Peru: The Ideology Of Apocalypse Shining Path To What?

Peru: The Ideology Of Apocalypse Shining Path To What?

By Manolo Gonzalez, AJODA #37 – Summer 1993


In one episode of his novel, Yawar Fiesta — Feast of Blood – , the Peruvian writer José Maria Arguedas describes in painful detail the combat of a condor tied to the neck and shoulders of a bull. Seldom does either animal win. The bird pecks madly, trying to get away from the enraged bull. Often the bull, blinded and exhausted, collapses and crushes the condor to death. This ritual has been performed at religious festivities for about three hundred years, since the Spaniards introduced European cattle into the Peruvian Andes. Arguedas uses this as an allegory of the violent, never-resolved conflict resulting from the invasion of the American continent by the Europeans. The rapacious policies of Spain, the super-exploitation of the indigenous population and the violent methods used to obtain total submission reflect one of the most cruel episodes of history. Perhaps up to 10 million Peruvians were murdered or died of European infectious diseases, and that in only the first 25 years of the invasion. Thousands of temples, administrative posts, roads and aqueducts were wantonly destroyed. Cities like Cuzco, Caxamarca were disfigured or almost demolished. The expropriation of the communal lands of the natives by the Europeans was a religious desecration of the beliefs of the Peruvians who revered the Earth, the Pachamama, as an all life-giving deity. Precious objects of art were melted for their gold or moved into European museums, or private collections. A practice that still continues today.

In Peru, class conflict has always been exacerbated by racial hatred. The lower classes are always Cholos, when not zambos or cutatos for people of African descent. There is the term chinitos for any oriental, like President Alberto Fujimori. The rich and powerful are always considered white, regardless the color of their skin.

Furthermore, different ethnic groups are antagonistic towards each other. Peruvians from the coast seldom recognize their brothers and sisters from other regions as their legitimate countrymen. Racial epithets fly around at the least expected occasions, be they soccer or politics.

In Peru, a sense of nation, of having a common background and common symbols to unify the country, has never existed. It is common for Peruvians to call themselves members of the “independent republic of Cuzco,” or ‘Arequipa’, etc. The middle classes of Lima identify with New York, Paris or even Moscow but reject Peruvians from the highlands or the jungle.

Geography is one of the most brutal challenges to the Peruvian people. The Andes cross the country from north to south, creating three regions: the arid, desolated coastal deserts; the highland sierras; and the Amazonic jungle. Each of these regions is a separate entity economically and culturally, always in conflict with the other regions. There has never been a cohesive policy of building roads or creating efficient systems of communications. Most railways are from the 19th century, built by British or Americans. 20th century travelers in Peru have observed that, if you travel from West to East, you will move from the present to the late 19th century and when you arrive in the jungle, you will be in the Stone Age. Yet United Nations functionaries still manage to say that Peruvians, decedents of the Incas, live royally compared to the abject poverty and misery of Bangladesh or Northern India.

20th century technology has blanketed Peru with the message of rock and roll and blue jeans. Radio and TV has transformed the descendants of the Incas into consumers of Capitalism’s junk. The most popular soft drink is called Inca Cola. But these stand in sharp contrast to another reality. The peasants of the Andes and the dwellers of the slums of Lima and other urban centers live in terrible conditions, victims of exploitation, unemployment and diseases long-ago controlled in most of the world. Cholera, tuberculosis, venereal disease are rampant in these improvised villages. No wonder an uncontrollable rage has exploded.

Paradoxes, contradictions and exaggerations are the biggest obstacles for those of us who deal with Peru’s history. An Italian geographer created a phrase that is a national obsession to all Peruvians. Antonio Raymondi said, “Peru is a beggar seated on a bench of gold.”

The Failure Of Ideology

In 1980 when Sendero Luminoso (Shining Path) started its military operations, Peru was in the middle of the most profound crisis ever in its 150 years of Republican existence. Both economic illusions and long-revered ideological sacred cows had failed.

First, due to ecological reasons and overfishing, the fish industry had collapsed. Since 1950, almost a million highland peasants had abandoned their lands to work along the coast in a profitable new industry. Peru became the world’s largest exporter of anchovies and fish meal. A gigantic fleet of ‘Bolicheras’, high sea fishing vessels, annually caught over $75 million worth of fish. When the industry collapsed in the late ’60s, millions of Peruvians were affected. By 1970 the desperate, unemployed invaded the streets of Lima in a wave of crime and violence. Nevertheless, the government did not realize its political implications.

Second, the leftist military, in a period of State Socialism, managed to impose radical nationalization of mines and industries and the century old dream of social reformers: the Agrarian Reform. But workers could not control artificial industries or compete against international prices. The peasants did not benefit at all from the land given to them in a rather chaotic manner. No technical assistance, mechanical equipment nor seeds were available, and, without social incentives, the long-awaited Agrarian Reform turned into a disheartening tragedy. The peasants continued emigrating to the coast for jobs in factories and the fishing industry, abandoning the land to the despair of romantic social equalitarians and Marxist intellectuals.

Third, the election of Fernando Belaunde Terry in 1980 was the end of any democratic illusions about social change. Belaunde was a most inept man, arrogant and obsessed with expensive pet projects, like building a highway in the Amazonian jungle, ignoring the massive social problems surrounding him. Congress, controlled by the middle-class APRA party that had dominated the political scene for 60 years, followed a policy of sectarian opposition to Belaunde, more on a political basis than due to any programmatic differences. It is no coincidence that Abimael Guzman, the so-called Presidente Gonzalo of Sendero Luminoso, decided in 1980 to launch a frontal attack on all the institutions of Peru. In reality there was not much left after the chaos of State Socialism and the restoration of European democracy. Belaunde continued a hysterical purchase of arms because someone had the idea that in 1979, one hundred years after the War of the Pacific with Chile, there should be a revenge for Peru’s humiliating defeat. All this was paid for with money borrowed from international banks, monies that could never be repaid because Peru could barely afford to service the massive interest charges on the loans.

Coca: Just Another Industry

In the meantime, Peru had become the main producer of coca.

Recondite valleys in the Andes easily hid coca cultivation, as well as the army of Presidente Gonzalo. The cultivation and use of coca leaves is a cultural leftover of the Inca civilization. Among the peasants of the highland chewing coca was nothing more than a potent snack to combat fatigue and the physical demands of working in the high altitude of the Andes. For over a century, coca was a monopoly of the State. Cultivators sold the leaves to government agencies, which then distributed it to consumers in a rather ordinary way, through regular stores, together with liquor, matches and cigarettes, all monopolies of the State. It was the Coca Cola company that first decided to buy large quantities of the leaves for its famous soda, but it was the elegant elite of Europe and the United States that made cocaine a drug of choice. Even Cole Porter popularized the alkaloid. But, when poor Peruvian peasants began selling coca leaves to different organizations of drug traffickers, the success of the enterprise had unexpected results. Tragic consequences for Peru and the battle for control of the coca crop started. International agencies, mafias and political operatives from many nations fought for the right to buy, and thereby control, the superb leaves of the Peruvian Andes.

Prelude To Insurgency

The insurgency of Shining Path was a desperate, almost spontaneous movement of a provincial college professor, students, and unemployed youth. Cadres were easily recruited from the gigantic slums that surrounded Lima, Arequipa and ports like Chimbote, still suffering from the effects of the collapse of the fishing industry.

Since the beginning of the 20th century, Peruvian politics had experienced a predictable left/right polarization, the usual array of Marxists and pseudo-Marxists versus the right-wing, including, in the early ’30s, black shirt fascists and Franco admirers. But the Peruvian aristocracy had always controlled the most effective political force, the Army. Since the 1950s, the Army had been indoctrinated in the anti-Communist doctrines of Eisenhower and the CIA, or the anti-insurgency ‘007’ tactics of Kennedy. But, in the classical style of tropical contradictions, the Army decided in the ’70s to try Socialism! Socialism failed, but things were not back to business as usual. Mass mobilizations had occurred and industrial workers, peasants and students were forming cadres for a Maoist revolution, at the moment the most fashionable theory for armed struggle among Third World revolutionaries.

The original Peruvian Communist Party, affiliated with the Third International and loyal follower of the Leninist ideology of the Soviet Union had become a bureaucratic apparatus, an active collaborator with the so-called “progressive bourgeoisie.” But the rift between the CPs or China and Moscow had repercussions on most of the radical left in Peru, as well as in the rest of the Third World. Abimael Guzman, a professor of Philosophy at the University of Huamanga (Ayacucho), fought inside the Moscow-oriented CP of Peru to follow a more radical line. In 1969 he was expelled from the party, and Guzman and his followers found a Maoist faction, reclaiming the name of the Communist Party of Peru for themselves.

Fire In The Andes!

The political parties of Peru were not ready for the offensive of Sendero Luminoso. Elections in 1980 were more or less normal, except for the minor inconvenience of the Maoist group in Ayacucho launching its first military operation. By the 1985 elections, won by APRA, Shining Path had devastated the capital of Peru with constant assaults on the police, bombings and mobilizations of its cadres in the slums, the “pueblos jovenes.” The European-oriented APRA party was, not only totally incapable of resolving the crisis, but actually precipitated in an orgy of corruption, petty revenge and sporadic brutal attacks on the regions where Shining Path operated. The Army routinely massacred thousands of peasants in Ayacucho, Alto Huallaga, Puno and other Andean points of resistance. To no one’s surprise, the armed forces became deeply involved in the ‘protection’ of the coca business organizations, both local and from abroad.

The violence of Sendero Luminoso, its irreducible dogmatism, and, especially, its mystical reverence for Presidente Gonzalo’s thought gives the movement a formidable image as an uncompromising political ideology. Peruvians have always managed to, somehow, combine political theories into civilized arrangements that have made Socialists of the Army or fashionable Communists of the children of the rich. Shining Path, however, is different, and perhaps, that is its biggest weakness.

