Lessons and Consequences of World War I: Back to the Future?

Edward Bonham Carter: The forgotten financial crisis of 1914 has parallels 100 years on

Recent years can be compared with a forgotten crisis. Edward Bonham Carter looks back to when his own great grandfather was prime minister

Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria and his wife descend the steps of the City Hall, Sarajevo, and innocent bystander Ferdinand Behr, inset

Shock: but markets didn’t respond to Franz Ferdinand’s death Photo: © IWM

In June 1914, Archduke Franz Ferdinand was shot in Sarajevo by Serbian nationalist Gavrilo Princip. In London, markets barely registered the event. It was only a month later when Austria delivered an ultimatum to Serbia that investors woke up to its implications.

What followed, according to Richard Roberts, author of Saving the City, The Great Financial Crisis of 1914, was “the most severe systemic crisis London has ever experienced”. It was not a typical crisis in that it was not preceded by enormous overborrowing and wild speculation. Instead there was a “displacement” moment in the form of the Austrian ultimatum – an extraordinary event that drastically altered investors’ perception of risk.

The collapse of Lehman Brothers in September 2008 was a similar moment.

The response to Austrian aggression was a dramatic fall in European markets. Investors rushed to turn their assets into cash or gold. The London Stock Exchange closed its doors for the first time since its establishment in 1801.

Panic spread quickly via the telegraph and a newly established global financial system, affecting some 30 countries. At the heart of this system was the City of London. Thanks to its openness the City had become a settlement hub for much of the world’s trade payments and had the largest securities market.

A key way to transfer money for cross-border trade was the sterling bill of exchange, making the pound the de facto reserve currency for the world at that time and meaning large amounts of debt were owed by overseas investors to British banks. Unfortunately, no one had considered what problems this connectivity might cause if things went wrong. Almost 100 years later, no one in 2008 had considered the full implications of even greater connectivity between banks, until it was too late.

The first to be hit by the crisis were the “jobbers” or market makers who could not price securities that everyone wanted to sell. Many firms went out of business. Second were the money markets (where big banks trade shortterm loans and deposits). Worried that loans would not be repaid, merchant banks such as Rothschilds and Schroders refused to issue more sterling bills, meaning no one could borrow money. Instead banks called in their loans, withdrew funds from the Bank of England and hoarded gold.

This deepened the crisis and briefly caused a run on the Bank itself. Six million pounds in gold was paid out in just three days, worth some £1.3bn today. Many turned against bankers as they did a century later. Herbert Asquith, my own great grandfather and the prime minister at the time, described bankers as “the greatest ninnies … like old women”.

In order to arrest the crisis and prevent mass bankruptcy, the British state was compelled to intervene on an enormous scale. Had it not done so, raising funds for the coming war could have proved much more difficult – and the outcome might have been different.

The Bank of England, then independent of government, acted quickly. Backed by the Treasury, it used taxpayers’ money to “save the City”, handing out unprecedented financial assistance to banks, equivalent to 40pc of public expenditure – a gigantic sum. Markets soon stabilised as a result and no major financial institution went under, but it would be several months before the stock exchange reopened its doors. In that time, the world would have entered a total and bloody war, so overshadowing the financial crisis that it was largely forgotten.

The great recession is less likely to be forgotten. State intervention in financial markets is now so great that any hint of policy change can move markets dramatically.

The question is: where do we want to be 100 years from now?

Lessons and Consequences of World War I: Back to the Future?

The centennial anniversary of the First World War is a time for sober reflection and deep thought about the causes and consequences of this human tragedy. It has been quipped that hindsight is 20/20, but being so far removed from the actual event itself nowadays, it appears as though hindsight through today’s polarized polemics is nearsighted. History is being reinterpreted for short-term political points, forgetting that the British intent of the original conflict was for a long-term and farsighted transformation of the European (at the time, recognized as “global”) power arrangement. Of course, not everything turned out as intended, and dark horses emerged to offset these carefully crafted plans and/or reap undeserved dividends. No matter that one hundred years has already passed, the same geostrategic objective is the same – the seafaring powers must utilize all methods (including intrigue and massive bloodletting) to prevent the continental powers from colluding against them. The continuum of history eerily shows that shadows of the past still hang over the head of the future, and the thematic lessons leading up to and following World War I still dangerously ring true today.

 | 1 JUNE 2014 


1. Themes

Geopolitical Framing

It is commonly said that “geography is destiny”, and to a very large extent, geographic location is a strong determinant of action. Alfred Mahan and Halforth Mackinder understood this very well at the turn of last century. Mahan published “The Influence of Sea Power Upon History” in 1890, which argued that sea power is key to controlling the land. Mackinder took this a step further in 1904, writing in “The Geopolitical Pivot of History” that sea power’s obvious geographic limitations necessitate a strong control over the Heartland in order to dominate Eurasia. This was originally understood as Central Asia, but it has shifted over time.

Why It Mattered Then

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British Foreign Secretary in 1914 Sir Edward Grey was the key instigator of the WWI.

The UK and Germany were engaged in a fierce naval armaments race up until the eve of World War I. Although the British Navy was supreme, Germany was clearly a rising threat to this hegemony. Additionally, Germany and Austria-Hungary were the masters of Central Europe and Russia controlled the Heartland (essentially ‘winning’ the Great Game). Russian historian Nikolay Starikov brilliantly argues that the UK, using its centuries-long diplomatic expertise (and cunningness) in great power balancing, instigated Germany and Russia into war after the events of Sarajevo in order to destroy its two greatest foes (in different Eurasian theaters) in one fell swoop.

Why It Matters Today

Brzezinski, writing in “The Grand Chessboard” in 1997, cautions American decision makers about the possibility (then distant, today more realistic) of a German-Russian alliance that would isolate America from Europe, and thus, collapse America’s Eurasian strategy. Accommodating for this geopolitical reality, it now makes sense why there is so much Western guilt mongering against Germany for supposedly starting World War I – the objective is to keep Germany and Russia divided and prevent their future policy coordination. The spate of Color Revolutions is aimed solely at penetrating the former Soviet Heartland and removing Russia from the Great Power game. On the naval front, the US is trying to bait China into a disastrous collision course with its Southeast Asian neighbors over disputed maritime territories.


