Category Archives: Viet Nam

The Tremendous but “Secret” Success of Socialist Vietnam

Hue – full of public spaces

Some twenty years ago, when I moved to Hanoi, the city was bleak, grey, covered by smog. The war had ended, but terrible scars remained.

I brought my 4WD from Chile, and insisted on driving it myself. It was one of the first SUVs in the city. Each time I drove it, it was hit by scooters, which flew like projectiles all over the wide avenues of the capital.

Hanoi was beautiful, melancholic, but clearly marked by war. There were stories, terrible stories of the past. In “my days”, Vietnam was one of the poorest countries in Asia.

Used to be under US gun

Many great heritage sites, including the My Son Sanctuary in Central Vietnam, were basically vast minefields, even many years after the terrible U.S. carpet-bombing. The only way to visit them was by government-owned military vehicles.

The building where I lived literally grew out of the infamous “Hanoi Hilton”, the former French prison where the Vietnamese patriots and revolutionaries used to be tortured, raped and executed, and where some captured U.S. pilots were held during what is called in Vietnam the American War. From my window, I was able to see one of two guillotines in the courtyard of what by then had become a museum of colonialism.

Still full of US mines

In 2000, Hanoi did not have one single mall, and when we first arrived, the terminal of Noi Bai Airport was just a tiny edifice, the size of a provincial train station.

In those days, for the Vietnamese people, a trip to Bangkok felt like a voyage to a different galaxy. For journalists like myself, those who were based in Hanoi, a regular commute to Bangkok or Singapore was an absolute necessity, as almost no professional equipment or spare parts were available in Vietnam.

*****

Two decades later, Vietnam has become one of the most comfortable countries in Asia. A place where millions of Westerners would love to live.

Its quality of life is growing continually. Its socialist model and central planning are clearly successful. Vietnam feels like China, some twenty years ago. There are tremendous promenades in the cities of Hue and Danang, there is the construction of modern public transportation networks, as well as sports facilities. All this is in stark contrast to the extreme capitalist gloom of countries like Indonesia, even Thailand. Vietnamese people count on constantly improving sanitation, medical care, education and cultural life. With a relatively small budget, the country is often on par with much richer nations in Asia and the world.

Future of Viet Nam

Its people are among the most optimistic in the world.

In just the three years that I spent living in Vietnam, the country changed dramatically. The tremendous strength and determination of the Vietnamese people helped to bridge the void which was left after the destruction of the Soviet Union and the other socialist countries of Eastern Europe. Just like China, Vietnam opted, successfully, for a mixed economy, under the leadership of the Communist Party.

A massive attempt by the United States and Europe to derail the socialist system, using Western-sponsored NGO’s and individuals inside the country, was identified and decisively defeated. Pro-Communist and pro-Chinese factions inside the government and the Party have overpowered those who were trying to derail Vietnam, pushing it towards the West.

Stunning art galleries in Hue

What followed was significant success, on many fronts.

According to the Southeast Asian Globe report, published on 1 October 2018:

Vietnam performed the best of 151 countries in a study that assessed quality of life versus environmental sustainability.

This is not the first time that Vietnam has performed exceptionally well when compared to other countries in the region, and in the world.

The article explained further:

The wide-ranging study, called A Good Life for All Within Planetary Boundaries, published by a group of researchers from the University of Leeds, argues that we need to dramatically rethink the way we view development and its relationship to the environment.

We were essentially working on several different indicators and relationships between social outcomes and environmental indicators,” Fanning told Southeast Asia Globe. We came up with the idea of, well, if we’re looking at social indicators, can we define a level that would be equivalent to a good life?

 The survey included 151 countries, and Vietnam showed the best indicators. 

The researchers settled on 11 social indicators that included life satisfaction, nutrition, education, democratic quality and employment.

It did surprise us that Vietnam did so well overall,” Fanning said. “You might expect it to be Costa Rica or Cuba, as Vietnam doesn’t typically come up as a sustainability hero.” Fanning was referring to two countries the researchers expected to do well since they generally provide good social support and haven’t seen the same environmental damage many countries have.

This is not the only report that celebrates the great success of Vietnam’s socialist model.

Freedom-Equality-Brotherhood — For French maybe but not for colonized Vietnamese

In the region of Southeast Asia, Vietnam has already gained the reputation of an economic and social superstar. Compared to the fundamentalist pro-market Indonesia or even the Philippines, Vietnam’s elegant socialist cities designed and maintained for the people, as well as the neat increasingly ecological countryside, clearly suggest which of the two systems is superior and fit for Asian people and their culture.

In times of grave emergencies; of natural and medical disasters, Vietnam is also well ahead of other Southeast Asian countries. Like Cuba and China, it invests heavily in the prevention of calamities.

According to New Age, socialist states including Vietnam, did a superb job fighting against the recent outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic:

Developing countries such as Cuba and Vietnam with socialist or communist state structures and philosophy are successfully handling the COVID-19 pandemic. What are the roles that their long term health and economic strategies playing behind this success? MD Talebur Islam Rupom asks this question and stipulates that this is high time that states should invest heavily in the health sectors to ensure health care for all.

Countries with centrally subsidized or fully funded health care systems are battling the COVID-19 crisis better than any other countries. There are also several other proactive reasons which makes it possible for them to decrease the fatalities and positive cases.

Cuba and Vietnam are two developing countries that have moved rapidly to deal with the emerging threat. Despite the embargo and restrictions by the United States and limited resources, Cuba’s handling of the pandemic could be a role model for others.

With a smaller economy than Bangladesh, southeast Asia’s Vietnam is also earning its credibility to restart their economy after reportedly eradicating COVID-19 from the country even though it shares its crucial border with China.

At the end of May 2020, when this essay was being written, the Socialist Republic of Vietnam with 95.5 million inhabitants, has registered only 327 infections and zero deaths, according to data provided by Johns Hopkins University.

Even the mainstream, right-wing British magazine, The Economist, could not overlook the great success in battling against Covid-19 by Communist states, such as the Indian Kerala and Vietnam:

…With 95m people, Vietnam is a much bigger place. In dealing with covid-19, however, it has followed a strikingly similar script, with an even more striking outcome. Like Kerala it was exposed to the virus early, and saw a surge of infections in March. Active cases also peaked early, however, and have since tumbled to a mere 39. Uniquely among countries of even remotely similar size, and in contrast to such better known Covid success stories as Taiwan and New Zealand, it has not yet suffered a single confirmed fatality. The Philippines, a nearby country of roughly the same population and wealth, has suffered more than 10,000 infections and 650 deaths.

Like Kerala, Vietnam has recently battled deadly epidemics, during the global outbreaks of Sars in 2003 and of swine flu in 2009. Vietnam and Kerala both benefit from a long legacy of investment in public health and particularly in primary care, with strong, centralised management, an institutional reach from city wards to remote villages and an abundance of skilled personnel. Not coincidentally, communism has been a strong influence, as the unchallenged state ideology of Vietnam and as a brand touted by the leftist parties that have dominated Kerala since the 1950s.

Some analyses, including those based in the West, go as far as to claim that Vietnam has already bypassed many countries in the region, including those which are, at least on the paper, much wealthier.

DW (Deutsche Welle), for instance reported on 22. May, 2020:

Adam McCarty, the chief economist of research and consultancy firm Mekong Economics, expects that Vietnam will widely benefit from how it has handled COVID-19. “Maybe this is a turning point where Vietnam leaves the group of countries as Cambodia and the Philippines and joins more sophisticated countries as Thailand and South Korea, even though Vietnam doesn’t have a similar GDP yet,” McCarty told DW from Hanoi…

With the rest of the world still suffering from COVID-19, exports are really going to get hurt,” McCarty said. The economist stressed that things cannot just go back to how they were. And even though domestic consumption is likely to increase in the months to come, a 5% growth figure for 2020 may be too ambitious. “It’s probably more like 3%, but that’s still good in these circumstances. It still means Vietnam is a winner.

I periodically return to Vietnam.  One striking thing I keep noticing is that the country has no slums. Extreme misery is so common in brutal capitalist Indonesia, the Philippines, but also in Cambodia and Thailand. There is no misery in the Vietnamese cities, towns and countryside. That itself is an enormous success.

Communist planning means that most of the natural and medical disasters are well prevented. When I used to live in Hanoi, the vast and densely populated areas between the Red River and the city used to get flooded, annually. But gradually, the neighborhood got relocated, and green areas reintroduced, stopping the water from reaching the city.

Step by logical step, Vietnam has been implementing changes designed to improve the lives of the citizens.

The mass media in the West and in the region writes very little about this ‘Vietnamese miracle’, for obvious reasons.

With tremendous sacrifice, Vietnamese citizens defeated the French colonizers, and then the U.S. occupiers. Millions of people vanished, but a new, confident and powerful nation was born. It literally rose from ashes. It constructed its own, “Vietnamese Model”. Now, it is showing the way to those much weaker and less determined countries of Southeast Asia; those that are still sacrificing their own citizens, by being obedient to the diktat of North America and Europe.

Hanoi

From one of the poorest Asian countries, Vietnam has become one of the strongest, determined and optimistic.

• First published by NEO – New Eastern Outlook (a journal of the Russian Academy of Sciences)

• All photos by Andre Vltchek

Memorial Day Letter to my Union President

As a retired sheet metal worker, on Memorial Day, I watched the Memorial Day video put out by the general president of my union.  This was my response to him. 

I appreciate your stress on staying safe during this pandemic, as well as the listing of our 14 members who have died from COVID-19.   I also appreciate your speaking of how our union has helped veterans transition from the military to our trade.

I want to comment on how your message affects me as a combat veteran of the Viet Nam War.  It is a good thing to support veterans, in our efforts to live productive lives (such as through our union membership and work), and for healing physical, emotional and moral injuries.    Yet, it is such a common thing to see this worthy sentiment seamlessly get extended to supporting militarism, something that I believe occurs in your video.   This type of thing can be seen easily every Memorial Day, July 4th and Veterans’ Day, and is unfortunate and upsetting.  Our willingness to sacrifice and our love of country got manipulated into a brutal war in Viet Nam, that created so much loss among the Vietnamese and among our people in the US. Viet Nam’s people or government had never done anything to hurt US people.

Sheet metal has been a good trade for me and helped my family and me to survive and thrive.  I have seen so many other Viet Nam veterans who did not thrive.   I believe, and many of us veterans believe, that our healing would go better if the country as a whole would have learned the tragic lessons that we learned the hard way.   The endless wars of the 21st Century indicate that our country has not.

Although I have worked my entire sheet metal career in the San Francisco Bay Area, like you I grew up in the Delaware Valley.   In my case, it was on a dairy farm outside of Kennett Square, PA.   I was in the high school class of 1964, and many of us ended up in Viet Nam.  At least four people I grew up with died as a result of the Viet Nam war.

Howard Lindecamp got killed in Viet Nam.  I was a patrol leader in Boy Scout Troop 24, and Howard was in my patrol.

Bob Vogelsang, a classmate and buddy, died in 1972.  He walked with a limp from a leg wound incurred while walking point in Viet Nam.  He became an alcoholic and died in a one-car accident.

Mark Arnold lived a mile from me.  A bunch of us kids used to play baseball over at Mark’s place.  He was a door gunner on a helicopter and died in 1976 of cancer connected with Agent Orange.  The Army denied any service connection to the cancer, even though everyone on his ward had the same cancer and had all been door gunners!

Bob Badger was a classmate who died in 1990 from Agent Orange-related illness.  I spoke with his widow at a class reunion, who was bitter about the long fight she had with the Army around their refusal to acknowledge Agent Orange as the cause of his fatal cancer.

Of these four, only Howard’s name is on the Viet Nam Veterans’ Memorial wall.

We are Labor – we are and represent working people.  We suffer from war and militarism, as soldiers, soldiers’ family members, and as people whose resources are stolen.  The trillion dollar military budget seems to have nothing to do with defending this country from foreign attack.   Big corporations may benefit financially from war and militarism but our interests are different from theirs; we in Labor should not support militarism.

Labor can be so much bigger and stronger, and could be key to changing  this country for the better.  We in Labor have done many worthy things, but a 6% rate of unionization in the US private sector does not warrant complacency.   There is so much we need to rethink about ways to redirect our efforts. This pandemic is the time, when so many aspects of our future are both uncertain and wide open.    Support for the Green New Deal, and for redirecting resources away from the military toward working people’s needs should be very high on our to-do list.

In solidarity,

Steve Morse
Oakland, CA

Faschion: Dressing for Obedience 

Asset Deals: John Paul II and his successor ex-Hitler Youth and Roman Grand Inquisitor Joseph Ratzingen, Benedict XVI1

In 2015 I argued that the purpose of the CIA war against Vietnam was two-fold. First of all the company was charged with preserving the now US interest in what had been French business in Indochina. The second objective — a part of its global strategy — was to create a country, the Republic of Vietnam (aka South Vietnam), which could sustain the illusion — created in Korea between 1945 and 1952 — that there were two countries: one that counted as civilised (capitalist and subordinated to the West) and one that was not really Vietnamese (like the PRDK is not really Korean and at that time the PRC was not really China).

