Nonviolent Guerrilla Operations in the Overthrow of the Deep State

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[Editor’s note: There was a note attached to this “submission,” which said, “This is an absurdist riff on cognitive dissonance. I don’t expect you or any of your literalist lefty loser friends who delude yourselves into thinking you’re the reality-based community (now there’s a joke if I ever heard one. No person living in 2016 Weimar America is based in reality!!!!) to have the slightest inkling of comprehension here. However, unless you want my half-witted giant of a process server friend (he cried for days after Hodor got it; well, didn’t we all?) to show up at your door at 3 am with a pizza-smeared subpoena for a violation you’ll have to search Black’s Law Dictionary with a microscope to find, I suggest you post it.”

 

Well, what could a “sensible chap” like your startled editor do, but immediately allow a determined Discretion to snatch the reins from Valor’s fumbling and uncertain grip?

 

This, as you’ll see, is the unfortunate result. My most sincere apologies. – Michael]

 

Hi.

 

I’m Mike Hasty, founder and proprietor of the Abbie Hoffman School of Applied Nonviolent Guerrilla Strategy and Tactics—named after one of my personal heroes and one of the greatest Americans who ever lived, Abbie Hoffman—revolutionary Yippie co-leader of the last great American rebellion (the anti-Vietnam War movement), comic genius, and a personal role model and even, indirectly, mentor. I’ll tell you about that sometime.

 

I suppose I should introduce myself, since to most of you (you know, a lot of my friends, many of whom are leftist political types like myself, and should be reading this blog– because I am constantly astonished by the numerous looks of baffled incomprehension I see in the faces of the smartest people I know—the only people I actually like to hang around with, because I just can’t stand people who will stand there like a milquetoast as I am regularly, cleverly, hopefully humorously, and yet nevertheless mercilessly teasing them—regularly lie to me about reading my blog (I know because I see the stats, but then again, can you blame them? Who wants to read a bunch of serious overcomplicated bullshit from that asshole?

 

Okay, typically enough, I once again find myself in an overly tangled grammatical jungle of my own creation. Jesus, potheads—will we never learn? How the fuck am I going to finish this sentence? Let me figure this out. Let’s see, if I go back to where I started here…”since to most of you”…oh, there’s the exit. Excuse me.)—I’m just one of those countless Internet goblins clacking away on the computer in his (Holy fucking Christ! Could I possibly be any more politically incorrect?!? Well, frankly, yes, if you ask my exasperated leftist friends. But it’s a complicated issue, as most of you know, that I’ll address in future lessons in this course on NVG Ops. But for the moment, and for the sake of comity in this fledgling outing of NVG Ops, “their”…) mother’s (actually, my wife’s, in my case. Like many husbands, I spend many of my hours lurking in my basement office, frantically trying to live my own life in those few all-too-brief moments between the unexpected and often paradoxical assignments from the boss upstairs) basement who likes to hear their voice echoing ever-so-faintly in the white noise sea of infinite cyberspace.

 

You know, I have to tell you something. As you few souls who have actually read the hieroglyphics I like to think of my “writing” (and I use that word in the loosest manner possible) know, because you have actually read it (unlike my duplicitous alleged “friends”)(actually, there’s a lot of you, because I’m an old man who’s been writing for a long time, and every once in awhile I make a splash as I dive into the cesspool of the Matrix), I have written some long fucking sentences in my life. I mean, really long. I have probably the worst case of satyagraha diarrhea of anyone I know. But virtually every one of those long fucking sentences has made more fucking sense than that fucking thing. Jesus! Am I glad to wipe the mud of that rhetorical swamp off of my fucking metaphorical feet! I hope I never do that again! Well, you’re right. As if. Anyway, back to business…

 

Well, this is typical. I’ve been having so much fun shooting the rapids of the stream of consciousness that I have neglected my more important, even urgent responsibilities, and taxed your tiny little attention spans. You all know what I mean. Everybody does it sometimes, even you Tighty Righties hiding over there in the cyber corner, curious about what a real revolution looks like on this end of the American ideological spectrum—unlike your deluded and hypnotized compatriots in the brown-shirted and surly ranks drinking the poison Koolaid dripping from the silvery con-artist tongue of the future President Rump—future, if we don’t get this nonviolent revolution going, that is.

 

And for all you hypnotized lefties who believe Bernie—who is a great guy I have admired since I first heard about him when I was a carpenter in Vermont and he was mayor of Burlington, and will admire for as long as I live, because he was the guy who sparked the revolution that changed America (the alternative, which we face if we don’t get serious about our duty as citizens, being too hideous to contemplate)–Bernie is no revolutionary.

 

That, in fact, is the secret of his success as a politician throughout his political career. He has worked within the established system throughout his career, and because he’s a smart guy, he’s been able to work it so well that he’s been able to help millions of people, and when it really comes down to it, that’s why we all fell in love with him.

 

But that’s also why his vision of revolution is limited to the cramped and byzantine confines of the established order, and is in fact no real revolution at all. It’s only a “political” revolution, whose plan all along was to leave the established economic order in place. And the financial industry—the banks, who own the government, and have since President Andrew Jackson established the first national bank in the early 19th century—did not feel threatened by Bernie’s “political” revolution.

 

The evidence for the rather modest effort in Bernie’s revolution is found most strongly in the mistaken decisions he’s made since the Democratic National Committee (with the help, of course, of the Deep State apparatchiks at the Clinton News Network) cheated him out of his rightful nomination as the Democratic candidate for president (I know you Hillbots want to argue the point, and so we’ll get to that, some other time).

 

Actually, the evidence is also found in the very serious mistakes Bernie made earlier—which if he hadn’t made may have spared us this uniquely and historically horrific choice: between a crook, a con artist, a nincompoop (what fucking American hasn’t heard of Aleppo, when the propaganda system has been stirring the pot for deeper US involvement in Syria for months?), and a sweetly sincere, smart-as-a-whip, visionary, Harvard-educated physician who actually knows something about the American health care system, and (unfortunately) policy wonk, who is so naïve about politics that she really and truly believes that the words “Green” and “New Deal” actually mean more to the most propagandized, confused, uninformed, and frankly stupidest population on the face of the earth (deliberately engineered that way by the Mighty Wurlitzer and the Matrix) than the words “Brown” and “Horseshit.”

 

It’s kind of funny to think that she, innocent that she is, is the last hope of saving planet Earth. Because at this perhaps unprecedently absurd point in human history, Jill Stein is where Bernie’s revolution has got to move, in order to support the immediate and necessary revolutionary project of preventing the election of President Rump and the emergence of genuine fascism in America, and not the relatively gentle and technocratic form we’ve experienced so far.

 

Early on, when my more traditional Democratic friends were starting to become alarmed at my subtle Green shifts, as it became more and more clear that Deep State manipulations would rob our champion of his prize, and all of us of our chance to advance the political revolution (which would have been difficult to keep from being strangled by the creeps anyway, even if Bernie had miraculously entered the Oval Office—where every modern president is immediately surrounded by a “phalanx of CEOs,” as Bob Woodward, a longtime Deep State apparatchik himself, wrote in The Agenda), I blithely thought (and the more malicious of my friends can confirm this, because whenever I think I have an original thought—hard to tell these days, reality is so elusive (well, not for me, of course, whose normal reality no truly normal human would ever acknowledge as such in the first place. You’d understand fully if you were in my head. Of course, no truly normal human would ever want to be in my head, a surrealistic and sometimes terrifying Wonderland that would drive even the plucky Alice batshit crazy—I immediately blab it to everyone within earshot)…Ahem. To continue…I blithely thought that the national security state would not allow Rump to become president, because they didn’t want to worry about their multinational fellow lizards giggling behind their backs at Davos cocktail parties. (Guess I’m grabbing for the “long sentence” ring on the consciousness merry-go-round today.) That was before our thoroughly “Christianized” (another big lie, but far too complicated to go into this early in the series) military started lining up behind Il Douchebag. Anybody want to hear a handmaid’s tale?

 

Anyway, to return to the “narrative” (now there’s a generous term, if ever there was one). Which was, exactly…? Fuck. The train of thought has once again jumped the rails. Well, what luck. It’s time for a toke on my glaucoma “prescription.” (Chuckle.) Thank God I developed an allergy to the drops.

 

And to think that the ophthalmologist was worried that the requisite bowl every three hours would be a problem. Well, actually, she was right, it is. Sometimes I’ll be sitting here, drumming my fingers on the desk, wondering what to write next, thinking, “Jesus Christ! Isn’t that fucking three hours up yet?!?”

 

Honestly, I have to confess: sometimes I cheat.

 

Anyway, excuse me for a moment while I see if my “medicine” (ha ha ha ha ha ha ha! I can’t believe my luck, that my wife decided to move with her indentured servant to Maine! Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!) will have its intended effect of setting the carnival train back on track, and hopefully sending the memory of where the fucking “narrative” was going floating up through the clouds of euphoria like a message in a Magic 8-Ball.

 

Aaaaaah. I knew it. There she is, rolling in the station, right on time.

 

What I was going to say is that anyone who thinks that filling in the box next to the name of that traitorous banshee, Killary Kodpiece Klinton, Amazon of the Neocons, the most hawkish candidate of either party even before the other two dozen or so dropped out (I hope you decided to go independent, Vermin Supreme. If ever we needed you, it’s now!) is a revolutionary act—well, I hate to be a big old meanie, especially to my naively idealistic crunchy granola friends who may think it is—but you don’t know the first fucking thing about real nonviolent revolution.

 

And the armies of Rump are marching behind the undeniable facts about Killary Kodpiece Klinton–facts that, had Bernie not so feared the threatened stripping of his Democratic committee assignments and revealed early on, when he should have, and would have revealed to more timorous Democrats the true ugliness of the naked Empress–facts the opportunistic Con Man is using to scorch the earth behind the Dragon Lady’s dwindling and retreating forces.

 

Luckily, you have in me a cranky old nonviolent warrior who’s been in the arena a time or two (you can check out some of my misadventures in the “Welcome” and “About” pages here at Free Radical Maine) and is willing to act as a guide (oh, what? You were looking for a leader? Sorry, that’s not the dynamic of this particular underground revolution, which has been simmering across the country for several years, but is only starting to break to the surface now, in the bright light of the 2016 “presidential” (what a fucking joke! The lizards are laughing in our faces) campaign).

