ce399 | research archive: (anti)fascism

FBI Raids on Political Activists (Z Magazine 12/2010)

Posted in Uncategorized by ce399 on 28/12/2010

Trend of Activist Searches Began Under Bush, Continues Under Obama

 Series of Inspector General Reports Shows FBI Violating Constitutional Rights of American Peace Activists While Raids Occur in Illinois and Minneapolis

 Earlier this week the FBI raided six homes of eight peace activists in Minneapolis and Chicago as well as a Minneapolis office of an antiwar group. Agents kicked down doors of homes with guns drawn, smashed furniture, and seized computers, documents, phones, and other materials without making any arrests. These groups do not use guns and bombs. They are not terrorists. Their “weapons” are leaflets, newsletters, and nonviolent demonstrations.

 The FBI searches highlight a dangerous trend that has been building for nearly a decade: domestic surveillance of peace and other activists. Americans need to understand the context of these raids so they can work to stop the infringement of constitutional rights.

The raids took place just a few days after a report of the Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Justice examined 8,000 pages of documents from 2001 to 2006 and interviewed dozens of FBI agents. The report blasted the FBI for spying on anti-war activists, animal-rights groups, and environmentalists, calling them improper “terror” investigations “unreasonable and inconsistent with FBI policy.” Among those targeted were the anti-war Thomas Merton Center, the Quakers, the Catholic Worker, Greenpeace, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals and an individual Quaker peace activist. According to the Inspector General, there was “little or no basis” for the investigations.

Another report found that the FBI used lies and trickery to illegally obtain thousands of records, then issued after-the-fact approvals in an attempt to cover it up. Released in January of this year, the report was the result of another Justice Department investigation which built on a 2007 report covering similar matters. The Inspector General focused on the FBI’s unlawful misuse of the already-unconstitutional informal requests known as “exigent letters” to demand information which they knew was illegal. The DOJ report described a “complete breakdown” of procedures within the FBI. According to the report, the “FBI broke law for years in phone record searches.” Agents repeatedly and knowingly violated the law by invoking nonexistent “terror emergencies” to get access to information they were not authorized to have.

This week another Inspector General report found that hundreds of FBI employees cheated on exams related to domestic surveillance. The report described how they consulted with others while taking the exam even though that was forbidden. Others used or distributed answer sheets or study guides that provided test answers. Still others exploited a computer flaw that revealed answers. The agents were being tested on 2008 guidelines that FBI employees must follow when conducting domestic investigations.

Nor do these reports cover all the incidences of domestic surveillance of civic activists. Former FBI special agent and whistleblower, Colleen Rowley, reports that “in 2008, we found out through a Freedom of Information request that there are 300 pages of . . . agents trailing a group of students in Iowa City to parks, libraries, bars, restaurants.” The documents requested by David Goodner, a former member of the University of Iowa’s Antiwar Committee under the Freedom of Information Act, show, the investigation into activities of peace groups in Iowa City involved staking out homes, secretly photographing and video taping members, digging through garbage and even planting a mole to spy on the peace activists up close. Known as the Wild Rose Rebellion, the protesters were described by the FBI as an “anarchist collective.” In an interview with The Des Moines Register, the FBI defended its actions because of allegations that certain people were possibly going to engage in criminal activities to disrupt the national conventions of one or both major political parties. The group’s plans were to help organize nonviolent acts of civil disobedience, such as street blockades, at the 2008 RNC convention.

Pennsylvania awarded a $125,000 no-bid contract to an Israeli-American consulting firm called the Institute of Terrorism Research and Response, which spied on peace groups, citizen activists, civic groups and critics of the Rendell administration. The project was supposed to protect Pennsylvania citizens by gathering intelligence on potential terrorist threats, but the private contractor, hired by the state’s Department of Homeland Security, fed information to state officials about the activities of religious groups, education advocates, BP protesters, anti-tax protesters, and just about anybody who criticized state government.