The combination of sea and land power, properly coordinated and applied across Eurasia, is the basic formula for global control. A moment’s glance at the map of American overseas naval and military deployments easily proves Mahan and Mackinder’s theories without any words necessary. Because geography cannot be changed, these ideas will continue to guide the US and any other aspiring global hegemon. In today’s world, the US has merged Brzezinski’s Eurasian Balkans concept with Gene Sharp’s mass agitation tactics (abetted by social media networks) to conceive the weapon of Color Revolutions to accomplish just that.

The Hobbesian Alliance System

Countries enter into military alliances with one another for some kind of perceived benefit, which may vary depending on the actor. Even if such alliances do not de-jure mandate mutual military defense, if the known perception is that it does entail such a commitment, then the parties’ reputations and prestige may strongly be at stake if they do not carry through with their expected obligation. The larger alliance systems grow, the more convoluted they become, eventually ensnaring all that are weaved into the web. Large-scale wars can thus start based on miscalculation or peripheral events.

Why It Mattered Then

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Russian 1914 poster “Entente Cordial”. Shown are the female personifications of France, Russia, and Britain. In center, Russia holds aloft an Orthodox Cross (symbol of faith), Britannia on the right with an anchor (referring to Britain’s navy, but also a traditional symbol of hope), and Marianne on the left with a heart (symbol of charity/love, probably with reference to the Sacré-Cœur Basilica) — “faith, hope, and charity” being the three virtues of the famous Biblical passage I Corinthians 13:13. The poster reveals a candid Russian stance towards her “allies” in WWI.

The obligational perceptions surrounding alliances played an important part in the long fuse leading up to World War I, as Starikov writes that “up to the beginning of WWI, the Entente alliance was not framed by treaty!” Clearly, there was always a “way out”, but due to duplicitous British diplomacy (also duly elaborated upon by Starikov in his works), the situation was carefully framed for Germany and Russia as though there was no alternative. Once activated, the stringy alliance complex exponentially multiplied until most of the entire continent (and the Middle East via the Ottoman Empire) were engulfed in total war. A relatively trite event in the grand scheme of contemporaneous politics (a political assassination in the continental periphery) led to an all-out conflagration in its core.

Why It Matters Now

After the Cold War, NATO continued to grow unabated, gobbling up the remnants of the Warsaw Pact and part of the former Yugoslavia and Soviet Union. Although mutual military defense is not legally binding in NATO (Article 5 does not explicitly stipulate military assistance, leaving it up to each member state to make that decision on its own), the perception is that it is. This means that the US and its cohorts may get dangerously drawn into a regional conflict in order to save face. Turkey’s provocative actions in Syria or its failed plans for a false-flag attack there should send alarm bells ringing for the rest of the world. The same can be said for Poland and Lithuania, also NATO members, in regards to their plans to create a joint brigade with non-member Ukraine. Clearly, one middle power in a major alliance can draw the rest of its twenty-seven members into a disastrous calamity. Leaving NATO aside, the US has a mutual defense agreement with Japan, whom it has been egging on to provoke China. The security guarantees provided by America to Israel and Saudi Arabia could also easily suck it into a regional war with Iran.


Military alliances are a type of nearly sacrosanct agreement that states enter into with one another, placing their prestige and the lives of their citizens on the line for their partners. They should not be entered into as a form of political statement. The larger the alliance is, the greater the chance for unintended outbreaks of major war and for middle players to manipulate the other members. It is totally unstable when Obama, in referring to the US, proudly tells the graduating class of West Point that, “From Europe to Asia, we are the hub of alliances unrivaled in the history of nations.” Exceptionally dangerous are so-called “defensive” alliances that only have a track record of offensive military action (e.g. every NATO war). Alliances can complicate the political situation just as much as they can clarify it.

(Distant) Manipulative Balancing Powers

The balance of power and divide and rule concepts are as old as the pages of time, yet equally as old is the knowledge that the more distant the practitioner of these strategies, the less likely they are to be directly affected by the negative consequences of their actions. This makes them more calculating and lethal in the damage potential that they can reap in the targeted theaters. The power of the manipulative balancing state must also be taken into account. If a strong state is manipulating weaker ones, then the risk potential of negative consequences decreases; likewise, once strong states begin manipulating their peers, the risk for negative consequences (even if the states are distant from one another) dramatically increases.

Why It Mattered Then

The UK had historically been the prima donna of balance of power and divide and rule policies in Europe, and it played this role perfectly in the lead-up to World War I. As outlined by Starikov, UK Foreign Secretary Edward Grey diligently played all the continental powers off against one another in order for his country to reap the anticipated benefits of a continental Hobbesian conflict. The consequences of the war did not exactly pan out as anticipated (as is wont to happen with any grand strategic gambit), but nonetheless, it is important to note the impact of the UK’s interference in the Great War’s genesis. Its vision of European balancing and divide and rule directly contributed to the tragedy, whether advertently or inadvertently.

Why It Matters Now

The US has replaced the UK as the world’s global balancer and practitioner of Divide and Rule. Its new policy of Lead from Behind is a euphemism for these practices. It appoints regional allies to carry out what are perceived to be mutually advantageous policies (to the objective advantage of the US’ grand strategy, but only to the subjective advantage of the ‘ally’s’) while Washington supervises and manages events. Turkey and Poland are the prime examples of this policy at work, and the CIA and FBI’s influence over the Kievan junta is yet another application of this. More sinisterly, Color Revolutions can also trace their birth to a (distant) manipulative power trying to manage regional events to its own interest. By globally manipulating multitudes of players simultaneously, a critical risk of mismanagement and unintended consequences arises. This is all the more apocalyptic due to advances in military technology (nuclear weapons, drones, cyber warfare, etc.) that can level the playing field between the manipulating and the manipulated great powers.


(Distant) Manipulative balancing powers paradoxically have both foresight and blindness. They have a certain vision of what global or regional order should look like, yet in order to bring this idea to fruition, many complicated moves must be made in advance. The blindness stems from the fact that when risky gambits of huge consequence are made, unintended consequences of varying nature usually follow, and more than likely, these tend to have some type of disastrous result for some or all of the affected parties. The more distant and strong the manipulative power is, the more likely it will have grandiose (and dangerous) visions of what the future should look like and will actually act on those desires. Even if this type of actor is only manipulating a small or middle power, if the eventual target is a power of equal or near strength, then it is the same as trying to manipulate that said power (e.g. US manipulation of Ukraine to offset Russia). This never leads to peaceful and stable results.

