Why this Blog?

A place where I can lament the changing times; for eccentric comments on current affairs and for unfashionable views, expressed I hope, in cogent style; also occasional cris de coeur largely concerned, I regret to say, with myself.


I welcome your comments, so do please write. Please note however that all comments are moderated prior to publication. Whilst I fully appreciate that life can be frustrating, nevertheless, abuse, SMS language and illiteracy will not be tolerated!

Friday 29 February 2008

Bandits - IV

Source: Daily Mail

The collection of disgusting indiviiduals that I have featured so far in this series are happily dead having lived far too long (they should all have been drowned at birth).

Unfortunately for the long-suffering Zimbabwean population the turd pictured above is still alive and at 84 years of age standing again for election, for another spell of brutality accompanied by incompetence and ruination.

Yes he is Robert Mugabe, described by Sir Christopher Soames, a British diplomat, as "a particularly unpleasant man." This description was made at the Lancaster House Talks in London in the late 1960s which led to the independence of the country and prompted Stevie Wonder to sing "Peace has come to Zimbabwe" in his song "Master Blaster" from the album "Hotter than July". The photograph below is an illustration of how accurate Mr Wonder's information was...

Source: Zimaction

Yes, these are some of Mugabe's high-class police in action. Sir Christopher was better informed I think, than Mr Wonder.

Of course with the election very near, motor-mouth Mugabe has moved up a gear and is spouting rubbish worthy even of Mohammed Fayed as this article illustrates. A quote from the article:

"This is the official start of our march to another electoral victory," he said.

But he added, gazing across auditorium: "You who are here with us, I hope I trust you, all of you. Some politicians are sell outs, political prostitutes, political charlatans and two-headed political creatures."

No comment from me seems to be necessary!

Finally, the web has proven to be rich with illustrations of perceptions of this pustule on the surface of humanity. The following shows how the useless Thabo Mbeki of South Africa deals with the tyrant.

Until the next time.

Thursday 28 February 2008

Big Brother: Where is he?

Of course the easy answer is "everywhere": not entirely true but perhaps closer than one cares to think.

Judging by this BBC article, if you are not a fan of BB, then if you have to live in Western Europe, then Greece closely followed by Denmark appear to be the countries of choice.

Best to avoid Italy and the UK...

Until next time

Have they been reading this??

Just a bit of wishful thinking on my part, but in fact I am delighted to report that Denmark is threatening a more robust response to some of the Islamic crackpots around the world.

This time it is the unpleasant (obviously - think Darfur) Sudanese president Omar al-Bashir who is under the spotlight.

According to this article, al Bashir was quoted as saying that "the Muslim world should boycott Denmark because of the cartoon." If it were not for the deeply tragic circumstances in Sudan/Darfur I would be splitting my sides laughing at the spectacle of an arsehole like this attempting to occupy the high moral ground. In response, Denmark is considering cutting its substantial aid to Sudan.

Regular readers will know which cartoon: it's here as well!

I applaud Denmark's firm stance in support of its free press. Good luck to them.

Until the next time.

Wednesday 27 February 2008

A Nice Quote - From an unexpected source

The picture (source here) is of General, later, President, Eisenhower.

I must confess to being surprised at this wonderful quote from him:

Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. The world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hope of its children. "

Until the next time

Tuesday 26 February 2008

What a Waste

And another thing that makes me angry...

No, I do not mean traffic jams, I am referring to the stupid laws many countries have concerning car lighting.

Many countries insist that headlamps must be on all the time that the car is moving. This is completely unnecessary except of course in rain, snow, fog etc. or perhaps in the north where in winter daylight is dim. I recall being bawled out by a Slovenian customs officer who looked as though she had been chewing quinces all day: "Headlamps!" she snarled as I passed in from Italy, where the same law applies but nobody took any notice.

To illustrate my point about the stupendous waste this involves, imagine say 1,000,000 cars on the road. This is not a great number: there are about 27,000,000 registered vehicles in the UK alone.

Each pair of headlamps is rated on dipped beam at 110 watts; to this must be added the combined wattage of all of the other lamps on the vehicle; let us say 20W although it could well be a bit more. All right: we have 130 unnecessary watts being consumed on each of 1,000,000 vehicles - 130,000,000 or 130 Megawatts to use power industry parlance.

How is all this unnecessary consumption supplied? With petroleum fuel of course; petrol/gasoline/diesel fuel: that expensive and declining resource, which when burned produces all sorts of waste products that the Greens tell us is warming up the planet and which requires considerable energy to produce and to ship.

