Sophie and Juliet
Juliet Bonnay with Sophie. Photo Annie Robinson

I am a truth-seeker. I like to dig deep into the underlying causes of problems and connect dots to create a larger picture of cause and effect.

In part, I have my stepmother to thank for this, for when I turned sixteen she insisted that I get a job because I would “only end up marrying and having kids.” Initially distressed by her words, I now count it as a blessing that I worked for five years before finishing off my last two years of high school by correspondence. Not only was I free from the constraints of a traditional classroom setting, I was free to explore aspects of subjects that called me to ‘dig deeper’ and connect dots. For the first time in my life I felt excited about what I was learning.

Perhaps it is not surprising then that I became a life-long learner. Although I went on to gain a Bachelors Degree in Education, I continued with my own studies in psychology, art, education, and history, and also went on to gain a graduate diploma in Music in Education.

My focus on revealing secrets and finding the underlying causes of problems became something of an obsession after an editor suggested that I hadn’t told the “whole story” in a memoir I had submitted. I was just 41 at the time, with not enough life experience or hindsight to connect the dots between disturbing childhood experiences and problems in my adult life. It would take another 20 years of rewriting to find that elusive “whole story.” Along the way I also learned that world events shaped my life just as surely as my parents did.

Growing up in Australia I learned at an early age to fear communism, and Russia in particular. It seemed to me that we constantly lived on the edge of a third world war. Communism, Russia, China, and the Congo were words I learned to fear. My life had hardly begun, and yet I was learning to fear death as if I was some old codger waiting for the Grim Reaper to tap me on the shoulder at any time. I now wonder what impact this fear had on my developing and malleable brain as I drifted off to sleep at night unable to comprehend the nothingness after death. When Australia went “all the way with LBJ” and conscripted young men a year older than me to fight in Vietnam to destroy the threatening ‘red menace’, the free-floating anxiety that had followed me like a shadow since childhood morphed into depression. And dug in for a long term stay.

Now, as 2014 is drawing to a close, the troubling violence throughout the year has brought me back to those disturbing days of fear and anxiety I had as a child. When the American coup took place in Ukraine earlier this year, I could not ignore it because it had the classic telltale signs of CIA involvement. When neo-Nazis massacred people in Odessa in May for speaking out against the coup, the brutality they displayed in burning many alive was unspeakable. How could such hateful thuggery happen in a civilised country? I recognised at once that an ethnic cleansing program had begun. The more I looked into this, the more alarmed I became.

Then in July, when Malaysian flight MH-17 was downed, for which Putin was instantly blamed in headlines around the world, the loud beating of war drums intensified in a world where intelligent dialogue between open minds seems almost impossible. Today my anxiety is not about communism or Russia, but about the country that initially instilled this fear in my mind. My anxiety has to do with the warped and twisted reasoning that went into drafting the secret Truman Doctrine in the late forties to ‘contain’ Russia. It goes back to the narrow-mindedness and closed thinking of John Foster Dulles, Secretary of State under Eisenhower, who drummed into American minds during the fifties that Russia was an enemy with “slimy, octopus-like tentacles” which threatened them with the “black plague of Soviet communism.” When a leader’s fear and accusations against a country spread like a plague to infect the minds of others around the world, anxiety again grips my stomach as the lies become overwhelming in the face of groupthink and doublespeak. This to me is the biggest threat to world peace.

The fear that created the Truman Doctrine together with Foster Dulles’ fearful beliefs about the “red menace” still shapes America’s foreign policy to this day. Because fear imprints on the amygdala of developing brains, each perceived new threat amplifies it within our leaders today – often without them being consciously aware of this fact.

But let us have a quick look at where our fear of Russia stems from. Under the heading, Fundamental Design of the Kremlin, the Truman Doctrine states:

“The fundamental design of those who control the Soviet Union and the international communist movement is to retain and solidify their absolute power, first in the Soviet Union and second in the areas now under their control. In the minds of the Soviet leaders, however, achievement of this design requires the dynamic extension of their authority and the ultimate elimination of any effective opposition to their authority.

