Collaboration between British MI5 and Hitler’s Gestapo


This video says about itself:

Gestapo, Hitler’s Secret Police

3 November 2013

The Geheime Staatspolizei (German for Secret State Police, abbreviated “Gestapo”) was the secret police of Nazi Germany, and its main tool of oppression and destruction, which persecuted Germans, opponents of the regime, and Jews. It later played a central role in helping carry out the Nazi’s “Final Solution.”

The Gestapo was formally organized after the Nazis seized power in 1933. Hermann Göring, the Prussian minister of the interior, detached the espionage and political units of the Prussian police and proceeded to staff them with thousands of Nazis. On April 26, 1933, Göring became the commander of this new force that was given power to shadow, arrest, interrogate, and intern any “enemies” of the state. At the same time that Goring was organzing the Gestapo, Heinrich Himmler was directing the SS (Schutzstaffel, German for “Protective Echelon“), Hitler’s elite paramilitary corps. In April 1936, he was given command of the Gestapo as well, integrating all of Germany’s police units under Himmler.

By Conrad Landin in Britain:

Did MI5 join Gestapo to hunt reds?

Monday 30th March 2015

COLLABORATION between MI5 and the Gestapo was crucial to surveillance of Communist Party members in Britain including historian Eric Hobsbawm, an explosive new analysis reveals.

This video from Britain says about itself:

Professor Eric Hobsbawm is interviewed on the so called ‘Responsible capitalism.’

Eric Hobsbawm fled nazi Germany in the 1930s. Being a Jew, that very probably saved him from Hitler’s Holocaust.

The Conrad Landin aricle continues:

Historians yesterday blasted British governments for double standards as they attacked Eastern bloc states over surveillance while using similar tactics on an industrial scale.

The first sections of Mr Hobsbawm’s MI5 file were opened to public access at the National Archives last autumn, and reveal that British security services first took an interest after he corresponded with journalist and International Brigades member Hans Kahle.

Investigating the late Mr Hobsbawm’s file for the London Review of Books, historian Frances Stonor Saunders concludes it is “likely” some of Mr Kahle’s file “came from MI5’s liaison with the Gestapo” as it included “close knowledge” on his activity in the German Communist Party.

Ms Stonor Saunders argues that a “crucial liaison” was established between MI5 deputy counter-espionage chief Guy Liddell and Rudolf Diels, head of nazi spying bureau Abteilung 1A, which soon became the Gestapo, in 1933.

“MI5’s prewar liaison with Hitler’s political police was built on the promise of reciprocity, so it is reasonable to fear that there was two-way traffic in blacklists between Berlin and London,” she wrote in an article to be published next month.

“How long this arrangement lasted is a matter of speculation.

“What is known is that both MI5 and MI6 had information that must have come from a German source concerning the political activities of the left-wing refugees who sought sanctuary in Britain from 1933 onwards.

“If they didn’t already have a personal file, most of them acquired one within days of arriving at a British port.”

In the months immediately following the end of the war in 1945, “fresh traces on suspected communists were being received daily from British intelligence outposts in the defeated territories of the Third Reich,” Ms Stonor Saunders notes.

There is no evidence that Mr Hobsbawm’s own file included direct imports from Germany, but it is possible that files handed over included information on the Sozialistischer Schuelerbund, the communist-affiliated organisation of school students of which Hobsbawm was a member.

Communist Party of Britain history group convenor Graham Stevenson said the confirmation came as “no surprise.

“Anyone reading the Daily Worker in the 1930s would see it was going to efforts every day to highlight how Britain was working with Germany to undermine the Soviet Union,” he told the Star.

Mr Stevenson said the same criticisms made of socialist governments in Eastern Europe could be made of Britain’s surveillance tactics.

“You see the hypocrisy, the comparison with the Stasi, when you see the level of intrusion in these files.”

It come days after it was revealed the Metropolitan Police’s Special Branch hold files on 10 serving Labour MPs.

Labour MP Mike Gapes labelled Special Branch “the Stasi’s British equivalent” in a debate about their surveillance in Parliament on Thursday.

Northern lights, in history and now


This video says about itself:

Night of the Northern Lights

On 25th February 2014 Sun produced X4.9 flare which on 27th February caused G2 (KP 6) geomagnetic storm on Earth. It was the brightest aurora display so far during this solar maximum which I could witness with auroral displays overhead in the far north of Scotland. This short movie illustrates what has been seen from latitude 58.3 degrees north.

