Al Jazeera editorial policy run by Western agents? - cf British clandestine "German" WWII radio station. Orwell's World War II BBC Broadcasts to India, from the Ministry of Information

Peter Myers, March 27, 2010; update June 25, 2014.

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UPDATE September 26, 2011: Al-Jazeera Director resigns after Wikeleaks reveals ties to US Intelligence. See item 15 below.

Al Jazeera is the chief conduit of "Osama Bin Laden" messages, even though they motivate the West to fight Islam.

Al Jazeera has unparalled reach in the Arab/Moslem world. Yet it broadcasts "Bin Laden" tapes without questioning their veracity. These tapes accept responsibility for 9/11, and threaten the West - thus fuelling the War on Terror, even when more people are questioning it.

Many of the initial staff at Al Jazeera came from the BBC Arabic service. It would not be surprising if a few British or US agents were among them. Mossad agents are less likely but not impossible. Such agents could be running editorial policy at Al Jazeera.

Al Jazeera is based in Qatar. The US also launched its invasion of Iraq from Qatar - because Turkey & Saudi Arabia refused. Therefore, the Emir must be compliant.

"Qatar is an oil- and gas-rich nation, with the third largest gas reserves and the highest GDP per capita in the world" - Wikipedia, as modified on 28 March 2010 at 16:54:

"The channel began broadcasting in late 1996, with many staff joining from the BBC World Service's Saudi-co-owned Arabic language TV station, which had shut down in April 1996 after two years of operation because of censorship demands by the Saudi Arabian government" - Wikipedia, as of 25 March 2010 at 14:40:

David Ray Griffin exposes the Bin Laden videos after December 2001 as fake, in his book Osama Bin Laden: Dead or Alive? Griffin updates his 2009 book on Bin Laden, in this article:

Did Osama bin Laden Confess to the 9/11 Attacks, and Did He Die, in 2001?
by Prof David Ray Griffin
April 30, 2010

Qatar, a very small but oil-rich city-state, is like a fat goose in need of defence from foxes; what better guardian than the chief fox? This is the theme of one of Beatrix Potter's childrens' books, and also of the story of Little Red Riding Hood.

The Tale of Jemima Puddle-Duck <>

"The farmer's wife believes ducks are poor sitters and confiscates Jemima Puddle-Duck's eggs for the hens to incubate. Jemima is indignant and insists on hatching them herself. She tries to hide them but they are always found. She therefore decides to lay her eggs away from the farm and seeks out a nesting place in the forest. A charming gentleman fox talks her into nesting at his home in a shed mysteriously filled with an ample supply of feathers."

The question arises, could one or more foreign intelligence agents be embedded among Al Jazeera's employees, to help screen and shape the news?

Not to be naive, one should assume that all major media in all countries have, as one of their employees, an agent of the internal intelligence agency, who screens the news. That agent would be a full-time employee of the newspaper or TV station, who doubles as a spy on the side and probably receives top-up remuneration for that.

This realization first came to me when, as a senior employee of an important government department, I had the impression that my boss was suggesting that I might like to join ASIO (Australia's internal spy agency). Further, Ari Ben Menashe wrote that when The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald were offered Mordecai Vanunu's photos of Israel's nuclear reactor - which would have been a world scoop - instead of running the story, they contacted ASIO, which contacted ASIS (the external spy service), which contacted Mossad: vanunu.html.

During World War II, Britain secretly ran an ostensibly German radio station mounting PRO-HITLER propaganda. Its information was reliable 99 times out of a 100, but on the hundredth it would drive the Germans into a trap set by the allies. (item 5)

9/11 as an Inside Job: wtc.html

(1) Al Jazeera TV broadcasts "Osama Bin Laden" audio tape (2010) threatening to kill Americans
(2) Transcript - Al Jazeera TV, Qatar
(3) Conflicting Bin Laden statements ADMIT and DENY responsibility for 9/11; Bin Laden reported dead
(4) US launched its attack on Iraq from Qatar - because Turkey & Saudi Arabia refused
(5) British clandestine "German" WWII radio station purporting to be pro-Hitler
(6) Waging war on Hitler by Pornography: British short wave station pretended to be German
(7) Orwell's World War II BBC Broadcasts to India, from the Ministry of Information
(8) Orwell dobbs crypto-Communists
(9) Special Branch kept tabs on Orwell as "a man of advanced communist views"
(10) Animal Farm the movie - produced by the CIA
(11) Orwell on Trotskyists
(12) Orwell on the theme of "Animal Farm"
(13) Orwell liked rustic simplicity: no electricity, no hot water, no indoor toilet
(14) Orwell completed "1984" on the Scottish island of Jura (west coast - Inner Hebrides)
(15) Al-Jazeera Director resigns after Wikeleaks reveals ties to US Intelligence

(1) Al Jazeera TV broadcasts "Osama Bin Laden" audio tape (2010) threatening to kill Americans

Osama bin Laden, in tape, threatens to kill Americans

Thu Mar 25, 2010 8:03am EDT

DUBAI, March 25 (Reuters) - Osama bin Laden, in a fresh audiotape, threatened to execute any Americans taken prisoner by al Qaeda if accused Sept. 11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed is executed, al Jazeera television reported on Thursday. (Writing by Cynthia Johnston) ...

Notice that the following Al Jazeera report does not question the reliability of the "Bin Laden" tape; it ASSUMES its veracity:

Bin Laden threatens Americans


Osama bin Laden has in a new audio recording threatened to kill any Americans that al-Qaeda takes prisoner if Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, considered as one of the masterminds behind the September 11 attacks, is executed.

The latest recording purportedly from the al-Qaeda chief was broadcast on Al Jazeera on Thursday.

"The day America will take such decision [to execute Mohammed and any others] it would have taken a decision to execute whoever we capture," Bin Laden said. ...

(2) Transcript - Al Jazeera TV, Qatar

[Transcript] Mosaic News - 3/25/10: World News From The Middle East

Bin Laden threatens Americans with execution

Al Jazeera TV, Qatar

Presenter, Female #1 Al-Qaeda leader Osama Ben Laden threatened to kill any American national who fell into the hands of the organization if the American administration executes Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and al-Qaeda members who are on trial for their involvement in the September 11 events.

Presenter, Male #1 In a recorded message, Ben Laden said that American President Barack Obama continues to follow in the footsteps of his predecessor.

Guest, Male #1 (Al-Qaeda leader Osama Ben Laden) "To the American people, peace be upon those who follow the guidance. My message is about our prisoners that you are holding. Your master in the White House continues to follow in the footsteps of his predecessor in many important matters, like his escalation of the war in Afghanistan and the oppression of our prisoners you are holding, first and foremost among them the mujahid and hero, Khaled Sheikh Muhammad. The White House declared that it wanted to execute them. The day the US makes this decision, it will have made the decision to execute those of you who fall prisoner to us. The White House politicians have oppressed us and continue to do so, especially in their support of the Israeli occupation of our land, Palestine. They thought that beyond the oceans, America would be safe from the wrath of the oppressed, but the response came powerful and resounding on your soil on 9/11, by the grace of Allah. Happy is he who learns the lessons of others. It is just to respond in kind. Wars have their vicissitudes, and the tide of battle ebbs and flows."

Presenter, Male #1 Joining us from Amman is journalist and expert on Islamic groups, Yasser al-Zaatrah.

Presenter, Woman #1 Mr. Yasser, what is the significance of this speech? Is al-Qaeda speaking from a position of strength?

Guest, Male #4 (Political Analyst Yasser al-Zaatrah) Regardless of whether or not al-Qaeda is speaking from a position of strength, the 9/11 group led by Khalid Sheik Mohammed is the most important one in the history of the organization. It has launched the most important battle, the September 11 attacks on the US. Therefore, it is normal for Ben Laden to keep up with the group and follow the trials in the US. He is responding to the possibility that Khalid Sheik Mohammed or anyone else from the 9/11 group can be executed. Ben laden threatens to kill any American hostage that falls into the hands of al-Qaeda, which can happen. Americans can be taken hostage in many areas within the Arab and Muslim worlds, not to mention that Americans can also be directly captured in Afghanistan. ...

(3) Conflicting Bin Laden statements ADMIT and DENY responsibility for 9/11; Bin Laden reported dead

Bin Laden's interview of September 28, 2001 denies any involvement in 9/11, whereas the Al- Jazeera broadcast of October 14, 2001 or a little earlier, says "And the storms will not calm, especially the aircraft storm".

(a) Bin Laden denials


Sunday, September 16, 2001,2933,34440,00.html

... Bin Laden has denied any connection to the attacks, though he has praised them. On Sunday, he reiterated his denial in a statement read by Qatar's al-Jazeera satellite television channel. 

"I stress that I have not carried out this act, which appears to have been carried out by individuals with their own motivation," read the al-Jazeera announcer from the statement. 

Fox News has learned that U.S officials were alerted by the Israeli foreign intelligence service, the Mossad, in August that a major attack was being planned by groups associated with, or even directly run by, bin Laden.

Mossad itself is suspect; Bin Laden could have been merely a scapegoat. On 9/11, a number of Israelis were caught videoing the event, and celebrating: wtc.html.

Ummat, an Urdu-language daily newspaper based in Karachi, Pakistan, reportedly carried an interview with Bin Laden in its Friday, 28 September 2001 edition, pages 1 & 7, in which Bin Laden says,

"I have already said that I am not involved in the 11 September attacks in the United States. As a Muslim, I try my best to avoid telling a lie. I had no knowledge of these attacks":

No longer at

but it is at

Al-Qa'idah group had nothing to do with the 11 September attacks says Bin Laden

Usamah Bin-Ladin has been interviewed by the Pakistani paper Ummat.

The story appeared in the 28th September edition.

