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George Blake, last in line of Cold War spies who betrayed Britain, dies in Moscow at age 98

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By Timothy Heritage and Polina Ivanova

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Fascinating life - worthy of a movie

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

"It was an ideal which, if it could have been achieved, would have been well worth it," he said. "I thought it could be, and I did what I could to help it, to build such a society. It has not proved possible. But I think it is a noble idea and I think humanity will return to it."

Noble? People will never 'return' to something they generally abhor. Nice try and goodbye and good riddance, traitor.

13 ( +16 / -3 )

The era of spies like Blake is probably waning. Now low paid, low skilled keyboard warriors hired to influence an opposing state's intellectually vulnerable use media, especially social media, to stir up the opposing state's easily riled.

And state's hackers are able to access opposing state's info much more easily without having to set foot in the foreign state.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

Fascinating life. Not one of the establishment, so the punishment was more severe.

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

It was an ideal which, if it could have been achieved, would have been well worth it," he said. "I thought it could be, and I did what I could to help it, to build such a society. It has not proved possible. But I think it is a noble idea and I think humanity will return to it.

The Soviet regime was a monstrosity, particularly under Stalin. Many have backed the wrong horse at one time or another, but he surely saw the reality earlier than many on the outside who did believe in the worker’s paradise. Little to redeem this man.

I always remember the old Cockney rhyming slang about Anthony Blunt. “He’s a right Sir Anthony”.

7 ( +9 / -2 )

And state's hackers are able to access opposing state's info much more easily without having to set foot in the foreign state.

Go ahead and just keep believing that. There is no replacement for "HUMINT", HUMan INTelligence. Technical means only get you so far but if you want access to hardware, or to private discussions on policy, tactics, intentions or similar, there is no substitute for human to human spying. In any event the really good stuff isn't usually vulnerable to hacking. Classified systems are often air-gapped and not accessible from outside the physical premises of your adversary. Hackers can't get their hands on the other side's hardware for examination and testing or get inside their facilities to see what they are working on. That requires human subtrefuge and networks of skilled operators along with physical infrastructure such as safe houses and secure dead drops.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

The Soviet regime was a monstrosity, particularly under Stalin.

Of course. The noble aims of communism have, all to often, been hijacked and twisted by monsters like Stalin, Mao etc.

But it's still an anomaly, that Blake and his life is endlessly pored over.

And he did rebel against another despotic empire, one must remember. Albeit an empire that was in its last throes.

-1 ( +6 / -7 )

noble aims of communism 

What exactly is so noble about not allowing private property, not allowing traditional families, communal child rearing and "free love"? Read what Marx and Engels wrote. There was never anything to recommend in communism as it punished innovation and hard work but it was especially detestable if you valued your privacy, property ownership, the sanctity of the home you own and a family.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

Nice try and goodbye and good riddance, traitor.

Spies in spying shocker!

-6 ( +2 / -8 )

Victor Rothschild was also one of the Cambridge spies but his family name and influence kept him free.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

was the last in a line of British spies whose secret work for the Soviet Union humiliated the intelligence establishment

well, he was the last one they learned about - he was definitely not the last one out there...
2 ( +2 / -0 )

Unmasked as a Soviet spy in 1961, Blake was sentenced to 42 years in London's Wormwood Scrubs prison. In a classic cloak-and-dagger story, he escaped in 1966 with the help of other inmates and two peace activists, and was smuggled out of Britain in a camper van. He made it through Western Europe undiscovered and crossed the Iron Curtain into East Berlin.

Whatever you wanna call them. They are there to harm the Western world.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

he left behind his wife, Gillian, and three children.

"Looking back on my life, everything seems logical and natural," he said, describing himself as happy and lucky.

Quite a charming fellow. Easy to understand he chose Marxism and all the misery for others that went with it. He was that type.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

"It was an ideal which, if it could have been achieved, would have been well worth it," he said. "I thought it could be, and I did what I could to help it, to build such a society. It has not proved possible. But I think it is a noble idea and I think humanity will return to it."

