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Monday, February 18, 2019


By Hugh Murray

From the first days after his inauguration as president, there were charges that Donald Trump had won the 2016 election over Democrat Hillary Clinton, through collusion with the Russians. Soon after, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein appointed a Special Counsel, Robert Mueller, to investigate. No specific crime was cited in the order creating the new investigatory section, which would be allocated large funds, so critics deemed it a fishing expedition. After 2 years and limited oversight, unlimited funds, Mueller has found evidence of corruption, but nothing directly linking Russia to the Trump campaign, so far.

The response of some conservative Republicans is that there is solid evidence of collusion with the Russians by a major American politician, but that occurred when Democratic Senator Edward (Ted) Kennedy sought Soviet support for his efforts to derail and sabotage Republican President Ronald Reagan. Reagan sought to defeat “the evil empire.” To do so Reagan wanted America to embark upon a Space Defense Initiative (SDI). This was a space-based missile defense system and a very costly project. Unfortunately for our opponents, the Soviets quickly realized they could not afford to compete with the US in this field.(p. 402) However, the Soviets could try to block the SDI through propaganda. They pressured Western European nations not to allow missiles on their soils, arguing that if they did, they were setting up their own people for massive causalities in case of war. Sen. Kennedy and the Democrats also generally opposed Reagan's proposed SDI, mocking it as “Star Wars.”

Paul Kengor, in his book Dupes, wrote: “The KGB (Soviet CIA) report is dated May 14, 1983, less than two months after Kennedy first ridiculed SDI. KGB head Viktor Chebrikov sent the memo..., directly to General Secretary Yuri Andropov. The subject line read: 'Regarding Sen. Kennedy's request to the General Secretary of the Communist Party [of the USSR] Y. V. Andropov.' It concerned a 'confidential' Kennedy offer to Andropov.”(p. 407)

“According to the KGB memo, Senator Kennedy had conveyed his message to the Soviets through 'his close friend and trusted confident' John Tunney – the same go-between he had used in approaching the Kremlin in March 1980,... Chebrikov said that Kennedy was 'very troubled' by 'the current state of Soviet-American relations,' which the senator attributed not to ...the Kremlin but to 'Reagan's belligerence,... the current threat is do to the President's [Reagan's] refusal to engage any modification to his politics.'”(407)

“...Chebrikov conveyed the U.S. senator's precise offer to the USSR's general secretary: 'Kennedy believes that,..., in the interest of peace, it would be prudent and timely to undertake the following steps to counter the militaristic politics of Reagan.' Step number one...Andropov to invite the good senator to Moscow for a personal meeting... 'The main purpose... according to the senator, would be to arm Soviet officials with explanations regarding problems of nuclear disarmament so they would be better prepared and more convincing during appearances in the USA.'” Kennedy urged that Andropov be interviewed on American television by the likes of Barbara Walters or Walter Cronkite. Kennedy assured the Soviet leader that the senator and his friends would use their influence to get such powerful media people to conduct such television interviews.(408)

“Kennedy indicated he could help organize this media blitz, since he wanted Soviet military and government officials to 'have an opportunity to appeal directly to the American people about the peaceful intentions of the USSR.'”(409)
“The memo concluded with a discussion of Ted Kennedy's political prospects, mentioning that the senator 'wants to run for president in 1988' but also 'does not discount that during the 1984 campaign, the Democratic party may officially turn to him to lead the fight against the Republicans'”(409)

Andropov died shortly after Kennedy's appeal, so nothing resulted from it. Yet, Kengor finds it shocking that the honored American senator, the “Lion of the Senate,” would deem Soviet policy more peaceful than America's. Shocking too, that Kennedy sought the Kremlin's help to “counter” the policies of Pres. Reagan, and weaken the standing of the American president.(411) Kengor adds that the general American media refused to cover the story of the KGB documents and Senator Kennedy when in first appeared the The Times of London in February 1992.(411)
Kengor alludes to an earlier approach by Sen. Kennedy to the Soviets for help. In 1980 Ted Kennedy challenged Democratic President Jimmy Carter for the Democratic nomination for president that year. The Massachusetts senator believed that Carter also was guilty of “belligerence” and of escalating Cold War tensions.” According to his KGB contact, “Kennedy felt that 'the Carter administration was trying to distort the peace-loving ideas behind [Soviet leader of that time, Leonid] Brezhnev's proposals... and the escalation was fueled by Carter.'” As in the later case of the 1990s, Kennedy's emissary was California Democratic Senator John Tunney, “who declared that Kennedy was approaching the Soviet leader because Kennedy saw it as 'his duty to take action himself.'”(363)

In Michael Pillsbury's The Hundred-Year Marathon...c. 2015, that long-time China expert discusses some of the background to the opening up of China in the early 1970s. “...There were additional factors at work that persuaded Kissinger and ultimately President Nixon to move toward Beijing. While Kissinger was still attempting to discern Chinese intentions, Senator Ted Kennedy was seeking to visit China. The Chinese even mentioned this possibility to Kissinger during his secret trip to Beijing in July 1971, consistent with ...manipulating hawks and doves. Nixon reacted as anticipated and instructed Kissinger to ask the Chinese to invite no other U.S. Political figure to visit China before Nixon. Nixon believed, with good reason, that Kennedy was attempting to steal his thunder and become the first American politician to travel to Beijing. Raising the possibility in public speeches of renewed relations with Communist China, Kennedy was putting together what looked to be a foreign policy platform for the 1972 presidential election.”(57)

So it seems as if Sen. Ted Kennedy had a long history of approaches to major Communist governments. Some might contend that his approaches, countering the clearly enunciated policies of the American Presidents, and seemingly endorsing and favoring Soviet peaceful intentions above American “belligerence,” - some might suspect that all of this bordered on treason.

