The Iron Lady rusts away

Posted: April 13, 2013 in Uncategorized

MARGARET Thatcher’s death this week has been marked by the usual platitudes that bourgeois politicians reserve for those who have well served the British ruling class. Tory leaders, together with all the other mainstream parliamentary parties, have swamped the media with their crocodile tears at the death of the first woman prime minister in British history who passed away in London’s Ritz Hotel at the ripe old age of 87.

You could easily be mistaken into thinking that a saint had died if you just read the gushing of the Tory press and the preparations for her ceremonial send off at St Paul’s cathedral next week, which is expected to cost over £8 million. But others have shown their contempt and derision in a barrage of hostile comments in the social media, while workers whose lives were blighted during the Thatcher era held impromptu street parties and demonstrations to celebrate the passing of one of the most hated British politicians to have led the country since the Second World War.

Maverick Tory MP Enoch Powell famously said: “All political lives, unless they are cut off in midstream at a happy juncture, end in failure, because that is the nature of politics and of human affairs”. It was certainly true of Powell himself, who played the race card in his own failed bid for power. It’s equally true of Thatcher, Major and Blair as well as every British prime minister we’ve had over the past 100 years or so.

Mrs Thatcher led the country from 1979 to 1990 and won three elections in a row. She spearheaded the bourgeois offensive against the unions, the National Health Service and the welfare state.

Margaret Thatcher posed as an equal partner of American imperialism around the world and claimed to be a Eurosceptic. Neither was true. The “special relationship” with US imperialism was an illusion and her government eventually signed up to virtually every demand of Franco-German imperialism, including the destruction of the mining industry and much of British manufacturing, to remain in what is now the European Union.

Her paltry victory over the Argentineans in the Falklands/ Malvinas war was hailed in the bourgeois media as a great feat of arms. But her acolytes say nothing about the resistance of the IRA or the Thatcher government’s brutal and ultimately unsuccessful attempt to crush the Irish national liberation movement in the occupied north of Ireland. Finally when Thatcher’s popularity slipped over the hated poll tax, she was no longer of any further use to the ruling class and she ignominiously dumped by her own Conservative Party.

Thatcher may well be an icon to the ruling class. But so are all the others, Labour and Tory, who followed in her footsteps when they went to Downing Street. The great reforms of the post-war Labour Government were indeed partly due to the overwhelming demand from working people for a better life.

But they were also the product of a bourgeois consensus on the need to boost production by pumping state money into ailing industries, while buying off and diverting working people down the dead-end of social democratic reform to head off the communist movement that had massively grown throughout Europe during the struggle to defeat the Nazis. This tactic was followed by the bourgeoisie throughout Western Europe during the Cold War.

By the 1970s the bourgeoisie as a whole, in Britain and in Europe, were no longer prepared to pay their share in maintaining the “welfare state” and that consensus ended. Thatcher simply represented the class the Tories serve and she did nothing that would not have been done by any other Tory leader at the time.

In her dotage Thatcher said that she would probably only be remembered for the construction of the Channel Tunnel. In fact the late Tory leader will be recalled simply as the politician who led the ruling class offensive against the unions and working people in the 1980s that continues to this day.

http://www.newworker.org/archive2013/nw20130412/the_iron_lady_rusts_away.html

by Neil Harris

South Korean military provocations directed at the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea are a regular event and usually increase during the annual spring military manoeuvres, conducted jointly with the United States. This year has been different, both in the ferocity of the southern rhetoric and the way in which it has been backed up by American nuclear threats.

On the 18th March, Pentagon press secretary George Little told reporters that on 8th March B-52 bombers from Andersen Air Force Base, Guam had flown to south Korea to simulate a nuclear attack on the DPRK during war games known as Exercise Foal Eagle.

In a co-ordinated statement the same day, US Deputy Defence secretary Ashton Carter confirmed during his visit to south Korea observing the military exercises, that the B-52 flights are part of the US Pacific Command programme called “Continuous Bomber Presence”. Little said: “We will continue to fly these training missions as part of our ongoing actions to enhance our strategic posture in the Asia-Pacific region.”

Confirming the B52’s nuclear role he continued: “The Foal Eagle manoeuvres will highlight both the nuclear and conventional capabilities of the B-52s.” He then stated that further flights would happen the next day.

He didn’t have that much choice, as earlier in the month two Russian military aircraft identified as TU-95 “bears”, were seen circling Guam, no doubt observing preparations for the nuclear element of the exercises which began in early March as part of the “Key Resolve” manoeuvres. A second round of exercises known as Foal Eagle will continue until the end of April.

Carter then confirmed that despite “The Pivot”, the Obama administration’s shift of military priorities away from the Middle East and towards confronting China and Russia in the Pacific Rim, their occupation of the southern “Republic of Korea” (ROK) would continue: “The Asia-Pacific rebalance is a priority. It’s a historic priority. We have the resources to accomplish it and no matter what happens in the budget debates that go on in the United States, our commitment to the Asia-Pacific rebalance and our commitment to the United States-ROK Alliance will remain firm.”

The American posturing was further ramped up by the south Korean newspaper, JoongAng Ilbo on the 13th March when it quoted an unnamed “senior government official”: “we need to have a nuclear weapon near the Korean Peninsula”. The official continued; “Among various options — our own development, adoption of tactical nuclear weapons and utilising the US nuclear umbrella — the third is the most realistic.”

The official didn’t specify where the nuclear weapons were and gave the false impression that the US puppets in the south had some control over the matter: “By not withdrawing US weapons participating in the Korea-US military exercises, we decided to let them stay a while and see what happens in North Korea,” he said. It looks likely that an American submarine armed with nuclear warheads will now be stationed nearby: “We decided to convene another Korea-US submarine drill after the Foal Eagle training ends at the end of April,” the official stated. “We are still negotiating, how to utilize the nuclear weapons after then.”

The negotiations are going to be one-sided; America’s new anti-Chinese military priorities mean that troops and bases are on the move. This has meant that US bases in the south are being consolidated and moved away from the front line, the south is being forced to pay more for its occupation.

Up till now, American tactical battlefield nuclear weapons have been stationed in the south but strategic weapons, intended for cities and civilians were not. America is cynically using the threat of a nuclear attack on the north as a way of appeasing the south while it changes its strategic priorities towards a confrontation with China. For China and Russia, the mobilisation of strategic nuclear weapons in the Pacific is a new and worrying threat.

http://www.newworker.org/archive2013/nw20130412/us_imperialism_and_the_facts_behind_the_korean_crisis.html

by Daphne Liddle

THE DEATH of Margaret Thatcher, announced last Monday, has highlighted the deep and growing class division in Britain. The working class has rejoiced while the ruling class and all its toadies have mourned.

Celebrations began immediately in the former mining communities, the former steel towns, in Brixton in south London and in hundreds of other working class communities. Meanwhile the ruling class-owned media have been filled with unending sycophantic drivel and praise for the woman who claimed she wanted to restore “Victorian values” to Britain but instead restored Victorian levels of poverty, greed, hypocrisy, homelessness, hunger and indifference to suffering.

Those of us who are rejoicing are fully aware that although the woman has gone the effects of her government are still with us. The battle against the neo-liberal/monetarist economic policies — the austerity cuts of the current Con-Dem government — goes on.

But the death of Thatcher does raise the morale of those who have been fighting her policies since the 1970s, when she started by taking away free milk for schoolchildren.

Today thousands of children would get real benefit from this small endowment as rising numbers of children are being sent to school hungry because their parents cannot afford to feed them properly.

The faults in wrong policies are shown up more and more as they are taken to their logical end — and the free market- worshipping policies of Thatcher have led us to a state where child poverty is many times what it was in the 1970s, along with homelessness and unemployment.

yawning chasm

The gap between the living standards of the working class and the ruling class has become a yawning chasm — presaging a coming earthquake.

The real value of wages and pensions has fallen dramatically while rents, food and travel costs have soared. Now even people with fulltime jobs cannot expect to be able to support their families on their wages — they need tax-payer top-ups just to reach subsistence level.

The Thatcher government encouraged working class people to buy their own council homes and claimed this would turn the country into a nation of home-owners.

A high proportion of those homes are now owned by private profiteering landlords while the working classes do not stand a hope in hell of ever being able to buy a home and we have a massive housing crisis.

Even those who did buy were mostly forced to sell their homes on as they grew older and the money was needed to pay for care that used to be provided free.

London is now full of luxury apartments that stand empty — owned by foreign millionaires who buy them as an investment and to have an address in London so they can benefit from its tax-haven status.

The celebrations are an opportunity for our generation to tell younger people who have grown up in a country shaped by Thatcher policies that things were not always like this. Once we had proper trade union rights — like most other countries in the world.

Once the welfare state and the NHS were recognised and treasured and funded by Labour and Tory governments.

Once, if you lost your job you could get another within a day. Once there were no police spy cameras on every street corner.

We cannot go back to the 70s, we must go forward to create a society organised by the working class for the working class. But to do this we must challenge the current regime and its anti-working class laws.

The major unions, led by Unite, PCS and Unison, are, after a pause since last autumn, considering a general strike. Unite and Unison have endorsed plans for a 24-hour general strike, involving both the public and private sector. They are reported to be planning to discuss the details at a meeting of the TUC general council later this month.

“It would be a landmark in our movement’s recovery of its morale, strength and capacity to play a leading part in a society crying out for credible and honourable leadership,” said the discussion document.

It also calls for a voluntary levy among the 6.5 million members of TUC-affiliated unions to pay the wages of “selected and identified” groups of striking workers.” We must work to support this call but also to demand and prepare for more sustained industrial action that will have a real impact on the ruling class.