In Maryland, Homeland Security and Intelligence Division of the Maryland State Police conducted undercover operations to spy on people who support progressive viewpoints. Undercover Maryland State Police officers repeatedly spied on peace activists and anti-death penalty groups in recent years. The Maryland State Police classified 53 nonviolent activists as terrorists and entered their names and personal information into state and federal databases that track terrorism suspects, the state police chief acknowledged in 2008. In 2009, the state police acknowledged far more extensive surveillance with records showing that troopers monitored — and labeled as terrorists – a wide range of activists. Investigators monitored activists protesting weapons manufacturer, Lockheed Martin. They watched two pacifist Catholic nuns from Baltimore, CODE PINK and the DC Anti-War Network, which was inaccurately, designated a white supremacist group. The surveillance program became public because of documents released during a trespassing trial for peace activist Max Obuszewski, the nuns and another activist arrested during an antiwar rally at the National Security Agency. The documents showed that Baltimore intelligence officers were tracking them.

In fact this type of surveillance by the FBI, NorthCom and state and local police have been reported in many parts of the country, among them are Alaska, California, Colorado, Florida, Massachusetts, New York and Washington.

 This current escalation of domestic surveillance of U.S. citizens began under President Bush and has continued under President Obama. Throughout U.S. history there has been a constant battle between the constitutional rights of citizens and domestic surveillance of political activists, especially peace advocates. The FBI has a long history of abusing its authority. If we do not act to curtail these actions we are all in danger of being spied on and added to terrorist watch lists for doing nothing more than attending a rally, signing a petition or holding a sign.

Steps are urgently needed to protect the basic constitutional rights of peace activists and others. These include:

 – President Obama needs to speak out against the surveillance of Americans who are merely exercising their constitutional rights. As a former law professor he knows the long history of such abuse and how important it is to contain enforcement.

 – Removal of FBI director Robert Mueller. His tenure since 2001 has been littered with abuses of domestic spying. The Inspector General has concluded Director Mueller provided “inaccurate and misleading information” to Congress. Mueller also failed to put in place adequate procedures to ensure the law is obeyed and to ensure agents are aware of the laws regarding domestic surveillance.

 – Congress needs to hold hearings to investigate the extent of domestic spying on Americans who are merely exercising the rights to free speech, to assembly, and to petition the government. These fundamental political rights need to be protected by tightening up the laws regarding domestic surveillance which were loosened by the PATRIOT Act.

 You can send all three letters by clicking here.

The escalation of wars abroad by the Obama administration is moving forward alongside escalation against antiwar activists at home. The groups targeted in the most recent raids in Illinois and Minnesota, while Marxist in ideology, endorsed and supported the election of President Obama. Their Political Report noted “Obama’s election represents a rejection of the Bush administration policies and a desire amongst the people for a progressive agenda from the government.” Now we know that the Obama administration is moving forward with Bush-era policies that target anti-war political dissent at the same time that more Americans oppose Obama’s wars.

 Kevin Zeese is executive director of Voters for Peace (www.VotersForPeace.US).



New Age COINTELPRO and the Optimism Gestapo

Posted in Uncategorized by ce399 on 13/12/2010

Zen fascists will control you
100% natural
You will jog for the master race

And always wear the happy face

California Uber Alles, Dead Kennedys

Why has there not been a mass transformation of consciousness, culminating in peace on earth, as so many promised back in the early days of the New Age movement? The answer is that there may be a metaphysical COINTELPRO at work, all under the cover of love and light.

Most people remember COINTELPRO from the days of the Black Panthers, Yippies, and other revolutionary groups who threatened our government during the civil rights movement and the Vietnam war. Sensing that these groups might incite American citizens into radical action, the FBI sent in agents to agitate members of these various groups, often pitting them against each other through various forms of subterfuge, such as blackmail.

It appears that the CIA, FBI, and NSA are now sending their goons into the metaphysical marketplace, making sure that people who think they are aspiring to higher and positively transformative things are, in reality, only becoming more self-indulgent, disconnected, and confused.

The biggest influx of these agents occurred during the blossoming of the “human potential” movement in the early ‘70s, through such institutions as Esalen. Legions of people threw away their protest banners and followed their bliss during a time when directly addressing the socio-political problems of the day was imperative.

