October 03, 2009

The Lockerbie Bombing Seen as an Expression of a “Strenuous Disagreement”

September 1, 2009

In light of compelling information available on the Internet about the Israeli attack on the USS Liberty in 1967 as well as the destruction of three World Trade Center buildings with micro-thermite during the course of a well-planned Israeli linked false flag operation in 2001, the issue of Zionist false flag terrorism against the American people to achieve militarist aims is now widely understood. Less well known and further in the past the Lavon affair is another documented case of Israel framing Arabs in an attempt to generate Western reaction. The planned attack of the Lavon affair was foiled by Egyptian security, more recent attacks have been outside of Arab jurisdictions. Revelations about the details of these particular acts of terror, notwithstanding subsequent efforts by the US government to cover them up by preventing public inquiries, along with ongoing mass media disinformation regarding the facts, have confirmed a disturbing pattern of control that is leading toward mass revulsion amidst the population.

Recently, newspapers reported that a Libyan, Ali Mohmed al Megrahi, accused of being the “Lockerbie bomber”, was released from imprisonment in Scotland. It is truly remarkable that his incarceration dragged on for so long, for it was already evident during the course of the trial, that no credible evidence linking him to the crime existed. In the meantime, mainstream media in Britain have reported that he was framed, through false testimony and the intentional withholding of exculpatory information by the court. His appeal was likely to be granted, and attention would inevitably have focused on the question of who actually did carry out the bombing. The calculation appears to have been, that one might circumvent such a situation by releasing him on “humanitarian” grounds, in exchange for dropping the appeal. No later than two years ago, it must have become clear to anyone following the case, that al Megrahi would have to be released, because the head of a Swiss company Mebo, Edwin Bollier, admitted, after the statute of limitations for such a crime had expired, that key evidence used in the trial had actually been faked. Also, in June 2007 the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission, upon a three year investigation, reported that there may have been a miscarriage of justice.

Fingering the perpetrators of this act of terror that occurred more than two decades ago is inconvenient because the plausible outcome of an analysis of the situation, back then, while taking into account motive, means, and opportunity, could surely point to a group of known terrorists, enjoying strong support in the United States among influential supporters of Israel, as the primary suspects. These Zionist terrorists and their Jewish supremacist supporters have become so successful through their campaigns of mass murder that they have actually formed and developed a state with a huge military and propaganda apparatus. Indeed, as people have begun to realize, they have effectively taken over the United States government through corruption, coercion and blackmail. Some of their staunchest supporters are in control of financial, media, and academic institutions, thus wielding undue power. Though many have been aware of the facts for a long time, controllers need to present a different story for public consumption, hoping to induce a distorted perception among the masses.

The time elapsed since that fateful bombing over Scotland is half of the time elapsed since the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza. With the benefit of hindsight and an improved realization of the nature of Zionist inspired terrorism, both historically and currently, a review of the political circumstances during the two final months in 1988 sheds light on what could have been a primary motive for the bombing. On November 1, 1988, elections for the twelfth Knesset took place in Israel, with an outcome that made the formation of a stable government difficult. Exactly one week later, American elections took place, in which Vice President George Herbert Walker Bush beat Governor Michael Dukakis of Massachusetts. During the transition phase of the ensuing weeks, certain political developments could take place that might have seemed too risky to push through if Congress had been in session.

One week after the American elections, the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), operating from Tunis, attempted to regain control of events in Palestine, where a popular uprising, the Intifada, had been going on for months. Thus, on November 15, in Algiers, the Palestinian National Council (PNC) formally proclaimed a Palestinian state, with Jerusalem as its capital, and Yasser Arafat as its president. Additionally, the PNC voted to revise the PLO charter and recognized the UN resolutions 242 and 338 as the basis of an international peace conference. This announcement was an important milestone in the Palestinian struggle against the ongoing, forceful, and illegal occupation of their land by an oppressive Israeli regime, and the lame-duck administration of Ronald Reagan would have to address the issue somehow.

According to a 1975 memorandum agreement with Israel, arranged by Henry Kissinger, the United States agreed to not recognize or negotiate with the PLO unless the organization formally recognized Israel and accepted UN resolutions 242 and 338 as the basis for peace in the Middle East. Even engaging in curt small talk with a PLO representative at a party in Amman during the summer of 1979 was taboo. One may recall that Ambassador Andrew Young was forced into resignation from his position as U.S. ambassador to the U.N. during the Carter Administration. Zionist leaders had somehow convinced themselves, that these conditions were too onerous for the PLO to adhere to, and were thus complacent in believing that the US government would continue to refuse any dealings with the PLO. They felt much assured when Secretary of State George Schultz refused a visa to PLO Chairman Arafat a day after he had requested one at the American Embassy in Tunis, so that he could address the UN General Assembly in New York in December. This decision, by Schultz, based on the PLO’s alleged association with terrorism, surprised the diplomatic community.

In early December of 1988, at the invitation of the Swedish government, Arafat met in Stockholm with a group of five American Jews, including Stanley Sheinbaum, one of the Regents of the University of California at the time, to discuss the Middle East situation. After a couple of days of talks, on December 7 Arafat announced the existence of Israel and denounced all forms of terrorism. However, George Schultz proclaimed that the PLO “still has a considerable distance to go” before the United States would deal with it. Israel’s expectations were thus upheld again. During this time, Israel had still not formed a government. However, a week later, on December 14, Arafat gave a press conference in Geneva and clarified the points he had given in a speech at the UN there the previous day. Though the language he used was barely different from that of previous statements rejected by Schultz as being insufficient, this time Schultz accepted the formula and promptly announced that the US State Department would begin discussions with the PLO.

News of this development was greeted with great shock and dismay at the time by Israeli politicians and the public. The PLO was their archenemy, regarded as a group of terrorists bent on destroying them. Extremist Zionists in particular perceived the announcement to recognize the PLO as the end of their dreams for a greater Israel, a genuine existential threat to their future survival. They had just been publicly stabbed in the back by the American administration. This decision could not stand, a strong message, would have to be sent, in response. The Americans could not get away with this, how “dare they” act independently.

With this pace of development, what might the new American regime do upon Bush’s inauguration? This was indeed a most serious development, and Israeli politicians gathered to engage in crisis discussions and expedited negotiating sessions in order to form a new government and deal with this unexpected threat. The possibility of events occurring beyond their control seemed real, and it became an imperative to forestall the U.S. engaging with the PLO.