But, consider a little further back in time. Several decades ago a French journalist was having a lunch-time discussion with the new, Cuban strong-man, Fidel Castro. Jean Daniel had been sent as an informal emissary by President John Kennedy to make an attempt to smooth out the rough problems of Cuban-American relations, to try to establish some peaceful relations between the two nations. Their conversation was interrupted when an aide told Castro of an important phone call. Fidel related the news he had just heard to the journalist, President Kennedy has just been shot in Dallas. The Cuban dictator then added, “There goes your mission of peace.” After reflecting a bit, Fidel added, “They're going to blame us.”(Peter Kornbluh, “Kennedy's Last Act: Reaching Out to Cuba,” Unredacted, 20 Nov. 2013)

Why would President Kennedy send a French journalist rather than a regular diplomat to Havana? In the early days of his presidency, Kennedy believed he had been misled by the CIA. A plan to invade Cuba and overthrow the Castro regime had originated during Eisenhower's presidency, and many assumed his vice-president, Richard Nixon, would succeed him. Nixon lost a very close election to Kennedy, but the CIA wanted to go ahead with the plan anyway. They got Kennedy to approve. I can still recall hearing the news on WWL, the 50,000 watt, Jesuit-owned, CBS radio affiliate – the large-scale rebellion in Cuba, reports that Raul Castro may have already been killed, the Castro regime possibly about to collapse, ...In the following days we learned it was all bull, all lies. The US sponsored invasion of the Bay of Pigs in Cuba had gone badly. When it was clear that the Castro regime would defeat the invaders, the CIA and others demanded that Kennedy order air support and possibly troops to oust the Castro regime. Kennedy refused, and was angry because he had been misled about the Bay of Pigs group winning over the Fidelistas. Kennedy said he would smash the CIA into a thousand pieces. We know that relations between Attorney General Robert Kennedy (John's brother) and his subordinate, FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover, were not cordial. And many of the anti-Castro refugees blamed JFK for the failure of the invasion of Cuba.

Robert Kennedy had for a time served on Sen. Joseph McCarthy's committee that investigated Communist subversion of the US government. Neither Robert nor John were “progressive” Democrats; they were anti-Communists. But as President, John seemed to worry more about the possible of mutual destruction through nuclear war. He began to suggest peace proposals, as at the American University speech of 10 June 1963.

Yet, during his term, he increased the number of American “advisors” to the military of the South Vietnam government, from several hundred to over 11,000. But what were his intentions. Some say he wanted to withdraw entirely after the 1964 election. But things changed. On 2 November 1963 Ngo Dinh Diem, the President of SVN was killed in a coup, as was his brother, Ngo Dinh Nhu, the number 2 man in the regime. His sister-in-law, Madame Nhu made the cover of Time magazine as she denounced the violent overthrow of the government in Saigon. Diem's very Roman Catholic government was unpopular with many in SVN, but it is unlikely there would have been a successful coup without the support of the American CIA. The agency saw a victory through violent regime change.

There were many Americans who would have been furious had they known JFK was trying to negotiate peace with Castro. Among them was David Ferrie, a pilot who worked both for Carlos Marcello (Mafia boss in New Orleans), and Guy Banister, former FBI man in Chicago, former head of the New Orleans Police Dept., and right-wing activist with connections to various intelligence agencies. Lee Oswald, as a teen, had been in Ferrie's Civil Air Patrol, and may have been encouraged to sign into the Marines through his influence. When back in New Orleans in summer 1963, Oswald worked with Banister to distribute anti-Castro leaflets, and perform other activities to pretend to be a Left-winger. Bottom line, 22 November 1963 in Dallas, President Kennedy was assassinated. The Warren Commission blamed it on a lone-nut Marxist, but demanded that many documents be withheld from the public for 75 years. I assume they were trying to protect the family of Oswald! No, the purpose of the delay for decades, and the destruction of documents was to protect certain agencies.

Kennedy did not get to smash the CIA into a thousand pieces. Allen Dulles, former head of the CIA, was one of the members of the Warren Commission. Hoover's FBI provided the investigation for the Commission. The New York Times and major media all accepted the conclusions of the Warren Commission. The National Enquirer ran articles alleging conspiracy.
A New Orleanian, I got to attend several sessions of the trial of Clay Shaw for conspiracy to kill Kennedy. Jim Garrison's investigation revealed much more about what was going on in New Orleans in the early 1960s, but witnesses would flee to other states, and Republican Governors Reagan and Rhodes refused to extradite, and federal agencies infiltrated his prosecution squad, and so on. Moreover, Garrison was unable to present a closing argument nearly as good as did Kevin Costner in the film, “JFK.”

Though, even at this late date, many refuse to think that a President could be eliminated by the Deep State. Kennedy had made enemies in the bureaucratic deep state of the military, agencies, and others. I think it is clear, JFK was offed by members of the Deep State. It was a coup. We did not invade Cuba, but we did invade Vietnam. That disaster brought second, and more sober thoughts, even by the military.
Ted Kennedy probably suspected that his brother had been killed by the Deep State. He probably was aware that his brother, as president, went beyond the usual diplomatic channels to get his point across. Perhaps, this is why Ted reached out to China and the USSR in strange ways.