It has been said many times that people with deep religious feelings cannot become capitalists or communists in their many forms. Peruvian middle classes are strongly indoctrinated in Catholicism. By and large, the peasants still keep the old pantheism of the Incas. Shining Path tries to define Peru as a peasant society, separated and segregated from the rest of the world. In the desolated mountains of the Andes, deep in the jungle, even in the small towns around Cuzco, Puno and Ayacucho, that vision of the country seems real, almost a justification for recreating the glory of the Inca Confederation. But neither Maoist ideology nor a nostalgic conception of history is adequate to solve the problems of Peru. With a population of twenty million, heavy external debt and pressure from the IMF, and the tutelage of the United States, the country cannot escape the ups and downs of the current world economy. If capitalism is trying to survive and retain its hold on Third World countries, Peru is a terrible example of future conflicts.

Guerrillas And Romance

When the news of armed struggle in Peru started to appear in the world press, there was, at first, a very sympathetic response. Especially among social agencies, Church workers and liberal intellectuals who decried the poverty of Peruvian peasants. The social horror of Peru’s misery had attracted the attention of the international press, observers and hopeful radicals.

Collage professors of Latin American studies called for support for the Peruvian revolution. The New York Times and The New Yorker dedicated long pieces of reporting and analysis to the armed struggle in Peru. The repressive methods of the Peruvian government, whether Belaunde, APRA or Fujimori, had moved organizations like Amnesty International to denounce the country as one of the most flagrant violators of human rights. Shining Path still maintains a rather well-organized network of supporters in Europe and the USA. In the mid ’80s, walls around Berkeley, California were covered with the slogan, “Support the Popular Revolution in Peru.” One very large, impressive wall could be seen from the entrance to the Bay Bridge, covered with hammer and sickle and exhortations for revolution.

Few Americans knew what was happening, but CNN and the magazines started to report on the brutal confrontation that was going on in Peru. Committees of support appeared on the campus of UC Berkeley. Videos, lectures and college agitation soon added the war in Peru as another cause for the American Left. The presence of American advisers only enhanced the concept that Peru was the next Vietnam.

Typical of the interest shown by young liberal intellectuals was an article published in the 1992 Winter issue of New Politic. Written by Professor Phillip Smith, a graduate of the Institute of Latin American Studies at the University of Texas in Austin, the piece concludes, “it is the responsibility of the U.S. Left to challenge the assumptions of ‘narcoterrorism’ and the international war on drugs as promoted by the Bush administration. It is certainly our place to fight against assistance to the Peruvian military — among the world’s worst human rights violators. The threat of direct intervention is real. With the U.S. government in a chest-thumping mood after cheap and easy victories in Grenada, Panama, and the Persian Gulf, and a public now conditioned for militarism, the temptation for Washington to ‘straighten out the mess’ may well be irresistible.” His prediction of intervention, as many other predictions of the U.S. Left, is a reincarnation of the Vietnam syndrome. The Left forgets the lessons of El Salvador and Nicaragua, the war against the revolutionaries was by proxy and with mercenaries. In Peru the Army is an essential part of the privileged alliance, the backbone of the scared middle classes in Lima and other urban centers. The indiscriminate violence from both the Army and Sendero was a sobering effect that slowly penetrated liberal opinion.

Politics And Surrealism

The irrational political confrontation in the elections of 1990 left most observers flabbergasted. There was the old APRA, wasted and running scared, while the Ex-President was being indicted on charges of corruption. Traditional conservatives and Belaunde-followers backed Mario Vargas Llosa, novelist and admirer of British democracy. In a moment of irritation Vargas Llosa dropped out of the campaign, only to return to declare that Peru needed a Parliamentary Monarchy. (This while running for President of a 180- year old Republic.) Finally, there was the obscure candidate of a movement called Cambio 90, Alberto Fugimori. He only had to show his face and declare, “I’m more Peruvian than those other dudes!” While he made vague promises, it was his use of buzz words like ‘blanquiñosos’ (white crackers) that tapped into the profound racial antagonism that pervades Peruvian society. His strongest support came from the growing Protestant Evangelist movement that is challenging the Catholic Church, the official religion for centuries. No one won. The election went to Congress, and the APRA majority gave its support to Fujimori. Vargas Llosa wrote in Granta magazine, “After me Peru will fall into barbarism.” He was almost right.

Popular War

Years of popular war has not weakened the State. On the contrary, Fujimori was free to justify his policies by pointing to the difficulties of fighting an internal war and trying to repay the external debt. He reestablished Peru’s international credit in order to pay for the repression, a new bureaucracy and all the symbols of a modern nation. The condition of the poor continued to worsen, but the many calls for national insurrection by Shining Path have not been successful. Peruvians were certainly poor, but the violence of Shining Path was repugnant to the impoverished middle classes and, in a certain way, provoked indifference among the peasants. Certainly the murder of many cells of the Maoists, some in massacres within prisons, took a heavy tool on the direction of the movement.

In his many interviews, pamphlets and revolutionary literature, Abimael Guzman has never offered a political vision that could be embraced by the industrial workers or the unemployed. The new State, a vague phrase, like “after the revolution” in the ’30s, is not a promise of a brighter future, but demands indoctrination, work and obedience. In a tropical nation that still takes its siesta time very seriously, this is a letdown to any potential revolutionary.

Is The End Near?

The capture early this year of Abimael Guzman, the elusive Presidente Gonzalo and most of his staff, moved the strategy of the Maoists into a new, never before accepted phase-political accommodation. Recently President Fujimori has accepted the visit of international groups concerned with human rights. The official press blasted the international delegations, but, still, they made it into Lima. El Diario, the semi-official newspaper of Sendero has appeared again in Lima. Perhaps Fujimori needs to play to the new Clinton administration in order to get help for loans and investments. Perhaps some of the revolutionaries realize that the military struggle is not an end in itself. There must be political objectives. The capture of the State apparatus, or at least the destruction of enough of the old ruling class to ensure a degree of popular power, needs the support of a large section of the oppressed. The Russian communist, with Leninist theories of a small, conspiratorial elite of terrorists and intellectuals, produces only a dictatorship, ready to commit the most heinous crimes, just as Bakunin predicted in his debate with Marx at the First International.

Sendero, or any other revolutionary group in Latin America, needs a solid base in the industrial proletariat while still keeping emotional and family ties to the rural population. The impoverished middle classes will respond only to a climate of freedom and productive work, not political patronage or selfish professionalism. The peasant population will never participate in any movement that has European theories as its ideology. Catholicism, Marxism, Maoism spell disaster for the indigenous masses of Peru, Ecuador, Bolivia and Guatemala. Because the question of State, popular power are immaterial to groups that see race and class as an ambiguous concepts, even as distortions of the social order. The masses of peasants need a Federation of independent enclaves, united by collective technology and social services, not a State run by the white elite, Marxist intellectuals or progressive capitalists.

Peru, and many other Third World nations, reflect the cruelest evidence of the erosion of the capitalist system. There cannot be a constant growing economy. This means that millions of human beings are reduced to starvation in order to maintain the system. At the same time, ecological disasters have precipitated economic crises for which even the seven powerful, industrialized nations cannot afford to pay. Just observe the ecological disasters in the former Soviet Union, in the U.S.A., in the North Sea. But even more serious for Peru and other countries, is the aspirations of its people to control their natural resources and the uncontrollable appetite of international corporations backed by the most powerful armies of Europe and the U.S.A.

The invasion of Latin America by Europeans will never have a peaceful solution. When Germany invaded its neighbors it eventually had to withdraw. So it was with the U.S.A. from Japan. But the Europeans have never moved out of Peru. What is needed is a Peace treaty, perhaps paying reparations to the indigenous populations and restoring a more natural order with the pre-Columbian institutions that still survive in the large Indian communities all over the Andes, from Ecuador, Peru to Bolivia. That region of Latin America has so many elements in common that it is not farfetched to envision a new Andean Confederation, there is already a name for it: Indoamerica. Meanwhile the drama of “Yawar Fiesta” repeats. The condor should be allowed to fly free!

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A Bit Of Literature – Born Of Man And Woman – I


by Richard Matheson

X — This day when it had light mother called me retch. You retch she said. I saw in her eyes the anger. I wonder what it is a retch.
This day it had water falling from upstairs. It fell all around. I saw that. The ground of the back I watched from the little window. The ground it sucked up the water like thirsty lips. It drank too much and it got sick and runny brown. I didn’t like it.
Mother is a pretty I know. In my bed place with cold walls around I have a paper things that was behind the furnace. It says on it SCREENSTARS. I see in the pictures faces like of mother and father. Father says they are pretty. Once he said it. And also mother he said. Mother so pretty and me decent enough. Look at you he said and didnt have the nice face. I touched his arm and said it is alright father. He shook and pulled away where I couldn’t reach. Today mother let me off the chain a little so I could look out the little window. Thats how l saw the water falling from upstairs.

XX — This day it had goldness in the upstairs. As I know when I looked at it my eyes hurt. After I look at it the cellar is red.
I think this was church. They leave the upstairs. The big machine swallows them and rolls out past and is gone. In the back part is the little mother. She is much small than me. lam I can see out the little window all I like.
In this day when it got dark I had eat my food and some bugs. I hear laughs upstairs. I like to know why there are laughs for. I took the chain from the wall and wrapped it around me. I walked squish to the stairs.
They creak when I walk on them. My legs slip on them because I dont walk on stairs. My feet stick to the wood. I went up and opened a door. It was a white place. White as white jewels that come from upstairs sometime. I went in and stood quiet. I hear the laughing some more. I walk to the sound and look through to the people. More people than I thought was. I thought I should laugh with them.
Mother came out and pushed the door in. It hit me and hurt. I fell back on the smooth floor and the chain made noise. I cried. She made a hissing noise into her and put her hand on her mouth. Her eyes got big. She looked at me. I heard father call. What fell he called. She said a iron board. Come help pick it up she said. He came and said now is that so heavy you need. He saw me and grew big. The anger came in his eyes. He hit me. I spilled some of the drip on the floor from one arm. It was not nice. It made ugly green on the floor.
Father told me to go to the cellar. I had to go. The light it hurt some now in my eyes. It is not so like that in the cellar.
Father tied my legs and arms up. He put me on my bed. Upstairs I heard laughing while I was quiet there looking on a black spider that was swinging down to me. I thought what father said. Ohgod he said. And only eight.