To understand this approach to world politics and the general hatred of humanity underlying it, one has to take very seriously a tiny detail in the history of US colonialism. That detail is the personality of the man who turned working class denim trousers into a fashion item, a guy named Edward Lansdale. The history of covert action — namely, the cowards’ war for capitalism or as Agee called it the campaign of “capitalism’s invisible army” — can be simplified as the marriage of desire and deceit. In a sense the opacity of covert action or what has been popularised as the “deep state” can be traced to the doctrine of sacerdotal celibacy. Sacerdotal celebacy — the rule that priests cannot marry — was first a rule to protect the property accumulated by the Church from dissipation by the inheritance in favour of clerical children. The second reason for it was to protect the investments of the Catholic Church in prostitution and slavery.2  As much as I would like to elaborate on this Western cultural phenomenon, a dogma derived from Roman Catholicism, that would go too far for what is intended here as a brief intervention. My intention here is simply to strongly suggest that readers think in broader contexts than are ever presented by any media.

We have now reached a point where the covert action programme formulated by those who organised and conducted the mass killing system in Vietnam and later in Latin America and in Central Asia has become the central product to be marketed worldwide. The so-called pandemic, the Covid-2019, is nothing more or  less than a product of the counter-terror factory that the Anglo-American Empire established in Vietnam — based on the template already developed in Korea.

In Policing America’s Empire: The United States, the Philippines and the Surveillance State, Alfred McCoy (2009) wrote that the machinery (now digital) for policing in the US began in the Philippines — a US colony from 1901 until 1949 — and thereafter a protectorate. That is also where the Levi’s marketer, Lansdale, began his career as a terrorist. Douglas Valentine (1990) showed in great detail from the testimony of those who actually created and executed the Phoenix “marketing campaign of South Vietnam” how this system was built and operated. Valentine, in contrast to McCoy,  emphasises the purpose of a system which is consciously defective but infinitely violent. Whereas the vast majority of opponents to US wars object to their injustice, they do so implying that these wars — were they justly waged — would somehow be less or acceptably imperial. Ultimately in his book The CIA as Organised Crime Valentine (2016) shows that the Phoenix program is the “new normal”.

What happened in between October 2019 and March 2020 can be translated into the sequences of the war against the VCI as conceived, planned and implemented by the US Central Intelligence Agency. (Actually it is irrelevant whether it or other government agencies actually was the overall planning and executive instrument.) Daniel Estufin called it in an rather unqualified fashion the recognition that the “limit to growth” had been reached. This explanation reminiscent of the Club of Rome and its eugenic report avoids an elemental difficulty with the entire “growth” concept. One can summarise that in the pathological definition of “cancer” as uncontrolled cell growth at the expense of the healthy organism. This is, in fact, a wonderful example of what the neo-conservative literary scholar described in her book Illness as Metaphor (1978). The economy must grow and grow without purpose or reason. The rulers, like cancer cells, must steal through all seasons. Cancer, the ubiquitous, virtually incurable self-destruction of the individual human body — almost entirely induced by the toxification of the environment by unrestrained theft under capitalism — is the sickness of surplus. In the 19th century people died of consumption — tuberculosis — the toxification by raw accumulation and the exhaustion of human bodies.

However, with the digitalisation of capitalism and its extraction methods, the disease which is the penultimate expression of capitalist pathology, is the virus. Communists were germs or bacteria. After the destruction of virtually anything resembling communism — the European communist parties notwithstanding — a new pathological model was needed. The virus is an insidious metaphor. It is not like bacteria, a life form which can both produce and destroy. The post-communist era — whereby communism was simply a term for any opposition to the ruling gangsters — requires new terror products. That actually means old products in new packages. Anti-communism was repackaged as anti-terrorism (of course, only pseudo-Islamic terror, an utter fantasy, like in the era of the Reconquista and Crusades). The so-called corona virus, for the honest, is really a fabrication — probably developed in the same kind of imperial laboratories where the computer viruses have been designed since a certain entity sought to guarantee the monopoly it expected from its IBM days.

In a previous appreciation I indicated that the “lockdown” should be understood in terms of the “strategic hamlet” program. Now I would advise those who are not saturated in obsequiousness or servility to consider the current phase — called contact tracing — in terms of what was called in Vietnam “census grievance”.

The historical crisis with which we are confronted today is first and foremost a crisis of literacy. It would take too much space to explain what I mean by that. However, reading Paulo Freire’s now very unfashionable Pedagogy of the Oppressed (1968) would make my point clearer.

Irony is a term used to describe linguistic practices, reading, writing and speaking. It designates a discrepancy between the circumstances explicitly perceived and the language used to describe them. Yet if one applies the term with that rare quality, sincerity, then there is indeed some irony to be found in the appreciation of that part of the world with the most favourable population density (albeit thanks to the immeasurable homicidal capacity of its ruling class), where the ruling class mandates the most fanatical interest in social distancing and masking (or gloving). The irony lies in the fact that the most sociopathic segment of the world’s population is located in the Western peninsula of Eurasia and North America where very low population densities prevail. People who have on average more living space per capita than anywhere else in the world — just cannot get enough. Now people, who for some five hundred years have vented their malice on Africa, Central and South America, Australia and Asia (not to mention millions slaughtered between 1915-1945) just cannot bear being closer than 1.5 meters to each other and want this to be the British (or German) standard for the world.

It is hard to share sympathy or even affection with much of what is published as “critical” today. It is just as esoteric as the tatoos on so many legs, arms and backsides. Permanent jewelry and stenciled stupidity, masks and gloves substituting thinking or love. My sympathy at least is exhausted by people whose sterility and verility transcend human dimensions.

A few months ago I was adamant about the insincerity of the global warming crusaders. I remain so. I am convinced that these were witting or unwitting campaigners in the crusade of death that the rich white supremacists on this planet are waging against ordinary people. Their message was nothing more or less than the blind religious fanaticism that has made the West the best organised homicidal society on the planet. That is the legacy of Christendom.

Today at lunch I watched a report on the canonisation of the Polish fascist known by his papal name, John Paul II. Roman Catholics are now permitted to venerate this vile cleric as a saint. The rest of the “white” world will venerate him for his contributions to the world we have today. It is a world liberated from every respect for life in whatever form and dedicated to the cult of death.

If we do not resist the cult of death and its sociopathic instruments — like social distancing — we will actually join — but not as TV actors — a society of the “living dead”.

  1. Together with the US regime this dynamic duo in the Catholic cult of death- the ancient foundation of Christendom and global terrorism-  waged war against communism and national liberation.
  2. Henry G. Lea, A History of the Inquisition of Spain, Volume 3, 1907.

Baby Boomers for Biden Recant Left Legacy

Former members of the leading Vietnam War-era peace organization in the US, Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), recently circulated an open letter warning today’s young activists to – as the adage goes – do as I say and not as I did. Back in the ‘60s and ‘70s, these former leaders led the way in opposing the ravages of US imperialism and exposing what they called the “death culture.” Today, they are admonishing the new generation not to follow in their footsteps, but to go all out for what they call the “capitalist democrat” Joe Biden.

The big chill

When I was first becoming politically aware, these SDS folks were my heroes and mentors. They helped me break from the illusion that the USA was fighting for democracy and freedom, rather than imposing an empire where the US controlled 50% of the world’s wealth for only 6.3% of its population.

They were the ones – chanting, “Hey, hey, LBJ, how many kids did you kill today?” – who pulled no punches, criticizing Democrats and Republicans alike for genocidal injustices. And they especially warned about “selling out to the establishment.” That was then.

Today, they are variously tenured professors, attorneys, or working at comfortable NGOs. Who would have known that they would change to raising money for multi-billion-dollar Democratic Party PACs? While I don’t for a moment begrudge them financial or social achievement, the shift from independent direct action to boosterism within the Democratic Party is unfortunate.

It should be noted that SDS originated as the student branch of the League for Industrial Democracy (LID), a nominally socialist but more accurately liberal anti-communist organization. In 1965, the LID elders told their youth counterparts to include an anti-communist clause in their manifesto. Those rising SDS youth told their seniors to take a hike back then.

In bed with the Democratic Party

Bernardine Dorn, herself an SDS leader and subsequently with the Weather Underground, comments that the open letter “has all the wrong content and tone of the elders lecturing young activists…[I]t is finally too pompous and pretentious, too in-bed with the Democratic Party.” And that is a sympathetic comment to “comrades I love and respect.”

The Democratic Party is not like a labor union, or like what a labor union is supposed to be with dues paying members democratically electing a leadership that serves their interests. Rather the Democratic National Committee (DNC), which is the governing body of the US Democratic Party, is, in fact, a private corporation. The DNC has more in common with a for-profit sports team. You are free to wear their paraphernalia and attend their games, but the team owners are the ones that make the decisions and reap the profits.

When the DNC was taken to court for violating its own rules treating voters unfairly, the DNC brazenly argued that they are a private corporation with no obligation to be fair, and won. As the court transcript shows, the DNC’s attorney said that cheating Bernie Sanders in 2016 out of the nomination was “the business of the party, and it’s not justiciable.”

This same DNC again undermined Bernie Sanders’ candidacy in 2020, preferring to run a corporate Democrat favorable to their super rich donors and risk losing again to Trump. Now the authors of the open letter are preaching to the young activists that they have no choice but to fall in with those who screwed them. Or as the open letter states, to join with “solemn determination” their “high moral and political responsibility.”

Wrong historical lessons 

Peter Drucker, another former member of SDS, points out in his critique of the open letter that the letter’s favorable reference to early nineteenth century German sociologist Wax Weber is at best odd, but telling, for a letter addressing people who consider themselves socialists. Weber’s view was that revolutionary socialists were engaged in “dirt, muck, dung, and horse-play—nothing else.”

A favorite trope of anti-leftists, reflected in the open letter, is to blame the rise of Hitler on the failure of communists to unite with the socialists against a common enemy. In fact, what happened was that the socialists likewise would not unite with the communists against the fascists and instead chose to support the “lesser evil” of Paul von Hindenburg. In the 1932 German presidential race, Hindenburg ran against Hitler, won, and then turned around to appoint Hitler as chancellor in 1933. The rest, as they say, is history.

If we were to accept the open letter’s hyperbolic meme of Trump as a stand-in for Hitler, the historical analogy would be that today’s Democratic Party is not the socialists and certainly not the communists but would be Hindenburg’s party as the lesser evil to the Nazis. Once elected, Hindenburg dissolved the German parliament twice, approved the Reichstag Fire Decree suspending civil liberties, and signed the Enablg Act giving Hitler arbitrary powers.

For those worried about fascism being enabled in the US, recall that the Democrats militantly support the national security apparatus (e.g., CIA, FBI) and the Patriot Act. Even so-called progressive Elizabeth Warren calls of government censorship of social media.

Citing the lessons of Germany, the open letter summons an “all-hands-on-deck” effort to elect Joe Biden to prevent the “protofascist” Trump from winning. The situation, they exclaim, is dire for we may all end up in jail if Trump were to win.

In a follow-up to publishing the April 16 open letter, The Nation again plays the fear of fascism card if one strays from the confines of the Democratic Party. An April 28 article – “WTF Is Jacobin’s Editor Thinking in Voting Green?” – cries, “in a second term, Trump will double down on his fascist instincts.”

The Nation lectures the youth that you are “old enough to know better” than disregard the wisdom of your elders because, under a Republican, “progressives will spend the next four years fighting defensive battles.” The youth in their naiveite might ask, how would it be any different if the former Senator from MBNA wins?

In the real world, as Stan Smith notes, Trump “can’t even shut down Saturday Night Live.  Trump is a billionaire racist, sexist war-monger out to salvage the US corporate empire, nothing more, nothing less.” Joe Biden diverges mainly in having a smaller bank account and better table manners.

Politics for the pandemic

A more fitting lesson from the historical example of the rise of German fascism suggests the opposite of what the open letter advocates. The best strategy to combat the rightward trajectory of the two corporate parties is not to go all out and vote for the lesser evil. Especially with the COVID-19 crisis and the mechanisms of disaster capitalism, Naomi Klein warns their shared course to the right might well accelerate.

In 2016, the corporate Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton advocated lowering the Medicare qualifying age to 50 or 55. Yet Biden is to the right of Clinton’s position of four years ago, only conceding to lower the eligibility age to 60.

We are now in the midst of a pandemic, which demonstrates as never before the need for Medicare for All (M4A). The latest polls indicate a 69% overall approval rating with 88% of the Democrats supporting M4A. This support is despite the millions of “dark money” spent by the insurance industry against M4A. Biden, who had campaigned to cut Medicare and Social Security, vows he would veto M4A were it to come before him as president.