By Peter Frost in Britain:

Heavenly treat

Friday 27th March 2015

As natural phenomena go few come more spectacular or mysterious than the northern lights. PETER FROST dons his astronomer’s hat to reveal their provenance

They saw them in Scotland, in Northumberland, on the Isle of Man and as far south as north Norfolk. It was some of the best British sightings of the aurora borealis, the famous northern lights, in living memory.

Hundreds of people all over Britain braved the freezing late night and early mornings but declared the experience one well worth getting frozen for.

Those lucky enough to see them described spectacular waves, streaks or curtains of pale green and pink, but shades of red, yellow, blue and violet were also spotted.

It’s rare for northern lights to be seen from anywhere in Britain and when they are visible it is usually from Shetland, Orkney or the north of Scotland.

Last week however, good sightings could be had from all over the country as far south as Norfolk. These amazing multicoloured ethereal light displays are caused by collisions between electrically charged particles from the sun that enter into the earth’s atmosphere.

They are more common much further north and British tourists normally need to take cruises or air holidays to northern latitudes if they want to see the amazing spectacle.

Polar lights — the aurora polaris — are a natural phenomenon found in both the northern and southern hemispheres. The northern versions are called aurora borealis while the southern lights aurora australis.

They were first named by two great early astronomers Pierre Gassendi and Galileo Galilei both of whom witnessed a spectacular display in September 1621. They jointly named the phenomena aurora borealis — the northern dawn.

Much earlier, a thousand years ago, Gregory of Tours, Gallo-Roman historian, scientist and later saint looked into the night sky over France and saw a light “… so bright that you might have thought that day was about to dawn.”

We now know the origin of the aurora starts on the surface of the sun when solar activity ejects a cloud of gas. If one of these reaches Earth it collides with its magnetic field two or three days after leaving the sun.

Our planet’s magnetic field is invisible but if it could be seen it would make Earth look like a comet with a long magnetic tail stretching a million miles behind us away from the sun.

When a coronal mass ejection — as the stream of cloud of gas from the sun’s surface is more properly named — collides with the magnetic field it causes complex changes to happen to the magnetic tail region.

These changes generate currents of charged particles, which then flow along lines of magnetic force towards the Earth’s poles.

The particles are boosted in energy in Earth’s upper atmosphere and when they collide with oxygen and nitrogen atoms they produce the dazzling light shows that are the aurora.

Beautiful they may be but the invisible flows of particles and magnetism can damage electrical power grids and also affect satellites operating in space.

The lights can be in place day and night but are not bright enough to be visible in daylight. For the same reason in cities or towns with lots of light pollution you are unlikely to get good viewing.

Auroras tend to be more frequent and spectacular during high solar sunspot activity and these cycle over periods of approximately 11 years. That is what is happening now.

Some displays are particularly spectacular and make the headlines. This happened in August-September 1859, in February 1958, which I remember seeing as a London schoolboy, and in March 1989 the last time really good sightings were possible in southern England.

Last February produced spectacular solar activity and a few relatively clear nights again gave some lucky stargazers a chance to see the spectacular and colourful light show.

This year has been even better and there is a good chance that the shows aren’t over. Keep your eyes on those northern skies.

Irish music, war and history


This music video from Ireland says about itself:

30 November 2010

Wolfe TonesCome Out Ye Black And Tans

Words by Dominic Behan, music traditional

I was born on a Dublin street where the Royal drums do beat
And the loving English feet they trampled all over us,
And each and every night when me father’d come home tight
He’d invite the neighbours outside with this chorus:

Oh, come out you black and tans,
Come out and fight me like a man
Show your wives how you won medals down in Flanders
Tell them how the IRA made you run like hell away,
From the green and lovely lanes in Killashandra.

Come let me hear you tell
How you slammed the great Parnell,
When you fought them well and truly persecuted,
Where are the smears and jeers
That you bravely let us hear
When our heroes of sixteen were executed.

Come tell us how you slew
Those brave Arabs
two by two
Like the Zulus they had spears and bows and arrows,
How you bravely slew each one
With your sixteen pounder gun
And you frightened them poor natives to their marrow.

The day is coming fast
And the time is here at last,
When each yeoman will be cast aside before us,
And if there be a need
Sure my kids wil sing, “Godspeed!”
With a verse or two of Stephen Beehan‘s chorus.

