Saturday, 25 August 2012

Issue 49, October 2008

Nation Revisited
An occasional e-mail to friends, October 2008, # 49. 

Fannie & Freddie

It must now be obvious to the most intransigent nationalists that Britain is tied to America. The credit crunch crossed the Atlantic before you could say Fannie & Freddie. Northern Rock has been effectively nationalized, Lloyds TSB has swallowed up HBOS and most of our banks have suffered from the collapse of Lehman Brothers.  We have also been hit by rising fuel and commodity prices.

Gordon Brown is trying to play down the crisis but the fact is that there is nothing that he can do about it. Our standard of living is falling, unemployment is rising and inflation is back with a vengeance. That’s the reality of being tied to the casino economy of the “free market.” The Ukippers are dreaming when they talk about national independence. True independence can only come from self-sufficiency. But Britain has not fed herself since the 18th century. It’s time for the dreamers to wake up and smell the imported coffee.

In 1945 Britain was bankrupt after six years of bloody fratricide. Our industries were bombed to destruction and our infrastructure was patched up and barely functioning. But America emerged from the war stronger and richer than she entered it. The Americans fought bravely and lost over 400,000 war dead. But they were the only power to end the war with their industries intact. America used her wealth to bankroll Europe and her military might to defend us against the perceived threat from Russia. Today the situation is completely different. The American economy is still formidable but she is in debt to the rest of the world and her armed forces are fighting cripplingly expensive wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. America is in no position to bail us out this time. The “special relationship” will not stop our economy shrinking and our dole queues growing.

The North American Free Trade Agreement commits the United States to integration with Canada and Mexico. Immigrants are already pouring across the Rio Grande to take advantage of the new economic opportunity. And Canada’s enormous resources of coal and oil are being developed.  Economic necessity will force America to abandon global expansion and concentrate on NAFTA.  Britain will still have ties of blood and language with America but we will be forced to seek a sustainable geopolitical future.
Greed and stupidity

The French drive Citroens, Renaults and Peugeots, the Italians drive Fiats, Lancias and Alfa Romeos and the Germans drive BMWs, Mercedes and Volkswagens. We drive all of those plus Hondas, Hyundai and all the rest. There is no patriotism about our buying habits, be it cars or groceries. This isn’t a sign of sophistication and worldliness; it’s the result of generations of brain washing. Our reluctance to buy our own products has resulted in the destruction of our manufacturing industries. When British Leyland, Ford and Vauxhall ceased production hundreds of engineering subcontractors went bust.

The recession is worldwide but it affects Britain more than other countries because we have a depleted manufacturing base and very little in the bank. We are a major importer of gas and oil but instead of befriending our oil-rich Russian neighbours we are trying hard to provoke them. The boy wonder David Miliband is spouting anti-Russian propaganda with every breath and the new leaders of the EU have joined in the half-hearted protest.

Angela Merkel pays lip service to the EU resolution but that has not stopped her from reaching a fuel deal with Russia. Apart from gas and oil Germany is well placed to survive the recession. They have impressive currency reserves and dominate sections of the industrial marketplace. The Daily Mail keeps telling us that France, Italy and Spain are about to collapse but they are not dependent on imported cars and consumer goods. We are the only European country that has allowed its industrial base to be decimated.

Not long ago the “experts” were boasting that Britain is a post-industrial economy. We were told that we could make a living by selling financial advice and insurance. But since the Northern Rock fiasco we have lost our reputation as financial advisors. We are now a post-post-industrial economy that has run out of ideas.

This desperate situation is the result of years of ineptitude by both major parties. Instead of planning for the future they went for quick profits. The four-year parliamentary cycle is ingrained in the minds of the old gang politicians. They never think further than four years because they expect to be thrown out by then. Our power plants are breaking down, we have insufficient storage capacity for gas and workable coalmines were abandoned during the “dash for gas.” Energy experts are predicting power cuts this winter as the cost of gas and electricity spirals out of control. Our pensioners face the grim choice of eating or heating because their pensions cannot keep pace with inflation.

All of this could have been avoided if past governments had thought ahead and made sensible plans for the future. It is a damning indictment on their greed and stupidity. But our overpaid representatives will not be cold and hungry this winter, they will be warm and comfortable in their subsidized homes.

