Ramsay has been editor and publisher of the Lobster magazine since it was founded in 1983. He has also written a number of books, including Smear! Wilson and the Secret State, Prawn Cocktail Party: The Hidden Power of New Labour, and Who Shot JFK?
For ten years, he also wrote a column in the Fortean Times on conspiracy theories.
Lobster's contributors include academics and journalists, and is today published twice annually. The magazine focusses primarily on parapolitics - the influence of intelligence and security services on politics and world trade - and combines the examination of conspiracy theories and contemporary history.
Tune in to find out some of the British security service's dirty secrets, and find out what this old Labour Party member thinks of the prospect of Jeremy Corbyn becoming the party's new leader...
Running Time: 01:56:00
Here's a transcript of the show:
Niall: Hello and welcome to another episode of Behind the Headlines. I'm Niall Bradley and my co-host as usual is Joe Quinn.
Joe: Hi there.
Niall: This week we're speaking with a very special guest. He's author and editor Robin Ramsay. Robin has been editor and publisher of Lobster Magazine since it first appeared in 1983. He has also written a number of books including Prawn Cocktail Party - The Hidden Power of New Labour and Who Shot JFK. Robin was also co-author of the book Smear - Wilson and the Secret State. For some 10 years Robin also wrote a column for the Fortean Times Magazine on conspiracy theories. You may have heard of Lobster Magazine. If you haven't, it's a superb magazine. It's been going for 32 years now. It has had all kinds of contributors; academics, journalists and today is still published twice annually. The magazine focuses primarily on the deep politics, power politics. That's the influence of intelligence and security services on politics and world trade. You should definitely check it out. Its website is lobster-magazine.co.uk. We're delighted that Robin is joining us today. So a very warm welcome to you Robin.
Robin: Hello. Good evening.
Joe: Robin, I've been aware of Lobster Magazine for a long time. Just one question - has it ever been in print?
Robin: It began as a print magazine. It began in 1983. It was a long time ago before computers, or at least before people like me could afford computers. So it was originally done in the old fashioned way with typewriters and gum and peg stops, pasting up bits of paper in columns and all set litho printing. The original edition was 150 copies. It was a print magazine hard copy until issue 57, I think, and it suddenly seemed absurd to be mithering about with mountains of paper when I could leave it on a website and it could be seen by anybody for nothing by anybody that wanted to see it. It saved me a lot of work. Producing a magazine single-handed is an incredible chore.
Joe: Yeah, we kind of know that. We produced a magazine for a while ourselves, just a couple of years and we gave it up because it was too much work. And also the reach of a magazine compared to the net these days, it's very difficult to get hard copies of magazines under peoples' noses.
Robin: My own view now is I should have gone online five years before. My view now is if you want to have some people to read things, put it online. Messing around with paper is a complete waste of time nowadays.
Joe: Robin, I have a question just to get straight into the topic. Your research and writing over the many years that you've been doing it has focused on what you called in the latest edition of Lobster, "The Surface World of Politics and the Covert World of Politics". So if it's not too difficult to do it, could you describe the difference between those two?
Robin: Well that's interesting. My own focus has shifted. I haven't done a story on the same patch of dirt for over a year. You have to go back a long way. I approached British politics having investigated American politics and then having got interested in American power politics, the term invented by Peter Dale Scott. Peter Dale Scott was very important to me. He produced that nice term. Also Peter Dale Scott showed me how to do research and showed me how to write it. From the very first issue of the magazine it was very important to me that if I was going to say something, there had to be evidence. Lobster is full of citations. There's hardly anything in Lobster that hasn't got a citation attached to it, a footnote.
So that was the important note. Peter Dale Scott was interested in power politics and I began as a kind of naïve Kennedy conspiracy buff in the '70s. Then if you go with the Kennedy thing you're into the CIA, post-war history, the Cold War, you're into media manipulation, you're into all this stuff. And it began to dawn on me that you could start with your British politics through the same set of eyes. It was much more difficult to do here because there were many fewer sources. Britain in those days certainly and still is I think, a much more closed society. Even in the '70s in the days of hard copy print America had a much bigger underground news world than Britain ever did.
So I began by, as it were, looking at the Labour left for example, and why it failed, through the eyes of somebody who had studied the CIA first. It was a strange perspective at the time.
Joe: It was a strange perspective. You still focus quite a lot in your Lobster magazine on the JFK assassination as the odd new detail might come up.
Joe: I think I know what your take on the JFK assassination is, but it's pretty mainstream right? Mainstream conspiracy theory let's say.
Robin: I would say it's a minority view within the Kennedy assassination buff world. It's not a popular view at all. I now think it's been clearly been demonstrated now that in fact it was a huge event and the Kennedy assassination was an enormous event. We got another 50 years of Cold War after that because Kennedy and Khrushchev were trying wind the Cold War down.
Robin: But when Kennedy got killed and then Khrushchev was overthrown, we then got more bloody Cold War. We've still got more Cold War because there's a third Cold War being generated in the Ukraine and eastern Europe and it was started by the Americans, they're at it again. I think Kennedy was killed because it was simply banal domestic politics. His deputy Vice President Johnson is about to be done for corruption. A lot of people had given Johnson a lot of money in the previous 20 years and it was all going to down the pan and the only way they could work out to prevent this - this was being driven by the Kennedys. The Kennedys themselves wanted Johnson off the ticket for the 1964 election. They wanted to dump Johnson and they were letting this prosecution and investigation of him by the Justice Department go ahead. Johnson was about to get prosecuted and dumped and the only way they could see how to prevent this was to make Johnson the President. As soon as he became President, all the inquiries ended.
So in that sense the big Kennedy buff world, the big Kennedy buffs, the serious people who spent their lives in it - I'm just a dabbler by their standards - they don't like it because it's not big enough. They want it to be something much bigger than this. It's just about money and career and that is profoundly unsatisfying to most of the Kennedy buffs who figured it must be the CIA and clear politics or Vietnam, something really big. It was just boring old American corruption.
Niall: Okay, but just to bring it back to the point you first raised, that then is followed by a second Cold War or renewal of it. This has been kind of a happy coincidence for certain players in the US establishment.
Niall: So that's more coincidental an alignment of interests.
Joe: Well the question that would bring up that angle that you're promoting Robin, is that the Johnson gang were kind of unique to a large extent, in US politics in that there haven't been many other people who were high up in the US political world being faced with being ousted, would orchestrate an assassination against the President. That's why people I think, think that there might have been something else behind it because that's a bit of an extreme approach to take to the thought of you being ditched. Surely Johnson's people could have just sided with the next guy, or sided with Kennedy.
Robin: Yes, it was a very unusual event. But then Johnson, to my knowledge, I haven't read anything original, but to my knowledge Johnson is the only major American politician who was actually running his own criminal gang. Essentially he was head of a criminal gang in Texas. Lots of American politicians are corrupt, most of them as a group are corrupt in the sense that they take huge amounts of money from people to whom they owe favours, which I define as corruption. The Americans don't see it that way. They just see it as the way politics is played.
But Johnson was unusual. His gang in Texas actually had a gunman on their staff who bumped people off periodically, seven or eight that we're pretty sure of going back to 1951. It's difficult now to recreate the world in which LBJ was operating, world of Texas in the 1950s. It was a very, very long way away from Washington. It was only 80 years since the Alamo. There were people around in Dallas when Johnson was there who had been at the Alamo for gods sake! So it was the wild west with that kind of mentality. And they just shot people. And they just happened to shoot the President as well. They didn't see it as that big a deal to them. He was just another dead politician as far as they were concerned. He was just another politician, one of them.
But yes, a big event. And I'm afraid I am still interested even though hardly anybody else is.
Joe: Well it's been a long time and a lot has been said about it. You can forgive people for just walking away from it.
Robin: Yawning and moving on to the next conspiracy.
Robin: I'm never surprised or insulted if people say "I don't care about JFK. It's too far away."
Joe: Or even people who say "Yeah, he was assassinated but it's a long time ago and what are you going to do? We've got bigger problems right now anyway."
Joe: That kind of brings me into what I was going to say regarding you getting interested in the JFK assassination but then you started looking at British politics and the Labour government and stuff. Was it fairly quickly that, unlike the US and JFK, you started to see some evidence of intelligence agency involvement in the politics in the UK?
