The re­al­ity be­hind the ap­pear­ances

Western Mail - - WM2 | VIEWS OF WALES - Huw Beynon Llan­deilo

“THE real rea­son why Camilla is not go­ing to Princess Eu­ge­nie’s wed­ding” baited the click­bait on my screen... I rolled my eyes, made my ex­cuses and scrolled on.

So how do you de­cide what is fact, fake, fishy or just pho­bic?

“Be­lieve noth­ing you hear and only half what you see,” said a char­ac­ter I fondly chris­tened Chief Wise Owl on one of my first ever vis­its to a pub. He was re­fer­ring to the an­i­mated gos­sip that was stan­dard fare in the As­terix Bar of the Crazy Horse Saloon. But of course the ad­vice is now all-em­brac­ing.

The cir­cus sur­round­ing Putin’s se­cret ser­vice is not just a thing of won­der but some­thing to pon­der. Could it be that half the GRU HQ is taken up by the Clouseau Divi­sion, a group that de­lib­er­ately sets out to make fools of them­selves, and as a con­se­quence mug the rest of the world into tak­ing its eyes off the ball?

The other half is the KGB Divi­sion, Putin’s ruth­lessly ef­fi­cient se­cret ser­vice. Many now be­lieve that Rus­sia in­flu­enced both Brexit and the Trump vic­tory. It also seems they are con­duct­ing a com­pe­tent cy­ber war on the in­ter­net. And I bet we don’t know the half of it.

Those lack­ing pe­riph­eral vi­sion in­creas­ingly ar­gue we need to live our lives to­tally on­line, with cash con­signed to his­tory. Never mind that in re­cent months I vis­ited two stores where the card read­ers were down and they could only ac­cept cash. Also, a ma­jor su­per­mar­ket suf­fered a brief power cut, and it took up to 30 min­utes for ev­ery com­puter sys­tem to fully re­boot.

It’s a sober­ing thought that one morn­ing we could all wake up to find no elec­tric, tele­phone, wa­ter, food and fuel sup­plies be­cause the na­tion’s in­fras­truc­ture has been hacked. Who needs guns, tanks, ships, planes and rock­ets to gen­er­ate to­tal chaos and panic?

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