Excellent article, keep them coming!
Thanks to the books and films we all know a lot about James Bond 007. We also know a little about the group he supposedly belongs to, the "Double-O agents" of "Her Majesty's Secret Service" - the only British secret agents with a licence to kill. But just how realistic is the idea? Does anything like the Double-O section really …
Next time our American colleagues attempt a higher than thou stance when it come to intelligence agencies just point out that without Ian Fleming there would be no CIA. That would be the proper CIA...not the political tool after the the USAF/CIA pig fight...where the CIA disputed the number of Sov bombers when the USAF was looking at presenting a new budget. A few years later the CIA learned its lesson and played the game in the "missile gap" controversy.
Pint coz it makes it easier to digest bollocks politics.
The Walther also features in The Wire as Brother Mouzone's preffered gun, though Omar is a tad dismissive of it. Spoiler: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=20G17K_0ghU
I had a carpenter friend work a high end cabinet makers, and one Kuwaiti client wanted a desk with a secret, sprung loaded drawer, perfectly tuned to the weight of a Waltham PPK. The company had to arrange for a PPK to be bought to their premises for this fine adjustment. I guess the client was a very rich James Bond fan!
The PPK is fairly weak, as far as handguns go, even the 9mm that you see on TV as deadly (unless you've got plot armour) is fairly weak.
The PPK is best used up close when you've got no other choice, and against the skin in a vital spot, essentially an assassins weapon. The way Bond uses it in the movie (torso shots at 10-30 meters) is very unlikely do anything more then knock people down, unless you hit someone in a vital spot (e.g the neck), and against body armour it will do jackshit.
Also Bond would need to be an Olympic level (better actually) shooter to make half the shots you see in the movies. Pistols just aren't that accurate.
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Several years ago I switched from 90 gr 380s to 95 gr, and the first shot jammed my PPK.
Now I use 88 gr and aim for the belly from up close, just like you said.
A hollow point in his belly will slow Goldfinger down enough for you to get the hell out of there.
I can't imagine why Flemming chose it originally but for the plots the character was in, it was an handy weapon. It just turned out that in a book, you don't put such a charcter up against the laws of chance and AK 47s.
One thing about small calibre weapons is that they are easy to get used to packing. It is much too tempting to leave your .50 in the drawer half the time. And when you next see a modern hero reloading one of them, take a look at the scene just before he unloaded it to see where he might be wearing half a dozen clips of spare ammo at a pound a time.
BTW; does a Walther PPK only work on ladies or can you kill men with them too?
Peter Fleming's books are less numerous and more intriguing for what they don't say.
The Bond books are "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang"* for adults, escapism and not meant to be realistic at all.
(* Yes Ian Fleming was responsible. At least there wasn't a dreadful fake Cockney accent, I think it's possibly better than the Bond Books. I think Leslie Charteris then and Clive Cussler now are better authors of "Bond" type books. The success of the film franchise can't be denied. Sean Connery is my favourite Film Bond.).
Clive Cussler's earlier books are descent. His, and his son's, more recent books are more along the lines of The Hardy Boys. I'll admit to having read all of them (Hardy Boys) in 9th grade study hall. I've read most of Cussler's books since receiving a box of books from a not-quite very special female friend....and I don't respect her any less for it.
I, too, agree about Connery, and if you can get past the socks, Finding Forrester is acceptable as well (especially the Mr. Scotland photograph on the wall.)
It's a trenchcoat, all spies wear trenchcoats, but I wear one in Atlanta in July because I can.
"Clive Cussler's earlier books are descent."
Agreed. But then they started doing "Clive Cussler with [author you've never heard of]" and I've read 3 of those and they were all without exception atrocious. They were obviously written by the unknown authors and no doubt what actually happens is that Cussler phones in some rough storyline, the unknown author writes the entire book and cussler turns up 5 mins before printing to rubber stamp it and collect his money. Avoid them like the plague.
Indeed, although when it comes down to it, and article that states that SIS is not at all interesting. Mind you, paid up cynics will recognise this as propoganda to try and persuade people to join SIS.
