Happy January, ya filthy animals. Hope this year is treating you well. For me at least, 2018 was a weird one. I had a book published, got an agent, spent six months near the Parc du cinquantenaire, saw Paris, spent some time with the head of the Polish armaments industry, and got a whole new angle on the existential angst of lonely professional diplomats.
Looks like 2019 is going to be completely different, with a considerably deeper emphasis on staring moodily out the window of a city centre apartment while holding a glass of whisky and thinking deep thoughts.
So while that’s brewing here’s some links to interesting stuff around the internet. It’s a weird and wonderful world out there. Don’t kill yourself thirty seconds before the miracle.
It’s finally out. My book about the Katanga secession of the early 1960s is available in paperback for the first time on 6 December 2018. The hardback is sold out so this is the only option for those who don’t do ebooks.
For completists, the paperback is pretty much the same as the original text, with a few minor changes thrown in. Katanga 1960-63 tells, for the first time, the full story of the Congolese province that declared independence in 1960 and found itself at war with the world.
The Congo had no intention of allowing the renegade region to secede, and neither did the CIA, the KGB, or the United Nations.
The civil conflict in Ukraine saw foreign volunteers join both sides. Kiev loyalists like Right Sector and the Azov Battalion attracted out-and-proud neo-Nazis from across Europe. The separatists in Novorossiya got enthusiasts for the Orthodox Church, Slavic brotherhood, and fringier parts of the far-right.
Our man in Belgrade has got in touch with some information about two volunteers for the separatists who’ve been all over the Serbian media recently. One is a a drug dealing lesbian sniper nun, and the other a Hungarian pagan ex-con merc from Brazil turned monk. Yes, you read that right.
The revelations about the pair have alienated friends and left their political cheerleaders baffled. Read on for some real-life chunks of strangeness that will either warm your heart or raise your blood pressure, depending on what political and spiritual sector you inhabit.
Some more information has come to light about the political and legal mess surrounding French and Serbian volunteers from the far-right Unité Continentale group. They fought for the Novorossiya separatists in East Ukraine a few years back and now the Serb authorities are taking action.
A Serb contact talked about the UC group’s actions in Ukraine and the legal fall out that followed. He’s got some more information to add that sheds light on the complex story of Paris-based far-righters, Serb monarchists, and a war still smouldering in the East of Ukraine.
It’s a world of back-stabbing, rival fascist leaders, and unnecessary cruelty to pets. Watch out.
A short while ago a Serb contact got in touch to talk about the adventures of Unité Continentale, a France-based far-right outfit which sent volunteers to fight for the separatists in Ukraine. The unit achieved little except bad publicity and was disbanded by the Novorossiya authorities not long after it arrived.
Recent months have brought problems for Unité Continentale over its volunteer recruitment, some of which took place in Serbia. The authorities took action and some people got arrested.
Here’s the view on the situation from our man in Serbia.
Here’s a slice of fiction about a seductive stranger, a black forest, and a crew on an existential heist. If you get lost in the woods leave a breadcrumb trail. It might save your life.
Written in pieces over a long time with some help from a vodka poster, a Russian documentary, and a mention of Eastern Bloc sci-fi in a magazine. Finished a few years back.
Rated MATURE for drug use and some disturbing imagery. Well, it disturbed me.
Normal non-fiction service resumed soon.
In 1936 civil war erupted in Spain. Right-wing generals tried to overthrow a leftist government and the violence quickly turned into a symbolic battle between fascism and communism. The fighting dragged in foreigners from many different countries.
The left-wing volunteers who came from around the world to fight for the Spanish government are well known, but foreigners also joined the other side. I wrote a book about it.
More information about Franco’s foreigners is coming to light every day. The niece of a British volunteer got in touch about her uncle, who deserted the Royal Navy at Gibraltar to join the Foreign Legion. An aristocratic Belgian pilot is commemorated on a memorial in the centre of Brussels. Now a new book is out about South African Pieter Krueler, a far-right Boer embittered by the deaths of his family in the Anglo-Boer War. In June 1937, already in his fifties, he offered his services to Franco.
The experience disillusioned Krueler so badly that he joined the other side. So he claimed.