If the Deep State staged a coup in the US with the assassination of John Kennedy, what about the Deep State's attempted coup against Donald Trump at the opening of his first term?
Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe spoke on television how he and Deputy Attorney General Rob Rosenstein met in the early days of Trump's term. They spoke of deposing the new President, using the 25th Amendment, meant to remove a president who has a stroke or major health problem. They plotted to do this, though Trump is quite health. They plotted so one might wear a wire, trying to get Trump to say something that might incriminate him. They stressed he fired FBI Director James Comey. So! Trump got Rosenstein to write the memo on why Comey was fired. Trump had every right to fire Comey, and McCabe and Rosenstein. These men were counting which members of the Cabinet might vote to oust Trump and replace him with Vice-president Pence!

Worse, the FBI and other agencies had done nothing to gather evidence to convict former Sec. Of State Hillary Clinton for her misuse of her mobile phones, whereby even classified information was found on the pornographic phone of Hillary Clinton's aide's husband, Anthony Wiener. Many other privileges were granted to Hillary and her entourage, so charges would not be brought. Meanwhile, using Hillary funded anti-Trump scurrilous misinformation, the FBI got warrants from secret FISA courts to justify spying on the Trump campaign. The agency was aiding Clinton and determined to sink Trump. When he surprised them by winning the election legitimately in the Electoral College, then Deep State sought to remove him quickly through the Rob Rosenstein weary wire, and getting the Cabinet to expel Trump. When that failed, Rosenstein plotted a 2nd method, by appointing Mueller as Special Counsel, not to find a specific crime, but to fish around for anything so Congress could impeach the president. With the help of ex-CIA leader Brennan, ex-national security man Clapper, and other Deep State officials, the resisters and obstructors to President Trump continues to try to evict him from the White House.
Will the plotters succeed in another coup? Who should choose the American presidents, the American citizens, or the leaders of the FBI, CIA, etc.?

Thursday, February 14, 2019


(Waterville, OR: Trine Day, c2017)
Rev. by Hugh Murray

This is a difficult book to read, literally and figuratively. The author includes many clippings and articles from old newspapers, but the black print (at times blurred) on the seasoned columns can be impossible to decipher. Palamara also includes pages listing Secret Service Agents assigned to various missions: p. 61, 113-15, 157-59, 173-74. These lists should have been reduced to footnotes or included in an appendix, not in the text unless the purpose is to pad out a 200-page volume. The quotation by Pres. Truman that the Secret Service is the only boss that the President of the US has to obey is repeated several times (28, 29, 58), but the repetition is justified to stress to the reader the importance of this little-known reality.

What is positive about this book is that Palamara's research makes it abundantly clear that the Secret Service procedures normally followed elsewhere were not followed in Dallas. Reviewing reports, supplemented with photographs, of the motorcades going back to Franklin Roosevelt, the evidence is conclusive. Agents might place snipers atop tall building along the route of a president's motorcade. Along the route, buildings would be cleared of enemies of the president, or any other possible crank or violent person. If the Secret Service did not have sufficient men for this, they would be supplemented by local police or other agencies. Plainclothes officers might mingle with the crowds. If the president's limo were moving fast, it might be alone in the caravan, but when it slowed, motorcyclists would be beside and behind the limo, and on older cars, on the running board. Recent models had a place for agents to stand on the back of the limo, but some ran along side of the car. Palamara provides the old clippings to clinch his argument about what normal procedures were, and these were operative for FDR, Truman, Ike, and Kennedy. They were the procedures even for Kennedy's trip to Tampa of 18 November 1963.

In Dallas, there were no marksmen atop buildings, and the buildings were not purged of potential threats, and as the limo slowed down for the turns and deep turn in Dealy Plaza, there were no cyclists beside the limo, no agents running along with it or standing on the back of the President's vehicle. Palamara notes that an FBI informant on 9 November 1963 had taped Joseph Milteer when he spoke someone shooting Pres. Kennedy with a high-powered rifle from a tall building, and then having the murder quickly blamed on a patsy. Milteer was not questioned further at that time, and he phoned the informant on 22 November 1963 saying that he was in Dallas (though this is not mentioned by Palamara in this book.
Palamara does much to challenge the view, popularized by the best-selling author William Manchester, that the reason the motorcyclists and agents were absent from the sides of the President's limo was to obey the wishes of Pres. Kennedy himself; JFK had ordered the agents to stay away from the sides of the car because he wanted to be close to the people. Yet, the alleged source for this information in Manchester's book, Agent Floyd Boring, denied both the quotation and the content and even that he had ever been interviewed by author Manchester.(31) The effect of Manchester's assertion that Kennedy himself ordered the removal of the Secret Service agents from the sides of the limo was, in effect to blame the President for the success of the assassination. Thus, the Secret Service “was prevented from doing ...[its] job by the president.”(26)

Palamara concludes that the source of this “blame the victim” myth was Secret Service Agent Gerald Blaine, and part of this book is a debate between the claims of Blaine about the blame for the assassination, and Palamara's interviews with other agents that deny that Kennedy ever ordered the removal of guards surrounding the limo. Typical of Palamara's approach were his questions to Special Agent Vincent Mroz: “When asked point blank, if JFK had ever ordered the agents off the car, Mroz said forcefully, 'No, no - that's not true.' When asked a second time, the former agent responded with equal conviction: 'He did not order anybody off the car.'”(37)
Palamara concedes that the Secret Service may have been understaffed in 1963, that married men required to travel often may have missed some of their family life, and other problems. But this was no excuse for the failure to protect JFK in Dallas as they had done on his other trips.

