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How Black Women Fight for Our Democracy

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 18/01/2021 - 8:55am in

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons. A legal and cultural historian, Martha Jones has dedicated herself to telling the story of how...

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Trump and the Spectre of Mussolini

The big news today has been last night’s attack on the Capitol by Trump’s supporters. They had been fired up to make the assault by Trump’s continued insistence that he is the real winner of the election, but it has been stolen from him by vote-rigging from the Democrats. As Mike himself has pointed out, Trump himself has not been averse to trying to do this himself. Earlier this week it was revealed that Trump had tried to persuade Brad Raffensperger, Georgia’s Secretary of State, to find one more vote for him in the state more than those cast for Joe Biden. And a week or so ago it was also reported that he had also been considering calling in the army in order to defend his presidency. If he had done so, it would have been a coup attempt.

Microsoft News in a piece they published today about the attack state that among the mob were members of various far right groups, such as the Proud Boys, the Nationalist Social Club and supporters of the Qanon conspiracy theory. This is the bizarre belief that Trump has been secretly fighting a war against an evil covert group determined to take over and subvert America. Last night there had been various messages posted on right-wing websites urging ‘Revolution’ and ‘Civil War’. World leaders have expressed their disgust and condemnation of the attack, though as Mike also points out, there has been no condemnation of Trump himself from Boris or Priti Patel. The attack is ominous, as it shows just how fragile American democracy is.

Indeed. Way back in the 1990s there were fears of a similar attack with the emergence of militia movement. These are right-wing paramilitary organisations founded by people, who really believe that America is in danger of being taken over by the extreme left, or the forces of globalism and the one world Satanic conspiracy or whatever. Many of them were explicitly racist with the connections to the neo-Nazi right. At one point a woman claiming to be a senior officer in the movement appeared online urging the various militias to unite and march on Washington. Her call was ignored, largely, I think, because the other militia leaders didn’t trust her and were extremely suspicious of her motives. I got the distinct impression that they suspected her of being an agent provocateur and that the march was some kind of trap by the federal government. There was no armed paramilitary march, and so America dodged a coup attempt, or whatever it was, that time.

But the attack is also reminiscent of an assault on government even further back, almost one hundred years ago. This was the infamous ‘March on Rome’ of Mussolini’s Fascists. This succeeded in getting him appointed as the new Prime Minister by the Italian king, Emmanuel II, and began the process which saw him overturning Italian democracy to forge the Fascist one-party state and his personal dictatorship. Of course, for such coups to be successful, the armed forces, capital and the civil service must be willing to collaborate with the insurgents. Mussolini had the support of Italian industry and the big landowners, as he offered to protect capitalism from the forces of revolutionary socialism. The Fascists also included a number of ex-servicemen, the squadristi, and they had considerable support within the regular Italian armed forces. However, the head of the Italian police had absolute contempt for the Fascists and offered to defend the Italian government from the Fascists. But the king turned him down, and caved in to the future Duce.

There are similarities to last night’s events. Many right-wing Americans do seem to fear that Communism and anarchy are somehow about to overrun America with the violence of some of the Black Lives Matter demonstrations in America and the supposed ‘cultural Marxists’ that have allegedly taken over the American educational system. And the fears that there really is a secret conspiracy to overthrow American democracy and enslave its citizens has been around for decades. Bizarre conspiracy theories appeared in the 1970s about the Bilderberg group and the Trilateral Commission, claiming that these groups really ran the world. Then in the 1990s George Bush senior’s statement that he was going to create a ‘new world order’ prompted comparisons with the Nazis, as Hitler had also said the same about his regime. It was also linked to older conspiracy theories about the Freemasons because the Latin version of the phrase, ‘Novo Ordo Seculorum’, supposedly appears on American dollar bills along with various Masonic symbols. These theories claimed that America was being secretly run by a group of Masonic Satanists, who were planning turn America into a totalitarian, Communist state and send Christians to concentration camps. Even the collapse of Communism did not allay these fears. Many of those, who bought into these bizarre theories, thought that the collapse of the Soviet Union was all some kind of ruse. One variety of these myths claimed that the Russians had established secret military bases in Canada and Mexico, and at a given signal Soviet tanks would roll over the border into America. The 1990s were arguably the peak of such beliefs, as shown in the popularity of similar stories of covert government pacts with aliens from Zeta Reticuli and TV’s The X-Files. But such fears have certainly not gone away. There was a resurgence during Obama’s presidency, when America’s first Black president was accused by the bonkers elements on the American right of being a secret Muslim. or atheist. Or Communist. Or Nazi. Whatever, Obama was filled with rage against White Christians. One pair of pastors told the listeners of their church radio station that Obama was going to establish a dictatorship and would massacre even more people than Chairman Mao. Alex Jones was repeating and amplifying similar myths over on his internet radio and TV station. He claimed that Obama was going to invoke emergency legislation under the pretext of impending environmental disaster to force ordinary Americans into refugee camps. Militant feminists and gays were part of this conspiracy, in which humanity was to be transformed into a race of genderless cyborgs. Jones lost a considerable part of his audience when he was banned from various social media platforms thanks to his claims that a Boston pizza parlour was really a front for supplying children to be abused by members of the Democratic party and that several high school shootings had really been faked to provoke popular support for gun control laws. This caused real distress to the bereaved parents, who were accused of being ‘crisis actors’. Jones has nearly vanished from the public stage, though he still appears here and there. Even when he had an audience, many people still regarded him as a joke. But it looks like the conspiracy theories Jones promoted, and the underlying distrust of the government, still have a powerful hold on many Americans.