How much petrol? Well a car engine is about 20 -25% efficient - let's be realistic and say 20%. Subtract the generating losses and I suppose a reasonable guess would be 17% and probably much worse whilst idling in a traffic jam. This means that our 1,000,000 cars with their unnecessary lighting are burning petrol equivalent to 765 megawatts of energy, or if you prefer horsepower, 1,025,000,000 horsepower.

And I remind you that this is just 1,000,000 cars with their lights on.

Michel de Montaigne said:

"Man is certainly stark mad. He cannot make a worm, and yet he will be making gods by dozens." *

Man is mad and he doesn't even have to invent a god to prove it.

Until the next time

*Quote corrected - apologies for the error
**Picture source: here

Monday 25 February 2008

For the Darker Side

Two of my great loves (I have four - no - five more I think) are black & white photography and Film Noir.

These stills combine the two:

Hasta la vista

More Lenin

No sound sadly but quite bonkers...

I suppose that they can use Lenin because he was only responsible for about 3,000,000 deaths; Hitler would be out of the "ball park"...


French News Nonsense

French TV is pretty grim: you might think that the TV where you are is bad - it is after all a world-wide problem - and I suppose that TV is the ultimate expression of the Age of the Common Man.

Here in France, we have TF1, this is basically the pits, with gormless game shows with even more gormless audiences, Star Academy, a load of American rubbish and the main 8 o'clock news in the evening read by either of their "star" newsreaders, Patrick Poivre d'Arvor or Claire Chazal, both of whom are inveterate mumblers in the current French speaking style. I won't bore you with the rest of the channels, though Arté is good.

So I watch the 8 o'clock news on France 2, the premier public channel which, to be fair, does actually have some decent programmes from time to time; even I can understand some of what the newsreaders say on this one.

This evening however, they blotted their copybook with a powerful surge of that great French disease: nationalism - a major curse in my view.

The news programme usually lasts 35 minutes (no advertising break). This evening the first 12 minutes were devoted principally to the fact that a French actress has won an award (an "Oscar") for appearing in a film about Edit Piaf the famous French singer (a "double-whammy" already then!). The remainder of the 12 minutes were taken up with extracts of her previous films and archive footage of various French "Oscar" winners through the years. ==Yawn==

Next up on the programme we had reports of a couple of workers' demonstrations (another French curse) and then a piece reporting criticism of the President, M. Sarkozy (another curse in the eyes of many) who is being seen as not sufficiently "presidential" in his behaviour.

Then there was an item featuring the Prime Minister M. Fillon (who at least looks and acts like a Prime Minister) all about the high food prices in France (another curse to add to the heap). And then we saw a map of Great Britain showing us where London is - but relax, it concerned a murder case involving (tragically) some French children and their grieving parents.

After this? Back to France with a story about the lack of snow in a place called Abondance famous for its cheese.

And that was that, more or less. Nothing about Iraq, the oil price, Iran, Darfur, China, Russia, the US elections, Pakistan, Chad, Al Quaida and so on.

Global Village? I don't think so!

Curously, the losing French Rugby team didn't get a mention...

Until the next time


Researching my "Bandits" series is tough work: whilst reading up about General Tojo, the Japanese mass-murderer, and Japanese war crimes, I found the strength of my stomach severely tested; I need a break.

And a break I have taken - this time searching Wikipedia about another mass-murderer and terrorist Vladimir Illyich Lenin. With a break naturally goes refreshment, and what could be better than a nice bottle of sugary "Leninade"? (Wikipedia is the source of the picture).

Perhaps this is the answer: join the "Custard-Pie" party and take the piss out of all these bastards!

No point in manning the barricades, in no time at all there will be a General, Commissar or Gruppenfûhrer of the Barricades to order us all about!

Until the next time

Bandits - III

Source: here

This fine fellow is SS-Gruppenfûhrer (major-general) Odilo Globocnik; this time the "bandit" is a little more "hands-on" than those featured so far in this series.

After a rapid rise in Nazi party hierarchy he was disgraced and fired by Herman Gôring. Himmler recognised an able servant and after a short spell in the Waffen-SS, appointed Globocnik police chief in the Polish General Government.

This odious creature has to his credit the liquidation of the Warsaw and Bialystok Ghettoes, vast amounts of "ethnic cleansing" and implementation of forced labour camps.

But his "crowning achievement" was, on Himler's orders, the construction of "death camps": Sobibor, Belzec, Maidenek and Treblinka. It is said that he was responsible for 1.5 million deaths, no doubt in association with other such luminaries as Richard Glücks, Oswald Pohl et al.

Captured by the British at the end of the war, like his master Himmler, he escaped justice with the aid of a concealed cyanide capsule.

