We are not the first to use this term, nor to apply it to the 'deep structures' of political power (that accolade belongs to Peter Dale Scott). Nor even the first to use the term in relation to UK politics--that honour belongs to Robin Ramsay and Steven Dorrill who set up Lobster magazine. However, we contend, we are the first magazine to analyse the whole political spectrum, including the extra-parliamentary fringe, in a parapolitical way.
Raghavan Iyer coined the term, referring to an integrated system whereby initiatives intersect dialectically to create a fruitful whole. This conception, akin to the sociological theory of functionalism whereby a social/political system regulates itself, is not what we have in mind. For us, parapolitics refers to the social reality of conflicting forces and their oft-hidden agendas. It is by analysing these conflicts, and tracking their trajectory/outcomes, that parapolitical research advances.
Peter Dale Scott was the first researcher to use the term parapolitics to describe covert operations by the powers that be, in particular shadowy state agencies such as the security services and their 'plausibly deniable' allies such as paramilitary groups. Nonetheless, while this use of the term may be modern, the reality of what is now called parapolitical activity is not. Sir Francis Walsingham, Elizabeth I's spymaster (who knew a thing or two about covert operations) reportedly said "the best way to conceal a secret is to place it in plain view". Those in the UK know (or should) the complex and tangled history of British secret state involvement with, and attempted manipulation of, both Loyalist paramilitaries (e.g. via UDA intelligence officer Brian Nelson) and Republican opponents (e.g. via Frank Scappatticci of the 'nutting squad' and Dennis Donaldson). Also, Italian politics over the centuries (take a bow Machiavelli) has often contained 'hidden elements' conducting nefarious activities, such as the infamous P2 Masonic Lodge, sometimes resulting in major crimes such as the kidnap of former PM Aldo Moro and the 1980 Bologna bombing.
Mention of freemasons means it is important to emphasise a crucial distinction between a properly parapolitical approach and mere conspiracy theory. The former is rigorously evidence-based, and does not mistake opening hypotheses for proven conclusions. Conspiracy theory on the other hand, does precisely that, including congenial 'evidence' while discarding facts that do not fit. As a magazine collective committed to rigour, NFB discomfits those in power with something to hide, and equally annoys those who substitute fantasising for empirical research--such as 9/11 & 7/7 cult believers, who well know we are their enemy.
When time permits, this section of the site will examine Peter Dale Scott's understanding of parapolitics, and the historic contributions of Lobster and Covert Action Quarterly magazines, as well as less ambitious contenders such as Statewatch and Eye Spy magazine. To be fair, neither of the last two has the intention, or research capability, to produce genuine parapolitical research, but are largely organs of record/information/disinformation, while never clearly flagging up which is which. Detailed consideration of 'conspiracy theory' and how it differs from parapolitical research will follow here, in the fullness of time. Be patient! In the interim, exploring the 'Cult watching' section of this web-site provides a strong indication of how NFB's parapolitical approach is different.
To read more about parapolitics, please visit our para politics section or click here