Join 3,513 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


Deep politics
December 12, 2009 1:57 AM   Subscribe

Lobster: The Journal of Parapolitics was started in 1983 by Robin Ramsay and Stephen Dorril, two conspiracy enthusiasts who weren't actually nuts and believed in proper research. The magazine primarily covered the activities of the British security and intelligence services and what they term 'parapolitics'. They've had a brochure website for a while with some sample articles, but starting from the current issue the full journal will be free online (PDF download). The pair had a falling-out some time ago and have gone their separate ways. On his personal site Dorril, now also the author of a well-received study of Mosley and the Blackshirts, offers early back issues of the magazine for free download too.
posted by Abiezer (17 comments total) 24 users marked this as a favorite

 
The links to the back issues at Dorril's site are screwed up, but if you got to the directory listing you'll see all the 31 issues he offers as PDFs.
posted by Abiezer at 2:00 AM on December 12, 2009


Wow! The review of Dorril's book has some amazing commentary. Moseley's spirit lives on in the BNP.
posted by CCBC at 2:20 AM on December 12, 2009


Bit more on that one enjoyable bit where Ted "Kid" Lewis, who was one of the best boxers Britain's ever produced, has a 'full and frank exchange of views' with Mosley and some of his thugs when the loathsome toff comes out as an anti-Semite.
posted by Abiezer at 2:48 AM on December 12, 2009 [2 favorites]


Cool. I'd been meaning for ages to fork out for some back issues of Lobster to read more about the Clockwork Orange plot and Colin Wallace – there's enough crazy there or thereabouts to keep anyone going for a good while.

Oh, and Abiezer, tangentialy-related – in that it concerns many of the same wannabe 1970s fascists as much else Lobster covered – have you seen Adam Curtis's great documentary The Mayfair Set?
posted by Len at 5:29 AM on December 12, 2009


Len - those links are the most bogus looking thing I've seen on Wikipedia. How in the world can articles like that not be deleted, like immediately?
posted by Dmenet at 5:44 AM on December 12, 2009


Cheers for the link Len, I think that's one of the Curtis ones I've not seen. Would be interested in your views as a journalist on the general credibility of the Lobster's research. I know a few other journos who always read it and was how I first saw a copy, plus the bits I've seen over the years sort of tallied with the facts as far as I knew but then of course head off into some pretty wild territory about which I have no clue, so always took it with a massive pinch of salt.
posted by Abiezer at 6:02 AM on December 12, 2009


Dmenet – "bogus-looking" in what way? Do you mean the lack of online sources? Or just that both sound a little far-fetched?

I'll grant you a valid argument if you've concerns on both points; it'd be great to see them more rigourously-sourced, and yes, some of the claims therein are pretty outlandish, but in a world where something like Jon Ronson's The Men Who Stare At Goats exists – and can be backed-up as documented fact – they're not maybe as far-fetched as they first seem.

(If you've a chance, get hold of Paul Foot's Who Framed Colin Wallace? and, while you're at it, David Leigh's excellent The Wilson Plot. Short piece by Paul Foot on Wallace here, and there's an interesting overview of the territory Leigh covers here.)

Abiezer: "Would be interested in your views as a journalist on the general credibility of the Lobster's research. I know a few other journos who always read it and was how I first saw a copy, plus the bits I've seen over the years sort of tallied with the facts as far as I knew but then of course head off into some pretty wild territory about which I have no clue, so always took it with a massive pinch of salt."

Well, I've never really done that sort of investigative stuff but I've good friends/colleagues who have/still do. And I've spent enough time chewing the fat with them about this sort of stuff, both their own stories and those of people writing elsewhere. Far as I can tell – and in concordance with investigative hacks I know – Dorrill and Ramsay are/were pretty damned meticulous in their research, and if they've a failing, it's a wish to tie things together a little too neatly (or should I say grandly complicatedly?). It's not that a lot of the stuff they've covered is wrong; maybe just that they sometimes see evil rather than what someone else on MeFi once defined as "malcompetence". Though between their stuff and much else of what I've read over the years, from what (as with yourself) matches up, there's certainly enough evil to go round.

They're a bit like an Xtreme verson of the Eye's In The Back section, I suppose (interesting that they and Paul Foot covered similar ground for so long): documenting all the shady bastards that keep plodding away in the background, doing deals to enrich them and their mates, or engaging in outrageous cover-ups, stuff which newspapers – either because they've got an interest/agenda, or because they're too scared of libel law, or because Christ, a lot of this stuff is way too complicated to sum up in an outrage-provoking splash – don't cover.

