War Crimes

Rewriting History: The Myth of the Good War

Planned Berlin to Baghdad Railway

As we mourn the deaths of millions of young Europeans in a futile dispute between rival empires, British, French, Russian and American leaders perpetuate the myth of a simple battle between good and evil, freedom and tyranny, democracy and dictatorship. Yet without the deep scars left by the blood-stained aftermath of the Great War, much of Europe would probably not have endured revolutionary uprisings, which soon gave rise to much more grotesque expressions of tyranny in the form of Fascism, Stalinism and most catastrophically Nazism. Many younger people could be forgiven for believing Herbert Asquith, Winston Churchill and Lloyd George took the British Empire to war in order to defeat not just Prussian adventurism, but all the horrors later associated with Nazi Germany. Yet the Germany of 1914 was as democratic as Britain or France. Not only did Germany have universal male suffrage before the UK (which excluded not just all women, but also millions of poor men from the electoral franchise), it had the world's largest Social Democratic party and best organised labour movement. Far from being a beacon of social enlightenment, despite its wealth and intellectual talent, the United Kingdom still ruled over hundreds of millions of colonial subjects in the Indian Subcontinent and much of Africa. Openly racialist ideas justified the supremacy of small white minorities and local elites in most colonies. How could one country that had fought a long string of wars in locales as diverse as South Africa, Afghanistan and India lecture another with a much smaller sphere of influence and only a fledgling colonial empire? Just 44 years earlier Britain seemed quite happy for its ally Prussia to humiliate its long-time imperial rival France, by first seizing Paris and imposing its terms for peace with the transfer of much of Alsace and Lorraine to the newly formed German Empire. Only 55 before that in the infamous Battle of Waterloo, the British army under the command of the Duke of Wellington had helped Prussia defeat Napoleon and thus contain Britain's main maritime competitor as well as the dominant continental European power. For much of the 19th century Germany, not France or Russia, had been Britain's main ally on the continent. Britain supported the creation of the new Belgian state out of the southern Netherlands Provinces and French-speaking Walloon region to limit French ambitions more than those of Prussia. Indeed the British Royal Family descended from the House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. In 1914 King George V's government effectively declared war on his cousin Kaiser Wilhelm II.

Standard schoolbook history usually emphasises the assassination of the Habsburgian Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo, which the Austro-Hungarian government blamed on Serbia, a small slavic state rising from the ashes of an Ottoman Empire in rapid decline. Sandwiched between the Ottoman and Austro-Hungarian empires, Serbia naturally sought alliances with Russia and France. However, let us not forget France and Britain had temporarily joined forces with the Ottoman Empire to contain an expansionist Russia in the 1853-56 Crimean War.

In the century prior to the outbreak of the 1914-18 Great War, Britain had supported Prussia against expansionist France, France and the Ottoman Empire against expansionist Russia, before letting Prussia curtail the European influence of Napoleon III's resurgent Second French Empire. Why would Britain now side with Russia in its quest to gain a foothold in the Balkans via Serbia over the assassination of a foreign royal. While the German Empire had gained Alsace and Lorraine to the west and chunks of former Poland to the east, the Russian Empire had gobbled up the rest of Poland, the baltic states north of East Prussia and Finland as well as all the former Caucasian and central Asian Soviet republics that gained independence from the Russian Federation in 1991. Germany's main competitor in rapidly industrialising Central and Eastern Europe was Russia, who had in turn formed an alliance with its main competitor, and former occupier to the West, France. Britain, although now eclipsed by Germany and United States as an industrial power, had reached the pinnacle of its imperial power. Did it really matter if Germany settled a few scores with a despotic Russian Empire and once again put France in her rightful place as a medium-sized Western European nation? Could Britain not act as a mere mediator between Russia, the Ottoman Empire, France, Austro-Hungary and Germany. After all, it had both opposed and joined forces with all these empires to suit its imperial interests. As for neutral Belgium, it had just overseen the slaughter of possibly a million or more Africans in the Congo Free State (some accounts suggest as many as 10 million, depending on the accuracy of pre-colonial population estimates), while over half its European population would sooner reunite with the Netherlands than fight dirty wars in the service of Belgian colonialism.

However, Germany was certainly not blameless. It had been too eager to settle scores and strike preemptively against France via Belgium. Its military leaders sought to expand their geographic reach through their industrial power at a time when most of the world had already been carved up, except for one lucrative region whose recently discovered abundant fossil fuel reserves would enable unprecedented economic expansion later in the century. Kaiser Wilhelm's Germany had begun the construction of a ground-breaking Berlin to Baghdad railway, just as American and British geologists working for the Anglo-Persian Oil Company discovered black oil at Masjid-i-Sulaiman in the mountains of north-western Iran. Not surprisingly, though conquering the Middle East was never mentioned either as a pretext for war, much of Britain's military operations over the following four years took place not in continental Europe at all, but in Mesopotamia.

For more read: The Darkest Days: The Truth Behind Britain's Rush to War, 1914 by Douglas Newton

Power Dynamics

The Globalist Mindset

If you love planet earth and the human race, may I humbly suggest corporate globalisation leading to a grotesque misappropriation of resources may not be such a good idea after all. However, some self-proclaimed progressives disagree. They somehow associate the onward march of transnational organisations, the proliferation of branded retail outlets and the relentless expansion of the non-productive hedonism business with a concept they like to call progress. Indeed, even many wishful-thinking greens and socialists have internalised the notion that we, as a species, are all on a one-way journey towards a better tomorrow and we can face all potential challenges through ever greater cooperation. Guiding us are an alliance of transnational organisations, multinational enterprises and virtual social networks integrated seamlessly with the entertainment industry. As soon as people gain access to the World Wide Web from Norway to Chile or Japan to Angola, they tend to join Facebook apparently to stay in touch with a diaspora of friends and family, but also to broaden their mindmap of familiar faces to friends of friends or newly formed virtual communities of special interest groups. Never has the world been more connected and never has travel from one country to another been so easy. Many global optimists already view countries as mere relics of a bygone era of nation states, fallen empires and anachronistic religions. Local languages, dress codes, cuisines and custom blend into a potpourri of flavours and choices available in an apparent free market. Whether a modern world citizen happens to be relaxing by the beach in Goa, visiting museums in New York City or Paris, attending a business conference in Dubai or inspecting a factory in a Chinese megacity, the interconnected global culture never seems far away. The same brands and artefacts of our postmodern decadence and techno-wizardry accompany financial wealth wherever it spreads. While 50 years ago opulence was concentrated in a handful of wealthy countries, extreme decadence has spread worldwide. There are billionaires in countries we once prefixed with the label third-world such as India, Brazil, Indonesia and even Nigeria, and billionaires in the first and second world countries often hail from former colonies of the old imperial powers. Nowhere is the scourge of ostentation as daunting as in the Middle East, the scene of over 80 years of imperialist meddling and destabilisation. Yet without easy access and control of the world's cheapest oil reserves in the Middle East, the global economy would shrink.

Just 20 years after the fall of the former Warsaw Pact, European governments have become little more than county councils negotiating deals with multinationals and harmonising legislation in line with new laws in other countries and with the wishes of international pressure groups. In practice government ministers act merely as middle managers implementing policies decided elsewhere and liaising with local underlings to mitigate adverse effects for social stability. In many ways the history of post-war Europe has been a conflict between rival visions of global harmonisation. As long as the rift between the Stalinist East and Capitalist West remained, leaders paid lip-service to outmoded concepts such as self-determination, national sovereignty and workers' rights. Countries could intervene to protect markets against destabilising global competition thus protecting not only local jobs, but also key skill bases. After the big powers had redrawn boundaries and forced millions to move, enduring extreme hardship and even starvation, from around 1950 to 1990, Europe enjoyed one of its longest periods of peace, social stability and general prosperity. Admittedly large pockets of relative poverty and social exclusion remained, as did authoritarian regimes in Eastern Europe and until the mid 1970s in Spain, Portugal and Greece. However, the degree of democratic participation and freedom of expression tended to reflect both social and economic realities. Those countries with the highest material living standards and thus best equipped to meet demands for better pay, working conditions and availability of life's pleasures and luxuries, could allow greater debate on economic policies and tolerate much greater dissent. If the business classes can distract the populace with bread and circuses and carefully manage the range of acceptable opinions, dissent can be easily sidelined or channelled into narrow lifestyle issues. Despite longstanding cultural differences, all Western European government pursued essentially social democratic policies. While governments allowed industries to compete, trade, expand and satisfy growing demand for consumer goods, they also invested in technological innovation and infrastructure, expanded welfare provision and protected national markets and workers against unfair competition from low-wage economies.

In the 1980s globalisation entered a new era with the Reaganite and Thatcherite obsession with supply-side economics and outsourcing of manufacturing. Since the fall of the former Warsaw Pact, we have seen the expansion of the European Union from a small set of countries with similar living standards to encompass most of the continent from Ireland to Romania or Finland to Portugal alongside other regional trading pacts from NAFTA, Mercosur to ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations). As a result the social democratic dream must either be extended to all and sundry or be gradually dismantled. In the UK we have the paradoxical situation where many descendants of the once proud working classes have become trapped in welfare dependence while low-wage jobs are increasingly the preserve of newcomers. To put things in perspective, despite public concerns about immigration from Commonwealth countries in 1950s to the 1980s, this immigration was always relatively balanced by emigration. Indeed between 1945 and 1995, total immigration to the UK was just under 2 million, a large number but spread over 50 years. Of course, the demographic effects were distorted by varying birth rates. Since 1995 more than net migration has been running at between 100,000 and 250,000 a year and the population has risen from a 58 million in 1991 to 63 million in 2011 despite a below replacement fertility rate among the native population. This means the UK has import raw materials, manufactured goods and food to sustain economic growth. So, as ironical as may seem to many trendy lefties, a higher population and greater economic growth in the UK leads to greater depredation of resources elsewhere. Where people suffer hardships in many apparently developing countries, it is often because foreign multinationals have uprooted them from their ancestral lands to exploit resources required by global markets. Yet corporate globalisation acts as double-edged sword, forcing people to leave their homelands and conveniently shifting the blame to the incompetence or corruptions of local leaders, while simultaneously promoting the very consumption-led economic growth that causes this displacement.

A False Sense of Security

Harold MacMillan, British prime minister in the late 1950s, once claimed "You've never had it so good". In some respects our material wellbeing and life expectancy have continued to improve since. However,what mattered most to those who remembered the humiliation of mass unemployment, soup kitchens, orphanages and real poverty below the breadline, were a secure job, affordable housing and a better future for their children. By the early 1960s most Western Europeans had all three essential components of the good life. With the advent of affordable television sets and growing car ownership, the new norm came to resemble the American Dream. It mattered little that most of the world still lived in a kind of post-colonial semi-feudalism or had to endure the excesses of Maoist or Stalinist authoritarian idealism.