Since then, the emphasis on personal development—and more recently, the You Create Your Own Reality movement—a significant segment of the population has been brainwashed into disdaining all socio-political issues. For what better way to disempower people than to have them focus on their personal evolution at the expense of their families, communities, and the countries they live in?

Metaphysical Double-Speak

Probably the most flagrant examples of New Age COINTELPRO are channelers who convey disturbing messages from supposedly highly evolved discarnate entities. For example, when the war in Iraq first started in 2003, a well-known channeler in Santa Fe, NM, who channels the ancient Egyptian goddess Sekhmet, allegedly claimed that the war was an “ultimate expression of [Sekhmet’s] compassion for the human race.” It would take a considerable amount of gullibility to swallow this kind of nonsense, but swallow it the New Agers did.

With such multidimensional “logic” at hand, practically any injustice, whether torture, environmental destruction, or manipulation of the economy by global powers, can be justified as an act of compassion. This is no different from the theocratic stance of George W. Bush when he said that God told him to invade Iraq! Such metaphysical double-speak is dangerous, yet is nevertheless seeping into popular culture.

Of course, not all channelers are working for the shadow government. Rather, we should use much discernment in regard to channeled information. If channeled information through predictions of global cataclysm, for instance, creates fear and makes us feel ungrounded, unsure, and mistrusting, then it probably is coming from a COINTELPRO source and should be taken with an immense grain of salt.

The Optimism Gestapo

However, perhaps the most insidious aspect of the New Age movement is what I call the Optimism Gestapo, or those who regulate and insist on positive thinking by any means necessary, where any criticism or expression of negative or painful emotions are disdained.

I once brought up to an Ashtar Command “ascencionist” (i.e. someone who believes that extraterrestrials will come and save her), the fact that democratic senator Paul Wellstone may have been murdered in order to get republican Norm Coleman elected. Before I could elaborate, she cut me off by saying, “It was just his time.”

She was intolerant of the fact that I dared interfere with the reality she was creating, free of conspiracy, cutthroat politicians, and skullduggery. And the more I have played devil’s advocate with New Agers, the more I have discovered that such intolerance is the norm. For there currently is a belief amongst New Agers that anything negative that one expresses will only further magnetize negativity. However, those who pursue this line of thinking just end up repressing their negative emotions, only to have them burst forth in uncontrollable ways.

As an example, I once was in a massage therapist’s office proofreading a manuscript for him. I was reading how he had a deep respect for his Japanese ancestors who originated the massage techniques he used in his practice. The phone rang and I heard him say, “Just dial 911,” then slammed the phone down. He then turned to me and explained, “That was my wife. My kid just fell down some stairs. I can’t deal with it.”

On the surface, the massage therapist conveyed an aura of humaneness and caring, all the while repressing his shadow side, as evidenced by his coldness towards his wife and child. Dr. Carl Jung recognized the danger of such repression and recommended confronting the nether-regions of our psyches—primarily through dream work—as a way of achieving healthy psychological equilibrium.

Anyone seeking a supportive metaphysical community should first ask themselves if their ability to think independently is being compromised. For keeping one’s metaphysical radar functioning is most important in a world crawling with “forced cheer” gurus, COINTELPRO channelers, and self-help authors.

Jaye Beldo
Mysteries Magazine
Fall 2007

The Dark Side of the Bright Side (In These Times 4/11/10)

Posted in Uncategorized by ce399 on 13/12/2010

In her new book Bright-Sided: How the Relentless Promotion of Positive Thinking Has Undermined America (Metropolitan/Holt, October 2009), Barbara Ehrenreich traces the origins of contemporary optimism from nineteenth-century healers to twentieth-century pushers of consumerism. She explores how that culture of optimism prevents us from holding to account both corporate heads and elected officials.

Manufactured optimism has become a method to make the poor feel guilty for their poverty, the ill for their lack of health and the victims of corporate layoffs for their inability to find worthwhile jobs. Megachurches preach the “gospel of prosperity,” exhorting poor people to visualize financial success. Corporations have abandoned rational decision-making in favor of charismatic leadership.

