Malzberg | Sharyl Attkisson to discuss her new book “Stonewalled” | Part 2
Wyden: No to warrantless searches by the FBI through National Security Letters
NSA Whistleblower: Everyone in US under virtual surveillance, all info stored, no matter the post
William Binney – The Government is Profiling You (The NSA is Spying on You)
NSA Surveillance and What To Do About It
Taking a Look at the NSA’s Massive Data Center
NSA’s Largest Spy Center Located in Utah (What you need to know)
NSA Whistleblower William Binney: The Future of FREEDOM
‘State of Surveillance’ with Edward Snowden and Shane Smith (FULL EPISODE)
Edward Snowden Full Interview on Trump, Petraeus, & Having ‘No Regrets’
DOCUMENTARY: Edward Snowden – Terminal F (2015)
NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden: ‘I don’t want to live in a society that does these sort of things’
NSA paying US Companies hundreds of millions of dollars for access to data
“You’re Being Watched”: Edward Snowden Emerges as Source Behind Explosive Revelations of NSA Spying
Does the NSA Record Phone Calls? Glenn Greenwald on Warrentless Domestic Surveillance (2007)
Published on Jul 8, 2013
The NSA warrantless surveillance controversy (AKA “Warrantless Wiretapping”) concerns surveillance of persons within the United States during the collection of foreign intelligence by the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) as part of the war on terror. Under this program, referred to by the Bush administration as the “terrorist surveillance program”, part of the broader President’s Surveillance Program, the NSA was authorized by executive order to monitor, without search warrants, the phone calls, Internet activity (Web, e-mail, etc.), text messaging, and other communication involving any party believed by the NSA to be outside the U.S., even if the other end of the communication lies within the U.S. Critics, however, claimed that it was in an effort to attempt to silence critics of the Bush Administration and their handling of several hot button issues during its tenure. Under public pressure, the Bush administration ceased the warrantless wiretapping program in January 2007 and returned review of surveillance to the FISA court. Subsequently, in 2008 Congress passed the FISA Amendments Act of 2008, which relaxed some of the original FISA court requirements.
During the Obama Administration, the NSA has officially continued operating under the new FISA guidelines. However, in April 2009 officials at the United States Department of Justice acknowledged that the NSA had engaged in “overcollection” of domestic communications in excess of the FISA court’s authority, but claimed that the acts were unintentional and had since been rectified.
All wiretapping of American citizens by the National Security Agency requires a warrant from a three-judge court set up under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. After the 9/11 attacks, Congress passed the Patriot Act, which granted the President broad powers to fight a war against terrorism. The George W. Bush administration used these powers to bypass the FISA court and directed the NSA to spy directly on al Qaeda in a new NSA electronic surveillance program. Reports at the time indicate that an “apparently accidental” “glitch” resulted in the interception of communications that were purely domestic in nature. This action was challenged by a number of groups, including Congress, as unconstitutional.
The exact scope of the program is not known, but the NSA is or was provided total, unsupervised access to all fiber-optic communications going between some of the nation’s largest telecommunication companies’ major interconnected locations, including phone conversations, email, web browsing, and corporate private network traffic. Critics said that such “domestic” intercepts required FISC authorization under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. The Bush administration maintained that the authorized intercepts are not domestic but rather foreign intelligence integral to the conduct of war and that the warrant requirements of FISA were implicitly superseded by the subsequent passage of the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Terrorists (AUMF). FISA makes it illegal to intentionally engage in electronic surveillance under appearance of an official act or to disclose or use information obtained by electronic surveillance under appearance of an official act knowing that it was not authorized by statute; this is punishable with a fine of up to $10,000 or up to five years in prison, or both. In addition, the Wiretap Act prohibits any person from illegally intercepting, disclosing, using or divulging phone calls or electronic communications; this is punishable with a fine or up to five years in prison, or both.
After an article about the program, (which had been code-named Stellar Wind), was published in The New York Times on December 16, 2005, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales confirmed its existence. The Times had posted the exclusive story on their website the night before, after learning that the Bush administration was considering seeking a Pentagon-Papers-style court injunction to block its publication. Critics of The Times have alleged that executive editor Bill Keller had withheld the story from publication since before the 2004 Presidential election, and that the story that was ultimately published by The Times was essentially the same as reporters James Risen and Eric Lichtblau had submitted in 2004. In a December 2008 interview with Newsweek, former Justice Department employee Thomas Tamm revealed himself to be the initial whistle-blower to The Times. The FBI began investigating leaks about the program in 2005, with 25 agents and 5 prosecutors on the case.
FBI’s Patriot Act Abuse of National Security Letters and illegal NSA spying
If you think you can handle the truth, well here it is folks
NSA surveillance has been a matter of political controversy on several occasions, such as its spying on anti-Vietnam-war leaders or economic espionage. In 2013, the extent of some of the NSA’s secret surveillance programs was revealed to the public by Edward Snowden. According to the leaked documents, the NSA intercepts the communications of over a billion people worldwide, many of whom are United States citizens, and tracks the movement of hundreds of millions of people using cellphones. Internationally, research has pointed to the NSA’s ability to surveil the domestic Internet traffic of foreign countries through “boomerang routing”.
The origins of the National Security Agency can be traced back to April 28, 1917, three weeks after the U.S. Congress declared war on Germany in World War I. A code and cipher decryption unit was established as the Cable and Telegraph Section which was also known as the Cipher Bureau. It was headquartered in Washington, D.C. and was part of the war effort under the executive branch without direct Congressional authorization. During the course of the war it was relocated in the army’s organizational chart several times. On July 5, 1917, Herbert O. Yardley was assigned to head the unit. At that point, the unit consisted of Yardley and two civilian clerks. It absorbed the navy’s cryptoanalysis functions in July 1918. World War I ended on November 11, 1918, and MI-8 moved to New York City on May 20, 1919, where it continued intelligence activities as the Code Compilation Company under the direction of Yardley.
Western Union allowed MI-8 to monitor telegraphic communications passing through the company’s wires until 1929.
Other “Black Chambers” were also found in Europe. They were established by the French and British governments to read the letters of targeted individuals, employing a variety of techniques to surreptitiously open, copy, and reseal correspondence before forwarding it to unsuspecting recipients.
Despite the American Black Chamber’s initial successes, it was shut down in 1929 by U.S. Secretary of State Henry L. Stimson, who defended his decision by stating: “Gentlemen do not read each other’s mail”.
World War II and its aftermath
During World War II, the Signal Security Agency (SSA) was created to intercept and decipher the communications of the Axis powers. When the war ended, the SSA was reorganized as the Army Security Agency (ASA), and it was placed under the leadership of the Director of Military Intelligence.
A secret operation, code-named “MINARET“, was set up by the NSA to monitor the phone communications of Senators Frank Church and Howard Baker, as well as major civil rights leaders, including Martin Luther King, Jr., and prominent U.S. journalists and athletes who criticized the Vietnam War. However, the project turned out to be controversial, and an internal review by the NSA concluded that its Minaret program was “disreputable if not outright illegal”.
The NSA mounted a major effort to secure tactical communications among U.S. forces during the war with mixed success. The NESTOR family of compatible secure voice systems it developed was widely deployed during the Vietnam War, with about 30,000 NESTOR sets produced. However a variety of technical and operational problems limited their use, allowing the North Vietnamese to exploit intercepted U.S. communications.:Vol I, p.79
In the aftermath of the Watergate scandal, a congressional hearing in 1975 led by Sen. Frank Church revealed that the NSA, in collaboration with Britain’s SIGINT intelligence agency Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), had routinely intercepted the international communications of prominent anti-Vietnam war leaders such as Jane Fonda and Dr. Benjamin Spock. Following the resignation of President Richard Nixon, there were several investigations of suspected misuse of FBI, CIA and NSA facilities. Senator Frank Church uncovered previously unknown activity,such as a CIA plot (ordered by the administration of President John F. Kennedy) to assassinate Fidel Castro. The investigation also uncovered NSA’s wiretaps on targeted American citizens.
In 1999, a multi-year investigation by the European Parliament highlighted the NSA’s role in economic espionage in a report entitled ‘Development of Surveillance Technology and Risk of Abuse of Economic Information’. That year, the NSA founded the NSA Hall of Honor, a memorial at the National Cryptologic Museum in Fort Meade, Maryland. The memorial is a, “tribute to the pioneers and heroes who have made significant and long-lasting contributions to American cryptology”. NSA employees must be retired for more than fifteen years to qualify for the memorial.
NSA’s infrastructure deteriorated in the 1990s as defense budget cuts resulted in maintenance deferrals. On January 24, 2000, NSA headquarters suffered a total network outage for three days caused by an overloaded network. Incoming traffic was successfully stored on agency servers, but it could not be directed and processed. The agency carried out emergency repairs at a cost of $3 million to get the system running again. (Some incoming traffic was also directed instead to Britain’s GCHQ for the time being.) Director Michael Hayden called the outage a “wake-up call” for the need to invest in the agency’s infrastructure.
In the aftermath of the September 11 attacks, the NSA created new IT systems to deal with the flood of information from new technologies like the Internet and cellphones. ThinThread contained advanced data mining capabilities. It also had a “privacy mechanism”; surveillance was stored encrypted; decryption required a warrant. The research done under this program may have contributed to the technology used in later systems. ThinThread was cancelled when Michael Hayden chose Trailblazer, which did not include ThinThread’s privacy system.
Trailblazer Project ramped up in 2002. SAIC, Boeing, CSC, IBM, and Litton worked on it. Some NSA whistleblowers complained internally about major problems surrounding Trailblazer. This led to investigations by Congress and the NSA and DoD Inspectors General. The project was cancelled in early 2004. Several whistleblowers were later arrested and charged with violating federal espionage laws.
Turbulence started in 2005. It was developed in small, inexpensive “test” pieces, rather than one grand plan like Trailblazer. It also included offensive cyber-warfare capabilities, like injecting malware into remote computers. Congress criticized Turbulence in 2007 for having similar bureaucratic problems as Trailblazer. It was to be a realization of information processing at higher speeds in cyberspace.
The massive extent of the NSA’s spying, both foreign and domestic, was revealed to the public in a series of detailed disclosures of internal NSA documents beginning in June 2013. Most of the disclosures were leaked by former NSA contractor, Edward Snowden.
Scope of surveillance
It was revealed that the NSA intercepts telephone and Internet communications of over a billion people worldwide, seeking information on terrorism as well as foreign politics, economics and “commercial secrets”. In a declassified document it was revealed that 17,835 phone lines were on an improperly permitted “alert list” from 2006 to 2009 in breach of compliance, which tagged these phone lines for daily monitoring. Eleven percent of these monitored phone lines met the agency’s legal standard for “reasonably articulable suspicion” (RAS).
A dedicated unit of the NSA locates targets for the CIA for extrajudicial assassination in the Middle East. The NSA has also spied extensively on the European Union, the United Nations and numerous governments including allies and trading partners in Europe, South America and Asia.
The NSA tracks the locations of hundreds of millions of cellphones per day, allowing it to map people’s movements and relationships in detail.It reportedly has access to all communications made via Google, Microsoft, Facebook, Yahoo, YouTube, AOL, Skype, Apple and Paltalk, and collects hundreds of millions of contact lists from personal email and instant messaging accounts each year. It has also managed to weaken much of the encryption used on the Internet (by collaborating with, coercing or otherwise infiltrating numerous technology companies), so that the majority of Internet privacy is now vulnerable to the NSA and other attackers.
Domestically, the NSA collects and stores metadata records of phone calls, including over 120 million US Verizon subscribers, as well as Internet communications, relying on a secret interpretation of the Patriot Act whereby the entirety of US communications may be considered “relevant” to a terrorism investigation if it is expected that even a tiny minority may relate to terrorism. The NSA supplies foreign intercepts to the DEA, IRS and other law enforcement agencies, who use these to initiate criminal investigations. Federal agents are then instructed to “recreate” the investigative trail via parallel construction.
The NSA also spies on influential Muslims to obtain information that could be used to discredit them, such as their use of pornography. The targets, both domestic and abroad, are not suspected of any crime but hold religious or political views deemed “radical” by the NSA.
Although NSA’s surveillance activities are controversial, government agencies and private enterprises have common needs, and sometimes cooperate at subtle and complex technical levels. Big data is becoming more advantageous, justifying the cost of required computer hardware, and social media lead the trend. The interests of NSA and Silicon Valley began to converge as advances in computer storage technology drastically reduced the costs of storing enormous amounts of data and at the same time the value of the data for use in consumer marketing began to rise. On the other hand, social media sites are growing as voluntary data mining operations on a scale that rivals or exceeds anything the government could attempt on its own.
According to a report in The Washington Post in July 2014, relying on information provided by Snowden, 90% of those placed under surveillance in the U.S. are ordinary Americans, and are not the intended targets. The newspaper said it had examined documents including emails, text messages, and online accounts that support the claim.
Despite President Obama’s claims that these programs have congressional oversight, members of Congress were unaware of the existence of these NSA programs or the secret interpretation of the Patriot Act, and have consistently been denied access to basic information about them. Obama has also claimed that there are legal checks in place to prevent inappropriate access of data and that there have been no examples of abuse; however, the secret FISC court charged with regulating the NSA’s activities is, according to its chief judge, incapable of investigating or verifying how often the NSA breaks even its own secret rules. It has since been reported that the NSA violated its own rules on data access thousands of times a year, many of these violations involving large-scale data interceptions; and that NSA officers have even used data intercepts to spy on love interests. The NSA has “generally disregarded the special rules for disseminating United States person information” by illegally sharing its intercepts with other law enforcement agencies. A March 2009 opinion of the FISC court, released by court order, states that protocols restricting data queries had been “so frequently and systemically violated that it can be fairly said that this critical element of the overall … regime has never functioned effectively.” In 2011 the same court noted that the “volume and nature” of the NSA’s bulk foreign Internet intercepts was “fundamentally different from what the court had been led to believe”. Email contact lists (including those of US citizens) are collected at numerous foreign locations to work around the illegality of doing so on US soil.
Legal opinions on the NSA’s bulk collection program have differed. In mid-December 2013, U.S. District Court Judge Richard Leon ruled that the “almost-Orwellian” program likely violates the Constitution, and wrote, “I cannot imagine a more ‘indiscriminate’ and ‘arbitrary invasion’ than this systematic and high-tech collection and retention of personal data on virtually every single citizen for purposes of querying and analyzing it without prior judicial approval. Surely, such a program infringes on ‘that degree of privacy’ that the Founders enshrined in the Fourth Amendment. Indeed, I have little doubt that the author of our Constitution, James Madison, who cautioned us to beware ‘the abridgement of freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments by those in power,’ would be aghast.”
Later that month, U.S. District Judge William Pauley ruled that the NSA’s collection of telephone records is legal and valuable in the fight against terrorism. In his opinion, he wrote, “a bulk telephony metadata collection program [is] a wide net that could find and isolate gossamer contacts among suspected terrorists in an ocean of seemingly disconnected data” and noted that a similar collection of data prior to 9/11 might have prevented the attack.
An October 2014 United Nations report condemned mass surveillance by the United States and other countries as violating multiple international treaties and conventions that guarantee core privacy rights.
On March 20, 2013 the Director of National Intelligence, Lieutenant General James Clapper, testified before Congress that the NSA does not wittingly collect any kind of data on millions or hundreds of millions of Americans, but he retracted this in June after details of the PRISM program were published, and stated instead that meta-data of phone and Internet traffic are collected, but no actual message contents. This was corroborated by the NSA Director, General Keith Alexander, before it was revealed that the XKeyscore program collects the contents of millions of emails from US citizens without warrant, as well as “nearly everything a user does on the Internet”. Alexander later admitted that “content” is collected, but stated that it is simply stored and never analyzed or searched unless there is “a nexus to al-Qaida or other terrorist groups”.
Regarding the necessity of these NSA programs, Alexander stated on June 27 that the NSA’s bulk phone and Internet intercepts had been instrumental in preventing 54 terrorist “events”, including 13 in the US, and in all but one of these cases had provided the initial tip to “unravel the threat stream”. On July 31 NSA Deputy Director John Inglis conceded to the Senate that these intercepts had not been vital in stopping any terrorist attacks, but were “close” to vital in identifying and convicting four San Diego men for sending US$8,930 to Al-Shabaab, a militia that conducts terrorism in Somalia.
The U.S. government has aggressively sought to dismiss and challenge Fourth Amendment cases raised against it, and has granted retroactive immunity to ISPs and telecoms participating in domestic surveillance. The U.S. military has acknowledged blocking access to parts of The Guardian website for thousands of defense personnel across the country, and blocking the entire Guardian website for personnel stationed throughout Afghanistan, the Middle East, and South Asia.
NSA also has an Inspector General, head of the Office of the Inspector General (OIG), a General Counsel, head of the Office of the General Counsel (OGC) and a Director of Compliance, who is head of the Office of the Director of Compliance (ODOC).
Unlike other intelligence organizations such as CIA or DIA, NSA has always been particularly reticent concerning its internal organizational structure.
As of the mid-1990s, the National Security Agency was organized into five Directorates:
The Operations Directorate, which was responsible for SIGINT collection and processing.
The Technology and Systems Directorate, which develops new technologies for SIGINT collection and processing.
The Information Systems Security Directorate, which was responsible for NSA’s communications and information security missions.
The Plans, Policy and Programs Directorate, which provided staff support and general direction for the Agency.
The Support Services Directorate, which provided logistical and administrative support activities.
Each of these directorates consisted of several groups or elements, designated by a letter. There were for example the A Group, which was responsible for all SIGINT operations against the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, and G Group, which was responsible for SIGINT related to all non-communist countries. These groups were divided in units designated by an additional number, like unit A5 for breaking Soviet codes, and G6, being the office for the Middle East, North Africa, Cuba, Central and South America.
As of 2013, NSA has about a dozen directorates, which are designated by a letter, although not all of them are publicly known. The directorates are divided in divisions and units starting with the letter of the parent directorate, followed by a number for the division, the sub-unit or a sub-sub-unit.
The main elements of the organizational structure of the NSA are:
F – Directorate only known from unit F6, the Special Collection Service (SCS), which is a joint program created by CIA and NSA in 1978 to facilitate clandestine activities such as bugging computers throughout the world, using the expertise of both agencies.
G – Directorate only known from unit G112, the office that manages the Senior Span platform, attached to the U2 spy planes.
I – Information Assurance Directorate (IAD), which ensures availability, integrity, authentication, confidentiality, and non-repudiation of national security and telecommunications and information systems (national security systems).
J – Directorate only known from unit J2, the Cryptologic Intelligence Unit
L – Installation and Logistics
M – Human Resources
Q – Security and Counterintelligence
R – Research Directorate, which conducts research on signals intelligence and on information assurance for the U.S. Government.
S – Signals Intelligence Directorate (SID), which is responsible for the collection, analysis, production and dissemination of signals intelligence. This directorate is led by a director and a deputy director. The SID consists of the following divisions:
S1 – Customer Relations
S2 – Analysis and Production Centers, with the following so-called Product Lines:
S2A: South Asia, S2B: China and Korea, S2C: International Security, S2E: Middle East/Asia, S2F: International Crime, S2G: Counter-proliferation, S2H: Russia, S2I: Counter-terrorism, S2J: Weapons and Space, S2T: Current Threats
S3 – Data Acquisition, with these divisions for the main collection programs:
S31 – Cryptanalysis and Exploitation Services (CES)
S32 – Tailored Access Operations (TAO), which hacks into foreign computers to conduct cyber-espionage and reportedly is “the largest and arguably the most important component of the NSA’s huge Signal Intelligence (SIGINT) Directorate, consisting of over 1,000 military and civilian computer hackers, intelligence analysts, targeting specialists, computer hardware and software designers, and electrical engineers.”
S33 – Global Access Operations (GAO), which is responsible for intercepts from satellites and other international SIGINT platforms. A tool which details and maps the information collected by this unit is code-named Boundless Informant.
S34 – Collections Strategies and Requirements Center
S35 – Special Source Operations (SSO), which is responsible for domestic and compartmented collection programs, like for example the PRISM program. Special Source Operations is also mentioned in connection to the FAIRVIEW collection program.
T – Technical Directorate (TD)
Directorate for Education and Training
Directorate for Corporate Leadership
Foreign Affairs Directorate, which acts as liaison with foreign intelligence services, counter-intelligence centers and the UKUSA-partners.
Acquisitions and Procurement Directorate
Information Sharing Services (ISS), led by a chief and a deputy chief.
In the year 2000, a leadership team was formed, consisting of the Director, the Deputy Director and the Directors of the Signals Intelligence (SID), the Information Assurance (IAD) and the Technical Directorate (TD). The chiefs of other main NSA divisions became associate directors of the senior leadership team.
After president George W. Bush initiated the President’s Surveillance Program (PSP) in 2001, the NSA created a 24-hour Metadata Analysis Center (MAC), followed in 2004 by the Advanced Analysis Division (AAD), with the mission of analyzing content, Internet metadata and telephone metadata. Both units were part of the Signals Intelligence Directorate.
A 2016 proposal would combine the Signals Intelligence Directorate with the Information Assurance Directorate into a Directorate of Operations.
The NSA maintains at least two watch centers:
National Security Operations Center (NSOC), which is the NSA’s current operations center and focal point for time-sensitive SIGINT reporting for the United States SIGINT System (USSS). This center was established in 1968 as the National SIGINT Watch Center (NSWC) and renamed into National SIGINT Operations Center (NSOC) in 1973. This “nerve center of the NSA” got its current name in 1996.
NSA/CSS Threat Operations Center (NTOC), which is the primary NSA/CSS partner for Department of Homeland Security response to cyber incidents. The NTOC establishes real-time network awareness and threat characterization capabilities to forecast, alert, and attribute malicious activity and enable the coordination of Computer Network Operations. The NTOC was established in 2004 as a joint Information Assurance and Signals Intelligence project.
The number of NSA employees is officially classified but there are several sources providing estimates. In 1961, NSA had 59,000 military and civilian employees, which grew to 93,067 in 1969, of which 19,300 worked at the headquarters at Fort Meade. In the early 1980s NSA had roughly 50,000 military and civilian personnel. By 1989 this number had grown again to 75,000, of which 25,000 worked at the NSA headquarters. Between 1990 and 1995 the NSA’s budget and workforce were cut by one third, which led to a substantial loss of experience.
In 2012, the NSA said more than 30,000 employees worked at Fort Meade and other facilities. In 2012, John C. Inglis, the deputy director, said that the total number of NSA employees is “somewhere between 37,000 and one billion” as a joke, and stated that the agency is “probably the biggest employer of introverts.” In 2013 Der Spiegel stated that the NSA had 40,000 employees. More widely, it has been described as the world’s largest single employer of mathematicians. Some NSA employees form part of the workforce of the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO), the agency that provides the NSA with satellite signals intelligence.
The NSA received criticism early on in 1960 after two agents had defected to the Soviet Union. Investigations by the House Un-American Activities Committee and a special subcommittee of the United States House Committee on Armed Services revealed severe cases of ignorance in personnel security regulations, prompting the former personnel director and the director of security to step down and leading to the adoption of stricter security practices. Nonetheless, security breaches reoccurred only a year later when in an issue of Izvestia of July 23, 1963, a former NSA employee published several cryptologic secrets.
The very same day, an NSA clerk-messenger committed suicide as ongoing investigations disclosed that he had sold secret information to the Soviets on a regular basis. The reluctance of Congressional houses to look into these affairs had prompted a journalist to write, “If a similar series of tragic blunders occurred in any ordinary agency of Government an aroused public would insist that those responsible be officially censured, demoted, or fired.” David Kahn criticized the NSA’s tactics of concealing its doings as smug and the Congress’ blind faith in the agency’s right-doing as shortsighted, and pointed out the necessity of surveillance by the Congress to prevent abuse of power.
Edward Snowden‘s leaking of the existence of PRISM in 2013 caused the NSA to institute a “two-man rule“, where two system administrators are required to be present when one accesses certain sensitive information. Snowden claims he suggested such a rule in 2009.
The NSA conducts polygraph tests of employees. For new employees, the tests are meant to discover enemy spies who are applying to the NSA and to uncover any information that could make an applicant pliant to coercion. As part of the latter, historically EPQs or “embarrassing personal questions” about sexual behavior had been included in the NSA polygraph. The NSA also conducts five-year periodic reinvestigation polygraphs of employees, focusing on counterintelligence programs. In addition the NSA conducts periodic polygraph investigations in order to find spies and leakers; those who refuse to take them may receive “termination of employment”, according to a 1982 memorandum from the director of the NSA.
NSA-produced video on the polygraph process
There are also “special access examination” polygraphs for employees who wish to work in highly sensitive areas, and those polygraphs cover counterintelligence questions and some questions about behavior. NSA’s brochure states that the average test length is between two and four hours. A 1983 report of the Office of Technology Assessment stated that “It appears that the NSA [National Security Agency] (and possibly CIA) use the polygraph not to determine deception or truthfulness per se, but as a technique of interrogation to encourage admissions.”Sometimes applicants in the polygraph process confess to committing felonies such as murder, rape, and selling of illegal drugs. Between 1974 and 1979, of the 20,511 job applicants who took polygraph tests, 695 (3.4%) confessed to previous felony crimes; almost all of those crimes had been undetected.
In 2010 the NSA produced a video explaining its polygraph process. The video, ten minutes long, is titled “The Truth About the Polygraph” and was posted to the Web site of the Defense Security Service. Jeff Stein of The Washington Post said that the video portrays “various applicants, or actors playing them — it’s not clear — describing everything bad they had heard about the test, the implication being that none of it is true.” AntiPolygraph.org argues that the NSA-produced video omits some information about the polygraph process; it produced a video responding to the NSA video. George Maschke, the founder of the Web site, accused the NSA polygraph video of being “Orwellian“.
After Edward Snowden revealed his identity in 2013, the NSA began requiring polygraphing of employees once per quarter.
The number of exemptions from legal requirements has been criticized. When in 1964 the Congress was hearing a bill giving the director of the NSA the power to fire at will any employee,The Washington Post wrote: “This is the very definition of arbitrariness. It means that an employee could be discharged and disgraced on the basis of anonymous allegations without the slightest opportunity to defend himself.” Yet, the bill was accepted by an overwhelming majority.
