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FTR #300 If Music Be the Food of Love, Munch On! Part 3

Serpent's WalkListen:
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NB: This RealAudio stream contains FTRs 299 and 300 in sequence. Each is a 30-minute broadcast.

1. The title of this program derives from a passage from the Nazi tract Serpent’s Walk. Like The Turner Diaries (also published by National Vanguard Books), the book seems to be a blueprint for a Nazi takeover of the United States (rather than a novel), set to take place in the middle of the 21st century. The book describes the Third Reich going underground, buying into the American media, and taking over the country. “It assumes that Hitler’s warrior elite – the SS – didn’t give up their struggle for a White world when they lost the Second World War. Instead their survivors went underground and adopted some of the tactics of their enemies: they began building their economic muscle and buying into the opinion-forming media. A century after the war they are ready to challenge the democrats and Jews for the hearts and minds of White Americans, who have begun to have their fill of government-enforced multi-culturalism and ‘equality.'” (From the back cover of Serpent’s Walk by “Randolph D. Calverhall;” Copyright 1991 [SC]; National Vanguard Books; 0-937944-05-X.)

2. This process is described in more detail in a passage of text, consisting of a discussion between Wrench (a member of this Underground Reich) and a mercenary named Lessing. “The SS . . . what was left of it . . . had business objectives before and during World War II. When the war was lost they just kept on, but from other places: Bogota, Asuncion, Buenos Aires, Rio de Janeiro, Mexico City, Colombo, Damascus, Dacca . . . you name it. They realized that the world is heading towards a ‘corporacracy;’ five or ten international super-companies that will run everything worth running by the year 2100. Those super-corporations exist now, and they’re already dividing up the production and marketing of food, transport, steel and heavy industry, oil, the media, and other commodities. They’re mostly conglomerates, with fingers in more than one pie . . . . We, the SS, have the say in four or five. We’ve been competing for the past sixty years or so, and we’re slowly gaining . . . . About ten years ago, we swung a merger, a takeover, and got voting control of a supercorp that runs a small but significant chunk of the American media. Not openly, not with bands and trumpets or swastikas flying, but quietly: one huge corporation cuddling up to another one and gently munching it up, like a great, gubbing amoeba. Since then we’ve been replacing executives, pushing somebody out here, bringing somebody else in there. We’ve swing program content around, too. Not much, but a little, so it won’t show. We’ve cut down on ‘nasty-Nazi’ movies . . . good guys in white hats and bad guys in black SS hats . . . lovable Jews versus fiendish Germans . . . and we have media psychologists, ad agencies, and behavior modification specialists working on image changes. (Ibid.; pp. 42-43.)

3. Before turning directly to the subject of music, the broadcast addresses the gradual remaking of the image of the Third Reich that is represented in Serpent’s Walk. In the discussion excerpted above, this process is further described. “Hell, if you can con granny into buying Sugar Turds instead of Bran Farts, then why can’t you swing public opinion over to a cause as vital and important as ours?’ . . . In any case, we’re slowly replacing those negative images with others: the ‘Good Bad Guy’ routine’ . . . ‘What do you think of Jesse James? John Dillinger? Julius Caesar? Genghis Khan?’ . . . The reality may have been rough, but there’s a sort of glitter about most of those dudes: mean honchos but respectable. It’s all how you package it. Opinion is a godamned commodity!’ . . . It works with anybody . . . Give it time. Aside from the media, we’ve been buying up private schools . . . and helping some public ones through philanthropic foundations . . .and working on the churches and the Born Agains.” (Ibid.; pp. 42-44.)

4. The gradual remaking of the image of the Third Reich through the media and a resultant process of behavior modification is suggested in a syndicated column that is the next topic of discussion. “The forthcoming movie ‘Tomb Raider,’ opening June 15, is a case in point; it flirts with what might be called Nazi Chic. The March 26 issue of Time magazine features a photo of actress Angelina Jolie playing superheroine Lara Croft. She is decked in terminatrix black, and on her gold belt buckle is what looks unmistakably like the skull and crossbones symbol of the Nazi Schutzstaffel, or SS. That’s right, the Totenkopf – death’s head – of the German killer elite. John C. Zimmermann is the author of ‘Holocaust Denial,’ a book detailing public unwillingness to accept the truth about the 6 million martyrs. Zimmerman notes that some people, even now, are ‘sucked into the pageantry’ of Nazism. He speculates that the ‘Tomb Raider’ makers took an initial liking to the tough-punk style of the Totenkopf emblem without realizing what it was. And that’s part of the problem. ‘A lot of people now are ignorant of history,’ Zimmerman explains. But that makes it all the more important, he continues, for popular culture producers to “be careful about handling symbols, about anything that may tend to give Nazism legitimacy.’ Such concern brings to mind another film-in-progress. Jodie Foster is working on a biopic of Leni Riefenstahl, director of such Nazi ‘classics’ as ‘Triumph of the Will.’ In an interview with the London Daily Telegraph last year, Foster explained her attraction to Riefenstahl, still alive at 98: ‘I’ve been interested in Leni for many many years. . . . She is an extraordinary woman – sharp as a tack and as beautiful as she ever was, with a tremendous body.’ Foster’s word choices reveal much about the true nature of Nazi Chic. People today don’t believe in National Socialism or in exterminating Jews. But the legacy of Nazism, in all its flamboyant evil, is an outrageous aesthetic that plays well in an outrageous culture. That is, in a society that’s seen it all, perhaps it’s only Nazism that still has the power to shock and stun. Such impact-imagery is worth a lot to those selling books or movie tickets or fashion. Susan Sontag made this point in her 1975 essay ‘Fascinating Fascism.'” (“The Hot New Allure of Nazi Chic” by James P. Pinkerton; San Francisco Chronicle; 4/20/2001; p. A23.)

