The New Cold War: Episode CCCXXXI, The Cambridge Intelligence Seminar is infested with Russian callabos, reports The Financial Times! Political Reporter comments

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The American reader well over fifty will be vividly reminded of the era of Joe McCarthy and his zealous allies Nixon, Mundt and McCarren in the year 1952 , judging from the headline of this ‘news story’ awash in the current Anti-Russian hysterics! But read further to find the sections of this long quotation that I have italicized:

A group of intelligence experts, including a former head of MI6, has cut ties with fellow academics at Cambridge university, in a varsity spy scare harking back to the heyday of Soviet espionage at the heart of the British establishment.

Sir Richard Dearlove, the ex-chief of the Secret Intelligence Service and former master of Pembroke college, Stefan Halper, a senior foreign policy adviser at the White House to presidents Nixon, Ford and Reagan, and Peter Martland, a leading espionage historian, have resigned as conveners of the Cambridge Intelligence Seminar — an academic forum for former practitioners and current researchers of western spycraft — because of concerns over what they fear could be a Kremlin-backed operation to compromise the group.

Mr Halper said he had stepped down due to “unacceptable Russian influence on the group”.

Sir Richard Dearlove, and Peter Martland resigned from the Cambridge Intelligence Seminar because of ‘because of concerns over what they fear could be a Kremlin-backed operation to compromise the group.‘ And Stefan Halper stepped down due to “unacceptable Russian influence on the group”. 

The empirical evidence to substantiate the charge of ‘unacceptable Russian influence’ :

Sir Richard and his colleagues suspect that Veruscript — a newly established digital publishing house that has provided funding to set up a new journal of intelligence and to cover some of the seminar’s costs — may be acting as a front for the Russian intelligence services.

They fear that Russia may be seeking to use the seminar as an impeccably-credentialed platform to covertly steer debate and opinion on high-level sensitive defence and security topics, two people familiar with their thinking said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Sam Jones, Defence and Security Editor of The Financial Times answers my above question, without equivocation:

The Financial Times has been unable to independently substantiate their claims — and no concrete evidence has been provided to back them.

There is no empirical evidence to substantiate the charges of the three ‘experts’ who have reigned. Under the rubric of speculation, since this is the raison d’être of this essay/news story , not to speak of the New Cold War, could these three be Neo-Cons or fellow travelers, to stay within the patois of the Cold Warriors of the past?  This does not qualify as a front page  ‘News Story’, but meets the criteria of New Cold War hysterics. More from Mr. Jones:

Reliable evidence of Russia’s information war to back up such assertions has been in short supply, however. Indeed, the dispute at Cambridge revives uncomfortable memories of cold war fearmongering — and has sharply divided dons at the intelligence seminar.

The portent of the potted history of the 1930’s, and the subversion of Cambridge Five, acts as suitable substantiation of the secret callabos in our midst, this is about belief transmogrified into the politically usable! Except that Mr.Jones uses the Cambridge Five as mere diversion. For a much more entertaining and enlightening fictional recreation of the Cambridge Five, with Anthony Blunt as the fictional character Victor Maskel read the brilliantly realized novel by John Banville, The Untouchable.

This News Story ends in a very pedestrian way :

‘The seminar is “entirely unclassified” Prof Andrew pointed out, adding that the new Journal of Intelligence and Terrorism was not formally affiliated to the gathering.

Some of the academics the FT spoke to suggested that the dispute over the seminar might be tinged by an element of competition: Sir Richard and his colleagues who have departed from the seminar run a separate organisation — the Cambridge Security Initiative — which pursues a similar, though more commercially-oriented, agenda.’

Political Reporter

https://www.ft.com/content/d43cd586-c396-11e6-9bca-2b93a6856354

About stephenkmacksd

Rootless cosmopolitan,down at heels intellectual;would be writer.
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