Who is Responsible?

Much is written and talked about in the Western media about the division of Germany in the decades after the Second World War, but very little about who was responsible for this in the first place, and for perpetuating it.

The fact is that it was the four allies of World War II, USA, USSR, UK and France who divided Germany between them, each having zones of occupation, for 4 years.

Then, in 1949, the three Western zones were allowed to declare themselves the Federal Republic of Germany, thus perpetuating the division, and leading to the Soviet zone declaring itself the German Democratic Republic, leaving Berlin as a divided city in the heart of the former Soviet zone. East Berlin became the Capital of the GDR, while the three Western zones of Berlin just became a capitalist enclave 100 miles inside East Germany.

Even then all was not lost for those who hoped for a united Germany, for in 1952 the USSR offered to allow this if the united Germany remained neutral. This offer was made when Stalin was still in power, and the formula was very similar to that offered to Austria two years after Stalin’s death. In 1955 Soviet occupation troops marched out of Vienna, and Austria became a neutral country in the heart of Europe. Germany lost that chance when the Western powers rejected the Soviet offer of 1952. The division was sealed as the Federal Republic was in the Western NATO military alliance and the Democratic Republic was in the Eastern Warsaw Pact military alliance.

Western money was poured into the Federal Republic and West Berlin, whilst the GDR had to pay huge reparation fees to the Soviet Union for the damage the whole of Germany caused in the Second World War. Is it any wonder so many GDR citizens got jobs in affluent West Berlin while living in subsidized accommodation in East Berlin? Or that many GDR professionals and others moved permanently to West Berlin or the Federal Republic, bolstered by Marshall Aid and other Western assistance?

Even so the GDR struggled on, and eventually in 1961 erected  border installations to seal off ‘the thorn in the flesh of the GDR’ (West Berlin) from the surrounding territory of East Germany. This meant East Berliners could no longer get the best of both worlds, and neither could West Berliners who had been stripping East Berlin shops of subsidized basic foodstuffs, etc.

It also, of course, caused the division of families and friends, since the opportunity to reunite Germany (and Berlin) as a neutral country like Austria had been rejected by the West 9 years earlier. However GDR pensioners could pay visits to the West, and on special days later on West Berliners were allowed to visit friends and relatives in the GDR capital.

However, even when the Wall eventually was torn down in 1989, Western leaders like Margaret Thatcher were against German reunification, as was the French government.

Many former GDR citizens also now regret being annexed by the Federal Republic with all the problems it brought unknown in the GDR before reunification. Full employment, guaranteed pensions/security in old age, subsidized public services, cheap rents – all the achievements of 40 years of Socialism lost overnight. Many had to flee West to find jobs even after the country was reunited.

Nor is Germany an exception. The division of Cyprus is blamed on Turkey, but once again it was the West which was largely responsible. USA and UK stood by and watched as a fascist junta in Athens invaded Cyprus in July 1974, tried to kill its President and installed a puppet ruler, Nicos Sampson, with the objective of driving out the Turkish-Cypriot citizens (or killing them) and annexing the whole island to Greece, a policy known as ‘Enosis’ or ‘union with Greece’.

Britain with thousands of troops permanently stationed on the island in two huge areas of occupation (called Sovereign Bases) refused to fulfil its obligations under the 1960 Independence Agreement and overthrow the Sampson coup. Turkey, therefore, felt it had no other option but to act to create a safe zone in the North for Turkish-Cypriots.

Once again the opportunity to reunite the island came in the form of the Kofi Annan plan in the early 21st Century, after decades ot unproductive talks between the Greek and Turkish Cypriot leaders. The Turkish Cypriots accepted the Annan plan for reunification, but the Greek Cypriots rejected it. Although the border has since been opened, Cyprus remains divided, with the North still unrecognized by any country but Turkey, while the Southern Greek-Cypriot republic, which rejected reunification, is rewarded with EU membership.

One could add to this list of divided countries Ireland, Vietnam (since reunited), the Indian sub-continent and Palestine/Israel, all the divisions caused by Western powers drawing lines on maps or, in the case of South Vietnam, trying to prevent it joining North Vietnam under Ho Chi-Minh. Free elections were canceled and a puppet dictator installed by the Americans in South Vietnam to prevent this, then a disastrous war followed.

