08/02/2014

‘Democratic Freedom': Winston Churchill interviewed in 1939

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The Second World War was still eight months away when Kingsley Martin, the editor of the New Statesman, interviewed Winston Churchill about the need for rearmament and the British attitude to war. Their conversation was published in the NS of 7 January 1939.

Kingsley Martin The country has learnt to associate you with the view that we must all get together as quickly as possible to rearm in defence of democracy. In view of the strength and character of the totalitarian states, is it possible to combine the reality of democratic freedom with efficient military organisation?

Mr Winston Churchill The essential aspects of democracy are the freedom of the individual, within the framework of laws passed by Parliament, to order his life as he pleases, and the uniform enforcement of tribunals independent of the executive. The laws are based on Magna Carta, Habeas Corpus, the Petition of Right and others. Without this foundation there can be no freedom or civilisation, anyone being at the mercy of officials and liable to be spied upon and betrayed even in his own home. As long as these rights are defended, the foundations of freedom are secure. I see no reason why democracies should not be able to defend themselves without sacrificing these fundamental values.

KM One point people are especially afraid of is that free criticism in Parliament and in the press may be sacrificed. The totalitarian states, it is said, are regimented, organised and unhampered, as the Prime Minister suggested the other day, by critics of the Government “who foul their own nest”.

WC Criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary. It fulfils the same function as pain in the human body; it calls attention to the development of an unhealthy state of things. If it is heeded in time, danger may be averted; if it is suppressed, a fatal distemper may develop.

KM Do you attribute the slowness in preparation of which you complain to any inherent defect in democratic institutions?

WC I am convinced that with adequate leadership, democracy can be a more efficient form of government than Fascism. In this country at any rate the people can readily be convinced that it is necessary to make sacrifices, and they will willingly undertake them if the situation is put clearly and fairly before them. No one can doubt that it was within the power of the National Government at any time within the last seven years to rearm the country at any pace required without resistance from the mass of the people. The difficulty was that the leaders failed to appreciate the need and to warn the people, or were afraid to do their duty, not that the democratic system formed an impediment.

In my view, short-sighted leaders are just as likely to come to the front in Fascist countries as in democracies.

KM You held great executive positions in the last war. From a purely military point of view, should we have been more efficient if employers and employees had both been more regimented and less able to bargain?

WC It may be that greater efficiency in secret military preparations can be achieved in a country with autocratic institutions than by the democratic system. But this advantage is not necessarily great, and it is far outweighed by the strength of a democratic country in a long war. In an autocracy, when the pinch comes, the blame is thrown upon the leader and the system breaks up. In a democratic country the people feel that they are respon­sible, and if they believe in their cause will hold out much longer than the population of Dictator States. Occasional difficulties arose with organised labour, but by working with and through the Trades Unions, these were all settled in a friendly manner. I did not find that the existence of the profit motive on the part of manufacturers in any way hampered the production of munitions. It is true that in the early days orders were sometimes placed and accepted beyond the capacity of the factories to meet. But this was a question of inexperience rather than anything else.

KM I gather that you believe that Britain gained and did not lose from maintaining the structure of democratic institutions during the last war. Do you believe that these institutions could survive in another war? Would Parliament be able to function comparatively normally? How far do you think it would be necessary to compel labour and how far would the state need to go on taking over the control of industry?

WC The next war will presumably be entirely different from the last in that it will have to be carried on whilst the Capital and the greater part of the country are being disturbed by air raids. I see no reason why a censorship much more severe than existed in the last war should be imposed. Parliament would probably find it difficult, indeed dangerous, to meet regularly at Westminster. It might be asked to delegate a part of its day-to-day work to a number of large committees containing members of all the various parties, and to meet as a whole three or four times a year. Of course I am assuming that legislation would be in force “to take the profit out of war”. By “taking the profit out of war” I mean that no one anyhow should come out of it richer than he went in. I do not believe that this would in war-time in any way impair the enthusiasm and drive required from the employers, although it would in peace-time.