Some of the key points of the interview were :-

Usamah Bin-Ladin says Al-Qa'idah group had nothing to do with the 11 September attacks on the USA

Usamah Bin-Ladin suggests that Jews or US secret services were behind the attacks.

Usamah Bin-Ladin suggests that there exists a secret government within the government in the United Sates and that secret government must be asked as to who made the attacks.

{Question 1} You have been accused of involvement in the attacks in New York and Washington. What do you want to say about this? If you are not involved, who might be?

{Answer} Usamah: In the name of Allah, the most beneficent, the most merciful. ... I am thankful to The Ummat Group of Publications, which gave me the opportunity to convey my viewpoint to the people, particularly the valiant and Momin [true Muslim] people of Pakistan who refused to believe in lie of the demon. I have already said that I am not involved in the 11 September attacks in the United States. ... The United States should try to trace the perpetrators of these attacks within itself; the people who are a part of the US system, but are dissenting against it. Or those who are working for some other system; persons who want to make the present century as a century of conflict between Islam and Christianity so that their own civilization, nation, country, or ideology could survive. They can be any one, from Russia to Israel and from India to Serbia. In the US itself, there are dozens of well-organized and well-equipped groups, which are capable of causing a large-scale destruction. Then you cannot forget the American Jews, who are annoyed with President Bush ever since the elections in Florida and want to avenge him. Then there are intelligence agencies in the US, which require billions of dollars worth of funds from the Congress and the government every year. ... Is it not that there exists a government within the government in the United Sates? That secret government must be asked as to who made the attacks. ...

(b) Bin Laden's death reported

Osama Bin Laden obituary in Arabic, published in 2001 (.jpg file); English translation is below

A translated article of the Egyptian Newspaper al-Wafd, published on Wednesday, December 26, 2001 Vol 15 No 4633 suggests that Osama Bin Laden died in 2001. The article was titled "News of bin Laden's Death and Funeral 10 days ago":

Translation of Funeral Article in Egyptian Paper: al-Wafd, Wednesday, December 26, 2001 Vol 15 No 4633

  Islamabad - A prominent official in the Afghan Taliban movement announced yesterday the death of Osama bin Laden, the chief of al-Qa'da organization, stating that bin Laden suffered serious complications in the lungs and died a natural and quiet death. The official, who asked to remain anonymous, stated to The Observer of Pakistan that he had himself attended the funeral of bin Laden and saw his face prior to burial in Tora Bora 10 days ago. He mentioned that 30 of al-QaÕda fighters attended the burial as well as members of his family and some friends from the Taliban. In the farewell ceremony to his final rest guns were fired in the air. The official stated that it is difficult to pinpoint the burial location of bin Laden because according to the Wahhabi tradition no mark is left by the grave. He stressed that it is unlikely that the American forces would ever uncover any traces of bin Laden.


Fox News

Wednesday, December 26, 2001,2933,41576,00.html

Observer reported, citing a Taliban leader who allegedly attended the funeral of the Al Qaeda leader.

"The Coalition troops are engaged in a mad search operation but they would never be able to fulfill their cherished goal of getting Usama alive or dead," the source said.

Bin Laden, according to the source, was suffering from a serious lung complication and succumbed to the disease in mid-December, in the vicinity of the Tora Bora mountains. The source claimed that bin Laden was laid to rest honorably in his last abode and his grave was made as per his Wahabi belief.

About 30 close associates of bin Laden in Al Qaeda, including his most trusted and personal bodyguards, his family members and some "Taliban friends," attended the funeral rites. A volley of bullets was also fired to pay final tribute to the "great leader."

The Taliban source who claims to have seen bin Laden's face before burial said "he looked pale ... but calm, relaxed and confident."

Asked whether bin Laden had any feelings of remorse before death, the source vehemently said "no." Instead, he said, bin Laden was proud that he succeeded in his mission of igniting awareness amongst Muslims about hegemonistic designs and conspiracies of "pagans" against Islam. Bin Laden, he said, held the view that the sacrifice of a few hundred people in Afghanistan was nothing, as those who laid their lives in creating an atmosphere of resistance will be adequately rewarded by Almighty Allah.

When asked where bin Laden was buried, the source said, "I am sure that like other places in Tora Bora, that particular place too must have vanished."

Usama bin Laden has died a peaceful death due to an untreated lung complication, the Pakistan Observer reported, citing a Taliban leader who allegedly attended the funeral of the Al Qaeda leader. "The Coalition troops are engaged in a mad search operation but they would never be able to fulfill their cherished goal of getting Usama alive or dead," the source said. [FOX News]

For more evidence that Bin Laden is dead, see

(c) Bin Laden admissions

BBC London reported on Sunday, 14 October, 2001, 04:22 GMT 05:22 UK, an Al-Qaeda statement from Sulaiman Abu Ghaith. The statement was transmitted on al-Jazeera TV and says "And the storms will not calm, especially the aircraft storm".

In full: Al-Qaeda statement

Sunday, 14 October, 2001, 04:22 GMT 05:22 UK

{photo caption} The statement was transmitted on al-Jazeera TV {end caption}

Sulaiman Abu Ghaith, a spokesman for Osama Bin Laden's al-Qaeda group, has said the group will retaliate against the US and UK for the air strikes on Afghanistan. Below is the full text of his videotaped statement:

... "And the storms will not calm, especially the aircraft storm.

"These storms will not calm until you retreat in defeated in Afghanistan, stop your assistance to the Jews in Palestine, end the siege imposed on the Iraqi people, leave the Arabian Peninsula, and stop your support for the Hindus against the Muslims in Kashmir.

"We also say and advise the Muslims in the United States and Britain, the children, and those who reject the unjust US policy not to travel by plane.

"We also advise them not to live in high-rise buildings and towers.

Other "admissions", generally released through Al Jazeera, have occurred from time to time, for more than eight years after 9/11.

At the very least, Al Jazeera ought have treated subsequent "Bin Laden" tapes with some caution, eg prefixing their author with the word "alleged". But it seems not to have done so.

(4) US launched its attack on Iraq from Qatar - because Turkey & Saudi Arabia refused

The US launched its attack on Iraq from Qatar, because Turkey and Saudi Arabia refused permission for the US to attack Iraq from their bases:


New York Post, August 6, 2002

WASHINGTON - These dramatic satellite photos show just how far U.S. preparations for war with Iraq have advanced. They are images of the state-of-the-art al Udeid air base in Qatar, which has been significantly upgraded over the last six months and is expected to be used as America's base for military operations against Saddam Hussein.

(5) British clandestine "German" WWII radio station purporting to be pro-Hitler

This material below was at but has been removed and replaced with paintings. Read more about the original webpage at

This material may now be seen at



This is the true story of The British Black Propaganda Operation in World War Two.

Sefton Delmer had an extraordinary ability to empathise and understand the German mind. ...

In 1940 at the outset of the war Sefton Delmer decided the time had come for him no longer report the war but to take an active part. At seventeen stone he realised he would be of no use to the fighting forces so, he approached the two friends he knew to have something to do with the secret intelligence world, Ian Fleming and Leonard Ingrams. The British security services were very wary of him; indeed they considered him a possible Nazi Agent. His acquaintance with the Nazis was held not to be a qualification but was held against him.

During the time he was awaiting security clearance and at the request of Duff Cooper he gave a number of talks over the BBC to Germany. One notable broadcast in which he replied to Hitlers final peace offer telling Hitler that we here in Britain hurl it his back at him into his evil smelling teeth, caused eruptions in both Germany, and the House of Commons.

Receiving clearance from the security services he joined the newly formed Political Warfare Executive in Woburn. He was to be in charge of a clandestine radio station broadcasting to Germany, a station purporting to be inside Germany itself, it was to be an answer to The Workers Challenge a German propaganda station using foul language, and listened to avidly by old ladies in Brighton and Eastbourne. Sefton Delmer was of the opinion it was a waste of breath and electric power to appeal to a non existent anti Nazi element in Germany, and that they would have to be tricked.

To this end he created a right wing short wave station called Gustav Seigfied Eins signallers German for George Sugar One. The voice was that of a character to be called Der Chef, a die hard Prussian officer of the old school and by pretending to be all for Hitler and his war. Would make appeals to the 'inner pigdog' inside every German, at the same time inject some item of news into his mind which will make him think, and act, in a way that is contrary to the efficient conduct of the war."Der Chef was a huge success with his salacious stories and soon gained large audiences.

It was the Navy that first saw the potential of black propaganda, Ian Fleming personal assistant to Admiral Godfrey approached Delmer with the object of setting up a dept in naval Intelligence to further the U boat war. It was to be the Navy who by backing Delmer and black propaganda allowed it to develop into the powerful weapon it eventually became. The Navy managed to pry Aspidistra the biggest transmitter in the world from the BBC and black propaganda created for them the live news station Atlantiksender, broadcasting non stop music, hot jazz, swing and news for the u-boat crews.

This was not black propaganda it was something new, "Grey" and in essence was all the more dangerous for German morale. The U-boat crew listeners realising it's "allied" origins became deeply alarmed at just how much the enemy knew. What could be more horrific than being deep below the surface and feeling that the enemy knew exactly who you are and where you were? With a growing first rate intelligence dept, daily intelligence reports from the Navy and the Combined Services Detailed Interrogation Cage's, personnel information culled from newspapers, periodicals even letters from families of captured Germans they gained names and details to add to their stories "Cover, dirt, cover, cover, dirt, cover, dirt" is the approximate rhythm -'dirt' being the items that would make the listeners think and act on lines displeasing to their Fuhrer. It was a huge success!