So yeah, definitely, sufficient levels of salt advised, but I think it's important they're out there; a lot of these types of connections they write about provide the ground for other hacks following later, especially when searching for links between people/events related to contemporary nefarious activity, or to help stand up a story that otherwise would be spiked thanks to the lawyers. Be interesting to see, over the next three or four decades, what stuff they published back in the day ends up being confirmed by documents being released under the 30-year rule, or by political memoirs. Can't wait to see what comes out about Lockerbie, for one. (If anything ever does ...)
posted by Len at 8:55 AM on December 12, 2009 [2 favorites]


And finally: interesting piece on Dorril's Mosely biog from Spiked; much better than their usual crackers ex-RCP/Living Marxism frothing.
posted by Len at 9:02 AM on December 12, 2009


Len - I guess I have a problem with Wikipedia being a mouthpiece for allegations and claims in this way. This is really interesting stuff, it's just hard to separate the signal from the noise.
posted by Dmenet at 11:13 AM on December 12, 2009


Paul Foot archives
posted by adamvasco at 11:44 AM on December 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


Dmenet: Len - I guess I have a problem with Wikipedia being a mouthpiece for allegations and claims in this way. This is really interesting stuff, it's just hard to separate the signal from the noise.

Oh, I totally get both those points, and pretty much agree. On both, the problem seems to be a similar one: because this is stuff that is by necessity clandestine, or secret, or done behind layers of official obfuscation and dissembling bullshit, it's all, by design, difficult to source to public documents, or to people who are willing to risk careers and more to become publically-identifiable sources. Therefore allegations are made which are asked to be taken on trust and/or at face value; and since much of this stuff this is important, if murky, territory, there are plenty of people whose motives happily align with there being more noise than signal. And because a lot of this stuff is difficult to stand up, it's easy to make distracting noise.

Anyway, I'll stop hogging the thread now ...
posted by Len at 1:35 PM on December 12, 2009


much better than their usual crackers ex-RCP/Living Marxism frothing
They can put out the occasional piece of decent writing, especially in the book reviews and that. It's definitely the stuff that's serving one of their numerous obvious agendas in their reinvention of themselves as a corporate think-tank you have to avoid or laugh at.
Thanks for the long reply, Len. One novel I read that touched on the Colin Wallace allegations but was mostly the Nairac affair in a thinly fictionalised version was The Ultras by Eoin McNamee of Resurrection Man fame.
posted by Abiezer at 4:17 PM on December 12, 2009


Yeah, I've seen some good stuff on Spiked, and I've heard Frank Furedi making some pretty decent arguments when he's been interviewed on radio/TV about various things, but it's the crazy – particularly on the environment, and often from Brendan O'Neill – that sticks in the mind.

Hadn't heard of The Ultras but that review makes it sound enticing; sounds like it takes a similar approach to the facts as David Peace did to the Miners Strike with GB84 (there's a thorough review by Andy Beckett here) which, if you've not read it, is a good fictionalised accomplice to Seumas Milne's The Enemy Within.
posted by Len at 5:34 PM on December 12, 2009


Related: Six doctors who believe government scientist David Kelly was murdered have launched a ground-breaking legal action to demand the inquest into his death is reopened.

Also related: Jesse Ventura's new conspiracy show takes on 9/11
posted by HP LaserJet P10006 at 7:46 PM on December 12, 2009


Sadly only been able to see the recent TV adaptations of Peace's work, Len, and they were the Red Riding books not GB84 which does look right up my street in full riot gear.
posted by Abiezer at 8:33 PM on December 12, 2009


It's not that a lot of the stuff they've covered is wrong; maybe just that they sometimes see evil rather than what someone else on MeFi once defined as "malcompetence".

I think this describes Adam Curtis' work as well, really. Every single one of his documentaries that I've seen is full of interesting stuff, but I rarely buy the grand theory he comes up with to link them. A problem especially egregious in "The Mayfair Set".

Nice links though, thanks!
posted by atrazine at 9:23 PM on December 12, 2009


Not really related, but very clandestine: in a story reminiscent of this recent thread, it is being reported that a North Korean airplane with 40 tons of weapons, and possibly headed to Pakistan, has made an emergency landing in Thailand.
posted by HP LaserJet P10006 at 11:19 PM on December 12, 2009


« Older The most expensive movie ever made, is getting its...  |  The Second City, the world's p... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments