Saturday, 31 October 2009

Animal Rights and Neo-Nazis

This article should be read by those who like to pretend that the animal rights movement is an heroic enemy of extreme right and racist groups in the UK.

The opposite it true, the AR movement is just a stalking horse for the neo-nazis.

This goes right back to the start of the ALF, in the early seventies, and probably long before.

This link is to an article (recovered by Wayback Machine) where Troy Southgate, a racist animal rights activist, interviews Richard Hunt, a non-racist (but otherwise remarkably extreme) anarchist whose agenda sort of crosses over the animal rights one. (It doesn't start the same, but ends up with a very small human population living by the law of the jungle.)
The fascinating thing, is the reply to Mr Hunt, suggesting that Racial Nationalism is the only way to fight "internationalism".

This is very revealing and Medawar can see why it was taken offline and needed to be retrieved!
If the link stops working, leave a comment to tell me and I'll try and put it up again. It is so helpful to know how the other half thinks.

Sunday, 25 October 2009

Enlightenment and Tyranny

It's hardly an original idea, that the 18th century "Enlightenment" degenerated into 20th century fascism, because any movement which basically relies on using social pressure to make all society's intellectuals appear to agree about everything, is waiting only for the name of fascism to be invented and bestowed upon it. The question which this begs is this: where did the legacy of Enlightenment take us, after it had taken us to Belsen and camp 731?

Although it's often presented as an age when reason replaced superstition and tradition in the affairs of man, that would better describe the flood of new ideas, creeds and innovations, that followed the English Civil War a century earlier. Some of these ideas were lunatic, and nobody except Tony Benn and Billy Bragg still believes in them, others, particularly the concepts of religious and therefore, inevitably, political, freedom, have become so basic to our way of life and our values that we struggle to understand that we didn't always enjoy them. The right of the Humanists to relentlessly insult and abuse Baptists and other Christians, was the work of non-conformist preachers, such as John Bunyan. Before Bunyan's followers gathered at night in Wain Wood, just South of Hitchin, to hear him preach, anyone writing regular letters to the broadsheets declaiming Christianity as an absurdity or a re-hash of a pagan superstition, would have been bunged in the madhouse if lucky, and publicly executed in a particularly brutal fashion if not.

As well as a great deal of death and misery, the Civil War gave England a tremendous breakthrough, much more important than the switch to Parliamentary government, which, in absence of anything resembling straight and democratic election until the reign of William the Fourth in the early nineteenth century, changed the world a lot less than Parliamentary tub-thumpers would like us to think. The breakthrough wasn't any constitutional change, it was the simple realisation that the winning side had won, not through the uniformity and purity of its followers' commitment to any winning ideology, but because the winning side actually encompassed every view possible except those of King Charles the First -and the Pope.

England's new parliamentary rulers didn't entirely get this message at the time, and they made several attempts, some exceptionally brutal, to suppress free thinking and diversity. However, after the Monarchy had been restored and with it a certain amount of political balance, requiring Parliament to have a measure of public support in order to challenge the Sovereign, foreign wars, mainly against the Dutch, reinforced the message until it did get through: England was stronger if everyone was allowed to speak, because then Parliament and the Sovereign represented everyone -and almost everyone would then be willing to push in the same direction.

To comprehend this, one has to be able to accept that there isn't always, or even often, a single "right" idea about anything. John Bunyan and George Fox did not entirely share the same religious views: they fought on the same side in the Civil War, however, and would thereafter have been perfectly willing to fight for the other's right to believe what they themselves did not.

Some people find this baffling, others find it frightening, both these camps eventually end up insisting that "any two honest men, carefully considering the same matter, must reach the same conclusion". The Enlightenment, far from being the source of reason and new thinking, was actually a frightened reaction to the concept that no amount of learned debate could always reveal what was best, and sometimes they had to live with two different views, or two different ways of doing things. (Like Troy pounds and pounds Avoirdupois. A Troy pound isn't wrong because it's not Avoirdupois, let alone metric, it's a Troy pound.)

First of all, debate had to be limited to the right sort of person -and this started to happen even in Bunyan's time. When William Kiffin refused to even discuss certain matters with him, using these words:

"I had not meddled with the controversy at all, had I found any of parts that would divert themselves to take notice of YOU"

Bunyan replied:

What need you, before you have showed me one syllable of a reasonable argument in opposition to what I assert, thus trample my person, my gifts and graces, have I any, so disdainfully under your feet? What kind of a YOU am I? And why is MY rank so mean, that the most gracious and godly among you may not duly and soberly consider of what I have said?