 

In this revolution—perhaps unique in history, as are so many astonishing phenomena in these cursedly interesting times—the revolutionary leaders—and you’re out there, even if you don’t know it yet—have to come from everywhere at once, just like the crowds of Islamists smothered the hapless soldiers with numbers in Turkey, and crushed the clumsily-executed CIA coup attempt.

 

See, even a flash mob can beat the Deep State. You just have to know when to strike.

 

So, interested in signing up for NVG Ops? Well, here’s your first homework assignment. Learn how to use Google, or whatever search engine you like (they’re all Deep State-monitored, it doesn’t make any difference). Always remember that you live in a surveillance state, and they’re always monitoring everyone as much as they can, so they can adjust their algorithms and keep us under their control.

 

That’s why we have to educate ourselves as much as possible, because knowing your enemy is the first rule of military strategy—which every nonviolent guerrilla should learn, because that’s what they’re going to be using against us. And—well, surprise, surprise! as Gomer used to say—military strategy can also be adapted to nonviolent tactics.

 

So if you want to learn more, tune in to the next exciting (zzzzz. Frankly, I don’t know if I have any more readers left than Jill Stein did at the end of her academic lecture (as opposed to a stump speech. Jesus, do we revolutionaries have some work to do. And don’t get me started on the Green Party. A more motley, long-winded and wacky collection of weirdo crackpots like myself I’ve never encountered—and believe me, I’ve seen ‘em all—in Manchester last week) episode of NVG Ops!

 

And never forget! All successful revolutions are fun, so you have to keep this one that way, or we’re not gonna win, and my granddaughter will grow up in a hellish world. And as long as there is breath in my body, I will do everything in my however limited power to prevent that from happening.

 

If you want to join me, that’s your responsibility. I’ve got my own job to do, as do we all, if we’re going to re-create civilization.

 

We can do that if the revolution stays fun. Just ask Emma Goldman. Or ask Abbie Hoffman, next time he’s reincarnated.

 

God, I love that guy.

 

So seeya next time at NVG Ops. Whenever that is. You can never tell with a pothead. But whenever it is, just remember the sage advice of a late and beloved former Orkan:

 

Be there or be square.

 

[Editor’s note: As you sparse but regular readers of Free Radical Maine are aware, this is usually a distinguished journal of serious, extensively referenced, political commentary and other pseudointellectual ruminations. As a rule, we do not usually publish the sort of absurdist drivel in evidence here, on these august electronic pages.

 

However, given the critical nature of the political emergency in 2016 America, and the absence of contributions from writers with sufficient gravitas to meet our high standards—due to our strict and revolutionary, volunteer “no-pay” policy (hey, if that rich blabbermouth Arianna Huffington can do it, why can’t we?) and the fact that your humble editor also has to live in the real meat puppet world, in addition to this cozy non-profit (boy, you can say that again!) sinecure in cyberspace—I’m afraid we’ll have to endure NVG Ops for the time being.

 

However, if you just will stick with us, this editor promises that he will “fight like the dickens” to eventually “red pencil” this “wild man from the North” into submission—or something like that. Meanwhile, we appreciate your patience. Thank you. – Michael]

 

[Editor’s note: P.S. Any resemblance between the “literary style” of the “author” of Nonviolent Guerrilla Operations, etc., and myself, is purely due to the unfortunate accident of the fact that we share the same human operating system…to my everlasting and deeply experienced shame and embarrassment. Perhaps I’ll fare better in my next incarnation. Meanwhile, again, thank you for your patience. – Michael]

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Top Secret Update

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This is a message to an exclusive and top secret list of my friends (I mean all of you. Don’t worry about your exposure here–well, to the NSA, of course. I’m sure everyone on this list is politically sophisticated enough to realize that every electronic communication of every even somewhat busy political activist in America is routinely monitored. Of course, they don’t have some shadowy Gollum lurking next door listening in on every conversation, like in the film “The Lives of Others” (great movie, by the way, if you haven’t seen it). The NSA has a huge storage facility in Utah that eats so much wattage they worry how they’re going to keep electrifying it, and is where they keep archives on all of you, too, in case of future necessity–you know what I mean. No one is safe. But the Deep State can be so stupid. It’s amazing to me that people are afraid of it (well, not really–I’m personally terrified, which is why I keep making these obviously desperate moves. You all know what I’m talking about. My personal email traffic has slowed tremendously since I decided to openly take on my former employer, the CIA. But as usual, I digress.) because they keep making these stupid, stupid moves that they don’t even seem to be aware of. The Deep State is so pockmarked with Achilles Heels it’s going to fold like an overused accordion when the time comes. Meanwhile, it is a very, very dangerous and unpredictable being–because at its heart it is so chaotic, full of factions fighting each other ruthlessly and silently for power. And it’s lurking right over your shoulder. And people don’t think we live in a police state. Jesus, what a joke. I hate it when my friends fall for CIA Jedi mind tricks–which happens all the time, by the way. Just read Rise and Fall of the Third Reich and look for the precursor, if you don’t believe it can happen to you.).

 

Well, to get back to business: the purpose of this message is to make three announcements, and give you a hint of a fourth.

 

The first announcement is the primary reason that this email is going out to all of you, my honored correspondents. As virtually all of you (perhaps a couple don’t, though you probably heard it from somebody else) know, I was supposed to have a major op-ed in the Portsmouth Herald this morning about Afghanistan and heroin, asking why—when Afghanistan remains the world’s largest supplier of heroin after 15 years of US and CIA occupation (they’re separate, I hope you realize), and in the middle of a burgeoning heroin crisis (look at today’s paper!), perhaps the worst ever, throughout the region and the nation—why in the world isn’t the CIA-linked flood of heroin coming out of Afghanistan an issue in the presidential campaign?

 

I mean, once you open your eyes a little bit, and wipe the jelly from your pod out of them, and step here into the temporarily too-bright light of this cybership and out of the Matrix, doesn’t the question seem obvious—even downright eerie?

 

Of course, the Herald editor and anybody else who watched the video of my talk, or read the extensively hyperlinked text at Free Radical Maine, knows the answer to that question.

 

Anybody else hasn’t been doing their homework, because I’ve been telling you all about it for weeks now, and as the editor (who’s really a good guy who saved my ass—but I’ll get to that) knows, what I attempted there was to build a solid legal case to prove that 9/11 was about heroin. And in my own opinion, of course, I did it.

 

As many of you have discovered recently, to some of your surprise, I’m really kind of a modest person who doesn’t actually talk a lot about himself (my wife will scoff at this, because I actually do—but usually in the context of talking about politics, one of my favorite things to do, because I have been so personally active in the unrelenting pursuit of justice my entire life, and am often discussing my latest campaign in that pursuit). Only a minority among you knew, for example, that I had worked in the Central Intelligence Agency, although my most widely read article, Paranoid Shift, which appeared on literally hundreds of websites in January 2004 (including Tikkun, where it appeared at the top of the home page under the headline, “George Bush’s Conspiracy”) and was translated into about a dozen languages, opened with an anecdote about my employment there.

 

Of course, except for a very few, nobody ever reads anything, really, anymore. We all skim everything. I haven’t read a complete book in several years, I think—a general phenomenon that scholars actually study. We’re all suffering from information sickness, masses of fish swimming around in the white noise sea of the Internet, and not even aware of our environment, as Marshall McLuhan so wisely observed.

 

And as Gore Vidal so wisely observed, perhaps our biggest fault as a society—personally, I think of it as criminal negligence, in an alleged democracy—is our collective amnesia. We don’t even remember how we came to find ourselves in this terrible state, the 2016 presidential election, the worst choice of major party candidates any American electorate has ever faced, a crook versus a con man, followed in third place—teasing us with the infinitely faint hope of respite from our two-party tyranny with the cruel but impossible chance that he’ll reach 15 percent—by a nincompoop. The one percent is mocking us to our face, and we’re lapping it up on CNN like the dimwitted sheep we have become, drinking at their Pond of Forgetfulness, soothed by the melody of the Mighty Wurlitzer, watching, endlessly watching….endlessly watching.

 

Not acting, that’s for fucking sure, or we wouldn’t be in this mess.

 

Meanwhile, I’ve got to hurry along here, because I’m supposed to be doing something for someone on this list (whose name will never be revealed), and she’s probably wondering why I’m not there. I’ll be there as soon as I’m done, I promise, you-know-who.

 

Anyway, to continue…At this point, I will reveal the only person who will be exposed on this list, but ultimately, he won’t mind, because it will be okay in the end if he plays his cards right. And from what I know of him, he’s probably a pretty sharp card player. So come on down, Mr. Editor!

 

As you must surely realize, Mr. Editor, you have embarrassed me mightily this morning in front of a bunch of my friends. And by doing so, you have given me the absolute right to do the same to you—as you must also realize if you know anything at all about the law of karma, a universal law always in operation. But as you also know if you know anything about the law of karma, it’s a lot better to take it quick, before the interest builds up in the ozone, and it comes back to kick you in the ass even harder than you actually deserve.

 

But if you take it quick…see, it’s over already! Because, as I said before, to my complete surprise, and I’m sure now to yours as well, for a variety of complex and unexpected political reasons that I don’t have time to go into now, and will, if the situation develops positively, probably never reveal, until we all are dead (including me, which might be sooner than I think, for a guy in as good a shape as I am, if I keep this shit up. From my reading of history, some “accident” can happen anytime, under these circumstances. My wife is talking about taking out life insurance, so she can cash in. I suggested she also set up a betting pool, so my other friends can get rich, too. But in all honesty, I’m not really that worried about it. Under “neototalitarianism”—the term I’ve associated with our present system for quite some time now, and which the late political scientist Sheldon Wolin named “inverted totalitarianism,” or “managed democracy,” unless you really piss the Deep State off by revealing something they don’t want exposed (hmmm…uh, oh), like Chelsea Manning did, most dangerous subversives just get dropped in the memory hole, like Sibel Edmonds. Who? Precisely.), you have done me a huge fucking favor.

 

Of course, the op-ed will now appear at Free Radical Maine, (as will this) so everyone will get to read the Pulitzer quality (if I may again be so immodest) submission I gave you the choice of publishing as either a letter or an op-ed, and you replied within minutes that you’d take it, tempted as you were, and asked for a color headshot so you could run it Sunday.