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2. Consequences

Dark Horses

These are the unintended consequences that occur due to grand manipulations and plans gone awry. They are impossible to accurately predict, and they may only sometimes seem expected in hindsight. Dark horses are the wild cards that surprisingly alter the dynamic at play and bring about a change that the original manipulators did not at all intend. They seemingly come out of nowhere.

Why It Mattered Then

In accordance with Nikolay Starikov’s argument, the UK’s intention in escalating the Sarajevo events into a European war was to eliminate two of its primary rivals simultaneously, Germany and Russia. London anticipated itself having a free hand to dictate its will all across Eurasia, from Berlin to Baghdad and from the Barents Sea to the Bering Sea. History, however, would not have it that way, and a few notable black horses reared themselves on to the scene:
- The US entered World War I and was able to have deciding power in the makeup of post-World War I Europe. The UK was no longer the king of the continent, and from that moment onwards, its global sway began to relatively decrease as America’s rose.
- Japan, observing from afar how the European fratricide was weakening the collective power of the colonial states, took some German Pacific territories and set its designs on larger pan-Asian conquests less than two decades later.
- Russia rose from the ashes, internally transformed as the Soviet Union but externally similar to its Imperial boundaries.
- The Turks waged what they identify as a war of independence, overturning the Treaty of Sevres (which sought to carve up European spheres of influence in Anatolia) and replacing it with the Treaty of Lausanne.

These four dark horses were unpredictable in 1914, yet by 1924, they came to define a significant part of the international arena.

Why It Matters Now

Just as the British gambit for power in fomenting the opening salvos of World War I led to the unexpected emergence of several power centers, so too did the US’ unipolar debacle after the end of the Cold War. China, who the US had allied with in order to counter the USSR, experienced the fastest economic rise in the history of mankind, and it is on pace to surpass the US’ economy this year. Russia once more rose from its knees, with Putin returning the country to its historic great power status after the 1990s decade of downturns. In fact, both Russia and China are now enjoying the best state of mutual relations in their history. This has led them to coordinate their policies in the UN, BRICS, APEC, and the Mideast and North Africa. Clearly, this is not how American policy planners anticipated their “unipolar” world looking back in 1991. In fact, the multipolar future is growing out of the unipolar past, and the process appears to be irreversible now.


To channel Donald Rumsfeld, “there are unknown unknowns”, and it is impossible to predict what consequences will result from any given action. Nevertheless, it does seem that the larger the scale of the endeavor, the larger the actor is that’s initiating it, and the larger the target(s), the more likely the dark horses will be extremely profound and impactful. It can therefore be assessed that the US’ “battle for Eurasia” will accordingly result in an untold myriad of dark horses that can completely upend the global balance of power.

Political Pimping

Second and third-tier states (non-great powers) are always subject to the threat of manipulation, but this threat becomes a fact after a (distant) manipulative balancing power decides to pursue its strategic vision. These states are guaranteed to be victimized to some extent or another if they are in the theater of operations, and their victimization will be profited upon by the manipulating state. This may take the form of outright betrayal, backtracking on previous promises, or de-facto subserviating the second/third tier partner against its will or expectation. First-tier states can have respectful relations with second/third-tier ones, but once the first-tier state goes on the offensive to pursue its (messianic) vision, these relations immediately become dispensable and nothing more than political poker chips.

Why It Mattered Then

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Faisal ibn al-Hussein (1885-1933), King of Iraq from 1921 to his death. Take note of the flag of Arab Kingdom of Syria, which crowned Faisal as its King in March of 1920 and collapsed under French conquest four months later.

Two of the main problems in the Mideast can be traced back to this period: the Israel and Palestine issue and the region’s artificial, colonial borders. The Arabs were encouraged to rise up against the Turks in exchange for their independence after the war, per the McMahon-Hussein Correspondence, but this obviously did not occur. While the roots of the Israel and Palestine question during this time are well known (the Balfour Declaration), what is lesser known is the betrayal of the Arab Kingdom of Syria after World War I.

The Damascus Protocol of 1914 set the basis for the 1915-1916 McMahon-Hussein Correspondence, in which the borders of the future Arab Kingdom of Syria were to be specified. This was to include all of modern-day Syria, Lebanon, Israel, most of Western Jordan and Iraq, and parts of southern Turkey. Duplicitously, the British were at the same time busy conspiring with the French to divide the Mideast into colonial zones through the Sykes-Picot Agreement. Later, they concluded the Balfour Agreement in 1917 (which overlapped with the territory promised to the Arab Kingdom of Syria), clearly indicating that they never had any intention of honoring their promises of securing an independent Arab state centered around Syria. The destruction and occupation of the Arab Kingdom of Syria by France in 1920 doomed the dream of Syrian independence until after 1946. Even so, the French had by then forcibly dislocated Lebanon from Syria and even gave up Hatay Province to Turkey in 1939, despite both areas historically being part of Syrian civilization for centuries.

The betrayal of Syria after World War I is a textbook case of political pimping, and its legacy is the mangled Middle East of today.

Why It Matters Now

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US Ambassador April Glaspie met Saddam Hussein on July 25, 1990, just a week before the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait.

Second and third-tier states are more endangered now than ever before. Brzezinski’s destructive Eurasian Balkans strategy specifically targets the states in the Rimland, the majority of which fit this category (excluding India and China). Color Revolutions, for example, aspire to create a geopolitical earthquake to shatter the Eurasian Rimland and bring about the collapse of the Heartland. Other times, however, more traditional methods of warfare are employed hand-in-hand with diplomatic deception. The most stunning case is Iraq’s military engagement Kuwait in 1990.

April Glispie, the US Ambassador to Iraq at the time, all but gave Saddam the “green light” for his actions. Afterwards, this was used as justification for US military deployments in Saudi Arabia and the Gulf, the First and Second Gulf Wars, and the project for a “New Middle East”. The Arab Spring is but the latest iteration of the US’ grand strategic plans in the region, but had it not been for the First Gulf War (brought about by misleading assurances that the US would not intervene, in the same vein as the British assured the Germans in the run-up to World War I), none of this may have happened and at least over one million lives could have been spared.


