Sunday, December 4, 2016

The Black Hole At The Imperial Center

Warning: This will be a blatantly spiritual post, so you can decide whether you are interested enough in that subject to keep reading.  I will begin with an analogy from astronomy.  Observations of stellar motion near galactic cores explain much about what holds galaxies together.  Scientists who have observed such cores have gleaned a great deal of information about a thing that can be observed only indirectly, namely, the super massive black hole that lies at the heart of a typical galaxy.  Those observations have enabled them to estimate the probable mass of many black holes at galactic centers and the radius of their event horizons.

Here's a question: can observations of empire tell what lies at the center of earthly empires?

A clue came to me recently.  For the last several months I've been listening to audio recordings of the Bible that I downloaded from the LibriVox website.  For some reason, I found myself obsessively listening to various readings of the Book of Daniel for several days last month, and that led me to an effort to try to figure the book out.  I am not going to give you some grand exposition today, but I will comment on a couple of things that I noticed.

First, the main theme of Daniel seems to be summarized in Daniel 4:17 - that God Most High rules in the kingdom of men, and gives it to whomever He will, and sets up over it the lowest of men - and that one day, all earthly kingdoms and their kings will be superseded by a King from Heaven whose reign will be over all, and will never end.

But before that everlasting Kingdom comes, there will be one last earthly empire.  That empire will rule the earth for a time, and will be evil.  One interesting observation is the power and motivation behind that last empire, whose ruler will "do that which his fathers have not done, nor his fathers' fathers."  (Daniel 11:24)  In other words, he will be an exceptional conqueror having an extraordinary degree of cunning.  What will be the secret of his success?  This: "He will not regard the gods of his fathers, or the desire of women, or regard any god, for he will magnify himself above all.  But in his place he will honor a god of fortresses, a god whom his fathers did not know; with gold, silver and with precious stones and pleasant things.  He will deal with the strongest fortresses by the help of a a foreign god; he will give great honor to those who acknowledge him and will cause them to rule over the many, and will parcel out land for a price."  (Daniel 11:37-39, various translations)

To put it plainly, behind the empire of the final earthly king will be the worship of a "god of fortresses..."  In other words, the power and foundation of this empire will be from an occult source.  This is also indicated in Daniel 8:23-24, "And in the latter period of their kingdom, when the transgressors have finished, a king will arise strong of face and skilled in ambiguous speech (or intrigue, or enigmas).  And his power will be mighty, but not by his power (emphasis added), and he will destroy (or corrupt) to an extraordinary degree and prosper and perform his will; he will destroy (or corrupt) mighty men and the people of the saints.  And through his shrewdness he will cause deceit to succeed by his influence..."

Thinking of these passages led me to formulate a hypothetical question: what if the power and foundation of every earthly empire throughout history has come from an occult source?  This seems especially likely if the empire was an extraordinarily violent and successful conqueror, and/or a severe and cruel oppressor.  What if, moreover, every conspiracy to create an earthly empire has an occult inspiration?  Where would one look for evidence to confirm or contradict such a hypothesis?  Over the last few weeks, I have been looking at the last five hundred years of the history of the Global North (Europe, the Five Eyes, and Russia), and I came up with some very interesting findings.  I will divide those findings into "imperial examples" and "conspiratorial examples."

Under the heading of "imperial examples" were some obvious cases, such as Nazi Germany under the reign of Hitler.  (See this, this, this, and this for instance.  However, the author of the last source cited seems to hint that occult fascinations merely colored, and did not cause, certain aspects of National Socialism.)  There is also the case of Italy under Benito Mussolini, whose reign was influenced to some degree by occultist Julius Evola, who was also virulently racist,  According to one source, his writings have had a major impact on the development of the global far right.  But I am getting ahead of myself.

There is also at least one questionable example, namely that of Napoleon Bonaparte of France.  The limited investigation I have done has turned up no hard link to the occult in Napoleon's empire.  However, he is an ambiguous character who proclaimed his allegiance to several religions in order to facilitate his rule over the diverse peoples he conquered.

