Fake Newz Kills

youtube-Logo-2gc2reddit-logoOff the keyboard of Ugo Bardi

Follow us on Twitter @doomstead666
Friend us on Facebook

Published on Cassandra's Legacy on July 19, 2017

cassandra_retouched

Discuss this article at the History Table inside the Diner

When Fake News Kill. Mata Hari, the Spy Who Never Was

 
 

 

One century after her death, Mata Hari remains for us the prototypical figure of the female spy. An extreme case of “femme fatale”; she is seen as someone who not only seduced men for her lust of money and power, but also for the greater lust of having them killed by the thousands on the battlefield. But she never was what she was said to be. Rather, she was one of the first victims of what we call today "fake news," also known as "propaganda", a set of techniques of mass manipulation being developed at that time and which today have reached near perfection. 

A hundred years ago, on July 24, 1917, Margaretha Gertruida Zelle, known as Mata Hari, was sentenced to death by a military court in Paris on the accusation of being a spy for the Germans. She was said to have passed to them information that caused the death of “maybe fifty thousand French soldiers.”. She was shot a few months later.

 
Today, looking back at the acts of the trial, we can easily see the absurdity and the inconsistency of the accusations. If there ever was an example of a court of Marsupials, that was it. There just was no way that Mata Hari could have done what she was accused to have done. She was, rather, a scapegoat killed in order to distract the public in a moment when the war was going badly for France. Put simply: she was framed. It was one of the first examples of the deadly effects of propaganda (also known today as "fake news) which, at that time, was just starting to become a common feature of our world.

 

The trial was the endpoint of a career of dancer and performer that Margaretha Zelle had started when she came back to Europe from Indonesia, at that time called the "Dutch Indies". She had spent just a few years there as the wife of a Dutch Officer but that was sufficient for her to pick up something of the local culture that allowed her to claim that she was Buddhist. She also learned enough of the local language to be able to choose  "Mata Hari" as her stage name, meaning (it seems) "The Light of Dawn". As a dancer, Mata Hari drew a lot of criticism at her times and it is likely that her dances were little more than strip teases with an Oriental flavor. Yet, she became very popular in Europe after she gave her first performance in Paris, in 1905.

As years went by, Mata Hari gradually gave up with stripping naked in public and she was said to have become a high-rank courtesan, seducing the rich and the famous (that, too, may be clouded by propaganda). During the war, she may have tried her hand at being also a secret agent, but it seems more likely that she was simply framed. In a certain way, the French and the German secret services collaborated in sending her to face the firing squad. The German saw her as a "propaganda point" to show how evil the French were in killing an innocent woman, while the French saw the trial as a way to show how tough they were against traitors (and traitoresses).

The trial and the detention of Mata Hari were a showcase of cruelty and intimidation. The last pictures we have of her show us no more the dancer that she used to be, but a woman physically destroyed by months of life in jail. After the execution, Mata Hari received also the ultimate insult, that of being denied a decent burial, of having her dead body dissected on a hospital table and having the pieces thrown away. They say that her mummified head was kept for some years in the museum of anatomy in Paris, before it was, too, thrown away and lost. She was denied the status of human being and considered rather as a sort of giant insect to be disposed of. The transformation of human beings into insects and their subsequent extermination is something that Kafka had already prophetically described in his story “the metamorphosis”.

In later times the anthropologist Roy Rappaport defined as “diabolical lies” those lies that “tamper with the very fabric of reality”. Today, we call those lies with the more neutral term of "fake news", as if they were just a fad that comes and goes. But fake news can kill and one of their victims was Mata Hari. The deadly mix of nationalism and propaganda that killed her was to continue and to explode in later years with the 2nd world war, leading Europe into the largest exterminations of innocent people that history has (so far) recorded. Mata Hari was among the first to be engulfed by this wave of senseless killing. She was killed in cold blood by people who were, most likely, perfectly aware that she was innocent.

 

It may well be that Mata Hari’s Oriental stance was not just a veneer to ennoble a little her strip teases, but it may also be that she had seriously studied Buddhism and other oriental ways while in the Dutch Indies. Her behavior at her execution, her calm, her evident belief that death was simply a passage, may tell us that her Buddhism was not just a pose but something that she had taken by heart. A hundred years later, we may still learn something from her story.

 

These notes are based mainly on the book by Rusell Warren Howe, "Mata-Hari. The true story". Editions de l'Archipel, Paris 2007, and on the near contemporary report by Emile Massard "Espionnes À Paris" (Gallimard, 1922), but there is lot of material on her story. Whereas earlier on there was still some discussion on whether she could really have been a spy, today the prevalent opinion is that she wasn't. 