By Peter Frost in Britain:

Bloodied at the hands of the Black and Tans

Thursday 26th March 2015

PETER FROST remembers an Irish republican ballad that echoes events that happened 95 years ago this week

OH, come out you black and tans/ Come out and fight us like a man/ Show your wives how you won medals down in Flanders/ Tell them how the IRA made you run like hell away/ From the green and lovely lanes in Killeshandra.

I first learnt Dominic Behan’s fine song from the man himself in the pubs of what many locals in the mid-1960s called County Kilburn.

Kilburn in north-west London had a huge and proud Irish community and the traditional music nights were said to be as good as anything you might hear in Dublin, Belfast or Derry.

The song was always a favourite with me and my wife Ann. We both have some Irish blood in our respective families. Much later we would discover that the subject matter had direct relevance to Ann’s own family history.

We would also, later in life, on some of our many visits to Northern Ireland, explore those lovely lanes in Killeshandra. The town was once an important centre of the linen industry. Today its setting in beautiful lake country has made it is a popular centre for fishing, walking, wildlife and eco-tourism.

Dominic Behan’s song, written as a tribute to his father Stephen — and ironically set to the Orange march Rosc Catha na Mumhan, or Battlecry of Munster — brings alive the hatred of the brutal British troops who arrived in Ireland 95 years ago this week.

After the Easter Rising in Dublin in 1916 the execution of Irish leaders including Patrick Pearse and the dying James Connolly led to huge public outrage. This soon turned to support for the revolutionary Sinn Fein movement.

In the 1918 general election Sinn Fein won 73 out of 105 seats. In January 1919 the First Dail — the Irish parliament — declared an independent Irish Republic.

In the same month, the republican Irish Volunteers, fast becoming known as the Irish republican Army, began the guerilla campaign that would become the Irish War of Independence. The main thrust was to attack the hated Royal Irish Constabulary (RIC) posts, police stations and barracks.

By 1919 the British administration, horrified by the low morale in the RIC, closed down and outlawed the Dail.

Westminster clearly needed new initiatives and the British government knew just what to do. In January 1920, the government started advertising in British cities for men willing to “face a rough and dangerous task in Ireland”.

Post-WWI unemployment and austerity meant there was no shortage of recruits, many of them veterans home from the trenches of Flanders.

By November 1921 about 9,500 ex-soldiers had joined. This sudden influx of men presented a real problem. There were not enough proper RIC uniforms to go round. Instead the new recruits were issued with war surplus khaki army trousers and dark green RIC or old blue British police tunics.

This sartorial odd mixture gave rise to their nickname, the Black and Tans. The name came from a famous pack of foxhounds from Limerick who wore similar colours. The title would stick even after the men eventually received proper green RIC uniforms.

The new recruits were given only three months’ hurried basic training, and were rapidly posted to RIC barracks, mostly in Dublin, Munster and Connacht.

The first Black and Tans arrived on March 25 1920 and immediately generated hatred and further resistance.

The government also raised a further unit, the Auxiliary Division of the constabulary. This group was made up of ex-army officers. The Black and Tans acted with the Auxiliaries and both were ordered to break the IRA by any means possible.

One of Ann’s relatives was murdered by members of the Auxiliary around this time. One of republican leader Michael Collins’s group, he was arrested and taken to Dublin Castle for questioning.

Just before nine o’clock in the evening he and a friend were released only to be immediately re-arrested for being on the street after the nine o’clock curfew. It was an old Auxiliary trick.

Dumped in the back of one of the Black and Tans’s notorious Crossley Tenders, they were driven to Phoenix Park and each had a bucket put on their head before they were shot at point-blank range.

The Auxiliary executioners were court-martialed but instead of any punishment their commanding officer offered his congratulations.

Black and Tans were paid 10 shillings a day, a substantial wage in those days — and they also got full board and lodging in special barracks.

With minimal police training, their main role was to strengthen the guarding of RIC posts. They worked as sentries, guards, escorts for government agents and as reinforcement to the regular police.

It took no time for them to gain a reputation for awesome brutality.

Black and Tans had little discipline. Deaths of Black and Tans at the hands of the IRA were often repaid with arbitrary reprisals against the civilian population.

In the summer of 1920, the Black and Tans burned and sacked many small towns and villages throughout Ireland.

One of the worst atrocities was the massacre of 13 civilians at Croke Park on Bloody Sunday November 21 1920.

Black and Tans and Auxiliaries opened fire with armoured-car-mounted machine guns on the crowd.