Korea being an exception perhaps, divided since the undeclared peace stalemate of the early 1950s and living in tension between the two sides ever since. North Korea has made proposals for reunification, but these have never been taken seriously. The pariah state therefore closes in on itself, perhaps one of the most secretive and horrific nominally ‘Socialist’ or ‘Communist’ states since the murderous Pol Pot regiime in Kampuchea/Cambodia.

So next time you read about, or see a film about, the problems caused by the division of  Germany, remember the West and USSR divided the country, the Soviet Union proposed reunification in 1952 and guaranteed neutrality, rejected by the West and therefore they continued the division of Germany for the next 37 years. JFK’s ‘Ich bin ein Berliner’ speech of crocodile tears sounds very hollow when you know the true history of post-War Germany.

I too was against the annexation of the GDR by the Federal Republic after the fall of the Wall. I still feel this was a unique chance to democratize the first Socialist state on German soil, i.e. the GDR, and build on the considerable achievements of 40 years of Socialism. The GDR, despite all the difficulties, was one of the world’s leading industrial nations. Germans, being hard-working and efficient, made the GDR one of the most successful of the Socialist countries, along with Yugoslavia.

In 1989 there was a unique opportunity to have two friendly German republics existing side-by-side, with free movement between the two. Financial measures could have been introduced in Berlin to allow this free movement and prevent the scams which were bleeding the GDR dry.

I would have liked to have seen Germany, and indeed Europe, united under a genuine democratic Socialist government eventually.

The good news is that we now have the European Union, which although capitalist, has the potential to unite Europe in a federal state eventually with a single currency. This should enable free travel without controls around the EU once a level playing field in terms of prices, wages, etc. is achieved. I still hope, ultimately, for a European Socialist Union, perhaps a break-away entity from the EU itself. Probably not in my lifetime, however.

Changing London Underground Map

London Underground Map, 1960 (click on map to enlarge it)

The London Underground system has been constantly changing, with many stations closed before the last War.

Since the above map was published in 1960 there has only been one completely new line built, the Victoria Line from Walthamstow to Brixton.

The Jubilee Line was merely an extension of the Stanmore branch of the Bakerloo Line. Originally to be called the Fleet Line, it was renamed Jubilee Line before it opened to commemorate the Queen’s 25th Jubilee in 1977. The original new line ran from Baker Street to Charing Cross. The Baker Street to Stanmore section already existed as part of the Bakerloo Line. Later the line was extended from Green Park to Stratford, and the Green Park to Charing Cross section was closed.

The line which has undergone most changes is the Metropolitan Line. In 1960 it ran out as far as Aylesbury in Buckinghamshire, and once went even further. It is rumored that the original concept was for a Metropolitan railway linking Manchester, London and Paris via a Channel Tunnel, a journey which would have taken forever with all the intermediate stations.

The line now finishes at Amersham in Buckinghamsire, with a branch to Chesham. The Hammersmith branch became the Hammersmith and City Line, and the section from Edgware Road to Hammersmith is now also used by Circle Line trains (which no longer keep traveling round in a complete circle. To complete the circle both ways you now have to change at Edgware Road).

The East London section of the Metropolitan Line, always a shuttle, was first renamed the East London Line, then handed over to London Overground.

Similarly, the old Metropolitan Line north of Amersham has been handed over to another rail network.

The Bakerloo Line, Harrow and Wealdstone branch, originally went to Watford Junction, then it was curtailed at Queen’s Park, then re-opened as far as Harrow and Wealdstone. The section north of Queen’s Park/Harrow and Wealdstone was handed over to another rail network.

The Central Line Epping to Ongar shuttle via Blake Hall has been closed, as has the Piccadilly Line shuttle from Holborn to Aldwych.

The Moorgate – Finsbury Park section of the Northern Line (itself a shuttle) has been handed over to another rail network.

The Piccadilly Line has been extended westwards from Hounslow West to Heathrow terminals 1, 2, 3 and later 4 and 5.

Only one line has been added to the London Underground system from another rail network, and that is the two station Waterloo and City (Bank) shuttle.

So many changes to the London Underground system and map over the years.

The trains have also changed considerably. I remember closed compartments with slam-shut doors on the Metropolitan Line after the Second World War. The old Waterloo and City Line trains have been changed from British Rail to London Underground stock.