Curiously Globocnik commented on hearing of the death of "Final Solution" architect and RHSA chief, Reinhard Heydrich, "Thank God that sow's gone to the butcher's."

Reading over this short piece, I begin to realise that I have set myself a huge task in attempting to catalogue even a small proportion of the appalling people who have plagued the human race.

Until the next time

Sunday 24 February 2008

Bandits - II

Source: here

The picture shows another individual who certainly deserves a place in my series of Bandits. He is the disgusting Walter Ulbricht, leader of East Germany until he was "retired on health grounds" in 1971 by Leonid Brezhnev (another one who who not be out of place around here).

Here is a person who was indeed a committed communist and was a vassal of Stalin and his secret police the NKVD, who were able to assist Ulbricht in his ambitions by "liquidating" his rivals who had escaped to the USSR in the 1930s. The deeply sinister Lavrenty Beria (who will have to feature here soon) but who at least had a brain, described Ulbricht as "The greatest idiot I have ever seen."

A useless bureaucrat of the rigid Stalinist type, his career was very nearly cut short in June 1953, when exasperated by the régime's economic incompetence, there was an uprising of the workers - about 100,000 of them - in East Germany. This mass protest was ruthlessly put down at Ulbricht's request by his Russian friends - 20,000 soldiers and tanks were brought in. Many were killed and over 1000 imprisoned.

Berthold Brecht composed an excellent poem after the end of the protest:

The Solution

After the uprising of the 17th June

The Secretary of the Writers Union

Had leaflets distributed in the Stalinallee

Stating that the people

Had forfeited the confidence of the government

And could win it back only

By redoubled efforts. Would it not be easier

In that case for the government

To dissolve the people

And elect another?


Source: here

After his death in 1973 he was honoured with a state funeral; what a joke. Am I surprised? No. Am I appalled? Yes.

Until the next time

Bandits - I

Three fine specimens indeed, pictured in 1937 (they were busy with the purges)
Source: here

The picture above is the first in a proposed series of Bandits, my aim being to try to present to you with revealing or at least illustrative pictures of the numerous appalling people who have blighted the lives of the public whilst the gullible cheer.

Here we have three fine specimens, all old Bolsheviks. First Vyacheslav Molotov, loyal Stalinist, implementer of the forced collectivisation of agriculture in the Soviet Union in the 1930s and the seizure of grain from the peasants resulting in millions of deaths from starvation. He advocated "maximum force" in carrying out the programme. Later during the purges of the late 30s he was perfectly willing to sign death warrants for those who after torture had "confessed to crimes". A fine specimen indeed.

On the right we have Kliment Voroshilov, Marshal of the Soviet Union. A remarkable survivor he, since Stalin was not especially loyal to his old comrades - well at least not to those who showed a degree of talent... Personally possessed of physical courage, Voroshilov was utterly incompetent as a military commander, causing great losses in 1941 until he was replaced by Zhukov (ruthless but very competent). As a member of the highest strata of the Soviet régime for many years (until 1960 at which time he was 78 years old) Voroshilov would have been well aware of most of the beastliness carried out in the name of the "people".

The bastard in the middle should need no introduction: yes, he's "Uncle" Joe Stalin, the "Great Leader, Teacher and Father of the Nation". Translate as "The Great Torturer, Murderer and Paranoiac".

"Beat, beat and beat again" he once said to his repulsive NKVD chief Yezhov apropos of the latest framed "fascist wreckers and bourgeois reactionaries".

A fine epitaph indeed.

Until the next time

Saturday 23 February 2008

None of their Business

This time it's the Islamists in Indonesia who are showing their primitive thought-processes off to the rest of the world. Of course some of them want the cartoonist who produced the picture of Mohammed with a bomb for a turban, put to death. It really is positively mediaeval.

From this article:

"There is a big agenda among enemies of Islam to discredit the faith and we cannot just keep quiet," said protester Zainuddin, who goes by a single name.

This quote merely serves to remind me that many of the Islamists (Al Quaida, the Wahabi Arabs, the Taliban etc., etc.) are perfectly capable of discrediting their faith by themselves.

Indonesian Muslims had traditionally been relatively moderate; it is tragic that it would seem that they are on the same depressing path as so many of their co-religionists around the world.

Once again, I have to say that it is entirely unacceptable to threaten death to someone whose opinions differ and I applaud the courage of all involved in persisting in expressing their belief, namely that of freedom of expression.

Until the next time.

Friday 22 February 2008

A Sympathiser

N.B. this article concerns smoking. Neither the author nor Blogger can possibly be held responsible for any consequences of your reading this article, be they good, bad or indifferent.