With the dramatic launch of Soldatensender Calais came a move to 24hr broadcasting on medium wave, with a softening up operation in preparation for the invasion of France. The stories that went out over Soldatensender were re-used for the production of a daily newspaper bombed in to Germany, Nachrichten fur die Truppe. From its earliest days black propaganda with its own master forger had used printed matter as part of its output. Everything from forged ration books identity cards to official German documents anything that they could put a subtle and insidious black twist upon.

Soldatensender brought the first news of the D Day landings to the world. The breakdown in communications between the German units at this period was so grave that many German commanders tuned in to Calais for 'situation reports' using them to chalk in corrections to the constantly changing order of battle on their staff maps. This information was 99 times out of a 100 correct on the hundredth it would drive the Germans into a trap set by the allies.

The breaking news on the 20th of July the attempt on Hitler's life, was for the Black Propaganda team, to become the greatest news story of the war. The revolt of the army against Hitler and the Party was the consummation of all they had been working for. They played it to the full implicating as many as possible in the plot. With all this to encourage them, the Soldatensender demanded that an end be put to the war to save Germany. And in their self-appointed capacity as spokesmen of the 'decent fighting frontline soldier' they turn the heat on Hitler.

Aspidistra could hop all over the wave band and switch frequencies in a fraction of a second. Delmer wanted to lie in ambush for a German station to go off the air take it over and broadcast ceasefire. This was turned down flat, but he was given carte blanche for any other minor operation he might want to use this capacity for.

It was Winston Churchill who prompted the operation for he read in the Stars and Stripes how Radio Luxemburg and the B.B.C. were telling the German civilians to 'stay put'. He flew into a rage. And so it came down to Black Propaganda to drive the civilians on to the roads of Germany and block the retreat of the German army. With specially trained announcers and knowledge of the bombers flight plans they were able to predict which station would go off the air and when. They took over the German network and made bogus announcements identical in rhythm and intonation of the genuine Station. By the time Goebbels woke up it was too late.

It was such a pushover for the Black Propaganda team that Goebbels abandoned the battle. The time had come for Soldatensender to close down, they had become an anachronism, as one of the last services still functioning in Germany. Soldatensender faded from the ether, never to be heard again. No announcement, they just disappeared.


The Sefton Delmer Archive:

(6) Waging war on Hitler by Pornography: British short wave station pretended to be German

"H.M.G.'s secret pornographer"

By Sefton Delmer

(The Times Literary Supplement, 21 February 1972)

{This material below was at but has been removed and replaced with paintings. It is now at and (in part) at They both have the same text, but the former has all the anti-Hitler pornography, while the latter has only part.}

{you may or may not want to see the graphics; if so, visit the link}

My first experience of propaganda by pornography came in France during the Phony War period of 1939. I was a war reporter with the French army in France. On one of my visits to the Maginot Line, a sniggering French Lieutenant showed me what he declared was a very clever piece of German psychological warfare. It consisted of a small picture on very thin tissue paper showing a French soldier doing his duty at the front. But if one held the picture upto the light, the scene underneath underwent a complete change. In place of the brave poilu one now saw in minute salacious detail a British Tommy fornicating with what a caption told us was the Frenchman's fiancée.

The French were of course a particularly susceptible target for this sort of thing. Especially so during the Phoney War period when the Germans and their communist helpers (the French communists as agents of Hitlers allies, put all their subversive ability into ridiculing the war) had little difficulty in persuading the browned-off French soldier that France's military effort was a stupid and reactionary waste of time.

The frontline dug-outs of the French were decorated with such descriptions as "Aux prives d'amour" (roughly : "for those starved of love"). I found the walls of a popotte (mess) in the Seutriche fort of the Maginot Line papered with posters showing young women whose bosoms had been lovingly enlarged with coloured chalks wielded by the soldier clients. The walls in the underground corridors of the Maginot forts were covered with so many erotic graffiti that I unkindly denounced the Maginot line as "a fortified urinal".

Unquestionably the morale of the troops in most of the Maginot forts I visited was poor. Discipline seemed on a par with that on the Tsarist cruiser Potemkin, before the mutiny. When an officer or a sergeant cried "Fixe" , none of the men took the slightest notice. Nor did the order "Repos!" make any difference. They just lounged and sulked.

But I would not put this sulkiness down to the effect of the German "transparencies" or the graffiti and the enlarged bosoms. The german propaganda pornography, as I saw it, was merely exploiting a situation which already existed, not creating it. I therefore doubted whether the "transparencies" prepared with such zeal by Dr Goebbel's pornographers repaid in subversive effectiveness the substantial production costs involved, not to mention the danger to the agents distributing them among the French troops.

I much preferred a simpler and in my estimation more effective exploitation of the French sex starvation complex. I saw it in operation on the German side of the Rhine near Kehl where both sides were in full view of each other.

Every evening a couple of German soldiers would stroll arm in arm with a couple of good-looking and bosomy German blondes along what must have been the old Rhine tow path. Every now and then they stopped for an elaborate display of hugging and kissing. "Necking" is I believe the technical term.

The French watching the German necking party from their side of the Rhine went pale with envy. "If the Germans can have their girls up in their part of the front line", they complained, "why the hell can't we?"

The right thing for the French to have done would have been to open fire on the Germans and force them to get out of sight. But they never did, any more than they opened fire on the German "fraternizers" crossing the Strasbourg bridge to throw cigarettes and chocolates to the French guarding the other end.

In 1939 it never occurred to me that one day my turn would come to wage war on Hitler by pornography. But sure enough that was what the fates held in store for me. Early in 1941 I joined the Psychological Warfare branch of the Foreign Office (The "Political Intelligence department" was its euphemistic title.) The late Hugh Dalton in his capacity as Minister of Economic Warfare had become interested in a German freedom station called "The Workers challenge". It purported to be broadcasting from inside Britain and voicing the discontents of the so called working class. It had some success by using the foulest language to do so. Old ladies in Torquay and Bournemouth listened in ecstasy as the "Workers" challenged them with a stream of excremental abuse.

Dalton decided that we should reply in kind. The BBC of course, could not be entrusted with such an ungentlemanly task. So he decided that PID should launch a short wave station which would pretend to be operating from somewhere in Hitler's Europe. It would be "Black"; that is to say it would be top secret and disavowable. As a good socialist Dalton further ruled that the foul mouths should not preach a left wing doctrine but follow a right wing policy and that PID's new Tory recruit, Delmer should run it. I was delighted to oblige - particularly so, as I was convinced that right-wing opposition was far more interesting in the Third Reich and far more plausible than that of the left. (as was indeed proved by the events of July 20, 1944.)

For my hero I chose a crusty old officer who approved Hitler's anti-Bolshevism but disapproved of the Nazis as a set of corrupt and egotistical National-Bolsheviks. He would be full of patriotic indignation and political and strategic advise, spiced with fascinating inside information - in fact if I may be allowed to say so, a kind of Prussian counterpart to our own John Gordon. (That of course applied only to my heroes opinions. not to his language or his revelations!)

Clandestine "Blac " stations as compared with the BBC had a very difficult task in collecting an audience. They were restricted to short wave transmitters. PID's Marxist station under the benevolent supervision of my colleague Dick Crossman, after months of broadcasting had no audience in Germany not anyhow as far as PID had been able to ascertain. Nor had the right wing station run by a German conservative that had preceded mine. How did I propose to attract listeners?

I decided to use radio-pornography to catch their attention. My "Chef" ( Hitler was always called "Der Chef" by those in his inner circle so I decided to call my veteran hero "Der Chef") became a kind of radio Streicher, except that the victims of his pornographic tirades were Nazis, not Jews.

The recipe was an instant success. One unfortunate young German woman, denounced by the Chef for having insulted the honour of the German army by using an officers steel helmet as a chamber pot during a sexual orgy (our intelligence claimed she was an informant of the Gestapo) is still angry with me today because of the stream of telephone calls she received from listeners denouncing her in the harshest terms. The American military attaches included the broadcasts of the Chef in their dispatches to Washington as evidence of the growing rift between the army and the Nationalist Socialist party.

But here is the point I am trying to make; we did not use pornography because we thought it would have a deleterious effect on our German listeners. We used it simply for its listener appeal-- just as some popular newspapers use scabrous stories and pictures of scantily clad models to increase their circulation. And we took great care not to let it seem that the Chef enjoyed the bawdy details of what he revealed of the licentious sexual excesses of Hitler's "elite2. He never sniggered over them. His denunciations were filled with the indignation and horror of a salvation army evangelist. He was a puritan diehard of the old Prussian army revolted by the depravity and corruption of the party functionaries and determined to expose and chastise them. Never, never did he let on that he was retailing these salty scandals to make his listeners eager to listen to his next harangue, which in all probability would be completely free of any pornography.

I took an enormous amount of trouble over the Chef's erotica and devoted many hours of patient research to finding ever new forms sexual depravity to attribute to our victims in the Hitler machine. Professor Magnus Hirschfield, on whose works, incinerated during the famous burning of the books in 1933, I depended for much of the detail, would I am sure have welcomed the Chef's broadcasts as a sweet revenge. We also adopted the teqnique of the Austrian creator of an equivalent to Fanny Hill, a young woman with a name like Mitzi Mutzenbacher. this Austrian author never allowed his heroine to consummate her erotic adventures. The Chef too, was always careful to leave the end to his listeners imagination.

As the war went on and we received more and more accurate information on which the Chef could base his tirades - and more and more evidence of the Chef's growing number of listeners - I reduced the pornography in his output to minimal proportions. not however before Dick Crossman's Marxist's jealous of the Chef's success, translated one of his more outrageous scripts and passed it to Sir Stafford-Cripps. Cripps reaction went farther even than that of Lord Longford in today's Copenhagen.