XXX — This day father hit in the chain again before it had light. I have to try pull it out again. He said I was bad to come upstairs. He said never do that again or he would beat me hard. That hurts. I hurt. I slept the day and rested my head against the cold wall. I thought of the white place upstairs.

XXXX — I got the chain from the wall out. Mother was upstairs. I heard little laughs very high. I looked out the window. I saw all little people like the little mother and little fathers too. They are pretty.
They were making nice noise and jumping around the ground. Their legs was moving hard. They are like mother and father. Mother says all right people look like they do.
One of the little fathers saw me. He pointed at the window. I let go and slid down the wall in the dark. I curled up as they would not see. I heard their talks by the window and foots running. Upstairs there was a door hitting. I heard the little mother call upstairs. I heard heavy steps and I rushed in my bed place. I hit the chain in the wall and lay down on my front.
I heard my mother come down. Have you been at the window she said. I heard the anger. Stay away from the window. You have pulled the chain out again.
She took the stick and hit me with it. I didnt cry. I cant do that. But the drip ran all over the bed. She saw it and twisted away and made a noise. Oh mygodmygod she said why have you done this to me? I beard the stick go bounce on the stone floor. She ran upstairs. I slept the day.

XXXXX — This day it had water again. When mother was upstairs I heard the little one come slow down the steps. I hidded myself in the coal bin for mother would have anger if the little mother saw me.
She had a little live thing with her. It walked on the arms and had pointy ears. She said things to it. It was all right except the live thing smelled me. It ran up the coal and looked down at me. The hairs stood up. In the throat it made an angry noise. I hissed but it jumped on me.
I didnt want to hurt it. I got fear because it bit me harder than the rat does. I hurt and the little mother screamed. I grabbed the live thing tight. It made sounds I never heard. I pushed it all together. It was all lumpy and red on the black coal.
I hid there when mother called. I was afraid of the stick. She left. I crept over the coal with the thing. I hid it under my pillow and rested on it. I put the chain in the wall again.

X — This is another times. Father chained me tight. I hurt because he beat me. This time I hit the stick out of his hands and made noise. He went away and his lace was white. He ran out of my bed place and locked the door.
I am not so glad. All day it is cold in here. The chain comes slow out of the wall. And I have a bad anger with mother and father. I will show them. I will do what I did that once.
I will screech and laugh loud. I will run on the walls. Last I will hang head down by all my legs and laugh and drip green all over until they are sorry they didn’t be nice to me.
If they try to beat me again Ill hurt them. I will.


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I read Born Of Man And Woman by Richard Matheson.


Have you ever read a story that you didn’t like that much at first, but the more you thought of it, the more you realized how brilliant it was? That’s what happened to me when I read Born Of Man And Woman by Richard Matheson. When you read this very short science-fiction story, you will understand why I was so shocked by it. As a mother I just can’t envision what kind of parents would hate their child no matter how “monstrous” their little one is.

I don’t want to give away the premise of the whole story. Would like to add though that this was the first story written by Richard Matheson, when he was only 24, in 1950, and it instantly made him famous. Later he went on writing a number of episodes for the popular series The Twilight Zone, and several famous novels that were turned into famous movies, including The Shrinking Man, The Last Man on Earth, and the list goes on.

Now, considering that you’re warned, let me know what you thought of this short science-fiction horror story, that is if, of course, you’ll have the courage to read it till the end.

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The Plunder of the San Francisco Public Library

High Tech Barbarians at the Gates
The Plunder of the San Francisco Public Library
By Walter Biller, Jim Kirwan & Suzanne Slade
Reprinted from San Francisco Frontlines of June 1997

This is about a War that was waged by a small group of people, nine years ago, that refused to allow the public library to become a corporate “proving ground” for ever-greater corporate profits at the public’s expense. We (the activists) actually succeeded in bringing this issue into the national spotlight. The article has been reprinted here as a reminder to everyone that individuals can and do make a major difference, on many fronts ~ if they will only try!

Brooks Hall- The People’s Library… there are a million books and periodicals in an abandoned convention center called Brooks Hall under San Francisco’s New Main Library at Civic Center. This is the result of a $200 million dollar scam the likes of which San Francisco has never seen before. When we voted for Proposition A in 1988, we approved a library “which would hold the expanding collection for the next twenty years.” Simply put, we were burned.

Maybe you don’t care if nearly half of the collections of the most important public library in the West are buried in a scene right out of Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451. They don’t want you to care. You are stupid, they think, and if their plan succeeds, you and your children will stay that way. A stupid customer is a good customer. If you disagree maybe this article might get you mad enough to save yourself and your children now, while there’s still time. The flood is coming baby. They are washing your world away. Cynical? Hell yes, wait until you hear the whole story.

This story thanks to the diligence of a handful of loud, expressive, media-oriented folks, is a national one now. Hell, international. New York Times, Newsweek, The New Yorker, Harper’s, The LA times, Baltimore Sun, Philadelphia Inquirer, local affiliates of ABC, CBS, and NBC,CNN, BBC-these book lovers don’t play soft-ball. They are asking tough questions: Where are the books? Where is the money? This article will address these thorny issues.

Where Are the Books

Imagine a world without books. Your friendly telephone companies PacBell, Pacific Telesis, (Telesis from the Greek, the purposeful use of natural and social forces; planned progress; New World Dictionary, 1972), has done just that. They call the plan “Building the House of the Book.” In PacBell’s vision of the library, “If it’s not in here, maybe it doesn’t exist.(This was PacBell’s motto for their Yellow-Pages until a few months after this article was written.) They even made a video: Library of the Future (© 1988). In this 12 minute vision, they show us a world where women are computer slaves, librarians are history, books are gone, and technology has replaced God. This film is not for children. This movie is not for smart people. This movie is the plan. Visit the New Main. Ask to see Brooks Hall. Expect to be denied. Nearly half of the library’s collections are there.

Inside the new building, nearly 60 per cent of the library’s remaining books are in closed-stacks, hidden behind locked doors. You can’t see them or touch them. The building itself is hostile to books. Conveyor belts eat the books. Old, rare books, once kept in locked, dust-proof cases, are now kept in the hell of Brooks Hall with the rats, the underground humidity and the feral cats.

Of the building’s 363,247 square feet, over one third is useless for either books or computers. THEY spent $46 million of your money on non-book functions: atriums, light wells, television and sound studios, galleries, a coffee shop, a gift shop, and some big metal art. At $365 per square foot, there are 20,000 square feet of space used for nothing. NOTHING. That’s $7.3 million right there. That’s 20,000 square feet of space guaranteed to help bring about the PacBell vision of “The Library of the Future.” The most expensive room of all is suspended four stories in the air, three floors high inside, enclosed in glass and steel; containing perhaps the most precious books to remain in the PacBell House of the Book: the nation’s telephone books. Cruel joke or dire prophecy? After all, remember: “If it’s not in here perhaps it doesn’t exist.

This new library was planned; it was no accident. In a 1987 planning study conducted by library consultants Becker & Hayes Inc. , it is made clear that books and periodicals must go. The study states, “The library will pursue and active “weeding” program in the next two decades to extend the useful life of the facility.”

It also states that, “up to 50 percent of the material could be located off-site.” Enter Brooks Hall-here the plan becomes reality. So while the voters in 1988 were being sold the grand “world-class” library, for which their millions in tax money were necessary, the planners were planning their “Library of the Future.” You have already paid: Which future did your money buy?

Where Is The Money

Over 71 percent of San Franciscans approved Proposition A in 1988 to provide $104.5 million for the New Main Library which would double the existing footage. This was money just for the new building. To furnish and equip the building, a public-private partnership, The Library Foundation, was contrived. Here’s what happened…

Steven A. Coulter: Entrepreneur Extraordinaire

Today’s Library Commission President, Steven A. Coulter, has been on the commission since 1988, with one brief interruption under mayor Jordan. In addition to his duties on the commission, supposedly representing the public, Mr. Coulter was the cheerleader in charge of raising money for the Foundation. On April 12, 1996, a week before the new library opened, Coulter told a global audience via 15 national and three international satellite downlinks from the College of San Mateo (blacked out in San Francisco) that the Foundation had raised $34 million in private donations to furnish the New Main Library. Coulter said, “We have 17,000 donor families, institutions,(&) foundations. We have raised just under $34 million in private money…” In the Friends of the Library 1996 Annual Report, Coulter’s $34 million had become only $22 million. What happened to the other $12 million?

In exchange for its legal right to exist, the Foundation promised to raise $300,000 annually for the library. In the first year of that agreement, the Foundation raised only $54,000. In a twisted quid pro quo, the Foundation then charged the library $150,000 for its services. That’s a Deficit of $96,000 this year. Add to that the $1 rent on their spacious new offices(which cost you the taxpayer $365 a square foot) and you’ve got on hell of a raw deal.

By the way, guess who Steven A. Coulter works for? He’s the leading vice-president for Pacific Bell, the Area Director for Pacific Telesis of Northern California, and the San Francisco Director for Pacific Telesis Group (the grant-giving foundation of Pacific Telesis). In the old days, before the “Library of the Future,” this was known as an illegal conflict of interest. Ethics? Remember. “If it’s not in here, maybe it doesn’t exist.”

Kenneth A. Dowlin – Legacy of the Fall Guy

Dateline: San Francisco. On October 17, 1989, San Francisco was rocked by a major earthquake. At the Old main Library, thousands of books fell from the shelves. This event provided City Librarian Ken Dowlin with a dream of dreams. From this earthquake, Dowlin derived a New World Order for his books and collections. He would completely re-organize the library to accommodate his own vision. Instead of moving quickly to restore services, Dowlin and the Library Commission decided to use the opportunity to make major changes.

