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TBR News January 1, 2020

Dec 31 2019

The Voice of the White House
Washington, D.C. January 1, 2020:“Working in the White House as a junior staffer is an interesting experience.
When I was younger, I worked as a summer-time job in a clinic for people who had moderate to severe mental problems and the current work closely, at times, echos the earlier one.
I am not an intimate of the President but I have encountered him from time to time and I daily see manifestations of his growing psychological problems.
He insults people, uses foul language, is frantic to see his name mentioned on main-line television and pays absolutely no attention to any advice from his staff that runs counter to his strange ideas.
He lies like a rug to everyone, eats like a hog, makes lewd remarks to female staffers and flies into rages if anyone dares to contradict him.
It is becoming more and more evident to even the least intelligent American voter that Trump is vicious, corrupt and amoral. He has stated often that even if he loses the
election in 2020, he will not leave the White House. I have news for Donald but this is not the place to discuss it.

Trump aches from his head to his toes
His sphincters have gone where who knows
And his love life has ended
By a paunch so distended
That all he can use is his nose

Commentary for January 1 “At present, far-right Republicans are determined to keep Trump in office and to effect this, are laying plans that could well backfire on them and cause serious problems with the American electorate.
There are really no secrets in the White House and it is common knowledge that the intent of the far-right Republians is to so stir up trouble in what they term “the lower orders of society” that it will be necessary to declare Martial Law and allow Trump and his neo-nazi supporters the opportunity to clamp an iron hand on the growingly restive American public.
What they do not realize is that the Army has no intentions of helping Trump, who had a great uncle who was a senior SS officer, become the new King of America.
Their comments about Trump, at the top levels, is that he is as nutty as a fruitcake and viewed as a would-be Hitler but lacking any of the latter’s intelligence.
None of this will deflect the far-right Senators from refusing to vote for impeachment but none of this will motivate the military to act as Trump’s personal SS army.
We are heading into very interesting times indeed!”

The Second Coming
by W.B. Yeats

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

The Table of Contents
• From opioid deaths to student debt: A view of the 2010’s economy
• Is the United States on the brink of a revolution?
• Voter purges: are Republicans trying to rig the 2020 election?
• Embassy protesters in Iraq deal symbolic blow to US prestige
• The attack on US Forward Base Falcon by Iraqi resistance
• How to make a revolution in the United States
• Is Donald Trump the Second 9/11?
• Afghanistan Wars: Drugs for Fun and Profit
• The Season of Evil

From opioid deaths to student debt: A view of the 2010’s economy
December 31, 2019
by Howard Schneider and Jonnelle Marte
Reuters
The 2010s saw the U.S. economy achieve its longest-ever expansion, with notable milestones such as 110 months of uninterrupted job gains and an unemployment rate near a half-century low becoming easy bragging points for politicians and economists alike.
Yet the obvious data points don’t capture a number of the socio-economic developments – from a soaring number of opioid overdose deaths to record levels of student debt to what and where today’s jobs are. These developments are subtle but they are profoundly shaping the economy and the discourse about it, as the ‘20s come into view.
A workforce scarred
Among the deeper scars of the past decade, the opioid crisis led to tens of thousands of deaths from the abuse of both prescription painkillers and synthetics like fentanyl. While the crisis may have peaked, some economists associate the spread of opioid abuse with a shortfall in labor force participation among prime age workers.
OPIOIDS AND THE WORK FORCE
The number of overdose deaths involving opioids doubled in the 2010s and appears to have hit a peak in 2017 at 47,600, which accounted for 68% of all fatal drug overdoses that year, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. On top of that, more than 10 million Americans over the age of 12 were found to have misused opioids in 2018, the last year figures were available from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health.
Long recognized as a nationwide health and social crisis, the opioid epidemic has become a growing focus for economists concerned it may be one of the factors behind the decade’s slump in labor force participation among prime-age workers 25-54 years old. While improving since late 2015, participation remains below levels seen in the 1990s.
The rich got (a lot) richer
Wealth concentration in the U.S. is a decades-long trend. But it emerged as a potent political issue after the financial crisis, the bank bailouts, and a rocketing stock market. It is now more broadly accepted as a possible drag on the economy, and sparked proposals for a wealth tax.
THE WEALTH GAP
A soaring stock market and strong job growth have helped make Americans on the whole wealthier than ever, with total household net worth topping $107 trillion versus less than $60 trillion at the dawn of the decade.
But those gains have not be shared evenly. The richest 1% of households account for 32.4% of all wealth, up roughly 4 percentage points from the end of 2009.
The phenomenon is feeding the national political debate, and some Democratic presidential contenders are now pushing for a national wealth tax.
THE LUCKY FEW
Just as wealth is increasingly harnessed by a few, job opportunities are also concentrated in a handful of places around the country.
Between 2010 and 2017, 40% of all new jobs were created in just 20 cities, with places like Nashville and Portland, Oregon, punching significantly above their relative population weight.
THE INNOVATION ELITES
What’s more, an even smaller clutch of five cities – four on the West Coast and one in the East – are gaining effectively all of the new jobs in so-called “innovation” industries seen as essential to future economic success.
HEALTH AND FITNESS
What Americans do for a living has changed a lot in the last 10 years.
Many old-school industries saw minimal job growth, like manufacturing, or extended declines, like department stores.
The evolving needs of an increasingly technology-oriented economy drove rapid growth in many IT jobs, while an aging population was behind a surge in the number of home health workers. Americans’ changing spending habits – increasingly on experiences over things – helped make fitness center jobs among the fastest growing of the decade.
DELAYING THE DREAM
Buying their first home used to be a milestone that many Americans achieved by the time they were 30.
But a shortage of homes for sale is driving up prices and making it harder for younger consumers to break into the market, said Jessica Lautz, vice president of demographics and behavioral insights at the National Association of Realtors.
Student debt loads are also making it more difficult for some borrowers to set aside sufficient cash for a down payment, or to qualify for a mortgage, she said. That helps to explain why the median age of the first-time home buyer ticked up to 33 in 2019 from 30 in 2010, according to the association.
PAYING OFF COLLEGE
In fact, no category of consumer debt grew as fast in the 2010s as student loans, and serious delinquency rates are more than 10 times higher than for mortgages.
Total balances owed to pay for higher education more than doubled since 2009 to around $1.4 trillion today – equal to nearly 8% of annual U.S. economic output. Nearly 11% of the total outstanding is 90 days or more behind in payments.
Economists and politicians worry it is delaying or crowding out more productive spending, and some fear it may prove to be the “debt bubble” of the future.
The total amount of outstanding student loans reached an all-time high in 2019, at $1.41 trillion, according to the credit reporting agency Experian. That’s a 6% increase from 2018 and a whopping 33% spike since 2014, when total student debt was $1.06 trillion.
Editing by Dan Burns and Steve Orlofsky

Comment: It is estimated that over 500,000 American citizens are without any form of housing. Many of these people either are living on the streets, in public parks, living in cars or in charity shelters. There are at present over 200,000 family groups in America with over 300,000 individuals involved and 25% of the total are minor children.
Over 80,000 individuals are permanently without any residence. Many of these have physical disabilities such as chronic alcoholism or drug addiction. Many are classified as having severe mental disorders.
About 50,000 of these homeless individuals are military veterans, many of whom have serious physical or mental problems. One of the most common mental disorders is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
Governmental treatment for these individuals is virtually non-existent. Approximately half of this number are either black or Latin American (“Hispanics” in official designation.)
Of the total number of the homeless individuals, approximately 10% are female.
Official but private, estimates are that there over 500,000 youths below the age of 24 in current American society that find themselves homeless for periods lasting from one week to a permanent status.
The number of unemployed in the United States today is approximately 97,000,000. Official American sources claim that employment is “always improving” but in fact it is not. Most official governmental releases reflect wishful thinking or are designed to placate the public and draw their attention elsewhere.
The United States has the highest incarceration rate and the largest total prison population in the entire world.
The criminal justice system in the United States holds more than 4,166,000 people in 1,719 state prisons, 102,000 in federal prisons, 901,000 in juvenile correctional facilities, and 3,163,000 in local jails. Additionally, 5,203,400 adults are on probation or on parole.
The number of people on probation or parole has increased the population of the American corrections system to more than 9,369,400 in 2017. Corrections costs the American taxpayer $69 billion a year.
Government surveillance of the American public is very widespread and at the present time, almost every aspect of an American citizen, or resident, is available for official surveillance.
This includes:
• mail,
• television viewing,
• telephone conversations,
• computer communications,
• travel,
• ownership of property,
• medical and school records,
• banking and credit card transactions,
• inheritances and other aspects of a citizen’s daily life.
This is done to circumvent any possible organization that could contravene official government policy and has its roots in massive civil resistance to governmental policy during the war in Vietnam. The government does not want a reprise of that problem and its growing surveillance is designed to carefully watch any citizen, or groups of citizens, who might, present or future, pose a threat to government policy.
Another factor to be considered is the current American attitudes towards racial issues. There has always been prejudice in the United States against blacks. In 1943 there were bloody riots in Detroit and Los Angeles, the former aimed at blacks and the latter against Mexicans. Since then, there has been chronic racial prejudice but it has been relatively small and very local. Also, there is growing anti-Semitic prejudice in American but this is officially ignored and never is mentioned in the American media. Much of this growing problem is directed at the brutal actions of Israel against Palestinians. Israelis have an undue influence in the American political scene.
The very far right so-called neo-cons are almost all Jewish and most are Israeli citizens. Also, the middle-level ranks of American CIA personnel are heavily infiltrated by Israelis and it is said that any secret the CIA has is at once passed to Israel and that countries needs are assuming importance in CIA actions.
The attitudes of the working-class Americans were inflamed during the last presidential elections by Mr. Trump who catered to them and encouraged rebellious attitudes. By speaking against Central American illegal immigrants, Mr. Trump has caused a polarization of attitudes and the militant right wing in America, currently small in number but well-organized and potentially very dangerous, has begun to make its views very well known in public demonstrations.
This movement has played into the hands of far-right American political manipulators.
It is their intention to clandestinely arm these groups and use them to cause violent public confrontations with the far-left groups.
By causing this potential violence, the manipulators intend to use the American military to move into unstable area to, as they say, ‘establish law and order’ while in reality, they will use martial law to firm up their basic control of a potentially fractious public.
It is then intended, according to information, to incorporate organized, para-military groups into a sort of domestic Federal police force.
These people will not be punished for their actions but rewarded and utilized to ensure further right-wing control of the country.
CJ
Is the United States on the brink of a revolution?
by Serbulent Turan, Instructor in Political Science & Public Scholarship Coordinator, University of British Columbia