When the NSA was created, the agency had no emblem and used that of the Department of Defense. The agency adopted its first of two emblems in 1963. The current NSA insignia has been in use since 1965, when then-Director, LTG Marshall S. Carter (USA) ordered the creation of a device to represent the agency.
The NSA’s flag consists of the agency’s seal on a light blue background.
The National Security Agency/Central Security Service Cryptologic Memorial honors and remembers the fallen personnel, both military and civilian, of these intelligence missions. It is made of black granite, and has 171 names carved into it, as of 2013 . It is located at NSA headquarters. A tradition of declassifying the stories of the fallen was begun in 2001.
NSANet (NSA’s intranet)
Behind the Green Door – Secure communications room with separate computer terminals for access to SIPRNET, GWAN, NSANET, and JWICS
NSANet stands for National Security Agency Network and is the official NSA intranet. It is a classified network, for information up to the level of TS/SCI to support the use and sharing of intelligence data between NSA and the signals intelligence agencies of the four other nations of the Five Eyes partnership. The management of NSANet has been delegated to the Central Security Service Texas (CSSTEXAS).
NSANet is a highly secured computer network consisting of fiber-optic and satellite communication channels which are almost completely separated from the public Internet. The network allows NSA personnel and civilian and military intelligence analysts anywhere in the world to have access to the agency’s systems and databases. This access is tightly controlled and monitored. For example, every keystroke is logged, activities are audited at random and downloading and printing of documents from NSANet are recorded.
In 1998, NSANet, along with NIPRNET and SIPRNET, had “significant problems with poor search capabilities, unorganized data and old information”. In 2004, the network was reported to have used over twenty commercial off-the-shelf operating systems. Some universities that do highly sensitive research are allowed to connect to it.
The thousands of Top Secret internal NSA documents that were taken by Edward Snowden in 2013 were stored in “a file-sharing location on the NSA’s intranet site” so they could easily be read online by NSA personnel. Everyone with a TS/SCI-clearance had access to these documents and as a system administrator, Snowden was responsible for moving accidentally misplaced highly sensitive documents to more secure storage locations.
National Computer Security Center
The DoD Computer Security Center was founded in 1981 and renamed the National Computer Security Center (NCSC) in 1985. NCSC was responsible for computer security throughout the federal government. NCSC was part of NSA, and during the late 1980s and the 1990s, NSA and NCSC published Trusted Computer System Evaluation Criteria in a six-foot high Rainbow Series of books that detailed trusted computing and network platform specifications. The Rainbow books were replaced by the Common Criteria, however, in the early 2000s.
National Security Agency headquarters in Fort Meade, 2013
Headquarters for the National Security Agency is located at 39°6′32″N76°46′17″W in Fort George G. Meade, Maryland, although it is separate from other compounds and agencies that are based within this same military installation. Ft. Meade is about 20 mi (32 km) southwest of Baltimore, and 25 mi (40 km) northeast of Washington, DC. The NSA has its own exit off Maryland Route 295 South labeled “NSA Employees Only”. The exit may only be used by people with the proper clearances, and security vehicles parked along the road guard the entrance.
NSA is the largest employer in the U.S. state of Maryland, and two-thirds of its personnel work at Ft. Meade. Built on 350 acres (140 ha; 0.55 sq mi) of Ft. Meade’s 5,000 acres (2,000 ha; 7.8 sq mi), the site has 1,300 buildings and an estimated 18,000 parking spaces.
The main NSA headquarters and operations building is what James Bamford, author of Body of Secrets, describes as “a modern boxy structure” that appears similar to “any stylish office building.” The building is covered with one-way dark glass, which is lined with copper shielding in order to prevent espionage by trapping in signals and sounds. It contains 3,000,000 square feet (280,000 m2), or more than 68 acres (28 ha), of floor space; Bamford said that the U.S. Capitol “could easily fit inside it four times over.”
The facility has over 100 watchposts, one of them being the visitor control center, a two-story area that serves as the entrance. At the entrance, a white pentagonal structure, visitor badges are issued to visitors and security clearances of employees are checked. The visitor center includes a painting of the NSA seal.
The OPS2A building, the tallest building in the NSA complex and the location of much of the agency’s operations directorate, is accessible from the visitor center. Bamford described it as a “dark glass Rubik’s Cube“. The facility’s “red corridor” houses non-security operations such as concessions and the drug store. The name refers to the “red badge” which is worn by someone without a security clearance. The NSA headquarters includes a cafeteria, a credit union, ticket counters for airlines and entertainment, a barbershop, and a bank. NSA headquarters has its own post office, fire department, and police force.
Due to massive amounts of data processing, NSA is the largest electricity consumer in Maryland.
Following a major power outage in 2000, in 2003 and in follow-ups through 2007, The Baltimore Sun reported that the NSA was at risk of electrical overload because of insufficient internal electrical infrastructure at Fort Meade to support the amount of equipment being installed. This problem was apparently recognized in the 1990s but not made a priority, and “now the agency’s ability to keep its operations going is threatened.”
Baltimore Gas & Electric (BGE, now Constellation Energy) provided NSA with 65 to 75 megawatts at Ft. Meade in 2007, and expected that an increase of 10 to 15 megawatts would be needed later that year. In 2011, NSA at Ft. Meade was Maryland’s largest consumer of power. In 2007, as BGE’s largest customer, NSA bought as much electricity as Annapolis, the capital city of Maryland.
One estimate put the potential for power consumption by the new Utah Data Center at US$40 million per year.
When the agency was established, its headquarters and cryptographic center were in the Naval Security Station in Washington, D.C. The COMINT functions were located in Arlington Hall in Northern Virginia, which served as the headquarters of the U.S. Army‘s cryptographic operations.Because the Soviet Union had detonated a nuclear bomb and because the facilities were crowded, the federal government wanted to move several agencies, including the AFSA/NSA. A planning committee considered Fort Knox, but Fort Meade, Maryland, was ultimately chosen as NSA headquarters because it was far enough away from Washington, D.C. in case of a nuclear strike and was close enough so its employees would not have to move their families.
Construction of additional buildings began after the agency occupied buildings at Ft. Meade in the late 1950s, which they soon outgrew. In 1963 the new headquarters building, nine stories tall, opened. NSA workers referred to the building as the “Headquarters Building” and since the NSA management occupied the top floor, workers used “Ninth Floor” to refer to their leaders. COMSEC remained in Washington, D.C., until its new building was completed in 1968. In September 1986, the Operations 2A and 2B buildings, both copper-shielded to prevent eavesdropping, opened with a dedication by President Ronald Reagan. The four NSA buildings became known as the “Big Four.” The NSA director moved to 2B when it opened.
On March 30, 2015, shortly before 9 am, a stolen sports utility vehicle approached an NSA police vehicle blocking the road near the gate of Fort Meade, after it was told to leave the area. NSA officers fired on the SUV, killing the 27-year-old driver, Ricky Hall (a transgender person also known as Mya), and seriously injuring his 20-year-old male passenger. An NSA officer’s arm was injured when Hall subsequently crashed into his vehicle.
The two, dressed in women’s clothing after a night of partying at a motel with the man they’d stolen the SUV from that morning, “attempted to drive a vehicle into the National Security Agency portion of the installation without authorization”, according to an NSA statement. FBI spokeswoman Amy Thoreson said the incident is not believed to be related to terrorism.In June 2015 the FBI closed its investigation into the incident and federal prosecutors have declined to bring charges against anyone involved.
An anonymous police official told The Washington Post, “This was not a deliberate attempt to breach the security of NSA. This was not a planned attack.” The two are believed to have made a wrong turn off the highway, while fleeing from the motel after stealing the vehicle. A small amount of cocaine was found in the SUV. A local CBS reporter initially said a gun was found,but her later revision does not. Dozens of journalists were corralled into a parking lot blocks away from the scene, and were barred from photographing the area.
NSA held a groundbreaking ceremony at Ft. Meade in May 2013 for its High Performance Computing Center 2, expected to open in 2016. Called Site M, the center has a 150 megawatt power substation, 14 administrative buildings and 10 parking garages. It cost $3.2 billion and covers 227 acres (92 ha; 0.355 sq mi). The center is 1,800,000 square feet (17 ha; 0.065 sq mi) and initially uses 60 megawatts of electricity.
On January 6, 2011 a groundbreaking ceremony was held to begin construction on NSA’s first Comprehensive National Cyber-security Initiative (CNCI) Data Center, known as the “Utah Data Center” for short. The $1.5B data center is being built at Camp Williams, Utah, located 25 miles (40 km) south of Salt Lake City, and will help support the agency’s National Cyber-security Initiative. It is expected to be operational by September 2013.
In 2009, to protect its assets and to access more electricity, NSA sought to decentralize and expand its existing facilities in Ft. Meade and Menwith Hill, the latter expansion expected to be completed by 2015.
NSA operates RAF Menwith Hill in North Yorkshire, United Kingdom, which was, according to BBC News in 2007, the largest electronic monitoring station in the world. Planned in 1954, and opened in 1960, the base covered 562 acres (227 ha; 0.878 sq mi) in 1999.
The agency’s European Cryptologic Center (ECC), with 240 employees in 2011, is headquartered at a US military compound in Griesheim, near Frankfurt in Germany. A 2011 NSA report indicates that the ECC is responsible for the “largest analysis and productivity in Europe” and focusses on various priorities, including Africa, Europe, the Middle East and counterterrorism operations.
Thailand is a “3rd party partner” of the NSA along with nine other nations. These are non-English-speaking countries that have made security agreements for the exchange of SIGINT raw material and end product reports.
Thailand is the site of at least two US SIGINT collection stations. One is at the US Embassy in Bangkok, a joint NSA-CIA Special Collection Service (SCS) unit. It presumably eavesdrops on foreign embassies, governmental communications, and other targets of opportunity.
The second installation is a FORNSAT (foreign satellite interception) station in the Thai city of Khon Kaen. It is codenamed INDRA, but has also been referred to as LEMONWOOD. The station is approximately 40 ha (100 acres) in size and consists of a large 3,700–4,600 m2 (40,000–50,000 ft2) operations building on the west side of the ops compound and four radome-enclosed parabolic antennas. Possibly two of the radome-enclosed antennas are used for SATCOM intercept and two antennas used for relaying the intercepted material back to NSA. There is also a PUSHER-type circularly-disposed antenna array (CDAA) array just north of the ops compound.
NSA activated Khon Kaen in October 1979. Its mission was to eavesdrop on the radio traffic of Chinese army and air force units in southern China, especially in and around the city of Kunming in Yunnan Province. Back in the late 1970s the base consisted only of a small CDAA antenna array that was remote-controlled via satellite from the NSA listening post at Kunia, Hawaii, and a small force of civilian contractors from Bendix Field Engineering Corp. whose job it was to keep the antenna array and satellite relay facilities up and running 24/7.
According to the papers of the late General William Odom, the INDRA facility was upgraded in 1986 with a new British-made PUSHER CDAA antenna as part of an overall upgrade of NSA and Thai SIGINT facilities whose objective was to spy on the neighboring communist nations of Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia.
The base apparently fell into disrepair in the 1990s as China and Vietnam became more friendly towards the US, and by 2002 archived satellite imagery showed that the PUSHER CDAA antenna had been torn down, perhaps indicating that the base had been closed. At some point in the period since 9/11, the Khon Kaen base was reactivated and expanded to include a sizeable SATCOM intercept mission. It is likely that the NSA presence at Khon Kaen is relatively small, and that most of the work is done by civilian contractors.
NSA’s eavesdropping mission includes radio broadcasting, both from various organizations and individuals, the Internet, telephone calls, and other intercepted forms of communication. Its secure communications mission includes military, diplomatic, and all other sensitive, confidential or secret government communications.
According to the Washington Post, “[e]very day, collection systems at the National Security Agency intercept and store 1.7 billion e-mails, phone calls and other types of communications. The NSA sorts a fraction of those into 70 separate databases.”
As part of the National Security Presidential Directive 54/Homeland Security Presidential Directive 23 (NSPD 54), signed on January 8, 2008 by President Bush, the NSA became the lead agency to monitor and protect all of the federal government’s computer networks from cyber-terrorism.
Operations by the National Security Agency can be divided in three types:
Collection overseas, which falls under the responsibility of the Global Access Operations (GAO) division.
During the early 1970s, the first of what became more than eight large satellite communications dishes were installed at Menwith Hill. Investigative journalist Duncan Campbell reported in 1988 on the ECHELON surveillance program, an extension of the UKUSA Agreement on global signals intelligence SIGINT, and detailed how the eavesdropping operations worked. In November 3, 1999 the BBC reported that they had confirmation from the Australian Government of the existence of a powerful “global spying network” code-named Echelon, that could “eavesdrop on every single phone call, fax or e-mail, anywhere on the planet” with Britain and the United States as the chief protagonists. They confirmed that Menwith Hill was “linked directly to the headquarters of the US National Security Agency (NSA) at Fort Meade in Maryland”.
NSA’s United States Signals Intelligence Directive 18 (USSID 18) strictly prohibited the interception or collection of information about “… U.S. persons, entities, corporations or organizations….” without explicit written legal permission from the United States Attorney General when the subject is located abroad, or the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court when within U.S. borders. Alleged Echelon-related activities, including its use for motives other than national security, including political and industrial espionage, received criticism from countries outside the UKUSA alliance.
The NSA is also involved in planning to blackmail people with “SEXINT“, intelligence gained about a potential target’s sexual activity and preferences. Those targeted had not committed any apparent crime nor were charged with one.
The Real Time Regional Gateway is a data collection program introduced in 2005 in Iraq by NSA during the Iraq War that consisted of gathering all electronic communication, storing it, then searching and otherwise analyzing it. It was effective in providing information about Iraqi insurgents who had eluded less comprehensive techniques. This “collect it all” strategy introduced by NSA director, Keith B. Alexander, is believed by Glenn Greenwald of The Guardian to be the model for the comprehensive worldwide mass archiving of communications which NSA is engaged in as of 2013.
Edward Snowden revealed in June 2013 that between February 8 and March 8, 2013, the NSA collected about 124.8 billion telephone data items and 97.1 billion computer data items throughout the world, as was displayed in charts from an internal NSA tool codenamed Boundless Informant. It was reported that some of these data reflected eavesdropping on citizens in countries like Germany, Spain and France.
NSA’s mission, as set forth in Executive Order 12333 in 1981, is to collect information that constitutes “foreign intelligence or counterintelligence” while not “acquiring information concerning the domestic activities of United States persons”. NSA has declared that it relies on the FBI to collect information on foreign intelligence activities within the borders of the United States, while confining its own activities within the United States to the embassies and missions of foreign nations. The appearance of a ‘Domestic Surveillance Directorate’ of the NSA was soon exposed as a hoax in 2013.
NSA’s domestic surveillance activities are limited by the requirements imposed by the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court for example held in October 2011, citing multiple Supreme Court precedents, that the Fourth Amendment prohibitions against unreasonable searches and seizures applies to the contents of all communications, whatever the means, because “a person’s private communications are akin to personal papers.” However, these protections do not apply to non-U.S. persons located outside of U.S. borders, so the NSA’s foreign surveillance efforts are subject to far fewer limitations under U.S. law. The specific requirements for domestic surveillance operations are contained in the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 (FISA), which does not extend protection to non-U.S. citizens located outside of U.S. territory.
George W. Bush administration
George W. Bush, president during the 9/11 terrorist attacks, approved the Patriot Act shortly after the attacks to take anti-terrorist security measures. Title 1, 2, and 9 specifically authorized measures that would be taken by the NSA. These titles granted enhanced domestic security against terrorism, surveillance procedures, and improved intelligence, respectively. On March 10, 2004, there was a debate between President Bush and White House Counsel Alberto Gonzales, Attorney General John Ashcroft, and Acting Attorney General James Comey. The Attorney Generals were unsure if the NSA’s programs could be considered constitutional. They threatened to resign over the matter, but ultimately the NSA’s programs continued. On March 11, 2004, President Bush signed a new authorization for mass surveillance of Internet records, in addition to the surveillance of phone records.This allowed the president to be able to override laws such as the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which protected civilians from mass surveillance. In addition to this, President Bush also signed that the measures of mass surveillance were also retroactively in place.
One such surveillance program, authorized by the U.S. Signals Intelligence Directive 18 of President George Bush, was the Highlander Project undertaken for the National Security Agency by the U.S. Army 513th Military Intelligence Brigade. NSA relayed telephone (including cell phone) conversations obtained from ground, airborne, and satellite monitoring stations to various U.S. Army Signal Intelligence Officers, including the 201st Military Intelligence Battalion. Conversations of citizens of the U.S. were intercepted, along with those of other nations.
As a result of the USA Freedom Act passed by Congress in June 2015, the NSA had to shut down its bulk phone surveillance program on November 29 of the same year. The USA Freedom Act forbids the NSA to collect metadata and content of phone calls unless it has a warrant for terrorism investigation. In that case the agency has to ask the telecom companies for the record, which will only be kept for six months.
In May 2006, Mark Klein, a former AT&T employee, alleged that his company had cooperated with NSA in installing Narus hardware to replace the FBI Carnivore program, to monitor network communications including traffic between American citizens.
NSA was reported in 2008 to use its computing capability to analyze “transactional” data that it regularly acquires from other government agencies, which gather it under their own jurisdictional authorities. As part of this effort, NSA now monitors huge volumes of records of domestic email data, web addresses from Internet searches, bank transfers, credit-card transactions, travel records, and telephone data, according to current and former intelligence officials interviewed by The Wall Street Journal. The sender, recipient, and subject line of emails can be included, but the content of the messages or of phone calls are not.
A 2013 advisory group for the Obama administration, seeking to reform NSA spying programs following the revelations of documents released by Edward J. Snowden. mentioned in ‘Recommendation 30’ on page 37, “…that the National Security Council staff should manage an interagency process to review on a regular basis the activities of the US Government regarding attacks that exploit a previously unknown vulnerability in a computer application.” Retired cyber security expert Richard A. Clarke was a group member and stated on April 11 that NSA had no advance knowledge of Heartbleed.
In August 2013 it was revealed that a 2005 IRS training document showed that NSA intelligence intercepts and wiretaps, both foreign and domestic, were being supplied to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and were illegally used to launch criminal investigations of US citizens. Law enforcement agents were directed to conceal how the investigations began and recreate an apparently legal investigative trail by re-obtaining the same evidence by other means.
Barack Obama administration
In the months leading to April 2009, the NSA intercepted the communications of American citizens, including a Congressman, although the Justice Department believed that the interception was unintentional. The Justice Department then took action to correct the issues and bring the program into compliance with existing laws. United States Attorney General Eric Holder resumed the program according to his understanding of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act amendment of 2008, without explaining what had occurred.
Polls conducted in June 2013 found divided results among Americans regarding NSA’s secret data collection.Rasmussen Reports found that 59% of Americans disapprove,Gallup found that 53% disapprove, and Pew found that 56% are in favor of NSA data collection.
Section 215 metadata collection
On April 25, 2013, the NSA obtained a court order requiring Verizon‘s Business Network Services to provide metadata on all calls in its system to the NSA “on an ongoing daily basis” for a three-month period, as reported by The Guardian on June 6, 2013. This information includes “the numbers of both parties on a call … location data, call duration, unique identifiers, and the time and duration of all calls” but not “[t]he contents of the conversation itself”. The order relies on the so-called “business records” provision of the Patriot Act.
In August 2013, following the Snowden leaks, new details about the NSA’s data mining activity were revealed. Reportedly, the majority of emails into or out of the United States are captured at “selected communications links” and automatically analyzed for keywords or other “selectors”. Emails that do not match are deleted.
The utility of such a massive metadata collection in preventing terrorist attacks is disputed. Many studies reveal the dragnet like system to be ineffective. One such report, released by the New America Foundation concluded that after an analysis of 225 terrorism cases, the NSA “had no discernible impact on preventing acts of terrorism.”
Defenders of the program say that while metadata alone can’t provide all the information necessary to prevent an attack, it assures the ability to “connect the dots” between suspect foreign numbers and domestic numbers with a speed only the NSA’s software is capable of. One benefit of this is quickly being able to determine the difference between suspicious activity and real threats. As an example, NSA director General Keith Alexander mentioned at the annual Cybersecurity Summit in 2013, that metadata analysis of domestic phone call records after the Boston Marathon bombing helped determine that[clarification needed] another attack in New York was baseless.
In addition to doubts about its effectiveness, many people argue that the collection of metadata is an unconstitutional invasion of privacy. As of 2015, the collection process remains legal and grounded in the ruling from Smith v. Maryland (1979). A prominent opponent of the data collection and its legality is U.S. District Judge Richard J. Leon, who issued a report in 2013 in which he stated: “I cannot imagine a more ‘indiscriminate’ and ‘arbitrary invasion’ than this systematic and high tech collection and retention of personal data on virtually every single citizen for purposes of querying and analyzing it without prior judicial approval…Surely, such a program infringes on ‘that degree of privacy’ that the founders enshrined in the Fourth Amendment”.
Under the PRISM program, which started in 2007, NSA gathers Internet communications from foreign targets from nine major U.S. Internet-based communication service providers: Microsoft,Yahoo, Google, Facebook, PalTalk, AOL, Skype, YouTube and Apple. Data gathered include email, video and voice chat, videos, photos, VoIP chats such as Skype, and file transfers.
July 2015 – WikiLeaks: Espionage against German federal ministries
In July 2015, WikiLeaks published documents, which showed that NSA spied on federal German ministries since 1990s. Even Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel‘s cellphones and phone of her predecessors had been intercepted.
Claims of prevented terrorist attacks
Former NSA director General Keith Alexander claimed that in September 2009 the NSA prevented Najibullah Zazi and his friends from carrying out a terrorist attack. However, this claim has been debunked and no evidence has been presented demonstrating that the NSA has ever been instrumental in preventing a terrorist attack.
Besides the more traditional ways of eavesdropping in order to collect signals intelligence, NSA is also engaged in hacking computers, smartphones and their networks. These operations are conducted by the Tailored Access Operations (TAO) division.
NSA’s China hacking group
According to the Foreign Policy magazine, “… the Office of Tailored Access Operations, or TAO, has successfully penetrated Chinese computer and telecommunications systems for almost 15 years, generating some of the best and most reliable intelligence information about what is going on inside the People’s Republic of China.”
Syrian internet blackout
In an interview with Wired magazine, Edward Snowden said the Tailored Access Operations division accidentally caused Syria‘s internet blackout in 2012.
Suspected responsibility for hacking operations by the Equation Group
The espionage group named the Equation Group, described by discoverers Kaspersky Labs as one of the most advanced (if not the most advanced) in the world as of 2015,:31 and connected to over 500 malware infections in at least 42 countries over many years, is suspected of being a part of NSA. The group’s known espionage methods have been documented to include interdiction (interception of legitimate CDs sent by a scientific conference organizer by mail),:15 and the “unprecedented” ability to infect and be transmitted through the hard drivefirmware of several of the major hard drive manufacturers, and create and use hidden disk areas and virtual disk systems for its purposes, a feat demanding access to the manufacturer’s source code of each to achieve.:16–18 The methods used to deploy the tools demonstrated “surgical precision”, going so far as to exclude specific countries by IP and allow targeting of specific usernames on discussion forums.:23–26 The techniques and knowledge used by the Equation Group are considered in summary to be “out of the reach of most advanced threat groups in the world except [this group].:31
When my oldest son [Linus Torvalds] was asked the same question: “Has he been approached by the NSA about backdoors?” he said “No”, but at the same time he nodded. Then he was sort of in the legal free. He had given the right answer, [but] everybody understood that the NSA had approached him.
— Nils Torvalds, LIBE Committee Inquiry on Electronic Mass Surveillance of EU Citizens – 11th Hearing, 11 November 2013
IBM Notes was the first widely adopted software product to use public key cryptography for client–server and server–server authentication and for encryption of data. Until US laws regulating encryption were changed in 2000, IBM and Lotus were prohibited from exporting versions of Notes that supported symmetric encryption keys that were longer than 40 bits. In 1997, Lotus negotiated an agreement with the NSA that allowed export of a version that supported stronger keys with 64 bits, but 24 of the bits were encrypted with a special key and included in the message to provide a “workload reduction factor” for the NSA. This strengthened the protection for users of Notes outside the US against private-sector industrial espionage, but not against spying by the US government.
While it is assumed that foreign transmissions terminating in the U.S. (such as a non-U.S. citizen accessing a U.S. website) subject non-U.S. citizens to NSA surveillance, recent research into boomerang routing has raised new concerns about the NSA’s ability to surveil the domestic Internet traffic of foreign countries. Boomerang routing occurs when an Internet transmission that originates and terminates in a single country transits another. Research at the University of Toronto has suggested that approximately 25% of Canadian domestic traffic may be subject to NSA surveillance activities as a result of the boomerang routing of Canadian Internet service providers.
Intercepted packages are opened carefully by NSA employees
A “load station” implanting a beacon
A document included in NSA files released with Glenn Greenwald‘s book No Place to Hide details how the agency’s Tailored Access Operations (TAO) and other NSA units gain access to hardware. They intercept routers, servers and other network hardware being shipped to organizations targeted for surveillance and install covert implant firmware onto them before they are delivered. This was described by an NSA manager as “some of the most productive operations in TAO because they preposition access points into hard target networks around the world.”
Computers seized by the NSA due to interdiction are often modified with a physical device known as Cottonmouth.Cottonmouth is a device that can be inserted in the USB port of a computer in order to establish remote access to the targeted machine. According to NSA’s Tailored Access Operations (TAO) group implant catalog, after implanting Cottonmouth, the NSA can establish Bridging (networking) “that allows the NSA to load exploit software onto modified computers as well as allowing the NSA to relay commands and data between hardware and software implants.”
Role in scientific research and development[
NSA has been involved in debates about public policy, both indirectly as a behind-the-scenes adviser to other departments, and directly during and after Vice Admiral Bobby Ray Inman‘s directorship. NSA was a major player in the debates of the 1990s regarding the export of cryptography in the United States. Restrictions on export were reduced but not eliminated in 1996.