Dowlin’s strategic plan called for a three-tiered approach. The Alexandrian Project would result in a new building; the Herculean Project; that he described as the “cleaning out of the Augean Stables,” and the “Mercury Project,” which would consist of an integrated computer service allowing public access via computer modems to the library.

In 1989, with books on the floor, Dowlin applied to The Federal Emergency Management Authority (FEMA) for a grant of $1million. With this money, no matter what he told the feds, he would initiate all three of his Greek inspired points of action.

Herculean Project – Purging the Books

As Dowlin gazed upon the fallen books he decided to “collapse” their categories. This trashing of the Dewey Decimal System he called “leveled access,” a folly that remains in place today. The result was to complicate public access to the books. He heaped hitherto skillfully organized and indexed collections, e.g., sports, poetry, labor issues, etc., into large unmanageable super-categories. He moved the libraries periodicals, many being completely unbroken runs dating from the 19th century, into an abandoned hospital in the city’s Richmond District. Another Foundation Booster and library commissioner, Dale A. Carlson, vice-president of the Pacific Stock Exchange, helped orchestrate this shell game, arranging for the covert facility with the aid of Senator Barbara Boxer. For his efforts, those miles of stacks became known as the Carlson Stacks, a term of derision defining the separation of the books from their public. Today, much of this material, primarily due to citizen and librarian resistance, has reached the temporary shelter of Brooks Hall.

Mercury Project

With his $1 million in Federal relief funds, Dowlin bought computers. His ultimate choice was a Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC) supercomputer that drove his online Public Access Catalogue (OPAC). It’s cost to date $14 million and counting. It seems than rather than ask the public for the money to buy the system, he made a midnight deal with DEC. But if the computer was to be financed, then the (city’s) Board of Supervisors should have voted on it. They weren’t even consulted. Today this system is user Unfriendly. It can’t be adequately updated because of its age. Ask anyone you know who has tried to use OPAC if it worked for them. A recent fill-rate study shows that patrons found only 37 percent of the books they were looking for. A writer to Harper’s said, “Vast sums of money have been spent on new technology of dubious value. The excellent old-technology of the book is being sacrificed to that end.”

The Alexandrian Project & the New Main Library

Ken Dowlin’s plan called for building the New Main Library as a communications center-the Alexandrian Project. We know, of course, that the Library of Alexandria, the greatest library in the greatest city of Ancient Egypt, was destroyed. Containing the works of Plato, Socrates, and other famous scholars, {The Library of Alexandria was burned} – its many pagan books and manuscripts were completely destroyed by people who would not tolerate them in their new world. Apparently Ken Dowlin, the architect of the phone company’s “Library of the Future” felt much the same way. Books must go. Computers must thrive. It’s ironic that Dowlin chose to name his program for a Library whose books were destroyed.

A number of Dowlin’s metaphors were mixed. He should have seen himself not as Mercury, the messenger of the gods, but as Icarus, who flew too close to the sun. Early in 1996 Dowlin’s wings would melt as the library’s budget hemorrhaged money. Dowlin would resign. The builder of dreams spent nine years creating the Library of the Future. It took just nine months for his political wings to melt, resigning under public pressure he fled in his Winnebago camper to points south. Today, the “New Ken Dowlin” is running for President of the American Library Association. If he wins look for this “visionary” to spread his work around the nation at the expense of the printed world. (note: Dowlin lost)

Mayor Brown’s AUDIT – NOT!

In June of 1996, library critics called for an audit of the public library. In January 1997, at the time of Dowlin’s well-publicized resignation, the audit began. Unfortunately the audit would not answer the critic’s questions: “Where are the Books?” and, “Where is the Money?” Willie Brown assigned a management consultant, Elizabeth C. Reveal of Coda Partners, LLC of Washington D.C., who in California was unlicensed, unregistered, and not certified to conduct an audit. And some of the same library administrators who created the problems in the first place were assigned to her audit team.

The public called for an audit to establish what the libraries assets are and how it had been spending its money. But an auditor is only as good as the information made available to her. We know that funds were diverted from the book budget to buy technology in violation of city laws. We know that the library eliminated by attrition the lower level working staff who were needed to provide services and at the same time increased the amount spent on upper management positions. One of the findings of this audit was that the library was in trouble because of personnel costs, when in fact, a full third of the budget was devoted to technology. A $10.2 million Management Support Services line item paid for over one hundred unbudgeted technology-support positions.

The audit largely by-passed Brooks Hall. (The same) Brooks Hall where, as we all know, One MILLION books are stranded. The day before the audit’s release, the audit dream-team met with Mayor Brown and the City Controller, the City Attorney, Steven Coulter and his Commissioners, along with corporate spear-chucker and Board of Supervisors President Barbara Kaufman. They created a PR slogan: The library was “a victim of its own success.” This was a lie. SFPL spent over seven years preparing for success, and in fact, was prepared for more patrons than they currently have.

Responding to the “victim” headline, one writer to the San Francisco Chronicle offered this retort. “It’s like that old joke.

A man murders his parents and pleads to the judge for mercy because now he is an orphan.” When active citizens, some of whom had studied the library’s finances for over a decade, cried “Foul,” they were told to beat it. After all, in this audit, as in the Library of the Future, fiscal responsibility like ethics and citizen involvement is obsolete. Don’t forget: “If it’s not in here it probably doesn’t exist.

Coulter’s Citizen Advisory Committee

On March 4, 1997, Steven Coulter, a.k.a. Mr. Phone Company, proposed at the Library Commission meeting that he appoint a “Citizen Advisory Committee on Collections Management.”

Mr. Coulter initiated this unusual step to counter and at the same time kill the public’s input in resisting his outrageous takeover plan for SFPL.

Even some of his most vocal supporters couldn’t swallow this one. What Coulter was actually proposing was a hand-picked committee without any democratic process. This would lock out both the public and the librarians from deciding which books would be “tossed” and which new books would be acquired-as well as where within the library the new books would live.

Every “citizen’s advisory” committee or City Commission have the same problem: they are hand-picked individuals – mostly selected by the Mayor – who do not represent anybody but the interests of the Mayor and those funding his and the political machine’s electoral war chests.

Twice blocked and with the public ninety-eight percent against him, Coulter still forced this issue onto the Library Commission’s agenda, with a six to one vote. There is no precedent for the appointed representatives of the public to delegate their responsibilities to their private and/or their corporate friends (that was nine years ago – today it is obviously much different). If Coulter’s Citizen’s Advisory Committee becomes a reality, you will never be represented on it, or by it. This tactic is not only distasteful, it is probably unconstitutional. {This too failed after the public loudly began to resist}

Beginning With Proposition E in 1994

In the Spring of 1994, four out of five voters, thrilled with anticipation at the unveiling of the New Main Library, approved Proposition E at the ballot box.

In doing so they amended the Charter to double the library’s budget and quadruple the book budget. Their action made the San Francisco Public Library System, the wealthiest in the nation. The libraries $17 million budget became a $36 million budget. Poverty was no longer an issue at the Public Library.

As the adage goes, “Be careful what you wish for.”

Upon first learning of this development, Ken Dowlin, then City Librarian, was heard to say: “That’s more money than we could ever spend.” As in nearly everything else, he was wrong. In the 1995 budget year, the library not only spent its $36 million, it ran up a $6.2 million deficit. This resulted in at least three appeals to the Board of Supervisors for supplemental appropriations. But even these buckets of money were not enough. The administration and the commission also diverted the $4.5 million annual book budget to defray the soaring costs of Dowlin’s technological delusions. That money was supposed to be for books and the staff to make them accessible. In fact, book budget purchases have been cut every year since fiscal year 1994/1995, the period when the book budget was quadrupled. For most of 1996 book purchases were frozen.

PacBell’s “Library of the Future” has an insatiable appetite for public funds. The phone bills for SFPL topped $860,000 in 1995/96. This year’s figures are unavailable, but since another hundred computer terminals have been added, bringing the total to 400, one can assume that internet access fees, where the bulk of the costs to the public occur, have only increased. When the business plan excludes competition, you can hear Ross Perot’s “giant sucking sound,” In this case that refers to PacBell/Pacific Telesis {now AT&T}. They just can’t get enough. But the funds aren’t there. Maybe that’s because, “if it’s not in here, maybe it doesn’t exist.”

(NOTE: On May 14, 1997 Acting City Librarian Kathy Page asked for and received another $2 million supplemental appropriation from the Board of Supervisors to cover on-going operating expenses. The budgetary chasm is deepening)


In a bold and daring move, Pacific Bell and pacific Telesis threw in their lot with Coulter/Dowlin to forge a new “Center for Information Technology and Communications.” SFPL was to be the Petri dish, a national showcase for high technology and communications, which is the principle underlying the architectural design of the library. In fact, PacBell/Pacific Telesis are only more mundane profits. The telecommunications/ computer companies are plundering the SF Public Library, the City and every other public institution by overselling their products, connecting unnecessary new technology to services rendered by them and are cashing in on civic interests. This is a “business” Mr. Coulter, as a high executive works for PacBell, knows very well.

City laws mandate competitive bidding for services. Yet Coulter/Dowlin bought first and told the public later. Telecommunications contracts were not open to competitive bid. For this reason alone Coulter should resign. He and his rogue administration have subverted the City’s legal requirements in that important area. The libraries finances are the victim. You are the victim. Most importantly your children will be victims unless serious changes are made-by the public.

The Libraries 1996 Annual Report says, “In just one month of operation, the library’s internet address was accessed 64,000 times.” This figure which represents 780,000 hits annually, gives us a measure of the heavy internet traffic generated at the library. The profits to the phone company come with access charges to those calls, both for connecting and disconnecting access. That profit includes incoming and outgoing calls, both voice and modem. That’s one hell of a lot of money, which your institute generates for Mr. Coulter’s employers. I wish we could say more about these costs. We can’t. the contracts are undisclosed.