 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Knarf plays the Doomer Blues

https://image.freepik.com/free-icon/musical-notes-symbols_318-29778.jpg

Support the Diner
Search the Diner
Surveys & Podcasts

NEW SURVEY

Renewable Energy

VISIT AND FOLLOW US ON DINER SOUNDCLOUD

" As a daily reader of all of the doomsday blogs, e.g. the Diner, Nature Bats Last, Zerohedge, Scribbler, etc… I must say that I most look forward to your “off the microphone” rants. Your analysis, insights, and conclusions are always logical, well supported, and clearly articulated – a trifecta not frequently achieved."- Joe D
Archives
Global Diners

View Full Diner Stats

Global Population Stats

Enter a Country Name for full Population & Demographic Statistics

Lake Mead Watch

http://si.wsj.net/public/resources/images/NA-BX686_LakeMe_G_20130816175615.jpg

loading

Inside the Diner

Quote from: cernunnos5 on Today at 07:57:35 PMLets not get "Highly" distracted. I'm not back. Just chiming in. I'm not motivated to write in the slightest at the moment. Burned myself out some. Just pointing out,"Hemp"....

Lets not get "Highly" distracted. I'm not back. Just chiming in. I'm not motivated to write in the slightest at the moment. Burned myself out some. Just pointing out,"Hemp". A oiled source of high protein that grows like a weed and stores through a win...

Quote from: Eddie on Today at 06:41:12 PMTools are best bought soon. Good hand tools will be priceless and unobtainable if BAU does collapse. I don't have as many as a I should have. But I'm a buyer of tools. I'm adding a...

Quote from: Eddie on Today at 06:41:12 PMQuote from: David B. on Today at 04:20:14 PMI'm really enjoying reading about other doomer's financial strategies. GO is way out of my league. Eddie ...

Quote from: cernunnos5 on Today at 06:33:28 PMYou folks might appreciate...MrsC5 got here hemp license this year. We ave a twentieth of an acre test plot going. Its a hobby experiment. She is curious about fiber. I am ...

Diner Twitter feed

Knarf’s Knewz

Quote from: Eddie on March 13, 2018, 05:21:10 PMAl [...]

Quote from: knarf on March 13, 2018, 03:33:01 PMAU [...]

Quote from: knarf on March 13, 2018, 03:25:04 PM [...]

A new study found that the Great Recession correla [...]

From 2003 to 2005, Gina Haspel was a senior offici [...]

Diner Newz Feeds
  • Surly
  • Agelbert
  • Knarf
  • Golden Oxen
  • Frostbite Falls

Quote from: cernunnos5 on July 22, 2018, 07:57:35 [...]

A few years back, we watched Alberta and BC burn. [...]

Quote from: cernunnos5 on July 22, 2018, 07:57:35 [...]

Quote from: cernunnos5 on July 22, 2018, 06:33:28 [...]

Quote from: Eddie on March 13, 2018, 05:21:10 PMAl [...]

Quote from: knarf on March 13, 2018, 03:33:01 PMAU [...]

Quote from: knarf on March 13, 2018, 03:25:04 PM [...]

A new study found that the Great Recession correla [...]

From 2003 to 2005, Gina Haspel was a senior offici [...]

Quote from: Eddie on Today at 06:41:12 PMTools are [...]

Quote from: Eddie on Today at 06:41:12 PMQuote fro [...]

Quote from: David B. on Today at 04:20:14 PMI [...]

Quote from: Eddie on Today at 01:47:32 PMQuote fro [...]

If you CAN'T create a money surplus, you can [...]

Whatever weather Mother Nature gives us, it'l [...]

Quote from: Surly1 on July 22, 2018, 05:05:27 AMNi [...]

Nice to see you back dipping your oar back in the [...]

Collapse is in full swing. Don't worry. We [...]

Alternate Perspectives
  • Two Ice Floes
  • Jumping Jack Flash
  • From Filmers to Farmers

A Near Death Experience: Back from the Brink By Cognitive Dissonance   In an odd sort of way I am fa [...]

Bob By Cognitive Dissonance     Mrs. Cog has an ironclad rule honed and confirmed by decades of expe [...]

Some Thoughts from the Front Lines By Casey Stengel Editor - One of the ways we avoid catastrophe fa [...]

It Takes a Village… By Cognitive Dissonance     Mrs. Cog and I live at the end of a dead end private [...]

Shadows by Cognitive Dissonance   Elevation changes the way the sun and atmosphere interact. In the [...]

Event Update For 2018-07-20http://jumpingjackflashhypothesis.blogspot.com/2012/02/jumping-jack-flash-hypothesis-its-gas.htmlThe [...]

Event Update For 2018-07-19http://jumpingjackflashhypothesis.blogspot.com/2012/02/jumping-jack-flash-hypothesis-its-gas.htmlThe [...]

Event Update For 2018-07-18http://jumpingjackflashhypothesis.blogspot.com/2012/02/jumping-jack-flash-hypothesis-its-gas.htmlThe [...]

