But do the self-regarding simpletons sitting in the Commons really believe our people need to be taught how to loathe a pro-Brussels parliament that brazenly refuses to enact the will of the people? And instead of doing as they were instructed, our sneering rulers have for years smeared the Four million signatures or so for a petition to revoke Article 50? Please believe this — nothing that Theresa May can say will add to the current sense of betrayal in our country. Blame the great British referendum robbery. And what a shock to learn Emilia survived two brain aneurysms while shooting the show and almost lost her life.
Clarke suffered a subarachnoid haemorrhage, a bleeding into the space around the brain that kills nearly half the people who get it. Now she is fully recovered and has started a charity called SameYou for people recovering from brain injuries and strokes. Big Ben is back and looking better than it has for a hundred years.
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After a four-year restoration, the hands and numerals of the most famous clock on the planet have been restored to their original colour — Prussian blue, inlaid with gold. The Who, another national treasure, were back to announce a summer tour , with Roger Daltrey losing his rag with a Sky reporter who thought that the greatest rock and roll band in the world might be hampered by Brexit.
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Long after the EU collapses like every other stinking expansionist empire in history, Pete Townshend will still be slashing out the chords to Pinball Wizard. But perhaps the public are also getting a little weary of rich celebrities shoving their halos in our faces. In Kushner, Inc. Any hint of nepotism is kryptonite at the polling booth. Look what happened to the last Democratic candidate, Hillary Clinton.
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BY getting stuffed by lowly Kazakhstan ranked in the world , Scotland have declared their independence from international football. Nicola Sturgeon must be chuffed. I became a father at My own father died when I was My mother died 20 years ago last month. All these life experiences made me grow up. The candles on my birthday cake had nothing to do with it. But passing time certainly changes how you look at the world. At no point was he handcuffed, read his rights, booked, or offered a lawyer. It was his first time in a police station, and because it was in a country not known for its respect for those being held, his first instinct was to get out as quickly as possible.
He fell victim, he said, to arrogance, a false belief that he could navigate the situation, and obedience, a result of his training as a soldier. Single at the time, he told no one of the encounter and returned to Estonia. A full year passed without any mention or reminder of the incident. Wearing a light-gray T-shirt and a windbreaker, he could easily have been mistaken for an off-duty agent popping into the office.
Metsavas was shivering when he walked in.
MPs are set to betray the biggest vote ever… how the hell can there not be some kind of backlash?
I spoke to Metsavas under the auspices of KAPO, which gave The Atlantic virtually unrestricted access to him, but not to his friends or family. For KAPO, the interview was an opportunity to publicize its already legendary reputation of catching Russian spies. For me, it was an unmissable chance to speak to a contemporary spy and raise the curtain on the inner workings of a Russian intelligence agency whose century-long history of skulduggery—from election tampering to dirty wars, from attempted coups to assassination plots—shows no sign of abating.
And for Metsavas, it was a chance to atone for his high crimes against his country, his comrades in the army, his friends and family. I got the impression that Metsavas, as much as the men who had unmasked him, took such matters earnestly. In general, there was a strange camaraderie between Metsavas and the KAPO case officers who flitted in and out of the interrogation room as our interview wore on. All interacted with him not as an enemy of the state, but as an old acquaintance, with an intimacy born of close proximity and repetition.
I asked Metsavas whether he felt compelled in any way to talk to me. I eventually saw why. In my conversations with him, as well as with half a dozen Estonian security officials—all of whom, bar Toots, requested anonymity to discuss sensitive matters—I was told the story of a genuinely patriotic soldier who was blackmailed into becoming a spy, then coerced to keep going by a handler who knew exactly which weaknesses to prey on.
Of all the countries to emerge from the wreckage of the Soviet empire, Estonia is one of the most successful. This country of 1. It also has outsize technological impact, as the birthplace of Skype, a country where internet access is enshrined as a civil right. Yet that drive, in some ways, also makes it uniquely vulnerable. After living under Soviet totalitarianism and occupation for a half century, Tallinn has pursued memberships to Western alliances that Moscow sees as threats, and its relationship with Russia is tense, at best.
