Covering the Year
CIA & DynCorp
NUGGETS FROM THE NUTHOUSE
Terrorist as Militant
Newsweek X Bomb
Seattle to Pittsburgh
SF Labor Dispute
Israeli Youth Refuse
Underserved & Unprotected
Recession in Midwest
Obama & Immigration
HK Women Workers
New Latin America
Zaps - 12-09
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Policing America's Empire
The United States, the Philippines and the Rise of the Surveillance State
Book by Alfred W. McCoy, University of Wisconsin Press, 2009, 672 pp.
As the U.S. continues to slug it out in its current conflicts with seemingly no end in sight, Alfred W. McCoy has published an important new book, Policing America's Empire: The United States, the Philippines and the Rise of the Surveillance State, which provides an historical corrective to the flawed analysis and hubris of the war hawks. He lays bare the coercive and fundamentally illiberal consequences of U.S. imperial influence in the Philippines during the first half of the 20th century, which set a precedent for subsequent interventions.
McCoy chronicles how the United States developed a coercive policing apparatus to ensure colonial domination, incorporating a mixture of covert penetration and violence to gradually subdue remnants of the nationalist resistance. Over time, the U.S.-created constabulary endured as a pivotal mechanism of state power and control and contributed to a legacy of political authoritarianism and repression, which has persisted to the present. Many of the secret police methods were appropriated back to the United States and paved the way for the creation of a formidable surveillance apparatus during the era of the first Red Scare. In this respect, individual civil liberties and democracy were severely impeded by imperial expansion—a fact evident today with the USA PATRIOT Act.
McCoy begins the book by comparing U.S. imperial strategies in the Philippines and Iraq. He points out the vital difference—in Iraq the Bush administration disbanded Saddam Hussein's former army, the backbone of the anti-occupational resistance, whereas in the Philippines, the Roosevelt administration recruited members of the defeated nationalist movement to help complete the pacification. At the time, the Philippines was viewed as an important stepping stone into the vast Asia-Pacific and China market.
From 1899-1902, the U.S. military waged a relentless campaign to suppress the nationalist movement, resulting in the deaths of an estimated 200,000-700,000 Filipinos and the destruction of their societal fabric. As the fighting waned, the Philippines Commissions under future president William H. Taft focused on building an indigenous police force capable of finishing off the insurgents and establishing "law and order." Modeled after the Cuban Rural Guard, the constabulary engaged in patrols for over a decade to suppress nationalist and messianic peasant revolts in the countryside. It frequently employed scorched earth tactics and presided over numerous massacres—including hundreds of civilians at Bud Dajo in the Moro province of Mindanao, where Muslims refused to acquiesce to American rule.
The constabulary's success owed much to the role of military intelligence officers in imparting new methods of data management and covert techniques of surveillance, enhancing the ability to monitor subversion against American colonial rule. Under the command of Harry H. Bandholtz, the Secret Service became especially effective in adopting novel psychological warfare techniques, such as the wearing of disguises, fabricating disinformation, and recruiting paid informants and saboteurs in their efforts to "break up bands of political plotters." They monitored the press, carried out periodic assassinations, and compiled dossiers on thousands of individuals as well as information on the corruption of America's Filipino proxies, which was used to keep them loyal to the occupation.
The declaration of martial law ensured minimal governmental oversight and enabled them to carry out surveillance and make arrests without the application of due process. One of the crowning achievements was improving communication, including the installation of a Gamewell police and fire alarm system in Manila to curb dependency on the public telephone. The Philippines Commission proudly reported that this "put the city on equal footing with any in the United States."
The U.S. on the whole provided much technical aid and support, including new fingerprinting methods that allowed for an expansion of the police's social control capabilities. The reach of the constabulary became so deep that it was able to effectively infiltrate and sow dissension within radical organizations, including an incipient labor movement, and even played a role in apostolic succession by undermining the influence of Bishop Gregorio Aglipay through the spread of disinformation. He was a nationalist with socialist sympathies whose services were attended by thousands of the urban poor.
