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.

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Zombies of London

 Image taken from The Dreadful Story of Pauline and the Matches, Heinrich Hoffman, 1858.

(I offer my apologies in advance to Warren Zevon.)

One of the ways in which personality-disordered people sometimes garner lots of attention to themselves is by committing suicide in a slow, dramatic way.  Imagine, for instance, someone climbing in broad daylight to the very top of the arch of the Fremont Bridge in Portland, Oregon, while wearing a bright fluorescent lime-green clown suit.  Picture him swaying precariously over the Willamette River while screaming his intentions through a bullhorn to all and sundry for an hour or so.  Then, after traffic has shut down in both directions, while drivers are out of their cars staring raptly skyward, and news crews swarm like bugs in helicopters all around the bridge, watch him jump off and make the biggest (and last) splash of his entire life as he hits the water.

That's how Great Britain seems to me in the aftermath of the Brexit vote.  While I have been following the rise of far-right racist ultranationalism in Europe over the last few years, I hadn't been watching Britain very closely.  Much of what I know has been hastily gleaned from news over the last two weeks.  Many of you may know far more.  Yet things have played out pretty much as I might have expected, and the British are now getting their very own taste of the outworkings of damnation.

Here's what I know so far:
  • The breeding ground of the Brexit campaign consisted of the frustrations of many Britons who were experiencing the loss of the standard of living that had been promised to them under a "free market", capitalist economy.  They felt that their country was at the mercy of a foreign bureaucracy over which they had no control.  In this, as an observer in the USA, I'd have to agree somewhat with them.
  • That frustration was fed and amplified by the fomenting and encouragement of completely unrealistic racial and national pride, violent racism and dangerous xenophobia.  Immigrants - especially the dark-skinned, and especially the Muslim - were targeted and blamed for the unraveling of the British working class and middle class.  (But surprisingly, that blaming extended to the targeting and blaming of white Eastern Europeans as well.)
  • The cheerleaders of the campaign to scapegoat immigrants - the same who championed the entire Brexit campaign - were a handful of doofus fly-by-nighters, among whom were Boris Johnson, Michael Gove, and Nigel Farage.  They played a classic scapegoating game of the type seen in textbook cases of dysfunctional families where the family member who is causing the greatest damage manages to deflect blame onto a family member who has no logical connection to the suffering which the family is experiencing.  Farage, Gove, and Johnson are members of Britain's wealthiest class, and it is the predatory policies which this class has championed, not only in Britain, but worldwide, which are causing the suffering now being experienced by ordinary Britons.  (For an example of predatory policies, try looking up the word "austerity" and the phrase "income inequality.")
  • It is also coming out now that many of the claims made by these men during the Brexit campaign were in fact lies.  Indeed, Nigel Farage has admitted that some of his claims were false.  I think he feels free to admit this because he feels that his victory is now secure.  Also, the Brexit campaign led directly to the murder of a British member of Parliament in a killing that had a distinctively American style, as a gun was used by a disgruntled Angry White Male to do the killing.
Among the biggest lies told by the Brexit champions was that leaving the European Union was the guaranteed ticket to the revival of the British standard of living and the revival of British national strength.  Why is this a lie?  According to the World Factbook published and maintained by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency, Britain is a net importer of almost every commodity and resource which it needs.  For instance, British agriculture is able to supply only 60 percent of Britain's nutritional needs.  British manufacturing accounts for only 10 percent of British economic output.  Britain is running a net trade deficit.  Britain has been a net energy importer since 2005.  (Read what the Energy Watch Group of Germany had to say about British oil, gas and coal reserves in its 2013 report on fossil and nuclear fuels.  And note that the situation for Britain is worse now than in 2013.)  By far, the main sector of the British economy is the service sector, which accounts for 83.5 percent of British GDP.  Central to the British service sector is the financial "industry", comprised of banking, insurance and business services.  According to the Factbook, the United Kingdom has, until now, enjoyed a position as "the central location for European financial services."

And now that enjoyable position, and all that depends on it, has all gone up in smoke, set on fire by the architects of the Brexit.  Other nations are already re-thinking their reliance on British financial services.  The British pound has already suffered a drastic decline.  The Brexit architects have, in the space of two weeks, already shown themselves to be incapable of governing a country.  (Hey, man, if your feet can't reach the pedals, you shouldn't be behind the wheel.)  The Brexit is already threatening a serious increase in trouble for an economy that was already in trouble.  (See this, this and this, for instance.)  And the Brexit vote has fractured the British body politic - perhaps incurably.  Britain is about to find out in a hurry that it is no autarky, no self-sufficient paradise.