Thatcher is gone; rejoice and then intensify the struggle to rid this country of her legacy.

http://www.newworker.org/archive2013/nw20130412/thatchers_gone_the_fight_goes_on.html

No to the EU

Posted: February 2, 2013 in Uncategorized

DAVID CAMERON the people must “have their say” on Europe and he’s pledged to call an in/out referendum on the European Union if the Conservatives win the next election in two years’ time. That, of course, is a very big if and it’s clear that Cameron’s motive is simply to rein in his Eurosceptic back-benchers and head off the surge of support for the maverick Tories in UKIP in 2015.

If anything the Prime Minister’s remarks at the Davos Conference of the world’s top exploiters last week has only inflamed the back-stabbers inside and outside his party who see it as a meaningless gesture which will never be fulfilled while Cameron is still in office. UKIP has been mocking him mercilessly while the Eurosceptics are openly talking about running a “stalking horse” challenge to the Tory leader this year.

One way or another, workers will have no say in what happens in the corridors of power.

But we do have a say in the unions and there the fight to challenge the Europhile leaders of the TUC and the big unions has to start.

Frances O’Grady, the new head of the TUC, claims that a British withdrawal would undermine all workers’ rights across the 27-member European Union. She talks about a “social Europe” and thinks the paid holidays, health and safety, equal treatment for part-time workers and women, protection when a business is sold off, and a voice at work are some sort of gift from the gods of European Parliament and the European Commission.

On the contrary, the development of the Common Market, and the EU that followed, was the choice of Franco-German imperialism and western European monopoly capital. It promotes neo-liberal measures favouring the monopolies and the concentration and accumulation of capital. It cannot represent a genuine counterweight to the United States in favour of the people. With the Lisbon Treaty, new steps are being taken towards the configuration of the EU as an imperialist, economic, political and military bloc, contrary to the interests of the workers and the people.

And those determined to further undermine workers’ rights are, in fact, the ruling circles that control the EU. The austerity packages and the attack on workers’ rights are escalating in order to ensure the profits of capital struggling in the grip of the worst slump since 1929.

For years Labour and the majority of the leaders of our unions have elevated the EU as an instrument for social progress and economic advance. They say that the EU is becoming more representative through the authority of the European Parliament and establishment of regional autonomy.

The social-democrats claim that the anti-working class “directives” and “rulings” can be reversed. The revisionist and left social-democratic parties that still pose as communists in some parts of Europe argue that the EU can be reformed to serve the interests of working people.

But the EU with its toothless parliament, ruritanian regional governments and farcical referendums that only count when the vote agrees with what has already been decided by the powers that be, hasn’t been reformed. Nor can it ever be under the Treaty of Rome.

Now people see the European Union for what it is — an institution designed solely for the benefit of the oppressors and exploiters — and millions upon millions are seeing through the lies of the bourgeoisie. What few benefits the EU has brought, such as increased trade and open borders, could all have been achieved through separate agreements and treaties.

The European Union is neither genuinely federal nor democratic and every stage of European integration has been financed by working people through higher indirect taxes, lost jobs and lost benefits.

The European Union cannot be reformed. It must be dissolved.

http://www.newworker.org/archive2013/nw20130201/no_to_the_eu.html

by New Worker correspondent

THERE were hundreds of children in buggies, many with placards proclaiming they were born at Lewisham maternity unit. There were thousands of pensioners — some had lived in Lewisham all their lives, others were from the West Indies, Ireland, Africa and all parts of Asia — united together they were a truly formidable force, as they marched through the shopping centre and past the hospital.

There were Catholics, Anglicans, Muslims, Hindus, pagans and atheists — all united.

And there were football fans. Millwall FC rescheduled an FA Cup fourth round game so fans could go on the march and the Milwall bus came along with their lion mascot. There were also Charlton and Crystal Palace fans, who carried placards saluting Millwall for its support for the campaign.

The Save Lewisham Hospital campaign had made thousands of placards with a blank space at the top for supporters to fill in who they were, saying “save Lewisham Hospital”. So we knew we were marching alongside: “Sydenham Society”, “Frying Squad SE13”, “Pepys Resource Centre”, Speedicabs SE4”, “Suits-U Bespoke Dry Cleaners”, “Rise and Shine after school club”, “Lewisham and Southwark College”, “The Surgery, Belmont Hill” — and so on, thousands of them.

There were several placards declaring their carrier owed his /her life or their child’s life to Lewisham A&E.

Speakers in Mountsfield Park at the end of the march included local Labour MPs Heidi Alexander and Joan Ruddock, Matt Wrack of the Fire Brigades Union, Dr Louise Irvine, a local GP, who chairs the Save Lewisham Hospital. Surprisingly Nick Ferrari — the right-wing radio DJ was also a speaker.

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt will decide this week on whether to implement the proposals of Matthew Kershaw, the special administrator brought in to resolve the problems of the neighbouring South London Healthcare Trust (SLHT), which has been bankrupted by PFI deals, to close Lewisham A&E and maternity and transfer resources to SLHT.

This would leave 750,000 people in south east London with just one A&E unit — at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital on Woolwich Common, which is already struggling to cope with an overload of patients.

Dr Louise Irvine said: “This decision is crazy and ill-thought-out. It is a big mistake and carries huge clinical risks of things going wrong for patients but also political risk.

“If Jeremy Hunt can close a good local hospital here, he can do it anywhere in the country — nowhere is safe.

“This is very much a national issue; there are 60 hospital trusts across the country under threat of bankruptcy, many of them very good hospitals.

“We are saying ‘look at Lewisham, if we can win then you can win’. And even if we lose, we will keep on fighting, that is the most important thing.”

Aneurin Bevan said the NHS would last as long as people are ready to fight for it. It would seem the people are ready and are fighting — more people than jaded old lefties could imagine.

And it seems that other NHS defence campaigns around the country are being encouraged by what is going on in Lewisham. Jeremy Hunt cannot pretend he has not heard this protest, or that the whole people of Lewisham reject Kershaw’s plan emphatically. The Con Dem Coalition ignores a growing NHS defence movement like this at its peril.

http://www.newworker.org/archive2013/nw20130201/march_to_save_lewisham_hospital.html

Keep Britain out of Mali

Posted: February 2, 2013 in Uncategorized

by our African Affairs correspondent

BRITISH troops are going into Mali to back the French sweep to drive Islamic rebels out of the north of the country. French warplanes have been pounding rebel targets to pave the way for the advance of French and Malian government troops into northern Mali. And Touareq nationalist militias have now turned their guns on the Islamist rebels, saying they are willing to work with the French, but not the Malian army, in the push against al Qaeda fanatics.

The Cameron government claims that British troops would not be participating directly in combat, but would only provide armed “force protection”. But Downing Street did state that Britain has both the “capability and capacity” for a larger deployment.

The rebels have been driven out of Timbuktu and other key towns, and the French President says they are now “winning this battle” to restore the authority of the Malian regime and its imperialist masters.

Timbuktu’s main library, containing more than 20,000 manuscripts covering centuries of Mali’s history, is ablaze — torched, the French say, by fleeing Islamist rebels who were using the building as a barracks. And French and Malian forces are patrolling the streets of the city to prevent a repetition of the wholesale looting that followed the rebel retreat.

Some 400,000 Malians have fled the country since the civil war began last year. And human rights groups have voiced concern over the French information blackout on the number of civilian casualties and reports of indiscriminate bombing and atrocities by the Malian troops and their French advisors.

The French-imposed media black-out on the campaign means nobody knows the extent of the death and destruction that has followed the wake of “Operation Serval” and the Malian regime has not issued any figures about casualties either.

Though the French claim that there have been no civilian casualties, thanks to the precision of their airstrikes, the mayor of the Malian town of Konna recently declared that 11 civilians, including women and children, were killed as a result of French air-raids.

Marie-Pierre Allie from Doctors Without Borders says some wounded civilians have been hospitalised so far, but the number of injured could be more than what has been observed.

Meanwhile people in the northern part of Mali are concerned over the imminent threats against the lives. Malian government troops have been accused of summarily executing dozens of people, some only because of their ethnicity or for lacking identity papers.

Back in London there is equal concern at increasing British military involvement in the Malian conflict. The Cameron government says 350 troops will be sent to Mali to support the French operation as part of a British mission to train Malian forces and engage in “force protection”.

This week British representatives attended a meeting in Brussels to discuss the provision of troops as part of a European Union mission to the African country. The EU estimates that 500 supplementary troops will be sent to Mali, some 350 of whom will be British. This will include approximately 40 military advisers who will train soldiers in Mali and 200 British soldiers to be sent to neighbouring African countries.

But this could be the thin end of the wedge. Campaigning Labour MP Jeremy Corbyn told the media: “Two weeks ago we started by offering transport planes to France; we then sent force protection to back up the transport planes, we sent trainers, we have additional force protection to protect them,” .

Corbyn, a pillar of the Labour Representation Committee, compared the new conflict in Mali to the “French reaction of Afghanistan in 2001.”

That war, which started in a “hunky-dory” manner, later developed “into a greater war which is now going on for 11 years”

Show the way in 2013!

Posted: December 27, 2012 in Uncategorized

TIS the season to be jolly, or so we are told. But few will actually be decking the hall with holly these days. Most of us will be making the most of the festive season as best we can in these austere times. Parties, family get togethers, gifts and shows are all part of the escapism of the festive season. But the problems of our class — unemployment, poor housing and education, third rate medical treatment, back-breaking work and poverty line pensions won’t go away on New Year’s Day.

For millions of workers Christmas is a welcome break and a chance to put aside their cares for a few days and taste the good life the rich enjoy every day of the year. The bourgeoisie don’t have to worry about where the next meal is coming from or whether they’ll still have a roof over their heads in the days to come. That tiny minority of landowners, industrialists, speculators and parasites who make up the ruling class live like Roman emperors by living off the backs of working people. Every day is Christmas Day for the rich.

