Post-election Malas / #9 Amérika

1. Were you in the streets, is that what we'll be asked later

2.  & will I say Yes, on Hudson near where I live, early, after not enough sleep, walking north at the end of that first bardo April, after another long night into dawn, reading (Did you look everywhere, will we be asked that too)

(2a. Where are you now, Ehren Watada from Hawai'i, whose picture I used to have on my office door, who volunteered for the Army after September 11, then refused to be deployed to Iraq: "Simply put," he wrote to his brigade commander, "I am wholeheartedly opposed to the continued war in Iraq, the deception used to wage this war, and the lawlessness that has pervaded every aspect of our civilian leadership.")

Ehren Watada,  New York Times , July 23, 2006

Ehren Watada, New York Times, July 23, 2006

(2b. He said he wasn't against all wars, just criminal ones, & didn't want to be part of war crimes.)

(2c. How he said, "I was still willing to go until I started reading.")

3.  --to Penn Station, the Saturday morning of the climate march, with my headphones, the lucky grace of an egg sandwich & a coffee, for half the hunger & half the thirst, breathing the new air & watching the new blossoms & listening to Silvio sing about snakes

(3a. Adrienne Rich, "Miracle Ice Cream": "and, yes, you can feel happy/with one piece of your heart")

4.  & met Karen my yoga compañera, with her daughter & her friend, resting her worn red copy of the Constitution on her knee on the train.

5. & yes I remember the girl on Hudson Street saying, "In the next generations everybody will be saying everything's wireless. The thing is, new kids won't even know what a wire is."

6. The way when my kids were growing up, worried about people sleeping in the street, I had to tell them, "It wasn't always like this, it started about 1980."

( 6a. March 2011 homeless people in New York, before Mayor Bloomberg removed the rental assistance: 37,500
August 2014 homeless: Almost 55,000 )

(6b.  As the Cubans like to say, Mud comes from rain.)

6.  & yes in Washington we walked from Union Station to Pennsylvania Avenue, with the crowd sorted into the customary segregations

7. on as hot an April 29th as we've had since 1974

(7a. 9.11 Commissioner Bob Kerrey in 2010: "The problem is, it's a 30-year-old conspiracy," it's dizzying in the bardo isn't it)

(7b. The beautiful young man who walks up & questions him in some place between places, here's the link

(7c. The ways I watched Cubans banish worry & want with their joy in young people, their own or anyone else's, their joy & hope in the jóvenes, aka in life)

(7d. Gramsci's pessimism of the intellect in dialogue with optimism of the will, & the pessimism of 'What are we going to have for dinner' in dialogue with the intransigent joven-loving 'optimism' of the cubanos)

(7e. My friend Lourdes the filmmaker who remembers the bodies in the streets under Batista, & says Somos un pueblo muy sublevador, We're a very uprisey people.)

(7f. Who says, People say it was Fidel but Fidel nada, Era la gente. Fidel nothing, It was the people.)

With uprisey Idania & Leo, Havana.

With uprisey Idania & Leo, Havana.

(7g. Trying to explain to my landlady in Havana during our election campaign what a 'loser' is. "Someone who's lost something?" she asked me.)

(7h. Joven in the video with Bob Kerrey: If it's an act of war & it's hiding things, which everyone on your Commission knew, that the Pentagon was changing their stories & lying to you, then it's a cover-up of an act of war, & under Article 3 Section 3 of the Constitution, it's treason! & unless we get to the very bottom of it--

Kerrey: This is a longer conversation. I'm not sure we'll ever get to the bottom of this.

Joven ((for all of us, gracias)): We have to. Or we can't save our country, sir.

Kerrey: Well if that's the condition upon which we're going to be saving our country, I don't...because the problem is, it's a 30-year-old conspiracy.

Jóven: No, I'm talking about 9.11.

Kerrey: That's what I'm talking about. )

(7i. Breathe, it makes you soft & strong. My beloved 3 cycles of 108 every morning, like a boat I step into after half-drowning all night.)

(7j. "A number she liked some prayer thing 108." Anne Carson, Float) (Last mala for now.)

8.  & on the road to the White House we saw the blocks of white people waiting in the heat, placid with their Save the Earth signs, as if they were waiting to speak to the manager, there'd been some mistake & it would be put right again

9. & we weren't all white so we kept walking, looking for that little edge of joy that comes from woke desperation, up to where I could see the tall puppet of Berta Cáceres who'd watched over the Standing Rock demonstration in the sleet

10. --but not even the white people were placid as they passed in front of the emperor's hotel, shouting Shame & holding up their middle fingers & cursing

(10a. The fascist candidate who'd visited the Tower had already advanced to the second round of the French elections, people were discussing this)

11. --but yes, even among the angriest we still kept an attitude of temporary crisis, as if it had started in one November & would be put right again before the next one

12.  --'right' as in the way it was before November, & yes still an attitude of petition.

13.  Call your representatives, people said.

14. The boy near the National Press Club walking beside his mother, with a sign that said Fix It So I Can Play Minecraft.

15. & the New Yorkers I found thrown away on Hudson Street later, the one from November 7, 2016 with rich white people in high glassy apartments watching eagles & tennis players on giant screens

15a. & the one from November 14, 2016, with a man in a suit reading a newspaper on a train, with the headline Oh, Sweet Jesus, Please God, No.

16. That evening as we were on our way home, the emperor held a rally in Harrisburg, to celebrate his first 100 days

17.  --with @BikersForTrump Chris Cox sitting behind him, who Politico says is "a former advance man for Dan Quayle, who still wears a ring bearing the seal of the vice president on his right hand"

(17a. "How did he go from Berkeley to Penn in 2 days? Way 2 go Chris!" one tweet said, after his group helped police arrest anti-fascist protesters in California. Cox re law enforcement: "We like to see ourselves as Plan B.")

18. & recited a poem from the campaign trail called "The Snake"

19. & at one point interrupted himself in the middle of "We are eradicating the criminal gangs & cartels that have infiltrated our country," to salute someone in the audience, "Thank you for that sign. 'Blacks for Trump.' I love that guy."