KM May I go back now to the question of pre-war preparation? We should all agree on the necessity for many restrictions in war-time, but what about conscription and the compulsion of labour and capital in time of peace? Captain Liddell Hart has remarked that to have conscription to combat Fascism is like cutting our throats to avoid a disease.

WC I see no reason why any essential part of our liberties should be lost by preparations for defence. I do not think we need a great conscript army on the continental model, but we should have besides our regular professional army a considerably larger body of Territorials available for home defence or foreign service in an emergency. In case of war a great army could be built up around such a skeleton. I would not hesitate to fill up the gap by ballot among all the young men of the country of the appropriate age, allowing no substitute whatsoever. Nothing could be more democratic, or more likely to democratise the army. When one remembers that the democracy of France has voluntarily taken two years out of the life of each young man to safeguard its liberties, I cannot see that some such system, which would impose a sacrifice of only a few months on a small fraction of our population, could be regarded as a surrender to Fascism.

KM How much coercion of industry is implied in a Ministry of Supply with special powers? Will it involve state control of raw materials, and compete with the methods the Nazis have so successfully employed in South-East Europe and South America?

WC As you know, I have long pressed for a Ministry of Supply. In my view this should have powers, if necessary, to compel industry to give priority as required to Government contracts for rearmament purposes, and to devote or turn over any necessary portion of its plant to such work.

KM May I pass on to another related subject – ARP? People say that the problem of defending London and other big cities in itself involves regimentation on an enormous scale. That you have to set up an army of petty officers with undefined powers.

WC I think a great mistake has been made in spreading our ARP efforts over the whole country, instead of concentrating on what I should call the target areas. I do not believe any enemy will waste his bombs and effort on killing ordinary citizens just out of spite, when he could obtain a much greater military result by bombing docks, factories, Government offices and the like. I am certain that in the villages the risk will be infinitesimal. Our main effort should be to protect workers in the central parts of London, in the ports, and in the manufacturing districts which will be subject to attack. I should be inclined to consider the building of great underground roads, leading out of London and branching off to various points in the countryside, which would not only serve to evacuate the Capital in time of danger, but could be used as dormitories and refuges for those who were compelled to remain behind. That some steps should be taken to prepare the population for the ordeal of bombing which would probably overtake it on the outbreak of war, seems to be essential. If everybody knows that preparations have been made, and what to do, it seems to me there is less likelihood of inhabitants of the East End believing they will be left in the lurch while the rich look after themselves.

KM People who are not necessarily pacifist are horrified at the idea that we may go into another war with the same kind of generals who were responsible for Passchendaele and other horrors in the last war. They say that they might be prepared to fight for democracy if they were democratically led; but that they are damned if they will be sacrificed again for the Camberley clique that was so horribly inefficient and wasteful in the last war. Do you think it is possible to democratise the army?

WC It is quite true, I know, that many people consider that the cadre of officers is selected from too narrow a class. I have always taken the view that merit should be rewarded by promotion in the army as in any other profession. I support this not only from the point of view of democratising the army, but mainly because I think it leads to efficiency such as no other system can achieve.

KM May I ask one more question of a more general character? Most of us feel that if there is a war it will be so destructive that the very substance of our civilisation, let alone our democracy, is likely to be destroyed. Clearly the great object is to prevent war. Is it possible in your view still to regard these military preparations, not as the acceptance of inevit­able war, but merely as a necessary complement of a policy which may keep the peace?

WC I fear that failure to rearm Britain is bound to lead to war. Had we strengthened our defences earlier, the arms race need never have arisen. We should have come to a settlement with Germany while she was still disarmed. I think it is still possible, with a strong Britain and France, to preserve the peace of Europe.

KM Is it not true historically that an armaments race leads to war?

WC To say that an arms race always leads to war seems to me to be putting the cart before the horse. A government resolved to attain ends detrimental to its neighbours, which does not shrink from the possibility of war, makes preparations for war, its neighbours take defensive action, and you say an arms race is beginning. But this is the symptom of the intention of one government to challenge or destroy its neighbours, not the cause of the conflict. The pace is set by the potential aggressor, and, failing collective action by the rest of the world to resist him, the alternatives are an arms race or surrender. War is very terrible, but stirs a proud people. There have been periods in our history when we have given way for a long time, but a new and formidable mood arises . . .