I know that Schadenfreude is a sin, yet there is something in me right now that feels more than a little satisfaction.  It is a dark satisfaction, the kind that a researcher or scientist might feel when reality validates a theoretical model, even though that model has predicted something horrible.  For the troubles that Britain has gotten itself into are a direct validation of Galatians 6:7 - "Don't be deceived. God is not mocked.  For whatever a man sows, that he will also reap.  For he who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption..."  It is also bitingly funny (more bite than a very strong and bitter cup of espresso!) to think of how the Brexit champions will cope with the damage they've done, now that they are running out of scapegoats.  Think of the doofus right here in the USA who is pulling similar scapegoating stunts in a bid to capture the White House this November.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

A Bag of Smashed Chips

News is like cheaply made clothes, sometimes - it's flashy and new for a week, then starts to fade alarmingly, and before you know it, there's a hole in your trousers at the knees.  So it is with the Orlando shooting and the uses certain people tried to make of it.  I was fully intending to write a long expose of the uses which the campaign of Donald Trump was trying to make of the shooting (although I wasn't really looking forward to the task; there are a lot of weeds yet to chop down in the backyard and I'm tired).  But events have taken a turn which seems to have resolved a great deal of what I was going to say.

It is well known that the campaign of Donald Trump has made the scapegoating of minorities and immigrants of color a central feature of its strategy for winning the 2016 U.S. Presidential election.  In this, Trump has mirrored many European leaders, who, faced with the inevitable loss of the wealth and power of their respective nations, have sought to blame that loss on a supposed overwhelming influx of supposedly savage, half-human invaders commonly known as "immigrants" and "refugees."  It is well-known that Europe and the United States created that flood of immigrants and refugees by smashing the home countries of those refugees into bits and digesting those bits for food. 

(To channel an old, rather dumb sci-fi TV series, "They say there's no devil, Jim, but there is...right out of hell!  I saw it!...It destroys planets, chops them into rubble...")

A central feature of that smashing has been the use of scapegoating to justify the smashing and the resultant inhumane treatment of the smashed populations.  A central feature of that scapegoating has been the portrayal of the target populations as fanatically, destructively insane people controlled by some ideologically insane organization which wants to attack the West solely because it "hates our freedoms!!!", and which we must therefore smash and attack first.  Thus we have forced the populations we want to smash and loot to serve as mirrors reflecting back to our eyes a Doomsday Machine which the West is actually guilty of being.  But to perpetuate the lie we have told ourselves about ourselves and about the populations we have decided to target, we have invented bogeymen which are supposed to represent the populations we have targeted.  Thus ISIS has come into being, just as Al-Qaeda came into being, and has served the same purpose for us that we caused Al-Qaeda to serve until Al-Qaeda outlived its usefulness.

ISIS was used as a justification for attempting to smash Syria - but a funny thing happened along the way.  A large number of Syrians, Libyans and North Africans became refugees and fled to the countries of Europe to escape the smashing, and to be fed some of the crumbs of the loot which Europe and the United States had stolen from them at gunpoint.  Europe - pure as the wind-driven snow and special, oh, so special - could not tolerate having dark-skinned, unchurched refugees in their midst, so a number of rather inexplicable incidents started to occur in Europe over the last year and a half - none of which made any strategic or tactical sense, and all of which were blamed on "ISIS agents masquerading as refugees."  (See this and this for a catalogue of some of these incidents.)

As I said, these incidents made no tactical or strategic sense if they were actually perpetrated by Muslims trying to destroy the West, for the same reason that if you are actually trying to kill a bear, it makes no sense to do nothing more than hit him across the snout with a hickory switch.  All that does is make the bear mad at you.  But these incidents made perfect sense if their purpose was to rouse Europe and the United States into taking drastic steps toward fascism - steps like trying ever harder to find some justification for invading Syria and any other Muslim or African country they could get their hands on, and closing their borders to refugees in order to "protect themselves" from further attack.

So in the wake of supposed Muslim attacks by "ISIS", a bunch of European nations closed their borders to immigrants (especially dark-skinned immigrants) and refugees, and the United States followed suit - especially in Southern states.  And a few incidents occurred right here in the USA in order to add momentum to the push by certain elements in this country to preserve a pure "American paradise" that did not have to share its ill-gotten gains with the people it had robbed at gunpoint and smashed.

But another funny thing started to happen.  An increasing number of people began to view all the supposed attacks by ISIS as false-flag operations, self-wounding operations carried out by well-placed Americans in order to gain sympathy for their narcissistic agenda.  (I have spent several months looking at Uncle Sam as a narcissistic personality, but really, the more I think about it, there is also more than a hint of borderline personality disorder at work in the mainstream American psyche.)  Now things are at the point where whenever a supposed "ISIS attack" is publicized by the American mainstream media, it is met by a growing and deafening chorus of skeptics like me who are shouting "False Flag!"  And mainstream media outlets - which at first ignored us, then made light of us - are now having to take time to answer us seriously.  (See this for instance.)  But that is not helping them, because the fact that they must now take serious time for serious answers means that people are now having to seriously consider our arguments.  The fact that we must now be taken seriously means that we have won a victory.