Power Dynamics

What’s going on in Ukraine?

All of sudden the world's media turns its attention to the transition of power in one of Europe's most mysterious regions extending from Eastern Poland, Slovakia,Moldova and Romania in the West, Belarus to the north and the Russian Federation to the East.

While the mainstream media in the West lay the blame for the Ukrainian crisis clearly with Viktor Yanukovych's deposed Russophile government and its refusal to sign an association agreement with the EU, others note the role played by the US-based National Endowment for Democracy and myriad NGOs in funding and supporting the opposition Euro-Maidan movement, named after Kiev's eponymous central square. The uprising followed a script familiar to observers of other apparent insurgencies in places as disparate as Syria and Venezuela and come sjust 10 years after the much trumpeted Orange Revolution. The young appear to embrace organisations and policies favoured by an international coalition, while the incumbent administrations are invariably depicted in uncomplimentary anti-democratic terms. It must seem rather odd the National Endowment for Democracy support Islamic fundamentalists in Syria against Assad's current secular government, opponents of economic redistribution and social justice in Venezuela (which remains one of the most unequal countries on the planet) and now xenophobes in Ukraine. However, a little perspective is in order. Ukraine remains of the poorest regions in Europe. At $7600 its 2012 GDP per capita is not only much lower than that in neighbouring Poland ($21,000), but also than Russia's at $17,000.

Since the Kievan Rus fell to the Duchies of Poland and Lithuania around 1400, the Ukraine has only existed as a notional ethnolinguistic region. Although it briefly enjoyed independence in 1920, it has only existed in its current borders since 1954 and as independent state since 1991. For most of its history Western and Central Ukraine formed part of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. With the demise of Poland and expansion of Russia, Prussia and Austria in the 19th century, the Ruthenian region was annexed by the Austro-Hungarian Empire, while the remainder was incorporated into the Russian Empire. After the First World War, Lviv rejoined Poland as Lwow, while Ruthenia formed the easternmost region of the newly created Czechoslovakia. The remainder of the region became the Ukrainian SSR. Known as Russia's bread basket, the region experienced one of the worst famines of the 20th century known as Holodomor, largely due to forced collectivisation, bad economic management and its inability to deal with extreme weather events. Many Ukrainians blamed the Moscow-based Bolshevik leadership and this played a major role in the subsequent collaboration of Ukrainian nationalists with occupying Nazis and their post-WW2 insurgency against Stalinist expansionism.

The 1939 Molotov-Ribbentrop pact allowed the Soviet Union to claim Eastern Poland and temporarily expand Ukrainian territory. After its short-lived, but turbulent Nazi occupation from 1941 - 44, Ukraine became a major beneficiary of the Soviet Union's western terroritial gains. It now incorporated Eastern Galicia, east of the Curzon Line, Slovak Ruthenia and parts of Romania. Millions of Poles were forced to move to Poland's new Western Territories. Before the war, Ukrainians accounted for just over a third of the population in Poland's Eastern provinces. Ethnic cleansing began with the infamous Nazi Einsatzgruppen, responsible for rounding up and massacring Jews and and continued with attacks on remaining Poles and other ethnic minorities by the anti-communist Ukrainian Insurgent Army from 1944 to 1952.

Despite these tumultuous events, the Soviet era saw greater integration with the Russian Federation, with many Russians moving to the Ukraine and Ukrainians to Russia proper, in keeping with a general policy of ethnic mingling among the peoples of the USSR. Although Ukrainian enjoyed official recognition, Russian became the dominant language of education and administration. Since the fall of the former Soviet Union, Russian has lost considerable international prestige. Indeed Ukrainian is now the sole official language as a strong statement of cultural independence.

The hastily improvised coalition that has taken power in Kiev seeks, rather unsurprisingly, to join the European Union and, by consequence, NATO. This will very likely force the Ukrainian government to adopt otherwise unpopular economic convergence policies and allow Western European businesses to expand their retail and banking empires, with higher property and retail prices. Inevitably younger Ukrainians will migrate west, exacerbating a brain drain and demographic imbalance in Ukraine, and competing with other Eastern and Southern Europeans in a very precarious job market in wealthier EU countries. This place even greater downward pressure on wages at the bottom end of the salary scale.


  1. Kiev is the customary English transliteration of the Russian name for the city, Киев, while some authors prefer Kyiv based on the Ukrainian variant, Київ . While I sympathise with this approach, why do we still refer to the Flemish city of Brugge by its French name of Bruges or insist on translating the names of so many other European cities from Naples to Copenhagen?

Power Dynamics

The Sheer Arrogance of Tony Blair’s Clone

"But let me be clear - Britain may be a small island, but I would challenge anyone to find a country with a prouder history, a bigger heart or greater resilience."

David Cameron

So presumably thousands of years of Chinese, Indian or Middle Eastem history, literature, innovations count for little, and Britain's neighbours have little to teach us. Britain may have had its heyday in the 18th and 19th centuries, but today just builds on its past glory as a marketing tool.

"Britain is an island that has helped to clear the European continent of fascism and was resolute in doing that throughout the Second World War."

Such gross simplifications open up a can of worms. Broadly speaking in the 1920s and 30s more stable countries with relatively tame and malleable populations retained some form of consultative democracy, while those that underwent greater economic instability and had a more rebellious and free-thinking populace fell under the control of more authoritarian regimes. Moreover, Britain and France relied on resources from their empires to placate workers at home. The British government and UK businesses were happy to do business with a wide range of dictatorships. Indeed in much of the non-white British Empire, natives were only consulted through their leaders. In the first world war Bismarck's Germany and David LLoyd George's Colonial Britain had similar democratic credentials.

Britain is an island that helped to abolish slavery, that has invented most of the things worth inventing, including every sport currently played around the world, that still today is responsible for art, literature and music that delights the entire world."

The new capitalist ruling class only sought to abolish slavery after it had become an obsolete means of exploitation, replaced by wage slavery and the uprooting of traditional rural communities to make way for a new era of industrialisation and later mass consumerism. Child labour (exploitation of preteen boys snd girls)continued in the UK well in the 20th century, e.g. as late as 1911 over 18% of Lancashire boys between 10 and 14 had to work.

Reportedly at the G20 St Petersburg Summit a Russian official, close to Vladimir Putin, dismissed Britain as just a small country that nobody really pays much attention to. That may seem rather undiplomatic, but for over 15 years the government of this small island has been busy promoting military intervention under false humanitarian pretexts, while lecturing everyone else on free trade, democracy and human rights. Such an attitude presumes the UK government and its favoured NGOs know better than the rest of the world, eagerly awaiting Anglo-American emancipation.

All countries can cite their heroes and achievements. Without the agricultural revolution that spread from the Fertile Crescent of Mesopotamia via Anatolia to Europe and North Africa, few of the subsequent technological advances in later European empires would have been possible. To put things in perspective, the Sumerians had mastered the art of writing 5000 years ago, yet before the Roman Conquest there is little evidence of any writing besides isolated ideographs in ancient Britain or Ireland. Without literacy and an understanding of mathematics, developed by various civilisations over thousands of years, the famous scientists and inventors of the early industrial period would have lacked the intellectual building blocks that underly many ubiquitous objects like ball bearings, pistons, camshafts or electric motors that make our modern world possible.

Cameron's eulogy to the greatness of the small island he represents does have a modicum of truth. Beyond doubt between the early 18th century and the late 19th century, scientists and inventors flourished more in the British Isles than in many other larger countries. However, by the turn of the 20th century the US economy had overtaken Britain's while the centres of technical innovations had moved to US, Germany and Japan. Without its technological headstart, it is unlikely Britain would have conquered over 1/4 of the globe. Yet throughout its heyday of industrial power, the subjects of this blessed isle toiled away in factories, down mines and on ships for 12+ hours a day, were condemned to abject living conditions and had little say, if any, in the way their country was governed for the electorate was restricted to just a select group of male property owners. Infant mortality in the England of 1800 was much higher than in today's Malawi. Mine owners would willingly send 8 year old boys into dark and narrow coal shafts inaccessible to adults to gain a competitive advantage and drive their country's economic expansion.

If one's sole sources of current affairs news are the Anglo-American mainstream media (namely BBC, CNN, Fox News, Sky News, the Guardian, the Times of London, the Independent etc.) and one has failed to check their track record in the run-up to previous military interventions, one may be forgiven for believing, at least temporarily, that the head of the Syrian regime is a bad guy responsible for heinous crimes against his people, while the US and UK represent the forces for good. One can just imagine the spectre of multicoloured UN peace corps marching into Damascus greeted by thankful Syrians eager to join the global consumer frenzy. Indeed for some that is the end game, so all places just become provinces of a happy global empire of Latte-sipping Bohemian marketing executives debating the relative merits of Google Glasses, iPhones and Samsung Watches. In such a world regions would only differ in their climate, historical architecture and accent of World English. However, such a reality is unlikely to extend beyond an affluent elite. Behind the scenes the system's dependence on permanent economic growth in a finite world is causing greater tension over access to precious resources. The kind of free trade that successive British governments have championed have promoted not only greater interdependence and less food security, but have also enabled some financially rich regions to consume much more than their landmass and resources would otherwise allow. The UK may be a small collection islands, but through its reliance on imports it is a major offloader of pollution. All those inexpensive Chinese-made goods pollute China and depredate resources from the rest of the world to drive the UK economy. They do not somehow magically appear prepackaged in warehouses and retail outlets in wealthy countries, without undergoing multiple stages of industrial transformation and travelling thousands of miles.

Most ironically, the globalist neoliberal elite do not really care about ordinary British people. When employers spoke of a skills shortage in the debt-fuelled boom years of the early noughties (2000-2007), New Labour had a golden opportunity to reform the welfare system and encourage the millions of workless adults reclassified as disabled to get back into work. Instead they decided to allow recruitment agencies to bring in Eastern Europeans in bulk to do jobs that ordinary working class people used to do, but now reportedly refused to. The pseudo-left liberal intelligentsia looks down on ordinary English people, dismissing them either as unenlightened feckless layabouts if they do not work or Daily Mail-reading whingers if they do work, but complain about mass immigration and social engineering. So the country that gave birth to Isaac Newton, James Watt and Alan Turing, now has a severe shortage of home-grown engineers and scientists because the new generation entering the workforce is more interested in easy money in management, training, recruitment, advertising and consulting. Britain has become a country where most workers can talk the talk, but few walk the walk without the aid of foreign machinery and resources.

Power Dynamics

Forerunners of Modern Globalisation

Homo sapiens sapiens first evolved as a distinct species at least 120,000 years ago with some recent finds in the Middle East dated as long ago as 200,000 years ago. On that time scale, the Neolithic agrarian revolution, which took place in most parts of world between 15,000 and 5,000 years ago and only reaching some locales such as Australia with European colonisation, is fairly recent. Prior to the agrarian revolution, communities had a much more direct relationship with their natural surroundings, were largely nomadic hunter-gatherers and so intensely involved in precuring food for their extended families that they lacked the technological means for more advanced forms of political organisation that could subdue other populations.