5. Next, the broadcast highlights the utilization of music as a vehicle for introducing young people to fascism and desensitizing them and/or converting them. A recent article in the Italian press underscored the importance of rock music to contemporary fascist groups. “Concerts and compact discs have replaced leaflets and poster. Recruitment of young people into the extreme right now happens through music. Massimo Morsello, the leader of Forza Nuova, was formerly a singer for the Salo Republic and was described as the fascist de Gregori. [The band Salo Republic is named after Mussolini’s last ditch, rump fascist government that was established in Northern Italy under German protection near the end of the war.] His [Morsello’s] record company, Rupe Tarpea, owns Londinium SPQR, the label of Francesco Pallottino. Pallottino was involved in the probe into the assault on two young leftists by two skinhead brothers in Capranica Cinema in Rome. Pallottino, acquitted on all charges, lives in London and works for [Roberto] Fiore and Morsello’s company, Meeting Point. Meeting Point is a travel agency and travelers’ aid society that organizes concerts in England and finds work for young foreigners. Marcello de Angelis, the editor of the Alleanza Nationale magazine Area, has a band called 270 Bis. De Angelis, Fiore, and Morsello were all convicted under Article 270, which prohibits associations for the purpose of terrorism.” (“Ein! Zwei! Drei! . . . Everybody Sing!” by Peter Gomez; L’Espresso; 1/11/2001; p. 56.)

6. Recently, Bertelsmann (a major focal point of this series) ended its talks with EMI concerning a Bertelsmann-controlled merger. “Merger talks between EMI Group PLC and the music unit of Bertelsmann AG collapsed amid regulatory resistance, slamming the door on consolidation among the five music ‘majors’ for the foreseeable future, say music-industry officials.” (“EMI, Bertelsmann Unit End Merger Talks” by Charles Goldsmith, William Boston and Martin Peers; Wall Street Journal; 5/2/2001; p. A25.)

7. Bertelsmann’s projected moves to vault it into first place in the music business are discussed in FTR-303. FTR-300 turns next to discussion of Zomba records (20% owned by Bertelsmann.) This firm was seen as a major player in the unsuccessful negotiations between Bertelsmann and EMI. Zomba is an unusually secretive firm, its founder shunning publicity and the firm’s web site failing to give a business address or phone number! Zomba head Clive Calder is a native of South Africa (having grown up there during the Apartheid regime.) “As the founder of Zomba, which over the pat 20-odd years has grown into one of the world’s biggest independent music groups, Mr. Calder has been able to go about his business in relative obscurity. Mr. Calder’s assistant politely declined a request for an interview with the Financial Times, saying he was not ready to make an exception to his ‘long-standing no-interview policy.’ However, he now finds himself thrust into the spotlight as a central figure in the discussions between two of his rivals to create the world’s largest music group. . . .Close friends and associates of Mr. Calder remain intensely loyal and are uncomfortable talking about him behind his back – even if it is to pile on the compliments, of which there are many. Indeed, it is hard to find anyone with a bad word to say about this man, who has achieved a near-mythical status in the business. Perhaps that is the genius of a no-press policy. Details of his corporate history are almost as scarce. His press office keeps a tight rein on the flow of information out of the company and zealously guards his privacy. Websites for his businesses feature only the artists. There are no ‘about us’ links, not even a contact address or telephone number. So who is Clive Calder? He was born In South Africa and is now 54. He founded Zomba in London in the late 1970’s, when he began a career in which he has managed stars such as Billy Ocean, Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince and A Tribe Called Quest. . . . He has already been drawn into the discussions between EMI and BMG because part of his own company is at stake. BMG has a 20 per cent shareholding in Zomba, which is now based in New York. . . . BMG owns the North American distribution rights for Jive, a hugely profitable label that is said to account for as much as a quarter of BMG’s revenues in the U.S. and the same proportion of its worldwide market share.” (“A Spotlight Turns on the Recluse” by Ashling O’Connor; Financial Times; 2/23/2001; p. 12.)