The campaign, Estonian officials and most analysts agree, was almost certainly ordered and orchestrated by Russia. When the country gained independence from the Soviet Union in , it had to create entire law-enforcement bodies from scratch, and cast about for officials with training and experience.
Among the options it relied on was to grandfather in Soviet-era operatives to continue their work, but for a sovereign Estonian state. Inevitably, sleeper agents were among those recruited. When most countries ferret out spies, they prefer to trade them back for their own captured intelligence officers, with little or no public fanfare.
Estonia is the rare country that trumpets the arrest and sentencing of foreign intelligence operatives. Metsavas was the fifth. Could he point out individual buildings on a map of military installations? Metsavas thought they were playing amateur hour. He was offered a small sum of money that his interlocutors said were to cover his expenses, and went back home.
And yet the table had been set. Over the period they knew each other, Metsavas learned little about Anton, or whether that was even his real name. All he could work out was that his handler had a military background, which appeared clear from his comfortable use of jargon, and that he was greatly interested in Ukraine and Georgia, two countries Metsavas had traveled to as an artillery liaison officer.
That was all by design. It also has a different ethos than the KGB and its descendants.
Blood is thicker than water
During the Cold War, operatives from this service were also known to plant caches of weapons and ammunition across Europe and North America in case a hot war broke out between Russia and the West. It was the GRU that choreographed the seizure and annexation of Crimea, as Vladimir Putin admitted in a documentary that aired on Russian state television in March Since then, Ukraine has functioned as a laboratory for Russian military doctrine and GRU subversion efforts.
And a court in Montenegro has convicted two alleged GRU officers for masterminding a complex, murky, and ultimately unsuccessful coup attempt in , a year before the Adriatic country was due to join NATO. Two different units of its operatives hacked Democratic Party emails in the lead-up to the U. The intelligence agency then disseminated their contents via GRU-run internet personae called Guccifer 2. Alexander Mishkin. The Kremlin has denied involvement, as have the two men, who say they were there as tourists. British authorities said the murder weapon was a proscribed military-grade nerve agent called Novichok, the unleashing of which ultimately killed one British civilian, landed several more in critical condition, and forced months-long quarantines in the sleepy cathedral city.
The Skripal poisoning, a spectacular act of international terrorism, rallied a bloc of more than 20 Western countries into collectively expelling more than Russian diplomats, many of them believed to be intelligence officers. Moscow denies this too. The hackers were thwarted. His mother, an obstetrics nurse, was born in Russia and immigrated to Estonia after marrying Volin. Like most children in the area in the s, Metsavas attended a Russian-language primary school, and only started learning Estonian when he was 6 or 7.
You were completely Russian. The family home was devoid of the intense intellectual debates that consumed much of Estonian society as the Soviet Union collapsed and Tallinn became the capital of the newly independent country. Metsavas, however, was drawn to the military. Metsavas was even placed in the same barracks his father had served in, a source of familial pride. The same year he enlisted, his parents divorced. A decade into his military career, Metsavas was fully ensconced in the Estonian security forces.
They asked questions about Estonian military allies, particularly the U. Anton wanted to know about the U. In , Metsavas deployed to Afghanistan as a company liaison officer stationed in Helmand province. His access to see classified intelligence was limited, but he could still get his hands on plenty of sensitive documents. He made plans to see Anton in St. Petersburg in the summer of and tell him he wanted out. After talking for some time, Metsavas finally told Anton he wanted to stop passing information to Moscow.
He was financially secure, and his career was more and more at risk. They had recruited Volin into the operation. The Estonian officer continued to steal documents from headquarters, passing them to Anton in St. Neither Toots nor Metsavas would offer details on what kinds of reports were being shared beyond generalities, and all Metsavas would say was that Anton was drawn more to the classification of the documents he passed along than to the inherent value of the information they contained. That soon changed.
Had this been a few years earlier, Metsavas would have been ecstatic—it would have meant no more meetings with Anton and thus a de facto end to working for the GRU. But Volin was by now living in Tallinn again, having moved back after the death of his father-in-law. He was sentenced to six years in prison. In , Metsavas learned he was about to become a father. The pair were friends before getting involved romantically.