This mania for looking on the bright side has given us the present financial collapse; optimistic business leaders—assisted by rosy-eyed policymakers—made very bad decisions.

In These Times recently spoke with her about our penchant for foolish optimism.

Is promoting optimism a mechanism of social control to keep the system in balance?

If you want to have a compliant populace, what could be better than to say that everyone has to think positively and accept that anything that goes wrong in their lives is their own fault because they haven’t had a positive enough attitude? However, I don’t think that there is a central committee that sits there saying, “This is what we want to get people to believe.”

It took hold in the United States because in the ’80s and ’90s it became a business. You could write a book like Who Moved My Cheese?, which is a classic about accepting layoffs with a positive attitude. And then you could count on employers to buy them up and distribute them free to employees.

So this picks up more in the early ’80s and even more so in the ’90s when globalization really took off?

I was looking at the age of layoffs, which begins in the ’80s and accelerates. How do you manage a workforce when there is no job security? When there is no reward for doing a good job? When you might be laid off and it might not have anything to do with performance? As that began to happen, companies began to hire motivational speakers to come in and speak to their people.

Couldn’t this positive thinking be what corporate culture wants everyone to believe, but at the top, people are still totally rational?

That is what I was assuming when I started this research. I thought, “It’s got to be rational at the top. Someone has to keep an eye on the bottom line.” Historically, the science of management was that in a rational enterprise, we have spreadsheets, we have decision-trees and we base decisions on careful analysis.

But then all that was swept aside for a new notion of what management is about. The word they use is “leadership.” The CEO and the top people are not there so much to analyze and plan but to inspire people. They claimed to have this uncanny ability to sense opportunities. It was a shock, to find the extent to which corporate culture has been infiltrated not only by positive thinking, but by mysticism. The idea is that now things are moving so fast in this era of globalization, that there’s no time to think anymore. So you increasingly find CEOs gathering in sweat lodges or drumming circles or going on “vision quests” to get in touch with their inner-Genghis Khan or whatever they were looking for.

The same things are happening in foreign policy. We’ve abandoned a sense of realism. You had this with Bush and also with Obama, although he is more realistic. Is there a connection between optimism and the growth of empire?

In the ’80s, Reagan promoted the idea that America is special and that Americans were God’s chosen people, destined to prosper, much to the envy of everybody else in the world. Similarly, Bush thought of himself as the optimist-in-chief, as the cheerleader—which had been his job once in college. This is very similar to how CEOs are coming to think of themselves: as people whose job is to inspire others to work harder for less pay and no job security.

Would you say that Obama is our cheerleader-in-chief?

I haven’t sorted it out. He talks a lot about hope. And as a citizen I’d rather not hear about “hope,” I’d rather hear about “plans.” Yet he does strike me as a rational person, who thinks through all possibilities and alternatives.

You write about the science of positive thinking having taken root at Ivy League universities. It’s amazing to me that a course in happiness at Harvard would draw almost 900 students.

That was in 2006. And these courses have spread all over the country—courses in positive psychology where you spend time writing letters of gratitude to people in your family, letters of forgiveness (whether or not you send them doesn’t matter), getting in touch with your happy feelings, and I don’t think that’s what higher education should be about. People go to universities to learn critical thinking, and positive thinking is antithetical to critical thinking.

You have written a lot about Calvinism. Is it correct to say you have a deep problem with Calvinism?

In exploring why America became the birthplace of positive thinking, I come up with an explanation that is quite sympathetic to the early positive thinkers. Positive thinking initially represented a revolt against the dominant Calvinist stream of Protestantism in America in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. That kind of Calvinism was driving people crazy, literally. To think that you were a sinner, that your entire existence for all eternity would be one of torment in hell. It caused depression. It caused physical ailments. It was a nightmare. So you got some people in the early- and mid- 19th century that said, “Wait a minute, things aren’t so bad.” Ralph Waldo Emerson would probably be the best known example.

Couldn’t you go back farther to the Enlightenment—the ultimate optimistic philosophy? Our founding fathers were very informed by that. Is that a kind of optimism that you endorse? And ultimately what’s different between the pursuit of happiness as a manifestation of optimism and the current optimism that you’re talking about?