But there is also an unexpected example, namely that of Elizabethan England, where the Queen had a court astrologer and advisor named John Dee who was also the inspiration and architect of the formation of the British Empire.  Throughout his adult life he had a strong and increasing fascination with the occult (which is one thing actually that led to his eventual ruin).  There is also the example of Cecil Rhodes, who, according to Carroll Quigley, was the mastermind behind attempts by certain wealthy British interests to reconquer some of the possessions lost by the British Empire.  According to Quigley, one of the institutions arising from the activities of Mr. Rhodes is the Society for Psychical Research (The Anglo-American Establishment, p. 32).

There is also the example of the United States, if one cares to take the time to find reputable and scholarly articles concerning the faith of the Founding Fathers.  (Hint: most of them were not fundamentalist Christians.  See this also.)  Note also the significant role played by secret societies in American history. (See this and this for instance.)  Lastly, consider the hidden agenda and esotericism of certain examples of American-made religion, such as Mormonism and Dominionism.  And there is the example of Federal funding for research into the use of psychic phenomena for military purposes!

Under the heading of "conspiratorial examples", the biggest and most obvious case I found was Russia and its involvement with the burgeoning far-right, white supremacist movements now at work in the Global North.  Those who are intimately familiar with Russian culture know of the prominent role of the occult in pre-revolutionary Russia, as well as the Soviet research in attempts to use psychic phenomena for Soviet governmental objectives.  (See this, for instance.)  But what is even more interesting is the place of the occult in the resurgence of post-collapse Russian society and of post-collapse Russian geopolitical strategy.  Consider, for instance, Aleksandr Dugin, the chief architect of modern Russian geopolitical strategy.  Consider the occult roots of his political philosophy, and of Dugin's fascism.  (See this and this also.)  Dugin, it seems, wants to build a global empire centered on and run by Russia.  Indeed, he believes that Russia without empire would cease to exist.

And part of his strategy (a strategy we have seen implemented quite effectively over the last two years) involves the financing and political support of far-right groups in Europe and the United States.  (For an example of involvement in Europe, see this.)

I would also say that there is widespread evidence of occult involvement in the global far-right groups today, regardless of country of origin.  (See this, this and this for instance.)  There is evidence, moreover, that these far-right groups are actively creating a supremacist youth culture.  (See this, this and this for instance.)

So then, based on my initial findings, I think I can state that the answer to my initial hypothetical question is most likely "Yes."  Therefore I submit that thus we who are members of those people groups who have been oppressed and exploited for the last five centuries or so can begin to understand the power and motives behind the cruelty dealt to us by our oppressors.  And we can begin to estimate the future trajectory of our oppressors, as well as understanding how we should respond to the oppression dealt to us.

As a Christian, I boldly state that our response must not be to attempt to wield the same power now wielded against us by our oppressors!  For those who wield that kind of power run the risk of losing their souls "on singularly unfavorable terms" (to quote C.S. Lewis), regardless of the earthly results they achieve.  Rather, for the Christian, it is much more relevant that, "...for us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things, and we for Him, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we through Him."  (1 Corinthians 8:6)  And, "A glorious throne on high from the beginning is the place of our sanctuary.  O LORD, the hope of Israel, all who forsake Thee will be put to shame..." (Jeremiah 17:12-13)

Some readers may be curious as to the results which can be expected from the seeking of occult power by the far-right supremacist groups I have cited.  Some may also be curious as to the timing of the final end of the trajectory of these supremacists.  I will not comment on such matters today.  (I think I have spent quite enough time behind a keyboard this weekend!  And some of you who read today may be thinking, "He's really climbed far out onto the skinny branches with this post!")  However, I will end with a sociological question.