The result of that is that many of the associations between Omar Mateen and ISIS which were made by the mainstream media in the first few days after the Orlando nightclub shooting have been carefully and quietly scrubbed from the ongoing narrative of that shooting.  To associate that incident with ISIS is to give one's credibility the kiss of death. 

And Donald Trump - who has become the American embodiment of all the right-wing, racist intolerance which has revived in Europe - has found that the Orlando shooting has not helped him.  Rather, his insane remarks in the wake of the shooting have actually hurt him.  (See this, this and this.)

Meanwhile, this weekend we are seeing in Britain the sort of consequences which begin to unfold when a bunch of people who think they are All That And A Bag Of Chips cut themselves off from the rest of the world.  What if that sort of people wins control of the United States this November?

Sunday, June 19, 2016

A June Commentary on the Flux of Election-Year Events

I noticed this week that someone posted a recent comment on my post, "The Breakup of Pathological Spaces."  I also noticed two other things: first, that my site traffic has recently gone through the roof, and second, that my commenter made a few violations of my comment policy.  The first violation was in posting anonymously.  (Normally, I don't publish anonymous comments.  Google ID or equivalent is required.)  The second was in throwing some profanity into his (her?) comment.  I only publish comments that are written in family-friendly language.  Call me old-fashioned, or a "prude", but I have my reasons, and no one has been able to talk me out of them.

However, when someone puts up a spirited disagreement with one of my posts, I am strongly tempted to give them a hearing, even if they violate my policies.  So I have decided to reproduce Mr. (Mrs.?  Ms.?) Anonymous' comment below (with some minor edits):

"A rather foolish contortion of NPD to fit your "America so evil" narrative. On another note, calling what happened in Orlando a false flag is disgraceful to us gays (yes I am gay, and a liberty-lover just the same), I really should be commenting on that post but alas its to the same end. How can you honestly imply American culture is at-large more narcissistic, more sociopathic than the self-righteous dogmatism of Islam, which could [care] less about the freedoms of women, gays, any free thinking person, of freedom of spirit and heart? Sure the power elites ripping the world to shreds are sociopathic slime, but western individualism is not simply narcissism. Collectivism is at the heart of all governmental evil in this world. Baffles me to think people are still defending muslims who hide their immorality, sadism and vitriol behind their [garbage] religion, playing the victim at every corner until they're in every corner of western civilization because of the white man's pathological on..."

(Here Blogger cut off the rest of the comment.  Anonymous, whoever you are, if you want to finish your thought, feel free to submit the rest of what you wanted to say - subject to my comment policy, of course!)

But for now, I have a few answers to the comment from Anonymous.  As to the assertion I have made that mainstream American culture is increasingly narcissistic and sociopathic, just look at how widely the ideals of selfishness are preached nowadays - through the mouths of entire political parties (Republicans and parties to the right of them); through mainstream American evangelicalism which venerates predatory capitalism, American exceptionalism and white supremacy; and  a "press" which is no longer free, but wholly owned by a handful of sick rich people (Rupert Murdoch being one of them) who want to reproduce their disease in as much of their audience as possible.  (Ever heard of Ayn Rand?)

As for the assertion that calling Orlando a false flag is disrespectful to the victims, there are people who for years have called 9/11 a false flag, yet these people meant no disrespect to those victims.  False flag operations do hurt people - that I acknowledge.  Yet the attempt to investigate the question of why a thing happened must rest on a truthful examination of facts, because it is the body of facts which determines why things happen and who the perpetrators are.  Asking "Why" is not disrespectful to the victims, nor is it disrespectful to pay careful attention to who benefits from a thing that has happened or what use (political and otherwise) is being made of that thing.  Your statement about being disgraceful is a non sequitur.

Lastly, regarding Islam, let me tell you something.  I am a Biblical Christian, and not a Muslim.  I will never convert to Islam.  However, I think that Islam has been set up as a convenient scapegoat for decades, complete with its convenient stereotype of the typical Muslim as some emotional, crazed, violent fanatic who goes around killing people solely because he "hates their freedoms!!!!!"  You are a self-professed homosexual, and yet it is ironic that you are spouting the same sort of stereotyped cliches that the American Religious Right spouted after 9/11.  (Here are two books to check out: The Blood of the Moon, and Islam Unveiled.  The latter book must have set a world speed record for being written and published within a few short months after the 9/11 attacks.  (It was published on January 1, 2002!)  Rather odd, considering that for a long time, the typical time to publish a book from the finishing of the author's manuscript was two years.)