He immediately demanded to see the Foreign Secretary. "If this is the sort of thing we have to do to do to win the war", he told Sir Anthony Eden, flourishing the offending script in his trembling hand, "I would rather lose it !" Fortunately by this time I already enjoyed considerable support from the fighting services, and in the end my own immediate boss was able to smooth down the irate Sir Stafford.

My cloak-and dagger friends in SOE ( the special Operations Executive) were constantly clamoring for printed pornography. But I still took the same view of printed pornography as I had in France in 1939. Looking back, I do not think my unit produced more than three items of printed pornography during the whole war, not because I was squeamish, but simply because I did not think the effort involved on our part would be justified by the subversive effect on the Germans.

The first item was a two-page folding leaflet. Its theme was the Kaisers Germany's patriotic song "The Watch on the Rhine". A very gloomy picture of a snow covered grave somewhere on the Russian front, headed the first verse of the Watch on the Rhine:

Lieb vaterland magst ruhig sein _ (dear fatherland you may rest assured)

By rights that inspiring thought would be followed by a second verse.

Fest steht und treu die Wacht am Rhein _ (Firm stands true the watch on the Rhine.)

Instead, the picture of the soldiers grave and its reassuring caption was followed by a second page overleaf showing in colour a picture of a naked girl, painted in the style favored by Adolf Hitler in such beloved pictures as "Leda and the Swan". about to seat herself on the upright penis of some dark haired and dark skinned non-German.

The Caption read: "Fest steckt's und treu der Fremdarbeiter rein."

("Firmly sticks it and true the foreign worker in"). Depending on the region selected for this documents distrubution, we alternated the word Fremdabeiter with der Italiener or even der Makaroni.

NOTE: Ellic Howe the printer for PWE in his book The Black Game states that no more than five hundred of these were ever produced.

I would like to thank Rod Oakland for allowing me to use this leaflet from his extensive collection of propaganda leaflets.

Link: Sex and Psychological Operations By Herbert A. Friedman

My SOE friends ordered these leaflets by the thousand. But ironically not because they found them to be subversive of German morale, but because they found them excellent for the morale of their men distributing them!

The next pornographic leaflet we did was a exquisite menu for a dinner party given by some Nazi gourmet for his friends. I cannot now remember who it was. All that I recall was that the menu included dishes way beyond the reach or even the imagination of the ordinary strictly rationed German. Surrounding the menu was a kind of frieze rather in the manner of the pre war cover of Punch. On closer examination, however, it proved to be nothing as harmless as Mr Punch's cornucopia of frolic. Instead it presented a sphinctrian orgy with all the figure male and female alike, connected in pervert intimacy. I cannot think why we bothered to add this touch. The essential propaganda was the menu which provided evidence for any sceptical member of the German public how well the party priviligentsia lived when the ordinary German was forced to obey a strict system of rationing.

The third pornographic leaflet we did was never distributed. Not that SOE objected to it. On the contrary they were lavish with praise. But an old army colonel - he had served a lifetime in Poona, an experience which had not failed to leave its mark on him - had found it on the table of my secret printer whom he had visited with a view to acquiring some of our latest philatelic counterfeits. When he saw this particular piece of pornography he was almost beside himself with indignant fury. I did not want to hurt the old man by challenging him to battle over an item of pornography to which in any case I attached no great importance. So I immediately withdrew it. But it was not really all that bad.

The German army's propaganda unit had been putting out a series of leaflets purporting to expose how the enemy was retouching photographs and faking them to convey untruths. By this time my "Black" printer was an expert at counterfeiting german documents, using the same type, the same paper, and the same size as the German original. So I got him to put the same title on our counterfeit. " Wie sie falshen", it said ( How they forge ). Then with a suitable text we exposed a palpable forgery of a Hitler photograph, which we attributed to the despicable treachery of an internal enemy. The genuine original photograph showed Hitler in his usual saluting posture, right arm upraised, his left resting on the buckle of his belt. The forgery however showed a huge penis under his left hand. Our caption read: "This is a most appalling forgery, Everyone one know the Fuhrer does not possess anything of the kind". Well, I don't really blame the old colonel. As pornography this item was not attractive. In fact, it was revolting. All the same, I would have been interested to have seen what effect it had on the German propagandists.

(7) Orwell's World War II BBC Broadcasts to India, from the Ministry of Information

Orwell's BBC Broadcasts: Colonial Discourse and the Rhetoric of Propaganda

by Douglas Kerr, University of Hong Kong

Textual Practice, Volume 16, No. 3 (Dec. 2002)

This essay analyses the rhetoric of colonial discourse in a special, and especially conflicted, case, that of the weekly news commentaries which George Orwell wrote for broadcast by the BBC to British India in those years of the Second World War when the subcontinent was threatened by Japanese invasion.

From August 1941 to November 1943 Orwell worked as a Talks Assistant, later Talks Producer, in the Indian Section of the British Broadcasting Corporation's Eastern Service, based in London.1 The Indian Section broadcast to its subcontinental listeners a mixture of news, news commentary, features and arts programmes. Orwell worked very hard during his time at the BBC, though without much enthusiasm. The army had rejected him when he tried to enlist in 1939, not surprisingly on the grounds of health, and he had been frustrated in his efforts to find more rewarding war work. Reviewing a revival of Chu Chin Chow at the Palace Theatre in the summer of 1940 had seemed a particularly futile and humiliating way to spend your time in a historical crisis (12:215­16).2 And so when the offer came from the BBC, Orwell accepted it faute de mieux. He laboured at it conscientiously for more than two years, in his longest stint of full-time employment since leaving the Burma Police in 1927. When he left, it was for two main reasons. First, his BBC duties left him no time for sustained work on his own writing projects (the moment he quit the BBC in November 1943, he began drafting Animal Farm).3 Second, the BBC's own research in India had revealed, rather late in the day, that there were few radio sets in the subcontinent that were able to receive the broadcasts from London, and that the number of Indians listening (or 'listening in') to the English-language programmes of the Indian Section was in all likelihood pitifully small.4 'What caused Orwell to leave was his realization that he was wasting his time and, as he had a puritanical belief that time was given us to be productively employed, he found that at first galling and then intolerable.'5

There was another reason for Orwell to feel unhappy about his BBC work, and this was a matter of principle. Although the BBC was a corporation and not a department of government, there was never a possibility of its being independent in wartime, and long before 1939 it had been widely understood that radio would have an important role to play in information and propaganda once the war came. The BBC, like the print media, came under the supervision of the Ministry of Information, housed in the University of London Senate House and later to serve as a model for the Ministry of Truth in Nineteen Eighty-Four. Scripts were vetted twice in advance, for policy and security, and a switch censor monitored all broadcasts, ready (at least in theory) to interrupt transmission if there was any deviation from the authorized script. The policy to which broadcasts had to conform, with regard to India, was that it was imperative for Indians to remain loyal to the King-Emperor in this time of crisis, and especially after the entry of Japan into the war with the attack on Pearl Harbor in December 1941, which placed all Britain's eastern possessions under threat. In 1942 as the victorious Japanese army swept across southeast Asia and up through Burma, there was serious concern in London that the loss of India might mean the loss of the war. Orwell seems to have shared that view, and assented to its consequence, which was that the chief function of BBC broadcasting to India at this time was to keep Indians loyal to the Raj. His dilemma was that this imperative went directly against his own conviction, born of his own service in the forces of the Empire in Burma and developed over a decade of increasingly radical political thinking, of what he called 'the inherent evil of imperialism' (10: 508). A condemnation of Empire was the first principle of a political identity formed not on the road to Wigan Pier but on the road to Mandalay. 'If I thought that a victory in the present war would mean nothing beyond a new lease of life for British imperialism,' he had written early in 1940 during the Phony War, 'I should be inclined to side with Russia and Germany' (12:122­3). Now, in his office in the Eastern Service of the BBC, Orwell found himself a functionary of an ideological state apparatus dedicated to the survival of the British empire in the East which he had been excoriating for more than a decade. 'It was the commitment to anti-fascism that sustained Orwell through the compromises of principle that he was obliged to make as a propagandist.'6 The BBC Eastern Service in wartime was an organ of colonial discourse, propagating the word, and the worldview, of the metropolitan centre to its peripheral subject people. Orwell's news commentaries are texts of that discourse which particularly repay attention for their complicated modality, as the voice of the Empire at war ('London calling!'), the state, the institution of the BBC, and the compromised yet determined author himself.

Much of Orwell's work in the Indian Section was in the making of features and arts programmes, and for this he was able to assemble a very impressive team of contributors, many of them his personal friends from the worlds of literature, politics and journalism. The orientation of the Indian Section to the arts and ideas was not only a reflection of Orwell's own tastes and professional contacts, and those of his superiors, but also a sign of the decision, by those who made the Indian broadcasts, to 'attempt to catch the young Indian intellectual', as Brander's report puts it frankly (15:346).7 The most vocal opposition to British rule in India over the previous twenty years had come from well-educated middle-class Indians, and it was these people whom the Indian broadcasts were determined to attract, through offering a 'highbrow' programme content, in the hope of strengthening their ties and therefore loyalties to Britain. Orwell's arts and features programmes for the BBC are certainly worth a separate study. This essay however is more concerned with the news commentaries (also referred to as 'newsletters') he wrote for weekly broadcast, some in English and some for translation into Indian vernaculars. These texts are especially rich in ideological content because their nature is both historiographical and hegemonic. They are interpretations of the world events unfolding week by week in the most critical months of the war, and offer their Indian listeners a view of those events as seen from the imperial centre, a view that aims to convince Indians that their own interest as a nation, as well as the cause of freedom around the world, lies in their continued loyalty to the British in this time of peril. It was certainly a strange contortion, whereby the anti-imperialist Orwell found himself directing propaganda for the Raj at the most disaffected and anti-British section of the Indian population. But it was a matter of priorities. Late in 1942, when it was suggested that the hitherto anonymous and 'editorial' news commentaries should be broadcast over his own name, he noted that his literary reputation in India probably arose 'chiefly from books of an anti-imperialist tendency' (14:100),8 and that in the broadcasts he had generally taken an anti-fascist rather than an imperialist standpoint. 'These commentaries have always followed what is by implication a "left" line, and in fact have contained very little that I would not sign with my own name' (14:101).