The quest for empire is essentially a quest for power, and the bigger the imperial dream, the greater is the underlying thirst for power.  The empires of the 19th and 20th centuries enjoyed exponentially greater power than any empires that preceded them, thanks to the Industrial Revolution and the resources - particularly, energy resources - that supplied that revolution.  Now those resources are coming to an end, and their end signals a mortal threat to the narcissistic quest for imperial power by those who have long enjoyed the fruits of that power.  Could it be that the surging interest in the occult in the Global North - especially among the supremacist elements - signifies a desperate search for another kind of (blatantly evil) power?  And will the quest for that power intensify in the months ahead?

Friday, December 2, 2016

Please Don't Buy Anything Except Gasoline and Food This Holiday Season

To those who are regular readers of this blog, I extend a hearty "Thank You!"  I'd also like to ask a huge favor.  As I consider this holiday season of 2016, I think of the relatives of Michael Brown, Tamir Rice, Freddie Gray, John Crawford, Eric Garner, Walter Scott, Sandra Bland, Aiyana Stanley-Jones, and many other people murdered by the police over the last several years.  These relatives won't have a Merry Christmas.  Neither will those of us who have been disenfranchised by crooked voter suppression laws, hackable electronic voting machines, and other implements of election fraud.  In fact, I would wager that by the end of 2017, almost no one in this country will be able to enjoy a Merry Christmas. 

This state of affairs is very un-satisfying, especially to those of us who feel particularly powerless just now.  Yet there is always power in nonviolent resistance, and there are many techniques of nonviolent resistance.  Please join me this holiday season in implementing one such tactic - namely, a boycott of holiday shopping.  Let's send a painful message to those who now own our country.  Thank you very much.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

A Thinking Cap for Resisters

In the wake of Donald Trump's ill-gotten capture of the Presidency, it has been mildly interesting to see mainstream television entertainers pleading with Americans to give Donald a chance.  I guess it's only fitting that among his flying monkeys should be people who make a living by acting silly or by pretending to be what they are not.  The Donald fits right in with them, as the former star of a cheesy "reality" TV series.  Those who study dysfunctional family dynamics will also recognize the parallels between the people begging us to give the Donald a chance and those members of dysfunctional families who cover and make excuses for those members of their own families who are the actual cause of family dysfunction. 

The problem is that ever since it was announced that the Donald "won" the Electoral College (with only 25 percent of all people in America of voting age supporting him!), he has had chance after chance to show that he is capable of sane, moral, just and fair leadership.  And every day he has failed the test in one way or another.  Asking the majority of people of voting age in this country to give him a chance sounds a bit like a violent and/or substance-abusing husband asking his wife to give him another chance even when there is no evidence that the husband has begun to do the hard work of repentance.  Those of us who are being asked to "give him a chance" are therefore being asked to ignore the lessons of pattern recognition, to ignore the data points supplied by the trajectory of Donald's life from way back in the day up to the present, to expect that a man who has enthusiastically pursued a course of selfishness and petty evil and has shown no sign of changing his course will suddenly be a different person tomorrow.

Those of us who have to live in this country under a Trump presidency would do well to avoid having any hopeful illusions about him.  I think it would be reasonable to assume that the Donald will try to do just about everything he threatened to do during his campaign.  (The leaders of some of the countries which the Donald threatened during his campaign are assuming that very thing, and have begun to issue warnings that if the new administration revokes certain treaties and agreements, or re-imposes certain sanctions, there will be consequences.)  I think it is also reasonable to assume that many of the more objectionable types who have latched onto Trump and to whom he pandered during his campaign are an accurate reflection of his character.  This means that a large number of us will be targeted for suffering, repression, denial of equal protection, false imprisonment, economic discrimination and threat of physical violence by these types.

Therefore, it will be necessary for us to resist.  Resistance, moreover, is not optional.  If we don't resist, we will suffer for sure.  If we do resist, we may still suffer - but we might also win.