The bourgeoisie rejoiced when the traitors in the Kremlin destroyed the Soviet Union in 1990 taking the European people’s democracies down with them as they fell on their knees to grovel to the leaders of imperialism. They talked about a “new world order”. Their academic lackeys told us that the exploiters had won the Cold War and that history was dead. Their media gurus said we were all “middle class” and their politicians claimed that the era of boom and slump was over for good. Now they’re having second thoughts.

A wind of change has swept through Latin America leading to the election of progressive governments throughout most of the continent. The people of Cuba and Venezuela have closed ranks around their leaderships to defend their revolutions. Imperialist plans for the permanent occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan have been foiled by the resistance. China and the other people’s democracies in Asia are continuing to chart their own path towards socialism and Democratic Korean scientists have mastered the secrets of the atom to guarantee the DPRK’s defence and energy needs while their rockets reach for the stars.

Meanwhile the imperialist world sinks in a slump that began with the collapse of the housing bubble in the United States in 2007 that led to the imposition of draconian austerity programmes throughout the western world.

Working people now pay the bill for the capitalist crisis. The rich carry on unscathed. That’s no surprise. Their governments in America, Britain and the rest of the European Union exist solely to guarantee the continued existence of the ruling class and the system of exploitation that enables them to live their lives of luxury, ease and pleasure. But these days the bourgeoisie are beginning to look over their shoulder in apprehension at what the future will bring. They briefly lost control of the streets during the riots that rocked Britain last year while the public sector strike in November 2011, the biggest stoppage since the General Strike, demonstrated the potential power of organised labour in Britain.

Working class resistance is growing throughout the capitalist world. American workers are defending their right to organise while the mass movement that began in Greece has now spread throughout the European Union.

We know that the only way out of the crisis is socialism. All the bourgeoisie have to offer is the same old lies and the very real threat of open dictatorship. We can point to the experience of the Soviet Union in the past and the better life enjoyed by millions upon millions in the people’s democracies that exist around the world today. The bourgeoisie can only attempt to defend an oppressive and degenerate society racked by drugs, organised crime and an overall decadence that leads inevitably to events like the Newtown massacre that took place in the United States this week.

Workers want change but many don’t believe it’s attainable. We have to show it can be done by taking the communist alternative to the class again and building support for the cause of peace and socialism. Let’s do that in 2013!

http://www.newworker.org/archive2012/nw20121221/show_the_way_in_2013.html

[New York, New Century Publishers, September 1937; reprinted October 1950. Joseph Stalin and H. G. Wells, Marxism VS. Liberalism: An Interview.]

NOTE
H. G. Wells visited the Soviet Union in 1934 and on July 23 he inter­viewed Joseph Stalin. The conversation, lasting from 4 P. M. to 6:50 P. M., was recorded by Constantine Oumansky, then head of the Press Bureau of the Commissariat of Foreign Affairs. The text, as printed in this pamphlet, has been approved by Mr. Wells.

WELLS: I am very much obliged to you, Mr. Stalin, for agreeing to see me. I was in the United States recently. I had a long conversation With President Roosevelt and tried to ascertain what his leading ideas were. Now I have come to you to ask you what you are doing to change the world. . . .

STALIN: Not so very much. . . .

WELLS: I wander around the world as a common man and, as a common man, observe what is going on around me.

STALIN: Important public men like yourself are not “common men.” Of course, history alone can show how important this or that public man has been; at all events you do not look at the world as a “common man.”


WELLS: I am not pretending humility. What I mean is that I try to see the world through the eyes of the common man, and not as a party politician or a responsible administrator. My visit to the United States excited my mind. The old financial world is collapsing; the economic life of the country is being reorganized on new lines. Lenin said: “We must learn to do business,” learn this from the capitalists. Today the capitalists have to learn from you, to grasp the spirit of socialism. It seems to me that what is taking place in the United States is a profound reorganization, the creation of planned, that is, socialist, economy. You and Roosevelt begin from two different starting points. But is there not a relation in ideas, a kinship of ideas, between Washington and Moscow? In Washington I was struck by the same thing I see going on here; they are building offices, they are creating a number of new state regulation bodies, they are organizing a long-needed Civil Service. Their need, like yours, is directive ability.

STALIN: The United States is pursuing a different aim from that which we are pursuing in the U.S.S.R. The aim which the Americans are pursuing arose out of the economic troubles, out of the economic crisis. The Americans want to rid themselves of the crisis on the basis of private capitalist activity without changing the economic basis. They are trying to reduce to a minimum the ruin, the losses caused by the existing economic system. Here, however, as you know, in place of the old destroyed economic basis an entirely different, a new economic basis has been created. Even if the Americans you mention partly achieve their aim, i.e., reduce these losses to a minimum, they will not destroy the roots of the anarchy which is inherent in the existing capitalist system. They are preserving the economic system which must inevitably lead, and cannot but lead, to anarchy in production. Thus, at best, it will be a matter, not of the reorganization of society, not of abolishing the old social system which gives rise to anarchy and crises, but of restricting certain of its bad

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features, restricting certain of its excesses. Subjectively, perhaps, these Americans think they are reorganizing society; objectively, however, they are preserving the present basis of society. That is why, objectively, there will be no reorganization of society.
Nor will there be planned economy. What is planned economy? What are some of its attributes? Planned economy tries to abolish unemployment. Let us suppose it is possible, while preserving the capitalist system, to reduce unemployment to a certain minimum. But surely, no capitalist would ever agree to the complete abolition of unemployment, to the abolition of the reserve army of unemployed, the purpose of which is to bring pressure on the labor market, to ensure a supply of cheap labor. Here you have one of the rents in the “planned economy” of bourgeois society. Furthermore, planned economy presupposes increased output in those branches of industry which produce goods that the masses of the people need particularly. But you know that the expansion of production under capitalism takes place for entirely different motives, that capital flows into those branches of economy in which the rate of profit is highest. You will never compel a capitalist to incur loss to himself and agree to a lower rate of profit for the sake of satisfying the needs of the people. Without getting rid of the capitalists, without abolishing the principle of private property in the means of production, it is impossible to create planned economy.

WELLS: I agree with much of what you have said. But I would like to stress the point that if a country as a whole adopts the principle of planned economy, if the government, gradually, step by step, begins consistently to apply this principle, the financial oligarchy will at last be abolished and socialism, in the Anglo-Saxon meaning of the word, will be brought about. The effect of the ideas of Roosevelt’s “New Deal” is most powerful, and in my opinion they are socialist ideas. It seems to me that instead of stressing the antagonism between the two worlds, we should, in the present circumstances, strive to establish a common tongue for all the constructive forces.

STALIN: In speaking of the impossibility of realizing the principles of planned economy while preserving the economic basis of capitalism I do not in the least desire to belittle the outstanding personal qualities of Roosevelt, his initiative, courage, and determination. Undoubtedly Roosevelt stands out as one of the strongest figures among all the captains of the contemporary capitalist world. That is why I would like once again to emphasize the point that my conviction that planned economy is impossible under the conditions of capitalism does not mean that I have any doubts about the personal abilities, talent, and courage of President Roosevelt. But if the circumstances are unfavorable, the most talented captain cannot reach the goal you refer to. Theoretically, of course, the possibility of marching gradually, step by step, under the conditions of capitalism, towards the goal which you call socialism in the Anglo-Saxon meaning of the word, is not precluded. But what will this “socialism” be? At best, bridling to some extent the most unbridled of individual representatives of capitalist profit, some increase in the application of the principle of regulation in national economy. That is all very well. But as soon as Roosevelt, or any other captain in the contemporary bourgeois world, proceeds to undertake something serious against the foundation of capitalism, he will inevitably suffer utter defeat.

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The banks, the industries, the large enterprises, the large farms are not in Roosevelt’s hands. All these are private property. The rail­roads, the mercantile fleet, all these belong to private owners. And finally, the army of skilled workers, the engineers, the technicians, these too are not at Roosevelt’s command, they are at the command of the private owners; they all work for the private owners. We must not forget the functions of the State in the bourgeois world. The State is an institution that organizes the defense of the country, organizes the maintenance of “order”; it is an apparatus for collecting taxes. The capitalist State does not deal much with economy in the strict sense of the word; the latter is not in the hands of the State. On the contrary, the State is in the hands of capitalist economy. That is why I fear that, in spite of all his energy and abilities, Roosevelt will not achieve the goal you mention, if indeed that is his goal. Perhaps, in the course of several generations, it will be possible to approach this goal somewhat; but I personally think that even this is not very probable. .

WELLS: Perhaps I believe more strongly in the economic interpretation of politics than you do. Huge forces driving towards better organization, for the better functioning of the community, that is, for socialism, have been brought into action by invention and modern science. Organization, and the regulation of individual action, have become mechanical necessities, irrespective of social theories. If we begin with the State control of the banks. and then follow with the control of transport, of the heavy industries, of industry in general, of commerce, etc., such an all-embracing control will be equivalent to the State ownership of all branches of national economy. This will be the process of socialization. Socialism and individualism are not opposites like black and white. There are many intermediate stages between them. There is individualism that borders on brig­andage, and there is discipline and organization that are the equiva­lent of socialism. The introduction of planned economy depends, to a large degree, upon the organizers of economy, upon the skilled technical intelligentsia, who, step by step, can be converted to the socialist principles of organization. And this is the most important thing. Because organization comes before socialism. It is the more important fact. Without organization the socialist idea is a mere idea.

