Category Archives: spies

Infantile but lethal fantasies of the Left

Socialists of the upper crust and their love of faraway génocidaires

The UK left-wing broadcaster Channel 4 has put out a documentary in praise of Sendero Luminoso (‘Shining Path’), the Maoist cocaine-smuggling group of Peruvian mass murderers.

Richard Willoughby-Gott (educ. Winchester and Corpus Christi College, Oxford), the upper-class English journalist, is currently literary editor of the London newspaper the Guardian. A onetime spy for the Soviet Union, Willoughby-Gott describes the documentary as

a magnificent coup de théâtre.

Dalrymple comments:

Theatre is what Latin American guerrilla movements have always been to this type of west European intellectual. All their mind’s a stage, the ideas and concepts merely players. Guilt-laden that they are excluded by their

  • tastes
  • interests
  • inclinations
  • education
  • dress
  • mode of speech

from communion with the common people of their own country, they project their infantile fantasies of union with the people on to distant lands, from whose peasantry they need fear no rejection.

The Wykhamist-Leninists: Richard Willoughby-Gott speaks in praise of the Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chávez. To his right is Seumas Milne (educ. Winchester and Balliol College, Oxford), the upper-class ‘executive director of strategy and communications’ for the UK’s Labour Party

Le Carré’s Muslim zombies

Screen Shot 2016-05-21 at 07.59.38In A Most Wanted Man (2008), Dalrymple explains, a half-Russian, half-Chechen illegal immigrant to Germany with a past as a Muslim activist becomes the object of the unfair and unscrupulous attentions of German, British and US spies.

As usual in John le Carré,

the spies are as much concerned with doing each other down as with the ostensible object of their investigation.

The illegal immigrant

Edward Said: would have complained of reprehensible orientalism

Edward Said: reprehensible orientalism

is befriended by a radically, though not implausibly, humourless German female civil rights lawyer and an unlikely and unlikeable British private banker, both of whom are ‘turned’ by the intelligence services of their respective countries.

Dalrymple notes that le Carré

is clearly sympathetic to the Muslim characters in his story, making them morally superior to the Westerners.

However, the Muslim characters

are unrealistic and almost ­zombie-like. No doubt Edward Said, if he were alive, would accuse le Carré of orientalism, in this instance with some justice.

Who becomes a communist?

Screen Shot 2015-04-13 at 23.07.53What sort of American or Western European is drawn to such depravity and horror?

By about 1936, writes Dalrymple, communism in Russia had brought

  • two massive famines causing the deaths of millions
  • routinely more executions in a day than Tsarism performed in a century (and this from the very first moment of Bolshevik power)
  • the establishment of vast forced labour camps in which hundreds of thousands had already died
  • the utter decimation of intellectual life
Alger Hiss Alger Hiss

It is, he points out,

a myth that none of this was known or knowable at the time: on the contrary, it was all perfectly well known, if widely ignored.

What sort of moral idiot embraced communist dogmas? It is intrinsically unlikely, Dalrymple points out,

that a man espouses a totalitarian doctrine of proved and indisputable viciousness and violence from a love of peace and a dislike of poverty.

Kim Philby and George Blake Kim Philby and George Blake

Attention is often drawn to the economic and political context in which Western European and American communists and fellow travellers operated, suggesting that in the context,

any generous-minded and generous-hearted man concerned about the fate of the world might have made the same decision.

J. Robert Oppenheimer J. Robert Oppenheimer

This, says Dalrymple, is false. Communists in the West swallowed many things without any of them impinging on them in the slightest, such as, to name but a few:

  • the famines
  • the show trials
  • the Gulag
  • the Great Terror
  • the Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact
  • the ludicrous cult of Stalin’s personality
  • the removal of entire populations
  • the Doctor’s Plot
  • the show trials in Czechoslovakia, Romania and elsewhere in Eastern Europe
  • the Berlin and Hungarian uprisings

Screen Shot 2015-04-13 at 23.22.24The fact is, says Dalrymple, that those who became communists were attracted by precisely those aspects of communism that would repel most decent people, namely,

  • its violence and ruthlessness
  • its suppression of all views inimical to it
  • its cruel wholesale restructuring of society according to the crude and gimcrack ideas of arrogant, ambitious but profoundly mediocre intellectuals

Screen Shot 2015-04-13 at 23.33.05What many communist utopians dreamed of was

  • mass murder
  • deportations
  • suppression of people who differed from them
  • complete control over the lives of everyone