The utopian “noble idea” society of George Blake’s time and that of the Cambridge Five is the same society pursued by today’s Progressives and identitarian Marxists. It is just as much a mindless dillusion now as it was in the days of the USSR. Socialism wether in its hard communist form or moderated democratic socialist form, national or international, is doomed to failure. It’s fatal flaw is it’s misreading of human nature. It assumes that the average person will place the needs of the state ( the socialization of resources ) above their own needs. It isn’t because of the countless times communism has been tried in nation states all over the globe haven’t been done the right way. There is no right way for Socialism. It always leads eventually to human suffering and misery. The hard versions of socialism - communism- collapse the quickest. The soft form now practiced in the Western first world nations will die a slower death. The huge unpayable and ever accruing debts will see to that.

It always amazes me how high IQ, highly intelligent people like Blake and the Cambridge Five are so easily taken in by the allure of communism. Their inability to see that it’s fatal flaw is its main feature leads me to believe it’s an attempt at building a religious belief out of a secular worldview.

But Blake was right about one thing. We are returning to it. It is happening now. Otherwise intelligent people will use Marxist identity politics and ideas like catastrophic man made global warming to assume the natural rights of the individual and impose the ideas of socialist controls over the masses of struggling nobodies. The deplorables will not play along and the well thought out plans of the central planners will fail just like it has so many times before. Those that refuse to learn from the failures of the past are doomed to repeat them.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

America isn't the shining example of capitalism.

I could not agree with you more. The US has been turning to Socialism essentially since the LBJ Great Society in the 1960s. The national debt became unsustainable by around 2000. There is no possible scenario barring another catastrophic world war in which the US once again has 50% of the world’s GDP in which America can escape a Soviet style collapse.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

I could not agree with you more. The US has been turning to Socialism essentially since the LBJ Great Society in the 1960s.

Again you confuse social welfare program with socialism. They are unrelated. Socialism means government ownership of the means of production. In other words all the manufacturing plants, banks, stores and farms are owned by the government. Socialism usually includes no private land ownership. Plenty of solidly capitalist nations with well developed private land ownership laws also have social welfare programs for their citizens. China is a mixture of socialism and capitalism but they have very little in the way of social welfare programs. We have to buy pharmaceuticals for our mother in Shanghai and help pay for her hospitalizations because she doesn't have a medical insurance plan like Medicare in the US.

America's problem isn't creeping socialism. There is none. America's problem is widespread oligopoly and monopoly that distort the economy and the monopoly rents these firms extract represent the greatest wealth transfer in the US today. People foam at the mouth over socialism that just doesn't exist in the US but are utterly blind to the real problem and that is lack of effective competition due to widespread market domination by oligopolies and monopolies.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

 Annual budget deficits continue year after year even when tax receipts break records.

Federal revenues from all sources as a proportion of GDP for 2019 are 16.1% of GDP, down from 17.8% of GDP in 2015 and well below the 19.75% of GDP in FY2000, the last year the US had a small budget surplus. Comparing nominal dollar values across years is not sound statistical analysis unless you normalize the data in some fashion. In this case the data is normalized as a proportion of GDP. Measured this way Federal revenues are near historic lows. In 2010 Federal revenues from all sources were 14.2% of GDP. To find a lower value one must go all the way back to 1951 when Federal Revenues were 14.8% of GDP. The fifty year average is closer to 17.5% of GDP. Btw, the overall tax burden in the US, meaning revenues from all sources at all levels of government, local, state and Federal, as a proportion of GDP is third or fourth lowest of the three dozen highly developed nations in the world, those who are members of the OECD. OECD average tax burden is 36% of GDP. If you add average state and local revenues to Federal revenues the US tax burden is about 27-28% of GDP depending on what state you live in.

https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/FYFRGDA188S

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@ Desert: Again you confuse social welfare program with socialism. They are unrelated. Socialism means government ownership of the means of production. In other words all the manufacturing plants, banks, stores and farms are owned by the government. 