"Come on in, it's warm, you don't have to do much, and the pension's lovely" probably makes a better recruitment message than "It's very dangerous, and if Johnny Foreigner doesn't get you, then we might decide to fold you up and stuff you into a holdall"
Articles like this are extremely interesting and this one was also well written, with none of your usual deliberately inflammatory remarks. Apply the same knowledgable and methodical approach to your other articles and your readership will most definitely rise as will your credibility, especially with your climate and nuclear articles. More of this please :)
You should consider the possibility that Lewis DOES bring his knowledgable and methodical approach to AWG and that it is your own prejudices/religious beliefs which are offended. And yes, he did include a few deliberately inflammatory remarks (which I will let slide unless pressed) because it was, like his climate articles, a fun and informative read.
"knowledgable and methodical approach to AWG "
Knowledgable in what? Climate science? Any science? What exactly are his scientific qualifications? I'm sorry, but spending a few years on a ship watching the sea doesn't cut it.
"your own prejudices/religious beliefs which are offended."
Oh right, so going along with the science is a RELIGIOUS belief is it , whereas no doubt your AGW stance going against the science is perfectly rational, right? Hello pot, meet kettle.
"like his climate articles, a fun and informative read"
If I want fun I'll go to The Onion, if I want baseless drivel I'll read a tabloid. But I come to the Register for - hopefully - informed comment from its journalists. Unfortunaly you don't generally get that with Lewis.
Ditto, and it did explain why growing up near Portsmouth I'd been approached by slightly odd people in and around Pompey who seemed interested in getting personal details. (MI6 trainee's on "Perfect Stranger" training)
Tomlinson's book is very interesting and whilst I'd say he shot himself in the foot to a small degree, a lot of it was service bollox and bitchiness, the same as you get in civvie street.
..but was sent this via ISN the other day.
Interesting read about the internals of the CIA. I don't know how much of it is truth or not, bearing in mind the source of the material, but even so.
I think that should have read 'whole lot of artistic license', but the ones I've read have been very well written, in places.
Quite off the subject, all books should be like Stephen King's "Insomnia". I read that one cover-to-cover, realized it was 6am, and then went to work.
"every serviceman is not just licenced but required to kill people if his or her mission demands it."
I was in the RAMC (Royal Army Medical Corps) and luckily for my fellow squaddies I was NOT required to kill anyone in the performance of my duties. Quite the opposite in fact.
We were issued with a sub-machine gun but it was doubtful who was in more danger whilst we were shooting them us or the supposed enemy!
Interesting. Didn't bash the UK hard. A great read. I was waiting for the bit where we should outsource the Secret Services operations to the CIA / NSA and shut down our own because, you know, the US is better and cheaper for everything but it just wasn't there. Loved it.
"The female operatives are expected to fire and actually hit something. They may do the "double tap"as described in stories. In that case, they will be likely to put both rounds where it counts." -- The point I was trying to make is that it is sexist to assume that a Woman is not capable of firing a 9mm pistol, accurately or otherwise. I have known several Women who have had gun licenses in other countries and they were perfectly able to fire 9mm pistols, one female friend also owned a snub nosed .45
To anyone who thinks otherwise, I dare you take the "money where your mouth is" test and stand downrange of a lady carrying a 9mm pistol and then see how confident you feel about their lack of ability with such a weapon.
I've seen professional soldiers who can't shoot a Browning 9mm because its to big for them,
Pistols are by definition short range weapons and I can personally vouch for that fact that after few thousand rounds on the practice ranges, a head shot at 10m is easy. Your desert eagle .50 might make a serious mess of body armour but it kicks like a mule and realisticly, even with a laser sight, you can't fire faster than 1 round a second accurately. For me, at close range, give me a .22 any day. 2-3 accurate rounds a second into the face will put anyone off wanting to play any more and makes body armour irrelevant.
One thing the article did miss, a lot of special forces are recruited from the Royal Engineers. They are generally bigger and stronger than most infantry guys and already know a lot about explosives.