“The design, therefore, calls for the complete subversion or forcible destruction of the machinery of government and structure of society in the countries of the non-Soviet world and their replacement by an apparatus and structure subservient to and controlled from the Kremlin. To that end Soviet efforts are now directed toward the domination of the Eurasian land mass. The United States, as the principal center of power in the non-Soviet world and the bulwark of opposition to Soviet expansion, is the principal enemy whose integrity and vitality must be subverted or destroyed by one means or another if the Kremlin is to achieve its fundamental design.”

The secrecy and lack of debate on this document at the time has, I believe, helped to bring us to our current world crisis. As I write, I am hoping that the great irony of the above quote has not escaped you. The irony is also clear in President Harry Truman’s address before a joint session of congress on March 12, 1947:

“Totalitarian regimes imposed on free peoples, by direct or indirect aggression, undermine the foundations of international peace and hence the security of the United States… At the present moment in world history nearly every nation must choose between alternative ways of life. The choice is too often not a free one.

“One way of life is based upon the will of the majority, and is distinguished by free institutions, representative government, free elections, guarantees of individual liberty, freedom of speech and religion, and freedom from political oppression. The second way of life is based upon the will of a minority forcibly imposed upon the majority. It relies upon terror and oppression, a controlled press and radio; fixed elections, and the suppression of personal freedoms…

“I believe that it must be the policy of the United States to support free peoples who are resisting attempted subjugation by armed minorities or by outside pressures… The free peoples of the world look to us for support in maintaining their freedoms. If we falter in our leadership, we may endanger the peace of the world — and we shall surely endanger the welfare of our own nation.”

Harry Rositzke wrote in The CIA’s Secret Operations: Espionage, Counterespionage, and Covert Action: “We were all hysterical at the time.”

“As it turned out, the image was an illusion. The specter of a powerful Russia was remote from the reality of a country weakened by war, with a shattered economy, an overtaxed civilian and military bureaucracy, and large areas of civil unrest…

“It was our almost total ignorance of what was going on in the ‘denied area’ behind the Iron Curtain that helped to create the false image of a super-powerful Soviet Union.” As the 2014 G-20 summit revealed, the beliefs stated in Truman’s Doctrine are still with us – even though the Iron Curtain came down over two decades ago and Russia took steps to work in peaceful co-operation with the West. Instead, fear remains burned into the psyche of most American leaders since Truman, creating within their own country the accusations Truman’s Doctrine hurled at Russia.”

So how come I am not buying this fear and hype anymore about Russia? Quite simply, while re-writing my memoir so many times I finally learned to dissolve the fantasy I created to hide from myself that my childhood was not okay, that my parents were not okay, and that I suffered terribly as a result the trauma and abuse my fantasies tried to hide. It was one of the hardest things I have ever tried to accomplish in my life: to face the truth of my past simply to heal my mind. It is ongoing work as I still struggle with the many ways keeping the secrets of the past compromised my health. And now in all matters, I only want to see the truth – no matter how painful it may be to face.

I am now writing from New Zealand, one of the ‘Five Eyes’ countries – along with Britain, Australia, Canada, and the United States – that began working together during the Cold War to spy on the world to stamp out communism wherever it raised its head. After Snowden’s revelations that ‘Five Eyes’ also spies on its own citizens, it is important that we all know the truth about what is going on, expose the lies we have been told, and discover the secrets our governments conceal from us. Not knowing the truth, we will remain victims of terror and fear – not from outside threats, but from the fear and terror manufactured by our own governments of outside threats, designed to take our freedoms away.

In 2010 I began this website to share different ideas on educating the ‘whole’ child and the importance of understanding and respecting children’s needs. I also wanted to share the many inspirational experiences I had during five years of travel to the United States and France, and sailing trips to Tonga, Fiji, and the Caribbean. I included comments about social problems that troubled me. Yet now, as troubling threats to world peace take centre stage daily in the news amidst propaganda and lies, it is time to uncover secrets and write about the truth of what is going on behind the scenes.

Knowledge empowers us, and I will do all I can to share what I know and learn from further research. However it takes time to dig deeper and connect dots. I hope you will remain patient if my posts are sometimes a little slow in coming as I also continue to work on my memoir.

November 29, 2014