Tuesday, 15 May 2018

Snipers in Gaza

IDF Snipers

When I think of army snipers, my mind veers to the duel between Vasily Zaytsev and ‘Major Koenig’, respectively of the Soviet and German armies seeking each other out amid the wastelands of war-ravaged Stalingrad.

Of course, this battle of wits between the reputed best snipers of the Red Army and the Wehrmacht has been found to be most likely a stellar piece of Second World War myth-making, although the capability of Zaytev and many trained snipers of the German military is no myth.

Snipers operate stealthily from camouflaged locations, but it is not necessarily a safe and cosy job picking off unknowing victims from a distance, since in a war between well-trained and equally matched armies, they can be infiltrated behind enemy lines and operate in highly dangerous circumstances. Snipers may thus function as intelligence gatherers as well as taking out where possible important commanders of the opposition.

So far as the snipers who serve the Israeli Defence Forces are concerned, one can only hold them in the utmost contempt for shooting unarmed Palestinian civilians to death and deliberately maiming them during what can only be described as massacres and not “clashes” as a good number of Western news agencies have insisted on referring to the Gazan demonstrators who seek the ‘Right to Return’ to the lands from which they were ethnically cleansed seventy years ago.

© Adeyinka Makinde (2018)

Adeyinka Makinde is a writer based in London, England.

Sunday, 13 May 2018

My Interview at 'The Mind Renewed' about Britain's historical and contemporary relationship with Russia - "Russia and Britain: An Enduring But Fruitless Rivalry"

An interview with Julian Charles of ‘The Mind Renewed’ about my recent essay, “Russia and Britain: An Enduring but Fruitless Rivalry”.

TMR Page - Episode 198 “Britain & Russia: An Enduring But Fruitless Rivalry”

We are joined once again by the lawyer and university lecturer Adeyinka Makinde for an in-depth interview on the subject of his recent essay, “ Russia and Britain: An Enduring But Fruitless Rivalry”.

The crisis between Britain and Russia over the alleged poisoning of Sergei Skripal is the latest episode in what has been in recent times a de facto “Cold War” between Russia and the West. However, friction between Russia and Britain is longstanding; indeed it has spanned the centuries -a recurring clash of civilisations fuelled by cultural differences, imperial ambition and ideological antagonism- and manifest today in the West’s attempts to maintain its global dominance in the face of a surgent Eurasia with Russia at its centre.

But with the ideological “Cold War” of the Soviet years a thing of the past,  we must surely pause to ask: Why is Britain prolonging this fruitless “rivalry” with a distant Eurasian power? Whose interests does it serve? And is there, perhaps, a more constructive and, frankly, safer way forward?

Adeyinka Makinde trained for the law as a barrister. He lectures in criminal law and public law at a university in London, and has an academic research interest in intelligence & security matters. He is a contributor to a number of websites for which he has written essays and commentaries on international relations, politics and military history. He has served as a programme consultant and provided expert commentary for BBC World Service Radio, China Radio International and the Voice of Russia.


© Adeyinka Makinde (2018)

Adeyinka Makinde is a writer based in London, England.

Thursday, 10 May 2018

Britain and Syria: Ten Questions for the British Government

On May 10th 2018, the British government “condemned” recent Iranian rocket attacks against Israeli positions in the Golan Heights, adding that Israel “has the right to defend itself”. It did not condemn recent Israeli attacks on Iranian positions which apparently killed Iranian personnel, but chose to issue the condemnation once Iran retaliated. Britain has not been an impartial, at-a-distance observer of the conflagration in Syria. Indeed if the recollections of Roland Dumas are anything to go by, it was at the heart of an international conspiracy of nations aimed at overthrowing the government of Bashar al-Assad. And given Britain’s recent participation in the military action taken in concert with the United States and France over a highly disputed allegation of Syrian government responsibility for a chemical attack on the Syrian city of Douma, questions abound as to what interests Britain has in relation to Syria. The following are ten questions which any informed and conscientious British Member of Parliament should take the opportunity to ask either the Prime Minister or Foreign Secretary in a formal letter or during relevant Parliamentary proceedings such as ministerial question time.

1. Why has the British government been silent about many attacks carried out by Israel over the course of the Syrian conflict against both Syrian and Iranian positions?

2. Are Iranian rocket attacks against Israel not justified under international law on the basis of self-defence? After all, Israel has fired at Iranian positions and killed Iranian soldiers. Iran did not fire first.

