LISTSERV mailing list manager LISTSERV 16.5

Help for SCIENCE-FOR-THE-PEOPLE Archives


SCIENCE-FOR-THE-PEOPLE Archives

SCIENCE-FOR-THE-PEOPLE Archives


SCIENCE-FOR-THE-PEOPLE@LIST.UVM.EDU


View:

Message:

[

First

|

Previous

|

Next

|

Last

]

By Topic:

[

First

|

Previous

|

Next

|

Last

]

By Author:

[

First

|

Previous

|

Next

|

Last

]

Font:

Proportional Font

LISTSERV Archives

LISTSERV Archives

SCIENCE-FOR-THE-PEOPLE Home

SCIENCE-FOR-THE-PEOPLE Home

SCIENCE-FOR-THE-PEOPLE  October 2014

SCIENCE-FOR-THE-PEOPLE October 2014

Subject:

Re: FW: The Guardian: Eric Hobsbawm, et al.

From:

Carrol Cox <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Science for the People Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Sat, 25 Oct 2014 18:31:10 -0500

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (133 lines)

SHOCKED! SHOCKED!

:-)

Carrol


-----Original Message-----
From: Science for the People Discussion List [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Kamran Nayeri
Sent: Saturday, October 25, 2014 5:57 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: FW: The Guardian: Eric Hobsbawm, et al.

I am shocked! 

On Fri, Oct 24, 2014 at 9:27 PM, James in Cambridge <[log in to unmask]> wrote:



	http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/oct/24/mi5-spied-historians-eric-hobsbawm-christopher-hill-secret-files


	MI5 spied on leading British historians for decades, secret files reveal

	Eric Hobsbawm and Christopher Hill had phones tapped, correspondence intercepted and friends and wives monitored

	*	
		Richard Norton-Taylor <http://www.theguardian.com/profile/richardnortontaylor> 
	*	
	*	The Guardian <http://www.guardian.co.uk/theguardian> , Thursday 23 October 2014

	 British historian Eric Hobsbawm at work in January 1976<http://static.guim.co.uk/sys-images/Guardian/Pix/pictures/2014/10/23/1414089448020/British-historian-Eric-Ho-011.jpg> British historian Eric Hobsbawm at work in January 1976. Photograph: Wesley/Getty Images

	MI5 amassed hundreds of records on Eric Hobsbawm and Christopher Hill, two of Britain’s leading historians who were both once members of the Communist party, secret files have revealed.

	The scholars were subjected to persistent surveillance for decades as MI5 and police special branch officers tapped and recorded their telephone calls, intercepted their private correspondence and monitored their contacts, the files show. Some of the surveillance gave MI5 more details about their targets’ personal lives than any threat to national security.

	The files, released at the National Archives on Friday, reveal the extent to which MI5, including its most senior officers, secretly kept tabs on the personal and professional activities of communists and suspected communists, a task it began before the cold war. The papers also show that MI5 opened personal files on the popular Oxford historian AJP Taylor, the writer Iris Murdoch, and the moral philosopher Mary Warnock after they and Hill signed a letter supporting a march against the nuclear bomb in 1959.

	 Christopher Hill was a celebrated historian of the English civil war.<http://static.guim.co.uk/sys-images/Guardian/Pix/pictures/2014/10/23/1414090019066/6e9a31ab-1129-474c-8224-1e3d8909d48b-460x276.jpeg> Christopher Hill was a celebrated historian of the English civil war. Photograph: Jane Bown/Guardian

	Lady Warnock told the Guardian on Thursday night: “I’d love to see the file, or anybody’s file come to that, to see what was/is regarded as suspicious … I am completely taken aback and even faintly flattered.”

	Hobsbawm, who was refused access to his files when he asked to see them five years ago, died in 2012, and Hill died in 2009. Many passages, sometimes whole pages, of their files remain redacted and an entire file on Hobsbawm has been “temporarily retained”. The files include long lists of names and addresses of letters written by Hobsbawm and Hill.