Voting for the lesser evil is encouraging a march to the right by making a step in the wrong direction. At a time when an independent progressive movement is needed more than ever, the sheepdogs of the open letter are trying to herd the new generation of activists into the Democratic Party.

The First Circle

Probably everyone in the West at least has seen some version of a famous figure by the late 19th century French sculptor Auguste Rodin, called in English, The Thinker. It is a nude man seated in a position we have all learned to understand as contemplative, as thinking. Several years ago, although I actually hate visiting museums, I took a few hours while in Paris to visit the Rodin museum. I confess a very good friend who knows more about the plastic arts than I do gave me the hint. He said this figure is actually only a tiny part of a much bigger sculpture. You need to see it, he said, in its context.

When I was still an adolescent, having heard about the release of Solzhenitsyn’s Gulag Archipelago, I asked my grandmother to buy me a copy. I was staying with her at the time. This was my first contact with Russian writers. Solzhenitsyn’s book so fascinated me that I asked for and got a box set of his novels. One of them which I found very curious and at first reading very difficult was called The First Circle. It was about scientists, if I recall correctly, in the Soviet Union during the Second World War. I could check and refresh my memory but that is not the point. There are some things in one’s life or education, which are more important for how one feels at a certain time than the actual content, which may be quite trivial. The significance of the content, his story, only occurred to me when some years later I became familiar with Dante’s Divine Comedy.

Although I still appreciate Solzhenitsyn’s work, what I most appreciate was his refusal to become a public instrument of US anti-Soviet foreign policy while in his Vermont exile. Although by all reasonable measures he was an archconservative and intense opponent of the Soviet Union, he was such a Russian patriot that he could not accept the “American way of life” and refused to promote it. However, that is not my main concern here.

Since events exploded in Wuhan, China in 2019, I have wavered between resignation and the compulsion to react to events in the way I always have since I learned to hold a pencil—by writing.

In 2016 I spent nine hours watching a dramatic presentation of Karl Kraus’ Die letzten Tagen der Menschheit,  an amazing piece of drama about the conditions of the Great War (1915-1918).1 Prior to that Kraus was only known to me by means of an epithet my university mentor was fond of citing: “Why does a man write? Because he does not have enough courage not to”.  I found the original quote in German later, which could be given a slightly different interpretation. However, the point is essentially the same: while writing is a rational act, the decision to write is not necessarily rational.

At the end of nearly 20 weeks since the first barrage of news from Wuhan, China, and the first month of the state of siege proclaimed through most of the European Union, I have addressed myself2 to the current condition some nine times in prose and verse to the so-called corona virus pandemic. As I follow the published and broadcast traces in the West, which describe and/or define the present very unsatisfactory conditions, I keep asking myself if there is really any point to saying more.

My focus has been on the character of the response, its proportionality, but also its legitimacy. From the beginning I have argued that the origin of the virus known as SARS-CoV-2 and the immediate mechanisms of the outbreak are positively deniable and therefore ought not to be the focus of too much debate. It is hard but not impossible to argue that this was a natural catastrophe, perhaps caused by “global warming”. However, I believed and still believe that the focus on the origin of the outbreak and even the details of the disease, known as covid-2019, while in a microcosmic way relevant, on the whole are minor issues. The reason is simple: what needs to be addressed is the global context in which the phenomenon of the “corona virus” has become the key public policy and health issue worldwide—apparently to the exclusion of all else—and the means by which this issue is handled and not least of which by whom?

I have also argued that there is a fundamental difference between the events in China and those in the EU and the US. Therefore simple comparisons between the action of the Chinese government and the reactions of the Western governments, singularly or collectively, do not add much to understanding the crisis. Finally I have argued that this is not a medical crisis but a political crisis.

There is no need to repeat those arguments and why I made them here.

However, in the context of the Easter holiday, a feast which for centuries was the core religious festival of Christendom, not only were the celebrations virtually prohibited, a campaign was apparently begun, or to use the corporate jargon for such an event “kicked-off”.

Prior to the near universal proclamation of the state of siege throughout the EU, there were intimations that the closures—especially of schools and universities—would probably only continue until the end of the Easter recess. In other words, one to two weeks after the Easter holiday. I say intimated because I know of no official pronouncements that the closures would end on any particular day. Since there was no public parliamentary debate and no other conventional public procedure for deciding the terms of the state of siege; e.g., according to what criteria it would lapse or be raised, the credibility of such conjecture was based wholly on a common sense approach. No later than the end of Easter recess people would have to return to work because there are simply no alternatives

The first week after Easter has come to an end and there is little sign of any end to the closures, although some EU members have announced limited and tentative returns to ordinary business and in Sweden, for example, the regime has already been superficially relaxed.

China, where this virus was first detected and the illnesses first reported, has begun to re-open its business and public institutions if in a guarded way.

Meanwhile if reports from the US are to be believed the pandemic has hit very hard in a country that has virtually no concept of public health worthy of the name.

This has given the permanent anti-Trump faction in the US another reason to continue their campaign after the attempt to ram an impeachment and removal through the US Congress failed last year. Now the man who is Vladimir Putin’s right hand in the W**** House is also the cause of a virtually hopeless corona crisis in the Land of Opportunity.

Throughout the great cataclysm, all sorts of questions are asked about the disease, the symptoms, the treatments, the risks, and the responses. Accusations and counter-accusations are fired among those who claim authority over the battlefield/battlespace and us. Those authorities claim the exclusive right to define what actions or omissions caused our current condition and what should be done to change it—presumably by ending the crisis.

Yet careful attention to those with the most access to the public, via mass media and its derivatives, shows that there is no policy for ending the crisis either.

Public debate is staged to focus on the following topics:

  1. Blame for the outbreak and its pandemic quality
  2. The putative risks, including lethality of the virus
  3. Measures to restrain or prevent spread of the virus
  4. Responsibility for formulating, promulgating and enforcing measures
  5. What will happen to the economy in the short-term and long-term?

Leaving aside the dispute between the Americans or the British about China’s liability for the pandemic, there are those who, having failed to impeach Donald Trump, now blame him either for the virus or for its apparent catastrophic spread in the USA. There has also been an on-going debate about the competency or the adequacy of the actions taken by government agencies, either to detect and warn or to communicate and organise and implement counter-measures.

Very slowly but hardly at a volume that would threaten the present regimes, some people are even discussing the failure to respond to previous warnings about the general state of the healthcare system. Yet much of this critique is only directed toward the emergency management capabilities. A fundamental challenge to thirty-plus years of anti-social privatisation and commercialisation of the public health sector for private profit is still largely suppressed, to the extent it has been made at all.

Beyond the conventional mass media; i.e., television, radio, print, which constitutes an amplifier for official government and corporate opinion, there are debates, which range from repetitions of the mass media gossip to name-calling and, of course, the dreaded field of “conspiracy” chatter.

Before going any further let us be clear about one thing.

Contrary to what is often preached in conventional mass media and taught half-heartedly in schools, virtually all serious decision-making is secretive; i.e., conducted out of public view. Naturally almost all business (corporate) decisions are taken secretly by management and announced once they have been taken. The same is generally true for all governmental operations, especially in a society that values business practices more than democratic ones. The government in a parliamentary system may occasionally lose a division or plenary vote. However, the plenary session is not where the bills are drafted or chosen for decision. All of these “democratic” preparations are taken in meetings from which the general public is excluded, but those with a special interest in the acts to be adopted are explicitly included.

This is no more clearly the case than now when most of the European Union is subject to siege regulations that were never debated in public and for which no democratic regulation is provided, especially to provide an end to it all.

Hence those who read further and feel their knee tensions rising, waiting to jerk at any moment with the expletive “conspiracy theory” should bear the foregoing in mind. The controversies found on all sorts of websites and in chat groups are not about whether there are conspiracies (those who do not use the word avoid it out of cowardice or ignorance) but what is the nature and content of the conspiracy or conspiracies that substitute for public health policy and democratic decision-making in the current crisis?

Civil affairs and civic action

We are given two excuses for tolerating an abrogation or suspension of what few democratic processes and civil privileges the citizenry enjoys. These are war and natural disaster. The reason for these exceptions is supposed to be that urgency requires speedy and concentrated action and democratic processes would be too slow or civil privileges would impede efficient action. A banal example but appropriate given the view our rulers have of us is that if a child is about to run into the street where an oncoming truck would hit and injure or kill the child, then it is unreasonable to expect that a discussion precede the command, stop! and the action to restrain the child. So our governments tell us that when an emergency is declared we revert to childhood and therefore forfeit our civil privileges and democratic processes until those governments have declared the emergency or the armed hostilities to be ended.

When the outbreak of the corona virus was announced in the Western mass media with suspicious immediacy in December last, the initial message was simply: yellow peril. China has generated another disease and the world must protect itself from the Chinese infection. Actions around the world were directed at the enemy virus from Asia and its known and secret (unknown) carriers. The UN World Health Organisation (WHO) first announced a cautious warning, reiterated by mouthpieces of the European Union.

However, by mid-January cases began to appear that could not be obviously linked to the Wuhan outbreak, in Europe and then in North America.3 Once infections had been announced in Italy, Spain, Germany, and more or less throughout the EU—with Italy apparently most affected—one head of state or government after another proclaimed a state of emergency. The WHO changed its designation of the virus to a “pandemic”. From that point on the remaining trappings of democratic processes were aborted throughout the European Union and decrees were issued of various severity confining the population to barracks or house arrest, closing small and medium-sized enterprises, schools and universities, cultural and sports venues, in short any place larger than a toilet cubicle. The basis for these decrees was not any legislation adopted in plenary session. Instead it has been asserted that these measures are justified on the basis of public health or medical expertise.

In fact, the dominant narrative is that the entire state of siege/emergency is governed by the scientific imperatives prescribed by public health or medical experts.

Thus much of the debate in the secondary media—the web—has focused on the reliability, accuracy, and completeness of the medical/public health expertise.

More radical debate actually questions the integrity of the expertise and the decisions taken based on it. These debates are obstructed not only in the web but also in the conventional mass media by apparent facticity of the disease as the “frontline” physicians confront it. In other words, attempts to examine the public health and medical expertise upon which government decisions are ostensibly based are answered by the rigorous insistence that all the hospitals and all the doctors and all the deaths reported verify the fundamental seriousness of the situation. Hence any detailed examination of government policy and action is secondary to “stopping the enemy advance!”

However, the information from the “frontline” only appears more factual than the statements made by high officials. No doubt there is hard work being done in all sorts of hospitals and clinics confronting cases of illness. It would be a mistake, however, to take reports from the front at face value. The modern medical profession, despite traditional imagery, is largely an industrial process organised by personnel whose training is more akin to that of soldiers than healers. Beginning with the selection process and proceeding through every stage of medical education, the modern physician is drilled and exercised like an infantry recruit. The modern hospital is a factory and factory organisation and management prevail: more or less strict hierarchies from overworked, underpaid and abused nursing staff to slightly better paid junior physicians whose status as subalterns makes them sacrificial labour until they are promoted or escape to private practice, where they become distributors for the pharmaceutical or medical engineering industries. It can be no wonder then that anonymous reports circulate by hospital physicians that they have essentially forged death certificates to inflate the mortality statistics for corona virus. Moreover there can be no doubt that an employed physician, like the employee in every other factory, is constrained to see what his company teaches or tells him to see. Even without such reports, however, the details from the “front” are filtered through every level of command before they reach the public. Since the medical profession is also governed by a number of overlapping regulations, including patient privacy, disciplinary and departmental guidelines and catalogued diagnostic and therapeutic rules, the raw data is useless until analysed taking all those filters into account. Therein lies the capacity for deception—not necessarily by the practitioner, but by the medical organisation itself with its claims to exclusive jurisdiction over human healthcare.

Beyond that, however, the active agencies and their mouthpieces could be called paramedical or even paramilitary. These are the bureaucratic departments and agencies at local, national and international level where public health or medical policy is made and implemented. Once one leaves the frontline, where doctor, nurse, and patient are engaged, the route back to the population at large is through a huge command structure, each with its own peculiar interest and perspective of the war being fought. There are many but the most important ones in this global war on the virus or GWOV have become the WHO and the US CDC.

Both of these organisations are presented in the mass media, and by the government officials in charge of the war effort, as if they were healthcare or medical institutions. The WHO is a United Nations body. The World Health Assembly, a kind of General Assembly of world health ministers, representing individual countries—like the General Assembly at the UN headquarters in New York City—meets regularly to consider the health issues on a worldwide basis. The WHO is the equivalent of the Secretariat of the UN. Hence the head of the WHO secretariat is something like the Secretary-General of the UN—in other words, a member of the international civil service bureaucracy. Like the UN Secretary-General, the head of the WHO secretariat is a politician raised by those who have the most power in the World Health Assembly to this high office, often enough as a reward for (political) services rendered. The World Health Organisation is an ordinary bureaucracy that just happens to administer programs defined within the agenda of the World Health Assembly. But like the UN Secretariat it is dependent on the member contributions and donations for its budget. And like the UN Secretariat, especially since 1980, the WHO only implements the programs for which it receives funding.4 In line with contemporary economic orthodoxy this has meant that the UN organisations, including the WHO, are encouraged to accept private (corporate/foundation) funding in lieu of appropriations from member-states.