The broadcasts, then, participate in colonial discourse in being part of that body of statements that shapes the relation between the colonial power and its colonized subjects. Their author is George Orwell, journalist and novelist, the writing subject of Eric Blair, a man whose provenance, experience and views are present in all his writing. But the broadcasts are also subject to a particularly complex set of determinations, inhabiting a sort of magnetic field where a number of sometimes contending forces help to give it shape. To the question of who speaks in ideologically charged text of this kind, the answer will always be in the plural. Any utterance beyond the elementary is multi-authored, determined by a number of authorities ­ linguistic, ideological, discursive, psychological­ of varying force. To examine the broadcasts as colonial discourse it will be useful to see what these are.

One determination is the authority of the state, dispensed through the Ministry of Information in the form of directives sent periodically to BBC producers, monitoring of broadcasts, and the mechanism of censorship whereby every broadcast was vetted in advance for conformity to government policy, and for security. If there is a hierarchy of such operative authorities, this one must rank among the highest; it is hard to imagine the need to preserve essential military secrets, for example, being overridden by any other consideration. Broadcasters might be advised how the government wanted particular news items handled, and a dialogue of a sort might ensue. For example, when Sir Stafford Cripps was sent to India to discuss proposals for Indian independence with Congress leaders and others, Orwell was instructed to give Cripps a build-up in his newsletters; but having proposed to 'build him up as a political extremist', he was warned not to go too far in that direction (13:229). The Cripps mission failed, relations with Congress deteriorated, and when India was plunged into rioting after the imprisonment of Nehru, Gandhi and others, Orwell recorded in his war diary on 12 August 1942 that BBC staff had been sent an 'appalling' policy handout from the Ministry about affairs in India, which declared the riots were of no significance, young Indians were taking part in them in the spirit of a students' rag, the situation was well in hand, and so on. The following day, a reference to Nehru was cut out of an announcement, 'N. being in prison and therefore having become Bad' (13:475). Orwell's next newsletter contained no mention of Indian affairs, the state's participation in the discourse being felt in this instance as silence. As far as the broadcasts were concerned, Nehru had gone down the memory hole.

In Newsletter 10 (to give a different sort of example) broadcast on 14 February 1942 during the disastrous battle of Singapore, the authority of the state is registered as the arbiter of what can and cannot be said. The state never speaks directly, but expresses itself through the stylistic choice of a kind of sober strategic realism, a command of the facts and a willingness to face and share them fearlessly, which gives credibility to expressions of confidence, none the less, in the final outcome of the war. There is no direct appeal for loyalty, for example, but the steadfastness of the common people of Britain, subject as they are to rationing and austerity, is an example which speaks for itself.

The ordinary people who have to put up with these restrictions do not grumble, and are even heard to say that they would welcome greater sacrifices, if these would set free more shipping for the war effort, since they have a clear understanding of the issue, and set much more store by their liberty than by the comfort they have been accustomed to in peace-time. (13:180­1)The sinister (or can it be comical?) construction of what ordinary people 'are heard to say' bleaches out the agent of this eavesdropping while giving this exemplary pluck a sort of empirical status. Here at the same time is an educative example for Indians, for the populace of the metropolis are strategically conscious and have a clear understanding of the issue, and so recognize that their own interests depend ultimately on the outcome of the global conflict. The state is not pursuing a narrow national interest. Its rationing policy is undertaken, and stoically accepted by its citizens, in the interests of the world.

If the state, through the Ministry, was one institutional participant in Orwell's broadcasts, the BBC itself was another. As a national though not a government broadcaster, the BBC's interest coincided with or deferred to that of the state on political matters; it may be properly described as an ideological state apparatus. The expansion of the Empire Service into the Overseas Service in November 1939 had been prompted partly by the need to counter Axis propaganda, and to enable the BBC 'with enhanced power to convey to all parts of the world truthful news and a prompt, clear and insistent exposition of British policy'.9 But neither the corporation nor the state wanted the BBC to be thought of as a government mouthpiece, and so the BBC's participation in discourse such as Orwell's newsletters is felt mostly in rhetorical habits of judiciousness, restraint and a gentlemanly tone, a commitment to verifiable facts, and an unwillingness to exhort or browbeat the listener. Newsletter 10, mentioned above, written at one of the lowest moments of the war from the Allied point of view, notes as a fact that the main manufacturing centres of America, Britain and Russia are out of reach of German and Japanese attack.

The Allied Powers, therefore, are able immensely to outbuild the Axis Powers, and in a year or two years bring together a force which will be all but irresistible. But they have undoubtedly a difficult time ahead, and they may have a period when they are almost in conditions of siege, and when resolution, calmness and faith in final victory, will be at least as important as physical weapons of war. (13:179­80)

This is a classic BBC statement in its apparently neutral commitment to factuality, the absconding modality of the third-person pronoun ('they have undoubtedly a difficult time ahead') and the loose disguise of its call for action in the form of agentless nominalizations (resolution and the rest) leading a proleptic narrative statement. The propaganda is to conceal the propaganda.

In 1943 when Orwell edited Talking to India, a selection of broadcast scripts from the Eastern Service which was distributed in India, he instructively juxtaposed some examples of his own newsletters (frankly described as 'Five Specimens of Propaganda') with the transcript of a 'Talk in English' by Subhas Chandra Bose.10 Bose is stirring, oratorical. The rhetorical contrast makes Orwell's language seem impressively cool and assured ­ in fact, hardly like 'propaganda' at all. The constitution and reputation of the BBC dictated that its war propaganda was soft, its institutional interest self-effacing, its ideological positions as naturalized as possible. Meanwhile the BBC provided the technology and the medium, and the institutional matrix, of the broadcasts, which had to conform to constraints of timing, usage and genre (though producers were allowed some freedom to develop the latter).

No other formal institutions made a significant claim on the discourse of Orwell's broadcasts. He was subject to no orthodoxies. After his brief membership of the Independent Labour Party lapsed, he owed loyalty to no political party, nor had he ever been a member of a church. He thought of himself as anti-fascist, anti-imperialist, a socialist and a democrat. He was also a patriot, though not a nationalist, and had written The Lion and the Unicorn: Socialism and the English Genius in 1940 to explain what he thought this meant.11 These positions were not institutionalized in a particular party but were principles, idiosyncratically interpreted in some cases, in which Orwell felt a personal and emotional stake. These convictions, sometimes at odds with official policy and sometimes not, are factors in the broadcasts. Without a doubt, what Orwell found to say would also have been influenced by the views and styles of those with whom he had frequent conversation, notably including broadcasters who were also his friends, such as William Empson who was his counterpart in the Chinese Section of the Eastern Service, and Mulk Raj Anand who wrote scripts and broadcasts for the BBC throughout the war. Orwell made a point of telling listeners that he was 'the only European in the Indian section of the BBC' (13:163), and when he produced discussion programmes he took care to ensure that at least one Indian speaker was always involved.12 This is the place to mention Zulfaqar Ali Bokhari, the Indian Programme Organizer and Orwell's immediate boss at the BBC, not least because it was he who actually read out most of Orwell's early newsletters on air.13 All these news commentaries, until a change of policy in November 1942, were written in an impersonal style, anonymous, and broadcast in an Indian voice, an accentuation that has a bearing on the discourse and probably the reception of the texts. For example, we may consider the modality of Orwell's words in Newsletter 10 ­ 'This is not an encouraging picture, and we have deliberately put it at its worst, in order to get a realistic and unvarnished view of the situation' (13:179) ­ when spoken by an Indian voice.

It seemed appropriate (though this policy was changed later) to make the newsletters sound like a conversation, an Indian speaking to Indians.14 The producers in the Indian Section were uncomfortably aware that their Indian audience, such as it was, was potentially hostile (14:214, for example). It was reckoned that listeners to English-language broadcasts in India would be mostly students, and it was among students that anti-British feeling was strongest. 'Many, perhaps most, Indian intellectuals are emotionally pro-Japanese,' Orwell wrote in July 1942, but he thought they were also 'reliably anti-Fascist in proportion as they are Westernized' (he was no doubt thinking of his friend Mulk Raj Anand) (13:381). The English language, he concluded, was a weapon that could be used to nurture and articulate a sort of cultural united front, which could help to defeat Japan in Asia and perhaps in due course deliver a socialist postcolonial India. In fact, he spent much more time at the BBC writing and producing cultural and educational programmes than he devoted to propaganda, and incidentally brought to the microphone an impressive array of speakers that included, as well as Empson and Anand, Stephen Spender, E.M. Forster, Herbert Reed, T.S. Eliot, John Lehmann, V.S. Pritchett, Sean O'Casey and many other writers, not to mention budding media stars like J.B.S. Haldane and C.E.M. Joad. ...

The BBC itself was far from monolithically super-efficient in this respect, even within the Eastern Service, as an example will show. Orwell regularly alleged in his newsletters in early 1942 that the Japanese were plotting to attack the USSR (which was at war with Germany but not with Japan). He did not actually believe this, but his reasoning was as follows. If Japan attacked Russia, he would be proved right. If Russia attacked Japan, he could say this was under provocation, and that the Japanese started it. And if nobody attacked anyone, this would prove that the Japanese were too frightened of Russia to try to attack it (13:229). This seemed flawless, until he discovered that the Chinese Section of the BBC, down the corridor, was following a different line.