Just as the Arabs were falsely promised freedom for rebelling against the Turks and Saddam was misled to believe that Iraq could have Kuwait, (distant) manipulative balancing powers typically exploit second and third-tier states solely to promote their own strategic objectives. Very rarely do they carry through with their promises or enact long-term assistance to their ‘allies’. These people and states are objects in the pursuit of greater goals, and being accorded as such, they are disposed of when they are no longer useful. By understanding the predatory nature of political pimps such as the UK and the US, second and third-tier states can work to avoid the fate that befell the Arab Kingdom of Syria and Saddam Hussein.

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Map of Europe after WWI until 1929

Dangerous Double Standards

Double standards can only be ‘stable’ if they are imposed by an unrivalled global hegemon – in all other cases, or once that aforementioned power begins to decline or others rise up against it (which inevitably happens), these double standards dangerously open up a Pandora’s Box of dark horses and black swans. Regardless, states (or groups of states) that feel they are in a position of overwhelming power and influence may take to the imposition of double standards out of pure short-sighted political convenience. It is easier to apply one standard to the vanquished and another to the victors.

Why It Mattered Then

The double standards of self-determination and ethnic nationalism are perhaps the most dangerous hypocrisies of the past century. After World War I, the victorious powers played a balancing game over ethnic blood. Their double standard was intended to reshape the map of Europe to their own liking, empowering some and handicapping others. Ironically, some states felt both effects. This was brought about by linking and separating various ethnic groups, uniting some while creating diasporas out of others.

Ethnic groups that were forcibly divided:
- Germans (Treaty of Versailles)
- Hungarians (Treaty of Trianon)

Ethnic groups allowed to be united:
- Poles
- Romanians

Fake state:
- Czechoslovakia

The Germans and Hungarians sought to change this artificial balance of ethnic distribution, hence one of the causes of World War II. The Poles and the Romanians, while housing the vast majority of their ethnic groups within their borders, had substantial minorities as well (Ukrainians and Belarusians for Poland, Hungarians for Romania). They were ‘nation states’ in the sense that the dominant nationalities were Polish and Romanian, but they were not ‘pure’ nation states because of their large minority groupings. Czechoslovakia was something altogether different, a hodgepodge of Germans, Czechs, Slovaks, and Hungarians. It was an unnatural entity created purely for political purposes. The double standards over ethnicity prevalent all throughout Europe in the post-World War I era would eventually spark the Second World War.

Why It Matters Now

Once more, self-determination and ethnic nationalism have been set free from Pandora’s Box, albeit this time by the US and its allies. Beginning in Kosovo, which had been declared an “exception” to the rule, an ethnic group violently agitated for (and received international military support for) self-determination and unilaterally declared it in 2008. At that time, Putin said that “The independence of Kosovo is a terrible precedent. In effect, it breaks up the entire system of international relations, a system that has taken not even decades but centuries to evolve…And undoubtedly, it may entail a whole chain of unpredictable consequences.” He concluded by saying that “Ultimately, it is a double-edged sword, and the other edge will bash them on the head some time”, which is very well what happened in the case of South Ossetia, Abkhazia, Crimea, and possibly, Donbass and the entirety of Novorossiya…and the cat has only just begun to jump out of the bag.


Double standards never result in stability, and they carry within them the seeds and embryos for future conflict and disorder. The question is how long it will take for the double standard to mature into a full-fledged problem, and what form and scope the opposition to this false standard takes. As is seen by the cases of post-World War I Europe and the modern-day world, certain double standards completely revolutionize international politics and can bring about the most unpredictable of outcomes. They are a sure recipe for eventual disaster.

Concluding Thoughts

The themes and consequences of World War I still eerily hold true today. The difference, however, is that the scope of instability and the potential theatre of operations has leapfrogged from Europe to all of Eurasia. Whereas the British were the prime drivers of pre-World War I balance of power politics and divide and rule policies, the US has now inherited this throne. The NATO alliance, having long outgrown its purpose and swelled itself with needless members, represents the most unstable military grouping that may very well bring about a war by miscalculation.

The geopolitical calculus remains the same – the seafaring power (the US) and its allies cannot allow a combination of continental states (Russia, China, Iran, and India) to unite in repelling it from Eurasia. Brzezinski’s Eurasian Balkans stratagem and Gene Sharp’s tactics have united in creating a dangerous new weapon of global warfare – Color Revolutions. The combination of Color Revolutions with the Kosovo Precedent, carried out under the aegis of US/NATO ‘leadership’, has fractured modern-day international relations and carries the potential to upend the peace between Great Powers that has prevailed for nearly 70 years.

The octopuses of war: WW1 propaganda maps in pictures

From John Bull charging across the Channel to take charge of Europe to scrapping dogs of all nations, these remarkable caricatures and cartoons show how cartography can be turned into a rhetoric of war