3. Is it not a contravention of international law to attack a sovereign state (Syria) and another nation (Iran) invited by the legal government to help defend it against externally supported insurgents?

4. If Iran is firing at the Golan Heights, would the British government want to clarify that the Iranian military is in fact firing at territory that has been illegally occupied and annexed by Israel?

5. Would the British government like to comment on former French Foreign Minister Roland Dumas’s statement made in 2013 that while on a private visit to England, British officials approached him to join in a plan to organise an armed insurrection against the Syrian government? In his words, the war we have witnessed these past seven years by the Syrian government against Islamic fanatics was “prepared, conceived and organised” at least two years in advance of what became an insurgency. Would the British government care to clarify the capacities of the “officials” who sought Monsieur Dumas’s help in this illegal conspiracy? Were they politicians, intelligence agents, military officers or all of the mentioned categories?

6. Would the British government take the opportunity to explain why, as reported by the British Guardian newspaper in March 2013, British military officers were stationed at the border shared between Syria and Jordan while tasked with offering “logistical and other advice in some form” to rebels and prospective insurgents?

7. Would the British government consider explaining why it allowed the collapse of the 2015 Old Bailey trial of Bherlin Gildo, a Swedish national who had been charged with terrorist activities in Syria? Would the government elucidate on the reasons why Britain’s security and intelligence services would have been “deeply embarrassed” about their covert support for anti-Assad militias?

8. Would the British government explain why British soldiers such as the late Sergeant Matt Tonroe of the Parachute Regiment have been embedded with United States Special Forces in Syria without the express invitation of the legal government of that sovereign nation?

9. Why is the Theresa May-led government keen to continue funding the al-Nusra-linked ‘White Helmets’ group of “volunteer rescuers” which only operates in rebel-held areas? Can the government clarify the extent to which British intelligence is associated with the group’s founder, former British soldier James Le Mesurier and whether British intelligence may have connections with the organisation?

10. Finally, would the British government like to take the opportunity to offer a detailed clarification of just what national interest issues compel British involvement in Syria?

© Adeyinka Makinde (2018)

Adeyinka Makinde is a London-based writer and law lecturer with an interest in global security issues. He can be followed on Twitter @AdeyinkaMakinde

Wednesday, 9 May 2018

Google Censorship and My Writing

I noticed over the past week that my commentaries and essays which have been published at Global Research dot Canada are no longer coming up when ‘Google News’ is searched.

[Adeyinka Makinde - Archive at Global Research: http://www.globalresearch.ca/author/adeyinka-makinde]

Google is apparently implementing an initiative to block news coverage by the independent media as part of an attempt to preserve the monopoly of newspapers such as the New York Times, or the “failing New York Times” as Donald Trump in one of his more agreeable recurring rants is wont to refer to it and other establishment outlets.

The argument that “false and misleading information” is circulating on the Internet serves as a convenient cover for the avowed aim of effecting political censorship. The irony is that the mainstream media which has become increasingly corporatized is actually the disseminator of many things false and misleading.

‘Operation Mass Appeal’, was an MI6 scheme through which stories were planted in the news media with the aim of making the British public more amenable to the idea that Saddam Hussein’s Iraq was in possession of weapons of mass destruction. Richard Dearlove, then the head of MI6, had advised British Prime Minister Tony Blair that President George Bush had resolved to attack Iraq even though the case for the existence of weapons of mass destruction was “thin”. But Dearlove also told Blair that “intelligence and facts were being fixed (by the United States) around the policy”.

The build-up towards the Iraq war is not the only example.

The press was responsible for disseminating false claims about an impending massacre in the Libyan city of Benghazi at the time of the Islamist-inspired uprising which came to be supported by NATO. A Telegraph report dated March 19th 2011 and headlined “Benghazi Fights For its Life” was one of many that reinforced this. The reporter ended his dispatch by seemingly taking the (Islamist) rebel communique of the situation as the gospel truth before contrasting it with what he termed “Tripoli’s take of events” which warned the world of a take over by “the gangs of al-Qaeda”.

Coverage of the Syrian conflict has also been littered with mainstream press bias. The White Helmets who are presented as an impartial search and rescue organisation is actually one which is strongly linked to various Islamist militia groups fighting to overthrow the secular government of Bashar al-Assad. It is supremely ironic that when a documentary film celebrating the group as heroic volunteers was awarded an Oscar, its leader, Raed Salah, was prevented from entering the United States owing to his connections to Islamist terrorists.