It isn't necessary to know what the matter actually was: only certain people were supposed to engage in debates and form opinions. But in all the centuries since then, has anyone ever made a better argument for both freedom of speech and ordinary gentle courtesy? Has anyone ever needed to?

By the time the composer, Hadyn, was spending his holidays in Vienna, a couple of centuries later, the Enlightenment was in full swing, even in Austria. Hadyn was obliged to write a fairly grovelling letter asking to join a particular masonic lodge, where intellectual debates were held. In practice, unless one was admitted to that lodge, Viennese society wouldn't allow one to talk about any sort of radical or new idea. Hadyn, one of the most creative minds there has ever been, was forced to write some tosh about how having ideas by oneself would lead to discord, whereas if one had ideas in the right company (the lodge or social gatherings staged by its members) new ideas would all be harmonious, like a well-orchestrated piece of music. Medawar suspects that Hadyn didn't actually believe this, as he only ever actually attended the one meeting which inducted him to the lodge, but because he'd done that, he was allowed to have ideas!

Interestingly, for those interested in how far back organized stalking might go, Hadyn's private diaries tend to reflect what he was officially supposed to believe, so it appears he wrote even his personal journal with a view to it being read by officers of either his lodge master, or even the Austro-Hungarian Emperor! Keeping a diary in a code that these interlopers could not read, would have been a suicide note.

The Enlightenment didn't promote new ideas, it controlled them and only allowed out, those which intellectuals agreed upon. (This is not necessarily a mechanism for being right all the time.) This did not die with Hitler, because during the post-war career of Professor Richard Feynman, he found himself being asked to join very high-powered, intellectual debating societies, whose main preoccupation was deciding who else should be allowed to join. Ie: the restriction which Hadyn had encountered in Vienna during the Enlightenment, was heavily present in late twentieth century physics in the United States of America. Feynman was a genius, knew it, didn't really care what anyone thought of him -and was perfectly willing to discuss almost anything with anyone prepared to listen or with something intelligent or genuine to say. He willingly gave ordinary people the courtesy that Bunyan had demanded of his "betters".

The Enlightenment was not a masonic plot, the masons just happened to be a useful way of organising it in some places. In England, a number of Royal Societies were established with pretty much the same aim as Viennese Masonry, you just didn't have to roll your trousers up and swear loyalty to Jaballon to get in.

So, after all that diversion, if that's what it is, through the past, how to answer the original question: where's the Enlightenment taking us after Belsen and Camp 731? After Fascism, Thascism and Blairism, what next?

Here is where we actually have a choice:

If we allow the progression to continue, we will find ourselves in a state where ideas no longer need to be repressed or controlled, because they are no longer being had. In this, Tony Blair and Abu Hanza are brothers. Already, we have a situation where only ideas had in "think tanks" stand even the slightest chance of being commended to policy-makers, indeed, it's probable that there's not a government minister in England who's read an unfiltered idea from an ordinary member of the public since he took office. If it isn't quite true, yet, that's clearly the next intended destination. Once you have confined the having of ideas to the think-tanks, you can tell the think tanks not to bother anymore until they are asked. At which moment, the whole human race, including its rulers, becomes useless.

If we chose, instead, to respect differences of opinion, even when two sane and reasonable men honestly consider the same matter, and we duly and soberly consider of what others say, which is simple courtesy and all that John Bunyan asked, then different ideas can co-exist and new ideas can grow, not always from one "right" idea beating another idea and proving it "wrong" but from two different ideas side by side allowing us to see a third -and a fourth and more thereafter.

(The photograph is from a point near to Wain Wood, looking towards where Bunyan would actually have come from, when travelling to the spot from Bedford Jail. Ie: not straight to the Charlton/Preston area from Bedford, via Shefford and Hitchin, but actually via Ampthill and Shillington. This may be why he was never actually caught. He often returned home (to the jail!) via Potton and Sandy Heath, then a genuine wilderness. Medawar's photograph album produces yet another obscure triumph!)