STALIN: There is no, nor should there be, irreconcilable contrast between the individual and the collective, between the interests of the individual person and the interests of the collective, There should be no such contrast, because collectivism, socialism, does not deny, but combines individual interests with the interests of the collective. Socialism cannot abstract itself from individual interests. Socialist society alone can most fully satisfy these personal interests. More than that; socialist society alone can firmly safeguard the interests of the individual. In this sense there is no irreconcilable contrast between “individualism” and socialism. But can we deny the contrast between classes, between the propertied class, the capitalist class, and the toiling class, the proletarian class? On the one hand we have the propertied class which owns the banks, the factories, the mines, transport, the plantations in colonies. These people see nothing but their own interests, their striving after profits. They do not submit to the will of the collective; they strive to subordinate every collective to their will. On the other hand we have

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the class of the poor, the exploited Class, which owns neither factories nor works, nor banks, which is compelled to live by selling its labor power to the capitalists and which lacks the opportunity to satisfy its most elementary requirements. How can such opposite interests and strivings be reconciled? As far as I know, Roosevelt has not succeeded in finding the path of conciliation between these interests. And it is impossible, as experience has shown. Incidentally, you know the situation in the United States better than I do as I have never been there and I watch American affairs mainly from literature. But I have some experience in fighting for socialism and this experience tells me that if Roosevelt makes a real attempt to satisfy the interests of the proletarian class at the expense of the capitalist class, the latter will put another president in his place. The capitalists will say: Presidents come and presidents go, but we go on forever; if this or that president does not protect our interests, we shall find another. What can the president oppose to the will of the capitalist class?

WELLS: I object to this simplified classification of mankind into poor and rich. Of course there is a category of people which strives only for profit. But are not these people regarded as nuisances in the West just as much as here? Are there not plenty of people in the West for whom profit is not an end, who own a certain amount of wealth, who want to invest and obtain a profit from this investment, but who do not regard this as the main object? They regard invest­ment as an inconvenient necessity. Are there not plenty of capable and devoted engineers, organizers of industry, whose activities are stimulated by something other than profit? In my opinion there is a numerous class of capable people who admit that the present system is unsatisfactory. and who are destined to playa great role in future socialist society. During the past few years I have been much engaged in and have thought of the need for conducting propaganda in favor of socialism and cosmopolitanism among wide circles of engineers, airmen, military-technical people, etc. It is useless approaching these circles with two track class war propaganda. These people understand the condition of the world. They understand that it is a bloody muddle, but they regard your simple class­war antagonism as nonsense.

STALIN: You object to the simplified classification of mankind into rich and poor. Of course there is a middle stratum, there is the technical intelligentsia that you have mentioned and among which there are very good and very honest people. Among them there are also dishonest and wicked people, there are all sorts of people among them. But first of all mankind is divided into. rich and poor, into property owners and exploited; and to abstract oneself from this fundamental division and from the antagonism between poor and rich means abstracting oneself from the fundamental fact. I do not deny the existence of intermediate, middle strata, which either take the side of one or other of these two conflicting classes, or else take up a neutral or semineutral position in this struggle. But, I repeat, to abstract oneself from this fundamental division in society and from the fundamental struggle between the two main classes means ignoring facts. This struggle is going on and will continue. The outcome of the struggle will be determined by the proletarian class, the working class.

WELLS: But are there not many people who are not poor, but who work and work productively? .

STALIN: Of course, there are small landowners, artisans, small traders, but it is not these people who decide the fate of a country, but the toiling masses, who produce all the things society requires.

WELLS: But there are very different kinds of capitalists. There are capitalists who only think about profit, about getting rich; but there are also those who are prepared to make sacrifices. Take old Morgan for example. He only thought about profit; he was a parasite on society, simply, he merely accumulated wealth. But take Rocke­feller. He is a brilliant organizer; he has set an example of how to organize the delivery of oil that is worthy of emulation. Or take Ford. Of course Ford is selfish. But is he not a passionate organizer of rationalized production from whom you take lessons? I would like to emphasize the fact that recently an important change in opinion towards the U.S.S.R. has taken place in English speaking countries. The reason for this, first of all, is the position of Japan and the events in Germany. But there are other reasons besides those arising from international politics. There is a more profound reason, namely, the recognition by many people of the fact that the system based on private profit is breaking down. Under these circumstances, it seems to me, we must not bring to the forefront the antagonism between the two worlds, but should strive to combine all the constructive movements, all the constructive forces in one line as much as possible. It seems to me that I am more to the Left than you, Mr. Stalin; I think the old system is nearer to its end than you think.

STALIN: In speaking of the capitalists who strive only for profit, only to get rich, I do not want to say that these are the most worthless people, capable of nothing else. Many of them undoubtedly possess great organizing talent, Which I do not dream of denying. We Soviet people learn a great deal from the capitalists. And Morgan, whom you characterize so unfavorably, was undoubtedly a good, capable organizer. But if you mean people who are prepared to reconstruct the world, of course, you will not be able to find them in the ranks of those who faithfully serve the cause of profit. We and they stand at opposite poles. You mentioned Ford. Of course, he is a capable organizer of production. But don’t you know his attitude towards the working class? Don’t you know how many workers he throws on the street? The capitalist is riveted to profit; and no power on earth can tear him away from it. Capitalism will be abolished, not, by “organizers” of production, not by the technical intelligentsia, but by the working class, because the aforementioned strata do not play an independent role. The engineer, the organizer of production, does not work as he would like to, but as he is ordered, in such a way as to serve the interests of his employers. There are exceptions of course; there are people in this stratum who have awakened from the intoxication of capitalism the technical intelligentsia can, under certain conditions, perform miracles and greatly benefit mankind. But It can also cause great harm. We Soviet people have not a little experience of the technical intelligentsia. After the October Revolution, a certain section of the technical intelligentsia refused to take part in the work of constructing the new society; they opposed this work of construction and sabotaged it. We did all we possibly could to bring the technical intelligentsia into this work of construction

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we tried this way and that. Not a little time passed before our technical intelligentsia agreed actively to assist the new system. Today the best section of this technical intelligentsia are in the front rank of the builders of socialist society. Having this experience, we are far from underestimating the good and the bad sides of the technical intelligentsia and we know that on the one hand it can do harm, and on the other hand, it can perform “miracles.” Of course, things would be different if it were possible, at one stroke, spiritually to tear the technical intelligentsia away from the capitalist world. But that is utopia. Are there many of the technical intelligentsia who would dare break away from the bourgeois world and set to work to reconstruct society? Do you think there are many people of this kind, say, in England or in France? No, there are few who would be willing to break away from their employers and begin reconstructing
the world.
Besides, can we lose sight of the fact that in order to transform the world it is necessary’to have political power? It seems to me, Mr. Wells, that you greatly underestimate the question of political power, that it entirely drops out of your conception. What can those, even with the best intentions in the world, do if they are unable to raise the question of seizing power, and do not possess power? At best they can help the class which takes power, but they cannot change the world themselves. This can only be done by a great class which will take the place of the capitalist class and become the sovereign master as the latter was before. This class is the working class. Of course, the assistance of the technical intelligentsia must be accepted; and the latter, in turn, must be assisted. But it must not be thought that the technical intelligentsia can play an independent historical role. The transformation of the world is a great, complicated and painful process. For this great task a great class is required. Big ships go on long voyages.

WELLS: Yes, but for long voyages a captain and a navigator are required.

STALIN: That is true; but what is first required for a long voyage is a big ship. What is a navigator without a ship? An idle man.

WELLS: The big ship is humanity, not a class.

STALIN: You, Mr. Wells, evidently start out with the assumption that all men are good. I, however, do not forget that there are many wicked men. I do not believe in the goodness of the bourgeoisie.

WELLS: I remember the situation with regard to the technical intelligentsia several decades ago. At that time the technical intelli­gentsia was numerically small, but there was much to do and every engineer, technician and intellectual found his opportunity. That is why the technical intelligentsia was the least revolutionary class. Now, however, there is a superabundance of technical intellectuals, and their mentality has changed very sharply. The skilled man, who would formerly never listen to revolutionary talk, is now greatly interested in it. Recently I was dining with the Royal Society, our great English scientific society. The President’s speech was a speech for social planning and scientific control. Thirty years ago, they would not have listened to what I say to them now. Today, the man at the head of the Royal Society holds revolutionary views and insists on the scientific reorganization of human society. Mentality changes. Your class-war propaganda has not. kept pace with these facts.

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STALIN : Yes, I know this, and this is to be explained by the fact that capitalist society is now in a cul-de-sac. The capitalists are seeking, but cannot find, a way out of this cul-de-sac that would be compatible with the dignity of this class, compatible with the interests of this class. They could, to some extent, crawl out of the crisis on their hands and knees, but they cannot find an exit that would enable them to walk out of it with head raised high, a way out that would not. fundamentally disturb the interests of capitalism. This, of course, is realized by wide circles of the technical intelligentsia. A large section of it is beginning to realize the community of its interests with those of the class which is capable of pointing the way out of the cul-de-sac.

WELLS: You of all people know something about revolutions, Mr. Stalin, from the practical side. Do the masses ever rise? Is it not an established truth that all revolutions are made by a minority?

STALIN: To bring about a revolution a leading revolutionary minority is required; but the most talented, devoted and energetic minority would be helpless if it did not rely upon the at least passive support of millions.

WELLS: At least passive? Perhaps sub-conscious?

STALIN: Partly also the semi-instinctive and semiconscious, but without the support of millions, the best minority is impotent.

WELLS: I watch communist propaganda in the West and it seems to me that in modern conditions this propaganda sounds very old­fashioned, because it is insurrectionary propaganda. Propaganda in favor of the violent overthrow of the social system ,was all very well when it was directed against tyranny. But under modern conditions, when the system is collapsing anyhow, stress should be laid on efficiency, on competence, on productiveness, and not on insurrection. It seems to me that the insurrectionary note is obsolete. The communist propaganda in the West is a nuisance to constructive minded people.