Political scientists have historically been bad at foreseeing the most important developments. Few of us guessed the end of the Cold War; almost no one saw the Arab Spring coming.
In defence of my discipline, there is a reason for that.
Before a momentous event occurs, there are numerous possibilities and different ways events can unfold. After it happens, however, it will appear inevitable. And after it happens, we will be very good at explaining why it had to happen.
Very few of us are now predicting the socio-political situation in the United States, which now features an impeachment probe into President Donald Trump, will lead to an uprising.
But after years of teaching on protests, uprisings and revolutions, it seems to me the U.S. is currently showing all the signs political scientists and historians would identify in retrospect as conducive to a revolutionary uprising.
What brings about a revolution?
Of course, every revolution is unique and comparisons between them do not always yield useful insights. But there are a few criteria we identify in hindsight that are usually present in revolutionary explosions.
First, there’s tremendous economic inequality.
Second, there’s a deep conviction that the ruling classes serve only themselves at the expense of everyone else, undermining the belief that these inequalities will ever be addressed by the political elite.
Third, and somewhat in response to these, there is the rise of political alternatives that were barely acceptable in the margins of society before.
Combined, these factors create a deeply felt and widely shared sense of injustice, an almost palpable conviction that the system is not working for the majority and only for the very few who abuse their positions of privilege. These qualities weaken any regime’s claim to legitimacy.
But they’re not solely sufficient. The indispensable ingredient of a political revolution is the mental revolution that happens before: personal convictions that the system is no longer working and needs to be replaced.
The coming of a revolution
Before most major revolutions, there’s a substantial increase in the number of protests. Populations display their displeasure and voice their grievances via marches, petitions and protests.
If their concerns remain unaddressed, these protests become more extreme: petitions become strikes, marches become violent uprisings. Resistance becomes a daily fact of life and political organization commonplace.
Once the population is convinced that the system is not working, and their grievances will remain unheard, then almost anything can set off a political explosion.
It could be a historic development like the Lutheran Reformation that triggered the great Peasant Uprising of 1525, or the Great War that fuelled the 1917 Russian revolution.
But it could also be a relatively mundane, common event like the taxation conflict that led to the English Civil War in 1640s, or a famine in France in 1788. In the Arab Spring, it was a fishmonger’s anger with the corrupt police.
Really? A revolution in the U.S.?
The United States is displaying all of the above characteristics. The country is experiencing tremendous levels of economic inequality that’s worsening according to every meaningful measurement.
The New York Times writes about the “broken economy,” The Atlantic notes the “toxic class divide” that is “fast becoming unbridgeable,” and the Intelligencer calls recent data released by the Federal Reserve “a damning indictment of capitalism.”
Compared to the previous decade, Americans are working much more for much less pay, and they’re paying substantially more for their basic necessities. Even Fox News is having a hard time spinning the fact the more Americans than ever need to hold multiple jobs, a full-time job and part-time employment on top of that, just to make ends meet.
While the devastation visited upon the working class by the 2008 recession is far from remedied, economists are already forecasting a new recession.
These would be troubling signs in a country where trust in political authority is strong. In the U.S., that’s not the case.
There has been a substantial loss of faith in the political authority. Trust in the political system is at an all-time low, and Americans also seem to have lost faith in politicians, even the rare few they believe mean well.
Biggest protests
Meanwhile, the last few years have seen the largest protests in the country’s history. And few of the issues that have spurred the protests, from Occupy Wall Street to the Women’s March and March For Our Lives, have been addressed. In fact, the situations that gave rise to them have either continued or worsened.
Law enforcement, for decades plagued with justified accusations of systemic racism, is for the first time experiencing difficulties hiring and retaining new officers.
And the gap between law enforcement and the people goes beyond just a lack of trust — there is now a diminishing faith in the ability and neutrality of law enforcement agencies.
When that happens, people start arming themselves explicitly against the state. All the while, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency is building facilities to train its officers for urban warfare.
In response to the crises, political movements that would have been unimaginable a decade ago are rapidly, and rather visibly, rising.
Fascism on display
Though the U.S. system was never free of its racist and colonial roots, the last time fascism has been this prominent in the country was the brief period before the Second World War.
But this time, it’s the government condoning fascist marches and openly deliberating whether anti-fascism is terrorism.
It’s accompanied by a general sense of alienation from and revulsion with capitalism by Americans.
Indeed, two of the leading contenders for the Democratic presidential nomination, Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, have built their campaigns on the failures of capitalism, the servitude of Washington to the rich and the powerful and the promise of structural change.
Could a U.S. revolution be a good thing?
No. Revolutions are never good things to live through; they bring conflict and war, pain, suffering and hunger, and plunge the country into political instability for decades.
But also: Yes.
Almost all political rights citizens enjoy and all the protections they have from the arbitrary use of political authority are results of past revolutions.
And sometimes political systems remain so far behind political consciousness that revolutions become the only way to catch up.
In places with longstanding political culture and institutions, where organized political movements engage in politics without using weapons, revolutions can be relatively better-controlled without spiralling into total chaos.
Tunisia, for example, emerged from the Arab Spring and its political revolution unscathed. It was also the only Arab Spring country with longstanding political institutions that took charge of the process. Those four institutions later received the Nobel Peace Prize for protecting the country from absolute chaos.
In the U.S., it’s clear the system is not working for the good of all. There are still numerous possibilities and different ways events can unfold. But unless these systemic failures are addressed soon, political scientists of the future will be explaining how a societal explosion in the U.S. became inevitable.

Voter purges: are Republicans trying to rig the 2020 election?
Controversies in Wisconsin and Georgia show how the mass removal of voters from the rolls has become a key part of the fight to win
December 31, 2019
by Sam Levine in New York
The Guardian
The final weeks of December may have been dominated by news of Donald Trump’s impeachment, but another development with potentially serious implications for the 2020 election – and the future of American democracy – attracted less global attention.
It took place not in the halls of Congress but hundreds of miles away, in Wisconsin. This was where a conservative advocacy group convinced a circuit court judge to order the state to remove more than 230,000 people removed from the state’s voter rolls. Wisconsin was already considered a crucial swing state in 2020 – bearing in mind that Donald Trump won the state by fewer than 23,000 votes in 2016. More than half of the voters at risk of being purged lived in areas that favored Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump that year, according to an analysis by the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel.
A week later, one of Trump’s reelection advisers was caught on tape telling a Wisconsin Republicans that the party has “traditionally” relied on voter suppression. “Traditionally it’s always been Republicans suppressing votes in places. Let’s start protecting our voters. We know where they are,” the adviser, Justin Clark, said in audio obtained by the Associated Press. “Let’s start playing offense a little bit. That’s what you’re going to see in 2020. It’s going to be a much bigger program, a much more aggressive program, a much better-funded program.”
There was now even less doubt that the Republicans intended to rely on both encouraging, and discouraging, voters as a key part of their 2020 election strategy.
Wisconsin wasn’t the only state where removing voters from the rolls en-masse came under scrutiny. The same week, in Georgia, the state voted to remove more than 300,000 people from the rolls. 120,000 of those people were removed because they hadn’t voted since 2012 and also failed to respond to multiple notices from the state asking them to confirm their address. The removals drew national outcry in a state that has been at the epicenter of accusations of voter suppression.
In 2017 the-then secretary of state, Brian Kemp, removed more 500,000 from voter rolls and a month before the Gubernatorial election in 2018 he held up registrations of 53,000 under the state’s ‘exact match’ law where a misplaced hyphen or comma in a voter registration record could mean more obstacles for someone to vote. Brian Kemp stood in that election and defeated Stacy Abrams by just 55,000 votes. Abrams later called Kemp a “remarkable architect of voter suppression.”
The controversies in Wisconsin and Georgia underscore how the mass removal of voters from the rolls – often called voter purging – has moved to the center of the polarized fight over voting rights in the United States. Although there is a consensus that purging, done carefully, is a useful tool to keep voting rolls accurate and remove people who move and die, there is growing alarm over how aggressively it is being used to penalize people, essentially, for not voting.
Overall, at least 17 million people have been removed from the voter rolls since the 2016 election, an uptick from the number of voters who were removed between 2006 and 2008, according to a study by the Brennan Center for Justice. Although it’s not known how many of those removals were legitimate, the increase comes even as the number of Americans who move has dropped to historic lows.
“Folks who benefit from having fewer people participate are constantly looking for new ways to suppress turnout,” said Stuart Naifeh, an attorney at Demos who was involved in a high-profile voter purge case at the United States supreme court last year. Voter purges “is one that seems to have become more popular.”
Purging is not new – federal law has required it for more than two decades – but there is a new awareness of how purges can remove eligible voters from the rolls and target populations that move a lot: the young, the poor and people who live in cities, all groups that tend to favor Democrats.
“It’s only bad when it’s done poorly. When it captures people who are still in the state or who are still eligible voters and shouldn’t be removed,” said David Becker, the executive director of the Center for Election Innovation & Research, who works with states cleaning their voter rolls.
Myrna Pérez, director of the voting rights and elections program at the Brennan Center for Justice, pointed out that there used to be an important tool to keep voting jurisdictions with a history of voting discrimination from “bad” purges: the landmark 1965 Voting Rights Act. Until 2013, if a state covered by the law wanted to make a change in its purge process, it would have to show the federal government that it wasn’t to the detriment of minority voters.
The oversight helped prevent both discriminatory purge practices and allowed states to catch errors in their methodology, Perez said. But it was lifted in 2013 when the supreme court gutted the Voting Rights Act. When the law was still in full effect, Pérez said, “it had the effect of stalling and stopping intentional and accidental sloppiness.”
Another legal blow came in 2018, when the supreme court ruled in favor of a controversial way of carrying out purges.
The case involved Larry Harmon, a software engineer in Ohio, who sued the state when he discovered in 2015 that, after sitting out several elections, he was unable to vote on a marijuana initiative because he had been purged. If someone misses a federal election in Ohio, the state sends them a postcard asking them to confirm their address. If they don’t respond to the postcard and fail to vote in two more consecutive elections, they are removed from the rolls. Voting rights groups call the Ohio rule the ‘use it or lose it’ law.
Harmon argued that he was being punished for not voting, which is prohibited by federal law. And critics said that linking one’s ability to stay on the voter rolls to one’s ability to vote can discriminate against people who face more obstacles getting to the polls, such as those who can’t get childcare or time off from work. But in a 5-4 ruling, the supreme court said the process was legal because Harmon wasn’t removed solely for not voting – he had also received the postcard.
The ruling “opened the floodgates” to aggressive voter purging, said Kathy Culliton-Gonzalez, a voting rights attorney.
Mailers and postcards are a controversial way of asking voters to confirm their voter registration. In 2018, states reported sending more than 21 million address confirmation notices and only around 20% of them were returned, according to federal data. The fact that so few people return the postcards signals that they’re not really a reliable way of assessing whether people have moved, voting advocates argue.
But voter purges are more than just a question of lapsed bureaucracy, they are now emerging as a new political battleground.
In Ohio, for instance, Democrats and Republicans have overseen voter purges for two decades, but recently, the practice seems to have clearly benefited Republicans. Voters in Democratic neighborhoods in the state’s three largest counties were struck from the rolls at nearly twice the rate as voters in Republican ones, according to a 2016 Reuters analysis. In largely African American neighborhoods in Cincinnati, over 10% of voters were purged, compared to just 4% in the suburbs.
Earlier this year, Ohio purged 158,000 voters from its rolls using that process, according to an analysis by the Columbus Dispatch. The removals came even after activists in the state discovered around 40,000 errors on the list of voters set to be purged. Oklahoma, which employs a similar purge process to Ohio and Georgia, also removed more than 88,000 inactive voters from its rolls in April.
Even so, there has been some recent successes in stopping unfair purges. Earlier this year, voting groups successfully blocked an Indiana law that would have allowed the state to cancel a voter registration if they had information the voter moved, but without giving the voter a chance to confirm that. Civil rights groups also stopped Texas from cancelling voter registrations of nearly 100,000 people it accused of being non-citizens based on faulty data.
In Wisconsin, election officials have declined to move ahead with the purge while an appeal is pending. The Wisconsin Democratic party has also pledged to contact voters and urge them to re-register (the state allows people to register online, through their local clerk, or at the polls on election day.)
And in Georgia, there has been another victory – of sorts. Earlier this month, Brad Raffensperger, Georgia’s top election official, announced he made a mistake. Days after his office scrubbed 300,000 people from its voter rolls, he revealed 22,000 of them had been incorrectly removed. The voters should have been given several more months to confirm their voter registration.
Raffensperger said he was reactivating their voter registrations to give them more time.“We are proactively taking additional steps to prevent any confusion come the day of the election,” he said in a statement.
Some crucial protections against bad voter purging also remain in place. Federal law prohibits states from systematically cleaning their rolls within 90 days of a federal election and says the systems state develop to remove people from the rolls must be “non-discriminatory.”
It is clear that next year’s election is already becoming an epic battle to try and preserve the voting rights of millions of voters. The lessons from the 2016 election should sound a cautionary tale.
As Professor Carol Anderson, author of One Person, No Vote, a history of voting suppression in the US, writing in the Guardian, said: “The 21st century is littered with the bodies of black votes. In 2016, pummeled by voter suppression in more than 30 states, the black voter turnout plummeted by seven percentage points. For the GOP, that was an effective kill rate. For America, it was a lethal assault on democracy.”

Embassy protesters in Iraq deal symbolic blow to US prestige
Washington humiliated as hundreds storm American compound chanting slogans in support of pro-Iranian militias
December 31, 2019
by Luke Harding
The Guardian
Protesters in Iraq have dealt a symbolic blow to US prestige after they stormed the American embassy compound in Baghdad, trapping diplomats inside while chanting “death to America” and slogans in support of pro-Iranian militias.
In a humiliating day for Washington, hundreds of supporters of Iraqi Shia militia, many wearing military fatigues, besieged the US compound, at one point breaching the main gate and smashing their way into several reception rooms. They lit fires, battered down doors, and threw bricks at bulletproof glass.
The rampage was carried out with the apparent connivance of Iraqi security forces who allowed protesters inside the highly protected Green Zone.
Demonstrators made their way to the embassy, climbing walls and hurling stones, while US guards responded with teargas but did not open fire.
The US president, Donald Trump, accused Iran of orchestrating the day-long attack, which followed US airstrikes on Sunday against three camps in Iraq and two in Syria. The bases belonged to the Iran-backed Kata’ib Hezbollah militia group, which is formally part of the Iraqi army. At least 25 fighters were killed and dozens injured.
US officials said the raids were carried out to deter future acts of aggression following a rocket attack on Friday by the group against a US base in Kirkuk, in which one US contractor was killed and four Americans injured. Trump approved the operation on Saturday.
Instead of advancing US goals, the airstrikes appear to be the latest in a series of foreign policy blunders in the Middle East. Iraq’s government furiously condemned them, while pro-Iranian militias promised further attacks against American targets, with the goal of expelling US forces.
“Iran killed an American contractor, wounding many. We strongly responded, and always will,” Trump tweeted. “Now Iran is orchestrating an attack on the US embassy in Iraq. They will be held fully responsible.”
The US embassy denied earlier reports from Iraq’s foreign ministry that the ambassador and his staff were hastily evacuated, as protesters surged towards the building.
An embassy spokesperson told CNN that the chief of the US mission in Iraq, Matthew Tueller, was away on a scheduled vacation and had left Baghdad a week ago. The embassy was under lockdown but had not been evacuated, the spokesperson said, with diplomats sheltering in a “safe room”.
Video from the scene showed thick grey smoke engulfing the compound against a backdrop of wailing from an emergency siren. Protesters shouted “no, no, America!” and “no, no, Trump!”, and “death to America!”. By nightfall fires were still burning. One masked man walked off with an official US embassy sign.
The US state department said personnel at the embassy were safe and there were no plans to evacuate. “Our first priority is the safety and security of US personnel,” a spokesperson said in a statement.
“US personnel are secure and there has been no breach,” the spokesperson said. “There are no plans to evacuate Embassy Baghdad.”
The US defence secretary, Mark Esper, said the Pentagon was deploying extra troops to Baghdad to bolster security for the embassy. He gave no details, but the deployment is likely to involve a small number of US Marines, according to a US defence source.
Former foreign service staff compared the chaotic scenes to the ransacking in 1979 of the US Embassy in Tehran, when 52 US citizens were taken hostage. Tuesday’s events, however, were not on the same dramatic scale. There was no loss of life and most of the embassy building was not breached.
Nonetheless, the prospect of a worsening conflict between US forces and Iranian proxies in Iraq looms large. The Trump administration’s policy of piling sanctions and economic pressure on Tehran appears to have delivered few tangible diplomatic results and has taken relations with Iraq to a new low.
Iraq’s prime minister, Adel Abdul Mahdi – an ally of both Iran and Washington – vowed on Tuesday to protect the safety and security of US personnel. After doing little initially to halt the violence, Iraqi security forces turned up in force in the afternoon and formed a protective line between angry crowds and US guards.
The US secretary of state, Mike Pompeo said the US would “protect and defend its people” in a phone call with Abdul Mahdi. The viability of the US diplomatic mission in Baghdad – its largest in the world – is now an open question, as demonstrators set up tents outside its perimeter.
Many of the protesters had come from funerals held in Baghdad for some of the dead militia fighters. They were carrying flags belonging to Kata’ib Hezbollah and to Hashd al-Shaabi (Popular Mobilization Forces), a powerful paramilitary group of which Kata’ib Hezbollah is a part.
Qais al-Khazali, the leader of the Iranian-backed Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq militia, and many other senior militia leaders were among the demonstrators. On Monday, Iran condemned the US strikes as “terrorism”. Russia complained it had not been given advance warning.
Street protests take place regularly in the Iraqi capital. In recent months, security guards have shot dead more than 450 people protesting against rampant government corruption and the growing influence of Iranian-backed groups, including Kata’ib Hezbollah.