20.  --as he did in Redding, California the summer before the election, "Ah, look at my African American over here, look at him. Are you the greatest? You know what I'm talking about," to a Republican Congressional candidate using a Veterans for Trump sign to shield himself from the sun.

21.  In Harrisburg he was talking to Michael Symonette, aka Michael the Black Man, former member of the Yahweh ben Yahweh cult in Miami, whose activities have sometimes included murder.

22.  You can find him on Twitter, with his shirt that says Trump & Republicans Are Not Racist

23.  --on the feed of Trump consigliere George Lombardi, founder of Bikers for Trump & about 500 other pro-Trump Facebook groups, with his arm around Michael's shoulder in a hotel room: "Michael you got it. Trump @realdonaldtrump got your name in Harrisburg PA. Good job."

24. Lombardi who 2 days before the neoliberal & not the fascist won the French election tweeted "VERIFIED: Macron has secret bank account in the The Cayman Islands. 4chan is hunting him down as we speak! - The_Donald"

24a. @pwnallthethings : "Video showing the 'Macron offshore bank account letter' posted two days ago was constructed & forged with PhotoShop"

24b. Army captain to Buzzfeed August 2013, "Anonymous' Secret Presence in the US Army": "I was involved in the Arab Spring opening up internet communications. I was a facilitator for a lot of people who have more skills than me in the cyber world. I knew people who I met through 4chan, 9chan, & 7chan & then a lot of AnonOps IRCs [Internet Relay Chats] & who they needed to talk to--the organizations that would help them, & people in government would give them resources and access...I got people in the right rooms at the right time."

Christopher Poole, founder of 4chan

Christopher Poole, founder of 4chan

24c. Dale Beran, Huntington Post, February 20, "4chan: The Skeleton Key To The Rise Of Trump": "As someone who has witnessed 4chan grow from a group of adolescent boys who could fit into a single room at my local anime convention to a worldwide coalition of right-wing extremists (which is still somehow also a message board about anime), I feel I have some obligation to explain."

24d. "The very method of how gifs and images are interspersed with dialogue in Slack or now iMessage or wherever--"

--as I am doing sometimes in these malas--

"--is deeply 4chanian. In other words, the site left a profound impression on how we as a culture behave and interact."

24e. Like any culture, it has languages, & the languages have characteristic rhythms, sometimes audible.

24f. Like the sound January 12, before the inauguration, of CIA-friendly David Ignatius the Washington Post reporter on MSNBC, just after he mentions "Mike Pompeo, CIA director,"  being hacked & made to say Russia Russia Russia over & over

24g. or Maxine Waters on CSPAN, as she said, "this bill that would take our cop on the block, the SEC, & literally obliterate"--interrupted by the logo of the RT network with a tweet from "San Escobar," a flag like an amalgam of the Cuban & the Palestinian, over "The magnificent Esperal Bay in #SanEscobar," & the zipper "US Justice Department Inspector General To Review FBI's Actions In Clinton Email Scandal," with ghost images of passwords in the background

24h. (January 10: Polish Foreign Minister described meetings with Caribbean nations, some "for the first time in the history of our diplomacy. For example with countries like Belize or San Escobar," a country that doesn't exist, when he meant to say "San Cristóbal y Nieves," Spanish for Saint Kitts and Nevis.)

24i. (Esperal is like Antabuse, a drug to treat alcoholism, you can get implants of it in Poland.)

24j. --the same day the lights went out during Pompeo's nomination hearing, as Senator Mark Warner discussed Russian hacking.

24k. 1999, Daniel T Kuehl, chair of the Information Operations Department of the National Defense University in Washington, the military's school for information warfare, Washington Post, "When Seeing and Hearing Isn't Believing":  "Once you can take any kind of information & reduce it into ones and zeros, you can do some pretty interesting things."

24l. If you search for Lombardi's 'VERIFIED: Macron has secret bank account' phrase now, you get to 'Good Ideas Vs Bad,' 'KEK - VERIFIED', a Twitter account started January 2016, #RegressiveLeft #Islam #Feminism #SJW #BLM, whose first of more than 17,000 followers was 'JFK's Hologram,' @trutherbot911, Washington DC: "I was shot. Follow the movement. #Investigate #BushDidIt #LegalizeRanch

(24m. As if this were a nasty divorce, where the worst accusations are flung between people you couldn't have imagined as adversaries, people who trusted each other, people who told each other everything. Where they start to use weapons you wouldn't have imagined them using before, weapons they might have used elsewhere, but not on each other.) (In the postmodern funhouse, where everything is partly a joke.) (And sometimes they get back together briefly, just to confuse everyone.) (And those around them changing allegiances by the day, & not always telling the truth about where they're standing, & sometimes standing on both sides at once.) (In the role of the ruined family & friends watching: Those with a stake in the former arrangements in this country.) (In the role of those who saw it coming: The rest of this country & the rest of the world.)

24n. JFK's Hologram's first follower from Aigiali Amorgos, a beach hotel in Greece.

24o. Milo Yiannopoulos, famous as part of 4chan's 2014 hate campaign called Gamergate, below, on the right.

24p. Matt Lees in the Guardian, December 2016: "Looking back, Gamergate really only made sense in one way: as an exemplar of what Umberto Eco called 'eternal fascism,' a form of extremism he believed could flourish at any point, in any place--a fascism that would extol traditional values, rally against diversity and cultural critics, believe in the value of action above thought and encourage a distrust of intellectuals or experts--a fascism built on frustration and machismo. The requirement of this formless fascism would--above all else--be to remain in an endless state of conflict, a fight against a foe who must always be portrayed as impossibly strong and laughably weak. This was the methodology of Gamergate, and it now forms the basis of the contemporary far-right movement."

24q. Milo Yiannopoulos re Steve Bannon: "I am a gay Jew, and he made me into a star."

24r. Steve Bannon re Milo Yiannopoulos: "one of the leading voices of his generation in this whole fight against cultural Marxism, the defense of Western Civilization."

