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  • Perfidious Albion
  • Do you know what albion means?

In any language, it boils down to the same thing: Is such sniping just the reflexive bitterness of losers, or was the rise and success of the British Empire really abetted by dirty tricks and not just hardy seamen, stiff upper lips and the will of the Almighty?

What other country can really claim to have done otherwise, and why should anyone expect them to? Of course, we are talking about more than mere intelligence gathering; suborning treason, inciting rebellion, even war, not to mention blackmail and assassination are neither the least nor the greatest crimes of which Perfidious Albion stands accused. Indeed, some might argue that the British Empire was born and maintained through a pact with the Devil himself.

After all, though the Empire is gone, the most famous secret agent in the world, James Bond, remains a Briton. Some may be familiar, others definitely obscure, but each played a part in the Secret History of the British Empire. In the case of the Protestant Walsingham and his Protestant Queen, the unifying factor among their enemies was devotion to Catholicism. Walsingham battled this menace by recruiting agents at home and abroad and waging an aggressive campaign of counter-subversion.

His most successful weapon was the provocateur or "mole" who penetrated and compromised hostile conspiracies. He also followed the maxim that England's enemy's enemy was her friend, or at least an exploitable tool.

In addition to Protestant sympathisers and dissident Catholics, he is also supposed to have enlisted the help of witches, sorcerers and atheists in Albion's cause. John Dee —a man whose encoded signature — a stylised representation of handled spectacles — was later appropriated by Ian Fleming for his " He allegedly coined the term "Britannia" and conjured up the image of the small island kingdom as the centre of a world-girdling maritime empire.

While Dee served Walsingham well, he was first and foremost a scholar and seems to have lacked the ruthless quality often required of a secret agent. Thus, it surely was Walsingham's hand that in steered Edward Kelley into his path.

Dee wished to commune with the spirits but lacked mediumistic powers. Kelley had them — or claimed to — and the pair formed a team which endured for some seven years.

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Kelley was a dubious character, a convicted forger and counterfeiter whose occult interests included necromancy and maybe outright diabolism.

Kelley would have had no qualms about doing whatever Walsingham required. Little wonder that some three centuries later another English occultist-spy, Aleister Crowley, would proclaim himself the reincarnation of Edward Kelley.

Dee and Kelley's most important mission was their extended visit to Central Europe in the s. Kelley ultimately infiltrated and betrayed this group and their co-conspirators in England. Dee ingratiated himself and by extension, Kelley to Rudolf by providing the Emperor with rare tomes of esoterica. Dee is generally assumed to have sold Rudolf a very strange volume later dubbed the Voynich Manuscript after the book dealer who rediscovered it in the early 20th century. Among the multitude of theories about the book is one that holds Dee concocted it as cryptographic experiment based on the angelic or "Enochian" revelations received through Kelley.

Perfidious Albion

Britain's Alliance with the Jews Half a century after Dee's death, England was under a very different political regime but facing a remarkably similar security predicament. Cromwell's principle enemies were the royalist partisans of the dethroned Stuarts who brewed sedition at home and plotted abroad with the Catholic kings of Spain and France. In fact, Carvajal was a Marrano or crypto-Jew, a descendent of Iberian Jews compelled to accept Catholicism in the previous century. Like many of his secret co-religionists, Carvajal hated Spain and all it stood for.

He also sought to legitimise his and other crypto-Jews' status in England and permit other Sons of Judah to live there openly. InCarvajal arranged for Rabbi Menasseh ben Israel to come from Amsterdam and make a personal appeal to Cromwell. The Lord Protector formally repealed the Edict two years later. Part of the quid pro quo was that Carvajal put Cromwell's agents in contact with a far-flung network of "Jewish Intelligencers" who operated in the Netherlands, the Levant, Spanish America and inside Spain itself.

Jump ahead years and British agents in the Middle East, among them a certain T. As in the later cases of the Duke of Kent and General Wladyslaw Sikorskisuspicious minds saw the hidden hand of Perfidious Albion ridding itself of an "inconvenience.

No Rothschilds would have lent their weight to London's financial might, no Benjamin Disraeli would have become prime minister, nor would a Polish Jew named Shlomo Rozenblium have become Sidney Reilly, the Ace-of-Spies.

The French Revolution has spawned its share of conspiracy theories. Both writers point accusing fingers at the recently disbanded Bavarian Illuminati who, they allege, infiltrated French Freemasonry and spawned the head-chopping excesses of the Jacobins. It is worth noting that both Barruel and Robison wrote their books in Britain and that the government of Sir William Pitt the Younger embraced and promoted their ideas.

At the very least, Pitt exploited the conspiracy theory to effectively discredit and demonise the French Revolution. In the 20th century, the doggedly anti-British researchers associated with Lyndon Larouche's Executive Intelligence Review argue that the hidden hand of England both helped to get the Revolution rolling and steered it into the hands of the fanatical Jacobins.

In modern parlance, it was all a "destabilisation" effort designed to cripple France economically and politically. Even the storming of the Bastille was part of the plot. If so, were the works of Barruel and Robison sponsored disinformation designed to divert attention away from the real conspiracy to a manufactured one? Throughout the 19th and early 20th centuries, the British secret services had to negotiate a shifting landscape of alliances and real or potential enemies.