Joe Jackson. Source: here

I recall seeing Joe Jackson performing in London many years ago. He is an original talent, and by chance today I have discovered that his originality is manifested elsewhere too.

He describes himself as a moderate smoker (about 10 cigarettes per day) and he appears to be en colère with the vast amount of anti-smoking nannying going on these days. And it's not just the nannying: he has spent, he says, four years researching the topic and has produced an e-book entitled "Smoke, Lies and the Nanny State". It is downloadable and extremely interesting reading. Link

I shall be trying to add his tunes to my playlist here to demonstrate my support!

His smoking pages are here.

Until the next time

"For my own use"

Yes a nice one:

Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern told an anti-corruption tribunal on Thursday that a 5,000 pound cheque he paid into his bank account while finance minister in 1994 was "a political donation for my personal use". (Full article here)

Nice in two senses actually: first Mr Ahern is being very frank isn't he? Second, what a surprise! A politician received some money...

I suppose it remains to be seen whether or not he has followed in the footsteps of his predecessor, that appalling crook Charles Haughey.

There's been quite a few cases lately regarding political "donations" with senior British minister Peter Hain resigning over some little problem of this type with a few others under "clouds" of varying degrees of darkness. Those of you old enough might remember Hain as a firebrand anti-apartheid campaigner who was involved in damaging a cricket pitch during a test match series many years ago. Although I am not a great cricket fan, this put him beyond the pale forever as far as I was concerned.

If any of my readers wish to make a political donation to me (for my own use) I would be delighted to hear from them (the sooner the better).

Daniel Cohn-Bendit. Source: here

Mind you, it's amazing what the passage of time can do: a good example is Daniel Cohn-Bendit: one-time anarchist, who made his name (Danny the Red) in the French student protests of May 1968. Now he is a prominent MEP representing the German Green Party. He has supported military intervention in Bosnia and in Afghanistan, much to the fury of the left, whilst he has annoyed the right by campaigning in favour of relaxation of laws on soft drugs. He campaigned vigorously in favour of the European Constitution. I have to say that parts of all this (certainly not the last bit!) are rather attractive - independence is extremely rare in politicians today, and a Curate's Egg is, I suppose preferable to a bad egg. It's a pity that were the Greens ever to achieve power, they would probably be even more bossy than the insufferable bores we have to put up with today.

Until the next time

Tuesday 19 February 2008

"Offended Again"

Once again I am inclined to say "Ah, diddums!"

Yes it seems that the Pakistanis expect the Danish Government to control the media in their country. For a shambles like Pakistan to be making demands of the Danish government is hilarious to this writer - perhaps a bit like Valdimir Putin or "Dr" Robert Mugabe giving a lecture on democracy.

It's that cartoon again (see below on this blog). Apparently some enterprising Danish newspaper has published it again, probably in connexion with the arrest of the vermin who threatened the life of the cartoonist.

Akbar Zeb, additional secretary at the Foreign Ministry, told the Danish diplomat that the "republication of the cartoons had deeply offended Muslim feeling and sentiment."

"While we upheld freedom of the press, freedom of expression should not be taken as a license to insult and malign other religions," Zeb was quoted as saying in the statement.

Full article here

It would be amusing to hear how Mr Zeb defines "freedom of the press"... With the constant message that their religion is the true one I wonder why these people are so easily offended? After all, if it's that good then it should be immune to the pathetic efforts of mere humans.

And anyway, what newpapers in Europe (and elsewhere) choose to print is none of their damned business.

Meanwhile, normally sensible Eygpt has over-reacted, banning several Western newspapers from sale, also for printing the cartoons; this action has been accompanied, depressingly, by the usual student demonstrations.

Amid all this the Voice of Reason - and I am happy to quote it here:

On Sunday, the Mecca-based Muslim World League urged Muslims, Islamic organizations and centers in Denmark to maintain calm following the reprinting of the cartoons.

"Muslims should not get caught in a whirlwind of emotional reactions," it said. (Article)

Until next time

Monday 18 February 2008

Talking Sense

Source: unknown, will acknowledge
if requested to do so

The picture above shows the Australian Prime Minister, Mr John Howard. It seems that Mr Howard is apt to talk sense - this observation being based on the content of the text I have reproduced below. This come from a circular email doing the rounds in England, where elements at least, of the population have had enough of multi-culturalism being rammed down their throats. After all, no-one voted for it...

Muslims who want to live under Islamic Sharia law were told on Wednesday to get out of Australia , as the government targeted radicals in a bid to head off potential terror attacks.