During the 1950s, the U.S. resumed police assistance to combat the Huk peasant insurrection, which was driven by the demand for agrarian reform. CIA operative Edward Lansdale played a particularly important role in developing all kinds of psychological warfare methods designed to sow dissension and intimidate the Huks into submission. He also cultivated hunter-killer squads within the constabulary which provided a forerunner to the Phoenix death squad operations in South Vietnam. American support for massive state terrorism continued during the reign of Ferdinand Marcos, where the USAID's Office of Public Safety trained specialized riot control units within the police to crush student dissidents following the declaration of martial law. American trained police were implicated in wide-scale extra-judicial killings and torture, leaving the cadavers of their victims on city streets to discourage further dissent.
When Marcos was overthrown in the mid-1980s, the U.S. continued to provide police and security assistance to successor Corazon Aquino, who re-mobilized the police apparatus for repressive purposes after refusing to negotiate with the left-wing New People's Army (NPA) and address its underlying demand for social reform. Police torture and the assassination of labor leaders and suspected guerrilla cadres remained commonplace, as did the use of covert tactics promoted under the U.S. Army's low intensity warfare doctrine designed to destroy the leftist movement from within. Governmental and police corruption all the while reached unprecedented levels, as Aquino and successor Joseph Estrada funded their campaigns through control of gambling and narcotics sales.
After a brief interlude during the 1990s with the closing of American military bases, Washington resumed extensive police and military assistance as a result of the declaration of the War on Terror. President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo shrewdly appropriated U.S. weaponry and funding to help suppress her political rivals, and remobilized violent paramilitary organizations to destroy Islamic separatists in the Moro provinces as well as supporters of the Communist Party which remained active as a result of lingering social inequalities. While the Bush administration and conservative ideologues such as Max Boot heralded the Philippines as a successful front in the "war on terror," human rights groups as well as the United Nations have censured the Arroyo administration for its atrocious record, which is reminiscent of that of Ferdinand Marcos during the dark days of the martial law period. As McCoy makes clear, much like with the Cold War, the "war on terror" is being used as a pretext to encourage the adoption of extra-legal violence and repression by privileged elites to suppress social movements pressing for the rectification of long-standing structural inequality. Covert assassination methods to dismantle the Abu Sayaff terrorist network, meanwhile, have served as a model for American military operations in Afghanistan and Iraq, with a similar disregard for international law.
Through extensive research in military archives, McCoy analyzes how constabulary veterans such as Ralph Van Deman, known as the "father of U.S. military intelligence" and of the "American blacklist," played a crucial role in applying their expertise in the clandestine arts to spy on and repress radical organizations such as the American Communist Party and International Workers of the World. Many of the methods pioneered by the constabulary—including the recruitment of local informants and defectors, the use of agents provocateurs and spread of disinformation—proved effective in facilitating their demise. The surveillance apparatus would remain in place throughout the Cold War, resulting in myriad constitutional abuses, and has most recently re-appeared with the advent of the "war on terror."
Policing America's Empire fits well with the theme of McCoy's previous scholarly books which have exposed CIA complicity in the global narcotics trade and its promotion of torture techniques during the Cold War and "war on terror." He has also written poignantly on the destructive consequences of the CIA-run secret war in Laos, which literally tore the society to shreds and caused the displacement and death of thousands of rice farmers who had never even heard of the United States. McCoy's latest work is among his most important in showing the corrupting influence of American imperial interventions.
Jeremy Kuzmarov is assistant professor at the University of Tulsa and author of The Myth of the Addicted Army: Vietnam and the Modern War on Drugs. He is currently working on a book, tentatively titled Modernizing Repression: Police Training, Nation-Building and Political Violence in the American Century.
Z Magazine Archive
AnnouncementsLABOR - May 1 is May Day. Workers of the world will celebrate the 124th anniversary of International Worker’s Day. Born out of a call for an 8-hour workday in the United States, this day is an opportunity for all workers to show their solidarity with one another, as well as to renew the call for labor rights.
FARM CONFERENCE - The Farm Conference on Community and Sustainability will be held May 24-26 in Summertown, TN, in partnership with the Fellowship of Intentional Communities. Tour green homes, see sustainable food production, learn about solar installations, alternative education, midwifery, and more.
Contact: Douglas@thefarmcommunity.com; http://www.thefarmcommunity.com/.