By and large human communities kept their distance limiting population growth and conflicts, but traded tools, artefacts and bounties. The earliest human settlers of Europe were not imperialists intent on dominating other peoples or seeking greater wealth for their rulers, but adventurers seeking greener pastures and often responding to regional climatic and environmental changes. Some anthropologists now consider the first waves of Indoeuropeans who expanded from Anatolia or the Crimean region around 7000 years ago to be the first imperialists, who set out to spread their culture on horseback through their mastery of animal husbandry and ability to generate food surpluses and this sustain larger communities. Pre-Indoeuropeans correctly designate the peoples who had colonised the Indo-european linguistic and cultural area before Indo-European expansion as opposed to later waves of migrants such as the Ural-Altaic who rode in from the east. Recent genetic analysis of established communities across Europe has shown how significant proportion of the modern European genome can be traced to a handful of ice-age retreats. The modern linguistic landscape emerged from an interaction between these pioneer communities and subsequent colonisers, but as Stephen Oppenheimer's research into origins of the British suggests, each new wave typically little more 5% to the existing ethnic mix. When pro-Globalists argue Britain has always been of nation of immigrants, they seem to overlook two critical factors, timescale, environmental sustainability and population density. Very early peoples could expand into new uninhabited regions without need for conflicts over economic resources with rival groups and even where other humans had settled in the vicinity, ample space allowed for some peaceful cohabitation and intermingling among groups with similar levels of technological advancement. Comparisons with the world's remaining pre-agrarian peoples may not prove very instructive as they tend to inhabit extreme environments as are usually surrounded by more technologically advanced communities eager to reassign their habitat to other more productive purposes.

Globalisation is simply imperialism on a planetary level, in which old nation states have become little more than regional councils implementing policies dictated by unaccountable supranational bodies. Imperialism means the subjugation of other communities to expand the military and commercial influence of a given ruling class. Historically speaking all nation states, which today form culturally distinct entities, grew out of generations of empire building.

Western European Timelines:
Years ago
20,000 to 11,500 Early Mesolithic with only a few communities in ice age retreats.
11,500 to 7,000 Post-glacial expansion to central and northern European mainly following coastal and river routes.
7,000 to 2000 Gradual expansion of agrarian civilisations and early empires.
2000 to 500 Imperial expansion, nation building, wars, spread of Christianity and Islam and introduction of the feudal system and mercantile networks.
500 to 250 European colonisation of the Americas with outposts in the Africa, Asia and Australasia
250 to 50 Industrial revolution and expansion of great European and North American empires. Consolidation of competing nation states with advanced social welfare structures.
50 to 20 Accelerated globalisation with domination of a US-centred business empire, supported by a huge military-industrial complex and limited national sovereignty, but kept in check by rival regional power centres and national welfare states.
20 to near future Rapid of growth of rival power blocks within the global system and huge expansion of consumption in the world's most populous countries, accelerated pace of migration, disappearance of national sovereignty, increased political instability, early signs of resource depletion.

In the beginning we had small communities around a limited number of extended families. It wasn't until the agrarian revolution that we could produce enough surplus food to enable the development of urban settlements and advanced political organisations. Some such civilisations may have existed as long as 15,000 years ago as evidenced by the archeological finds in South East Asian Malay archipelago, which during the last ice age formed a continuous landmass from modern Java to Cambodia, known as Sundaland. Archeologist Francis Pryor estimates Britain's neolithic population as little more than 100,000 in 4000 BC and Ireland's at around 40,000. In Roman times it barely rose to a staggering 3.5 million, out of an estimated 56 million in the whole Roman Empire, only to decline again to around 1.5 millions in the aftermath the pan-European Justinian Plague between 540 and 750 AD. For 700 years Britain's population fluctuated between around 2 and 8 million before the industrial revolution enabled a huge demographic boom and the excess population could easily emigrate to new colonies.

As recently as 1850 much of Africa's hinterland remained unchartered by European explorers, while to your European the world revolved around their region and nation state with merely tales of remote promised lands. To many French, German and Italian farmers English seemed about as relevant to their every day lives as Latin or Chinese. While the educated classes may have been aware of emerging empires abroad, most ordinary Europeans were only aware of foreign culture through tales from relatives who might have migrated. Indeed the great European exodus did not really get into full swing until the end of the 19th century. In 1850, shortly after the Mexican-American war with the acquisition of California and Texas, the US had just 23 million inhabitants. By 1900 this had soared to 76 million nearly doubling to 136 million in 1940 as Europe plunged into its second episode of mass slaughter of the last century, and most of the rise can be attributed to immigration. Now the US population stands at 320 million. The country may be large, but has ceased to be self-sufficient in non-renewable energy and a net exporter of food (see The Next Crisis Will Be Over Food). Worse still like the UK, the US outsources much of its heavy industry, so much pollution is generated elsewhere to satisfy consumer demand in the US.

My thesis is simple. Nation-state imperialism with rival French, Spanish and British empires has morphed into multipolar globalisation, where US and European multinationals collaborate with Japanese, Chinese, Brazilian or Russian corporations. While the system thrives on consumption generated in Europe and North America, growing demand in India and China means as per capita resources become scarcer capitalists are likely to switch from the current hyper-consumption model, where indulgence is practically subsidised to boost the retail sector, to a more traditional survival of the fittest.

All in the Mind Power Dynamics

Ubiquitous Assault on the Senses

How will future generations view early 21st century Britain? An age of enlightenment that allowed more women than ever to work, redefined loud arguments as domestic violence, exposed childhood sexual abuse and extended the benefits of prosperity to more people than ever. This is the spin of the neo-liberal media, i.e. you've never had it so good or experienced such a wonderfully fair and harmonious society. Surely you don't want to return to the dark ages when parents routinely spanked their children at the slightest hint of disobedience and women were chained to the proverbial kitchen sink? In affluent communities violence has been confined mainly to virtual reality, blasted through speakers in the form of death metal and rap, projected onto mega-screens and translated into a captivating and highly addictive games. We are not just separated from the harsh realities of nature as our forebears knew it, but shielded from the consequences of violent ideation, now a dominant form of entertainment. This genre of entertainment may be likened to less technologically advanced spectacles such as gladiatorial fights in ancient Rome, or more recently boxing, wrestling or fencing, but over the last 20 years we have witnessed the gradual encroachment of war themes into our leisure life It's no longer just war movies, thrillers and video nasties occupying little more than one or two hours a week, but over 80% of the most addictive video games, paintball, Laser Quest and steady repetitive raucous beats and metallic dins accompanying electronic sound marketed as music and played in locales as diverse as sports centres, shopping malls and even offices. Indeed some young people find it hard to concentrate without a continuous blur of discordant noise at work. So paradoxically one may not shout at one's spouse for fear of being charged with domestic abuse, but one may play gangster rap at full volume while washing the car. If one dares suggest first-person shooters trivialise violence, one is soon ridiculed as reactionary and wait for it, against progress. Dare one suggest rap triggers feelings of hatred and intolerance, one is routinely slammed as intolerant of our wonderful cultural diversity.
So while many of us feel increasingly powerless to change any aspect of our lives, we can only sit back and watch the spectacle of millions immersed in virtual violence in the safety of their bedrooms or offices. Paradoxically many first person shooter fans would be utterly horrified by the slightest hint of real-life gore. Recently an Italian teacher in a farming community arranged for her class to view the slaughtering of a pig. Parents were horrified, how could children learn the truth about meat processing. Sadly many pupils had previously believed meat comes from supermarkets in the same way as petrol just magically gushes from a filling station pump. Did our ancestors dream of heroic battles six to eight hours a day? Did they revel in death and destruction? At stake is the viability of human solidarity for if we dream of exacting revenge against perceived foes in times of economic disparity and limited per capita resources, we are doomed to repeat the worst democidal excesses of our recent history. To what extent is violence an inextricable part of the human condition and to what extent can culture either channel violent urges into socially useful activities or trigger violence in otherwise peaceful individuals?

I would measure progress, not in terms of material possessions or abstract statistics championed by bureaucrats, but as a broad measure of social harmony, contentment and self-fulfilment, a delicate balancing act focussed on the reduction of conflict and personal suffering, e.g. ambition can drive innovation leading to significant improvements in life, but also cause conflict and selfishness.

Human beings have a vast array of instinctual behaviours that may be unleashed under certain conditions. Some of our behvaiours require little active thought, either because they are essential to our existence and have been inherited from millions of years of evolution or because inculcated behaviours have become second nature. A healthy baby need not learn to suckle, breathe or even cry in response to basic nutritional needs. By contrast, humans did not evolve to drive cars or type, but many of us perform these tasks with amazing agility. In comparison with most other animals human babies are pretty helpless. Other newborn mammals can walk within minutes of birth. However, many other ingrained behaviours are learned skills building on our intellectual hardware and primitive reflexes, e.g. linguists such as Noam Chomsky believe complex language relies on a specialised brain functions absent in other species, but clearly the exact manifestation of our linguistic abilities depends largely on our environment. Our humanity determines our intellectual potential, while our environment determines how we develop and utilise our intellect. Without applying reason and compassion in the forebrain, a male responding to his innate libido might be inclined to sexually assault any unaccompanied attractive female within easy reach. Were we to let our basest instincts guide our actions, modern civilisation as we know it would never have arisen. The technological progress that helped us expand our food supply, tame nature to meet our needs and lower infant mortality relies on advanced forms of social organisation and co-operation, in which our intellect and sociability prevail over primitive forms of social control.

Violence has long been a feature of human existence, but its role and pervasiveness have varied enormously over the millennia. Many anthropologists have observed we are the only animal that wages war against other members of our own species, but disagree on whether tribal warfare first emerged in the Neolithic era as stone-age humans began farming and establishing more permanent settlements around fifteen to ten thousand years ago, or whether internecine conflict has always accompanied homo sapiens sapiens throughout the Paleolithic era. We might consider some exceptions, e.g. a lion may fight a rival over control of a pride and then slaughter cubs that are not their own. However, not only are lions some of the most ferocious mammals, but their survival depends largely on brute force and obedience within a tightly knit community and, more important, on hunting other animals. They evolved to be top of the food chain, not to go forth and multiply and thus dominate through numbers. On the African plains, aggressive predators are in a minority, while the vast majority are mere grazers, browsers or warblers. Violence as a survival strategy only works if your species has a low population and can feed on a much larger number of easy prey. It is plainly foolish to apply human ethics to other species. Lions are born to kill and care only for their immediate family. Notions such as compassion and solidarity simply do not enter a Lion's mindset.