The contrast between the mainstream media’s coverage of the siege of al-Nusra-held Aleppo and the battle for ISIS-held Mosul was stark. While the media was prone to trumpeting any evidence it could muster about Russian bombing leading to civilian casualties, it did not display the same level of horror at the fate of thousands of civilians killed by US-led coalition airstrikes conducted in Mosul, Iraq. When Aleppo fell in December 2016, the cover story headline of the Economist was revealing: “The Fall of Aleppo: Putin’s Victory, the West’s Failure”.

Consider also the difference in coverage between the conflicts in Syria and Yemen. While the Western media generally seeks to highlight what it perceives as the inhumane tactics of the Assad government in combating jihadist militias who were armed and finance by the United States and its regional allies, the depth of coverage and the urgency behind it is lacking in regard to Yemen where the Saudi Arabian military utilises American and British weaponry while it commits genocide.

The coverage of the alleged chemical attack in Salisbury on the Russian double agent Sergei Skripal highlighted the manner in which journalists accept government information with little or no scrutiny. It played a major part in whipping up an atmosphere of hysteria and promoted the idea that those who questioned the flawed and constantly shifting government narrative were conspiracy theorists in the service of the Kremlin.

Where dissenting opinions have unexpectedly surfaced when interviewing ostensible pillars of the establishment, the reactions of interviewing journalists have been illuminating. For instance, Major General Jonathan Shaw, a retired former Chief of Staff for UK Land Forces, was abruptly cut off during an interview with Sky News when he challenged the claim that the Syrian government would need to use chemical weapons in Douma when it had practically won the war against the Islamist insurgents. On the matter of the alleged Douma chemical attack, the former British ambassador to Syria, Peter Ford, invited a BBC Radio Scotland journalist to “please engage your brain” when explaining the illogicality behind assuming Bashar al-Assad’s culpability in launching a chemical attack which would serve to, in Ford’s words “pluck defeat out of the jaws of victory.”

An objective reading of trends reveal that much of the mainstream media has seemingly turned into a propaganda mouthpiece for Western governments and institutions such as NATO.

On that point it is worth noting that Udo Ulfkotte, a late German journalist who once served as an assistant editor for Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, claimed in his book Gekaufte Journalisten that most Western European journalists of note are on the payroll of the Central Intelligence Agency, and that he was one of them. Ulfkotte even asserted that the whole content of articles can be written by intelligence agents.

Ulfkotte is not the only one to have made such an admission. Frederick Forsyth admitted that he worked for the British Secret Intelligence Service and Roger Auque, a French investigative journalist and war correspondent, disclosed before his death that he had spied for Israel’s Mossad.

It is not difficult to guess why journalists can be used by intelligence organisations. They function in the midst of events ranging from national politics to those with geopolitical implications. The news agencies for which they work help shape public perception of events and naturally governments are interested in feeding the public with a narrative which is favourable to what is perceived to be the national interest. Thus, MI5, the British Security Service, was key to a strategy of feeding the British press with disinformation during ‘The Troubles’ in Northern Ireland. In his memoirs, Robert Baer, a former CIA agent, claimed that he and other intelligence agents were given millions of dollars to undermine Yugoslavian unity. He revealed that newsreaders were given prepared announcements which had been composed by the CIA. The objective was to spread hatred and nationalism.

While the revelations of former journalists and intelligence operatives ought not to serve as the basis to discredit wholesale the role of the established media, it should, taken together with the known instances of press disinformation associated with recent American wars in the Middle East, form the rationale for people to exercise caution when reading and processing the information and opinions disseminated by the mainstream press.

Further, the implications of the US Telecommunications Act of 1995 should be borne in mind. This piece of legislation, sponsored by corporate media lobbies and signed into law during the administration of President Bill Clinton, represents the basis under which the American media became corporatized. This is because the Act created the conditions to enable around 90% of the media to be owned by just six media conglomerates: Time-Warner, CBS, Viacom, News Corp, GE and Disney.

The buying up of previously independent outlets has, some argue, has served to erode the independence and the integrity of journalism. Many prominent journalists have effectively become ‘pens for hire’, or, to coin a word originated by Gerald Celente: “Press-titutes”.

Both government and mainstream media appear to be fearful of the scrutiny brought by certain sections, though not all, of the independent media. They are weary about the fact that increasing segments of the public are becoming aware of the shortcomings of the mainstream media and are questioning many of its flawed narratives.

This clamp down on dissent by google bears distinctly sinister overtones. The attempts to pathologize and to demonize those who refuse to submit to Establishment narratives has to be resisted lest we slip into an Orwellian dystopia. It would not be an exaggeration to assert that these policies ought to be considered as a form of book burning.