Empson tells me that there is a strict ban by the Foreign Office on any suggestion that Japan is going to attack the USSR. So this subject is being studiously avoided in the Far Eastern broadcasts while being pushed all the time in the Indian broadcasts. They haven't yet got onto the fact that we are saying this, we haven't been warned and don't officially know about the ban, and are making the best of our opportunity while it lasts. The same chaos everywhere on the propaganda front. (13:239)

They order these matters better in Oceania (in Nineteen Eighty-Four), where Winston Smith's job is to erase inconsistencies of fact and policy day by day, to ensure the totalitarian ideal of a frictionless monological discourse. The propagandists in London in wartime were still some way from that utopia of discourse. Orwell, for example, was talking to America in terms that were sometimes at odds with what he was saying to India. His regular London letters for Partisan Review in the USA, like his writing for Tribune, could count on a well-informed and quite intimate readership hospitable to left-wing views. 20 He could confide his belief to this audience that Stafford Cripps had 'made the mistake of entering the government and the almost equally bad one of going to India with an offer which was certain to be turned down' (13:305). But now, in May 1942, with the war going badly, Orwell believed that a 'revolutionary situation' existed at home, and that there was a chance that Cripps would emerge as a popular leader, quitting the government and proclaiming a revolutionary policy ­ in which case he might yet play a crucial role in the end of Empire. This produces a strategic reading of the state of the world and the war for the American readers of Partisan Review startlingly different from the analyses expounded for the listeners of the Indian newsletters. ...

Notes 1 For Orwell's BBC career see William Empson, 'Orwell at the BBC', in M. Gross (ed.), The World of George Orwell (London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1971), pp. 94­9; Bernard Crick, George Orwell: A Life, 3rd edn (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1981); W.J. West, Orwell: The War Broadcasts (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1985); W.J. West, Orwell: The War Commentaries (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1985); Michael Shelden, Orwell: The Authorized Biography (London: Heinemann, 1991); Stephen Ingle, George Orwell: A Political Life (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1993); Peter Davison, George Orwell: A Literary Life (Basingstoke: Macmillan, 1996); Jeffrey Meyers, Orwell: Wintry Conscience of a Generation (New York: Norton, 2000).

2 Volume and page references to Orwell's writing in the text refer to The Complete Works of George Orwell, ed. Peter Davison, 20 vols (London: Secker and Warburg, 1998).

3 It has been argued that increasing problems with the censor in 1943 were making it harder for Orwell to make the kind of programmes he wanted to make at the BBC. See West, Orwell: The War Broadcasts, pp. 44­55. The argument has also been made that the anti-Soviet Animal Farm is a sort of atonement for Orwell's involvement in Allied (including pro-Soviet) propaganda while at the BBC. See C. Fleay and M.L. Sanders, 'Looking into the abyss: George Orwell at the BBC', Journal of Contemporary History, 24 (1989), p. 514. I do not find either argument very compelling.

4 See the Report on Indian Programmes by Laurence Brander, the BBC's Eastern Service Intelligence Officer, 11 January 1943 (15:343­56). English-language programmes directed at an Indian audience were characterized by Brander as 'our most damaging failure' (15:346).

5 Davison, George Orwell: A Literary Life, p. 119.

6 Fleay and Sanders, 'Looking into the abyss', p. 506.

7 A similar policy was followed by the Chinese Section. 'William Empson has worn himself out for two years trying to get them to broadcast intelligent stuff to China, and I think he has succeeded to some small extent' (15:166).

8 Indeed, his novel Burmese Days (1934) was banned in India throughout this time.

9 Asa Briggs, The History of Broadcasting in the United Kingdom: Volume 3: The War of Words (London: Oxford University Press, 1970), p. 346.

10 Bose was a nationalist and former Congress leader who threw in his lot with the Axis. Early in the war he broadcast anti-British propaganda to India from Germany, and later raised troops to fight alongside the Japanese against the British forces defending or occupying India.

11 'Compared with the task of bringing the real England to the surface, even the winning of the war, necessary though it is, is secondary. By revolution we become more ourselves, not less' (12:432).

12 This was a sensitive point for obvious reasons. In the collection of broadcast scripts in Talking to India, which Orwell edited, the Table of Contents marks with an asterisk the thin majority of thirteen out of twenty-five contributions 'written and broadcast by Indians or other Asiatics', and also prints cheery photographs of predominantly Indian faces at the microphone.

13 Bokhari was committed to the retention of India within the Empire, and 'defended British imperial rule' (Fleay and Sanders, 'Looking into the abyss', p. 505). He was to go on to become Director General of Pakistan Radio.

14 The issue of 'voice' was a vital one for Orwell, as may be seen from the extraordinary importance given to questions of accent in The Road to Wigan Pier. Domestic broadcasting was dominated by the upper-class tones of 'BBC English', or what Orwell engagingly called 'Stripetrouser' (16:124). 'What he felt to be the inadequacy and offensiveness of this official voice was of course an issue of particular concern in the years of the Second World War, when radio broadcasting was full of official voices while Orwell's mature position on language was shaping' (Roger Fowler, The Language of George Orwell (Basingstoke: Macmillan, 1995), p. 23). But Fowler has little to say about Orwell's own broadcasting experience. One of the best studies of Orwell is Lynette Hunter's George Orwell: The Search for a Voice (Milton Keynes: Open University Press, 1984).

15 'The primary purpose of news commentaries is propaganda', asserts a confidential BBC memorandum written by the Assistant Controller of Overseas Programmes in February 1942 (Fleay and Sanders, 'Looking into the abyss', p. 508).

16 The idea developed (but also resisted) in Nineteen Eighty-Four that the past itself has no existence, other than as a story told by the powerful in their own interest, derives not from Nietszche but from Orwell's reading of accounts of the Spanish Civil War, many of which he knew to be flagrantly dishonest. In 'Looking back on the Spanish War' he complained: 'I am willing to believe that history is for the most part inaccurate and biased, but what is peculiar to our own age is the abandonment of the idea that history could be truthfully written' (13:504).

17 The Daily Worker was the only newspaper to be banned in Britain in the war years. It soon reappeared under a different title and was sold on the streets without interference, but it had ceased to be a daily and lost most of its circulation (13:108). The ban lasted for twenty months and was lifted in August 1942. While at the BBC, Orwell said he read four or five morning newspapers every day and several editions of the evening papers, besides the daily monitoring report (13:240).

18 The Government of India had a Counter-propaganda Department which was kept busy containing a vigorous campaign of Japanese radio propaganda spreading rumours, threats and disaffection. Much sabotage in India, according to Brander, was 'inspired by Saigon radio, just as it is inspired by us in Europe' (15:343).

19 This reputation was not undisputed, and appears not to have extended to All India Radio, established in consultation with the BBC as a department of the Government of India's Ministry of Industries and Labour. P.S. Gupta (Radio and the Raj 1921­47 (Calcutta: K. P. Bagchi for the Centre for Studies in Social Sciences, 1995), p. 34) says that in the early years of the war, colonial subjects in India were more inclined to believe the propaganda of the other side than of their imperial masters.

20 For Orwell's writing for Partisan Review, see John Newsinger, Orwell's Politics (Basingstoke: Macmillan, 1999), pp. 93­100, and Peter Marks, 'Where he wrote: periodicals and the essays of George Orwell', Twentieth Century Literature, 41(4) (1995), pp. 266­83.

21 He defined 'nationalism' broadly: it could indicate an aggressive and unthinking loyalty to an institution or ideology as well as to a nation, and it always involved hostility towards some other group. See his important essay, 'Notes on nationalism', written at the end of the war in 1945 (17:141­57).

22 'So he [Flory] had learned to live inwardly, secretly, in books and secret thoughts that could not be uttered. Even his talks with the doctor [Veraswami] were a kind of talking to himself; for the doctor, good man, understood little of what was said to him. But it is a corrupting thing to live one's real life in secret. One should live with the stream of life, not against it.' George Orwell, Burmese Days, 1934 (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1989), p. 70; also 2:70.

23 Orwell's friend Tom Wintringham had commanded the British Battalion of the International Brigade in the Spanish Civil War.

24 See 16:435­6 for one example.

Charles' George Orwell Links thanks Prof. Douglas Kerr (University of Hong Kong) for kind permission to reprint this essay.

Copyright © 1995 - by Charles' George Orwell Links. All Rights Reserved.

(8) Orwell dobbs crypto-Communists

Orwell offered writers' blacklist to anti-soviet propaganda unit

by Richard Norton-Taylor and Seumas Milne

The Guardian, 11 July 1996

George Orwell, the socialist author, offered to provide a secret Foreign Office propaganda unit linked to the intelligence services with names of writers and journalists he regarded as "crypto-communist" and "fellow-travellers" who could not be trusted, documents released yesterday at the Public Record Office reveal.

(9) Special Branch kept tabs on Orwell as "a man of advanced communist views"

Date: Mon, 18 Jul 2005 06:30:28 +0100 From: "Rowan Berkeley" <>

How a real Big Brother kept an eye on George Orwell, the bohemian communist

Alan Travis, home affairs editor, Guardian, July 18, 2005,6109,1530801,00.html

George Orwell's novel 1984 provides a fictional warning of the dangers of a totalitarian society in which the hero, Winston Smith, struggles with the thought police. It now appears that his vision of blanket surveillance in the service of Big Brother was more prescient than even he could have known: a secret Metropolitan police file newly released at the National Archives shows that Orwell was himself the subject of repeated special branch reports for more than 12 years of his life. ...

Orwell's reputation as a hero of the British left took a knock 10 years ago when it was revealed that in 1948 he had supplied a list of 86 "Stalinist fellow travellers" to a Foreign Office anti-communist propaganda unit. But the special branch file shows that more than a decade earlier the intelligence services had Orwell himself down as "a man of advanced communist views". ...