24s. How France blocked 4chan in the days before the election, after hacked documents from the Macron campaign were dumped with the header message SHALL WE PLAY A GAME.

24t. /pol/ is the 4chan forum called Politically Incorrect.

24u. --where amid the funhouse rounds of boys calling each other faggots & cucks & suggesting they kill themselves, you might also find, say, a coded message, indicating the location of the Westminster attack in March, the day before it happened, to be translated from Morse code to binary to the text coordinates of the British Parliament

24v. --where former Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski happened to be standing on the bridge during the 82-second attack & provided video on the spot & permission to share it.

24w. Radoslaw Sikorski of the Eurasia Group--"We live in an era of volatility & uncertainty, one that generates both risks & opportunities for businesses & investors around the world"--& the Center for European Studies at Harvard, & Georgetown's Center for Strategic & International Studies, founded in 1962, "dedicated to finding ways to sustain American prominence & prosperity as a force for good in the world," Zbigniew Brzezinski was a trustee. In the 80s Sikorski was a journalist in Angola & Afghanistan, you can check it out via the Discovery Channel documentary, "Polish Mujahideen." "He received praise for his article published in January 1989, 'The coming crack-up of Communism,' which proved prophetic."

24x. SHALL WE PLAY A GAME? is what a hacked computer types to joven Matthew Broderick in the 1983 movie "Wargames," in which you can hear the voice of the precursor to Siri & in which a hackerboy finds a Pentagon back door by mistake & brings the world to the brink of nuclear war.

24y. End of 2007 Economist article on war games, called "Shall We Play A Game?," quoting Sun Tzu: "To know your enemy, you must become your enemy."

24z. Maybe that strategy has strayed a little far from the farm this time.

25. Yes, I was on East 42nd Street in the rain on May 25 & heard the voice of Pamela Geller, sponsor of the Draw the Prophet contest in Garland, Texas, amplified & aimed toward the UN, quoting Christopher Hitchens, "'Islamophobia is a word created by fascists, used by cowards, to manipulate morons,'" she said, "and the morons are to my left--"

26. --where as the Jewish Defense League's Meir Kahane's beloved Assemblyman Dov Hikind spoke, a man in a suit called him a fascist in Hebrew, & told him he should go back to Russia

27.  --& the group of barricaded anti-fascists blew whistles as Milo Yiannopoulos spoke, as the crowd on the other side of the sidewalk called them cockroaches & commies & yelled USA USA

28. & Milo--"Yes, I'm back, & just as much of a waspish cunt as ever"--after mentioning the Manchester attack, asked, "Does Linda Sarsour in her dark hut approve of this atrocity?"

29. & ended presidentially with "God bless you, & God bless America."

30. How Gavin McInnes of the Proud Boys kept to the edges, exchanging the little OK hand signal with new arrivals & explaining the nuances of his movement to cameras

Gavin McInnes

Gavin McInnes

(30a. --probably leaving out what he said in the video he posted after his March trip to Israel, "Holodomor was Ukrainians. I think it was ten million Ukrainians who were killed. That was by Jews. That was by Marxist, Stalinist, left-wing, Commie, Socialist Jews.")

(30b. & then when David Duke happily spread this around, McInnes responded, "Fuck you. You're taking a clip out of context that includes the words, 'Don't take this out of context.' Stalin did it. Not Jews.")

(30c. & then made another video March 12 to say "No offense, Nazis, I don't want to hurt your feelings, but I don't like you. I like Jews.")

(30d. & another March 14, "10 Things I Hate About Israel")

31. --& the boys with their 4chan Kek & Don't Tread On Me snake flags walked up & down, one with a Good Night Left Side button, which is a genre, sometimes a silhouette charging with a stick & a shield, sometimes Pinochet's face, or crossed-out hammers & sickles & someone falling out of a helicopter, or someone kicking or dropping a bicycle on someone on the ground

East 42nd Street, May 25

East 42nd Street, May 25

Kek flag & its inspiration

Kek flag & its inspiration

32. & yes I was in the streets on May Day, wandering among the customary segregations, like walking around picking up pieces of a dropped cup

32a. --arguing with a whiteshirt policeman on West 3rd over where I was allowed to put my feet

32b. --& talking with Jacob the black carpenter with white in his beard & a lilt from Barbados, getting into his truck on Hudson, who shook his head with me that the morning was so quiet

33c. --& with Frank the white cable guy picketing on 14th, "You're trading your racism & sexism for being able to provide for your families," he said he'd told his compañeros, but no--

33d. --& in Washington Square the only mixing I saw, the mexicanos with signs that said Chinga la migra, the laundry & domestic & warehouse & retail, wholesale & department store & clerical, administrative & technical workers, walking together with drums & rattles & feathers & the policeman with the LRAD strapped to his chest, the NYU sanctuary students with roses, a young man with red in his beard & an accent that sounded like Barbados, whose shirt said Tiocfaidh ár lá, Irish for Our day will come

33e. & the sun was bright & hot which made us smile after the winter, & when we turned down 7th Avenue toward 201 Varick all the dogs in the second-floor dog spa gathered at the window when the march passed & looked down.

33f. I didn't see people in the windows, but the dogs were watching.

33g. & later in the sweet dusk they were playing samba drums outside the federal buildings where I watched the lines of men go in during the 2003 Special Registrations, & one sign said I Stand With & Will Protect

33i. & as I biked home the moon was coming up over 33 Thomas, NSA's Titanpointe, crescent.

May Day NYC

May Day NYC

34. Shall we play a game?, how about Lord & Mastered, no, let's play Conquista, let's play Camp, or King & Pawn, Precious & Expendable, Cowboys & Indians, Knights & Barbarians, Sheriff & Mysteriously Stopped Breathing, haven't we learned any other games by now

35. How about Huckle Buckle Beanstalk, which my grandmother taught us, in that house sick with secrets, with a thimble that was her mother's, I have it right here.

36. The game of trying to see something hiding in plain sight.

37.  How patiently it waits, even after years of contempt & neglect, to wake up & walk with you. That persistent sense through all this bardo dizziness: Everybody knows.