Its secure government communications work has involved the NSA in numerous technology areas, including the design of specialized communications hardware and software, production of dedicated semiconductors (at the Ft. Meade chip fabrication plant), and advanced cryptography research. For 50 years, NSA designed and built most of its computer equipment in-house, but from the 1990s until about 2003 (when the U.S. Congress curtailed the practice), the agency contracted with the private sector in the fields of research and equipment.
NSA was embroiled in some minor controversy concerning its involvement in the creation of the Data Encryption Standard (DES), a standard and public block cipheralgorithm used by the U.S. government and banking community. During the development of DES by IBM in the 1970s, NSA recommended changes to some details of the design. There was suspicion that these changes had weakened the algorithm sufficiently to enable the agency to eavesdrop if required, including speculation that a critical component—the so-called S-boxes—had been altered to insert a “backdoor” and that the reduction in key length might have made it feasible for NSA to discover DES keys using massive computing power. It has since been observed that the S-boxes in DES are particularly resilient against differential cryptanalysis, a technique which was not publicly discovered until the late 1980s, but which was known to the IBM DES team.
The United States Senate Select Committee on Intelligence reviewed NSA’s involvement, and concluded that while the agency had provided some assistance, it had not tampered with the design. In late 2009 NSA declassified information stating that “NSA worked closely with IBM to strengthen the algorithm against all except brute force attacks and to strengthen substitution tables, called S-boxes. Conversely, NSA tried to convince IBM to reduce the length of the key from 64 to 48 bits. Ultimately they compromised on a 56-bit key.”
The involvement of NSA in the selection of a successor to Data Encryption Standard (DES), the Advanced Encryption Standard (AES), was limited to hardware performance testing (see AES competition). NSA has subsequently certified AES for protection of classified information (for at most two levels, e.g. SECRET information in an unclassified environment[clarification needed]) when used in NSA-approved systems.
The NSA has specified Suite A and Suite B cryptographic algorithm suites to be used in U.S. government systems; the Suite B algorithms are a subset of those previously specified by NIST and are expected to serve for most information protection purposes, while the Suite A algorithms are secret and are intended for especially high levels of protection.
The widely used SHA-1 and SHA-2 hash functions were designed by NSA. SHA-1 is a slight modification of the weaker SHA-0 algorithm, also designed by NSA in 1993. This small modification was suggested by NSA two years later, with no justification other than the fact that it provides additional security. An attack for SHA-0 that does not apply to the revised algorithm was indeed found between 1998 and 2005 by academic cryptographers. Because of weaknesses and key length restrictions in SHA-1, NIST deprecates its use for digital signatures, and approves only the newer SHA-2 algorithms for such applications from 2013 on.
A new hash standard, SHA-3, has recently been selected through the competition concluded October 2, 2012 with the selection of Keccak as the algorithm. The process to select SHA-3 was similar to the one held in choosing the AES, but some doubts have been cast over it, since fundamental modifications have been made to Keccak in order to turn it into a standard. These changes potentially undermine the cryptanalysis performed during the competition and reduce the security levels of the algorithm.
This is now deemed to be plausible based on the fact that the output of the next iterations of the PRNG can provably be determined if the relation between two internal elliptic curve points is known. Both NIST and RSA are now officially recommending against the use of this PRNG.
Because of concerns that widespread use of strong cryptography would hamper government use of wiretaps, NSA proposed the concept of key escrow in 1993 and introduced the Clipper chip that would offer stronger protection than DES but would allow access to encrypted data by authorized law enforcement officials. The proposal was strongly opposed and key escrow requirements ultimately went nowhere. However, NSA’s Fortezza hardware-based encryption cards, created for the Clipper project, are still used within government, and NSA ultimately declassified and published the design of the Skipjack cipher used on the cards.
Perfect Citizen is a program to perform vulnerability assessment by the NSA on U.S. critical infrastructure. It was originally reported to be a program to develop a system of sensors to detect cyber attacks on critical infrastructure computer networks in both the private and public sector through a network monitoring system named Einstein. It is funded by the Comprehensive National Cybersecurity Initiative and thus far Raytheon has received a contract for up to $100 million for the initial stage.
NSA has invested many millions of dollars in academic research under grant code prefix MDA904, resulting in over 3,000 papers (as of 2007-10-11). NSA/CSS has, at times, attempted to restrict the publication of academic research into cryptography; for example, the Khufu and Khafre block ciphers were voluntarily withheld in response to an NSA request to do so. In response to a FOIA lawsuit, in 2013 the NSA released the 643-page research paper titled, “Untangling the Web: A Guide to Internet Research, ” written and compiled by NSA employees to assist other NSA workers in searching for information of interest to the agency on the public Internet.
NSA has the ability to file for a patent from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office under gag order. Unlike normal patents, these are not revealed to the public and do not expire. However, if the Patent Office receives an application for an identical patent from a third party, they will reveal NSA’s patent and officially grant it to NSA for the full term on that date.
One of NSA’s published patents describes a method of geographically locating an individual computer site in an Internet-like network, based on the latency of multiple network connections. Although no public patent exists, NSA is reported to have used a similar locating technology called trilateralization that allows real-time tracking of an individual’s location, including altitude from ground level, using data obtained from cellphone towers.
Excerpt of James Clapper‘s false testimony to Congress on NSA surveillance programs
In the United States, at least since 2001, there has been legal controversy over what signal intelligence can be used for and how much freedom the National Security Agency has to use signal intelligence. The government has made, in 2015, slight changes in how it uses and collects certain types of data, specifically phone records. President Barack Obama has asked lawyers and his national security team to look at the tactics that are being used by the NSA. President Obama made a speech on January 17, 2014 where he defended the national security measures, including the NSA, and their intentions for keeping the country safe through surveillance. He said that it is difficult to determine where the line should be drawn between what is too much surveillance and how much is needed for national security because technology is ever changing and evolving. Therefore, the laws cannot keep up with the rapid advancements.
President Obama did make some changes to national security regulations and how much data can be collected and surveyed. The first thing he added, was more presidential directive and oversight so that privacy and basic rights are not violated. The president would look over requests on behalf of American citizens to make sure that their personal privacy is not violated by the data that is being requested. Secondly, surveillance tactics and procedures are becoming more public, including over 40 rulings of the FISC that have been declassified. Thirdly, further protections are being placed on activities that are justified under Section 702, such as the ability to retain, search and use data collected in investigations, which allows the NSA to monitor and intercept interaction of targets overseas. Finally, national security letters, which are secret requests for information that the FBI uses in their investigations, are becoming less secretive. The secrecy of the information requested will not be indefinite and will terminate after a set time if future secrecy is not required. Concerning the bulk surveillance of American’s phone records, President Obama also ordered a transition from bulk surveillance under Section 215 to a new policy that will eliminate unnecessary bulk collection of metadata.
As of May 7, 2015, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit ruled that the interpretation of Section 215 of the Patriot Act was wrong and that the NSA program that has been collecting Americans’ phone records in bulk is illegal. It stated that Section 215 cannot be clearly interpreted to allow government to collect national phone data and, as a result, expired on June 1, 2015. This ruling “is the first time a higher-level court in the regular judicial system has reviewed the N.S.A. phone records program.”  The new bill getting passed later in May taking its place is known as the U.S.A. Freedom Act, which will enable the NSA to continue hunting for terrorists by analyzing telephone links between callers but “keep the bulk phone records in the hands of phone companies.” This would give phone companies the freedom to dispose the records in an 18-month period. The White House argued that this new ruling validated President Obama’s support of the government being extracted from bulk data collection and giving power to the telecommunications companies.
Previously, the NSA paid billions of dollars to telecommunications companies in order to collect data from them. While companies such as Google and Yahoo! claim that they do not provide “direct access” from their servers to the NSA unless under a court order, the NSA had access to emails, phone calls and cellular data users. With this new ruling, telecommunications companies would not provide the NSA with bulk information. The companies would allow the disposal of data in every 18 months, which is arguably putting the telecommunications companies at a higher advantage.
This ruling made the collecting of phone records illegal, but it did not rule on Section 215’s constitutionality. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has already put forth a new bill to re-authorize the Patriot Act. Defenders of this surveillance program are claiming that judges who sit on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) had ruled 37 times that this kind of collection of data is, in fact, lawful. The FISC is the court specifically mandated to grant surveillance orders in the name of foreign intelligence. The new ruling made by the Second District Court of Appeals now retroactively dismisses the findings of the FISC on this program.
Eric Arthur Blair was born on 25 June 1903, in Motihari, Bengal Presidency (present-day Bihar), in British India. His great-grandfather Charles Blair was a wealthy country gentleman in Dorset who married Lady Mary Fane, daughter of the Earl of Westmorland, and had income as an absentee landlord of plantations in Jamaica. His grandfather, Thomas Richard Arthur Blair, was a clergyman. Although the gentility passed down the generations, the prosperity did not; Eric Blair described his family as “lower-upper-middle class“. His father, Richard Walmesley Blair, worked in the Opium Department of the Indian Civil Service. His mother, Ida Mabel Blair (née Limouzin), grew up in Moulmein, Burma, where her French father was involved in speculative ventures. Eric had two sisters: Marjorie, five years older, and Avril, five years younger. When Eric was one year old, his mother took him and his sister to England.[n 1] His birthplace and ancestral house in Motihari has been declared a protected monument of historical importance.
In 1904, Ida Blair settled with her children at Henley-on-Thames in Oxfordshire. Eric was brought up in the company of his mother and sisters, and apart from a brief visit in mid-1907, they did not see the husband and father Richard Blair until 1912. His mother’s diary from 1905 describes a lively round of social activity and artistic interests.
Before the First World War, the family moved to Shiplake, Oxfordshire where Eric became friendly with the Buddicom family, especially their daughter Jacintha. When they first met, he was standing on his head in a field. On being asked why, he said, “You are noticed more if you stand on your head than if you are right way up.” Jacintha and Eric read and wrote poetry, and dreamed of becoming famous writers. He said that he might write a book in the style of H. G. Wells‘s A Modern Utopia. During this period, he also enjoyed shooting, fishing and birdwatching with Jacintha’s brother and sister.
At the age of five, Eric was sent as a day-boy to a convent school in Henley-on-Thames, which Marjorie also attended. It was a Roman Catholic convent run by French Ursuline nuns, who had been exiled from France after religious education was banned in 1903. His mother wanted him to have a public school education, but his family could not afford the fees, and he needed to earn a scholarship. Ida Blair’s brother Charles Limouzin recommended St Cyprian’s School, Eastbourne, East Sussex. Limouzin, who was a proficient golfer, knew of the school and its headmaster through the Royal Eastbourne Golf Club, where he won several competitions in 1903 and 1904. The headmaster undertook to help Blair to win a scholarship, and made a private financial arrangement that allowed Blair’s parents to pay only half the normal fees. In September 1911 Eric arrived at St Cyprian’s. He boarded at the school for the next five years, returning home only for school holidays. He knew nothing of the reduced fees, although he “soon recognised that he was from a poorer home”. Blair hated the school and many years later wrote an essay “Such, Such Were the Joys“, published posthumously, based on his time there. At St. Cyprian’s, Blair first met Cyril Connolly, who became a writer. Many years later, as the editor of Horizon, Connolly published several of Orwell’s essays.
While at St Cyprian’s, Blair wrote two poems that were published in the Henley and South Oxfordshire Standard. He came second to Connolly in the Harrow History Prize, had his work praised by the school’s external examiner, and earned scholarships to Wellington and Eton. But inclusion on the Eton scholarship roll did not guarantee a place, and none was immediately available for Blair. He chose to stay at St Cyprian’s until December 1916, in case a place at Eton became available.
In January, Blair took up the place at Wellington, where he spent the Spring term. In May 1917 a place became available as a King’s Scholar at Eton. He remained at Eton until December 1921, when he left midway between his 18th and 19th birthday. Wellington was “beastly”, Orwell told his childhood friend Jacintha Buddicom, but he said he was “interested and happy” at Eton. His principal tutor was A. S. F. Gow, Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge, who also gave him advice later in his career. Blair was briefly taught French by Aldous Huxley. Stephen Runciman, who was at Eton with Blair, noted that he and his contemporaries appreciated Huxley’s linguistic flair. Cyril Connolly followed Blair to Eton, but because they were in separate years, they did not associate with each other.
Blair’s academic performance reports suggest that he neglected his academic studies, but during his time at Eton he worked with Roger Mynors to produce a College magazine, The Election Times, joined in the production of other publications – College Days and Bubble and Squeak – and participated in the Eton Wall Game. His parents could not afford to send him to a university without another scholarship, and they concluded from his poor results that he would not be able to win one. Runciman noted that he had a romantic idea about the East, and the family decided that Blair should join the Imperial Police, the precursor of the Indian Police Service. For this he had to pass an entrance examination. His father had retired to Southwold, Suffolk, by this time; Blair was enrolled at a crammer there called Craighurst, and brushed up on his Classics, English, and History. He passed the entrance exam, coming seventh out of the 26 candidates who exceeded the pass mark.
Policing in Burma
Blair pictured in a passport photo during his Burma years
Working as an imperial policeman gave him considerable responsibility while most of his contemporaries were still at university in England. When he was posted farther east in the Delta to Twante as a sub-divisional officer, he was responsible for the security of some 200,000 people. At the end of 1924, he was promoted to Assistant District Superintendent and posted to Syriam, closer to Rangoon. Syriam had the refinery of the Burmah Oil Company, “the surrounding land a barren waste, all vegetation killed off by the fumes of sulphur dioxide pouring out day and night from the stacks of the refinery.” But the town was near Rangoon, a cosmopolitan seaport, and Blair went into the city as often as he could, “to browse in a bookshop; to eat well-cooked food; to get away from the boring routine of police life”. In September 1925 he went to Insein, the home of Insein Prison, the second largest jail in Burma. In Insein, he had “long talks on every conceivable subject” with Elisa Maria Langford-Rae (who later married Kazi Lhendup Dorjee). She noted his “sense of utter fairness in minutest details”.
British Club in Katha (in Orwell’s time, it occupied only the ground floor)
In April 1926 he moved to Moulmein, where his maternal grandmother lived. At the end of that year, he was assigned to Katha in Upper Burma, where he contracted dengue fever in 1927. Entitled to a leave in England that year, he was allowed to return in July due to his illness. While on leave in England and on holiday with his family in Cornwall in September 1927, he reappraised his life. Deciding against returning to Burma, he resigned from the Indian Imperial Police to become a writer. He drew on his experiences in the Burma police for the novel Burmese Days (1934) and the essays “A Hanging” (1931) and “Shooting an Elephant” (1936).
In Burma, Blair acquired a reputation as an outsider. He spent much of his time alone, reading or pursuing non-pukka activities, such as attending the churches of the Karen ethnic group. A colleague, Roger Beadon, recalled (in a 1969 recording for the BBC) that Blair was fast to learn the language and that before he left Burma, “was able to speak fluently with Burmese priests in ‘very high-flown Burmese.'” Blair made changes to his appearance in Burma that remained for the rest of his life. “While in Burma, he acquired a moustache similar to those worn by officers of the British regiments stationed there. [He] also acquired some tattoos; on each knuckle he had a small untidy blue circle. Many Burmese living in rural areas still sport tattoos like this – they are believed to protect against bullets and snake bites.” Later, he wrote that he felt guilty about his role in the work of empire and he “began to look more closely at his own country and saw that England also had its oppressed …”
In England, he settled back in the family home at Southwold, renewing acquaintance with local friends and attending an Old Etonian dinner. He visited his old tutor Gow at Cambridge for advice on becoming a writer. In 1927 he moved to London.Ruth Pitter, a family acquaintance, helped him find lodgings, and by the end of 1927 he had moved into rooms in Portobello Road; a blue plaque commemorates his residence there. Pitter’s involvement in the move “would have lent it a reassuring respectability in Mrs Blair’s eyes.” Pitter had a sympathetic interest in Blair’s writing, pointed out weaknesses in his poetry, and advised him to write about what he knew. In fact he decided to write of “certain aspects of the present that he set out to know” and “ventured into the East End of London – the first of the occasional sorties he would make to discover for himself the world of poverty and the down-and-outers who inhabit it. He had found a subject. These sorties, explorations, expeditions, tours or immersions were made intermittently over a period of five years.”
In imitation of Jack London, whose writing he admired (particularly The People of the Abyss), Blair started to explore the poorer parts of London. On his first outing he set out to Limehouse Causeway, spending his first night in a common lodging house, possibly George Levy’s ‘kip’. For a while he “went native” in his own country, dressing like a tramp, adopting the name P. S. Burton and making no concessions to middle-class mores and expectations; he recorded his experiences of the low life for use in “The Spike“, his first published essay in English, and in the second half of his first book, Down and Out in Paris and London (1933).
In early 1928 he moved to Paris. He lived in the rue du Pot de Fer, a working class district in the 5th Arrondissement. His aunt Nellie Limouzin also lived in Paris and gave him social and, when necessary, financial support. He began to write novels, including an early version of Burmese Days, but nothing else survives from that period. He was more successful as a journalist and published articles in Monde, a political/literary journal edited by Henri Barbusse (his first article as a professional writer, “La Censure en Angleterre”, appeared in that journal on 6 October 1928); G. K.’s Weekly, where his first article to appear in England, “A Farthing Newspaper”, was printed on 29 December 1928; and Le Progrès Civique (founded by the left-wing coalition Le Cartel des Gauches). Three pieces appeared in successive weeks in Le Progrès Civique: discussing unemployment, a day in the life of a tramp, and the beggars of London, respectively. “In one or another of its destructive forms, poverty was to become his obsessive subject – at the heart of almost everything he wrote until Homage to Catalonia.”
He fell seriously ill in February 1929 and was taken to the Hôpital Cochin in the 14th arrondissement, a free hospital where medical students were trained. His experiences there were the basis of his essay “How the Poor Die“, published in 1946. He chose not to identify the hospital, and indeed was deliberately misleading about its location. Shortly afterwards, he had all his money stolen from his lodging house. Whether through necessity or to collect material, he undertook menial jobs like dishwashing in a fashionable hotel on the rue de Rivoli, which he later described in Down and Out in Paris and London. In August 1929, he sent a copy of “The Spike” to John Middleton Murry‘s New Adelphi magazine in London. The magazine was edited by Max Plowman and Sir Richard Rees, and Plowman accepted the work for publication.
In December 1929, after nearly two years in Paris, Blair returned to England and went directly to his parents’ house in Southwold, which remained his base for the next five years. The family was well established in the town and his sister Avril was running a tea-house there. He became acquainted with many local people, including Brenda Salkeld, the clergyman’s daughter who worked as a gym-teacher at St Felix Girls’ School, Southwold. Although Salkeld rejected his offer of marriage, she remained a friend and regular correspondent for many years. He also renewed friendships with older friends, such as Dennis Collings, whose girlfriend Eleanor Jacques was also to play a part in his life.
In early 1930 he stayed briefly in Bramley, Leeds, with his sister Marjorie and her husband Humphrey Dakin, who was as unappreciative of Blair as when they knew each other as children. Blair was writing reviews for Adelphi and acting as a private tutor to a disabled child at Southwold. He then became tutor to three young brothers, one of whom, Richard Peters, later became a distinguished academic. “His history in these years is marked by dualities and contrasts. There is Blair leading a respectable, outwardly eventless life at his parents’ house in Southwold, writing; then in contrast, there is Blair as Burton (the name he used in his down-and-out episodes) in search of experience in the kips and spikes, in the East End, on the road, and in the hop fields of Kent.” He went painting and bathing on the beach, and there he met Mabel and Francis Fierz, who later influenced his career. Over the next year he visited them in London, often meeting their friend Max Plowman. He also often stayed at the homes of Ruth Pitter and Richard Rees, where he could “change” for his sporadic tramping expeditions. One of his jobs was domestic work at a lodgings for half a crown (two shillings and sixpence, or one-eighth of a pound) a day.
Blair now contributed regularly to Adelphi, with “A Hanging” appearing in August 1931. From August to September 1931 his explorations of poverty continued, and, like the protagonist of A Clergyman’s Daughter, he followed the East End tradition of working in the Kent hop fields. He kept a diary about his experiences there. Afterwards, he lodged in the Tooley Street kip, but could not stand it for long, and with financial help from his parents moved to Windsor Street, where he stayed until Christmas. “Hop Picking”, by Eric Blair, appeared in the October 1931 issue of New Statesman, whose editorial staff included his old friend Cyril Connolly. Mabel Fierz put him in contact with Leonard Moore, who became his literary agent.
At this time Jonathan Cape rejected A Scullion’s Diary, the first version of Down and Out. On the advice of Richard Rees, he offered it to Faber and Faber, but their editorial director, T. S. Eliot, also rejected it. Blair ended the year by deliberately getting himself arrested, so that he could experience Christmas in prison, but the authorities did not regard his “drunk and disorderly” behaviour as imprisonable, and he returned home to Southwold after two days in a police cell.
In April 1932 Blair became a teacher at The Hawthorns High School, a school for boys in Hayes, West London. This was a small school offering private schooling for children of local tradesmen and shopkeepers, and had only 14 or 16 boys aged between ten and sixteen, and one other master. While at the school he became friendly with the curate of the local parish church and became involved with activities there. Mabel Fierz had pursued matters with Moore, and at the end of June 1932, Moore told Blair that Victor Gollancz was prepared to publish A Scullion’s Diary for a £40 advance, through his recently founded publishing house, Victor Gollancz Ltd, which was an outlet for radical and socialist works.
At the end of the summer term in 1932, Blair returned to Southwold, where his parents had used a legacy to buy their own home. Blair and his sister Avril spent the holidays making the house habitable while he also worked on Burmese Days. He was also spending time with Eleanor Jacques, but her attachment to Dennis Collings remained an obstacle to his hopes of a more serious relationship.
The pen name “George Orwell” was inspired by the River Orwell in the English county of Suffolk
“Clink”, an essay describing his failed attempt to get sent to prison, appeared in the August 1932 number of Adelphi. He returned to teaching at Hayes and prepared for the publication of his book, now known as Down and Out in Paris and London. He wished to publish under a different name to avoid any embarrassment to his family over his time as a “tramp”. In a letter to Moore (dated 15 November 1932), he left the choice of pseudonym to Moore and to Gollancz. Four days later, he wrote to Moore, suggesting the pseudonyms P. S. Burton (a name he used when tramping), Kenneth Miles, George Orwell, and H. Lewis Allways. He finally adopted the nom de plume George Orwell because, as he told Eleanor Jacques, “It is a good round English name.” Down and Out in Paris and London was published on 9 January 1933, as Orwell continued to work on Burmese Days. Down and Out was successful and was next published by Harper & Brothers in New York.
In mid-1933 Blair left Hawthorns to become a teacher at Frays College, in Uxbridge, Middlesex. This was a much larger establishment with 200 pupils and a full complement of staff. He acquired a motorcycle and took trips through the surrounding countryside. On one of these expeditions he became soaked and caught a chill that developed into pneumonia. He was taken to Uxbridge Cottage Hospital, where for a time his life was believed to be in danger. When he was discharged in January 1934, he returned to Southwold to convalesce and, supported by his parents, never returned to teaching.
He was disappointed when Gollancz turned down Burmese Days, mainly on the grounds of potential suits for libel, but Harper were prepared to publish it in the United States. Meanwhile, Blair started work on the novel A Clergyman’s Daughter, drawing upon his life as a teacher and on life in Southwold. Eleanor Jacques was now married and had gone to Singapore and Brenda Salkield had left for Ireland, so Blair was relatively isolated in Southwold – working on the allotments, walking alone and spending time with his father. Eventually in October, after sending A Clergyman’s Daughter to Moore, he left for London to take a job that had been found for him by his aunt Nellie Limouzin.
Orwell’s former home at 77 Parliament Hill, Hampstead, London
This job was as a part-time assistant in Booklovers’ Corner, a second-hand bookshop in Hampstead run by Francis and Myfanwy Westrope, who were friends of Nellie Limouzin in the Esperanto movement. The Westropes were friendly and provided him with comfortable accommodation at Warwick Mansions, Pond Street. He was sharing the job with Jon Kimche, who also lived with the Westropes. Blair worked at the shop in the afternoons and had his mornings free to write and his evenings free to socialise. These experiences provided background for the novel Keep the Aspidistra Flying (1936). As well as the various guests of the Westropes, he was able to enjoy the company of Richard Rees and the Adelphi writers and Mabel Fierz. The Westropes and Kimche were members of the Independent Labour Party, although at this time Blair was not seriously politically active. He was writing for the Adelphi and preparing A Clergyman’s Daughter and Burmese Days for publication.
At the beginning of 1935 he had to move out of Warwick Mansions, and Mabel Fierz found him a flat in Parliament Hill. A Clergyman’s Daughter was published on 11 March 1935. In early 1935 Blair met his future wife Eileen O’Shaughnessy, when his landlady, Rosalind Obermeyer, who was studying for a master’s degree in psychology at University College London, invited some of her fellow students to a party. One of these students, Elizaveta Fen, a biographer and future translator of Chekhov, recalled Orwell and his friend Richard Rees “draped” at the fireplace, looking, she thought, “moth-eaten and prematurely aged.” Around this time, Blair had started to write reviews for the New English Weekly.
Orwell’s time as a bookseller is commemorated with this plaque in Hampstead
In June, Burmese Days was published and Cyril Connolly’s review in the New Statesman prompted Orwell (as he then became known) to re-establish contact with his old friend. In August, he moved into a flat in Kentish Town, which he shared with Michael Sayers and Rayner Heppenstall. The relationship was sometimes awkward and Orwell and Heppenstall even came to blows, though they remained friends and later worked together on BBC broadcasts. Orwell was now working on Keep the Aspidistra Flying, and also tried unsuccessfully to write a serial for the News Chronicle. By October 1935 his flatmates had moved out and he was struggling to pay the rent on his own. He remained until the end of January 1936, when he stopped working at Booklovers’ Corner.
At this time, Victor Gollancz suggested Orwell spend a short time investigating social conditions in economically depressed northern England.[n 2] Two years earlier J. B. Priestley had written about England north of the Trent, sparking an interest in reportage. The depression had also introduced a number of working-class writers from the North of England to the reading public.