Robin: That didn't really happen until the middle '80s, so a period from '76 to '86 really. There was very little material at that time available. There were bits and pieces coming out of Northern Ireland in the '70s and certainly the '80s is where the British secret state and the military were most active. There were dribs and drabs coming from stories about the empire but insofar as we knew anything much about the organization of the British secret state, it was through looking at events in Northern Ireland.
In the late '70s there was hardly anything. There was one book by Tony Bunyan called The Political Police in Britain, in which he pulled together all the little fragments that were then extant about special branch and surveillance. None of this stuff existed really before the late '70s when Duncan Campbell for example, produced the pop articles about GCHQ. Before his articles, I don't think anybody in Britain, especially in parliament, had any idea that GCHQ existed, let alone what it did. This is all pretty recent all this.
But there's stuff about the intelligence services and about the event with Wilson, happened really from the mid-80s onwards and to a very large extent were triggered by my connecting up with Colin Wallace. It was Wallace who pointed me in that direction and of course having been given the appropriate "steer" as it were, I went back to the library and began looking through literature and discovered there was a whole bunch of stuff that I hadn't noticed before.
Joe: So that kind of makes the point, when you mentioned Harold Wilson the former British Prime Minister, you mentioned that there are books out there. You've done a lot of writing and research on the plot against Wilson. That was a British intelligence agency plot to get rid of a sitting Prime Minster.
Robin: It was.
Joe: That was the mafia, corporate mob type thing.
Robin: I'ts now difficult to believe this. But in the early 1970s MI5, which is the British version of the FBI, was in touch with a faction or a fraction of the CIA, the counterintelligence people led by James Angleton. Angleton's people were telling MI5 that Wilson was a communist agent. Angleton's people were being told this by a Soviet defector who was mad, but that's a digression.
A section of MI5 believed it. Most of MI5, I suspect, didn't believe this because they'd met Wilson. They believed there was a communist plot to take over the Labour Party and then the government. So in 1972/3 we had a conservative government in power led by Edward Heath. There were considerable underground machinations by a group of MI5 officers, some in the military, some in MI6, but mostly MI5, who believed, and as far as I can tell, genuinely believed, based on their sources in the CIA, that there was a real life, honest-to-god KGB conspiracy to seize control in Britain. This of course to anybody who's on the left or close to the left as I have been most of my life, was absolutely hysterically funny because the idea that the British communist party could take over anything was a joke!
The British communist party in 1973 had 10,000 members maybe, of whom 2,000 were working for MI5 probably, because we now know MI5 completely infiltrated the communist party just as the FBI had done in America. It was the USA. To a very large extent the communist party in Britain was being run by MI5, funded by MI5 and propped up by MI5. So there were feelings there. "Wilson is a communist and the KGB are running the trade unions and the trade unions run the Labour Party and if we don't stop them we'll have East Germany". They genuinely believed, I think, that Britain was on the verge of becoming East Germany and falling into the Soviet orbit, which of course is I think of considerable interest to the Americans, because this was the Cold War still.
That was the background to all the stuff that was going on in the '70s, all these machinations and smear stories and burglaries and surveillance and buggings. The usual stuff.
Joe: So just to be clear, you think that at that time the top tier of MI5 or MI6 did believe that there was a communist plot around Wilson?
Robin: Some of them. Not all. These organizations are not homogenous.
Robin: They're not uniform. They've got factions and camps within them. It's not a straight down, hierarchical, top-down thing. So there's a section of MI5-F Branch in which these notions resided. The people in that branch believed they were dealing with a serious communist threat because the left was on the rise. The unions were on the rise. The mining? workers had defeated the Heath government in 1972. The left which had some communist sympathizers, communist fellow travellers, they were on the rise in the party. The party was moving left and it was crushing the [inaudible] to death.
It's one thing to say the Labour Party was moving left, but quite something else to say "And the KGB is controlling it". Of the KGB's control, there never was any evidence and nobody's ever produced any and now that the Berlin Wall fell in 1989 and you've got these people from the eastern block coming to the west and they were asked "Were you running the communist party of Great Britain?" Of course what that produced was gales of laughter. They thought that was a ridiculous idea. Basically "Ha, ha. I wish!"
But that's what they believed. It's not difficult to understand why. We are all trapped in our own perceptions. We're all trapped in our own theories. We all screen things that we don't want to see. We all suffer from what you call...
Joe: Cognitive dissonance?
Robin: No not cognitive dissonance. It's an expression about confirmation.
Joe: Confirmation bias.
Robin: Confirmation bias, yes. In the last stage. A very, very useful expression. One has to work terribly hard not to be completely paralysed by confirmation bias. MI5 and MI6 were completely - and IRD of course, Information Research Department - they all suffered from a major case of confirmation bias. They saw everything through the eyes of this communist conspiracy theory which leads me, if I may continue rambling on, because it's an interesting thing. We're now living in the golden age of conspiracy theories. There's endless, endless theories in the major media now sneering conspiracy theories "ah lunatics, lunatics, lunatics".
The big conspiracy theories 40 years ago were all coming from the security services and they were all about the KGB. In 1972 the only conspiracy theories you could find in Britain were two kinds. One was the stuff coming through the Daily Telegraph from MI5 about the communists running the unions. And the other would have been on the far right by your usual Jewish conspiracy theories by conspiracy theorists on the far right. They wouldn't want conspiracy theories of any kind in this country. You never saw them, they're just not there.
Niall: Okay. Very often the first person to call it a conspiracy theory comes from some authoritative source and it's kind of like a blanket projection onto anything that might...
Robin: That's the important point. Projection is the key. What you had in Britain was a bunch of people who were professionally engaged in conspiracy, the IRD, MI5, MI6, Special Branch. These are all professional people whose job was to conspire, in their case, to conspire to penetrate the left. But they were all conspiratorily-minded completely and they projected like mad, their view of the world onto us and never bothered to check whether any of it was true.
So confirmation bias and projection are the two big problems that we all suffer from as a trans-assumptive illness, the vast field of data that we now have to play with.
Joe: Okay. A lot of people who go into MI5 and MI6 and the intelligence agencies are of a particular type, at least they were 30 or 40 years ago. Maybe this question doesn't really have an answer, but when you say confirmation bias, what kind of bias or ideologies did these people hold to? Was it simply "us versus them"? What was the ideology of the intelligence services?
Robin: Well of course there was no single ideology but as far as I can tell, centrally they believed that there was a global struggle between the forces of darkness, i.e., the reds, the "commies", and the forces of light, i.e., western Europe, America, progress, democracy. And I notice you had Bill Blum on and he was talking about the same thing about America. This is what they believed. They believed they were the good guys after the bad guys. It was the white hats and black hats.
There used to be a column in Mad Magazine called Spy Versus Spy back in the '60s. There was a bunch of spies wearing white hats and a bunch of spies wearing black hats.
Robin: And they were ran around shooting each other. And that's how it was. But in Britain in MI5 and MI6 - there are distinctions to be drawn there - but roughly speaking, they thought they were the good guys. Lots of them were, well-intentioned but naïve patriots. They were patriotic. They believed in queen and country, queen and country being free market, capitalism, democracy, members of parliament, houses of parliament and that was the way into the light. And anybody who opposed that or suggested for example that maybe private property, private production wasn't such a good idea, was a bad guy.
Joe: So would it be fair to say that these people in intelligence agencies kind of had this view that they were the guardians of all things British, let's say...
Robin: The guardians.
Joe: ...and that you couldn't trust the politicians because they could be infiltrated or they could be left-wingers or commies or stuff.
Joe: You have an old guard in the intelligence agencies who are kind of colonial mindset or from that and in order to...
Robin: MI5 certainly, that was exactly the role. They were recruited from the empire and that's certainly true for MI5. MI5 saw themselves as the guardians of that British society. I can't remember what their slogan was, but their motto is something about guardians. MI6 is more subtle. MI6 basically were much brighter than MI5 and they were much more recruited from the upper classes. MI5 were often recruited from what I call the military orders. MI6 was the elite of the elite and they recruited largely from 'ox-bridge' and higher echelons. And there are some very, very bright people there. Most of them didn't have this simple-minded and patriotic view of the world. They knew they were engaged in a struggle, but they also knew that the KGB people they were working against were rather like them. The KGB was the elite of Soviet society, just like MI6 similarly, was the elite of British society.