 

Thank God for that. That email will serve as the very slim reed on which I’ll build my otherwise groundless lawsuit against the Herald for breach of contract, should I ever require such a tactic in my lifelong, unrelenting one-man (actually, that’s a major inaccuracy, as my fellow underground rebels know, but too complicated to go into now, with you-know-who probably tapping her foot, so just accept it as a rhetorical device) war against the Deep State.

 

The first rule of nonviolent guerilla action is to adapt, and if at some point that requires a lawsuit, then you of all people—having been so entertained by the bio in my press release that, even though you didn’t publish it when it would do any good, you were curious enough to send a reporter, thereby kicking off yet another chain of events—should know, that’s exactly what you’re going to get. But it won’t be personal. I actually like you, even though we’ve never formally met.

 

 

Giddy as a schoolgirl (Christ, is that trite), I contacted some of my closest friends to let them know about this extremely rare mainstream opportunity to advance 9/11 Truth ever so slightly down the otherwise obstacle-strewn path of the American propaganda system. In fact, only one or two people ever saw the essay I sent, because I wanted to honor the promise of giving you a 24-hour exclusive—the very last time I will ever make such a promise to a mainstream hack (Will I never stop insulting this guy? Well, probably not. As my unfortunate friends, my seven sisters, and my long-suffering wife can tell you, I’m a terrible tease. But it’s all in good fun. Usually.) Anyway, thanks for the humiliation, guy.

 

But I think I know why you didn’t publish it. After you accepted it for publication, I sent you a couple of sly little emails to test your resolve, because I need people with some courage to help me, and you have that in spades. And I want to assure the other readers of this email that what I said in the letter to the editor you published last Tuesday remains just as true today, even though you didn’t publish my op-ed.

 

 

Ever since I moved here, my admiration for the Herald’s integrity and willingness to tackle controversial issues has only grown.

 

But what I learned in my information fishing in those emails is that you’re a firm Hillary supporter (of course, I already knew that), and what you figured out, crafty devil that you are, is that I intend to spend the next seven weeks making the only logical choice in the 2016 presidential campaign, Green Party candidate Jill Stein (who I haven’t really endorsed before yet, though everybody thinks I have) the next president of the United States. So no media platform for you, Mr. Radical!

 

I look forward to crossing swords with you, Mr. Editor, as we champion our respective candidates. You are a helluva guy.

 

Well, if you haven’t figured it out yet, that’s my second announcement, which I’d hoped to embellish a little more, but I’m going to be at you-know-who’s ‘til midnight as it is, because it’s already taken me almost two thousand words to get through the first one. But since I know this Green endorsement upsets and alarms some of my friends, I’ll be back in the next few days to fill out the details, and explain why I think Jill—terrible candidate that she is, but that can be fixed. Did you know that she has a fabulous voice and plays guitar better than I do? Just give that woman some charisma and she’ll be fine—is going to be our next president. The good(?) ship Hillary is taking on water fast, and at this point I think Jill is the only one who can save us from President Rump. But I’ll get into that in the next installment of Top Secret Update, because I’ve gotta run.

 

(I suppose I should add that those Democratic Party officials on board here, and there are actually quite a few, are free to request my resignation as secretary of the South Berwick Democratic Party, as you have every right to do under these circumstances, even though I’ll be working my heart out for everybody else on the Democratic ticket. I’ll respond accordingly—whatever that means.)

 

The third announcement is that my appointment to the national council of Alliance for Democracy as the New England Regional Representative was finalized this week. Also more on that later. I celebrated my appointment by challenging the Republican economist who co-wrote the business-friendly, watered-down TPP analysis that was the subject of the Maine Citizen Trade Policy Commission hearing in Portland on Thursday—who said in his testimony that the debate between Marxist and capitalist economics was “settled”—to a debate with an actual Marxist. Naturally, he chickened out after the meeting. No surprise. That’s what happens when you confront a bully, which he was trying to be in his testimony. You can watch this debate challenge, as well as the first public acknowledgement of my new appointment, in the first five minutes of this video. Again, more on this later.

 

 

 

The partial announcement is that for the past few months, I’ve been organizing a benefit concert for Seacoast Peace Response, and the final details just fell into place this week. It will happen at the South Church in Portsmouth on Friday, November 11th at 8 pm, and will feature five outstanding local bands (including the debut of my new folk rock group, Mike Hasty & the Wildlings). The headliner will be Joanne Connolly (who you all know and love as the director of Voices from the Heart and Con Tutti), in one of her rare appearances as a solo jazz artist, backed up by the Ray DeMarco Quartet.

 

Mr. Editor will fill you in on the rest of the important details in his paper later, as a reward for his suffering through my feeble attempts to embarrass him today. He really is a good guy. Trust me. Or not, I guess. I’ve said some pretty terrible things about the American media. If I were whatsoever important, they’d be accusing me of flip-flopping. The American media, of course, has no mind for subtlety.

 

If you need a break from the oppressive 2016 election dreariness (here’s a bonus mini-announcement) I’ll be jamming with the house bands at Dolphin Striker on Monday nights and Daniel Street Tavern on Wednesdays. Come on down and have some fun.

 

Well, that’s it for Top Secret Update (I think I’ll call it that) for now. There will be another one soon, and I hope you will all, like me, post and share this on social media widely. In case you didn’t already know, the revolution will not be televised. Obviously. I mean, if it were, everybody would know that it’s already happening, everywhere, underground.

 

Seeya on the nonviolent barricades. Time to overthrow the Deep State.

 

Mike (or Michael. Take your pick.)

 

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Why isn’t Afghanistan an issue in the presidential campaign?

(This op-ed was supposed to appear in the Opinion section of today’s (9/18/16) Portsmouth Herald, but didn’t. It’s now the common intellectual property of humanity. Post and share as widely as you want, as long as you give credit to me and Free Radical Maine.)

 

Earlier this week, there was a report on National Public Radio about the 2016 presidential race—about the poverty of the language, with its endless chatter on trivial issues (“deplorables,” what’ll-he-do-next?), and absence of discussion of real issues.

 

The reporter specifically mentioned Afghanistan as an issue which isn’t being discussed by either candidate, at a time we mark 15 years of US war and occupation—the longest war in American history. Not only that, but right after we overthrew the Taliban—who had reduced opium production in the country by 97 percent in 2000—opium production immediately skyrocketed back to a peak by 2007, the height of the Great Recession–exactly when the global banking system needed the liquid cash it depends on from the drug trade most.

 

During that period, international investigators found connections between the drug industry (among the three largest in the world, according to the UN’s 2016 drug report, along with oil and agriculture—because drugs are an underground commodity, it’s impossible to tell which is largest) and HSBC, Wachovia Bank, Citigroup, Standard Chartered, Bank of America, Western Union, and JP Morgan Chase, among others in the international banking industry.

 

Besides which, our puppet former president of Afghanistan, Hamid Karzai—who was a lobbyist for an oil company negotiating with the Taliban for a cross-Afghan pipeline in the summer of 2001—openly admitted to the media that he was taking money from the CIA while he was president. Of course, the CIA has a long history of being involved in the drug trade in Afghanistan, beginning with the mujahedeen war in the 1980s, and extensively documented in Alfred McCoy’s book, The Politics of Heroin: CIA Complicity in the Global Drug Trade. Karzai’s brother, according to both McCoy’s book and the New York Times, was the biggest drug dealer in Afghanistan.

 

This is what makes the absence of Afghanistan as an issue from the 2016 presidential campaign so puzzling. After 15 years of US military occupation, when Afghanistan remains the top supplier of heroin to the world, according to the 2016 UN drug report, with a traditional economy so destroyed by 30 years of covert and overt US wars that over 50 percent of its current economy depends on opium; and the US is listed as sixth in heroin seizures, right behind Kenya (to get an idea of how pitiful this is, Iran was first with 75 percent); and 30-year Drug Enforcement Administration agent David Dayle once testified that he had never seen a major international drug operation that the CIA wasn’t involved in; and epidemic levels of heroin use and heroin overdose deaths are at a crisis point in the nation and the region, and discussed incessantly in both the Portsmouth Herald and other media outlets in the region—why isn’t Afghanistan an issue in the presidential campaign, especially when the CIA is under the direct control of the president?

 

Theoretically, anyway.

Posted in Politics

Drugs and the US Deep State

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This is the text of a talk I gave at the Portsmouth NH library on September 7, 2016. The Portsmouth Herald article the next day was headlined, “Activist alleges links between CIA, drug epidemic.” In parenthetical footnotes, ADS refers to the book The American Deep State: Wall Street, Big Oil, and the Attack on US Democracy, by Peter Dale Scott (Rowman and Littlefield); and DS to The Deep State: The Fall of the Constitution and the Rise of a Shadow Government, by Mike Lofgren (Viking). A video of the talk, filmed by my friend Herb Moyer, can be seen here.

 

 

Thank you for having the courage, or curiosity, or commitment, or whatever drew you here tonight, for coming to this presentation. I hope that when I am finished, you will look at our nation in a new light, and that our trip tonight down the proverbial rabbit hole, into this very strange Wonderland the United States has become, will encourage you to become active in rejuvenating, actually re-creating democracy in America, and returning government to the hands of the people.

 

When the Seacoast 9/11 Questions group first started planning this presentation, we were hesitant about referring to the “Deep State” in the title. It’s not a familiar phrase yet to many Americans. And especially combined with the topic of drugs, it could mean most anything—deep state of consciousness; deep state of denial; deep state of hypnosis. Actually, all three would be appropriate in this case, as we shall see.

 

The term “Deep State,” as applied to a national government, was first used in Turkey in 1996. To quote from the recent book, The American Deep State, by Peter Dale Scott, the term referred to “United States-backed elements, primarily in the intelligence services and military, who had repeatedly used violence to interfere with and realign Turkey’s democratic political process.” [ADS p. 13]

 

We saw elements of Turkey’s US-backed Deep State still at work today in the recent attempted coup—a fact largely unmentioned in American media. The Turkish Deep State was also a key part of a post-World War II underground CIA operation in Europe called Operation Gladio, which targeted communist political parties all over Europe, and included terrorist bombings against European civilians, which were then blamed on the communists.

 

These are known as “false flag” operations.