On 31 January 1936, Orwell set out by public transport and on foot, reaching Manchester via Coventry, Stafford, the Potteries and Macclesfield. Arriving in Manchester after the banks had closed, he had to stay in a common lodging-house. The next day he picked up a list of contacts sent by Richard Rees. One of these, the trade union official Frank Meade, suggested Wigan, where Orwell spent February staying in dirty lodgings over a tripe shop. At Wigan, he visited many homes to see how people lived, took detailed notes of housing conditions and wages earned, went down Bryn Hall coal mine, and used the local public library to consult public health records and reports on working conditions in mines.
During this time, he was distracted by concerns about style and possible libel in Keep the Aspidistra Flying. He made a quick visit to Liverpool and during March, stayed in south Yorkshire, spending time in Sheffield and Barnsley. As well as visiting mines, including Grimethorpe, and observing social conditions, he attended meetings of the Communist Party and of Oswald Mosley – “his speech the usual claptrap – The blame for everything was put upon mysterious international gangs of Jews” – where he saw the tactics of the Blackshirts – “one is liable to get both a hammering and a fine for asking a question which Mosley finds it difficult to answer.” He also made visits to his sister at Headingley, during which he visited the Brontë Parsonage at Haworth, where he was “chiefly impressed by a pair of Charlotte Brontë‘s cloth-topped boots, very small, with square toes and lacing up at the sides.”
A former warehouse at Wigan Pier is named after Orwell
The result of his journeys through the north was The Road to Wigan Pier, published by Gollancz for the Left Book Club in 1937. The first half of the book documents his social investigations of Lancashire and Yorkshire, including an evocative description of working life in the coal mines. The second half is a long essay on his upbringing and the development of his political conscience, which includes an argument for Socialism (although he goes to lengths to balance the concerns and goals of Socialism with the barriers it faced from the movement’s own advocates at the time, such as ‘priggish’ and ‘dull’ Socialist intellectuals, and ‘proletarian’ Socialists with little grasp of the actual ideology). Gollancz feared the second half would offend readers and added a disculpatory preface to the book while Orwell was in Spain.
Orwell needed somewhere he could concentrate on writing his book, and once again help was provided by Aunt Nellie, who was living at Wallington, Hertfordshire in a very small 16th-century cottage called the “Stores”. Wallington was a tiny village 35 miles north of London, and the cottage had almost no modern facilities. Orwell took over the tenancy and moved in on 2 April 1936. He started work on The Road to Wigan Pier by the end of April, but also spent hours working on the garden and testing the possibility of reopening the Stores as a village shop. Keep the Aspidistra Flying was published by Gollancz on 20 April 1936. On 4 August Orwell gave a talk at the Adelphi Summer School held at Langham, entitled An Outsider Sees the Distressed Areas; others who spoke at the school included John Strachey, Max Plowman, Karl Polanyi and Reinhold Niebuhr.
Orwell’s research for The Road to Wigan Pier led to him being placed under surveillance by the Special Branch from 1936, for 12 years, until one year before the publication of Nineteen Eighty-Four.
Orwell married Eileen O’Shaughnessy on 9 June 1936. Shortly afterwards, the political crisis began in Spain and Orwell followed developments there closely. At the end of the year, concerned by Francisco Franco‘s military uprising, (supported by Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy and local groups such as Falange), Orwell decided to go to Spain to take part in the Spanish Civil War on the Republican side. Under the erroneous impression that he needed papers from some left-wing organisation to cross the frontier, on John Strachey‘s recommendation he applied unsuccessfully to Harry Pollitt, leader of the British Communist Party. Pollitt was suspicious of Orwell’s political reliability; he asked him whether he would undertake to join the International Brigade and advised him to get a safe-conduct from the Spanish Embassy in Paris. Not wishing to commit himself until he had seen the situation in situ, Orwell instead used his Independent Labour Party contacts to get a letter of introduction to John McNair in Barcelona.
The Spanish Civil War
The square in Barcelona renamed in Orwell’s honour
After a time at the Lenin Barracks in Barcelona he was sent to the relatively quiet Aragon Front under Georges Kopp. By January 1937 he was at Alcubierre 1,500 feet (460 m) above sea level, in the depth of winter. There was very little military action, and Orwell was shocked by the lack of munitions, food, and firewood, and other extreme deprivations. Orwell, with his Cadet Corps and police training, was quickly made a corporal. On the arrival of a British ILP Contingent about three weeks later, Orwell and the other English militiaman, Williams, were sent with them to Monte Oscuro. The newly arrived ILP contingent included Bob Smillie, Bob Edwards, Stafford Cottman and Jack Branthwaite. The unit was then sent on to Huesca.
Meanwhile, back in England, Eileen had been handling the issues relating to the publication of The Road to Wigan Pier before setting out for Spain herself, leaving Nellie Limouzin to look after The Stores. Eileen volunteered for a post in John McNair’s office and with the help of Georges Kopp paid visits to her husband, bringing him English tea, chocolate, and cigars. Orwell had to spend some days in hospital with a poisoned hand and had most of his possessions stolen by the staff. He returned to the front and saw some action in a night attack on the Nationalist trenches where he chased an enemy soldier with a bayonet and bombed an enemy rifle position.
In April, Orwell returned to Barcelona. Wanting to be sent to the Madrid front, which meant he “must join the International Column”, he approached a Communist friend attached to the Spanish Medical Aid and explained his case. “Although he did not think much of the Communists, Orwell was still ready to treat them as friends and allies. That would soon change.” This was the time of the Barcelona May Days and Orwell was caught up in the factional fighting. He spent much of the time on a roof, with a stack of novels, but encountered Jon Kimche from his Hampstead days during the stay. The subsequent campaign of lies and distortion carried out by the Communist press, in which the POUM was accused of collaborating with the fascists, had a dramatic effect on Orwell. Instead of joining the International Brigades as he had intended, he decided to return to the Aragon Front. Once the May fighting was over, he was approached by a Communist friend who asked if he still intended transferring to the International Brigades. Orwell expressed surprise that they should still want him, because according to the Communist press he was a fascist. “No one who was in Barcelona then, or for months later, will forget the horrible atmosphere produced by fear, suspicion, hatred, censored newspapers, crammed jails, enormous food queues and prowling gangs of armed men.”
After his return to the front, he was wounded in the throat by a sniper’s bullet. At 6 ft 2 in (1.88 m) Orwell was considerably taller than the Spanish fighters and had been warned against standing against the trench parapet. Unable to speak, and with blood pouring from his mouth, Orwell was carried on a stretcher to Siétamo, loaded on an ambulance and after a bumpy journey via Barbastro arrived at the hospital at Lérida. He recovered sufficiently to get up and on 27 May 1937 was sent on to Tarragona and two days later to a POUM sanatorium in the suburbs of Barcelona. The bullet had missed his main artery by the barest margin and his voice was barely audible. It had been such a clean shot that the wound immediately went through the process of cauterisation. He received electrotherapy treatment and was declared medically unfit for service.
By the middle of June the political situation in Barcelona had deteriorated and the POUM – painted by the pro-Soviet Communists as a Trotskyist organisation – was outlawed and under attack. The Communist line was that the POUM were “objectively” Fascist, hindering the Republican cause. “A particularly nasty poster appeared, showing a head with a POUM mask being ripped off to reveal a Swastika-covered face beneath.” Members, including Kopp, were arrested and others were in hiding. Orwell and his wife were under threat and had to lie low,[n 3] although they broke cover to try to help Kopp.
Finally with their passports in order, they escaped from Spain by train, diverting to Banyuls-sur-Mer for a short stay before returning to England. In the first week of July 1937 Orwell arrived back at Wallington; on 13 July 1937 a deposition was presented to the Tribunal for Espionage & High Treason, Valencia, charging the Orwells with “rabid Trotskyism“, and being agents of the POUM. The trial of the leaders of the POUM and of Orwell (in his absence) took place in Barcelona in October and November 1938. Observing events from French Morocco, Orwell wrote that they were ” – only a by-product of the Russian Trotskyist trials and from the start every kind of lie, including flagrant absurdities, has been circulated in the Communist press.” Orwell’s experiences in the Spanish Civil War gave rise to Homage to Catalonia (1938).
Rest and recuperation
Laurence O’Shaughnessy’s former home, the large house on the corner, 24 Crooms Hill, Greenwich, London
Orwell returned to England in June 1937, and stayed at the O’Shaughnessy home at Greenwich. He found his views on the Spanish Civil War out of favour. Kingsley Martin rejected two of his works and Gollancz was equally cautious. At the same time, the communist Daily Worker was running an attack on The Road to Wigan Pier, misquoting Orwell as saying “the working classes smell”; a letter to Gollancz from Orwell threatening libel action brought a stop to this. Orwell was also able to find a more sympathetic publisher for his views in Frederic Warburg of Secker & Warburg. Orwell returned to Wallington, which he found in disarray after his absence. He acquired goats, a rooster he called “Henry Ford”, and a poodle puppy he called “Marx” and settled down to animal husbandry and writing Homage to Catalonia.
There were thoughts of going to India to work on the Pioneer, a newspaper in Lucknow, but by March 1938 Orwell’s health had deteriorated. He was admitted to Preston Hall Sanatorium at Aylesford, Kent, a British Legion hospital for ex-servicemen to which his brother-in-law Laurence O’Shaughnessy was attached. He was thought initially to be suffering from tuberculosis and stayed in the sanatorium until September. A stream of visitors came to see him including Common, Heppenstall, Plowman and Cyril Connolly. Connolly brought with him Stephen Spender, a cause of some embarrassment as Orwell had referred to Spender as a “pansy friend” some time earlier. Homage to Catalonia was published by Secker & Warburg and was a commercial flop. In the latter part of his stay at the clinic Orwell was able to go for walks in the countryside and study nature.
The novelist L. H. Myers secretly funded a trip to French Morocco for half a year for Orwell to avoid the English winter and recover his health. The Orwells set out in September 1938 via Gibraltar and Tangier to avoid Spanish Morocco and arrived at Marrakech. They rented a villa on the road to Casablanca and during that time Orwell wrote Coming Up for Air. They arrived back in England on 30 March 1939 and Coming Up for Air was published in June. Orwell spent time in Wallington and Southwold working on a Dickens essay and it was in July 1939 that Orwell’s father, Richard Blair, died.
Second World War and Animal Farm
At the outbreak of the Second World War, Orwell’s wife Eileen started working in the Censorship Department of the Ministry of Information in central London, staying during the week with her family in Greenwich. Orwell also submitted his name to the Central Register for war work, but nothing transpired. “They won’t have me in the army, at any rate at present, because of my lungs”, Orwell told Geoffrey Gorer. He returned to Wallington, and in late 1939 he wrote material for his first collection of essays, Inside the Whale. For the next year he was occupied writing reviews for plays, films and books for The Listener, Time and Tide and New Adelphi. On 29 March 1940 his long association with Tribune began with a review of a sergeant’s account of Napoleon‘s retreat from Moscow. At the beginning of 1940, the first edition of Connolly’s Horizon appeared, and this provided a new outlet for Orwell’s work as well as new literary contacts. In May the Orwells took lease of a flat in London at Dorset Chambers, Chagford Street, Marylebone. It was the time of the Dunkirk evacuation and the death in France of Eileen’s brother Lawrence caused her considerable grief and long-term depression. Throughout this period Orwell kept a wartime diary.
Orwell was declared “unfit for any kind of military service” by the Medical Board in June, but soon afterwards found an opportunity to become involved in war activities by joining the Home Guard. He shared Tom Wintringham‘s socialist vision for the Home Guard as a revolutionary People’s Militia. His lecture notes for instructing platoon members include advice on street fighting, field fortifications, and the use of mortars of various kinds. Sergeant Orwell managed to recruit Frederic Warburg to his unit. During the Battle of Britain he used to spend weekends with Warburg and his new Zionist friend, Tosco Fyvel, at Warburg’s house at Twyford, Berkshire. At Wallington he worked on “England Your England” and in London wrote reviews for various periodicals. Visiting Eileen’s family in Greenwich brought him face-to-face with the effects of the blitz on East London. In mid-1940, Warburg, Fyvel and Orwell planned Searchlight Books. Eleven volumes eventually appeared, of which Orwell’s The Lion and the Unicorn: Socialism and the English Genius, published on 19 February 1941, was the first.
Early in 1941 he started writing for the American Partisan Review which linked Orwell with The New York Intellectuals, like him anti-Stalinist, but committed to staying on the Left, and contributed to Gollancz anthology The Betrayal of the Left, written in the light of the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact (although Orwell referred to it as the Russo-German Pact and the Hitler-Stalin Pact). He also applied unsuccessfully for a job at the Air Ministry. Meanwhile, he was still writing reviews of books and plays and at this time met the novelist Anthony Powell. He also took part in a few radio broadcasts for the Eastern Service of the BBC. In March the Orwells moved to a seventh-floor flat at Langford Court, St John’s Wood, while at Wallington Orwell was “digging for victory” by planting potatoes.
One could not have a better example of the moral and emotional shallowness of our time, than the fact that we are now all more or less pro Stalin. This disgusting murderer is temporarily on our side, and so the purges, etc., are suddenly forgotten.
— George Orwell, in his war-time diary, 3 July 1941
In August 1941, Orwell finally obtained “war work” when he was taken on full-time by the BBC’s Eastern Service. He supervised cultural broadcasts to India to counter propaganda from Nazi Germany designed to undermine Imperial links. This was Orwell’s first experience of the rigid conformity of life in an office, and it gave him an opportunity to create cultural programmes with contributions from T. S. Eliot, Dylan Thomas, E. M. Forster, Ahmed Ali, Mulk Raj Anand, and William Empson among others.
At the end of August he had a dinner with H. G. Wells which degenerated into a row because Wells had taken offence at observations Orwell made about him in a Horizon article. In October Orwell had a bout of bronchitis and the illness recurred frequently. David Astor was looking for a provocative contributor for The Observer and invited Orwell to write for him – the first article appearing in March 1942. In early 1942 Eileen changed jobs to work at the Ministry of Food and in mid-1942 the Orwells moved to a larger flat, a ground floor and basement, 10a Mortimer Crescent in Maida Vale/Kilburn – “the kind of lower-middle-class ambience that Orwell thought was London at its best.” Around the same time Orwell’s mother and sister Avril, who had found work in a sheet-metal factory behind Kings Cross Station, moved into a flat close to George and Eileen.
Orwell at the BBC in 1941. Despite having spoken on many broadcasts, no recordings of Orwell’s voice are known to survive.
At the BBC, Orwell introduced Voice, a literary programme for his Indian broadcasts, and by now was leading an active social life with literary friends, particularly on the political left. Late in 1942, he started writing regularly for the left-wing weekly Tribune:306:441 directed by Labour MPs Aneurin Bevan and George Strauss. In March 1943 Orwell’s mother died and around the same time he told Moore he was starting work on a new book, which turned out to be Animal Farm.
In September 1943, Orwell resigned from the BBC post that he had occupied for two years.:352 His resignation followed a report confirming his fears that few Indians listened to the broadcasts, but he was also keen to concentrate on writing Animal Farm. Just six days before his last day of service, on 24 November 1943, his adaptation of the fairy tale, Hans Christian Andersen‘s The Emperor’s New Clothes was broadcast. It was a genre in which he was greatly interested and which appeared on Animal Farm‘s title-page. At this time he also resigned from the Home Guard on medical grounds.
In November 1943, Orwell was appointed literary editor at Tribune, where his assistant was his old friend Jon Kimche. Orwell was on staff until early 1945, writing over 80 book reviews and on 3 December 1943 started his regular personal column, “As I Please“, usually addressing three or four subjects in each. He was still writing reviews for other magazines, including Partisan Review, Horizon, and the New York Nation and becoming a respected pundit among left-wing circles but also a close friend of people on the right such as Powell, Astor and Malcolm Muggeridge. By April 1944 Animal Farm was ready for publication. Gollancz refused to publish it, considering it an attack on the Soviet regime which was a crucial ally in the war. A similar fate was met from other publishers (including T. S. Eliot at Faber and Faber) until Jonathan Cape agreed to take it.
In May the Orwells had the opportunity to adopt a child, thanks to the contacts of Eileen’s sister Gwen O’Shaughnessy, then a doctor in Newcastle upon Tyne. In June a V-1 flying bomb struck Mortimer Crescent and the Orwells had to find somewhere else to live. Orwell had to scrabble around in the rubble for his collection of books, which he had finally managed to transfer from Wallington, carting them away in a wheelbarrow.
Another bombshell was Cape’s reversal of his plan to publish Animal Farm. The decision followed his personal visit to Peter Smollett, an official at the Ministry of Information. Smollett was later identified as a Soviet agent.
The Orwells spent some time in the North East, near Carlton, County Durham, dealing with matters in the adoption of a boy whom they named Richard Horatio Blair. By September 1944 they had set up home in Islington, at 27b Canonbury Square. Baby Richard joined them there, and Eileen gave up her work at the Ministry of Food to look after her family. Secker & Warburg had agreed to publish Animal Farm, planned for the following March, although it did not appear in print until August 1945. By February 1945 David Astor had invited Orwell to become a war correspondent for the Observer. Orwell had been looking for the opportunity throughout the war, but his failed medical reports prevented him from being allowed anywhere near action. He went to Paris after the liberation of France and to Cologne once it had been occupied by the Allies.
It was while he was there that Eileen went into hospital for a hysterectomy and died under anaesthetic on 29 March 1945. She had not given Orwell much notice about this operation because of worries about the cost and because she expected to make a speedy recovery. Orwell returned home for a while and then went back to Europe. He returned finally to London to cover the 1945 general election at the beginning of July. Animal Farm: A Fairy Story was published in Britain on 17 August 1945, and a year later in the US, on 26 August 1946.
Jura and Nineteen Eighty-Four
Animal Farm struck a particular resonance in the post-war climate and its worldwide success made Orwell a sought-after figure.
Barnhill on the Isle of Jura off the west coast of Scotland
In the year following Eileen’s death he published around 130 articles and a selection of his Critical Essays, while remaining active in various political lobbying campaigns. He employed a housekeeper, Susan Watson, to look after his adopted son at the Islington flat, which visitors now described as “bleak”. In September he spent a fortnight on the island of Jura in the Inner Hebrides and saw it as a place to escape from the hassle of London literary life. David Astor was instrumental in arranging a place for Orwell on Jura. Astor’s family owned Scottish estates in the area and a fellow Old Etonian Robin Fletcher had a property on the island. In late 1945 and early 1946 Orwell made several hopeless and unwelcome marriage proposals to younger women, including Celia Kirwan (who was later to become Arthur Koestler‘s sister-in-law), Ann Popham who happened to live in the same block of flats and Sonia Brownell, one of Connolly’s coterie at the Horizon office. Orwell suffered a tubercular haemorrhage in February 1946 but disguised his illness. In 1945 or early 1946, while still living at Canonbury Square, Orwell wrote an article on “British Cookery”, complete with recipes, commissioned by the British Council. Given the post-war shortages, both parties agreed not to publish it. His sister Marjorie died of kidney disease in May and shortly after, on 22 May 1946, Orwell set off to live on the Isle of Jura.
Barnhill was an abandoned farmhouse with outbuildings near the northern end of the island, situated at the end of a five-mile (8 km), heavily rutted track from Ardlussa, where the owners lived. Conditions at the farmhouse were primitive but the natural history and the challenge of improving the place appealed to Orwell. His sister Avril accompanied him there and young novelist Paul Potts made up the party. In July Susan Watson arrived with Orwell’s son Richard. Tensions developed and Potts departed after one of his manuscripts was used to light the fire. Orwell meanwhile set to work on Nineteen Eighty-Four. Later Susan Watson’s boyfriend David Holbrook arrived. A fan of Orwell since school days, he found the reality very different, with Orwell hostile and disagreeable probably because of Holbrook’s membership of the Communist Party. Susan Watson could no longer stand being with Avril and she and her boyfriend left.
Orwell returned to London in late 1946 and picked up his literary journalism again. Now a well-known writer, he was swamped with work. Apart from a visit to Jura in the new year he stayed in London for one of the coldest British winters on record and with such a national shortage of fuel that he burnt his furniture and his child’s toys. The heavy smog in the days before the Clean Air Act 1956 did little to help his health about which he was reticent, keeping clear of medical attention. Meanwhile, he had to cope with rival claims of publishers Gollancz and Warburg for publishing rights. About this time he co-edited a collection titled British Pamphleteers with Reginald Reynolds. As a result of the success of Animal Farm, Orwell was expecting a large bill from the Inland Revenue and he contacted a firm of accountants of which the senior partner was Jack Harrison. The firm advised Orwell to establish a company to own his copyright and to receive his royalties and set up a “service agreement” so that he could draw a salary. Such a company “George Orwell Productions Ltd” (GOP Ltd) was set up on 12 September 1947 although the service agreement was not then put into effect. Jack Harrison left the details at this stage to junior colleagues.
Orwell left London for Jura on 10 April 1947. In July he ended the lease on the Wallington cottage. Back on Jura he worked on Nineteen Eighty-Four and made good progress. During that time his sister’s family visited, and Orwell led a disastrous boating expedition, on 19 August, which nearly led to loss of life whilst trying to cross the notorious gulf of Corryvreckan and gave him a soaking which was not good for his health. In December a chest specialist was summoned from Glasgow who pronounced Orwell seriously ill and a week before Christmas 1947 he was in Hairmyres Hospital in East Kilbride, then a small village in the countryside, on the outskirts of Glasgow. Tuberculosis was diagnosed and the request for permission to import streptomycin to treat Orwell went as far as Aneurin Bevan, then Minister of Health. David Astor helped with supply and payment and Orwell began his course of streptomycin on 19 or 20 February 1948. By the end of July 1948 Orwell was able to return to Jura and by December he had finished the manuscript of Nineteen Eighty-Four. In January 1949, in a very weak condition, he set off for a sanatorium at Cranham, Gloucestershire, escorted by Richard Rees.
The sanatorium at Cranham consisted of a series of small wooden chalets or huts in a remote part of the Cotswolds near Stroud. Visitors were shocked by Orwell’s appearance and concerned by the short-comings and ineffectiveness of the treatment. Friends were worried about his finances, but by now he was comparatively well-off. He was writing to many of his friends, including Jacintha Buddicom, who had “rediscovered” him, and in March 1949, was visited by Celia Kirwan. Kirwan had just started working for a Foreign Office unit, the Information Research Department, set up by the Labour government to publish anti-communist propaganda, and Orwell gave her a list of people he considered to be unsuitable as IRD authors because of their pro-communist leanings. Orwell’s list, not published until 2003, consisted mainly of writers but also included actors and Labour MPs. Orwell received more streptomycin treatment and improved slightly. In June 1949 Nineteen Eighty-Four was published to immediate critical and popular acclaim.
Orwell’s health had continued to decline since the diagnosis of tuberculosis in December 1947. In mid-1949, he courted Sonia Brownell, and they announced their engagement in September, shortly before he was removed to University College Hospital in London. Sonia took charge of Orwell’s affairs and attended him diligently in the hospital, causing concern to some old friends such as Muggeridge. In September 1949, Orwell invited his accountant Harrison to visit him in hospital, and Harrison claimed that Orwell then asked him to become director of GOP Ltd and to manage the company, but there was no independent witness. Orwell’s wedding took place in the hospital room on 13 October 1949, with David Astor as best man. Orwell was in decline and visited by an assortment of visitors including Muggeridge, Connolly, Lucian Freud, Stephen Spender, Evelyn Waugh, Paul Potts, Anthony Powell, and his Eton tutor Anthony Gow. Plans to go to the Swiss Alps were mooted. Further meetings were held with his accountant, at which Harrison and Mr and Mrs Blair were confirmed as directors of the company, and at which Harrison claimed that the “service agreement” was executed, giving copyright to the company. Orwell’s health was in decline again by Christmas. On the evening of 20 January 1950, Potts visited Orwell and slipped away on finding him asleep. Jack Harrison visited later and claimed that Orwell gave him 25% of the company. Early on the morning of 21 January, an artery burst in Orwell’s lungs, killing him at age 46.
Orwell had requested to be buried in accordance with the Anglican rite in the graveyard of the closest church to wherever he happened to die. The graveyards in central London had no space, and fearing that he might have to be cremated against his wishes, his widow appealed to his friends to see whether any of them knew of a church with space in its graveyard.
David Astor lived in Sutton Courtenay, Oxfordshire, and arranged for Orwell to be interred in All Saints’ Churchyard there. Orwell’s gravestone bears the simple epitaph: “Here lies Eric Arthur Blair, born June 25th 1903, died January 21st 1950”; no mention is made on the gravestone of his more famous pen name.
Orwell’s son, Richard Horatio Blair, was brought up by Orwell’s sister Avril. He maintains a public profile as patron of the Orwell Society. He gives interviews about the few memories he has of his father.
In 1979, Sonia Brownell brought a High Court action against Harrison, who had in the meantime transferred 75% of the company’s voting stock to himself and had dissipated much of the value of the company. She was considered to have a strong case, but was becoming increasingly ill and eventually was persuaded to settle out of court on 2 November 1980. She died on 11 December 1980, aged 62.
Coming Up for Air, his last novel before World War II is the most “English” of his novels; alarms of war mingle with images of idyllic Thames-side Edwardian childhood of protagonist George Bowling. The novel is pessimistic; industrialism and capitalism have killed the best of Old England, and there were great, new external threats. In homely terms, Bowling posits the totalitarian hypotheses of Borkenau, Orwell, Silone and Koestler: “Old Hitler’s something different. So’s Joe Stalin. They aren’t like these chaps in the old days who crucified people and chopped their heads off and so forth, just for the fun of it … They’re something quite new – something that’s never been heard of before”.
