February 14

Ep. 0051: Accessory Before the Fact: Operation Keelhaul

Operation Keelhaul, which Alexander Solzhenitsyn called “the last secret of World War II,” was the forced repatriation of anti-Communist Russian and Eastern Europeans into Stalin’s clutches in the aftermath of World War II, where they often faced either summary execution or the gulag.

Join Prof CJ as he discusses:

  • What Operation Keelhaul was and why it was so morally and legally questionable
  • The Yalta Agreement, the supposed reason for forced repatriation
  • How in reality British & American authorities actually started forced repatriation well before the Yalta Agreement
  • The most prominent case of forced repatriation, that of former Soviet General Andrey Vlasov and his approximately 900,000 followers
  • The case of the Cossacks, probably the next most-prominent group to be keelhauled
  • How British & American soldiers used lies, violence, and even drugs to facilitate these repatriations, including forced repatriations of prisoners that had been held on American soil
  • Prof CJ’s concluding thoughts on Keelhaul, including the truly Orwellian way that this huge favor to Uncle Joe was being done at the exact time that Nazi war criminals were being saved by the West in the name of getting an edge on the Soviets

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February 4

Ep. 0050: Accessory After the Fact: Operation Paperclip

After World War II, the US government acted as an accessory after the fact to some of the Nazis’ war crimes by getting war criminals (with valuable expertise, of course!) off the hook, bleaching their records, moving them to America, and giving them prestigious, well-paying jobs in the American military-industrial complex or intelligence agencies

Join Prof CJ as he discusses:

  • The US government’s own definition of being an accessory to a crime after the fact, and how the government’s actions in saving guilty Nazis clearly fit that definition
  • A brief word on the so-called ‘doctors’ trials’ at Nuremberg, and how those prosecuted were just a tiny token number of guilty Nazi doctors
  • How Operation Paperclip came about, and how the orders to exclude so-called ‘ardent Nazis’ from inclusion in the program were largely ignored
  • The horrific conditions faced by the enslaved workers at Germany’s Mittelwerk rocket factory
  • How Nazis sometimes received better treatment from the US government than did Holocaust survivors
  • Some of the more prominent Nazis who were ‘paperclipped,’ including Wernher & Magnus Von Braun, Kurt Debus, Walter Dornberger, Arthur Rudolph, Hubertus Strughold, Reinhard Gehlen, and Otto Von Bolschwing
  • What this whole thing reveals about the moral ambivalence and situational ethics of American leaders, and about the ability and willingness of the political class to manipulate narratives of ‘good and evil’ in Orwellian fashion

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October 6

Ep. 0034: The Iron Law of Oligarchy

Why do organizations, even ostensibly democratic ones, often seem to be less-than-democratic in practice?  The Iron Law of Oligarchy is the answer!

Join Prof CJ as he discusses:

  • A little bit about German sociologist Robert Michels, who first described this law
  • The Iron Law of Oligarchy as described by Michels in his early-20th century book Political Parties
  • The Iron Law of Oligarchy in other contexts
  • Some noteworthy exceptions to the Iron Law that various scholars have found, including the International Typographical Union, the New Left student movement of the 1960s, ancient Athens, and Wikipedia

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September 25

Ep. 0032: Uncle Sam vs Democracy, Part 2: Operation PB Success

Encouraged by their success against Iran’s democratic government (covered in last episode), the Dulles Brothers’ next move was against the small central American country of Guatemala, where a left-of-center government appeared to be threatening the interests of the United Fruit Company.