 

It is said that “very few democracies can claim to be free from” their own Deep State [UK newsletter On Religion 7/4/13]. That is most certainly true of the United States.

 

The Deep State we’ll be discussing tonight is a what former Canadian diplomat Peter Dale Scott describes as a subterranean underworld, where Wall Street, the US intelligence community, the defense and oil industries, and sometimes the criminal element—drug dealers, gangsters or the occasional terrorist—meet.

 

The operations the American Deep State has concocted in the post-World War II period have significantly altered our nation’s history. They are still in operation today, to maintain rule by the oligarchy—as former president Jimmy Carter now describes our fallen democracy—the corporate oligarchy that now largely governs the United States.

 

Scott’s analysis may be the most radical of those who have recently explored the subject of an American Deep State. A more mainstream view comes from Mike Lofgren, a Republican Congressional staffer for 28 years, who finally got disgusted with the federal government’s dysfunction, and quit. Since then he has been exposing the truly corrupt nature of our current system, and both political parties, in bestsellers like The Party Is Over, and in his most recent book, The Deep State.

 

Lofgren defines the Deep State as “a hybrid association of key elements of government and parts of top-level finance and industry, that is effectively able to govern the United States, with only limited reference to the consent of the governed, as normally expressed through elections…

 

“It is the red thread that runs through the war on terrorism and the militarization of foreign policy; the financialization and deindustrialization of the American economy; the rise of a plutocratic social structure that has given us the most unequal society in almost a century; and the political dysfunction that has paralyzed day-to-day governance.” [DS p.5]

 

In other words, the Deep State is deeply ingrained in our system, and is at the center of our problems as a supposedly self-governing people. Remember, this description is coming from a guy who watched the Deep State in action from inside Congress, for almost three decades.

 

Both Peter Dale Scott and Mike Lofgren refer to a Washington Post series of articles on the military-industrial complex, Top Secret America, later turned into a book, as another view of the Deep State, particularly the connection between a recently privatized defense establishment and corporate America. Another recent book, by Tufts political science professor Michael Glennon, National Security and Double Government, floats another term for what is essentially the same phenomenon: “Double government,”—the permanent government, the national security state, including its private contractors.

 

But although former congressional staffer Lofgren openly admits that “Wall Street may be the ultimate owner of the Deep State,” [DS p.36] he and other mainstream treatments of the subject tend to avoid the darker, illegal aspects of the Deep State.

 

They also avoid a subject that Scott insists is key to understanding the Deep State. And that subject is drugs. Neither “drugs” nor “heroin” are words listed in the index of Lofgren’s book.

 

I agree with Professor Scott that drugs, and the money that drugs bring, are a key component of the operations of the Deep State, and have been for a very long time.

 

So we shall begin our discussion tonight with a brief look at the history of drugs in America, and how our national, historical infatuation with drugs has played so well into the hands of those who would rule us.

 

America has always had a drug problem. In the beginning, it was alcohol and tobacco. Foreign visitors to the young country would marvel at the amount of whiskey Americans drank all day long, and would report with disgust how the barrooms were thick with tobacco smoke, and the floors slick with tobacco juice.

 

And of course many farmers grew hemp, the less intoxicating form of the cannabis plant, which was used in many early American products. It’s unlikely that humanity’s millennia-old relationship with marijuana would have been forgotten in this period, and even George Washington’s farm journals report separating some female cannabis plants from the males (August 7, 1765). The only purpose of this process would be to prevent the females from being inseminated and growing seeds, so all the nutrients then go to the flower, making it more potent.

 

You can imagine George sitting in his rocker on the porch at Mount Vernon, puffing contentedly on his clay pipe, smoking some nice Alexandria Gold, and watching the Potomac River flow by. He was a contemplative guy, and besides, the marijuana provided relief from the pain of his dental problems.

 

Other drugs that are classified as illegal today, were also used as medicine in early America, and sold openly by pharmacists. Cocaine, hashish and opium were readily available from your doctor or apothecary, to treat a whole variety of ailments.

 

In the post-Civil War era, when there was still a frontier, America was a more free-wheeling culture than it is today—here in the age of the surveillance state. And as Alexis de Toqueville reported in 1830, America’s 19th-century inhabitants, in some respects—most notably if you were white and male—had more freedom in their personal behavior than we do today.

 

Of course, this freedom…to indulge…had both positive and negative aspects. For example, consider the health and lifespan of the average American citizen, then and now.

 

But freedom has rewards that many of us have forgotten today, and I think it is critical to reclaim that personal sense of freedom that we have gradually lost over the past century, if we hope, as functioning citizens, to reclaim our democracy.

 

It was in the early 20th century that America’s relationship with drugs began to change, and the control of drugs became much more of a government concern. This change in attitude had a lot to do with the rise of the Temperance movement, and the campaign against alcohol that ultimately ended with Prohibition.

 

There has been a deep Puritan streak in American culture from its earliest days. And combined with increased awareness of the health and social effects of alcohol in the then-new Progressive movement, and with the self-empowerment of women—who bore the brunt of alcohol’s effects on their families, and led the Temperance movement—prohibition of alcohol became official government policy in 1920—ratified by constitutional amendment.

 

And then prohibition was removed by constitutional amendment 13 years later, when the public finally realized what a tragic mistake it had been.

 

We are still living with the effects of alcohol Prohibition today. The criminal gangs and networks that formed during Prohibition to supply Americans with alcohol became the foundation of a criminal underworld that, in later decades, would supply the American public with the illegal substances we also craved, despite the fact that alcohol was legal again.

 

Some of you may recall the scene in the film The Godfather, where Mafia gang leaders met to discuss drug distribution in the cities. That scene is based on real events in the post-war period, that are also connected to the Deep State.

 

Although alcohol has always been viewed as America’s major drug problem, because of its widespread social effects, opium and its derivatives, morphine and heroin, also have a long history in this country.

 

Opium was introduced to European Americans in the mid-1800s by Chinese immigrants brought here to help build the western railroads. In reality, legends of the West like Wild Bill Hickok actually spent more time in opium dens than in saloons. Opium was a very popular drug on the western frontier.

 

Laudanum, which was opium mixed with alcohol, was used as medicine for a variety of ailments. The medicine show “doctors” who traveled from town to town usually had some opium derivative in the “snake oil” they sold—guaranteed to make you feel better! Ironically enough, opium was even promoted as a cure for alcoholism.

 

Morphine, another opium product, was developed as a pain killer around 1810. It was seen as a wonder drug by the medical profession, and widely used and prescribed throughout the 19th century. It wasn’t until after the Civil War, when so many people were using it to treat the chronic pain of their war wounds, that it became apparent that addiction to pain killers could be a problem.

 

The drug rehab website, Narconon, continues the story. “By 1874 the answer to this increasing problem was thought to be found in the invention of a new drug in Germany. This new wonder drug was called Heroin, after its German trademarked name. Heroin was imported into the United States shortly after it was invented. The sales pitch that created an instant market to American doctors and their morphine-addicted patients was that Heroin was a “safe, non-addictive” substitute for morphine.

 

“Hence, the heroin addict was born and has been present in American culture ever since.”

 

This intertwining of drugs and alcohol in the public mind, and the negative effects both were having on American communities, came to a head in the early 20th century. At the height of Prohibition, in 1930, the Federal Bureau of Narcotics was formed.

 

The first commissioner of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics, which, like the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, was in the Treasury Department, was a guy named Harry Anslinger. Anslinger had been a Prohibition agent and an anti-drug crusader for some time, and he got the appointment partly because his wife’s uncle was the Secretary of the Treasury, but also because he was seen as a straight arrow who could come in and clean up what was already a corrupt law enforcement operation—a persistent pattern in international drug enforcement to this very day.

 

The reason enforcement of drug and alcohol laws was given to the Treasury Department was that the federal laws regulating those substances were tax laws. So there has always been a financial component to drug regulation as well, where, for example, access to the banking system is controlled enough that illicit cash has to be filtered through specific channels, so that one criminal organization can be favored over another, as we’ve seen in a number of instances.

 

Corruption of the banking system has also been a persistent pattern in international drug enforcement that continues today.

 

The pattern for law enforcement that Anslinger set as the first commissioner of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics also, unfortunately, persists today.

 

In the first place, Anslinger ignored science in favor of his own anti-drug ideology. He was the principal witness in the congressional hearing for the 1937 Marijuana Tax Act, and his testimony completely disregarded the majority opinion of the medical experts he had consulted, that marijuana was relatively harmless, and mostly consisted of newspaper clippings with quotes of his own dire warnings about the “Devil Weed.”

 

Congress passed the bill in the dead of night. Since then, literally millions of people have suffered the consequences, of what one legal observer at the time called a “near comic…dereliction of legislative responsibility.”

 

We had an example of similar disregard for science just recently, from the drug warriors at the Drug Enforcement Agency. In the face of overwhelming evidence, hundreds of scientific studies, and thousands of years of use as a medicine—not to mention the fact that 25 states already have medical marijuana programs—the DEA last month refused to remove marijuana from a Schedule 1 classification, where it sits along with drugs like heroin and cocaine.

 

They claimed that marijuana has no proven medical uses. This would be just as comic as the original congressional deliberations that made marijuana illegal—if it weren’t so tragic, for so many people.

 

Another element in the pattern for drug enforcement set by Anslinger, and continuing today, is the use of deception and exaggeration in anti-drug propaganda—for example, the famous commercial of eggs frying, to illustrate the slogan, “This is your brain on drugs.”

 

Recently, the Seacoast Repertory Theater here in Portsmouth staged the musical, “Reefer Madness,” which was based on the 1930s movie with the same title—which was itself based on the ludicrous claims by Harry Anslinger that, “Marijuana is a shortcut to the insane asylum. Smoke marijuana cigarettes for a month and what was once your brain will be nothing but a storehouse of horrid specters. Hashish makes a murderer who kills for the love of killing out of the mildest mannered man who ever laughed at the idea that any habit could ever get him.”

 

These are the kinds of things the first commissioner of the Bureau of Narcotics was saying in congressional testimony.

 

A third element in the anti-drug pattern set by Anslinger is the use of outright racism, not only to gain the approval for harsh enforcement from a majority-white community, but also to help maintain that majority’s control and exploitation of minority communities.

 

Anslinger said, “The primary reason to outlaw marijuana is its effect on the degenerate races.”