Moreover, the resistance must be nonviolent.  There are ethical and moral reasons for this, especially for those of us who are Christians.  (No, this is not the time for so-called "Christian patriots" to bust out their hardware and their ammo.  If you're in that crowd, grab a clue from Luke 3:14.  By the way, the translation I quoted renders this verse exactly as it is written in the Greek, so don't try to weasel out of it.)

But there are also very pragmatic reasons why the resistance must be entirely nonviolent.  A number of those reasons have been captured in the work of Maria J. Stephan of the International Center on Nonviolent Conflict, and by and Erica Chenoweth of Wesleyan University.  In a 2008 paper titled, "Why Civil Resistance Works: The Strategic Logic of Nonviolent Conflict," Chenoweth and Stephan examined a large number of nonviolent resistance efforts which took place over the last hundred years or so, and discovered the shocking fact that nonviolent resistance movements had a success rate of over 50 percent.  Violent resistance movements, on the other hand, had a success rate of only 26 percent.  In addition, societies which experienced successful nonviolent resistance tended to be much more stable and peaceful afterward than those societies which experienced violent revolution or civil war.  Chenoweth and Stephan have expanded their findings and published them in a book, and there are other researchers who have confirmed their findings as well.

The goal of nonviolent resistance is not necessarily to persuade an oppressive, powerful and violent opponent to "listen to its better angels."  After all, it may not have any "better angels!"  Rather, the goal is to deprive the opponent of its ability to continue its oppression by removing the sources of power of that oppression.

As for the strategy and tactics of nonviolent resistance, there are a number of sources.  (See this and this, for instance.)  One source I have been enjoying over the last few days is How Nonviolent Struggle Works, by Gene Sharp of the Albert Einstein InstitutionHow Nonviolent Struggle Works is a short, easy-to-read condensation of a much longer book by Mr. Sharp, who has written several lengthy books on the subject.  If you see yourself as a resister in these days, and you're wondering what to do, Mr. Sharp's short book would be a good place to start.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

The Seventy-Five Percent

Well, well.  The last few weeks have been quite a headache indeed, or to say it in Spanish, dolor de cabeza.  I hope that snatch of foreign language managed to burst a few blood vessels in some of the redneck types who voted for Trump.  What is interesting is that many media mouthpieces (including a number in the alt-media who should know better) are painting Trump's capture of the White House as some sort of populist phenomenon.  Such spewings are typical of people who can't do basic math and who find facts to be inconvenient.  If you find yourself in that crowd, let me help you out tonight.  I'm going to give you a few straight-up numbers.

First, the number of people of voting age in the United States was 247,773,709 in July 2015, according to the Federal Register.  Of this number, 62,210,612 popular votes so far went to Trump.  That means that Trump is the choice of only 25.1 percent of all people of voting age.  Secondly, Hillary Clinton leads Trump in the popular vote by over 2 million persons. Third, there are widespread reports of voter suppression in many of the states which Trump "won."  (See this, this, this, this and this for instance.)  Note also the huge contradiction between exit polls and "official" vote tallies in the first source cited in the parentheses.  This means that if the election had actually been a fair and accurate representation of the will of the people of the United States, Hillary Clinton would likely have won by a decisive margin.  Trump is not particularly popular; therefore his capture of the White House is not a populist phenomenon, but a sign that the arch-narcissist Trump and his backers have taken a dump on the electoral process.  Goodbye, democracy.  It was a nice illusion while it lasted.

Now comes the reckoning for the mess these people have begun to make.  And I already have some idea of the kind of mess they are likely to make.  I am thinking particularly of a parable from the Gospel of Luke, chapter 18, namely, the parable of the unrighteous judge, who is described thus: "In a certain city there was a judge who did not fear God and did not respect man."  It is interesting to note these two characteristics of the judge: first, that he refused to acknowledge any moral restraint higher than himself to which he was answerable ("a judge...who did not fear God..."); and secondly, that he refused to acknowledge any relational restraint by which he might be bound in his dealings with others ("a judge...who did not respect man...").  The characteristic of many people who are like this judge is that although they don't acknowledge moral or relational restraints, they do at first recognize and acknowledge what I call "technical" restraints - that is, the restraints imposed on them by physical reality itself.  But as they continue in their career of evil, they cease to recognize even these restraints.  That process has already begun in Trump and company, ever eager to emphasize their feelings over actual facts.