The Wigan police told Scotland Yard that on the day of his arrival in the town - February 10 - he had attended a communist meeting addressed by Wal Hannington, the leader of the unemployed workers' movement, and that the local communist party had been instrumental in finding him accommodation. ...

But it was his activities while he was in charge of broadcasts in English to India while working at the BBC in 1942 - an experience that inspired 1984's Ministry of Truth and Room 101 - that most alarmed the authorities.

"Eric Blair has been telling some of his Indian friends that his department was endeavouring to get Mulk Raj Anand [a famous Indian Marxist novelist] on the staff, but that the India Office was strongly opposed to the appointment. He assured his friends, however, that he was going to challenge the right of the India Office to dictate as to which people should be employed in his department. Blair considers that MR Anand is a well-qualified candidate for the post."

The file says that not only did Blair have "advanced communist views" and "dresses in a bohemian fashion" but officers were also concerned that he had offered BBC jobs to two other Indian figures who featured in their files: KS Shelvankar and Iqbal Gur Partab Singh. "The former turned it down as he did not think he would pass the 'India Office security test', and the latter declined the invitation as he felt it might react unfavourably on his political career."

Orwell himself left the BBC in 1943 to become literary editor of Tribune after his BBC bosses objected to him writing articles for the Observer without first clearing them.

(10) Animal Farm the movie - produced by the CIA

Date: Tue, 14 Mar 2006 14:20:07 +0500 From: "Eric Walberg" <>



Many people remember reading George Orwell's "Animal Farm" in high school or college, with its chilling finale in which the farm animals looked back and forth at the tyrannical pigs and the exploitative human farmers but found it "impossible to say which was which." That ending was altered in the 1955 animated version, which removed the humans, leaving only the nasty pigs. Another example of Hollywood butchering great literature? Yes, but in this case the film's secret producer was the Central Intelligence Agency.

The C.I.A., it seems, was worried that the public might be too influenced by Orwell's pox-on-both-their-houses critique of the capitalist humans and Communist pigs. So after his death in 1950, agents were dispatched (by none other than E. Howard Hunt, later of Watergate fame) to buy the film rights to "Animal Farm" from his widow to make its message more overtly anti-Communist.

Rewriting the end of "Animal Farm" is just one example of the often absurd lengths to which the C.I.A. went, as recounted in a new book, "The Cultural Cold War: The C.I.A. and the World of Arts and Letters" (The New Press) by Frances Stonor Saunders, a British journalist. . .

As it turns out, "Animal Farm" was not the only instance of the C.I.A.'s dabbling in Hollywood. Ms. Stonor Saunders reports that one operative who was a producer and talent agent slipped affluent-looking African-Americans into several films as extras to try to counter Soviet criticism of the American race problem.

The agency also changed the ending of the movie version of "1984," disregarding Orwell's specific instructions that the story not be altered. In the book, the protagonist, Winston Smith, is entirely defeated by the nightmarish totalitarian regime. In the very last line, Orwell writes of Winston, "He loved Big Brother." In the movie, Winston and his lover, Julia, are gunned down after Winston defiantly shouts: "Down with Big Brother!"

(11) Orwell on Trotskyists

Notes on Nationalism

George Orwell

May, 1945

3. TROTSKYISM This word is used so loosely as to include Anarchists, democratic Socialists and even Liberals. I use it here to mean a doctrinaire Marxist whose main motive is hostility to the Stalin regime. Trotskyism can be better studied in obscure pamphlets or in papers like the Socialist Appeal than in the works of Trotsky himself,who was by no means a man of one idea. Although in some places, for instance in the United States, Trotskyism is able to attract a fairly large number of adherents and develop into an organized movement with a petty fuerher of its own, its inspiration is essentially negative. The Trotskyist is against Stalin just as the Communist is for him, and, like the majority of Communists, he wants not so much to alter the external world as to feel that the battle for prestige is going in his own favour. In each case there is the same obsessive fixation on a single subject, the same inability to form a genuinely rational opinion based on probabilities. The fact that Trotskyists are everywhere a persecuted minority, and that the accusation usually made against them, i.e. of collaborating with the Fascists, is obviously false, creates an impression that Trotskyism is intellectually and morally superior to Communism; but it is doubtful whether there is much difference. The most typical Trotskyists, in any case, are ex-Communists, and no one arrives at Trotskyism except via one of the left-wing movements. No Communist, unless tethered to his party by years of habit, is secure against a sudden lapse into Trotskyism. The opposite process does not seem to happen equally often, though there is no clear reason why it should not.

(12) Orwell on the theme of "Animal Farm"

Preface to the Ukrainian Edition of Animal Farm by George Orwell March 1947

I have been asked to write a preface to the Ukrainian translation of Animal Farm. I am aware that I write for readers about whom I know nothing, but also that they too have probably never had the slightest opportunity to know anything about me.

In this preface they will most likely expect me to say something of how Animal Farm originated but first I would like to say something about myself and the experiences by which I arrived at my political position.

I was born in India in 1903. My father was an official in the English administration there, and my family was one of those ordinary middle-class families of soldiers, clergymen, government officials, teachers, lawyers, doctors, etc. I was educated at Eton, the most costly and snobbish of the English Public Schools.* But I had only got in there by means of a scholarship; otherwise my father could not have afforded to send me to a school of this type.

Shortly after I left school (I wasn't quite twenty years old then) I went to Burma and joined the Indian Imperial Police. This was an armed police, a sort of gendarmerie very similar to the Spanish Guardia Civil or the Garde Mobile in France. I stayed five years in the service. It did not suit me and made me hate imperialism, although at that time nationalist feelings in Burma were not very marked, and relations between the English and the Burmese were not particularly unfriendly. When on leave in England in 1927, I resigned from the service and decided to become a writer: at tirst without any especial success. In 1928- 9 I lived in Paris and wrote short stories and novels that nobody would print (I have since destroyed them all). In the following years I lived mostly from hand to mouth, and went hungry on several occasions. It was only from 1934 onwards that I was able to live on what I earned from my writing. In the meantime I sometimes lived for months on end amongst the poor and half-criminal elements who inhabit the worst parts of the poorer quarters, or take to the streets, begging and stealing. At that time I associated with them through lack of money, but later their way of life interested me very much for its own sake. I spent many months (more systematically this time) studying the conditions of the miners in the north of England. Up to 19301 did not on the whole look upon myself as a Socialist. In fact I had as yet no clearly defined political views. I became pro-Socialist more out of disgust with the way the poorer section of the industrial workers were oppressed and neglected than out of any theoretical admiration for a planned society.

In 1936 I got married. In almost the same week the civil war broke out in Spain. My wife and I both wanted to go to Spain and fight for the Spanish Government. We were ready in six months, as soon as I had finished the book I was writing. In Spain I spent almost six months on the Aragon front until, at Huesca, a Fascist sniper shot me through the throat.

In the early stages of the war foreigners were on the whole unaware of the inner struggles between the various political parties supporting the Government. Through a series of accidents I joined not the International Brigade like the majority of foreigners, but the POUM militia- i.e. the Spanish Trotskyists.

So in the middle of 1937, when the Communists gained control (or partial control) of the Spanish Government and began to hunt down the Trotskyists, we both found ourselves amongst the victims. We were very lucky to get out of Spain alive, and not even to have been arrested once. Many of our friends were shot, and others spent a long time in prison or simply disappeared.

These man-hunts in Spain went on at the same time as the great purges in the USSR and were a sort of supplement to them. In Spain as well as in Russia the nature of the accusations (namely, conspiracy with the Fascists) was the same and as far as Spain was concerned I had every reason to believe that the accusations were false. To experience all this was a valuable object lesson: it taught me how easily totalitarian propaganda can control the opinion of enlightened people in democratic countries.

My wife and I both saw innocent people being thrown into prison merely because they were suspected of unorthodoxy. Yet on our return to England we found numerous sensible and well-informed observers believing the most fantastic accounts of conspiracy, treachery and sabotage which the press reported from the Moscow trials.

And so I understood, more clearly than ever, the negative influence of the Soviet myth upon the western Socialist movement.

And here I must pause to describe my attitude to the Soviet regime.

I have never visited Russia and my knowledge of it consists only of what can be learned by reading books and newspapers. Even if I had the power, I would not wish to interfere in Soviet domestic affairs: I would not condemn Stalin and his associates merely for their barbaric and undemocratic methods. It is quite possible that, even with the best intentions, they could not have acted otherwise under the conditions prevailing there.

But on the other hand it was of the utmost importance to me that people in western Europe should see the Soviet regime for what it really was. Since 1930 I had seen little evidence that the USSR was progressing towards anything that one could truly call Socialism. On the contrary, I was struck by clear signs of its transformation into a hierarchical society, in which the rulers have no more reason to give up their power than any other ruling class. Moreover, the workers and intelligentsia in a country like England cannot understand that the USSR of today is altogether different from what it was in 1917. It is partly that they do not want to understand (i.e. they want to believe that, somewhere, a really Socialist country does actually exist), and partly that, being accustomed to comparative freedom and moderation in public life, totalitarianism is completely incomprehensible to them.

Yet one must remember that England is not completely democratic. It is also a capitalist country with great class privileges and (even now, after a war that has tended to equalise everybody) with great differences in wealth. But nevertheless it is a country in which people have lived together for several hundred years without major conflict, in which the laws are relatively just and official news and statistics can almost invariably be believed, and, last but not least, in which to hold and to voice minority views does not involve any mortal danger. In such an atmosphere the man in the street has no real understanding of things like concentration camps, mass deportations, arrests without trial, press censorship, etc. Everything he reads about a country like the USSR is automatically translated into English terms, and he quite innocently accepts the lies of totalitarian propaganda. Up to 1939, and even later, the majority of English people were incapable of assessing the true nature of the Nazi regime in Germany, and now, with the Soviet regime, they are still to a large extent under the same sort of illusion.