A closer look at the reality of Islam in the world today - if you actually care to take a look - will reveal a much more diverse body of practitioners than you may have realized.  You will understand that there are divisions within Islam that are very similar in many ways to the denominations of Christianity.  You would also have discovered a host of Islamic countries where the values of community and hospitality are so deeply ingrained in the culture that Western visitors are blown away by the kindnesses they receive.  (Check out some bicycle touring blogs if you don't believe me - like "To Catch A Rainbow (Somewhere In Iran)", "Iran Alborz Mountains", and TravellingTwo.)

Anonymous, you've been living in a toxic bubble of American propaganda for too long.  Step away from the Kool-Aid, please...

For the rest of my readers, my next blog post will describe the ways in which the campaign of Donald Trump has been using the Orlando mass shooting.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Reichstagsbrand II

Image taken from The Dreadful Story of Pauline and the Matches, Heinrich Hoffmann, 1858
So there was another mass shooting this weekend, and as usual, I found out about it several hours after it happened, since I have no TV.  And once again, an Arab with ties to ISIS is being blamed for the massacre.  And once again, I am inclined to think that this was a false flag attack.  For one thing, the alleged assailant is no longer alive to stand trial or to defend himself.  (How convenient!)  For another thing, the alleged assailant proclaimed his allegiance to ISIS just before the attack, and as I have written previously, ISIS has served the United States well as a conveniently manufactured bogeyman (just as Al-Qaeda did before ISIS).  Indeed, there are too many similarities between this attack and previous highly questionable "terror attacks" that have taken place within the last two years. 

For those who think that all Arabs - or all Muslims - are incredibly emotional, fanatic, and stupid, consider this.  Any sane person does not pick a fight with an opponent unless there is a good strategy for winning.  Senseless, high-drama "terror attacks" perpetrated by the Muslim world do not fall into the category of a good strategy for winning.  Rather, those who perpetrate such attacks merely strengthen the hand of their adversaries.  If the Muslim world was actually trying to pick a fight with the West (or especially, with the red-white-and blue Cowboy on a White Horse), surely they would use a smarter strategy than this.

So who benefits from such terror attacks?  Is it not the same people who have worked tirelessly in Europe to demonize immigrants and refugees, in order to exclude them and loot their countries?  And who now is the chief spokesman and proponent of pushing the United States to do the same thing?  The spokesman I am thinking of has indeed gone into full loose cannon mode over the last 24 hours.  He has made himself the point man for a group of people who have long been used to supremacy and a unipolar world which they regarded as their oyster.  Now that such a world is slipping from their grasp, they are full of rage and terror.  Such emotions can move people to do some really creepy things. 

Monday, May 30, 2016

Bem Vindo, Brasil

This post will be short.  I am a bit stressed right now, having a computer programming assignment and a couple of reports I have to finish for school.  I am a lousy programmer.

But I recently checked my blog, and found that I had gotten a lot of traffic from Brazil.  To those of my readers who live there, I extend a hearty welcome.  Your country seems to be going through interesting times just now.  I know that Brazil, in collaboration with other countries, has been seeking to move away from the use of the American dollar in international trade.  (See this also.)  And I know that Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff is under intense political attack just now.  A coincidence?  (Hardly, I think.)  I wonder who is funding and orchestrating the attacks.  I also think that it would be premature to write Ms. Rousseff off as a casualty.

The nasty thing about an empire trying to overthrow foreign governments in order to protect its hegemony is that every time the empire tries such tricks, the foreign governments learn lessons from the experience, which they apply in defending themselves from being eaten by the empire.  Learning and applying those lessons to future overthrow attempts makes it harder for the empire to prevail in future attempts.  It's like going into the ring against a bully who knows only a few tricks and who repeats them over and over.  If the bully targets you, and if you have learned lessons from studying his past fights, you can befuddle him by thinking outside his box.  (One application of lessons learned is that American NGO's - including religious and missionary organizations - are being kicked out of an increasing number of countries.)

So stand strong, Brazil!  Don't let the United States eat you for lunch.  One thing the U.S. cannot do this time around is foment a "democratic resistance" in Brazil in an attempt to legitimize a government that is the thuggish tool of rich people, as they tried to do in Syria and the Ukraine.  Most Brazilians simply won't tolerate that sort of thing.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Pressed by Pressing Business

To regular readers of this blog, I extend a hearty welcome, and a hearty "Thank you."  However, I must also extend an apology.  School and work both have me so busy right now that I can't see straight.  So I will have to take a break from blogging for the next eight weeks, unless it's something that I can say quickly in a few sentences.  For those who want to leave comments, I will try to publish them as quickly as possible, but be forewarned - it might take a few days.