A day may come, however, when they come to appreciate the following lines from Tolkien: "I wish I had known all this before," said Pippin. "I had no notion of what I was doing."  "Oh yes, you had," said Gandalf. "You knew you were behaving wrongly and foolishly; and you told yourself so, though you did not listen. I did not tell you all this before, because it is only by musing on all that has happened that I have at last understood, even as we ride together. But if I had spoken sooner, it would not have lessened your desire, or made it easier to resist. On the contrary! No, the burned hand teaches best. After that advice about fire goes to the heart."  Or, to put it another way, the outworkings of damnation do eventually catch up with every soul or nation that insists on being damnable.

Meanwhile, I ought to explain my absence from blogging over the last few months.  It has been partly because of busy-ness, partly because after finishing grad school, the thought of sitting in front of a computer has been mildly distasteful.  But the biggest reason has been that as I have watched the unfolding of events in the United States over the last few months, it has seemed that the best use I could make of my time was to devote myself to prayer.  I still feel that way.  However, I may also blog some more in the next few months - particularly about some concrete steps I will be taking to help disadvantaged people who must live in the age of Trump.  One thing I won't be doing is buying anything for Christmas.  Feel free to join me in a year-end shopping boycott if you'd like.  You'll save yourself quite a bit of holiday stress!

I also intend to practice as much non-violent, passive resistance as possible.  Maybe I'll make a bumper sticker which reads, "I BELONG TO THE 75%."  Feel free to join me in passive resistance, if you feel so led.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

A Wolf's Fear Of The Future

As I think about this present time, I am reminded of special days which I have grown to dislike over the years.  One of those special days is, oddly enough, Christmas.  Don't get me wrong - I am all for people taking time out of the year to celebrate the birth of Christ.  What I choke on is being barraged by holiday music and holiday shopping advertisements from the day after Halloween until the day after New Year's.  Another holiday I am not too fond of is Halloween (although I make sure to dress as a grown-up every year).

But the day which I have come to despise most of all in the United States is Election Day.  Indeed, one of the most annoying aspects of life in the USA just now is the fact that we seem to be in a never-ending election season designed to produce maximal angst and fear among those who have to live through it.  A particularly vexing element of this is having to cut through the games played by wolves who want to bury their real agenda behind a bunch of non-issues.  Today's post will attempt to clarify the real issues at stake in the national elections, at least, as I see them.

Many of those who are campaigning for Donald Trump claim that a Trump presidency would bring world peace by ending American neocon attempts to expand American power throughout the world.  Some of these people seek to paint Hillary Clinton as some sort of war criminal, either because some American operatives died at Benghazi after the U.S. had overthrown the lawful government of Gaddafi, or because Ms. Clinton had a personal Gmail account while she was Secretary of State.  (If having a personal email account is a crime, you may as well throw many of us in jail, because we too have personal email accounts in addition to our work accounts.)  Indeed, there are many mouthpieces trying by every possible means to make Mr. Trump palatable enough to get enough votes to win the Presidency.  (Some of these people have actually tried to use the angle that he is "the lesser of two evils."  They forget that by saying this they are admitting that he is evil.)