8. Mr. Calder’s South African genesis is interesting to contemplate in the context of his reclusive nature and the relatively secretive nature of his business. The apartheid regime of South Africa and the elite core of its governmental and commercial infrastructure (the Broederbond) have very strong historical and institutional connections to the Third Reich. The Broederbond was allied with Nazi Germany during the Second World War and a Third Reich agent, Graf Durkheim von Montmartin, was dispatched to reorganize the organization along the lines of the NSDAP (the German Nazi party.) The Broederbond and the apartheid regime remained very close to what is called the Underground Reich. In light of Zomba’s connection to BMG (Bertelsmann’s music division), Calder’s South African birth, the South Africa/Nazi connection and the secretive nature of Calder and his operations, it is not unreasonable to ask whether Zomba might be a Bormann company.

9. Another major element of discussion concerns Vivendi, the parent company of Universal Music. Vivendi is a major French corporation, having been founded by Napoleon III as a principal government utility contractor. It was transformed into a media giant by its CEO Jean-Marie Messier. “For nearly a century and a half, Compagnie Generale des Eaux lived under the shadow of Napoleon III, whose imperial decree created the company to manage the sewerage and waterworks of the French state. So when Jean-Marie Messier. . . became chairman in 1996, he inherited a sprawling state contractor with 2,714 subsidiaries, which did everything from pumping water through Paris to building generators in China, to supplying school canteens in Normandy, to exterminating pests in Papua New Guinea. Since then Mr. Messier has proved to be a businessman with imperial ambitions of his own. Over the past five years, he has sold out of sewerage and power and bought into music and movies, trading in the company’s 148-year history in infrastructure for an unpredictable future on the internet. Approximately $27bn) worth of businesses have been sold, and the historic water business was split off last year. The Generale des Eaux name has been dispensed with, traded in for Vivendi—a name invented by consultants. With last year’s $34bn acquisition of Seagram, the Canadian group which owned the Universal entertainment businesses, Mr. Messier emerged as the chairman of the world’s second largest media group. . . . The old water company now touches the lives of hundreds of millions of people around the world: Universal Music’s roster of stars includes Abba, Bob Marley and Eminem: Universal’s studios boast such hits as Gladiator, The Grinch and out this week is Bridget Jones’s Diary; Canal Plus is the largest pan-European pay-TV group; other business interests, such as USA Networks and Vizzavi, a joint venture portal with Vodafone, give it access to most of the developed world.” (“Ambitious Emperor Strives to Ride a Narrow Path” by James Harding and Jo Johnson; Financial Times; 4/3/2001; p. 20.)

10. Past discussion of Bertelsmann has set forth strong circumstantial evidence that the firm is probably a Bormann company. The economic and political component of a Third Reich gone underground, the Bormann organization controls corporate Germany and much of the rest of the world.

11. Vivendi’s prominence in the media world is significant in the context of German (and underground Reich) corporate control over the American media. As discussed in FTR-278 (among other broadcasts), the French economy remained under German control, even after German armies left France in front of the advancing Allies. This control had its genesis with the close cooperation that existed between the German and French financial and industrial establishments prior to the Second World War.

12. “In the years before the war, the German businessmen, industrialists, and bankers had established close ties with their counterparts in France. After the blitzkrieg and invasion, the same Frenchmen in many cases went on working with their German peers. They didn’t have much choice, to be sure, and the occupation being instituted, very few in the high echelons of commerce and finance failed to collaborate. The Third Republic’s business elite was virtually unchanged after 1940 . . . They regarded the war and Hitler as an unfortunate diversion from their chief mission of preventing a communist revolution in France. Antibolshevism was a common denominator linking these Frenchmen to Germans, and it accounted for a volunteer French division on the Eastern Front. . .The upper-class men who had been superbly trained in finance and administration at one of the two grand corps schools were referred to as France’s permanent ‘wall of money,’ and as professionals they came into their own in 1940. They agreed to the establishment of German subsidiary firms in France and permitted a general buy-in to French companies.” (Martin Bormann: Nazi in Exile; Paul Manning; Copyright 1981 [HC]; Lyle Stuart Inc.; ISBN 0-8184-0309-8; pp. 70-71.)