The whole system, by the way, is not really the Tube. Strictly speaking ‘The Tube’ refers to the later deep-level lines – Piccadilly, Central, Northern, Jubilee, Victoria, Bakerloo and, I guess, now the Waterloo and City Line. The District, Circle, Metropolitan and Hammersmith and City Lines (plus the old East London Line) are Underground lines, not Tube lines, built by the old ‘cut and cover’ method, and so are much nearer the surface.


Proud to be British?

I’ve never been that patriotic, and actually feel patriotism has done as much harm as organized religion, racism and politics. I am an internationalist, and would be glad to trade in my British citizenship (we are not even considered ‘citizens’ in fact, but ‘subjects’ of an anachronistic monarchy which I don’t even recognize) for EU citizenship.

Not that Europe or its individual countries have much to be proud of either. Many were colonial powers, including Britain of course, invading and massacring millions of people overseas, getting involved in the slave trade, etc. In fact Hitler did nothing Britain and many other countries hadn’t done before. Britain invented concentration camps to control the rebellious elements in certain countries they invaded, Spain, France and Portugal did no better, but at least in Europe since the Second World War there has been an attempt, through the imperfect European Union, to put aside our past rivalries and differences and come together as Europeans, the first step surely to global internationalism.

Of course there are things I AM proud of which Britain and Britons have achieved. Our athletes did splendidly in the London Olympics and Paralympics, coming third in the Medals table, so as London Mayor Boris Johnson said, winning the most medals per head of population than any other country on Earth. Much of this success is due to British athletes of ethnic origin, so even this has an international aspect.

I am proud of the National Health Service and other measures introduced by the leftwing Labour government of 1945, even though much of this has been whittled away or totally reversed in the intervening decades.

Proud that Britons like Robert Owen started the cooperative movement, that foreigners like Karl Marx and even Lenin were able to work freely in Britain due to our relatively liberal traditions, that we had a strong trade union movement fighting for the rights of working-class people till Thatcher broke much of their power.

I’m not proud of our colonial history or the many wars we fought, nor how we fought them. Nor am I proud of how some British people act at home and abroad. Football hooligans for instance and blatant nationalism directed against foreigners. An example I heard about did not involve rowdy footballl fans venting racist slogans, but relatively affluent British people aboard a P&O cruise liner. We were docked at some port abroad and they had a sail-away party as usual, with nationalist Britons waving Union flags. Needless to say I did not join this jingoistic jamboree on deck, but heard about the disgraceful, shocking thing these British people did next.

As our ship pulled out of port we passed between two other cruise ships, these happened to be German. The Britons on deck waving their Union flags then started humming ‘The Dam Busters’ theme. I think this is one of the most shocking things I have ever heard of. Innocent people drowned when those dams were broken by British RAF pilots, little children and their parents drowned in their own homes, and these British people supposedly on holiday were taunting similar German tourists with the deaths of their fellow-countrymen and maybe friends and relatives.

I am deeply ashamed of the RAF bombing raids which massacred maybe millions, certainly hundreds of thousands, of innocent men, women and children. It is every bit as bad as if the crew of these RAF bombers had taken little babies, children and their parents, herded them into buildings and burnt them all alive. No matter that the Luftwaffe was bombing British cities, this did NOT give us the right to do the same to innocent people in the Third Reich.

Not only that, but we actually are expected to be proud of this recent history! A statue was erected to that mass murderer who planned this genocide, the notorious ‘Bomber’ Harris who, under the orders of the war criminal Winston Churchill (never brought to trial of course since so-called ‘Victors’ Justice’ prevails), planned the genocide of so many in Germany and the Nazi-occupied countries. Then, to cap it all, after saying we entered the War to save Poland, we happily handed it, Czechoslovakia and other Central and Eastern European countries over to our Wartime ally the dictator Stalin instead of negotiating at least neutrality for these countries.

We had, along with USA and other Western countries, already abandoned the Jewish population and other minorities in the Third Reich to their fate by refusing to take many refugees, and then sealed their fate by declaring war on Germany, which gave Hitler and the Nazis the excuse to implement the Final Solution (Hitler always said he’d kill the Jews if war broke out, and such atrocities can much more easily be committed in wartime and usually are.)