There is a video where two agents are preparing to run along with Kennedy's limo, and they are ordered back, away from the President's car. They look bewildered by this order, wondering why the regular procedure is being aborted. Palamara contends that the video reveals the agent who gave that order to stand down, was Emery Roberts.(195) Palamara reports that Agent Roberts was a favorite of Vice President Lyndon Johnson, and following the assassination, Roberts, while still assigned as a Secret Service agent, became the receptionist for President LBJ.(107) Palamara argues that Roberts abandoned the general policy of the Secret Service that agents be non-political; the receptionist post was political. Moreover, Johnson then nominated Roberts for a high-paying cushy job with the US Parole Board.(108)

Palamara relates that the Secret Service Agency destroyed files when the Assassination Records Review Board (ARRB) had already indicated it wanted to peruse some of those very files. Before that, in an attempt to cull the JFK file, Agent James 'Mike” Mastrovito had destroyed a fragment of Kennedy's brain that had been included in the file.(162) But in the 1990s the Agency itself essentially defied the ARRB in trashing files that had perked the interest of the new investigators.(162) Interestingly, Mastrovito in an interview with the ARRB revealed: “[Agent Thomas] Kelley interviewed Oswald in the DPD jail... he never wrote a final report....Kelley wrote detailed reports regarding his participation in the interviews with Lee Harvey Oswald.”(163) Did these notes reveal what Oswald said under questioning in Dallas?

In this book Palamara, after additional interviews and research beyond his earlier books, concludes: “JFK's assassination was either attributable to gross negligence or worse of the part of the Secret Service...At the very best, by standing down with security in the Dallas motorcade, the Secret Service left JFK a sitting duck.”(195)

Palamara's book covers more than the assassination of Kennedy, the attempted murder of Reagan and the many attempts on Truman and threats to all the presidents, up to those who jumped the White House fence and actually entered the White House itself. Palamara has interviewed many agents, including family members of agents, some of whom, like the woman who had led anti-Mussolini underground fighters in WWII Italy, had led fascinating lives of their own. But the details of the book are still centered on the Kennedy murder. Some of the rest is almost like a high-school year-book of the agency. There is padding and disorganization. Nevertheless, there is convincing material that makes the book worthwhile.

Tuesday, February 5, 2019


If you become too bored by the article, drop down to my comments about it below.  HM

Jonathan Amos, BBC, January 31, 2019
Colonisation of the Americas at the end of the 15th Century killed so many people, it disturbed Earth’s climate.
That’s the conclusion of scientists from University College London, UK.
The team says the disruption that followed European settlement led to a huge swathe of abandoned agricultural land being reclaimed by fast-growing trees and other vegetation.
This pulled down enough carbon dioxide (CO₂) from the atmosphere to eventually chill the planet.
It’s a cooling period often referred to in the history books as the “Little Ice Age” – a time when winters in Europe would see the Thames in London regularly freeze over.
The Great Dying of the Indigenous Peoples of the Americas led to the abandonment of enough cleared land that the resulting terrestrial carbon uptake had a detectable impact on both atmospheric CO₂ and global surface air temperatures,” Alexander Koch and colleagues write in their paper published in Quaternary Science Reviews.
What does the study show?
The team reviewed all the population data it could find on how many people were living in the Americas prior to first contact with Europeans in 1492.
It then assessed how the numbers changed in following decades as the continents were ravaged by introduced disease (smallpox, measles, etc), warfare, slavery and societal collapse.
It’s the UCL group’s estimate that 60 million people were living across the Americas at the end of the 15th Century (about 10% of the world’s total population), and that this was reduced to just five or six million within a hundred years.
The scientists calculated how much land previously cultivated by indigenous civilisations would have fallen into disuse, and what the impact would be if this ground was then repossessed by forest and savannah.
The area is in the order of 56 million hectares, close in size to a modern country like France.
This scale of regrowth is figured to have drawn down sufficient CO₂ that the concentration of the gas in the atmosphere eventually fell by 7-10ppm (that is 7-10 molecules of CO₂ in every one million molecules in the air).
To put that in the modern context — we basically burn (fossil fuels) and produce about 3ppm per year. So, we’re talking a large amount of carbon that’s being sucked out of the atmosphere,” explained co-author Prof Mark Maslin.
There is a marked cooling around that time (1500s/1600s) which is called the Little Ice Age, and what’s interesting is that we can see natural processes giving a little bit of cooling, but actually to get the full cooling – double the natural processes – you have to have this genocide-generated drop in CO₂.”
Where’s the support for the connection?
The drop in CO₂ at the time of the Great Dying is evident in the ice core records from Antarctica.
Air bubbles trapped in these frozen samples show a fall in their concentration of carbon dioxide.
The atomic composition of the gas also suggests strongly that the decline is being driven by land processes somewhere on Earth.
In addition, the UCL team says the story fits with the records of charcoal and pollen deposits in the Americas.
These show the sort of perturbation expected from a decline in the use of fire to manage land, and a big grow-back of natural vegetation.
Ed Hawkins, professor of climate science at Reading University, was not involved in the study. He commented: “Scientists understand that the so-called Little Ice Age was caused by several factors – a drop in atmospheric carbon dioxide levels, a series of large volcanic eruptions, changes in land use and a temporary decline in solar activity.
This new study demonstrates that the drop in CO₂ is itself partly due the settlement of the Americas and resulting collapse of the indigenous population, allowing regrowth of natural vegetation. It demonstrates that human activities affected the climate well before the industrial revolution began.”
Are there lessons for modern climate policy?
Co-author Dr Chris Brierley believes there is. He said the fall-out from the terrible population crash and re-wilding of the Americas illustrated the challenge faced by some global warming solutions.
There is a lot of talk around ‘negative emissions’ approaches and using tree-planting to take CO₂ out of the atmosphere to mitigate climate change,” he told BBC News.
And what we see from this study is the scale of what’s required, because the Great Dying resulted in an area the size of France being reforested and that gave us only a few ppm. This is useful; it shows us what reforestation can do. But at the same, that kind of reduction is worth perhaps just two years of fossil fuel emissions at the present rate.”
The study also has a bearing on discussions about the creation of a new label to describe humanity’s time — and impacts — on Earth.
This epoch would be called the Anthropocene, and there is currently a lively debate over how it should be recognised in the geological record.
Some researchers say it would be most obvious in deposits that record the great acceleration in industrial activity from the 1950s onwards.
But the UCL team argues that the Great Dying in the Americas shows there are significant human interactions that left a deep and indelible mark on the planet long before the mid-20th Century.