STALIN: Of course the old system is breaking down, decaying. That is true. But it is also true that new efforts are being made by other methods, by every means, to protect, to save this dying system. You draw a wrong conclusion from a correct postulate. You rightly state that the old world is breaking down. But you are wrong in thinking that it is breaking down of its own accord No, the substitution of one social system for another is a complicated and long revolutionary process. It is not simply a spontaneous process, but a struggle, it is a process connected with the clash of classes. Capitalism is decaying, but it must not be compared simply with a tree which has decayed to such an extent that it must fall to the ground of its own accord. No, revolution, the substitution of one social system for another, has always been a struggle, a painful and a cruel struggle, a life and death struggle. And every time the people of the new world came into power, they had to defend themselves against the attempts of the old world to restore the old order by force; these people of the new world always had to be on the alert, always had to be ready to repel the attacks of the old world upon the new system.
Yes, you are right when you say that the old social system is breaking down; but it is not breaking down of its own accord. Take Fascism for example. Fascism is a reactionary force which is trying to preserve the old world by means of violence. What will you do

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with the fascists? Argue with them? Try to convince them? But this will have no effect upon them at all. Communists do not in the least idealize the methods of violence. But they, the Communists, do not want to be taken by surprise, they cannot count on the old world voluntarily departing from the stage, they see that the old system is violently defending itself, and that is why the Communists say to the working class: Answer violence with violence; do all you can to prevent the old dying order from crushing you, do ,not permit it to put manacles on your hands, on the hands with which you will overthrow the old system. As you see, the Communists regard the substitution of one social system for another, not simply as a spontaneous and peaceful process, but as a complicated, long and violent process. Communists cannot ignore facts.

WELLS: But look at what is now going on in the capitalist world. The collapse is not a simple one: it is the outbreak of reactionary violence which is degenerating to gangsterism. And it seems to me that when it comes to a conflict with reactionary and unintelligent violence, socialists can appeal to the law, and instead of regarding the police as the enemy they should support them in the fight against the reactionaries. I think that it is useless operating with the methods of the old rigid insurrectionary socialism.

STALIN: The Communists base themselves on rich historical experience which teaches that obsolete classes do not voluntarily abandon the stage of history. Recall the history of England in the seventeenth century. Did not many say that the old social system had decayed? But did it not, nevertheless, require a Cromwell to crush it by force?

WELLS: Cromwell operated on the basis of the constitution and in the name of constitutional order.

STALIN: In the name of the constitution he resorted to violence, beheaded the king, dispersed Parliament, arrested some and beheaded others!
Or take an example from our history. Was it not clear for a long time that the tsarist system was decaying, was breaking down? But how much blood had to be shed in order to overthrow it? And what about the October Revolution? Were there not plenty of people who knew that we alone, the Bolsheviks, were indicating the only correct way out? Was it not clear that Russian capitalism had decayed? But you know how great was the resistance, how much blood had to be shed in order to defend the October Revolution from all its enemies, internal and external. Or take France at the end of the eighteenth century. Long before 1789 it was clear to many how rotten the royal power, the feudal system was. But a popular insurrection, a clash of classes was not, ,could not be avoided. Why? Because the classes which must abandon the stage of history are the last to become convinced that their role is ended. It is impossible to convince them of this. They think that the fissures in the decaying edifice of the old order can be mended, that the tottering edifice of the old order can be repaired and saved. That is why dying classes take to arms and resort to every means to save their existence as a ruling class.

WELLS: But there were not a few lawyers at the head of the Great French Revolution.

STALIN: Do you deny the role of the intelligentsia in revolutionary movements? Was the Great French Revolution a lawyers’ revolution and not a popular revolution, which achieved victory by rousing vast masses of the people against feudalism and championed the interests of the Third Estate? And did the lawyers among the leaders of the Great French Revolution act in accordance with the laws of the old order? Did they not introduce new, bourgeois-revolutionary laws?
The rich experience of history teaches that up to now not a single class has voluntarily made way for another class. There is no such precedent in world history. The Communists have learned this lesson of history. Communists would welcome the voluntary departure of the bourgeoisie. But such a turn of affairs is improbable: that is what experience teaches. That is why the Communists want to be prepared for the worst and call upon the working class to be vigilant, to be prepared for battle. Who wants a captain who lulls the vigilance of his army, a captain who does not understand that the enemy will not surrender, that he must be crushed? To be such a captain means deceiving, betraying the working class. That is why r think that what seems to you to be old-fashioned is in fact a measure of revolutionary expediency for the working class.

WELLS: I do not deny that force has to be used, but I think the forms of the struggle should fit as closely as possible to the opportunities presented by the existing laws, which must be defended against reactionary attacks. There is no need to disorganize the old system because it is’ disorganizing itself enough as it is. That is why it seems to me insurrection against the old order, against the law, is<‘obsolete, old-fashioned. Incidentally, I deliberately exaggerate in order to bring the truth out more clearly. I can formulate my point of view in the following way: first, I am for order; second, I attack the present system in so far as it cannot assure order: third, I think that class war propaganda may detach from socialism just those educated people whom socialism needs.

STALIN: In order to achieve a great object, an important social object, there must be a main force, a bulwark, a revolutionary class. Next it is necessary to organize the assistance of an auxiliary force for this main force: in this case this auxiliary force is the Party, to which the best forces of the intelligentsia belong. Just now you spoke about “educated people;” But what educated people did you have in mind? Were there not plenty of educated people on the side of the old order in England in the seventeenth century, in France at the end of the eighteenth century, and in Russia in the epoch of the October Revolution? The old order: had in its service many highly educated people who defended the old order, who opposed the new order. Education is a weapon the effect of which be struck down. Of course, the proletariat, socialism, needs is determined by the hands which wield it, by who is to highly educated people. Clearly, simpletons cannot help the proletariat to fight for socialism, to build a new society. I do not underestimate the role of the intelligentsia; on the contrary, emphasize it. The question is, however, which intelligentsia are we discussing? Because there are different kinds of intelligentsia.

WELLS: There can be no revolution without a radical change in the educational system. It is sufficient to quote two examples: The example of the German Republic, which did not touch the old educational system, and therefore never became a republic: and the example

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of the British Labor Party, which lacks the determination to insist on a radical change in the educational system.

STALIN: That is a correct observation. Permit me now to reply to, your three points.
First, the main thing for the revolution is the existence of a social bulwark. This bulwark of the revolution is the working class.
Second, an auxiliary force is required, that which the Communists call a Party. To the Party belong the intelligent workers and those elements of the technical intelligentsia which are closely connected with the working class. The intelligentsia can be strong only if it combines with the working class. If it opposes the working class it becomes a cipher.
Third, political power is required as a lever for change. The new political power creates the new laws, the new order, which is revolutionary order.
I do not stand for any kind of order. I stand for order that corresponds to the interests of the working class. If however, any of the laws of the old order can be utilized in the interests of the struggle for the new order, the old laws should be utilized. I cannot object to your postulate that the present system should be attacked in so far as it does not insure the necessary order for the people.
And, finally, you are wrong if you think that the Communists are enamored with violence. They would be very pleased to drop violent methods if the ruling class agreed to give way to the working class. But the experience of history speaks against such an assumption.

WELLS: There was a case in the history of England, however, of a class voluntarily handing over power to another class. In the period between 1830 and 1870, the aristocracy, whose influence was still very considerable at the end of the eighteenth century, voluntarily, without a severe struggle, surrendered power to the bourgeoisie, which serves as a sentimental support of the monarchy. Subsequently, this transference of power led to the establishment of the rule of the financial oligarchy.

STALIN: But you have imperceptibly passed from questions of revolution to questions of reform. This is not the same thing. Don’t you think that the Chartist movement played a great role in the Reforms in England in the nineteenth century?

WELLS: The Chartists did little and disappeared without leaving a trace.

STALIN: I do not agree with you. The Chartists, and the strike movement which they organized, played a great role; they compelled the ruling classes to make a number of concessions in regard to the franchise, in regard to abolishing the so-called “rotten boroughs,” and in regard to some of the points of the “Charter.” Chartism played a not unimportant historical role and compelled a section of the ruling classes to make certain concessions, reforms, in order to avert great shocks. Generally speaking, it must be said that of all the ruling classes, the ruling classes of England, both the aristocracy and the bourgeoisie, proved to be the cleverest, most flexible from the point of view of their class interests, from the point of view of maintaining their power. Take as an example, say, from modern history, the general strike in England in 1926. The first thing any other bourgeoisie would have done in the face. of such an event, when the General Council of Trade Unions called for a strike, would have been to arrest the trade union leaders. The British bourgeoisie did not do that, and it acted cleverly from the point of view of its own interests. I cannot conceive of such a flexible strategy being employed by the bourgeoisie in the United States, Germany or France. In order to maintain their rule, the ruling classes of Great Britain have never foresworn small concessions, reforms. But it would be a mistake to think that these reforms were revolutionary.

WELLS: You have a higher opinion of the ruling classes of my country than I have. But is there a great difference between a small revolution and a great reform? Is not a reform a small revolution?

STALIN: Owing to pressure from below, the pressure of the masses, the bourgeoisie may sometimes concede certain partial reforms while remaining on the basis of the existing social-economic system. Acting in this way, it calculates that these concessions are necessary in order to preserve its class rule. This is the essence of reform. Revolution, however, means the transference of power from one class to another. That is why it is impossible to describe any reform as revolution. That is why we cannot count on the change of social systems taking place as an imperceptible transition from one system to another by means, of reforms, by the ruling class making concessions. .