The attack on US Forward Base Falcon by Iraqi resistance
December 31, 2019
Christian Jürs
Late on the evening of October 10, 2006, Iraqi resistance groups lobbed mortar and rocket rounds into the immense ‘Forward Base Falcon,’ the largest American military base in Iraq, located 13 km south of the Green Zone in Baghdad.
In addition to accurate mortar fire, Grad and Katyusha rockets were also used.
Falcon base was designed to house a large contingent of American troops, mostly drawn from the 4th Infantry Division, stationed at Fr. Bliss, Texas. At the time of the attack, there were approximately 3000 men inside the camp, which also was filled with ammunition supplies, fuel, tanks and vehicles.
Iraqi contractors had assisted in the construction of the camp, which occupied nearly a square mile and was surrounded with guard tower-studded high concrete walls, and it is now apparent that the Resistance movement had been given important targets from “sources familiar with the layout” of the base.
After the initial shelling, fuel and ammunition stores began to erupt with massive explosions that could be heard, and seen, miles away inside the Green Zone where U.S. military and diplomatic units were heavily guarded.
The explosions, all of them termed “immense” by BBC reporters, continued throughout the night.
In response, US aircraft indiscriminately rocketed and bombed various parts of the city, BBC and AFP correspondents reported, trying to knock out the launch sites of the rockets
The BBC’s Andrew North, in Baghdad, said the explosions started at about 2300 (2100 BST) and were becoming “ever more frequent” as the huge fires spread throughout the base, punctuated by tremendous explosions as more fuel and ammunition dumps ignited.
“Intelligence indicates that civilians aligned with a militia organization were responsible for last night’s mortar attack,” said Lieutenant Colonel Jonathan Withington, spokesman for the U.S. 4th Infantry Division.
An after-action report, issued by the Department of Defense, stated that: “On October 10, 2006, at approximately 10:40 p.m., a 82mm mortar round, fired by militia forces from a residential area in Abu T-Shir, caused a fire at an Ammunition Supply Point (ASP) at FOB Falcon. The ASP, containing tank and artillery rounds, in addition to smaller caliber ammunition, set off a series of large explosions. About 100 troops from the 4th Infantry Division were reported to be stationed at the base at the time, but no injuries were reported.” (Emphasis added.) “The damage to the area will not degrade the operational capability of MND-B (Multinational Division Baghdad),”
When the flames had been brought under control on the morning of the 11th of October, primarily because the entire camp had been gutted, nine large American military air-transports with prominent Red Cross markings were observed by members of the foreign media taking off, laded with the dead and the wounded.
Over 300 American troops, including U.S. Army and Marines, CIA agents and U.S. translators were casualties and there also were 165 seriously injured requiring major medical attention and 39 suffering lesser injuries 122 members of the Iraqi armed forces were killed and 90 seriously injured members of same, were also evacuated to the U.S. military hospital at al-Habbaniyah located some 70km west of Baghdad.
Satellite pictures and aerial photographs from neutral sources showed that Camp Falcon suffered major structural damage and almost all the U.S. military’s supply of small arms ammunition, artillery and rocket rounds, tons of fuel, six Apache helicopters, an uncounted but large number of soft-skinned vehicles such as Humvees and supply trucks were damaged or totally destroyed. Foreign press observers noted “an endless parade” of military vehicle recovery units dragging burnt-out heavy tanks and armored personnel carriers to another base outside Baghdad.
Many of the walls and towers of the camp were damaged or leveled as were many of the barracks, maintenance depots, and there was considerable damage to the huge mess halls that could hold 3000 soldiers, the huge recreation center with its basketball courts and indoor swimming pools and all the administration buildings
Although official U.S. DoD statements indicated that there were no deaths; that only a hundred men were inside the base guarding billions of dollars of vital military equipment and that there were “only two minor injuries to personnel,” passes belief and certainly reality is more painful than the usual official propaganda.
Not only has the U.S. military machine lost much of its armor and transport, and its entire reserves of ammunition and special fuel, but the casualty list for only the first day is over 300..
Here is a transcription of that list who were evacuated to other hospital units:.

In re: Insurgent attacks on Forward Base Falcon on 10-11 October, 2006
Official Casualty List from U.S. military hospital at al-Habbaniyah located some 70km west of Baghdad. U.S. medical personnel at al-Habbaniyah initially stated that the US military hospital at the massive American-occupied air base there had begun to receive dead and wounded personnel. The military hospital in al-Habbaniyah, the largest in occupied Iraq, was opened on 12 May this year in response to sharply rising (and redacted) US casualties.
List compiled and effective as of 11 Oct 06 at 2300.