PALESTINE - The Conference of the Palestinian Shatat in North American will be held June 3-5 in Vancouver. The conference will examine the future of the Palestinian liberation movement.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.palestinianconference.org/.
LABOR - The Pacific Northwest Labor History Association’s 45th annual conference will be held May 3-5, in Portland, OR. This year’s theme is Labor Under Attack: Learning from the Past and Preparing for the Future. A call for presentations, workshops and papers is currently underway.
Contact: PNLHA, 27920 68th Ave. East, Graham, WA 98338; 206-406-2604; PNLHA1@aol.com; http://www3.telus.net.
MARIJUANA - On the first Saturday of May marijuana legalization activists will hold informational and educational events, rallies and marches in over 300 cities around the world.
ECONOMICS - The Union For Radical Political Economics will hold its 39th annual conference May 9-11 in New York City.
RECLAIM THE DREAM - The 2013 Poor People’s Campaign & March from Baltimore to Washington D.C. will be May 11. Communities, schools and unions interested in participating are encouraged to contact the Baltimore People’s Assembly.
Contact: 410-500-2168; 410-218-4835; BaltimorePeoplesAssembly@gmail.com; Southern Christian Leadership Conference of Baltimore and the Baltimore Peoples Power Assembly, 2011 N. Charles St., Baltimore, MD 21218.
MOTHER’S DAY - The 17th Annual Mother’s Day Walk For Peace will be May 12th, in Dorchester, MA. The walk began in 1996 for families who had lost children to violence. The day has become a way for thousands of people to financially support the work of the Louis Brown Peace Institute.
Contact: http://www.ldbpeaceinstitute.org/; http://mothersdaywalk4peace.org/.
NATO 5 - An International Week of Solidarity with the NATO 5 has been called for May 16-21. Supports call on supporters to raise awareness of the NATO 5 and support funds for the defendants on the one-year anniversary of their preemptive arrests.
Contact: email@example.com; https://nato5support.wordpress.com.
MOUNTAINTOP - The 2013 Mountain Justice Summer Activist Training Camp will be held May 19-27 in Damascus, VA. It will be a week of workshops, field trips to view Mountain Top Removal coal mines, direct actions, and service project.
FEMINIST SCI-FI - The feminist science fiction convention WisCon 37 is scheduled for May 24-27 in Madison, WI.
Contact: WisCon, ? SF3, PO Box 1624, Madison, WI 53701; firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.wiscon.info/.
ANARCHY FEST - A month-long Festival of Anarchy is scheduled for May in Montreal. The festival includes The Montreal Anarchist Bookfair (May 19-20).
Contact: http://www.anarchistbookfair.ca/; http://www.radicalmontreal.com/.
LABOR - The International Labor Rights Forum will present: Down the Supply Chain, Driving Corporate Accountability, on May 22 in Washington, DC. The Labor Rights Awards Ceremony and Reception will honor pioneers in supply chain worker organizing, working solidarity and international labor rights policy.
MULTICULTURE - The 26th annual National Conference on Race & Ethnicity in American Higher Education (NCORE) will take place May 28-June 1, in New Orleans.
Contact: SWCHRS, 3200 Marshall Avenue, Suite 290, Norman, OK 73072; 405-325-3694; email@example.com; www.ncore.ou.edu.
MEDIA - The 2013 Alliance for Community Media Annual Conference will be held May 29-31, in San Francisco, CA. Participants will include educators, community leaders, media professionals, journalists, nonprofit leaders, policymakers and students.
RADIO - The 38th Annual Community Radio Conference is schedule for May 29-June 1, in San Francisco, CA, with discussions and workshops.
Contact: 1101 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, Suite 600, Washington, DC 20004; 202-756-2268; firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.nfcb.org/.
BRADLEY MANNING - On June 1, a rally will be held at Fort Meade in support of Bradley Manning.
BIKES - Bikes Not Bombs is holding its 24th annual Bike-A-Thon and Green Roots Festival in Boston, MA on June 3, with several bike rides scheduled, music, exhibitors and more.
Contact: Bikes Not Bombs, 284 Amory St., Jamaica Plain, MA 02130; 617-522-0222; email@example.com; www.bikesnotbombs.org.
LEFT FORUM - The 2013 Left Forum will be held June 7-9, at Pace University in New York City.
