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Cold War

Running Commentary: Concentration Camp Art

Concentration camp art

Culture lovers and those looking for sound investments from which to pay the next gas bill will have found the Art Sales columns of the Daily Telegraph of 6 February interesting reading. Their correspondent was reporting the forthcoming sale at auction of a collection of concentration camp money, including notes issued at Dachau, Auschwitz, Buchenwald and the “show camp” Theresienstadt. Believed to be the best of its kind, with 1944 Auschwitz creations expected to fetch a top price of £875 each, the collection included an exquisite example of the yellow cloth "Jud” badge which Jews were forced to wear. Noticeably absent were the unique specimens of lampshade design of the period, although this does not appear to have deterred potential buyers. The lot was purchased by the auctioneers, Stanley Gibbons, at the knock-down price of £20,000.

Book Reviews: 'MI6 - Fifty Years of Special Operations', & 'The Market: Ethics, Knowledge and Politics'

A not very secret service

'MI6: Fifty Years of Special Operations', by Stephen Dorril. (Fourth Estate, London 2000. 907 pages)

Even before this book had been put on sale in bookshops, review copies had given rise to considerable controversy. Towards the end of MI6 (p.722), Dorril asserts:

    "Another MI6 catch was ANC leader Nelson Mandela. Whether Mandela was recruited in London before he was imprisoned in South Africa is not clear, but it is understood that on a recent trip to London he made a secret visit to MI6's training section to thank the Service for its help in foiling two assassination attempts directed against him soon after he became President."

Editorial: Russia Never Was Socialist

This year marks the centenary of the Russian Revolution where the focus will be on the Bolshevik seizure of power in November 1917. The historic rivalry between the Western Powers and the world's first so-called "Communist" state has been presented as a struggle between Western ‘liberal democracy’ versus Soviet ‘totalitarian Communism’. Many believed that the fall of ‘Communism’ would usher in an era of global peace. However, despite the arrival of Western-style representative democracy in Russia, relations between Russia and the West appear to be descending into a new ‘Cold War’.

Castro: Latin American Nationalist

On 26 November Fidel Castro, one of the oldest dictators in Latin America, died. The announcement of his death was made by his brother Raul Castro on state television. His death was celebrated by the opponents of the government of Cuba in Miami in Florida, and it was also taken as sad news by many of the Latin America Leftists and supporters of the Cuban regime.

In 1959 Fidel Castro, Raul Castro, and Che Guevara were part of an armed rebellion which provoked the overthrow of the dictatorship of Fulgencio Batista, a government backed by the US for several years. Then, part of the ruling elite of Cuba shifted toward the support of the guerrillas who were fighting in the Sierra Maestra against the Cuban military forces.

After their victory, Fidel Castro and the Communist Party of Cuba initiated the nationalization of all the US holdings and assets, and all private land was taken over by the state. The US declared an embargo on the island.

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