Dealers in war

(This first appeared as Bill’s War Diary on Sharon Ebank’s website in 2007)

Millions of people have been killed or wounded by weapons in the hands of terrorists. These weapons are rarely sold openly to the various “liberation armies” that seek to set up breakaway states or overturn established governments; they are supplied via brokers acting for the big powers. If the deals come to light the real suppliers can throw up their hands in horror and deny any involvement. In this way the old Czechoslovak communist regime supplied deadly Semtex explosive to the IRA and the United States supplied the same terrorists with high-tech sniper rifles.

Sarkis Soghanalian unofficially represented the United States for over forty years and supplied Saddam Hussein and the Contra rebels in Central America with arms and ammunition. He operated openly from Miami but was briefly jailed for violating US embargoes after the Gulf War. He bought his freedom by trading intelligence information with the CIA. His personal wealth is counted in billions and some of it is being used to rebuild his native Lebanon.

Monzer al Kassar is known as The Prince of Marbella. He provides Middle Eastern and African groups with weapons from the old Soviet Union and its successor states. He describes himself as an independent arms dealer and is separated from his clients by subcontractors and middlemen. He is so well connected that he is thought to be beyond the reach of international law. Attempts by the Spanish authorities to prosecute him were abandoned due to lack of evidence.

Leonid Efimovich Minin is facing trial in Italy for selling Ukrainian arms to West Africa. The Italians claim to have documentary evidence of illegal deals but Minin’s Israeli citizenship complicates the issue. Most of his money is safely invested in Turkish occupied Cyprus and Switzerland. Minin may not have Russian or American friends but the Israelis are connected with the West African diamond trade and would not welcome unfavourable publicity resulting from a trial.

Other dealers serve particular markets. Victor Anatoliyevich Bout specializes in aircraft and has his own airline and freight transport network. The UN rate him the world’s biggest arms dealer but he cannot be prosecuted because his planes come complete with proper documentation. It is not Bout’s fault if African dictators use his aircraft to bomb villages or strafe refugee columns. He is a legitimate commodity broker in a world without morals.

Jean Bernard Lasnaud was wanted in Argentina for illegal arms dealing but the US authorities refused to extradite him from Florida. He could supply every military need from tanks and troop carriers to planes and missiles. He disappeared in 2002, as the Argentines were about to press their case.

It seems that all the international arms dealers enjoy the protection of nations that preach democracy and world peace whist engaging in gunrunning and regime change.

Some of the small players like British mercenary Simon Mann do get arrested. Mann has survived years of imprisonment in Zimbabwe only to face extradition to Equatorial Guinea on charges of trying to overthrow the local dictator. Colonel Mike Hoare, the Dublin-born soldier of fortune, was sentenced to ten years by a South African court for his part in the 1978 attempted coup in the Seychelles on behalf of deposed ex-president Jimmy Mancham. He served only two years and emerged to write yet another best-selling book.

Simon Mann and Mike Hoare were soldiers rather than arms dealers but innocent people who got in the way of their gunfire might not have appreciated the difference. The United Nations is powerless to act against the international arms trade because it is an extension of the military power of the great states. In Iraq the Americans are increasingly relying on so-called “security guards” who are in fact professional soldiers recruited by agencies and paid for by the MOD and the Pentagon.

So long as the big powers play games with the people and the economies of the world there will be a market for men and arms to fight proxy wars. Companies like Aegis Defence Services Ltd and Blackwater Security Consulting operate legally in Britain and America to provide trained soldiers to serve in Iraq. Some of these servicemen are ex-special forces with expertise in counter insurgency warfare, but many are boys who have served as conscripts in various national armies. This is a multi-million dollar industry that will expand as public opinion calls for the withdrawal of British and American forces.

The days of fighting for your country are over. Russian soldiers working for American agencies are defending British-owned oil wells in Nigeria. British and NATO soldiers are fighting in Afghanistan to protect American gas concessions in Central Asia; and South African soldiers hired by Israeli agencies are defending British-owned diamond mines in Sierra Leone. A network of money and power stretches around the world and undermines the old concept of independent nation states.

In July 2008 Simon Mann was sentenced to thirty-four years imprisonment for trying to overthrow the government of President Teodoro Obiang Nguema of oil-rich Equatorial Guinea. He served with the Scots Guards and the SAS in the first Gulf War and Bosnia and has fought in Bouganville and Sierra Leone for Sandline International. Mann named Mark Thatcher and Eli Calil as leaders of the coup but both men have denied being part of the so-called “wonga” plot.