The years I mention will be approximate. There was a Medieval warm period that began perhaps in 900 AD and lasted until 1200 to 1250. Around this time the Vikings were unleashed, going into Russia, founding cities like Novgorod, trading into the Ukraine with the Byzantines. The Vikings also conquered part of Britain (the Dane Law), Normandy in France, Sicily in the Mediterranean, and they settled Iceland, Greenland, and part of Canada that was warm enough to be known as Vinland (Wineland). The settlers on Greenland were large enough to have farms with cows grazing the greenland, and once converted, a bishop was appointed for the thousands of Scandinavian settlers.
The smaller settlements in Canada were probably wiped out by the Skrellings. But the Little Ice Age, 1300 -1700 was to wipe out the Greenland settlement by 1350 and almost destroyed that of Iceland. THIS WAS BEFORE COLUMBUS. Indeed, to what extent did Columbus know of Iceland and Greenland? Bottom line: The Little Ice Age began, with consequences, before those "terrible Europeans" rediscovered the New World.
Next, 60 million inhabitants in the New World before Columbus? Were there even 6 million? If you argue 60 million, then Mexico would probably be the main population center. You mean to say 30 million Mexicans were conquered by a few hundred Spaniards? Many Amerindians were wiped out by disease once the Spaniards came. But perhaps a third of all Europeans died in the Black Death, beginning around 1340 and the plague continued in a diminished manner on and off until 1650. But we do not blame the Silk Road and the Chinese for the plague. So why blame the Europeans, who liberated the Mexicans, for the diseases that decimated so many Amerindians?

The The University College of London study is ideological-driven propaganda with the appearance of science. But it is not science. It will receive favorable mention by the globalist, anti-white bigotry so fashionable in the media and academia. But it is not science. Hugh Murray

    (The original article was BBC, I copied it from AmRen; the comments are my own.)

Thursday, January 31, 2019

WWI East African War and Anti-Colonial Struggle

(New York: Vintage International, 1999; c.1983, c.1982 UK)
Review by Hugh Murray

Boyd has written a novel about the colonies – but without colonials. All of the characters are white (one Indian insurance agent is a minor exception). The Africans are described as porters, askaris (soldiers), maids, etc. They are not described individually except to reveal that some of the German askaris filed their teeth and possibly filled the British with dread due to a brutal reputation. A central character in the novel, Gabriel Cobb is a newly married English soldier who is assigned to duty in British East Africa (Kenya). The British stage a landing to capture the German East African port of Tanga; the German defense is stronger than anticipated, the British assault ends in chaos. Gabriel, fleeing from the enemy's askaris, is bayoneted in his leg and torso. He is then treated at a hospital in German East Africa (GEA, today's Tanganyika). Several years later when he escapes the POW camp there, he is pursued by a German officer, a man who farmed near the border with British East Africa (Kenya), and whose wife helped nurse the injured Gabriel at the hospital. When Gabriel flees, the Germans suspect he has overheard information about the “Chinese thing,” a secret project. The German orders his askaris to “get” Gabriel. However, the German is shocked when they return with Gabriel's severed head.
Boyd's book contains 400 pages – some about Gabriel's wedding in late summer England 1914, the couple's truncated honeymoon in Paris and its Normandy beaches, and the quick call to colors at war's outbreak. Meanwhile, Gabriel's younger brother Felix drifts from Oxford to a touch of bohemianism and into a relationship with Charis, his brother's wife after Gabriel is off in an enemy hospital in Africa. Following a traumatic ending to the affair with Charis, Felix joins the army with the wild hope of finding his brother.

When war first broke in August 1914 GEA attacked the neighboring British colony, but their intrusion was shallow – though deep enough for an American planter whose farm was near Mount Kilimanjaro. The Germans pulled up rails on his farm and burnt other supplies. On the other hand, Britain ruled the waves, so the Germans in their colonies were on their own, unable to be resupplied by the Vaterland, and one after another surrendered or were decisively defeated: Togoland, Kamerun, Germ. S. W. Africa, Kaiser Wilhelmsland, the Shandong Peninsula in China. The British, with additional troops from Europe, India, and West Africa began their assault on GEA at the small port of Tanga, where the naval based invasion failed to dislodge the German defenses. In this battle, Gabriel was wounded by the German askaris and captured. The Germans then claimed the spoils of battle, gaining supplies they could not receive from the homeland. Boyd is good at describing battles.