Separately, Howard angered some Australian Muslims on Wednesday by saying he supported spy agencies monitoring the nation's mosques. Quote: 'IMMIGRANTS, NOT AUSTRALIANS, MUST ADAPT. Take It Or Leave It. I am tired of this nation worrying about whether we are offending some individual or their culture.. Since the terrorist attacks on Bali , we have experienced a surge in patriotism by the majority of Australians.'

'This culture has been developed over two centuries of struggles, trials and victories by millions of men and women who have sought freedom'

'We speak mainly ENGLISH, not Spanish, Lebanese, Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, Russian, or any other language. Therefore, if you wish to become part of our society . Learn the language!'

'Most Australians believe in God. This is not some Christian, right wing, political push, but a fact, because Christian men and women, on Christian principles, founded this nation, and this is clearly documented. It is certainly appropriate to display it on the walls of our schools. If God offends you, then I suggest you consider another part of the world as your new home, because God is part of our culture.'

'We will accept your beliefs, and will not question why. All we ask is that you accept ours, and live in harmony and peaceful enjoyment with us.'

'This is OUR COUNTRY, OUR LAND, and OUR LIFESTYLE, and we will allow you every opportunity to enjoy all this. But once you are done complaining, whining, and griping about Our Flag, Our Pledge, Our Christian beliefs, or Our Way of Life, I highly encourage you take advantage of one other great Australian freedom,

The Freedom to Leave

'THvvPrime Minister John Howard - Australia

Until the next time

Tuesday 12 February 2008

A Window of Hope (but very small)

The recently imposed "blanket" smoking bans in England and Wales and in France have, despite the largely pro-ban reports in the media, caused a considerable amount of bad feeling: in France it is said that bar owners, many of them at least, are in despair - with turnover down between 20 and 30% since the the ban was imposed. Social life in many villages has been severely affected, since this inevitably revolves around the local bar.

I hesitate to use the appropriate language to describe my personal feelings here...

Perhaps sensible Germany can show the rest of Europe the way? Report here

Until the next time.

A Little Good News

Source: Here

Further to my article about "Human Rights", the little cartoon or "caricature" above was enough to cause death threats to be made to Kurt Westergaard, the Danish artist who drew it. This is called "Freedom of Expression": you have the right to draw a cartoon; I have the right to say that you have offended my beliefs and therefore I can kill you. Funny thing "freedom" isn't it?

The good news is that some of the vermin who allegedly plotted his death have been arrested. The bad news I suppose is that if they are proven guilty, instead of being stoned to death or having their hands amputated, they will probably enjoy a short and perhaps not entirely uncomfortable time in jail at the expense of the Danish taxpayer.

Until the next time

The Road to Nowhere

Monday 11 February 2008

A French Farce

President Nicolas Sarkozy of France was elected last May, with 53% of the vote, suggesting, as political commentators observed at the time that the populace had decided that it was time for a significant change. Sarkozy promised a radical upheaval and that is what the French have had, although not perhaps the upheaval they voted for.

Given the state of the country's finances, with public debt the wrong side of 60% of GNP, Sarkozy has been obliged to substitute hyper-activity for promise-fulfilment. He has "jetted" everywhere and like the oily Tony Blair, has something to say on everything. This has led to a degree of "discomfort" in his party, the UMP and accusations of his behaving like Louis XIV, "The Sun King". After all, as one might have asked of Blair, "what are ministers for?

A certain amount of "face" has been lost by the government's backing-down in the case of the taxi-drivers, who mounted a typical French protest, blocking roads around Paris - just the thing to revive the economy - I felt a degree of sympathy for the government on this one - after all there have been mini-cabs in London since 1958 (this is what all the fuss was about).

His public wooing and winning (for now?) of Carla Bruni has been most unseemly in the eyes of the French public, who traditionally expect a degree of discretion from their public figures and I am sure that many are looking back to erstwhile President Chirac - described as "The Crook" at the time of the 2002 elections - who, whilst he effectively did virtually nothing, did it in a dignified and presidential way.

Sarkozy made his name originally as Mayor of Neuilly a smart Parisian suburb. A row has now brewed up over the candidacy of one David Martinon for the mayoralty of Neuilly.

Latest polls suggest that Sarkozy's approval ratings are going down like the Titanic.

One wonders for how long France can remain the sixth economy in the world; but politicians are great survivors: their ability to "tough" out - their sheer resilience (or bloody cheek you might say) has never failed to amaze me.

Once again thanks to the International Herald Tribune's rolling news feed you can read all about it.