KM A bellicose mood?

WC A mood of “Thus far, and no farther”. It is only by the spirit of resistance that man has learnt to stand upright, and instead of walking on all fours to assume an erect posture.

KM Do you think it possible to concentrate mainly on defence with the idea that we should be less afraid of attack and therefore able to stand up for ourselves without preparing to bomb other people?

WC I cannot subscribe to the idea that it might be possible to dig ourselves in and make no preparations for anything other than passive defence. It is the theory of the turtle, which is disproved at every Lord Mayor’s Banquet. If the enemy can attack as and when he pleases without fear of reprisals, we should become the whipping-boy of Europe.

We need shelters and tunnels, but crouching in a shelter is not a fighting posture. Quite apart from the fact that we could never defend our dependencies on such lines, we should be exposed to inevitable defeat. Every nation of the world would have an incentive to have a free cut at the melon. War is horrible, but slavery is worse, and you may be sure that the British people would rather go down fighting than live in servitude.

http://www.newstatesman.com/archive/2013/12/british-people-would-rather-go-down-fighting

Photo: Vietnam Agent Orange Victim

30/01/2014

David Rockefeller and Bilderberg

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In 1991 David Rockefeller said at the Bilderberg meeting in Essen:  “We are grateful to The Washington Post, The New York Times, Time Magazine and other great publications whose directors have attended our meetings and respected their promises of discretion for almost forty years. It would have been impossible for us to develop our plan for the world if we had been subject to the bright lights of publicity during those years. But, the world is now much more sophisticated and prepared to march towards a world government. The supranational sovereignty of an intellectual elite and world bankers is surely preferable to the national auto-determination practiced in past centuries.”

15/11/2012

NATO: 'democracy' and 'transparency"

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November 14, 2012

Prime Minister of Georgia Bidzina Ivanishvili has invited the North Atlantic Council to Georgia. He said about it in Brussels at a joint press conference held after a meeting with NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen.

The Prime Minister stressed that NATO isn't only a military but also a political structure and promised that the new government will do everything to strengthen the democratic institutions.

"We will do everything in order to develop truly democratic institutions. The problems that arose a few days ago, in my opinion, were connected with the fact that the former power was satisfied by facade statements power instead of building truly democratic institutions, and there wasn't enough transparency in society, including in military compounds. The new government will do everything to ensure that all our actions are clear to the international community and NATO. We will do everything to achieve the objectives and Georgia to be a member of the alliance in the near future," Ivanishvili said.

Georgia is a close and committed partner for NATO. It doubled its contribution to NATO's mission in Afghanistan and joined the planning process for the NATO-led mission to train, advise and assist the Afghan forces after 2014.

Source: Trend News Agency

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NATO’s Secret Kurdish War: Turkey Prepares Iraq-Style Attacks Inside Syria

August 3, 2012

The secular, left-wing Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) has been struggling for Kurdish autonomy in Turkey since 1978 and is labelled a terrorist organization by Turkey, the United States, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and the European Union.

The Turkish government has been waging a counterinsurgency war against the PKK for 28 years in Turkey, and over the past decade in northern Iraq, with the active support of the Pentagon and NATO. In fact, the campaign against Kurdish opposition groups is another, unacknowledged, American and NATO war, one to be added to a growing list that includes Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Somalia, Libya and now Syria.

In recent years, for example, NATO and the Pentagon’s European Command and Central Command have become increasingly involved in supporting Turkish military attacks against the PKK and other Kurdish groups in Turkey and Iraq. (Turkey is in European Command’s area of responsibility; Iraq is in Central Command’s.)

In September of 2005 the joint top commander of U.S. European Command and NATO at the time, Marine General James Jones (later the Barack Obama administration’s first national security advisor), met with members of the Turkish general staff and signed a memorandum of understanding for a NATO "counterterrorism" center in Turkey.

His comments at the time included these:

“We discussed specific Turkish concerns, obviously, with regard to the PKK.

