Malicious Assured Destruction: Cold War to Cyber War

In this episode of The Aidan Project, Aidan is joined on the line from Israel by Ran Levi, an accomplished science author and podcaster. In this episode, Aidan and Ran discuss Ronald Reagan’s ambitious Strategic Defence Initiative, known as ‘Star Wars’, which came to prominence towards the end of the Cold War. Aidan and Ran also look at ‘Mutual Assured Destruction’ – did the nuclear balancing act of the Super Powers mean that nuclear war was prevented? This episode also features a look at how warfare has developed since the demise of the USSR, the use of cyber-attacks rather than conventional military action, what steps Israel has taken to counter terrorism, the audacious Israel/US malware attack on Iran (Stuxnet), Israeli national identity, national service, and a number of other interesting topics. Ran is the host of one of Podbean‘s top ten technology podcasts of 2016, ‘The Curious Minds Podcast’, and his ‘Making History’ podcast is one of the most successful podcasts in Israel, with over five million downloads. Born in Israel in 1975, Ran studied electrical engineering, and has worked as an electronics engineer and programmer for several high tech companies in Israel. Ran has written three books in Hebrew, ‘Perpetuum Mobile’, ‘The Little University of Science’, and ‘Battle of Minds’.  You can find Ran on Twitter @ranlevi or visit his web site at www.ranlevi.com

George Orwell Versus Alternative Facts

In this edition of the Aidan Project Podcast, Aidan is joined by Richard Keeble, who is none other than the Chairman of the Orwell Society. Richard is a retired Professor of Journalism at the University of Lincoln and has written extensively about Orwell, including a critical assessment of Orwell’s war reporting, and also wrote a chapter in the 2012 book, Orwell Today, which he also edited, looking at Orwell’s complex relationship with the intelligence services. Richard and Aidan look at Orwell’s two most famous works, Animal Farm and Nineteen Eighty-Four (and the latter’s huge spike in sales), and discuss what Orwell would have made of “alternative facts” in the new media age. Would Orwell be blogging online, attacking Kellyanne Conway and Sean Spicer for their doublethink with his unique command of language? We also discuss Orwell’s life, his schooling, the shooting of an elephant in Burma, being wounded in Spain, his tremendous wit and his untimely death, in addition to discussing separating fact from fiction in his work, and much more besides. He (or she) who listens to this podcast will know the future. But you might not be able to control the past. For more information on The Orwell Society, please visit http://www.orwellsociety.com/

Denying the Holocaust

In this edition of The Aidan Project Podcast, Aidan is joined by documentary filmmaker, Frances Harper, alongside Richard Payne, to discuss Holocaust denial. The famous libel trial of David Irving v Penguin Books and Deborah Lipstadt was recently brought to the silver screen. The trial is noted for the utter destruction of Irving, featuring an uncompromisingly brutal assessment of his dishonesty by the trial judge. Away from this court battle – which Irving himself took to trial, having taken umbrage at the book, ‘Denying the Holocaust’, which painted him as a dangerous Holocaust denier – is there any limit that society should place on free speech? What can be made of German law, whereby Holocaust denial is a criminal offence? Is the best way of defeating a bad idea to suppress it or engage it? Are some claims too obscene to be allowed in public discourse? Following a short review of the film, these questions are explored and debated.

The Spanish Civil War

With a very special guest, Dave McCall, The Aidan Project Podcast looks at the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939). Taking the nomme de plume of David Ebsworth, Dave is an acclaimed historical fiction author, and a member of the Historical Novel Society, the International Brigades Memorial Trust, the Anglo-Zulu War Historical Society, New Writers UK, and the Alliance of Independent Authors. For many historians, the Spanish Civil War marks the real start of World War 2. What is the merit of this argument? What type of man was Franco? Can he be compared with the leaders of the Axis powers? What were the typical experiences of the many men and women from across the world who volunteered to fight for either side? What can be made of British policy during the war not to intervene? George Orwell wrote that he traveled to Spain to fight for ‘common decency’. The Aidan Project explains why, despite Orwell’s best efforts to defend the Republic, it was a losing battle.

The Art of Terror

In this episode, The Art of Terror, I will be looking at the War on Terror, in addition to Edmund Clark’s thought-provoking exhibition at the Imperial War Museum, London, entitled War *of* Terror. This adapted name is quite deliberate, as will become clear within this episode. The artist-photographer, Clark, has visited Guantanamo Bay, along with the homes of persons who have been held under house arrest here in the United Kingdom. In a world in which ISIS and other groups sympathetic to the Jihadist cause are committing regular atrocities in the Middle East and, indeed, much closer to ‘home’, Western-speaking, we must surely offer strong support for robust governmental action to tackle terrorism. But – and this is the key – it needs to be effective and proportionate. Is it really a case of no pain, no gain? Is torture ever morally acceptable? Indeed, can the War on Terror ever be fought with our morals intact? This episode also looks at the West’s best options for tackling extremism; options which, frustratingly, are being suffocated by the ‘regressive left’. Furthermore, and very much linked to the work of would-be reformers, the power of belief in the supernatural is a significant factor in the War on Terror, which this episode explores in detail. Did George W. Bush’s belief in God lead to the invasion of Iraq? Thank you for tuning in. You can follow my work on Twitter @theaidanproject.