Until the next time

Dutch Depression


Image sources: EU flag, no EU flag

• Right to life, liberty and security of person
• Right to a fair trial in civil and criminal matters
• Respect for private and family life, home and correspondence
• Freedom of thought, conscience and religion
• Freedom of expression
• Freedom of peaceful assembly and association
• Right to have a sentence reviewed by a higher tribunal
• Right to marry and found a family
• Equality of rights and responsibilities of spouses in marriage
• Right to peaceful enjoyment of possessions
• Right to education
• Certain rights concerning elections
• Liberty of movement and freedom to choose where to live

The above uplifting list is said to apply to human beings; it comes from the Human Rights Charter from the European Convention on Human Rights.

The source of this information also includes the following;

Four new rights were added by the Treaty on European Union (TEU) of 1993: the right of
EU citizens to vote and to stand as a candidate in municipal and European elections in the
Member State of residence; the right to petition the European Parliament and to apply to the
European Ombudsman; and the right to protection in third countries by the diplomatic and
consular authorities of any Member State. Article F of the TEU also stated that the Union:

… shall respect fundamental rights, as guaranteed by the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms … and as they result from the constitutional traditions common to the Member States, as general principles of Community law.

Bearing in mind these no doubt sincere and noble sentiments, consider this story from the International Herald Tribune today.

Here is the fundamental problem with so-called Western Liberal Democracies. They are, partly through idealism and largely through "political correctness", incapable of defending the very ideals they claim to stand for.

Meanwhile the EU legislators and their opposite numbers in the member states' governments have plenty of time to order us about in all the minutiae of our lives. If you have read my profile, you can no doubt imagine my views on the nannying about smoking - and with regard to the EU I am very angry indeed that it was EU legislation that has caused the reduction in quality of cigarettes: even my favourite Balkan Sobranies are no longer available.

Meanwhile for years in succession, the EU's auditors have refused to sign off the accounts.

Bloody useless.

Until the next time

Sunday 10 February 2008

Views on Vista?

Many people seem to think that Microsoft Vista stinks...

I bought a new computer last October, and unfortunately it had Vista installed. The practical result of this fact was that much of my existing software refused to work and for example, my 2004 printer was not supported. The scanner was, although it took about 30 emails to sort that out.

There is an organisation attempting to fight Vista: here is the website.

My question for you? Is this GOOD? Is it right that the market-dominating software provider should offer this nonsense that doesn't work properly?

I am increasingly annoyed, angry, frustrated with these people: hardware and software providers who offer "installation in five minutes" and other such falsehoods to the public. In any other industry they wouldn't last five minutes...

How are they able to get away with this criminal misrepresentation?

I'll leave that one with you to ponder.

Until the next time

"Good News" Section

As a curious person (in both senses of the word) I like to keep up to date with all - or a least some - of what is going on in the world. As I prefer to eschew the television, I have subscribed to an RSS feed via Google Reader to a variety of news sites. From time to time I shall use these pages to draw your attention to items that have caught my eye.

The AP rolling news feed provides an enormous amount of news and it is from there that I have selected an item about that credit to the human race, Dr Robert Mugabe, architect of Zimbabwe's ruin.

Surprisingly, the opposition seems to have the idea that Mugabe might "rig the vote" in the forthcoming presidential elections. The article from the International Herald Tribune is here.

Well the tyrant is 84, so I imagine that the population is hopeful that the misery hasn't too long to run.

It was another tyrant, Josef Vissarionovich Stalin who said "It doesn't matter who voted for whom. What is important is who counts the votes."

Until the next time

The NKVD - Stalin's SS Part II


We left with the "ethnic cleansing" of various territories of the Soviet Empire; you should by now (if you have read this far) know who expertly managed these operations.

Source: here

The USSR supported the Republican cause during the Spanish Civil war. Whilst officially in league with Spanish left-wing groups opposing Franco’s Falangists, the reality was somewhat different. There was a substantial contingent of the NKVD in Spain controlled by Alexander Orlov and part of their mission was to ensure that the Republican movement was conforming to Stalinist orthodoxy. The Spanish groups on the Republican side such as POUM were opposed to Stalin’s model of communism and so were therefore considered to be ideologically unsound: POUM’s leader, Andres Nin was horribly tortured and subsequently executed, as were many hundreds of others – many on farcical charges of spying for the Falangists. Other organisations suffered similarly – Orlov had built up an organisation numbering 14,000. When Orlov discovered in 1938 that he was likely to be “purged” he was more fortunate than his victims and those who had been executed in the USSR: with his family he escaped to France and then to the USA, where he lived until his death in 1970.