Spawn of Satan cause I know stuff that will scare you
The female operatives are expected to fire and actually hit something. They may do the "double tap"as described in stories. In that case, they will be likely to put both rounds where it counts.
The child is expected to fire an entire magazine, mostly into the air, with perhaps 1 bullet going near enough the opposition to force them to keep their heads down. Any actual hits are a bonus.
Most assault weapons are designed to spray bullets around rather than actually be accurate. The sadly deprecated SLR was a rare exception which played to a marksman's strong points but that's gone the way of all good things due to political idiocy and vested interests.
I enjoyed the article a lot but felt - and this is strong, coming from a Scaley - that the RAF got a raw deal. Their drop pilots are absolutely mental and can get you four feet over a mountain under hostile fire at night in a Fat Albert. Those are some serious skills.
Lewis also left out what they now call JSF18 but that's okay - you (the reader) didn't miss much.
You mean to say that a life within MI* / SIS is not all cruising Aston Martins to Monaco to sip Martinis while playing poker with evil corporation CEOs?
That's that dream ruined!
(Good point about the cars - the NIOs bulletproof car fleet are Skoda Superbs - big, cheap, rugged, reliable and don't stand out anymore than any exec saloon or minicab would!)
Growing up as the child of a diplomat, and having spent much of my time abroad moving from country to country, I can confirm that the spies working as diplomats are indeed some of the dullest people you will ever meet. I met quite a few.
"The only Bond-like quality a normal SIS officer will be required to show is the ability to drink heavily and remain functional, as any diplomat must on the embassy cocktail circuit."
That statement is just bollocks, I'm afraid. My dad spent his life hosting such parties and it was normally only the younger diplomats who did any drinking, and even then it was not much (compared to my student days etc). Trust me, the diplomatic service is an incredibly straight and unexciting organisation.
... is conducted down at the local library, poring over the stacks.
As with Ultra, the secret is in how information gathered (from newspapers) is collated and interpreted. It's all about anonymous folk in huts, not people running around attracting all the wrong sorts of attention. The greatest danger for a spy is terminal boredom.
James Bond stories in the books are all vignettes. "James Bond" is just a working name for "MI6 operative de jure", no matter what his background might be.
While some of the stuff is based on Fleming's on history, much of his stuff was based on other people's stories. (This is clearer in the books. The movies cleverly tie 3-4 short stories together using different personas as "The MI6 agent" and invent a plotline linking them all, which is why they're sucessful) and it's fairly clear in some of the short stories that "James Bond" didn't survive.
Yes, they ARE chittychittybangbang for adults/teenagers. Doesn't stop 'em being an entertaining read for 15-20 minutes and it suits 2 hour movie formats perfectly. That's why they're so sucessful.
Probably not any more. But it was once very strategic. Not far from Hungary and what was Czechoslovakia (been through Vienna a few times on my trips to Brataslava, now capital of Slovakia).
So, yes, important from 1945 to 1991. No idea what importance it has now.
Shortly after WII it was divided like Berlin was. "The Third Man" actually has a lot of factual material in it. Though Harry's Quip about the Swiss and Cuckoo clocks is wrong as they were invented in Bavaria and the Swiss Guard was not to be messed with, hence them ending up as the "guards" in the Vatican.
I read the synopsis of a book about a UK unit that actually carries out the "we didn't do it" killings and it was fascinating but I can't find it now despite scouring Amazon. for example they all use assumed names to help preserve anonymity, however they take this to the nth degree and don't discuss their real identities even within the unit etc. If anyone knows what it was called would you be so kind as to please post the title here.
The SAS book tsunami of the mid-late 90's had a few along those lines. The unit in question was usually referred to as 14 Int/The Det and operated in NI. It later became the SRR that Lewis mentioned in the article. Andy McNab wrote about having to use an assumed name while attached to 14 Int in "Immediate Action". There was also "The Operators" by James Rennie.