38. The presence of the generations of ghosts who approached the sword thicket of power, trying to cross, barefoot, balancing on the tips.

39. Sword in Latin: gladio.

40. How beautiful the glint of truth is, even when terrible.

(40a. Lotus sutra: Therefore should the mind be constantly fixed on her.)

41. To say to your beloved country, Baby you been lying to me so long it's like lies I eat for breakfast, lies I drink like water, lies I breathe. Lies I've been giving our children to grow on. When I look in the mirror lies I see.

(41a. Raise your hand if your maker & your destroyer are the same. If you've had practice in this.)

42. Marie's brother after an accidental overdose, when he was dying: I like the morphine

(42a. Lotus sutra: Were you with murderous intent/Thrust within a fiery furnace)

43. & how they had to hold him & walk him around to wake him up. How they asked him, Who is the president.

(43a. What they asked the caminante: "How was your walk this morning? Did you climb above the mist?")

44. What I say to my city these days as I walk myself around: Hold me, por favor. Wake me up.

45. Licio Gelli, as interviewed in Rome by the Belgian newspaper Le Soir, November 1990, a generation ago now:

(He was a Blackshirt in Spain, a liaison officer between Italy & Nazi Germany, a postwar US Army counterintelligence agent, an economic adviser to the Argentine embassy in Rome, & a financier, whose name in 1981 was found on a list of members of a clandestine organization called P2, along with Silvio Berlusconi's.)

LG: It was the CIA which, just after the war, set up this network, with the Italians. The best men were chosen, the true patriots, the anti-communists who were ready to sacrifice their lives. People who knew how to fight, too. At that time, the Italian army was so weak that, in order to be able to oppose Stalin, it was necessary, one way or another, to strengthen it. And these men were not only patriots but they knew how to fight, they were found among the former soldiers of the Salò Republic, that is, the last retreat of Mussolini, after 1943.

INT: So the Americans agreed to collaborate with former fascists?

LG: At the time, it was not the fascists but Stalin who frightened the Americans.

He looks so familiar now, doesn't he:

Mussolini's newspaper, 1945

Mussolini's newspaper, 1945

& here are some of his descendants:



US Pacific Command

US Pacific Command

US Military Intelligence Battalion

US Military Intelligence Battalion

US Army Cyber Corps: Defend Attack Exploit

US Army Cyber Corps: Defend Attack Exploit

US Special Operations, Europe

US Special Operations, Europe

US Military Advisory Group, El Salvador

US Military Advisory Group, El Salvador

Salvadoran Army

Salvadoran Army

1st Brigade of the Salvadoran Army, May 1990:

Photo by Jeremy Bigwood

Photo by Jeremy Bigwood

& 45a. here's another insignia of Europe-inflected inter-American cooperation, from the former School of the Americas, now the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Operations, Fort Benning, Georgia--if you kept walking east from Selma, past Montgomery, you'd get there--where people used to leave crosses with the names of the dead handwritten on them stuck in the chainlink fence:

One For All & All For One

One For All & All For One

46. The shock around a bend on a sandy trail in Baracoa to see a copy of Columbus's Sacred Cross of Parra in the tangle of green at the edge of the Hotel Porto Santo beach.

Columbus's cross

Columbus's cross

47. The afternoon I spent there listening to the wind & watching the water & thinking about the words 'trailblaze,' 'frontier,' 'groundbreaking,' 'discover,' 'pioneer.' How 'colonial' meant 'valuable relic' in the Massachusetts settlement where I grew up. Is it a little remnant of reality, the ache in the word 'harrowing.' Listening to the wind & the water & thinking of the respect of the cubanos for their powers of undoing. What your life is like if what you know about undoing is intimate. The taste your hope is laced with. Looking at the sweet curve of that inlet, imagining the day before & the day after the arrival of those sails.

Hotel Porto Santo, Baracoa

Hotel Porto Santo, Baracoa

48. Abdelrahman Munif, Cities of Salt, set in Saudi Arabia when oil was 'discovered' there: "That evening, in the coffeehouse, the market, the mosque, in Arab Harran and in the workers' camp, everyone talked of how a new era had begun, and of how no one could predict what joys and sorrows it would bring. Would it bring benefits to Harran and its people, or more of the same suffering that they had known since the coming of Satan's ship more than four years ago?"



49. From Swiss historian Daniele Ganser's NATO's Secret Armies: Operation Gladio and Terrorism in Western Europe (2005): "In March 2001 General Giandelio Maletti, former head of Italian counter-intelligence, suggested that next to the Gladio secret army, the Italian secret service and a group of Italian right-wing terrorists, the massacres which had discredited the Italian Communists had also been supported by the White House in Washington and the US secret service CIA. At a trial of right-wing extremists accused to have been involved in the Piazza Fontana massacre, Maletti testified: 'The CIA, following the directives of its government, wanted to create an Italian nationalism capable of halting what it saw as a slide to the left, and, for this purpose, it may have made use of right-wing terrorism.' 'The impression was that the Americans would do anything to stop Italy from sliding to the left', the General explained..."

50. Venetian Judge Felice Casson, via Ganser: "He gradually started to understand that he was dealing not with private, but with state terrorism, paid by tax money. Under the name 'strategy of tension,' the massacres aimed to create tension among the entire population. The right-wing extremists and their supporters within NATO feared that the Italian Communists would become too powerful, and hence in an attempt to 'destabilise in order to stabilise,' the secret right-wing soldiers linked to the Gladio armies carried out massacres, which they blamed on the left."