But if we take Mr. Trump at face value - especially concerning the statements and speeches which won him the Republican nomination - we see the real motive behind the Trump candidacy, and behind the efforts of the American right wing over the last decades.  These efforts are coming to a head now, in 2016.  For the central issue is the survival of white supremacy and First World hegemony.  Trump and his supporters (along with the Murdoch and Breitbart media empires and American evangelical media) believe that this supremacy and hegemony are in mortal danger of being swept away, especially in the United States.  Thus the candidacy of Trump represents a last-ditch attempt to stop the clock, or better yet, to reverse the clock of world history and to bring the 1950's back as a permanent state of world and national affairs.  The 1950's hold special appeal for these people because these were the days in which white America dominated the world and Americans oppressed whomever they wanted to, without any fear of consequences or resistance.  Americans who enjoyed the privileges of the 1950's grew to believe that they would never have a need for politeness, compromise, consensus, respect of differences, or the need to work harmoniously with others.  And they even remade God into their own image (or for a while, as it seemed), as the God who "gave us this great land and promised us that we should rule the world!"

This has been the real agenda of the Right for a long time.  This is the real agenda of the Right at this present time.  This is what is at stake in the current election.  And on a certain level, this agenda is not only national, but international in scope, although on the international level, there are some differences.  (How many of you know that the far-right movements now at work in Europe are partially financed by Russia?  See this also.  And Russia is financing Trump.)  On the international level, the agenda morphs into an effort to maintain the hegemony of the First World over the rest of the earth, by attempting to arrive at a gentleman's agreement over who is allowed to exercise control over particular "spheres of influence".  The gentleman's agreement is then paid for at the expense of the nonwhite majority world, who get to enjoy continuing to be carved up by First World "spheres of influence" while being excluded from the concentrations of wealth which the nations of the First World have amassed by robbing everyone else blind.

The trouble with establishing such an agenda is that the factors which would cause such an agenda to succeed are now changing very rapidly.  As far as the United States, the most recent census data shows that by 2020, the majority of children in the United States will be nonwhiteFrom 2011 onward, the majority of births in the United States each year have been nonwhite.  Moreover, many of these children are multiracial.  And they do not have the same agenda as the media outlets whose mouthpieces constantly demonize them as "terrorists," "heathen," "criminals" or "savages."  They don't care about Benghazi or emails.  They (and their parents) just want to live their lives in peace.  But because the current masters of American society continue to engage in conversations which the future majority population doesn't care about, the current masters of America risk becoming irrelevant in very short order.  This translates to a loss of power, if by power one means the power to bully, to oppress, to rob, to dominate, to impose oneself and one's culture on others.

The same trends are at work in Europe, which is why many European far-right groups have arisen to try to stop this process.  It could also be argued that this is a motivation for the Russian intervention in Syria.  Don't get me wrong - I think that the attempt by the West to overthrow yet another country should have been stopped.  However, based on things I have learned and sources I have read over the last several months, I don't believe the Russians intervened out of the goodness of their hearts, but rather, to stop the influx of people considered nonwhite into Europe (and potentially, into Russia).

Trump supporters have the misguided hope that perhaps he can reverse the loss of white supremacy in the U.S. - perhaps by a massive increase in police shootings of unarmed black Americans, or perhaps by wholesale, indiscriminate deportation of anyone who looks foreign or has a non-English last name, even if they were born in the U.S.  (Such deportations have happened before in U.S. history, by the way.)  But there is yet another trend at work which cannot be stopped by any political leader on earth.  And that trend is the continued impoverishment and decline of the global industrial economy owned and controlled by the nations of the First World.  For that decline is driven inexorably by the depletion of the resources needed to make that economy run.  Global production of all petroleum products is now past peak.  Coal production is about to peak, if it has not already.  The same is true of many other resources.  This also translates to a loss of power on the part of those who were formerly dominant.  How will the formerly powerful respond to the impending loss of their power?  Their response will show whether they have learned to become decent people or whether they are still wolves.