“Turkey is ideally suited to host the Center of Excellence-Defense Against Terrorism. Turkey has the second largest armed forces in NATO, is strategically located, and has over 30 years [of] experience combating terrorism.”

The NATO Centre of Excellence Defence Against Terrorism had been inaugurated in Turkey on June 28, 2005.

In July of 2006 the Turkish head of state, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, called on NATO to openly join the anti-PKK counterinsurgency war, stating: “NATO, which joined in the war against terrorism in Afghanistan, should also do the same here. “It would be good to make tripartite efforts (Turkey, NATO and the US) and to get some results.”

http://www.4thmedia.org/2012/08/03/natos-secret-kurdish-war-turkey-prepares-iraq-style-attacks-inside-syria/

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Sep 5, 2012 - NATO holds secret meeting approving Syrian operation

http://english.ruvr.ru/2012_09_05/NATO-holds-secret-meeting-approving-Syrian-operation-interview/

16/10/2012

America: a 'democracy' with unjust laws...

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Letter from a Birmingham Jail

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was a major part of many nonviolent protests as he helped lead the fight for desegregation and equal rights. He was arrested numerous times. In 1963, numerous "sit-ins" were staged in Birmingham, Alabama to protest segregation in restaurants and eating facilities. King was arrested during one of these and while he was imprisoned wrote his famous "Letter from a Birmingham Jail." In this letter he argued that only through visible protests would progress be made. He argued that it was an individual's duty to protest and in fact disobey unjusts laws.

Photo: Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X, March 26, 1964

14/10/2012

EU wins Nobel Peace Prize for promoting 'democracy'...

NATO.bombs.Nasser.university3.jpgsirte.destroyed1.jpgAFP - Oslo, October 12, 2012

The Nobel Peace Prize was on Friday awarded to the European Union, an institution currently wracked by crisis but is credited with bringing more than a half century of peace to a continent ripped apart by World War II.

"The union and its forerunners have for over six decades contributed to the advancement of peace and reconciliation, democracy and human rights in Europe," Nobel Committee president Thorbjoern Jagland said in Oslo.

"Over a seventy-year period, Germany and France had fought three wars. Today war between Germany and France is unthinkable. This shows how, through well-aimed efforts and by building up mutual confidence, historical enemies can become close partners," he said, explaining this year's prize decision. Institutions that have won

The award is however a surprise at a time when European solidarity is facing its most daunting challenge in decades amid deep rifts between a south drowning in debt and a wealthier north, led by Germany, only reluctantly coming to the rescue.

European Union President Herman Van Rompuy said on Friday that the 2012 Nobel Peace Prize was a tribute to more than six decades of EU countries acting to "overcome war and divisions."

The prize recognised "the unique effort by ever more European states to overcome war and divisions and to jointly shape a continent of peace and prosperity," Van Rompuy said on Twitter after the award was announced in Oslo.

Whether or not that begrudging assistance will keep the European project afloat remains to be seen, but the deep crisis has broadened the gulf already felt between citizens in the different member states and a Brussels long seen as too distant and bureaucratic. EU Parliament head 'touched, honoured'

But the creation of the organisation is credited with helping to bring peace and stability to the war-torn continent by bringing together arch-enemies France and Germany and herding them down the same path.

Despite recurring difficulties, the EU has become the biggest common market in the world, allowing free circulation of goods, people, services and capital.

Over the years, the pioneering project has swelled to encompass 27 countries which not long ago sat on either side of the Iron Curtain.

They came to the table with vastly different economic, social and cultural situations, but following intense integration efforts, a full 17 of them now share a common currency. Full list of Nobel Peace Prize winners

This year's prize will also cause shockwaves in host country Norway, which itself has rejected joining the union twice, in 1972 and 1994, and where three quarters of the inhabitants today say they are opposed to membership, according to recent polls.

http://www.hindustantimes.com/world-news/Europe/EU-wins-N...
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Photo 1: Nasser university Lybia, bombed and destroyed by NATO. Photo 2: Sirte, destroyed by NATO. EU won Nobel Prize for promoting hypocrisy...