Fortunately, yesterday was different from 1920s Italy. America’s military has so far shown no interest in coming to Trump’s aid and overthrowing democracy. Black Lives Matter is extremely unpopular in certain areas, but the police, security forces and private industry aren’t backing armed paramilitary units to defend capitalism. American democracy is being shaken and tested, but so far it hasn’t cracked. The problem is, it’s not clear how long this will last. By calling for people to storm the capitol, Trump has struck a blow against democracy. He’s been unsuccessful, but this might inspire a future president with the same inclinations to try again. And they might be more successful.

And we’re not safe from such assaults over here. Mike in his article has warned that the Tories appear to be taking notes from Trump, while Zelo Street points out that the same people, who backed Trump also back the Tories and Brexit over here. He concludes with a warning of who the Brexiteers will blame when it all finally goes bad:

Many Brexiteers believe it’ll be someone else’s fault – Remainers, ethnic minorities, foreign nationals, multinational corporations, those of insufficiently patriotic intent – when it all goes bad. It won’t be Bozo, Ms Patel, Gove, or Nigel “Thirsty” Farage they will be going after.

There is a real danger of America becoming, if not a dictatorship, then a very authoritarian, Fascistic state. And Britain following.

See also: Four dead after Trump provokes US Capitol riot – and the UK Tories are taking notes | Vox Political (voxpoliticalonline.com)

Zelo Street: Trump Insurrection – Next Stop UK (zelo-street.blogspot.com)

Kathleen Stock Receives OBE; Philosophers Sign Letter Opposing the Honor (Updated)

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 06/01/2021 - 2:22am in

Kathleen Stock, professor of philosophy at the University of Sussex, was one of 1,123 people awarded honors at the end of December by Queen Elizabeth in the UK government’s annual “New Year Honours.”

Professor Stock was named an “Officer of the Order of the British Empire” (OBE) for “services to higher education.” Professor Stock’s academic specialization is in philosophy of fiction and imagination, but in recent years she has become a major participant in public disputes on issues related to trans women, defending a trans-exclusionary position in posts on social media, in self-published pieces and in popular media outlets, and before government commissions. Professor Stock opposes “self-identification” as a means for people to change their gender, opposes making legal changes of gender easier, and supports restricting the access trans women have to some facilities reserved for women. It appears to be for the advocacy of these views, which are largely in agreement with or slightly more conservative than that of the “average” British person, that Professor Stock was honored.

Following the announcement of the OBE for Professor Stock, many philosophers took to social media to respond, and yesterday saw the publication of “An Open Letter Concerning Transphobia in Philosophy,” signed by a number of philosophers, objecting to the honor. The authors identify themselves as philosophers “committed to the inclusion and acceptance of trans and gender non-conforming people, both in the public at large, and within philosophy in particular,” and authored the letter “to affirm our commitment to developing a more inclusive environment, disavowing the use of professional and cultural authority to further gendered oppression.”

They write:

Stock is best-known in recent years for her trans-exclusionary public and academic discourse on sex and gender, especially for opposition to the UK Gender Recognition Act and the importance of self-identification to establish gender identity, and for advocating that trans women should be excluded from places like women’s locker rooms or shelters. She used the occasion of her OBE award to post on Twitter, calling for UK universities to end their association with Stonewall, the prominent LGBTQ+ rights charity, describing its trans-inclusive stance as a threat to free speech.