When the founding fathers undertook the Revolutionary War, they didn’t say, “We are going to win because we are visualizing victory.” They knew perfectly well that they could lose and be hanged as traitors. It took existential courage to say: “We are going to undertake this struggle without knowing whether we will win, but we’re just going to damn well die trying.”

So, where does this shift come from?

The shift had a lot to do with down-sizing, when corporations grabbed onto it as a means of soothing their disgruntled workforce. The alternative is realism. Let’s think about what’s actually going on: let’s get all the data we can; see what our options are; and figure out how to solve this problem. It sounds so trite and simple-minded, but that’s not how the thinking has been.

Is the progressive movement infected by bright-sidedness?

Progressives are not immune to this. I remember Mike Harrington [a founder of the Democratic Socialists of America] as a public speaker and he always, always ended on an upbeat note. No matter what was going on, he would end by saying there was a huge opening for the left. Today, I don’t know if we can do it. But we have no choice but to try.

You mean we need to have optimism, but grounded in reality?

I don’t call it optimism. I call it determination. One of the things I’ve devoted so much time to has had to do with poverty, class and inequality. Those things are not going to go away in my lifetime, but it won’t be for my lack of trying. And that’s a different kind of spirit than optimism.

Some will say your approach is rational, incremental and just not exciting. How would you respond to that?

I don’t think mine is an arid, overly intellectual approach. Consider what we’re up against on the economic and environmental front. Huge numbers of people are not getting by. There are the ecological threats to the human species. Let’s do something about it. What could be more irresponsible than to say, “If we just think it’s going to be alright, it’s going to be alright.” 


Student Bill Clinton ‘Spied’ on Americans Abroad for CIA (Sunday Telegraph 3/6/96)

Posted in Uncategorized by ce399 on 02/12/2010

Student Bill Clinton ‘spied’ on Americans abroad for CIA

A new book alleges that Bill Clinton spent his Oxford days monitoring
anti-Vietnam war activists for the CIA, Ambrose Evans-Pritchard reports
from Washington

WHEN Bill Clinton ran for the US presidency four years ago,
Republicans tried to prove that, as a student, he burnt the Stars and
Stripes in protest at the Vietnam War.

Now Dr Roger Morris, author of an astonishing new book called Partners
in Power, claims that, in the late 1960s, Mr Clinton worked as a
source for the Central Intelligence Agency. So, was the young Clinton
a patriot or just an opportunist? He was certainly no dangerous
radical. “No attack by his reactionary opponents would be more
undeserved than the charge that young Bill Clinton was ‘radical’,”
concludes Morris.

According to the book, the bearded, dishevelled Rhodes scholar was
recruited by the CIA while at Oxford – along with several other young
Americans with political aspirations – to keep tabs on fellow students
involved in protest activities against the Vietnam War. Morris says
that the young Clinton indulged in some low-level spying in Norway in
1969, visiting the Oslo Peace Institute and submitting a CIA
informant’s report on American peace activists who had taken refuge in
Scandinavia to avoid the draft. “An officer in the CIA station in
Stockholm confirmed that,” said Morris.

The Washington Establishment would like to dismiss this troubling book
as the work of a fevered conspiracy theorist. But Morris is no
lightweight. He worked at the White House in both the Johnson and
Nixon administrations, resigning from the National Security Council in
1970 in protest over the US invasion of Cambodia. He went on to become
an acclaimed biographer of Richard Nixon.

Rhodes scholars such as Mr Clinton were favourite targets for recruitment

As a member of America’s tight-knit association of retired
intelligence officers, he has access to highly privileged information.
“It’s an incredible network,” he explained. “They pass you along from
source to source.”

The CIA started recruiting campus informants under President Lyndon
Johnson when he demanded hard proof that there were, in his words,
“commie money and organisers behind this student s***”. The programme,
known as Operation Chaos, would offer informants a wide range of
inducements: a little cash on the side; taking care of their draft
problems; and promises of future help. “You know, if the agency’s in a
position to help at some point in their careers, there’d be an
institutional memory,” explained one CIA officer. “They knew the
advantages of helping out.”