– A –
Pfc James R. Adams, 7th Squadron, 10th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Brigade, 4th Infantry Division
Captain Kenneth Adler, Army Reserve 346th Psychological Operations Company
Pfc Bobby Ray Albertson , Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile UnitTwo
1st Lt.Keith Allen, Army Reserve 346th Psychological Operations Company
Spc Cletus Anderson, 204th Support Battalion, 2nd Brigade, 4th Infantry Division
Lance Cpl John Martin Ansley, Marine Forces Reserve’s 2nd Battalion, 25th Marine Regiment
Spc Toby Anthony, National Guard’s 149th Brigade Combat Team
Pfc Gustavo Armijo, 57th Military Police Company, 8th Military Police Brigade
Pfc Michael Armstrong, 1st Squadron, 17th Cavalry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division
Capt Steven Arnold, 67th Armor Regiment, 2nd Brigade, 4th Infantry Division
James Arthur Ash II, Central Intelligence Agency
Cpl Edward Atkinson, 47th Combat Support Hospital, 62nd Medical Brigade
– B –
Pfc Roy Bailey, National Guard’s 149th Brigade Combat Team
Spc John Baldwin, 47th Combat Support Hospital, 62nd Medical Brigade
Pfc Charles Barbe, Army National Guard’s 1569th Transportation Company
Pfc Thomas Barnhart , 204th Support Battalion, 2nd Brigade, 4th Infantry Division
Pfc James Barry, 67th Armor Regiment, 2nd Brigade, 4th Infantry Division
Capt Robert Bell, 3rd Battalion, 16th Field Artillery Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division
Spc William Bennett , Army Reserve 346th Psychological Operations Company
Pfc Saul Benson, 549th Military Police Company, 385th Military Police Battalion
Pfc Joseph Berge, 542nd Maintenance Company, 44th Corps Support Battalion
Pfc Joseph Berkeley , 1st Squadron, 17th Cavalry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division
Capt Colmar Betts, 414th Civil Affairs
Zack Billings, Department of Defense
Edward Blair,, Civilian Contractor
1st Lt.Ronald Bort, Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile UnitTwo
Pfc Bowen, James, 1st Battalion, 37th Field Artillery Regiment, 25th Infantry Division
Pfc Thomas R. Boyd, 1st Squadron, 17th Cavalry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division
Spc Mel Brewer, 1st Squadron, 10th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Brigade, 4th Infantry Division
Master Sgt.Roger Brown , 204th Support Battalion, 2nd Brigade, 4th Infantry Division
Pfc Francis Byrne, Army Reserve 346th Psychological Operations Company
– C –
Pfc Arthur Cahill, 1st Squadron, 17th Cavalry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division
Pfc Fernando Calderon, 1st Squadron, 17th Cavalry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division
Alex Callaghan, Civilian Contractor
Pfc Peter Campbell, Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile UnitTwo
Cpl Douglas Carmody, 118th Military Police Company, 519th Military Police Battalion, 16th Military Police Brigade
Pfc Ashanti Carter, 67th Armor Regiment, 2nd Brigade, 4th Infantry Division
Pfc Henry Cartwright, Army National Guard’s 1569th Transportation Company
Pfc Ken Casey, 3rd Battalion, 16th Field Artillery Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division
Pfc Russell Cavanaugh, 57th Military Police Company, 8th Military Police Brigade
Spc Raymond Chamberlain, 47th Combat Support Hospital, 62nd Medical Brigade
Pfc Einar Christiansen, 414th Civil Affairs
Spc Zack Christopher, 7th Squadron, 10th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Brigade, 4th Infantry Division
Pfc Eric Clark, 549th Military Police Company, 385th Military Police Battalion
Ronald Colby, Civilian Contractor
Pfc Marcus M. Cole, 1st Squadron, 10th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Brigade, 4th Infantry Division
Pfc Paul Collins, 1st Battalion, 37th Field Artillery Regiment, 25th Infantry Division
Pfc Rory Conner, Department of Defense
Pfc Roger Connolly, 1st Battalion, 37th Field Artillery Regiment, 25th Infantry Division
Major Michael Connors, 414th Civil Affairs
Steven Cooke, Department of Defense
Spc Matthew Cooper, Army National Guard’s 35th Special Troops Battalion
Edward C. Courtney, Central Intelligence Agency
Capt Jimmy Lee Craig, Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile UnitTwo
Spc Samuel Cramer, Army National Guard’s 1569th Transportation Company
Pfc Micah Creighton, Army Reserve 346th Psychological Operations Company
Spc Leonard Cunningham, 3rd Battalion, 16th Field Artillery Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division
Cpl Paul E. Curtis, Army National Guard’s 1569th Transportation Company
– D –
Pfc Sebastian Daly, 2nd Battalion, 27th Infantry, 3rd Brigade, 25th Infantry Division
1st Lt.Benjamin Davis, 57th Military Police Company, 8th Military Police Brigade
Raymond Day, Civilian Contractor
Pfc Justin Delaney, 4th Support Battalion, 1st Brigade, 4th Infantry Division
Pfc Christopher Dixon , Marine Forces Reserve’s 2nd Battalion, 25th Marine Regiment
Cpl Paul Doherty, 414th Civil Affairs
Pfc Nicholas Dolan, 67th Armor Regiment, 2nd Brigade, 4th Infantry Division
Pfc Lawrence Donahue, 1st Battalion, 325th Airborne Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division
Pfc Randall Douglas, 1st Battalion, 12th Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade, 4th Infantry Division
Carl Dowd , Civilian Contractor
Master Sgt.Phillip Doyle, 542nd Maintenance Company, 44th Corps Support Battalion
Pfc Edmund Drake, 1st Squadron, 17th Cavalry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division
Spc Charles Duval, 2nd Battalion, 27th Infantry, 3rd Brigade, 25th Infantry Division
– E –
Spc Brandon East , Army National Guard’s 35th Special Troops Battalion
Pfc Jeremy Edwards, 1st Battalion, 22nd Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division
Spc Shane Elkins, 549th Military Police Company, 385th Military Police Battalion
Edgar Elliott , Central Intelligence Agency
Pfc Ronald Ellis, 4th Support Battalion, 1st Brigade, 4th Infantry Division
2nd Lt.Paul H. Etheridge, 4th Battalion, 42nd Field Artillery Regiment, 1st Brigade, 4th Infantry Division
Sgt Kenny Evans, 1st Squadron, 10th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Brigade, 4th Infantry Division
– F –
Cpl Thomas Fairchild, Army Reserve 346th Psychological Operations Company
Pfc Ben Farrell, 2nd Battalion, 8th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade, 4th Infantry Division
Pfc Robert Feeney, 1st Battalion, 12th Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade, 4th Infantry Division
Cpl Angus Ferguson, 3rd Battalion, 16th Field Artillery Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division
Lance Cpl Eetaban Fernandez, Marine Forces Reserve’s 2nd Battalion, 25th Marine Regiment
Spc Bradford Fields , , Army National Guard’s 1569th Transportation Company
Pfc Raymond, Finlay, 1st Squadron, 10th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Brigade, 4th Infantry Division
Major Eduard Fischer, 414th Civil Affairs
Pfc Kirk Fitzgerald, 2nd Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault)
Arnold Flynn, Civilian Contractor
1st Lt.Gene Ford, Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile UnitTwo
Pfc Scott Fort, 3rd Battalion, 67th Armor Regiment, 4th Brigade, 4th Infantry Division
Capt Shelby Foster, 1st Squadron, 17th Cavalry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division
Pfc Jon Franklin, Army National Guard’s 35th Special Troops Battalion
Spc Harold Frederickson, 47th Combat Support Hospital, 62nd Medical Brigade
Pfc Lawrence Frost, 204th Support Battalion, 2nd Brigade, 4th Infantry Division
– G –
Pfc Michael Gaines, 1st Squadron, 10th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Brigade, 4th Infantry Division
Spc Christopher Gallagher, National Guard’s 149th Brigade Combat Team
Pfc Rogelio R. Garza, 1st Battalion, 37th Field Artillery Regiment, 25th Infantry Division
Pfc Daniel Gardner, 4th Support Battalion, 1st Brigade, 4th Infantry Division
Pfc Brad Garrison , Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile UnitTwo
Lance Cpl Kirk Geary, 2nd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force
Pfc Randy Geohegan, 1st Squadron, 10th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Brigade, 4th Infantry Division
Spc Adam Gibson, 1st Battalion, 67th Armored Regiment, 2nd Brigade, 4th Infantry Division
Master Sgt.Richard M. Gilligan, 1st Squadron, 10th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Brigade, 4th Infantry Division
Pfc Paolo Giovinazzo, 4th Battalion, 42nd Field Artillery Regiment, 1st Brigade, 4th Infantry Division
Pfc Jeffery Givens, 1st Battalion, 32nd Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division
Cpl Mario Gold, 542nd Maintenance Company, 44th Corps Support Battalion
2nd Lt.Pedro Gomez, 4th Support Battalion, 1st Brigade, 4th Infantry Division
Pfc Michael Gordon , 4th Battalion, 42nd Field Artillery Regiment, 1st Brigade, 4th Infantry Division
Spc Gabriel Govia, 2nd Battalion, 8th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade, 4th Infantry Division
Thomas Grady, Department of Defense
Pfc Kevin Graham, 1st Squadron, 17th Cavalry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division
Pfc Paul Gray, 3rd Battalion, 16th Field Artillery Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division
Pfc Samuel Green, Marine Forces Reserve’s 2nd Battalion, 25th Marine Regiment
Pfc Lloyd Griffith, 1st Squadron, 17th Cavalry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division
Cpl Andrew Gustafson, Army Reserve 346th Psychological Operations Company
– H –
1st Lt. Seth Hall, , Marine Forces Reserve’s 2nd Battalion, 25th Marine Regiment
Pfc Tobias Hancock, 1st Battalion, 12th Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade, 4th Infantry Division
Pfc James Hansen, 4th Battalion, 42nd Field Artillery Regiment, 1st Brigade, 4th Infantry Division
Sgt Stuart Harding , 3rd Battalion, 67th Armor Regiment, 4th Brigade, 4th Infantry Division
Spc Randy Hardy, Army National Guard’s 35th Special Troops Battalion
Pfc Ronald Harris, 1st Battalion, 32nd Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division
Pfc Keith O. Harvey, 1st Squadron, 10th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Brigade, 4th Infantry Division
1st Lt.Karl Hawkins, 414th Civil Affairs
Sgt. 1st Class Samuell Hayden, 67th Armor Regiment, 2nd Brigade, 4th Infantry Division
Cpl Randi Hays, 1st Battalion, 22nd Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division
Pfc Ben Henderson, 47th Combat Support Hospital, 62nd Medical Brigade
Pfc Kyle Henry, 1st Battalion, 37th Field Artillery Regiment, 25th Infantry Division
Spc Danid D.Herron, 2nd Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault)
Capt Kenneth Hilliard, 1st Battalion, 67th Armored Regiment, 2nd Brigade, 4th Infantry Division
Pfc John Hodge, 3rd Battalion, 67th Armor Regiment, 4th Brigade, 4th Infantry Division
2nd Lt.Lee Hoffman, 4th Support Battalion, 1st Brigade, 4th Infantry Division
Master Sgt.David Hoke, 1st Battalion, 37th Field Artillery Regiment, 25th Infantry Division
Pfc Ted Holmes, 7th Squadron, 10th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Brigade, 4th Infantry Division
Kenny Howard, 1st Squadron, 17th Cavalry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division
– I-
Keith Ingraham, 2nd Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault)
Pfc Daniel Innis, 204th Support Battalion, 2nd Brigade, 4th Infantry Division
Cpl Shane Irving, 1st Squadron, 17th Cavalry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division
– J –
Pfc Tarrnish Jackson, Army National Guard’s 1569th Transportation Company
Spc Lewellen Jacobs, 67th Armor Regiment, 2nd Brigade, 4th Infantry Division
Cpl Timothy Jasper, 67th Armor Regiment, 2nd Brigade, 4th Infantry Division
1st Lt.Larry Jenkins, 414th Civil Affairs
2nd Lt.Phiillip Johnson, Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile UnitTwo
Pfc Brian Johnstone, Army Reserve 346th Psychological Operations Company
Pfc Todd Jones, Army National Guard’s 1569th Transportation Company
Pfc Brendan Joscelyn, 1st Battalion, 67th Armored Regiment, 2nd Brigade, 4th Infantry Division
2nd Lt.Cpl Allan Jose, 57th Military Police Company, 8th Military Police Brigade
Pfc Thomas Joyce, 2nd Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault)
Spc Benno Juarez, 3rd Battalion, 16th Field Artillery Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division
– K-
1st Lt.Eric Kaufman, 7th Squadron, 10th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Brigade, 4th Infantry Division
Pfc Charles Kavanaugh , Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile UnitTwo
Cpl Jon Keats, 67th Armor Regiment, 2nd Brigade, 4th Infantry Division
Pfc Eric Keefe, 1st Battalion, 67th Armored Regiment, 2nd Brigade, 4th Infantry Division
Spc Tony Keeler, 118th Military Police Company, 519th Military Police Battalion, 16th Military Police Brigade
Pfc Chester Keenan, 542nd Maintenance Company, 44th Corps Support Battalion
Pfc Frank Kennedy, 3rd Battalion, 67th Armor Regiment, 4th Brigade, 4th Infantry Division
Pfc Jon Kent, 4th Support Battalion, 1st Brigade, 4th Infantry Division
Sgt Jordan Kessler, 7th Squadron, 10th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Brigade, 4th Infantry Division
Capt Mark King , 4th Battalion, 42nd Field Artillery Regiment, 1st Brigade, 4th Infantry Division
Pfc Neil Kirk, Army National Guard’s 35th Special Troops Battalion
Spc Jeff Klein, 1st Battalion, 67th Armored Regiment, 2nd Brigade, 4th Infantry Division
Spc Alan Knoll, 57th Military Police Company, 8th Military Police Brigade
.Pfc Adam Koehler, 3rd Battalion, 16th Field Artillery Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division
Capt Osmond Kray, Army National Guard’s 1569th Transportation Company