Trans people are already deeply marginalized in society, facing well-documented discrimination, ranging from government policy to physical violence. Discourse like that Stock is producing and amplifying contributes to these harms, serving to restrict trans people’s access to life-saving medical treatments, encourage the harassment of gender-non-conforming people, and otherwise reinforce the patriarchal status quo. We are dismayed that the British government has chosen to honour her for this harmful rhetoric.

Anticipating a certain kind of caricature of their position, the authors take up the question of how their objection relates to academic freedom:

We do not say Stock should not be permitted to say the things she does. We believe in the principles of academic freedom, and note that objecting to someone being lauded or honoured for their speech simply does not conflict with those principles. Academic freedom comes with responsibility; we should not use that freedom to harm people, particularly the more vulnerable members of our community. Conflating concern about the harms of Stock’s work with threats to academic freedom obfuscates important issues.

The authors also acknowledge that there are open philosophical questions related to sex and gender, and that the popular characterization that these topics are taboo in academia is mistaken:

By no means are we suggesting that there aren’t deep and important questions about sex and gender, or that philosophers should not pursue them. Indeed, an open letter from 2019, written and signed by feminist philosophers who have worked on these questions, has made this very point. Rather, our concern is that some—apparently including the British government—have a tendency to mistake transphobic fearmongering for valuable scholarship, and attacks on already marginalized people for courageous exercises of free speech.

In a thread on Twitter, one of the letter’s signatories, Liam Kofi Bright (LSE) explains why he signed:

I’ve largely avoided the academic open letter trend (& not gonna make a habit of this!) so a thread to explain why I signed… Substantial intellectual disputes should be settled by means of argumentation. So, e.g., with the open letter calling for the Case for Colonialism piece to be retracted, I encouraged people *not* to sign and wrote a critique of the substance… [T]he case of Stock and the OBE is not that.

This is purely a matter of what in my field receives public honours and lauding. That is to say, it is a matter of sending out a signal on what we value, what we consider especially noteworthy and positive contributions…

[G]iven what’s morally and politically at stake here, it’s worth sending out a strong counter-signal to the suggestion that Dr. Stock’s recent concerted public campaign is an exceptional philosophical contribution to higher education. If you agree, please sign!

Stock’s career and public philosophising will go on quite unperturbed by this letter. In fact, she’s thriving. Besides the OBE, keynoting the Aristotelian Society, getting a book deal, and regular media appearances, 2020 seems to have been her most cited year. So it goes…. I say that to reassure: if you’re inclined to worry about Stock being silenced you needn’t.

Open letters don’t persuade, no one who didn’t already agree will be swayed. The value of the exercise is making clear to onlookers, especially trans people considering philosophy, that many of us don’t in fact agree that what she has contributed through our field and its public role in UK life should be lauded with the highest civilian honour. Again, if you think that’s something which trans people looking at philosophy might like to know, please sign.

You can see the full list of those receiving New Years Honours here. The open letter and its list of signatories is here.

UPDATE: The authors of the letter have issued a correction on their site: “the original version of this letter incorrectly stated that Stock opposes the UK’s Gender Recognition Act. This was an error; it should have said that Stock is well-known for opposing amendments to the Gender Recognition Act that would have made it easier for people to self-identify their gender. Since it is the version that many people signed, we have left the incorrect version up above. But we do wish to correct the record, and apologize for the error.”

UPDATE (1/11/21): Another open letter, this time in support of Professor Stock and her advocacy for her views about trans women, is here. An excerpt:

Much academic research, including philosophy, engages with difficult and controversial subjects, and it is critical that this work be brought to bear on matters of real, imminent public concern. Sex-specific intimate spaces, athletics, medical services, and prisons have long been the norm in our societies and are represented in the very infrastructure in which we conduct our daily lives. Significant changes to these practices and norms are the kinds of things that our professional scholars must be able to discuss, without constant threat of public vilification.

It cannot become our standard that where analysis and discussion of matters of public concern may cause offense, the social and institutional consequences of engagement are so costly that few will be willing to do the work. It cannot become our standard that the mere allegation of harm caused by some writing or speech, in the absence of any specific evidence to that effect, is sufficient to trigger such consequences. And it cannot become our standard that the mere fact that someone who causes harm agrees with something said or written by an academic is sufficient to saddle that academic with responsibility for that harm.