In closing, I will mention the church service I attended today.  It was at a Vietnamese church which shares a church building with a Hispanic congregation and a Karen (Myanmar/Thai) congregation.  This Vietnamese congregation held a joint Vacation Bible School with their Hispanic brethren this past summer.  Their youth groups have also had joint worship services together.  A couple of Christmases ago, I visited this church and heard some of the Vietnamese children singing Feliz Navidad.  I have also seen some of the Mexican members of the Hispanic church attending the Vietnamese Nativity service.  Today, the Vietnamese pastor was preaching out of Romans 12:6-8, and he was talking about how there is tremendous diversity in humanity.  He also mentioned that in the Body of Christ, that diversity is part of a unity.  (I was also able to see his sermon notes on a church member's iPad, and in his notes the pastor had alluded to the great evil of trying to persecute each other over our differences.)  The pastor and his congregation are not terrorists or criminals, but they have learned how to get along with others and how to be a blessing to others.  Why is it so hard for mainstream America to learn this lesson?  Could it be that America is infected by a terminal case of narcissism?

Friday, September 16, 2016

I Don't Care About Benghazi

There.  I said it.  But why did it need to be said?

Many people have written about the campaign of Donald Trump that his campaign is entirely self-financed and that he is thus a self-made populist phenomenon.  People who say such things conveniently neglect the fact that Mr. Trump is getting a lot of free publicity both from the American mainstream media (which is by now almost wholly owned by a handful of pathological people) and by well-placed members of foreign governments (among which is the government of Russia).

One big source of publicity for Mr. Trump is the Republican-controlled Congress, which has been trying very hard now for the last few years to make the American people outraged over the deaths of some American ambassadors to Libya, and to blame their deaths on a supposed failure on the part of the American State Department to provide them with adequate protection.  But here's the thing.  First, the U.S. overthrew the government of Libya in a totally un-justified act of aggression in 2011.  NATO bombed Libya back to the Stone Age and turned millions of Libyans into refugees who have since been allowed to drown in the Mediterranean Sea or die of exposure in refugee camps in their desperate bid for asylum in Europe.  So it's hard for me to get worked up over American operatives suffering a bit of collateral damage in their bid to make Libya an American possession.

But the attempt to stir up outrage over Benghazi stinks even more when one considers that the attack has all the makings of a false flag operation, complete with assigning of blame to "Islamic militants" tied to ISIS and Al-Qaeda.  The fact that the Republicans are attempting to use Benghazi as a rallying cry shows that they are just as neocon as they accuse the Democrats of being.  And the fact that the Republicans have no remorse for the Libyans whose lives have been wrecked by American aggression, along with the record of all the things Donald Trump has said over the last few years shows the real motivation of the Republicans and of all who support Trump: to establish a world and a nation subject to white supremacy, a world which continues to be victimized by the rich, the powerful and the privileged.  What I care about is what these people intend to do to the rest of us - not only to the nonwhite, but to everyone who is poor enough to be counted as prey by these people.  I care that the U.S. is in danger of being ruled by a maniacally malignant man who is desperately looking for a scapegoated group onto whom he can vomit his hostility.  Excuse me while I gag.

Saturday, July 9, 2016

A Brief History of COINTELPRO in America

Another week, another mass shooting in America.  (Actually, there were several, but only one managed to be selected as worthy of national news coverage.)  I overheard a couple of co-workers yesterday talking about what happened in Dallas on Thursday night.  They were eyeing me during their undertone conversation, so, having no TV and blissfully unaware of Thursday's events, I strolled over cheerfully and asked, "What's up?"  They proceeded to tell me, and to offer a number of opinions regarding how American society should view both Black lives and police lives.  My next words must have shocked them.  "Have you ever heard of a false flag operation?" I asked.

From the looks on their faces, I could tell that this was not a possibility they had considered, even though one of them acknowledged that he knew what the term means.  I consider this to be a shocking failure of our outlets of culture and media to inform adults who have the right to vote, who live in what is supposedly the "most powerful country on earth," and who therefore should be much better informed.  Consider this post to be my attempt to rectify this deficiency.