News: Maps from five centuries go on display at huge London fair

Black and white map by E. Zimmermann, published in Hamburg by W. Nölting in 1914.
Black and white map by E Zimmermann, published in Hamburg by W Nölting in 1914. Image: Tim Bryars Ltd
Anonymous map printed in 1914 by the Verlagsgesellschaft Union in Charlottenburg, a suburb of Berlin.
Anonymous map printed in 1914 by the Verlagsgesellschaft Union in Charlottenburg, a suburb of Berlin. Image: Tim Bryars Ltd
Two maps by Karl Lehmann-Dumont, both published in Dresden in 1914, both called “Humoristische Karte von Europa im Jahre 1914.
One of two maps by Karl Lehmann-Dumont, both published in Dresden in 1914, both called Humoristische Karte von Europa im Jahre 1914. Image: Tim Bryars Ltd
The second of two maps by Karl Lehmann-Dumont, both published in Dresden in 1914, both called “Humoristische Karte von Europa im Jahre 1914
The second of two maps by Karl Lehmann-Dumont, both published in Dresden in 1914, both called Humoristische Karte von Europa im Jahre 1914. Image: Tim Bryars Ltd
Fritz Elsner’s map of 1914, published in Cologne by F. Klotz and G. Cremer.
Fritz Elsner’s map of 1914, published in Cologne by F. Klotz and G. Cremer. Photograph: Tim Bryars Ltd
A splendid map showing the confidence felt by many at the start of the Great War that the combined might of Russia, France and the British Empire would swiftly defeat Germany and her buffoonish ally, the Austro-Hungarian Empire.
A splendid map showing the confidence felt by many at the start of the Great War that the combined might of Russia, France and the British empire would swiftly defeat Germany and her buffoonish ally, the Austro-Hungarian empire. Image: The Map House
A very scarce propaganda map, with the twin octopi of Prussia and the Austro-Hungarian Empire spreading their tentacles across central Europe.
A very scarce propaganda map, with the twin octopuses of Prussia and the Austro-Hungarian empire spreading their tentacles across central Europe. Image: Altea Antique Maps
The Dutch map by Louis Raemakers was published in Amsterdam in 1915. The title ‘Het Gekkenhuis (Oud Liedje, Nieuwe Wijs)’ translates roughly as ‘The Lunatic Asylum (Old Song, New Tune)’. That seems fairly appropriate for a neutral observer in a world gone mad. In fact, although neutral Holland is looking on and peacefully pulling on a pipe, he has a revolver handy; unlike Spain and Portugal, which are intent on their own affairs, Holland is watchful, peering over his shoulder at his belligerent neighbour. Under pressure from the German government the artist, Louis Raemaekers, was put him on trial for compromising Dutch neutrality. He was acquitted but crossed over to London to continue his work.
This Dutch map was published in 1915, after Italy had entered the war. The figure representing neutral Holland peers over his shoulder at his belligerent neighbour. Under pressure from Germany the artist was put on trial for compromising Dutch neutrality, and the Germans later put a price of 12,000 Guilders on his head.
Some of the artists became quite famous. This Karte von Europa im Jahre 1914 is a relatively early work by Walter Trier, a young man in his mid twenties at the time. He later illustrated Erich Kästner’s Emil and the Detectives, and his illustrations for children are probably his most lasting legacy. Trier was born to a German speaking Jewish family in Prague and by 1910 he’d gravitated, naturally enough, to Berlin, but he fled Berlin for London in 1936. It’s interesting to look at this map, which shows Britain as a buck-toothed Scotsman hiding the navy under the skirts of his kilt, in the context of the anti-Nazi material the exiled Trier created in Britain during the Second World War.
Some of the artists who created cartoon maps became famous. This is a relatively early work by Walter Trier, who later illustrated Emil and the Detectives. One can view this map, which depicts Britain as a Scotsman hiding the navy under his kilt, in the context of the anti-Nazi material the exiled Trier created in Britain during the war.
Hark! Hark! The Dogs Do Bark!
Hark! Hark! The Dogs Do Bark! is a British map of 1914 which presents the outbreak of war as a scrap between dogs: a French poodle, a British bulldog, a German dachshund, and an Austro-Hungarian mongrel. A British sailor towers over the map, the might of the Royal Navy straining at the leash. Image: Garwood & Voigt

Spanish King’s abdication causes Prince Charles to have wet dream

The Evening Harold

An excited Charles polishes his Crown An excited Charles polishes his Crown Prince Charles is said to be ‘very excited’ at the news King Juan Carlos of Spain is abdicating after a 39 year long reign.

“It’s coming, it’s coming, I’m going to be King soon” spurted Charles as he retired to his room to watch some Coronation porn and polish his Crown. When Charles emerged 15 minutes later he declared he was ‘hereditary and ready’.

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The BBC: Masters of Black Propaganda

Protesters occupy the BBC for it’s biased reporting of Israel’s assault on Gaza

Morning Star 02 August 2014. Posted in News

The BBC, refusing to explain the occupation of Palestine, is now occupied itself: “Seems likely to be the only time an occupation is commented on,” says comdedian Mark Thomas.

BBC occupied for Israel bias

Campaigners have occupied the lawn outside BBC Bristol over its #Gaza reporting.

IF BBC coverage of Israel’s systematic destruction of lives wasn’t sufficient to make people hot under the collar, the corporation’s justification of its role should do so.

“Our role is to explain what is happening and why and we endeavour to reflect a range of voices amid deeply held views,” says an anonymous spokesperson.

If that’s what it’s supposed to do, the BBC is failing its own criteria.

At no time do its correspondents explain that the Palestinians are a people under military occupation and that Israel is pursuing a relentless colonisation of the West Bank, which, under the 1993 Oslo accords, is supposed to be the site of an independent Palestinian state.

Israeli occupation forces should have evacuated the land they conquered in 1967 so a Palestinian Authority could be established and a permanent settlement finalised.

One reason alone stymied that agreement — Tel Aviv’s refusal to end its occupation of the West Bank, preferring instead to construct Jews-only settlements and infrastructure.

Israeli leaders, united in support of a maximalist zionist programme, have dredged up one pretext after another to justify their ethnic cleansing programme.

But the unspoken — except in unguarded moments — reason is that they are determined to hold on to the entire territory from the Mediterranean to the Jordan.

Benjamin Netanyahu’s Construction and Housing Minister Uri Ariel acknowledged two months ago that there are now about 400,000 Israeli settlers on the West Bank.

“I think that in five years there will be 550,000 or 600,000 Jews in Judea and Samaria,” he added.

Whatever marginal differences there may be in Netanyahu’s government about various issues, West Bank colonisation is not one of them.

Palestinians, whether from Christian or Muslim backgrounds, secular or Islamist, understand that the zionist juggernaut rolling over them and their land is facilitated by US and European Union subscription to the myth that Israel wants a peaceful solution encompassing a two-state solution.

Even the dogs in the street can see the falsity of this claim, but our political leaders persist with it to avoid having to act in accordance with their supposed opposition to the colonisation process.

They pretend that there is a military threat to Israel’s existence, that Palestinian resistance to occupation is terrorism and that “if we could just get some peace,” all would be well.

Their efforts to appear even-handed by equating oppressors and oppressed and urging “both sides” to show restraint are cynical attempts to obscure British backing for the regional bullyboy.

The BBC makes much of its reputation built over the years of penetrating the blanket of censorship to encourage people fighting for their freedom.

Clearly the Palestinians are children of a lesser god since their desire for an independent state and an end to Israeli military occupation is soaked in blood by state-of-the-art tanks, bombs and rockets and drowned in BBC crocodile tears.

How could any TV reporter with integrity refer to hundreds of slaughtered civilians being “caught in the crossfire” during a one-sided onslaught on schools, mosques, hospitals and homes?

The BBC professes its commitment to reporting “sometimes fast-moving events in an accurate, fair and balanced way.” Well, it’s falling down on the job.

The BBC Bristol occupation has shown the way. The national broadcaster belongs to us all, not just those who are indifferent to Palestinian humanity.