Exactly one week after the formal American recognition of the PLO, Pan Am Flight 103, exploded in the air on its journey from London to New York on December 21, 1988. Only a few hours after news of this event became public, the reporter for a local television station in California interviewed an “expert on terrorism” live from his location at the RAND Corporation in Santa Monica. Interestingly, when asked which group might have engaged in such an act of terrorism, the expert from RAND, upon citing the usual Arab suspects, cautioned that one should not exclude the possibility that a rogue group inside the Israeli military might have felt compelled to carry this out. This was truly unfiltered commentary, as the initial news came trickling in. Afterward, once the mainstream television media had regained their grip, explicit suggestions like this were presumably not heard again. (In contrast, with the benefit of months of operative planning, on September 11, 2001, the media worked from a prepared script; Osama bin Laden was declared the suspect within minutes of the demolition of the second World Trade Center tower, and the collapse of WTC Building 7 was announced at least twenty minutes before it actually occurred.)

Initially, one angle of speculation had been, that the attack was meant to target South Africa because a high level delegation of officials from its government, most notably foreign minister Pik Botha, were said to have been on that flight. Yet later the media reported that Botha had changed his scheduled flight to an earlier one that day and was indeed to arrive in New York. Ad hoc, raw news items like this, with the connotation of a possible advance tip-off, naturally arouses suspicion, especially since the South African government had few close political allies at the time, and so the media did not dwell on this message either. As it turned out, the South African government officials had been booked for Flight 103 but wound up flying to New York on an earlier plane. The next day they were present at UN headquarters to sign the Tripartite Agreement with representatives from Cuba and Angola. Years later, it was revealed that other people mysteriously chose not to take that flight at the last moment. Students from Syracuse University consequently got last minute seats which earlier were said to have been full. Which group of possible perpetrators could have had the technical means to both access the passenger list of a future flight and forewarn selected people? One cannot but help recall what seems to have been an analogous situation, many years later on September 11, 2001, when a select group of individuals received advance warning about the impending operation through an Israeli-based text messaging service, Odigo.

According to a former American ambassador to Qatar, Andrew I. Killgore, who has written articles about the Lockerbie bombing in the Washington Report for Middle East Affairs, there are other interesting facts surrounding the Lockerbie bombing that are not widely known. For instance, in 2002 (but presumably also earlier during investigations) a retired security guard, Ray Manly, revealed that the Pan Am baggage area at Heathrow Airport had been broken into 17 hours before Flight 103 took off. Certainly, planting a bomb directly onto an intended plane is a surer method of targeting that flight than sending an unattended piece of luggage laden with a bomb from Malta to Frankfurt, and then from there to London, which is the narrative that prosecutors concocted to frame al Megrahi. In the case of the latter method, there is no way of being sure that the suitcase will actually be on the target flight, but alternatively there is a slight chance, due to general sloppiness, that it could wind up on a flight one definitely would not want to target.

Killgore refers to reports that Pan Am had commissioned a team to handle the baggage security at 25 branches around the world. One member of that team was Isaac Yeffet, who headed a company by the name of Alert Management Inc. Employees of Yeffet’s company had full access to the Pan Am facility at Heathrow Airport and thus might have been expected to detect an unattended bag coming from Malta, or prevent the introduction of a bomb at Heathrow.

According to media reports, Isaac Yeffet is the former chief of security for El Al and an ex-director of Israel's Mossad intelligence agency, and now runs a security company based in New Jersey. In this context, the reader might recall, that responsibility for security at all three airports of alleged hijackings on September 11, 2001 also lay with an Israeli owned company.

One feature of grand scale terrorist events, such as airplane bombings, is that perpetrators tend not to reveal themselves to the public, so the question of culpability becomes a mystery. One method of following up is for the perpetrators to attempt to make it appear as if though an enemy was actually responsible. Israeli operatives have repeatedly deployed this trick for at least half a century, at least since the incident in Cairo that led to the Lavon Affair. However, it is impossible to fool the entire population. After the Lockerbie bombing, the predominately Jewish controlled media in America planted several accusations against various groups or governments, Ahmed Jabril of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, Abu Nidal, Syria, Iran, and of course Libya. Yet none of these groups really had the means or opportunity to carry out such an operation. Palestinians certainly didn’t have a motive in light of the breakthrough for their cause a week earlier, which didn’t preclude hypotheses of some rival Palestinian group committing the act out of sheer jealousy or disagreement from being presented.

As if these accusations and hypotheses in the media were not enough to distract and saturate the public with psychological propaganda, the New York Times Magazine, on Sunday March 18, 1990 (which coincided with the date of the only parliamentary elections in East Germany) proffered yet another malicious insinuation. Appearing as a bold headline on its cover, above a photo of the front of the jumbo jet lying on its side in Lockerbie, one could read the following words: “The German Connection”. This was likely part of the New York Times' conspicuous “hate campaign” against Germany in general, but also against the impending German reunification in particular, which during early 1990, during the time of the negotiations leading to the so-called “Two Plus Four Agreement”, had reached a feverish pitch, spearheaded by former executive editor A. M. Rosenthal in various vitriolic editorials.

Another noteworthy piece of information relates to the disappointment of some British family members of persons who had been on that flight, with the way the case was developing. Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher was said to have blocked a full judicial inquiry into the issue. This raises the question, which group in Britain would have had sufficient influence to prevail upon the highest governmental official? An alternate explanation is, that President George H. W. Bush had prevailed upon her to tone down the investigation, which merely shifts the same question of complicity or cover-up toward power circumstances in the United States.

However, it was reported in 1993 that according to Minister of Parliament Tam Dalyell, Thatcher, who also had the role of being the head of intelligence services, stated unequivocally, that Libya did not carry out the bombing. It would seem that there was pressure to hide certain facts.

The violent destruction of an airplane with innocent people is also a highly political statement directed toward an élite group of decision makers in order to affect a particular policy. Therefore, it is fair to surmise that the perpetrators, who had to have had the motive, means, and opportunity to carry out the heinous crime, intended to signal their involvement, without stating it explicitly. If the intended recipients of such hints of involvement were themselves top-level criminals or terrorists, with blood on their hands, they would tend to acknowledge the hints in a different manner than the public inevitably would and, unlike the public, not get emotional about the situation. This can be viewed as part of a political game engaged in by psychopaths. Therefore, one should monitor official statements or communiqués for clues. During the Cold War there were American specialists called Kremlinologists, who would notice subtle and innocuous messages or announcements with important meaning. This is the diplomatic language of polite understatement.