WELLS: I am very grateful to you for this talk which has meant a great deal to me. In explaining things to me you probably called to mind how you had to explain the fundamentals of socialism in the illegal circles before the revolution. At the present time there are in the world only two persons to whose opinion, to whose every word, millions are listening: you and Roosevelt. Others may preach as much as they like; what they say will never be printed or heeded. I cannot yet appreciate what has been done in your country; I only arrived yesterday. But I have already seen the happy faces of healthy men and women and I know that something very considerable is being done here. The contrast with 1920 is astounding.

STALIN: Much more could have been done had we Bolsheviks been cleverer.

WELLS: No, if human beings were cleverer it would be a good thing to invent a five-year plan for the reconstruction of the human brain which obviously lacks many things needed for a perfect social order. (Laughter).

STALIN: Don’t you intend to stay for the Congress of the Soviet Writers Union?

WELLS: Unfortunately, I have various engagements to fulfill and can stay in the U.S.S.R. only for a week. I came to see you and I am very satisfied by our talk. But I intend to discuss with such Soviet writers as I can meet the possibility of their affiliating to the P.E.N. club. This is an international organization of writers founded by Galsworthy; after his death I became president. The organization is still weak, but it has branches in many countries, and what is more important, the speeches of its members, are widely reported in the press. It insists upon this free expression of opinion, even of opposition opinion. I hope to discuss this point with Gorky. I do not know if you are prepared yet for that much freedom here.

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STALIN: We Bolsheviks call it “self-criticism.” It is widely used in the ,U.S.S.R. If there is anything I can do to help you I shall be glad to do so.

WELLS: (Expresses thanks.)

STALIN: (Expresses thanks for the visit.)

http://www.rationalrevolution.net/special/library/cc835_44.htm

by Neil Harris
THE FIRST part of this article dealt with aspects of the cold war and its murderous history, however a surprising amount of that information is still relevant today, even though the end of the Cold War brought many changes: bases merged or closed, government agencies privatised and public land sold off for private profit.
 The New Worker took a look at some of the many State Department cables released by Wikileaks, on the subject of allowances and cost of living updates. These provide an up-to-date guide to those posts that are still current today. An example is a general cable from Washington to Embassies, dated 26th February 2010, which confirms that postings in Britain are still active at some of the main functioning USAF bases; Mildenhall, Lakenheath and Croughton.  Fairford is still listed while Cheltenham is there for GCHQ. Wiltshire, Portsmouth and Plymouth are still of interest, which is probably for the BAe Systems sites. Oxfordshire isn’t. Surprisingly, rural Waterbeach in Cambridgeshire remains on the list, but this probably refers to a new purpose built USAF/MOD headquarters building which has recently appeared on a greenfield site.
 More of a mystery is the survival of “Kemble” as a USAF posting, long after the closure of the base and its replacement by a commercial aerodrome: Cotswold Airport. This may just refer to staff accommodation for nearby Fairford on the other side of Cirencester, while GCHQ is only 10 miles away.
 Apart from the usual flying school there is “Air Salvage International,” which scraps redundant planes and a new British Government facility storing equipment and stock for international disaster relief. There are discreet storage buildings dating from its Cold War role as a maintenance and repair facility as well as when it was the base of “Air Force Logistic Command Support – Europe”. But this rural backwater also has the longest privately owned runway in the country and can handle jumbo jets; we can only speculate what planes are likely to make discreet use of the airport in the future.
 The United States Air Force in Europe (USAFE) has quite a job ensuring that everybody has accommodation suitable to their rank and it publishes the USAFE Overseas Furnishing and Quarters Availability Report, twice a year. Very helpfully, the 2009 report tells us: “Fairford is undergoing drawdown, blue suitors are out-processing w/o replacement, no new assignments are expected. Dorm facilities will close as they become empty.”
 We also learn that “COMNAVACTUK”,  the Naval Command in Britain was disestablished in September 2007, the same time as Daws Hill closed and that: “Navy London – no more assigned, Navy London includes High Wycombe and West Ruislip”, confirming that the US Navy’s retreat is almost complete and resulted from the end of the Cold War. Admiral Michael R Groothousen confirmed this in the speech he made when he closed Daws Hill on 14/9/07, stating: “Operational commitments of Naval Forces Europe have dictated that our troops need to be operating in other localities around the globe.”
 Waterbeach’s role as an RAF headquarters is confirmed: “Waterbeach has no Dorms, only three mil members are currently assigned/ authorised at this HQ USAFE attachment – lowest rank assigned is E-7.”
 Meanwhile: “Air Force has taken over air base operation responsibilities for Menwith Hill. NSA and USAFE are still working on details of installation handover”, which doesn’t mean the NSA no longer has an interest in the site, just that they no longer deal with its administration. US Air Force in Europe has been downgraded in Britain since the Cold War ended.
 While Croughton is listed as “air force”, Barford St John has a blank designation which confirms its CIA status, just as Felixstowe also has no designation but we know that’s because it is Homeland Security.  Another blank is Harrogate, while Menwith Hill is a USAF posting. This probably reflects relative ranks; now that USAF is running the base, the ordinary ranks live there, while higher ranked NSA staff would be entitled to live off base. Many others are gone; the Cold War bases shut, the factories closed or the projects completed.
 To understand better how the system of diplomatic cover works we can use a State Department cable sent by the Chief of Mission, Ambassador Perry from the Freetown embassy, Sierra Leone on 14/7/08. This was in support of a Defence Intelligence Agency request for funding to employ an “Operations NCO” (Op NCO), for the Defence Attaché Office in the Embassy.
 From 1999 to 2003, the DIA had failed to keep the office fully staffed, as was the case in 20 other embassies around Africa. This was partly lack of money but also a lack of interest in Africa at that time, together with reluctance by staff to put up with the conditions on offer.
The office consisted of a Lieutenant Colonel who doubled up as Defence and Air Attaché, an “Operations Co-ordinator NCO” staff sergeant and the unfilled role of Op NCO, which would have been another staff sergeant. In support of the application, the Ambassador argued that there had been a rapid increase in the number of intelligence reports filed: from 40 in 2006, 82 in 2007 to 163 in 2008 and they needed administrative support to cope.  Later, and apparently with a straight face, the ambassador confirmed that the “Official Entertaining Allowance” of the office had increased 200 per cent over the last year which had, “improved officers ability to assess and access well-placed contacts, building a portfolio of reliable ever vigilant sources”. This increase in the allowance may have been why the flow of reports had risen so fast.
 Many new tasks were set out, needing more administrative support, including restarting the “International Military Education and Training Programme”, a military version of the International Visitor Leadership Programme, in which military students attend training courses in America. This is a key way in which America builds influence in the developing world, by talent spotting and then training rising stars in the military at an early stage in their career. While it makes friends who will rise up the ranks over time, it is also a means of recruiting long-term informants, when they are far from home. Sometimes it goes wrong; in 2003 the scheme was suspended in Sierra Leone when four trainees took advantage of the end of their course to disappear, starting new lives in America, never to be heard of again. The plan was to start recruiting once more: eight staff Judge Advocates over twq years, as well as eight to 12 NCO’s to attend the “Enlisted NCO development” scheme.
 Costs of the new Op NCO were going to be shared out; while there was an Attaché’s office in place already, the new staff member would need “a classified DIA computer and a classified Department of State computer”. The DIA would provide the US Embassy with “the start-up costs of a new billet, money to rent a house or apartment and seek to buy into the furniture pool”. All of which also reflected a greater American interest in the country, now that the British were withdrawing following the end of civil disorder and the end of British government-funded mercenary intervention.
 While in Sierra Leone the Americans were developing their interest in the military and had a desire to influence it further, it is significant how total American access to Britain’s military and defence industry has been. Wherever British armed forces were at the cutting edge (intelligence, signals intelligence, some technologies) there were the Americans. There was never any interest in the puny, outdated “British nuclear deterrent” nor in its delivery systems, dependant on American knowhow.
 This was all part of the “special relationship” between Britain and America, which was hammered out at the close of the Second World War and developed during the 1950s and 60s. This was the time when Britain’s economy and role in the world shrank while America’s grew.
 The National Archive has now made available the UKUSA agreement, which was once one of the most closely guarded (Top secret Ultra) documents either government held, together with the minutes of one of the negotiating sessions that led up to it.
 In the spring of 1945 these negotiations between the “United States State-Army-Navy Communications Intelligence Board” and the “UK London Signals Intelligence Board” began as an agreement to share communications intelligence on “third parties”. In effect the secrets of Bletchley Park and the new technology it had produced would now be shared with America and directed at the Soviet Union, nominally still our ally in war.
 This was the real start of the Cold War, long before Churchill’s “Iron Curtain” speech. Discussions had started while the Allies were still fighting Germany and continued throughout 1945, including, for example, “Elbe Day” (25/4/45) when Soviet and US troops were pictured embracing after they had joined forces at Togau on the river Elbe. Through that summer, while the US and the Soviets were fighting Japan, discussions went on. This was a state matter, not a political one; they started under a Tory government and finished with agreement under Labour, while in America they began under Roosevelt and ended under Truman. The released negotiations are dated 29th October 1945; the agreement was finally signed on 5th March 1946.
 The agreement, very closely argued in the discussions, was simply to share signals intelligence; the Americans getting access to Britain’s leadership in this field. Later, this highly classified document was to become the basis of all British collaboration with America; sharing the military and intelligence assets that this article has detailed. An agreement often referred to but never read, it simply established a relationship that reflected the reality of the changing balance of forces between the two imperialist countries.
 In the early 1950s Britain had colonies, the atomic bomb and a prototype missile system to deliver it. By the 1970’s, Britain was reliant on an American delivery system (Polaris) for its dated nuclear deterrent. In between, the British ruling class had endured near bankruptcy, lost its colonies and had come to realise that it had been overtaken as an imperialist power. Its response was to open up every secret the Americans were interested in and to subordinate “our” armed forces to American control in return for a seat at the “top table” they no longer deserved.
 The extent to which the British defence establishment and by definition the British state (as opposed to the government of the day) became subservient to America is best illustrated by a “secret/NOFORN” cable from the American Embassy in London, headed “Scene setter for the Secretary”, dated 6/10/09.
 This briefing for the visiting Secretary of State, attending talks with Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, set out the likely British and American positions on a number of crucial matters, among which was Afghanistan. At this time, the right wing media and the Tories were attacking Brown for supposedly failing to equip troops properly, rather than criticising our imperialist intervention, which they supported.
 The cable reports: “Meetings with PM Gordon Brown and Foreign Secretary David Miliband likely will focus on the following key issues: Afghanistan …many critics …have asserted that Brown has provided insufficient troops and equipment (including helicopters) to get the job done. In his 25th September discussion with the President, Brown said Afghan forces must shoulder a greater portion of the burden and take more responsibility for their own affairs and asserted the UK would not be ‘cutting out’ of Afghanistan, though it lacks the capacity to commit additional troops. Brown and Miliband made similar statements to General McChrystal on 1stOctober and Admiral Mullen and Admiral Stavridis on 2nd October, and the PM Foreign Policy Advisor Simon McDonald has asked the USG to show ‘understanding of the political pressures that the PM is under’.” That’s a fairly clear position, set out by the British government over many meetings; there were no more British troops available.
 The secret briefing continues: “However, UK military officials claim that 1,000 – 2,000 additional troops are available for deployment.” This means that senior military staff were privately briefing the American embassy, prior to the meeting, providing confidential information opposing the political position of their own government and Prime Minister; that there were more troops available. This was at the same time as senior British military figures were also secretly briefing the British press, complaining that the troops that were already there were inadequately supplied and equipped.
 It is hard to imagine any circumstances in which the British state would have an opportunity to take action independent of American wishes, given the integration of our military command structure with theirs and the commitment of senior British staff to American aims and priorities.
 It is the same for the “civilian” defence contractors; American-based defence suppliers cannot be controlled by foreign companies and the agreement which allows BAe Systems to buy access to the American defence market requires that its US operations must be subsidiaries, with a US board of directors.  But this was never enough, as the continuing interest in BAe’s sites in Britain has shown. This may be one reason why BAe tried to merge itself into EADS, the European defence supplier. What is clear is that BAe will have been able to keep few secrets from the Americans over the years.
 It is also questionable where BAe Systems loyalty lies; in a State Department cable dated 22/4/09 from Oman, the Ambassador Gary A Grappo reported on a conversation with the “local British representative of BAe” at a diplomatic event. The cable was titled: “Open field for military fighters” and it was important enough to be classified and given a header stating: “This is an Action Request.”
 The excited ambassador quoted at length: “At a diplomatic event on 21st April, a local British representative for BAe Systems told the DCM that the Omani government has walked back from what seemed an imminent decision to buy a squadron of Eurofighter Typhoons to help replace its aging Jaguar fighters. Due to concerns over the high price tag for the Typhoons in conjunction with a fall in government revenues related to lower oil prices, Oman was accordingly exploring other options for new fighter aircraft, he claimed.”
 This gave the Americans a chance to sell Lockheed Martin’s cheaper F16 into a traditional British market. The cable continued: “The company representative added that BAe Systems was not trying to salvage the Typhoon deal as it had ‘already made [its] money’. Rather, it was the British government that was directly trying to offload to the Omanis a squadron of Tranche III Eurofighters it had previously committed to purchase – ‘the last 12 from the RAF production run’.
 “As the competition for the sale of new fighter aircraft to Oman appears to be wide open, it is imperative that Lockheed Martin and the US government step up advocacy efforts if we are to convince the Omanis of the many benefits of the acquisition of additional F-16s. If ever the cost/performance advantage of the F-16 is to trump the UK political advantage, the time is now. Washington agencies should accordingly advise Lockheed to move immediately with their best offer. End Action Request and Comment. GRAPPO.”
 In other words, Britain which was committed to buying more expensive Eurofighters than it could afford to help out BAe Systems, was trying to persuade Oman to buy the last 12 off the production line. BAe Systems had already made its money from the Eurofighter and was looking to collaboration with the Americans and Lockheed Martin on the Joint Strike Fighter project to safeguard its future. This meant it was prepared to tip off the American Embassy against the interests of the British Government and taxpayers. The same taxpayers who have so often had to bail out the British defence industry. Meanwhile America was delighted to stab its loyal ally in the back (the special relationship) while BAe was trying to play both sides against the middle for its own short-term advantage. That is the nature of the defence “industry” in a world dominated by imperialism.