The new library was designed to be a high-tech showplace which could service the digitized, telephone-modem accessed information economy which the telecommunications giants foresee for the 21st century. The long-range costs are staggering. For example there is the digitization of books, often referred to by technical advocates as a potential substitute for the printed word. Digitization has its place; particularly when it comes to preserving works printed on acid-based paper, which dissolves. But the costs forbid mass applications. If just the San Francisco’s Public Library’s photos and maps were digitized, based on the Library of Congress cost-benefit projects, this project alone would cost more than $500 Billion and would require 40 years or more to complete. When will San Francisco have an extra 500 billion available for anything, much less for its library? And the real complication involves the copyright laws which are the actual reason why most things are not digitized today. Remember this the next time you’re told, “All books will be available on line.” That’s pie in the sky.

Computers are a natural part of any modern library, but at what cost to you and me? The prudent and resourceful library planner would have gotten the most appropriate technology at the best price. One wonders how the 75 databases within SFPL meet this criterion. There may be money in this for digitization and telecommunications firms, but as for library patrons and taxpayers looking for practical and useful solutions-hey, “If it’s not in here, maybe it doesn’t exist.” If the best interests of the users is not the driving force behind the huge investments, then corporate welfare is the real reason behind the plundering of the Public Library.


The San Francisco Public Library employs hundreds of skilled, professional librarians. Some librarians have vocalized the problems and resisted the Library of the Future. A new term has been added to the lexicon, “guerrilla librarian.” This defines efforts to save books from destruction, hiding them in personal lockers, or stamping them so that they appear to have been in recent circulation. Other librarians have gone along to get along. Over 250,000 library books were weeded from the library in 1995; many old, rare, and last copies. These books and periodicals did not walk by themselves to the Department of Public Works dump trucks that took them to landfill. They were carried. Individual librarians have stood up and said, “Yes, I did it, and I hated it.”
When book-weeding reached the national press, it temporarily came to a halt. The administration quit tossing books and developed a more public relations-oriented approach.

They began Adopt-a-Book Giveaways,” held every Friday afternoon. When this new form of book disposal was focused on by the press, this practice also ceased. Today thanks to the courage and determination of those guerrilla librarians and the library critics, books intended for disposal are stored in Brooks Hall. But they’re in huge untidy piles, hidden behind a plywood wall especially crafted by administrators to hide the crime. Let’s call it the Wall of Shame.

Responsibility for collections is a basic part of any librarian’s job. It is one of the professional standards in the industry. Yet, if the librarians had gone public with their administrator’s marching orders early in 1995, the killing would have stopped. This situation required more than discussion, more than petitions; the situation required dedicated and concerted action. This did not happen. Today, the library remains in crisis, and the collections remain at risk. The administration is waiting for public scrutiny to lessen so that they may finish dumping the books. Acting city Librarian Kathy Page, who was responsible for seeing that the new library could hold all its books, failed. Today, she hints at a plan to close individual floors of the new library to add shelves. That’s why the Library’s Audit contains only one bland sentence about Brooks Hall-if the public knew of the miles and miles of books and periodicals stranded there, that public would also know that such a plan was architecturally impossible. Unless of course, most of those collections were tossed. It’s up to the librarians to stop her.

The librarians must rise and bring a clear and final end to the destruction of the collections of the city of San Francisco. Of course jobs are on the line, but so are professional ethics, professional standards and the librarian’s commitment to their public. It’s not just what they should do; it’s what we pay them to do.


San Francisco is currently beset by several dangerous and divisive issues at Civic Center. At the core are divisions over the Asian Art Museum’s intended use and adaptation of the Old main Library, a classic Beaux Arts building. Some of this controversy has been caused by the fact that Brooks Hall contains over a million books that need a home. On April 23, Mayor Brown told the San Francisco Chronicle, “Since the year-old New Main Library, doesn’t have enough space for books and periodicals, the Old main should have been kept for storage.” Like the Asian Art Museum, which began with a huge private collection donated in the 1940’s, Brooks Hall’s collections also deserve a facility. It has been suggested that the Old Mint, located at Fifth and Mission Streets, on Newspaper Row,” should be utilized to relieve the pressure. Another plan involves tearing the odd-shaped back off the new library on its Hyde Street side, and adding five floors of additional stacks. Unless and until leadership form the Mayor is demonstrated with clear, decisive action, the crisis will continue.

But even if the new buildings assigned to correct the damage done are obtained, that will in itself be an indictment of the preposterous, incompetent way in which the local political machine governs San Francisco: New York, Los Angeles, and Boston somehow kept their old libraries for research and collections when they built the new ones. Not in san Francisco – the City That Knows How. At the time of Proposition E they promised to build a new library with double the physical space. Well before we had about 250,000 square feet; now we have only 183, 814 square feet out of a potential space of 365,000. The remaining 179, 433 square feet is devoted to meeting rooms, auditoriums, book shops, cafes, light wells, stairways, or other functions not directly related to the library.

This city needs its citizens to rescue its library from the clutches of corporations, corporate fronts such as the Library Foundation, and one-term politicos who would possess and destroy this public institution, founded in 1878.This library over the years has received donations, priceless collections, and outpourings of good will. Its benefactors expected their gifts would be cherished And enjoyed down through the generations. In addition, San Franciscans have poured tax payer dollars into this institution, only to see it watchdogs destroy its treasures and its good name and sell the remainder to the highest bidder.

Who Watches the City’s Watchdogs

In May of 1996 the San Francisco Civil grand Jury returned a damning verdict.

“In the KMPG-Peat Marwick Strategic Plan for Information Technology” (1996), the City Controller, as the City’s chief fiscal officer and auditor; does not currently maintain adequate budget records or budget information concerning city computer assets. The inability of the City to collect an inventory of what computer assets it owns is a serious problem. Without such an inventory the city cannot know if theft occurs or how to plan for upgrading equipment.

The city’s annual budget request process does not adequately address how much is spent on computer technology. The City Controller is unable to determine how much of the General Fund is appropriated to computer technology due to inadequate accounting procedures.

When asked by the Civil Grand Jury, “How many PC’s are owned by the City and County?” No city official could answer this basic inquiry. (Since) a property inventory control number must be drawn from a specialized city fund it is logical to assume that a master inventory should exist.

Total city spending on information technology, likewise, is a mystery. During the mid-1980’s a study prepared for the Mayor’s Fiscal Advisory Committee indicated that $60 – 90 million was spent on technology annually. Interviews with key city officials revealed estimates that this amount is now closer to $20 million. (it) is estimated city spending (is) about $100 million per year.

When asked by Civil Grand Jury, the controller was unable to an estimate of technology expenditures stating that departments do not follow standard budget accounting when it comes to purchasing computer equipment or services.

Neither EIPSC (Electronic Information Processing Steering committee) … nor the Controller knows how many computers are owned by the City. There is no uniform vocabulary and there are no unified accounting methods to track the acquisition of computer equipment and services within the budget process.”

The City did not respond to these dire warnings. In March of 1997, the same national auditing firm, KMPG-Peat Marwick, sent a 34-page letter to the Mayor and the City Controller, Ed Harrington. On April 23, 1997, Peter Byrne of the San Francisco Investigator used a public records request to obtain this letter which should have closed down the City of San Francisco. Instead, it was hidden from the public, the press, and even from affected department heads.

Some of those affected departments include the City Controller, the City Treasurer, the Assessor’s Office, the Mayor’s Office, the City Attorney, the Airport, the Water Department, Community development, Employee’s Retirement System, the Port Authority, Worker’s Compensation, Contract Retentions/Liens Payable, Data Conversion, and DPW Accounting.

Locally, neither of these two reports from KMPG- Peat Marwick-including sub-reports from Williams, Adley & Company, Chek F. Tan, Hood & Strong; and Deloitte & Touche-seemed to merit a story. On May 6, the Examiner ran a two-column puff piece by Leslie Goldberg on page A-3, entitled, “Auditors chide City for its bookkeeping.” This article downplayed the looming disasters. These two reports taken together describe a city in fiscal chaos ready for bankruptcy.

The 1996 report opened the door for a serious audit of EIPSC and thecomputer technology of the City.

A serious audit of the library would have laid open the core problems which underlie the city’s financial problems. For this reason politicians caught in their webs of deception, could not allow a “real” library audit to go forward. Mr. Coulter as one of those politicos, is particularly vulnerable to any allegations of fiduciary failures.

These are real dollars, your dollars, (and) just like the library’s books; your money is at risk-this City’s fiscal credibility is at risk. The City’s four year, $19 billion dollar budget is on the line in this affair. Can you afford not to question what is really going on?

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Ever Heard of Dr. Peter Beter? No? Well Here Is Why!

Ever Heard of Dr. Peter Beter? No? Well Here Is Why!! Please Read W/Open Mind., page 1

I happened to stubble across some information concerning a man named Dr. Peter David Beter. I had never heard of him, or of his research, but when I started I could not

stop.In the following thread I will show and revive some of the greatest things that I have heard and read, and now that I have learned more about him, I know why he wasn’t

given more credit, and was lost amongst the favorite whistle blowers, and well knows of our time.

A bit about who he was. He was not a basement dwelling looney, but a very well educated man, with credentials that are very prominent. I will add a link to his bio on wiki, but believe me thats the last you will see from that site on here.

Peter David Beter (June 21, 1921 – March 1987) was an American attorney[1] and financier[2]. He ran for governor in 1968 in the Republican Party primary in the state of West Virginia (although he was formerly a Democrat), but lost[3]. Politically, he was a staunch admirer of ex-Alabama governor George Wallace for his ethics; Beter also drafted Wallace as the American party candidate in 1973 but numerous republicans opposed such efforts[4]. Nonetheless, he later became a member of his Draft-Wallace committee[5].
Beter is a native of Huntington, son of Lebanese immigrants who became grocers after coming to the United States in 1899. He graduated from West Virginia University and later got his Doctor of Juris degree in law from the law school of George Washington University[6][7]. Beter practiced law in Washington D.C. from 1951 to 1961. He was the general counsel for the American Gold Association (now called the Gold Prospectors Association of America) from 1958 to 1961[8]. In 1961, he was appointed by President John F. Kennedy as general counsel for the Export-Import Bank of the United States, where he served until 1967. [9] [10] Beter also co-founded a mining exploration company in Zaire, and represented international financial interests in Europe, South America, and the Middle East[11].…

Ok enough about that.