48.  Judith Miller, almost 20 years before 'Hussein Intensifies Quest For A-Bomb Parts,' New York Times:

49. Le Soir journalist René Haquin, via Ganser: "Belgian authorities covered up the traces after the mysterious operations in the 1980s and sensitive questions were not answered. The secret Belgian army was not exposed and only some attacks were confirmed. 'The American and Belgian authorities who were questioned ended up admitting, after months, that there had been an exercise and admitted that certain attacks had taken place,' Haquin recalls. 'I remember, for example, one attack on a military fuel depot in Bastogne. Another attack on a police station at Neufchateau. Gradually, the military admitted that there had been certain attacks.' Yet details on the Vielsalm incident were not available. 'Their last version of Vielsalm was that an attack had been planned but had been cancelled at the last moment,' Haquin recalls, stressing that sensitively enough the arms stolen had been planted among a mysterious leftist group in order to blame the Communists for the crime: 'Some of the arms stolen at Viesalm were found in a flat belonging to the Cellules Communistes Combatantes (CCC, Fighting Communist Cells).'"

49a. Ganser interview, January 2016: "The scandal broke in Italy and was initially treated as yet another Italian mess, because there's always a scandal in Italy! But then it went further: the Belgian Defence Minister happened to be in Italy, and he found out from a newspaper that Belgium also had a secret army. Naturally, as Defence Minister, he was dismayed. So, upon his return to Belgium he called in the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff--the highest officer of the Belgian military--and asked him if what he had read was true. And the Chairman said, 'Yes, that's right,' to which the Defence Minister responded, 'That's strange; I'm the Defence Minister, and yet I know nothing about it!' The Chairman's answer to that was, 'We are military officers who dedicate our whole lives to military service; you are merely a temporary Defence Minister, and a socialist to boot. Governments come and go, and we are not going to tell every Defence Minister about our secret operations."

50. One way to resolve the tension between the military & the civilian: here's Defense Secretary General James Mattis, during the 2003 invasion of Iraq, with then-Colonel-now-General Joseph Dunford, now Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

50a. General Mattis, 2006: "This is the best training ground in the world. For the German troops it was Spain, right? Well, Iraq is ours."

50b. How Ganser says that postwar US-NATO Gladio operations weren't necessary under Franco's Spain because "the regime itself was Gladio."

51. Here's a link to a 3-part documentary, "Operation Gladio," aired by the BBC in 1992, that year we could've started to turn, shall we make it part of the Common Core now

51a. --directed by Allan Frankovich, who was born in New York City, & who died at 56 of a heart attack in a customs area at George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston.

51b. It's in 3 sections: 1 The Ring Masters 2 The Puppeteers 3 The Foot Soldiers.

51c. Mos Def, The Embassy: When it's really real it's even realer than the Matrix / Classic Modern Ancient Flagrant

51d. There's another section, 4, Reconstruction, but we're going to have to make that one ourselves.

52. How unchecked it spreads, like something spilled you don't mop up, & changes shape & direction, & changes consciousness, Was that stain always there, Didn't the rug always look like that, I can't even remember what spilled.

52a. Who sits around & says Let's name it after a good tool, like a hammer, Or how about a sword, No that's too obvious, Let's start naming them after birds.

53. Tim Weiner, New York Times, Robert Komer's obituary: "Working closely with William E Colby, the top man for the CIA in Vietnam, Mr Komer led a village-by-village effort to win hearts and minds. The pacification program evolved into a more tough-minded project called Operation Phoenix. Conceived by the White House and supported by the CIA, Phoenix sought to expose Vietcong agents who were working in South Vietnam. Mr Colby later testified that Phoenix killed 20,587 Vietnamese."

54. Michael Herr, Dispatches: "...night was the war's truest medium; night was when it got really interesting in the villages, the TV crews couldn't film at night, the Phoenix was a night bird, it flew in and out of Saigon all the time."

& 54a. "There were installations as big as cities with 30,000 citizens, once we dropped in to feed supply to one man. God knows what kind of Lord Jim phoenix numbers he was doing in there, all he said to me was, 'You didn't see a thing, right Chief? You weren't even here.'"

55. How Komer's Carter administration staff gave him a bronzed blowtorch, because his nickname was Blowtorch Bob.

56. --not to be confused with Blowtorch Bob D'Aubuisson, as in 'Quayle Meets Leader of Salvadoran Rightist Party,' June 14, 1989, with Defense Minister General Humberto Larios, & Chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff René Ponce, I've always saved that photo ripped out of the Times for some reason

June 14, 1989,  New York Times

June 14, 1989, New York Times

(56a. He'd also visited the previous February, 'Quayle Pressed Salvador For Inquiry On Massacre': "The trip appeared to be the first instance in which the Bush Administration used Mr Quayle as a diplomatic messenger." New York Times, February 15, 1989)

56b. This photo was from the early edition--'Quayle Meets With Salvadoran Leaders' it said later. And they made it clear that it was a grenade launcher, not a flame-thrower, although they still didn't note that he was holding it backwards.

57. D'Aubuisson visited Washington at least twice in 1984, in June to meet with Congressmen including Senator Jesse Helms--"All I know is that D'Aubuisson is a free enterprise man and deeply religious"--& in December to address the Committee for the Survival of a Free Congress & the Young Americans for Freedom at Georgetown.

58. The gentleman on the left in the photo, five months after it was taken, was present at a meeting in which the gentleman on the right ordered that the rector of the University of Central America be murdered, & that there were to be no witnesses. Larios later told the Truth Commission that he & Ponce & Salvadoran president Alfred Cristiani had another meeting some hours later

58a. --before the dawn murders of the rector & 5 of his fellow Jesuit priests, along with their housekeeper Julia Elba Ramos & her teenage daughter Celina. A note was left on a piece of cardboard: "FMLN executed those who informed on it. Victory or death, FMLN."

Ponce & Larios on the left, July 1989. In 2011 a Spanish judge issued a warrant for their arrest. Photo AP/La Prensa Gráfica

Ponce & Larios on the left, July 1989. In 2011 a Spanish judge issued a warrant for their arrest.
Photo AP/La Prensa Gráfica

Julia Elba Ramos & her daughter Celina

Julia Elba Ramos & her daughter Celina

58b. From a State Department intelligence & research office (INR) Afternoon Summary, July 22, 1976, re the Latin American Gladio known as Operation Condor, declassified 40 years later:

58c. Former Chilean intelligence chief General Manuel Contreras, interviewed in prison: "Do you call it Condor what Bush is doing now? Calling in all the intelligence services to fight terrorism all over the world, sin tregua y todo lo demás, without surrender & all the rest of it?