UPDATE (1/11/21): Christa Peterson, a Ph.D. student in philosophy at the University of Southern California, has posted a detailed and documented critique of Stock’s advocacy for her views about trans women here, including a discussion of academic freedom and “silencing” regarding this subject. Towards the end of the post, Ms. Peterson takes up the question of harm and ethics in academic philosophy:

As a discipline, philosophy has gotten away with not talking about academic ethics because it is in general rare that our work has serious practical implications. Here, the possible consequences are chilling. Creating a public perception of trans people as fundamentally unreasonable and unreliable is a very serious harm. Convincing institutional bodies that the actual research, the actual evidence, cannot be trusted is a very serious harm. Convincing parents to pursue conversion therapy for their trans kid, against the advice of every serious professional body, is a very serious harm. Doing a priori psychology about what treatment vulnerable teenagers should receive and then reporting it to the public as though it is based on anything other than your imagination is a real violation of basic academic ethics. We have to take this seriously…

Academics have public responsibilities. If we think free academic debate is an essential good, we have to participate. Academic freedom doesn’t mean keeping quiet while members of our discipline mislead the public, use their status as experts to promote misinformation and prejudice, and represent as serious research things that flatly do not meet basic scholarly standards. Critical peer evaluation of academics publicly presenting themselves as experts is necessary to for academic freedom to function as more than a sanctuary for politically motivated misinformation.

UPDATE (1/13/21): Professor Stock responds to Peterson here. (via Mary Leng in the comments)

NOTE: Commenters on this post must use their real name and email address (email addresses are not published).

The post Kathleen Stock Receives OBE; Philosophers Sign Letter Opposing the Honor (Updated) appeared first on Daily Nous.

Real Boob Armour from the Middle Ages?

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 04/01/2021 - 6:52am in

There was a bit of controversy a few months ago over an episode of the Star Wars spin-off TV show, The Mandalorian. The Mandalorians are a race of mercenaries, one of whom was the Star Wars film villain, Boba Fett. The show’s titular character roams the Galaxy with a baby clone of Yoda righting wrongs as law and order has broken down in the battle between the Empire and the Rebellion. Or I think that’s what the show’s about. The row erupted over an episode which showed female Mandalorians wearing fitted breastplates shaped for women’s breasts. Feminist critic of video games and the SF/Fantasy genre was not impressed, and posted a tweet expressing her disapproval.

She was then answered by the show’s fans, who certainly did not believe that such armour was sexualising or demeaning women. Many of those rebutting Sarkesian were women. One of them posted an interesting piece by a female veteran of the Iraq invasion, who described how uncomfortable the breastplates worn by American squaddies are, particularly for women. She wanted breastplates shaped for women’s breasts. Others pointed out that women boxers today wear breastplates to protect their boobs.

I found this picture of a set of armour from the later Middle Ages at Churburg in Frederick Wilkinson’s Arms and Armour (London: Hamlyn 1978) p. 66. As you can see, the breastplate really is only a strip across the upper torso, leaving the stomach, throat and shoulders protected by chain mail. I don’t doubt that the armour was made for a man. There are records of women fighting in armour during the Middle Ages, such as Joan of Arc, but they were very much exceptions to the rule. When they did fight, they wore men’s armour. However, looking at the Churburg armour, it does seem to me to be the kind of armour women may have worn if they were a regular part of medieval armies and it was made especially for them.

There’s an awful lot of SF and Fantasy in which the women warriors do indeed wear very little. But I don’t see the female breastplates on the Mandalorian as sexualising the women mercenaries. Indeed, from the above illustration – which is admittedly for a man – it does seem to be the kind of armour fighting women would wear in such a society.

Fresh audio product

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sun, 03/01/2021 - 10:43am in

Just added to my radio archive (click on date for link):

December 31, 2020 Vijay Prashad on farmer and worker strikes in India • Sarah Leonard and Natalie Adler on Luxa new feminist magazine they’re editors at

Democracy Needs to Find the Will to Roar

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 01/01/2021 - 1:25am in

We have, disastrously, discovered the final answer to whether or not it is a good idea to destroy the activist government that has protected us since 1933. Continue reading

The post Democracy Needs to Find the Will to Roar appeared first on BillMoyers.com.

Ann Snitow Prize Awarded to Barnard Historian and Activist Premilla Nadasen

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 17/12/2020 - 8:02am in

The Executive Committee of the Ann Snitow Prize is excited to name its first honoree, Premilla Nadasen. The annual award...