By January 1917 Dar-es-Salaam, capital of GEA was in British hands as they prepared assaults against German positions to the south. However, the Vaterland has not forgotten the colony. In November 1917 the Germans prepared a large zeppelin, the L57, to depart from one of the Central Powers, Jamboli, Bulgaria, carrying 15 tons of medicine, food, and military supplies to the beleaguered GEA. Boyd weaves this fascinating episode into his narrative. The zeppelin flew across the Aegean and Mediterranean Seas, across Egypt, across half of the Sudan. But then it turned back to Bulgaria. This was the secret “Chinese matter” that is part of Boyd's plot. In the novel, Boyd has British intelligence, aware of the German secret codes, signaling the airship that GEA has already surrendered, and therefore it should return to Europe. Wikipedia relates that the German commander in GEA, Paul von Lettow-Vorbeck, then stuck in mountainous areas, believed it would not be safe for the dirigible to successfully land in the rugged terrain as the airship might be punctured and explode in flames; so he ordered it to return to Europe. Whatever the source, the airship did return to Bulgaria, but in doing so it established a world record of 94 hours in continuous military air flight – a record that still holds after a century.
Soon after WWI erupted W. E. B. Du Bois wrote that when Germany invaded Belgium, it conquered the Congo. The Congo barely appears in this novel, but had the Central Powers been victorious, surely the African colonies would have been redistributed, with Portuguese and Belgian colonies already discussed for transferal to more advanced nations. Instead, the Kaiser Reich lost; all the Central Powers had surrendered by 11/11/1918. All except German East Africa.

While the Germans of GEA were losing Tanganyika to superior British forces, the German forces (most of whom were native Africans), crossed the River Rovuma to invade Portuguese Mozambique. They easily conquered and resupplied the themselves while still being pursued by slower, but more powerful British forces. Showing that they were not simply picking on the weaker of the allies, the German forces then invaded British Northern Rhodesia and continued to conquer and resupply. When they overtook a British town, they discovered newspapers, days' old, telling of the armistice and the end of the war in Europe. Consequently, on 25 November 1918 von Lettow-Vorbeck capitulated to the British. WWI was over. Those he surrendered were “155 Europeans, 30 of whom were officers, medical officers and higher officials, and 1,168 askaris.”(p. 392)

Was there any memory of these long-lasting battles that showed the fragility of some of the colonies? That town upon town in Portuguese and British Africa could fall to a small army composed mainly of natives, which supplied itself on the spoils of battle?

In the 1920s the films of Hollywood and perhaps Babelsberg were pre-eminent, but Britain too had a film industry. And some of those films were to be shown in the colonies. Some of the films for the largest empire on earth would feature the American actor/singer/former all-American football player, Paul Robeson. Various African students studying in the UK were hired as extras, to be natives in the films. Robeson would speak informally with many of the Africans on the set, befriending some. One of the extras in “Sanders of the River” was a young Kenyan, Johnstone Kenyatta, and he and Robeson discussed issues of the day, such as Mussolini's invasion of Abyssinia. In the 1930s the most famous civil rights case in the US was the Scottsboro rape cases, beginning in 1931 in Alabama after 2 young white women lied and said 9 young Blacks had raped them on a freight train when all of them were hoboing in Great Depression America. The Communists dominated the defense team of the accused Blacks, and appealed the cases to the US Supreme Court for 2 major decisions on civil rights. The international Communist movement also led in demonstrations to free the young men, making the cases an international cause celebre with petitions signed on behalf of the defendants by the likes of Albert Einstein and many prominent intellectuals of the era.

In Britain, a Scottsboro Defence Committee was organized in the 1930s, co-chaired by Paul Robeson and the young African, Johnstone Kenyatta. In 1939 the European war began and in 1941 it was a widespread Asian war too. Robeson returned to the US. Kenyatta worked in the UK. After WWII, in 1945 Kenyatta co-organized a Pan-African Conference in Manchester, and the next year returned to Africa. He dropped his Europeanized first name and became Jomo Kenyatta. He also became head of the Mau Mau rebellion in Kenya against the British colonial authorities. The 1957 film “Something of Value,” sought to depict the struggle in the colony by pitting Rock Hudson against Sidney Poitier in the battle for Kenya. In the movie, Hudson wins. In reality, Kenyatta became the first president of an independent Kenya in 1964.

Was Kenyatta aware of the role of German askaris in overturning settled colonial areas in eastern Africa? His brother had joined the British troops in WWI but disappeared and never returned. Jomo Kenyatta had studied at missionary schools for much of his early life, a short stint at a university for toilers in Moscow, and various universities in Britain. Nevertheless, could that determined “German” army of WWI have been an inspiration for the successful Mau Mau rebellion following WWII?

Boyd's novel is a vocabulary builder, and many words from the WWI era are sprinkled to season the pages of the book. Here is a list of some, not all of which I was able to find in dictionaries: topee (p. 41), dickie (66), landaulet (77), boater (89), jodhpurs (112), bandoliers (125), pillion (131), Subadar (153), tarbooshes (179), puttees (229), and kopje (367). Boyd, who is Scottish, includes a Scot who speaks with such a brogue that neither the English Felix Cobb nor this reader could comprehend the dialect.

There are fashions in literature as there are in women's clothing. This book was nominated for various prizes when first published in the UK in 1982, even for the prestigious Booker Prize. But today, a novel set in Africa without any real Black African characters would likely be dismissed from consideration for lacking inclusion. There are also fashions about book titles, designating them with titles that have nothing to do with the novel. I have no idea why this is called the Ice-Cream War after reading the volume. One hopes that fashion has abated. After discussing the novel with an American friend in Paris, he decided to google the ice cream war, and there found the reason for the title. I quote from wikipedia: “The title is derived from a quotation in a letter (included in British editions of the book but not the American ones) 'Lt Col Stordy says that the war here will only last two months. It is far too hot for sustained fighting, he says, we will all melt like ice-cream in the sun!”" As this is NOT included in the America version of the book, no wonder the title seems bizarre. If the essential quotation was deleted, the title should have been changed for the American editions. Boyd is no Dostoevsky with trick stories that force philosophical questions that haunt readers. Boyd's novel is a simple. well-written story, and one from which I learnt much.

