverings of
            Recep Tayyip Erdoğan The Sultan of Turkey.
            The Free Syria Army was started in Hatay Province ( land stolen by Turkey from Syria)

          • michael norton

            In 2010, the U.S.A. Geological Survey estimated a mean of 1.7 billion barrels of recoverable oil and a mean of 34.5 trillion cubic meters of recoverable gas in the Levant Basin.
            Lebanon, Israel, Syria and Cyprus all share this basin.

            Lebanon realizing, a bit late, that it is missing out on the Eastern Mediterranean bonanza.

            Lebanon Gets Seismic As Israel Prepares To Develop Massive Gas Field

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