Film-maker Ken Loach tears into the BBC for its biased coverage of Israel’s assault on Gaza

Film-maker Ken Loach tore into the BBC for its biased coverage of Israel’s assault on Gaza as he joined an ongoing occupation outside the broadcaster’s headquarters in Bristol.

Speaking to the Morning Star from the front lawn of the BBC Bristol offices, Mr Loach said: “The protesters are doing a terrific job even as the BBC is threatening to get them evicted from the site.

“We should note that many at the BBC, including senior staff, are embarrassed by the broadcaster’s coverage that has an obvious pro-Israel bias.

“They don’t put the views of Palestinians to the Israelis during interviews, while the use of language about Gazans is pejorative and the war crimes being committed against them ignored.

“They’re not ‘militants’ or ‘terrorists,’ they’re ‘resistance fighters.’ On the one side innocent people are being massacred, while the other are setting off a few fireworks.

“It’s the BBC, we own it, so it should be answerable.”

He believes BBC editors will have no choice but to respond to the pressure but believes any change to their broadcasting habits will be a “tactical” one.

Palestine campaigners have occupied the front lawn of the BBC building in Bristol for the last week.

They are set to join thousands in a march through the city today against the “Israeli genocide” in Gaza. It is set to be the biggest protest in Bristol for a decade, with demonstrators departing Bristol’s Shah Jahal Mosque at noon for a rally on College Green.

And next week they are set to present a “damning dossier” to BBC Bristol TV editor Neil Bennett containing evidence of the broadcaster’s biased reporting and demand time to argue their case.

The activists are also arranging a public burning of TV licences and the occupation’s court summons, as well as making plans to resist the eviction and to shame the BBC.

Along with Mr Loach’s attendance to the picket, other high-profile artists and campaigners offered messages of support.

Among them was comedian Mark Thomas, who said: “The BBC reporting of the Israeli military assault on Gaza has failed time and time again to contextualise the violence, refusing to explain the occupation of Palestine and the siege of Gaza.

“Ironically the occupation of the BBC in Bristol seems likely to be the only time an occupation is commented on.”

Uprootedpalestinians's Blog


british empire

“BBC News is the department of the BBC responsible for the gathering and broadcasting of news and current affairs. The department is the world’s largest broadcast news organisation and generates about 120 hours of radio and television output every day, as well as online news coverage at bbc.co.uk/news. The service maintains 44 foreign news bureaux and has correspondents in almost all the world’s 240 countries.”  (BBC)

The BBC started broadcasting as the British Broadcasting Company in 1922.  Its call sign became ‘London calling’ and London it was with its wealth of colonial wile and the stamp of its military.  Reith, the seventh child of a Presbyterian minister, founded it.  An Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Cosmo Lang told Reith: ‘Whoever holds your job is, or should be, the most influential man in the country.’  The illusion of democracy provided by the House of Commons and the Cabinet depends greatly on…

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Blair’s ‘plan to save EU’: speculation of another bid for Presidency

President Blair’s ‘plan to save EU’: He tells Germany’s Merkel he will ‘defend Europe’ from the far-right… fuelling speculation of another bid for Presidency

  • The former Prime Minister reportedly had a meeting with German Chancellor
  • He allegedly offered her his services in a high-profile ‘pro-European role’
  • Mr Blair reacted angrily over claims, saying he was ‘not seeking new role’


Tony Blair reacted angrily over claims he was preparing to mount another bid to become President of Europe

Tony Blair reacted angrily over claims he was preparing to mount another bid to become President of Europe


Tony Blair was at the centre of  a row last night over claims that he was preparing to mount another bid to become President of Europe.

The former Prime Minister reacted angrily after the Financial Times ran a leaked account of his meeting with Angela Merkel last Tuesday, claiming he had offered his services to the German Chancellor in a  high-profile ‘pro-European role’.

The newspaper – which enjoys a close relationship with the Brussels elite – said the former PM had made it clear to Ms Merkel that he was willing to ‘defend the EU from its increasingly vocal critics’.

A ‘Blair ally’ was quoted as saying that as part of the ‘general catch-up’, Mr Blair and Ms Merkel discussed how to combat gains by anti-EU parties in the Euro elections, with Mr Blair offering to  tour Europe and the world persuading people that ‘being in the EU is good for you’ – despite its financial problems and claims that it has lost touch with voters.

But Mr Blair’s office issued a statement yesterday, which insisted: ‘Tony Blair is not seeking any role, has not discussed any role and doesn’t want any role.’ Mr Blair was understood to be particularly angered by any implication that  the alleged offer was part of a plot to win the Presidency of the EU when Herman Van Rompuy, who beat Blair to the post in 2009, steps down in November.

But insiders told the MoS they believed it was ‘no coincidence’ that reports of his renewed Brussels ambitions came as EU leaders discussed Van Rompuy’s succession.

The leak of Mr Blair’s bid to be ‘Europe’s antidote to Nigel Farage’ – as one Eurosceptic Labour source put it – came 24 hours before he makes a speech in London calling  on political leaders to hit back hard at ‘populists’ like Farage.

Tory MP Douglas Carswell said: ‘It was on Tony Blair’s watch that the banking bubble ballooned and we had mass immigration on an unprecedented scale. It was when he was dealing with Europe as Prime Minister that the EU reform agenda fell flat on its face. The idea that he can solve its problems as President is ludicrous. Blair belongs to the past.’

While opposing any attempt to make Mr Blair EU President, Mr Carswell argued that if it went ahead, it would backfire by making it more, not less, likely that Britain would leave the EU.

‘Having him as chief eurocrat, drawing a huge publicly-funded salary, would remind undecided voters what they are against,’ he said. ‘They voted for eurosceptic parties last month precisely because of the supranational EU elite personified by Blair.’

Responding to the rise of Ukip  last week, Mr Blair was criticised for complaining about voters who elected Ukip MEPs opposed to rampant immigration – after running  an ‘open-door’ policy on migrants while in office.

Mr Blair met with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, pictured above, and allegedly offered his services to her in a 'pro-European role', saying he was willing to 'defend the EU'

Mr Blair met with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, pictured above, and allegedly offered his services to her in a ‘pro-European role’, saying he was willing to ‘defend the EU’


Mr Blair said it was wrong that the debate on the EU was dominated by ‘anti-immigrant feeling and a desire to get Britain out of Europe’. These were ‘not answers to what is happening in the world’.

But critics were quick to point out the massive rise in immigration during Mr Blair’s term of office.

