All posts filed under: historical perspectives

The Divine Right of Dark-hearted Despots

This essay was in part, inspired by — and written in memory of — William Blum (1932-2018). Blum was a comrade-in-arms, and himself one of the great keyboard warriors of his time. We all had much to learn from this man about courage, integrity, tenacity, and resilience in the service of truth.

Captain Cook’s “Discovery” 250 Years On

Hugh O’Neill CAPTAIN COOK Abridged from a lecture by Professor Bernard Smith (1916-2011) The evil that men do lives after them, The good is oft interr’d within their bones.” Julius Caesar, Act III, Scene 2 That’s one way to start isn’t it, but in Cook’s case it misses the point rather badly. Because his bones were not properly interred, they were carried around for over forty years in a reliquary bundle at Hawaii (at the carnival time of the god Lono, the time of the god’s harvest festival) as a sign that the god had returned, and a sign perhaps too that the god was now an Englishman. In Cook’s case, both the good and evil aspects of his astounding achievements have been keenly debated since his death. Cook’s three Pacific voyages had immense consequences because they changed the world so radically that their good and evil consequences continue to be debated e.g. is modern industrial society a blessing or a curse? We enjoy the benefits even as we become increasingly apprehensive as to the …

The Orientalism of Western Russophobia

Last year marked the 40th anniversary of the publication of Edward W. Said’s pioneering book, Orientalism, as well as fifteen years since the Palestinian-American intellectual’s passing. To bid farewell to such an important scholar shortly after the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq, which Said fiercely criticized until his dying breath before succumbing to leukemia, made an already tremendous loss that much more impactful.

Iron Ladies and Golden Dreams

Steven Keith It was Margaret Thatcher who as Prime Minister was the principal driving force behind the expansion of the European Union. It was she who advocated the broadening of the physical, philosophical, financial and spiritual scope of the European Community as it was then known, to include the eastern European and Baltic, former Warsaw Pact states. Her nemesis at that time was Jaques Delors, a bureaucrat and a Frenchman. He of course (being that he had risen to the appointed post of a Commissioner) came from the Brussels mindset that was then and remains to this day of the same view, that being, that Brussels, Berlin and Paris run the show between them. The physical structures of the EU project in Brussels, Belgium being underpinned by the financial and philosophical capacities of Germany and France. Thatcher attempted to weaken that triumvirate by expanding the number of nations and taking advantage of the fact that those countries were existing in their post-Soviet incarnation, that being, in a state of virtual financial anarchy, masquerading as liberalism. …

Four Little Words

It was Sir John Templeton, the American-born British investor, banker, fund manager, and philanthropist, who sardonically observed that in business and finance the expression ‘this time it’s different’ represented the four most expensive words in the business lexicon. Today’s market fundamentalists seem fixated with the quasi-religious belief that (a) bubbles can go on inflating forever, or (b) I will take my profit just when the market tops out. But how many times have the investing herd had their collective snouts rubbed into the reality that there is no such thing as a free lunch? Unless of course you are on the inside. Whenever a market is oversold and seems to offer something for nothing, market participants behave like wildebeest herds on the plains of the Serengeti stampeding in precisely the wrong direction to the refrain of – ‘this time it’s different.’

Leavings

Tony Benn used to say that he grew more radical as he got older. As in many things, Benn was unusual. People are generally apt to grow more reactionary as they get older. This is particularly true of MPs of all persuasions. For all its timid and marginal reforms of itself, the Palace of Westminster is still more like a traditional gentlemen’s club than any other institution. MPs are easily lulled by the comforts and the rhythms of the House.

Goebbels is alive and well…in Amerika

Philip A. Farruggio Peter Longerich’s 2015 biography Goebbels instructs well how history can and does repeat itself. Like many of the NeoCon ex “Lefties” who loaded up the Bush Sr. and Jr. administrations, Goebbels was at first a true socialist, perhaps even a Marxist sympathizer. [He had also seriously considered the Catholic priesthood.] As a young novelist and later journalist, he had a real dislike for the Fat Cat capitalists who he and others from both the political left and right blamed for Germany’s fall from grace. When he “found” Adolf Hitler, despite his many disappointments about Hitler from his diary entries ( including the fact that he fervently believed that Hitler was in love with Goebbels’ fiancé Magda … and perhaps vice versa), Goebbels joined the new Fuehrer Cult. As with many others in economically and culturally depressed Germany, Goebbels was enamored with the man he referred to as ‘The boss’. The need for a messianic leader, actually a dictator, was very prevalent among many in the NASDAP (Nazi party). So much so that …

