26 Following


Currently reading

Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress
Steven Pinker
Progress: 54/576 pages
The View from the Cheap Seats: Selected Nonfiction
Neil Gaiman
Progress: 202/502 pages

Defend the Realm by Christopher Andrew

Defend the Realm: The Authorized History of MI5 - Christopher M. Andrew

Only at 150 pages in, and I like it already.


Section A-B

The first bit is about MI5 being active during the First War, but got seriously budge cut and almost got "cancelled" after the war is over. 


This is something that a history book reader would like. History is not really my thing, but I like this because I got curious about how spy deal with spy.


The Cambridge Five and the investigation of university professor Kapitsa sounds interesting. And the MI5 did managed to discovered by spying activities, leaking military secret and stuff.


Not very effective as short of manpower after the world. Plus a leak in the Secret Service division under Scotland Yard.  


250 pages in. This is good.

We got to know that MI5 party. And we got to know the German spy and counter-spy system. 


This is good stuff.


Lovely as it is not only interesting, but informing how difficult it is, to spy on. But sometimes how easy it is at time. 


So, intelligence being gathered and transmitted. Spy stuff. 




300 pages in.


There are some juicy bits. The part about faking stuff by MI5 to waste enemy resources is so funny. It is also very creative. 


The plan was to find a corpse and then dressed the body with the right service uniform. The funny bits include supplying the fake identity of the corpse would enlist a pretty MI5 secretary to give her swim suit photo, and a tab for a show. 


I like the way how it works and how much approval it needed, include Churchill being briefed and give a go ahead with this operation. 


And the decipher of war time message, is really cool stuff.  


Passing the 500 pages point.


The reason that a lot of KGB operatives got away with secret document, because they were really hard to catch on the act. And the screening of workers on "Secret" documents was really good, when compare to USA one, in the writer opinion.


Well, still some of the spy do get away with passing sensitive documents to Russia in exchange for money. 


One of the more interesting discussion is on spying on their own people. 


Passing 600 pages


The IRA. 


It is sad that the IRA were successful in planning bombs attacks. It is good that like all organization that run on ideology, it had many moments of ineffectiveness.


The gathering of intelligence were able to deter or make the bomb attacks less effective.


The Thatcher era


A bitch that I hate, so I run kind of fast through that part. Mistrust of intelligent agency continued with this bitch. 


The Libyan terrorists were for the dictators who mainly wanted to kill dissidents. Poisoned peanuts were sent and children were harmed. Bomb were planned.  Hard to understand these terrorists. Security services intelligence had been effective to reduce incidents. 


Iranian embassy were under attack on 30 April 1980. The intelligent agency were there to gather information and SAS were involved in rescue mission. It was a success. 


Passing the 700 pages mark. 


Gordievsky, the most successful double agent for the British, was exposed. Now, this is a film I like to see. 


Passed the 800 pages mark


How do someone packed the attack on Salman Rushdie, 9/11 in 2001, attack on the British subway 7/7 2005 in such a short 2 chapters?


He did. We all wondered why MI5 couldn't stop them. But the success of MI5 is being measured fairly by how many attacks didn't happen because of them.


OK. We know it is only fair. We do appreciate the work. And I still believed the British intelligent, being professional, would not use torture on people. Torture didn't work. I wouldn't say the same about the CIA, probably because we know they did.


All in all. A good read. A long read.  But pretty good.


I would have read something else. But this is something that is of interest and not the "usual" areas of reading. I always think I should expend a little.

And this is it. 


MI5 were being reviewed by consultant that are pretty useless when come to evaluate workers that are smart and very good at their job. For example, a tick-the-box consultant might criticize a fighter pilot gun man for lacking in marketing skill. Things that are not core to his job if he is really good at his job, like hitting 99% of his targets. 


The more I think, the more I need to change the way consultancy work.