They called it the great game and they never killed each other. People in MI6 didn't go around shooting KGB people and vice versa. As somebody said, it simply was a game, a very interesting game. It was not terribly well paid, but you got your reward, you got your OBE or whatever or your KCMG and you got a decent pension and the end of it. It was a game. MI5, IRD and the military people that took all this stuff seriously were simply making a mistake. I think there is odd bits of evidence now that when came to Europe, one of Prime Minister Wilson's major sources, one of the people who was telling him what was going on, was Maurice Oldfield who at the time, I think was the Deputy Chief of MI6. So Wilson was being persecuted by these nutters in MI5 and MI6, the MI6 chief was having the [inaudible]. "Listen old boy. Don't worry about it. We know it's not like that really. And by the way, look at this and look at that." And that's one of the causes of the intense rivalry between MI5 and MI6, which used to exist and may still exist.
Joe: So a lot of stuff that the intelligence agencies did during the Cold War was justified by the Cold War and the communist threat and the "us versus them" ideologies and stuff and they could be, let's say, excused for believing that and they were misguided but well-intentioned people. But now that there is no Soviet threat anymore, no "commie" threat, why are intelligence agencies still taking the same kind of approach? What has it shifted to? What is the potential dissent in British society today that these same people have to fight against?
Robin: That's very interesting because what we saw when the wall went down in 1989 and '90 in and the Soviet bloc collapsed, you could see not MI6 particularly, because their brief was the world, but MI5 in particular was scrambling around trying to find enemies. At one point they made a big push to try and get their hands on the drug traffic business because that's all there was.
Robin: This was before radical Islam. Now, along comes radical Islam just in the nick of time and MI5 and all these careers are all saved now. They've got a real enemy again.
Robin: There was a period from 1990 to 1999 where MI5 really had almost nothing to do. There was still stuff going on in Ireland but when the Blair government did the Belfast Agreement and wound all that down as well, then there was the prospect MI5 really had almost nothing to do. But then of course radical Islam came along and these people have made all kinds of claims that the intelligence services generated it on purpose. I personally don't believe it but you can see why you might think that.
Joe: But coincidentally for sure.
Robin: It's very coincidental, a very interesting coincidence for sure. And I think you could certainly make a very good case for saying that the American military industrial complex certainly needed enemies after the Cold War and they certainly were very happy to have the Middle East go up in smoke and produce a whole generation of enemies for whom they would be more and more and bigger and better weapons.
A lot of it is, especially the Americans and Britain to a smaller term, highly enigmatic, but certainly was the Americans. It is simply a banality, that the American covert operations need enemies. And by god they get them!
Joe: You're really talking here about an organization whose existence is based on the presence of an enemy, of having an enemy to fight against. Certainly, coming from the Cold War, you can see how those intelligence agencies in the US and the UK and Europe grew and became what they are today on the basis on that communist threat. If the communist threat goes away, they're not going to just pack up their bags and leave, right? They need to find something to do. It's interesting because that's a very broad, but I think very true, explanation of the kind of divide we see in the last five or 10 years with this new Cold War, the third Cold War that you've described because it seems to me that the US in particular, and the UK is continuing to look and, as you said in your recent Lobster edition, investing in enemies because they need them for their existence.
But Russia on the other hand seems to be coming at it from the opposite direction where Russia seems to need to not really justify its existence but to bolster its own existence and strengthen it's own position. It needs friends. It seems to be pushing in the opposite direction, in terms of trying to solve conflicts and deal with these problems. And that's very much antagonistic towards what the US and the Brits, for example, are based on.
Robin: Yes. That's absolutely true. But having said that, of course within the existing Russian Federation there is an arms lobby, there are military people, there are soldiers and missile designers and all the rest of it, and they're very happy to have a Cold War as well. That's the problem. This was the problem that Khrushchev and Kennedy faced. They both faced their own military lobbies and they were both trying to run things down. And it's one of the great tragedies of history that this pathetic piffle about LBJ's career ended up bumping off Kennedy just at the point when it was conceivable that the Cold War might have been seriously run down. If Kennedy had gotten re-elected in '64, if Khrushchev had stayed in power, which he might have done with Kennedy there, we might not have had the world as we've had it since 1964. And that is one of the great ironies, isn't it? Some small hick gangster in Texas, tipped the scales, not intending to particularly. Without LBJ we might never have had Cold War II for example; the Jimmy Carter period and the rest of the Cold War (inaudible).
We come back to the old, old question, which is did [inaudible] the people in the west looking at the Soviet Union and now Russia? What are the Russians up to? Because my parents were in the communist party up until 1956 so I grew up in a world in which it was almost instinctive that the Soviets were on the side of the good guys. It took me a long time to shed that. I was well into my 20s before that basic instinctive reaction which is very common on the British left, the Soviets are the good guys and Americans are the bad guys. I think to some extent you can justify that now.
But, can you interpret what Russia's doing? Start with Russian foreign policy. I certainly can't. What have we got in Russia now? A loose alliance of indigenous facists, nationals, nativists, the Russian church. I read a book by the guy who last year was Putin's deputy. Prime minister Shuvalov. Their view is everything between 1917 and 1989 was a disastrous mistake. So if you wipe out that out, you go back before 1917 you've got Russian literature and you've got the church and that's all there is.
Niall: And the Russian empire.
Robin: The Russian empire. There is a Russian empire, indeed. The old Russian empire about which I know very, very little. This is another subject. This stuff is now big and distorted and there's so much information on the internet you could just wander off down one of these little paths.
Joe: In terms of Russian foreign policy, just superficially, most people in the west even can see that their policy is to stand up to the west.
Niall: But cautiously.
Robin: Well cautiously because Americans have got many more missiles, more weapons than they have.
Robin: But you can easily interpret Russian behaviour in the last decade in particular as that Russia, part of it trying to recreate the old Russian empire. That's what the American right-wing says and you can make a good case for that. You can make a reasonable case for that and this guy, this Russian Deputy Prime Minister Shuvalov, he was certainly talking about stuff like that, about faded glory.
Niall: Can you remember his name?
Robin: No. I'm sure I can find his book on my shelf. I'll scan my shelves and see if I can see the bloody book. I've got 3,000 books in this room. I'm not sure if I even kept it. You can't keep all the books. You can find the stuff on the internet.
Niall: Okay, I'll look.
Robin: The problem on the internet of course is deciding whether the source you're reading is reliable. Because all websites look the same. Once upon a time serious stuff was well-produced and well-published, well bound, and you could tell if it was serious just by the way it was produced. The stuff like my little pamphlets and Lobster Magazine they were crappy. On the internet now, all that's (inaudible). So the website itself doesn't give you any clues to its possible content. That makes it more difficult, especially for beginners. I don't want to insult people for godssake. I've been doing this a long time and I sometimes think how would I fair today if I started today. I would be drowning like everybody else is.
Joe: Yeah, just walking away. I think people just walk away. There's such an overload of information.
Robin: It's too complex. When I got into this in 1976, the total number of books that were worth buying, commenting on British power politics, I think there were three of them, maybe four, and one magazine, State Research it was called. Nowadays there's a university subject called the study of intelligence and there are hundreds of books about MI5 now, hundreds! They're all about MI5 50 years ago because they haven't opened the files any later than that. Fifty years ago takes you into the '50s. So the subject is now utterly unmanageable. It's preposterously unmanageable.
Joe: You describe the intelligence agency in the UK, MI5, MI6, whatever, most of them during the cold war as being well-intentioned but misguided. Does that hold true for the same types today?
Robin: Today. My choice would be probably.
Robin: I think there was a big clearing out in the '80s. There's been no official inquiry into the Wilson stuff, the Wilson (inaudible) of the 70's. I'm pretty sure there was a big clear out in the '80s and a lot of the old guard got pensioned off. I think there was a big clear out in MI6 after the Iraq war. _____ went along with all that nonsense and they got it completely wrong and I think if we had access to the personnel roster, which we don't, and if we had access to their personnel records, we'd find a lot of the people who were the most enthusiastic supporters of the Iraq war - and there aren't that many - have been got rid of. This happens. It's almost like a purge. If you're on the wrong side of history on something as big as that, then you get bumped; not being bumped off, you get bumped the list.
