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07 April 2014


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Colonel, thanks for the viewing tip.

Recently watched 3-part BBC documentary "Vikings, Who Were They?", on YouTube:


Enjoyed it.



I thought "Turn" was an excellent production and quite even handed. As for a production of STT, I am waiting for someone with money to show up for that purpose. pl

William R. Cumming

Thanks Pirouz for the link!


Colonel Lang,

I particularly enjoyed the "recruitment" in "Turn".
Variation of that scenario have been played out in
many struggles over the past 5,000 years.

USMC 1965-1972
FBI 1972-1996



It looked very real to me. pl

Charles 1

cool, thanks


Thanks for the tip, I'll check it out. If you haven't read The Spy by James Fenimore Cooper, it's about one of Washington's spies. It was written by a New Yorker who lived in the generation after the revolution. Cooper can be little pious at times, but the descriptions of Westchester County during Revolutionary times are worth the read. It was also one of the first American literary works to become a worldwide bestseller.

The Twisted Genius


That continuity and connection to the past is a large part of what drew me to practicing the craft. I also enjoyed the recruitment and found it very realistic. Maintaing cover, testing assets, using impersonal communications, secret writing, using couriers, these were all still parts of the craft I practiced in the 90s. It's much like sailing. I find a comforting connection in the wooden spars, the cotton sails and the creek of a leathered oar in the thole pins. That's how we talk with our ancestors.

Babak Makkinejad


"...a comforting connection in the wooden spars, the cotton sails and the creek of a leathered oar in the thole pins. That's how we talk with our ancestors..."

An astonishing statement which clearly delineates for me at least the chasm that stands between us; one the one side a man who finds something worthy in his ancestors to be reminded of and on the other a man who thinks that his ancestors - for centuries - had dropped the ball, as it where.

And then of course one has to wonder if such nasty animals like camels can be romanticized like wooden sail boats.

Truly 2 different worlds ....

Ishmael Zechariah

Dr. Makkinejad,

My (paternal) grandfather fought against the Brits in WW I. He was taken prisoner by the Arabs of Lawrence, interned, and managed to escape with the assistance of a camel, and, subsequently, a boat. He made it back to Turkish lines and was promptly sent to another front. My family will always have soft spot for Camelus dromedarius. They can move like ghosts when they want.

Ishmael Zechariah

P.s: I am trying to prepare something for SST on the current issues on Turkey, but it is tedious work.


Babak, I don't know your heritage but... for sure camels, smart horses, and the severity of the desert can be romanticized. Camel riding is a pure joy. Surviving dealing with camels is a triumph. The grit to live and thrive in geography that is less than generous is a triumph. Speaking of romantic notions what's not to like?


Babak Makkinejad

You miss my point; my view of my ancestors is that they have largely been failures.

Babak Makkinejad

I suppose some one like Col. Lawrence might have found the bedu life romantic and appealing. But I think the bedu was a beggar at Life's Feast for centuries until TTG's ancestors showed up and gave him money for something that he was not aware that he had and would not know what to do with it had it been aware of it either.




I think I was subconsciously recruited into the Great Game as a young child growing up in England [my father was assigned to Grosvenor Square for several years]. The first 3 books I recall reading were (1) Wind in the Willows (2) Kim and (3) Blackadder. I still have the now rather dog-eared copies! All 3 have a heavy dose of secret work/adventure/the young coming of age/Good against Evil. I still think that is what I want to do when I grow up.

USMC 1965-1972
FBI 1972-1996

Ishmael Zechariah

I would not presume to tell you how to feel about your ancestors. On the other hand, could you kindly keep camels out of this? My grandmother always maintained that "our" camel behaved more honorably than the (Muslim) Bedouin who captured and sold my grandfather to the (infidel) Brits for bounty. I take serious exception to the entire camel folk being called "nasty".

Ishmael Zechariah

Charles I

A sad and small glass is half empty view of it. Human beings, apparently and reputedly all stemming from one ancestor have managed to spread around the planet cleverly tho not always foresightedly exploiting every resource and obstacle they found on their ways. So far.

If we don't kill ourselves or our habitat, we may reach the stars, or manage Noah's lifespan within a few generations. Given how nutty we are, I'm fairly impressed.


Dr. M, it is just real obvious that you aren't even a little bit Irish! When ignorance, supersitition, prediliction to violence, and bull-headed meaness rounds out the definition (as it does for the Irish side of my people) you're supposed to exercise stubborn pride, twisted humor, and as far as the rest of the world goes...
Well to hell with them if they can't take a joke.