I am so proud of the fact that, despite the many difficulties, people in Europe are at last trying to put national differences behind them and are trying to come closer together under the EU flag, which I proudly display on this computer and in my window. I would, as I have said before on these blogs, willingly stand for the EU anthem ‘Ode To Joy’ but never, ever for the British so-called national anthem because it is so jingoistic (‘crushing rebellious Scots’) and mainly about the monarch. Being a republican how can I sing or stand for such an anthem? Change the words, and I might well stand for it and even sing it, but only if they remove all references to the monarch, the monarchy and our imperialist history.

Yes, we have a considerable amount of freedom in this country, at least to say what we like, and even demonstrate, though attempts are frequently made to curtail this. It is said the wars we fought won us this freedom, but at what cost? As a pacifist I don’t believe war is the way to settle international disputes, though I accept that violent methods often have to be used discriminately against criminal and political elements intent on causing death, torture and genocide. As I’ve described in previous blogs, I feel this sort of policing operation would best done by a world security force under the auspices of the UN General Assembly. I don’t believe all-out war killing totally innocent civilians and forcibly conscripted young men actually solves anything in the long run, but rather creates more problems and often sows the seeds of the next war.

However wars and genocide are universal so the blame cannot be laid solely on Britain’s shoulders – it takes at least two stupid nations to make a war, and of course, the arms manufacturers who actually have an enormous incentive to create wars and war-like situations because of the enormous profits made.

What happens to influential people who get in the way of these arms manufacturers and their blood-stained profits can be seen in how Diana Spencer, former ‘Princess of Wales’, was assassinated in the Alma Tunnel in Paris mainly because she got involved in causes like her anti-landmines campaign. This assassination, and the subsequent cover-up,  by the British Establishment and security services, along with those of USA, France and Israel (all of whom had a vested interest in seeing Diana dead along with her intention to pursue her anti-landmines campaign and then take up the cause of the Palestinians), most definitely falls in the category of events which make me at times deeply ashamed to be British, though many nations have similar dark deeds in their recent or distant past.

I look forward to the creation of a European republic, the United States of Europe, and hopefully one day to a worldwide federation or confederation. In fact the Euro cannot survive unless we have a federal Europe with central control of the currency. Just imagine the chaos if oil-rich Texas had to bail out one of the poorer states in order to save the U.S. dollar periodically! Of course a common currency cannot work properly without a federal union and central control, though all federal unions must be made truly democratic, which is not the case with the loose non-federal arrangement of the European Union at present.

I also hope for a global revival of Socialism, true Socialism combined with real democracy, but all this seems hopelessly utopian and far ahead, when humankind has developed spiritually.

We always must preserve good local cultures and traditions, but dispense with the bad ones which cause division and hatred or which infringe basic human rights. We must, however, learn to become true internationalists and respect the rights and traditions of those in other nations. This applies to them as well as us of course. We have no right to impose our traditions on them, nor they on us, but the UN does have an obligation, via the General Assembly and the security forces it controls, to impose basic human rights, to outlaw executions based on ancient religious texts and similar atrocities. Individual countries, however, do NOT have the right to intervene in other countries, but should ALWAYS act via the UN General Assembly, which would be all-powerful if the undemocratic UN Security Council was abolished.

This finally brings me to the most shameful thing in recent British history, the decision to develop, with immense aid from the USA, our own nuclear weapons threatening completely innocent populations, and those yet unborn, with horrible deaths, deformities and cancers. A war crime which would make even those of the Nazis pale by comparison. All so we can retain our permanent veto of democratic UN General Assembly resolutions, at enormous financial cost. Our public services are being cut, as are pensions and other benefits, while we plan on spending £100 billion on replacement of our military useless, totally illegal Trident submarine-based nuclear weapons system, which is neither independent (totally reliant on USA for much of the technology) nor a deterrent (was General Galtieri of Argentina deterred from claiming the Falklands/Malvinas?)

That is another thing I’m not proud of either, British settlers abroad claiming places like the Falklands/Malvinas and Gibraltar for their own – if they want to be British and live in a British country then why do they choose to live abroad?

So at times I’m proud of British achievements of course, at other times I’m ashamed of what we have done, but most of all I recognize and embrace the fact that we all share this planet, that we must learn to live peacefully together on it and protect its people, its natural resources and the environment.


