LIVE BLOG: BBC broadcasts 'Latvia invasion' show

Take note – story published 8 years and 4 months ago

On Wednesday evening the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) aired a show called World War Three: Inside The War Room. Advance publicity suggested it depicted a nuclear confrontation between Russia and the West including an invasion of Latvia.

LSM watched the show and provided a live text summary below.

Good evening all. There's half an hour until this possibly controversial show gets under way. In the meantime, the BBC2 channel has people repeatedly bursting into tears and saying things like "It's soul destroying!"

However, they are not talking about the invasion of their homeland but their attempts to redecorate their homes during 2 hours' worth of interior design shows.

Suzanne and Antonio are particularly stressed because their bath taps are not quite right.

"The floor is going to be stood on every day. It's sometimes underrated," says an interior decoration expert.

Don't worry, only a few minutes to go before the balloon goes up.

In a bizarre final twist, the interior decorators have cladded this suburban house with copper, turning it into a sort of semi-detached version of the Latvian Occupation Museum. And on that note the credits roll and we await the arrival of the theoretical tanks...

"A superpower confrontation - hypothetical but intense!" says the BBC2 continuity announcer.

So far we've had a summary of Russian aggression against Georgia, Ukraine etc, some Latgale flags being waved and Obama's speech in Estonia.

Now we're getting a repeat of the bronze soldier riots in Estonia, followed by the riots "spread to Latgale province in Latvia"

Then it gets quite shocking with dramatizations of people ripping down and burning Latvian flags, calling for referendum and  the Latgale flag being waved again by these Donbas-type terrorists.

Then someone apparently Latvia's PM says "We will take necessary steps to restore order in Daugavpils."

The Brits fret about annoying Putin.

Meanwhile the 'mayor' of Daugavpils says "The people of Latgale will not be bullied" as more fighting breaks out and a policeman is killed.

Brit describes Latvian intelligence services as "neither very competent nor impartial". They seem mainly to be a bunch of upper class twits.

Meanwhile the Latvian Interior Minister, one 'Erik Jurtz' speaks in a curiously un-Latvian accent.

This is awful.


Now  'Motorola' type Russian paramilitary - wearing a Latgale flag - abuses a Latvian soldier while screaming "Eat it you son of a bitch, eat your fucking Latvia" and makes him eat his flag patch.

Some British soldiers have been captured.

"The Russians I believe are involved," says one of the war room geniuses.

"The question is whether we take the Russians at face value," says another.

You think?

The Brits send in special forces to rescue them. It succeeds totally. Pardon me but that is ludicrous.

15 Latvian soldiers killed in helicopter shot down from Russia.

This is a very dangerous mix of fact and ridiculous fantasy.


"I would far rather find a target in Latvia than in Russia," muses one expert int he war room.

Remarkably, one of the other 'experts' has to have it explained to him what an Iskander missile is!

Now we get a repeat of the Ukrainian 'humanitarian' convoys with 300 trucks piling into Latvia with arms and crack troops etc.

Putin says Latgale should have a referendum on autonomy and offers a 'peace plan' including no NATO troops in Latvia or the rest of Eastern Europe.

"This is absolute rubbish," says the only member of the war room who seems to have his head screwed on.

"Are we ready to die for Daugavpils?" smirks another, evidently thinking he said something extremely clever.

Similarly, another points out that there are only 2 million Latvians "equivalent to half a dozen metropolitan boroughs" so probbaly not worth going to war.

However, then resolve hardens a bit and Britain starts sending troops towards Latvia.

The US says give the Russian 72 hour ultimatum.

Former UK ambassador to Latvia Ian Bond does try to bring some sense into proceedings by pointing out that you cannot trust Putin!

"What he would take from a discussion like this is that there is still plenty of mush in the West," says Bond. Well said Sir!

NATO appears to be split with everyone basically relying on the Americans for leadership - as per usual.

The scenario says Merkel is against military action in Latvia but Baltic neighbors, France, Poles etc are willing to act. 

US and British forces launch an operation with thousands of troops to retake Daugavpils.

Russia nukes a Royal Navy ship in the Baltic with loss of 1,000 lives, then Russian representative says sorry, it was a mistake, we didn't mean to.

In the war room they are not sure whether to believe the Russians and worry what the Sun and Daily Mail newspapers will say.

The Americans say "like for like" - we should nuke a military target of theirs.

Remarkably, the Brits are still worried about whether Putin will lose face!

General Sheriff says the Russians have to get out of Latvia to prove they are not lying or face retaliation.

Now the war room decides it might be a good idea to actually target Britain's nuclear weapons on something or other.

One of the arguments put forward is that you do not retaliate to a massive Russian nuclear strike because your deterrence has already failed.

A vote is taken and the Brits decide to just wave bye-bye as the megatons from Moscow rain down.

It's all over. Those early scenes of fighting in 'Daugavpils' were pretty shocking but any consideration of Latvia largely petered out as the war room tied itself in knots wondering whether it was actually worth using those expensive nuclear weapons. 

Quite a few Lithuanian names in the credits so perhaps that's where it was shot.

Most of the scenarios were taken verbatim from recent events: Bronze soldier riots, Donbas convoys, Crimean little green men. But the leap required to see Latgale as a carbon copy of eastern Ukraine's 'People's Republics' is a rather large one - and one that I do not believe is supported by the evidence.

I also find it impossible to believe the Latvian army would just stand by for days with occupying forces on their territory, and I believe countries such as Estonia and Lithuania would offer immediate and considerable support.

As someone has already pointed out to me, it will be interesting to see what happens if this dramatization falls into the wrong hands - or rather WHEN it falls into the wrong hands.

The good news for the Kremlin spin doctors is they no longer need to make such a show - they can just buy it from the BBC.

Good night everyone.

Given that the ending was Armageddon - at least for the United Kingdom - I couldn't help thinking of this: the ending of Dr Strangelove, a rather more skillful black comedy than the one we witnessed tonight.

The singer is Vera Lynn, the British forces' sweetheart back in World War Two - when Britain actually stood up to an insane dictator and won...


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