Again you ignore that modern Western governments gave assumed regulatory control of “the means of production”. The government through various health and safety, personnel, environmental and other laws and regulations have de facto indirect control of the “means of production.” Progressives push for ever greater control relentlessly year after year. Government at all levels make laws that control how businesses can function- rewarding preferred companies with light regulatory control and tax breaks and punishing disfavored ones through heavy regulation and taxation. Every year tax law and regulations are tweaked rewarding and punishing on an ongoing basis.

Therefore politicians do not require direct ownership to control businesses to achieve their socialist goals. Politicians also use their ability to milk businesses for funds to get them re-elected and provide lobbying jobs once they leave office. The only way such a corrupt system is possible is due to the fact that the government somehow has arbitrary power to discriminate for and against businesses. It’s absolutely socialist built on top a corrupt process because the government has control, forcing business leaders to supplicate themselves and provide cash in order to receive favorable treatment. They must abandon control or face the possibility of losing the ability to do business at all.

I am not as hung up with terms like “ownership of the means of production” because Progressives have achieved government control by other means. Increasingly they are pushing businesses to take on a social justice posture further integrating government with the goals of political elites.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

MocheakeDec. 27  08:03 am JST

"It was an ideal which, if it could have been achieved, would have been well worth it," he said. "I thought it could be, and I did what I could to help it, to build such a society. It has not proved possible. But I think it is a noble idea and I think humanity will return to it."

Noble? People will never 'return' to something they generally abhor. Nice try and goodbye and good riddance, traitor.

Part of the problem with Communism was an issue that emerged from Day One. When Lenin took over the Russian Empire he said there would be a 'Party elite' to steer the way to the 'socialist utopia'. That contradicted one factor of Marx's theory. Another is the personality cult of the ruler. Marx explicitly wrote against that, it was the prolitariat (workers) that would rule, not an individual. 'Marxist-Leninism' is a bastardization of what Marx and Engels wrote about. It got even worse with Stalin and his 'Socialism In One Country' (another deviation), and Chairman Mao and Nicolo Ceucescu of Romania and others. All of those national dictators made Communism the twisted horrible ugly ideology that it is, even if its roots are positive ones.

The US in the mid 80s had the Walker family scandal where they gave away military secrets to the USSR. But they weren't motivated by ideology in the slightest, those people were just plain greedy. They sold secrets to the Soviets just to get more money. Not very 'marxian', is it?

A traitor is a traitor who only cares about him/herself. Good riddance, traitor turncoat scumbag. You got a lot of people killed.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Desert: Measured this way Federal revenues are near historic lows. 

I get your point but it has nothing to do with the problem of socialized government. You think Americans are under taxed. I think the government provides too much in benefits and is funding it through debt instead of higher taxation.

George Blake was willing to cause the execution of his countrymen in an effort to promote the fraud that is socialism - a system of government that continuously fails time after time the world over. In the West, and particularly the US, wealth redistribution is facilitated not through taxation but through debt.

There is an expectation that this debt will be paid back at some point or else the whole system that supports annual deficits in the trillions will collapse. If the debt is to be paid off it requires that future generations pay it while receiving none of the benefits. The deficits are driven primarily by the increased costs of social welfare programs supporting the lives of people now.

Infrastructure in America remains in poor shape. Neither party can raise taxes or cut spending enough. If they haven’t been compelled to do so by now it’s never going to happen. If done through higher taxes alone would cause a huge recession. It doesn’t matter who the president is - annual deficits will continue to be in the trillions. This will also be the case regardless of wars, recession, or national emergency.

The use of debt to fund government renders the link between social programs and taxation irrelevant. In America there is Socialism today to be paid for tomorrow. This was the same failed model pursued by the USSR in order to maintain strategic military parity with the West. We all know how that ended.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

@starpunk: All of those national dictators made Communism the twisted horrible ugly ideology that it is, even if its roots are positive ones.

There is nothing positive about violating the unalienable rights of individuals.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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