The rationale was pretty simple: If the IRA caught and tortured a plain-clothes operator he or she wouldn't be able to give up any useful info on their colleagues (home addresses and the like). This was at a time when the various pyro-Paddies were targeting military personnel on and off duty on the mainland after all.
For a real deal amongst the US Spec Ops, you might want to check out the Richard Marcinko novels. Whilst the first book is an autobiography (and takes a while to get to the interesting stuff), the rest have to be "fiction". However fictional though, Mr Marcinko adds a realistic amount of detail which one assumes comes from having been there and done it. Also trodden on lots of toes so he's seen as a either a loose cannon or a maverick by the toe owners.
Yeah, and he's about as IT relevant as Bond :)
I first read the Bond books as a teenager, before even the first of the films. At that time we all thought of Bond as a style icon (though the style in question wasn't very attainable for 14-year-olds in 1960).
Nowadays the books are like a window on the past. The Bond style was actually pretty old-school and eccentric* in 1960. I suppose it's actually the style of an old Etonian stockbroker, which is what Fleming was before the war.
* Just a few examples I can remember: short-sleeve shirts with a suit, black lace-up shoes, gentlemen's clubs, German white wine with meals, proudly executing a ski turn called a "sprung Christie".
I'm sure thats news to all of the Female Enlisted and Officers in Civil Affairs and Psychological Operations Command, as well as the Special Operations Aviation Regiment and Intelligence Support Activity, they're all Special Operations Forces and they all take females. Hell, CAPOC puts em in the field even, as does ISA. And with Female Officers from 2013 onward able to lead Infantry and Sapper units, it wont be long until a few of 'em go to SFAS and wind up as Special Forces officers.
When you say Special Operations Forces, especially in regard to the United States, you're talking about a decent sized number of people across all four Services, and its a growing list all the time. If you meant a Special Operations Force specializing in Direct Action, you probably should have said so before you make a claim that you can't back up.
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It's not a very good image, and I don't know the story behind the picture, but that's not a commander's rank on his sleeve. Commander is three rings of the same width (including the executive curl) whereas in the photo it's either a very thick ring (Commodore) or there is a suspision of a line running around making a separate band attached to the curl and another very thick band which would be Rear Admiral.
But, as I said, it's not a very clear image.
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The Secret Intelligence Service operates under the formal direction of the Joint Intelligence Committee (JIC) alongside the internal Security Service (MI5), the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) and the Defence Intelligence (DI).
"GCHQ is the responsibility of the UK Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, but it is not a part of the Foreign Office, and its Director ranks as a Permanent Secretary."
The Joint Intelligence Committee (JIC) is the part of the British Cabinet Office and oversees three agencies.
MOD is a defence policy based organisation which scopes the military's armed forces and has its procedures/speciallised branches when liasing with parliament.
Rules Of Engagement and Escalation Of Force are probably both set out in policies as methods of defence or conflict with an enemy... (usually on a battlefield? in an armed forces environment?)
Northolt is an RAF base, among others, I have visted a few times for various purposes, The base is home to reservists and the 32 Royal squadron. Station Flight is nothing specific nor anything unusually uncommon? Someone has to run the station!!!
Learn how the RAF formation goes before writing articles spewing nonsense!? Or are you going to write more nonsense including "Strike Command's Operations Centre nuclear bunker at RAF High Wycombe"? Perhaps you would like to take a tour of a training base before you write your next scientifically incorrect artifact?
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...there was an 007: the late great Roy Boehm, R.I.P. He was an U.S. government assassin, a shark jumper/killer (a sad and bizarre example of species revenge), a commando, founder of Seal Team Two, hero in 3 hot wars and a human sea surface delivery vehicle (along with his buddy Lump Lump) for an American nuke expert who confirmed Soviet IRBMs in Cuba *firsthand.* Read his book First Seal to learn his story.
No, "How dare the government do this kind of thing in our name", has the readership grown up suddenly.
Good article, how about the other bits that your readership seems to think are capable of bond like capabilities. We tend to think CSI, Spooks and a like reflect reality. How about a technology Mythbusters series.
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