"Is that Condor?
"To look for information?
"Is that Condor?

"No. We just used to have regional intelligence meetings."

58d. AP last May: "Argentina's last dictator and 14 other former military officials have been sentenced for human rights crimes, marking the first time a court has ruled that Operation Condor was a criminal conspiracy to kidnap and forcibly disappear people across international borders."

58e. "A key piece of evidence in the case was a declassified FBI agent's cable, sent in 1976, that described in detail the conspiracy to share intelligence and eliminate leftists across South America."

58f. Mercenary Erik Prince, now brother of the Secretary of Education & giving the emperor foreign policy advice, re Phoenix: "It was a vicious, but very effective, kill/capture program in Vietnam that destroyed the Viet Cong as a military force. That’s what needs to be done to the funders of Islamic terror. And that would be even the—the wealthy radical Islamist billionaires funding it from the Middle East and any of the other illicit activities they’re in."

58g. Darius Rejali, Slate, March 2009: "In a scene eerily similar to the CIA interrogation of Abu Zubaydah, South Vietnamese torturers held Vhuen Van Tai, the highest-ranking Viet Cong officer captured, in a windowless white room outfitted with heavy-duty air conditioners for four years."

58h. The story via Frank Snepp, "a CIA interrogator who interviewed him in 1972 in the room regularly."

58i. How when you eat at Idilio in Havana you can hear the laughter from the Heroic Vietnam Daycare Center across the street.

58j. The lit letters at the edge of the Zócalo in Mexico City at a 2014 demonstration for the 44 murdered teachers college students of Ayotzinapa: Fue El Estado. It Was The State.

59. Alaa Abd El Fattah, Abu Khaled, from prison, for years now: "As for their state it is for an hour. Just for an hour."

60. Ah but what a long hour it is.

61. Reporter when Dan Quayle visited the Tower last November: What did you think about the Bush family not supporting Mr Trump?
Dan Quayle: I supported Mr Trump!
Kellyanne Conway: As did Vice-President Cheney! The two Bush vice-presidents!

61a. Dan Quayle re messengers: "The message of David Duke is, basically: big government, anti-big government, get out of my pocketbook, cut my taxes, put welfare people back to work. That's a very popular message. The problem is the messenger."

(61b. David Duke whose father worked for Royal Dutch Shell & in Vietnam for USAID.)

(61c. "At the same time that the financial supports were being kicked out from under the Thieu regime in Saigon, USAID's Office of Public Safety was put on the chopping block. The process had begun in 1969, when Public Safety adviser Dan Mitrione was captured and killed in Uruguay by guerrillas who claimed he was an undercover CIA officer teaching torture techniques to the secret police. A 1970 movie titled State of Siege, which dramatized the Mitrione episode and showed International Police Academy (IPA) graduates torturing political prisoners, brought attention to the practices of the IPA. Consequently, according to Doug McCollum, the State Department 'developed animosity toward Public Safety people,' and many contracts, including McCollum's, were not renewed." Douglas Valentine, The Phoenix Program: America's Use of Terror in Vietnam)

61d. Quayle is chairman of the board of Cerberus Capital Management, how's that for imperial wizardry, in which Donald Rumsfeld has invested as well, which specializes in 'distressed investing' & owns Freedom Group, an American firearms manufacturer holding company, including Remington & Bushmaster Firearms, & DynCorp, based in McLean, Virginia, Fort Worth, Texas, & Huntsville, Alabama, formed from 2 other companies in 1946, a CIA mercenary contractor implicated in UN peacekeeper sex trafficking networks involving girls as young as 8. In the movie about former Nebraska police officer & DynCorp employee Kathy Bolkovac called "The Whistleblower," DynCorp is called Democra Security.

61e. So whose messenger is he now. And what's the message.

62. Yes I was on Fifth Avenue in front of the Tower the day we heard that the emperor had fired the head of the investigation

62a. (Each day's exhausting torrent. How someone called it 'strategic drowning.')

62b. (How Sony registered 'shock & awe' as a trademark the day after the beginning of the invasion of Iraq in 2003 for use in a video game but later withdrew the application.)

62c. (Egyptian proverb: He who makes poison tastes it.)

62d. --although it had happened the night before, with a letter delivered by imperial bodyguard

62e. --which Liz Cheney posted it in a tweet, under a note: "Best. Termination. Letter. Ever."

62f. ("Senior intelligence official" to NBC News: "It's not just that they removed him--it's that they did it in the most thuggish and humiliating way possible. No notice, no nothing--instant execution. The bodyguard delivers the letter to headquarters. I think that was designed to send a message: Cut this shit out, or this will happen to you. This is like horse head in the bed.")

62g. (Cornel West at the Coltrane movie Q & A, discussing antidotes to "this gangster moment.")

62h. (Among my favorites: riding up Sixth Avenue, sharpened that way you have to be to ride in Manhattan traffic, trusting your body to distinguish a fake when your life might depend on it)

62i. (Especially when one has adopted headphones instead of helmet for protection, in this case Silvio quoting Brecht in my ears & singing I Dream of Snakes.)

62j. (The idea isn't that you want your instincts never to be wrong, just more reliable than not, with capacities for correction.)

62k. (& for that you have to practice.)

62l. (That animal way to know whether to trust someone or not, in where your eyes choose to light, in your jaw, in your chest, in the pit of your stomach, just below the navel, in the palms of your hands & the soles of your feet.)

62m. (How I learned to look into my brother's eyes, even though we fought all the time, to say Yeah, we're in some shit now aren't we.)

62n. (How we didn't get along but we stood by each other when Satan came to call.)

62o. (That sustaining joy of knowing what you know, about how it goes, even when you can't change it: reality joy, even when it's ugly, slave joy, when every narrative & every stone upon stone seems arrayed against you.)

62p. (How when a snake swallows Silvio in the song he tries to poison it with a dove.)