We descend from a line of vegetarian and omnivorous primates, who succeeded in mastering their habitat through dexterity, cunning and social organisation rather than the exertion of physical force, which was largely reserved for travel, work, foraging, hunting of small animals and occasional defence against predators. Around six to seven million years separate us from our closest primate cousins, chimpanzees, but why would violence evolve as an innate human instinct? First we need to define violence a little more accurately. Many primates do not hunt at all preferring to forage as vegetarians should their habitat provide plentiful food, but we are most closely related to chimpanzees who do not only hunt, but have been observed resorting to violence as a means of conflict resolution and imposing their power on more submissive females. By contrast Bonobos, close cousins of chimpanzees, use playful erotica to diffuse social tensions. Obviously any carnivorous animal exerts physical force to catch and kill other animals. Few animals practice cannibalism except as a last resort in after a natural calamity. However, we do not relate to other animals in the same way as we relate to members of the same species. To a carnivore, other animals are food, not sentient beings. At this point it might be useful to distinguish intra-species violence from inter-species violence. Some would take an absolutist stance against murder of all sentient beings and thus promote vegan pacifism, arguing that human technology allows us to be at one with nature. However, most Vegans in wealthy countries relies on a huge human infrastructure that has completely reshaped our planet and effectively ethnically cleansed whole species from their natural habitats or confining them to wildlife reserves. To enable the apparently peaceful existence of a middle class Western European family with their 4 bedroom house, two cars, household appliances, endless gadgets, holidays abroad and weekly supermarket shopping sprees, we need to inflict violence on a huge scale against the planet's delicate eco-system, something many of us would rather deny. So we might not witness real warfare firsthand, but it is committed in our name so we can drive our cars and fill our refrigerators without much thought as to how that delicious frozen salmon ends up in our freezer. This warfare may not always be waged against non-collaborative communities, but simply displaces traditional human communities and other species in the name of progress.

In many ways we are slowly emerging from an age of apparent harmony, in which people from different socio-ethnic backgrounds learned to live and work together. Certainly throughout history different ethnic groups have intermingled, but also fought bloody battles. Most of us have enough trouble trying to care for our immediate kith and kin. We can easily relate to our immediate geographic community and if this is cohesive enough, we might help disadvantaged neighbours. Charity really does begin at home. All of a sudden we have been asked to care not just for other members of our ethnic community, i.e. a group of people with a common language, mores and cultural identity, but all 6.7 billion estimated to grace our planet in 2010. As this is clearly impossible, we just pretend to care and look after ourselves, but often seek revenge against rivals by playing victims to justify our selfish actions. In reality while many of us pretend to care about the wider human race and some of us have been known to help strangers in distress, unless we are very rich and/or resourceful, we can only practically look after number one and our immediate family and friends. More important a socially competitive and high-consumption society pressures people to acquire more material posessions for themselves, either through hard work or financial manipulation. As a result millions are so busy struggling to make ends meet in a never-ending rat race, they have little time for others. Philanthropy has become a luxury afforded to the fortunate professional classes with time on their hands, while often members of idle classes prefer to indulge in media therapy (watching TV, chatting on Facebook etc.) rather than help others in their community. And even when people do help others, deep-seated cultural prejudices condition how this is targeted. The idea that billions of atomised human beings immersed in variations of the same global culture will learn to love each other is clearly a myth.


While the Web is deluged with gamers' rants against any attempt to limit their freedom to indulge and many journalists in mainstream newspapers make a living out of promoting virtual violence as a legitimate genre of entertainment, my thoughts are not entirely unique. An Yugoslav Australian, Dejan, reached similar conclusions:

Are we becoming a violence obsessed society? I think we are.

Is it the excitement or the adrenaline rush? Maybe its a product of the life pressures we face today or even a mixture of the aforementioned? Something surely is driving us towards this culture where violence is being glorified and aggressiveness respected. It seems that way. The political sphere, the media and entertainment industries promote this aggressive culture that cant be leading the world towards a prosperous future, quite the contrary. Read full article at

All in the Mind War Crimes

On The Nature of Violence

Consuming re-enactments of violence in various forms has long brought considerable pleasure to large number of people, especially but by no means exclusively, males. Quite clearly many residents of middle class suburbs in towns and cities across the prosperous world are relatively shielded from the real-world physical violence that millions experience on a daily basis in much of the world, but with extraordinary levels of intensity in regions where wars of resistance and internecine conflict rage. David Edwards of Medialens quite correctly contrasted the almost daily massacres in Iraq with the occasional school and office shoot-outs in the US and Europe. 36 dead i the Virgina Tech massacre is a tragedy, sure, but hundreds slain day in day out is an affront against humanity. However, many who have moved from some of the world's worst conflict zones to the obsessively consumerist dystopia of the wider American empire feel ironically under greater threat.

Violence means much more than the simple exertion of physical force with the intent to maim or kill others, it means the exertion of physical, sensory, mental or economic force to deny others of their livelihood, whose definition varies according to cultural expectations. To make a simple example, the only difference between machine-gunning a family of African subsistence farmers and evicting the same family from their land while failing to provide them with alternative means of sustenance is immediacy. In the former scenario they die instantly, in the second they starve slowly. So is society as it has evolved recently in the UK become more or less violent?

Nominally, it may have actually become less violent. Parents seem much less willing to resort to physical force to rein in their offspring, mindful of the consequences if their sheer frustration leads them to overstep the mark. As noted elsewhere crime statistics rely heavily on classification and reporting, but based purely on calls to national helplines there has been a huge rise in parents falling victim to physical abuse by their sons and daughters. The mass media, including the liberal establishment's BBC, also seems preoccupied with the spectre of child abuse, especially when attributable to outmoded institutions such as the Church and where the blame can be placed clearly with sad sexually deprived individuals who unleash their fantasies on the innocent. As usual such a narrow focus misses the details of a much bigger picture. Child abuse is an abstract concept. Certainly extreme deprivation leading to severe malnutrition, life-threatening disease and violence leaving permanent physical and psychological scars affect a person's long-term potential.

However, to the surprise of many wishful thinking do-gooders, back in the 70s school kids often preferred a quick dose of corporal punishment to the prospect of several hours detention or humiliation in front of their parents. This doesn't mean corporal punishment is good, but may often in the real world be viewed as the lesser of two evils. Seriously, how many children ever ended up in hospital as a result of excessive corporal punishment? Now compare this with the number hospitalised as a result of school or street fights. If teenagers are drawn into a subculture of pervasive recreational drugs, having to resort to theft or prostitution to feed their habit, who should we blame? The parents, society or some alleged genetic weakness in the kids themselves? Increasingly social workers and health professionals turn to the third explanation, but often blame controlling or traditionally strict parents. To compete in today's superficial social rat race, parents need to act and look as cool as the media role models their kids aspire to. To win your teenage daughter's trust, you may need to undergo cosmetic surgery or simply let her have her way when friends invite her for a night out on the town. In a community where most children respected their parents and were not under media-induced peer pressure to participate actively in a deceptively named fun culture of all night raves, life was easy for sensible parents whose only wish was to steer their children away from danger. But Blair's Britain is not like that. Open your eyes and ears in any shopping centre, remove yourself temporarily from your early 21st century bubble and you'll soon realise you're surrounded by technicolor, high-fidelity bullies unleashing incessant doses of none-too-subtle psychological torture. “Heh, you, you're not as cool as these dudes!â€ÂÂ. If you dare to complain about the unbearable rap beat in a clothes store or, as I did once, in a book store, expect to be either ignored or if you insist to receive a mildly reassuring talk from some lowly shop manager about marketing. In any case be in no doubt, that your aversion to a non-stop blur is your problem, not theirs.

Violence may be defined, at least according to the free dictionary bundled with my computer:

  • Behaviour involving physical force intended to hurt, damage, or kill someone or something.
  • Strength of emotion or an unpleasant or destructive natural force : the violence of her own feelings.
  • The unlawful exercise of physical force or intimidation by the exhibition of such force.

Based on the latter two definitions, provocative imagery and noise intimidate as much or even more than physical force. The media like to remind us of the importance of mental health, but fail to examine their own role in adversely destabilising our sense of self. The media frequently practices another intimidatory form of violence, humiliation by association. Over the last week the media has successfully whipped up hysteria against the alleged abductor of a three year old girl on holiday in Portugal with her well-to-do parents. In the recent past we've seen masses of Sun-readers engage in animated protests, sometimes resorting to violence, against real and alleged paedophiles. Thus anyone unknown to the community at large and whose behaviour may at times seem suspect may fall victim to a paedo witch hunt. That's an awful lot of people in our atomised island state, where close-knit communities are largely a distant memory. Only a few months ago the media lynched a lonesome resident of Ipswich falsely accusing him of the murder of five prostitutes and publishing details of his MySpace activities. Should we arrest the remaining millions of alienated adults whose social life has been reduced to virtual tomfoolery. Why not arrest all those idiots on who broadcast masturbation live from their Webcams? All this socially divisive fear-mongering generates intimidatory violence against anyone who fails to meet societal expectations and withdraws into an alienated existence. Violence is anything that harms people mentally or physically. No society is devoid of violence, but where conflict is minimised, so to is violence in all its forms. Otherwise psychological intimidation and alienation can soon manifest themselves physically either through self-harm, drug abuse or direct attacks against the person.

Power Dynamics

Multiculturalism would be a good idea

To paraphrase Gandhi "Multiculturalism would be a good idea".

Cultural diversity is a wonderful idea and as a speaker of 5 languages with bilingual kids, as someone who's been the sole white guy in a provincial Zambian town, the sole non-Indian in a suburban Delhi apartment block, steered clear of gringos during a trek across Peru, Bolivia, Paraguay, Chile and Argentina and spoke Italian habitually for over 8 years in Italy, I might understand real multiculturalism better than most.

But I'm equally aware many would disagree. They hate cultural diversity, are instinctively intolerant of backward peoples who wish to retain their time-honoured customs, vernaculars, religions, worldviews and mores. Why do the French still insist on speaking French or the Brits still talk in feet and inches, don't they know we've all gone decimal now?. Many in the chattering classes who bleat about diversity and equality (ever heard of diversity training for the police?) are often the same people who'd like to ban smacking in the home and intervene abroad to change sexual customs. For them ethnic diversity means choosing between an Indian and Italian restaurant or between Reggae and Salsa music.

They think we should all boogey to the same international beat, shop at the same Walmart or Tescos, buy the same DVD movies, video games, watch the same set of TV programmes, attend the same business management courses, adapt to the same form of groupthink conformism and even use the same operating system with the same Office package or go on the same package tour holidays, drive the same cars, in short aspire to the same lifestyle. Parents who don't embrace mass-marketed Anglo-American world culture in favour of alternative or more traditional values are often blamed if their kids are bullied at school.