The US CDC, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, were originally founded as the Office of National Defence Malaria Control in 1946. The control of malaria was essentially an element of US imperial operations since malaria was not a major health problem in the continental US. Malaria infection became a chronic problem for the Panama Canal Zone, US invasions or occupations in Central America, the US Pacific protectorates, like the Commonwealth of the Philippines and the expansion of imperial operations in the Pacific basin, especially Asia.

Since the US devoted most of its World War II military effort to conquering the Pacific and suborning Japan, malaria became a serious problem exceeding the relatively small number of cases from Western hemisphere operations. In 1992 the activities and programs that had accumulated over the years were consolidated in the present organisation, located near Atlanta, Georgia.

The CDC is presented as a healthcare agency and is even assigned within the US Department of Health and Human Services. This maintains the general impression that it is a civilian public health service.5

As the drama of corona virus unfolded, the CDC, together with the National Institutes of Health (NIH), claimed the authority over the crisis, at least on the technical side. Soon controversy arose about whether the CDC recognised the crisis, reacted properly or rapidly enough; communicated to the responsible authorities; e.g., the POTUS, true and accurate information. As already mentioned Trump opponents try to exploit this controversy to show somehow that Trump is to blame for any failures. All of this controversy is really distraction. It presumes that the agencies involved actually are responding as public health services in the interest of public health; e.g., stopping the spread of the virus and/or remedying its consequences.

Epidemic Prevention and Water Purification

The CDC is still part of the military establishment, despite the fact that it is formally under the US Department of Health and Human Services. It is not unusual to place military organisations within civilian hierarchies for cover. Its military mission is to provide protection to the war fighters against communicable diseases and biological agents that could impair their fighting capacity. It is also charged with research into biological weapons, ostensibly for defensive purposes. However, given that the US regime has been the world’s leader in the offensive use of biological weapons, it is safe to say that the research is at best to protect the US from damage by its own weaponry.6  The same can be said for the National Institutes of Health. In fact, all of the so-called public health institutions created by the US regime originated in the military. The US Public Health Service is a part of the national defence establishment and one of the uniformed services (the technical term for the armed forces in the US).

When officers of the CDC or NIH pose as disease prevention agents one has to engage in mental imaging and picture a guy like Fauci in the uniform of USA Special Forces at Fort Bragg, talking to the Press about “civic action”, surrounded by people who by night command death squads. Then one can get an approximate emotional reaction to what CDC’s true function is and always has been.

Recruiting health experts for overseas

The CDC especially is a civil affairs activity engaged in what the military calls “civic action”. “Civil affairs” means in US Army doctrine the means by which the army competes to win the population. Civil affairs personnel are trained in special operations because civil affairs and civic action involve psychological warfare as well as the implementation of programs with ostensibly civilian benefits. As a civil affairs activity, the CDC conducts civic action programs that look like disease prevention or other public health work but are based on military objectives—control over the population. Civil affairs operations are intimately linked to counter-insurgency—the military conduct of unconventional warfare (aka terror) against potential threats or enemies among the civilian population.

Another important aspect of the CDC mission is vaccination. Vaccination is the industrial process for immunization. If one thinks of vaccination as a civilian activity it seems quite a conventional act. Most of us can recall getting our shots at school as children. However, in a military context vaccination is also ideological. In Vietnam the US deployed vaccination as a means to immunize the population against communism. There were two kinds of vaccination. One was the injection given to the arm by a medical officer or an enlisted man from the medical corps. The other was the vaccination administered at night by death squads who went into villages to capture or kill the communists infecting the villages.

Civil affairs campaigns comprise the organisation and conduct of civic action operations intended to immunize the population from the enemy and thus win it for the friendly forces. This process is also known as pacification.

In Southeast Asia, quarantine was also applied for pacification. The quarantine program was called the strategic hamlet system. The military deployed to an area with several villages and relocated the villagers in compounds which they helped build and equip. Villagers were trained and equipped to defend them from the enemy; i.e., the communists. The villages were concentrated—but one did not want to call them concentration camps—so that surveillance would be easier and to facilitate the use of free fire zones. All healthy villagers were located in a strategic hamlet; therefore, anyone else must be a communist pathogen to be neutralised. Since the villagers were deprived of their normal means of income and support, the civil affairs authorities had to provide benefits for the hamlet inhabitants.

If careful consideration is given to the policies recommended through the CDC and WHO the similarities to the underlying strategy of pacification will become apparent. It should not surprise anyone that people whose primary activity is the support of civil-military operations should direct governments to implement policies and programs based on those doctrines.

This is a major source of deception by the governments of the EU and the US. Medical or public health cover is given to what is essentially a global pacification campaign. The so-called “lockdown”, despite the penitentiary origin of the term, is much better understood as a huge, modified strategic hamlet program. Even the recent decision to give immediate subsidies to Europe’s “displaced peasantry” is part of the pacification strategy.

This, of course, raises the most emotional question: what is the strategic objective of the accelerated pacification against the corona virus?

In the mainstream, that is to say conventional mass media, official pronouncements and the vast majority of commentary detectable, the strategy is just to stop the virus spreading and prevent deaths due to the virus. On its face that would seem like a plausible and attainable if as yet unscheduled objective. To reach this objective the accelerated pacification campaign is supposed to isolate the population from the virus, leaving the field clear for counter-virus operations. At some point the public health services will only have some mopping up operations to perform and then we will be able to return to our villages with no corona around.

In fact, that is a ridiculous plan on its face as more critical and more sinister people have already observed.

It is ridiculous because there is simply no way to assure that another virus will not come along and cause a similar outbreak. Or just as bad, the virus could be defeated and purged from one part of the world but re-enter from some part of the world not sufficiently pacified.

Of course, there has been speculation about this problem. Slowly people are being told—if they did not notice—that pacification creates a new environment in which vigilance will enjoy higher priority than in the past.

The conventional mass media and all the mouthpieces for our governments have as if in chorus begun to advise us all: “the world has changed since corona”. Where have we heard that before? Wasn’t that in September many years ago?

Again we appear to be standing before the entry to a new era, the era after corona. Will we be able to discuss this within our old democratic processes and using our traditional civil privileges? Will the siege or emergency be lifted before we enter this new era?

Easter is traditionally a festival of renewal. It is the feast of the resurrection in Christian mythology. Many people in Europe wished that Easter also had brought an end to the state of siege. Some countries like Sweden and Austria have indeed announced a relaxation of the hamlet rules, to allow the peasantry back in their fields so to speak (if only because subsidising them under arrest is prohibitively expensive).

Instead Easter was the kick-off of a campaign by the founder of the Microsoft monopoly and co-founder with his spouse of one of the world’s richest corporate tax shelters, also called a foundation. The principal shareholder and one of the richest individuals on the planet appeared in Germany and in Britain in televised interviews conducted by the state broadcasters, ARD in Germany and BBC in the Great Britain. The interviewers provided a platform for the funder of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to discuss his plans for the world after corona.

In the BBC Breakfast interview Mr Gates made some interesting points:

1) He called himself a health expert.

2) He described the process by which the vaccines will have to be approved faster than normal and distributed to everyone.

3) He also assumes that there will be insufficient quantities of whatever vaccine is developed.

4) He explained that he believes that there is really no end to the risk. Although developed countries may succeed in controlling and eliminating the virus with their superior infrastructure, the developing countries, which lack all that capacity, could remain sources from which the virus could re-enter the virus-free countries.

What is one to make of these assertions?

  1. a) By any conventional understanding of the term he is not a health expert—although he may employ people who are.
  2. b) Now that is a fairly common observation by those who have heard him speak. However, what he explained in the interview was, for example, that factories producing the vaccine will be in one place and the science will be in another place. What this reveals is the extent to which the corporate structure and intellectual property rights are already established for this vaccine monopoly. Such a structure would make no sense in a public service or genuinely public health-oriented approach. It only makes sense in terms of maximising corporate income streams — which after all is Mr Gates primary interest in life.

What is rather difficult to grasp from the public statements is just how some of this fits together. Robert Kennedy Jr. has gone very far toward showing that the Gates foundation has been conducting illegal and unethical testing in poor parts of the world where the authorities can be bought or where testing can be performed under cover of various activities that appear legitimate or legal.

  1. c) Scarcity, of course, is another factor in monopoly pricing.
  2. d) Therefore it will be necessary to maintain pacification measures in the core and intervene in poor countries to help them defeat the enemy or prevent the enemy from spreading from their countries to other parts of the world.

However, if Mr Gates is not really a health expert and actually has no capacity to produce vaccinations why is he speaking as if he were going to guide us all to the resurrection?

Mr Gates proposes that the way into the future beyond corona is vaccination. In other words he follows and promotes the strategy for which the CDC and the other elements of civil-military operations were created.

Robert Kennedy Jr., a vocal critic of vaccination policies and a critic of the Gates Foundation, has given some hints as to why. Namely, the CDC — a military organisation exempt from most FDA regulation — has become the main agency for vaccination and the vaccination business. The CDC does not have to perform as much testing for safety as is normally required by law. Its exemptions for military expediency make it a wonderful conduit for experimental substances; vaccines are not considered medicine within the scope of US law. Many of CDC’s high officers are directly tied to the vaccination industry. Mr Kennedy is not alone is producing evidence that the Gates Foundation actively promoted and participated in vaccination testing schemes in India and throughout Africa which were condemned as war crimes when performed by German authorities during WWII.7 The revolving door at the Pentagon, where high-ranking military officers become agents and directors for the major arms manufacturers while civilian offices are given to people who worked in those companies that make the weapons the regime buys, is infamous. If the weapons manufacturers own the conventional military, then the chemical and drug companies own the biological warfare divisions. Past directors of CDC sat or sit on the boards of major vaccination manufacturers.8

We sell problems, not solutions

That is one reason why there is a pandemic– this gives the CDC a role it would not otherwise have to obtain vaccinations and order their use.

Now permit a slight diversion: When automobile production in the US started to become a mass market, Standard Oil began to search for ways to strengthen its control over the automobile fuel market. The gasoline engine was promoted over the diesel engine also because gasoline could be sold at a higher price than diesel fuel. However, DuPont and Standard came up with an idea, which for many years gave Standard an edge in the gasoline market. Gasoline could not be patented which would have increased Rockefeller’s monopoly income. So DuPont developed tetraethyl lead as a fuel additive. This lead compound was sold as a so-called “anti-knocking” compound that would make fuel burn more evenly in gasoline engines. DuPont and Standard Oil had already combined to buy most of the small car and truck manufacturers and create General Motors (mergers underwritten by Morgan, like US Steel or General Electric etc.) GM became the single-biggest maker of automobile engines and it prescribed ethyl gasoline for its cars and trucks. DuPont made profits on the poisonous lead compound — prohibited some 60 years later in the US — Standard had an exclusive license to the lead compound and advertised heavily (with the help of GM) — to convince the public that gasoline without lead was inferior. The fact that the lead actually damaged the motors was ignored because damaged motors meant buying new cars. So GM profited from the deal too.

Now let us look at the vaccination business. For decades vaccinations were produced using an ethyl mercury compound patented by Ely Lilly.9  This compound was eventually prohibited in most medicinal uses because the ethyl mercury was found to be a very poisonous neurotoxin. However, it continued to be used in vaccines because the responsible agency for vaccines was none other than the CDC. Allegedly this ethyl mercury compound is a valuable preservative enhancing the shelf life of the vaccine. One can assume, however, that due to the patent and the expense of producing the additive, it makes vaccines more expensive but also more exclusive since competitors have to produce a vaccine with this patented additive (either paying license fees for the right or buying the technology to produce something like it for their own vaccine preparations).

In short a key element in making a chemical or biological product suitable for monopoly is to introduce something, which need not be relevant at all to the active agent, but in combination makes the product subject to patent or cost-intensive protection for the manufacturer.

Mr Gates will participate in a couple or triangle with a pharmaceutical producer, a biotech or even distribution oligopolist and himself as the interface. Years later it was revealed that in more than a few cases GM bribed officials and bought public transport infrastructure to demolish it in favour of roads for cars and trucks. Today there is lots of money to buy officials worldwide and destroy alternatives to the vaccination industry.

Much of the groundwork has already been done. The Gates road show after Easter advocates continuation of the siege until his business model is positioned for launch.