It took me quite a while to get all the info needed, but I will compile the things that he has said, wrote, and was concerned with in his time. That have become the future, and may even go further then that.

Excerpted from the Dr. Beter AUDIO LETTER(R) REFERENCE DIGEST

Copyright (C) Audio Books Inc., 1983

The AUDIO LETTER cassette tape reports were recorded over a period from June,
1975, to November, 1982, by Dr. Peter Beter. Each AUDIO LETTER tape report is
approximately one hour in length. The basic schedule of release was once a
month, but the exact date of release each month was flexible to accommodate
events. There were also two periods during which the AUDIO LETTER reports were
suspended temporarily. The first, which extended from May to August 1977,
separated AUDIO LETTER issues #24 and #25, and took place due to an action
campaign by Dr. Beter with his listeners. The second suspension extended from
February to June 1980, and separated issues #54 and #55. It was brought about
by a major heart attack which Dr. Beter suffered while in the midst of recording

Dr. Beter terminated his AUDIO LETTER cassette tape report series in

November, 1982, after recording AUDIO LETTER #80. Having fought heart-related
ailments for years, his health was declining. After conferring with doctors,
he decided that the time had come to discontinue recording the tapes.

The Dr. Beter AUDIO LETTER series grew out of Dr. Beter’s collaboration with

supporters who first learned about Dr. Beter by way of radio talk shows in 1974.
At that time Dr. Beter was in great demand to appear on talk shows nationwide,
which he did in most cases by long-distance telephone hookup from his residence
in suburban Washington, D.C. After many years as a highly successful
Washington attorney, government official and international legal and financial
consultant, Dr. Beter had become famous in 1973 as the author of a best-selling
book, The Conspiracy Against the Dollar.…

More is explained at the above site.

Dr. Peter Beter Audio Letter.

I thought it would be better to read what was said during the audio, as some have bad download speed, and many of us prefer to read. And this shouldn’t be missed.

These amazing books explain many of the hidden political agendas of the world’s elite in the 1970s and 1980s.

Learn about:

how the Soviet Union almost took over the United States in a bloodless coup

how the global battle between the Left and Right almost destroyed the world with nuclear war that was averted at the last moment

the secret military missions of the Space Shuttle

the accidental plutonium poisoning of Americans and the cancer it is causing

remote-controlled dirty nuclear bombs planted around the United States and their exact coordinates

the theft of the United States’ gold reserves from Fort Knox;

…and many more behind-the-scenes intrigues that will make all of the strange newspaper headlines of the day make sense – when you understand the reasons behind them.

Dr. Peter David Beter was General Counsel for the Export-Import Bank of Washington; a candidate for governor for the state of West Virginia; cofounded a mineral exploration company in Zaire called SODESMIR; represented American gas utilities while they built a pipeline the length of Argentina; represented mining interests in underwater manganese nodule exploration in the Pacific; and was a featured speaker at financial seminars in New York City, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Toronto, Montreal, Geneva, and other international financial centers. Dr. Beter practiced general law in Washington, D.C., from 1951 to 1961, becoming a member of the U.S. Court of Military Appeals in 1952 and the U.S. Supreme Court in 1964.

Many of his cases were against the federal government, all of which he won – including one case in which he caught none other than the U.S. Department of Justice burning records in an attempt to defeat him. The resulting decision (Farley vs. U.S., 131 C. Cls. 776 [1955], 127 F Supp. 562) made new law.

In 1961, President John F. Kennedy appointed Dr. Beter Counsel to the U.S. Export-Import Bank, the largest government-owned bank in the Western world, where he served until 1967. After leaving the Export-Import Bank, he became an international financial and legal consultant, as well as one of the chief developers of private international business in the Republic of Zaire.

He was a member of the Judicature Society, the Bankers’ Club of America, the Royal Commonwealth Society of London and the United States Naval Institute. He was listed in biographical reference works such as Who’s Who in the East, the Blue Book of London and 2000 Men of Achievement (London). As a political and economic commentator, Dr. Beter worked with many international business luminaries where he learned the inner secrets of the elite world controllers.

He wrote prolifically, including his masterwork Conspiracy Against the Dollar. In 1975, he began releasing his Audio Letters, which are transcribed in this book, and continued until 1982, producing a total of 80 one-hour Audio Letters that show the inner workings of those who would attempt to control the earth.

Dr. Beter died on March 14, 1987.

An open license for reproduction of these Audio letters was granted after his death.…

The following are the audio number and what is discussed with a link to each one.

Important Secrets and Empowering People – Dr. Peter Beter – Behind the Scenes Summary

Important Comment Repeated From the Beginning of This Essay:

Though this material was compiled in 1983 and some of Dr. Beter’s predictions did not come to pass, many of his key predictions did come true, and the principles and political factions discussed continue to play a key role.

You may find some of this information to be quite unbelievable and difficult to verify. Even so, we invite you to consider that the underlying concepts can greatly assist in understanding current developments deep behind the scenes in world politics.

For an intriguing 1979 article in the Washington Post on Dr. Beter and his theories from the Post archives, click here…:129968082&FMT=ABS&FMTS=ABS:FT&date=APR+15,+1979&author=BY+R UDY+MAXA&pub=The+Washington+Post&desc=FRONT+PAGE+PEOPLE&pqatl=google.

Audio Letter Nº 1

(1) An important matter concerning evidence in the Fort Knox Gold Scandal
(2) Recent indications from President Ford that the plans for economic depression and dictatorship in America are still on track
(3) An introduction to our next president and would-be dictator, Nelson Aldrich Rockefeller…

Audio Letter Nº 2

(1) First signs that the four Rockefeller brothers are beginning to lose their grip on events
(2) Super-secret domestic military preparations for massive unemployment riots
(3) The secret central core gold vault that the Fort Knox visitors did not see in September, 1974, and how it was used in the theft of America’s gold…

Audio Letter Nº 3

(1) The truth about the assassination of President John F. Kennedy
(2) Some little known examples of economic power held by the Rockefellers, and how they hold that power
(3) How the Rockefeller plans for World War III are being altered by Indira Gandhi’s crackdown on the CIA in India…

Audio Letter Nº 4

(1) The International Monetary Fund gold sale agreement and the dethroning of the United States dollar
(2) Assassination politics and subtle maneuverings in the countdown toward dictatorship
(3) The rapidly merging outlines of the planned 1977 war in Asia…

Audio Letter Nº 5

(1) The CIA, Fort Knox, and the poisoning of America

(2) How the Rockefeller brothers are preparing to sacrifice New York City to trigger general economic collapse

(3) The continuing buildup to a new United States constitution and war in Asia…

Audio Letter Nº 6

(1) The Ford depression, Asian war, and the impending doom of the OPEC nations
(2) Fort Knox plutonium and our sellout by Congress
(3) Gerald Ford’s last days as president…

Audio Letter Nº 7

(1) How political control produces cover-ups and paralysis instead of truth and action
(2) How economic control produces deepening artificial depression and monetary chaos instead of real prosperity
(3) How the alliance between Rockefeller corporate socialism and Soviet state socialism is taking us into nuclear war…

Audio Letter Nº 8

(1) Our charges for a citizen’s indictment on the Fort Knox twin scandal/cover-up
(2) Rockefeller progress and problems in their drive to drag our economy down to the Soviet level
(3) So-called detente, and the ignored prophetic warnings of George

Audio Letter Nº 9

(1) How you are a target in the secret Rockefeller takeover of the United States Postal Service
(2) How the coming wars will affect you and your family
(3) How you are to be a pawn in the game to make Nelson Rockefeller our first dictator…

Audio Letter Nº 10

(1) World government and the destruction of family life
(2) World monetary chaos and the coming crash here in America
(3) World War III and the planned declaration of national emergency…

Now I only added 10, but there are 80 in total, and all can be found here.…

You thought that was it? Nope.

Here are some other contributions by Dr. Peter Beter.
(#80 audio letters of Dr. Peter David Beter covers period from June 1975 till November 1982. He is author of the the non fiction book ‘The Conspiracy Against the Dollar’ (1973)
Some interesting info from these audio letters:

Soviet hovering electro-gravitic platforms (Cosmospheres – hovering in electrostatic field of Earth): manned Cosmos Intercept. Killer Satellites (normal battle satellites), Cosmospheres, “Super Heavies” or “Jumbos”, (Cosmos 929 – 1st one) armed with charged particle beam weapons.