This has caused great harm to the Socialist movement in England, and had serious consequences for English foreign policy. Indeed, in my opinion, nothing has contributed so much to the corruption of the original idea of Socialism as the belief that Russia is a Socialist country and that every act of its rulers must be excused, if not imitated.

And so for the past ten years I have been convinced that the destruction of the Soviet myth was essential if we wanted a revival of the Socialist movement.

On my return from Spain I thought of exposing the Soviet myth in a story that could be easily understood by almost anyone and which could be easily translated into other languages. However, the actual details of the story did not come to me for some time until one day (I was then living in a small village) I saw a little boy, perhaps ten years old, driving a huge cart-horse along a narrow path, whipping it whenever it tried to turn. It struck me that if only such animals became aware of their strength we should have no power over them, and that men exploit animals in much the same way as the rich exploit the proletariat.

I proceeded to analyse Marx's theory from the animals' point of view. To them it was clear that the concept of a class struggle between humans was pure illusion, since whenever it was necessary to exploit animals, all humans united against them: the true struggle is between animals and humans. From this point of departure, it was not difficult to elaborate the story. I did not write it out till 1943, for I was always engaged on other work which gave me no time; and in the end I included some events, for example the Teheran Conference, which were taking place while I was writing. Thus the main outlines of the story were in my mind over a period of six years before it was actually written.

I do not wish to comment on the work; if it does not speak for itself, it is a failure. But I should like to emphasise two points: first, that although the various episodes are taken from the actual history of the Russian Revolution, they are dealt with schematically and their chronological order is changed; this was necessary for the symmetry of the story. The second point has been missed by most critics, possibly because I did not emphasise it sufficiently. A number of readers may finish the book with the impression that it ends in the complete reconciliation of the pigs and the humans. That was not my intention; on the contrary I meant it to end on a loud note of discord, for I wrote it immediately after the Teheran Conference which everybody thought had established the best possible relations between the USSR and the West. I personally did not believe that such good relations would last long; and as events have shown, I wasn't far wrong.

I don't know what more I need add. If anyone is interested in personal details, I should add that I am a widower with a son almost three years old, that by profession I am a writer, and that since the beginning of the war I have worked mainly as a journalist.

The periodical to which I contribute most regularly is Tribune, a sociopolitical weekly which represents, generally speaking, the left wing of the Labour Party. The following of my books might most interest the ordinary reader (should any reader of this translation find copies of them): Burmese Days (a story about Burma), Homage to Catalonia (arising from my experiences in the Spanish Civil War), and Critical Essays (essays mainly about contemporary popular English literature and instructive more from the sociological than from the literary point of view).

* These are not public 'national schools', but something quite the opposite: exclusive and expensive residential secondary schools, scattered far apart. Until recently they admitted almost no one but the sons of rich aristocratic families. It was the dream of nouveau riche bankers of the nineteenth century to push their sons into a Public School. At such schools the greatest stress is laid on sport, which forms, so to speak, a lordly, tough and gentlemanly outlook. Among these schools, Eton is particularly famous. Wellington is reported to have said that the victory of Waterloo was decided on the playing fields of Eton. It is not so very long ago that an overwhelming majority of the people who in one way or another ruled England came from the Public School. [Orwell's footnote.]

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(13) Orwell liked rustic simplicity: no electricity, no hot water, no indoor toilet

Orwell: The Authorized Biography (review)

by Michael Scammell

The New Republic, 15 June 1992

One curious feature of Orwell's essays was the fierce patriotism and love of English tradition that they revealed, unusual in such a strong supporter of socialism, for socialism gloried in its internationalism (which Orwell had also supported by going to Spain). And his exaltation of the pedestrian virtues of daily English life was not just a literary pose. Already in 1936 he had moved to a primitive seventeenth-century cottage in Wallington, thirty-five miles north of London, and reopened the village store that had once occupied the premises. He gloried in the fact that the cottage had no electricity, no hot water, and no indoor toilet, somehow perceiving sterling yeoman values in these privations.

(14) Orwell completed "1984" on the Scottish island of Jura (west coast - Inner Hebrides}

{Orwell hated the cold. But western Scotland is bathed by the Gulf Stream}

'Making Political Writing Into An Art' - Celebrating the Centenary of Orwell's Birth by Jean-Christophe Peuch Radio Free Europe, June 2003

Sir Bernard Crick, a professor emeritus of politics at London's Birkbeck College, is the author of "George Orwell: A Life," an authoritative biography of the British novelist. He tells RFE/RL that very early in life, Orwell showed an interest in the working class.

"Orwell was a very austere and puritanical kind of man," Crick says. "He went to one of the most famous private schools in England, but he was very skeptical of the system and he always wanted to know how the poor lived. He served for a while in the Burma police in the old imperial days and he sort of came back to England saying he wanted to know if we treated our natives -- meaning our working class -- the way we treated the natives in Burma. And, on the whole, he thought we did."

For some time after his return, Orwell lived a hand-to-mouth existence, disguising himself as a tramp and working odd jobs in both England and France. ..

It was during this period that Orwell developed the taste for the simple, bohemian lifestyle that marked the rest of his years. It was also the time that spawned his deep political commitment. The former British colonial policemen had already nurtured a profound distaste for any form of imperialism, but had not yet begun to think of himself as a socialist. ...

Orwell had departed from England with the intention of merely reporting on military operations for British left-wing newspapers, but it wasn't long before he had joined the armed militias of the Workers' Party of Marxist Unification (POUM).

Despite being a devoted socialist who believed in a classless society, he never really identified himself with any particular political group. He joined the Independent Labour Party after his return from Spain only to leave it within just a few months. Years later, he would claim that "a writer can only remain honest if he keeps free of party labels."

In Aragon and later in Barcelona, Orwell was a direct witness to the repression of the anarchist movement by the Soviet secret police. POUM was brutally suppressed by Spain's Republican government under pressure from Moscow. Facing arrest by agents of Josef Stalin, Orwell and his wife Eileen hurriedly left Spain through France.

Published in 1938, Orwell's Homage To Catalonia is not only a first-hand account of the Spanish Civil War, it is also a fierce denunciation of Stalin's thirst for domination over the left-wing movement worldwide. The book, now considered a classic, at the time received a lukewarm reception -- in part because public opinion in England believed that telling the truth about Stalin and Spain might serve fascist interests. ...

In August 1945, just days after the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, a little book called "Animal Farm" appeared in London bookstalls.

Orwell said he first conceived of the novel in 1937, but didn't write it until the end of 1943. It is arguably his finest work.

A biting satire of the Soviet Union, the book tells the story of a group of farm animals who declare war on mankind, rebel against their master, and establish a phalanstery in which all animals would be equal. Gradually, the group's pigs -- led by the chillingly sinister characters of Snowball and Napoleon -- take charge of the revolution and rule over the other animals through coercion and privation. The book shows the evolution of an elite group into a personal dictatorship as the ruling pigs turn into human beings. ...

Orwell's second masterpiece, "1984," was published in 1949, a few months before his death. ...

In Oceania, Party members express themselves in Newspeak, a new language made of abbreviations and acronyms, whose aim is "to narrow the range of thought" and erase all reminiscences of the past because "orthodoxy means unconsciousness." ...

While Orwell was polishing "1984" on the Scottish island of Jura, he became ill and was diagnosed with tuberculosis. He died in a London hospital on 21 January 1950, at the age of 46.


(15) Al-Jazeera Director resigns after Wikeleaks reveals ties to US Intelligence

Posted on Tuesday, 09.20.11

Al-Jazeera: Director announces resignation



CAIRO -- The Al-Jazeera satellite TV channel has announced Tuesday that its director has stepped down after serving the network for eight years.

Wadah Khanfar's resignation follows release of documents by Wikileaks, purporting to show he had close ties with the U.S. and agreed to remove some content in response to American objections.

The leaked 2010 U.S. diplomatic cable indicated that Khanfar was in constant contact with the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency, responding to U.S. complaints of negative coverage and promising to tone down items on the station's website. The cables referred to Qatari Ministry of Foreign Affairs as "MFA" which passed him some of the DIA reports.

Al-Jazeera said in a statement that Khanfar expressed his desire to resign in July, and that his replacement was arranged one month ago to "to ensure a smooth transition." The statement did not refer to the leaked cable.

The cable, written by the U.S. embassy in Doha, said the website piece, "Live Testimony Concerning Tal Afar," showed 10 witnesses giving their accounts of U.S. military operations in Iraq.

Khanfar, according to the cable, "had taken a look at the piece and had two images removed (two injured children in hospital beds and a women with serious facial injury)."

Khanfar also referred to "a non-paper" agreement between the station and U.S. government, in his criticism of another August report by DIA pointing to a "violation to the station's agreement." Khanfar responded by saying "as a news organization, we can't sign agreements of this nature, and to have it here like this in writing is of concern to us."

On his Twitter account, Khanfar justified his resignation as prompted by the network needs for "renewal and change," and commented on several tweets linking his resignation to the leaked U.S. embassy cables, by saying, "(I am) entertained by all the rumors of why I have resigned."

The cable's disclosure of the Qatari-based network's cooperation with the U.S. government is a stark contrast with Al-Jazeera's reputation as a harsh critic of U.S. policies.

At the same time, the United States shown little openness to the network, and Al-Jazeera's English language service has limited access to American viewers.

The Qatar-funded station praised Khanfar for "outstanding contributions" and named his successor, Sheik Ahmad bin Jasem bin Muhammad Al-Thani, a Qatari businessman and member of the royal family.

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