	They make clear that MI5 frequently read – or was sent – copies of as many as 10 letters a day. At the same time, its officers, or special branch officers, or their informants – one of whom was given the codename Ratcatcher – were secretly taking notes of their phone calls and meetings.

	The files show that Hobsbawm, who became one of Britain’s most respected historians and was made a Companion of Honour by Tony Blair, first came to the notice of MI5 in 1942 when he and 38 colleagues were described as being “obvious members of the CPGB [the Communist party of Great Britain] on Merseyside”. He became number 211,764 on MI5’s index of personal files. Although he was cleared of “suspicion of engaging in subversive activities or propaganda in the army”, MI5 noted it was doubtful that he would be suitable for the Intelligence Corps. Roger Hollis, later head of MI5, and Valentine Vivian, the deputy chief of MI6, prevented him from joining the Foreign Office’s political intelligence department.

	At the end of the war, in July 1945, an MI5 officer noted: “As he is known to be in contact with communists I should be interested to see all his personal correspondence”.

	MI5 said the object of keeping checks on Hobsbawm was “to establish the identities of his contacts and to unearth overt or covert intellectual Communists who may be unknown to us”. Similarly, Hill was kept under surveillance, the files note, to establish “the identity of his contacts at the University [of Oxford] and in the cultural field generally, and to obtain the names of intellectuals sympathetic to the [Communist] party who may not already be known to us”.

	 Secret files on Eric Hobsbawm<http://static.guim.co.uk/sys-images/Guardian/Pix/pictures/2014/10/23/1414090259076/19d544a9-705f-4428-9688-5183c18f4de7-460x370.png> Secret files on Eric Hobsbawm. Photograph: National Archives

	Telephone intercepts disclosed that Hobsbawm and his family were friendly with Alan Nunn May – a British physicist who had confessed to spying for Russia and was released from jail in 1952 – and on one occasion put him up for the night. There is no evidence in the files of any attempt by either Hobsbawm or Hill to spy for Moscow or that the Russians were interested in them for any such purpose.

	One early file on Hobsbawm describes his uncle Harry, with whom he sometimes stayed, as “sneering, half Jew in appearance, having a long nose”.

	The surveillance intruded into the targets’ relationships. Hobsbawm is recorded in 1952 as having “difficulties with his [first] wife, who,” an MI5 officer noted, “does not consider him to be a fervent enough Communist”.

	A report in 1950 revealed how Hill’s first wife, Inez, was becoming “sick to death” of his Communist party affiliation, which she had previously shared. “There seems to be some reason to believe that she is not only fed up with her husband’s politics but also with her husband’s political activities, especially as his political sympathies lead him, according to her, to give a considerable amount of his money to the party,” the report stated. A subsequent report revealed she was having an affair with another Communist party official.

	Hobsbawm never left the Communist party but the MI5 files show he argued with the party leadership so strongly that it considered dismissing him, according to transcripts of MI5’s bugged conversations.

	 Writer Doris Lessing in 1957.<http://static.guim.co.uk/sys-images/Guardian/Pix/pictures/2014/10/23/1414091305630/3b01c96b-32c9-40c2-8059-ec8f81e280ac-bestSizeAvailable.jpeg> Writer Doris Lessing in 1957. Photograph: Hulton-Deutsch Collection/Corbis

	At a fraught meeting at the party’s headquarters at King Street in London’s Covent Garden, at the end of 1956, Hobsbawm, Hill and the writer Doris Lessing agreed to write a letter attacking the party leadership’s “uncritical support … to Soviet action in Hungary”, a reference to the crushing of the uprising there. That support, the letter explained, was “the undesirable culmination of years of distortion of facts”. Hill, who left the party a year later, used the phrase “the crimes of Stalin” at the meeting, according to the MI5 report. The party’s paper, the Daily Worker, refused to publish the letter which was later run by Tribune, the leftwing weekly.