2nd Lt.Gary Krueger, 1st Battalion, 37th Field Artillery Regiment, 25th Infantry Division
– L –
Tracey LaFaver , Civilian Contractor
Lance Cpl Roger Lafferty, Marine Forces Reserve’s 2nd Battalion, 25th Marine Regiment
Pfc Junior Lambert, 1st Battalion, 67th Armored Regiment, 2nd Brigade, 4th Infantry Division
Spc Shawn Lane, 1st Squadron, 17th Cavalry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division
Cpl Charles T. Langholz, 4th Battalion, 42nd Field Artillery Regiment, 1st Brigade, 4th Infantry Division
Pfc Jimmy Bob Larkin, National Guard’s 149th Brigade Combat Team
Pfc Eric Larsen, 542nd Maintenance Company, 44th Corps Support Battalion
Sgt. 1st Class Robert Law, Army National Guard’s 35th Special Troops Battalion
Spc Andrew Richard, 3rd Battalion, 16th Field Artillery Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division
Pfc Ricardo LeGallo, 4th Support Battalion, 1st Brigade, 4th Infantry Division
2nd Lt.William S. Leonard, 2nd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force
Pfc Marshal Lindsley, Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile UnitTwo
Master Sgt.Tommy Lee Lipton, 4th Support Battalion, 1st Brigade, 4th Infantry Division
Pfc George Long, 1st Battalion, 12th Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade, 4th Infantry Division
Pfc Jimmy Longtree, 542nd Maintenance Company, 44th Corps Support Battalion
1st Lt. Jasper Loomis, Army National Guard’s 35th Special Troops Battalion
Pfc Carstairs Lowe, 2nd Battalion, 8th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade, 4th Infantry Division
Spc Robert M. Lynch, Army Reserve 346th Psychological Operations Company
– M –
Pfc Paul McKinnon , 3rd Battalion, 16th Field Artillery Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division
Pfc Keith MacVane, 67th Armor Regiment, 2nd Brigade, 4th Infantry Division
Cpl Gunnar Magnusson, Army National Guard’s 35th Special Troops Battalion
Capt.Martin Mahoney, 67th Armor Regiment, 2nd Brigade, 4th Infantry Division
Pfc Enzo Marini, 1st Squadron, 10th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Brigade, 4th Infantry Division
Rostan Markovic, Central Intelligence Agency
Spc John M. Marshall, Army National Guard’s 1569th Transportation Company
Pfc Michael Martin, 1st Battalion, 37th Field Artillery Regiment, 25th Infantry Division
Pfc Scott Marvin, 2nd Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault)
Pfc Leroy Mason, 1st Squadron, 17th Cavalry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division
Spc Greg Mathews, 3rd Battalion, 67th Armor Regiment, 4th Brigade, 4th Infantry Division
Pfc Duncan Maxwell, 1st Squadron, 10th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Brigade, 4th Infantry Division
Pfc Brian Mayer, 47th Combat Support Hospital, 62nd Medical Brigade
Arthur Mazzocco, Department of Defense
1st Lt.Joseph McAllister, 3rd Battalion, 16th Field Artillery Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division
Master Sgt. Daniel McBride, . 2nd Battalion, 8th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade, 4th Infantry Division
Pfc William McClellan, 2nd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force
Spc Lou McConnell, Army National Guard’s 35th Special Troops Battalion
Sgt. 1st Class Albert McGinnis,. 3rd Battalion, 16th Field Artillery Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division
Master Sgt.David McRae, 1st Battalion, 67th Armored Regiment, 2nd Brigade, 4th Infantry Division
Matthew Medigovich, Central Intelligence Agency
Pfc Vincent Mendoza, 2nd Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault)
Cpl Richard Milich, 1st Squadron, 17th Cavalry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division
Pfc Ben Miller, 47th Combat Support Hospital, 62nd Medical Brigade
Cpl Robert Mitchell, 1st Squadron, 10th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Brigade, 4th Infantry Division
Pfc Terrence Mogen, 118th Military Police Company, 519th Military Police Battalion, 16th Military Police Brigade
Pfc Ted Montague, 1st Battalion, 32nd Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division
Pfc Yates Montecino, 67th Armor Regiment, 2nd Brigade, 4th Infantry Division
Pfc Esteban Morales, 542nd Maintenance Company, 44th Corps Support Battalion
Pfc Darrell Morgan, Central Intelligence Agency
Jeffery Morrison, Civilian Contractor
– N –
1st Lt.Noble Natsios, 67th Armor Regiment, 2nd Brigade, 4th Infantry Division
Pfc Carlos Naverez, Army National Guard’s 1569th Transportation Company
Sgt. 1st Class Edward Nelson , 1st Battalion, 37th Field Artillery Regiment, 25th Infantry Division
Cpl Donald Newcomb, 67th Armor Regiment, 2nd Brigade, 4th Infantry Division
Roger Newell, Civilian Contractor
Pfc Dorin Nicholson, 3rd Battalion, 16th Field Artillery Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division
Pfc Bart Nolan, 1st Squadron, 10th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Brigade, 4th Infantry Division
Pfc Nelson Norton, 3rd Battalion, 67th Armor Regiment, 4th Brigade, 4th Infantry Division
Pfc Wally Novak, Army National Guard’s 35th Special Troops Battalion
– O –
1st Lt.Chris O’Brien , 3rd Battalion, 16th Field Artillery Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division
Pfc Stephen O’Connor, 1st Squadron, 10th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Brigade, 4th Infantry Division
Raymond O’Rourke, Civilian Contractor
– P –
Spc James W. Page, 4th Support Battalion, 1st Brigade, 4th Infantry Division
Cpl Russell Palumbo, 1st Squadron, 17th Cavalry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division
Pfc Nicholas Pappas, 67th Armor Regiment, 2nd Brigade, 4th Infantry Division
Pfc Troy Parker, 3rd Battalion, 16th Field Artillery Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division
Thomas Parrish, Civilian Contractor
Pfc Mark Patten, 47th Combat Support Hospital, 62nd Medical Brigade
George Paul, Civilian Contractor
Lance Cpl Wallace Peabody, 2nd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force
Pfc Dale Peake, 3rd Battalion, 67th Armor Regiment, 4th Brigade, 4th Infantry Division
Spc Reed Perry, Army National Guard’s 1569th Transportation Company
Pfc Samuel Petersen, 67th Armor Regiment, 2nd Brigade, 4th Infantry Division
Pfc Roger Platt, 3rd Battalion, 16th Field Artillery Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division
1st Lt.Thomas Poole, 57th Military Police Company, 8th Military Police Brigade
Pfc William Porter, 118th Military Police Company, 519th Military Police Battalion, 16th Military Police Brigade
Sgt Daniel Powell, 1st Battalion, 67th Armored Regiment, 2nd Brigade, 4th Infantry Division
Spc Todd Price, Army National Guard’s 35th Special Troops Battalion
Cpl Kevin Prisley, 1st Squadron, 10th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Brigade, 4th Infantry Division
Pfc Peter Purvis, 3rd Battalion, 16th Field Artillery Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division
– Q –
2nd Lt.Quesada, Gonzalo, 542nd Maintenance Company, 44th Corps Support Battalion
Pfc Liam Quinn, 1st Squadron, 10th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Brigade, 4th Infantry Division
– R –
Pfc Chad Railey, 3rd Battalion, 16th Field Artillery Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division
Spc Ignacio Ramirez, Army National Guard’s 35th Special Troops Battalion
Pfc Arthur Ramsen, Army Reserve 346th Psychological Operations Company
Benjamin Raymond, Civilian Contractor
Spc Todd Reckford, 204th Support Battalion, 2nd Brigade, 4th Infantry Division
Pfc Aaron Reynolds, 57th Military Police Company, 8th Military Police Brigade
Pfc Timothy Richard, 1st Battalion, 32nd Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division
1st Lt. Paul Richardson, 1st Battalion, 67th Armored Regiment, 2nd Brigade, 4th Infantry Division
Pfc Robert Riley, 67th Armor Regiment, 2nd Brigade, 4th Infantry Division
Pfc Shawn Roberts, Army National Guard’s 35th Special Troops Battalion
Cpl Kirk Robinson, National Guard’s 149th Brigade Combat Team
Sgt. 1st Class James P. Rodgers, 1st Squadron, 17th Cavalry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division
Master Sgt. Chad Romer, 1st Battalion, 22nd Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division
Pfc Martin Ross, 118th Military Police Company, 519th Military Police Battalion, 16th Military Police Brigade
Pfc Robert Rowan, 204th Support Battalion, 2nd Brigade, 4th Infantry Division
2nd Lt.Seth Ryan, 3rd Battalion, 16th Field Artillery Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division
– S –
Spc Ricardo Sagan, 118th Military Police Company, 519th Military Police Battalion, 16th Military Police Brigade
Pfc Hector Salazar, 1st Battalion, 22nd Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division
Cpl Ed Sampson, 3rd Battalion, 67th Armor Regiment, 4th Brigade, 4th Infantry Division
1st Lt Walter San Fellipo, 1st Battalion, 67th Armored Regiment, 2nd Brigade, 4th Infantry Division
Bruce Sartiano,, 67th Armor Regiment, 2nd Brigade, 4th Infantry Division
Cpl Raymond Schmitz, Army National Guard’s 1569th Transportation Company
2nd Lt.Ernest Sherman , 57th Military Police Company, 8th Military Police Brigade
Pfc Mario Sims, 7th Squadron, 10th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Brigade, 4th Infantry Division
Spc Joshua Smith, 4th Support Battalion, 1st Brigade, 4th Infantry Division
Pfc Andrew Snow, Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile UnitTwo
Gerald Sorenson, Department of Defense
Lincoln Stadermann, Translator
Master Sgt.Michael Stephenson, 7th Squadron, 10th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Brigade, 4th Infantry Division
Pfc Carl Stone,, 542nd Maintenance Company, 44th Corps Support Battalion
Capt.Harold Sullivan, 3rd Battalion, 67th Armor Regiment, 4th Brigade, 4th Infantry Division
1st Lt. Lawrence Swenson, 1st Battalion, 37th Field Artillery Regiment, 25th Infantry Division
– T –
Cpl Augustus Tanner, 542nd Maintenance Company, 44th Corps Support Battalion
Pfc Reginald Tate, 67th Armor Regiment, 2nd Brigade, 4th Infantry Division
Spc Duane Taylor, 118th Military Police Company, 519th Military Police Battalion, 16th Military Police Brigade
Sgt. 1st Class Curtis Thomas, 4th Battalion, 42nd Field Artillery Regiment, 1st Brigade, 4th Infantry Division
Pfc Stuart Thompsen, 57th Military Police Company, 8th Military Police Brigade
Spc Larry Thomson, 1st Battalion, 67th Armored Regiment, 2nd Brigade, 4th Infantry Division
Capt David Towers, Army National Guard’s 35th Special Troops Battalion
Pfc Dean Townsend, 3rd Battalion, 16th Field Artillery Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division
2nd Lt.James Tracy, Army Reserve 346th Psychological Operations Company
Pfc Paul Tucker, 1st Battalion, 67th Armored Regiment, 2nd Brigade, 4th Infantry Division
Spc Daniel Tyson, 3rd Battalion, 16th Field Artillery Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division
– U –
Pfc Romillo Ugarte, 1st Battalion, 32nd Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division
Cpl Austin Unger, 3rd Battalion, 16th Field Artillery Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division
– V –
Spc Ramon Valadez, 1st Battalion, 22nd Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division
Cpl Hector Velazquez, Army National Guard’s 35th Special Troops Battalion
Spc WalterVincent, 1st Squadron, 17th Cavalry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division
2nd Lt.ThomasVoelker, 204th Support Battalion, 2nd Brigade, 4th Infantry Division
– W –
Spc Carl Wade, 1st Squadron, 10th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Brigade, 4th Infantry Division
Sgt. 1st Class Kevin Walker, 1st Battalion, 67th Armored Regiment, 2nd Brigade, 4th Infantry Division
Pfc Ronald Walsh,, 3rd Battalion, 67th Armor Regiment, 4th Brigade, 4th Infantry Division
Cpl Jack Ward, 2nd Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault)
Cpl Sean Weber, 1st Battalion, 325th Airborne Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division
Pfc Steven Webster, Army National Guard’s 35th Special Troops Battalion
Spc Paul Welch, 3rd Battalion, 16th Field Artillery Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division
Capt.Gene Westin, 1st Battalion, 37th Field Artillery Regiment, 25th Infantry Division
Master Sgt.Richard Wheeler, 542nd Maintenance Company, 44th Corps Support Battalion
Pfc Lawrence White, 67th Armor Regiment, 2nd Brigade, 4th Infantry Division
Pfc Andrew Willams, 7th Squadron, 10th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Brigade, 4th Infantry Division
Sgt. 1st Class Mario Williamson, Army National Guard’s 1569th Transportation Company
Russell Wilson, Translator
Michael Wisniewski, Civilian Employee
Cpl Chris Womack, 67th Armor Regiment, 2nd Brigade, 4th Infantry Division
Spc Burton Wood, Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile UnitTwo
– Y –
Cpl Fernando Yates, 1st Battalion, 325th Airborne Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division
Istvan Yatsevitch, Civilian Contractor
Cpl John York, 4th Battalion, 42nd Field Artillery Regiment, 1st Brigade, 4th Infantry Division
Pfc Peter Young, 1st Battalion, 67th Armored Regiment, 2nd Brigade, 4th Infantry Division
– Z –
Pfc Mario Zammarella, 1st Squadron, 10th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Brigade, 4th Infantry Division
Cpl Jose Zamora, 1st Battalion, 12th Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade, 4th Infantry Division
Spc Reuben Zamora, 1st Battalion, 22nd Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division
Pfc Arno Ziegler, 542nd Maintenance Company, 44th Corps Support Battalion
1st Lt.Charles L. Zimmerman, 1st Battalion, 32nd Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division