In an autobiographical piece that Orwell sent to the editors of Twentieth Century Authors in 1940, he wrote: “The writers I care about most and never grow tired of are: Shakespeare, Swift, Fielding, Dickens, Charles Reade, Flaubert and, among modern writers, James Joyce, T. S. Eliot and D. H. Lawrence. But I believe the modern writer who has influenced me most is W. Somerset Maugham, whom I admire immensely for his power of telling a story straightforwardly and without frills.” Elsewhere, Orwell strongly praised the works of Jack London, especially his book The Road. Orwell’s investigation of poverty in The Road to Wigan Pier strongly resembles that of Jack London’s The People of the Abyss, in which the American journalist disguises himself as an out-of-work sailor to investigate the lives of the poor in London. In his essay “Politics vs. Literature: An Examination of Gulliver’s Travels” (1946) Orwell wrote: “If I had to make a list of six books which were to be preserved when all others were destroyed, I would certainly put Gulliver’s Travels among them.”
Throughout his life Orwell continually supported himself as a book reviewer, writing works so long and sophisticated they have had an influence on literary criticism. He wrote in the conclusion to his 1940 essay on Charles Dickens,
When one reads any strongly individual piece of writing, one has the impression of seeing a face somewhere behind the page. It is not necessarily the actual face of the writer. I feel this very strongly with Swift, with Defoe, with Fielding, Stendhal, Thackeray, Flaubert, though in several cases I do not know what these people looked like and do not want to know. What one sees is the face that the writer ought to have. Well, in the case of Dickens I see a face that is not quite the face of Dickens’s photographs, though it resembles it. It is the face of a man of about forty, with a small beard and a high colour. He is laughing, with a touch of anger in his laughter, but no triumph, no malignity. It is the face of a man who is always fighting against something, but who fights in the open and is not frightened, the face of a man who is generously angry – in other words, of a nineteenth-century liberal, a free intelligence, a type hated with equal hatred by all the smelly little orthodoxies which are now contending for our souls.
George Woodcock suggested that the last two sentences characterised Orwell as much as his subject.
Orwell wrote a critique of George Bernard Shaw‘s play Arms and the Man. He considered this Shaw’s best play and the most likely to remain socially relevant, because of its theme that war is not, generally speaking, a glorious romantic adventure. His 1945 essay In Defense of P.G. Wodehouse contains an amusing assessment of his writing and also argues that his broadcasts from Germany (during the war) did not really make him a traitor. He accused The Ministry of Information of exaggerating Wodehouse’s actions for propaganda purposes.
Reception and evaluations of Orwell’s works
Arthur Koestler mentioned Orwell’s “uncompromising intellectual honesty [which] made him appear almost inhuman at times.”Ben Wattenberg stated: “Orwell’s writing pierced intellectual hypocrisy wherever he found it.” According to historian Piers Brendon, “Orwell was the saint of common decency who would in earlier days, said his BBC boss Rushbrook Williams, ‘have been either canonised – or burnt at the stake'”.Raymond Williams in Politics and Letters: Interviews with New Left Review describes Orwell as a “successful impersonation of a plain man who bumps into experience in an unmediated way and tells the truth about it.”Christopher Norris declared that Orwell’s “homespun empiricist outlook – his assumption that the truth was just there to be told in a straightforward common-sense way – now seems not merely naïve but culpably self-deluding”. The American scholar Scott Lucas has described Orwell as an enemy of the Left. John Newsinger has argued that Lucas could only do this by portraying “all of Orwell’s attacks on Stalinism [-] as if they were attacks on socialism, despite Orwell’s continued insistence that they were not.”
Orwell’s work has taken a prominent place in the school literature curriculum in England, with Animal Farm a regular examination topic at the end of secondary education (GCSE), and Nineteen Eighty-Four a topic for subsequent examinations below university level (A Levels). Alan Brown noted that this brings to the forefront questions about the political content of teaching practices. Study aids, in particular with potted biographies, might be seen to help propagate the Orwell myth so that as an embodiment of human values he is presented as a “trustworthy guide”, while examination questions sometimes suggest a “right ways of answering” in line with the myth.[clarification needed]
Historian John Rodden stated: “John Podhoretz did claim that if Orwell were alive today, he’d be standing with the neo-conservatives and against the Left. And the question arises, to what extent can you even begin to predict the political positions of somebody who’s been dead three decades and more by that time?”
In Orwell’s Victory, Christopher Hitchens argues, “In answer to the accusation of inconsistency Orwell as a writer was forever taking his own temperature. In other words, here was someone who never stopped testing and adjusting his intelligence”.
John Rodden points out the “undeniable conservative features in the Orwell physiognomy” and remarks on how “to some extent Orwell facilitated the kinds of uses and abuses by the Right that his name has been put to. In other ways there has been the politics of selective quotation.” Rodden refers to the essay “Why I Write“, in which Orwell refers to the Spanish Civil War as being his “watershed political experience”, saying “The Spanish War and other events in 1936–37, turned the scale. Thereafter I knew where I stood. Every line of serious work that I have written since 1936 has been written directly or indirectly against totalitarianism and for Democratic Socialism as I understand it.” (emphasis in original) Rodden goes on to explain how, during the McCarthy era, the introduction to the Signet edition of Animal Farm, which sold more than 20 million copies, makes use of “the politics of ellipsis”:
If the book itself, Animal Farm, had left any doubt of the matter, Orwell dispelled it in his essay Why I Write: ‘Every line of serious work that I’ve written since 1936 has been written directly or indirectly against Totalitarianism … dot, dot, dot, dot.’ “For Democratic Socialism” is vaporised, just like Winston Smith did it at the Ministry of Truth, and that’s very much what happened at the beginning of the McCarthy era and just continued, Orwell being selectively quoted.
Fyvel wrote about Orwell: “His crucial experience … was his struggle to turn himself into a writer, one which led through long periods of poverty, failure and humiliation, and about which he has written almost nothing directly. The sweat and agony was less in the slum-life than in the effort to turn the experience into literature.”
In October 2015 Finlay Publisher, for the Orwell Society, published George Orwell ‘The Complete Poetry’, compiled and presented by Dione Venables.
Influence on language and writing
In his essay “Politics and the English Language” (1946), Orwell wrote about the importance of precise and clear language, arguing that vague writing can be used as a powerful tool of political manipulation because it shapes the way we think. In that essay, Orwell provides six rules for writers:
Never use a metaphor, simile or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print.
Never use a long word where a short one will do.
If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out.
Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word or a jargon word if you can think of an everyday English equivalent.
Break any of these rules sooner than say anything outright barbarous.
Andrew N. Rubin argues, “Orwell claimed that we should be attentive to how the use of language has limited our capacity for critical thought just as we should be equally concerned with the ways in which dominant modes of thinking have reshaped the very language that we use.”
The adjective Orwellian connotes an attitude and a policy of control by propaganda, surveillance, misinformation, denial of truth, and manipulation of the past. In Nineteen Eighty-Four Orwell described a totalitarian government that controlled thought by controlling language, making certain ideas literally unthinkable. Several words and phrases from Nineteen Eighty-Four have entered popular language. Newspeak is a simplified and obfuscatory language designed to make independent thought impossible. Doublethink means holding two contradictory beliefs simultaneously. The Thought Police are those who suppress all dissenting opinion. Prolefeed is homogenised, manufactured superficial literature, film and music, used to control and indoctrinate the populace through docility. Big Brother is a supreme dictator who watches everyone.
Orwell may have been the first to use the term cold war to refer to the state of tension between powers in the Western Bloc and the Eastern Bloc that followed the Second World War, in his essay, “You and the Atom Bomb”, published in Tribune, 19 October 1945. He wrote:
We may be heading not for general breakdown but for an epoch as horribly stable as the slave empires of antiquity. James Burnham‘s theory has been much discussed, but few people have yet considered its ideological implications – this is, the kind of world-view, the kind of beliefs, and the social structure that would probably prevail in a State which was at once unconquerable and in a permanent state of ‘cold war’ with its neighbours.
In 2014 it was announced that Orwell’s birthplace, a bungalow in Motihari, Bihar, in India would become the world’s first Orwell museum.
In 2014 a play written by playwright Joe Sutton titled Orwell in America was first performed. It is a fictitious account of Orwell doing a book tour in America (something he never did in his lifetime). It moved to Off-Broadway in 2016.
Jacintha Buddicom‘s account Eric & Us provides an insight into Blair’s childhood. She quoted his sister Avril that “he was essentially an aloof, undemonstrative person” and said herself of his friendship with the Buddicoms: “I do not think he needed any other friends beyond the schoolfriend he occasionally and appreciatively referred to as ‘CC'”. She could not recall his having schoolfriends to stay and exchange visits as her brother Prosper often did in holidays. Cyril Connolly provides an account of Blair as a child in Enemies of Promise. Years later, Blair mordantly recalled his prep school in the essay “Such, Such Were the Joys“, claiming among other things that he “was made to study like a dog” to earn a scholarship, which he alleged was solely to enhance the school’s prestige with parents. Jacintha Buddicom repudiated Orwell’s schoolboy misery described in the essay, stating that “he was a specially happy child”. She noted that he did not like his name, because it reminded him of a book he greatly disliked – Eric, or, Little by Little, a Victorian boys’ school story.
Connolly remarked of him as a schoolboy, “The remarkable thing about Orwell was that alone among the boys he was an intellectual and not a parrot for he thought for himself”. At Eton, John Vaughan Wilkes, his former headmaster’s son recalled, “… he was extremely argumentative – about anything – and criticising the masters and criticising the other boys … We enjoyed arguing with him. He would generally win the arguments – or think he had anyhow.”Roger Mynors concurs: “Endless arguments about all sorts of things, in which he was one of the great leaders. He was one of those boys who thought for himself …”
Blair liked to carry out practical jokes. Buddicom recalls him swinging from the luggage rack in a railway carriage like an orangutan to frighten a woman passenger out of the compartment. At Eton he played tricks on John Crace, his Master in College, among which was to enter a spoof advertisement in a College magazine implying pederasty. Gow, his tutor, said he “made himself as big a nuisance as he could” and “was a very unattractive boy”. Later Blair was expelled from the crammer at Southwold for sending a dead rat as a birthday present to the town surveyor. In one of his As I Please essays he refers to a protracted joke when he answered an advertisement for a woman who claimed a cure for obesity.
Blair had an interest in natural history which stemmed from his childhood. In letters from school he wrote about caterpillars and butterflies, and Buddicom recalls his keen interest in ornithology. He also enjoyed fishing and shooting rabbits, and conducting experiments as in cooking a hedgehog or shooting down a jackdaw from the Eton roof to dissect it. His zeal for scientific experiments extended to explosives – again Buddicom recalls a cook giving notice because of the noise. Later in Southwold his sister Avril recalled him blowing up the garden. When teaching he enthused his students with his nature-rambles both at Southwold and Hayes. His adult diaries are permeated with his observations on nature.
Relationships and marriage
Buddicom and Blair lost touch shortly after he went to Burma, and she became unsympathetic towards him. She wrote that it was because of the letters he wrote complaining about his life, but an addendum to Eric & Us by Venables reveals that he may have lost her sympathy through an incident which was, at best, a clumsy attempt at seduction.
Mabel Fierz, who later became Blair’s confidante, said: “He used to say the one thing he wished in this world was that he’d been attractive to women. He liked women and had many girlfriends I think in Burma. He had a girl in Southwold and another girl in London. He was rather a womaniser, yet he was afraid he wasn’t attractive.”
Brenda Salkield (Southwold) preferred friendship to any deeper relationship and maintained a correspondence with Blair for many years, particularly as a sounding board for his ideas. She wrote: “He was a great letter writer. Endless letters, and I mean when he wrote you a letter he wrote pages.” His correspondence with Eleanor Jacques (London) was more prosaic, dwelling on a closer relationship and referring to past rendezvous or planning future ones in London and Burnham Beeches.
When Orwell was in the sanatorium in Kent, his wife’s friend Lydia Jackson visited. He invited her for a walk and out of sight “an awkward situation arose.” Jackson was to be the most critical of Orwell’s marriage to Eileen O’Shaughnessy, but their later correspondence hints at a complicity. Eileen at the time was more concerned about Orwell’s closeness to Brenda Salkield. Orwell had an affair with his secretary at Tribune which caused Eileen much distress, and others have been mooted. In a letter to Ann Popham he wrote: “I was sometimes unfaithful to Eileen, and I also treated her badly, and I think she treated me badly, too, at times, but it was a real marriage, in the sense that we had been through awful struggles together and she understood all about my work, etc.”Similarly he suggested to Celia Kirwan that they had both been unfaithful. There are several testaments that it was a well-matched and happy marriage.
Blair was very lonely after Eileen’s death, and desperate for a wife, both as companion for himself and as mother for Richard. He proposed marriage to four women, including Celia Kirwan, and eventually Sonia Brownell accepted. Orwell had met her when she was assistant to Cyril Connolly, at Horizon literary magazine. They were married on 13 October 1949, only three months before Orwell’s death. Some maintain that Sonia was the model for Julia in Nineteen Eighty-Four.
Orwell regularly participated in the social and civic life of the church, and yet was an atheist, both critical of religious doctrine and of religious organisations. He attended Holy Communion at the Church of England regularly, and makes allusions to Anglican rites in his book A Clergyman’s Daughter. He was extremely well-read in Biblical literature and could quote lengthy passages from the Book of Common Prayer from memory. However, his forensic knowledge of the Bible came coupled with unsparing criticism of its philosophy, and as an adult he could not bring himself to believe in its tenets. He said clearly in part V of his essay, “Such, Such Were the Joys“: “Till about the age of fourteen I believed in God, and believed that the accounts given of him were true. But I was well aware that I did not love him.” Of his regular Church attendance, he said: “It seems rather mean to go to HC [Holy Communion] when one doesn’t believe, but I have passed myself off for pious & there is nothing for it but to keep up with the deception.”Despite this, he had two Anglican marriages and left instructions for an Anglican funeral. Orwell directly contrasted Christianity with secular humanism in his essay “Lear, Tolstoy and the Fool“, finding the latter philosophy more palatable and less “self-interested.” Literary critic James Wood wrote that in the struggle, as he saw it, between Christianity and humanism, “Orwell was on the humanist side, of course—basically an unmetaphysical, English version of Camus’s philosophy of perpetual godless struggle.”
Orwell’s writing was often explicitly critical of religion, and Christianity in particular. He found the church to be a “selfish … church of the landed gentry” with its establishment “out of touch” with the majority of its communicants and altogether a pernicious influence on public life. In their 1972 study, The Unknown Orwell, the writers Peter Stansky and William Abrahams noted that at Eton Blair displayed a “sceptical attitude” to Christian belief. Crick observed that Orwell displayed “a pronounced anti-Catholicism”.Evelyn Waugh, writing in 1946, acknowledged Orwell’s high moral sense and respect for justice but believed “he seems never to have been touched at any point by a conception of religious thought and life.” His contradictory and sometimes ambiguous views about the social benefits of religious affiliation mirrored the dichotomies between his public and private lives: Stephen Ingle wrote that it was as if the writer George Orwell “vaunted” his unbelief while Eric Blair the individual retained “a deeply ingrained religiosity”. Ingle later noted that Orwell did not accept the existence of an afterlife, believing in the finality of death while living and advocating a moral code based on Judeo-Christian beliefs.
Orwell liked to provoke arguments by challenging the status quo, but he was also a traditionalist with a love of old English values. He criticised and satirised, from the inside, the various social milieux in which he found himself – provincial town life in A Clergyman’s Daughter; middle-class pretension in Keep the Aspidistra Flying; preparatory schools in “Such, Such Were the Joys”; colonialism in Burmese Days, and some socialist groups in The Road to Wigan Pier. In his Adelphi days he described himself as a “Tory–anarchist.”
In 1928, Orwell began his career as a professional writer in Paris at a journal owned by the French Communist Henri Barbusse. His first article, “La Censure en Angleterre“, was an attempt to account for the ‘extraordinary and illogical’ moral censorship of plays and novels then practised in Britain. His own explanation was that the rise of the “puritan middle class,” who had stricter morals than the aristocracy, tightened the rules of censorship in the 19th century. Orwell’s first published article in his home country, “A Farthing Newspaper”, was a critique of the new French daily the Ami de Peuple. This paper was sold much more cheaply than most others, and was intended for ordinary people to read. Orwell pointed out that its proprietor François Coty also owned the right-wing dailies Le Figaro and Le Gaulois, which the Ami de Peuple was supposedly competing against. Orwell suggested that cheap newspapers were no more than a vehicle for advertising and anti-leftist propaganda, and predicted the world might soon see free newspapers which would drive legitimate dailies out of business.
The Spanish Civil War played the most important part in defining Orwell’s socialism. He wrote to Cyril Connolly from Barcelona on 8 June 1937: “I have seen wonderful things and at last really believe in Socialism, which I never did before.” Having witnessed the success of the anarcho-syndicalist communities, for example in Anarchist Catalonia, and the subsequent brutal suppression of the anarcho-syndicalists, anti-Stalin communist parties and revolutionaries by the Soviet Union-backed Communists, Orwell returned from Catalonia a staunch anti-Stalinist and joined the Independent Labour Party, his card being issued on 13 June 1938. Although he was never a Trotskyist, he was strongly influenced by the Trotskyist and anarchist critiques of the Soviet regime, and by the anarchists’ emphasis on individual freedom. In Part 2 of The Road to Wigan Pier, published by the Left Book Club, Orwell stated: “a real Socialist is one who wishes – not merely conceives it as desirable, but actively wishes – to see tyranny overthrown.” Orwell stated in “Why I Write” (1946): “Every line of serious work that I have written since 1936 has been written, directly or indirectly, against totalitarianism and for democratic socialism, as I understand it.” Orwell was a proponent of a federal socialist Europe, a position outlined in his 1947 essay “Toward European Unity,” which first appeared in Partisan Review. According to biographer John Newsinger,
the other crucial dimension to Orwell’s socialism was his recognition that the Soviet Union was not socialist. Unlike many on the left, instead of abandoning socialism once he discovered the full horror of Stalinist rule in the Soviet Union, Orwell abandoned the Soviet Union and instead remained a socialist – indeed he became more committed to the socialist cause than ever.”
In his 1938 essay “Why I joined the Independent Labour Party,” published in the ILP-affiliated New Leader, Orwell wrote:
For some years past I have managed to make the capitalist class pay me several pounds a week for writing books against capitalism. But I do not delude myself that this state of affairs is going to last forever … the only régime which, in the long run, will dare to permit freedom of speech is a Socialist régime. If Fascism triumphs I am finished as a writer – that is to say, finished in my only effective capacity. That of itself would be a sufficient reason for joining a Socialist party.
Towards the end of the essay, he wrote: “I do not mean I have lost all faith in the Labour Party. My most earnest hope is that the Labour Party will win a clear majority in the next General Election.”
Orwell was opposed to rearmament against Nazi Germany – but he changed his view after the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact and the outbreak of the war. He left the ILP because of its opposition to the war and adopted a political position of “revolutionary patriotism”. In December 1940 he wrote in Tribune (the Labour left’s weekly): “We are in a strange period of history in which a revolutionary has to be a patriot and a patriot has to be a revolutionary.” During the war, Orwell was highly critical of the popular idea that an Anglo-Soviet alliance would be the basis of a post-war world of peace and prosperity. In 1942, commenting on journalist E. H. Carr‘s pro-Soviet views, Orwell stated: “all the appeasers, e.g. Professor E. H. Carr, have switched their allegiance from Hitler to Stalin.”
On anarchism, Orwell wrote in The Road to Wigan Pier: “I worked out an anarchistic theory that all government is evil, that the punishment always does more harm than the crime and the people can be trusted to behave decently if you will only let them alone.” He continued and argued that “it is always necessary to protect peaceful people from violence. In any state of society where crime can be profitable you have got to have a harsh criminal law and administer it ruthlessly.”
In his reply (dated 15 November 1943) to an invitation from the Duchess of Atholl to speak for the British League for European Freedom, he stated that he did not agree with their objectives. He admitted that what they said was “more truthful than the lying propaganda found in most of the press” but added that he could not “associate himself with an essentially Conservative body” that claimed to “defend democracy in Europe” but had “nothing to say about British imperialism.” His closing paragraph stated: “I belong to the Left and must work inside it, much as I hate Russian totalitarianism and its poisonous influence in this country.”
Orwell joined the staff of Tribune as literary editor, and from then until his death, was a left-wing (though hardly orthodox) Labour-supporting democratic socialist. On 1 September 1944, about the Warsaw uprising, Orwell expressed in Tribune his hostility against the influence of the alliance with the USSR over the allies: “Do remember that dishonesty and cowardice always have to be paid for. Do not imagine that for years on end you can make yourself the boot-licking propagandist of the sovietic regime, or any other regime, and then suddenly return to honesty and reason. Once a whore, always a whore.” According to Newsinger, although Orwell “was always critical of the 1945–51 Labour government’s moderation, his support for it began to pull him to the right politically. This did not lead him to embrace conservatism, imperialism or reaction, but to defend, albeit critically, Labour reformism.” Between 1945 and 1947, with A. J. Ayer and Bertrand Russell, he contributed a series of articles and essays to Polemic, a short-lived British “Magazine of Philosophy, Psychology, and Aesthetics” edited by the ex-Communist Humphrey Slater.
Writing in early 1945 a long essay titled “Antisemitism in Britain,” for the Contemporary Jewish Record, Orwell stated that anti-Semitism was on the increase in Britain, and that it was “irrational and will not yield to arguments.” He argued that it would be useful to discover why anti-Semites could “swallow such absurdities on one particular subject while remaining sane on others.” He wrote: “For quite six years the English admirers of Hitler contrived not to learn of the existence of Dachau and Buchenwald. … Many English people have heard almost nothing about the extermination of German and Polish Jews during the present war. Their own anti-Semitism has caused this vast crime to bounce off their consciousness.” In Nineteen Eighty-Four, written shortly after the war, Orwell portrayed the Party as enlisting anti-Semitic passions against their enemy, Goldstein.
Orwell publicly defended P.G. Wodehouse against charges of being a Nazi sympathiser – occasioned by his agreement to do some broadcasts over the German radio in 1941 – a defence based on Wodehouse’s lack of interest in and ignorance of politics.
Special Branch, the intelligence division of the Metropolitan Police, maintained a file on Orwell for more than 20 years of his life. The dossier, published by The National Archives, states that, according to one investigator, Orwell had “advanced Communist views and several of his Indian friends say that they have often seen him at Communist meetings.” MI5, the intelligence department of the Home Office, noted: “It is evident from his recent writings – ‘The Lion and the Unicorn’ – and his contribution to Gollancz’s symposium The Betrayal of the Left that he does not hold with the Communist Party nor they with him.”
Orwell was noted for very close and enduring friendships with a few friends, but these were generally people with a similar background or with a similar level of literary ability. Ungregarious, he was out of place in a crowd and his discomfort was exacerbated when he was outside his own class. Though representing himself as a spokesman for the common man, he often appeared out of place with real working people. His brother-in-law Humphrey Dakin, a “Hail fellow, well met” type, who took him to a local pub in Leeds, said that he was told by the landlord: “Don’t bring that bugger in here again.” Adrian Fierz commented “He wasn’t interested in racing or greyhounds or pub crawling or shove ha’penny. He just did not have much in common with people who did not share his intellectual interests.” Awkwardness attended many of his encounters with working-class representatives, as with Pollitt and McNair, but his courtesy and good manners were often commented on. Jack Common observed on meeting him for the first time, “Right away manners, and more than manners – breeding – showed through.”
In his tramping days, he did domestic work for a time. His extreme politeness was recalled by a member of the family he worked for; she declared that the family referred to him as “Laurel” after the film comedian. With his gangling figure and awkwardness, Orwell’s friends often saw him as a figure of fun. Geoffrey Gorer commented “He was awfully likely to knock things off tables, trip over things. I mean, he was a gangling, physically badly co-ordinated young man. I think his feeling [was] that even the inanimate world was against him …” When he shared a flat with Heppenstall and Sayer, he was treated in a patronising manner by the younger men. At the BBC, in the 1940s, “everybody would pull his leg,” and Spender described him as having real entertainment value “like, as I say, watching a Charlie Chaplin movie.” A friend of Eileen’s reminisced about her tolerance and humour, often at Orwell’s expense. Psychiatrist Michael Fitzgerald has speculated that Orwell’s social and physical awkwardness, limited interests and monotone voice were the result of Asperger syndrome.
One biography of Orwell accused him of having had an authoritarian streak. In Burma, he struck out at a Burmese boy who, while “fooling around” with his friends, had “accidentally bumped into him” at a station, resulting in Orwell falling “heavily” down some stairs. One of his former pupils recalled being beaten so hard he could not sit down for a week. When sharing a flat with Orwell, Heppenstall came home late one night in an advanced stage of loud inebriation. The upshot was that Heppenstall ended up with a bloody nose and was locked in a room. When he complained, Orwell hit him across the legs with a shooting stick and Heppenstall then had to defend himself with a chair. Years later, after Orwell’s death, Heppenstall wrote a dramatic account of the incident called “The Shooting Stick” and Mabel Fierz confirmed that Heppenstall came to her in a sorry state the following day.
Orwell got on well with young people. The pupil he beat considered him the best of teachers, and the young recruits in Barcelona tried to drink him under the table – though without success. His nephew recalled Uncle Eric laughing louder than anyone in the cinema at a Charlie Chaplin film.
In the wake of his most famous works, he attracted many uncritical hangers-on, but many others who sought him found him aloof and even dull. With his soft voice, he was sometimes shouted down or excluded from discussions. At this time, he was severely ill; it was wartime or the austerity period after it; during the war his wife suffered from depression; and after her death he was lonely and unhappy. In addition to that, he always lived frugally and seemed unable to care for himself properly. As a result of all this, people found his circumstances bleak. Some, like Michael Ayrton, called him “Gloomy George,” but others developed the idea that he was a “secular saint.”
Although Orwell was frequently heard on the BBC for panel discussion and one-man broadcasts, no recorded copy of his voice is known to exist.