Mr Blair said: ‘Of course, we should be worried when a party like Ukip comes first in the European election, it would be foolish not to be. But, on the other hand, we also have to stand for what is correct and right for the future of Britain in the 21st Century.

‘When the world is changing so fast, to end up having the debate dominated by anti-immigrant feeling and a desire to get Britain out  of Europe, these are not solutions for the 21st Century.’

Quietly-spoken Belgian Mr Van Rompuy, famously described by Nigel Farage as having ‘all the charisma of a damp rag and the appearance of a low-grade bank clerk’ defeated Blair for the prestigious £250,000 a year presidency in 2009.

‘The idea that he can solve its problems as president is ludicrous’

Tory MP Douglas Carswell

On that occasion, Mrs Merkel played a critical role in blocking the appointment of Mr Blair, despite strong backing from then British Prime Minister Gordon Brown.

This time it is believed Mr Blair wants to be sure of Mrs Merkel’s support in advance, to avoid a  repeat of his humiliating defeat.

In 2009, several EU leaders claimed he was ‘too flamboyant’ to be EU President and would be too powerful. Others refused to forgive him for his role in the Iraq War.

Undeterred, Mr Blair launched a campaign for the post to become directly elected, giving the EU President far more power.

In 2010, he said the EU needed a strong leader approved by the people and warned that the Eurozone financial crisis could lead to a political divide between the UK and the rest of Europe. ‘A Europe-wide election for the presidency… is the most direct way to involve the public,’ he said.

Significantly, he said one of the reasons for having a directly elected EU President was the weakness of the European parliament.

The EU President chairs meetings of the European Council and represents the EU at world summits.

l David Cameron was last night reported to have warned he would no longer be able to guarantee that Britain would remain a member of the EU if European leaders elect Jean-Claude Juncker as European Commission chief, according to Germany’s Spiegel magazine.

It said Mr Cameron is likely to move Britain’s 2017 in/out referendum forward if the EU selects Juncker, whom Mr Cameron regards as too federalist.

… While in Egypt ex-PM and his spin doctor prop up the mass-murdering regime of General Sisi

Victims of last year’s military coup in Egypt have accused Tony Blair and his former spin doctor Alastair Campbell of assisting a brutal regime responsible for mass killings, torture and the jailing of thousands of innocent people.

As the coup leader – a former army spy chief – was crowned President in a controversial election last week, they condemned the pair for helping  a military strongman trying to win international approval  after overthrowing an  elected government.

‘I still have a bullet in my chest,’ said Mohamed Tareq, a biology lecturer shot three times while helping victims of a massacre that killed hundreds of protesters. ‘Is this the democracy these people are promoting to the West?’

Former spin doctor Alistair Campbell apparently visited Egypt for lengthy talks with senior aides and politicians on how to defend the coup and its bloody aftermath, pictured above, in the international media

Former spin doctor Alistair Campbell apparently visited Egypt for lengthy talks with senior aides and politicians on how to defend the coup and its bloody aftermath, pictured above, in the international media


Their anger came as new evidence emerged of Campbell’s reported role offering advice to the regime of Egypt’s ruler Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.

The Mail on Sunday revealed last week how Campbell, forced to resign from Downing Street in 2003 after his role in the Iraq War ‘dodgy dossier’ scandal, had visited the country for talks with Sisi’s team.

Campbell refused to say if he was being paid. In February, he spoke at a conference in the United Arab Emirates, one of the Gulf states providing financial support to Egypt since the coup.

However, this newspaper can reveal new details of Campbell’s secretive Cairo mission to discuss ‘spinning’ the Sisi regime to the rest of the world.

Diplomatic sources in Cairo  say Campbell had lengthy talks with senior aides and politicians on how to defend the coup and its bloody aftermath in the international media.

‘They have been very bad at getting their message across,’ said one source.

In recent weeks, Sisi advisers have visited the US and Brussels to push the line that a shattered Egypt needs stability to survive and seek foreign investment.

Mr Campbell, left, and former Prime Minister Tony Blair, right, pictured in 2001, are accused by victims of last year's military coup of offering advice to the regime of Egypt's ruler, Abdel Fattah al-Sisi

Mr Campbell, left, and former Prime Minister Tony Blair, right, pictured in 2001, are accused by victims of last year’s military coup of offering advice to the regime of Egypt’s ruler, Abdel Fattah al-Sisi


Insiders say the aim is to play down ‘regrettable’ outrages of the post-coup regime and play up abuses by Mohamed Morsi’s deposed Muslim Brotherhood government, while defending press curbs and clampdowns on protests as politically necessary.

Rasha Gafaar, a freelance journalist accused of sending footage to Arab television station al-Jazeera, yesterday became  the latest reporter seized for supposedly aiding the banned Muslim Brotherhood. One ex-BBC journalist is among those on trial accused of similar collusion.

Former journalist Campbell has admitted discussing ‘perceptions in the international media about Egypt’ – and one senior official who met him complained the West did not understand events  in his nation.

‘Our political discourse is not very strong and we are not trained to speak to the Western mentality,’ said the official. ‘Democracy is an issue that is relative.’

On Thursday, Sisi won a landslide victory; his only rival came third behind spoiled ballots. Apathy and boycotts led to school and shopping mall closures, a hasty public holiday and polling extended a day to boost turnout.

Supporters say new president Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, who mounted his coup in July last year, will provide stability

Supporters say new president Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, who mounted his coup in July last year, will provide stability


His triumph – still with far fewer votes than he had demanded – was greeted with fireworks and flag-waving in Cairo’s Tahrir Square, scene of the Arab Spring protests three years ago that ousted the corrupt dictator Hosni Mubarak.

But the square was far from filled; street vendors selling  T-shirts with Sisi’s image on them told me trade was terrible.

Sisi mounted his military coup last July after massive street protests against Morsi. Since then, an estimated 1,600 dissidents have been killed, 16,000 stuffed into overcrowded jails and up to 40,000 arrested.

Despite this, Blair praised the army intervention for the ‘rescue’ of Egypt, saying it was the ‘will of the people… to take the country to the next stage of its development, which should be democratic’.

Amr Moussa, an adviser to Sisi, said they welcomed the help of anyone who understood the deep challenges facing Egyptians.

‘Tony is an intelligent man,’ he said. ‘He has been here several times. He knows what is needed.’