On December 23, 1988, within two days after the Lockerbie bombing Israeli politicians agreed to form a coalition or unity government, headed by Yitzhak Shamir, who had gone to high school in Bialystok and became a terrorist in Palestine before World War II, after Hebraizing his surname from Jeziernicky. On that day, Shamir addressed the newly formed twelfth Knesset, in which he made multiple references to the PLO and the implications of its international recognition (which on the following day, Christmas Eve, included a meeting between Chairman Arafat and Pope John Paul in the Vatican). Below are key passages, translated into English by the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs:
It is regrettable that we were forced to strenuously disagree with the recent U.S. decision regarding a dialogue with the PLO which, as far as we see and know, has not changed its character or ways, its malicious covenant and the terrorism that it perpetrates. We know this from the statements of its central figures, and from its actions in the field, and the government of Israel, in accordance with its guidelines, will not negotiate with it. We still hope that the U.S. will reconsider its decision vis-a-vis the PLO. We have paid close attention to the statements made by administration spokesmen regarding their approach to the issue of terrorism; we hope that after due consideration, they will draw the necessary conclusions regarding the PLO.

The developments in the international arena and the challenges that we will face oblige us to overcome our differences in order to confront the problems together, and to overcome the obstacles and dangers that have been placed in our way. I am referring chiefly to the large-scale propaganda and diplomatic offensive being conducted now against Israel in the international diplomatic arena by the terrorist organizations and their friends and supporters, an offensive which is based on deception and on misleading. Its obvious objective is to gain international support for the establishment of a PLO-Palestinian state within Eretz Israel. In addition, we see special preparations being made to exert great pressure on us to cause us to make a complete withdrawal to the suffocating borders of 1967.
At that time there was no Internet, so only a few of the people who do not understand Hebrew were actually privy to the text at the time. Adopting a Talmudic perspective and the aggressive mindset that prevails among militant Zionists in Israel, one could certainly rationalize the Lockerbie bombing as an act of self-defense, a means to prevent suffocation and encirclement before such efforts can attain momentum. Shamir’s violent life had been filled with acts of terror. In this light the Lockerbie bombing can be viewed as an irate expression of “strenuous disagreement”.

- by reader submission

Everything is OK

A montage — “Do you have permission to be here?” Funny and wonderfully subversive.

You can see the whole Everything is OK series here.

H.T. - Pulse Media

Lieberman: Norway too 'hostile' to have monitors in Hebron

By Barak Ravid, Haaretz
October 2, 2009

Israel should consider ousting Norwegian monitors from Hebron due to Oslo's "hostility" toward Israel, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman told the cabinet Thursday.

An overall reassessment of Israel's relationship with Norway is needed, he argued, and expelling the monitors could be one element of this. The monitors are part of an international observer group, the Temporary International Presence in Hebron. TIPH was introduced into the city in 1994, by agreement between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, after Baruch Goldstein massacred 29 Muslim worshipers at the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron.

At a meeting last week with Norwegian Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Store on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York, Lieberman protested Oslo's contacts with Hamas, as well as the celebrations Norway is sponsoring in honor of the 100th birthday of writer Knut Hamsun, who supported the Nazis during World War II. Of all the foreign ministers he met with in New York, Lieberman told the cabinet, this meeting was the most difficult, because "the Norwegians take a very hostile line against us."

"It may be the time has come to reassess our relations with them and reexamine our position on matters important to them, like their monitors in Hebron or [Israel's] cooperation with the forum of donor states [to the PA], which they head," Lieberman added.

Although TIPH also includes monitors from Italy, Sweden, Turkey, Denmark and Switzerland, Norway is the group's principal supporter and is effectively in charge of it. The forum of donor states is involved in institution-building in the PA, and until now, Israel has cooperated closely with it.

Tension between Jerusalem and Oslo increased recently after Norway's government pension fund decided to divest from an Israeli company, Elbit.

Video: Territorial Domination in the West Bank

Sam Mayfield

October 2, 2009

Settlement expansion in the Occupied Territories of Palestine is about more than constructing houses for Jewish settlers. Palestinian farmland is being turned into industrial space. Illegal outposts on Palestinian land are protected by Israeli military. Roads, if Palestinians are allowed to drive on them, are often blocked without warning.
I toured Illegal settlements and outposts in the West Bank with Dror Etkes.

Why The Population Bomb Is a Rockefeller Baby

Obama's director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy John Holdren
authored Ecoscience with Paul Ehrlich

Introduction by Pulse Media

From the vaults: this piece by Steve Weissman was originally published in Ramparts in 1970. Ramparts was a literary quarterly for the left-leaning cognoscente that ran from 1962 to 1975 and whose contributors included Tariq Ali and Alexander Cockburn. Only a select few articles have made it online or been digitised. This is now one of them, a piece sent to us by Michael Barker. Its interesting to see what has — and hasn’t — changed in the population debate and political climate in the four decades since.

Steve Weissman, ‘Why The Population Bomb Is a Rockefeller Baby’, in Ramparts, Eco-Catastrophe (1970), pp. 27-41.

Paul Ehrlich is a nice man. He doesn’t hate blacks, advocate genocide or defend the empire. He simply believes that the world has too many people and he’s ready at the drop of a diaper pin to say so. He’s written his message in The Population Bomb, lectured it in universities and churches, and twice used America’s own form of birth control, the late-night Johnny Carson Show, to regale bleary-eyed moms and dads with tales of a standing-room-only world, a time of famines, plague and pestilence.

Together with Berkeley’s Kingsley Davis and Santa Barbara’s Garrett Hardin, Ehrlich represents a newly-popular school of academics out to make overpopulation the central menace of our age. Except for a still hesitant Pope, their crusade seems sure of success. Everyone from Arthur Godfrey to beat poet Gary Snyder to the leaders of China’s 700,000,000 (whom the populationists alternately ignore and disparage) now agrees that population growth is a problem and that something must be done. The question is what? Or, more precisely, who will do what … and to whom?