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Aristotle’s Sexism & Simplifying Historical Ideas “to Fit a Modern Agenda”

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 17/12/2020 - 3:55am in

“It is often not a good idea to simplify the history of ideas in order to fit a modern agenda.”

That’s Sophia M. Connell, senior lecturer in philosophy at Birkbeck, University of London, in a recent interview at 3:16AM that focuses on her work on Aristotle’s conceptions of sex, reproduction, and biology.


[Michael Guppy, “Mona Lisa”]

Interviewer Richard Marshall asks:

You’re an Aristotelian expert and have written about his theory of reproduction. Now this area has been taken by some feminist readings to endorse a systematic and proto-scientific sexism. There seems on the surface plenty of evidence for this. Can you first say what has led feminists to see Aristotle as laying down the foundations for the predominance of misogynist societies across the world. What’s the case they make?

Here’s part of Dr. Connell’s reply:

The feminist case against Aristotle is much more complicated and rests in part on the idea that it is his worldview that underlies significant parts of our inherited metaphysics—with dichotomies such as nature and culture, active and passive, form and matter mapping directly onto our own idea of what counts as a man and what counts as a woman. This makes Aristotle the very originator of Western patriarchy ideology. Added to this, some feminists quote sayings out of context such as ‘female is (as it were) deformed males’ (leaving out the ‘as it were’, On the Generation of Animals [GA] IV.6, 775a16) and women lack an authoritative deliberative faculty (Politics [Pol.] I, 1260a14) or women are lying, scheming, more prone to tears (Historia Animalium [HA] VIII(IX).1, 608b9-14). All of these mentions of women or the female in general are taken from different works and no context is given. Thus, many of these ideas are misunderstood in terms of Aristotle’s philosophy.

I would not deny that Aristotle is sexist and he is even at times misogynist, but what I challenge is the presence of any systemic theory of female inferiority in his writing. Indeed, when you scrutinize his work rather than picking out juicy quotes, there is very little evidence for this. Indeed, he seems to have different things to say in different places and some of these are in tension. On the more positive side, he says that female animals are in general cleverer and have better memories than male animals (HA VIII(IX).1, 608a25-28, 608b10), that females who care for young are practically wise (phronimos) (HA VIII(IX).5), that women can and should be virtuous and that women have significant medical knowledge (HA IX(VII)). I am working on trying to make sense of these ideas, see for example this recent talk: ‘Aristotle on Women’ which was given at the Joint Session of the Aristotelian Society and Mind Associations in July 2020.

Aristotle does not write a treatise on women; and it is impossible to construct one because he refers to women or female animals in different places for different purposes. His views are often informed by his culture, which was one of the most patriarchal the world has known, and as an empiricist, the facts around him could not help but influence him. But this effect has been much exaggerated. Aristotle seldom just went along with the status quo; his struggles in the Politics are testament to this. One can understand his more disparaging comments in that work as a need to appeal to an audience that considers a wife to be a type of slave (Pol. I.2, 1252a1); he must argue that she is actually a citizen and capable of virtue and happiness. 

Later in the interview, she adds:

It is often not a good idea to simplify the history of ideas in order to fit a modern agenda. If it did some good to vilify Aristotle, then maybe this was a necessary moment in the feminist dialectic with an intellectual tradition that was certainly largely pernicious to women. But getting things wrong and fundamentally wrong about philosophers’ views does not serve anyone’s interest and seriously undermines the credibility of those who do this. It takes away the richness of our intellectual traditions.

By dismissing Aristotle on women as completely pernicious we lose sight of the ways he resisted the status quo, such as pushing for men to listen to their wives in the Politics. We also are in danger of losing sight of those early feminist who could see the positive aspects of his account—and used these tensions in his thought for powerful critiques of their own culture’s assumptions. 

You can read the whole interview here.

                       

The post Aristotle’s Sexism & Simplifying Historical Ideas “to Fit a Modern Agenda” appeared first on Daily Nous.

MechaRandom on Israeli Space General’s Claim that the Aliens Really Are Here

Here’s a piece about Israel, which doesn’t involve them maltreating the Palestinians. But are they really in touch, along with the US, with beings from another planet?