 

He said most pot smokers were “Negroes, Hispanics, Filipinos and entertainers. Their Satanic music, jazz and swing, result from marijuana use. This marijuana causes white women to seek sexual relations with Negroes, entertainers, and any others.”

 

This kind of statement seems hilarious today, taken out of the context of the times. But he said this at a time when the lynching of black men was a fairly regular occurrence in the United States, and the ugly racist passions of those times were often encouraged with lurid sexual imaginings of black men and white women.

 

And anyone who thinks that racism does not continue to be central to the war on drugs today, only has to look at the disproportionate numbers of blacks and Hispanics in the nation’s jails and prisons, in what one scholar calls, “the new Jim Crow”; or to consider the only recently corrected disparities in sentencing between crack and powder cocaine; or to look at the documented differences in the way that white and black prisoners are physically treated, or stopped and frisked, or murdered by police.

 

Drug control and state control of the African American and Hispanic communities are inextricably and tragically linked, and have been from the beginning.

 

A final element in the pattern Anslinger pioneered, that we will consider tonight, is the outlawing of certain drugs—as society’s way of dealing with any social problems stemming from the use of those drugs, and controlling the flow and distribution of those drugs—which Anslinger had such a formative hand in establishing. As I mentioned earlier, one of the consequences of alcohol prohibition in the 1920s was the creation of international criminal networks, to supply an American demand only slightly squelched by the inconvenience of alcohol’s illegality.

 

And those international networks, already criminalized, then had an incentive to expand their customer base, by supplying other products, other drugs that this Christian nation—in a frenzied crusade of morality, good intentions, racism and anti-Catholic, anti-immigrant sentiment—had simultaneously outlawed along with alcohol, but nevertheless craved.

 

And because of their illegality, the value of these drugs increased exponentially, and they became a valuable commodity on the international black market. And the unaccountable liquid cash floating around inevitably became a source of corruption—of governments, armies and police departments—around the world. And because these funds lived and grew and flowed in the dark, they became the perfect medium for funding the covert operations of the American Deep State.

 

The first example of this cooperation between the criminal underworld and the Deep State we’ll look at tonight occurred not long after World War II—when the US government was already compromising its principles, in what it regarded as a life-and-death struggle with international communism. The Central Intelligence Agency, created by the 1947 National Security Act, was already smuggling former Nazi intelligence officers into the US, in what was known as Operation Paperclip, because these Nazis were assisting the Cold War offensive against America’s recently-scorned partner and ally, the Soviet Union.

 

So on that scale of morality—where Nazis are your friends—drug dealers and gangsters don’t really look so bad.

 

Before I continue this narrative, I’d like to inject here a personal disclaimer, of sorts.

 

My father was a career CIA officer, and worked for the CIA until just days before his premature death, now more than a quarter century ago. Over the years, I’ve had a number of friends and family members who have worked for the CIA or associated contractors. I myself worked for the CIA in my youth, during the summers and after school, in increasingly menial jobs, as my gregarious and dissident nature—both highly contrary to CIA culture—became more and more obvious to my employers. They were of course secretly glad to see me go, at the age of twenty.

 

All the CIA people I have personally known have been, without exception, good and decent people who believed in what they were doing. They sincerely see themselves as patriots, with the nation’s best interests at heart. And throughout the Cold War, communism was the enemy, and for them the gloves were off.

 

It’s important to consider that the Greatest Generation is also the generation who thought that what happened at Dresden and Hiroshima, with their horrific loss of civilian life from American bombing, was a good thing. We condemn the Syrian and Russian governments for that kind of thing, now. But principles were compromised in the name of patriotism throughout the Cold War, and that was true from the CIA’s infancy.

 

People in the CIA also kept to the doctrine of “need to know,” and so were often unaware of what other elements in the Agency were doing. And they didn’t want to know.

 

Jeff Stein, who covers intelligence matters for Congressional Quarterly [now working at Newsweek], has written about the two CIAs: the bureaucracy in Langley that the public knows; and what I would call the Deep State element, which is much more informal, less restricted by official budgets, and largely unknown to the public.

 

There is also a lot of deception that goes on within the Agency itself—for example, there is a process known as “eyewash,” where internal Agency memos containing deliberate falsehoods are distributed as a counterintelligence measure. In certain respects, working at the CIA really is like working in a hall of mirrors.

 

And finally, as I recall, the opinion that, sometimes, you have to use the evil tactics of your enemies, in order to effect the good ends that justify those tactics, was pretty widely held within the intelligence community. And the influence of “groupthink” in that community cannot be overestimated. The use of these evil tactics is generally regarded as an unfortunate necessity, where “plausible deniability” becomes a paramount virtue—as we’ll see in the case of CIA and drugs.

 

At any rate, with those considerations in mind, what really drew the CIA and the criminal element together, in so many cases in the postwar period, was mutual benefit.

 

There has always been a kind of symbiosis between law enforcement and gangsters. The evidence is now quite plain that prohibition not only creates criminals—in the first place, by making criminals of everyone involved with a particular prohibited substance—but it also creates networks of criminals that merge the prohibited substance with other trafficked productsweapons and sex slaves, for example—so that network then becomes a continuing presence in the underworld, along with the associated official corruption that is the inevitable byproduct of prohibition.

 

Then that underworld presence generates a counter-reaction of even more law enforcement—ultimately fruitless, because the criminal networks then adapt to the new tactics—and it becomes an endless cycle, in which both sides benefit: the criminals with increasing sophistication, and incentive and ability to spread and grow markets in all their illegal wares: drugs, prostitution, gambling, arms, whatever; and law enforcement, which benefits from ever-growing budgets and funding, and ever-more military-style equipment, and ever more deference from an ever more desperate public—including the media.

 

Now, the mutual benefit that the CIA got from its partnership with criminals was different.

 

First, a little about the origins of the CIA. The CIA was created with the 1947 National Security Act. Its foundations were in the OSS, the Office of Strategic Services, which was founded by William “Wild Bill” Donovan, a Wall Street lawyer, at the beginning of World War II. He brought other Wall Street lawyers like Allen Dulles into the OSS, which operated all over the world during World War II, in both the European and Pacific theaters.

 

After the war, Dulles was recruited to draft a proposal to set up the CIA, and he formed an advisory group of six men to help him with that, of whom all but one were Wall Street investment bankers or lawyers, and two of whom later joined Dulles at the CIA [ADSp.14]. So from the beginning, there was an Ivy League connection in the CIA, and a connection to old money and the banks and the old boy network of the ruling class.

 

There was also an air of ruling class privilege in the Agency that encouraged bending of the rules and derring-do, and a sense of being connected to the economic heart of the country, that, in their minds, allowed those privileged sons of the ruling class license to do whatever was necessary to preserve America’s rightful place at the top of the world, the savior and protector of democratic capitalism.

 

And the banking interests on Wall Street, which, as Franklin Roosevelt wrote in a private letter in 1933, have “owned the government ever since the days of Andrew Jackson,” now had their own public/private covert police agency

 

Now, the stage set, we enter the darkness where a government agency, from the moment of its creation, the product of a supposedly democratic republic, nevertheless finds its perfect companion in a violent and Hobbesian criminal underworld, which also inhabits that darkness.

 

One of the earliest documented connections between drug smugglers and the CIA that Peter Dale Scott mentions is related to Operation Gladio, which I mentioned earlier, and involved a CIA-connected labor organizer in Marseilles, France, who worked with a local drug smuggler to hire goons to beat up striking communist dock workers, after he had diverted Marshall Fund money to set up a business-friendly alternative union [ADSp.15].

 

In that one incident, you can see a number of elements that benefit the Deep State: greater business profits; neutralized worker outrage, diverted into a more complacent institution; reinforced feelings of powerlessness among the people; the ability to stop attempts at economic or social justice with a secret, lawless and unaccountable force.

 

The benefits for the criminal are obvious, too: more local power, and the ability to operate their enterprise with impunity because of their secret alliance with the state, which looks the other way. So of course, more profits for them, too.

 

It’s a win-win situation for everyone but average people, victimized by both sides.

 

The alliance between the intelligence community and the Mafia actually started during the war, when the OSS was cultivating relationships with the Sicilian Mafia, including Lucky Luciano, for their help against the Fascists in Italy; and after the war, against the Italian Communist Party. Luciano was given a pardon for his criminal activities for his help during the war, but was deported to Italy—where he then developed his heroin empire, and re-enlisted in the service of the new American empire by working with the Corsican drug smugglers in Marseilles against the Communists—including the incident I just mentioned.

 

By 1951, Luciano and the Corsicans had pooled their resources and created the network known as the French Connection—the heroin supply that the Mafia leaders were fictionally discussing in that scene in The Godfather, the heroin that would dominate the world heroin trade for the next twenty years, and the genesis of the first postwar heroin epidemic in America, brought to you in large part by the national security state, the Deep State, whose interests always take precedence over your own.

 

The following litany of CIA drug connections comes edited, but verbatim [without ellipses] from the Congressional Record, from a report prepared by the Institute for Policy Studies, that Representative John Conyers submitted into the record in May 1998:

 

“1947

The CIA recruits members of organized crime gangs in Japan to help ensure that the country stays in the anticommunist world. Several years later, the Japanese Yakuza emerges as a major source of methamphetamine in Hawaii.

 

“1949

Chinese Communist revolution causes collapse of drug empire allied with US intelligence community, but a new one quickly emerges under the command of a Nationalist (KMT) general who flees into eastern Burma. Seeking to rekindle anticommunist resistance in China, the CIA provides arms, ammunition and other supplies to the KMT. After being repelled from China with heavy losses, the KMT settles down with the local population and organizes and expands the opium trade from Burma and northern Thailand. By 1972, the KMT controls 80 percent of the Golden Triangle’s opium trade.