Kingsley Davis, who finds voluntary family planning hopelessly futile, suggests that government postpone the age of marriage. Garrett Hardin in the April 22 Teach-In’s Environmental Handbook urges mutual coercion mutually agreed upon. Paul Ehrlich wants to eliminate tax exemptions for more than two children, forgetting that the power to tax is the power to destroy. Voluntary family planning is out and population control in, leaving those less kindly disposed to the government to see the gaunt spectre of genocide. Long before even the least of the predicted ecological catastrophes comes to pass, such fears might well turn race on race, young on old, rich on poor.

Ehrlich, recognizing this danger, aims his appeal for smaller families less toward the poor and black than toward the white middle-class American family, which consumes more resources, occupies more space, and creates more waste than any ten of its economic inferiors. But his appeal, while barely denting the great waste-production economy, will only create the self-righteousness to impose America’s middle-class will on the world.

We “are going to have to adopt some very tough foreign policy positions,” Ehrlich explains, and limiting our own families will let us do that “from a psychologically strong position … We must use our political power to push other countries into programs which combine agricultural development and population control.” Exactly what kind of power, or whether we would use it globally, or simply in countries which food shipments and “green revolutions” might save from starvation, is unclear. But he hints at a time when we might put temporary sterilants in food and water, while some of his more adventurous colleagues, no doubt impressed by pinpoint bombing in Southeast Asia, would spray whole populations from the air. If we’re so willing to napalm peasants to protect them from Communists, we could quite easily use a little sterilant spray to protect them from themselves.

We really needn’t speculate, however, Uses of the new over-population scare are quite out of the hands of either nice academics or average anti-Communist Americans. The same elites and institutions which made America the world’s policemen have long been eager to serve as the world’s prophylactic and agricultural provisioner, and they are damned grateful to the academics for creating a new humanitarian justification for the age-old game of empire. The academics shouldn’t really get the credit though. The heavies had it all planned out back in the ’50s, while young Dr. Ehrlich was still studying water snakes in the western end of Lake Erie.


In June 1952, John D. Rockefeller III, father of four, eldest grandson of Standard Oil and chairman of the Rockefeller Foundation, hosted a highly select conference on population in Colonial Williamsburg. To this showpiece of historical conservation, restored by the Rockefellers to its pre-Revolutionary beauty, came some 30 of the nation’s most eminent conservationists, public health experts, Planned Parenthood leaders, agriculturalists, demographers and social scientists. After two and a half days of intensive discussion, they agreed to form a new group which could act as “a coordinating and catalytic agent in the broad field of population.” The following fall, John D. publicly christened The Population Council and announced that he himself would serve as its first president. With this act of baptism, the population bomb became a Rockefeller baby.

In the decades previous, birth control had been largely small potatoes. The Rockefeller Foundation, together with the Milbank Memorial Fund, had, in 1936, provided John D.’s alma mater, Princeton, with an Office of Population Research. Mississippi, Louisiana, Georgia, Florida and the Carolinas pioneered programs for the (sometimes voluntary) sterilization of the poor. Planned Parenthood, a direct descendant of Margaret Sanger’s American Birth Control League, struggled to provide America’s poor with free counsel and contraceptives. Guy Irving Burch’s Population Reference Bureau, long the leading educator on population dynamics, was little more than a one-man show, as was the Hugh Moore Fund, set up in 1944 by the founder and board chairman of Dixie Cup “to call to the attention of the American Public the dangers inherent in the population explosion.”

Once the Rockefellers joined the family, however, family planning became a very different kind of business. The Ford Foundation, Carnegie, the Commonwealth and Community Funds, the Molt Trust and the Mellons joined with John D., his mother, his sister (wife of banker Jean Mauze), his brother and their financial adviser, AEC chairman Lewis Strauss, in pumping fresh blood and money into the Population Council, some of which even trickled over into the Reference Bureau and Planned Parenthood. Wealthy Englishmen and Swedes and their third world associates joined with the Americans in making Planned Parenthood international. The World Bank, headed by Chase National Bank vice president and future Population Council director Eugene Black, put its money behind Princeton’s pioneer study on population and economic growth in India. Where birth controllers once went begging, now guest lists at Planned Parenthood banquets and signatures on ubiquitous New York Times ads read like a cross between the Social Register and Standard and Poor’s Directory of Corporation Executives.

This sudden interest of the world’s rich in the world’s poor, whatever the humanitarian impulse, made good dollars and cents. World War II had exhausted the older colonial empires, and everywhere the cry of nationalism sounded: from Communists in China and Southeast Asia, from neutralists in Indonesia and India, from independence movements in Africa and from use of their own oil and iron ore and, most menacing, the right to protect themselves against integration in an international marketplace which systematically favored the already-industrialized.

But the doughty old buzzards of empire were determined to save the species. They would pay deference to the new feelings by encouraging a bit of light industry here, and perhaps even a steel mill there. To give the underdeveloped areas what Nelson Rockefeller termed “a community of interest with us,” and to extend control, they would give public loans and foreign aid for roads, dams and schools. Their foundations and universities would train a new class of native managers who, freed from outmoded ideologies, would clearly see that there was more than enough for both rich and poor.

But there wasn’t enough, especially not when the post-war export of death-control technology created so many more of the poor. The poor nations rarely came close to providing even the limited economic security which, as in Europe of the Industrial Revolution, would encourage people to give up the traditional peasant security of a large family and permit the population curve to level off. In fact, for much of the population, the newly-expanded money economy actually increased insecurity. Faced with this distortion between fertility and development, developed country elites could see no natural way of stopping population growth. All they could see was people, people, people, each one threatening the hard-won stability [emphasis added] which guaranteed access to the world’s ores and oil, each one an additional competitor for the use of limited resources.

More people, moreover, meant younger people, gunpowder for more than a mere population explosion. “The restlessness produced in a rapidly growing population is magnified by the preponderance of youth,” reported the Rockefeller Fund’s overpowering Prospect for America. “In a completely youthful population, impatience to realize rising expectations is likely to be pronounced. Extreme nationalism has often been the result.”


It was to meet these perils of population that the Rockefellers and their kindred joined the family planning movement in such force. But until they had completed a much more thoroughgoing prophylaxis of the new nationalisms, and had worked out an accommodation with Catholic opposition, they were much too sophisticated to preach birth control straight out. That would have sounded far too reminiscent of the older colonialisms and, indirectly, too much like a condemnation of the new pattern of “development.”

