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  • irishtimes.com - Posted: April 25, 2010 @ 8:29 pm

    Russian Roulette

    Deaglán de Bréadún

    It has been said that the reason academic politics is so bitter is that the stakes are so low. But this episode leaves even your humble scribe – who thought he had seen everything – quite gobsmacked. For more, click here and here.

    I note the following paragraph from the second item with particular interest: Rachel Polonsky is the heroine of the story. It was she who employed an expert in computer forensics, who established practically beyond doubt that “Historian” lived under the Figes family roof. As Ms Polonsky put it to us, “a hoaxer would have had to set up an account pretending to be Orlando Figes in 2001 or earlier with a view to bringing the insane hoax to fruit in 2010”.

    Inreresting to see that the web d0es not provide total anonymity. From time to time I have wondered about certain individuals contributing to our little debates here and whether they are really who they claim to be, e.g., is that “dissident Israeli soldier” really a Palestinian activist?

    It’s also quite puzzling that someone as successful as Figes would want to do these things to others in his field. Human nature never ceases to amaze.

    • Desmond FitzGerald says:

      Would that be the same as when someone replies from a politician’s office, pretending to be that politician, only to not realise you have also personally spoken to the politician, so you know the person responding to you is not them?

      Apparently other people set up various aliases when contacting TDs etc? You can check the ISP the email or contact comes from so you’ll know if it’s coming from the same computer – it’s unlikely different people using the same computer would be randomly raising various points with the same person?

      I’ve never said anything I haven’t agreed with at the time – others might not agree and I might be wrong but it’s my current opinion. I can’t wait to have it all dragged up again in years to come when I’m in the frontline myself!

      But thankfully a Google search of my name throws up far more illustrious people than me before it gets to my musings!

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