I do not know any intelligence officers or security officers or policemen. I simply don't meet them.
Niall: Lucky you.
Robin: I may be corresponding with (inaudible) and there are certain things I don't want to know. I simply don't know what they're like. My impression from what I read is they're quite different now in some ways.
Joe: The reason I asked that question is because I've been trying, on and off, to find evidence of what I suppose I would describe as conscious evil intent. It's very hard to do because I recognize that there's an almost limitless ability amongst human beings to justify anything to themselves under the guise of noble intentions. People can say that 'you have to break eggs to make an omelette', blah, blah, blah, all of these ideas. But when you can justify stuff to yourself and ultimately you can't turn around and say that person consciously knew that they were doing evil and went ahead and did it.
But when I think about, for example, the old lady who it seems was killed by some element of the British...
Robin: Hilda Murrell.
Joe: A ban-the-bomb, a ban anti-nuclear weapons activist, an old lady, no danger to anybody apparently, but apparently she was a danger to somebody who went and brutally murdered her. Now how do you justify that? What kind of narrative?
Robin: Are we even sure what happened there?
Robin: Are we certain what happened there? Her nephew, Commander Rob Green, a New Zealand guy, he was on a nuclear submarine during the Falklands War. His view I think is that MI5 or some section of the intelligence community, got into their heads that she might have been told by him, something naughty about what had happened in the Falklands War. We now know what the 'something naughty' was, which was that Mrs. Thatcher threatened these nukes on Argentina unless the French government gave them the means, the electronic codes to disable the Exocet missiles because the Exocet missiles were starting to save the British ships. The British came very close to losing that war and the turning point was when the French stopped supplying the Argentine Exocet missiles and they gave the British - as far as I can tell this is true - they gave the British the means to disable them in-transit. I have read a couple of occasions, which seem fairly reliable, that Mrs. Thatcher said to Mitterrand when the Argentine Exocet missiles 'Unless you give us the codes, we're going to use nukes on the Exocet base". At that point Mitterand gave her the codes. The nukes weren't used.
Now, when you think to yourself, what secret in the Falklands War was serious enough that they wanted to suppress, that they would go to the lengths of breaking into an old lady's home in Shropshire? And it was probably that. Well Rob Green I think believes that Hilda Murrell started _____ them doing it verbally and they apparently killed her. It's not difficult to kill old ladies, they die quite easily. It looks like a fumble. But then of course they do the ridiculous cover-ups, the usual nonsense. They go into a flat and they panic and they make things worse and they cover it up crudely and then they have to cover it up more thoroughly and so on and so on.
I can't imagine anybody in the security services trying to justify the death of Hilda Murrell in the national interests. No, that's not true! I could imagine somebody justifying it by saying something like this. "Britain's ______ must defend ____ the possession of nukes then anything which is a threat to our possession of nukes must be opposed and the idea that the use of nukes was threatened in Argentina might make the British people less enthusiastic about nukes. It's more like the capacity to argue that the ends justify the means.
Joe: And does the same apply to Dr. David Kelley then?
Robin: I have no idea what happened to Dr. David Kelley. I suspected he committed suicide personally
Joe: Are you joking? Have you looked at the evidence?
Robin: Well, put it this way...
Joe: Four top surgeons said about the cut on his wrist - hogwash!
Robin: He never died from that.
Joe: No way. And he had nothing in his stomach that was in any way an overdose of pills; the evidence that he had a heart monitor on him or something when they found him and the body was moved, it all points to somebody having bumped him off and botched it. And obviously the rationale for it is that the guy was going to stand up and say Mr. Blair, your evidence for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq is a complete load of horseshit.
Robin: Yeah. You might be right. I always think about that. I haven't studied it as closely as you have. I'm _______ the evidence. But if you think that trying to commit suicide by cutting the vein on the front of your hand is a strange way to commit suicide, it's an even stranger way to fake a suicide.
Joe: I know. That's what I don't get about it is how badly they did it, because the kind of guys from the government would be able to say "Go and do a job on this guy", they're usually not amateurs. They've done it before.
Robin: Why didn't they just slash his wrists a few times and underneath his arms, like you would expect a suicide to look like? And then we'd all believe it then. But he made this funny little cut on the top of his wrist which didn't bleed very much. I don't know about it. I don't know how Dr. David Kelley, in his 60s, he wasn't very healthy. Who knows what it takes to kill an unhealthy 60 year old man. I simply don't know. Would they think he was worth bumping off? I personally don't think it's likely. People are cowards. All you have to do is threaten to pinch them. That's how it works in Britain. Listen old boy you'll lose your pension. That's what ________. They ____ up Peter ____'s pension. _____________. Peter ___ thought that his previous employment as a civil servant would be carried forward into his time with MI5 and he discovered that the previous years didn't count so he got a pissing little pension. So he was really pissed off. He said "How could I make some money. I could write a book." But if you want to threaten David Kelley, not to kill him you just have to say listen old boy your pension's in jeopardy or your daughter won't get into the university she wants to go to or we'll write stories about your wife. You don't have to kill people in Britain to keep them quiet. The mere fact is that they're not a lot of people that we could quote as examples of what might be political motives in Britain. There's Kelley, the NSA guy found in the hold___, I've forgotten, a few years ago.
Robin: There's one guy in Scotland whose name I can't remember now who was found by the roadside who might have been shot. Now having said that, this excludes Northern Ireland, there were thousands of political murders and hundreds caused by or tolerated by the British state. All these discussions always exclude Northern Ireland.
Joe: Yeah. We had a show on the north. We kind of agreed. I don't know if you know her, the last one was Anne Cadwallader. She wrote a book just recently. She's a former BBC and RTE...
Robin: I reviewed her book.
Joe: Yeah, Lethal Allies.
Robin: Yeah, yeah. It was about the Bonain gang.
Joe: Yeah. But we kind of agreed with her that Northern Ireland is the place to look in order to understand as much as we can, of the nature of intelligence agencies in the west, let's say, specifically British ones; but also in terms of trying to make sense of stuff that's going on in the world today by operations or wars or conflicts that western government or western militaries are engaged in and also stuff in the past. There's so much information about Northern Ireland, I think it's matched in terms of its exposure of the workings of..
Robin: It's certainly in terms of the British influence _________.
Joe: I want to quote something from your latest blogspot. You obviously know what it is. You're quoting a former BOSS agent, Gordon Winter...
Robin: Gordon Winter.
Joe: What does boss mean? B-O-S-S.
Robin: Bureau of State Security.
Joe: That's a British...?
Robin: That's South African.
Joe: South African.
Robin: That's South African MI5 and MI6 rolled into one.
Joe: Okay. You quoted him from a BBC TV documentary about British security intelligence services, from Panorama in 1981. He said "British intelligence has a saying that if there's a left-wing movement in Britain bigger than a football team, our man is the captain or the vice-captain. And if not, he is the referee and can send any man off the field and call our man on at any time." He's saying that the British intelligence have complete and utter control of any left-wing movement in Britain and this was in '81. But on the basis of that, what is your prognosis for Jeremy Corbin if he's elected leader of the Labour Party.
Robin: Well what we'd have to say about that, first of all we shouldn't believe what MI5 say about themselves. They're obviously not as good as that. They probably were as good as that. There weren't many groups involved. There was the CBGB communist party and then there was the various Trots, the Trots [inaudible], Soldiers Works Party, International Marxist Group in the '70s, the Workers' Revolutionary Party. Those were the few big ones.
And there's anti-Aparteid and the Campaign for [inaudible] Freedom. I think all that says is they were all infiltrated and it's not difficult to infiltrate a left-wing group. All you have to do is join the fucking thing! You know what I mean? [laughs]
Robin: There's a famous story of (Huey Newton?) who was an activist in the '80s. I was [inaudible], a man who's infiltrating [inaudible] of control and the TMZ. Yeah he went to the TMZ and said "Do you want any help?" and they said "Sure. Can you put these leaflets in the envelopes?" You could take over any political group in Britain by volunteering to be the membership secretary. Just do the jobs nobody else wants to do. So that may not mean as much as it sounds.