13. The German economic control of the French economy proceeded smoothly into the postwar period. “Society’s natural survivors, French version, who had served the Third Reich as an extension of German industry, would continue to do so in the period of postwar trials, just as they had survived the war, occupation, and liberation. These were many of the French elite, the well-born, the propertied, the titled, the experts, industrialists, businessmen, bureaucrats, bankers. . . . Economic collaboration in France with the Germans had been so widespread (on all levels of society) that there had to be a realization that an entire nation could not be brought to trial. Only a few years before, there had been many a sincere and well-meaning Frenchman—as in Belgium, England, and throughout Europe – who believed National Socialism to be the wave of the future, indeed, the only hope for curing the many desperate social, political, and economic ills of the time. France, along with other occupied countries, did contribute volunteers for the fight against Russia. Then there were many other Frenchmen, the majority, who resignedly felt there was no way the Germans could be pushed back across the Rhine.” (Ibid.; p. 30.)

14. Long after the war, the Bormann organization continued to wield effective control of the French economy, utilizing the corporate relationships developed before and during the occupation. “The characteristic secrecy surrounding the actions of German industrialists and bankers during the final nine months of the war, when Bormann’s flight capital program held their complete attention, was also carried over into the postwar years, when they began pulling back the skeins of economic wealth and power that stretched out to neutral nations of the world and to formerly occupied lands. There was a suggestion of this in France. Flora Lewis, writing from Paris in the New York Times of August 28, 1972, told of her conversation with a French publisher: ‘It would not be possible to trace ownership of corporations and the power structure as in the United States. ‘They’ would not permit it. ‘They’ would find a way to hound and torture anyone who tried,’ commented the publisher. ‘They’ seem to be a fairly small group of people who know each other, but many are not at all known to the public. ‘They’ move in and out of government jobs, but public service apparently serves to win private promotion rather than the other way around. The Government ‘control’ that practically everyone mentions cannot be traced through stock holdings, regulatory agencies, public decisions. It seems to function through a maze of personal contacts and tacit understandings.’ The understandings arrived at in the power structure of France reach back to prewar days, were continued during the occupation, and have carried over to the present time. Lewis, in her report from Paris, commented further: ‘This hidden control of government and corporations has produced a general unease in Paris.’ Along with the unease, the fact that France has lingering and serious social and political ailments is a residue of World War II and of an economic occupation that was never really terminated with the withdrawal of German troops beyond the Rhine. It was this special economic relationship between German and French industrialists that made it possible for Friedrich Flick to arrange with the De-Wendel steel firm in France for purchase of his shares in his Ruhr coal combine for $45 million, which was to start him once more on the road back to wealth and power, after years in prison following his conviction at Nuremberg. West Germany’s economic power structure is fueled by a two-tier system: the corporations and individuals who publicly represent the products that are common household names around the world, and the secretive groups operating in the background as holding companies and who pull the threads of power in overseas corporations established during the Bormann tenure in the Third Reich. As explained to me, ‘These threads are like the strands of a spider’s web and no one knows where they lead – except the inner circle of the Bormann organization in South America.'” (Ibid.; pp. 271-272.)

15. As documented above, Vivendi is an old and very important French company. Noting the close relationship between Vivendi and the French government and, in turn, the close relationship between the French government and the hidden networks of Bormann economic power, it seems probable that Vivendi is heavily involved with the Bormann organization. Its phenomenal growth in the world of global media is, therefore to be watched closely in the context of the line of inquiry being developed in this program. As discussed in FTR #’s 261 and 263, Bertelsmann CEO Thomas Middelhoff is a close personal friend of Vivendi CEO Jean-Marie Messier and, until very recently, was a member of Vivendi’s board of directors.

16. Middelhoff recently resigned his position as a director of Vivendi, in order to prevent possible conflicts of interest from angering EU regulators. (That would hinder the expansionist goals of both Vivendi and Bertelsmann.) “Thomas Middelhoff, chief executive of Bertelsmann, is stepping down from the board of Vivendi Universal in what is likely to presage a clean-up of the relationship between Europe’s two largest media groups. The departure of Mr. Middelhoff comes as Bertelsmann, the privately owned German group, and Vivendi Universal, the French media company, discuss deals covering the television, publishing and music businesses. Talks are understood to be under way aimed at creating a pen-European company focused on the acquisition of sports rights. The venture would be owned by Canal Plus, the pay-TV group controlled by Vivendi Universal, RTL Group, the European broadcaster controlled by Bertelsmann, and JC Darmon, the sports communications group. Vivendi Universal is considering selling to Bertelsmann its 50 per cent stake in France Loisirs, the French book club half-owned by the German group. Bertelsmann is thinking about selling its stake in GetMusic.com, the online music joint venture between Bertelsmann Music Group and Universal Music. The discussions underline the close relationship between Mr. Middelhoff and Jean Marie-Messier, Vivendi chief executive . . . Mr. Middelhoff and Mr. Messier have been intertwined in each other’s successes as chief executives seeking to transform their companies.” (“Middelhoff to Leave Board of Vivendi Universal” by James Harding and Jo Johnson; Financial Times; 3/14/2001; p. 15.)

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