	Unlike the very public manifestation of McCarthyism in the US, the discreet British version had its victims. Although political activities did not affect Hill’s academic career, Hobsbawm was prevented from getting the Cambridge lectureship he wanted. He was later appointed professor at Birkbeck College, London.

	The documents show that years later MI5 was furious with the BBC for allowing Hobsbawm to broadcast. In October 1962, an MI5 officer noted: “My BBC contact tells me that Hobsbawm is still an occasional contributor to the Third Programme … Some recent talks were entitled ‘Sicilian Peasant Risings’ and ‘Robin Hood’.” What is described as “slightly unexpected” was a series of talks on “Jazz”.

	Earlier that year, MI6 asked MI5 if they had any objection to telling the CIA that Hobsbawm was going on a tour of South America funded, to its surprise, by the Rockefeller Foundation (Hobsbawm had already visited Cuba). In a document marked Top Secret, dated 13 May 1963, MI5 told MI6: “A reliable and very delicate source has reported that Hobsbawm visited a number of countries.”

	The files also reveal that the FBI feared that the atom bomb pioneer Robert Oppenheimer would use a visit to Britain to defect to Russia. He had come under investigation in America for his leftwing sympathies and in 1954 the FBI urged MI5 to put him under surveillance if he entered the UK. In a cable from the US embassy, legal attache JA Cimperman wrote: “Information has been received that Oppenheimer may defect from France in September 1954. According to the source, Oppenheimer will first come to England and then go to France, where he will vanish into Soviet hands. No further details are available.”

	MI5 was anxious to assist. One officer noted: “Undoubtedly, if Oppenheimer came here under the shadow of reliable reports that he was possibly going to defect to the Russians, we should treat the matter as of major importance and in that light do what we could to help.” The warning proved to be a false alarm and no such attempt occurred.

	Hill, who became a celebrated historian of the English civil war and was later elected Master of Balliol College, Oxford, first came to MI5’s notice when he visited Russia as an undergraduate in 1935. On his return a year later, MI5 noted that Hill “has the appearance of a Communist; but his baggage which was searched by HM Customs, did not contain any subversive literature”.

	 Secret files on Christopher Hill<http://static.guim.co.uk/sys-images/Guardian/Pix/pictures/2014/10/23/1414090184411/264d76c0-294a-4987-8069-3b649ecb029e-364x420.png> Secret files on Christopher Hill. Photograph: National Archives

	The files show he was turned down after applying for a post in military intelligence. He “should not be employed as a lecturer to the Forces”, MI5 insisted in 1946.

	In 1953, MI5 described Hill as a “popular history don at Balliol … a Marxist and Communist party member”. It added, apparently with relief: “He does not, however, engage in Soviet studies. His period is the seventeenth century.”

	One file contains a copy of a letter to Tribune supporting an anti-nuclear bomb march organised for 27 November 1959. It was signed by Murdoch, Taylor and Warnock, as well as Hill. MI5 had opened personal files on all of them.

	Three years later, in October 1961, MI5 noted that Hill had become “a strong supporter of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament”. It added: “This fact, however, does not shed any light on his political sympathies, since very many shades of left wing opinion are opposed to nuclear weapons.”

	Lord Lipsey, who had been asked by Hobsbawm to inquire about the possibility of MI5 keeping files on him, said on Thursday: “As a supporter of increased openness I am at least delighted that these files have finally been released.”