62q. Dionne Brand, Inventory :

The scratching of a needle on a record
a sample of James Brown and the Fatback Band,
squirrels in the eaves of a house going about
their business,
ground doves fluttering from tree to lemon tree

62r. ("La mato y aparece una mayor." I kill one & a bigger one appears.)

62s. The Native women with the cardboard model of the black oil snake, laughing as the children cut it to pieces, putting it back together so it could be destroyed again, in front of the White House in March with snipers pacing between tripods on the roof.

62t. & I stood between Prada & Abercrombie & Fitch & the Tower with about 50 other people carrying signs that said No

62u. & I stood beside a man who said he wasn't a veteran even though he was wearing camouflage

62v. who told me that only 3% of the people made the first American revolution, & when I said Wow, Amazing, Some of my ancestors participated, Must've been more than 3% by '76, no?, he continued with his speech as if I hadn't said anything

62w. & showed me the patches on his arm, the West Virginia National Guard axe & rifle & powder horn, even though he lived on Long Island, & the III% patch with more crossed weapons

62x. & told me the people with the No signs were deluded, the way he had been when he was young

62y. & that his side had so many guns. I'm talking private citizens with tanks, he said.

62z. He's not a fascist, he said, gesturing with his chin toward the Tower. He's here to help us, give us back our freedom. That's what he's here for.

63. Ah Amérika, with a k for the Anglo-Saxon inheritance, for Kafka, whose Amerika included the Statue of Liberty holding a sword

63a. & with an accented é, for Berta, for Elba, & for the compañera at the desk in Havana who used to call upstairs when I arrived, La americana está aquí, The American is here.

63b. Here's the beginning of the end of this long love letter to my beautiful murderous suicidal storied artful unborn country.

64. Journalist Terry Anderson, as part of the war crimes testimony after Israel's 1982 ravagement of Beirut: "The wounded were trapped for two hours in the cellar where they lived. Nobody could get to them because of the shelling. That's why the babies died. Phosphorous ignites on contact with the air and continues to burn as long as there is an air supply. At the hospital morgue there were two tiny bodies of five-day-old twins covered with burns. They were still smoldering when brought in and had to be left in a bucket of water overnight."

64a. Did you see the lines of white phosphorous streaming down from American planes over Mosul last week.

64b. New York Times, January 1991, my grown daughter not born yet: "But Mr Cheney said that the war was just beginning and that 'it is likely to run for a long period of time.'"

64c. Jill Drew, To Go To Berbir: "Shall I pretend none of this is happening? Shall I lure the dragon down to the basement with false promises and go ahead and have the dinner party after all? If we bustle about in the kitchen long enough and serve enough wine and chat a whole lot, we will not notice the growling beneath the floorboards and we will not remark upon the fact that the crystal on the table shivers a bit every time he moves around just below our feet."

64d. "Charlotte has been teaching me to sew properly and to embroider the Arabic letters for STAY ALIVE on the back of the flag."

64e. How I first read that book when Sinister Wisdom published it as a special issue, standing up on the downtown 1 train, going to some reading, when I first lived in New York, just starting my first book, a long poem called The New World, about what's happened on the land 50 miles in all directions from Columbus Circle.

64f. I thought of it after the imperial sword dance in Riyadh, when I saw Trump & Sisi & the Saudi king with their hands on the palantir

64g. --like the angel boy below Columbus on his statue, hand on a globe, fingers digging in.

65. "Zero Dark Thirty," the American embassy in Islamabad:

Joe and I did Iraq together.

And we continue our Christian mission here. Nice to meet you.

66. Please help me make the story that begins with the end of Western Civilization. And let me understand the ways that breaking that old compact is the deepest way I know to love my country.

67. Novelist Peter Matthiessen on informing on French communists for the Company: "In those days, it was considered a patriotic act, to spy for your country."

68. Ammar the tortured man hung from a ceiling in Islamabad, in "Zero Dark Thirty," to the bearded hipster with a doctorate who straps a dog collar around his neck: "You're a garbage man in a corporation."

69. William Appleman Williams, Empire As A Way Of Life: "Remembering all that, I know why I do not want the empire. There are better ways to live & there are better ways to die."

70. Just walked down Hudson to the Juice Press, on the corner of Houston, where my great-grandmother was born

71. The walk her German grandfather & Irish grandmother must have taken to visit & welcome her

72. & saw a white man my age with an Oath Keepers badge on his chest

(73. How I came to my hunger & thirst for another world not by way of an army or a party, but by way of poetry, & Combahee, & a kiss)

(74. A kiss to remind you of who you are & how good it is here, that your power & your softness are inextricable, in the face of the psyop that tells you the world is shit & so are you)

(75. Message I left for Vanessa & Shay's baby not born yet: Welcome, angel. It's good here.)

(76. Message my rinsed repentant ancestors are passing on to me: Don't give up our country to skilled thieves & the paid assassins who protect them.)

(77. Front page of the Boston Commonwealth, July 10, 1863:

"The Combahee River, in South Carolina, was the first one visited by the Spaniards in the year 1520. Vasque de Ayllon, having discovered it, gave it the name 'River Jordan.' Although subsequently renamed the Combahee, the stream now became a River Jordan literally for more than 750 Negroes who, under the leadership of Harriet Tubman and the auxiliary command of Colonel James Montgomery, delivered this number of blacks into the free lines.

"The River Jordan has been in biblical history a reality, and in modern Negro allusion a symbol of the barrier between bondage and freedom, and it is an interesting coincidence, therefore, that the Combahee campaign should so parallel the ancient situation. It is significant as the only military engagement in American history wherein a woman black or white led the raid and under whose inspiration it was originated and conducted. The NY Tribune says that the Negro troops at Hilton Head SC will soon start an expedition, under the command of Colonel Montgomery, differing in many respects from any heretofore projected." )

78. My great-grandmother was born 21 years later, she went to high school in Harlem, she marched in a suffrage parade, she loved John Garfield, I sat in her lap to learn how to read, her thimble on my left pinky is hitting the a's as I type this

79. & she married the Hells Kitchen son of the man who watches over my kitchen.