Sunday, December 30, 2018


   The Smithsonian on line just included an article by Meilan Solly on the growing problem of sleep deprivation, with some saying they sleep less than 5 or 6 hours a night.(26 Dec. 2018)  The author found nearly a third of Americans sleep deprived, especially in the Black and Hispanic communities.  I posted a comment, which I also post below:

A decade ago, I taught in China. There was a 2-hour break after 12 noon, when I did some shopping and ate lunch. But the supermarket was quite empty of customers, and most cashier aisles were closed. Some workers napped near their cashier. On the walk to and from the market, some folks slept on their carts. When I sought to have office hours from 1 to 2, students complained that would interfere with their naps. I had not thought of the word SIESTA for China, but clearly many took the mid-day snooze. Now retired, I sleep only 5 or 6 hours at night. But in the day, I take a nap. Is the Western notion of 8 hours sleep a night simply a cultural norm, that may or may not be better than societies that have a broken sleep pattern, of some hours at night with a daily siesta?---Hugh Murray

Saturday, December 1, 2018

"The Green Book" movie and an earlier,1962 integrated road trip in South

To All,  I went to a movie last night and saw one I heartily recommend, The Green Book.  It is "based" on a true story.  I assume there were many, stronger, bitter words between the 2 main characters that are not mentioned in the film.  I suspect it is sanitized.  BUT IT IS STILL A GOOD FILM.  No special effects.  But the basics are there; the basics are true.  If you can, see "The Green Book."
     All that reminded me of a car trip I took in the South.  The Green Book takes place in 1962; my trip was 1960.  Hugh Murray

Hugh Murray
 In August 1960 the Congress of Racial Equality, which had been involved in student sit-ins that had begun earlier that year, decided to hold a training institute in Miami, Florida.  I desperately wanted to go, and the newly formed CORE chapter in New Orleans was preparing to send some people.  I assumed there would be about 1,000 people from all over the nation who would meet in Miami.  I was living with my parents who were not enthusiastic.  Would I be the only white going?  They asked.  I told them another white from Loyola U. of the South (a Jesuit institution) would be going.  He probably made it easier with his parents by telling them I was going.
8 from the NO area were finally set to go - one who was not an activist but he had a car, Marvin Robinson, a student at Southern U. (in Baton Rouge, which was then the largest Black university in the world).  I think he had been arrested in some of the SU protests in the spring of 1960, and he also had a car.  Ruth Dispenza, a young Black woman (though physically very light), from New Orleans; another young Black woman, I think it was Joyce Taylor; Rudy Lombard, leader of NO CORE, and a student at Xavier U. in NO (a Black Roman Catholic univ.), Archie Allen, a Black student at Dillard U. in NO (a Black Protestant univ.), and the 2 whites.
We were to depart from NO early in the morning.  I did not want the car to come to my parents home, where a possible argument and scene might erupt.  Oliver and I decided to stay the night NOT at our homes, but renting a room at the Negro YMCA.  He did not stay the night, but went out the the French Quarter with friends for a drinking session.  I stayed but got little sleep.  The room had a large window, it was hot, humid summer night in NO, and no air con or fan.  Just outside my window was the big lighted sign for the YMCA, the light filling my room.  Far worse, there was no screen on the window, and mosquitoes buzzed all night.  I got little sleep.
Oliver would not be driving (I learned later he was legally blind).  He would be in the car with the 2 young women and the driver (who may have been related to one of the women.  So in that car was Oliver (white), Ruth (looking, most would think who was white, though she was not), and Joyce (Black) and the driver.  I was in the car with Marvin, Archie, and Rudy (they were all Black).
In those days one could travel rather comfortably in an American car. There were 3 seats in the front, 3 in the back, and one did not worry with the discomfort and hassle of seat belts and other tortures imposed on the modern riders. In our car, Archie had brought an over-sized trunk that was too big for the automobiles boot or trunk, so it lay on the back seat, occupying what would normally be the seats of 2 people. So we only had room to seat 4 people. Archie did not drive, and since his trunk made it impossible for anyone to sleep in the back seat, he volunteered to sit in the middle front seat, least comfortable on the 22-hour journey.
I was not driving when we first had to stop for gas (petrol) in the very conservative state of Mississippi. In those days a gas station was a “service” station, and a young man would first come out to wipe the windshield, before asking how much gas to pump into your car. Before he came, I rushed out to the restroom (toilet), hoping he would not realize we were a mixed (racial) group. The others then followed. I tried to reenter the car only after the clerk was returning to the cash area of the station. We ate in Tallahassee, a diner operation, and perhaps Marvin knew of it through the Green Book, so it was mainly a Black eatery. I was driving deep into the night going south down into Florida. I went to sleep at the wheel. Happily, the car veered slightly to the right, we went only slightly off the paved highway and the right tires hit gravel, which caused noise and the car to jostle a bit waking all the occupants. Someone else decided to drive after that.
We arrived safely at the Negro motel where we would be staying and where CORE had scheduled its conference. It took 22 hours for our road trip. Not much happened to make it a topic for a movie – happily. The conference was nothing like I expected, for instead of a thousand participants, there were only about 50. It was a 3-week training session in non-violence. Most of our session were held during the day in the motel's cocktail lounge. One day our teacher was baseball legend Jackie Robinson, who was also promoting the cause of Richard Nixon and the Republicans (August of 1960 was a presidential election year). On another day, the teacher was Martin Luther King, Jr., who at that time was only quietly for John Kennedy and the Democrats. His father, an influential minister in Atlanta, had been for Nixon, as he was worried about a possible Catholic president. However, once his son was jailed and the Kennedy's made phone calls to help him, the elder King openly supported the Democratic candidate.
Part of our learning was testing. In Miami there was a major supermarket with a restaurant inside. The restaurant was segregated. We were divided into groups and entered the restaurant and took seats. Most of the CORE groups sat at tables to integrate the eatery. Police were called, and many of our group were arrested. Only 2 were at our table, Ruth and me, but as most assumed she was white, we were not arrested (though, in fact, we were integrating the restaurant).
A few Miamians joined the CORE institute, including the son of A D Moore, who was a student at Dillard in NO, and Bob Kunst, who in the 1970s would lead the campaign against Anita Bryant and for gay rights. One organization very sympathetic to ours was the Jewish Culture Society, which lent us their main room for a dance. You could easily distinguish between the 2 groups, their youngest member was about 60, while most of ours were early 20s. I do remember learning how to do the twist from Ruth at that dance.
I recall little of the return trip. I think we had more in the car, so perhaps Archie's trunk went in the other car. Coming with us was a white young woman from NY, Dottie Miller, who would later marry southern white Bob Zellner. The Zellners were leaders in the early days of the civil rights movement in SNCC and in the Mississippi Freedom Summer efforts of 1964.
Back in New Orleans, Rudy Lombard continued to lead NO CORE. NO, the largest city in the South for over a century, was soon to lose it place with the upcoming census. NO had had no sit-in. In early September 1960, Ruth was the chosen leader, as 7 of us were arrested after being read the law, literally, by the then DA of NO Dowling. Archie Allen, Joyce Taylor, me, another white from Tulane Bill Harrell, and 2 others were arrested. The local NAACP opposed us and our sit-in. But soon the Youth NAACP supported us, and more people joined CORE.
We 7 were convicted of a felony. During the trial, we had all sat together with our attorneys, who were Black. When the judge saw this, he threatened us with contempt of court for race mixing his courtroom. So Bill Harrell and I moved away from the others and from our attorneys. Our convictions were upheld on the local an state levels, but eventually, after some years, the US Supreme Court made a decision in our favor.
       In 1961 CORE would originate the Freedom Rides of the 1960s, in which integrated buses from the North were sent south to end in New Orleans, but often they were attacked along the way in Alabama or Mississippi when they sought to integrate bus terminal facilities along the way.  CORE National leader James Farmer beginning in 1961 would eventually furn for Congress in Brooklyn as a Republican, but he lost.  He then had an office in the Administration of Republican Richard Nixon.
This summary of events is written 58 years after the events, so there may be some errors.