To come back [inaudible]. First of all the notions of Tony Benn never went away in the Labour Party. Corbyn is [inaudible]. If you want to understand Corbyn, read Tony Benn. The first part. The second part is if you understand why he's popular with the other subgroups he's appealing to, he's proposing to have students rights. Students can get grants. That would be popular if I was a student. He's proposing that we don't have to have this austerity and the cuts in welfare payments. If I was unemployed that'd be popular with me too.
So it's not enormously surprising that he's popular. Whether or not the state is nervous about him, I doubt it very much because the only thing you can say for certain would be if the Labour Party elects Jeremy Corbyn as their leader, they will not win the next election because he will not pick up enough votes in the south of England to win the election. So the British must be licking their lips at the thought of Corbyn as the leader, laugh a minute. If you get Corbyn in power you've got the tories in office for the next two terms, more than 10 years, maybe 15 years. So the question might be who's running Jeremy Corbyn. You can ask these kinds of simple questions. If it's not what it looks like, what's really going on? Corbyns's working for someone? I don't believe that for a minute. I've met Corbyn a long time ago. Corbyn is just what he looks like.
Niall: Maybe he's a Russian agent. [laughter] I'm joking, but a lot of things have been said about political opposition parties across Europe and the west in general. And the idea's been put out there that they're being funded by Russia. From Syriza to the rise in France.
Joe: It's the Cold War play book being opened again.
Robin: Yeah. Well I don't know. I haven't researched it. I don't know what's being written about Russian support from certain groups in the west. It wouldn't surprise me if they were doing it. That's how you play the great game. Americans are subsidizing everybody, everywhere. What's to withhold the Russians? All those colour revolutions the Americans organized, most recently the coup in Ukraine. That's how the Americans do it. If the Russians are doing the same thing, I'm wouldn't be surprised. And they haven't got the financial resources to do it.
Joe: No. They haven't got the infiltration. The US and the British together have a few hundred years of networks across the world.
Robin: Absolutely. And phone contacts and networks, absolutely. So from what I see it's very, very difficult. But there are some stories I've seen coming out of America about the Russians approaching various journalists and saying "Would you please run this story?" and doing it in a very, very crass, very crude way. "Run this story and we'll give you money." Really dumb, dumb way to do it. That's not how you do it at all. The Russians would have to have a much larger view of this and fronts and foundations like Americans and all that stuff. I haven't seen any evidence that they're doing. They may be doing it but two years later I don't know how smart the Russians are. I can't get any fix on how clever the people around Putin are.
I don't know whether they're just a bunch of crude peasant danglers as they sometimes appear. You can't tell. The KGB certainly were a bunch of smart people by various standards. They were the elite. When you read the stuff produced by some of their defectors since '89, it's not that impressive. They didn't have terribly interesting grasp on world affairs I don't think. I don't think the Russian state's capable of being clever enough way to make any difference. Imperialism in the modern world is America and China. I would have thought China is the one that's spending the money in the third world now.
Joe: I just wanted to get a quick take - I don't know how long your answer will be - but what was your take on the Scottish independence vote last year?
Robin: Ha! What happened in Scotland was the biggest act of [inaudible] in this century, if I'm to understand it. The people that used to be the left wing of the Labour Party in Scotland, basically all joined the Scottish National Party and took it over. And never mind the military tendency in Liverpool in the '80s. The Labour left took over the SNP - and I've met a fair bit of the intellectual end of the SNP and there's a lot of bright people up there - and it's very, very straggly. In 2015 there's going to be Nationalists?! The "N" word? We are nationalists. I'm an old fashioned economic nationalist. I'm a lefty nationalist. There's only about five of us left in England. I'd fight the far right, the BNP and all that, but to be in Scotland, suddenly nationalism becomes respectable.
When I was growing up in Edinburgh in the '60s, the SNP were a joke. They walked around wearing tartan and kilts and people laughed at them. They were known as the Tartan-Tories. But then what happened in the 80's and 90's was basically Labour left got [inaudible]. They all joined the SNP, took it over and turned it into the left wing of the Labour party. It's no wonder that the SNP say "Oh we could work with Jeremy Corbyn." Of course you could! You used to be in the Labour Party.
I've written in the current issue of Lobster - I don't know how up to date you are - about something that Madame Le Pen, the daughter of Le Pen who runs the Forte National in France, he's an old anti-semite and his daughter now runs the party. He's often [inaudible]. But the big division these days is between globalization or nationalism. You're either a globalist or you're a nationalist. I don't believe that. But it's certainly the case. You either support the group or the movement towards globalization or you don't. I don't. I think it's a disaster. And the plan is, not intentionally, they will destroy the planet if they get the chance to. Which [inaudible]. At that point I'm on the side of Madame Le Pen. And from National. Now there's hardly anybody in the British left who would say that. There might be somebody in the SNP that would say that. I don't know. They might find Le Pen embarrassing. I don't know. But certainly in terms of that big divide between globalization and nationalism, I'm a nationalist.
Niall: Given the landslide election results for the SNP, didn't it strike you as peculiar that the minority of those same SNP voters chose not to strike out for independence?
Robin: You mean do I think they rigged the referendum?
Robin: [laughing] Well, there's some evidence that they rigged the 1975 referendum and the European Union; not much evidence, but there's the odd hint. There was quite a lot of chatter in Scotland after the referendum that the people who lost thought they'd been cheated in some way. I don't know how the referendum in Scotland was organized. I don't know how the count was done. In Britain the count was all completely done nationally. The vote count in Earl's court in one big room, the whole god damn thing was counted in one room. They completely ignored the existing local government, national government electoral structure run by the local authorities. It's all [inaudible]. And they bring in every year now that they have local elections and then national elections. [inaudible] referendum they'd have to count nationally in Earl's court and the only reason I could think for doing this would be if you wanted to rig it. That's all the evidence there is. Do I think the British state are willingly capable of rigging an election in Scotland on the referendum? Yes of course they are. Of course they are. Whether it's technically possible, I don't know. All I can say is nobody produced any new evidence yet that it was rigged. It might have been. They're certainly capable of doing it on these really big key issues, of course they have. The British state as it's shown in Northern Ireland is as ruthless as any other.
Niall: Exactly. Exactly. And they would have had all the motive in the world to do it should they have wanted to. I'd like to bring up something that I've got a feeling you are probably one of the few people to talk about back in the '80s. And I'm sure you took a lot of flak for it. This is paedophilia in high places. You must be feeling somewhat vindicated by the modern, recent revelations concerning stuff back then, in particular.
Robin: Kincora et al.
Robin: Well Lobster never published much about Kincora. We published a couple of wee pieces. We've got Stephen Dorril who was my co-founder of the magazine before we fell out, wrote a piece , very early on in 1984 about Kincora which, at the time, ________ and he got most of it wrong, but who knows. We were just cutting newspapers in those days and reassembling bits of magazines.
Kincora I think is one of the really big things the British state wants to keep quiet because Kincora, you're talking about the idea of the state doing evil things. If there is a good example of the state running killer gangs in Northern Ireland, in the current climate the past history with child abuse, there is no sexier or more dangerous subject than the idea that MI5 tolerated the abuse of young men by who knows; the rich and the famous, the bigwigs of its day. There's nothing more dangerous to them than the idea that that was tolerated [inaudible]. Again, back to rationalizing it in the pursuit of wider objectives - getting intelligence on what? The front groups? That's what they will claim. "He were running agents from Kincora. McGrath and his gang, were running agents and you had to let them carry on because they [inaudible] valuable intelligence." That's the rationalization. Whether I believe that, I don't know. Lobster didn't publish much about Kincora. We publicized Wallace in 1985 to 1989, about five years more or less on Wallace and his story. And he was the guy who tried to get the Kincora thing exposed and it was the Kincora thing which killed his career and got him framed for manslaughter. That was sensitive then. It's even more sensitive now. As far as I can see they're still trying to keep it quiet. They're trying to exclude Kincora from the big enquiry into child abuse in Britain and leave it an incident in Northern Ireland, which won't have the same power as the British enquiry. That's the latest.