More than Cognitive Dissonance

James O’Neill The dilemmas in Canberra go beyond the respective roles of the American alliance and the China trade. They point to a failure to grasp historical reality and an equal failure to perceive the future. In a recent article in the influential Australian website Pearls and the Irritations (www.johnmenadue.com 8 January 2019) Richard Broinowski set out several reasons why the Canberra establishment (Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Ministry of Defence and Prime Minister and Cabinet) in what he described as cognitive dissonance, have adhered to a pro-American set of foreign policies. This has been the case ever since then Prime Minister John Curtin’s announcement in 1941 that Australia was essentially switching its reliance on the United Kingdom to an equally dependent relationship with the United States. Mr Broinowski then set out a series of factors why this has been the case at least up until the 2017 Foreign Policy White Paper, although he now detects some faint glimmerings of a possible policy shift. Such optimism in my view lacks a solid evidential foundation. …

The CIA Then and Now: Old Wine in New Bottles

The Nazis had a name for their propaganda and mind-control operations: weltanschauungskrieg – “world view warfare.” As good students, they had learned many tricks of the trade from their American teachers, including Sigmund Freud’s nephew, Edward Bernays, who had honed his propagandistic skills for the United States during World War I and had subsequently started the public relations industry in New York City, an industry whose raison d’ȇtre from the start was to serve the interests of the elites in manipulating the public mind.

Winston Churchill: Close, But No Cigar

David Lindsay Never forget that Piers Morgan was one of extremely few mainstream media figures to see through the Iraq War lies from the start. And thanks to his exchange with Ross Greer, Winston Churchill is back. In Great Contemporaries, published in 1937, two years after he had called Hitler’s achievements “among the most remarkable in the whole history of the world”, Churchill wrote that: “Those who have met Herr Hitler face to face in public business or on social terms have found a highly competent, cool, well-informed functionary with an agreeable manner, a disarming smile, and few have been unaffected by a subtle personal magnetism.” That passage was not removed from the book’s reprint in 1941. In May 1940, Churchill had been all ready to give Gibraltar, Malta, Suez, Somaliland, Kenya and Uganda to Mussolini, whom he had called “the greatest living legislator”. All sorts of things about Churchill are simply ignored. Gallipoli. The miners. The Suffragettes. The refusal to bomb the railway lines to Auschwitz. His dishonest and self-serving memoirs. The truth about …

Privatization is at the Core of Facsism

Privatizations are increasingly fashionable, such as in Greece, Ukraine, the U.S., and UK — and privatizations are a central feature of fascism. Eric Zuesse The first group of privatizations occurred in the first fascist nation, Italy, in the 1920s; and the second group of privatizations occurred in the second fascist nation, Germany, in the 1930s. Privatizations started under Mussolini, and then were instituted under Hitler. That got the fascist ball rolling; and, after a few decades of hiatus in the wake of fascism’s embarrassing supposed defeat in WW II, it resurfaced and then surged yet again after 1970, when fascist forces in the global aristocracy, such as via the CIA, IMF, Bilderberg group, and Trilateral Commission, imposed the global reign of the world’s main private holders of bonds and of stocks: the world’s aristocrats are taking on an increasing percentage of what were previously public assets. Privatizations, after starting in fascisms during the pre-WWII years, resumed again in the 1970s under the fascist Chilean leader Augusto Pinochet; and in the 1980s under the fascist British …

We Need a Martin Luther King Day of Truth

As Martin Luther King’s birthday is celebrated with a national holiday, his death day disappears down the memory hole. Across the country – in response to the King Holiday and Service Act passed by Congress and signed by Bill Clinton in 1994 – people will be encouraged to make the day one of service. Such service does not include King’s commitment to protest a decadent system of racial and economic injustice or non-violently resist the U.S. warfare state that he called “the greatest purveyor of violence on earth.”

NATO Expansion: What Gorbachev Heard

by the George Washington University’s National Security Archive, December 12, 2017 Declassified documents show security assurances against NATO expansion to Soviet leaders from Baker, Bush, Genscher, Kohl, Gates, Mitterrand, Thatcher, Hurd, Major, and Woerner U.S. Secretary of State James Baker’s famous “not one inch eastward” assurance about NATO expansion in his meeting with Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev on February 9, 1990, was part of a cascade of assurances about Soviet security given by Western leaders to Gorbachev and other Soviet officials throughout the process of German unification in 1990 and on into 1991, according to declassified U.S., Soviet, German, British and French documents posted today [December 12, 2017] by the National Security Archive at George Washington University (http://nsarchive.gwu.edu). The documents show that multiple national leaders were considering and rejecting Central and Eastern European membership in NATO as of early 1990 and through 1991, that discussions of NATO in the context of German unification negotiations in 1990 were not at all narrowly limited to the status of East German territory, and that subsequent Soviet and Russian …

