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June 24, 2011


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kate fox

Born Liars is a splendid book - as you know, I lied my way out of a social engagement and stayed up all night to finish it!


Well, certainly Kim Philby was a liar. But whether everyone at the top of British intelligence was deceived by him is another matter entirely, and the jury is still out on this.

S. J. Hamrick, in his book "Deceiving the Deceivers: Kim Philby, Donald Maclean, Guy Burgess" (Yale University Press, 2004), argues that senior elements of British intelligence had realized the Cambridge trio were part of a KGB spy network well before any of the three realized they were under suspicion, and British Intelligence secretly used the three to pass disinformation (and true information) back to the Soviets. One of the great problems of being at war is passing TRUE information to the enemy (eg, that the West was actually willing to use its nuclear weapons) in a way that this information would be believed by the other side. British Intelligence used Philby et al., a network trusted by the Soviets, to pass such information to Stalin.

In this account, Philby et al. were played by the British, not the other way round, and British intelligence appears greatly more sophisticated than in the standard treatment of the affair.



chris gow

To quote the great Nick Lowe:
"All men, all men a liars, their words ain't worth no more than worn out tyres".


I was surprised not to see Alger Hiss on the list - he lied in public and in private, to the whole nation and to close family members, and went to his grave still lying.


When does Dick Cheney make the list?


You left off Sarah Palin.


What on earth do you mean by "Formosa didn't exist"?

"In 1544, with the Kingdom of Middag just being founded, a Portuguese ship sighted the main island of Taiwan and named it Ilha Formosa, which means 'Beautiful Island.'"

Steven Engstrom

What about George "We Don't Torture" Bush?


Bill Clinton but not Richard Nixon?!?


Sir, however, after those revelations, how is anyone ever going to trust you again??

Listened on the BBC - highly interesting! Thanx!


For the record, God said said ""You will surely die." Which they did. Not "you will die on the spot." Do a little more research next time.


Hello Bettina - what a charming comment!

What He says (King James): "For in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die."

Note: "in the day".


Not my field, but my impression is that peoples' views on lying are bimodally distributed. One subculture argues for white lies, necessary social lubricant, value of silence, avoidance of harm, "only children blurt honesty without care for consequences". One subpopulation argues for honesty, integrity, a toxic impact on social communication, thought, and trust, a fallacy of buying small-scale harm avoidance by sacrificing the ability to collectively prevent large-scale harm.

Whichever ones' view, it can be useful to remember that many other people disagree not merely in detail or extent, but profoundly.


Marbury: you are assuming that the term "day" refers to a 24 hour period. The Hebrew word used for the word "day" in the warning against eating from the tree and also used in the creative "days" earlier in Genesis have no definite time measurement. They are used much the same way we would say "in my grandfathers day" who certainly lived more than 24 hours. The warning was that if they ate of that tree then they would die. Had they not ate the fruit they would not have died. The intention was for them to live forever. However in order to do so it required obedience to God. They in fact died because of disobedience both in the figurative sense during that "day" or time period and in the literal sense that "day" because when they sinned they lost God's support of their lives which was dependent on their obedience to God.
The only lie told , was Satan's lie when he said "you will not die" to Eve. Adam and Eve DID die............


Honestly, this list is a bit disappointing. Of the ten, only six are really big, grand, impressive liars. God and Odysseus are fictional, Clinton lied about an affair, and "you" is a cop-out. #9 and #3 do deserve to be on this list though.


Fucking republicans, leave Bill Clinton alone, he didn't do anything to you. Maybe Nixon or Reagan should have made the list, since you know, they actually had a negative impact on the population.


God never said Adam and Eve would drop dead on the spot. He said they would surely die....and they are surely dead. Liar? He is not!


Er, Collins submarine software, Debbie Liu or associated villains


Er, Collins submarine software, Debbie Liu or associated villains


British Intelligence was involved in the DNA testing,

A bit like British Intelligence involvement in tests of driver in Diana car crash.

So a bit suspect.


DNA testing for Anastasia / Anna Anderson

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