Using the system

Political parties are all coalitions of different factions. The all have protectionists and free traders, pro and anti-Europeans, immigration controllers and open door fanatics. But despite these differences of opinion they usually hold together. The Labour Party is currently going through a leadership crisis but this is not expected to lead to a split.

This has happened in the past. The Labour Party split in 1981 when Shirley Williams and her friends broke away to form the Social Democratic Party. The “Gang of Four” decided that they could no longer work with the Clause Four traditionalists. They did well at first but eventually threw in their lot with the Liberals to form the Liberal Democratic Party.

David Davies, an alleged right-winger, expelled the Monday Club from the Conservative Party in 2001. They have since returned to the fold but without their radical agenda on immigration they are a spent force.

When the Labour Party returned to its roots under Michael Foot in 1980 they were condemned to the wilderness until Tony Blair abandoned socialism to win the 1997 election. And when the Tories lurched to the right under an increasingly unhinged Margaret Thatcher they were unelectable until Dave Cameron returned them to the middle ground.

People distrust extremist parties. They might vote for them as a protest but they are wary of candidates who rant and rave. The media decides who is an extremist and who is not. Enoch Powell was a respectable politician with an impeccable war record but that did not stop them from branding him a “racist” for criticizing unlimited immigration. He was driven from office by the very same newspapers that are now screaming about Polish Immigration. It has taken them forty years to catch up with public opinion. Now they are publishing nostalgic articles about “good old Enoch.”

The parliamentary circus operates by consensus. If a party strays too far from the straight and narrow they face the censure of the mass media. This applies to the Labour Party with their trade union backing and the Tories with big business connections. A little party cannot beat the system unless it can capture the public’s imagination and attract a mass membership. But a big party can change direction if it does it gently.

Opponents of Third World immigration should consider joining one of the old gang parties.  At present they are pro-immigration but with a recession brewing and unemployment rising they could soon change their minds. They will justify their policies with lots of waffle about protecting those immigrants already here. They will claim that they have no racist motives but are only thinking of the common good. None of this matters as long as they stop the influx.

An inconvenient critic

Norman G. Finkelstein received his doctorate in 1988 from the Department of Politics at Princeton University. For many years he taught political theory and the Israel-Palestine conflict. He is currently an independent scholar.

Finkelstein is the author of five books which have been translated into more than 40 foreign editions:

Beyond Chutzpah: On the misuse of anti-Semitism and the abuse of history (University of California Press, 2005; expanded paperback edition, 2008)

The Holocaust Industry: Reflections on the exploitation of Jewish suffering (Verso, 2000; expanded paperback edition, 2003)

Image and Reality of the Israel-Palestine Conflict (Verso, 1995; expanded paperback edition, 2003)

A Nation on Trial: The Goldhagen thesis and historical truth (with Ruth Bettina Birn) (Henry Holt, 1998)

The Rise and Fall of Palestine: A personal account of the intifada years (University of Minnesota, 1996)

He has just completed a new book entitled A Farewell to Israel: The coming break-up of American Zionism, to be published in 2009.

Norman G Finkelstein is a distinguished Jewish academic who cannot be dismissed as an anti-Semite. His scholarly criticism of Israel is influencing opinion around the world and forcing people to rethink the Zionist state’s protected status. He has revealed that elderly survivors from World War II are living in poverty in Israel because the Israeli claims department has diverted German reparations money.

He is part of the growing body of worldwide Jewish opinion that is calling for an open and honest debate on the Israeli occupation of Palestine. As America and the EU sink into recession the billions of dollars that sustain the Israeli Defence Force will not be available.  And the further we get from World War II the harder it will be to convince German taxpayers that they should pay reparations for crimes committed in another century.

Those who think that the Middle East situation is cast in stone should consider how quickly things change. Apartheid disappeared in South Africa despite years of tough talk from the white establishment. And the mighty Soviet Union has vanished from the globe. Israeli hardliners who believe that God gave them Palestine might yet change their minds.
Law and order

The breakdown of law and order continues despite police assurances that crime is falling. The public’s perception cannot be as wrong as the police figures suggest. Hardly a day goes by without a teenager being shot or stabbed by drug gangs. These kids are always described as little angels who helped their mothers with the washing up and served at the altar. It’s never reported that they were selling drugs and pocketing the money. But the police know that this is the usual reason why they are murdered. The drug bosses rule their turf by fear and anyone who cheats on them can expect violent retribution.