Government listening post

by Neil Harris

THE BIGGEST empires, the most warlike imperialist powers, all have a lot of administration to deal with; there are wages to pay and pensions to calculate.  The more powerful the imperialism the more complex it gets and America’s is the most complicated of all. Mass murder leaves a paper trail of invoices and receipts.
Diplomats have a lifestyle to maintain and there is, after all, a big difference between postings to Kabul and Paris. Over the years this has led to many arguments over the cost of accommodation, schooling and relocations as well as danger rates in war zones. The US State Department even has an Office of Allowances to deal with the paperwork.
 The New Worker has tracked down a table of these allowances but, of course, if we were just following the activities of diplomats, this would make pretty dull reading. However this expertise determines the payments for all US personnel posted abroad and the State Department also provides diplomatic cover to others who stand in the shadows: agencies that are unwilling to advertise their activities and want their people to have diplomatic immunity when things go wrong. These range from the military attaches to the CIA, with a lot of other interesting organisations besides. In some areas of conflict like Iraq or Afghanistan, these can make up half the embassy staff.
 While the allowances are calculated by the State Department, the “lead agencies” are the real employers and their details are on the list, although what they were up to is not – just a place name. Once a posting has been analysed, there is a reluctance to remove it even though it may be out of date; the cost of living reviews just become less frequent until they stop altogether. In the case of Britain, these tables of allowances give us a snap shot of our “special relationship” with America, as well as an insight into the Cold War. It’s well worth speculating just what these employees and “diplomats” were actually up to.
 Some are fairly dull: representatives of the “Department of Homeland Security” are posted to Liverpool, Southampton and Felixstowe where they check shipping containers as part of the Container Security Initiative. Post 9/11 this scheme investigates cargo destined for the US from 58 ports around the world and also includes Thames port and Tilbury. Likewise, the American Battle Monuments Commission has postings to look after American war dead in cemeteries at Brookwood and Cambridge.
 By far the largest number of postings are “air force” (USAF), reflecting our Cold War status as America’s largest aircraft carrier. However “air force” doesn’t necessarily mean that these are fliers; the “ghost diplomats” include experts seconded to units or particular operations, Air Attaches or intelligence agencies “liaising”.
 Some postings are general; “Wiltshire” or “Oxfordshire”, counties with long and varied military connections including Porton Down (germ warfare) and Salisbury Plain (army manoeuvres and research). Others like Plymouth and Portsmouth are obvious military cities as well as being sites for BAe Systems Marine and Aerospace divisions. BAe Systems plays a big role in all of this; “Wiltshire”, for example, includes the site of Qinetiq’s advanced air simulator at Boscombe Down, currently working on the Joint Strike Fighter project with BAe.
 Greenham Common is on the list, a regular posting during the Cold War as, from 1951 until it closed in 1993, it housed the long range nuclear bombers of Strategic Air Command, as well as becoming the home of the Tactical Missile Wing’s Cruise missiles and Pershing II ballistic missiles in the 1980’s.
 Lakenheath and Mildenhall are postings as they remain to this day the two main USAF bases of Strategic Air Command in Britain. Lakenheath now hosts fighter wing, while the support and reconnaissance commands (spy planes) are at Mildenhall along with the Special Operations and Intelligence squadrons.
 RAF Fairford, now on “care and maintenance”, was until recently, another base for long range nuclear bombers and had been since 1953. Designated a “Forward operating location”, it was also a staging post for operations and a base for the planes that refuel passing long distance flights. It was NASA’s “Transoceanic abort landing site” for the Space Shuttle and it was from here that the B52 bombers set out for Iraq to kill in both Gulf Wars. It may be used again, if America needs it.
Related to all the “Air force” activity were postings on behalf of the “Defence Management Agency”, involved in procurement, who were posted to Bristol and Salmesbury, Lancashire, no doubt keeping an eye on the BAe Systems sites, the latter making sections of Typhoon Eurofighters and now working on the Joint Strike fighter as a major contractor for Lockheed Martin and Northrup Grumman, on the world’s largest defence project.
 Some of the postings are fairly obscure; in 1983 the former RAF Kemble near Cirencester became a USAF maintenance facility for about 10 years until it was decommissioned and became Cotswold Airport. Waterbeach just north of Cambridge was once an RAF base for Bomber Command, but was handed over to The Royal Engineers in 1966; their base and barracks are now due for closure in 2013. More interesting is the posting to RAF Welford, north-west of Newbury, which is the site of the USAF’s biggest heavy ammunition dump in Western Europe, with its own private entrance from the motorway (Works access only).
 Farnborough is an airport, the site of the International Air Show and arms fair as well as being another base for BAe Systems, meanwhile Qinetiq and DERA are also on site or nearby making this a centre of defence research.
 Bracknell in Berkshire may also have been of interest to the Americans because of its concentration of high tech IT companies and defence related firms, once including RACAL, Ferranti and BAe but it is just as likely that the posting was for Air staff attending the RAF Staff College, which became the Joint Services Command and Staff college before it finally left the town in 2003.
 An air force posting to High Wycombe would have been inevitable, as within three miles of the town are the headquarters of RAF Air Command and the British “Strike Command Operation Centre”, the nuclear bunker from which our “four-minute warning” and nuclear missile launch order would have been given, but not without permission from the Americans. It remains a centre for British and Nato air operations.
 Of course, it may have been that the posting was to RAF Daws Hill on the other side of town, a large US Navy base until it was decommissioned in 2007. It was from here that US missiles, long range bombers and communications were co-ordinated and directed from the American nuclear bunker.
 Strangely, the US Navy itself was also posting to Bath, Dunstable and Edzell, all of which have only one thing in common with High Wycombe; none are near enough to the sea to land a ship. Bath has had until recently a major connection to the Ministry of Defence but the New Worker can’t pin down what the US Navy’s interest was.
 However Dunstable in Bedfordshire was the centre of a labyrinth of secret activity during the Second World War with Special Operations Executive, the Political Warfare Executive and Secret Intelligence Service amongst others, spread out in around a hundred requisitioned stately homes, aerodromes, and offices in the county and beyond. The area also provided facilities to the Radio Security Service, British Naval Intelligence, listening (Y) stations and Bletchley Park (X station), home of the famous code breakers. During the Cold War RAF bases at Stanbridge, Brampton, Wyton and Henlow were involved in secret communications, amongst others.
 The clue is in Edzell, a small village near Brechin in Angus, Scotland, far enough from the sea to ensure that none of the sailors would get their feet wet. The RAF base on the opposite side of the River Esk was leased to the US Navy from 1960 until 1996, when it shut down for good and the 150 base houses were sold off.
 In 1985, on the 25th anniversary of the opening of the base, the newly registered “US Navy Edzell tartan” was unveiled and very popular it has proved to be, worn by both current and former Navy cryptanalysts as ties and scarves.  The Naval Security Group which operated from 1935 to 2005 ran Edzell, collecting signals intelligence prior to decoding it. This base would have covered the North Sea, the Baltic Sea, and the Soviet Naval Headquarters at Leningrad, together with other parts of the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, depending on reception. The base was also part of two worldwide networks: the White Cloud Naval satellite system and the earlier High Frequency Direction Finding system, hunting for Soviet ships and submarines.
 The Naval cryptanalysts were associated with the National Security Agency (NSA), which will feature again in this article and it’s likely that Bath and Dunstable were part of the same landlocked operation. In 2005 the Naval Security Group was broken up and merged into other parts of US Naval intelligence.