Thursday, 22 October 2009

Dangers of Being a UK Weapons Expert

This would seem to be a dangerous occupation indeed.
Apart from Dr Kelly, there were all the sonar experts chucked into the Avon Gorge by suicide-fakers unknown; although it's hard to find a better suspect for that than the KGB.

On a lighter note, the nuclear fuel reprocessing facility at Sellafield once failed a safety inspection: Inspectors took all their readings, checked every procedure, were basically happy. One of them shinned up a ladder for a last look at something fairly important, fell off, broke leg, scrawled "failed" on his notes even as the paramedics were splinting his leg ready to take him to hospital.

Update: Austrian police think there might have been foul play.

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Exodus of the Gummerites!

C of E loses responsibility for several thousand "fundamentalists."

Medawar doubts that much sleep will be lost in either Canterbury or York.

The C of E is at its best when expressing a form of quiet, undogmatic faith that has a great deal of support from the Bible, but which singularly fails to feed the cravings of power-worshippers. Those who cannot see or feel that quiet faith and its genuine power, which cannot be so easily abused as the hierarchical and purely political power structure of the Roman Church, will always wander off, eventually. Rome has many, many more divisions than Stalin ever had, and also many rulers -and terrorists- under its mantle. The C of E often appears only to have cakes and flower-festivals, but then, Angels have appeared and baked cakes to sustain prophets in the desert, and "Solomon, in all his splendour, was not robed as one of these." Let John Selwyn Gummer and Antony Charles Lynton Blair hie off to Rome if they must, but they are following and seeking something purely political -and in doing so, they demonstrate that they have missed the point of God, most utterly.

Of course, the C of E could usefully adopt the priesthood of all the believers, and probably one day it will be able to, once all those who need a druid-replacement at the altar have thrown their kneelers out of the pram in a huff.

Thursday, 8 October 2009

What Was the True Purpose of the STASI?

These days, the STASI is forgotten by most people, conveniently so by many German politicians and the British ones who negotiate treaties with them that affect the lives of hundreds of millions of people, but the STASI hasn't really gone away. It has transformed itself into something that certain investigative journalists in Germany (an endangered species, really) refer to as the "Deutschland-Clan".

This is an organized crime network, carrying a lot of clout within the German criminal justice system as former STASI personnel forge new careers in the Federal Police and public prosecutor's offices. It also appears to have both the management and trades unions in its pocket in two areas of strategic communications: German Railways and German Telecommunications. -It also played a role in German and Austrian companies getting impressive contracts from American Railroad companies for signalling and communications gear. (Always less emotive and less publicized than surrendering rolling stock to foreign suppliers, although Railtrack has been happy to do this in the UK.)

Now, it seems very unlikely that the new organised crime network, based on the STASI infrastructure of terror, would be seeking a return of the old communist German state, which would be pointless, or communist world revolution, which would be over-ambitious. But what was the STASI's purpose in the first place: could this provide a clue as to what, apart from make money and terrorize people, the Deutschland Clan is likely to do?

The STASI was formed by negotiation between Gestapo officers and agents captured by the Russians, and NKVD officers tasked with creating a functional communist state from the social chaos left by the Red Army's officially-sanctioned orgy of organized rape, which was Stalin's deliberate punishment for the German people for having turned against him. Essentially, the NKVD offered to let the Gestapo off for war crimes, provided that they agreed to ignore the massive war crime of organized rape, and to make East Germany run for the communists. The deal was struck, and the released Gestapo duly started to enforce order, repair the country's social structure (always, only to a limited extent) and enforce obedience to the new Communist puppets. (But never the same widespread belief that the Nazis had enjoyed.)

So, the STASI, to begin with at least, was a sub-set of the Gestapo, minus the ones who chose to go to the West and do a deal, or Argentina and do no deal. (This depended on whether their "nest egg" was information, which MI6 or the American OSS actually wanted, or whether they already had money. If they had money, they went to Argentina or Paraguay without delay or a single thought to any deal with Western Intelligence, if they had information, they traded that -and then went to Argentina without much in the way of backward glances.) In a sense, the STASI was the Gestapo in purer form, free of the pro-western element or those who had successfully feathered their own nests. Far from being communists, these were the NAZI Taliban, the utter hard core of true believers.