Rhodes scholars such as Mr Clinton were favourite targets for
recruitment. This caused serious friction with Britain’s MI5 because
it violated a US-UK agreement that neither country would conduct
covert operations or recruit on each other’s home territory. “Because
of the sensitivity of the UK, these kids were treated in some ways
like high-level agents,” recalled one officer.

In the mid-1970s the CIA shredded its archives on Operation Chaos. One
of those involved in the purge of the records told Morris that he had
seen Bill Clinton listed as a former informant who went on to run for
political office. “He was there in the records, with a special
designation,” the official is quoted as saying in the book.

Mr Clinton’s alleged ties to the CIA would explain some later episodes
during his tenure as Governor of Arkansas, when his state became a
staging-point for President Ronald Reagan’s secret effort to supply
the Nicaraguan Contra rebels. An Arkansas State Trooper, L. D. Brown,
has testified in a deposition that he was inducted into the CIA on Mr
Clinton’s suggestion, and then went on two clandestine flights to
deliver weapons to Central America.

Mr Clinton was even commended for his “patriotic” work by the Reagan
White House after he had sent the Arkansas National Guard to Honduras
for manoeuvres. The deployment was a ruse by the Pentagon, according
to Morris. The Arkansas Guard left its “excess” inventory behind,
providing a cache of weapons that were slipped to the Contras.

The point is not that Bill and Hillary Clinton are Right-wingers in
disguise . It is that they have no conviction, no ideology, no guiding

Even Hillary Clinton was a Cold Warrior of sorts. Described in
Morris’s book as “a closet Contra supporter”, she quietly aided Contra
fund-raising in Little Rock. She also used her influence in US liberal
circles to undercut the legitimacy of peace activists and
pro-Sandinista church groups opposed to President Reagan’s policies in
Central America.

The point is not that Bill and Hillary Clinton are Right-wingers in
disguise – although Morris demolishes the pretence that they were
progressive reformers in Arkansas. It is that they have no conviction,
no ideology, no guiding purpose. Driven by raw ambition, they will
make any compromise necessary to advance their interests.

Partners in Power is the first of what will be a succession of books
about the Clintons whose authors are not fooled by the shadow-boxing
that often passes for substantive debate in American politics. (A
second book, by the editor of the American Spectator, will be coming
out later this month with another set of revelations.)

Morris violates all the taboos. Impatient with the manicured myth that
Bill Clinton was the apple-pie boy from Hope, Arkansas, he reveals the
little-known fact that the President spent much of his childhood in
Hot Springs, the capital of gambling, drug-smuggling and organised
crime in the central United States, where his powerful uncle and
mentor, Raymond Clinton, was a member of the Dixie mafia.

It was not Mr Clinton’s fault, of course, that he grew up in the
culture of “the Mob”. But it is central to understanding who Bill
Clinton really is. It helps explain why his brother, Roger, ended up
as a convicted drug dealer, and why Bill himself allegedly became a
regular user of cocaine. (On a police surveillance videotape quoted
from in the book, Roger can be heard saying to a supplier of cocaine:
“Got to get some for my brother. He’s got a nose like a vacuum

For Morris, ensconced in his New Mexico mountain retreat, the American
political system is now fatally corrupted. Democrats and Republicans
noisily dispute how many angels can fit on the head of a pin. But both
are indentured servants of the permanent government – “a bureaucracy
so self-corrupted it is unfit for democracy” – and the interlocking
interests of the lobby machine to be found on Washington’s K Street.

It already looks as if the US media will try to ignore Partners in
Power, which is to be published next week. “Their reaction is entirely
predictable,” said Morris. “If they were to behave any other way, my
book would not be true.”