The Black and Tans justified the attack as revenge for Michael Collins’s assassination of an undercover RIC murder squad earlier that day.

In November 1920, they besieged Tralee, also in revenge for the IRA abduction and killing of two local RIC men. They shut the businesses in the town and let no food in for a week.

On the night of December 11 1920, they sacked and burned Cork city.

In January 1921, a commission set up by the Labour Party produced a report on the situation in Ireland. It was highly critical of the government’s security policy.

“Forming the Black and Tans,” it said “had liberated forces which it is not at present able to dominate”.

Since December 1920, the British government had sanctioned official reprisals in Ireland. The Black and Tans burnt property of IRA men and any suspected sympathisers.

Altogether 7,000 of them served in Ireland in 1920-22. More than one-third of them died or left the service before they were disbanded, along with the rest of the RIC, in 1922.

Today, nearly a century after the Black and Tans’ war crimes, these British bully boys are still remembered and still hated in Ireland.

“Tan” is still a term of abuse in Ireland. And in a delicious irony there is a medal, awarded by the Irish government to IRA veterans of the War of Independence. It bears a ribbon with two vertical stripes. The colours? What else but black and tan — just a tiny reminder of the colours of the still-hated enemy.

Turkish World War I commemoration abused for militarist propaganda


This music video about Australia and the first world war is called The Pogues – The band played Waltzing Matilda.

The lyrics are:

When I was a young man I carried my pack
And I lived the free life of a rover
From the Murray’s green basin to the dusty outback
I waltzed my Matilda all over

Then in nineteen fifteen my country said Son
It’s time to stop rambling ’cause there’s work to be done
So they gave me a tin hat and they gave me a gun
And they sent me away to the war

And the band played Waltzing Matilda
As we sailed away from the quay
And amidst all the tears and the shouts and the cheers
We sailed off to Gallipoli

How well I remember that terrible day
How the blood stained the sand and the water
And how in that hell that they called Suvla Bay
We were butchered like lambs at the slaughter

Johnny Turk he was ready, he primed himself well
He chased us with bullets, he rained us with shells
And in five minutes flat he’d blown us all to hell
Nearly blew us right back to Australia

But the band played Waltzing Matilda
As we stopped to bury our slain
We buried ours and the Turks buried theirs
Then we started all over again

Now those that were left, well we tried to survive
In a mad world of blood, death and fire
And for ten weary weeks I kept myself alive
But around me the corpses piled higher

Then a big Turkish shell knocked me arse over tit
And when I woke up in my hospital bed
And saw what it had done, I wished I was dead
Never knew there were worse things than dying

For no more I’ll go waltzing Matilda
All around the green bush far and near
For to hump tent and pegs, a man needs two legs
No more waltzing Matilda for me

So they collected the cripples, the wounded, the maimed
And they shipped us back home to Australia
The armless, the legless, the blind, the insane
Those proud wounded heroes of Suvla

And as our ship pulled into Circular Quay
I looked at the place where my legs used to be
And thank Christ there was nobody waiting for me
To grieve and to mourn and to pity

And the band played Waltzing Matilda
As they carried us down the gangway
But nobody cheered, they just stood and stared
Then turned all their faces away

And now every April I sit on my porch
And I watch the parade pass before me
And I watch my old comrades, how proudly they march
Reliving old dreams of past glory

And the old men march slowly, all bent, stiff and sore
The forgotten heroes from a forgotten war
And the young people ask, “What are they marching for?”
And I ask myself the same question

And the band plays Waltzing Matilda
And the old men answer to the call
But year after year their numbers get fewer
Some day no one will march there at all

Waltzing Matilda, Waltzing Matilda
Who’ll come a waltzing Matilda with me
And their ghosts may be heard as you pass the Billabong
Who’ll come-a-waltzing Matilda with me?

By Halil Celi in Turkey:

Centenary of the Gallipoli Campaign: Turkish elite commemorates imperialist bloodbath

25 March 2015

Turkey marked the 100th anniversary of the naval battle at Çanakkale last week.

During the 1915 battle, also known as the Gallipoli Campaign or the Dardanelles Campaign, Ottoman artillery held off British and French warships from taking the capital Constantinople (later renamed Istanbul). This would have given the Allied powers control of the Bosphorus and entry into the Black Sea, securing access to Russia against Germany.

The main ceremony was held in Çanakkale, attended by Turkish politicians, including Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu, and military and civil officials from Britain, Australia and New Zealand.