Is Spiritualism a Religion?

This is a question often asked in the psychic and Spiritualist press. It has now been registered as a religion, and apes Christianity by appointing ministers, some wearing clerical collars and other Christian-based drag, calling themselves ‘Rev.’ and the centers ‘churches’.

I don’t consider myself religious, but I am a Spiritualist or Survivalist (the latter term is used by rationalists/atheists/agnostics/humanists who accept the overwhelming evidence of survival.) Because I’m not religious, and most certainly not a Christian, I don’t attend my local Spiritualist churches where they sing hymns and recite the Lord’s Prayer. Nor do I subscribe to the Spiritualist National Union’s first of seven principles, ‘the Fatherhood of God’, which I consider a meaningless and sexist term. I never use the term ‘God’ as it implies, if not a mythical white-bearded grandfather figure in the sky, it does suggest an all-wise Creator who will one day sit in judgment of everyone.

I visited my local Spiritualist church today as they had an Open Day in which mediums were giving short private readings, and as I have not had one of these for some years I thought it might be illuminating. Unfortunately this was not the case. The Spiritualist and psychic press is nowadays full of articles and letters complaining about the low quality of much mediumship nowadays. Lack of training and, it has to be said, talent or a natural gift means almost anybody in the movement seem to think they can be a medium and are apparently encouraged to ‘have a go’.

First thing I noticed on entering the building were not only many pictures of JC, which were just about acceptable as there were also pictures of Native American guides, etc., but the heavily Christian influence was emphasized by a large Christian cross (an instrument of torture and execution) prominently displayed in the platform. What on Earth has the Christian cross got to do with Spiritualism?

Spiritualists don’t believe in salvation through Jesus dying on the Cross. On the contrary we believe, based again on hard evidence, that everyone is responsible for their own actions and must face the consequences through their own karma. No saviors from on high, no holy communion or mass, no last rites, no priest or confession can alter the karmic law of cause and effect.

If the symbols of Christianity are depicted in Spiritualist centers, then so should the symbols of all other major religions as well as those of humanism/rationalism.

The reason for Spiritualism’s great decline, much discussed in the psychic and Spiritualist press, is surely this outdated clinging to a futile attempt to win-over Christian converts by aping their religion and displaying their symbols and pictures of Jesus to try to hoodwink Christians into believing Spiritualism is just another Christian sect. The early Christian church used much the same methods to convert pagans to Christianity, adopting the myth of the virgin birth, the three wise men, the birth of Jesus on 25th December, his resurrection at Easter – even the traditional face of Jesus was copied from a pagan god!

Jesus was a great spiritual teacher and healer, nothing more. He survived death and appeared to his disciples, but this is commonplace. Everyone survives death, and many have materialized either spontaneously or in physical seances.  By following Jesus’ example and that of the Buddha, Mahatma Gandhi and similar great teachers we can build up good karma, not by believing in some barbaric blood sacrifice and the symbolic cannibalism of holy communion/mass. This is mere superstition.

Spiritualism/Survivalism, on the other hand, is based on hard evidence collected over the decades and centuries via various means. Physcial and mental mediumship, Instrumental TransCommunication (ITC),  Near Death Experiences (NDEs), Out-of-the-Body Experiences (OOBEs), etc.. All these have been investigated by scientists, even by magicians expert at the conjuring tricks which could be used by fraudsters and fakes, and pronounced genuine phenomena which prove survival. Skeptics who dismiss these have not studied the evidence, or are very selective about what evidence they are prepared to look at.

Not only have great scientists in the past like Sir William Crookes studied physical mediumship and pronounced it proof of survival, but as late as the 1990s and beyond scientists like Dr David Fontana and reseacher Montague Keen of the Society for Psychical Research (often very skeptical of physical mediumship), Arthur Ellison and Dr Rupert Sheldrake, plus a magician, studied the physical phenomena in the many Scole Experiments and pronounced them genuine evidence of survival. A team of well-known scientists and researchers on the other side worked with the Scole group and a signature of one of them, clearly recognizable, was obtained.

So I would say Spiritualism/Survivalism is a branch of science, not a religion at all. It is based on repeatable experiments, not on faith or ancient texts handed down through the centuries, with uncertain authors and many translations and mis-translations.