Forward Operating Base Falcon.
Over 114 American troops, including U.S. Army and Marines, three USAF personnel, two CIA agents, 14 U.S. translators were killed outright or died immediately afterwards en route to hospital or in hospital and 165 seriously injured requiring major medical attention and 39 suffering lesser injuries 122 members of the Iraqi armed forces were killed and 90 seriously injured members of same, were also evacuated to the U.S. military hospital at al-Habbaniyah located some 70km west of Baghdad.

How to make a revolution in the United States
by Peter Camejo, 1969
Source : Speech at an educational conference of the US Socialist Workers Party and Young Socialist Alliance, May 3, 1969, printed in abridged form in The Militant, May 30, 1969
Transcription and mark-up : by Steve Painter

Revolutionary socialists have been accused for many years of wanting to overthrow the US government by force and violence. When they accuse us of this, what they are really trying to do is to imply that we want to abolish capitalism with a minority, that we want to force the will of the minority on the majority. The opposite is the truth. We believe we can win a majority of the people in this country to support a change in the system. It will be necessary to make a revolution precisely because the ruling powers will not peacefully accept a majority rule which wants a basic change.
How can a revolution involving a majority of the people actually take place in the United States? This is the question I want to discuss today.
First of all, you have to have clear in your mind the meaning of the word “revolution”. Many people have a stereotyped picture of what a revolution is like. They say a revolution is when people come with guns, when they surround a fortress or take over a city. What they do is they confuse revolution with insurrection. Insurrection is just one stage of revolution. Revolution is a lot more. It’s a long process.
In a certain way you can make a parallel between revolution and pregnancy. In the very early stages of pregnancy, if just on empirical evidence you ask whether or not someone is pregnant, the answer will be no. However, with the use of science you can determine whether the person is pregnant very early. Later on it becomes evident for everybody to see.
The same thing is true of social revolution. In the early stages most people don’t see it. You always begin on the assumption that in every society that needs a revolution, the majority of the people don’t think it’s possible. This is most certainly true for the period in American history we are in right now. We’re in the early stages of the third American revolution. I say the third revolution because we’ve had two others — the revolution of 1776 and the civil war.
The contradictions
Why is it that we are in the early stages of a developing revolutionary situation? The reason is most basically because of the contradiction between the fantastic potential for solving human needs in this society and the existing reality. Let me explain.
Everything you use, everything you eat or wear, your car, your housing — you didn’t make any of these things. We don’t produce these things as individuals. We produce socially. We have a division of work in the United States, and in the whole world for that matter. People in one part of the world make things which people in another part of the world use.
But, even though we produce socially, through co-operation, we don’t own the means of production socially. And this affects all the basic decisions made in this society about what we produce. These decisions are not made on the basis of what people need, but on the basis of what makes a profit.
Take the question of hunger. There are people going hungry all over the world, and the US government recently reported that there are a lot of people going hungry right here in the United States. And yet, because of the profit system, the US government is now paying some farmers not to farm. Farmers don’t make their decisions by saying: “We need a lot of corn in the US, so I’m going to plant a lot of corn.” They never say that. They say: “How much money am I going to make if I plant corn?” Did you know that if decisions were not made on this basis, then the US alone would have the potential to feed the whole world? The economic potential is there.
Take the question of housing. If you took just the money that’s spent on the war in Vietnam, you could build beautiful free homes for every non-white family in the US and for 30 million of the poorest whites. They could wipe out every slum in the next four years. The potential exists, not only in the factories and materials for building, but in the potential to build new machines and factories. Yet, they are not going to solve the housing question because it’s not profitable to build low-cost housing.
Did you know that because of the way the system is structured a large percentage of the people do not do any productive work at all? You have the unemployed who are not hired because it’s not profitable to hire them. Then you have the people in the army, not to mention the police, and others who consume a great deal but don’t produce anything. Then you have things like the people in the advertising industry. They don’t do anything really useful or necessary. In addition, you have a mammoth, organised effort to create waste. For instance, if you designed a car for the Ford company that would last 50 years, they wouldn’t use it. Because that would destroy the purpose of making cars, which is to produce profits.
I’ll give you another example of how the potential for meeting human needs is destroyed because of the profit system. Say you are a capitalist, and you’re about to build a factory. Do you say: “I’ll build it where it’s nice, where there are trees and fresh air, and where the workers will have nice homes and will be able to go mountain climbing or hunting or swimming?” No, that’s not the way you think. You say: “Well, where’s my market, where are my raw materials coming in, how can I make the most profit?” And this means you might build the factory where you will pump even more poison into the air.
Smog is another example of a problem which stems directly from this system. Remember when they first discovered smog. They said: “Hey, look, there’s smog.” And they warned that if the smog increased to a certain point it would be dangerous. But, when they got past that point, they changed the danger level. And the smog is still getting worse. And now they tell us that all the rivers are polluted. In other words, it’s not that they just can’t meet the problem that exists. Things are getting worse.
Third World
But, it is in the underdeveloped world — in Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Arab countries — where the contradictions of this system are the most clear. To really understand what this system means for Third World people, consider this one fact: When a worker finishes working a full day in the colonial world, he produces as much as an average American worker does in 22 minutes. There is no way of solving the tremendous problems, the hunger and the poverty, that exist in the third world unless that figure is raised. In order to raise this figure, you have to industrialise, you have to mechanise, you have to invest.
Well, what happens is that instead of getting help from the industrialised sections of the world, instead of getting capital, Third World countries are drained of their wealth by the imperialist countries. More important, the Third World countries are blocked from industrialising simply because the advanced capitalist countries will not permit the competition which would result from it. In fact, in terms of the effect such exploitation is having on the world, in terms of people actually dying, starving and suffering, and their whole lives being destroyed by poverty, this is one of capitalism’s greatest crimes.
Capitalism doesn’t just have general long-range problems like the ones I’ve just mentioned. It has other contradictions — big crises, like depressions and wars. And specifically in this period, when the colonial world is trying to break out of capitalism, the wars are directed against the colonial world.
How do we go about changing this situation? How do we make it so that we can really fulfil our potential as human beings?
First, it is necessary to realise that in the United States we have a ruling class. And it’s very important that everyone should get to know and recognise their ruling class. The ruling class in the United States is very small. In fact, I think, proportionately, it is the smallest ruling class in the history of any society. Even defined broadly, there are only about 30,000 of them. There are a lot of people who think they belong to the ruling class, but only about 30,000 who have the real power.
Now, there are certain ways you can go about finding out just who these people are. One example is when you pick up your local newspaper and you look at the society page. You can see their children. The newspapers go to their parties and take pictures of the sons and daughters of the ruling class.
In some cities, the people in the ruling class register themselves. Of course, some ruling class people don’t make the register, and there are some people who will slip in who aren’t from the ruling class. But basically the social registers are a good indication of who these people are. In addition you can read the many books put out on this question. Books like The Rich and the Super-Rich. They spell it out.
How it’s done
Now, how does the ruling class do it? Here, you’ve got some 30,000 people running a society of 200 million and most of the people in the society don’t even know it. In the past, ruling classes were proud of their role. They would walk around with feathers in their hats, or big robes and things, and when they went down the street, people would say: “Hey, there goes one of our ruling class.” Nowadays, they don’t do that. Now, they can slip on the campus where you are, and somebody in the ruling class could walk right by, and you wouldn’t even know it. They dress just like you. They’re incognito.
Rockefeller would never come to your campus and say: “Hi, how’re you doing? Are you studying hard, getting your degrees so you can come to work for me and make me richer?” No, they don’t do that. They go around saying that there aren’t classes in America, that everybody’s middle-class, only that some are a little more middle-class than others. In other words, they are ashamed of their own existence. They have to hide it. And there are good reasons for that. One of their problems, of course, is that they’re so small. Why, there are more than 30,000 people on just one or two campuses.
Now, how do they maintain their rule? To find this out you can try an experiment. Get all dressed up, put on a jacket and tie, and walk into some corporation and say: “Hello, I’m a sociologist, I’m here to do a study. Could I just walk around and talk to people?” And then you walk up to somebody and say: “Who’s your supervisor?” And he’ll point to someplace, and you find someone with a little name plate, and it’s a supervisor. And you ask him: “Who’s your supervisor?” And he’ll point to a different place, and you walk in and there’ll be a rug. And you say to him: “Who’s your supervisor?” And he’ll point to a different floor, and you’ll find it gets harder and harder to get in the doors. There’s more and more secretaries, and phones, and the rug gets thicker and thicker. Eventually you have to make appointments. And then you hit the sound barrier. Here is where you switch from the people who carry out decisions to people who make the decisions. And that’s your local ruling class.
The structure
By the way, if you test out any institution in our society, you’ll find they are structured in the same way. A pyramid from the top going down. That’s the way all institutions are structured in this democratic country. This goes for government, for the political parties, the army, the churches, the universities, for every basic institution. And when you get to the very top of these structures, to the most powerful people, you will invariably find people who own big property.
Now, how do they keep the structure going? It’s a very subtle thing. In the United States, we have freedom of speech, freedom of assembly and other democratic rights. So, say you go to your job one day and test it. Wear a big button that says, “Vote Socialist”. And watch how fast you get promoted. Watch how you are treated. Formally you have the right to have any political view you want. But, the truth is that in all these institutions there is a very worked out, institutionalised way of going up. And on the way up, you sell your individuality, you commit yourself to the values of the system.
And you learn very fast that in return for full commitment to the system — for personal discipline, for showing up every morning wearing the right clothes, keeping your hair short, and the rest — in return, you get privileges. It’s done on the basis of privileges. That is what holds the society together.
When was the last time you heard someone say: “Capitalism’s a great society”? When did you hear anyone say: “Just think what our 30,000 ruling class has done for us. We should give them our full support.” They never say that. They don’t try to build up an ideological support for capitalism in the sense of telling you the full truth.
All the institutions under capitalism are ideological institutions in the sense that all of them maintain and demand support for the system. So it should be no surprise to you that the higher you go in a corporation, the higher you go in the university structure, the higher you go in the army, the people get more and more reactionary. They get more and more consciously pro the system; they are more and more for whatever crimes the system has to commit. They simply wouldn’t be there if they weren’t. This is why you can never capture the existing apparatus and use it for making a basic change.
Workers’ power
Today the smallness of the ruling class means that other classes have more power in comparison. We have a working-class army, for example, that has a great deal of actual and potential power. Take the basic production of all goods and services. Have you ever thought what a general strike would be like in New York City? Workers can take over this city in a matter of hours. Because workers run everything — the subways, the trucks that bring food, gas, light, heat — everything.
So you have to ask yourself, why is this power never realised politically? Why don’t they just kick the 30,000 out? The reason is simple. The mass of people are under illusions. Now let me repeat this because the whole strategy of making a revolution in the US is crucially dependent on understanding this. The 30,000 can rule only through maintaining illusions.
You see, if tomorrow, President Nixon called a press conference and said: “Okay, I’m going to let you in on it; there’s 30,000 of us who are running this country. We’re cancelling all elections. We’re cancelling freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, and so on. So go back to work, back to the campus — and if there is any disturbance we’ll throw you all into concentration camps.” How long do you think the ruling class would stay in power? They couldn’t do it. Their power is already limited by a certain consciousness that exists in the mass of the people. Their power is limited by the fact that the mass of the people believe in free speech, in free assembly and in democracy.
And this, by the way, is the thing that is least understood by the student movement. Many students believe that the ruling class has unlimited power. They think fascism and concentration camps are around the corner. Of course, we cannot be naive about the ruling class. They will suppress opposition to them insofar as they can get away with it. And they will use the most brutal means available if it suits their needs. But they will try to keep the repression in the bounds of what they can get away with without waking up the mass of the people, without destroying the illusions. Because, if the mass begins to wake up, that’s a big danger.
Two sides to democracy
There are two sides to democracy in this country, and if you don’t understand both sides, you go wrong. One side is that it’s phony. There is no real democracy in the sense that we don’t run this country. The elections are totally phony. The ruling class simply gets up and picks two people, or three, and they say: “Okay, everybody, we’re having elections. Now you can vote for Humphrey, or for Wallace, or for Nixon.”
Then they have their candidates have a debate. But the debate isn’t entirely phony. The debate often represents a real living struggle between different positions within the ruling class. The ruling class resolves many of the smaller tactical differences they have among themselves through means of elections.
Obviously, such elections do not in any way mean that the people have a voice in ruling this country. At the same time, the masses of people believe in democracy. And this belief in democracy is something that actually weakens the rulers. And it is something that gives us real power.
There is a power relationship between the masses and the ruling class based on the potential power of the working class. Because of this power relationship, you can do many things. It gives us what we call free speech. It gives us free assembly. It gives us the right to organise the YSA legally. Take for example the underground press. The underground press isn’t really underground. These papers are published legally even though they attack the system. They don’t suppress these newspapers because they know that the minute they start suppressing papers, it’s going to wake people up and bring a reaction.
The only hope the ruling class has is if it can isolate the revolutionaries completely from the rest of the people. That is why the number-one task of all revolutionaries who really want to change the system is to know how to reach the people.
This is one of the biggest problems existing in the student movement at this point. The average student radical does not identify with the American people. In fact, he’s hostile to them.
He says: “The American people, ugh, they’re against the Vietnamese, they’re racist, they’re this and that.” But you know something? That hate for the American people was taught to the student before he became a radical.
Middle-class prejudice
When you go to school, the whole concept you are taught is that anyone that works with his hands is below you. The average Joe Shmoe is a stupid fool. And they justify the fact that some people have more privileges by saying that it’s because they’re more qualified.
Everything you learn in the university is calculated to give you that superiority feeling. And when you become a radical, you just turn around and invert it, in a way. You keep the same prejudice in your mind and you continue to say: “How stupid the average American worker is.” He’s no stupider than you were before you became a radical.
Black people used to imitate white people, right? But, with the radicalisation, one of the first things that started happening was that black people stopped imitating the people who oppressed them. It’s the same thing with white workers. The thing that white workers do today is they imitate the people they regard as above therm. They try to be like them. They vote for their parties. They support their ideas. But when they wake up this is one of the first things that will change.
Now let me explain something about mass awakening. There’s no way that we radicals can by ourselves wake up the American people. Just forget about that. There is no special leaflet that we could write so articulately and carefully that when you hand it to a worker, he will pick it up and say: “That’s it — I’m with you.” If that were how we could do it, we’d have done it a long time ago.
There is only one way it will happen. Capitalism does it for us. The system creates the situation in which people wake up. Let me give you a few examples. Think about why it is that black people are moving today. Weren’t they black in 1920? Weren’t they actually worse off, if you want to look at objective conditions, in 1910, 1920 and 1930?
Role of Africa
You know that at the beginning of the century, and after that, one of the biggest put-downs they had for black people was to call them Africans. Then came the revolutions in Africa and other parts of the third world. And black people started identifying with Africa, saying: “We’re all Africans.” And the ruling class began to say: “No, you’re Americans.”
At the same time more and more black people were moving to the cities because of the industrialisation of the South. And this concentration of black people living in the cities — this begins to give them a sense of power and is one of the reasons you have the rise of black nationalism today. That is another example of how capitalism creates the basis for radicalisation.
I’ll give you one other example. For those people who were unemployed in the 1930s during the depression, their goal in life was to have a job, to have some stability. If you took a man who was unemployed or who had a lousy job and you gave him a job with fairly good pay, with the perspective of getting continuous increases — that to him was Nirvana. From what he had experienced in life, that was happiness.
But then what happened? His kids grew up. And many of them didn’t have the constant image of the unemployed. There would always be food on the table. They could look forward to going to college. And all of a sudden the perspective of doing what their parents did, getting a job, working 40 hours a week wasn’t so inviting. Consciousness is related to what you have lived. And what you expect.
Anybody would have told you that the many years of prosperity would have completely conservatised the youth. But just the opposite has happened. They grew up totally dissatisfied, to the point that it’s becoming a mass rebellion of youth.
The rebellion takes place on all levels. For instance, they start growing their hair long, just because it’s supposed to be short. They’re trying to do everything that they’re not supposed to do, because what they’re expressing, unconsciously, is that they’re totally aware that there’s a potential to have an entirely different kind of life. They become aware of it by the very fact of how they live their first 21 years. They go to the university with other young people. And they want to do something creative. They want to be free. And they realise this is possible. They don’t want to just go to work for Standard Oil, which for their parents was a great thing.
Radicalising process
So, all of a sudden, you have an increase in consciousness, an awareness about the problems of society, created by the capitalists. And this awareness can become much more intensified if you have a crisis — if you have a major war, or a downturn in the economic situation. Right now we have opposition, we have a radicalisation, but even this is nothing compared to what can develop in the future.
Now you can have all this spontaneous radicalisation, you can even have uprisings of sorts, but that will never result in a change of the system, unless it’s organised, unless there is a concept of how to struggle. Because, the masses of people, when they first radicalise, they don’t understand the general problems. They don’t understand how to change society. Very few individuals come to this consciousness completely on their own.
Think about the ideas — some of them very complex ideas — which have been a by-product of the accumulation of thought and experience over the long history of revolutionary struggle. It’s this thought, this experience which is embodied in what we call the vanguard — organisations like the Young Socialist Alliance and the Socialist Workers Party.
Now, the ruling class has also had experiences, from which they have gained knowledge. They’ve been running the United States without even any major political opposition for over 70 years now. They know how, when an opposition develops, to try to repress its vanguard, to knock it down, while at the same time how to manoeuvre and absorb it and buy it off. Eugene McCarthy’s campaign was an excellent example of this.
Without a conscious vanguard with a revolutionary perspective it is hard to deal effectively with these ruling-class manoeuvres. It is difficult to do the right thing.
An example of this was the attitude of the early student antiwar movement toward the GIs. When the antiwar movement first began, the students’ immediate reaction was to hate GIs, to think of them as killers. I remember in Berkeley they even put up a picture of a GI portraying him as being the same thing as a cop.
Saw ahead
At the same time, the YSA opposed this. We could predict, because of the mass opposition to the war and the fact that young people in general were radicalising, that the GIs would radicalise. So way ahead, before signs of the GI radicalisation could be seen concretely, we urged the antiwar movement to go out and leaflet GIs, and to begin to relate to them.
That’s what Marxism is all about. That’s what revolutionary politics is all about. It’s what has been learned from 100 years of struggle against the system. During this time there have been plenty of examples of how armies radicalise and under what conditions they radicalise.
There is something else the YSA sees, which we have learned from experiences in the struggle. And that is that you mustn’t be sectarian. You should try to get everybody who is against the war to work together. The YSA understands that the best way to end this war, and to weaken the ruling class, is to get massive consciousness against the war — and to break the concept that the people against the war are a minority.
And we know from experience that you have to use the most carefully thought-out actions in order to produce that result. And in many cases, such actions are the so-called stupid, peaceful, mass antiwar demonstrations that some people are sick of — and of which we’ve now had eleven. And after each one of these mass demonstrations the YSA has said: “Okay, let’s do it again now.” And the SDS leaders say: “Are you guys crazy? What do you want to do that again for?” They look at it subjectively. They are tired of demonstrations themselves and they forget that demonstrations help other broader layers of people to radicalise. They forget about the impact which the demonstrations have on the GIs, on the average person. They forget that the demonstrations are what helped the students to radicalise in the first place.
Now, we’ve got a double problem in the antiwar movement and in the radical movement in general, and both sides of this double problem are closely interrelated. One is that some people think they are going to solve the problems of society by supporting some liberal.
Let me explain what a liberal is. A liberal is someone who doesn’t like what capitalism does, but likes capitalism. They try to solve the problems created by the system by supporting the system. Now, many students do that too. When they supported McCarthy they did that. What they were looking for was a shortcut. They were trying to change the system from within. They hoped a McCarthy victory would be a substitute for building an independent political movement of the working people, the black people and the students on a mass level, independently and against the ruling class.
On the other side you have the ultraleftists who do the exact same thing — try to bypass building a mass movement. In California we have a bad rash: people walking around saying: “Everybody get guns.” And there is a lot of applauding about guns at rallies.
And then there are those who believe in confrontation as the only method of struggle. By this I mean that the success of an action for them is not measured by how many people are influenced and won over. Their criterion is: “We’ve got to fight the police in the street. Otherwise we aren’t revolutionary.”
What they are looking for is a shortcut. Some are naive about what the cops can and will do to them. They think that if the present vanguard arms itself and takes on the power structure, then they can change society. But they’re not going to change it by themselves. You can’t change it without the American people. And you certainly can’t change it against them.
What is happening is that the ultraleftists are merely expressing frustration. Just like those who supported McCarthy, they don’t have the patience and the understanding of the need to mobilise the people, to win them over, to involve them in the struggle through mass movements.
This is a working-class country. Black people in their great majority are working class. And there are the other oppressed minorities — Chicanos, Puerto Ricans, etc. What you have is an overwhelming mass of people who have objectively no interest in this system. They have to be won over, and our whole strategy, everything we do, has got to be directed at winning them.
French example
Now, how exactly can the American revolution come about? What kind of movements and strategy will allow us to take power? To make this clear, let me tell you what happened in France in May-June of 1968. I said that you need two things to make a revolution — a vanguard and an objective situation in which there is a crisis and a mass radicalisation. Well, in France you had that objective situation — but you had no revolutionary vanguard. Let me show you how, if there had been a strong vanguard, revolutionaries in France would have led a struggle to take power from the ruling class.
In France you had 10 million workers on strike. You had another two million farmers supporting them. Plus the 600,000 students. Now, since the total population of the country is 50 million, this means that the overwhelming majority of families had at least one if not two people involved in the strike. It was clear that the majority of the people in France were out on strike, making certain demands. You had a majority. There was no need to negotiate with anyone.
What would a Marxist vanguard do in such a situation? First of all, we would fight for the formation of a strike council of the whole country which could simply say: “Well, it’s clear we have a majority, so we are going to have free elections to decide all the questions under demand here. And these elections are going to be run by the strike council because the government has shown itself to be undemocratic.”
Remember, at the time of the crisis, De Gaulle had no real power, except in the sense that there was a vacuum which he filled. Do you know that when De Gaulle wanted to hold a referendum during the strike, it was so unpopular that he couldn’t get any workers in all of France to print the ballots? He had to go to Belgium, to ask the Belgian workers to print the ballots, and they refused too! He had no strength.
One might ask what about the army? But he had no army with him. Maybe the officers, but the soldiers — who were the soldiers in France? They were the sons and brothers of the strikers.
The first thing a strike council would do would be to immediately hold elections in the army barracks for new officers, and any officer that didn’t accept this would be thrown out. And then you would go to the barracks and ask the soldiers to share their guns. The guns would be used to help form militias of the people. Then you would dissolve the police force and have the workers out on the streets patrolling. That could have been done in a number of ways under the conditions that existed in France. Just to start with, you had hundreds of thousands of students who would have been immediately willing to participate in the militias and to arm themselves.
Then elections would be held in the factories, and other institutions, and delegates representing the rank-and-file workers in the factories, the students, the soldiers in the army and people in all the various institutions would come together in a central council. And you would put on the floor of this body, which would be the most democratically chosen body in the history of the country, the motion that all industries are nationalised. We would simply pass that, along with other programs which would meet the people’s needs.
When you stop to think about it, what would the ruling class have done? Bombed their own cities?
When you think about it, every step I’ve outlined, every demand, is based on democratic ideas. The word “socialist” hasn’t even been used. Because what socialism means is not simply that socialists come to power, but that a class — the masses of the working people — come to power. That could have happened in France. The objective conditions were there, the radicalisation among the masses. What was missing? There was no sufficiently strong Marxist vanguard. The working class in France was led by a party which supports capitalism, called the Communist Party. So the big problem in France, in order to make a revolution, is to depose the Communist Party from the leadership of the working class.
In the United States, things are going to happen in a similar way to what happened in France. Not the same, but similar. Look what’s happening on campus — it’s spontaneous; on campus after campus you see radical actions. The same thing is going to take place in the working class. It is already happening with the masses of black people. As these movements develop, the vanguard at first is small, and can play only a limited role. But, out of these actions come young people who begin to understand that you need to think out the whole question.
They learn from experience. Maybe they get busted and they start thinking how to be effective. And someone sits down with them and explains how you make a revolution, how you form a vanguard and slowly build up and participate in mass struggles, how you get an interrelationship between the mass movements and the vanguard, and how you reach a situation where a crisis will develop and the vanguard will be able to lead the masses to take power.
The key to victory is moving the masses. Any concept, any struggle that eliminates this will only end in disaster. Unfortunately, the ultraleft idea that you can go around the masses, or make the revolution without them, is one that is creeping into the thinking of many students and young people today. But there will be a reaction to this. One of the troubles with ultraleftism is, of course, that when people react against it, they sometimes react against militancy in general, and flip over to become opportunists. In fact, you’re going to see people who were opportunists yesterday going over to being ultraleft today, and the ultralefts of today flipping over to become opportunists. Because all of them are looking for the same thing — a shortcut. And there is no shortcut to change the system.
It takes a long time. You have to have a perspective of fighting for 10, 20 or even more years. Just like the Vietnamese say they will fight 10, 20, or 40 years — whatever is necessary. You can’t walk into the YSA and say: “I want a guarantee that the revolution will happen in five years because after that I have other plans.” The revolution doesn’t work that way.
So, to end, I want to say this. The ruling class is never going to solve its problems through the capitalist system. Therefore, the objective conditions for revolution are going to rise up over and again. We don’t create these conditions, but there is one thing we can do. That is, we can create the subjective factor — the vanguard. By entering the YSA, by building a revolutionary party, by understanding and participating in the revolutionary process, we can make victory possible.
Are we going to be able to do it? Other generations have failed to do it. Are we going to be able to build a revolutionary socialist vanguard that can lead a mass movement to overthrow the system? That’s the great challenge to this young generation. And the answer of the YSA is yes, we’re going to do it.