The “corona virus” did not appear with a China incident in Wuhan. This kind of special operation was certainly at least 24 months in the planning — very likely already under Obama in his “Pivot to Asia” programme. In fact, Mr Gates is proud to admit that he gave a speech in 2015 warning that there is risk of a global pandemic. In his BBC interview he alluded to a series of exercises leading up to what could be called the rollout in October last.10

Body count and anti-c and counter-insurgency doctrine

To understand the subtext of the Easter road show, I believe it is helpful to remember some immortal truths held by the US elite to be self-evident. One of these is white supremacy. That is the legal and social construction of a racial myth, which combines what is actually a very diverse population into a fictive unity usually called “white” but often only detectable by minimal yet socially and politically enforced caste distinctions. The origins of this white supremacy —as opposed to vulgar racism have been elaborated elsewhere.11

The other self-evident truth is better called anti-communism than capitalism. American anti-communism is an empty category into which all organised challenges to the ruling oligarchy are put. That is why it has always been senseless to deny being a communist in the US; e.g., a member of a communist party. To be accused of communism is sufficient proof that one is a communist.12 The only choice one has is to recant and be vaccinated. Anti-communism also means a constant campaign of vigilance and vaccination. People who come to the US to live have to declare that they “are not, nor ever have been” infected by communism.

In the war against communism, whether in the Philippines, Vietnam, or Central America, the supreme objective was to eradicate communism, kill the virus. When the patrols returned they had to prove they were doing their job.

During the US war against Vietnam one of the “key performance indicators” was the “body count”: how many communists had been killed. One must understand that the overall US strategy for establishing an independent Republic of Vietnam (RVN) was Vietnamese minus communists — number of South Vietnamese. The concept of Vietnamese in terms of the Geneva accords was not recognised by the US. So the CIA — capitalism’s invisible army — created a number of programs for “making RVN by purging it of anyone not RVN; i.e., communist.

Anti-C: Taking care of “Charlie”

I think we can better understand Mr Gates if we think of anti-corona and anti-communism as the same kind of business. Let’s call it anti-c. It does not matter that communism is not a biological agent. The concept for fighting both is the same. In fact, when he tells the BBC interviewer of the risk that the underdeveloped countries could re-infect the rich countries he is using the same template as all those counter-insurgency warriors before him: the poor have to be defended from contamination by communism. Only now they have to be protected from corona. But is corona really just a virus?

Why are the people who are running the anti-c operations all paramilitary or military bureaucrats? (Mr Trump’s behaviour seems incoherent because he is not a soldier or a career bureaucrat like every other POTUS before him).13 Is this because as a small segment of the vocal and literate public has been saying for years: that the most profitable medical product line is vaccination (just as heroin is the most profitable sister business)? There are already indications that the anti- c campaign has led to “strings of ears” being delivered to the high command as evidence of the numbers of c-targets neutralised. Just as in Vietnam, numbers count. The company and field grade officers are expected to show progress and joint chiefs want to hear “that there is light at the end of the tunnel”.

Keeping people healthy, by means of pure food and drinks, safe working conditions, clean air and water, time for rest and recreation and—when needed affordable health care—are even by Mr Gates admission, not profitable activities for business. Profits lie in producing cheaply (with tax subsidies or inferior inputs) and selling at the highest possible price. This has always been the philosophy of Mr Gates as it was for his idol John D. Rockefeller. That means selling problems, not solutions.

Until recently several counter-insurgency programs had been in place; e.g., GWOT was the main one. At the same time there were continued programs against Cuba, Venezuela, rest of South America, operation in Africa against China, Ukraine (where Germany took the point using US money). The 2008 crash tightened control over financial markets. The war against Syria and the much earlier war to destroy Yugoslavia are all cut from the same anti-c cloth.

However, for a variety of reasons mainly focused in the exhaustion of the NATO internal reserves (both financial and military), there was finally the need for reintroducing a systems approach to coordinate and optimize the massive number of programs.

Aside from the personal and corporate profit streams that are the aim of any aggressive war (whether against states or peoples), there is the organisational problem for a small elite to impose power on numerically superior forces.

What led to the lockdown in the West? After several attacks on the Chinese economy, particularly targeting health and food supplies, failed (Just as they have failed in Cuba!! where there is no doubt that attacks took place), it was necessary not only to cover US tracks but also to systematise the management of all anti-c programs. At the same time these are not just anti-c but anti-p, anti-population, that is. The portion of the population that is not needed for the 1% is surplus. The economic consequences for the vast majority of people in Europe and North America cannot be a surprise. It is impossible that the decisions were prepared and implemented without knowing the short-term and long-term results. This is all the more reason for a counter-insurgency strategy of the sort described here. Population control will be essential for those who own most of the wealth in the West. Of course, there have to be systems to guard that 1% from internal and external threats.

For many readers this may seem quite extreme but there is a precedent. In 1945, Dwight Eisenhower, the liberal-left’s favourite US general, organised the mass incarceration of thousands of Germans, POWs and civilians in camps within the US zone of occupation. Thousands died of starvation, disease and exposure in US prison camps. One explanation offered was Ike’s supposed hatred of Germans. However, there is a far more damning and systematic reason for his actions. After the massive defeat of Germany by the Red Army, there was real fear among the leaders of the US regime and its military that a revolution of the left could occur like in 1918 at the end of the Great War. Then it had been possible for elements of the German army (with Allied financing) to suppress the 1918 revolution. However, in 1945 the Red Army was in Berlin. The US had every reason to fear that a communist-led revolution would have Red Army support and succeed. Taking no chances, Eisenhower fenced in as many Germans as he could, declared them “disarmed enemy” and thus removed them from PoW protection under international law, and let them die. This was very successfully concealed until a Canadian journalist exposed the administrative mass murder.14

The lockdown is really the outward condition for purging the West of any obstacles to its war against Russia and China. In Vietnam this was called “accelerated pacification”. The so-called Phoenix program was a plan to integrate all the anti-c measures into a single program—which was then computerised to become what Jeff Stein called “computerised assassination”.15 The technology was not as developed as it is now nor was the concept fully ripe. In fact, it has taken several mutations before the anti-c virus was ripe for deployment. In 2015 the concept mutated from GWOT to GWOV. If we are to believe him, the global vaccination is the culmination of Mr Gates thought, the jewel in the crown of his philanthropy. Mr Gates got his big business break cooperating with IBM, whose German subsidiary supplied data processing machines for concentration camps. Wearing this crown he and his kind will guide us all into the future. As we are surrounded by the panic in the last days of humanity, we can trust this man who appears quite thoughtful (yet seems to have difficulty holding a coffee mug) to lead us.

The Thinker is usually seen in isolation. Alone his meditative posture suggests something positive. It elicits our sympathy for calm reflection, if not intellect. But the naked man seated in contemplation must be seen in the context of Auguste Rodin’s entire work, a massive set of doors. Rodin was inspired by Dante Alighieri’s monumental poem. The Divine Comedy is composed of three parts, Paradiso, Purgatorio and, of course, Inferno; i.e., Hell. The massive work into which Rodin put his Thinker was just over the entrance to the first circle. He called his sculpture The Gates of Hell.

  1. Karl Kraus, The Last Days of Humanity  (1926).
  2. Part 1: “I am not a Journalist: Against journalistic privilege and for Mr Julian Assange“,  March 12, 2020; Part 2: “Viruses, Real and Virtual“, March 15th, 2020; and  Part 3: “I am not a war correspondent either“, April 11, 2020.
  3. See Larry Romanoff, for example.
  4. Although the USA, as the primary contributor to the United Nations since its founding, has always pressed the organisation to act in accordance with US regime policy. When Ronald Reagan was made POTUS in 1980, the US government announced a strict, public policy of only funding the UN activities that conform to US policies and actively refusing or eliminating funding for programs that did not conform to US policies. This principle has been maintained by the US regime for all its United Nations contributions since then. That principle has also been applied to the WHO.
  5. J. Edgar Hoover liked to portray the FBI as a crime-fighting organisation and was very successful at constructing this myth. The fact, however, is that Hoover was a US “Gestapo” chief and the FBI was founded as a political warfare force under Justice Department cover. People who do not know the history of the NSDAP regime may be surprised to know that the German Geheime Staatspolizei also had a criminal investigation division that pursued undercover what would normally be called “crime”; e.g., theft, murder, embezzlement, fraud, assault etc. However, its main job– like that of the FBI– was to pursue the regime’s opponents or dissidents and enforce the covert policies of the regime.
  6. Names are also forms of deception. The official name for the Harbin, China laboratories and prison compound used by Imperial Japanese Army Detachment 731 for its biological and chemical warfare experiments was the “Epidemic Prevention and Water Purification Department”.
  7. However, in the Pacific, the Japanese military who conducted biological and chemical tests on prisoners (e.g. Detachment 731) were given immunity and secretly employed by the US regime to help create its post-war biological weapons capabilities.
  8. CDC Website, past directors. A biography check going back at least 40 years shows that nearly all the CDC directors worked for or sat on the boards of major pharmaceutical manufacturers. The connection between CDC and Emory University is particularly pernicious. The university’s Rollins School of Public Health was endowed by the Rollins family—who made their fortune in pest control. One could be forgiven for thinking of Zykon B. Emory University runs one of the largest healthcare/hospital systems in Georgia, offering lots of research potential as well as throughput for CDC work product.
  9. Ely Lilly was an active producer of agents used by the CIA during the course of its MKUltra program. There is at least circumstantial evidence that this cooperation was at high level in the agency since GHW Bush became a member of the company’s board when he left his post as head of the CIA. Ely Lilly also launched one of the first commercial anti-depressant medications, PROZAC, developed about the same time that Bush was CIA director. The CIA and DEA have both been intricately involved in support of corporate pharmaceutical interests worldwide. See Douglas Valentine, The Strength of the Pack (2010) and The Strength of the Wolf (2004).
  10. Event 201 held at the Johns Hopkins University Center for Health Security in the Bloomberg School of Public Health.
  11. Gerald Horne, The Apocalypse of Settler Colonialism (2018).
  12. This is a principle common with the Roman Catholic Inquisition. The only guideline the Holy Inquisition had to follow was anything was permitted “in the interest of the Faith”, anti-communism follows a similar rule but “in the interest of national security”.
  13. In fact, most people react negatively to Trump because they are already subconsciously trained to accept fascist bureaucrats as legitimate managers. They also have “herd immunity” to democracy in any form. This is regardless of whether one agrees with Trump’s actions or not. His personal behaviour in office is actually trivial.
  14. James Bacque, Other Losses (1989).
  15. In Michael McClear, Spooks and Cowboys, Gooks and Grunts (1975).

COVID-19 and the Wasting Disease of Normalcy

“But what of the price of peace?” asked Jesuit priest and war resister Daniel Berrigan, writing from federal prison in 1969, doing time for his part in the destruction of draft records. “I think of the good, decent, peace-loving people I have known by the thousands, and I wonder. How many of them are so afflicted with the wasting disease of normalcy that, even as they declare for the peace, their hands reach out with an instinctive spasm in the direction of their loved ones, in the direction of their comforts, their home, their security, their income, their future, their plans — that twenty-year plan of family growth and unity, that fifty-year plan of decent life and honorable natural demise.”

From his prison cell in a year of mass movements to end the war in Vietnam and mobilizations for nuclear disarmament, Daniel Berrigan diagnosed normalcy as a disease and labeled it an obstacle to peace. “’Of course, let us have the peace,’ we cry, ‘but at the same time let us have normalcy, let us lose nothing, let our lives stand intact, let us know neither prison nor ill repute nor disruption of ties.’ And because we must encompass this and protect that, and because at all costs — at all costs — our hopes must march on schedule, and because it is unheard of that in the name of peace a sword should fall, disjoining that fine and cunning web that our lives have woven… because of this we cry peace, peace, and there is no peace.”

Fifty one years later, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the very notion of normalcy is being questioned as never before. While Donald Trump is “chomping on the bit” to return the economy to normal very soon based on a metric in his own head, more reflective voices are saying that a return to normal, now or even in the future, is an intolerable threat to be resisted. “There is a lot of talk about returning to ‘normal’ after the COVID-19 outbreak,” says climate activist Greta Thunberg, “but normal was a crisis.”

In recent days even economists with the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund and columnists in the New York Times have spoken about the urgent necessity of reordering economic and political priorities to something more human — only the thickest and cruelest minds today speak of a return to normal as a positive outcome.

Early in the pandemic, the Australian journalist John Pilger reminded the world of the baseline normal that COVID-19 exacerbates:

A pandemic has been declared, but not for the 24,600 who die every day from unnecessary starvation, and not for 3,000 children who die every day from preventable malaria, and not for the 10,000 people who die every day because they are denied publicly-funded healthcare, and not for the hundreds of Venezuelans and Iranians who die every day because America’s blockade denies them life-saving medicines, and not for the hundreds of mostly children bombed or starved to death every day in Yemen, in a war supplied and kept going, profitably, by America and Britain. Before you panic, consider them.