 

“1960

In support of the US war in Vietnam, the CIA renews old and cultivates new relations with Laotian, Burmese and Thai drug merchants, as well as corrupt military and political leaders in Southeast Asia. Despite the dramatic rise of heroin production, the agency’s relations with these leaders attracts little attention…

 

“1967

Manuel Noriega goes on the CIA payroll, and becomes an invaluable CIA asset when he takes charge of Panama’s intelligence service…providing services for US covert operations…In 1976, CIA director George Bush pays Noriega $110,000 for his services, even though as early as 1971, US officials had evidence that he was deeply involved in drug trafficking. Although the Carter administration suspends payments to Noriega, he returns to the US payroll when President Reagan takes office…

 

“1970

A Christian Science Monitor correspondent reports that that the CIA is ‘cognizant, if not party to, the extensive movement of opium out of Laos,’ quoting one charter pilot who claims that ‘opium shipments get special CIA clearance and monitoring on their way southward out of the country.’ At the time, some 30,000 US service men in Vietnam are addicted to heroin.”

 

(I’m going to insert a personal note here. The first heroin addict I ever met was my older cousin, Larry Hasty, who picked up the habit as a soldier in Vietnam. He stayed at our house outside DC after his court martial and discharge. My mother found the spoon he used to cook his heroin in the bathroom, after he returned home to California. He never kicked his heroin addiction, and he died a few years later. So this issue has some personal relevance for me.

 

Now, to continue with the Congressional Record…)

 

“1972

The full story of how Cold War politics and US covert operations fueled a heroin boom in the Golden Triangle breaks when Yale University doctoral student Alfred McCoy publishes his ground-breaking study, The Politics of Heroin in Southeast Asia. The CIA attempts to quash the book.

 

“1975

Mexican police, assisted by US drug agents, arrest Alberto Sicilia Falcon, whose Tijuana-based operation was reportedly generating $3.6 million a week from the sale of cocaine and marijuana in the United States. The Cuban exile claims he was a CIA protégé, trained as part of the agency’s anti-Castro efforts, and in exchange for his help in moving weapons to certain groups in Central America, that CIA facilitated his movement of drugs. Sicilia’s top aide was a CIA-trained intelligence officer and Bay of Pigs veteran. Among the top Mexican politicians, law enforcement and intelligence officials from whom Sicilia enjoyed support was the head of DFS [Mexico’s FBI], who the CIA admits was its ‘most important source in Mexico and Central America.’ [When its most important source] is linked to a multi-million dollar stolen car ring several years later, the CIA intervenes to prevent his indictment in the United States.

 

“1978

Soviet-backed coup in Afghanistan sets stage for explosive growth in southwest Asian heroin trade. New Marxist regime undertakes vigorous anti-narcotics campaign aimed at suppressing poppy production, triggering a revolt by semi-autonomous tribal groups that traditionally raise opium for export. The CIA-supported Mujahedeen begins expanding production to finance their insurgency. Between 1982 and 1989, during which time the CIA ships billions of dollars and other aid to guerilla forces, annual opium production in Afghanistan increases to about 800 tons from 250 tons. By 1986, the State Department admits that Afghanistan is ‘probably the world’s largest producer of opium for export, and ‘the poppy source for a majority of the Southwest Asian heroin found in the United States.’ US officials, however, fail to take action to curb production.

 

“1985

DEA agent Enrique ‘Kiki’ Camarena is kidnapped and murdered in Mexico. DEA, FBI and US Customs Service investigators accuse the CIA of stonewalling during their investigation. US authorities claim the CIA is more interested in protecting its assets, including top drug trafficker Miguel Angel Felix Gallardo. Gallardo’s main partner is a Honduran drug lord who receives $186,000 from the US State Department to fly ‘humanitarian supplies’ to the Nicaraguan Contras from 1983 to 1985. Accusations that the CIA protected some of Mexico’s leading drug traffickers in exchange for their financial support of the Contras are leveled by government witnesses at the trials of Camarena’s accused killers.

 

“1989

The Senate Subcommittee on Terrorism, Narcotics, and International Communications issues its report on drug corruption in Central America and the Caribbean. The subcommittee found that ‘there was substantial evidence of drug smuggling through the war zone on the part of individual Contras, Contra suppliers, Contra pilots, mercenaries who worked with the Contra supporters throughout the region.’ US officials, the committee said, ‘failed to address the drug issue for fear of jeopardizing the war efforts against Nicaragua.’ The investigation also reveals that some ‘senior policy makers’ believed that the use of drug money was ‘a perfect solution to the Contras’ funding problems.’”

 

The 1998 report in the Congressional Record takes us to the 21st century, whose opening decade is also the beginning of the 4th postwar surge in heroin use in the United States—all four corresponding to a CIA covert action: the French Connection in the ‘50s and ‘60s; Southeast Asia in the ‘60s and ‘70s; Afghanistan in the ‘80s and ‘90s; and now Afghanistan again in the 21st century. And let’s not forget the terrifying crack cocaine epidemic in the ‘80s and ‘90s, also corresponding to a major US covert action, against the Sandinista government of Nicaragua.

 

What is different in the 21st century is the unfortunately related problem of prescription opioid addiction, which began about the same time as the upsurge in heroin use. And, since we left the Afghanis to sort things out for themselves following the Soviet exit from Afghanistan, which individual warlords financed largely through the profits of the opium industry, the global drug trade had diverted and become more sophisticated and regional. So although Afghanistan continues to produce most of the world’s heroin, most heroin coming into the US now comes from Mexico—presumably through some of the same networks established in the Contra war—and Colombia, also the site of a US dirty war—against leftist guerillas, in this case—while most Afghan heroin goes to the larger markets of Europe and Russia, the nation with the world’s worst heroin problem per capita, triple the size of America’s problem, probably due in some part to Russia’s proximity to the world’s largest heroin supply.

 

There is another curious anomaly about the beginning of the 21st century.

 

At the end of the civil war in Afghanistan, among the rival factions of the mujahedeen army that the CIA had left behind to establish a national government, the victors who came to power in 1996 were the Taliban—crude Islamic right wingers who immediately began to alienate the rest of the world with their extreme restrictions on Afghan women—who a little more than a decade before had walked the streets of Kabul in high heels and skirts, their faces and hair exposed, under secular Soviet occupation—and with the Taliban’s ignorant and destructive assaults on some of Afghanistan’s most revered archeological treasures, which the rest of the world rightly viewed as a common human heritage.

 

In a bid for international legitimacy for his government, in 2000 the Taliban leader, Mullah Omar, ordered an end to opium cultivation in Afghanistan, which even then supplied most of the world’s opium. And in 2001, opium production in Afghanistan was reduced by 97 percent.

 

A few other curious things happened in 2001. In the summer of 2001, Taliban leaders were escorted around Washington DC, and visited in Kabul by lobbyists for US corporate interests, including Laila Helms, the niece of former CIA director Richard Helms, [who was a PR representative for the Taliban in Washington], and Hamid Karzai, an Afghan who represented the oil giant Unocal in its effort to build a new pipeline across Afghanistan.

 

Additionally, there was diplomatic pressure put on the Taliban to open its economy and resources to Western interests. A Taliban representative at a conference in Berlin in August 2001 was told by a US diplomat that, in its relations with America, the Taliban could have either “a carpet of gold or a carpet of bombs.”

 

Then of course in September of 2001, the world changed. And in October, the Taliban got their carpet of bombs.

 

The odd thing is, the Taliban had offered to turn over Osama bin Laden to the US, if the US would produce the evidence that he was involved in the September 11th attacks. But the US declined to produce that evidence. And the evidence that the US did finally produce, in the 9/11 Commission report, was primarily the result of torture, and at any rate unavailable in 2001. To the end of his life, Osama bin Laden’s FBI most-wanted listing did not include the 9/11 attacks, because, by their own admission, the FBI hadn’t seen enough evidence to include them.

 

According to former FBI translator Sibel Edmonds—who has been described as “the most gagged person in America”; and whose public testimony before Congress about what she knows about 9/11 was classified as secret by the CIA, after she had already publicly testified; and whose testimony to the 9/11 Commission is entirely missing from their final report—the reason for the September 11th attacks was drugs.

 

She also said that bin Laden was working for the CIA until the very morning of September 11th.

 

Since so much of what she had to say is missing from the public record, and before anyone in the audience starts screaming “conspiracy theory”—a term invented by the CIA in 1964 to neutralize public doubts about the very dubious official explanation of the JFK assassination, and which has proven to be one of the most effective propaganda tools ever devised, an all-purpose term of ridicule so successful that today it gets over 6 million Google hits—let’s take a look at why Sibel Edmonds is probably right.

 

Sibel Edmonds is a Turkish American who was hired by the FBI to translate communications intercepted from her native country. Recall that Turkey’s own Deep State has played an important role for the American Deep State ever since World War II, when the OSS had an office in Istanbul. And after the war, with the anticommunist, covert and often violent Operation Gladio. And then when Lucky Luciano imported heroin from Marseilles, and shipped it on to the US in the French Connection. Turkey has always been an important transshipment point for heroin.

 

Thanks to a deposition she gave in a civil lawsuit, we actually do know something about Sibel Edmonds’ testimony. She gave the deposition in response to a subpoena, and perhaps for that reason, was never charged with violating the state secrets gag order she has been under since her congressional testimony about 9/11. Neither was she charged with committing perjury.

 

So presumably, her testimony in the civil suit—about a network of corruption in Turkey that also involved high-level officials from the US State Department and Congress, from both political parties—is true.

 

And she names names—important names, like Dennis Hastert, former Republican Speaker of the US House of Representatives, and current federal prisoner. Yet she’s never been charged with perjury, and never been sued for libel.

 

And her testimony in that civil suit has nevertheless never been reported in American mainstream media—even her accusations against Hastert, when Hastert was being publicly shamed for his sexual crimes, and despite the fact that her original testimony to Congress and subsequent gag order were fairly widely reported at the time.

 

Doesn’t that seem strange?

 

Additionally, there are other circumstances that connect 9/11 and drugs. Remember, in 2001, Afghanistan’s opium production—the major source of the world’s heroin since the CIA’s mujahedeen war—under the orders of the Taliban, had fallen to practically zero. I’ll now let Balkan security analyst Ioannis Michaletos continue the argument, as he did at a recent conference on opium geopolitics:

 

“In December 2009, the UN drugs and crime czar Antonio Maria Costa claimed that illegal drug money saved the banking industry from collapse. He claimed he had seen evidence that the proceeds of organized crime were ‘the only liquid investment capital’ available to some banks on the brink of collapse. Thus, the Balkan heroin route, for instance [the major smuggling route out of Turkey], apart from a multi-billion dollar illicit trade path, is also one generating profits indirectly to corporations thriving in the legal market, such as banks…The aforementioned UN official was replaced soon thereafter in 2010, while over the past few years drug related connections have been found in major world financial institutions such as HSBC, Wachovia Bank, Citigroup, Standard Chartered, Bank of America, Western Union, JP Morgan Chase and others.”