Wednesday, November 28, 2018


My comment on Yahoo re a news story.
The :eft is upset because likely Muslim Brotherhood member, Jamal Khashoggi, was apparently brutally murdered in the Saudi Embassy in Turkey with the approval of Prince Mohammad bin Salmam. Democrats and pro-Iranian Republicans (Flake) are basically demanding the US cut relations with the Saudis, a most important ally. But the Left screams, Prince MbS is a murderer- we cannot be an ally of him or his nation. Turkey's Pres. Erdogan says he has a tape of the murder. But Turkey has at least 20,000 political prisoners now jailed. And Turkey is an esteemed member of NATO! Almost in the EU! In 1941 Winston Churchill said he would make a deal with the devil to defeat Hitler. He made the deal with Stalin, who murdered millions more than Hitler. And America's great liberal FDR? He called Stalin "Uncle Joe," and at least one in the White House during the war was making sure uranium was being transferred to Stalin's USSR.
There are few democratic nations in the Middle East. The most democratic, Israel, is denounced and boycotted bu the Left and many Democrats.
Trump is correct in not wanting to alter American foreign policy because of the murder of one man. Stalin killed about 20 million and FDR and most Democrats were happy to have him as an ally. Obama was making deals on behalf of Iran, sending millions of dollars in unmarked bills to its leaders. Trump rejects Iran whose leaders chant "Death to America."
The US should stay the course under Trump with Israel and the Saudis.
     Before the elections, the Republicans hoped to repeal Obamacare and set up an alternative.  The Republicans had only a 1-vote edge in the Senate, so every vote was needed.  With great publicity, at around 1am McCain would appear in the Senate to cast his vote, which would make it a tie, and Vice-President Pence could then cast a deciding vote to repeal Obamacare.  McCain arrived, and voted.  But he voted to save Obamacare.  Since there was not tie vote, VP Pence did not vote.  The US was stuck with Obamacare.
     The Mid=term elections are 531 Congressional elections, with many local issues in terrains from ocean-side to mountainous, snowy to semi-tropical.  But everywhere the Democrats had one powerful isssue,  Obamacare provides insurance to those with pre-existing conditions.  Democrats had their other usual issues - global warmin (what I call a hoax), pro=crime, reduce size of prisons, more money for schools, but the hot issue in all their ads, the issue that resonated with those who were ill, or with those who had a relative who was, or those who thought they or their loved ones might become ill, that issue was pre-existing conditions.  McCain prevented the Republicans from enacting an alternative to Obamacare.  McCain, who had voted several times to repeal Obamacare earlier, who had campaigned on repealing Obamacare, but whose ego had been tarnished by a comment by Pres. Trump, McCain took his hatred out on Trump and voted to keep Obamacare.  All Americans must now suffer because of McCain's reveng against Trump.  That is McCain's vindictive legacy.