Is Donald Trump the Second 9/11?
Or Is He the Third?
December 22, 2019.
by Tom Engelhardt
TomDispatch
Here’s the question at hand — and I guarantee you that you’ll read it here first: Is Donald Trump the second or even possibly the third 9/11? Because truly, he has to be one or the other.
Let me explain, and while I do, keep this in mind: as 2019 ends, thanks to Brexit and the victory of Boris Johnson in Britain’s recent election, the greatest previous imperial power on this planet is clearly headed for the sub-basement of history. Meanwhile, that other superpower of the Cold War era, the Soviet Union, now Russia, remains a well-sauced Putinesca shadow of its former self. And then, of course, there’s the country that, not so long ago, every major American politician but Donald Trump proclaimed the most exceptional, indispensable nation ever.
As it happens, the United States — if you didn’t catch the reference above — has been looking a bit peaked lately itself. You can’t say that it’s the end of the road for a land of such wealth and staggering military power, enough to finish off several Earth-sized planets. However, it’s clearly a country in decline on a planet in the same condition and its present leader, Tariff Man, however uniquely orange-faced he may be, is just the symptom of the long path to hell in a handbasket its leadership embarked on almost three decades ago as the Cold War ended.
Admittedly, President Trump has proved to be the symptom from hell. To give him full credit, he’s now remarkably hard-at-tweet dismantling the various alliances, agreements, and organizations that U.S. leaders had assembled, since 1945, to make this country the Great Britain (and beyond) of the second half of the twentieth century and that’s an accomplishment of the first order.
And keep in mind the context for so much of this: it’s happening in a country that may be experiencing an unprecedented kind of inequality. It’s producing billionaires at a staggering clip with just three men already possessing wealth equivalent to that of half the rest of the population; this, mind you, at a moment when the globe’s 26 richest people reportedly are worth as much as half of everyone else, or 3.8 billion people. And this in a world in which, as the income of that poorest half of humanity continues to decline, the wealth of billionaires increases by $2.5 billion a day and a new billionaire is minted every two days.
Had all of this not already been so and had a sense of decline not been in the air, it’s inconceivable that those heartland white Americans who had come to feel themselves on the losing end of developments in this country would have sent a charlatan billionaire into the White House to represent them (or at least to give the finger to the Washington establishment). And all this on a planet that itself, in climate terms, appears to be in unprecedented decline.
Think of the above as part of what’s come down, metaphorically speaking, since those towers in New York fell more than 18 years ago.
Looking Back on 9/11
It’s in this context that we should all look back on what truly did come down that Tuesday morning in September 2001, an all-American day of the grimmest sort. That was, of course, the day when this country was attacked by 19 suicidal hijackers, most of them Saudi, using American commercial jets as their four-plane air force. They, in turn, were inspired by a man, Osama bin Laden, and his organization, al-Qaeda, part of a crew of radical Islamists that Washington had backed years earlier in an Afghan War against the Soviet Union. In response to the events of that day — though it seems unimaginable now — we could have joined a world already in pain, one that had experienced horrors largely unimaginable in this country until that moment, in a kind of global solidarity.
Instead, responding to the destruction of those towers in Manhattan and part of the Pentagon, the Bush administration essentially launched a war against much of the planet. They soon dubbed it a “Global War on Terror,” or GWOT, and key officials almost instantly claimed it would have more than 60 countries (or terror groups in them) in its sights. Eighteen years later, the U.S. is still at war across a vast swath of the globe, involved in conflict after conflict from the Philippines to Afghanistan, Iran and Iraq to northern Africa and beyond. In the process, that GWOT has produced failed state after failed state and terror group after terror group, enough to make the original al-Qaeda (still going) look like nothing at all. And of course, in all these years, the U.S. military, hailed here as “the finest fighting force that the world has ever known” (and similar formulations), lacks a single decisive (or even modest) victory. Meanwhile, everywhere, yet more towers, real or metaphorical, continue to fall; in fact, whole cities in the Middle East now lie in rubble.
The top officials of President George W. Bush’s administration would, at the time, mistake 9/11 for a kind of upside-down stroke of luck, the perfect excuse for launching military operations, including invasions, geared to the ultimate domination of the planet (and its key oil supplies). Via drones armed with missiles and bombs, they would turn any president into an assassin-in-chief. They would, in the end, help spread terror groups in a fashion beyond imagining on September 12, 2001, while their never-ending wars would displace vast numbers of innocent people, creating a refugee crisis of a kind not seen since the end of World War II when significant parts of the planet stood in ruins. And all of that, in turn, would help spark, on a global scale, what came to be known as the “populist right,” in part thanks to the very refugees created by that GWOT. The response to what came down on 9/11, in other words, would create its own hell on Earth.
Who knew back then? Not me, that’s for sure. Not when I started what became TomDispatch 18 years ago, feeling, in the wake of 9/11 and the invasion of Afghanistan, that something was truly wrong with our world, that something more than the World Trade Center might be in the process of coming down around all our ears. I can still remember the feeling in those weeks, as I saw the mainstream media’s focus narrow drastically amid nationwide self-congratulatory celebrations of this country as the greatest survivor, dominator, and victim on the planet. I watched with trepidation as we began to close down to the world, while essentially attempting to take all the roles in the global drama for ourselves except greatest evil doer, which was, of course, left to Osama bin Laden.
I still remember thinking then that the Vietnam years had been the worst and most embattled in my lifetime, but that somehow this — whatever it turned out to be — would be so much worse. And yet whatever I was sensing, whatever I was imagining, wouldn’t prove to be the half of it, not the quarter of it.
If you had told me then that we were heading for Donald Trump’s version of American decline and a corrupt global gilded age of unprecedented proportions, one in which showmanship, scam, and self-serving corruption would become the essence of everything, while god knows what kinds of nightmares — like those subprime mortgages of the 2007 economic meltdown — were quietly piling up somewhere just beyond our view, I would have thought you mad.
The Second 9/11
All these years later, it’s strange to feel something like that moment recurring. Of course, in this elongated Trumpian version of it, no obvious equivalent to those towers in New York has come down. And yet, over the three years of The Donald’s presidency, can’t you just feel that something has indeed been coming down, even as the media’s coverage once again narrowed, this time not to a single self-congratulatory story of greatness and sadness, but to one strange man and his doings.
If you think about it, I suspect you can feel it, too. Looking back to 2016, mightn’t you agree that Donald Trump rather literally embodied a second 9/11? He certainly was, after a fashion, the hijacker-in-chief of that moment, not sent by al-Qaeda, of course, but… well, by whom? That is, indeed, the question, isn’t it? Whom exactly did he represent? Not his famed “base,” those red-hatted MAGA enthusiasts at his endless rallies who felt they had gotten lost in the shuffle of wealth and politics and corruption in this country. Perhaps, of course, the al-Qaeda of that moment was actually another kind of terrorist crew entirely, the one-percenters who had mistaken this country’s wealth for their own and preferred a billionaire of any sort in the White House for the first time in history. Or maybe, as a presidential hijacker first class, Donald Trump simply represented himself and no one else at all. Perhaps he was ready to bring a whole system to its knees (just as he had once bankrupted those five casinos of his in Atlantic City), as long as he could jump ship in the nick of time with the loot.
On that first 9/11, those towers came down. The second time around, the only thing that came down, at least in the literal sense, was, of course, The Donald himself. He famously descended that Trump Tower escalator into the presidential race in June 2015, promoting a “great wall” (still unbuilt years later and now, like everything The Donald touches, a cesspool of corruption) and getting rid of Mexican “rapists.”
From that moment on, Donald Trump essentially hijacked our world. I mean, try to tell me that, in the years since, he hasn’t provided living evidence that the greatest power in human history, the one capable of destroying the planet six different ways, has no brain, no real coordination at all. It’s fogged in by a mushroom cloud of largely senseless media coverage and, though still the leading force on the planet, in some rather literal fashion has lost its mind.
No wonder it’s almost impossible to tell what we’re actually living through. Certainly, in a slo-mo version of 9/11, Donald Trump has been taking down the nation as we’ve known it. Admittedly, unlike Bolivia, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, and other such places on this increasingly unsettled planet of ours, true civil strife has (yet) to break out here (though individual mass shootings certainly have). Still, the president and some of his supporters have begun talking about, even threatening, “civil war” for our unsettled future.
On the first 9/11, the greatest power in history struck out at the planet. The second time around, it seems to be preparing to strike out at itself.
Was 11/9 the original 9/11?
Perhaps this is the time to bring up the possibility that September 11, 2001, might not really have been the first 9/11 and that Donald Trump might actually be the third, not the second 9/11.
In a sense, the first 9/11 might really have been 11/9. I’m thinking, of course, of November 9, 1989, the day the Berlin Wall, that symbol of the Cold War, a divided Europe, and a deeply divided world, suddenly began to be torn down by East and West Germans. Believe me, in our nation’s capital, it was an event no less unexpected or shocking than September 11, 2001. Until that moment, Washington’s political class and the crew who ran the national security state had continued to imagine a future dominated by a never-ending Cold War with the Soviet Union. The shock of that moment is still hard to grasp.
Looked at a certain way, that November the people had hijacked history and Washington’s response to it would be no less monumentally misplaced than to the 2001 moment. Once the key officials of George H.W. Bush’s administration had taken in what happened, they essentially declared ultimate victory. Over everything. For all time.
With the U.S., the last standing superpower, ultimately victorious in a way never before imagined, history itself seemed to be at an end. The future was ours, forever, and we had every right to grab it for ourselves. The world in which so many of us had grown up was declared over and done with in a wave of self-congratulatory backslapping in Washington. The planet, it seemed, was now our oyster and ours alone. (And if you want to know how that turned out, just think of Donald Trump in the White House and then read Andrew Bacevich’s new book, The Age of Illusions: How America Squandered Its Cold War Victory.)
It’s in this context that Trump’s could be considered the third hijacking of our era. Given his sense of self, his might even be thought of not as the 1% hijacking moment, but as the .000000001% moment.
And be prepared: the next version of 9/11, however defined, is guaranteed to make Osama bin Laden and his 19 hijackers look like so many pikers. Depending on what tipping points are reached and what happens after that on our rapidly warming planet, so much could come down around humanity’s ears. And if so, that moment in 2015 when Donald Trump rode an escalator down into the presidential contest to the tune of Neil Young’s “Rockin’ in the Free World” will look very different — because it will be far clearer than it is even now that he was carrying a blowtorch with him.