The police have largely abandoned stop and search operations following the Brixton riots of 1981. Lord Scarman’s report brought an end to positive policing and unleashed a surge of drug dealing and weapon carrying. The fact that most of the victims of violent crime are black does not seem to worry the liberals. Decent black people are paying the price of political correctness.

This descent into chaos is a direct result of government interference. Successive governments have emasculated the police with political constraints that stop them from fighting crime. In order to maintain the pretence of racial harmony they have ordered their officers to turn a blind eye to crime lest they provoke a riot.

The absurdity of this policy became clear in the wake of the London bombings of 2005. The police were looking for a gang of terrorists of Pakistani and Somali origin. But instead of stopping young men of Asian or East African appearance they were stopping white people of all ages and both sexes. They were so desperate to be politically correct that they were frisking white pensioners and mothers taking their kids to school.

The only way to fight crime is for the police to return to old-fashioned policing. Criminals must be brought to justice whatever their race. It is no business of the police to make social policy; their job is to keep the peace. If we need more prisons we must build them; not tell the police to arrest fewer criminals. If police raids in immigrant areas lead to riots we must have well trained and equipped riot squads on hand to deal with the situation.

The idea that the black community would object to proper policing is itself racist and insulting. The white liberals and black radicals who subverted law and order are responsible for the terrible slaughter on our streets. Everyone is sick of the failed experiment in policing that has lead to the collapse of law and order.

The police chiefs who have presided over this descent into anarchy must be sacked and replaced with officers committed to protecting the public. Let’s start by getting rid of the vainglorious Sir Ian Blair on whose watch London has become the crime capital of Europe. His arrogant political posturing has won few friends amongst the police or the public.

Views on the news

George Bush and his pathetic lapdog Gordon Brown are using our taxes to prop up the rotten banking system. The deregulated banks lent money they did not have to customers who could never repay it. These debts were then sold and resold around the world until everyone realized that they are worthless. But instead of punishing the crooks that organized the scam our leaders are rewarding them with a $700 billion handout. The governments of the UK and the USA should not be giving the bankers money they should be charging them with criminal negligence. There are many theories about economic cycles and spontaneous corrections. The “free traders” call for less government control and the rest of us demand tighter regulation. But the real reason for the crisis is plain old-fashioned greed. The moneylenders were not satisfied with a fair profit; they had to squeeze every last penny until the whole thing collapsed. In a properly governed country they would be made to pay for their crimes.

It is reported that Bradford & Bingley will be rescued by the state. Tony Blair reformed the Labour Party to oppose state ownership but they now find themselves collecting banks and railways. The B&B was a traditional building society owned by its investors and serving their needs. They stuck to the rules that ensured that they only lent to customers who could repay the loan. The building societies were solid, honest and reliable. But politicians, starting with Margaret Thatcher, decided to turn them into banks and allow them to make their own rules. The result has been disastrous. Banks are failing and the rest of industry is feeling the pinch; furniture maker MFI is said to be falling apart.

The balance between security and civil liberty has been upset by terrorism. We have to endure increased passport checks and body searches at airports and frequent alerts at railway stations and public places. Most people accept these measures but many are worried that surveillance is used to catch more than terrorists. Listening to phone calls and intercepting e-mails uncovers all sorts of crimes. But we cannot return to the days before terrorism. CCTV and call monitoring have been effective in catching terrorists and they are here to stay. We can be traced by our mobile phones, by prepaid transport cards and by credit and debit cards. It’s a shame that we have lost our privacy but governments will not give up gadgets that they have come to rely on.

As the financial crisis bites nostalgic economists are calling for a gold-based currency. They say that the banks create money out of nothing and insist that it be linked to gold. This system collapsed in 1931 when Britain came off the gold standard. During WW11 we paid for our imports with gold and celebrated victory as a bankrupt nation. After the war the major nations pegged their currencies to the US dollar under the Bretton Woods Agreement. But the system never really worked and was finally abandoned by America in 1971 at the height of the Vietnam War. The value of a currency is not determined by buried treasure but by international consensus. There will be no return to the gold standard.

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