I want to begin by introducing a potentially unfamiliar term to you.  According to Wikipedia, COINTELPRO "was a series of covert, and at times, illegal, projects conducted by the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) aimed at surveilling, infiltrating, discrediting and disrupting domestic political organizations."  The COINTELPRO operation was conceived under FBI director J. Edgar Hoover.  Note the words, "discrediting" and "disrupting."  If you read the Wikipedia article, you can see the United States from the 1950's to the 1970's as a nation whose favored members enjoyed the greatest privilege the world had ever seen - yet that privilege was built on the backs of those peoples of the world who had been violently oppressed in order to build that privilege.  So the favored members of American society lived in a great deal of insecurity and felt horribly threatened by the presence of any voices challenging their privilege and the oppression on which that privilege had been built.  They were frightened by those voices which were asking for a more equitable life for all.  COINTELPRO was designed by the FBI and others as a way to discredit and neutralize the voices of those who protested the oppressive order set up by the United States and other First World nations.  Read how COINTELPRO especially targeted the leaders of the Black Civil Rights Movement in the 1960's.  One of the tactics of COINTELPRO was the use of agents provocateurs, paid police agents used to attempt to incite protest organizations to engage in illegal activity so that law enforcement would have a justification for arrests.

One thing to note: there is at least one case on record of undercover police being implicated in staging violence by protesters against police during a political rally.  I am sure there are many more cases that can may be discovered by an enterprising researcher.  I leave that as an exercise for the reader.  (You might start here, here, here, here, or here.  Goodness gracious, I think I've done a lot of the work for you!)

Now a funny thing happened in the 1970's.  In 1971, the Citizens' Commission to Investigate the FBI managed to break into an FBI office, and stole several files which contained records of the COINTELPRO operation.  (See this also.)  They then dutifully leaked these records to the press.  Many press outlets refused to publish the leaked documents, but they eventually were widely circulated, and the FBI was forced to ostensibly "end" COINTELPRO.  But like many things that are evil (including sewage leaks), the basic mechanisms of COINTELPRO never really ended.  They just went underground.  (See what was done in the 1980's to environmental protest groups, for instance.)  Indeed, the Wikipedia article cited at the beginning of this post shows that from 1980 onward (and especially during the presidency of George W. Bush), there has been a sharp revival of COINTELPRO-like operations.

As far as the Dallas sniper incident, note the following details:
  • Not only were police shot, but protesters as well.  (How very similar to what happened in Maidan in the Ukraine just before the Western backed coup that plunged that country into civil war.)  
  • Initial reports stated that several snipers were involved, and a number of Black men were arrested.  However, the official police story against these men fell apart, and the official narrative was changed to implicate only one man, who, of course, "died in a gun battle with police" after managing to fire on police from several positions in a superhuman feat of mobility.
  • Police responders and media were conveniently on scene to provide an instant high-drama "response" to the incident.
  • The man who has been implicated as the lone sniper is conveniently very dead right now, and therefore cannot stand trial.
  • The dead man was implicated in less than 24 hours after the incident, in contrast to the many unreported mass shootings (defined as shootings in which four or more people are hit), in which police don't find a perpetrator for days or weeks. 
  • The dead man's race and supposed political ideology were used to attempt to implicate and scapegoat entire group of people in order to justify the ongoing oppression and violence practiced by a dominant majority against this group.
In the details of the list I have presented are similarities with a number of high-profile incidents over the last two years, including the Charlie Hebdo massacre, the Paris Massacre, the San Bernardino shootings, and the Orlando nightclub shootings.   The official narrative of these incidents has been mercilessly picked apart by a growing spectrum of people who are tired of being oppressed and especially tired of a dominant society which seems bent on finding ongoing excuses to continue the oppression and scapegoating.  So it is not surprising that one of the leaders of the Black Lives Matter movement is identifying the Dallas shooting (and similar incidents which have taken place in other parts of the United States in the last two days) as a false flag operation.

I agree with her.