“By putting the tea in first and stirring as one pours, one can exactly regulate the amount of milk, whereas one is likely to put in too much milk if one does it the other way round”
Orwell was a heavy smoker, who rolled his own cigarettes from strong shag tobacco, despite his bronchial condition. His penchant for the rugged life often took him to cold and damp situations, both in the long term, as in Catalonia and Jura, and short term, for example, motorcycling in the rain and suffering a shipwreck. Described by The Economist as “perhaps the 20th century’s best chronicler of English culture“, Orwell considered fish and chips, association football, the pub, strong tea, cut price chocolate, the movies, and radio among the chief comforts for the working class. Orwell enjoyed strong tea – he had Fortnum & Mason‘s tea brought to him in Catalonia. His 1946 essay, “A Nice Cup of Tea“, appeared in the London Evening Standard article on how to make tea, with Orwell writing, “tea is one of the mainstays of civilisation in this country and causes violent disputes over how it should be made”, with the main issue being whether to put tea in the cup first and add the milk afterward, or the other way round, on which he states, “in every family in Britain there are probably two schools of thought on the subject”. He appreciated English beer, taken regularly and moderately, despised drinkers of lager and wrote about an imagined, ideal British pub in his 1946 English Standard article, “The Moon Under Water“. Not as particular about food, he enjoyed the wartime “Victory Pie” and extolled canteen food at the BBC. He preferred traditional English dishes, such as roast beef and kippers. Reports of his Islington days refer to the cosy afternoon tea table.
His dress sense was unpredictable and usually casual. In Southwold, he had the best cloth from the local tailor but was equally happy in his tramping outfit. His attire in the Spanish Civil War, along with his size-12 boots, was a source of amusement.David Astor described him as looking like a prep school master, while according to the Special Branch dossier, Orwell’s tendency to dress “in Bohemian fashion” revealed that the author was “a Communist”.
Orwell’s confusing approach to matters of social decorum – on the one hand expecting a working-class guest to dress for dinner, and on the other, slurping tea out of a saucer at the BBC canteen – helped stoke his reputation as an English eccentric.
Views on homosexuality
Orwell was openly homophobic, at a time when such prejudice was not uncommon. Speaking at the 2003 George Orwell Centenary Conference, Daphne Patai said: “Of course he was homophobic. That has nothing to do with his relations with his homosexual friends. Certainly he had a negative attitude and a certain kind of anxiety, a denigrating attitude towards homosexuality. That is definitely the case. I think his writing reflects that quite fully.”
Orwell used the homophobic epithets “Nancy” and “pansy” as terms of abuse, notably in his expressions of contempt for what he called the “pansy Left”, and “nancy poets”, i.e. left-wing homosexual or bisexual writers and intellectuals such as Stephen Spender and W. H. Auden. The protagonist of Keep the Aspidistra Flying, Gordon Comstock, conducts an internal critique of his customers when working in a bookshop, and there is an extended passage of several pages in which he concentrates on a homosexual male customer, and sneers at him for his “Nancy” characteristics, including a lisp, which he identifies in detail, with some disgust. Dr Thomas S Veale, in The Banality of Virtue: A Multifaceted view of George Orwell as champion of the common man, refers to Orwell’s “homophobia most probably based on the perceived weakness of homosexuals and their preferences’ betrayal of the natural order”. Stephen Spender, however, “thought Orwell’s occasional homophobic outbursts were part of his rebellion against the public school”.
Biographies of Orwell
Orwell’s will requested that no biography of him be written, and his widow Sonia Brownell repelled every attempt by those who tried to persuade her to let them write about him. Various recollections and interpretations were published in the 1950s and ’60s, but Sonia saw the 1968 Collected Works as the record of his life. She did appoint Malcolm Muggeridge as official biographer, but later biographers have seen this as deliberate spoiling as Muggeridge eventually gave up the work. In 1972, two American authors, Peter Stansky and William Abrahams, produced The Unknown Orwell, an unauthorised account of his early years that lacked any support or contribution from Sonia Brownell.
Sonia Brownell then commissioned Bernard Crick, a left-wing professor of politics at the University of London, to complete a biography and asked Orwell’s friends to co-operate. Crick collated a considerable amount of material in his work, which was published in 1980, but his questioning of the factual accuracy of Orwell’s first-person writings led to conflict with Brownell, and she tried to suppress the book. Crick concentrated on the facts of Orwell’s life rather than his character, and presented primarily a political perspective on Orwell’s life and work.
After Sonia Brownell’s death, other works on Orwell were published in the 1980s, with 1984 being a particularly fruitful year for Orwelliana. These included collections of reminiscences by Coppard and Crick and Stephen Wadhams.
In 1991, Michael Shelden, an American professor of literature, published a biography. More concerned with the literary nature of Orwell’s work, he sought explanations for Orwell’s character and treated his first-person writings as autobiographical. Shelden introduced new information that sought to build on Crick’s work. Shelden speculated that Orwell possessed an obsessive belief in his failure and inadequacy.
Peter Davison‘s publication of the Complete Works of George Orwell, completed in 2000, made most of the Orwell Archive accessible to the public. Jeffrey Meyers, a prolific American biographer, was first to take advantage of this and published a book in 2001 that investigated the darker side of Orwell and questioned his saintly image.Why Orwell Matters (released in the UK as Orwell’s Victory) was published by Christopher Hitchens in 2002.
In 2003, the centenary of Orwell’s birth resulted in biographies by Gordon Bowker and D. J. Taylor, both academics and writers in the United Kingdom. Taylor notes the stage management which surrounds much of Orwell’s behaviour, and Bowker highlights the essential sense of decency which he considers to have been Orwell’s main motivation.
The mounting U.S. debt and rising deficits that will continue under a proposed Republican budget blueprint may trigger critical votes in Congress to hold off on repealing the Affordable Care Act.
Such a scenario emerged this week when U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, a Kentucky Republican, said he wouldn’t vote for a budget that increased the federal debt even if it included a repeal of the ACA. Paul is a critical vote among the GOP’s 52-member caucus in the Senate, which needs 51 votes to pass a budget that would conceivably include a repeal of the ACA. Democrats are unified in their opposition to a repeal.
A budget resolution the Senate approved this week without Paul’s support is a blueprint that would lead to another nearly $9 trillion to the federal debt, which already stands at about $20 trillion.
“Everybody’s hot and heavy to vote on this budget because they want to repeal Obamacare, but the budget Republicans are going to introduce will add $8.8 trillion to the debt over the next 10 years,” Paul added.
While many of Obamacare’s problems are focused on rising premiums from private individual coverage offered on exchanges, the law also includes myriad reforms that have slowed the growth of spending, particularly in the Medicare health insurance program for seniors.
The ACA’s Medicare reforms have shifted away from fee-for-service medicine that pays doctors and hospitals no matter how patient care turns out to value-based models that reimburse providers based on outcomes and quality measures. Insurers in the Medicare program like AetnaAET -0.20%, UnitedHealth GroupUNH +0.14%, HumanaHUM +0.50% and others are rated via a star system created by the ACA that many believe has spurred more competition.
Though Republican Senators this week voted to proceed with the budget blueprint, some of them have said they don’t want to proceed with an Obamacare repeal without having a replacement that would continue to cover more than 20 million Americans who have gained benefits since the law was enacted in 2010.
Republicans have yet to provide legislation that would replace the ACA with some calling for a delay of up to four years before they would offer up an idea.
“If you are repealing, show us what you’ll replace it with, then we’ll look at what you have and see what you can do,” Sen. Chuck Schumer, the New York Democrat who leads his party in Congress’ upper chamber, told the New York Times.
Any ACA repeal will now head to committees in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives.
Republican senator says measure to begin process of repealing Affordable Care Act adds too much to federal budget deficit
Sen. Rand Paul, shown at an event on Oct. 27, says the Republicans’ measure to begin repealing the Affordable Care Act would add $9.7 trillion in debt over 10 years to the federal budget.PHOTO: TIMOTHY D. EASLEY/ASSOCIATED PRESS
By KRISTINA PETERSON and SIOBHAN HUGHES
Jan. 4, 2017 2:13 p.m. ET
WASHINGTON—Sen. Rand Paul (R., Ky.) said Wednesday that he would oppose the budget measure Republicans are counting on to begin the process of repealing the Affordable Care Act, leaving the effort in danger of derailing if any other GOP senators defect.
The Senate on Wednesday took its first procedural vote on the budget measure, a vehicle that Republicans can use to repeal the 2010 health-care law with a simple majority vote. Republicans now hold only 52 seats in the Senate, where most legislation needs 60 votes to pass.
Mr. Paul said Wednesday he would vote against the budget measure because it adds too much to the federal budget deficit for fiscal year 2017.
Following Democratic and Republican party meetings on Capitol Hill, Vice President-Elect Mike Pence said repealing Obamacare is President-elect Donald Trump’s ‘first order of business,’ but Democratic Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer warned that rolling back the law would ‘make America sick again.’ Photo: AP
“I’m a no,” he said in a brief interview. “It adds $9.7 trillion in debt over 10 years.”
Other Senate Republicans, including Susan Collins of Maine and Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker of Tennessee, have voiced concerns about repealing the health-care law before the GOP has settled on a plan to replace it. However, all three voted to advance the budget in an early procedural vote Wednesday, which passed 51-48, allowing the Senate to consider the measure.
Mr. Paul was the only Republican to join the entire Democratic caucus in voting not to move forward with the budget blueprint. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D., Calif.) didn’t vote.
Other senators could still raise objections ahead of the final vote—on either the plan to repeal the health-care law or on the budget itself.
Aware of the razor-thin margins, GOP Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas, Mike Lee of Utah and Marco Rubio of Florida wrote Tuesday in a joint letter to GOP Senate leaders that while they understood the budget was “primarily a mechanism to advance [the health law’s] repeal,” the Senate should still abstain from any budget devices that they oppose.
“Our votes in favor of the ‘Obamacare Repeal Resolution’ do not indicate in any way our support for the revenue, spending, and deficit numbers therein, nor for the use of those numbers as the basis for future federal budgets,” the three senators wrote, using the GOP nickname for the budget blueprint.
The next fiscal year’s budget, expected to pass this spring and help Republicans overhaul the tax code, must balance the federal budget in 10 years, they wrote.
Budget blueprints are nonbinding documents used by political parties to signal how they think federal dollars should be spent. The budget document introduced in the Senate Tuesday also starts the process of repealing the health-care law.
The Senate’s budget resolution directs four relevant committees, two in the Senate and two in the House, to write legislation by Jan. 27 that reconciles spending and tax policy with the budget blueprint for the coming fiscal year. Embedded in the committees’ legislation will be provisions that repeal much of the health law.
Democrats, who have paid a heavy political price for the health law’s unpopularity, said Republicans will now bear responsibility for any attempts to gut and replace it.
“Now, they’re gonna own it, and all the problems in the health-care system are going to be on their backs,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.) said Wednesday.
I’ve written about Glenn Beck’s painful demise many times over the years, even giving my readers an early heads-up that his days at Fox News were numbered. “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned,” wrote 16th century playwright William Congreve. And he was right, because when it comes to Beck, I feel like a scorned woman. I really loved the guy in his early days at Fox, then suddenly he turned on me, along with the rest of his viewers.
In his first year at FNC, I was awed by Beck’s raw talent and no-holds-barred disrobement of the radical left. The fact that he was the most hated man in America was de facto proof that he was a fearless truth-teller, because the people of the lie — those millions of chronically dishonest folks in both the radical-left and conservative-establishment wings of the Demopublican Party — harbor venomous contempt for anyone who dares to expose their lies.
But after Beck’s first year at Fox, it was all downhill. The first time the thought crossed my mind that perhaps he wasn’t authentic was when he held a rally in Washington D.C. and a half million people showed up. I was there, and I can honestly say that I didn’t know what the point of the rally was, but the half million people in attendance were clearly mesmerized.
It wasn’t until much later I realized that the only purpose of the D.C. event was to provide a forum for Beck’s followers to assure him how much they loved him. Really, there was absolutely no agenda other than “We love Glenn Beck!”
Once that chink in Beck’s armor was exposed, the second chink came when he started restricting the guests on his show to clergymen and no-name religious scholars like David Barton, whom he stunningly, and often, referred to as “the most important man in America.” It was such a ludicrous statement that it made me wonder if Beck was once again getting cozy with Jack Daniels.
But it got even worse when, in his dwindling days at Fox, Beck sat on the edge of his desk for the entire hour of each show and gave what appeared to be an extemporaneous monologue. I was amazed at his ability to talk for an hour without notes, but, even so, it became very boring after a week or two. Increasingly, he appeared to be a beleaguered and lost soul.
Finally, as I had predicted to my readers, Beck parted ways with Fox News and started a new media company that he said would make his enemies wish he were back at Fox where he was on the air only an hour a day. Unfortunately for him, it hasn’t worked out quite that way.
As Beck began to realize he had become yesterday’s news, he started popping up on “The O’Reilly Factor” and “The Kelly File.” His slobbering all over Bill O’Reilly and Megyn Kelly was difficult to watch. (Fortunately, I no longer watch Malevolent Megyn at all.)
Beck’s attempts at getting attention are nothing short of embarrassing. When he was still at Fox, he somberly announced that his doctor had told him he was on the verge of possibly losing his eyesight. It’s nice to know that that didn’t happen. Then, after he left Fox, he supposedly had a mysterious, life-ending illness, but that apparently disappeared as well.
Finally, there was what he described as “the most deadly decision of [my] career” — announcing that, in a show of compassion, he was going to send truckloads of food and supplies to the Central American refugee kids who flooded the southern border of the U.S. in 2014.
Beck’s personality reminds me of Jim Jones of Jonestown fame. Perhaps becoming a cult leader is his ultimate destiny, because he desperately needs people to follow him, listen to him, and adore him. He is a man in search of true believers who will follow him to the ends of the earth.
On to the next chapter: Just when Beck was almost out of ideas on how to get attention and regain his stardom, along came an unlikely new politician by the name of Donald Trump. It was almost too good to be true. Beck saw what he thought was a golden opportunity to make himself into a hero by focusing his attention on bashing the media’s newest version of the Antichrist.
It’s now become his fulltime job. He demonizes Trump all day, every day, and has literally pleaded with his audiences to vote for anyone but The Donald. He even joined an angry bunch of establishment losers (people for whom he had always expressed considerable contempt) by signing on to the National Review’sdesperation piece to stop Trump.
As one would expect, he has repeatedly warned his listeners and readers that Trump’s rise to power parallels that of Adolf Hitler’s. And speaking of Hitler, in a recent article on his blog, Beck even said that he would vote for Hitlary Clinton if it came down to her or Trump. He then took it over the edge by saying, “I’m warning you now, you will say after two years of Donald Trump, ‘I’d give my right arm for Barack Obama.’”
In truth, of course, Beck’s mental disorder has nothing to do with Donald Trump and everything to do with his psychopathic need for attention. The only other theory I can come up with is that he is — as childish as it may seem — insanely jealous of Trump for all the attention he’s been getting.
It probably brings back painful memories of his own glory days in the spotlight — before those nasty mental demons gained control of his mind. It appears Beck is trying to piggyback onto Trump’s fame in an effort to get noticed. Unfortunately, it’s not working, and he’s only succeeding in making himself look ever more pathetic.
I would hate to see anything bad happen to this once-great talent, but I truly believe that if those closest to Glenn Beck don’t get him some serious psychiatric help soon (Where is Keith Ablow when you need him?), he could end up as a face-in-the-gutter alcoholic once again — or, worse, he might even do harm to himself or others.
Having said all this, in fairness, Glenn Beck isn’t alone when it comes to Trump Derangement Syndrome. The fact is that his views are shared by millions of Trump haters throughout the world.
Putting Beck’s mental issues aside for a moment, the Trump phenomenon is not all that complicated. Thanks to the radical left — and the establishment right that carries the left’s water — people’s anger over their loss of freedom and the intentional destruction of their country has reached the pitchfork stage.
Even so, the D.C. Crime Syndicate remains in denial, and its members are hysterical at the thought that they are in the process of losing their stranglehold — not just over Washington, but over all of America as well. They see Trump as a threat to both their power and their monopoly on legalized theft.
But the truth be known, Trump haters like Beck give Trump far too much credit. There’s no question he’s a narcissist. There’s no question he’s an egomaniac. There’s no question he’s rude, crude, and nasty. No one disputes any of these unflattering Trump qualities.
What Trump haters don’t get, however, is that these are the very qualities that millions of people actually want in a new president, so he can take down the Washington establishment. The best way to think of Trump is as a wrecking ball that has a good chance of destroying the D.C. Crime Syndicate.
Simply put, the Trump phenomenon is nothing more than long-overdue blowbackfrom everyday Americans — yet, amazingly, the delusional establishment still has no clue. What Trump actually does if he becomes president is almost secondary to those who support him. Right now, people just want the Washington power structure dismantled, and they figure that once that’s accomplished, they can sort things out later if Trump’s less than endearing qualities prove to be a problem.
In the meantime, in the event you’ve never read Glenn’s Beck’s The Blaze on the Internet, you should do so for a couple of days. His obsession over DT will take your breath away. I tell you, the man has a serious mental disorder, and I mean that literally. Sad … very, very sad.
Glenn Beck isn’t great at business or money management. Word on the street is The Blaze is about dead. They could really use a random billionaire bailout right about now. Cenk Uygur and John Iadarola, hosts of The Young Turks, break it down. Tell us what you think in the comment section below. http://tytnetwork.com/join
“Sources inside Glenn Beck’s once-mighty multimedia production company say that Beck is falling apart as his media empire collapses around him.
An employee of Beck’s flagship website TheBlaze.com told Huffington Post in an article published Wednesday that the few remaining staff are “looking for an exit” because they expect the site to be shuttered soon for good.
Huffington Post’s Michelle Fields said that TheBlaze.com is “suffering from a lack of editorial direction, staff attrition and internal discord” and that the mood among employees is “somber” as they’ve watched a 25-member editorial team get whittled down to six people — with more cuts expected.
“The few people who are still left are looking for an exit because they know The Blaze is over,” the source told Fields. “They haven’t told us straight up that they’re done with us, but all the signs point to it, and they’re not replacing people who are laid off or get out.”
Other employees report that their healthcare benefits were reduced over the summer and that in September, all of their travel and phone stipends were cut off. In June, the company closed its vast New York City newsroom and the remaining employees are working from home.”*
Glenn Beck Goes Bananas After Ted Cruz Endorses Trump
Glenn Beck’s ‘The Blaze’ Is Burning Down
Published on Aug 1, 2016
The Blaze is in a lot of trouble. Cenk Uygur, host of The Young Turks, breaks it down. Tell us what you think in the comment section below.
“Conservative television and radio host Glenn Beck has filed a lawsuit in Texas against the man who used to run his entertainment and news network, TheBlaze, according to sources close to Mr. Beck. The petition, obtained by LawNewz.com, was filed on behalf of Mercury Radio Arts, which serves as Beck’s production and operating company over TheBlaze. The complaint accuses Chris Balfe of breach of contract, general mismanagement, breach of fiduciary duty, and fraud. Balfe served as the COO of Mercury Radio Arts and was CEO of TheBlaze until he left in December 2014 to start his own company, Red Seat Ventures. Balfe had worked for Beck for more than 10 years, and was credited with helping to grow Beck’s business.
“I am embarrassed and saddened it has come to this. It is an ongoing legal matter so you will not hear me speak of this often but as always, I want you to hear it from me,” Beck wrote on his website on Monday.
Beck’s lawsuit comes amid reports of internal financial turmoil at TheBlaze. The complaint alleges between 2009 and 2014, Balfe’s compensation totaled in excess of $13 million.”
Glenn Beck: ‘I Think People Think That I’m … Nuts’
Glenn Beck’s Secret Brain Trouble, How He ‘Fixed’ It Is Most Troubling Of All
How Glenn Beck Overcame His Serious Health Issues: “It Was A Miracle”
Glenn Beck Describes His Pivot Point, And The Support of His Wife
Glenn Beck’s Secret Brain Trouble, How He ‘Fixed’ It Is Most Troubling Of All
Glenn Beck’s Mystery Illness Diagnosed By Quack Doctor
The Young Turks Are Falling Apart
“Up/Down” Bipolar Disorder Documentary FULL MOVIE (2011)
Tomi Lahren | Final Thoughts 11/28/16
Aerosmith – Crazy
Paul Simon – Still Crazy After All These Years
I met my old lover
On the street last night
She seemed so glad to see me
I just smiled
And we talked about some old times
And we drank ourselves some beers
Still crazy after all these years
Oh Still crazy after all these years
I’m not the kind of man
Who tends to socialize
I seem to lean on
Old familiar ways
And I ain’t no fool for love songs
That whisper in my ears
Still crazy after all these years
Oh still crazy after all these years
Four in the morning
Longing my life away
I’ll never worry
Why should I?
It’s all gonna fade
Now I sit by my window
And I watch the cars
I fear I’ll do some damage
One fine day
But I would not be convicted
By a jury of my peers
Still crazy after all these years
Oh still crazy
Still crazy after all these years
Report: Glenn Beck’s The Blaze ‘Falling Apart’
by BREITBART NEWS13 Oct 20162,704
The Huffington Post reportson the continuing problems engulfing The Blaze founder Glenn Beck’s troubled media empire.
Glenn Beck’s website The Blaze is coming apart, suffering from a lack of editorial direction, staff attrition and internal discord, according to sources inside the news outlet.
The site, which Beck launched in 2010 to serve as the conservative counterpart to The Huffington Post, has dropped from 25 employees on its editorial side to just six. A source inside The Blaze, who requested anonymity for fear of retribution, told HuffPost that the mood among the rapidly diminishing news team is somber.
“The few people who are still left are looking for an exit because they know The Blaze is over,” the source said. “They haven’t told us straight up that they’re done with us, but all the signs point to it, and they’re not replacing people who are laid off or get out.”
Blazingly Mad Glenn Beck Sues His Fired CEO Christopher Balfe
The suit—in which Beck’s privately held company, Mercury Radio Arts, is the plaintiff and seeks a jury trial—alleges fraud, breach of contract, dereliction of duty, and various other misdeeds.
08.01.16 5:45 PM ET
In what one former associate of Glenn Beck described as “the last gasp of a dying empire,” the volatile right-wing radio, streaming video, and cable television personality is suing his longtime former chief executive, Christopher Balfe, whom Beck fired in December 2014.
The suit—in which Beck’s privately held company, Mercury Radio Arts, is the plaintiff and seeks a jury trial—alleges fraud, breach of contract, dereliction of duty, and various other misdeeds.
“I feel terrible for Glenn and I hope he finds the help that he needs,” Balfe, who worked closely with Beck for nearly two decades before their split, said Monday in a statement to The Daily Beast.
“The lawsuit speaks for itself,” said a spokesman for Beck—the only comment provided.
Beck, meanwhile, told listeners and viewers Monday of his syndicated radio program, which is video-streamed on his paid-subscription site TheBlaze.com: “I am—[Beck’s wife] Tania and I—are both really saddened by this and saddened that it has come to this.”
The 16-page complaint was filed quietly Friday in Dallas County, Texas, District Court, and apparently leaked Sunday night as an “exclusive” to the Lawnewz.com website, with another account splashed on GlennBeck.com.
“There are articles that have come out today on apparently lawsuit websites. I’m not going to give them publicity,” Beck told his fans. “And you’ll see more articles, I would assume, over the next few days. It’s an ongoing legal matter. And you’re not going to hear me talking much about it.”
Then, despite his insistence on not giving publicity to stories about the lawsuit, Beck recited the web addresses of the articles in question.
He is, of course, well known for changing his mind—campaigning hard during the Republican primaries for former presidential candidate Ted Cruz, for instance, mere months after announcing with spectacular fanfare that he was leaving politics for good.
Beck’s lawsuit is sharply at odds with previous expressions of gratitude he made three months after Balfe, along with fellow ex-Beck executive Joel Cheatwood, left Mercury Radio Arts, where Balfe was chief operating officer, and its subsidiary The Blaze, where Balfe was CEO.
“Chris and Joel helped me build one of the industry’s first truly independent multi-media companies,” Beck declared in March 2015, after Balfe and Cheatwood, who had steered Beck’s cable television career at HLN and Fox News, announced their formation of a new digital media company, Red Seat Ventures, and took several more top Beck executives with them. “I am sad to see them go but they left our company with an incredible foundation.”
Balfe retained minority ownership in The Blaze after he left, according to the lawsuit, and two sources familiar with the arrangement told The Daily Beast that his deferred compensation agreement featured monthly payments to satisfy around a million dollars that Balfe is owed under the agreement for both his ownership stake and his pro-rated share of company revenues.
But in recent weeks, say these sources, The Blaze has experienced cash-flow problems and has been having trouble paying vendors, while the website’s online traffic has plunged from around 26 million monthly global unique visitors in January 2015, the month after Balfe was dismissed, to around 10 million currently, according to the measuring service Quantcast.
Several more key executives have departed in the past year, along with Beck’s longtime television agent, George Hiltzik, as well George’s son Matthew Hiltzik, who recently resigned as the outside publicist for Beck and his companies; New York PR maven Davidson Goldin now has that account.
In another blow to The Blaze’s financial stability, the cable television distributor Cablevision recently stopped carrying Beck’s programming—representing an annual loss to The Blaze estimated at more than $2 million in subscriber fees and advertising sales, according to the sources.
These sources described Beck’s lawsuit as a pre-emptive strike.
They said that in June, after failing to receive his regular check, Balfe notified Beck’s company that if he wasn’t paid quickly, he would be exploring his options to obtain the money due him.
This none-too-veiled threat prompted Beck to file his own lawsuit claiming, instead, that Balfe actually owes him money—a portion of the $13 million Beck claims Balfe was paid as an executive between 2009 and 2014.
“This is a shockingly excessive amount that far exceeds appropriate compensation for companies of Mercury and TheBlaze’s size and financial performance,” the lawsuit contends.
But back in March of last year, when Balfe and Cheatwood were launching Red Seat Ventures, the 52-year-old Beck gushed: “I am truly grateful that we remain friends and am very excited to see what they do next.”
Their friendship didn’t survive, however, after Beck hired a little-known tech entrepreneur named Jonathan Schreiber, a diehard “superfan” of Beck’s syndicated radio program, who arrived in September 2014 from Israel via Miami, networked his way into Beck’s inner circle, gained the boss’s confidence and began accumulating power in the operations of both Mercury Radio Arts and The Blaze.