Official ceremonies were held in other cities, including Istanbul, Ankara and Diyarbakir, attended by Turkish military officers, representatives of the political parties and civil society organisations. The Religious Affairs Directorate organised prayers across Turkey for those who died, who were described as martyrs.

As well as those killed in battle, thousands died from infection, enteric fever, dysentery, diarrhea and various fly-borne diseases. Others were burnt to death in out-of-control scrub fires. Some drowned in sewage, and others died from poor food and disease. While the exact number of casualties in the Gallipoli Campaign, which lasted about 10 months, is not known, one estimate puts the number of casualties on the Ottoman side at 250,000, with a similar number from the Allied forces. It was one of the most horrific slaughters of World War I.

In a Twitter post on March 18, Richard Moore, the British ambassador to Turkey, “congratulated the people of Turkey for the victory.”

In an attempt to cover up and sanctify the imperialist slaughter, he wrote, “Both the parties bravely fought during the war and Turks deserved the victory, Çanakkale is impassable!”

This was no different from the official propaganda, launched by the Turkish media weeks ago, that branded the imperialist slaughter of the Gallipoli Campaign as the beginning of the Turkish people’s struggle for independence.

Speaking during the ceremony at Çanakkale, Prime Minister Davutoğlu blessed the martyrs and said, “Turkish soldiers from different origins, including Kurdish, Bosnian and Circassian, started and won Turkey’s war of independence in unity and brotherhood.”

He used the centenary of the Gallipoli Campaign to make broader and more topical political points, saying threateningly, “Turkey is not a country that would succumb to either internal or external threats. It has the ability to immediately respond to any kind of treachery.”

Davutoğlu’s words followed the Prime Ministry’s Directorate General of Press and Information accreditation ban on media outlets critical of the government, including the Cihan news agency, one of the largest news agencies in Turkey, and the Zaman daily.

The centenary of the Gallipoli Campaign gave the Turkish government and the media a welcome opportunity to deflect the mounting anger of working people away from the burning social and economic problems at home, as well as to legitimise Turkey’s embroilment in the imperialist interventions and civil wars in the Middle East, in North Africa and potentially—as a NATO ally—in Ukraine.

As part of this broader campaign to distract working people’s attention away from deteriorating living conditions and prepare Turkish public opinion for impending military interventions in Iraq and Syria, all the bourgeois parties and media have joined in the official campaign of rewriting the history. There have been a series of activities, including conferences, lectures, films, and sporting and cultural events, with millions of dollars of government funding.

Ankara has used its best endeavours to rewrite the history of the Gallipoli Campaign to glorify the Turkish nationalist officers who years later waged the War of Independence against Britain and Greece, under the leadership of Mustafa Kemal, later known as Atatürk, founder and president of the Turkish republic. Ataturk first rose to prominence as a commander during the battle at Gallipoli.

Thus, the Turkish ruling elite has promoted the glorification of the imperialist bloodbath of Gallipoli as “the defence of the motherland.”

The pretence that the position of the Ottoman Empire in the Gallipoli Campaign was “the defence of the motherland” is bogus. The Gallipoli Campaign of March 1915-January 1916 was not a part of the Turkish national liberation war of 1919-1922. It was a tragic episode in the imperialist slaughter of World War I for raw materials, markets and geostrategic interests that resulted in the deaths of millions, in which the Ottoman Empire, albeit not itself an imperialist power, actively participated on the side of the Central Powers.

By the eve of World War I, the Ottoman Empire, described by Tsar Nicholas I as the “sick man of Europe,” had been weakened by economic crisis and military defeats by the imperialist powers, rival dynasties and national liberation movements. It had become a semi-colony of German imperialism, which enthusiastically supported the Young Turks’ regime led by the Committee of Union and Progress (CUP), since 1908.

Germany provided significant financial aid and investment, training and re-equipping its army. In December 1913, Germany sent a military mission to Istanbul, headed by General Otto Liman von Sanders, who would serve as adviser and military commander for the Ottoman Empire during the war, and organise and lead the defence of the Dardanelles.

On July 30, 1914, only two days after the start of war in Europe, the CUP decided to accept Germany’s offer of a “secret alliance” against Russia. On October 27, the alliance was put into practice when two German warships set sail for the Black Sea and bombarded the Russian navy in Odessa. Three days later, the Ottoman Empire, with a view to recovering territories it had lost in previous wars in the Balkans, the Caucasus and the Middle East, officially entered the war on the side of the Central Powers led by Germany.