Consequently, until the spurt of technical assistance in the ’60s, the Population Council preached and, within the ideological confines of development thinking, practiced “the scientific study of population problems.” They provided fellowships to Americans and, as part of the broader building of native elites, to deserving foreign students. This, they hoped, would build up a cadre of “local personnel,” well-studied in population problems, “trained in objective scientific methods and able to interpret the results to their own people.” The Council also undertook population studies in the colonies, funded both demographic and medical studies at U.S. universities, worked with international agencies, and maintained its own biomedical lab at Rockefeller Institute. The foundations supplemented this approach, directly funding roughly a dozen major university think-tanks devoted to population studies. These grants no more bought scholars and scholarship than native elites. It was more efficient to rent them. Like Defense Department dollars or direct corporation gifts, the smart population money posed the right (as opposed to the left) questions, paid off for right answers, and provided parameters for scholars interested in “realistic” policy alternatives.

Study, of course, was an apprenticeship for action. By 1957, an “Ad Hoc Committee” of population strategists from the Council the Rockefeller Fund, Laurance Rockefeller’s Conservation Foundation and Planned Parenthood mapped out a full population control program. Published by Population Council President Frederick Osborn as Population: An International Dilemma, the committee’s report insisted that population growth, in the rich nations as well as the poor, would become a decisive threat to political stability. To preempt such instability, the population planners planned first to win over the educated classes, many of whom themselves felt the threat of population. But, wary of widespread personal sensitivities and nationalist sentiments, they would never push birth control as an end in itself. Instead they would have it grow out of the logical needs of family planning, and leave the task of gaining public acceptance to the native elite, many of whom they had trained.

An even more important antidote to nationalist reaction was the population planners’ admission that population was also a problem here in the U.S. “Excessive fertility by families with meager resources must be recognized as one of the potent forces in the perpetuation of slums, ill-health, inadequate education, and even delinquency,” the Ad Hoc Committee noted. They were satisfied, however, with the overall “balance of population and resources” in this country and sought only to use tax, welfare and education policy “to equalize births between people at different socio-economic levels” and to “discourage births among the socially handicapped.”


For all their domestic concern, however, population planners were primarily absorbed in “the international dilemma” and the problems of “economic development.” Like Walt Rostow, Max Millikan and the authors of the Rockefellers’ Prospect for America, they emphasized top-down national planning, Western-influenced elites, foreign aid penetration, and the use of economic growth, rather than distribution and welfare, to measure development. As a result, their plan for population bore a scary resemblance to the first Vietnamization which was then recasting the educational system, banking and currency, public works, agriculture, the police, and welfare programs of Vietnam into an American mold.

The population planners’ counter to insurgency then entered “official” development thinking in 1959, in the Report of President Eisenhower’s Committee to Study the Military Assistance Program. Headed by General William H. Draper II (perhaps best remembered as the American government official who most helped Nazi and Zaibatsu industrialists re-concentrate their power after World War II), the committee urged that development aid be extended to local maternal and child welfare programs, to the formulation of national population plans, and to additional research on population control.

Ike, a bit old-fashioned about such intimate intervention, flatly refused. He just could not “imagine anything more emphatically a subject that is not a proper political or government activity or function or responsibility … This government … will not … as long as I am here, have a positive policy doctrine in its program that has to do with this problem of birth control. That’s not our business.”

Business disagreed, the Draper Report became the rallying cry of big business’ population movement, and General Draper, an investment banker by trade, headed up both Planned Parenthood’s million dollar-a-year World Population Emergency Campaign and even bigger Victor Fund Drive.

The foundations also expanded their own programs. But the Rockefellers, Fords, Draper, and others seemingly born into the population movement hadn’t gotten rich by picking up such large tabs; not if they could help it. Despite Ike’s sense of propriety, they had continued to press for government sponsorship of birth control – and not without piecemeal gains, even in the Eisenhower government.

When Kennedy became President he agreed to a government role in research, promising to pass requests for birth control information and technical assistance to the foundations, and permitting Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Richard Gardner to make an offer of U.S. family planning aid to the UN.

But none of this satisfied the population people, who, beginning in 1963, made a big public push for major government programs in both domestic and overseas agencies. In May of that year, the blue-ribbon American Assembly, with the help of the Population Council, brought “The Population Dilemma” to a convocation of leaders from all walks of American life. The National Academy of Sciences, assisted professionally and financially by the Council, issued a scary report on The Growth of World Population. Draper, Moore, and Harper & Row’s Cass Canfield then set up the Population Crisis Committee, “the political action arm of the population control movement,” to publish ads, lobby government officials and promote public support for government aid to family planning.

Sometimes the population people defended their proposals on humanitarian grounds; at other times they were more candid: “If the World Bank expects to get its loans repaid by India,” explained Draper, “if the U.S., much of whose aid is in the form of loans, expects to have them repaid … the population problem … must be solved.” Bolstered by Fulbright, Gruening and other long-term congressional advocates of “economic development,” and by a public reversal of position by former President Eisenhower, the campaign pushed the Kennedy, then the Johnson government closer to open birth control programs.

But fear of domestic controversy, especially in the Catholic community, and a lack of positive foreign response held the movement in check until the White House Conference on International Cooperation, keynoted by John D. Rockefeller III, in November 1965. The Conference Committee on Population – chaired by Gardner and including Black, Canfield, Draper and John D. – then urged that the government greatly expand its birth control assistance to foreign countries. Conference committees on Food and Agriculture and Technical Cooperation and Investment concurred, urging a multilateral approach.

Much impressed by this show of “public support,” the very next session of Congress passed Johnson’s “New Look” in foreign policy, which made birth control part of foreign assistance and permitted the President to judge a nation’s “self-help” in population planning as a criterion for giving Food for Freedom aid. (Separate legislation gave the Department of Health, Education and Welfare a birth control program for domestic consumption.) The “New Look,” which combined population control with agricultural development, international education, encouragement of private overseas investment, and multilateral institution-building, was, of course, the response of the mid-’50’s to nationalism. It was also a foretaste of what Paul Ehrlich’s “tough foreign policy positions” would easily become.


The new look in intervention got a good test in the Indian famine of ‘65 and ‘66 – until Biafra the best-advertised famine in recent times, and a major boost for the population control campaign. Ever since the victory of the Chinese Revolution, India has been a bastion of the “free [enterprise] world.” But Western businessmen long fretted over her “neutralism” and “socialism” and her restrictions on foreign participation in key areas of the economy.