Event Update For 2018-07-17http://jumpingjackflashhypothesis.blogspot.com/2012/02/jumping-jack-flash-hypothesis-its-gas.htmlThe [...]

Event Update For 2018-07-16http://jumpingjackflashhypothesis.blogspot.com/2012/02/jumping-jack-flash-hypothesis-its-gas.htmlThe [...]

NYC plans to undertake the swindle of the civilisation by suing the companies that have enabled it t [...]

MbS, the personification of the age-old pre-revolutionary scenario in which an expiring regime attem [...]

You know things have taken a turn for the desperate when women have started to drive. Or rather, whe [...]

From Filmers to Farmers is re-launched on the astounding open source blogging platform Ghost! [...]

The blogging scene is admittedly atrocious. Is there really no option for a collapse blogger to turn [...]

Daily Doom Photo

man-watching-tv

Sustainability
  • Peak Surfer
  • SUN
  • Transition Voice

You Can't Stop A Wave But You Can Surf-3"The struggle with any addict is to produce permanent change."Part ThreeJust when things s [...]

You Can't Stop A Wave But You Can Surf-2"A more prosperous way down would be to work at community scale"Part TwoAccording to both [...]

"Will common sense conservation be enough? Probably not." Part OneBelow is a kite sailboat [...]

Kahului Underwater"Such as slippage has not occurred for 100,000 years, but it has happened some 15 times in the [...]

Sargon and the Sea Peoples"For hundreds of years, stories of marauding Sea Peoples were told to frightened children. [...]

The folks at Windward have been doing great work at living sustainably for many years now.  Part of [...]

 The Daily SUN☼ Building a Better Tomorrow by Sustaining Universal Needs April 3, 2017 Powering Down [...]

Off the keyboard of Bob Montgomery Follow us on Twitter @doomstead666 Friend us on Facebook Publishe [...]

Visit SUN on Facebook Here [...]

To fight climate change, you need to get the world off of fossil fuels. And to do that, you need to [...]

Americans are good on the "thoughts and prayers" thing. Also not so bad about digging in f [...]

In the echo-sphere of political punditry consensus forms rapidly, gels, and then, in short order…cal [...]

Discussions with figures from Noam Chomsky and Peter Senge to Thich Nhat Hanh and the Dalai Lama off [...]

Lefty Greenies have some laudable ideas. Why is it then that they don't bother to really build [...]

Top Commentariats
  • Our Finite World
  • Economic Undertow

"President Trump continues to escalate his trade threats against China. "He's now thr [...]

"Global growth has peaked and is expected to decelerate further. Signs of a slowdown have been [...]

“The OBR’s fiscal sustainability report does what it says on the tin — it looks at the sustainabilit [...]

“Three months after the protests began in Nicaragua, which have unleashed deadly violence, with more [...]

“Hundreds of Argentinians took to the streets of Buenos Aires to protest against a standby agreement [...]

You all talk of MMT as if it is legitimate economic theory that can be put in a text book. It is not [...]

I'm not completely sure why this line of thinking is called 'Modern Monetary Theory' [...]

When I read about MMT, I think, the leftists are getting uppity, aren't they! They insist money [...]

Steve, perhaps you can recommend a good book explaining MMT. I just listened to a 23 minute video wi [...]

On a day that the stock market is pushing back above 24,900 the 2 to 10 is under 26 basis points and [...]

RE Economics

Going Cashless

Off the keyboard of RE Follow us on Twitter @doomstead666...

Simplifying the Final Countdown

Off the keyboard of RE Follow us on Twitter @doomstead666...

Bond Market Collapse and the Banning of Cash

Off the microphone of RE Follow us on Twitter @doomstead666...

Do Central Bankers Recognize there is NO GROWTH?

Discuss this article @ the ECONOMICS TABLE inside the...

Singularity of the Dollar

Off the Keyboard of RE Follow us on Twitter @doomstead666...

Kurrency Kollapse: To Print or Not To Print?

Off the microphone of RE Follow us on Twitter @doomstead666...

SWISSIE CAPITULATION!

Off the microphone of RE Follow us on Twitter @doomstead666...

Of Heat Sinks & Debt Sinks: A Thermodynamic View of Money

Off the keyboard of RE Follow us on Twitter @doomstead666...

Merry Doomy Christmas

Off the keyboard of RE Follow us on Twitter @doomstead666...

Peak Customers: The Final Liquidation Sale

Off the keyboard of RE Follow us on Twitter @doomstead666...

Collapse Fiction
Useful Links
Technical Journals

The main features of the instrumental global mean surface temperature (GMST) are reasonably well des [...]

It is still a challenge to provide spatially explicit predictions of climate parameters in African r [...]

In Australia, successful seasonal predictions of wet and dry conditions are achieved by utilizing th [...]

Follow on our http://www.doomsteaddiner.net/forum/