The globalist agenda is antithetical to the very notion of cultural diversity. By multiculturalism they do not mean a patchwork of diverse cultural groups living harmoniously side by side, but a new world order in which a global supranationalism supplants all other mini-nationalisms. The new mores hardly represent a potpourri of Bangladeshi, Kenyan, Chinese and Bolivian culture with an admixture of French and Russian, they reflect a new culture promoted a planet-wide leviathan steamrollering traditional values everywhere.

Yeah, why not immerse yourself in US junk culture at Disneyland Paris? Why not give Iraqi police officers sexual diversity training? Why not teach Iranians the wonders of business-friendly liberal democracy?

As the Joe Strummer of the late 1970s punk group, The Clash, sang, in one of his more thoughtful phases, "I'll salute the New Wave and I hope nobody escapes

All in the Mind Power Dynamics

By persuasion if we can, but by coercion if we must!

The liberal media's reaction to reports of widespread abuse and torture of Iraqi detainees by US and UK military personnal marks a psychological turning point in the current phase in the sole superpower's war for total global domination.

Recent interventions have been justified in one way or another by our moral superiority, our more advanced, more humane form of civilisation, our crusade to spread democracy and liberal values. Whatever the crimes committed by high-tech weapons systems, whatever the abuses carried out at Guantanamo Bay, whatever the evidence of CIA-funding for the KLA or Al Qaeda, whatever the flaws in the allegations made against the former Yugoslav government, Britain - we were told - represented a beacon of justice and fairness.

No sooner had our brave service men and women liberated a new territory, the liberal media progressed to stage two, reconstruction via international bank loans and rehabilitation via NGOs. British experts would be sent all over the globe to teach our enlightened ways to people accustomed for so long to only dictatorships (with whom we used to do business). Thus for paid intellectuals like Johann Hari of the Independent or David Aaronovitch and Nick Cohen of the Guardian, new military adventures provided a new opportunity to spread our values.

Wouldn't it just be wonderful if the whole world became a multi-hued mosaic of dominant post-1980s Anglo-American culture? Sure McDonalds would localise its burgers for the Mid East market, MTV would broadcast some Arabic rap, juicier scenes from Hollywood movies would be edited out and people would speak English with different accents and continue to learn local dialects for a couple more generations. But rest assured your Lonely Planet Guide to Iraq will feature an extensive list of gay nightclubs in downtown Baghdad. Okay Iraqis may have more traditional values now, but given time greater exposure to our benign media will usher in a new era of carefree hedonism.

US and UK crimes could easily be brushed aside by stressing the repressive nature of all local or nationalist alternatives. So pundits would opine that we need to stay the course in Iraq to stop Islamic extremists or Saddam Loyalists from (re)gaining power. Democracy has only one meaning: A pacified electorate happy to vote for responsible politicians who collaborate fully with the international community as defined by the Coalition.

To understand the chasm emerging within our ruling elite witness yesterday's Scottish Daily Record and UK Daily Express - not a word about US and UK crimes, just a page two article about Moqtaba Al-Sadr's threat to use captured female British soldiers as slaves. Then read the liberal press. The underlying message is Abu Ghraib represents a setback for the spread of our civilisation, very bad PR. Now the damage has been done, a section of the ruling elite, the same opinion-makers who campaigned passionately for humanitarian wars, want our troops out. But the die has already been cast. Withdrawal will leave the US in a significantly weaker position in the Middle East than it enjoyed in February 2003. Whether or not, US and UK armed forces retreat strategically, their dependence on near absolute control of the world's oil reserves is so great that they will just seek new and devious means.

It's time the left gatekeepers, as some call the likes of Greg Palast (who thinks the Beeb allows objective reporting), started challenging assumptions about our moral superiority and start publicly admitting rather than merely implying the real motivations for war. Torture and violence are not unAmerican any more than they are unChinese or unArabic. They are classic tools of conquest. As Madeleine Albright said "We will act multilaterally when we can, unilaterally when we must."

Let's paraphrase that: We will act by gentle persuasion where we can and by physical coercion and advanced brainwashing techniques where we must. What the liberal media is telling us is that the era of gentle persuasion is nearing its end.

Power Dynamics War Crimes

Free Speech and Hate Speech

False and ridiculous charges are no real problem. It is the unconscionable critics who reveal unwanted truths from whom society must be protected" Noam Chomsky in Deterring Democracy

A False Sense of Self-Righteousness

Intellectuals in the public eye remind us how we should thank our lucky stars for our democratic system with freedom of speech and press. Not only should we cherish this relative freedom, but we should ensure our high standards are met elsewhere through economic or military intervention.

All things considered our model of democracy is largely a farce reduced to occasional opinion polls and popularity contests, while our wonderfully free media is in the hands of a corporate and state bureaucracy. Without advertising revenues or state subsidies, independent outlets do not stand a chance. Nonetheless some journalists committed to the truth and genuine debate have allowed some dissident views to surface through excellent documentaries, reporting and live discussions. When the My Lai massacre appeared on American TV screens, the Vietnam War soon turned into a public relations disaster. This did not stop General Wesley Clark from defending the US Army's record or from directing air strikes over the Balkans 30 years later. However, most off-message views have been neatly confined within a range of legitimate dissent.

Increasingly news reports appeal to the wishful thinking professional classes and armchair activists, horrified by alleged abuses of human rights attributable to inhumane foreign leaders or lower class louts.

Three main objections are raised against free speech:

  1. False or embarrassing allegations may slander otherwise defenceless individuals and stir irrational public contempt.
  2. Some views, especially when expressed in overt language, may offend certain sections of the community.
  3. Some views may challenge the ideological supremacy of the ruling class and incite rebellion.

The first objection may seem tenable at first as the recipients of any media hate campaign know all too well. We might wonder how the press, controlled by corporate interests, chooses which celebs, politicians or foreign leaders to demonise. However, we need not limit freedom of speech to protect defenceless individuals against unjust attacks, merely allow the right of reply and fairer libel laws accessible to all irrespective of financial means, so that newspapers would be forced to compensate the victims of deliberate misinformation. In a civilised society media outlets would stick to the facts that concern us. If we had a diverse media interested in genuine problems affecting millions of ordinary people, we would not be obsessed with the private lives of public figures, but rather debate how the actions of the powerful affect us.

The second objection is very much in vogue and usually applies to remarks or views deemed racist, otherwise xenophobic, sexist or somehow prejudicial to the interests of a given group. To some the current obsession with political correctness may seem a sign of progress. Personally I have never liked remarks and opinions disrespectful of members of other ethnic groups, especially deprived immigrant communities. But a closer look at the facts reveals a different picture as the gap between rich and poor has demonstrably never been greater. Indeed political correctness masks the real intents of politicians, while the focus of media attention is on the choice of words rather than on the repercussions of policies. Moreover, who decides what is racist, xenophobic, sexist or, to use a newly coined term, homophobic? For instance a British anti-nuclear protester was recently charged with incitement to racial hatred for dragging a US flag on the ground during a demonstration against the deployment of the multi-billion dollar Star Wars project (as originally reported in the Independent).

Foreign Office spokespeople dress their briefings up in diplomatic Newspeak. Someone who plants a bomb outside a gay pub killing two people is a dangerous mentally deranged neo-Nazi admirer of both Saddam Hussein and Joseph Stalin, while the UK government's feeble excuses for violence on a much greater scale over the Balkans and Iraq may only be criticised tactically and former UK support for Iraq is a mere strategic mistake. Yet were we to adopt the lynch mob tactics of the press, we'd brand Tony Blair a rabid racist and send him to the European Court of Human Rights. As Mr Blair's rhetoric is strongly against nominal racism and new concepts such as ethnic cleansing (formerly known as colonisation and mass deportation), we have internalised the notion that New Labour seeks to uphold the human rights of all. The very same government approved export credits for the sale of arms to Indonesia and Turkey, responsible for human rights abuses on a massive scale, and feels it has the moral authority to smear all opponents of aerial bombardments over Iraq and the Balkans as apologists for totalitarian regimes.

On a purely rational level openly xenophobic speech need only worry us if it can attract widespread public support. First we may ask why ordinary people are susceptible to xenophobic propaganda, but it seems elementary that those with a wider reach can more easily sway public opinion, e.g. if a man in a pub tells his mate a horror story about a gypsy who mugged his mother, only his mate knows and can judge for himself whether the story is true or representative of Roma as a whole. However, were widespread media outlets to run stories about gypsies mugging women, it could reinforce deep-seated prejudices and incite ethnic hatred. By contrast, were such propaganda targeted at communities who had lived together peacefully and intermarried for generations, the media might face serious opposition. Xenophobia is not based so much on ignorance as on preconceptions. Over the last century British propaganda has evolved from blatant nationalism, to subtle moral superiority. A hundred years ago our rulers colonised 1/4 of the world's land to civilise inferior cultures and empower the empire, we had a God-given right to enslave other peoples in all but name and to destabilise their governments.

Today the UK intervenes to support the international community's desire to teach a lesson to foreign leaders accused of heinous crimes against humanity and enforce business-friendly democracy. In contrast with the imperial heyday the UK is a faithful lieutenant of a transnational Anglo-American Empire and public relations dictate that imperialist wars be sold on humanitarian grounds.

In the 1990s the media tried to persuade the public that Serbs are bloodthirsty ethnic cleansers. People's experiences in the British Isles could hardly confirm such prejudices as the British actually sided with Serbia against Albania in WW1. As the Croatian Ustaše collaborated with the Nazis, official British propaganda had at least until 1948 been favourable to the Yugoslav cause. In 1916 the Daily Telegraph reported gas vans were deployed in Kosovo to murder Serbs. Even as the conflict broke out after Tito's death, many eminent voices on the BBC spoke of the benefits of a multiethnic federation. Had only politicians associated with the nationalist right on TV ranted about subhuman Serbs, some liberal commentators might might have accused them of racism. Instead morally superior journalists and so-called human rights campaigners exposed the alleged Nazi tendencies of a regime that had bedevilled large sections of the Serb population. Mainstream media reports portrayed Serbs as aggressors and ethnic cleansers, a term that gained currency in the Yugoslav conflict, while Croats, Bosnian Muslims and Albanian Kosovars were considered victims. The facts paint a very different picture. Good and bad guys were on all sides and the underlying causes of the rekindling of the old ethnic disputes were economic.

If we were momentarily to accept the genetic determinist explanation for ethnic hatred, we could reach some illogical conclusions. Propaganda over the last century has portrayed the Germans first as expansionist huns, although the British had beaten them to it by 200 hundred years or so, and then as willing executioners in the greatest insanity that has ever beset mankind. But who are the English as opposed to the native Celtic and Pictish peoples of the British Isles? Germans, of course. Who are the upper middle class US citizens entrusted with the envious role of world cop? The core of the US's ruling class stems from recent immigrants from the British Isles and mainland Europe. So surely any hereditary markers for xenophobia in Germans are just as likely to surface in their close cousins across the North Sea and Atlantic. The same nonsense is applied to the bloody civil wars between Tutsis and Hutus in Rwanda and Burundi.