In 1958, India faced a devastating foreign exchange crisis. In response, the World Bank and the “Aid India Club” promised one billion dollars a year in aid, and international investors found themselves with golden opportunities. The Ford Foundation quickly stepped in with a “food crisis” team of experts, which pushed India’s planners into increased agricultural spending, ultimately at the expense of planned investments in housing and other social services. Several rounds of business conferences on India together with official and semi-official visits followed until, in 1964, Undersecretary of Commerce Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Jr. led a top-flight delegation of American business executives to New Delhi with the explicit objective of “persuading the government to adopt policies more attractive to potential investors.”

Hunger warriors from agribusiness were particularly hot for expansion. Poor harvest in prior years had driven food prices up, and with them, the demand for fertilizer and pesticides. Consequently, the Rockefeller’s Jersey Standard wanted price and distribution restrictions lifted on their Bombay fertilizer plant. A Bank of America syndicate, together with India’s Birla group, needed government support for what would become “the largest urea and compound fertilizer plant in this part of the world.” Petroleum producers, foreseeing an otherwise useless excess of naphtha, wanted permission to set up fertilizer plants which could utilize the petroleum by-product. The Ford and Rockefeller foundations wanted to expand use of their new high yield seeds deliberately bred for large fertilizer and pesticide inputs, and get on with the commercialization of agriculture.

But Western pressure was of little avail until the failure of the summer monsoons in 1965. Then, in the words of the World Bank’s Pearson Report, “Instead of signing annual or multi-year [food] sales agreements, as with other countries and with India itself, in earlier years, the United States doled out food aid a few months at a time as policy conditions were agreed upon.”

India, faced with a short leash on food supplies, acceded to the foreign pressures. She pared down government control, liberalized her import restriction and devalued the rupee. Her government gave the chemical and oil men permission to build new fertilizer plants, to fix their own prices, to handle their own distribution outside the normal channels of the rural cooperatives, and to maintain a greater share of management control than permitted under Indian law. Most important, officials agreed to give greater emphasis to agriculture and to maintain high food prices as an incentive to growers. “Call them ’strings’, call them `conditions,’ or whatever one likes,” boasted the New York Times, “India has little choice now but to agree to many of the terms that the United States, through the World Bank, is putting on its aid. For India simply has nowhere else to turn.”

With the ground so carefully prepared, the miracle seeds grew beautifully. Once-barren land flowered. Indian farmers harvested 95 million tons of grain in 1967-68, bettering the best of previous yields by five per cent. The following year they did almost as well, and growers laid plans for 100 million metric tons in 1969-70. Ecstatic Indian government officials announced that India would be self-sufficient in food production by 1971. “The Green Revolution,” exclaimed David Rockefeller to the International Industrial Conference, “may ultimately have a cumulative effect in Asia, Africa, and Latin America such as the introduction of the steam engine had in the industrial revolution.”


The pressure, bantered about everywhere from the Canarsie Shopping News to Business Week, had been anything but subtle. Profits would be high. Yet even liberals like John Kenneth Galbraith and Chester Bowles, both former ambassadors to New Delhi, lavishly praised the whole enterprise. People have to eat.

They have to, but even with paternalistic green revolutions they still don’t always get to. “Modern” agriculture in America and the West, dependent upon high inputs of fertilizer and pesticides, is an ecological disaster. We are only now discovering what DDT and many fertilizers do to our food, water, soil, mother’s milk and farm workers. India’s prospects are even more bleak. Chemically resistant miracle grains will soon produce miracle pests, which could easily wipe out whole areas. Early high yields depended heavily on unusually good weather – which is not dependable, and on irrigation – which is reportedly salting the soil. These problems have led many experts to question how long the revolution will remain green. But most of the experts still come down on the side of more “modern” agriculture, without even exploring possibly safer alternatives like the high-yield, labor-intensive and biologically-integrated “gardening” of the best traditional Asian agriculture.

But the real disaster is more immediate. The same high food prices which gave incentive to growers also put sufficient food out of the reach of those who need it most. Commercial agriculture, by definition, produces for profit, not people. At the same time, the new seeds required irrigation and pesticides, and heavy inputs of fertilizer, the costs of which soared with the removal of government price ceilings. “So far,” reports Clifton Wharton, Jr., writing in Foreign Affairs, “spectacular results have been achieved primarily among the relatively large commercial farmers.” Those who haven’t the capital, or can’t get the credit from village moneylenders or meager government programs, are pushed off their land and into an agricultural proletariat or worse, while the new Kulaks, the peasant capitalists, re-invest their profits in modern labor-saving machinery.

The inevitable result of this trend is class and regional conflict. Wharton reports a clash in the prize Tanjore district of Madras in which 43 persons died in a struggle between landlords and the landless, “who felt they were not receiving their proper share of the increased prosperity brought by the Green Revolution.” Two Swedish journalists, Lasse and Lisa Berg, reporting in Stockholm’s Sondagsbilagan, provide pictures of “excess” Indian peasants burned in kerosene by a landlord. One hates to speculate on how a companion population program would work, but it is all too easy to believe reports from India of forced sterilization.

But there is a positive side. As in the Philippines, where peasants displaced by the commercialization of agriculture are strengthening the Huk resistance, the Green Revolution in India is producing a Red Revolution. For the first time since Independence, militant revolutionary movements have led Indian peasants into rebellions in different parts of the country, and in certain areas, the Bergs report, the poorest people in the countryside are organizing themselves across the boundaries of caste.


Despite all a Rockefeller might do, the New Look in empire even met obstacles at home. From 1966 on, displeasure with the unwinnable war in Vietnam escalated along with the war-caused inflation, and Congress, though it had authorized the new programs, was increasingly unwilling to fund any new foreign entanglements. In the spring of 1967, for example, Senator Fulbright, impressed with what the White House Conference’s Committee on Population had proposed, asked Congress to support voluntary family planning abroad with an appropriation of $50 million a year for three years. His less liberal colleagues approved $35 million for one year. Congress has treated the domestic birth control issue with the same lack of enthusiasm, despite the growth of third world nationalism within the U.S. Members of Congress are just too provincial to understand the needs of empire.