The Dallaire Genocide Fax: A Fabrication

by Christopher Black, April 8 2018, via The Rwandan I first wrote this in 2005 and it was published by Sanders Research Associates in the UK. Since then the information in it has been deliberately ignored by writers in Canada and the US (apart from David Peterson and Ed Herman who supported me in my fight with the New York Times to get the truth out, and Mick Collins) who write on the subject and to whom I have sent this information and of course by the major media. Even those willing to criticise Dallaire on some level seem to want to protect him on this. I have the copy of the fabricated fax as sent into the UN for anyone to see and I have the transcripts of the cross-examination of the Belgian Army  Colonel Claeys during which it was shown to be a forgery by the British Army. Why writers and media continue to ignore the facts they will have to explain. But such, shall we say, negligence seems to be normal these …

War Criminals at Large

It is a common misconception that democracies do not start wars of aggression or carry out terrorist attacks. The historical facts for the period from 1945 to today show a completely different reality: time and again, democratic states in Europe and North America have participated in wars of aggression and terrorist attacks in the past 70 years.

Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” at 175

Catte This is an updated version of our 2017 article to mark the 175th anniversary of A Christmas Carol Today we think of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol as a cosy piece of traditional seasonal fare, replete with steaming puds and roasted goose and comfortably easy lessons about not being stingy at Crimbo. But when Dickens wrote his novella in 1843 he was delivering a far more serious – and possibly freshly relevant – warning about the moral bankruptcy of a society that destroys human lives in pursuit of profit. It’s a fact not much considered, but Das Kapital and A Christmas Carol were both written in the same city, in the same decade – just five years apart. To those familiar only with the numerous adaptations of Dickens’ tale it might seem absurd to look for any point of connection between these two books. What can a feel-good tale of middle class redemption have to do with a study of the class struggle? But this question only begs to be asked because a lot …

JFK 55 years on: Casting Light on 9/11 & Other 21st Century Crimes

Fifty-five years ago, on November 22, 1963, John F. Kennedy was assassinated. Although there has been a great deal written about this event over the years, I want to draw attention to one exceptionally important article, originally delivered as a talk on November 20, 1998. Vincent Salandria gave this talk in Dallas at the invitation of the Coalition on Political Assassinations. Salandria had been a high school teacher at the time of the assassination (he later became a lawyer) and was one of the first people in the US to write essays expressing dissent from the government narrative of lone gunman Lee Harvey Oswald, maverick leftist.

World War I: An Illustrated Guide to Propaganda

Terje Maloy These stories are not unique cases from a remote war. The same methods are constantly rinsed and repeated, the mentality in our ruling elites is the same, and the risk of a major conflict is as great today as in 1914. These examples concentrate mostly on British/American perception management and propaganda. First of all, because they are masters of the art, and secondly, as victors they still dominate the narrative. ARTHUR PONSONBY AND FALSEHOOD IN WARTIME After the Great War came a huge backlash of disillusion and revulsion. Calmly analysed, most of what had been told in the war turned out to be lies and half-truths. “Falsehood in War-time, Containing an Assortment of Lies Circulated Throughout the Nations During the Great War” was the title of a book published in 1928. Written by Arthur, Ponsonby, it discussed 20 instances of lies in wartime. The contents of the book can be summed up in the Ten Commandments of War Propaganda: We do not want war. The opposite party alone is guilty of war. The enemy is the face of …

Armistice Day & the Resurrection of the Old Lie

In a profoundly dishonest society, the shared grief of World War I is one of the few things we all know the truth of. One of the few things we are all honest about. Because it’s important. Because it’s a wound too deep to ignore, a betrayal too lasting to be forgiven.

The Great War was sold to the British public as a just war. Men were sent over to France and Belgium to curb “German aggression and Imperial ambitions”. Every generation since has known that to be an absurd lie.

That lesson could be vital to our survival.

Upside Down Mark Twain

Philip Farruggio Mark Twain AKA Samuel Clemens ( 1835-1910) best known for his literary works like Tom Sawyer & Huckleberry Finn, was also a man with deep rooted empathy for any underclass containing people of color. Few readers of his works realize that he was also a staunch opponent of imperialism, having been president of the Anti Imperialist League from 1901 to his death in 1910. Twain wrote about the treatment of the Chinese in San Francisco during the Civil War when he was a newspaper reporter. In 1865 he astonished many passersby, even those who fought for the abolition of slavery years earlier, when he chose to walk arm in arm through the San Francisco streets with the editor of the recently established Afro American newspaper, the Elevator. Of course, one of his most famous quotes was on his definition of politics: “To protect us from the crooks and scoundrels”. He also said something that resonates so strongly today: Sometimes I wonder whether the world is being run by smart people who are putting …