Most of the Mubarak old guard and business elite back the new regime. Days after Morsi’s fall  last July, the telecoms billionaire Naguib Sawiris hosted Blair on his new super-yacht in St Tropez, where they discussed the restoration of order in Egypt.

Sisi’s supporters argue Morsi lost legitimacy by turning most of the country against him with his incompetence and sectarianism.

‘Why should we have to suffer for another three years to have the trimmings of democracy in order to please the West?’ asked Mohamed Salmawy, a celebrated author who helped create a new constitution and has met with Cathy Ashton, EU foreign affairs chief.

‘If the army had not responded, there would have been civil war.’ But human rights groups, journalists and activists allege that repression is now the worst in recent Egyptian history. ‘This is worse than Mubarak,’ said a Human Rights Watch spokesman. ‘The scale of mass protester killings is unprecedented.’

The most savage massacre was last August, when almost 1,000 people were slaughtered and many more injured. Soldiers – who claim to have come under fire first – surrounded a Cairo protest camp in support of Morsi, then fired into it for several hours.

A soldier and voters pictured last week. Mr Blair praised the army intervention for 'rescuing' Egypt, saying it was in line with the 'will of the people',  who wanted the country to be taken into democracy

A soldier and voters pictured last week. Mr Blair praised the army intervention for ‘rescuing’ Egypt, saying it was in line with the ‘will of the people’, who wanted the country to be taken into democracy


Lecturer Tareq, 34, was among those caught in the carnage, shot three times. Tareq was sacked by his university and still remains in severe pain – but he believes he escaped lightly compared to  those he saw with faces blown apart and innards spilling out.

‘It felt like we were watching genocide,’ he said.

Haitham Ghonim, a call centre training supervisor set off to buy a new car earlier this year.
Arriving at the area where drivers come to sell their cars, he passed an anti-coup protest of 150 people.

Then, as he looked at the vehicles, armoured cars blocked off the street at either end and security forces began blasting away with birdshot. Gas canisters were also fired and, amid the chaos, an officer was heard telling his troops to fire live rounds, but they refused.

The car owners, desperate to protect their vehicles, hurled back stones, prompting the officer himself to start shooting.

‘There were two men in front of me,’ said Haitham, 29. ‘One was shot in the leg, then a second man was hit in the abdomen and while we tried to help he was dying in front of us. I could not believe it – these guys were just selling cars.’

Haitham was picked up by police, kicked and beaten with a rifle butt, then thrown in a military bus. Inside was an injured young man slipping out of consciousness.

‘I begged them to open the door to let in air for this man. But they just kept telling us we were not human beings, we were sheep, that we must die.’

The brutal assaults continued as they were taken to a police station and questioned over links to the Muslim Brotherhood.

Haitham had not voted for Morsi, yet was singled out for the most vicious abuse since he shared his last name with a prominent figure in the original pro-democracy protests. ‘Officers came and told me that if I was his brother they would rape me, then kill me.’

Eventually this bruised and battered man was thrown in a tiny, stinking cell crammed with 70 other people. He was held for 26 days without trial.

So what did Haitham think of prominent figures telling the world Egypt was on the path to progress? ‘These people should come and live with us if they think this is democracy,’ he said. ‘They are helping destroy our revolution.

‘Those who are promoting a regime that is killing, torturing and locking up so many Egyptians have blood on their hands also.’

La pèrdua de l’ós polar un invent/LA PÈRDUA DE L’ÓS POLAR UN INVENT

La República Catalana

Polar Bear Losses an Invention

bear hugThe lonely bear with her lonely cub in her lonely ice floe, the cuddly poster of global warmers, is not so lonely after all. Below: “Stop global warming.”

The Polar Bear Specialist Group of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature confesses that polar bear losses because of global warming they predicted “scientifically” in 2005 were a necessary lie “to satisfy public demand.” Their official statement:

“As part of past status reports, the Polar Bear Specialist Group has traditionally estimated a range for the total number of polar bears in the circumpolar Arctic. Since 2005, this range has been 20-25,000. It is important to realize that this range never has been an estimate of total abundance in a scientific sense, but simply a qualified guess given to satisfy public demand. It is also important to note that even though we have scientifically valid estimates…

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Jurassic farce: Desperate Tories clone past leader to woo voters from UKIP

The Evening Harold

Margaret-Thatcher1 Everyone stay still, her vision is based on movement

Following another incident in the South West the Tory party has finally admitted that it has been cloning Margaret Thatcher and other past members that it believes will appeal specifically to Ukip voters. Operation Enoch is believed to have been running for at least a year and be located on Lundy island twelve miles off the Devon coast.

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Chilcot Inquiry, ‘More is at stake than the evasion of responsibility for a war that turned into a fiasco’

Uprootedpalestinians's Blog

‘More is at stake than the evasion of responsibility for a war that turned into a fiasco’

The decision to keep secret the full correspondence between George W Bush and Tony Blair instead of allowing the Chilcot inquiry to publish it has been rightly pilloried as a self-serving, dishonest attempt by politicians and civil servants to conceal their role in a disastrous war in Iraq.

By focusing public attention on exchanges between Bush and Blair that are to remain secret, the agreement between Sir John Chilcot and Sir Jeremy Heywood, the Cabinet Secretary, gives the impression that there are bodies still buried and yet to be unearthed. This diverts attention from the fact that the most evil-smelling of these bodies have always been in plain sight. Who really thinks that Blair and his coterie were truthful in saying they believed that Saddam Hussein with his weapons of mass destruction…

View original post 845 more words

Study confirms all men are bastards

The Evening Harold

BadgeA 20 year-long study by Dunstable Psychology Professor Sue Rodgers has concluded that all men are in fact bastards. The study has attracted criticism due to the unusually small sample size (one) but Professor Rodgers argues that the findings are still ‘robust’.

“Just studying one man meant I could really dig deep and find what men are truly about, which is that they are bastards” explained Rodgers. “Tell me any other study that has gone to the extent of studying all the texts on a man’s phone and spread sheeting the 8,432 messages to and from that MANKY WHORE.”

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Fabrication in BBC Panorama 'Saving Syria’s Children'

Analysis of the 30 September 2013 BBC Panorama documentary 'Saving Syria's Children' and related BBC News reports, contending that sequences filmed by BBC personnel and others at Atareb Hospital, Aleppo on 26 August 2013 purporting to show the aftermath of an incendiary bomb attack on a nearby school are largely, if not entirely, staged.


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