All forms of xenophobia are clearly not equal. Even compared with the worst verifiable accusations held against Serbs, Israel has been guilty of much more heinous atrocities against Palestinians both in the occupied territories and Southern Lebanon. The only two possible excuses presented are Arab terrorism threatening Israel security and the Shoah. After displacing 780,000 Palestinians in 1948 and forcing 1.5 million Palestinians to crowd into the least fertile patches of land, one need not be surprised at Arab retaliation. Israel is in all but name a ruthless Apartheid state complete with homelands and rigorously enforced segregation of undesirable Palestinians. As for the second excuse, the Serbs were also victims both of Ustaše shootings and maltreatment in concentration camps during the Second World War. Unlike the Israelis, the Yugoslavs attempted to form a federation and bury their differences for nearly 40 years. Journalists may fabricate lies about alleged Serb atrocities without being dubbed xenophobes, but dare not speak out against Zionism for fear of being branded anti-Semites.

The truth is many people regulate their own hatred within the confines of acceptable contempt. Mainstream propaganda encourages us to reserve a healthy dose of hatred for official enemies and demonised groups such as Serb ethnic cleansers, Arab fundamentalists, Hutu extremists, Saddam Hussein's Iraqi regime, homophobes, paedophiles, muggers and nail bombers. Indeed the media often lumps these groups together indiscriminately, e.g. Serbs have been accused of raping Muslim women in Bosnia Herzegovina and Kosovo, reinforcing the public perception that Serbs and rapists are of the same ilk. A closer analysis shows that since NATO moved in to Bosnia and Kosovo the sex industry has blossomed supplying NATO personnel and NGO workers with mainly Slavic women.

In May 2000 a group of German teenagers on a school holiday walked along a Cornwall beach. A group of local teenagers and adults chanted "Nazis, Nazis, We won the War" and started throwing stones. If Nazi means someone who condemns others based on their ethnicity or religion, then we might wonder who the real Nazis were in this case.

Another topical case is Edinburgh psychology lecturer Chris Brand who published a book, The G Factor, about the relative intelligence of different racial groups, notably concluding that Black Africans have on average scored lower in IQ tests. While Professor Brand's evidence may seem compelling to many willing believers, he fails to empirically link general intelligence with IQ tests and ignores the Flynn effect, showing how the social environment can raise IQ levels by 15 points per generation, the vast divergence of IQ scores among members of the same racial groups and the reappraisal of the genetic significance of aesthetic racial features. Moreover, IQ tests tend to be culturally biased and one can be trained to achieve higher scores. Self-styled anti-racists rallied behind the Anti-Nazi League's call to ban the book. They succeeded as publisher John Wiley withdrew it. However, The g Factor merely articulated in pseudo-scientific terms what millions had long privately suspected. Banning the book not only affords it more credibility, but denies others the opportunity of challenging its arguments one by one. Indeed Chris Brand's thesis differs little from Charles Darwin's musings on the genetic superiority of the white race, so why not ban his epic work On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection? Some religious fundamentalists certainly would ban it citing racism as an excuse for the imposition of Biblical creationism, however modern criticisms of Darwinism based on a more Lamarckian symbiotic evolution may counter Darwin's racist assumptions more convincingly.

So should we ban potentially xenophobic speech? My answer is clearly no, because ethnic prejudice stems not from overt or offensive language, but from generations of subtle propaganda and a sense of cultural and moral superiority.

Case Study: The Suppression of Historical Revisionism

One cannot fail to notice the news media's growing obsession with the Nazi holocaust. Atrocities in Nazi concentration camps and organised shootings on the Eastern Front between 1941 and 1944 serve to justify new wars against rogue leaders who have fallen out of favour with the United States, while the purported uniqueness of these events affords the state of Israel special treatment and impunity for its crimes against Palestinians deported from Israel to the West Bank, Gaza Strip, Jordan, Southern Lebanon and Golan Heights.

Not only were most Germans unaware of the scale of the Shoah, but all the other main powers involved in the Second World War practised and fomented ethnic discrimination in one form or another. At stake are clearly three issues:

  1. Historical exactitude.
  2. Our collective memory of the victims of all horrors of war, exploitation and repression.
  3. The instrumentalisation of past events for which ordinary folk bear no responsibility and the deliberate falsification of the historical record to advance a given geopolitical agenda.

All three issues cry out for free speech and fearless open debate, without which only powerful media outlets and authoritarians can impose their warped view of history.

Since the late 1960s, a flurry of movies, documentaries and books have convinced the European and North American public mind that the Nazi holocaust represents not only a monocausal and systematically planned singularity, but an absolute evil against which all other atrocities should be measured. We may talk of a nuclear holocaust, which befits the core meaning of death by fire, but the capitalised Holocaust always signifies the Nazi judaeocide, more aptly called Shoah after the Hebrew word for disaster. The 1917-18 Armenian genocide that erupted out of a fierce civil war as the Ottoman empire collapsed, US napalming of Vietnamese villages, Allied saturation bombing of central European cities etc. do not qualify for this unique term. The enslavement of Africans with countless millions of unnatural deaths is dismissed as the acts of primitive European colonialists, such as the Portuguese (1), rather than a systematic policy of the greatest empire before the advent of US hegemony.

In NewSpeak historical revisionism means denial, the minimisation of the unparalleled crimes of a past dictator and his willing executioners with the implicit intent of restoring the credibility of Nazism. Of course, if we believe all we read in the mainstream press, such crimes may not be so unparalleled after all. Standard accounts of the 1994 Rwandan bloodbath show the Tutsis as victims and the Hutus as subhuman perpetrators. Likewise no exaggeration seems too great to describe the atrocities attributable to Serbs in the Yugoslav civil war.

On paper historical revisionism is a method to ascertain historical truth through critical examination of factual evidence. This is standard practice in any scientific inquiry. Only by allowing variant and contradictory theses to stand the test of empirical scrutiny can we begin to separate fact from fiction. Preconceived conclusions should be alien to serious historical research and simply replacing one biased account with its antithesis defeats the purpose, which is to correct partisanship. The recent book "Day of Deceit : The Truth About FDR and Pearl Harbor" by Robert B. Stinnett, claiming President Roosevelt had foreknowledge of the events, is revisionist, but should be analysed on its merits. Likewise it may be hard to deny the World Trade Center attacks occurred or many thousands died, but who did it?, who funded and manipulated the suicide bombers, were there secondary explosions in the Twin Towers? Did senior US and Israeli intelligence personnel know about the attacks beforehand? These too are revisionist questions because they challenge orthodoxy.

The genuine victims of state-perpetrated violence need not fear open debate if we agree that murder, especially systematic murder, is inherently evil. Regrettably historical revisionism is increasingly associated with one issue, the Shoah, but may be applied to the orthodox accounts of any historical event and allow antithetical conclusions.

Numerous orthodox accounts, i.e. reports popularised by the mainstream media, have frequently been proven wrong or fundamentally flawed under closer examination. Claims made about the war over Kosovo are just some of the most recent examples in a long string of war propaganda. Phillip Knightley's updated and revised "The First Casualty of War" is a must read for anyone interested in the veracity of the mainstream media. Do we really believe the Romans conquered most of Western and Southern Europe as well as much of North Africa and the Middle East without slaughtering hundreds of thousands, and subjugating millions in slavery and serfdom? However, much of modern history about the era has been sanitised by Roman accounts of barbaric Germanic, Celtic and Berber tribes.

One key factor in the historiography of any event is Cui bono? Should empirical research ever conclusively refute key tenets of the orthodox version of the mid 20th century Jewish genocide, it may be perfectly legitimate to ask who benefits from the inflated accounts of systematic slaying by industrial means attributable to the Nazis, and consequently to the Germans who let them rule? In this hypothesis a quick answer may be Expansionist Zionism, interpreted as unconditional supporters of an all Jewish State in Israel, the Western Allies and the former Soviet Union, because the unique evil of the Nazis overshadows any crimes attributable to the victors of WW2. While Soviet interpretations emphasised Slav victims (e.g. elevated deaths in Auschwitz to 4 million to include 3 million Slavs), the US emerged from WW2 as the world's main economic power, much richer than the Soviet Union ravaged by the wanton slaughter of WW2, and had the task of resuscitating Western European capitalism within its post-war world order. It faced a stark choice between the Morgenthau plan to convert Germany to an agrarian society and the need to build a strong powerhouse economy fully integrated with the rest of Western Europe and North America. After 3 years of partial deinstrialisation between 1945 and 1948 triggering a mass famine with as many as two million deaths, the Marshal plan rebuilt Germany in America's image and, apart from a few show trials and kangaroo courts, its ruling class remained intact. Ironically the US quite happily funded social democratic governments eager to build a prosperous Europe with some degree of social cohesion via the welfare state. The alternative would have been revolution and civil war. What's more many former Nazi collaborators switched overnight to the Americans. As early as 1943 the CIA hired former SS officers such as Reinhold Gehlen with in-depth knowledge of Eastern Europe to form Pol Gehlen, which later became the BND (Bundesnachrichtendienst) the German sister organisation of the CIA. This explains at least in part why the Shoah did not acquire its current status until the 1967 six-day war at the same time as the US began to rely heavily on Middle East oil reserves as its own began to dry up. However, there might be some more sinister reasons. Would West Germans, whose constitution theoretically protects freedom of expression, have willingly believed claims that unbeknown to them the Nazis had murdered millions in gas chambers? Thousands had worked and many Germans had actually been interned in Nazi concentration camps, but only a select few had testified to mass gas chambers at the Nuremberg trials. In East Germany they had no choice, Stalinism replaced National Socialism overnight and anti-nazism soon became a state religion.

When German Green Foreign Minister, Joschka Fischer, attempted in 1999 to persuade his party (who used to oppose NATO and nuclear weapons and favour peaceful solutions to ethnic disputes) of the necessity for air strikes to forestall a genocide, he re-evoked the Shoah in the full knowledge that nobody could dispute any events associated with it or even dare to suggest bombing might make such events more and not less likely. He narrowly won the vote claiming Operation Horseshoe was a masterplan for the final solution of the Albanian problem. A subsequent German report showed the operation was a hoax and no plan existed for the systematic deportation of 90% of Kosovo's population. However, the analogy ends there. The CIA and German BND merely formed a temporary alliance with the KLA. The Albanian mafia may control much of the heroin trade passing through Southeastern Europe, but their influence and strategic importance cannot be compared to that of Israel.