US Secret Beam-weapons base on the Moon (Secret US Space Program at Diego Garcia Island, Indian Ocean): September 27, 1977 – Battle of the Harvest Moon at Copernicus crater, which America lost when Russia’s Cosmospheres killed all astronauts in their base by neutron particle beam weapon (Cosmos 954). Then Russia established seven bases on the Front side armed with powerful charged particle beam weapons, and three supporting bases on the back side of the Moon…
Coordinates are:
Near side of the Moon:
1. 55 54′ N, 51 00′ E …East of the Sea of Cold.
2. 16 33′ N, 48 51′ E …West of the Sea of Crises.
3. 31 53′ S, 73 09′ E …Southwest of the Sea of Fertilio.
4. 72 26′ S, 67 30′ W …Near the South Pole on the SW side.
5. 50 53′ S, 57 49′ W …Near Phocylides Crater in the SW quadrant
6. 09 26′ S, 66 52′ W …Southwest of the Ocean of Storms
7. 01 23′ S, 12 27′ W …Northeast of the Apollo 14 landing site.
Far side of the Moon:
1. 36 00′ S, 147 00′ E …Jules Verne Crater.
2. 13 36′ S, 108 26′ E …Southwest of Pasture Crater.
3. 51 03′ N, 095 00′ E …Southwest of Compton crater.
1st. Russian manned landing on the Moon at October 16, 1977 (on the Back Side of the Moon at ‘Jules Verne’ crater: Kovalyonok and Ryumin)
Underwater missile crises of 1976
April 20, 1978. Shot-down of Korean Air Line Boeing 707 flight 902 (Regarding spy mission of Murmansk, Supersecret Plesetsk Cosmodrome…America’s spy satellites were already blasted off from the orbit)
Russia’s Cosmodromes:
1. Plesetsk: 65 40′ N, 40 10′ E
2. Kapustin Yar: (East of Volgograd): 48 36′ N, 45 48′ E
3. Baikonur: 47 22′ N, 65 45′ E
4. Tyura-Tam: (together with Karsakpaj it is part of Baikonur)
Cosmosphere Bases (Support Locations):
1. Semipalatinsk
2. Novosibirsk
Australia, New Zealand December 30, 1978 Cosmosphere incident filmed as UFO story aired by CBS Walter Cronkite.
Destruction of Secret Russian missile base at Guyana (as cover-up was used agent Jim Jones and the massacre which is well known…)
Project Z (planned III World War (I Nuclear War) 3 PM Sept. 17, 1982).
Rockefeller’s fortified family hideaway at Mt. Desert Island and Barlett Island, Maine. Nuclear safe zone in that time…secret agreement between Rockefellers and Russians
Secret of Russia’s Organic Robotoid, Rothschild Synthetics (Connected with cattle mutilation in Northern America. See audio letter #53, topic 1) : Artificial, living, robot-like creatures. This led to the ‘war of doubles’ (Replicas or Clones) thanks to advanced DNA knowledge…), Some mentioned Robotoids & Synthetics: Jimmy Carter, Henry Kissinger, Prime Minister Begin, Stansfield Turner CIA director, Zbigniew Brzezinski, Ambassador Thomas Watson, Space Shuttle Astronauts John Young and Robert Crippen (Real died in 1st STS Columbia), Shah of Iran…etc. (Boris Yelcin also didn’t look very healthy too…)
October 30, 1981, November 4, 1981 Two Russian manned spaceship blasted off for Venus.
July 4, 1981. Two naval vessels have been destroyed. Greatest US naval disaster since W.W.II.
Skylab shoot down by Russia’s Cosmospheres (October 18, 1977 – dead of 5 astronauts),
Destruction of all America’s spy satellites by Russia’s Cosmospheres… They were all gone till April 1978. Including one above Petrozavodsk September 20, 1977. According to UFO magazines it was UFO but it was not, it was the end of one US satellite thanks to Russia’s Cosmospheres. (In this case: Cosmos 929…)
Strange disappearance of Satellites like at December 11, 1979: ‘Satcom 3’ made by RCA and at May 9, 1980: ‘Agami 2’ made by Japanese were pulled inside to Cosmosphere cargo bay.
MX Minuteman cover-up for traveling TX Minuteman (railroad) Missiles;
Destruction of Secret Military Naval Base at South Georgia Island (cover-up: Falkland war…)
Disaster of Space Shuttles Columbia 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th (cover-up),
New developments in the military:

And there is tons more to be found here.…

I am personally very thankful to have found this, and to share it here. I hope you all enjoy, with an open mind of course.

There will be more added. BTW, if anyone would like to include any of the predictions that have come true

concerning Dr. Beter, please do. I will be adding as well. Thanks for your time.

Peace, NRE.

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The Age of Anger

By Chris Hedges

The nihilism and rage sweeping across the globe are not generated by warped ideologies or medieval religious beliefs. These destructive forces have their roots in the obliterating of social, cultural and religious traditions by modernization and the consumer society, the disastrous attempts by the United States to carry out regime change, often through coups and wars, and the utopian neoliberal ideology that has concentrated wealth in the hands of a tiny cabal of corrupt global oligarchs.

This vast, global project of social engineering during the last century persuaded hundreds of millions of people, as Pankaj Mishra writes in “The Age of Anger: A History of the Present,” “to renounce—and often scorn—a world of the past that had endured for thousands of years, and to undertake a gamble of creating modern citizens who would be secular, enlightened, cultured and heroic.” The project has been a spectacular failure.

“To destroy a people,” Alexander Solzhenitsyn noted acidly, “you must sever their roots.” The wretched of the earth, as Frantz Fanon called them, have been shorn of any ideological or cultural cohesion. They are cut off from their past. They live in crushing poverty, numbing alienation, hopelessness and often terror. Mass culture feeds them the tawdry, the violent, the salacious and the ridiculous. They are rising up against these forces of modernization, driven by an atavistic fury to destroy the technocratic world that condemns them. This rage is expressed in many forms—Hindu nationalism, protofascism, jihadism, the Christian right, anarchic violence and others. But the various forms of ressentiment spring from the same deep wells of global despair. This ressentiment “poisons civil society and undermines political liberty,” Mishra writes, and it is fueling “a global turn to authoritarianism and toxic forms of chauvinism.”

Western elites, rather than accept their responsibility for the global anarchy, self-servingly define the clash as one between the values of the enlightened West and medieval barbarians. They see in the extreme nationalists, religious fundamentalists and jihadists an inchoate and inexplicable irrationality that can be quelled only with force. They have yet to grasp that the disenfranchised do not hate us for our values; they hate us because of our duplicity, use of indiscriminate industrial violence on their nations and communities and our hypocrisy. The dispossessed grasp the true message of the West to the rest of the planet: We have everything, and if you try to take it away from us we will kill you.

The more that Western elites are attacked, the more they too retreat into a mythological past, self-glorification and willful ignorance. Mishra writes:

Thus, in the very places [in the West] where secular modernity arose, with ideas that were then universally established—individualism (against the significance of social relations), the cult of efficiency and utility (against the ethic of honour), and the normalization of self-interest—the mythic Volk has reappeared as a spur to solidarity and action against real and imagined enemies.

But nationalism is, more than ever before, a mystification, if not a dangerous fraud with its promise of making a country ‘great again’ and its demonization of the ‘other’; it conceals the real conditions of existence, and the true origins of suffering, even as it seeks to replicate the comforting balm of transcendental ideals within a bleak earthly horizon. Its political resurgence shows that ressentiment—in this case, of people who feel left behind by the globalized economy or contemptuously ignored by its slick overlords and cheerleaders in politics, business and the media—remains the default metaphysics of the modern world since [Jean-Jacques] Rousseau first defined it. And its most menacing expression in the age of individualism may well be the violent anarchism of the disinherited and the superfluous.

The proponents of globalization promised to lift workers across the planet into the middle class and instill democratic values and scientific rationalism. Religious and ethnic tensions would be alleviated or eradicated. This global marketplace would create a peaceful, prosperous community of nations. All we had to do was get government out of the way and kneel before market demands, held up as the ultimate form of progress and rationality.

Neoliberalism, in the name of this absurd utopia, stripped away government regulations and laws that once protected the citizen from the worst excesses of predatory capitalism. It created free trade agreements that allowed trillions of corporate dollars to be transferred to offshore accounts to avoid taxation and jobs to flee to sweatshops in China and the global south where workers live in conditions that replicate slavery. Social service programs and public services were slashed or privatized. Mass culture, including schools and the press, indoctrinated an increasingly desperate population to take part in the global reality show of capitalism, a “war of all against all.”

What we were never told was that the game was fixed. We were always condemned to lose. Our cities were deindustrialized and fell into decay. Wages declined. Our working class became impoverished. Endless war became, cynically, a lucrative business. And the world’s wealth was seized by a tiny group of global oligarchs. Kleptocracies, such as the one now installed in Washington, brazenly stole from the people. Democratic idealism became a joke. We are now knit together, as Mishra writes, only “by commerce and technology,” forces that Hannah Arendt called “negative solidarity.”

The backlash, Mishra writes, resembles the anarchist, fascist and communist violence and terrorism that took place at the end of the 19th century and in the early 20th century. In one of the most important parts of his brilliant and multi-layered analysis of the world around us, Mishra explains how Western ideas were adopted and mutated by ideologues in the global south, ideas that would become as destructive as the imposition of free market capitalism itself.

Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini’s Islamic revolution in Iran, for example, borrowed liberally from Western ideas, including representation through elections, egalitarianism and Vladimir Lenin’s revolutionary vanguard, which was adapted for a Muslim world. Nishida Kitaro and Watsuji Tetsuro of Japan’s Kyoto School, steeped in the romantic nationalism of German philosophers such as Johann Gottlieb Fichte, transformed the glorification of the German nation into a glorification of imperial Japan. They “provided the intellectual justification for Japan’s brutal assault on China in the 1930s, and then the sudden attack on its biggest trading partner in December 1941—at Pearl Harbor.” South Asia’s most important writer and scholar, Muhammad Iqbal, provided a “Nietzschean vision of Islam revivified by strong self-creating Muslims.” And the Chinese scholar Lu Xun called for Chinese to exhibit the “indomitable will exemplified by Zarathustra.” These bastard ideologies cloaked themselves in the veneer of indigenous religious traditions and beliefs. But they were new creations, born out of the schöpferische Zerstörung, or the “gale of creative destruction,” of global capitalism.

Nowhere is this more true than with the modern calls for jihad by self-styled Islamic radicals, most of whom have no religious training and who often come out of the secularized criminal underworld. The jihadist leader Abu Musab Zarqawi, nicknamed “the sheikh of slaughterers” in Iraq, had, as Mishra writes, “a long past of pimping, drug-dealing and heavy drinking.” The Afghan-American Omar Mateen reportedly was a frequenter of the nightclub in Orlando, Fla., where he massacred 49 people and had been seen there drunk. Anwar al-Awlaki, who preached jihad and was eventually assassinated by the United States, had a penchant for prostitutes. Abu Mohammed al-Adnani, a senior leader of Islamic State before he was killed, called on Muslims in the West to kill any non-Muslim they encountered. “Smash his head with a rock, or slaughter him with a knife, or run him over with your car, or throw him down from a high place, or choke him, or poison,” al-Adnani told followers.