 

So the Taliban’s 2001 halt in Afghan opium production was actually a brilliant assault on global capitalism, right to and right at the heart of Wall Street, itself the ever-beating black heart of the American Deep State—the primary source of Afghanistan’s years-long suffering.

 

What better symbol of resistance, then, than a suicide attack on the World Trade Center, the just-missed target of Al Qaeda’s 1993 truck bomb, and New York Port Authority’s glaring white elephant, which would soon require a multi-million dollar asbestos removal to remain commercially viable, anyway?

 

Except the Taliban didn’t want to attack global capitalism. They were in negotiations for an oil pipeline across their country. And they offered to turn Osama bin Laden over, if the US showed them the evidence, but CIA brat George W. Bush just brushed them off, and bombed them anyway.

 

But that’s not the only thing that is weird about September 11th. And I’m not just talking about the fact that both the bipartisan chairs of the 9/11 Commission, Tom Kean and Lee Hamilton, complained afterwards that they had been lied to, repeatedly, in testimony from government agencies, especially the military;

or how the staff director of the 9/11 Commission report, a former aide to Condoleeza Rice who did his doctoral work on influencing public opinion, had already prepared the outline for the report, before a single piece of evidence had been collected;

or even how the mysterious collapse of World Trade Center Building 7, late in the afternoon on September 11th, the third skyscraper to fall that day and the only one not hit by a plane, just happened to destroy the New York offices of the CIA and other federal agencies, including the Securities and Exchange Commission, which held the entire record of SEC’s investigation of the Bush family’s longtime friends in the oil industry, the Enron Corporation.

 

No, I’m talking specifically now about two government reports about September 11th, from two separate federal agencies, that raise significant questions about the events of that day.

 

The first comes from the US Geological Survey (USGS), and concerns the dust that resulted from the World Trade Center’s destruction.

 

In the ashes of every fire, there are tiny iron microspheres that form when say, the heat reacts with the rust on a nail head, and it pops and a piece of hot metal flies off. The spherical form that results as that little piece of metal cools in the air is an indication of the explosive force that sent it flying.

 

The problem in the World Trade Center dust is that the government analysts found more iron microspheres than would normally be expected. Way more. Not 10 times more. Not 20 times more. Not even 50 times more. Not even 100 times more. The USGS analysts found 150 times more iron microspheres in the World Trade Center dust than they expected—indicating some kind of explosive force in the collapse. They couldn’t explain this phenomenon, and recommended a followup study [“more analyses are needed”].

 

To this date, 15 years later, that followup study has not been done.

 

The second report comes from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), who investigated the steel supports in the World Trade Center. Now the first thing to know about this report is that everyone who has investigated the World Trade Center destruction, official and unofficial alike, agrees that the fires in the buildings never got anywhere near hot enough to melt steel.

 

In the ruins of the World Trade Center buildings, FEMA investigators found pieces of steel beams that show “evidence of a severe high temperature corrosion attack on the steel” resulting in ”intergranular melting.” The report goes on. “A liquid mixture formed during this hot corrosion attack on the steel, and penetrated down the steel, severely weakening the beam and making it susceptible to erosion.”

 

This description sounds much like the published effects of nanothermite, a high tech US military explosive, evidence of which a former Brigham Young University physics professor found in privately-collected samples of World Trade Center dust.

 

The FEMA investigators conclude this section of the report by describing the phenomenon they’ve observed as a “very unusual event,” for which “no clear explanation…has been identified.” They also recommend a further “detailed study.” And again, in 15 years, no further study has been done.

 

It is ironic in the extreme that two federal agencies were among the ranks of the earliest 9/11 Truthers. But there’s a certain comfort—or terror, take your pick—in knowing that they are just as ignored as the rest of us.

 

When the FEMA report was released in 2002, the New York Times described the findings as “perhaps the biggest mystery of the investigation”—and then never mentioned it again.

 

And that, my friends, is the Deep State in operation.

 

Shortly after the CIA, along with the US military this time, invaded Afghanistan in October 2001, opium production ramped up across the country, which quickly regained its spot as the world’s number one producer of opium, where it has remained throughout the 15 years of US occupation. The explosion in production in the first few years, along with the liquid capital that moved the product around the globe, kept the world’s banks afloat throughout the Great Recession. For most of the past 15 years, one of the biggest drug traffickers in the country has been the brother of Afghanistan’s first post-Taliban president, Hamid Karzai, oil man and by some accounts, longtime CIA asset.

 

In 2003, Alfred McCoy, now a professor, released a revised edition of his book, The Politics of Heroin—this time with the subtitle, CIA Complicity in the Global Drug Trade. In this later edition, he quotes the CIA director of the mujahedeen war, Charles Cogan.

 

“Our main mission was to do as much damage as possible to the Soviets,” Cogan says. “We didn’t really have the resources or the time to devote to an investigation of the drug trade. I don’t think that we need to apologize for this. Every situation has its fallout. There was fallout in terms of drugs, yes. But the main objective was accomplished. The Soviets left Afghanistan.”

 

In 2010, McCoy published an article in the Asia Pacific Journal and Tom Dispatch. He described US-occupied Afghanistan as a failed “narco-state.”

 

I first started thinking about doing some kind of event on this subject not long after I moved to Maine four years ago. I had moved here in the middle of a dramatic upsurge in heroin and opioid use, and of course the inevitable deaths associated with that use, and a growing panic among the public about this situation.

 

Having been a student of the Deep State and its handmaiden, the American propaganda system, for most of my life, I couldn’t help but notice that, in the millions of words being spouted about this dramatic epidemic in local newspapers and on radio and TV, global heroin supply was virtually never discussed. Of course I don’t read everything, but I can only recall one recent article that mentioned where America’s heroin was coming from, and it contained only the vaguely inaccurate information that most of it comes from Mexico, without mentioning the Colombian heroin that mostly supplies the East, and the Afghan heroin that still comes into New England from the north.

 

And the CIA heroin connection is never discussed. I couldn’t even get a notice about this talk tonight in the local periodicals—none of them, as far as I’ve been able to find [with the exception of the New Hampshire Gazette].

 

What I’ve also noticed is that, among elected officials, the historic, well-documented, and continuing relationship between the CIA and drugs is never mentioned—not that it is anywhere else in the country, either.

 

But what I really noticed is that, when the 2016 presidential carnival came to New Hampshire, and the opioid crisis here became a major presidential campaign issue, still, not a single presidential candidate, among them representing the entire range of permissible American political opinion, not a single one of either party—as far as  I know—mentioned the historic and continuing connection between the CIA and heroin, despite the fact that CIA is an executive branch agency, under the direct authority of the president—supposedly—who–theoretically, constitutionally—could order CIA to take immediate action against the problem.

 

The fact that not a single candidate mentioned that connection is the very essence of the Deep State.

 

We are in deep trouble. American democracy—what’s left of it, anyway—is in trouble. The world is in trouble. According to a recent analysis, you humans sitting in these chairs tonight are more likely to die from a human extinction event than a car accident. And that unfortunate situation is the direct result of policies that benefit the corporate interests behind the Deep State, and whose rapacious policies have turned the entire Earth into a commodity, and in the process, are turning Earth into Mordor, the dead landscape of the Lord of the Rings, unfit for human habitation.

 

We think we live in a democracy, but we don’t. We think we have a free press, but we don’t. We think that the Matrix of illusion that the media presents about America and the world is reality, but it isn’t.

 

The Deep State is our mortal enemy. But until we take the red pill, and awaken from our slumber, we will not realize that, and we will continue to think of the Deep State as our friend, who protects us from monsters, all around the world.

 

And until we waken from our slumber, we will never, never end our nation’s heroin epidemic.

 

The only way we as a society will gain control of our heroin problem is to awaken from our civic slumber, remember our duties as American citizens, and re-establish our true and living democracy—street by street, neighborhood by neighborhood, town by town, state by state—until we the people can once again reclaim our American republic, until we the people—nonviolently, but it can be done—overthrow the Deep State.

 

Thank you.

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Drugs and the Deep State

This is the press release for a talk I’m giving in Portsmouth tonight, sent out last week, and as of this morning, still absent from any local paper.

 

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Does the US government itself bear some responsibility for the heroin epidemic now plaguing our nation? Do some federal agencies work at cross purposes in the war on drugs? Why are certain drugs illegal in the first place? What is the “Deep State”?

 

These are among the questions that writer and activist Michael Hasty will explore in a presentation in the Portsmouth Library’s Levenson Community Room, on Wednesday, September 7th at 7 pm.

 

Drugs and the US Deep State: An Examination of Official Complicity in the Nation’s Heroin Epidemic,” will look at America’s drug problems past and present, and the history of US covert operations that have contributed to those problems. Hasty will also discuss the role drugs play in the global economy, US foreign policy, and domestic social control, and their role in introducing and acclimating American citizens to a gradual loss of basic constitutional freedoms.

 

Michael Hasty grew up in a CIA family and worked for the Central Intelligence Agency himself in his youth. He has known senior intelligence officers and defense contractors throughout his life. His official association with the government ended with a “troublemaker’s discharge” (honorable) from the US Air Force in 1972, after he organized a strike at an airbase in Germany.

 

In the decades since his discharge, he has been an activist on various peace and social justice issues. He was appointed by the mayors of Washington DC and Takoma Park MD to their respective city’s nuclear weapons freeze advisory boards in the 1980s, both of which he served as secretary. In the early ‘90s, he co-chaired the Committee on Restructuring the UN, on the board of the National Capitol Area chapter of the United Nations Association. His 1995 lawsuit against the federal government, Hasty v. United States, established the right to pray under the US Capitol dome, when the DC Court of Appeals reversed his conviction for that act.

 

He is also a journalist, whose “Thinking Locally” column in West Virginia’s oldest newspaper, the Hampshire Review, was named “Best Column” by the West Virginia Press Association in 2000. His essays and articles have appeared in a number of newspapers and periodicals, including the Washington Post and the Charleston Gazette, and on hundreds of websites, including Counterpunch, Common Dreams, Buzzflash, Global Research, Information Clearinghouse, Tikkun and Pravda. He currently blogs at Free Radical Maine.