Yezhov, in his turn was found to be suspect and in 1939 was replaced by the sinister Lavrenty Beria; Yezhov was shot in 1940. This was the period of the Nazi –Soviet pact, when following the German invasion of September 1939, Poland had been divided between the Third Reich and the USSR. Officials from the NKVD met with their opposite numbers in the Gestapo. There were four conferences and it was agreed that by 1975 the entire Polish population should be moved to North Eastern Siberia. Meanwhile, mass executions of Polish prisoners of war were carried out, including of course the well-known murders of 4000 Polish officers at Katyn.

Following the outbreak of war between Germany and Russia, the NKVD had an additional role: they would follow behind the Russian troops shooting any who refused to advance or attempted to retreat.

The NKVD had great success with its espionage activities, notably the “Red Orchestra” in Europe and with the spy, Richard Sorge in Japan; it was an operative of the counter-espionage directorate SMERSH who killed Leon Trotsky in Mexico in 1941. It was Soviet espionage carried out during the Manhattan Project that resulted in Stalin showing no surprise when informed by President Truman about the atom bomb during the Potsdam Conference; the Soviets had their own atomic bomb soon after, the project being run by Beria.

There were further reorganisations during the war and then in 1946, the NKVD was renamed MVD (Ministry of Internal Affairs) whilst there was also at the same time the MGB (Ministry of State Security). In 1954 there was yet another change with the MVD becoming responsible for the regular police, the prisons and camps, and the KGB, responsible for the secret and political police, intelligence and counter-intelligence, protection of the leadership etc.

In the years following Stalin’s death, here were virtually no trials of NKVD personnel for abuse, murder or “crimes against humanity” and indeed they were able to live into old age on generous pensions, still maintained to this day in modern Russia.

Studying reports and accounts of NKVD activities it may be seen that at many times the various protagonists were communicating in Soviet slogans: “enemies of the people”, “Trotskyites”, “Fascist wreckers” and so on, as though each official was doing his best to prove his credentials at all times. It is especially sad to read trial statements from the old Bolsheviks who were executed in the purges, where they admit to all sorts of improbable offences, again in these sloganeering terms. Much fun has been made of the 1950s McCarthyite “reds under the beds” obsession, but driven from above by Stalin’s paranoia, the NKVD was infinitely worse, as were the outcomes of their activities.

A few minutes spent on the Internet reveals that today there is a Californian record label named NKVD and one can even buy a T-shirt with “NKVD” emblazoned on it. “Soviet Chic” it is supposed; the millions abused, tortured and murdered would not agree and it is most unlikely that there is a record label called “SS” or that one could purchase an SS T-shirt. Double standards in history continue to shock and surprise.


  1. http://www.projectinposterum.org/docs/chodakiewicz1.htm Most interesting but very distressing reading

  1. http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/RUSnkvd.htm

  1. http://www.nkvd.org/en/index.html

  1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NKVD

  1. http://www.whatnextjournal.co.uk/pages/Pamph/NKVD.html

  1. http://www.internationalliving.com/countries/other_countries__1/europe/estonia/country_archive/01_17_06

  1. http://www.encyclopediaofukraine.com/pages/N/K/NKVD.htm

  1. http://www.warsawuprising.com/paper/nkvd.htm

  1. http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/SPorlov.htm

  1. Yezhov’s progress: http://media.hoover.org/documents/0817929029_21.pdf

  1. Bukharin’s Show Trial: http://www.art-bin.com/art/obukharin.html

  1. http://www.cyberussr.com/rus/yezhov.html Many useful links here

  1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sergey_Kirov

  1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gestapo-NKVD_Conferences

  1. http://www.biocrawler.com/encyclopedia/NKVD_Order_no._00486

  1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Potsdam_Conference

Autobiography: The Nights are Longest There, by “A.I.Romanov” (actually B.I.Baklanov) a NKVD operative during the war years, who defected to the West in 1945. (Pub: Hutchinson 1972)


Until the next time...

Rejection & the NKVD - Stalin's SS

I write from time to time on Helium.com, so far only in the History section. Recently as a balance to so many articles about the Nazis and the SS I decided that attention should be drawn to the shocking historical double standards that prevail about that period of history. The NKVD was the Soviet equivalent of the SS and at least as disgusting. I did a great deal of research and carried out many re-writes of the article which is only 1500 words only to have it rejected on the grounds that "it attempted to cover too wide an area" - as though I had written a 1000-year history of Russia! I have re-read it many times since and am simply not prepared to re-write it. Since Helium refuses to publish it I am publishing it here, in two parts.

N.B. Subsequently after my representations, Helium did indeed publish the article.