In the s, Britain joined traditional foe France in the Crimean War against Russia, but in the 's France allied itself with Russia, a combination that was almost as troubling to Britain as it was to the rising power on the block, Germany.

Up to the first years of the 20th century, Tsarist Russia remained the Empire's 1 adversary, but when, afterthe Germans embarked on the creation of a big navy, British interests demanded an alliance with France and subsequently Russia Of course, just because you were allied to someone, didn't mean you would or should stop spying on them. To better manage intelligence operations, a War Office Intelligence Division appeared in William Melville Nevertheless, the man who was the closest thing to a British spymaster in the late 19th century, and who arguably laid the basis for British intelligence in the 20th, came from the London Metropolitan Police — Scotland Yard.

Originally a baker, Melville entered the Metropolitan Police in and ten years later joined its new Irish Branch. The latter was designed to combat Fenian conspiracies, particularly bomb attacks in London. Despite his background, Melville became an implacable enemy of the Irish rebels and a bitter foe of anarchists and radicals generally.

InMelville was involved in ferreting out the so-called Jubilee Plot in which a Fenian cabal aimed to blow up Queen Victoria and most of her cabinet in Westminster Abbey. Much the same emerged five years later when Melville masterminded the destruction of the Walsall Plot in which a group of anarchist workmen went to prison for scheming to build a bomb. Once again, the man at the centre of plot turned out to be one of Melville's provocateurs.

In Melville became Superintendent of Special Branch and earned an almost mythical reputation as the ever-watchful guardian of public order. Always on the lookout for new angles in trickery and deception, in Melville enlisted the talents of American magician Harry Houdini.

He even inveigled Houdini to spy for him during his tours of Germany and Russia. Melville's men spied on Russian exiles in London, while Rachkovsky supplied Melville with intelligence gleaned from radical circles on the Continent. They even shared agents. A case in point is the Pilenas brothers, Casimir and Peter. They were Lithuanian subjects of the Russian Empire who fled to London in the s and moved in revolutionary circles.

Casimir became a spotter and informant for Scotland Yard around and he and his brother worked as London operatives for the Okhrana. The Okhrana came to doubt the Pilenas' reliability and cut them loose in This may have had something to do with their peripheral involvement in a sensational robbery-murder in London in December The so-called Houndsditch Murders resulted from a botched burglary attempt by a group of Latvian-Russian anarchists.

Despite what first appeared to be overwhelming evidence, the surviving robbers were all acquitted. One reason for the acquittals may have been that there was one or more police agents among the accused. The group's shadowy ringleader, "Peter the Painter," was never found, but among those suspected was Peter Pilenas who conveniently left England for America just days before the robbery went down. Peter soon was followed to the States by brother Casimir. When the First World War broke out, British intelligence in New York re-mobilised him as an agent, and he similarly returned to Albion's service if he ever left in In that respect, a not insignificant detail is that the Home Secretary who personally oversaw the Sidney Street shoot-out was Winston Churchill, a man who some believe "had already sealed an indissoluble bond" with the Realm's secret services.

In fact, Melville's outfit was a cut-out for the War Office and served the Empire's secret needs at home and abroad. Basically, Melville's agents did the Empire's dirty work under a cover of complete deniability.

Inmost of his organisation was subsumed into two new agencies created to handle domestic and foreign intelligence what would become MI5 and MI6 and Melville served as MI5's Chief Detective until his real retirement in He would be much better known as Sidney George Reilly. His career is too convoluted to summarise here, but among other things, he is frequently cited as the role model for James Bond.

In reality, Reilly was more a confidence man than a spy, and his loyalty to Britain, or anything else, was doubtful. A report on his character in early concluded that he was "a shrewd businessman of undoubted ability, but without patriotism or principles and therefore not to be recommended for any position which requires loyalty…. These are the skills that the British government will use to negotiate super-dooper trade deals with Burkina Faso and Belarus.

Not surprisingly, the Irish government is less than best pleased that the British government is trying to renege on what it agreed to last year.

After all, in the past years or so, the attitudes of governments on the Thames towards Ireland have always been characterised by respect, honesty, and an abiding concern to do the right thing. That is, if you define colonialisation, theft, land-grabs, mass slaughter, ethnic cleansing, and famines as respect, honesty, and an abiding concern to do the right thing, which even less surprisingly is precisely how some British nationalists define them.

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All the EU was saying was that the UK has signed up to a treaty guaranteeing that there will be no hard border on the island of Ireland, and it had reiterated that promise last year during negotiations with the EU. The UK can leave the Customs Union if it wants, but it has signed up to ensuring that there can be no hard border between Northern Ireland and the rest of Ireland, and that means that Northern Ireland must remain a part of the Customs Union.

Time is running out, Brexit is looming in a mere 13 months and so far the UK has done diddly squat.

The real reason they call it Perfidious Albion

There are only three ways to solve the Irish border question, a united Ireland, a special deal for Northern Ireland involving customs checks between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK, or for the entire UK to remain inside the customs union. None of these are palatable to Theresa May because she lacks the support within her own party in order to enforce any of them.

The only way to solve the looming constitutional crisis between the devolved parliaments and Westminster is for Westminster to concede that all devolved powers currently exercised by the EU must return to the devolved parliaments.

The UK is mired in confusion and political incoherence because the first, and only, political imperative of the British government is to keep the Conservative party together and to placate its frothing fantasists who still dream of empire.