Let us be in no doubt, those who publicly dispute the scale and systematicity of the Shoah have been subjected to intense vilification and associated with the xenophobic right. Indisputably some on the Judaeophobic right sympathise with and manipulate the findings of revisionist research. However, most serious holocaust revisionists are fierce critics of authoritarianism. While many expose and criticise the disproportionate Jewish influence in the mass media and movie business as well as in international finance and American politics, only a minority believe in an international Jewish conspiracy against Gentiles or Goyim as foretold in the rather outlandish, hateful and largely discredited Protocols of the Elders of Zion. Moreover, the East German Stasi and Israeli Mossad have actually set up and manipulated so-called Neo-Nazi grouplets. Even Combat 18 in the UK, allegedly formed as a breakaway from the BNP, was a front for MI5's special operations. The so-called left tends to ignore two essential questions. Should we rely on state-sanctioned truth?

Anti-imperialists tend to dismiss revisionist accounts of Nazi war crimes as wild fantasies of neo-fascists, intent on rehabilitating the honour of the short-lived Third Reich. One valid criticism that may be lodged against some holocaust revisionists is a tendency to make far-fetched claims against Stalinism, claiming that the 6 million figure may be an exaggeration in connection with the Nazi-perpetrated Shoah, but Stalin was responsible for as many as 60 million deaths, figures taken straight from 1950's McCarthyite propaganda. While the former Soviet Union can be indicted with atrocities on a massive scale and economic mismanagement certainly led to millions of deaths, the same could be said of India and Pakistan. Coincidentally many former hardline sympathisers of the former USSR minimise the crimes attributed to the NKVD (later KGB) and Bolshevik Party apparatchiks under Stalin's command, denying Stalin bore any responsibility for the 1932-33 Ukrainian famine, and bewail the demonisation campaign against him by the capitalist press and liberal left.

The British Anti-Nazi League started by fighting the racism of the National Front in the late 1970s, but failed to attack head-on the politicians likely to influence the immigration and social policies that most affect ethnic minorities. The National Front benefited from working class disillusionment in the then Labour government, but never stood any realistic chance of gaining a single seat in Parliament. The NF were basically politically incorrect Tories who appealed to the gut instincts of many workers raised on rule Britannia propaganda. No party that challenged the necessity for British participation in the Second World War could ever win without the thorough re-education of the masses, but could urge a halt to immigration from poor countries and even repatriation. After massive Rock Against Racism concerts and Anti-Nazi League demos in 1978 (being an Anti-Nazi in Britain is like declaring one's opposition to Attila the Hun in Rome), what did we get? The 1979 Tory landslide, record unemployment with the demise of unprofitable inefficient manufacturing, tough talk on immigration, followed only two and half years later by a bout of jingoism over the Argentinian invasion of the British Falkland Islands, all dressed up in anti-fascist rhetoric. But what did the ANL really oppose? Free speech on Nazi historiography, the very notion that National Socialist régime had not landed on Earth from Mars, but was entirely comparable to numerous governmental systems world-wide. The main source of anti-fascist information is inevitably Searchlight run by MI5 collaborator and former CPGB member Gerry Gable, whose anti-Nazi antics include planting former British National Party members in anarchist groups and animal liberation fronts, so the press can later smear them with rightwing extremism. For instance in March 1993 the ANL staged a 300 strong demo against the desecration of graves at the Brighton and Hove Hebrew Congregation's Florence Road Cemetery, although the Jewish Chronicle later reported no tombstones had been daubed with swastikas and no gardener was employed to remove such grafitti. For alternative views about MI5 involvement in both extreme right and self-styled anti-fascist groups, visit Lobster Magazine or Paul Cox's Mere Pseud site with insider info from both sides.

French anthropologist and Indochina expert Serge Thion, American writer Bradley Smith of the Campaign for Open Debate On the Holocaust hardly conform to our perception of neo-Nazi thugs, but do not buy the orthodox account and expose Holocaust swindlers and false witnesses. Even English historian David Irving, who has long been target of a concerted press smear campaign but airs his strong anti-immigrant views freely on his Web site, has written at length on verifiable Nazi crimes. Indeed the 1977 edition of Apocalypse 1945, The Destruction of Dresden was not only available in public libraries, but on recommended reading lists compiled by my anti-imperialist History teacher, a bit of balance for William L. Shirer's The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich . Also recommended was AJP Taylor's The Origins of the Second World War, which suggests the rather heretical conclusion that a bellicose elite within the Anglo-American establishment unleashed the gates of hell by provoking Nazi Germany. In the mid 1990s Raeto West analysed variant revisionist theories and the holocaust promotion industry as an integral part of his site about humanism, bad science and common myths.(NB 27/12/2009: Raeto West's site went offline over 8 years ago and has since joined the white-supremacist BNP, a rather sad end for a disciple of Bertrand Russell.) Another sceptical analysis of interest is New Zealand historian's Joel S. A. Hayward's thesis "An Historical Enquiry into the Development and Significance of Holocaust Revisionism", which the author had to withdraw under enormous pressure. Indeed the latter has since converted to Islam and been appointed Director of the Royal Air Force Centre for Air Power Studies.

However, a thorough revision of the received wisdom on the Second World War would go much further. Some revisionist historians fall into the trap of viewing German National Socialism and Anglo-American corporatism as competing ideologies. So within the myth of the uniqueness of Nazi crimes lies the myth of British and American appeasement of Hitler's Germany. Voluminous evidence suggests that British, American and Dutch big business did not appease Nazi Germany at all, but positively encouraged it, bankrolling the German National Socialist Workers Party and continuing production in their subsidiaries right through WW2. The collaboration of many leading Zionists such as Ben Gurion with the Nazi régime and Hermann Göring's professed sympathies with the cause of the Jewish homeland cannot go unnoticed. Neither can we ignore the blatant fact that the Second World War saw the invasion and humiliation of France, the end of the bankrupt British Empire controlled centrally from London, massive destruction, murder and famine in much of the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe and the ultimate defeat and destruction of the US's two main technological rivals, Germany and Japan. Indeed we may even consider if the division of Germany and the erection of the Iron Curtain served the long-term interests of the United States. West Germany bounded by hostile states to the east and integrated in an economic union with its other European neighbours, a military Alliance with the US and dependent on US aid and inward investment, would soon prove a loyal partner and a powerhouse of the post-war boom. The US bailed out Western Europe only after overseeing its destruction.

It may have rationally been in the geopolitical interests of the German government in 1938 to recapture territories lost in the 1918 Treaty of Versailles and to seek the economic domination of Eastern Europe as well as the collaboration of the Low Countries and accommodation with France, whose imperial interests conflicted with the US and British Empires. All-out war with the Soviet Union and Great Britain, which would inevitably draw the US into the fray, would have been highly inadvisable. Indeed in August 1940 Germany sought peace with Churchill's Britain on this basis. When the United States entered the war in December 1941 and especially after the fall of Stalingrad (now Volgograd) in February 1943, the Third Reich was doomed. As the Allies landed in Southern Italy in August of the same year, the defeat of the Axis powers was a foregone conclusion. Yet the worst crimes against humanity attributed to the Nazi regime reached their gernocidal climax between mid 1942 and late 1944, while Hitler's overstretched armed forces were battling to defend strategic positions on all fronts. By January 1945 all concentration camps in modern Poland, responsible for the lion share of systematic industrial killing, had been liberated. Would the United States be so dominant today if a united and peaceful Europe counterbalanced its hegemony?

We may also debate whether Nazism, Fascism or Francoism were unique or merely localised means of ensuring the supremacy of corporate and state power. It may seem ironic that many militant anti-Fascists favour the suppression of free speech and restriction of democratic rights to stop the re-emergence of alleged fascists. However, who defines fascism? Should we not talk instead of authoritarianism? Not only did many Nazi collaborators adapt very quickly to the New World Order under US hegemony, but many population control techniques pioneered under the Nazi régime were adopted and remodelled by big business, especially in the advertising and public relations industries. Joseph Goebbels based his WW2 information campaign on British WW1 propaganda. According to Goebbels, Germany didn't invade the Sudetenland, it liberated ethnic Germans persecuted by bloodthirsty Slavic nationalists and it didn't invade the Soviet Union, but liberated Ukrainians from Bolshevik tyranny. By the same token we could claim, Britain didn't conquer and exploit the Indian Subcontinent and half of Africa, but spread civilisation and democracy.

Until Norman Finkelstein, son of survivors of the Treblinka and Majdenek concentration camps, wrote A Nation on Trial and The Holocaust Industry, few analysts considered one truism: The more the mainstream media and entertainment industry push the orthodox version of the Nazi holocaust, the more a radical fringe will disbelieve any of their claims and harbour a growing sense of Judaeophobia. Israel's oppression of Palestinians makes an Anti-Jewish backlash almost inevitable. The purported uniqueness of Jewish suffering explains the hackneyed phrase "racism and Anti-Semitism". Surely, anti-Semitism should apply to prejudice against all Semites and Israel would thus be labelled an anti-Semitic régime. But why not specify Serbophobia, Germanophobia, Russophobia etc.? Why is prejudice against Jews different?

It comes as some comfort that a handful of Jewish intellectuals such as Noam Chomsky, Norman Finkelstein and Israel Shahak have attempted to answer this thorny question. Judeaophobia stems not from irrational beliefs in the racial inferiority or superiority of Jews, but rather from resentment against Jewish power and their in-group loyalty. Would a German critic of Nazi abuse of power be called a self-hating German? But Jewish critics of Zionism are frequently denounced as self-hating Jews. Would it be too radical to describe Nazism as German Zionism?

It thus follows that rational debate protects the true victims and exposes hoaxers separating fact from fiction, while exaggerated claims trigger exaggerated counter-claims, hence the Holocaust lobby's insistence that there are no numbers between 0 and six million. Challenging the capitalised Holocaust is tantamount to heresy. Instead, some of the wilder claims will be inconspicuously dropped, while revisionist historians continue to be ritually condemned. At stake are not the genuine victims of Nazi terror, but the credibility of war propaganda.

Twenty-five years after the Vietnam War the chief architects of US atrocities such My-Lai denier Wesley Clark and Iraqi Highway Massacre Denier General Barry McCaffrey (100,000 - 250,000 dead) are not only walking free, but are advising the current US régime on its new military endeavours.

The solution to this dilemma is simple: free speech and fearless open debate. Only then will we know who is lying. I for one will reserve my utter condemnation both for all perpetrators of verifiable atrocities and for all those who manipulate war propaganda for their own purposes. You have lost the argument from the outset, if you refuse to debate an issue, whether it is the big bang theory, global warming, the AIDS=HIV hypothesis or the veracity of alleged atrocities.

Readers are free to make their own minds up. Most orthodox Nazi Holocaust and anti-revisionist information can be accessed from the Nizkor site, but if you're in any doubt take the time to read what dissidents say on the matter.