In an attempt to create a congressional climate more favorable to population control, the empire builders decided to drum up some public pressure for their cause. Consequently, a new avalanche of full-page spreads warned war-weary newspaper readers that “The Population Bomb Threatens the Peace of the World”; that “Hungry Nations Imperil the Peace of the World”; that “Whatever your cause, it’s a lost cause unless we control population.” The ads, sponsored by Hugh Moore’s Campaign to Check the Population Explosion and signed by the usual crew of population controllers, urged greatly expanded appropriations and a crash program for population stabilization. A new Presidential Committee on Population and Family Planning, headed by HEW Secretary Wilbur Cohen and, of course, John D. III, persuaded Nixon to promise greatly-expanded federal programs and a commission on domestic population problems. The Ford Foundation, initiating its first grants for birth control assistance in the U.S. in 1966, provided a barrage of money and reports. The American Assembly, with the help of the Kellog Foundation and now-Secretary of Agriculture Clifford Hardin, sponsored a national conference on Overcoming World Hunger which, despite its optimism about the green revolution, continued to push for population control. Hugh Moore pushed Ehrlich’s book and his own ads. Draper urged doubling the 1970 AID appropriation for birth control to $100,000 and was warmly applauded by James Riddleberger, his successor as head of the Population Crisis Committee. Environmentalists, along with their enemies, “the industrial polluters,” found the chief cause of every problem from slums to suburbs, pollution to protest, in the world’s expanding numbers.

More than ever, the population power structure pushed for a world population policy. From the early ’50s, the population people realized these sensitivities – religious, ideological, military, political and personal – raised by the offer of birth control assistance, and always advocated international programs. Then, when domestic reaction to intervention in Vietnam soured the overall population control effort, they quickly joined in the generalized elitist move to transfer the entire economic development program to international agencies, where they and their third world friends could directly control the programs without interference from congressional “hicks.”

The UN should take the leadership in responding to world population growth. So urged a special United Nations Association panel headed by John D., financed by Ford, and including Richard Gardner, former World Bank president George Woods, former AID administrator and now Ford Director of International Operations David E. Bell, and AID director John A. Hannah. The committee urged the creation of a UN Commissioner of Population with broad powers to coordinate “radically upgraded” population activities. The Commissioner would work under the United Nations Development Program, whose director, Paul Hoffman, is a former president of the Ford Foundation, administrator of the Marshall Plan, and aide to General Draper in the reconquest of Japan by big business. Under Hoffman’s guidance, the second UN Decade of Development is already preparing to concentrate on agricultural development, education, and population control.

The American population elite is also trying to beef up the Development Assistance Committee (DAC) of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, which brings together the old Marshall Plan nations with Japan, Australia, Canada and the United States. Since the mid-’60s, DAC has given greater efforts to coordinating the agricultural and population control aid of the members. James Riddleberger, Draper’s replacement on the Population Crisis Committee, was the first chairman of DAC, while the present chairman, former State Department official Edwin Martin, served as a staff member of the original Draper Committee.

Most important in the new internationalism is the World Bank. Headed by Robert McNamara, veteran of population control efforts in Vietnam, the Bank is now developing the management capacity to become the key institution in administering the empire. “Just as McNamara concentrated on the cataclysmal, the nuclear threat, while at the Department of Defense,” gushed a New York Times feature, “so at the World Bank he has chosen to make the population explosion, another cataclysmal problem, his central, long-range preoccupation. For if populations are allowed to double every 20 years, as they do in low-income countries, it will wipe out the effect of development and lead to chaos.” Aided by former AID administrator William S. Gaud, now executive vice-president of the World Bank’s International Finance Corporation, and former Alliance for Progress chief Covey T. Oliver, now U.S. delegate to the World Bank, McNamara is currently preparing for the day when the great statesmen meet to discuss the control of population.

With support in the White House and agreement among their friends (the trustworthy American managers in the international agencies), everything seems to favor the new interventionism of the big business internationalists. Everything, that is, except a new-found popular preference for non-intervention, or even isolation. But if overpopulation per se becomes the new scapegoat for the world’s ills, the current hesitations about intervention will fall away. Soon everyone, from the revolting taxpayer who wants to sterilize the Panther-ridden ghettos to the foreign aid addict, will line up behind the World Bank and the UN and join the great international crusade to control the world’s population. Let empire save the earth.

Simply fighting this war on people with a people’s war will not eliminate the need for each nation to determine how best to balance resources and population. But where there is greater economic security, political participation, elimination of gross class division, liberation of women, and respected leadership, humane and successful population programs are at least possible. Without these conditions, genocide is nicely masked by the welfare imperialism of the West. In the hands of the self-seeking, humanitarianism is the most terrifying ism of all.

From the 1970 biographical note: Steve Weissman is a member of the Pacific Studies Center in Palo Alto, California. The Center is a research collective specializing in the social, political and economic dimensions of American capitalism. Projects range from studies and publications on U.S. involvement in the Third World, multinational corporations, labor problems, high finance and environmental destruction, to films on ecology and inflation.

See Also:

Stop Trying To 'Save' Africa

By Uzodinma Iweala
July 15, 2007

October 02, 2009

Obama agrees to cover up Israel's nukes: report

Press TV - October 2, 2009 19:28:52 GMT

Israel has reportedly received an assurance by US President Barack Obama that it would not be pressured into accounting for its alleged nuclear arsenal or signing the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

In a meeting with, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu obtained President Obama's guarantee that the White House would continue a 4-decade-old secret deal to allow Israel keep a nuclear arsenal without opening it to international inspections, The Washington Times reported on Friday quoting officials familiar with the matter.

"The president gave Israel an NPT treaty get out of jail free card," said a Senate staffer speaking on the condition of anonymity. "What this means is that the president gave commitments that politically he had no choice but to give regarding Israel's nuclear program."

"However, it calls into question virtually every part of the president's nonproliferation agenda."

Israel, which has allegedly introduced nuclear weapons in the volatile Middle East, maintains a policy of deliberate ambiguity and has so far refused to sign the NPT- a treaty which seeks to limit the spread of such weapons of mass destruction.

The tacit agreement prolonged the nuclear understanding reached between President Richard Nixon and Prime Minister Golda Meir in 1969.

In a reference to the May meeting with President Obama, the Israeli premier said in an interview with Israel's Channel 2 last week he had received "an itemized list of the strategic understandings that have existed for many years between Israel and the United States" regarding the nuclear arsenal.