Thus, it is important to remember these words:

“If they want to burn it, you need to read it.”

© Adeyinka Makinde (2018)

Adeyinka Makinde is a writer based in London, England.

Thursday, 3 May 2018

Newsreel of my Father at the Royal Navy Equipment Exhibition at the Royal Naval College, Greenwich, September 1971

Lieutenant Commander Emmanuel Makinde at the Royal Naval College, Greenwich (Circa 1971)

Excited to discover yet another piece of vintage newsreel of my Father. This one captures him at a Royal Navy equipment exhibition at the Royal Navy College in Greenwich, London on September 21st 1971.

Newly promoted to the rank of Lieutenant Commander, he was then serving as the Deputy Defence Advisor at the Nigerian High Commission in London.

He is the bearded figure in the background (commencing at the 5-second mark and ending at the 10-second mark) when Rear Admiral Joseph Wey (in sunglasses and bow-tie), the head of the Nigerian Navy, is shaking hands with Admiral Anthony Griffith, the Controller of the Navy & Third Sea Lord.

© Adeyinka Makinde

Adeyinka Makinde is a writer and Law Lecturer based in London, England.

Netanyahu's Iran Speech in Context: Irony, Hypocrisy and the Undeclared Hijacking of U.S. Foreign Policy

The recent presentation made by Binyamin Netanyahu purportedly detailing a secret Iranian programme aimed at acquiring a nuclear weapons capability is the latest in a long-term effort on his part to obtain United States assistance in destroying Iran. But the actions of the Israeli prime minister are not only ironic and hypocritical: they bring into focus the connection between the purposeful destructions of Iraq and Libya on the one hand and the attempt to destroy Syria, foment conflict in Lebanon and neutralise Iranian military power on the other. Few Americans are aware of this two decade-long grand strategy followed by successive United States administrations because the compartmentalization of events, short-term memory of the public and government propaganda have all served to murky the fundamental picture, that is, one in which the United States continues to follow a policy of taking down countries which pose a threat to the state of Israel. It is a policy which was adopted without recourse to public debate despite the serious ramifications it has had in terms of the cost to American prestige and an ever increasing national debt.

Most of the world’s major national intelligence services have long concluded that Iran has no nuclear weapons development programme. This includes the intelligence community of the United States and up until recently -if Binyamin Netanyahu is to be believed- Israel’s Mossad. A debate within Iran’s political, military and intelligence circles apparently ended with the nation’s supreme leader ruling against the development of nuclear weapons.

The irony is not lost in the scenario of the leader of Israel decrying the acquisition of nuclear technology by another nation, one that is a signatory state to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons and subject to the stringent conditions of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action reached between Iran and the ‘Five Plus One’ countries, when Israel is in possession of an undeclared arsenal of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons. Israel’s own nuclear weapons programme, which began with the express disapproval of President John F. Kennedy who felt that it would create a nuclear arms race in the Middle East, involved the practice of a grand deception by David Ben Gurion who insisted that the Dimona reactor was for research purposes only and not for the production of plutonium.

A pungent whiff of hypocrisy pervades Netanyahu’s presentation. Israel’s nuclear arms programme has not only been shrouded in secrecy but has involved acts of criminality which according to FBI documents declassified in June 2012 allegedly involved Netanyahu himself. Netanyahu later issued a gagging order directing the unindicted ringleader of a nuclear smuggling ring to refrain from discussing an operation known as ‘Project Pinto’. Israel spied on nuclear installations inside the United States and in the 1960s and it stole bomb-grade uranium from a US nuclear fuel-processing plant.

Netanyahu’s speech is the latest in a campaign by Israel to ignite a war against Hezbollah in Lebanon and Iran, a plan which is intimately linked to the effort to destroy Syria over the past seven years.

The war in Syria represents the combined efforts of the United States, Israel and Saudi Arabia to destroy the so-called ‘Shia Crescent’ of Iran, Syria and Lebanon (Hezbollah). The centrality of Israel in this effort was made clear by Roland Dumas, a former foreign minister of France in 2013. But Israel, along with the United States and Saudi Arabia, has been enraged by the fact that Bashar al-Assad’s secular government with the help of Russia, Iran and Hezbollah, has practically defeated the Islamic fanatics who were introduced into Syria for the purpose of overthrowing Assad in order to balkanise the country and stop Iranian arms shipments to Hezbollah in Lebanon.