 

A series of articles he wrote on the drug war for the Washington Peace Letter in 1989 led to the formation of DC Citizens for HEALTH—a coalition of white progressive activists and black drug counselors and reformed addicts from across the Anacostia River in DC—to encourage local officials to turn to a public health approach to DC’s drug problem. He drafted the founding principles and served as the coalition’s secretary. The mayoral forum that DC HEALTH sponsored in 1990 was notable in that every candidate expressed agreement with taking a public health/harm reduction approach to drugs—the consensus opinion among city officials ever since.

 

The presentation at the Portsmouth library will also be based on Hasty’s personal experience as someone who has used both legal and illegal drugs. A “child of the ‘60s” who also had an opioid prescription for ten years, and currently a medical marijuana patient in Maine for his glaucoma, he will use his personal knowledge of retail drug markets and the hundreds of drug users from all walks of life he has encountered to bring a human dimension to the discussion, and help bring to light the personal consequences of this national tragedy.

 

The talk is sponsored by Seacoast 9/11 Questions, which has been presenting speakers, educational programs and films in the New Hampshire Seacoast area for over a decade, to encourage the public to ask for a new and complete investigation of the events of September 11, 2001.

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From Selma to Charleston

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In light of the tragedies of last week, and the continued strength of the Black Lives Matter movement, I thought I’d republish an essay I wrote last year for the Peace and Justice Crier, an annual publication of New England Friends Meeting.

 

 

When Barack Obama took office in 2009 as the first African American president of the United States, there was a lot of speculation in the media about whether the US had entered a “post-racial” period in its history, and the long march to justice for black Americans was finally reaching its end.

 

Those who remembered walking with Martin Luther King Jr. along the bridge to Selma fifty years ago certainly would have recognized the election of a black president as a milestone in that march to justice. But it is unlikely they would have found the argument that America had become a “post-racial” society convincing.

 

By just about any measure of social well-being, fifty years after the victories of the civil rights era, which overturned segregation laws across the country and guaranteed the protection of certain rights of citizenship, African Americans continue to lag behind their white neighbors. Their average income, wealth, life expectancy and rates of home ownership are lower. Their unemployment, poverty and infant mortality rates are higher.

 

Even some of the civil rights-era victories have been rolled back. A conservative US Supreme Court has curtailed affirmative action, and put severe restrictions on the landmark 1965 Voting Rights Act. State legislatures have passed laws in recent years that have the practical effect of suppressing voting by minorities and the poor.

 

But perhaps—in accordance with Mahatma Gandhi’s observation that the easiest way to tell who is being oppressed in a society is by visiting its prisons—the rate of incarceration of black prisoners provides the most dramatic illustration that the US continues to be a racially unequal society. In a country that imprisons a higher percentage of its citizens than any other nation in the world, African Americans are proportionately much more likely than whites to be arrested, imprisoned or shot dead by police. It’s a situation that one author has accurately defined as “the new Jim Crow.”

 

Not long after Obama was inaugurated, it became apparent that the US had not moved beyond its racial divisions. To the contrary, despite the fact that the first African American president didn’t exhibit any apparent favoritism toward his own community, nor take any official action to address chronic problems of racial injustice (an indifference that lost him support among a small segment of the black community, personified by public intellectuals like Cornel West), the tension between the races seemed to become more stark.

 

This was partly due to the current extreme partisanship of the American political system, which has had a racial dimension from its very beginnings. But the intensity of partisan divisions was heightened by a perception that the bitter opposition of today’s Republicans—the modern descendants of 20th century Dixiecrats—was motivated at least in part by the race of the Democrat in the White House. This perception was further fueled by an explosion in the numbers of hate groups across the country, which grew by over 800 percent in Obama’s first term, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center.

 

Nevertheless, the issue of racism in America simmered just below the surface of public discussion throughout most of Obama’s time in office. But beginning with the 2012 murder of Trayvon Martin, an unarmed black teenager whose white killer was acquitted by a Florida jury, the question of race in America has returned to center stage, and a new movement for racial justice has formed.

 

The vanguard of this new movement is Black Lives Matter, a group founded by young black community organizers in reaction to the acquittal of Trayvon Martin’s killer. The phrase was coined in a Facebook post by organizer Alicia Garza, and with the addition of a hashtag by co-founder Patrisse Cullors, #BlackLivesMatter became a phenomenon on social media that to this date has inspired nearly a thousand demonstrations and vigils nationwide.

 

Here, in part, is Garza’s description of the group’s philosophy: “When we say Black Lives Matter, we are talking about the ways in which black people are deprived of our basic human rights and dignity. It is an acknowledgment that black poverty and genocide is state violence. It is an acknowledgment that one million black people locked in cages in this country—one half of all people in prisons or jails—is an act of state violence. It is an acknowledgment that black women continue to bear the burden of a relentless assault on our children and our families and that assault is an act of state violence…And the fact that the lives of black people—not ALL people—exist within these conditions is a consequence of state violence.”

 

The Black Lives Matter movement reached a higher level of national prominence when it led the reaction to a series of deaths of unarmed black men at the hands of law enforcement in Ferguson MO, New York City, and Baltimore MD. Although the black community’s revulsion at these murders sometimes took a violent turn in the form of riots and looting, the systemic nature of the racial injustice in America remained at the forefront of public dialogue. And the reaction of public officials began to change. Whereas local prosecutors declined to bring charges in the Ferguson and NYC cases, in Baltimore and other cities where similar incidents have occurred, indictments have been brought against the police officers involved, or there are ongoing investigations. Black lives have indeed begun to matter.

 

The national dialogue that began with the death of Trayvon Martin reached an apotheosis in the wake of the murders of nine innocent black people, including a state senator, at the hands of a young white supremacist in a Charleston SC church. It is perhaps too early to say, but the national reaction to these murders—from President Obama’s eulogy for Senator Clementa Pinckney, who served as pastor of the church in which he was murdered, to the South Carolina legislature’s decision to finally remove the Confederate flag from the statehouse grounds—seems to signal a transformation of consciousness that, in the end, may begin to address the centuries-old injustice at the heart of American culture and society. Only time will tell.

 

Still, there is work to be done. Racism remains. White privilege remains. The conditions of injustice remain. Black churches are burning in the South. The Ku Klux Klan is planning a rally.

 

America is not yet a post-racial society.

 

 

A lifelong peace and justice activist, Michael Hasty is a member of Occupy NH Seacoast, with whom he has helped organize a number of Black Lives Matter vigils in the southern New Hampshire area. As a member of his local library’s program committee, he has been an organizer and participant in an ongoing series of public discussions about why race matters in his small, predominantly white Maine town.

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Toward revolution

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With the end of the presidential primary season, what was also mercifully halted was the media holding pattern over the last weeks of the campaign. Every week’s post-primary talking-head blather about the Democratic race ended up circling the same drain—into the inevitable electoral “math.” Every week, the same narrative. Watching CNN was like watching “Groundhog Day.”

 

The media knew from the very beginning of the campaign that the establishment preferred their tested and loyal servant, Hillary Clinton, as the next US president, and so operated in their usual way throughout—that is, with highly refined public relations tactics—to deliver the goods. For example, there are few more effective propaganda tools than the concept of “inevitability.”

 

What has been truly absurd about the post-primary coverage has been the media’s effort to reassure the public that the system is in no way “rigged.” Rules are rules, and Bernie knew that when he got into it, they say—even on the official left.

 

A little lesson we can learn from history is that, in the Third Reich, the media was not controlled by the state, but “coordinated,” under propaganda minister Josef Goebbels’ direction (Goebbels, by the way, got most of his ideas from American advertising). Hitler hated reading the same thing in every newspaper. He wanted the press to carry the same Nazi message, of course, but expressed in individual voices, to make the message seem less like propaganda. There was even a Jewish newspaper publishing in Berlin until the very end of the war—relentlessly on message.

 

The US mainstream media fulfills a similar function today, broadcasting a coordinated narrative on behalf of the transnational elites who control our political, economic and mass media systems.

 

True to form, Bernie Sanders remained a principled (perhaps too principled) prophet of political revolution and economic and social justice for all Americans throughout the campaign and into its closing moves. His livestream speech to his supporters two days after the last primary was a brilliant pivot to the next phase of that revolution, both within the Democratic party and out into the grassroots.

 

His call for progressives to concentrate efforts and magnify their influence in state and local governments is precisely the message his supporters need to hear. If there is any hope of reclaiming democracy in America, it absolutely depends on scrubbing as much corporate influence as possible from state legislatures before the 2020 census, after which the entire nation will be redistricted. Who controls state legislatures in 2020 is of paramount importance, if the populist revolution now under way in America is to remain nonviolent.

 

Personally, I’m disappointed that Bernie didn’t choose to join forces with Jill Stein and run on the Green party ticket. He certainly doesn’t owe the Democratic party—which seemed to do just about everything in its power, officially and otherwise, to guarantee a Clinton nomination—his loyalty. And I think, by running against the two most unpopular politicians ever to be major party nominees, he would have an excellent chance of being the next president running in a party that’s already on the ballot in almost every state, and winning easy pluralities in enough states to carry the electoral college.

 

But I understand that Bernie is a man of his word, and that he doesn’t want to contribute in any way to making Donald Trump president—which may happen anyway, of course. It’s a volatile political environment, open to some uncomfortably real possibilities.

 

I’m not as concerned as Bernie seems to be, however, about the potential for damage from a Trump presidency; in the 21st century, the power of American presidents, as well as other world leaders, is pretty well circumscribed by transnational corporate interests. And it’s difficult to make the case that he’d be more of a hawk internationally than Hillary, the darling of the neocons. But Trump can do some real damage domestically, and his personal fascist inclinations are arousing some ugly and dangerous undercurrents that have been with us throughout American history. So it’s better that he doesn’t become president.

 

In fact, for the purposes of political revolution, it’s actually better that Hillary become the next president.

 

When we revolutionaries seek her impeachment for war crimes and influence peddling, as an example of what should happen to presidents who pledge their loyalty to global capital and the military-industrial complex rather than to justice and the welfare of the American people, we’ll already have well over half the public on our side, including our usual right wing enemies.

 

With any luck, Elizabeth Warren will be Veep.

 

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