According to company employees, as The Daily Beast reported last February, Beck seemed to have become infatuated with Schreiber, who first showed up at The Blaze’s now-defunct Manhattan studios, and later had been regularly spotted in Beck’s expansive, glass-walled office at the rambling company headquarters in the Dallas suburb of Las Colinas—sometimes hugging his idol after a heart-to-heart.
Schreiber’s Orthodox Judaism apparently was in sync with Beck’s ardent religiosity as a Mormon convert, although staffers said Schreiber—who became president of Beck’s parent company—had an off-putting, arrogant manner with underlings, who gave him the nickname “Voldemort.”
Back in February, as Beck increasingly complained about Balfe and others who had helped orchestrate his career, Schreiber defended his own leadership to The Daily Beast.
“Glenn Beck, brilliant media mogul, realized he was unhappy in the direction his company was going so he brought in new blood,” he said in an email. “The goal being to put the company in the right direction. Through that process we separated with many people. Some will be missed, some less so.”
He added: “I am very proud of my work here, I am very proud of the culture we have created AND PROUD OF [his capital letters] the people WE have been able to bring in to the fold… No one likes to admit that they are not here because of themselves, it must be Voldemort.”
In a special video posted to his website today, Glenn Beck addressed news reports of the latest mass layoffs at his troubled media empire.
According to a report yesterday in the Daily Beast, Beck laid off 40 employees of his Blaze media organization “in order to satisfy the requirements of a multimillion-dollar bank loan taken out recently to keep Beck’s revenue-challenged enterprise running.”
As the Daily Beast noted, “This latest round of mass firings comes as no surprise to insiders at The Blaze and Mercury Radio Arts, which laid off dozens of employees last May on a day referred to internally as ‘Black Monday,’ around the same time that Beck was purchasing a private jetliner and a $200,000 Maybach sedan.”
In the video released today, Beck is seen seated at a replica of the Resolute desk in his mock Oval Office set delivering the opening monologue of his radio show.
Below is the transcript of his remarks.
I wanted to start there today because there’s a story that maybe you have read that came out yesterday that is talking about how yesterday my company, TheBlaze, laid off 40 people. And my media empire is crumbling. And part of it is because I’m traveling around with Ted Cruz.
Well, I want you to know, yes, I’ve lost a lot of money traveling around with Ted Cruz. I’ve lost about half a million dollars. That’s my choice. I believe in something.
Did that cause the 40 people to lose their job? No.
I want to talk to you today because we’re in a community together, and I trust you. And I tried to be trustworthy. And when I make a mistake, I own up to it. And I’m a trusting guy.
I think anybody on the show will tell you my biggest problem is I trust everybody, until they prove otherwise. And I try to live my life in a transparent way. And I try to surround myself with others that I believe are trustworthy.
And then I went on to build my own company with an authentic voice, a trustworthy company. And one of my main principles — and you heard me saying Isaiah it a million times: We take on no debt. Root ourselves in principles and people. Live within our own means.
And I trusted the people that ran my company, that they wanted the same things. And in the beginning, maybe they did want the same things. But a couple of years ago, I realized there were problems in my own company, and that even though the managers were all saying the right things to me, those things were never getting done. And you know this to be true. Because I would talk about things that we were going to do on TheBlaze and everything else, and then they never seemed to materialize. And I was losing credibility with you, but behind the scenes, I was a holy terror for about a year because I couldn’t find out what was going on.
Without saying anything bad about anybody because we just have different principles, the people I had moved down to Dallas and the rest was in New York and Los Angeles and Washington, DC — and we were working now towards being, I guess, a normal, status quo kind of media company, a big media company, and I didn’t ever want that.
But because our team was split from Dallas, Los Angeles — I think we had people at one time in Chicago, Washington, and New York — I didn’t know who really got the vision and who didn’t, who got it and who didn’t.
It was almost two years ago when we had a museum here at the studios in Dallas. And we invited you to come and just see the museum. And I bet there were 10,000 people here that came through — and I loved it. And everybody kept telling me, go home. Go home. Go home. And I wouldn’t go home. None of us did. Nobody on the show went home.
We were there and we spent that whole weekend with you because we love you. We love you.
But I noticed one thing about my company. Not one single person from the management team actually showed up that entire weekend. And I realized, they didn’t love the audience like I did. They weren’t connecting to the message like you did and I did. I’m not sure they were part of the culture of the principles. And I knew I had to get a hold of my company again, and that would mean making really hard choices.
First one was, are you going to stick to your principles? You going to be honest with yourself? Stand for what you believe in, or are you going to give into the status quo and go along to get along? Because these people were my friends, they were my partners, and I don’t know at the time, I thought maybe they were right. But I knew they weren’t in my gut.
And my gut and my spirit said, “Stick by what you know, even if it’s hard and even in the end if you lose.”
I had to start firing people, people that I counted as my friends, best friends, partners. And the process that I began was the hardest process of my life. Yeah, almost as hard as picking myself up off of that carpet when I was facing suicide, that carpet that smelled like soup. But this time I had something I didn’t have before: I had you. I knew you existed. I knew that you believed in the same principles I believe and that we — no, that I had made a promise to you. Our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor.
And so I kept going. This has been a really hard five years for me, but the last 18 months have been unbelievable. One thing I had to do was get everyone in my house under one roof so I could look everyone in the eye. Culture matters at a company.
I stopped telling you about the things that were coming on TheBlaze. It’s called the Phoenix project. We’ve been working on it now for about nine months. I haven’t talked to you about it, nor will I until we launch it. I’m tired of telling you the things that I think we’re going to do. I bet you are too. We’re just going to do them. Because I failed you too many times.
The reason the articles like the one that came out yesterday are coming out, part of it is political. Part of it is because Frank Sinatra was right, some people get a kick out of stomping on your dreams. They really do.
Some is, I guess, it’s news when somebody loses their job. Unfortunately, my media company isn’t the only place in America laying people off. My media company is not the only one that’s looking at their balance sheet and saying, “We can’t go into debt, or we’re going to lose all of the jobs.”
They said in this article yesterday — this has been claimed before that my business is failing. I will tell you, two years ago, it was. It was absolutely on fire. Because when I started to go into the books — I was a bad steward. And when I started going into the books and see what had been done to my company that didn’t ever take on debt, I was first told that we were, I think, $4 million in debt. And then it became $7 million in debt. And then when I got the final accounting, 18 months ago, my company that doesn’t take on debt was $13 million in debt.
If I’m going to tell you you shouldn’t have debt, how could I have a company that was $13 million in the hole? I made really hard decisions. And in 18 months, my company that is dying and struggling paid our debt down from 13 million to two.
A couple of months ago, we had a great sponsor of ours, about a 7-million-dollar-a-year sponsor go broke. I feel for that company because everybody that worked for that company, much larger than mine, went out of business. And they left us with a lot of debt.
You see, economies, it’s — it’s like Jenga. One person pulls one big thing out, and the whole thing could fall. But it definitely weakens. And the more pieces of stress or the more pieces that come out of Jenga, the weaker your house becomes. Somebody — Delco goes out of business because GM is no longer making their cars in Ohio, and so that hurts Delco. And then that hurts the grocery store down the street and the restaurants in the town.
We’re in this together. I’m not going to tell you that I’m not running a fail company because the proof is in the pudding. I will just tell you the old managers got us into $13 million of debt. And in less than 18 months, we’ve shaved that off by over $10 million. That doesn’t seem like a failing business. That seems like a business that is thriving and is doing its best to set its principles right.
But I want you to know, when you read TheBlaze, because I’m not happy with it — and I’ve quietly said that recently, over the last year or so. Not happy with it. But it’s changing. We just hired one of the guys who put together American Idol, Oreo cookies. We just hired a guy who was one of the main guys at Good Morning America and CNN. We just hired an HR person from Viacom. I’m rebuilding. And it will be a lot better for me honestly — honestly, it would be a lot better if I would have just filed Chapter 11. But I actually like Harry Truman too much. I don’t believe — Chapter 11, sometimes you have to do. Chapter 7, sometimes you have to do.
But I wanted to pay every single person back because it’s not their fault. It was my fault for not watching what people were doing underneath me.
One last thought and then I’ll move off: When I first put TheBlaze on the air, it was GBTV. And I won a hammer. It’s the Tribeca Disruptive Innovation Award. It’s a disrupter’s award. It goes to some of the best disrupters in the world. I couldn’t believe I was in the room when I won this award. That year, I earned that award because we broke television and we’re the first one to make it an app and put it online.
I haven’t earned this hammer a day since. But I will tell you this: Sometimes it takes a hammer to break what is broken so you can rebuild it. And in today’s world and economy, if you ever get fat and sassy, if you ever start to put profits over people, if you ever decide, “I really don’t need — I really don’t — I don’t care what the people say. Yeah, yeah, they’re customers. They’ll just keep coming.” No, they won’t. You have to innovate every day. You have to actually love your customer every day. You have to actually care about them and wonder, “How can I make their life better or easier?” And when you do that and you understand that by doing that you’re disrupting the entire system and you’ll go places that will scare the living daylights out of you, but you proceed without fear, that’s when you will win.
I’m not going to tell you we’re going to win. I’m just going to tell you, watch us. Watch us over the next year.
Head of Glenn Beck’s Media Empire Quits as The Blaze Burns Down
Kraig Kitchin will stay with the company, but resigned from the top job after friction with fellow Beck executive Jonathan Schreiber. A ‘mass exodus’ of staff may follow.
01.29.16 5:56 PM ET
In what knowledgeable observers say is a sign of increasing turmoil in Glenn Beck’s troubled media empire, Beck’s longtime mentor and corporate executive, Kraig Kitchin, has quit as CEO of The Blaze.
Kitchin’s replacement, Stewart Padveen, a digital startup entrepreneur who joined Beck’s company last summer, will be the fourth leader of The Blaze since late 2014.
Kitchin, 54, who took over operations of Beck’s conservative-leaning subscription digital and cable television enterprise last June—after two previous CEOs abruptly left in the space of six months—is resigning along with two other senior executives: Jeremy Price, director of advertising sales, and Liz Julis, director of marketing.
Both are based in New York, 1,500 miles removed from corporate headquarters in the Dallas suburb of Irving, Texas.
Several other key employees, including at least two senior producers based in The Blaze’s shrinking New York operation, are expected to follow them out the door.
A source close to the situation predicted a “mass exodus” from the New York studios, which are housed in a largely unoccupied 35,000 square-foot space at Midtown Manhattan’s Bryant Park, previously rented by Yahoo, under a 10-year lease costing Beck’s privately held company an estimated $2 million a year.
Kitchin—who co-founded Premiere Radio Networks three decades ago and has worked with personalities as diverse as Rush Limbaugh, Ryan Seacrest, Whoopi Goldberg, and Beck—tried to put the best face on his resignation in a company-wide email sent out Thursday night.
He described his apparently self-imposed demotion as a result of outside business obligations.
“Our organization—The Blaze—deserves and needs an exclusively focused leader and that’s something I cannot provide, given existing commitments I choose to honor,” Kitchin wrote, adding that “I’m not leaving this company. I’ll stay with The Blaze, working every day as the Interim Head of Sales with a focus on finding the right person for that position, assisting in the transition, on advertiser growth, program development, and industry relations.”
But according to multiple sources, Kitchin’s announcement comes out of frustration after continual friction with top Beck executive Jonathan Schreiber, the recently named president of Beck’s 14-year-old production company, Mercury Radio Arts.
According to multiple sources, Kitchin—who commuted from his home in Los Angeles to Dallas and New York—took the CEO job on an interim basis with the condition that Schreiber would agree not to interfere in The Blaze, an agreement that Kitchin realized was continually being breached. According to people familiar with the situation, Schreiber’s alleged meddling in Kitchin’s operation ultimately became intolerable.
Schreiber didn’t respond to an email from The Daily Beast, and Kitchin declined to comment.
Named president in April 2015 of Mercury Radio Arts—of which The Blaze is a subsidiary, all of it majority-owned by Beck—Schreiber is said to have a penchant for interfering in areas beyond his expertise, namely the staffing and content of The Blaze’s news and opinion site and its television production operation.
The Blaze cable channel reaches an estimated 13 million households which subscribe to DISH, Verizon Fios, and other paid television carriers.
Schreiber’s alleged intrusion is said to have also figured in the departure in June of then-Blaze chief executive Betsy Morgan, an experienced digital media executive who previously ran CBS News’s digital operations, helped grow The Huffington Post, and built TheBlaze.com into a news and aggregation site that—in November 2014—attracted 29 million unique visitors per month.
But by November 2015—according to figures from the Web traffic measuring service Quantcast—monthly traffic for TheBlaze.com had dropped to 16.4 million unique visitors, and traffic for the associated website GlennBeck.com, had plunged from 4.4 million to 1.4 million uniques.
Morgan—ironically, according to sources—had recommended Schreiber to Beck and helped secure his initial position with the company, shouldering a vague responsibility for “strategy and special projects.”
A religious man who practices Orthodox Judaism, Schreiber quickly hit it off with Beck, a devout Mormon convert.
Morgan had replaced Beck’s longtime CEO Chris Balfe, who abruptly exited the company in December 2014, along with fellow exec Joel Cheatwood, as Schreiber was gaining more prominence and influence.
Balfe, who along with Cheatwood retains a minority ownership stake in The Blaze, left after more than a decade of helping Beck build his brand and become a media personality, and was instrumental in the soft launch of The Blaze six years ago while Beck was still hosting his short-lived but wildly popular 5 p.m. program on the Fox News Channel.
Stewart Padveen, Schreiber’s personal friend and “mentor” (as Schreiber describes him in a LinkedIn endorsement), will assume control of The Blaze effective Monday.
Padveen, who lives in Los Angeles, wrote in a staff email that he plans to visit Dallas “next week to kick off this process,” with a later trip planned to New York.
“2015 was a tough year for sure, but thanks to many of you, it was a profitable one,” Padveen wrote concerning this latest corporate shakeup.
“We all owe a debt of gratitude to Kraig for guiding us through some rough times. We still have some history to redress, but if we continue down the path of making solid business decisions, we can get past the past and into the future.”
Besides a period of staff layoffs and turnover that continues to this day, and despite claims of profitability, that “history” apparently includes taking on more debt than the company’s principal owner was comfortable with.
At a staff meeting in New York last February, Beck exhorted his employees to pinch pennies and said the company’s debt was too high at $3 million—a figure sources said later grew to $5 million or more.
“I know much of what has happened since December of 2014, but also much of it has been structural and behind the curtain,” Beck wrote in his own email, in which he thanked Kitchin for his service. “We were a company that was swimming in debt. With the hard work of Kraig, Jonathan, and now Misty [Kawecki, the chief financial officer] we will be debt free by summer. This is miraculous and takes all of the downward pressure off of us.”
Schreiber, a digital startup entrepreneur in his early forties, is a controversial and mysterious figure within Mercury Radio Arts. According to colleagues, he has referred to himself as a “diehard Glenn Beck fan” who, after years of living in Israel, relocated to New York, talked his way into Beck’s confidence, and showed up as a “trusted advisor,” as Beck has called him, in the fall of 2014.
“I want to thank Kraig for everything he has done to help bring the Blaze to the place it is,” Schreiber wrote in his own email, “and welcome Stewart to help bring the Blaze to the places it can go.”
In what a couple of Beck veterans considered ominous corporate-speak, Schreiber added: “All of us, leadership in BOTH companies, have worked together to help ensure that every person will be put into the right role at the right company with clear responsibilities and direction. This will continue to be a process and not an event.”
The first 20 hours — how to learn anything | Josh Kaufman | TEDxCSU
Unconditional positive regard — the power of self acceptance | Michelle Charfen | TEDxRedondoBeach
After watching this, your brain will not be the same | Lara Boyd | TEDxVancouver
Why you don’t get what you want; it’s not what you expect | Jennice Vilhauer | TEDxPeachtree
Bill Gates on Expertise: 10,000 Hours and a Lifetime of Fanaticism
CHANGE YOUR MIND AND BECOME SUCCESSFUL – Best Motivational Videos Compilation for 2017
Malcolm Gladwell: Outliers
Tim Ferriss Scoffs at Gladwell’s 10,000 Hours
Tim Ferriss shares how to master any skill by deconstructing it | The Next Web
The Rolling Stones – You Can’t Always Get What You Want (TV Show ’69)
I saw her today at the reception
A glass of wine in her hand
I knew she would meet her connection
At her feet was a footloose man
No, you can’t always get what you want
You can’t always get what you want
You can’t always get what you want
But if you try sometime you find
You get what you need
I saw her today at the reception
A glass of wine in her hand
I knew she was gonna meet her connection
At her feet was a footloose man
You can’t always get what you want
You can’t always get what you want
You can’t always get what you want
But if you try sometimes well you might find
You get what you need
And I went down to the demonstration
To get my fair share of abuse
Singing, “We’re gonna vent our frustration
If we don’t we’re gonna blow a 50-amp fuse”
You can’t always get what you want
You can’t always get what you want
You can’t always get what you want
But if you try sometimes well you just might find
You get what you need
I went down to the Chelsea drugstore
To get your prescription filled
I was standing in line with Mr. Jimmy
And man, did he look pretty ill
We decided that we would have a soda
My favorite flavor, cherry red
I sung my song to Mr. Jimmy
Yeah, and he said one word to me, and that was “dead”
I said to him
You can’t always get what you want
You can’t always get what you want
You can’t always get what you want
But if you try sometimes you just might find
You get what you need
You get what you need–yeah, oh baby
I saw her today at the reception
In her glass was a bleeding man
She was practiced at the art of deception
Well I could tell by her blood-stained hands
You can’t always get what you want
You can’t always get what you want
You can’t always get what you want
But if you try sometimes you just might find
You just might find
You get what you need
You can’t always get what you want
You can’t always get what you want
You can’t always get what you want
But if you try sometimes you just might find
You just might find
You get what you need
Carly Simon – Anticipation
We can never know about the days to come
But we think about them anyway, yay
And I wonder if I’m really with you now
Or just chasin’ after some finer day
Is makin’ me late
Is keepin’ me waitin’
And I tell you how easy it feels to be with you
And how right your arms feel around me
But I, I rehearsed those lines just late last night
When I was thinkin’ about how right tonight might be
Is makin’ me late
Is keepin’ me waitin’
And tomorrow we might not be together
I’m no prophet and I don’t know nature’s ways
So I’ll try and see into your eyes right now
And stay right here ’cause these are the good old days
And stay right here ’cause these are the good old days
(These are the good old days)
(These are the good old days)
(These are the good old days)
(These are…..the good old days)
Paul McCartney, Joe Cocker, Eric Clapton & Rod Stewart – All You Need Is Love (LIVE) HD
“All You Need Is Love”
Love, love, love
Love, love, love
Love, love, love
There’s nothing you can do that can’t be done
Nothing you can sing that can’t be sung
Nothing you can say but you can learn how to play the game
Nothing you can make that can’t be made
No one you can save that can’t be saved
Nothing you can do but you can learn how to be you in time
All you need is love
All you need is love
All you need is love, love
Love is all you need
Love, love, love
Love, love, love
Love, love, love
All you need is love
All you need is love
All you need is love, love
Love is all you need
Nothing you can know that isn’t known
Nothing you can see that isn’t shown
Nowhere you can be that isn’t where you’re meant to be
All you need is love
All you need is love
All you need is love, love
Love is all you need
All you need is love (All together, now!)
All you need is love (Everybody!)
All you need is love, love
Love is all you need
Love is all you need (Love is all you need)
Love is all you need (Love is all you need)
Love is all you need (Love is all you need)
Love is all you need (Love is all you need)
Love is all you need (Love is all you need)
Love is all you need (Love is all you need)
Love is all you need (Love is all you need)
Love is all you need (Love is all you need)
Love is all you need (Love is all you need)
Love is all you need (Love is all you need)
Love is all you need (Love is all you need)
Yee-hai! (Love is all you need)
Love is all you need (Love is all you need)
Yesterday (Love is all you need)
Love is all you need (Love is all you need)
Love is all you need (Love is all you need)
Love is all you need (Love is all you need)
Oh yeah! (Love is all you need)
She loves you, yeah yeah yeah (Love is all you need)
She loves you, yeah yeah yeah (Love is all you need)
Robert Ludlum (May 25, 1927 – March 12, 2001) was an American author of 27 thriller novels, best known as the creator of Jason Bourne from the original The Bourne Trilogyseries. The number of copies of his books in print is estimated between 290 million and 500 million. They have been published in 33 languages and 40 countries. Ludlum also published books under the pseudonyms Jonathan Ryder and Michael Shepherd.
Prior to becoming an author, he had been a United States Marine, a theatrical actor and producer. In the 1950s, he produced shows at the Grant Lee theater in Fort Lee, NJ. From 1960 to 1970, he managed and produced shows at the Playhouse on the Mall at Bergen Mall in Paramus, New Jersey. His theatrical experience may have contributed to his understanding of the energy, escapism and action that the public wanted in a novel. He once remarked: “I equate suspense and good theater in a very similar way. I think it’s all suspense and what-happens-next. From that point of view, yes, I guess, I am theatrical.”
Ludlum died on March 12, 2001, at his home in Naples, Florida, while recovering from severe burns caused by a mysterious fire which occurred on February 10.
Writing analysis and criticism
Ludlum’s novels typically feature one heroic man, or a small group of crusading individuals, in a struggle against powerful adversaries whose intentions and motivations are evil and who are capable of using political and economic mechanisms in frightening ways. The world in his writings is one where global corporations, shadowy military forces and government organizations all conspire to preserve (if it is good) or undermine (if it is evil) the status quo.
Ludlum’s novels were often inspired by conspiracy theories, both historical and contemporary. He wrote that The Matarese Circle was inspired by rumors about the Trilateral Commission, and it was published only a few years after the commission was founded. His depictions of terrorism in books such as The Holcroft Covenant and The Matarese Circle reflected the theory that terrorists, rather than being merely isolated bands of ideologically motivated extremists, are actually pawns of governments or private organizations who are using them to facilitate the establishment of authoritarian rule.
Some of Ludlum’s novels have been made into films and mini-series, although the story lines might depart significantly from the source material. In general, a miniseries is more faithful to the original novel on which it is based.
Van Lustbader was born and raised in Greenwich Village, where he developed interests in art and writing. He lived downstairs from Lauren Bacall and built orange-crate racers in Washington Square Park with Keith and David Carradine. He is a graduate of Columbia College, with a degree in sociology, but his real education came much earlier at The City and Country School where, as he is fond of saying, “I learned all the important lessons that would stay with me for life.”
Before turning to writing full-time, he enjoyed successful careers in the New York City public school system, where he holds licenses in both elementary and early childhood education, and in the music business, where he worked for Elektra Records and CBS Records. He was the first person in the US to write about Elton John and to predict his success. As a consequence, he, John and John’s lyricist Bernie Taupin became friends. Writing for Cash Box Magazine, he also predicted the successes of such bands asSantana, Roxy Music, the Jimi Hendrix Experience, David Bowie and The Who.
Jorge Mario Pedro Vargas Llosa, 1st Marquis of Vargas Llosa (/ˈvɑrɡəsˈjoʊsə/;Spanish: [ˈmaɾjo ˈβaɾgas ˈʎosa]; born March 28, 1936) is a Peruvian writer, politician, journalist, essayist, college professor, and recipient of the 2010 Nobel Prize in Literature. Vargas Llosa is one of Latin America’s most significant novelists and essayists, and one of the leading writers of his generation. Some critics consider him to have had a larger international impact and worldwide audience than any other writer of theLatin American Boom. Upon announcing the 2010 Nobel Prize in Literature, the Swedish Academy said it had been given to Vargas Llosa “for his cartography of structures of power and his trenchant images of the individual’s resistance, revolt, and defeat”.
Many of Vargas Llosa’s works are influenced by the writer’s perception of Peruvian society and his own experiences as a native Peruvian. Increasingly, however, he has expanded his range, and tackled themes that arise from other parts of the world. In his essays, Vargas Llosa has made many criticisms of nationalism in different parts of the world. Another change over the course of his career has been a shift from a style and approach associated with literary modernism, to a sometimes playfulpostmodernism.
Like many Latin American writers, Vargas Llosa has been politically active throughout his career; over the course of his life, he has gradually moved from the political lefttowards liberalism or neoliberalism. While he initially supported the Cuban revolutionary government of Fidel Castro, Vargas Llosa later became disenchanted with his policies. He ran for the Peruvian presidency in 1990 with the center-right Frente Democrático coalition, advocating neoliberal reforms, but lost the election to Alberto Fujimori. He is the person who, in 1990, “coined the phrase that circled the globe”, declaring on Mexican television, “Mexico is the perfect dictatorship”, a statement which became an adage during the following decade.
Early life and family
Mario Vargas Llosa was born to a middle-class family on March 28, 1936, in the Peruvian provincial city of Arequipa. He was the only child of Ernesto Vargas Maldonado and Dora Llosa Ureta (the former a radio operator in an aviation company, the latter the daughter of an old criollo family), who separated a few months before his birth. Shortly after Mario’s birth, his father revealed that he was having an affair with a German woman; consequently, Mario has two younger half-brothers: Enrique and Ernesto Vargas.
Vargas Llosa lived with his maternal family in Arequipa until a year after his parents’ divorce, when his maternal grandfather was named honorary consul for Peru in Bolivia. With his mother and her family, Vargas Llosa then moved to Cochabamba, Bolivia, where he spent the early years of his childhood. His maternal family, the Llosas, were sustained by his grandfather, who managed a cotton farm. As a child, Vargas Llosa was led to believe that his father had died—his mother and her family did not want to explain that his parents had separated. During the government of Peruvian President José Bustamante y Rivero, Vargas Llosa’s maternal grandfather obtained a diplomatic post in the Peruvian coastal city of Piura and the entire family returned to Peru. While in Piura, Vargas Llosa attended elementary school at the religious academy Colegio Salesiano. In 1946, at the age of ten, he moved to Lima and met his father for the first time. His parents re-established their relationship and lived in Magdalena del Mar, a middle-class Lima suburb, during his teenage years. While in Lima, he studied at the Colegio La Salle, a Christian middle school, from 1947 to 1949.