I was starting high school when Daniel Berrigan asked his question and at the time, while there obviously were wars and injustices in the world, it seemed as though if we did not take them too seriously or protest too strenuously, the American Dream with its limitless potential was spread before us. Play the game, and our hopes would “march on schedule” was an implied promise that in 1969 looked like a sure thing, for us young white North Americans, anyway. A few years later, I abandoned normal life, dropped out after a year of college and joined the Catholic Worker movement where I came under the influence of Daniel Berrigan and Dorothy Day, but these were privileged choices that I made. I did not reject normalcy because I did not think that it could deliver on its promise, but because I wanted something else. As Greta Thunberg and the Friday school strikers for climate convict my generation, few young people, even from previously privileged places, come of age today with such confidence in their futures.

The pandemic has brought home what the threats of global destruction by climate change and nuclear war should have long ago — that the promises of normalcy will never deliver in the end, that they are lies that lead those who trust in them to the ruin. Daniel Berrigan saw this a half century ago.  Normalcy is an affliction, a wasting disease more dangerous to its victims and to the planet than any viral plague.

Author and human rights activist Arundhati Roy is one of many who recognizes the peril and the promise of the moment:

Whatever it is, coronavirus has made the mighty kneel and brought the world to a halt like nothing else could. Our minds are still racing back and forth, longing for a return to ‘normality’, trying to stitch our future to our past and refusing to acknowledge the rupture. But the rupture exists. And in the midst of this terrible despair, it offers us a chance to rethink the doomsday machine we have built for ourselves. Nothing could be worse than a return to normality. Historically, pandemics have forced humans to break with the past and imagine their world anew. This one is no different. It is a portal, a gateway between one world and the next.

“Every crisis contains both danger and opportunity,” said Pope Francis about the present situation. “Today I believe we have to slow down our rate of production and consumption and to learn to understand and contemplate the natural world. This is the opportunity for conversion. Yes, I see early signs of an economy that is less liquid, more human. But let us not lose our memory once all this is past, let us not file it away and go back to where we were.”

“There are ways forward we never imagined – at huge cost, with great suffering – but there are possibilities and I’m immensely hopeful,” said Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, on Easter. “After so much suffering, so much heroism from key workers and the NHS (National Health Service) in this country and their equivalents all across the globe, once this epidemic is conquered we cannot be content to go back to what was before as if all was normal. There needs to be a resurrection of our common life, a new normal, something that links to the old but is different and more beautiful.”

In these perilous times, it is necessary to use the best social practices and to wisely apply science and technology to survive the present COVID-19 pandemic. The wasting disease of normalcy, though, is the far greater existential threat and our survival requires that we meet it with at least the same courage, generosity and ingenuity.

The Great Divide: The Filthy Rich and the Rest of Us in Times of Calamity

Now that the corona virus is making its rounds it seems a good time to illustrate the great divide between calamities’ effects on the filthy rich (aka the power elite) and the rest of humanity. With perhaps one exception to be identified near the end of this piece, the difference has endured down through history because the worse aspects of human nature never seem to change.

Let’s define a “calamity” as either a natural or a man-made disaster (invariably made by men). History is chock full of calamities. The never-ending list of natural disasters goes on and on, starting maybe with allegedly the deadliest of natural disasters, the Yellow River Flood in 1931 that left between 1 and 4 million dead. The never-ending list of man-made disasters are made for ever more profit by the filthy rich.

I’m going to confine this short piece to just three illustrative calamities, America’s Vietnam War, Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans in 2005 and the corona virus swirling through the world today.

I’ll start with the Vietnam war. It was a bonanza for the filthy rich. The captains of the war industry became filthier rich. For millions of the hapless it was a loss of their lives in one of the greatest carnages ever perpetrated in history by the filthy rich of America and their functionaries.

The Katrina hurricane devastated New Orleans in 2005 and left the impoverished sequestered in the Superdome that quickly became a cesspool. In the meantime, the filthy rich had fortified their homes and fled to drier places. Their survival instinct along with their affluence led to a fast getaway. It happens with any natural disaster no matter where, researchers found and reported in the Scientific American. Well, they missed an exception as I shall point out shortly.

For our third calamity, let’s consider the enemy invisible to the naked eye, the dreaded and deadly corona virus. The filthy rich are either sequestered in their mansions or are escaping in their private jets to their luxurious hideaways while their corporation are being bailed out yet again.

Now, let’s revisit the Yellow River Flood in 1931. You may be as startled as I was to learn that the “clean” rich there were voluntarily helping the stricken. Quite a stark and telling contrast to America’s filthy rich, wouldn’t you say?

Next, let’s also revisit the corona virus pandemic. If you know about the history of bioweapons and biological warfare, with the epicenter in the U.S. of R and D and testing on live people,. then you might know what the senior editor of a veterans’ magazine who digs behind the scenes knows. He claims the virus was made to be a bioweapon. I am in no position to dispute his claim. Quite the opposite for I discuss just such possibilities in my new book, “911!” that a) identifies America’s filthy rich, called the “power elite” in the book, b) explains and describes their wrongdoing and evildoing, c) and proposes a detailed plan for rescuing America from its power elite and creating a nation for the common good.

In conclusion, the latest calamity, the corona virus, will someday be history with people left alive to remember it. But the greatest calamity of all, doomsday due to the power elite’s evildoing is coming if we do nothing to stop it.

Can the “World’s Second Superpower” Rise From the Ashes of Twenty Years of War?

UK protest against iraq war February 15, 2003. (Credit: Stop the War Coalition)

February 15 marks the day, 17 years ago, when global demonstrations against the pending Iraq invasion were so massive that the New York Times called world public opinion “the second superpower.” But the U.S. ignored it and invaded Iraq anyway. So what has become of the momentous hopes of that day?

The U.S. military has not won a war since 1945, unless you count recovering the tiny colonial outposts of Grenada, Panama and Kuwait, but there is one threat it has consistently outmanoeuvred without firing more than a few deadly rifle shots and some tear gas. Ironically, this existential threat is the very one that could peacefully cut it down to size and take away its most dangerous and expensive weapons: its own peace-loving citizens.

During the Vietnam war, young Americans facing a life-and-death draft lottery built a powerful anti-war movement. President Nixon proposed ending the draft as a way to undermine the peace movement, since he believed that young people would stop protesting the war once they were no longer obligated to fight. In 1973, the draft was ended, leaving a volunteer army that insulated the vast majority of Americans from the deadly impact of America’s wars.

Despite the lack of a draft, a new anti-war movement—this time with global reach—sprung up in the period between the crimes of 9/11 and the illegal U.S. invasion of Iraq in March 2003. The February 15th, 2003, protests were the largest demonstrations in human history, uniting people around the world in opposition to the unthinkable prospect that the U.S. would actually launch its threatened “shock and awe” assault on Iraq. Some 30 million people in 800 cities took part on every continent, including Antarctica. This massive repudiation of war, memorialized in the documentary We Are Many, led New York Times journalist Patrick E. Tyler to comment that there were now two superpowers on the planet: the United States and world public opinion.

The U.S. war machine demonstrated total disdain for its upstart rival, and unleashed an illegal war based on lies that has now raged on through many phases of violence and chaos for 17 years. With no end in sight to U.S. and allied wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia, Libya, Syria, Palestine, Yemen and West Africa, and Trump’s escalating diplomatic and economic warfare against Iran, Venezuela and North Korea threatening to explode into new wars, where is the second superpower now, when we need it more than ever?

Since the U.S. assassination of Iran’s General Soleimani in Iraq on January 2nd, the peace movement has reemerged onto the streets, including people who marched in February 2003 and new activists too young to remember a time when the U.S. was not at war. There have been three separate days of protest, one on January 4th, another on the 9th and a global day of action on the 25th. The rallies took place in hundreds of cities, but they did not attract nearly the numbers who came out to protest the pending war with Iraq in 2003, or even those of the smaller rallies and vigils that continued as the Iraq war spiralled out of control until at least 2007.

Our failure to stop the U.S. war on Iraq in 2003 was deeply discouraging. But the number of people active in the U.S. anti-war movement shrank even more after the 2008 election of Barack Obama. Many people did not want to protest the nation’s first black president, and many, including the Nobel Peace Prize Committee, really believed he would be a “peace president.”

While Obama reluctantly honored Bush’s agreement with the Iraqi government to withdraw US troops from Iraq and he signed the Iran nuclear deal, he was far from a peace president. He oversaw a new doctrine of covert and proxy war that substantially reduced U.S. military casualties, but unleashed an escalation of the war in Afghanistan, a campaign against ISIS in Iraq and Syria that destroyed entire cities, a ten-fold increase in CIA drone strikes on Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia, and bloody proxy wars in Libya and Syria that rage on today. In the end, Obama spent more on the military and dropped more bombs on more countries than Bush did. He also refused to hold Bush and his cronies responsible for their war crimes.

Obama’s wars were no more successful than Bush’s in restoring peace or stability to any of those countries or improving the lives of their people. But Obama’s “disguised, quiet, media-free approach” to war made the U.S. state of endless war much more politically sustainable. By reducing U.S. casualties and waging war with less fanfare, he moved America’s wars farther into the shadows and gave the American public an illusion of peace in the midst of endless war, effectively disarming and dividing the peace movement.

Obama’s secretive war policy was backed up by a vicious campaign against any brave whistleblowers who tried to drag it out into the light. Jeffrey Sterling, Thomas Drake, Chelsea Manning, John Kiriakou, Edward Snowden and now Julian Assange have been prosecuted and jailed under unprecedented new interpretations of the WWI-era Espionage Act.

With Donald Trump in the White House, we hear Republicans making the same excuses for Trump—who ran on an anti-war platform—that Democrats made for Obama. First, his supporters accept lip service about wanting to end wars and bring troops home as revealing what the president really wants to do, even as he keeps escalating the wars. Second, they ask us to be patient because, despite all the real world evidence, they are convinced he is working hard behind the scenes for peace. Third, in a final cop-out that undermines their other two arguments, they throw up their hands and say that he is “only” the president, and the Pentagon or “deep state” is too powerful for even him to tame.

Obama and Trump supporters alike have used this shaky tripod of political unaccountability to give the man behind the desk where the buck used to stop an entire deck of “get out of jail free” cards for endless war and war crimes.

Obama and Trump’s “disguised, quiet, media-free approach” to war has inoculated America’s wars and militarism against the virus of democracy, but new social movements have grown up to tackle problems closer to home. The financial crisis led to the rise of the Occupy Movement, and now the climate crisis and America’s entrenched race and immigration problems have all provoked new grassroots movements. Peace advocates have been encouraging these movements to join the call for major Pentagon cuts, insisting that the hundreds of billions saved could help fund everything from Medicare for All to the Green New Deal to free college tuition.

A few sectors of the peace movement have been showing how to use creative tactics and build diverse movements. The movement for Palestinians’ human and civil rights includes students, Muslim and Jewish groups, as well as black and indigenous groups fighting similar struggles here at home. Also inspirational are campaigns for peace on the Korean peninsula led by Korean Americans, such as Women Cross the DMZ, which has brought together women from North Korea, South Korea and the United States to show the Trump administration what real diplomacy looks like.

There have also been successful popular efforts pushing a reluctant Congress to take anti-war positions. For decades, Congress has been only too happy to leave warmaking to the president, abrogating its constitutional role as the only power authorized to declare war. Thanks to public pressure, there has been a remarkable shift. In 2019, both houses of Congress voted to end U.S. support for the Saudi-led war in Yemen and to ban arms sales to Saudi Arabia for the war in Yemen, although President Trump vetoed both bills.

Now Congress is working on bills to explicitly prohibit an unauthorized war on Iran. These bills prove that public pressure can move Congress, including a Republican-dominated Senate, to reclaim its constitutional powers over war and peace from the executive branch.

Another bright light in Congress is the pioneering work of first-term Congresswoman Ilhan Omar, who recently laid out a series of bills called Pathway to PEACE that challenge our militaristic foreign policy. While her bills will be hard to get passed in Congress, they lay out a marker for where we should be headed. Omar’s office, unlike many others in Congress, actually works directly with grassroots organizations that can push this vision forward.

The presidential election offers an opportunity to push the anti-war agenda. The most effective and committed anti-war champion in the race is Bernie Sanders. The popularity of his call for getting the U.S. out of its imperial interventions and his votes against 84% of military spending bills since 2013 are reflected not only in his poll numbers but also in the way other Democratic candidates are rushing to take similar positions. All now say the U.S. should rejoin the Iran nuclear deal; all have criticized the “bloated” Pentagon budget, despite regularly voting for it; and most have promised to bring U.S. troops home from the greater Middle East.

So, as we look to the future in this election year, what are our chances of reviving the world’s second superpower and ending America’s wars?

Absent a major new war, we are unlikely to see big demonstrations in the streets. But two decades of endless war have created a strong anti-war sentiment among the public.  A 2019 Pew Research Center poll found that 62 percent of Americans said the war in Iraq was not worth fighting and 59 percent said the same for the war in Afghanistan.