True, Spiritualism does have texts, such as the many communications from great Spirit guides like Silver Birch, but these are not dogmatic, and they are on-going communications with Higher afterlife entities, not things set down in stone as coming directly from ‘God’ or via inspired intermediaries.

As to my reading today, it was very generalized and non-specific, so could easily be dismissed as either ‘cold reading’, guesswork or just a very poor medium with very weak powers of clairsensitivity. Statements like ‘do you know a John still alive who might need help?’ are hardly evidence of survival, nor is a statement like ‘do you know a man who died who liked his pint of beer?’ or ‘who wore a flat cap?’. We all know people named John, and guys who drank beer and wore a flat cap.

The only thing which struck a real chord, and could have been a lucky guess or telepathy, was when the medium asked if my kitchen was opposite my front door, which it is. He seemed to think I might see a shadow there or somehow sense the presence of my grandmother. I can’t say I ever have, though there is a picture on the wall just in the hall outside the kitchen which my grandmother would be most interested in, since it is a smaller reproduction of one which hung on the wall of the dining room of the Margate guest house we stayed in most years during my childhood. So Gran, if you’re loitering in my hallway, please make your presence more obvious to me!

But poor mediumship aside, and there are frauds and just poor operatives in every profession, there is overwhelming evidence of survival, and some excellent mediums. I have detailed elsewhere some evidence I have had from Colin Fry and others, and I have also had direct communication from Spirit which must have come from my deceased life-partner, such as when he answered questions I asked him and helped me find things he’d hidden away in our flat.

Basically, all skeptics of survival are people with closed-minds who refuse point blank to examine the overwhelming scientific evidence of survival. As for turning Spiritualism into a religion, well frankly it does the true science of Survivalism no favors and turns it into a New Age version of Christianity without the promise of salvation. You have to sing the hymns, recite the prayers, but you don’t get the wine, the wafer or the forgiveness of misdemeanors.

Instead of confusing people like this, Spiritualilsts/Survivalists need to get into the 21st Century and tell people the facts: all the evidence points to it not mattering one jot which religion you belong to or if you are an atheist/agnostic, what matters is how you live your life. There is no religion on the Other Side, at least not on the Third Level where most decent people with open minds find themselves on transition. There are closed-minded Christian sects and those of other religions who continue to exist after death in closed environments with people of similar beliefs, but this just inhibits and greatly delays their spiritual progress until they eventually realize everyone survives death, and that spiritual progress is open to all.

Animals of course also survive death, as do all living things in some form or other. The more highly evolved ones as individuals, many of the lower life forms probably as some sort of group energy/soul, but all these too continue to evolve and develop spiritually. Everything is evolving and learning from experience, I would say, including the Primal Energy Source (what many religious people term ‘God’).

Quantum Physics suggests that a non-physical Consciousness is at the heart of all matter, or at least, some sort of Mind or Thought energy. It seems all matter systems and universes are created by Mind or Consciousness as environments to learn lessons and enable spiritual progress. Quantum Physics also suggests multiple universes or dimensions, very similar to many Spiritual planes described by Spiritualists/Survivalists.

String theory also suggests different universes or dimensions may exist with different rates of vibration, exactly what Spiritualists/Survivalists have learnt from sources on the Other Side for decades. So even the branches of orthodox science, rather than that specialized branch researching psychic and paranormal matters, is now backing up the science of Survivalism and Spiritualism.

It is NOT a religion, but like anything else, can be made into a religion. You can worship Karl Marx, Lenin, Stalin, Elvis Presley, Marilyn Monroe, Princess Diana and make a religion out of any of these icons which have transited to Spirit. Indeed atheistic Communism was a sort of religion, with its own infallible texts and doctrines.

However turning something into a religion does it no favors at all, just sets it in a rigid format and discourages new converts.

Science, however, and the scientific method of repeatable experimentation, and only believing in what is based on overwhelming evidence, is what in the end will convince most people. Spiritualism/Survivalism falls into this category, and increasing numbers of people are coming to realize this. They are not being converted by pseudo-religious, pseudo-Christian services in Spiritualist churches, but rather by the hard scientific evidence given by scientists and serious researchers on the Internet, by the evidence of great channelers and mediums like Colin Fry, Tony Stockwell, John Edward, James Van Praagh and many others.