	Eric Hobsbawm


	Born: Alexandria, June 1917
	Died: September 2012 
	Main Works:
	The Age of Revolution (1962)
	Industry and Empire (1968)
	The Age of Capital (1975)
	The Age of Empire (1987)
	The Age of Extremes (1994) 
	Interesting Times (2002)
	Globalisation, Democracy and Terrorism (2007)
	How to Change the World (2011) 
	(Hobsbawm also wrote The Jazz Scene (1959), originally under the pseudonym, Francis Newton)


	Christopher Hill


	Born: York, 1912
	Died: February 2003
	Main works:
	Economic Problems Of The Church (1955)
	Puritanism And Revolution (1958)
	Society And Puritanism In Pre-Revolutionary England (1964)
	Intellectual Origins Of The English Revolution (1965)
	God’s Englishman (1970)
	The Century Of Revolution (1961)
	Reformation To Industrial Revolution (1967).
	The World Turned Upside Down (1972)
	Milton And The English Revolution (1977)
	Some Intellectual Consequences Of The English Revolution (1980)
	The World Of The Muggletonians (1983)
	The Experience Of Defeat (1984)
	John Bunyan and His Church (1988)
	The English Bible In 17th-century England (1993)
	Liberty Against The Law (1996)

Top of Message | Previous Page | Permalink

Advanced Options


Options

Log In

Log In

Get Password

Get Password


Search Archives

Search Archives


Subscribe or Unsubscribe

Subscribe or Unsubscribe


Archives

May 2019
April 2019
March 2019
February 2019
January 2019
December 2018
November 2018
October 2018
September 2018
August 2018
July 2018
June 2018
May 2018
April 2018
March 2018
February 2018
January 2018
December 2017
November 2017
October 2017
September 2017
August 2017
July 2017
June 2017
May 2017
April 2017
March 2017
February 2017
January 2017
December 2016
November 2016
October 2016
September 2016
August 2016
July 2016
June 2016
May 2016
April 2016
March 2016
February 2016
January 2016
December 2015
November 2015
October 2015
September 2015
August 2015
July 2015
June 2015
May 2015
April 2015
March 2015
February 2015
January 2015
December 2014
November 2014
October 2014
September 2014
August 2014
July 2014
June 2014
May 2014
April 2014
March 2014
February 2014
January 2014
December 2013
November 2013
October 2013
September 2013
August 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013
December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
September 2012
August 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
March 2011
February 2011
January 2011
December 2010
November 2010
October 2010
September 2010
August 2010
July 2010
June 2010
May 2010
April 2010
March 2010
February 2010
January 2010
December 2009
November 2009
October 2009
September 2009
August 2009
July 2009
June 2009
May 2009
April 2009
March 2009
February 2009
January 2009
December 2008
November 2008
October 2008
September 2008
August 2008
July 2008
June 2008
May 2008
April 2008
March 2008
February 2008
January 2008
December 2007
November 2007
October 2007
September 2007
August 2007
July 2007
June 2007
May 2007
April 2007
March 2007
February 2007
January 2007
December 2006
November 2006
October 2006
September 2006
August 2006
July 2006
June 2006
May 2006
April 2006
March 2006
February 2006
January 2006
December 2005
November 2005
October 2005
September 2005
August 2005
July 2005
June 2005
May 2005
April 2005
March 2005
February 2005
January 2005
December 2004
November 2004
October 2004
September 2004
August 2004
July 2004
June 2004
May 2004
April 2004
March 2004
February 2004
January 2004
December 2003
November 2003
October 2003
September 2003
August 2003
July 2003
June 2003
May 2003
April 2003
March 2003
February 2003
January 2003
December 2002
November 2002
October 2002
September 2002
August 2002
July 2002
June 2002
May 2002
April 2002
March 2002
February 2002
January 2002
December 2001
November 2001
October 2001
September 2001
August 2001
May 2001
March 2001
February 2001
January 2001
December 2000
November 2000
October 2000
September 2000
August 2000
July 2000
May 2000
April 2000
March 2000
February 2000
January 2000
December 1999
November 1999
October 1999
September 1999
August 1999
July 1999
June 1999
May 1999
April 1999
March 1999
February 1999
January 1999
December 1998
November 1998
September 1998
August 1998
July 1998
June 1998
May 1998

ATOM RSS1 RSS2



LIST.UVM.EDU

CataList Email List Search Powered by the LISTSERV Email List Manager