Quick Take: So…what’s with all the spying?

Kit Knightly

Breaking news, from just a couple of hours ago, is that five British men have been charged with “conducting hostile activity in the UK to benefit Russia”.

Details are still scarce, but the charges are said to be linked to a fire in March, which the Crown Prosecution Service described as “an arson attack on a Ukrainian-linked commercial property”

But this is just one of a spate of recent stories alleging espionage or other “hostile activity”.

Two weeks ago, a career US diplomat was sentenced to 15 years in prison for allegedly working as a Cuban agent.

Last week, Germany arrested two men for alleged espionage including “agreeing to carry out attacks on potential targets including US military facilities in hopes of sabotaging aid for Ukraine”.

Four days later, again in Germany, three alleged Chinese agents were arrested, this time for operating a “front company” which “obtained innovative technologies for military use”.

The same day, back in the UK, parliamentary staffer Christopher Cash and another man were charged under the Official Secrets Act with “obtaining data for an enemy”.

We’re being told that European capitals are on “high alert” for espionage activity ahead of the June elections.

France24 warns that the “far-right” may have become a “gateway for Chinese and Russian spies”. MI5 is going to begin “vetting British academics for Chinese spy links”

Right on cue, the Spectator is running the headline:

The Xi files: how China spies

The spies just keep on coming.

So what’s going on here? Well, if we believe the reality the media presents to us, We’re left with two possible explanations.

  1. Russia and China suddenly started spying a lot.
  2. Russia and China were always spying a lot but suddenly started getting caught.

Neither of which seems very likely to me.

More rationally, we can see the Spy narratives are being made up and/or exaggerated to achieve two goals:

  1. Spark up a McCarthy-esque frisson to aid the further normalisation of censorship and witch-hunt culture.
  2. Re-create the Cold War atmosphere of a Le Carré novel and sell the idea of the divided “multipolar world.”

As with everything else, it’s about controlling the conversation.

In an interesting and potentially related development, a former major general of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) allegedly executed for passing information to the CIA in 2020, has reportedly turned up alive living under an assumed identity in America. The story is that Mossad/the CIA “abducted” him.

Well, ok.

A quote from Oliver Stone’s JFK comes to mind, “everyone’s flipping sides all the time, it’s fun and games man, fun and games.”

It certainly gives us all something to watch.


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