Why the Shoah Revisionists are Wrong

David Irving once claimed that it's hard to prove a negative, but the same controversial historian has freely admitted voluminous hard evidence of Nazi crimes. The fact that many European governments are actively pursuing and jailing prominent holocaust deniers should ring alarm bells. One may reasonably wonder who's next on the verboten list. 9/11 revisionists, Balkan war revisionists, Saddam Hussein sympathisers, opponents of US, UK and Israeli military operations in the Middle East? So are holocaust revisionists just an easy target or do they actually have a point? With the media beating the drums of war in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, it is essential for us to maintain the freedom to challenge the extreme bias and sometimes pure fabrications of our main media outlets. However, by focusing narrowly on the scale of crimes committed by an authoritarian regime over half a century ago, holocaust revisionists risk serving as useful idiots ready to perish in jail purportedly to save the honour of the German people or combat Zionism in the name of Palestine. Were they to focus instead on disinformation about recent events, we might stand a better chance of safeguarding freedom of inquiry in order to guard against the very totalitarian bellicosity that has traditionally presaged mass murder.

The Real Deniers

Wesley Clark General Wesley Clark denied US culpability for the My Lai massacre in Vietnam. 30 years later he defended NATO air strikes over the Balkans Lord George Robertson Lord George Robertson denied the widely documented after-effects and deliberate use of depleted uranium both in Iraq and the Balkans. Currently NATO's Secretary General. He also once referred to Serbs as Siberians.
Henry Kissinger Henry Kissinger denied his role in the Vietnam War, 1968-72 bombing of Cambodia, Pinochet's Chilean coup d'état, the 1975-79 massacre in East Timor among other crimes Ariel Sharon Ariel Sharon denied Israeli guilt for the Sabra and Shatila massacre although at the time he was only 200 metres away from the scene. Currently Israeli Prime Minister responsible for human rights in the West Bank and Gaza

If denial of verifiable crimes against humanity is a problem, it should concern us most when the mainstream media denies or downplays atrocities, while dissidents upholding the veracity of such events, are silenced, sidelined or ridiculed. Challenges to official claims should always act as a stimulus for empirical research.

The British Foreign Office has a long history of denial, from its scorched earth policy and concentration camps in the Boer War to the Bengali Famine, bombing of Kenyan Mau Mau freedom fighters, arming of Indonesia while it presided over the slaughter and starvation of as many as 200,000 East Timorese between 1975 and 1979, its support for Turkey and Israel, the media's almost total silence over the massacre of 250,000 retreating Iraqi troops and guest workers fleeing Kuwait after the US and other Allied forces reclaimed the territory for the Kuwaiti royal family and oil multinationals. It took a book by revisionist historian David Irving for the Allies to admit (and subsequently downplay) the scale of the wanton slaughter of civilians during airstrikes over Dresden, while other equally ferocious bombing missions over Berlin, Hamburg, Cologne and Pforzheim are mere historical footnotes. The post-war famine with as many as 2 million deaths in occupied Germany on top of tens of thousands of German fatalities in Allied and Soviet post-war rehabilitation camps are routinely dismissed as regrettable legacies of Nazism.

When a major newspaper claims 250,000 died in the Vietnam War, how many readers write to complain that the figure excludes Vietnamese victims? Similarly figures for Vietnamese fatalities may vary from 1 million to 3 million. Should we not accuse those who insist on the lower figure of being deniers eager to resume napalming over North Vietnam? In his epic Manufacturing Consent Noam Chomsky distinguishes worthy from unworthy victims. Victims of Pol Pot's massacre between 1975 and 1979 are worthy victims because the US benefited from anti-Communist propaganda that could overshadow its own crimes in the region (US bombing of Cambodia between 1968 and 1975 led to 500,000 to a million deaths), while victims of the East Timor tragedy are unworthy because the US was arming their oppressors. However, subsequent US support for the Khmer Rouge and sanctions against Cambodia after the 1979 Vietnamese invasion, leading to more starvation, make it hard to give reliable statistics for deaths attributable to Pol Pot's government when the US did not back it. The death toll varies from 250,000 to 2.5 million, though most starved. Likewise official anti-Saddam propaganda now includes the Iraqi airforce's 1988 aerial gassing of 5000 Kurds. However, they forget to mention that at the time the Iraqi régime was armed by the US and its allies and deployed US-made chemical weapons. Similar attacks against Kurds by the Turkish armed forces have gone unpunished.

Another topical atrocity was the 1994 Rwandan civil war. The Western media unanimously reported marauding Hutus killing their Tutsi cousins with machetes. In one respect this is much a more serious allegation than those levelled against Germans during WW2. In 1945 most ordinary Germans knew little of events either in concentration camps or on the Eastern Front. Indeed much of what they did know they had learned through German-language Allied broadcasts, rumours and post-war propaganda. Whether hundreds of thousands perished in mass gas chambers or not, most ordinary Germans did not rampage the streets wielding machetes against Jewish neighbours (The total death toll of Kristalnacht was around 90). Lamentably an awful lot of dead bodies laid strewn all over Rwanda by the time Western reporters could return and formerly exiled Rwandan Patriotic Front soldiers had recaptured the capital Kigali. Based on verifiable evidence it is much harder to refute the Rwandan massacre than mass gas chambers in Nazi-occupied Poland. However, many thoughtful observers have missed two critical and related factors: economics and environment. What was billed as a systematic genocide was in fact a food riot that quickly turned into a collective frenzy of internecine slaughter.

Journalists and foreign Africanists are unanimous that the West failed to take pre-emptive action against the Rwandan genocide, but too many assume such action need be military. Unconditional economic aid to ensure Rwanda could be self-sufficient in essential foods, writing off the country's debt, the provision of vital health and transport infrastructure etc. would have done much more to help Rwandans overcome their past internecine conflicts than any so-called peace-keeping mission. Also see Michel Chossudovsky's article on the IMF and Rwandan Holocaust

Sanitised Genocides and Ethnic Cleansing

Genocide means the extermination of a people with a distinct cultural heritage either by ruthless colonial expansion or by systematic slaughter. Whether a given massacre qualifies for this term depends largely on its scale and ethnic specificity. By contrast the newly coined term ethnic cleansing means systematic deportation or forced cultural assimilation. Ethnicity begs definition, but usually implies a deep-rooted cultural identity passed through successive generations of a close-knit community. Historically ethnic groups acquire uniform physiognomic traits through many generations of interbreeding. Language, religion, diet, dress code, sexual morality and other customs are cultural characteristics linked to one's ethnic identity. Absolute genocides are thankfully relatively rare events, although the rapid depopulation that followed European colonisation of the Americas, Africa and Australasia succeeded in eradicating indigenous civilisation and annihilating vast swathes of their peoples through war, disease and starvation. At the time of the great European conquests very little prime agricultural land was virgin territory. Who would believe native Australians only inhabited the outback before Dutch and predominantly British colonisation? The Boer War saw the almost complete extermination of the Khoi-Khoi (aka Hottentot) people of the Northern Cape as a result of the British scorched earth policy. Even the world's first war sold on humanitarian grounds, the 1898-99 Spanish-American WAR over the Philippines ended in a brutal massacre.

Most countries in the New World were founded on genocidal colonisation followed by systematic ethnic cleansing. In the first fifteen years of Belgian colonial rule of the Congo under King Leopold the rubber trade's ruthless exploitation of land and inhabitants alike caused the country's population to fall from around 20 million to just 9 million, yet another tragic tale erased from mainstream history books.

The Hidden Democide

Sadly but patently, abject poverty, malnutrition, child labour, unreported internecine and gang warfare are rife. Unedited video footage of armed gangs severing the limbs of a nine-year old boy because he fought for a rival gang intent on control of diamonds is considered unfit for public consumption, while Hollywood churns out movie after movie replete with gratuitous fictional violence. Millions of dollars are spent to simulate terror, while thousands of real pictures of US-perpetrated or funded warfare across the globe would suffice to horrify all but the most callous individuals. Very different standards are set for the relative importance of deaths. Quality newspapers targeted at intellectual readers devote just a few paragraphs to a WHO report estimating that 15 million children die every year from easily preventable diseases on top of 7 million child deaths due to malnutrition, while atrocities that can be blamed on an official enemy are widely publicised. When was the last time we read sensational headlines about real horrors, of which our rulers are guilty?

Headlines you won't read in Murdoch's Press

Online Sun Iraqi Child

Exclusive: UK Sanctions Kill 500,000 Iraqi Kids

Oil-hungry control freaks want these kids to die, so evil multinationals can get their greedy hands on the guey black stuff. Sex-crazed Bill Clinton and ballot rigger Blair deny their hideous crimes, but the Sun reveals the horrible truth. Saddam Hussein is their best friend and ten years ago agreed to be Global Demon Number One as long as he could keep his marble palaces. As Blair gears up for his re-election campaign, Iraqi children are dying of leukaemia thanks to depleted uranium strewn over their land by US and UK bombers.

Online Sun Emaciated Children Y2K

Shock Horror! 12,000 children starved yesterday

12,000 kids died yesterday because their mums and dads could not make ends meet without work, fertile land or a social safety net to fall back on. Tony Blair said Third World countries need a competitive labour market and more deregulation.

That's right more children starve either due to undernourishment or severe malnutrition every day than NATO claimed the Yugoslavs killed during the Kosovo war. Few of us would be surprised to read "Rock Star Kills Fiancé" or "Serbs Murder More Albanian Kids", "Internet Paedophiles on the Rampage", "Germans Want To Ban British Pint", "Blair Slams Media for Invasion of Privacy", "Don't Miss Our Pics of Prince Eddie at Nudist Camp" etc.

As the world's population passes the psychological 6 billion barrier, life expectancy in much of Sub-Saharan Africa is falling in the age of computers, mobile phones, suburban off-road cars and supermarkets packed with goodies, 2 billion suffer from malnutrition.

Should we Fear Hate Speech?

The short answer is no, provided we retain the right to challenge it. Some propaganda can be very hateful and even incite frenzies of xenophobia, especially if it comes from the mainstream and builds on generations of subtle indoctrination. Sometimes hatred can be engineered gradually over a few years as in the case of Serbs.

If the Sun could headline "Gotcha!" when the Royal Navy needlessy sank the General Belgrano killing 400 Argentinian sailors in 1982 or condones the bombing of some of the world's poorest in Iraq, the Balkans and now Afghanistan, surely we need not fear irrational outbursts from fringe propagandists. The real danger is mainstream hate speech legitimised by our government and establishment intellectuals. More important who defines hate speech? Is hate speech language that can incite violent attacks or is it propaganda that justifies state terrorism? Increasingly hate speech is a byword for unacceptable opinions and unmentionable controversies.

As Noam Chomsky said in defence of his decision to write a foreword in favour of the free speech of French holocaust revisionist Faurisson "It is a poor service to the memory of the victims of the holocaust to adopt a central doctrine of their murderers".

The restriction of free speech has always benefited those who control the means of mass communication. No precedents exist for laws passed to ban proven lies, but plenty for laws crafted to stifle debate on issues that may expose the duplicity of the establishment or challenge the founding myths of the ruling class.

Free Speech Links

1) Authoritative estimates place England (and after 1707 Great Britain) a close second in the slave trade.