In early 1915, Tsarist Russia, then in combat with Ottoman forces and the German military in the Caucasus, appealed to Britain for relief. With the Western Front deadlocked, the British government decided to mount a naval expedition to bombard and take the Gallipoli Peninsula on the western shore of the Dardanelles, the narrow and strategic sea-lane near Istanbul separating the Aegean and Black Seas. The aim was to capture Constantinople, knocking Turkey out of the war, and link up with its tsarist ally.

The first attack on the Dardanelles began February 19, 1915, when a strong Anglo-French task force began the bombardment of Ottoman artillery along the coast, launching their main attack on March 18, 1915. The slaughter reached its peak as imperialist troops landed on April 25, after the failure of the naval attacks, commemorated by Australians and New Zealanders every year as “Anzac Day.”

In the following months, little progress was made and the Ottoman army took advantage of a British hiatus in the campaign to bring as many troops as possible onto the Peninsula. In a speech in April 1915, Atatürk told his soldiers in the 57th regiment, “I do not order you to fight, I order you to die. In the time which passes until we die, other troops and commanders can come forward and take our places.”

Few of the regiment survived the war.

The standstill was to lead to a political crisis in London in which the Liberal government was replaced by a coalition.

The deadlock in Dardanelles dragged on into the summer amid disease-ridden conditions. Nevertheless, the British government continued its attacks. It decided to end the campaign only after the unsuccessful landing of early August, finally evacuating the troops in January 1916.

In November 13, 1918, almost three years later and after the deaths of hundreds of thousands of soldiers from both sides, the Allied Forces would occupy Constantinople in accordance with the Armistice of Mudros that ended Ottoman participation in the First World War, as they hoped, a prelude to the dismemberment of the Ottoman Empire and Turkey itself.

The Gallipoli Campaign was one of the most tragic battles of the imperialist slaughter, a war worthy not of glorification but of condemnation. It should act as a spur to opposition in Turkey and internationally to the ongoing eruption of imperialist militarism and war-mongering.

Erdoğan plan for super-presidency puts Turkey’s democracy at stake. The Turkish president’s attempted power-grab is slated from within his own party as divisions between the country’s executive and legislature deepen: here.

Australian government helps reviving Japanese Kempeitai secret police


This video is about the history of the Kempeitai, the Japanese military secret police during World War II.

By Peter Symonds:

Australian spies assist Japan’s plans for intelligence agency

23 March 2015

In a front-page article on Saturday, the Australian revealed that the country’s overseas spy agency, ASIS, has been assisting in the training of Japanese agents and the reestablishment of a centralised foreign intelligence apparatus in Japan akin to the CIA or Britain’s MI6.

The re-establishment of a foreign intelligence agency is bound up with the revival of Japanese militarism, which is being encouraged by Washington as part of its “pivot to Asia” and military build-up against China. ASIS’s involvement demonstrates just how closely Canberra is intertwined with US war plans, which rely heavily on its allies in Asia, especially Japan and Australia.

The Japanese government signalled last month that it intended to accelerate the creation of an overseas intelligence body. Seizing on the killing of two Japanese citizens by Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) militias, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe declared that it was vital “to strengthen the government’s intelligence functions” to inform “the state’s strategic decision-making.”

Japan’s notorious military intelligence agencies and internal secret police were dismantled following World War II under the US occupation. Intelligence operations continued, in collaboration with the CIA, through several agencies. Over the past two decades, however, the push for a centralised body has continued to mount. In 2006, a parliamentary committee report called for a new agency operating from Japanese embassies to collect foreign intelligence and another to perform centralised intelligence analysis.

The Australian explained: “Since 2008, members of Japan’s national security community have been travelling to Australia to be trained by ASIS so that Japan can slowly build up its espionage capability.” According to the newspaper, at least 20 Japanese agents have been trained, including several at ASIS’s highly secretive training centre on Swan Island in Victoria where exercises also involve elite Special Air Service (SAS) trainers.

The ASIS training has been critical to the Japanese intelligence apparatus which lacked foreign agents schooled in all dirty tricks and subterfuge of so-called spy craft. A WikiLeaks cable recorded a 2008 conversation in which Hideshi Mitani, the director of Japan’s Cabinet Intelligence and Research Office, told Randall Fort, head of the US State Department’s bureau of intelligence, that a “human intelligence collection capability” was a priority.