Join Prof CJ as he discusses:

  • The immediate backstory on Guatemala, including the dominance of American corporations over the country, its democratic revolution in 1944 and the election of Jacobo Arbenz Guzman to the presidency in 1951
  • The Arbenz government’s Decree 900, aimed at redistributing unused land to poor peasants
  • The CIA’s Operation PB Success, a largely psychological campaign that succeeded in overthrowing Arbenz in June 1954
  • How the CIA itself, after ousting Arbenz, failed to find any real evidence that Arbenz was in league with the Soviets
  • The brutal aftermath of this coup, which caused suffering and oppression in Guatemala for decades and killed over 200,000 people
  • A brief thought experiment of how Americans might respond if they were put in an analogous situation
  • Some discussion of the concept known as “blowback”

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September 22

Ep. 0031: Uncle Sam vs. Democracy Part 1: Operation Ajax

In this episode and the next, we’re going to look at two instances in the early Cold War of American-sponsored and -instigated overthrows of democratically elected governments, and their replacement by unpopular, USA-backed dictatorships.  Of course, I’m talking about Iran and Guatemala in the early-1950s.  This episode will set the context and cover Iran.  Next time we’ll cover Guatemala and consequences of these sorts of operations.

Join Prof CJ as he discusses:

  • A quick sketch of the Dulles Brothers (John Foster & Allen) who played such key roles in these sorts of operations in the 1950s
  • A look at the historical context (ie, early Cold War)
  • A sketch of Iranian PM Mohammed Mossadegh, and why the Dulles Bros (and the corporate interests they served) wanted him overthrown
  • How the CIA overthrew Mossadegh and replaced him with Shah Reza Pahlavi
  • The aftermath of this operation and its legacy, which is still being felt today

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August 7

Ep. 0019: The First World War, Part 4 (A Very-Not-Happy Ending)

With this episode, we wrap up our overview of WWI and the incalculable damage it did to the world.  I’ll likely cover other topics related to this war in the future, but this four-part series is my basic overview of some of the war and its most conspicuous results, legacies, and byproducts.

Join Prof CJ as he discusses:

  • How the war (and particularly how a lot of British actions during it) sowed the seeds for the violence and instability that has characterized the Middle East ever since
  • The collapse of Russia and the Bolshevik takeover there — another effect of the war that still has negative repercussions today
  • The end of the war, including the Paris Peace Conference and the horrible Treaty of Versailles, which pretty much guaranteed a Second World War.  (In the 1920 political cartoon shown, British PM David Lloyd George aims a howitzer at the Germans and says, “Off with the spiked hat!  What d’you think we fought for if not to abolish militarism?”)
  • How the British continued their blockade against the German people even after the armistice ended the war, in order to keep pressure on the Germans at the negotiating table.  (The blockade probably killed over 750,000 German civilians, BTW — think that might have given them a grudge???)
  • The so-called “Spanish Influenza” epidemic that hit at the end of the war
  • War and the growth of state power
  • Estimated breakdown of military deaths
  • Why most Americans see war in general, and the world wars in particular, in a very different light than Europeans
  • Prof CJ’s closing thoughts and analysis on the war as a whole

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August 4

Ep. 0018: The First World War, Part 3: Enter Team America

In this episode, I’m primarily going to cover the effects of entering the war on the United States.  Long story short, it was not a good time for civil liberties or the Bill of Rights…

Join Prof CJ as he discusses:

  • The events leading up to American entry into the war
  • Woodrow Wilson’s speech, and how the reasons he gave for entering the war were B.S., and how the real reasons for US intervention were things for which few average Americans would have been willing to risk their lives
  • How most Progressives ardently supported the war
  • The government’s mobilization of the nation for total war by 1) seizing control of the economy; 2) implementing mass conscription; and 3) cranking out propaganda (including disseminating the government’s narrative and attempting to silence any competing, dissident narratives)
  • How bad the war was for civil liberties and the Bill of Rights
  • Some notable Americans who dissented anyway
  • A brief look at Wilson’s 14 Points (most of which were implemented only partially, or not at all)

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External links:

  • The hit American song “Over There” (by George Cohen, 1917), which was the WWI-era equivalent of “America, Fuck Yeah!”  (which came from the wonderfully satirical film Team America:  World Police.)  [By the way, the opening line of “Over There,” which is, “Johnny get your gun,” later inspired the title of Daltron Trumbo’s antiwar novel Johnny Got His Gun, which in turn inspired the Metallica song “One.”]