Contact: 365 Fifth Avenue, CUNY Graduated Center, ? Sociology Dept., New York, NY 10016; http://www.leftforum.org/.
VEGAN FEST - Mad City Vegan Fest will be held in Madison, WI, June 8. The annual event features food, speakers, and exhibitors.
Contact: 122 State Street, Suite 405 B, Madison, WI 53701; firstname.lastname@example.org; http://veganfest.org/.
ADC CONFERENCE - The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) holds its annual conference June 13-16, in Washington, DC, with panel discussions and workshops on civil rights, media and other topics.
Contact: 1990 M Street, Suite 610, Washington, DC, 20036; 202-244-2990; email@example.com http://convention.adc.org/.
CUBA/SOCIALISM - A Cuban-North American Dialog on Socialist Renewal and Global Capitalist Crisis will be held in Havana, Cuba, June 16-30. There will be a 5 day Seminar at University of Havana, plus visits to a cooperative, urban garden, community development project, social research centers, and educational & medical institutions.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.globaljusticecenter.org/.
NETROOTS - The 8th Annual Netroots Nation conference will take place June 20-23 in San Jose, CA. The event features panels, trainings, networking, screenings, and keynotes.
Contact: 164 Robles Way, #276, Vallejo, CA 94591; email@example.com; http://www.netrootsnation.org/.
MEDIA - The 15th annual Allied Media Conference will be held June 20-23, in Detroit.
Contact: 4126 Third Street, Detroit, MI 48201; http://alliedmedia.org/.
GRASSROOTS - The United We Stand Festival will be hosted by Free & Equal, June 22 in Little Rock, Arkansas. The festival aims to reform the electoral process throughout the U.S.
SOCIALISM - The Socialism 2013 Conference is scheduled for June 27-30 in Chicago, featuring talks and panel discussions.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.socialismconference.org.
LITERACY - The National Association for Media Literacy Education (NAMLE) will hold its conference July 12-13 in Los Angeles under the heading, Intersections: Teaching and Learning Across Media.
Contact: 10 Laurel Hill Drive, Cherry Hill, NJ 08003; http://namle.net/conference/.
IWW - The North American Work People’s College will take place July 12-16 at Mesaba Co-op Park in northern Minnesota. The event will bring together Wobblies from branches across the continent to learn new skills and build One Big Union.
PEACESTOCK - On July 13th, the 11th Annual Peacestock: A Gathering for Peace, will take place at Windbeam Farm in Hager City, WI. The event is a mixture of music, speakers and community for peace. Sponsored by Veterans for Peace.
Contact: Bill Habedank, 1913 Grandview Ave., Red Wing, MN 55066; 651-388-7733; email@example.com; http://www.peacestockvfp.org.
CHILDREN’S DEFENSE - July 15-19, join clergy, seminarians, Christian educators, young adult leaders and other faith-based advocates for children at CDF Haley Farm in Clinton, Tennessee, for five days of spiritual renewal, networking, movement building workshops, and continuing education about the urgent needs of children at the 19th annual Proctor Institute for Child Advocacy Ministry.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.childrensdefense.org.
ACTIVIST CAMP - Youth Empowered Action (YEA) Camp will have sessions in July and August in Ben Lomond, CA; Portland, OR; Charlton, MA. YEA Camp is designed for activists 12-17 years old who want to make a difference in the world.
Contact: email@example.com; http://yeacamp.org/.
LA RAZA - The annual National Council of La Raza (NCLR) Conference is scheduled for July 18-19 in New Orleans, with workshops, presentations and panel discussions.
Contact: NCLR Headquarters Office, Raul Yzaguirre Building, 1126 16th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20036; 202-785-1670; www.nclr.org.
LABOR - The Eastern Conference For Workplace Democracy: Growing Our Cooperatives, Growing Our Communities, will be held at Drexel University in Philadelphia, PA, July 26-28.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; http://east.usworker.coop/.
WOMEN/LYNNE STEWART- Radical Women is asking for support letters and cards to be sent to Lynne Stewart. Stewart is a civil rights attorney and political prisoner who is currently in jail. She has breast cancer and authorities have denied her request for transfer from her Texas prison to the New York City hospital where she received medical attention during a prior bout of breast cancer. Send messages and cards to: Lynne Stewart 53504-054, Federal Medical Center Carswell, P.O. Box 27137, Fort Worth, TX 76127.