How important the paedophile story is or will turn out to be, I have no idea, truthfully. I really don't know. Wallace, I've talked about Wallace, but he said yes, they were hearing in the 70's that people from Kincora and those other children's homes in Northern Ireland before, boys, this was homosexual paedophilia, that boys were being trafficked to England to be used for sex parties. And beyond that he doesn't know or he's never heard. He doesn't know who was involved but [inaudible] involved to my knowledge. There's only one source that you'd Richard Kerr, talking about to my knowledge he hasn't identified anybody. But I wanted the people who were abused, if did believe him, I don't know if I believe him or not, the problem nowadays is... Look at the Jimmy Saville for example. If you go along to the lawyers who were working for the Jimmy Saville victims and say "Well he abused me in the Top of the Pops studio in 1973", they're going to say "Okay, fine."
Money. That's all it takes. All you have to do is prove you were in the right vicinity and you will become a bonified victim, there's no other criteria really. And the Australian law firm who'd taken over the job. They've got the British firm who was running the Saville estate and they've been emptying the Saville estate of every penny [inaudible] amongst hundreds of people who claimed to have been abused by Saville. Some of them will have been [inaudible]. They're just opportunists. You always get opportunists and fantasists to people. "Oh, if you've been abused you'll get compensation" here come the people that claimed they've been abused.
Joe: I think just to answer my own question about the...
Robin: Yeah, do answer your own question. You can probably do it better than me.
Joe: I was going to answer my own question about that idea of people creating a narrative, of having this almost limitless ability to create a benevolent narrative for what officially or otherwise, would be seen as an evil deed. Obviously you can't always find a way to excuse someone who's done something that is technically or officially evil by saying "Well he was misguided" or "His intentions were good". But I think I'd still label these people as evil because most people when faced with the choice between, let's say, furthering the interests of the British state and killing someone who is effectively innocent, people would go for "Well screw the British state. I'm not going to kill someone."
So people who make the choice for killing someone in the broad interests of the British state or the interests of the British government or whatever, are evil. That's a moral line that they have crossed that puts them in a category of people that makes them very different I think, from the ordinary person in the street who would say "No, I'm going to draw the line at killing someone who doesn't deserve to be killed, who has done nothing wrong. I'm not going to use this person and use their death and misrepresent their death in the interests of some airy-fairy, intangible almost, benefit to the state." For me that doesn't fly.
I'm kind of undercutting my own arguments because I try to look at things in two ways and say "Well how can I understand the justification for what these people have done?" But at the same time I'm not willing to take that so far where I would excuse them for acts of murder in the interests of something stupid, really.
Robin: Well alright. I'm going to have to stop fairly soon because I'm losing my voice here. But let's go back to the idea of killing an innocent person. You end up with a kind of moral calculus. These aren't the man and woman in the street. These are people engaged in long, complicated operations. The best example I can think of off the top of my head. It is now widely reported or has been widely reported, and I don't know if it's true or not, that Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness made some kind of approach to the British state quite a long time ago, maybe early '83, '84. They could see the writing on the wall. They could see that the war wouldn't win and they approached, what's his name, Alan, the MI6 guy who was sniffing around in Northern Ireland. They found some six guys and interviewed and said "Listen guys, the war can't be won and so we'll have to move towards some kind peace deal." In these situations there's always somebody who does that, who ends up [inaudible], as the transitional figure moves from being terrorist to politician.
Now in the reports I've seen it's quite frequently stated that these moves were made and the British State, then began clearing the path for Adams and McGuinness and that probably involved letting people be killed. You start editing, filtering out the IRA and you start to make sure Adams and McGuinness have no opposition. Now in terms of a moral calculus, what's three or four dead Irishmen compared to 200 dead Irishmen. That's the problem with the moral calculus stuff or the [inaudible] argument. And these people who engaged in this stuff often ended up having to make these decisions. The _____ had to die but his death will further our cause. They [inaudible] greatly and sometimes they do it very, very greatly indeed. I'm glad I'm not the one to make the decisions. I couldn't do it. I can't do it at all. God almighty! Just [inaudible] a ship. I couldn't handle the [inaudible] for five minutes. The stress would have killed me.
So these are strange people. I don't know how you do this stuff, but some people do it. And I'm sure they would always in the end have a rationalization for what they did. They'd have used some moral calculus. They say "I did it and it had some good consequences and if I hadn't done it we would have had very, very bad consequences." It's not difficult to see how this works.
Joe: But evil is done no matter what their rationale is. Go back to the Nuremburg trials and what's his face sitting there in front of the cameras justifying - what's his name, the German...
Robin: Which one?
Joe: The one that they made a film about.
Niall: Are you thinking of Eichmann?
Niall: He came later. Went to trial in Israel.
Robin: He was tried in Israel, yeah.
Joe: Giving these banal reasons for what he did. I think you can excuse the person but also say that evil was done.
Robin: Evil was done. I think that you can say that. You could look at the Nazis, people in the grip of theories. The higher level of the SS under Hitler's regime, they all seemed to have genuinely believed that theory about the Jews, how it was corrupting society, blah, blah, blah.
Robin: They really believed that shit. The modern equivalent I guess is the people who take Koran literally or the bits of the Koran that suit them, take it literally and think they have some ethical and moral reasons to kill the non-believers. People with different theories of terror which dangers people, which I guess is one of the things Muslims tried to do, if they tried to do anything, is tiptoe through the [inaudible] and not adopt your fear of the line, whilst you never really had a line except "Look, it only had methodological line if you're going to say it where's the footnote, show me the evidence". Which of course is the internet because the internet is covered in stuff that has no evidence for most of it. In these kind of fields anyway. That's the problem here. To come back to what I said earlier if I was 20 years old looking at all this stuff. How would you sort out the shit from [inaudible]? I have no idea. I don't know. The internet is a very odd phenomenon and may in the long run prove to be fantastically dangerous to human beings.
Joe: Yeah, absolutely. It already is, what people use it for.
Robin: Most human beings on the planet are not intellectually equipped to handle large quantities of data of any kind, let alone political data, let alone religious political data, in any sensible way. And yet they have two [inaudible], there you go. Any nonsense in the world. And it's [inaudible] nonsense. This is very, very striking. This has never happened in human history before because it used to be an academy of one type or another which stamped nonsense on things. Most recently it was the universities, the higher media, the government, the BBC. They would arbitrate between nonsense and not-nonsense and that's all gone now. It's all gone. I don't know where it's going to take us, I really don't know.
Joe: I suppose we'll find out, one way or another.
Robin: If I live long enough. I'm 67 guys. I'm not going to live that much longer. The internet's just getting started.
Joe: I don't know, I think it'll all go pear-shaped long before you slip off this mortal coil.
Robin: That might be the case. I was part of the first green wave in 1969/70 when we thought the world was going to come to an end and the pollution and overpopulation and the rest of it. It hasn't yet, but most of the things that have been predicted now about the population rising and the sea's polluted. This has all been talked about in the late '60s and nobody took any notice of it. Just buy a new car. Still nothing's being done about it. I don't know what it will take. We're straying off topic. I'm sorry.
Niall: No, it's alright.
Robin: I sit thinking what seed or world event will it take to persuade people to do something about CO2 emissions, for example. I don't know of any [inaudible]. The town I live in, Hull, we're at sea level. If the water rises 10 inches, most of the city vanishes.
Niall: You're moving back to Scotland
Robin: Yeah, I'll move up the nearest hill.
Joe: Alright Robin.
Robin: Guys, I'm going to have to stop there.
Joe: Absolutely. Don't want to keep you. I know you're not feeling the best. I hope you get better soon. I hope you kick whatever it is that's bothering you.
Robin: I think [inaudible].
Joe: I just wanted to thank you for being on and commend you for your work on Lobster. You're one of the few people who have been doing this day-in and day-out almost for several decades. There's not many.
Robin: What with Bill Blum [inaudible]. He's one of the people I identify with. Bill's been banging around for as long as I have. God bless him.
Joe: But it's that persistence that is pretty rare. You have it. I just want to say to our listeners to check out your website lobster-magazine.co.uk.
Robin: If you go to Google put in Lobster Magazine.
Joe: And sign up. I'm going to sign up. A lot of it's for free but I'm going to sign up for a subscription because you get the goodies, doncha (wink, wink, nod, nod).
Robin: The way it works is the current stuff's all free. If you want to look at the older stuff, before Issue 56, I think it is, you can buy a CD ROM with it all on. [inaudible] rummage through for a week, a little bit of your money people pay for the website. Nobody's ever made any money out of it.