On Iran, a September 2019 University of Maryland poll showed that a mere one-fifth of Americans said the U.S. “should be prepared to go to war” to achieve its goals in Iran, while three-quarters said that U.S. goals do not warrant military intervention. Along with the Pentagon’s assessment of how disastrous a war with Iran would be, this public sentiment fueled global protests and condemnation that have temporarily forced Trump to dial down his military escalation and threats against Iran.

So, while our government’s war propaganda has convinced many Americans that we are powerless to stop its catastrophic wars, it has failed to convince most Americans that we are wrong to want to. As on other issues, activism has two main hurdles to overcome: first to convince people that something is wrong; and secondly to show them that, by working together to build a popular movement, we can do something about it.

The peace movement’s small victories demonstrate that we have more power to challenge U.S. militarism than most Americans realize. As more peace-loving people in the U.S. and across the world discover the power they really have, the second superpower we glimpsed briefly on February 15th, 2003 has the potential to rise stronger, more committed and more determined from the ashes of two decades of war.

A new president like Bernie Sanders in the White House would create a new opening for peace. But as on many domestic issues, that opening will only bear fruit and overcome the opposition of powerful vested interests if there is a mass movement behind it every step of the way. If there is a lesson for peace-loving Americans in the Obama and Trump presidencies, it is that we cannot just walk out of the voting booth and leave it to a champion in the White House to end our wars and bring us peace. In the final analysis, it really is up to us. Please join us.

Inside the Organized Crime Syndicate Known as the CIA


Douglas Valentine is an investigator and author with a rare and tenacious approach toward research. His writing results in uniquely incisive and revealing books on the dark side of U.S. intelligence activities and the National Security State. His latest book, The CIA as Organized Crime: How Illegal Operations Corrupt America and the World, draws parallels between CIA operations in Vietnam as exposed in his well-known 1990 book, The Phoenix Program: America’s Use of Terror in Vietnam—and recent/current operations in Afghanistan, El Salvador, Iraq, Syria, Yemen and elsewhere. In the following interview, Valentine reflects on a variety of issues including the Phoenix Program, plausible deniability, paramilitary wars, drug trafficking, sabotage, blackmail, propaganda, Operation GLADIO, class interests of the CIA establishment, Trump, the Mueller Report and the Bidens. — Editors

*****

Heidi Boghosian: In 1947, Congress passed the National Security Act, which led to the formation of the National Security Council and, under its direction, the CIA. Its original mandate was to collect and analyze strategic information for use in war. Though shrouded in secrecy, many CIA activities such as covert military and cybersecurity operations have drawn considerable public scrutiny and criticism. In 1948, the Security Council approved a secret directive NSC 10.2, authorizing the CIA to carry out an array of covert operations. This essentially allowed the CIA to become a paramilitary organization.

Before he died, George F. Kennan, the diplomat and Cold War strategist who sponsored the directive, said that, “in light of latter history, it was the greatest mistake I ever made.” Since NSC 10.2 authorized violation of international law, it also established an official policy of lying to cover up the law breaking.

We speak today with Douglas Valentine, author of The CIA as Organized Crime: How Illegal Operations Corrupt America and the World. Mr. Valentine’s rare access to CIA officials has resulted in portions of his research materials being archived at the National Security Archive, Texas Tech University’s Vietnam Center and John Jay College. He has written three books on CIA operations, including the Phoenix Program: America’s Use of Terror in Vietnam, which documented the CIA’s elaborate system of population surveillance, control, entrapment, imprisonment, torture, and assassination in Vietnam. His new book describes how many of these practices remain operational today. Doug Valentine, welcome to Law and Disorder.

Douglas Valentine: Thank you very much for having me.

Heidi Boghosian: Doug, how did you come to get such unparalleled access to top level CIA agents, including director Bill Colby?

Douglas Valentine: Well, I’m not really sure of the answer. I was a nobody. I hadn’t gone to the Columbia Journalism School. In fact, I was a college dropout. I had written a book about my father and his experiences in World War II and I wanted to write a book about the Vietnam war. And so, I sent this book that I wrote about my father called the Hotel Tacloban: The Explosive True Story of One American’s Journey to Hell in a Japanese POW Camp to Colby. And he read it! And based on him reading this book I wrote about my father, he agreed to do an interview with me about the CIA’s Phoenix program.

Douglas Valentine

But I really just stumbled into it. And I think that the reasons that Colby talked to me and then introduced me to a lot of other CIA officers are complex, and I think a lot of it has to do with the psychology of the country at the time. That was in 1984, and what was known as the generation gap. I’m not exactly sure why, but I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that I just had the audacity to approach Colby and ask him to help me write a book about the Phoenix program, which nobody else had done at that time.

Michael Steven Smith: Doug, the book that you wrote, the Phoenix Program: America’s Use of Terror in Vietnam, is considered by many the definitive study of the CIA’s secretive counterinsurgency program during the war in Vietnam. One CIA officer named Lucien Conein called it “the greatest blackmail scheme ever invented.” What do you think he meant by that?

Douglas Valentine: Well, it meant that the Phoenix program was targeted against civilians, the civilians who managed the insurgency in South Vietnam, not soldiers, not even guerrillas or terrorists. But these were civilians who were working undercover in political positions, generally speaking. We managed the insurgency in South Vietnam and their names could be put on blacklists. And once their name was on a list—once somebody had been informed about them, and once they were a member of a list a that was called the Vietcong infrastructure, the insurgency—the CIA and its forces could go out and kidnap them, put them in interrogation centers, kill them along with their families, and do anything they wanted to try and suppress them. And the problem was that lots of innocent civilians got their names put on these blacklists. In fact, one of the ways that the CIA and its forces, the South Vietnamese Special Police and its mercenary army, one of the ways that they got people to inform on the members of the Vietcong insurgency was by threatening to put their names on blacklists. So therefore, it became a blackmail scheme.

So, if you were just an average citizen and you did not support the government of South Vietnam, you could find your name on a blacklist and your whole family could be wiped out. So, it became a way of not just attacking the members of this Vietcong infrastructure, but a way of population control, a way of terrorizing everybody in South Vietnam and bringing them all into line following government policies. And the minute you stepped out of line, you could find your name on a blacklist.

Michael Steven Smith: A common theme is the CIA’s ability to deceive and propagandize the American public through its impenetrable government-sanctioned shield of official secrecy and plausible deniability. Can you give us some examples of this please, Doug?

Douglas Valentine: Plausible deniability? Well, first of all, one of the CIA officers that William Colby referred me to directly was a man named Tom Donahue, a veteran CIA officer. He had run the CIA’s covert action branch in South Vietnam from 1964 to 1966 and later went on to join what was called the Vietnam Task Force. He was a very senior officer. Colby arranged for me to have an interview with him, and in that interview, Donahue told me that the CIA never launched a covert action program unless it met two criteria. The first was that it had to have some intelligence potential; it had to have some value to the CIA. And the second thing—it had to be deniable. The CIA does not launch any kind of program at all unless it’s deniable. And it does this in a thousand different ways.

I spent hours talking to Donahue about all the different ways that they do it. But the most common way of the CIA launching a covert action program that is deniable is by attributing it to another agency; they say, the State Department is doing this; or they say the military is doing this; or they say a nongovernmental organization like Amnesty International is doing this; or they say another country is doing it. For example, they might say that the secret services of the government of Ukraine are conducting a particular operation when, actually, it’s the CIA that’s conducting the operation and controlling the Ukraine’s security forces and paying their salaries and directing them where to go.

So, there’s just a million different ways that the CIA creates multiple deniability for it. And of course, every step of the way they have the help of the American media, which is in a partnership with the CIA, the major newspapers and TV organizations, every report about the CIA. And you know, we’re supposed to live in a democracy, and the media—especially investigative reporters—are supposed to be out there looking out for our interests and telling us what’s really happening. But of course, they don’t do that. And what’s really happening, the most important things that are happening and shaping our democracy are the CIA’s covert actions, which are all deniable and never reported on. So, mere civilians in the United States really never know what’s going on.

Heidi Boghosian: Doug, in your book, The CIA as Organized Crime: How Illegal Operations Corrupt America and the World, you lay out some of the most egregious acts of the agency. What do you think are one or two of the worst?

Douglas Valentine: Oh, you know, that’s so hard to say, but it’s certainly conducting paramilitary wars in foreign countries. For example, in Laos, the CIA organized an entire army of mountain tribes. They were mistakenly called the Meo by the Americans [pronounced Mayo] (which was equivalent to saying the N-word), when they were actually the Hmong [pronounced Mung].

Laos was supposed to be a country that was neutral, but the CIA organized an entire secret army of just this tribe of Hmong natives. Most of the soldiers were children, young boys, 14, 15, 16 years old. And they sent thousands and thousands of these young boys to their deaths trying to stop the Vietcong from coming down the Ho Chi Minh Trail through Laos. They just used this mountain tribe as expendable cannon fodder. And they do this sort of thing all over the world all the time. They’ve done it in Iraq, they’ve done it in Afghanistan, they do it in numerous countries throughout Africa, where they just organize militias and secret armies.

And nobody ever reports how tens of thousands of these people [are sent] to their deaths. There’s never a price to pay for it. So, for me—of all of the many, many things they do, including torture as blackmail, even infiltrating various agencies—you have the U.S. government using them for its own purposes, conducting secret wars and sacrificing young foreign citizens. That really strikes me as the worst.

Heidi Boghosian: How does the CIA dominate branches of the U.S. government, like the Drug Enforcement Administration and the State Department?

Douglas Valentine: Under what’s called national security—that little security law, you know—there is a clause that was included in the National Security Directive of December 19, 1947, which gives the CIA the right—for the president to direct the CIA to do whatever is necessary in the interests of national security. Therefore, they can infiltrate any agency of the government and assign office positions in that agency—for example, the Drug Enforcement Administration—to CIA officers so that CIA officers could make sure that the foreign operations that the DEA is conducting, or the foreign operations that U.S. Customs or even the FBI, certainly the military, are conducting, are not infiltrated by foreign agents—or in case of the DEA—that actual drug traffickers that are working for the CIA aren’t arrested, and allows the CIA to control the drug business around the world, which is really important for the United States, and has been since before the CIA was created, when the United States was supporting the nationalist Chinese in China in the 1930s, the way the nationalist Chinese supported themselves was through opium revenues.

President Harry S. Truman signs the National Security Act of 1947, which created the Central Intelligence Agency.
Truman later wrote: “I never would have agreed to the formulation of the Central Intelligence Agency back in forty-seven, if I had known it would become the American Gestapo.” [Credit: Wikimedia.com]

And so, the United States government allowed Chiang Kai-shek and his Kuomintang government to traffic narcotics so they could support themselves. And you know, the United States government does that with various governments around the world even today, such as in Afghanistan, where the people who support the United States and its operations against the Taliban are often drug trafficking warlords—who again, in exchange for lucrative contracts, contracting contracts, the right to build airports or construction contracts, ante up young soldiers and, in return, you know, are sent to their deaths by the scores, by the hundreds, by the thousands. In exchange, these warlords are allowed to traffic narcotics. That’s basically how the CIA does business around the world. And it’s not just through the DEA, but through nearly every United States agency that operates overseas. They all are subservient to the CIA—the CIA has what’s called cognizance over their operations and, basically, complete control.

Michael Steven Smith: Doug, what influence has the CIA’s activities had on social and political movements abroad and in the United States?

Douglas Valentine: Sure. This is one of the primary covert operations of the CIA. Basically, the essence of its mandate is to—through sabotage and propaganda—control political and social movements in foreign countries. And they do this set up for a variety of ways. It’s been standard practice and sort of the driving principle since after World War II.

If I can just give a little background. After World War II, the communists had really formed the underground forces of resistance against the Nazis in France and Italy and in a couple of other European nations. And so immediately after World War II, communist parties became politically influential—and I’ll just focus on France and Italy—and they, all of a sudden, were in control of the governments. But the CIA could not fight wars against France and Italy. So, they developed a program called “courting the compatible left.” In order to get France and Italy away from communism, they supported the Social Democrats, people who weren’t hardcore communists, but people who were willing to work with capitalism, accept American aid and work with the Americans. And so, the CIA resorted to very subtle ways of luring hardcore communists away from communism into its social democratic movement. And this began to bloom and blossom all across the world as a standard operating procedure. When the communists were intractable, then they would do such things as hire Corsican gangsters, which they did in Marseille right after World War II to break up communist strikes.

Sicilian Mafia leaders [Credit: pininterest.ca]

But, generally speaking, they tried to do this through subtle forms of propaganda, blackmail, bribery, sabotage and methods like that. There’s a pretty good book about that…[The Cultural Cold War: The CIA and the World of Arts and Letters by Frances Stonor Saunders]…It’s about how the CIA waged cultural war in the 1950s and 1960s that a lot of Americans played, people like Gloria Steinem1 and other intellectuals in the United States, who actually helped the CIA in this effort to lure people out of the Communist Party into a social democratic movement.