Contact: 747 Polk Street, San Francisco, CA 94109; 415-864-1278; RadicalWomenUS@gmail.com; http://lynnestewart.org/; http://www.radicalwomen.org/.
HAITI/WOMEN - Haiti’s government is considering a legal reform measure that would prohibit and punish all sexual assault, including marital rape. MADRE and the International Campaign to Stop Rape & Gender Violence in Conflict are launching a petition to raise international support for this push to address violence against women in Haiti.
Contact: 121 West 27th Street, #301, New York, NY 10001; 212-627-0444; email@example.com; http://www.madre.org.
SYRIA/MIDDLE EAST - The Middle East Children’s Alliance (MECA) is currently seeking funds to assist more than 200,000 refugees fleeing violence in Syria.
FOLK FESTIVAL - The Falcon Ridge Folk Festival will be held August 2-4, in the Berkshires, NY.
Contact: http://www.falconridgefolk.com/; firstname.lastname@example.org.
WAR RESISTERS - The War Resisters League will hold its 90th anniversary conference, Revolutionary Nonviolence: Building Bridges Across Generations and Communities, August 1-4, at Georgetown University. The event will focus on the U.S.’ long history of antimilitarism.
Contact: 339 Lafayette Street, New York, NY 10012; 212-228-0450; email@example.com; http://www.warresisters.org.
POPULAR ECONOMICS - The Center for Popular Economics is holding its 2013 Summer Institute August 4-9 at Hampshire College in Amherst, MA. No background in economics is needed for this intensive training. This year’s theme is, The Care Economy: Building a Just Economy with a Heart.
Contact: Center for Popular Economics, PO Box 785 Amherst, MA 01004; 413-545-0743; firstname.lastname@example.org; www.populareconomics.org.
VETERANS - Veterans for Peace is holding the 28th annual convention August 6-11 in Madison, WI. This year’s theme is, Power To The Peaceful.
DEMOCRACY - The Democracy Convention will take place August 7-11 in Madison, WI. The convention brings together nine conferences including topics such as media, education, defense, race, environment and others.
MEN - The 38th National Conference on Men & Masculinity: Forging Justice: Creating Safe, Equal and Accountable Communities, presented in partnership with HAVEN, will be held in Detroit, MI, August 8-10.
Contact: email@example.com; http://www.nomas.org/.
OCCUPY - An Occupy National Gathering will be held in Kalamazoo, MI, August 21-25.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; http://occupynationalgathering.net/.
COMMUNITIES - The Communities Conference is a networking and learning opportunity for co-operative or communal lifestyles, with workshops, events and entertainment; scheduled for August 30-September 2 at the Twin Oaks Community in Louisa, Virginia.
LABOR DAY - The 29th annual Bread and Roses Festival, a celebration of the ethnic diversity and labor history of Lawrence, MA, will be held September 2, in honor of the 1912 Bread and Roses Strike. There will be music, dance, poetry, drama, ethnic food, historical demonstrations, walking & trolley tours.
Contact: PO Box 1137, Lawrence, MA 01842; 978-794-1655; http://www.breadandrosesheritage.org/.
OCCUPY WALL STREET - September 17 is the two-year anniversary of the Occupy Wall Street movement. Events are planned in New York City and worldwide.
TEACHERS - The 13th Annual Conference, “Teaching for Social Justice: The Politics of Pedagogy,” will be held October 12 in San Francisco, CA. The free event features workshops, resources, and free childcare.
Contact: 415-676-7844; email@example.com; http://www.t4sj.org/.
HAITI - International Action, which brings clean water and chlorinators to Haiti, seeks office space capable of housing up to six people and their office equipment.
Contact: Zach Bremer, Zbrehmer@haitiwater.org; 202-488-0735; http://www.haitiwater.org/.
MEDIA - The Union for Democratic Communications and Project Censored are sponsoring a joint conference on media democracy, media activism and social justice to be held November 1-3 at the University of San Francisco. Proposals for presentations, workshops and panels from activists and critical scholars are invited.