The reason why Israel wants Iranian aid to Hezbollah cut off and the organisation destroyed is not hard to fathom. Hezbollah is the only armed force within the Arab world willing and capable of taking on the Israeli military. Israel has for long coveted southern Lebanon up to the River Litani. But Hezbollah has twice inflicted humiliating defeats on Israel: first in 2000 when Israel was forced to withdraw after an 18-year occupation of the southern part of Lebanon which had commenced with a bloody invasion, and secondly in 2006 when Israel was forced to withdraw after sustaining heavy losses during a 34-day conflict.

Apart from the aforementioned goal of breaking the conduit between Iran and Hezbollah, the balkanisation of Syria would mean that any of the successor states would find it difficult to make a claim for the Golan Heights which Israel conquered in 1967 and which it illegally annexed in 1981. Israel is also supportive of the idea of a Kurdish state being created out of Syria as a means through which the transfer of oil and gas could be facilitated.

Much evidence exists of a pre-existing Israeli plan to destroy Syria. The Yinon Plan of 1982 and a series of position papers produced by Israel-friendly neoconservative ideologues in the United States (the Project for the New American Century’s ‘Rebuilding America’s Defenses - Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century’ in 2000) as well as for the Israeli government (‘A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm’ in 1996) bear this out. Each document clearly calls for the neutralising or the “rolling back” of several states including Syria.

The Yinon Plan, the name given to a paper entitled ‘A Strategy for Israel in the 1980s’ which was published in February 1982 in Kivunim (Directions), a journal written in Hebrew, set out Israel’s enduring aim of balkanising the surrounding Arab and Muslim world into ethnic and sectarian mini-states. Egypt, Lebanon, Syria and Iraq were prime candidates.

It was not a unique or suddenly arrived at policy, but simply set out in detail an overarching policy pursued by Israel’s leaders since the founding of the state. For  instance, the diaries of Moshe Sharett, an early prime minister of Israel, laid bare David Ben Gurion and Moshe Dayan’s aim of weakening Lebanon by exacerbating tensions between its Muslim and Christian population in the course of which Dayan hoped that a Christian military officer would declare a Christian state out of which the region south of the River Litani would be ceded to Israel.

A crucial point to mention is that the policy of the United States towards Syria and others is congruent with that of Israel. In fact, America has been pursuing a two-decade long strategy aimed at destabilisation and balkanisation regardless of the political stripe of the president in office. After the attack of 9/11, the United States set in motion a plan, in the words of retired U.S. General Wesley Clark, “to take out seven countries in five years, starting with Iraq, and then Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and, finishing off, Iran”.

The secular nations of Iraq, Syria and Libya had no links to the Sunni Islamist al-Qaeda cell which purportedly carried out the attacks on 9/11. Neither did Shia Iran. Yet, America foreign policy has been geared towards destroying nations who happen to oppose Israel and who are supportive of the Palestinian cause.

To quote General Clark again, American foreign policy was “hijacked” without a public debate.

While the adoption of this policy remains officially unacknowledged, the modus operandi by which the United States has sought to destroy these countries is clear. A succession of position papers as well as the intended effect of United States and NATO interventions point to the exploiting of ethnic and sectarian conflicts as well as the use of Islamist proxy armies as the standard tactic utilised to bring down governments.

For instance, a Pentagon-funded report by the RAND Corporation in 2008 entitled ‘Unfolding the Future of the Long War: Motivations, Prospects and Implications for the U.S. Army’ explicitly refers to the need to foment conflict between Sunni and Shia Muslims as a means to the end of controlling the resources of the Middle East.

Another tactic alluded to by a 2012 document created by the Defense Intelligence Agency is that of declaring ‘Safe Havens’ -a term synonymous with the often used ‘No-Fly Zones’- ostensibly as a humanitarian policy, but which is a technique used to shield and preserve areas controlled by Islamist insurgents. It was utilised by NATO forces as a means of protecting the al-Qaeda-affiliated Libyan Islamic Fighting Group during its campaign to overthrow the government of Muammar Gaddafi, and an attempt was made to implement this prior to the fall of the al-Nusra-controlled city of Aleppo.

America’s Founding Fathers warned against getting involved in foreign entanglements, yet it devotedly follows a Middle East policy that clearly benefits the interests of another nation state. It is a policy which risks setting off a major regional war based on sectarian lines as well as embroiling it in a conflict with nuclear armed Russia.