Here is the first part:

Source: here

Stalin’s SS: The NKVD

A vast organisation, operating outside the law, responsible for political repression, espionage, counter-espionage, operating forced labour camps, practising “ethnic cleansing”; for mass murder on an enormous scale, brutal torture, fabrication of evidence, interference in foreign countries and with its own military arm. Sounds familiar doesn’t it?

Yes, this description obviously applies to the Nazi SS but it applies equally to the Soviet equivalent: Narodnyy Komissariat Vnutrennikh Del, “The People’s Commissariat for Internal Affairs”, the NKVD. As with the SS, the total number of deaths attributable to this organisation will probably never be known. Estimates vary but are usually in the order of 20 millions. Of course apart from the deaths, many more had their lives ruined irrevocably as a result of the NKVD’s activities.

Given this lamentable record, it seems extraordinary to the author that writings about the SS’s operations (and indeed the Nazis generally) hugely outnumber those covering the Soviet side.

“Our task is not only to destroy you physically, but also to smash you morally before the eyes of the society.”

Major Wiktor Herer, a superior officer at the Office of Public Security, to a prisoner, 1948.

A most interesting point is made in the first of my sources listed at the end of this article from which the above quotation is drawn. A contrast is drawn between the Gestapo and the NKVD. It is pointed out that appalling as the Gestapo were, they abused people in an attempt to get the truth about a particular subject, whereas the NKVD would abuse people to get them to confess to an untruth. To this writer, this depressing observation highlights the essential depravity and moral bankruptcy of the Stalinist regime.

In the early years following the Russian Revolution of 1917, the Soviets established a secret police organisation, the Cheka, founded by Feliks Dzerzhinsky, which was intended to “protect the revolution”. This organisation was renamed in 1922 as the GPU (State Political Directorate) of the NKVD. In subsequent years, numerous reorganisations took place, and gradually the NKVD’s remit was expanded to include the activities listed in the first paragraph above.

The NKVD’s most infamous period began in 1934 following the assassination of Sergey Kirov, party boss in Leningrad. Many have asserted that the murder was carried out on Stalin’s orders on the grounds that he was concerned about Kirov’s popularity and further that Kirov was of a more liberal disposition than Stalin. Whilst there is no substantive proof of this allegation, it was at this time that Stalin ordered the NKVD to investigate a number of his revolutionary comrades, for example Kamenev, Zinoviev and Simonov, who were arrested on the grounds that they had, in collusion with the exiled Trotsky, plotted Kirov’s murder and were planning to assassinate Stalin. Following confessions extracted presumably under torture and threats to their families, they were tried, found guilty and shot in 1936. At this time N.I. Yezhov, known as “the bloody dwarf” was appointed head of the NKVD and predecessor G.G. Yagoda, together with more of Stalin’s old comrades Bukharin, Rykov and others were arrested and also charged with involvement in a plot with Trotsky to assassinate Stalin. They shared the same gruesome fate as the others.

Thus it was that Stalin was able to achieve unchallenged dominance of state and Party. These events were followed in 1937, by purges in the armed forces, many being executed for alleged Trotskyite sympathies: the higher echelons of the military were drastically reduced and deprived of talent as the events following the German invasion of 1941 were to show. Beginning some years earlier, millions of people had been forcibly removed to what is known as The Gulag: forced labour camps where the inmates were subjected to the most barbarous treatment: it is estimated that only 10% survived. Beyond this, hundreds of thousands of so-called “enemies of the state” were murdered very often following a simple denunciation by a neighbour; the administration even set quotas – clergy, military, Kulaks and so on, for the “liquidations” by region. Many mass graves have been uncovered, gradually revealing the extent of the atrocities perpetrated in order to “defend the State”. Instructions were issued (NKVD Order No 00486) that the wives and children of these “enemies of the state” were suspect and thousands were sent for “re-education” and shipped off either to the work camps or to special state institutions.

Areas were “ethnically cleansed”: Tatars, Poles, Ukrainians, Germans were transported to Siberia, as was during the war, virtually the entire population of Chechenya.

(To be concluded)

N.B. A full list of the sources consulted in the preparation of this article will be provided at the end of PartII

Until next time whenever...


I am here for, I suppose, a variety of reasons, these may be deduced from the header on this page.

In trying to find something positive about this self-indulgence, I came to the conclusion today that there are probably plenty of people who are putting a "brave face" on things whilst inside they confront failure, loneliness, lack of achievement, inadequacy etc. Perhaps a few words from a fellow-sufferer might be a little help?

I'll confess that this is a selfish effort, but nevertheless if you have found like me, life despite having on paper a degree of promise has turned sour, then I would be content (happy is the wrong word) to hear from you.

To the next time.