THE MERETRICIOUS ART OF SIMON SCHAMA – by Donal Kennedy

Last night BBC2 devoted more than an hour to Simon Schama’s “HISTORY OF NOW”.  

He depicted Picasso’s “Guernica, praised George Orwell and spent much time attacking the Soviet Union, China and the various BETES NOIR of Britain’s current establishment.

Oh and he was unsympathetic to Franco’s Fascists.

He neglected the fact that British Intelligence officers flew General Franco from the Canary Islands to Spanish Morocco where the traitor took command of troops to launch their attacks on Spanish democracy.

One of those officers was Hugh Pollard who in 1914 was responsible for the widely believed lie of German factories turning corpses into soap and margarine. Rudyard Kipling helped spread the lie (not the margarine) with a poem,

“In Gibraltar the Royal Navy provided supplies and other assistance to (Franco’s) Nationalists while the Gordon Highlanders nearly drowned one of Franco’s airmen in whisky when ‘toasting a quick victory’ “

The revelation of the lie during the 1926 General Strike blunted Churchill’s equally spurious propaganda in the British Gazette.

 My source for the previous two paragraphs is “THE DARK VALLEY – A Panorama of the 1930s” by Piers Brendon, Keeper of the Churchil Archives and a Fellow of Churchill College Cambridge.

According to WIKIPEDIA Pollard wrote to THE TIMES in 1937 claiming that Guernica was a legitimate target for Hitler’s Condor Legion,  “being a centre for small arms manufacture for supply to Terrorists”.

In 1920-21 Pollard was part of a black propaganda unit in Dublin Castle. He arranged with British Pathe to produce a newsreel showing an encounter between the IRA and Crown courses near Tralee on the South West Atlantic Coast of Ireland, Dublin filmgoers hooted with derision recognising the Vico Road on Killiney Bay, County Dublin on the East Coast (Irish Sea) more than 200 miles from the Court.

Crown forces in Dublin captured an office of the secretly printed IRISH BULLETIN, organ of Dail Eireann, Ireland’s elected Government and addresses to which the papers were sent: journalists, politicians in Britain and further abroad.

Pollard organised the  printing of fake copies of the Bulletin, inserting items to discredit it. But the fakes were immediately recognised by regular recipients. Because the IRISH BULLETIN had another office with  a spare printer and a full set of recipients’  addresses. The Bulletin, published 5 days a week didn’t miss an issue.

Stills from the fake Pathe newsreels continue to appear in books and newspapers a century later.

The bombing of Guernica was not unprecedented . Italy under Mussolini (bankrolled from 1917 by British Intelligence and a Knight of the Bath since 1923), had been bombing civilians in Abyssinia since 1935, and throwing captured men from aircraft. Britain made Mussolini pay for his crimes by filling the coffers of the Suez Canal, which they owned, to take troops and material through it, saving the Fascist a many thousand mile long haul around the Cape of  Good Hope. Evelyn Waugh, in Addis Ababa as a newsman, cheered the Fascists on.

 

 

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