For Israel, the goal remains the establishment of its undisputed hegemony in the Middle East. However, while an economic rationale predicated on relieving Europe of its dependency on Russian gas via a pipeline from the gulf is occasionally referenced, there has never been a comprehensive articulation of what America’s fundamental interests are in destroying Syria and Iran.

Pursuing such a policy without having had a full and thorough public debate tends to confirm key areas of dysfunction in the American system of governance. First it highlights the power and influence of those lobbies associated with Israeli interests and the Military Industry, and secondly, the unchanging nature of this policy which has been followed by the respective administrations of George W. Bush, Barack Obama and Donald Trump provide evidence that what Michael J. Glennon terms the ‘Madisonian’ institutions of state are no longer accountable in the manner which people still think they are. Instead power in regard to crucial issues on American national security rests with an unelected group of people outside of the separated organs of government: what Glennon, a professor of law at Tufts University, refers to as ‘Trumanite’ institutions.

The implications for the health of American democracy are all too apparent.

The pursuit of a strategy which has served to diminish American esteem among the global community as well as adding to the increasing national debt represents a catastrophic failure not only on the part of the political class, but also on the part of the mainstream media, which has consistently presented a narrative devoid of its true context. The intellectual community comprised of university academics and scholars working for think tanks must accept a large share of the blame.

Binyamin Netanyahu’s speech, a shameless attempt at goading the United States into breaking its obligations under an international agreement as a prelude to fighting a war which would serve Israel’s interests, ought to ignite a full and transparent debate on American national security policy in the Middle East.

A failure to do this risks future costly disasters which would dwarf the debacles of Iraq, Libya and Syria.

© Adeyinka Makinde (2018)

Adeyinka Makinde is a writer based in London, England.

Tuesday, 17 April 2018

From Panthers to Pimps: Gordon Parks and the Subverting of Black America

“The Black Panther” by Emory Douglas, January 23 1971

Gordon Parks was undoubtedly an extremely talented man whose influence cut across many spheres most notably in photography and in film-making. He was also a poet, journalist and social activist.

But there was a dark side to the man which has elicited contempt among those who have probed into the hidden aspects of his life. Parks had a lengthy relationship with the CIA, the nature of which has given cause to people such as the Catholic iconoclast, E. Michael Jones, to refer to Parks as a “traitor” to his people.

Parks gave numerous debriefings to the CIA and FBI on his interactions with prominent black civil rights leaders as well as with black revolutionaries such as those belonging to the Black Panther Party. Parks was not merely questioned in regard to things he found out by happenstance, he was actually sent to acquire specific information and to gather intelligence on strategic matters. He may thus have been at least indirectly complicit in the manoeuvres of the American state in undermining of black organisations including the carrying out of assassinations.

Parks is also alleged to have been a key player in a diabolical episode of social engineering of the sort which has had catastrophic ramifications for the black community. The American elites were fearful of and had tired of the increasingly revolutionary bearing of American blacks personified by the radical politics of the Black Panthers and the likes of Stokely Carmichael and Angela Davis. So what did they do? They gave Park’s money and a ticket to Hollywood to make so-called ‘Blaxploitation’ movies. Taking the germ of Melvin Van Peebles’ groundbreaking Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song, he made Shaft and then helped fund Superfly which was directed by his son, Gordon Parks Jr.

It is Superfly which is seen as the greatest turning point. Many increasingly argue that this film began a trend of exalting the ‘black pimp’ as the role model for black American communities. It created and developed a culture which had a profound effect in destabilising the black family by subverting social norms and values; the fruit of which was increasing levels of homicide, illegitimacy and drug dependency.

Can Parks be blamed entirely for instituting such a ruinous climate? Perhaps not. But he appears to have played his part in creating a downward spiral in the black community which did not happen by chance. Those who financed Parks including Henry Luce of the Time-Life organisation for whom Park’s served as a paid agent had an agenda. And that agenda encompassed a range of objectives including one of social engineering. A Lumpenproletariat of pimps, whores and welfare dependent ne’er-do-wells was infinitely preferable to an ideologically indoctrinated black population committed to effecting change in American society.

High-rolling, drug-dealing and gun-toting gangster-pimps did not threaten the power structure in the manner which ideologically committed revolutionary black activists did. When Superfly came out, Martin Luther King had been dead for five years and the FBI had completed its assassination spree against Blank Panther radicals.

The time was ripe for a new model black male, and black America is still counting the cost to this day.

© Adeyinka Makinde (2018)

Adeyinka Makinde is a writer based in London, England.