July 31

Ep. 0017: The First World War, Part 2

We continue our coverage of the unnecessary, freedom- and life-obliterating carnage-fest that was First World War.

Join Prof CJ as he discusses:

  • The truth about the Lusitania
  • Propaganda, especially that of the Brits (who were the best at it) — even the royal family had to accommodate themselves to the Germano-phobic narrative
  • Two of the most notorious battles on the Western Front, both of which occurred in 1916:  Verdun & the Somme
  • Why Prof CJ thinks this type of slaughter is an inevitable consequence of the modern state, and that the state itself is the consequence of statist ideas

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External links:

  • Germany’s warning to America about traveling on the Lusitania
  • A collection of British propaganda posters from WWI (scroll down a little and you’ll see the first poster — just click on the poster to get to the next one, rinse & repeat.)
  • The Dropkick Murphys rendition of “Green Fields of France” (sometimes also called “Willie McBride,” and originally entitled “No Man’s Land,” a song written by folk singer Eric Bogle in 1976.)  This song seems to be about the Battle of the Somme.  I’m a big fan of DKM — you gotta love a band that incorporates bagpipes and other traditional Celtic instruments into aggressive punk rock!  This song, like “Christmas in the Trenches,” is another one that I think brings most decent people at least to the verge of tears.

July 28

Ep. 0016: The First World War, part 1

Since World War I officially began 100 years ago today (that is, July 28th 1914), I decided it would be an opportune time to kick off a multi-part series on this conflict.  (As of right now, I’m not 100% sure how many episodes this will encompass, but I think probably around 4.)

Join Prof CJ as he discusses:

  • Why he thinks WWI is actually the single worst thing that ever happened in modern history
  • Origins of the war, in terms of immediate causes as well as long-term, deep-seated ones
  • The alliances, rivalries, and plans that made Europe a powderkeg just waiting for ignition
  • The spark that lit it, and how the dominoes fell until every Great Power of the time was at war
  • Some thoughts on why the war ultimately proved more costly than prior wars (the state’s software is actually more important than its hardware, Prof CJ thinks)
  • The Christmas Truce of 1914 and its implications
  • War against civilians in terms of illegal, total blockades (which the British, not the Germans, started first)

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July 24

Ep. 0015: The Age of Classical Liberalism in Europe

The episode following this one (ie, Ep. 0016, due out Monday the 28th) will begin a multi-part series on the First World War.  So I figured it would be a good idea to give an overview of what Europe was like before that huge turning point conflict.  The 99 years from 1815 (when Napoleon was finally defeated for good) to 1914 (when WWI started) were years in which the dominant ideology in most of Europe (especially the more advanced parts of Western Europe) was that of ‘Liberalism,’ in the old sense of the word — or what today we have to call ‘Classical Liberalism.’

Join Prof CJ as he discusses:

  •  A brief explanation of classical liberalism as an ideology
  • Some quotes and information about 19th century Europe that illustrate some ways in which things were better than in the 20th century (especially compared to the era of the World Wars)
  • How classical liberalism was never fully implemented anywhere in the world — even countries such as the United States and United Kingdom, which were strongholds of the ideology, still had significant deviations from it
  • The worldwide trend towards centralization between roughly the 1860s and 1900, which boded ill for classical liberalism and which can be seen in varying forms in the US, Japan, Canada, Italy, Germany, France, and Russia, among other countries
  • Tools of centralization, which included compulsory social insurance programs, compulsory state education; and military conscription
  • Some brief highlights of France, Britain, and Germany in the decades prior to the Great War
  • How mass democracy was a key factor in bringing down classical liberalism as an influential ideology European governments, because working-class voters tended to vote either for nationalist/imperialist parties, or for socialist parties, leaving classical liberalism as a doctrine without a mass constituency.  (In other words, the masses preferred to vote for varying flavors of collectivism.)
  • The fatal flaw of classical liberalism as a political belief system, which the bloody 20th century gruesomely illustrated

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