Joe: It's a very cause anyway.
Robin: Thank you guys for having me on.
Joe: Alright. Thanks Robin.
Niall: Take care of yourself.
Robin: Cheers! Bye.
Niall: That was Robin Ramsay, editor and founding publisher of Lobster Magazine. He's been around since 1983. That's 32 years Joe. Are we going to be doing this in 32 years?
Joe: It's crazy, yeah. But just before we discuss a couple of things that he was talking about there, because they're kind of interesting, we're going to have a little musical interlude right now, to keep you fresh and happy. I'm not sure what it's going to be because our music guru has decided.
A Working Class Hero - John Lennon
As soon as you're born they make you feel smallNiall: That was Mr. Lennon.
By giving you no time instead of it all
'Til the pain is so big you feel nothing at all
A working class hero is something to be
A working class hero is something to be
They hurt you at home and they hit you at school
They hate you if you're clever and they despise a fool
'Til you're so fucking crazy you can't follow their rules
A working class hero is something to be
A working class hero is something to be
When they've tortured and scared you for 20 odd years
Then they expect you to pick a career
When you can't really function, you're so full of fear
A working class hero is something to be
A working class hero is something to be
Keep you doped with religion, and sex, and T.V.
And you think you're so clever and classless and free
But you're still fucking peasants as far as I can see
A working class hero is something to be
A working class hero is something to be
There's room at the top they are telling you still
But first you must learn how to smile as you kill
If you want to be like the folks on the hill
A working class hero is something to be
A working class hero is something to be
If you want to be a hero well just follow me
If you want to be a hero well just follow me
Niall: Our friend, the musician guru.
Joe: Oh yeah?
Niall: Singing Working Class Hero.
Joe: If you want to be a hero just follow me? That's what he's saying right?
Joe: That's a bad idea.
Niall: I think he's being sarcastic.
Joe: Oh, good.
Niall: A working class hero is all you're ever going to be.
Joe: Okay. So that's who the heroes are, collective of working class heroes that together create a big hero.
Joe: It's communists.
Niall: It's a social complex hero.
Joe: Social complex hero. Well I'll take any heroes that come along these days, but then I'll just ignore them usually right off the bat.
Niall: You'll start criticizing them. That's all I can say.
Joe: I'll start being suspicious of them.
Niall: Digging up their past.
Joe: Digging up their past. No I don't do that. But I just don't trust any because...
Niall: Because you have to 'search for the hero inside yourself'?!
Joe: Yeah. Isn't there a song 'A Hero Lies in You' or something?
Niall: There is? I was quoting M People!
Joe: Yeah. A hero lies in you. Whatever. That's a good message. The hero lies in yourself. If you don't sort your life out and be your own hero type thing, in that respect. The problem with looking to heroes in the world is that there's an awful lot of projection involved. We were talking about projection on the show with Robin. These kind of heroes can never live up to the projections that people project onto them and when they don't live up to it, when some flaw is discovered, then it's horrible. It's black and white thinking. It's all wrong. They fall from grace and you're devastated, until the next one comes along. You just go from hero to hero.
Pick someone who's dead and then you can project everything you want onto them and people who you can't find anything bad about, who are dead. They should be heroes. Historical figures should be heroes, not living people because in this mixed [inaudible] there's too much propaganda and it can all be smeared and taken down by anybody and then you're in trouble.
But Robin's a good guy and he's been doing it for a long time. I don't know if anybody's interested in a show that may not be interesting to a wide audience, it's quite particular. It's called After Dark - Intelligence Services and it's on YouTube and it's on a show that used to air on British TV Channel 4. It started at midnight every night and it was famous people from different disciplines and usually one member of the public as well and they'd sit there around a table from midnight, for about three hours and they'd talk about a particular topic. They'd discuss some edgy topics.
He was on that show in 1986 or '87 I think, on Intelligence Services and they had a politician Merlin-Rees, who was a scumbag - he's dead now so I can call him that - and a few other guys who were former British intelligence agents and there's Robin sitting there, who had all the dirt on all these people. It was an interesting conversation from that point of view. What I was trying to say to him in the show was at least historically, British intelligence agents come from Oxford, Cambridge and Eaton. They're old colonial family boys type thing, and there's a very strong current racism running amongst them, and elitism and that's not good in terms of their dealings with people that they deem to be lesser people. That's a recipe for trouble.
But it's also true to a certain extent - and I didn't want to push Robin on this because he was not feeling well and it would have taken too long - but he mentioned, in talking about the internet that the vast majority of people in this world are not capable of digesting a massive amount of complex information and trying to make sense of it, which is true. And the truth of that is seen by most people staying well away from anything that would force them to consider complex information. It hurts their brains and they don't want to do it and they just busy themselves with normal things, normal life.
That is true, and I think it's empirically true. It's true from a species perspective, of the human race. But that then also opens up the idea, which seems to also be equally true, that there are certain people that can do that, who can absorb complex information and deal with the big questions, and they're the ones who should be the leaders of the "great unwashed" or the masses, who don't want to look at that information.
So that seems to be almost a default written into the base code of humanity.
Niall: Of the matrix.
Joe: ...of human life on earth...
Joe: ...is that there is always going to be a hierarchy, even if it's a small community there's going to be leaders or elders. You bring it out to tens of millions of people in a country, there's going to be leaders.
Niall: The program allows for the leadership being of sound mind or deviant.
Joe: Well the problem is that it should be of sound mind for the world to be a nice place to live in. That prime directive almost, where it's written into that code kind of thing where any human life, any human society on the planet earth is going to have that kind of hierarchy where people take control. There are certain leaders, controllers, whatever. This was an argument thrown at the communists as well, that they were totally wrong-headed and anti-human nature effectively, that you couldn't have the rule of the working man, of the proletariat because those people are the people who just want to go and do their daily job and don't want to be bothered with the complex questions of how to run a country...
Niall: Finance, international issues.
Joe: ... and figure it all out, right. So that seems to be true. So anarchists and those kind of communistic ideas are never going to work. But the other end of the scale is where you have people who take those positions of leadership or power and fundamentally have very little empathy for other human beings. People who assume those positions of leadership, by definition need to have, along with their strong leadership skills, they need to have strong empathic abilities and a strong sense of caring for the people over whom they are ruling or governing or taking decisions for. You'd think that both of them would go together because the person who has the abilities to rule should also understand the difference between him or her and the people "below" him or her, that they do need a guardian.
So there should be a natural, benevolent attitude and feeling towards those people. And in that scenario, it all works very well. It's like a parent/child relationship to a certain extent. The problem is when you've got people who are psychologically deviant, effectively not really human in the normal sense of the word and have psychological issues that aren't apparent in the normal way, when they don't look crazy. Here obviously we're talking about psychopaths and when you get that kind of situation it's horrible. You get massive abuse. You get parents of a child who are abusive to the child and I think that's what we have today. And that's the major problem.
But it seems, like you said, it's also written into the code of this matrix or this system where that is allowed for and that can happen.
Niall: Yeah, as hard as it is to believe, given how far we are into one version of that. There were times and apparently pockets on the planet where the code is still working in the other direction. I'm thinking of the east, Russia and China. But this opens it all up beyond issues of ideology, issues of foundational beliefs, that of a whole country like America's manifest destiny. This opens it up beyond ethnicity and it opens it up beyond genetics because nothing is determined. And ultimately everything in this world, the complex information we're talking about, is all coming through all of us and as such it is not inherent to any of us. What can you say after that? It means that there is enormous potential for development and growth even as hard as it is to see any of that in the world today that is so contractile. The forces at work that are visible and tangible to people are so rapacious.
Joe: Well if the goal built into the system here on planet earth involving the human population is for them to grow and learn about the world and all the different experiences and everything that can manifest on this planet, people should ultimately, in theory, get to understand how it all works. If the way that we have posited is how the world works, that there's this hierarchical structure that's natural but you can have benevolent leaders or you can have evil leaders, that is something that people need to understand about the system.