MechaRandom42 is a vlogger, who talks about SF/Fantasy film, TV and comics, especially Star Wars, Star Trek and Dr. Who. She’s very critical about recent treatment of these classic series and film franchises, which she and many other fans believe have been ruined for explicitly ideological reasons. For example, popular, long-standing male characters in her view have been deliberately humiliated and undermined in order to give centre stage to poorly written and unlikeable female characters in order to preach an explicit and simplistic feminist message. At the same time gay and trans characters are also included in popular film franchises and TV series, like Batwoman, but the treatment given them is also simplistic. It’s tokenism, and this forced diversity comes at the expense of creating genuinely well-crafted, popular characters or intelligent, coherent and involving plots and stories. She’s also critical of recent Star Trek series, like Star Trek Picard, for abandoning the utopian optimism of previous series, like Classic Trek, The Next Generation, Deep Space 9, Voyager and so forth, for a darker, dystopian future that’s robbed the series of its soul and reduced it to a generic SF show which just uses the settings and characters of Trek. She also laments the series’ decline in their ability to treat issues like racism, sexism and gayness. Previous series of Trek did so intelligently and from the perspective that humanity had already transcended these problems. The series often had an explicit message, but it took the trouble to explain them to the audience and didn’t patronise or insult them if they disagreed. Now their treatment is much cruder, reasoned argument is replaced by shrill preaching and there’s an underlying attitude that everyone who disagrees with the message must be an ‘-ist’ or a ‘-phobe’. This has resulted in these once popular film franchises, TV series and comics losing viewers and readers. And it’s one of the reasons the last series of Dr. Who catastrophically lost viewers.

It’s a controversial view, but one shared by a number of other Youtubers and fans of these genres. Some of this criticism comes from people on the political right, but it has also been expressed by peeps on the other side of the political spectrum. They argue that there have always been a concern with these issues in popular entertainment, and that there hasn’t been a shortage of strong female characters in SF. The Alien franchise’s Ellen Ripley is a classic example. The problem is that these issues aren’t being intelligently handled, but instead have been taken over by creators who are ideologically intolerant and seem intent on alienating their audience rather than winning them other.

In this video, however, she moves away from this to discuss the claims of Haim Eshad, a retired Israeli general, professor and former head of their Space Security Force, that the US and Israel really have made contact with aliens. According to the Jerusalem Post, citing another Israeli paper Yediot Aharonot, the two countries have made contact with the Galactic Federation, and they’re operating an underground base on Mars jointly with the aliens. Donald Trump was on the verge of announcing the extraterrestrial presence on Earth, but was stopped from doing so. The aliens don’t which to cause mass panic, and believe we are not ready for them just yet. He’s also got a book coming out, which he says contains more details and evidence.

MechaRandom compares this with the Star Trek universe and its theme of whether humanity is sufficiently evolved to meet aliens. She believes that we aren’t, and that this is due to the way society has dumbed down so we don’t use our ability to do Maths. This is the area we need to be concentrating on, in her opinion, if we are to meet aliens. She also wonders whether the retired military gentleman really is telling the truth, or if he’s ‘a crazy old guy’. He’s 87.

Aliens & The Galactic Federation Are Real For Reals This Time? – YouTube

To people with more than a superficial knowledge of Ufolore, this is very familiar stuff. Ever since Kenneth Arnold made his sighting of them over the Rockies in the 1947, there have been tales of secret government pacts with aliens, underground bases and so on. And there have been a string of Contactees, like George Adamski, who claimed that they had personally made contact with aliens, who had given them a message for humanity. These aliens also claimed to come from some kind of galactic or interplanetary federation, and their messages reflected the pressing global concerns of the day. In the 1950s this was the threat of nuclear war. In the 1980s and 1990s this was the threat to the environment, mirroring the rise of the Green movement. Whole religions have been built on such claimed contact, like the Raelians, UNARIUS and the Aetherius Society. This was set up in the 1950s by taxi driver George King, who heard a voice in his kitchen one day telling him that he should ‘prepare to be the voice of interplanetary parliament’. The Society claimed that King was in touch with an alien, Aetherius, on Venus, where Jesus was also alive and well, as well as Mars Sector 6.

There have been rumours of underground bases since at least the 1980s, as well as various newspaper and magazine articles and books written by government or military officials like Donald Keyhoe, Nick Pope, and the pseudonymous ‘Commander X’. The British hoax TV programme, Alternative 3, broadcast in the 1970s as an April Fool’s joke, also claimed that the Americans and Russians were secretly operating bases on the Moon and Mars, to which people were being kidnapped for use as slave labour in the event of global environmental collapse and the extinction of terrestrial humanity.