It is hardly surprising, therefore, that in practice, East Germany functioned like the Nazi state, not as it had been during the Holocaust (there wasn't an ethnic minority of any size available in any case!) but as it was between 1933 and 1939. Towards the end, they even had new death-camps built, although the Russians pulled the plug before these could be used. They weren't big enough to "process" a whole ethnic group, just political dissidents, which is precisely what the original NAZI camps were designed to do, before successful territorial conquests left them with more Jews corralled into ghettos than they knew what to do with.

Faced with the chaos and ruined state left behind by Stalin's rapine and revenge, the NKVD had done a deal with the devil and created a survival capsule for Nazism.

Which brings us to the much neglected question of what the NAZI party itself was supposed to be -and for whom?

In 1919, after the Armistice and the punishment of Germany via the Treaty of Versailles, there were several odd little political parties like the NAZIs, all testing out the waters with different bits of the political spectrum. Adolf Hitler, upon his release from hospital, was recruited by German Military intelligence, based on very positive comments about his courage that were on file from his (Jewish) former Commanding Officer, as an agent who would go and infiltrate these subversives. Strangely, for a spy, he ended up as figurehead of the worker's party that he'd been sent to infiltrate. Stranger still, they originally tried out a version of Marxist class warfare, before finding that this found no favour with their potential supporters (bottles were thrown at Himmler when he made a speech saying the Party's ideology was close to Lenin's) and racial politics only emerged as plan B after this riot.

The Nazis engaged in street scuffles and political trials of strength with several other broadly similar parties, (for all we know, German Military intelligence had agents like Hitler in all of these parties) and eventually, after some farcical false starts, the NAZIs got going and started to emerge as the strongest of all the radical new parties. At which point, they suddenly came into the money, from all the industrial combines and big banks that had backed Lubendorf's regime under the Kaiser's rule for the consolidation of Germany and the attempted empire-building that led to the Great War.

Germany seems to us like a fixture, but when the Nazi party started, it hadn't been a united nation all that long and there was still a fond memory of the smaller states that had been there, so much more peacefully, before. There was a distinct possibility in the air, that defeat and austerity would transform German nationalism back into Bavarian and Prussian nationalism, and that the whole thing would revert to its pre-Bismark condition. In those circumstances, the NAZI party acted as a survival capsule, not just for German Imperialism and the industrial combines behind that imperialism (they wanted a worldwide market for their goods, simple as that!) -but for the whole concept of Germany as a nation, rather than as a group of nations sharing a language with Austria and parts of Switzerland and odd bits of other neighbouring states. But Germany as a nation was as much a marketing concept for the big industrial combines as it was a political concept.

The Nazi party was a survival capsule for the global ambitions of German Industrialists, just as Imperial Germany had been their first, overt expression of global ambition. The political ideology of the Nazis was chosen by a mixture of competition and experiment: the party tried different ideologies before it settled on the "Nazi" one that we can recognize -and it competed with other "radical" groups with a suspiciously similar provenance, all based around disgruntled ex-soldiers. (Not something Germany was short of after 1918!) It was a brilliant marketing man's exercise in determining how to sell industrial ambition once more to the rustically-inclined German people, even immediately after that ambition had brought the ringing disaster of military defeat upon them, and the even worse disaster of the punitive Versailles treaty.

All the STASI ever was, was a temporary vehicle for the same seed of ambition that the Nazis had carried. It was only ever waiting for the Soviet ruler to depart, but in the meantime, it was so rooted in the mechanism of social coercion that the Soviets needed in order to rule their part of Germany, that there was no prospect of the NKVD and the KGB routing it out, because that would have yielded control of East Germany to the West. In return for propping up a puppet communist regime, the STASI could keep the embers of NAZIsm alive -and there was nothing Moscow could do about it, although the KGB must have known the nature of the deal which their NKVD predecessors had struck.

Now the Deutschland Clan has spread out from East Germany, to the whole of a united Germany, has tendrils in Austria and in the ethnic German communities of the United States, Canada and Argentina. Being a Mafia organization, it has contact with the Russian and Polish Mafias, but the master servant relationship that appeared to exist between the KGB and the STASI, is reversed between the Deutschland Clan and the Russian Mafia. Tail wags dog.

The Deutschland Clan represents a direct threat to democracy, not just in Germany and Austria, but also in the United States, Canada and Argentina. The danger here is very real and very great. It may also be very imminent, but this is harder to gauge.