When Vargas Llosa was fourteen, his father sent him to the Leoncio Prado Military Academy in Lima. At the age of 16, before his graduation, Vargas Llosa began working as an amateur journalist for local newspapers. He withdrew from the military academy and finished his studies in Piura, where he worked for the local newspaper, La Industria, and witnessed the theatrical performance of his first dramatic work, La huida del Inca.
In 1953, during the government of Manuel A. Odría, Vargas Llosa enrolled in Lima’s National University of San Marcos, to study law and literature. He married Julia Urquidi, his maternal uncle’s sister-in-law, in 1955 at the age of 19; she was 10 years older. Vargas Llosa began his literary career in earnest in 1957 with the publication of his first short stories, “The Leaders” (“Los jefes”) and “The Grandfather” (“El abuelo”), while working for two Peruvian newspapers. Upon his graduation from the National University of San Marcos in 1958, he received a scholarship to study at the Complutense University of Madrid in Spain. In 1960, after his scholarship in Madrid had expired, Vargas Llosa moved to France under the impression that he would receive a scholarship to study there; however, upon arriving in Paris, he learned that his scholarship request was denied. Despite Mario and Julia’s unexpected financial status, the couple decided to remain in Paris where he began to write prolifically. Their marriage lasted only a few more years, ending in divorce in 1964. A year later, Vargas Llosa married his first cousin, Patricia Llosa, with whom he had three children: Álvaro Vargas Llosa (born 1966), a writer and editor; Gonzalo (born 1967), a businessman; and Morgana (born 1974), a photographer.
Beginning and first major works
Vargas Llosa’s first novel, The Time of the Hero (La ciudad y los perros), was published in 1963. The book is set among a community of cadets in a Lima military school, and the plot is based on the author’s own experiences at Lima’s Leoncio Prado Military Academy. This early piece gained wide public attention and immediate success. Its vitality and adept use of sophisticated literary techniques immediately impressed critics, and it won the Premio de la Crítica Española award. Nevertheless, its sharp criticism of the Peruvian military establishment led to controversy in Peru. Several Peruvian generals attacked the novel, claiming that it was the work of a “degenerate mind” and stating that Vargas Llosa was “paid by Ecuador” to undermine the prestige of the Peruvian Army.
In 1965, Vargas Llosa published his second novel, The Green House (La casa verde), about a brothel called “The Green House” and how its quasi-mythical presence affects the lives of the characters. The main plot follows Bonifacia, a girl who is about to receive the vows of the church, and her transformation into la Selvatica, the best-known prostitute of “The Green House”. The novel was immediately acclaimed, confirming Vargas Llosa as an important voice of Latin American narrative.The Green House won the first edition of the Rómulo Gallegos International Novel Prize in 1967, contending with works by veteran Uruguayanwriter Juan Carlos Onetti and by Gabriel García Márquez. This novel alone accumulated enough awards to place the author among the leading figures of the Latin American Boom. Some critics still considerThe Green House to be Vargas Llosa’s finest and most important achievement. Indeed, Latin American literary critic Gerald Martin suggests that The Green House is “one of the greatest novels to have emerged from Latin America”.
Vargas Llosa’s third novel, Conversation in the Cathedral (Conversación en la catedral), was published in 1969, when he was 33. This ambitious narrative is the story of Santiago Zavala, the son of a government minister, and Ambrosio, his chauffeur. A random meeting at a dog pound leads the pair to a riveting conversation at a nearby bar known as “The Cathedral”. During the encounter, Zavala searches for the truth about his father’s role in the murder of a notorious Peruvian underworld figure, shedding light on the workings of a dictatorship along the way. Unfortunately for Zavala, his quest results in a dead end with no answers and no sign of a better future. The novel attacks the dictatorial government of Odría by showing how a dictatorship controls and destroys lives. The persistent theme of hopelessness makes Conversation in the Cathedral Vargas Llosa’s most bitter novel.
In 1971, Vargas Llosa published García Márquez: Story of a Deicide (García Márquez: historia de un deicidio), which was his doctoral thesis for the Complutense University of Madrid. Although Vargas Llosa wrote this book-length study about his then friend, the Colombian Nobel laureate writer Gabriel García Márquez, they did not speak to each other again. In 1976, Vargas Llosa punched García Márquez in the face inMexico City at the Palacio de Bellas Artes, ending the friendship. Neither writer had publicly stated the underlying reasons for the quarrel. A photograph of García Márquez sporting a black eye was published in 2007, reigniting public interest in the feud. Despite the decades of silence, in 2007, Vargas Llosa agreed to allow part of his book to be used as the introduction to a 40th-anniversary edition of García Márquez’sOne Hundred Years of Solitude, which was re-released in Spain and throughout Latin America that year.Historia de un Deicidio was also reissued in that year, as part of Vargas Llosa’s complete works.
Following the monumental work Conversation in the Cathedral, Vargas Llosa’s output shifted away from more serious themes such as politics and problems with society. Latin American literary scholar Raymond L. Williams describes this phase in his writing career as “the discovery of humor”. His first attempt at a satirical novel was Captain Pantoja and the Special Service (Pantaleón y las visitadoras), published in 1973.This short, comic novel offers vignettes of dialogues and documents about the Peruvian armed forces and a corps of prostitutes assigned to visit military outposts in remote jungle areas. These plot elements are similar to Vargas Llosa’s earlier novel The Green House, but in a different form. As such, Captain Pantoja and the Special Service is essentially a parody of both The Green House and the literary approach that novel represents. Vargas Llosa’s motivation to write the novel came from actually witnessing prostitutes being hired by the Peruvian Army and brought to serve soldiers in the jungle.
From 1974 to 1987, Vargas Llosa focused on his writing, but also took the time to pursue other endeavors. In 1975, he co-directed an unsuccessful motion-picture adaptation of his novel, Captain Pantoja and the Secret Service. In 1976 he was elected President of PEN International, the worldwide association of writers and oldest human rights organisation, a position he held until 1979. During this time, Vargas Llosa constantly traveled to speak at conferences organized by internationally renowned institutions, such as the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and the University of Cambridge, where he was Simón Bolívar Professor and an Overseas Fellow of Churchill College in 1977–78.
In 1977, Vargas Llosa was elected as a member of the Peruvian Academy of Language, a membership he still holds today. That year, he also published Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter (La tía Julia y el escribidor), based in part on his marriage to his first wife, Julia Urquidi, to whom he dedicated the novel. She later wrote a memoir, Lo que Varguitas no dijo (What Little Vargas Didn’t Say), in which she gives her personal account of their relationship. She states that Vargas Llosa’s account exaggerates many negative points in their courtship and marriage while minimizing her role of assisting his literary career.Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter is considered one of the most striking examples of how the language and imagery of popular culture can be used in literature. The novel was adapted in 1990 into a Hollywood feature film, Tune in Tomorrow.
Vargas Llosa in 1982
Vargas Llosa’s fourth major novel, The War of the End of the World (La guerra del fin del mundo), was published in 1981 and was his first attempt at a historical novel. This work initiated a radical change in Vargas Llosa’s style towards themes such as messianism and irrational human behaviour. It recreates the War of Canudos, an incident in 19th-century Brazil in which an armed millenarian cult held off a siege by the national army for months. As in Vargas Llosa’s earliest work, this novel carries a sober and serious theme, and its tone is dark. Vargas Llosa’s bold exploration of humanity’s propensity to idealize violence, and his account of a man-made catastrophe brought on by fanaticism on all sides, earned the novel substantial recognition. Because of the book’s ambition and execution, critics have argued that this is one of Vargas Llosa’s greatest literary pieces. Even though the novel has been acclaimed in Brazil, it was initially poorly received because a foreigner was writing about a Brazilian theme. The book was also criticized as revolutionary and anti-socialist. Vargas Llosa says that this book is his favorite and was his most difficult accomplishment.
After completing The War of the End of the World, Vargas Llosa began to write novels that were significantly shorter than many of his earlier books. In 1983, he finished The Real Life of Alejandro Mayta (Historia de Mayta, 1984). The novel focuses on a leftist insurrection that took place on May 29, 1962 in the Andean city of Jauja. Later the same year, during the Sendero Luminoso uprising, Vargas Llosa was asked by the Peruvian President Fernando Belaúnde Terry to join the Investigatory Commission, a task force to inquire into the massacre of eight journalists at the hands of the villagers of Uchuraccay. The Commission’s main purpose was to investigate the murders in order to provide information regarding the incident to the public. Following his involvement with the Investigatory Commission, Vargas Llosa published a series of articles to defend his position in the affair. In 1986, he completed his next novel, Who Killed Palomino Molero (¿Quién mató a Palomino Molero?), which he began writing shortly after the end of the Uchuraccay investigation. Though the plot of this mystery novel is similar to the tragic events at Uchuraccay, literary critic Roy Boland points out that it was not an attempt to reconstruct the murders, but rather a “literary exorcism” of Vargas Llosa’s own experiences during the commission. The experience also inspired one of Vargas Llosa’s later novels, Death in the Andes (Lituma en los Andes), originally published in 1993 in Barcelona.
It would be almost 20 years before Vargas Llosa wrote another major work: The Feast of the Goat (La fiesta del chivo), a political thriller, was published in 2000 (and in English in 2001). According to Williams, it is Vargas Llosa’s most complete and most ambitious novel since The War of the End of the World. Critic Sabine Koellmann sees it in the line of his earlier novels such as “Conversación en la catedral” depicting the effects of authoritarianism, violence and the abuse of power on the individual. Based on the dictatorship of Rafael Trujillo, who governed the Dominican Republic from 1930 until his assassination in 1961, the novel has three main strands: one concerns Urania Cabral, the daughter of a former politician and Trujillo loyalist, who returns for the first time since leaving the Dominican Republic after Trujillo’s assassination 30 years earlier; the second concentrates on the assassination itself, the conspirators who carry it out, and its consequences; and the third and final strand deals with Trujillo himself in scenes from the end of his regime. The book quickly received positive reviews in Spain and Latin America, and has had a significant impact in Latin America, being regarded as one of Vargas Llosa’s best works.
In 2006, Vargas Llosa wrote The Bad Girl (Travesuras de la niña mala), which journalist Kathryn Harrison argues is a rewrite (rather than simply a recycling) of Gustave Flaubert‘s Madame Bovary (1856). In Vargas Llosa’s version, the plot relates the decades-long obsession of its narrator, a Peruvian expatriate in Paris, with a woman with whom he first fell in love when both were teenagers.
Later life and political involvement
Like many other Latin American intellectuals, Vargas Llosa was initially a supporter of the Cuban revolutionary government of Fidel Castro. He studied Marxism in depth as a university student and was later persuaded by communist ideals after the success of the Cuban Revolution. Gradually, Vargas Llosa came to believe that Cuban socialism was incompatible with what he considered to be general liberties and freedoms. The official rupture between the writer and the policies of the Cuban government occurred with the so-called ‘Padilla Affair’, when the Castro regime imprisoned the poet Heberto Padilla for a month in 1971. Vargas Llosa, along with other intellectuals of the time, wrote to Castro protesting the Cuban political system and its imprisonment of the artist. Vargas Llosa has identified himself with liberalism rather than extreme left-wing political ideologies ever since. Since he relinquished his earlier leftism, he has opposed both left- and right-wing authoritarian regimes.
With his appointment to the Investigatory Commission on the Uchuraccay massacre in 1983, he experienced what literary critic Jean Franco calls “the most uncomfortable event in [his] political career”.Unfortunately for Vargas Llosa, his involvement with the Investigatory Commission led to immediate negative reactions and defamation from the Peruvian press; many suggested that the massacre was a conspiracy to keep the journalists from reporting the presence of government paramilitary forces in Uchuraccay. The commission concluded that it was the indigenous villagers who had been responsible for the killings; for Vargas Llosa the incident showed “how vulnerable democracy is in Latin America and how easily it dies under dictatorships of the right and left”. These conclusions, and Vargas Llosa personally, came under intense criticism: anthropologist Enrique Mayer, for instance, accused him of “paternalism”, while fellow anthropologist Carlos Iván Degregori criticized him for his ignorance of the Andean world. Vargas Llosa was accused of actively colluding in a government cover-up of army involvement in the massacre. US Latin American literature scholar Misha Kokotovic summarizes that the novelist was charged with seeing “indigenous cultures as a ‘primitive’ obstacle to the full realization of his Western model of modernity”. Shocked both by the atrocity itself and then by the reaction his report had provoked, Vargas Llosa responded that his critics were apparently more concerned with his report than with the hundreds of peasants who would later die at the hands of the Sendero Luminoso guerrilla organization.
Vargas Llosa at the founding act ofUPD, September 2007
Over the course of the decade, Vargas Llosa became known as a “neoliberal“, although he personally dislikes the term and considers it “pure nonsense” and only used for derision. In 1987, he helped form and soon became a leader of the Movimiento Libertad. The following year his party entered a coalition with the parties of Peru’s two principal conservative politicians at the time, ex-president Fernando Belaúnde Terry (of the Popular Action party) and Luis Bedoya Reyes (of the Partido Popular Cristiano), to form the tripartite center-right coalition known as Frente Democrático (FREDEMO). He ran for the presidency of Peru in 1990 as the candidate of the FREDEMO coalition. He proposed a drastic economic austerity program that frightened most of the country’s poor; this program emphasized the need for privatization, a market economy, free trade, and most importantly, the dissemination of private property. Although he won the first round with 34% of the vote, Vargas Llosa was defeated by a then-unknown agricultural engineer, Alberto Fujimori, in the subsequent run-off. Vargas Llosa included an account of his run for the presidency in the memoir A Fish in the Water (El pez en el agua, 1993). Since his political defeat, he has focused mainly on his writing, with only occasional political involvement.
A month after losing the election, at the invitation of Octavio Paz, Vargas Llosa attended a conference in Mexico entitled, “The 20th Century: The Experience of Freedom”. Focused on the collapse of communist rule in central and eastern Europe, it was broadcast on Mexican television from 27 August to 2 September. Addressing the conference on 30 August 1990, Vargas Llosa embarrassed his hosts by condemning the Mexican system of power based on the rule of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), which had been in power for 61 years. Criticizing the PRI by name, he commented, “I don’t believe that there has been in Latin America any case of a system of dictatorship which has so efficiently recruited the intellectual milieu, bribing it with great subtlety.” He declared, “Mexico is the perfect dictatorship. The perfect dictatorship is not communism, not the USSR, not Fidel Castro; the perfect dictatorship is Mexico. Because it is a camouflaged dictatorship.” The statement, “Mexico is the perfect dictatorship” became a cliché in Mexico and internationally, until the PRI fell from power in 2000.
Vargas Llosa has mainly lived in Madrid since the 1990s, but spends roughly three months of the year in Peru with his extended family. He also frequently visits London where he occasionally spends long periods. Vargas Llosa acquired Spanish citizenship in 1993, though he still holds Peruvian nationality. The writer often reiterates his love for both countries. In his Nobel speech he observed: “I carry Peru deep inside me because that is where I was born, grew up, was formed, and lived those experiences of childhood and youth that shaped my personality and forged my calling”. He then added: “I love Spain as much as Peru, and my debt to her is as great as my gratitude. If not for Spain, I never would have reached this podium or become a known writer”.
Vargas Llosa’s style encompasses historical material as well as his own personal experiences. For example, in his first novel, The Time of the Hero, his own experiences at the Leoncio Prado military school informed his depiction of the corrupt social institution which mocked the moral standards it was supposed to uphold. Furthermore, the corruption of the book’s school is a reflection of the corruption of Peruvian society at the time the novel was written. Vargas Llosa frequently uses his writing to challenge the inadequacies of society, such as demoralization and oppression by those in political power towards those who challenge this power. One of the main themes he has explored in his writing is the individual’s struggle for freedom within an oppressive reality. For example, his two-volume novel Conversation in the Cathedral is based on the tyrannical dictatorship of Peruvian President Manuel A. Odría. The protagonist, Santiago, rebels against the suffocating dictatorship by participating in the subversive activities of leftist political groups. In addition to themes such as corruption and oppression, Vargas Llosa’s second novel, The Green House, explores “a denunciation of Peru’s basic institutions”, dealing with issues of abuse and exploitation of the workers in the brothel by corrupt military officers.
Many of Vargas Llosa’s earlier novels were set in Peru, while in more recent work he has expanded to other regions of Latin America, such as Brazil and the Dominican Republic. His responsibilities as a writer and lecturer have allowed him to travel frequently and led to settings for his novels in regions outside of Peru.The War of the End of the World was his first major work set outside Peru. Though the plot deals with historical events of the Canudos revolt against the Brazilian government, the novel is not based directly on historical fact; rather, its main inspiration is the non-fiction account of those events published by Brazilian writer Euclides da Cunha in 1902.The Feast of the Goat, based on the dictatorship of Rafael Trujillo, takes place in the Dominican Republic; in preparation for this novel, Vargas Llosa undertook a comprehensive study of Dominican history. The novel was characteristically realist, and Vargas Llosa underscores that he “respected the basic facts, [. . .] I have not exaggerated”, but at the same time he points out “It’s a novel, not a history book, so I took many, many liberties.”
One of Vargas Llosa’s more recent novels, The Way to Paradise (El paraíso en la otra esquina), is set largely in France and Tahiti. Based on the biography of former social reformer Flora Tristan, it demonstrates how Flora and Paul Gauguin were unable to find paradise, but were still able to inspire followers to keep working towards a socialist utopia. Unfortunately, Vargas Llosa was not as successful in transforming these historical figures into fiction. Some critics, such as Barbara Mujica, argue that The Way to Paradise lacks the “audacity, energy, political vision, and narrative genius” that was present in his previous works.
Modernism and postmodernism
The works of Mario Vargas Llosa are viewed as both modernist and postmodernist novels. Though there is still much debate over the differences between modernist and postmodernist literature, literary scholar M. Keith Booker claims that the difficulty and technical complexity of Vargas Llosa’s early works, such as The Green House and Conversation in the Cathedral, are clearly elements of the modern novel.Furthermore, these earlier novels all carry a certain seriousness of attitude—another important defining aspect of modernist art. By contrast, his later novels such as Captain Pantoja and the Special Service, Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter, The Real Life of Alejandro Mayta, and The Storyteller (El hablador) appear to follow a postmodernist mode of writing. These novels have a much lighter, farcical, and comic tone, characteristics of postmodernism. Comparing two of Vargas Llosa’s novels, The Green House and Captain Pantoja and the Special Service, Booker discusses the contrast between modernism and postmodernism found in the writer’s works: while both novels explore the theme of prostitution as well as the workings of the Peruvian military, Booker points out that the former is gravely serious whereas the latter is ridiculously comic.
Literary scholar M. Keith Booker argues that Vargas Llosa perfects the technique of interlacing dialogues in his novel The Green House. By combining two conversations that occur at different times, he creates the illusion of a flashback. Vargas Llosa also sometimes uses this technique as a means of shifting location by weaving together two concurrent conversations happening in different places. This technique is a staple of his repertoire, which he began using near the end of his first novel, The Time of the Hero. However, he does not use interlacing dialogues in the same way in all of his novels. For example, in The Green House the technique is used in a serious fashion to achieve a sober tone and to focus on the interrelatedness of important events separated in time or space. In contrast, Captain Pantoja and the Special Service employs this strategy for comic effects and uses simpler spatial shifts. This device is similar to both Virginia Woolf‘s mixing of different characters’ soliloquies and Gustave Flaubert’s counterpoint technique in which he blends together conversation with other events, such as speeches.
Vargas Llosa’s first literary influences were relatively obscure Peruvian writers such as Martín Adán, Carlos Oquendo de Amat, and César Moro. As a young writer, he looked to these revolutionary novelists in search of new narrative structures and techniques in order to delineate a more contemporary, multifaceted experience of urban Peru. He was looking for a style different from the traditional descriptions of land and rural life made famous by Peru’s foremost novelist at the time, José María Arguedas. Vargas Llosa wrote of Arguedas’s work that it was “an example of old-fashioned regionalism that had already exhausted its imaginary possibilities”. Although he did not share Arguedas’s passion for indigenous reality, Vargas Llosa admired and respected the novelist for his contributions to Peruvian literature. Indeed, he has published a book-length study on his work, La utopía arcaica (1996).
Rather than restrict himself to Peruvian literature, Vargas Llosa also looked abroad for literary inspiration. Two French figures, existentialistJean-Paul Sartre and novelist Gustave Flaubert, influenced both his technique and style. Sartre’s influence is most prevalent in Vargas Llosa’s extensive use of conversation. The epigraph of The Time of the Hero, his first novel, is also taken directly from Sartre’s work.Flaubert’s artistic independence—his novels’ disregard of reality and morals—has always been admired by Vargas Llosa, who wrote a book-length study of Flaubert’s aesthetics, The Perpetual Orgy. In his analysis of Flaubert, Vargas Llosa questions the revolutionary power of literature in a political setting; this is in contrast to his earlier view that “literature is an act of rebellion”, thus marking a transition in Vargas Llosa’s aesthetic beliefs. Other critics such as Sabine Köllmann argue that his belief in the transforming power of literature is one of the great continuities that characterize his fictional and non-fictional work, and link his early statement that ‘Literature is Fire’ with his Nobel Prize Speech ‘In Praise of Reading and Writing’.
One of Vargas Llosa’s favourite novelists, and arguably the most influential on his writing career, is the American William Faulkner. Vargas Llosa considers Faulkner “the writer who perfected the methods of the modern novel”. Both writers’ styles include intricate changes in time and narration. In The Time of the Hero, for example, aspects of Vargas Llosa’s plot, his main character’s development and his use of narrative time are influenced by his favourite Faulkner novel, Light in August.
In addition to the studies of Arguedas and Flaubert, Vargas Llosa has written literary criticisms of other authors that he has admired, such as Gabriel García Márquez, Albert Camus, Ernest Hemingway, and Jean-Paul Sartre. The main goals of his non-fiction works are to acknowledge the influence of these authors on his writing, and to recognize a connection between himself and the other writers; critic Sara Castro-Klarén argues that he offers little systematic analysis of these authors’ literary techniques. In The Perpetual Orgy, for example, he discusses the relationship between his own aesthetics and Flaubert’s, rather than focusing on Flaubert’s alone.
Mario Vargas Llosa is considered a major Latin American writer, alongside other authors such as Octavio Paz, Julio Cortázar, Jorge Luis Borges, Gabriel García Márquez and Carlos Fuentes. In his book The New Novel in Latin America (La Nueva Novela), Fuentes offers an in-depth literary criticism of the positive influence Vargas Llosa’s work has had on Latin American literature. Indeed, for the literary critic Gerald Martin, writing in 1987, Vargas Llosa was “perhaps the most successful [. . . and] certainly the most controversial Latin American novelist of the past twenty-five years”.
Most of Vargas Llosa’s narratives have been translated into multiple languages, marking his international critical success. Vargas Llosa is also noted for his substantial contribution to journalism, an accomplishment characteristic of few other Latin American writers. He is recognized among those who have most consciously promoted literature in general, and more specifically the novel itself, as avenues for meaningful commentary about life. During his career, he has written more than a dozen novels and many other books and stories, and, for decades, he has been a voice for Latin American literature. He has won numerous awards for his writing, from the 1959 Premio Leopoldo Alas and the 1962 Premio Biblioteca Breve to the 1993 Premio Planeta (for Death in the Andes) and the Jerusalem Prize in 1995. The literary critic Harold Bloom has included his novel The War of the End of the World in his list of essential literary works in the Western Canon. An important distinction he has received is the 1994 Miguel de Cervantes Prize, considered the most important accolade in Spanish-language literature and awarded to authors whose “work has contributed to enrich, in a notable way, the literary patrimony of the Spanish language”. In 2002, Vargas was the recipient of the PEN/Nabokov Award. Vargas Llosa also received the 2005 Irving Kristol Award from the American Enterprise Institute and was the 2008 recipient of the Harold and Ethel L. Stellfox Visiting Scholar and Writers Award at Dickinson College.
2007 – El Pregón de Sevilla (as Introduction for LOS TOROS)
2009 – El viaje a la ficción: El mundo de Juan Carlos Onetti
2011 – Touchstones: Essays on Literature, Art, and Politics
2012 – La civilización del espectáculo
2012 – In Praise of Reading and Fiction: The Nobel Lecture
2014 – Mi trayectora intelectual (My Intellectual Journey)
2015 – Notes on the Death of Culture
1952 – La huida del inca
1981 – La señorita de Tacna
1983 – Kathie y el hipopótamo
1986 – La Chunga
1993 – El loco de los balcones
1996 – Ojos bonitos, cuadros feos
2007 – Odiseo y Penélope
2008 – Al pie del Támesis
2010 – Las mil y una noches
Vargas Llosa’s essays and journalism have been collected as Contra viento y marea, issued in three volumes (1983, 1986, and 1990). A selection has been edited by John King and translated and published asMaking Waves. 2003 – “The Language of Passion”
In the midst of the economic decline — following drought and the end of slavery — in the province of Bahia in Northeastern Brazil, the poor of the backlands are attracted by the charismatic figure and simple religious teachings of Antonio Conselheiro, the Counselor, who preaches that the end of the world is imminent and that the political chaos that surrounds the collapse of the Empire of Brazil and its replacement by a republic is the work of the devil.
Seizing a fazenda in an area blighted by economic decline at Canudos the Counselor’s followers build a large town and defeat repeated and ever larger military expeditions designed to remove them. As the state’s violence against them increases they too turn increasingly violent, even seizing the modern weapons deployed against them. In an epic final clash a whole army is sent to extirpate Canudos and instigates a terrible and brutal battle with the poor while politicians of the old order see their world destroyed in the conflagration.
It is generally believed that Vargas Llosa’s three milestone novels are La Ciudad y Los Perros (The Time of the Hero), La Casa Verde (The Green House) and Conversación en la Catedral (Conversation in the Cathedral), though many critics agree that The War of the End of the World should also be included among these three. The author is famously known for considering this his most accomplished novel — an opinion shared by the Chilean novelist Roberto Bolaño, as well as the American critic Harold Bloom, who even includes the novel in what he calls the “Western canon.”
As he did later on with La Fiesta Del Chivo (The Feast of the Goat), Vargas Llosa tackles a huge number of characters and stories caught during a time of strife, interweaving these in way that gives us a picture of what it was to live in those times.