Afghanistan Wars: Drugs for Fun and Profit
by Gregory Douglas
It ought to be recognized that part of the so-called Afghan opium pipeline runs through the United Arab Emirates on its way to Kosovo where it is refined into heroin and shipped up into Europe.
Opium crops located in Afghanistan, over 95% of the world’s opium production, is protected by US CIA people and elements of the American military who have made themselves responsible for the protection of the bulk of the illegal heroin markets worldwide.
There is a deliberate effort to convince the bulk of the American public that opium in Afghanistan is a Taliban operation but in fact it is not
An ‘Afghanistan Opium Survey’ details the ongoing and steady rise of Afghan opium production. In stated: “In 2016, opium production had increased by approximately 25 times in relation to its 2001 levels, from 185 tons in 2001 to 4800 tons in 2016.”
In 2011 a US MI report had stated, very clearly, that US military convoys operating from Pakistani ports were specifically used to ship both raw opium and refined heroin out of that country and to South American ports.
And then there are the origins, and development of the CIA’s modus operandi.
In what is called the Golden Triangle area, during the Vietnam war, when the CIA imposed a food-for-opium scheme on Hmong tribesmen from Laos — complete with a heroin refinery at the CIA headquarters in northern Laos and the set-up of nefarious Air America to export the raw gum opium by CIA-owned aircraft, to Columbia where it was, and is, being refined into heroin.
During its involvement with the war in SEA, the CIA used the Hmong groups to counter the activities of the Pathet Lao groups. The Hmongs used the profits from their opium productions to live on. The CIA protected the opium trade and very soon, realizing the profits to be made from it, expanded their control over the opium-growing business. The Hmong were very important to CIA operations and the CIA was very concerned with their well-being. The CIA began to export raw opium from the north and east of the Plain of Jars to Long Tieng and later, during the height of the Vietnam wars, began to take a great interest in the very large and successful Afghanistani opium fields.
A Pakistani intelligence report based on Pashtun sources, most specifically indicates that the controlling factor in the opium production is not Muslim but American.
According to Pakistani government intelligence, the CIA is heavily involved with al-Quaeda and IS and introduced them into Afghanistan for guerrilla actions so as to be able to convince Washington to increase the number of American troops into that country to protect the highly profitable opium fields.
If one looks at a map showing the locations of the known opium fields in Afghanistan and then looks at another map showing US military units in place, the two are nearly identical.
Russian intelligence is well aware that the US CIA and the Pentagon are secretly supporting the Saudi-raised Sunni IS, a branch of which is now very active in Afghanistan.
It is very well known that a major portion of Afghanistani gum opium is taken over by CIA people and most of it is shipped to Columbia.
A portion of this opium goes to Kosovo where it is also refined and then shipped up through Germany to Russia. This annoys the Russians who have made a strong effort to put a halt to something that killed over 50,000 Russians last year from heroin overdoses.
Here we have an interesting situation.
Russia, with good reason, objects to having heroin smuggled into her country and attempts to put a stop to it.
The United States, a country that, via its agencies, is heavily involved in the international drug trade, objects to this attitude.
Therefore, in addition to all Russia’s oil and gas which America badly needs, the US has an excellent motive for making Russia a handy enemy.
Enemies are necessary to stimulate public support for more profitable (to some at least) small wars.

The Season of Evil
by Gregory Douglas

Preface
This is in essence a work of fiction, but the usual disclaimers notwithstanding, many of the horrific incidents related herein are based entirely on factual occurrences.
None of the characters or the events in this telling are invented and at the same time, none are real. And certainly, none of the participants could be considered by any stretch of the imagination to be either noble, self-sacrificing, honest, pure of motive or in any way socially acceptable to anything other than a hungry crocodile, a professional politician or a tax collector.
In fact, the main characters are complex, very often unpleasant, destructive and occasionally, very entertaining.
To those who would say that the majority of humanity has nothing in common with the characters depicted herein, the response is that mirrors only depict the ugly, evil and deformed things that peer into them
There are no heroes here, only different shapes and degrees of villains and if there is a moral to this tale it might well be found in a sentence by Jonathan Swift, a brilliant and misanthropic Irish cleric who wrote in his ‘Gulliver’s Travels,”
“I cannot but conclude the bulk of your natives to be the most odious race of little pernicious vermin that Nature ever suffered to crawl upon the surface of the earth.”
Swift was often unkind in his observations but certainly not inaccurate.

Frienze, Italy
July 2018-August 2019

Chapter 45

In due time, Max began to trust Claude with a number of inside secrets and finally, suggested to him that he might make both of them a good deal of money if Claude would, perhaps, not look unkindly at stealing various pieces of expensive art for which he had an expanding market.
These would be pieces from private collections, pieces that would be sold to other collectors who would be fully apprised that their acquisitions were stolen.
They obviously did not care about the origins of their newly acquired treasures.
The collecting world was filled with such individuals.
The first raid was on the Grosse Pointe estate of the wealthy CEO of a major automotive complex.
Max, who bought information from dishonest law enforcement personnel, disgruntled servants and poor security guards, was able to provide Claude with exact details on the collection to be looted and all of its attendant security.
While the owner was on a trip to Italy, Claude managed to make off with nearly a million dollars of Renaissance pieces and his cut made him financially independent for at least three years.
Finding that he enjoyed the hunt almost as much as the money, he took up a study of alarm systems, locks, safes and other deterrents.
Max used to say,
“Kid, if man invents a system, man can beat it.”
And Claude did.
He even took courses from technical schools in locksmanship and spent six months working for two different security firms that specialized in highly sophisticated systems. He acquired shelves full of manuals, boxes of electronic schematics and, with the aid of the ever-encouraging fence, actually set up a small company that enabled him to buy all of the trade tools sold only to legitimate locksmen and members of law enforcement.
In due time, there was no system he could not break and no lock that he could not open and his relationship with Max was both beneficial and stimulating.
Exploiting a natural athletic bent, Claude also took classes in mountain climbing and while other graduates climbed Mt. McKinley or Kilimanjaro, Claude learned to go up the outside walls of tall apartment houses of the sort that are found on Central Park West in New York.
He found little interest in standing on the frigid and dangerous top of some mountain but a great deal of interest in slipping into a luxury penthouse overlooking Central Park and making off with a knapsack full of cubically expensive Chinese jade or, even better, a magnificent collection of Scythian gold from the Crimea.
In the case of the latter rape, Claude was interested to note that the owner never reported it either to his insurance company or to the police.
“He ain’t going to do that, kid. See, it’s all stolen from the Russians and there is no way he’ll get the State Department and Interpol down on him. Right now, if he’s not out on a window ledge, he’s biting the bullet for good.”
When Claude was twenty, Max died from old age, his shop was closed and Claude decided it was more than time to find another fence and greener pastures.
Max had recommended an old friend in Chicago and Claude moved his operations to the Windy City. The North Shore proved to be very rich pickings but he had the misfortune to run up against a well-organized gang of burglars who had the added advantage of being policemen during the day.
These burglars became outraged at the activities of the Boston orphan and went to such lengths to find him and dump his body into Lake Michigan that Claude decided that Chicago was not worthy of his presence.

One winter day, while walking past the Union Station, he was jumped by two very determined and capable black dope addicts who decided to rob him.
They both had knives and showed every intention of gutting him when Claude looked over the shoulder of the man facing him and shouted at the air and, when the thief turned his head, Claude grabbed his chin with one hand and his neck with the other and gave a very sharp twist.
There was a crunch, a quiver and the thief fell to the slush-covered sidewalk with a final gasp.
Claude then whipped around, forced the knife from the hand of the other one and in a terrible rage, ripped open his abdomen as a curtain raiser before slashing his throat with a neat backhand gesture.
There were fountains of blood and a horrid, shiny mass of gray intestines flopping around on the concrete like stunned anacondas and he immediately went across the street and into the station.
An hour later he was in a compartment on the “City of New Orleans” and Claude was busily engaged in sponging the blood off of one sleeve of his overcoat and both of his shoes.

(Continued)

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