“The decision has been made to go very slowly with this process as the Japanese realise that they lack knowledge, experience, and assets/officers. A training process for new personnel will be started very soon,” the US cable read. Undoubtedly, Japanese spies have received training from the CIA and other allied agencies.

The re-establishment of a foreign spy agency is deeply unpopular in Japan. During the 1930s and 1940s, military intelligence services were intimately involved Japan’s wars and in suppressing opposition to the colonial occupation of Korea, China and other countries. The secret police in Japan ruthlessly cracked down on domestic opposition, especially from the working class, to the militarist regime in Tokyo.

The US think tank Stratfor noted that “persistent anti-militarist sentiments” remained a major obstacle to the establishment of a new spy agency. “The Japanese constitution famously contains an article, Article 9, that forbids the use of war to solve international conflicts. Though there is no intelligence equivalent to Article 9 forbidding a clandestine intelligence service, in the eyes of the public, intelligence and militarism are deeply intertwined. Memories of World War II still run deep,” it commented.

The Abe government is remilitarising across the board. Since coming to office, Abe has increased military spending, established a National Security Council to centralise foreign policy and strategic affairs, “reinterpreted” Article 9 to allow Japan to participate in US wars, and is campaigning for an end to all constitutional restrictions on the military. While the training of Japanese spies has been taking place for years, moves to re-establish a centralised overseas intelligence service will also speed up.

Currently, Japanese intelligence activities are dispersed between various agencies: the Cabinet Intelligence Research Office, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Defence Intelligence Headquarters, the National Police Agency and the Public Security Intelligence Agency.

Abe’s ambition to forge a powerful spy agency is bound up with his determination to have the means to aggressively prosecute Japanese imperialism’s economic and strategic interests—whether or not they coincide with those of the US. A Japanese intelligence apparatus would reduce Tokyo’s current dependence on the CIA and other Western spy agencies that developed during the Cold War.

According to the Australian, “the proposal to train the [Japanese] spies was put by ASIS boss Nick Warner and approved by the previous Labor government.” As Australian governments, Labor and Coalition, have integrated more and more closely into the US “pivot to Asia,” the US has also encouraged closer military and strategic ties between its two closest allies.

During a visit to Tokyo last year, Coalition Prime Minister Tony Abbott held discussions on elevating “the bilateral security and defence relationship to a new level.” Abbott and Abe resolved to reach “a framework agreement” on cooperation on military science, technology and equipment. The deal was to pave the way for the possible multi-billion dollar purchase of Japanese Soryu submarines to replace the aging Australian submarine fleet.

Abbott foreshadowed even closer military cooperation. “We want to see more interoperability between our militaries, we want to see more exercises between our militaries, we want to see over time more significant intelligence co-operation,” he said.

The Australian’s foreign editor Greg Sheridan sought to play down the significance of the newspaper’s revelation about ASIS’s training of Japanese spies. “It is good news that Japan is building a foreign intelligence agency and that the previous Labor government offered Australia’s assistance in training its personnel … There is nothing sinister about this.”

The opposite is the case. It is one element in the far broader preparations of the US, Japan and Australia as well as other allies and strategic partners for a war with China that would have devastating consequences for the working class in Asia and internationally.

The author also recommends:

Japan pushes forward with plans for overseas intelligence agency
[12 March 2015]

South African apartheid regime’s Sharpeville massacre


This video about South Africa is called The Sharpeville Massacre: Archbishop Tutu discusses events surrounding the massacre.

By Peter Frost in Britain:

Mass murder at Sharpeville

Saturday 21st March 2015

PETER FROST looks back 55 years to one of the most heinous crimes committed by the Apartheid government in South Africa

In March 21 1960 South African police opened fire on a few hundred peaceful demonstrators who were protesting against the cruel and racist pass laws.

When the smoke and dust had settled, 69 people lay dead and another 300 were injured. Thirty-one of the dead were women and 19 children. Many were shot in the back as they turned to flee.

That day the name of the small township of Sharpeville, near Vereeniging in the Transvaal, echoed round the globe and changed the future of the entire African continent forever.

The Sharpeville massacre signalled the start of armed resistance in South Africa and prompted worldwide condemnation of South Africa’s apartheid policies.

After the second world war, in 1948, the hugely racist Herstigte Nasionale Party came into power.

Within a year the Mixed Marriages Act — it should have been called the banning of Mixed Marriages Act — was passed.