Heidi Boghosian: Doug, let’s talk about the class origins of the CIA. Who does it really represent in the United States of America? Is it the establishment?

Douglas Valentine: Well, certainly the CIA is not a social services organization. Its mandate does not state that it should help poor people in the United States. It’s mandated to protect the national security of the United States. And by definition, that means the people who actually own the industrial infrastructure, the banking system…the individuals who own the United States, the millionaires and billionaires. The people who through big corporations employ many thousands of Americans. That’s what’s meant by national security: supporting those corporations and the people that actually are the Wall Street investment bankers, that faction of the United States. And when the Office of Strategic Services (OSS)—the predecessor of the CIA—was formed in 1942 by President Roosevelt, the person he went to was a man named William Donovan, who had been a World War I veteran and was a U.S. attorney in Buffalo and elsewhere.

William “Wild Bill” Donovan, Director of the Office of Strategic Services (OSS)—the organization which preceded the CIA. Donovan never served in the CIA, yet a bronze life-size statue of him stands in the original CIA headquarters building.
[Credit: Britannica]

And Donovan went to all the elite people from the Ivy League colleges, from industry, and those individuals were all given the management positions in the OSS. And when the CIA was created, all those people from the upper crust—the OSS was often called the Oh So Social—it was the Foxtrot crowd from Georgetown. All those people went in and took over all the management positions. That does not mean that the CIA does not hire people from all ethnicities… [they hired] translators who speak unusual languages…s omebody from Jacksonville, Florida, who plays football or some guy from Texas who’s a football player… [that does not mean they] can’t get into the CIA and into its paramilitary division.

What it means is that all the important decisions that all the management in the executive positions are filled by people from the upper class and they know perfectly well that the job is to protect the interests of the major corporations and banking institutions. And like I said, the people who actually own America, that’s what national security is.

Heidi Boghosian: And what is the CIA’s relationship with Trump? Is it independent from him?

Douglas Valentine: Well, I don’t exactly know. It’s been theorized that when Trump was in financial trouble, and that he needed an influx of capital, he went to Deutsche Bank and massive loans were forthcoming to him. The CIA may have had some hand in that; that the money that was coming to him was from Russian oligarchs who were basically mafia characters in the Soviet Union, that had just collapsed. And the CIA wanted to, again, control political and social movements. Like, in Russia, [the CIA] gravitated towards the wealthiest people and it tried to establish wealthy people in Russia who were beholden to it. The CIA and United States government may have arranged for some of these Russian oligarchs to launder their ill-gotten money to Donald Trump through Deutsche Bank. Trump being a greedy guy, who never thinks beyond the minute, may have been unwitting as to the source of where this money was coming from.

Somebody might’ve said to him, “Donald, why don’t you go to Deutsche Bank? I think you can get a deal there,” and just being a greedy guy who lives in the moment, he did it and the money was forthcoming and so he could have been an unwitting recipient of dirty money. That’s a theory that’s floating around. And if it’s true, then the Mueller investigation or any other kind of investigation that was ever launched in the United States would never reveal it because no investigation is ever allowed to reveal the CIA’s hand.

So, in a sense, Trump would be a protected person forever. If anybody read the Mueller report, you’ll see that the CIA is never mentioned. There’s a reason for that. You know, these things come to us. People say that, you know, Attorney General William Barr scripted it or somebody else scripted it, but you just never read about it. You don’t read about the CIA in the New York Times either. I mean you just don’t read about it. And it’s because secrecy dominates our society; secrecy dominates our culture. It dominates the world and especially it dominates us through the secret of how we’re dominated and none of that is ever revealed. And if it was to be revealed, and we were all to understand how the CIA operates and how it actually controls the information that we receive, then there would be a total upheaval in American society. It just never happens.

Michael Steven Smith: Okay. We’re coming to the end of our allotted time, Doug Valentine. But before we let you go, there is a story breaking now that Heidi and I have been discussing about Joe Biden and his son, Hunter Biden, and Trump trying to get Hunter Biden investigated for his position on an energy corporation in the Ukraine. And that’s led to a call for impeachment and investigation. What’s your take on this story as it’s unfolding?

Douglas Valentine: Well, I actually mentioned Hunter in a passage in my book The CIA as Organized Crime: How Illegal Operations Corrupt America and the World. And you know, Hunter Biden was certainly not the only American to prosper as a result of 20 years of CIA covert operations to pull Ukraine away from the Russian orbit. And once that happened, hundreds of American business people just poured into Ukraine and assumed positions in many corporations. [U.S.-born Natalie] Jaresko….the day that she obtained Ukraine citizenship, she became head of the Ukraine Treasury Department. No, I mean, and this is not America! So, if you started investigating Hunter Biden, then you’ve got to investigate a hundred or a thousand other American business people and political figures who are what I call in my books super-predators who basically operate the way the Mafia does.

You know, they take over governments by twenty years of CIA subversion; blackmailing people and countries, setting them up, overloading them with loans from the IMF or something like that. And then when they can’t pay off their loans, they swoop in like vultures and take over their country and they take over their corporations. And so, what Hunter Biden did, and what I stress in my book: This is just business as usual. The only value it has is, in this war of words that’s being waged between the Republicans and the Democrats, nothing of the CIA’s involvement in setting up these kinds of takeovers in foreign countries is ever, ever going to be revealed.

[W]e’re subjected to the spectacle of Republicans and Democrats smearing each other, [with] the investigative reporters never getting to the root cause…that America is an imperial nation that is subverting and overtaking foreign governments on a daily basis around the world.

We have this sort of stasis, between the Republicans and the Democrats, where we’re subjected to the spectacle of Republicans and Democrats smearing each other, [with] the investigative reporters never getting to the root cause of all this: namely, the fact that America is an imperial nation that is subverting and overtaking foreign governments on a daily basis around the world. And so, we are subjected to this spectacle and that’s all we ever see. And the powers that be are perfectly happy for us to be enthralled by this, what I call the anvil chorus: one side hammering the other with smear tactics, ad infinitum. And in the meantime, nobody ever really knows what’s going on because everything that’s really important is secret and covered up.

Heidi Boghosian: Doug. Unfortunately, we have come to the end of our time. How can listeners read more about what you’ve done and your body of work on the CIA is really magnificent? Do you have a website?

Douglas Valentine: Yes, I do. You can go to douglasvalentine.com which lists all my books. Plus, if you go to Google and you punch in my name, I am usually the first Doug Valentine that comes up. Google has all my books listed and at this point there’s like seven or eight of them—I can’t remember anymore.

Heidi Boghosian: Thank you so much for being on with us today and we hope to stay in touch as future political developments unravel.

Douglas Valentine: Thank you very much. I appreciate the opportunity.

The audio of this interview was originally published on Law and Disorder on September 30, 2019. Cover photo Credit: Scott.net.

  1. Gloria Steinem was an iconic leader of the American feminist movement and co-founded Ms. Magazine. In March 1967, Ramparts magazine broke one of the first major exposes in the CIA’s history. From the early 1950s until 1967, the international program of the National Student Association and some of its domestic activities were secretly underwritten by clandestine funding from the Central Intelligence Agency.

    During the years 1958-67, Steinem accepted a paid position with the CIA when she went undercover with the “Independent Research Service” as she infiltrated the student-based NSA, not the other super-secret NSA—the National Security Agency. In her covert capacity, she attended the World Youth Festival of Students and Youth, first in 1959 in Vienna, Austria, attended by 18,000 delegates coming from 112 nations, and secondly in Helsinki, Finland, attended by 18,000 delegates from 137 countries. While claiming that her CIA collaboration ended in 1962, new data suggest that her secret work lasted until 1967.

    To view a revealing interview of Steinem by journalist Cory Morningstar about her CIA adventures, see link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4HRUEqyZ7p8.

A Brief History of Time Change

As an American, one can reasonably ask: “What’s happened during the last hundred years, or 36,500 days?”

Presidentially speaking, America’s gone from a pedantic, virulently anti-Communist Woodrow Wilson to a bombastic, virulently anti-Islamic Donald Trump.  Coincidentally, Wilson was the most recent U.S. president to authorize an invasion of Mexico (March 15,1916), while Trump’s obsession with “our Southern border” has been more than well-documented.

Now, back in 1916, President Wilson’s “punitive expedition” was intended to capture the Mexican political outlier Pancho Villa, whose cross-border raid on Columbus, New Mexico (March 9, 1916) had killed 18 Americans.  Ultimately, General John “Black Jack” Pershing’s 6,000 man invasion force failed to find Villa, and this faulty invasion product was recalled in February, 1917. Soon after, however, General Pershing was back in the “expedition” business.  In April of 1917, Woodrow Wilson broke his campaign promise to keep the United States out of the European War by declaring “War!” on Germany and Austro-Hungary.

Sometimes referred to as the “War to end all wars,” the First World War led to an even more genocidal sequel two decades later. Also known as the “War to save Democracy,” the monarchically-shorn, but still authoritarian, legacy of World War One managed to spawn Fascist dictatorships in Italy, Spain, and Germany — not to mention the super-Czardom of Joseph Stalin in Russia, as well as a military dictatorship in Japan, which had been an ally that fought Germany during the “Great War” of 1914-18.

The ghosts of the First World War continue to haunt the warring World today.  Take the ongoing conflicts in Iraq and Syria, for instance:  these two countries were literally drawn into existence by the schemingly victorious British and French: first, by secret agreement in 1916 (Sykes-Picot); then publicly, through the agency of the Versailles Treaty of 1919-20.  The United States, of course, has been waging undeclared — thus illegitimate — war “over there” — with a particular emphasis on Iraq, where U.S. troops are still garrisoned — since 1991.

A century of world war, however, is not the only contribution of the First World War to our own time, here in the early 21st — if, indeed, we can really call it “our own time” at all…  In addition to sowing seeds for one hundred years of belligerent offspring, World War One also gave us Daylight Saving Time (DST), or Time Change.  First adopted by soon-to-be enemies, Germany and Austro-Hungary, in 1916, the United States officially instituted daylight saving time through the “Standard Time Act” of March 19, 1918. Kind of like the war itself, despite a massive propaganda campaign for it, daylight saving was wildly unpopular; Congress repealed the Time Change, over President Wilson’s veto, in 1919.

Daylight saving next reared its time-shifting head in 1942, when the United States declared itself back in the World War business. The second coming of Time Change was literally referred to as “War Time”; so, in case any American citizen wasn’t aware, all of time was now “War Time.”  DST the Second was again suspended at the conclusion of hostilities, in 1945.  For the next 20 years, one might suppose, no one in America knew what time it was.  Some states kept to the DST standard, while others did not.  With a push from the transportation industry, Congress passed the Uniform Time Act in 1966, which marked the third installation of Time Change.  Of course, the United States was seriously escalating its undeclared war in Vietnam, Southeast Asia, in 1966; but, unlike 1942, no one called it “Vietnam War Time” at that time.

The Arab oil embargo of 1973, in response to United States support of Israel during the Yom Kippur War, triggered even more wrinkles in already wrinkled time.  In 1986, the DST was further modified, moving the “Spring Forward” back from the last to the first Sunday of April.  The most recent stitch in Time Change occurred in 2005, by way of the “Energy Policy Act,” which expanded DST in the dark light of the American occupation of Iraq, shifting the Time Change dates to the second Sunday of March and the first Sunday of November.

In brief, then, since the Time’s initial change in America, in 1918, the Time Change has been changed a surprising number of times. Perhaps our Overlords are unusually fidgety types?  As a pattern, they’ve changed the Time Change almost every 20 years. After all: what better way to keep a Population off-balance than to add an Hour here while subtracting an Hour there?  Throw in a few wars–and these “wars” don’t even need to be “declared” anymore, because no one knows what “time” it is — and one has a fine recipe for maintaining the military-industrial status quo first established through the persistent insanity of World War One.

The persistent insanity of World War One...Ah, yes, the current President of the United States, Donald BoneSpurs of Surreal Estate Acres:  Just look at that Hair!  That’s a faux-hawk if ever there was one:  pure 1980s, folks!   In a weird way, a kind of phantomime way, Trump has inherited Woodrow Wilson’s War-maker mantle — even though Trump’s been told that Andrew Jackson’s his “favorite” President, and Winston Churchill’s bristling bust is still ruling the background of all of Trump’s Oval Office appearances.

The Time may have changed several times during the last century, but the military-industrial song remains the same, and it’s still a sad, sickly War Song.  Donald Trump, obviously, has not changed that tune one note.  Ironically, perhaps, he’s like a one-note, black key piano player plunking out the tune of “more War, that we are forever withdrawing from, because we are forever withdrawing more forward…”

So, one hundred years into this manifestly un-Natural standardization of Time, who can say, with any certainty:  “What time is it?”