80. My great-great grandfather, George Hackett, in a picture on the wall with his Gettysburg compañeros

81. --at a reunion in 1893, with two of his daughters, 6 years before died

82. --whose gravestone I visit in the Bronx, near Melville's, on the pink granite the back-handed left-handed signature he had to learn from scratch when he came home from the war

83. --who offered his life to this country that wasn't & then with his soul-force became his.

84. Maybe he visited there at that corner, across from the 201 Varick detention center now, where that sealed DHS van always is.

85. I don't know anything about his politics, but I'm pretty sure he didn't leave his good right arm in the dirt of Northern Virginia for this.

86. He reminds me of the people on my father's side too, seditious Samuel Shaw ashé & his uprisey Vermont constituents

87. --of whom it was said, "The people were democratic, & were opposed to there being large landed proprietors."

88. In their dream based on theft, & on something else trying to get born: "The Assembly of Vermont paid no attention to the order of Congress, nor to the threats of New York, but granted lands as long as there was an acre unappropriated."

89. Selmiya, Selmiya, I can still hear the Egyptians saying it in the thick crowds, Peaceful, Peaceful

90. which didn't preclude throwing rocks to hold their ground, but did preclude (more) killing

91. & how I thought of it sitting beside Víctor Dreke, Che's second in command in the Congo, when the chicos in Havana asked him about revolution: "La lucha armada es una locura ahora," he said. "Eso se acabó." The armed struggle is insanity now. That stops here.

With Víctor Dreke, Havana, April 2015

With Víctor Dreke, Havana, April 2015

92. How I can still feel the tears sparking in my eyes reading @zeinobia's tweet from February 2011: "Hosni Mubarak has stepped down!! Do you hear me ya world ya people?" #Egypt #Jan25

92a. & years later there's Timothy Kaldas's reply: "If only that had been enough."

92b. @zeinobia February 8: Guys in al Tahrir Wait for me ya people

92c. March 13:  This is ABC of Democracy ya people

92d. April 8:  ya Nawara people do not believe you

92e. April 20:  People are now saying what is happening in Qena did not happen in time of Mubarak :( this is not good ya people, it is a set up

92f. May 5:  This is a testing balloon ya people They are testing us

92g. May 16:  Read the comments We are losing the people ya revolutionary tweeps

92h. May 26:  congratulations ya activists people are really scared & do not want to participate tomorrow

92i. September 19, retweeting @Libraliyya replying: And how are we going to stand each other in a Democratic Egypt, if we can't do it now?

92j. March 12, 2013:  Ya Wael we are failing to present another alternative for the people :(

92k. July 1:  ya Doc some people cheer for this, soon they will taste it and they will not like it

92l. July 4:  Beware group thinking & populism ya people of Egypt

(92m. "as she blows with her every skill on the spirit's embers still burning by their own laws in the bed of death") (Adrienne Rich, An Atlas of the Difficult World)

92n. "Finally starting to grasp lever physics," Mosa'ab Elshamy tweeted as he & his compañeros took down a Cairo police wall.

92o. Gigi Ibrahim: We will teach these techniques in schools someday. :) #egyptian

93. The Cuban Assembly man who told the chicos that the Vietnam war was against them too, because the people said no & they did it anyway.

94. It's the American people that have to change this, he said. I have faith that you will. That you'll have la sabiduría y la valentiá para decir Hasta aquí, se acabó. The wisdom & the courage to say, This stops here.

95. Journalist Hassan Ibrahim, in Jehan Noujaim's "The Control Room," documenting the beginning of the attack against Iraq in 2003: "The United States is going to stop the United States. The United States people are going to stop the United States."

96. "Eventually you will have to find a solution that doesn't involve bombing people into submission. 'Democratize or I'll shoot you.' It just doesn't work this way."

97. Ahh, he says, watching the bombs on a screen, gesturing toward them, Democracy.

98. The tight courtesy in Salah Abdel Shafi's face in Gaza when 2003 was just a few days old, listening to a lawyer from our group advise him about election strategies & documenting human rights violations to the UN, & how he said finally "The problem, sir, is that America controls the world." Nervous laughter. "You have so many nice machines," he said, "so why bother? The problem is that so many people are being killed in your names."

99. I keep thinking about the boys at the Brooklyn library on Grand Army plaza, men now, 30 years ago, a hot June afternoon, taking a break from doing math problems together for the older one to draw the younger one a plane.

99a. 'If you want it you have to keep up your grades,' the older boy said. 'My mother she doesn't want me to go in but I'm not up on commercial planes, I like small sleek planes, yeah

99b. 'You can have fun in those babies. Fire a couple of missiles, Destroy a tiny country, No, I'm serious,' he said

99c. when his younger friend fidgeted & giggled & flicked his pencil into a spinning circle, then onto the floor

99d. The paper between them with the scrubby equations & the smooth penciled metal body, the pointed nose, the blind tapering forehead with no one behind it, the flag insignia, the missiles tucked under the wings.

100. & I'm thinking about the woman making her Don't Collaborate sign on the A train on the way to the airport

101. & about someone I knew who used to moonlight there, at Customs, Charlie who I taught with for a little while at a school on Long Island, & his friend Chickie he used to argue with laughing.

102. How he hooked his thumbs under his belt with the buckle that said USMC when he said, 'I did what I had to do over there.'

103. I went & when I came home I lay in the streets to stop it, he said. I thought I would change the world.

104. & Chickie said, 'I used to be an idealist,' & Charlie said, 'It's still in you somewhere,' & she smiled & said, 'No I don't think so'

105. (AR, "Miracle Ice Cream": "Early now the pearl of dusk dissolves./Late, you sit weighing the evening news,/fast-food miracles, ghostly revolutions,/the rest of your heart.")

106. & he laughed & said When the revolution comes, you & me, Chickie, we'll lie in the streets

107. & she laughed & said, Don't hold your breath, Charlie

108. & he said Yes I'm telling you, Chickie, we'll lie in the streets.


May Day, NYC

May Day, NYC