If people only grew up in a society where they had benevolent leaders, you'd have people with a rather naïve view of the world and they would be quite vulnerable to being exploited if they moved to another society in the world where there was a selfish, evil leader. So in that sense, it all serves learning and it's necessary. Even these evil leaders provide very useful, important and essential even, learning opportunities for the people on the planet, all 99% or whatever you want to call them. These are all experiences that are provided by this evil leadership about the nature of the world. It's not pleasant, but how else are they going to learn that's the nature of the world?
So it's not something that you can change or should change, because those are the default settings of this planet. It seems to be the case. That's just a fairly objective observation, on a broad scale, of the conditions on this planet. The people who'd like to change everything and turn it into some kind of a utopia miss the point. You could even take an example of someone you know who had quite a hard upbringing, from somewhat abusive parents, not that they were turned crazy or whatever, but compare that kind of a person to someone who had an idyllic upbringing. You can see that there's a lot of differences between those two kinds of people and their world view.
But at the very least, each of them have learned valuable things about the world from an idyllic upbringing and an abusive upbringing. You could even say that people who are brought up in a somewhat abusive family environment are, to a certain extent, stronger people. They've been tested I suppose, or had some kind of resolve. That can have a negative side as well, but certainly people in an idyllic environment where they never saw any violence or were never treated badly, were always treated perfectly as wonderful, perfect little children, they have a lot of feelings, in a certain sense, as a result of that upbringing, or can have.
I'm just trying to say here that...
Niall: Utopia sucks because you can't grow from it. [laughter]
Joe: Yeah, that's maybe the short version.
Niall: That's one big extraction.
Joe: It does certainly suck in terms of equipping people with tools that they need to live successfully in this world and not be exploited. You need to know about violence and suffering and difficulty, because that's the nature of this world. You need to know how to survive that. To survive in this world you need to have had some experience of suffering and survived it to equip you to do it because there's people who, for whatever reason, had no suffering as they were brought, in a perfect childhood and go out in the world and the first thing that comes along to shock them or the first bit of suffering they experience, they fall apart as an adult.
So yeah, it all sucks though, in that sense, it all sucks, just in case anybody wonders.
Niall: Do we have any other items we want to discuss today?
Joe: I don't know. I don't think there's much has happened. There's obviously the China thing that happened this week.
Joe: Kaboom, splat! I think it was 700 tonnes of sodium cyanide - which is obviously a version of cyanide which is a poison, a quarter of a gram of it will kill you - a part of 700 tonnes of it blew up in that harbour.
Niall: They were planning to put it in ships and send it to America. It was a plot!
Joe: It was a Chinese plot to kill all Americans.
Niall: But the CIA saved the day.
Joe: But 700 tonnes was far too much.
Niall: I'm joking.
Joe: Apparently that was 10 times more than the maximum limit of 70 tonnes of sodium cyanide stocked anywhere in China and they had 700 tonnes. Of course they're looking here for reasons why it was so combustible. But I'm sure that wasn't the first time they had stocked 700 tonnes of a dangerous chemical in that port. China stocks large quantities, as you can imagine, of all sorts of things. So the question remains why did it blow up and I don't think you can just say "Oh, it was too much of that". More than likely the same amounts have been stored many times previously. It reminded us of the town called West in Texas two years ago where a fertilizer plant blew up that was storing ammonium nitrate. Ammonium nitrate was also stored at this port, so they're not sure about the cyanide thing. That's what they're saying, sodium cyanide. But ammonium nitrate was also stored at the port in China.
So when we look at this explosion and the Texas fertilizer plant explosion where they were storing ammonium nitrate, we had the idea at the time that it was maybe some kind of a space rock flew down and blew it up because there were some little signs of flashes here and there that could have been something else. Other people have said something similar. But there have been a lot of different kinds of explosions and booms and sinkholes around the world over the past few years that are all suggesting that there's something going on under the planet and also something going on in the skies.
So we're leaving it open at this point. I think it's fair to say it's an anomalous explosion in the Chinese port.
Niall: Yeah, it was an extremely powerful blast.
Joe: It was unusual in that it was extremely powerful and also unusual because I don't think they've had any explosions at that port before.
Niall: No but other chemical factories have exploded in China recent years.
Niall: Maybe not in that fashion though.
Joe: So it's unusual but I suppose when anything like that blows up so spectacularly and there's 400 people dead, it's amazing that it happened where it happened, in a port in the middle of the night that would have been relatively sparsely populated with people in the middle of the night and also you don't have residential housing in the port area right there.
Niall: They were fairly close by though. There are towers of apartments.
Joe: Yeah, but given the size of it, 21 tonnes of TNT they said was the equivalent and in about a 500 metre radius, pretty much everything was devastated, if that kind of thing had happened downtown anywhere or closer, in a populated area, you'd have thousands and thousands of people dead, especially in China where the cities are very densely populated. Tianjin has 15 million people.
Niall: Well the name of city means heavenly ford.
Joe: Yeah, not so heavenly these past few days. So it's one to watch. Chemical plants are one to watch for explosions.
Niall: Yeah, it seems to be a natural cause; unnatural in the sense that it's relatively novel. It's not normal for this to happen out of the blue. But natural in the sense that something's at play, in this case probably in the ground. Three days prior, a metro station in another Chinese city was just eaten up by the earth killing a man.
Joe: Yeah. Of course they're unlikely to give out any information that would show anything other than an accident.
Niall: Worse than that, they're unlikely to have any idea that it could have been anything other than an accident.
Joe: But if they do come across it as part of an investigation.
Niall: There was a massive explosion in Brooklyn, I think, last year. Remember the CCTV revealed where a guy's walking down the street...
Joe: They said it was a gas explosion.
Niall: ...and a gas explosion obliterated two apartment buildings on a block. There were casual reports. They didn't try to cover it or anything, they just noted that there was a sinkhole in front of it that appeared at the same time, unrelated. It wasn't like the centre of the blast or anything. It was a sinkhole. And in addition, they also reported later that there were unusually high readings of leaking gas in the area, unrelated to actual gas from pipes to the buildings.
Joe: Right. Yeah, it's strange. At this point with what the earth seems to be doing, there's so many possibilities for these kind of explosions and things to happen that are a function of that opening up of the earth, the way you have sinkholes everywhere and gas leakings, just weird things. Like when you were talking about that event on a beach a couple of months ago in Rhode Island where there was an explosion, just on a clean beach. Out of the sand apparently a loud explosion occurred, no flame or anything, but it blew one woman ten feet in the air.
When you have to consider that, mysterious and invisible explosions that leave no trace of any burning, no debris, nothing, just a loud bang that blows people up in the air, and then you see an explosion like this in China, it's anybody's guess. This appears to be a natural earth science that has been previously unknown. This is a science where the ground can just suddenly blow up without actually blowing up.
Niall: Indeed! There's this string of what are called crater holes appearing in Russia, particularly in the north in Siberia, the Yamal Penninsula, where something detonates, like a pocket of gas. And not just in any kind of random way. It seems to happen in such a way to form these perfectly cookie-cutter holes that leave a crater rim around the sides with scorch marks on the side of this chasm. What the hell are they?! The only connection they've made with anything else that's known is that there may be identical types of holes that formed thousands of years ago and they're associated with the previous ice age.
Joe: It's evidence of a new ice age.
Joe: Well I don't know. Just watching people, that's all it's about. It's not so much figuring as watching goes on. It may all become clear after a period of time when everybody's dead maybe. But in the meantime there's crazy stuff going on and stuff that hasn't been seen certainly in anybody's lifetime and certainly probably in modern history. It's not recorded anywhere. There seems to be stuff happening on the planet, in the planet and above the planet that is highly unusual.
Niall: Yeah, there's rainfall happening now that no one alive today has ever seen, when a metre can fall on a place that's bone-dry in days. No one alive has any conception of that until they see it. There's no records. There's no science to explain it. Well we've given it a good try.
Joe: Well they make up science as they go along of course.
Joe: And then tell you that they knew this all along, the day after we published the science book.
Niall: When someone refers me to a Wikipedia page I go to it and say "Oh, I see. They're called frost quakes are they?" And you look at when the page was created - two weeks old.
Joe: Frost quakes! Anyway, I think we're going to leave it there for this week folks. Thanks to our listeners and Robin Ramsay again and to our chatters who were all having lots of fun. We'll be back next week with another show, same time same place. 'Til then have a good one.
Niall: See you next week. Bye-bye.