There are also stories that President Truman made contact with aliens when they landed at Holloman AFB in the ’40s or ’50s. JFK is also supposed to have been about to reveal the truth about the aliens, which is why he was assassinated. Ronald Reagan is also supposed to have been privy to this information, as shown by his remark to Steven Spielberg during a screening of ET at the White House: ‘Only five people in this room know how true all this is’.

You get the picture. Nothing Eshad has said, at least according to the Jerusalem Post article, is original. If anything, it’s curiously dated. The Contactee Howard Menger claimed to have seen Americans and Russians cooperating together on a secret base on the Moon when the space brothers took him there on one of his extraterrestrial jaunts. Menger was not a military man, but a barber. Hence the title of one of his books was Hairdresser to the Space People, or something like it.

Is Eshad telling the truth, or is he deluded or actually lying? My guess it’s one of the last two. Age and the pressures of holding such a senior command in the tense, war-torn Middle East could have taken their toll on the old boy’s mental health. It might also be that he may have personally had some kind of UFO sighting or experience, like some of the US astronauts. Or had UFO reports from the service personnel under him passed up for his comments. Researching the subject, he’s come across all the tall tales and rumours, and managed to convince himself they’re true.

On the other hand, he could very well be spinning yarns himself. He could be telling these stories as some kind of personal joke and to make a buck on the side from the sales of his forthcoming book. Or there may be something far more sinister going on here. There’s a large amount of evidence that the US intelligence agencies have been deliberately spreading disinformation about alien contact, crashed spacecraft and secret underground bases for their own purposes. Some of this might be destabilise the UFO community, which they have often viewed as a security threat because of the interest taken in secret aircraft and the air force and other bases, which are supposed to hide alien spacecraft and bodies. Some UFO sightings have been of American spy planes. These were often flown from US airbases in Britain and elsewhere, but were so secret that the Americans didn’t tell their allies in the host nations. It might be that Eshad is telling these tales of alien contact in order to have everyone looking in the wrong direction and so ignoring something that his country is really doing in space. At present the militarisation of space is banned under international law. Trump wants to break this and set up an American Space Force. Perhaps Israel is considering doing the same, but wants everyone to disregard it on the grounds that people think that what they’ve seen are alien spacecraft, and only nutters believe in UFOs and aliens.

And you could go on speculating. We really don’t know he’s telling these stories about secret contact with aliens, and can only guess at his motives. But I’m certain that aliens aren’t here, that Trump wasn’t going to spill the beans about them and that there definitely isn’t a secret US-alien base on Mars.

Simon Sideways on Israel as Rogue Nuclear State

Despite styling himself ‘Reverend’, I very much doubt that Simon Sideways is a man of the cloth. He’s a right-wing youtuber, who vlogs about immigration, feminism, Islam and the coronavirus lockdown, all of which he opposes. I don’t share his views about these subjects. But in this short video below, he makes some very disturbing points about Israel. The video’s just over five minutes long, and it’s his thoughts about the assassination yesterday of the Iranian nuclear scientist, Mohsin Fakhrizadeh. Sideways believes that it’s the work of the Israeli secret service, Mossad, and goes on to discuss their probably responsibility for a virus that attacked the Iranian nuclear programme a decade or so ago.

The virus was originally developed by the Americans, and was intended to disrupt the computer systems controlling the operation of the centrifuges used in nuclear research. The Israelis, however, decided that the virus wasn’t sufficiently destructive, so they took it over and altered it before unleashing it on the Iranians. It didn’t just affect Iran, however. It spread around the world causing havoc in all the computer systems it infected, including our NHS. When the Americans then confronted the Israelis with the chaos they caused, the Israelis just shrugged it off.

Sideways states very clearly that the Israelis do exactly what they want, to whom they want, with a complete disregard for the consequences because they will always defend themselves by accusing their critics of anti-Semitism. America can break one international law in a year, and there’s a global outcry. Israel, however, will break fifty, and there’s no criticism, because everyone’s afraid of being called anti-Semitic.

This cavalier disregard for the immense harm done by them also extends to the country’s nuclear policy. This is the ‘Samson Option’, named after the Old Testament hero. This policy states that in the event of a nuclear attack by another country, Israel will launch its nuclear weapons indiscriminately at the other countries around the world, including Europe. The point of the strategy is to turn Israel into a ‘mad dog’ so that no other nation dares attack it. There is an article about the strategy on Wikipedia, which provides a number of quotes from journalists, military historians and senior Israeli officers about the strategy. It was to be used in the event of a second holocaust, with nuclear missiles targeting Europe, Russia and Islam’s holy places.