This report appeared in the last edition of The Sunday Telegraph

June 3 1996: Bad ol’ good ol’ boys


The Phoenix Program and the SLA (Douglas Valentine, Mae Brussell)

Posted in Uncategorized by ce399 on 02/12/2010

The implication or latent threat of force alone was sufficient to insure that the people would comply –
CIA Director William Colby

What we’re really doing in Vietnam is killing the cause of ‘wars of liberation.’ It’s a testing ground – like Germany in Spain. It’s an example to Central America and other guerrilla prone areas – Bernard Fall, Ramparts. December 1965.

Nelson Brickham viewed Vietnam as a war that would be “won or lost on the basis of intelligence,” and he created [the] Phoenix [Program] as the vanguard in that battle. Unfortunately, the Phoenix front line unraveled faster than the VCI’s; dissension between the Americans and Vietnamese, and the CIA and the military doomed the program to failure. And while the insurgents held tight, mistrust of U.S. government policy in Southeast Asia born during Tet 1968 and brought to a boil by the Cambodian invasion, began to unravel American society.

Immediately following the Cambodian invasion, massive antiwar demonstrations erupted across the country. In Ohio Governor James Rhodes reacted violently, vowing to ‘eradicate’ the protesters. On May 4, 1970, the Ohio National Guard responded to his exhortations, firing into a crowd of demonstrators at Kent State College, killing four people.

The spectacle of American soldiers killing American citizens had a chilling on many people, many of whom suddenly realized that dissent was a dangerous in the United States as it was in South Vietnam. To many Americans, the underlying tragedy of the Vietnam War symbolized by Phoenix, was finally felt at home. Nixon himself articulated those murderous impulses when he told his staff, “Don’t worry about decisiveness. Having drawn the sword, stick it in hard. Hit’ em in the gut. No defensiveness.”

Nixon backed his words with actions. He ordered one of his aides, a former Army intelligence specialist and president of the Young Americans for Freedom, Tom Huston, to devise a plan to surveil, compromise, and discredit his domestic critics. The Huston Plan was called evidence of a “Gestapo mentality” by Senator Sam Ervin of North Carolina.

What Ervin meant by the “Gestapo mentality” was Phoenix in its conceptual sense – the use of terror to stifle dissent. Reflecting Nixon’s “Gestapo Mentality,” offensive counterintelligence operations were directed against dissenters in America: blacks, leftists, pacifists, the Vietnam Veterans Against the War (VVAW), and American Indians. The most famous example may have been mounted by the CIA’s domestic operations branch against the Black Liberation Movement; as in Chile, it provoked a violent reaction by security forces and served to justify repression.

Colston Westbrook, according to Mae Brussell in a July 1974 article in The Realist, was a CIA psywar expert. An adviser to the Korean CIA and Lon Nol in Cambodia,  Westbrook from 1966 until 1969 reportedly worked (undercover as an employee of Pacific Architects and Engineers) as an adviser to the Vietnamese Police Special Branch. In 1970 Westbrook allegedly returned to the United States and was gotten a job at the University of California at Berkeley. According to Brussell, Westbrook’s control officer was William Hermann, who was connected to the Stanford Research Institute, RAND Corporation, and the Hoover Center on Violence. In his capacity as an adviser to Governor Ronald Reagan, Hermann put together a pacification plan for California at the UCLA Center for the Study and Prevention of Violence. As part of this pacification plan Westbrook, a black man, was assigned the task of forming a black cultural association at the Vacaville Medical Facility. Although ostensibly fostering black pride, Westbrook was in truth conducting an experimental behavior modification program. Westbrook’s job, claims Brussell, was to program unstable persons, drawn from California prisons, to assassinate black community leaders. His most successful client was Donald DeFreeze, chief of the Symbionese Liberation Army (SLA). It was Westbrook who designed the SLA’s logo (a seven-headed cobra), who gave DeFreeze his African name (Cinque), and who set Cinque and his gang on their Phoenix flight to cremation, care of the Los Angeles SWAT Team, the FBI, and U.S. Treasury agents.

The Phoenix Program: A Shattering Account of the most Ambitious and Closely Guarded Operation of the Vietnam War by Douglas Valentine. Pgs. 336, 337. ISBN# 0 688-09130-X

Flight of the Phoenix: From Vietnam to Homeland Security

Why Was Patricia Hearst Kidnapped?