Have you ever ridden a camel? It is laugh out loud fun. I loved my Arabian horse more than many of the people I considered close. He had better character, more kindness and more generosity than many of the people I've known. There was nothing average about my old lad. I am indebted to those "beggars at Life's Feast" for developing one of the finest things on earth. It is not the everyday dirt and dreariness that make a people but the occasional flash of breathtaking beauty.

There are scholarly and academic arguments to make but they are not the things that rule the heart.


The Twisted Genius

Babak, Ishmael, Charles I, and Jill,

“But we were born of risen apes, not fallen angels, and the apes were armed killers besides. And so what shall we wonder at? Our murders and massacres and missiles, and our irreconcilable regiments? Or our treaties whatever they may be worth; our symphonies however seldom they may be played; our peaceful acres, however frequently they may be converted into battlefields; our dreams however rarely they may be accomplished. The miracle of man is not how far he has sunk but how magnificently he has risen. We are known among the stars by our poems, not our corpses.”

These words are from Robert Ardrey's "African Genesis" published in 1961. I first read them in high school under the tutelage of the Jesuits. At the time, I still wanted to be a Maryknoll missionary priest. I found Ardrey's ideas to be exhilarating. I wrote this passage down and kept it to this day. I guess you can say I'm a glass half full kind of guy. Babak, I gather you focus more on the empty half of the glass. As Jill said, it's pretty obvious that you aren't even a little bit Irish. I don't know whether it's two different worlds, as you say, or just different personalities.

William R. Cumming

ALL: Reading Tom Mangold's 1991 COLD WARRIOR-James Jesus Angleton-The CIA's Mater Spy hunter! 403 pp with index and footnotes. Publisher Simom & Shuster. ISBN 0-671-71224-1 British Library.

So far in the book Angeleton has been duped by his friend Kim Philby! And defector Russian Major Anatoliy Golitsyn, KGB! The latter Ukrianian BTW!


And did you notice in all the Boston Strong press as the marathon approaches the FBI now blaming the Russians for not telling US more about the main perp two years before the event?

Babak Makkinejad

You can be as grateful as you like to the Bedu but it was Bedu's wife/daughter/sister who often died at childbed; it was bedu's children that died of childhood diseases and it was bedu and his entire clan that were subject to a harsh environment that beat the hell out of them.

You belong to the dominant civilization on Earth; bedu did not.

Bedu ceased to be a beggar not through his own efforts or the efforts of his ancestors riding camels, he owes everything he has to the ancestors of TTG who circumnavigated the world, developed entirely new sciences, and created the dominant civilization on Earth -which - spread a feast of which the Bedu could partake.

Babak Makkinejad


US & UK were never conquered.

So your ancestors were not beaten down by the Mongols or self-destructed like the Safavids.

Your ancestors created an entirely new way of existence that has led to the Modern World.

You can commune with your ancestors sailing your boat and admire their handiwork.

Not I.

Babak Makkinejad

The more important thing is who controls the glass; whether is half-full or half-empty is a distinction without merit.

William Herschel

Don't hesitate to read The Spy by James Fennimore Cooper, either. I can't say any more without spoiling it.

David Habakkuk

Babak Makkinejad,

It may have escaped your notice, but rather a lot of the ancestors of TTG, as also of Charles I, came from Lithuania. People in the Baltics did have a few mildly awkward encounters with Russians – although of course their most unpleasant experiences came at the hands of one of Mikhail Saakashvili’s compatriots.

But then again, there were a small number of people – obviously a tiny minority – in the Baltics, as in the Ukraine, who collaborated with some not particularly pleasant Germans.

As regards the United States, it is indeed an open question whether, fundamentally, it is a place whose actions on the international states are largely dominated by the aspirations and obsessions of the ‘insulted and injured’ of Europe.

In parts of the country – Virginia, for example – the original culture was quite different. As English landownership was based on primogeniture – as I think also Spanish – adventurous younger sons had every reason to seek out opportunities.

A bizarre result was that the kind of kinship-based society one saw in Kent before the English Civil War was replicated in Virginia. An eccentric Confederate polemicist, George FitzHugh, understood this. How many others have?

David Habakkuk

Babak Makkinejad,

As a result of having written in haste, I failed properly to proof-read my comment before posting it. My apologies.

The third paragraph should read:

'As regards the United States, it is indeed an open question whether, fundamentally, it is a place whose actions on the international stage [not states] are largely dominated by the aspirations and obsessions of the ‘insulted and injured’ of Europe.

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