See: Samson Option – Wikipedia

Here’s the video.

Mossad Murder inc at it agai. in Iran – YouTube

I remember the virus attack on Iran’s nuclear programme. If I recall correctly, it disabled an underground nuclear testing centre and killed 22 scientists. I also remember the crisis a few years ago caused by a virus infecting the NHS computers. I don’t know whether this was the same virus, but I really wouldn’t like to rule it out. He isn’t quite right about Israel escaping without criticism from the global community for its actions. The UN has issued any number of condemnations of Israel for its treatment of the Palestinians, which are very definitely in violation of international law. It’s just that Israel takes zero notice of them, and they aren’t enforced with sanctions. And they almost certainly won’t be, so long as Israel has the support of America, Britain and the European Community.

Sideways is right when he says that Israel responds to criticism by calling its accuser an anti-Semite. We’ve seen that in the Israel lobby’s smears against Jeremy Corbyn and his supporters in the Labour party, very many of whom were self-respecting Jews. Israel has been caught several times spying against friendly countries, another violation of international law. When Thatcher caught them doing so, she threatened to throw the Israeli spies out of the country. The Israelis duly issued an apology and amended their behaviour. They were caught doing the same under Blair and then under Cameron or Tweezer. I can’t remember which. Zero action was taken, and the Israelis got away with it.

They’ve also killed innocent people when they’ve tried assassinating Palestinian terrorists. And when I was growing up I remember how the rozzers in either Switzerland or Sweden nabbed a party of these clowns. The Israeli spies were trying to snatch a Palestinian terrorist, who was living in a block of flats. They decided the grab needed to be done in darkness, so turned off the block’s fuse box. Which plunged the entire block into darkness. Then Sweden’s or Switzerland’s finest turned up and grabbed them in turn.

This all shows that the Israeli security services are a bunch of out of control, murderous clowns. And the Samson Option shows that the Arabs and Muslims are right: it isn’t Iran that’s a rogue state. It’s the US and Israel. In his book America’s Deadliest Export: Democracy, Blum cites a Zogby poll of global, or at least Middle Eastern opinion, about whether Iran would be a threat if it had nuclear weapons. Most of those polled believed that Iran wouldn’t, and that it had a right to nuclear weapons.

The prospect of a nuclear armed Iran was worrying a few years ago, when Ahmedinejad was president. Ahmedinejad was extremely religious and belonged to a group of Twelver Shia – the country’s major branch of Islam – who believed that the return of the 12th Imam was imminent. The Shi’a believe that leadership of the Islamic community after Mohammed rightly belonged with a line of divinely inspired rulers – the Imams – beginning with Mohammed’s son-in-law, Ali. There are different sects, and Twelver Shia are so-called because, unlike some others, they believe that there were 12 Imams, the last of whom vanished after he went to a well in the 9th century AD. They believe he will return in the last days, when there will be a battle between Islam and the forces of evil. Ahmedinejad’s presidency was frightening because there was a fear that he would launch some kind of war in order to fulfil this prophecy.

But the Iranian president wasn’t the only leader whose apocalyptic beliefs were a possible threat to the world. Ronald Reagan and various members of his cabinet and military advisers also believed that the End was near as right-wing fundamentalist Christians. There was thus also concern that he would launch a nuclear war against Russia, here representing the forces of the Antichrist, to bring about the end.

Well, Ahmedinijad and Reagan have been and gone. I don’t believe that the Iranians have a nuclear weapons programme, as I explained in a post I put up about the assassination of the Iranian nuclear scientist yesterday. I also think that the Iranians were genuine when they said they were willing to negotiate and reach a deal with America. The refusal to cooperate, in my opinion, comes from the Americans, who really want regime change.

Not that the Iranians are angels in their turn. The regime is a brutal, repressive theocracy and they have been responsible for terrorist attacks against opposition groups. There’s a report on one such attack by the Iranian security services on an Iranian opposition group in Europe in today’s I. It’s just that it now looks to me that Iran isn’t, and has never been, a nuclear threat.

It looks to me like the real nuclear threat and rogue state is Israel. And the Iranians have more to fear from an invasion from America and Israel, than America and Israel have from Iran.

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