 The Office of the Secretary of Defence is the civilian headquarters staff of the US Department of Defence and as such it’s most unlikely that any of its staff would be posted abroad long term. But there are two postings under this agency’s name and these are likely to be a cover for either the National Security Agency (NSA) which deals with signals intelligence or the National Reconnaissance Office responsible for satellite intelligence, as the two sites are Menwith Hill and Harrogate (only nine miles away).
 RAF Menwith Hill was leased by the US Army Security Agency in 1958 to listen in to high frequency radio communications from the Soviet Union. In 1966 the NSA. took over the base and started listening in to international calls and telexes routed through Britain, as well. As optical fibres and microwaves replaced copper wire, the site became more important and was expanded. This major NSA satellite ground station now houses an array of satellite dishes and is probably the largest listening station in the world. According to the European Parliament investigation, Menwith Hill is a vital part of the ECHELON system, monitoring all electronic communications in Europe as part of a worldwide American network, trawling for voice calls, images, video and data such as e-mails and the new media.
 There are five postings for the State Department itself: London which covers the Embassy while Belfast and Edinburgh are the Consulates. These locations hide CIA staff under diplomatic cover, as well as the Defence Intelligence Agency (DIA) which provides the military attaches, both as a matter of routine.  The remaining two postings are to Chelmsford and Croughton and these could be from either agency.
 Chelmsford, for over 100 years was the home of Marconi and survived takeover by BAe Systems until its recent closure. It was here that RADAR and secure communications were manufactured and developed.
 RAF Croughton is a US air force base in Northamptonshire, which houses a massive European communications hub, for Nato, US European Command, US Central command, (US) Air Force Special Operations Command, Department of State operations and our own Ministry of Defence operations. It is also, for example, a vital part of “Mystic star”, the President’s secure communications network connecting Air Force One to the US government, when it is airborne.
 At other times it is a Government communications system. Croughton deals with about 30 per cent of US secure communications as part of a satellite network, partly reliant on US Navy bases relaying messages around the world. It’s not an obvious CIA interest – which, at least in theory, is not allowed to spy on US citizens in America and only with a warrant when they are abroad.
 While it is possible that the State Department postings are actually there to run their own communications, it is unlikely. The nearby RAF Barford St John is a sister base to Croughton and operates a CIA transmitter on its behalf.  Between them they are part of the CIA’s own worldwide secure communications network, covering its offices and agents.
 A Secure Communications link was built in the 1980’s, passing from Croughton to GCHQ at Cheltenham (an NSA posting) via relay stations at Leafield, Little Rossington, and Cleeve Hill. This indicates that Croughton also acts as a listening station. The CIA has another post at Caversham, where its “Open Source Center” operates on the shared premises of BBC Monitoring, under State Department cover.
 The US Army had five postings: Birmingham and Nottingham, which are probably related to arms manufacturing, while West Byfleet was until 1996 the site of “Broadoaks”, the MOD/DERA Army Operations Analysis base (now at Farnborough).  There were also nearby research stations at Chertsey and Chobham, which specialised in military vehicles and novel forms of armour plating.
 The posting to Hythe in Hampshire has an interesting history: a US Army base was sited at RAF Hythe from 1968 until closure in 2006, “servicing and maintaining watercraft”. In fact this was also a secret British research base from the 1930’s onwards; TE Lawrence, of Arabia fame, spent a year there working on high speed boats. This was where the concept of air/sea rescue was invented while in the 1950’s, Christopher Cockerill ran his “Hovercraft Development Co” from there.
 At the end of the Second World War a number of captured, technically superior, German high speed boats were operated and further developed from the base. In the late 1940’s and early 1950’s, these were used to get spies in and out of the Soviet Union, via the Baltic republics. The Soviets were unable to match their speed, although thanks to tip-offs, the authorities would often be waiting to pick up the hapless agents after arrival.
 A visit to Fort Halstead must have been even more fun for those with murder in mind, even though the mergers, re-organisations and privatisations of recent years have brought many changes. Set at the top of the North Downs, this research station specialised in developing and forensically examining high explosives – boffins making bangs. Before Atomic weapons research moved to Aldermaston, this was where the first British atomic bomb was developed and built.
 The “Department of Defence”, which has six postings, is a cover used by the NSA, NRO and DIA but also by straightforward military intelligence (Army, Navy or Airforce), so this is a mixed bag. Brough, on the Humber made BAe systems Hawk jet trainers until recently, when its closure was announced. Glenrothes was originally a Scottish new town serving the coal industry; it became part of “silicon glen”, after the seam flooded. It’s likely that the Americans were liaising with Raytheon, which is still in the town. This multinational American arms company is the world’s largest producer of guided missiles and the Glenrothes plant makes integrated circuits for defence and aerospace customers.
Rochester in Kent had yet another BAe Systems factory, until recently making high tech helmets and head up displays for Typhoon Eurofighters at the old Marconi factory. However, its attraction for the Department of Defence may be the home of the Defence Explosives Ordnance Disposal School and the nearby firing range at Lodge Hill Camp, very useful in the age of Improvised Explosive Devices.
 Loudwater near High Wycombe is the UK location of the Defence Contract Management Agency, which is a Department of Defence procurement agency located in an anonymous business park in the town. Given that private British contractors have built a multi-million pound industry supplying private “security” in the countries America has invaded, there may be some rather unsavoury visitors to this particular complex.
 Conveniently it is also the home of Ultra Electronics Command and Control Systems, a high tech British company that supplies the “MOD and international military and commercial customers”, and is currently working on the Joint Fighter project for the Americans and BAe Systems.
 Cheltenham would be an attachment to Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), the National security Agency’s British partner but could also be any organisation involved in snooping on communications and code breaking; including the CIA, Defence Intelligence Agency and the Office of Naval Intelligence.
“Chicksands”, in Bedfordshire would definitely be a popular posting for those intent on murder – it’s where the spies learn to think like soldiers and the soldiers learn to think like spies.
 The RAF station was a war-time “Y” station, listening in to Axis radio communications and feeding the intercepts to Bletchley Park. In 1950 the USAF leased it and it became a major cold war listening station. After closure in 1997 the British Intelligence Corps took over the site and the grounds are now shared with the Defence Intelligence and Security Centre. This is a British joint services establishment, now semi privatised, providing training to “military and civilian students” in “Security, language, intelligence and photography”. Among other specialities it provides training in are “Human intelligence” (running informers) and “debriefing” (interrogation).  In their 2005 annual report they are quite proud to admit that they seconded 53 staff to places like Iraq and Afghanistan that year, where people would probably describe “debriefing” as torture. Conveniently, the grounds are shared with the Directorate of the Intelligence Corps as well as the headquarters of Psychological Operations.
 Readers should not imagine that this is a comprehensive list or a history of the Cold War; it’s not meant to be, it’s just a list of places where American government postings were claiming expenses over the last 40 years. There were many other US bases, just as there were many other British bases and secret research establishments dotted around the country. It’s just that they weren’t of such interest, at least to America.
 In the second part of this article, we will try to bring this information up to date, using a variety of unconventional sources.

 http://newworkerfeatures.blogspot.co.uk/2012/12/the-paper-trail-to-murder.html