It would be the first of many segregationist and racist laws devised to separate privileged white South Africans from the black African majority.

By 1958, with the election of Hendrik Verwoerd, South Africa was completely committed to the obscene philosophy of apartheid.

The African National Congress (ANC) and the South African Communist Party (SACP) were the main opposition to the government’s policies.

The Communist Party was banned in 1950 and could only work underground.

In 1956 the ANC had committed itself to a South Africa which “belongs to all.” Its peaceful demonstrations were met with police and army brutality. Both were well equipped by British arms manufacturers.

In June 1956 the ANC and other anti-apartheid groups approved the Freedom Charter. The apartheid state’s response was the arrest of 156 anti-apartheid leaders and a treason trial which would last until 1961.

At the beginning of April 1960 the ANC launched a campaign of demonstration against the hated pass laws, cruel and unjust regulations designed to control the movement of Africans.

The laws were the direct descendents of regulations imposed by the Dutch and British in the 18th and 19th-century slave economy of the Cape Colony.

Later pass laws were put in place to ensure a reliable supply of cheap, docile African workers for the hugely profitable gold and diamond mines.

In 1952 the apartheid government passed an even more rigid law that required all African males over the age of 16 to carry a reference book, just another name for the long-hated passbook.

This pass, which had to be carried at all times, contained personal information and employment history.

Africans often were compelled to violate the pass laws to find work to support their families, so harassment, fines and arrests under the pass laws were a constant threat.

By the time the laws were repealed in 1986, more than 17 million Africans had been arrested.

Protest against these humiliating laws fuelled the anti-apartheid struggle — key actions included the Defiance Campaign of 1952-54 and the massive women’s protest in Pretoria in 1956.

Africans found in violation of pass laws were stripped of citizenship and deported to poverty-stricken rural so-called homelands (Bantustans).

Between 1960 and 1985, approximately three and a half million Africans were forcibly removed to these rural dumping grounds.

White employers used the homelands as reservoirs of cheap black labour. The apartheid regime hoped these invented independent territories would ensure the denial of South African citizenship to millions of Africans.

Then on March 21 1960, a group of people converged on the local police station in the little-known township of Sharpeville. They offered themselves up for arrest for not carrying their passbooks.

By the end of the day the whole world would know the name Sharpeville.

As the crowd grew, about 140 police reinforcements were rushed to the scene. They bought with them four Coventry-built Saracen armoured personnel carriers.

All the police were armed, including submachine guns as well as Lee-Enfield rifles. The protesters had no arms except a few stones.

F-86 Sabre jets and Harvard Trainers were hurriedly scrambled and flew just a hundred feet over the crowd in an attempt to scatter it.

Police fired tear gas canisters with little effect. Then they advanced with riot sticks.

Finally, as the crowd thronged forward to protect one of their leaders from arrest, the police opened fire.

Police claimed that young and inexperienced police officers panicked and started to shoot. None had received any public order training.

The police attitude is best demonstrated by Lieutenant Colonel Pienaar, the commanding officer of the police reinforcements at Sharpeville.

He stated that “the native mentality does not allow them to gather for a peaceful demonstration. For them, to gather means violence.”

The angry reaction among South Africa’s black population was immediate and the week after the massacre saw demonstrations, protest marches, strikes and riots around the country.

On March 30 1960, the government declared a state of emergency, detaining more than 18,000 people, including prominent anti-apartheid activists.

A storm of international protest followed the Sharpeville massacre. There were huge and angry demonstrations in many countries.

On April 1 1960, the United Nations security council passed Resolution 134. The resolution recognised that the situation was brought about by the policies of the government of the Union of South Africa and that if these policies continued they could endanger international peace and security.

The resolution voiced the council’s anger at the policies and actions of the government, offered its sympathies to the families of the victims, called upon the government to initiate measures aimed at bringing about racial harmony based on equality and called upon it to abandon apartheid.

To its shame Britain abstained. Nonetheless Sharpeville marked a turning point in South Africa’s history — the country found itself increasingly isolated.

In South Africa the Sharpeville massacre led to the banning of the ANC as an illegal organisation, but the massacre proved to be one of the catalysts for a shift from passive resistance to armed resistance by these organisations.

The ANC founded a military wing — Umkhonto we Sizwe, or Spear of the Nation.

On the December 10 1996 president Nelson Mandela chose Sharpeville as the site to sign into law his new constitution of South Africa.

The 69 martyrs of Sharpeville had not died in vain.