The idea of Mikhail Bakunin’s “propaganda by deed” is, Mishra writes, “now manifest universally in video-taped, live-streamed and Facebooked massacres.” It grew, he writes, “naturally from the suspicion that only acts of extreme violence could reveal to the world a desperate social situation and the moral integrity of those determined to challenge it.” These imported ideas filled the void left by the destruction of indigenous beliefs, traditions and rituals. As Mishra says, these jihadists “represent the death of traditional Islam rather than its resurrection.”

“As it turned out,” he writes, “the autocratic modernizers failed to usher a majority of their wards into the modern world, and their abortive revolutions from above paved the way for more radical ones from below, followed, as we have seen in recent years, by anarchy.”

The terrorist attacks in Paris or London were driven by the same ressentiment, Mishra points out, as that which led Timothy McVey to bomb the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City in 1995, killing 168, including 19 children, and injuring 684. And when the American was imprisoned in Florence, Colo., the prisoner in the adjacent cell was Ramzi Ahmed Yousef, the mastermind of the first attack on the World Trade Center, in 1993. After McVey was executed, Yousef commented, “I never have [known] anyone in my life who has so similar a personality to my own as his.”

Mishra writes, “Malignant zealots have emerged in the very heart of the democratic West after a decade of political and economic tumult; the simple explanatory paradigm set in stone soon after the attacks of 9/11—Islam-inspired terrorism versus modernity—lies in ruins.” The United States, aside from suffering periodic mass killings in schools, malls and movie theaters, has seen homegrown terrorists strike the Boston Marathon, a South Carolina church, Tennessee military facilities, a Texas Army base and elsewhere.

“The modern West can no longer be distinguished from its apparent enemies,” Mishra notes. The hagiography of the U.S. Navy sniper Chris Kyle—who had a tattoo of a red Crusader cross and called the Iraq War a battle against “savage, desperate evil”—in Clint Eastwood’s movie “American Sniper” celebrates the binary worldview adopted by jihadists who deify their suicide bombers.

“The xenophobic frenzy unleashed by Clint Eastwood’s film of Kyle’s book suggested the most vehement partisans of holy war flourish not only in the ravaged landscape of South and West Asia,” Mishra writes. “Such fanatics, who can be atheists as well as crusaders and jihadists, also lurk among America’s best and brightest, emboldened by an endless support of money, arms, and even ‘ideas’ supplied by terrorism experts and clash-of-civilization theorists.”

Donald Trump, given the political, economic and cultural destruction carried out by neoliberalism, is not an aberration. He is the result of a market society and capitalist democracy that has ceased to function. An angry and alienated underclass, now making up as much as half the population of the United States, is entranced by electronic hallucinations that take the place of literacy. These Americans take a perverse and almost diabolical delight in demagogues such as Trump that express contempt for and openly flout the traditional rules and rituals of a power structure that preys upon them.

Mishra finds a similar situation in his own country, India. “In their indifference to the common good, single-minded pursuit of private happiness, and narcissistic identification with an apparently ruthless strongman and uninhibited loudmouth, [Indian Prime Minister Narendra] Modi’s angry voters mirror many electorates around the world—people gratified rather than appalled by trash-talk and the slaughter of old conventions,” he writes. “The new horizons of individual desire and fear opened up by the neoliberal world economy do not favour democracy or human rights.”

Mishra excoriates the West’s idealized and sanitized version of history, “the simple-minded and dangerously misleading ideas and assumptions, drawn from a triumphant history of Anglo-American achievements that has long shaped the speeches of statesmen, think-tank reports, technocratic surveys, newspaper editorials, while supplying fuel to countless columnists, TV pundits and so-called terrorism experts.” The mandarins who spew this self-serving narrative are, as American theologian Reinhold Niebuhr called them and their ilk, the “bland fanatics of Western civilization” “who regard the highly contingent achievements of our culture as the final form and norm of human existence.”

The roots of modernization and colonization are, as Mishra writes, ones of “carnage and bedlam.” The rapacious appetite of capitalists and imperialists never considered “such constraining factors as finite geographical space, degradable natural resources and fragile ecosystems.” In carrying out this project of global expansion, no form of coercion or violence was off-limits. Those who opposed us simply learned to speak our language.

“The intellectual pedigree of today’s nasty atrocities is not to be found in religious scriptures,” Mishra writes. “French colonialists in Algeria had used torture techniques originally deployed by the Nazis during the occupation of France (and also were some of the first hijackers of a civilian aeroplane). Americans in the global war on terror resorted to cruel interrogation methods that the Soviet Union had patented during the Cold War. In the latest stage of this gruesome reciprocity, the heirs of Zarqawi in ISIS dress their Western hostages in Guantanamo’s orange suits, and turn on their smartphone cameras, before beheading their victims.”

The West’s dangerous faith in the inevitability of human progress is chronicled by Mishra through the dueling French intellectuals Rousseau and Voltaire, as well as Bakunin, Alexander Herzen, Karl Marx, Fichte, Giuseppe Mazzini and Michel Foucault. This intellectually nuanced and philosophically rich book shows that ideas matter.

“The Hindu, Jewish, Chinese and Islamic modernists who helped establish major nation-building ideologies were in tune with the main trends of the European fin-de-siècle, which redefined freedom beyond bourgeois self-seeking to a will to forge dynamic new societies and reshape history,” Mishra writes. “It is impossible to understand them, and the eventual product of their efforts (Islamism, Hindu nationalism, Zionism, Chinese nationalism), without grasping their European intellectual background of cultural decay and pessimism: the anxiety in the unconscious that Freud was hardly alone in sensing, or the idea of a glorious rebirth after decline and decadence, borrowed from the Christian idea of resurrection, that Mazzini had done so much to introduce into the political sphere.”

Mishra goes on:

ISIS, born during the implosion of Iraq, owes its existence more to Operation Infinite Justice and Enduring Freedom than to any Islamic theology. It is the quintessential product of a radical process of globalization in which governments, unable to protect their citizens from foreign invaders, brutal police, or economic turbulence, lose their moral and ideological legitimacy, creating a space for such non-state actors as armed gangs, mafia, vigilante groups, warlords and private revenge-seekers.

ISIS aims to create a Caliphate, but, like American regime-changers, it cannot organize a political space, as distinct from privatizing violence. Motivated by a selfie individualism, the adepts of ISIS are better at destroying Valhalla than building it. Ultimately, a passion for grand politics, manifest in ISIS’s Wagnerian-style annihilation, is what drives the Caliphate, as much as it did [Gabriele] D’Annunzio’s utopia. The will to power and craving for violence as existential experience reconciles, as [philosopher and social theorist Georges] Sorel prophesized, the varying religious and ideological commitments of its adherents. The attempts to place them in a long Islamic tradition miss how much these militants, feverishly stylizing their murders and rapes on Instagram, reflect an ultimate stage in the radicalization of the modern principle of individual autonomy and equality: a form of strenuous self-assertion that acknowledges no limits, and requires descent into a moral abyss.

Philosopher George Santayana foresaw that America’s obsessive individualistic culture of competition and mimicry would eventually incite “a lava-wave of primitive blindness and violence.” The inability to be self-critical and self-aware, coupled with the cult of the self, would lead to a collective suicide. Cultural historian Carl Schorske in “Fin-de-Siècle Vienna: Politics and Culture” wrote that Europe’s descent into fascism was inevitable once it cut the “cord of consciousness.” And, with the rise of Trump, it is clear the “cord of consciousness” has also been severed in the twilight days of the American empire. Once we no longer acknowledge or understand our own capacity for evil, once we no longer know ourselves, we become monsters who devour others and finally devour ourselves.

“Totalitarianism with its tens of millions of victims was identified as a malevolent reaction to the benevolent Enlightenment tradition of rationalism, humanism, universalism and liberal democracy—a tradition seen as an unproblematic norm,” Mishra writes. “It was clearly too disconcerting to acknowledge that totalitarian politics crystallized the ideological currents (scientific racism, jingoistic nationalism, imperialism, technicism, aestheticized politics, utopianism, social engineering and the violent struggle for existence) flowing through all of Europe in the late nineteenth century.”

Mishra knows what happens when people are discarded onto the dung heap of history. He knows what endless wars, waged in the name of democracy and Western civilization, engender among their victims. He knows what drives people, whether they are at a Trump rally or a radical mosque in Pakistan, to lust after violence. History informs the present. We are afflicted by what writer Albert Camus called “autointoxication, the malignant secretion of one’s preconceived impotence inside the enclosure of the self.” And until this “autointoxication” is addressed, the rage and violence, at home and abroad, will expand as we stumble toward a global apocalypse. The self-alienation of humankind, Walter Benjamin warned, “has reached such a degree that it can experience its own destruction as an aesthetic pleasure of the first order.”

The conflicts in Egypt, Libya, Mali, Syria and many other places, Mishra notes, are fueled by “extreme weather events, the emptying of rivers and seas of their fish stocks, or the desertification of entire regions on the planet.” The refugees being driven by their homelands’ chaos into Europe are creating political instability there. And as we sleepwalk into the future, the steady deterioration of the ecosystem will ultimately lead to total systems collapse. Mishra warns that “the two ways in which humankind can self-destruct—civil war on a global scale, or destruction of the natural environment—are rapidly converging.” Our elites, oblivious to the dangers ahead, blinded by their own hubris and greed, are ferrying us, like Charon, to the land of the dead.

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The Law Enforcement Spy Fear Industry

The Law Enforcement Growth Industry,


Russia’s Top Cyber Sleuth Foils US Spies, Helps Kremlin Pals

Author: Noah Shachtman. Noah Shachtman Magazine

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