"It was not for naught that I requested, and it was not for naught that I received [that document]," Netanyahu said.

Avner Cohen, author of the revelatory Israel and the Bomb, which has drawn upon thousands of documents and tens of interviews on the Israeli nuclear firepower, said the accord amounted to "the United States passively accepting Israel's nuclear weapons status as long as Israel does not unveil publicly its capability or test a weapon."

In 1958, Israel began building its suspected plutonium and uranium processing facility near Dimona in the Negev desert. The regime claims the facility - which was originally revealed as "textile factory" - is a "research reactor."

In early June, George Washington University's National Security Archives declassified a 1960 report by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) which had explained how Tel Aviv was to benefit from a nuclear arsenal.

"Possession of a nuclear weapon capability, or even the prospect of achieving it, would clearly give Israel a greater sense of security, self-confidence and assertiveness," the documents said.

October 01, 2009

(Nuclear) Energy bill moves to the Senate

Atheo News
July 9, 2009

Nuclear industry advocates are encouraged by what they are hearing in Senate Environment and Public Works committee hearings this week. A panel which included Obama Energy Secretary Dr. Chu was questioned by Senators in a hearing which shed light on the likely direction federal efforts at combating global warming will take if legislation is passed.

Opening statements from committee members bubbled with enthusiasm for the economic opportunities that await nuclear power.

Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.):

“Why are we ignoring the cheap energy solution [compared to renewables] to global warming, which is nuclear energy. If what we're really interested in is reducing carbon, which is the principle greenhouse gas, we could focus first on smokestacks and say let's start building a hundred nuclear power plants. … And then as we did that, we could begin to close dirty coal plants or … have clean coal plants or much cleaner existing plants.

“But,” Alexander continued, “for the next 20 years, if we really want to deal with global warming, we really only have one option and that is to double the number of nuclear power plants we have. There is no other technological way that we to have to have a large amount of reliable, cheap electricity other than nuclear power. So if we're in the business of saying, Yes, we can, if the President would give the same kind of aggressive interest to building 100 new nuclear power plants that he does to building windmills, we could solve global warming in a generation.”

Sen. Mike Crapo (R-Idaho):

“As we look at the the renewable energy alternative that are discussed, I'm very concerned that one of the most obvious sources of solution is largely untreated in the legislation that we expect to see coming to us and that is nuclear energy. … We cannot ignore what is probably the biggest piece of the answer and that is nuclear power. … We don't seem to see the kind of provision in proposed legislation that will truly help us expedite and move forward on these very significant answers, like nuclear power.”

The Democrats seem to have been visited by the same lobbyists.

Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.):

“It's not cheap, it cost billions of dollars to build a new nuclear power plant, but they're pretty good in terms of how much carbon dioxide they put out or how much of any bad things they put out. ... It takes about 4,000 people to build a nuclear power plant and about 5-600 to run a nuclear power plant.”

Carper also stated that he was pleased by the number of new nuclear plant license applications that have been submitted to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

And Sen. Tom Udall (D-N.M.):

You put a price on carbon, what you end up doing is sending a very strong signal in the marketplace that carbon dioxide emissions, that these kinds of emissions, are to be reduced in the future and that you move in the direction of technologies [in] which you do not create carbon dioxide – nuclear is one of those. So I hope that when we focus on the idea of having a cap-and-trade system, we focus on the idea that we are encouraging all [emphasis, Udall] sources – whether it is the renewables (wind, solar, biomass, and geothermal) or whether it’s nuclear power. But we have to be really clear, I think, that our objective here is to do it all, to increase all the sources that are not contributing [to C02 emissions] and I think that’s a very important point as part of all of this. And I hope those of you that are here today on this panel will cover that side of it.

Sens. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and Benjamin Cardin (D-Md.) also gave support for new nuclear power generation, though in passing.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) was the only critic, asking about the (non-existent) plans for nuclear waste storage or disposal and pointing out that the nuclear projects will receive vital federal loan guarantees which will not be provided for renewable energy projects. Sanders however does support climate legislation which, oddly, he sees as an opportunity for the Vermont production of wood pellets which are presented as an "alternative energy". Forests to biomass is an advantaged new industry which will be exploiting public lands in many other regions in the name of "green energy". Public lands would also be made available to private interests for use in solar power installations. Creating new resource extraction ventures will enrich the well placed, while the resultant habitat loss goes unnoticed under the global warming rubric.

EPA administrator Lisa Jackson reminded the Senators of support for energy legislation from electric utilities.

Dr. Chu's statements were most revealing of the Obama regime's intentions:

“Restarting the nuclear power industry is very important in our overall plan to reduce carbon emissions in this country. From me, you are not going to get any reluctance. As you may know, I think that nuclear power is going to be a very important factor to getting us to a low carbon future.”

“The Department of Energy is doing with its tools everything it can to restart the American nuclear industry. With the loan guarantees, we are pushing as hard as we can on that. We are going to be investing in the future in bettering the technologies and quite frankly, we want to recapture the lead in industrial nuclear power. We've lost that lead as we've lost the lead in many areas of energy technology and we need to get it back.”
An alternative way to frame the issue would be that the bi-partisan consensus for U.S. energy policy is to direct resources toward developing new nuclear technologies, exactly what the Obama State Department is threatening war against Iran to prevent it from having access to.

Video of full hearing

Answering critics of the boycott movement

Sami Hermez, The Electronic Intifada, 1 October 2009

Over the last three years, the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel has been gaining stride. Individuals around the world have been joining this call, from organizing actions in supermarkets in France and Great Britain protesting Israeli products made in settlements, to filmmakers withdrawing movies from film festivals, to prominent Israelis making a public stand with the BDS movement. Only recently, a multi-billion dollar Norwegian wealth fund divested from the Israeli arms company Elbit, while other companies, like Veolia, a French conglomerate involved in building and managing the Jerusalem light-rail, have suffered setbacks due to the bad publicity the boycott movement has generated.

The list of successful BDS actions has now become too long to list, yet, there are still many out there who do not believe in this movement and have reservations on a number of grounds, offering two main concerns that are rarely tackled, and when they are it is only cursory. The first is the criticism of why a boycott movement against Israel and not countries like China, Sudan or the US. This claim often gets tagged on with the idea that this is due to an inherent anti-Semitism. The second concerns the argument that boycott is against dialogue, which often comes along with accusations that it promotes censorship and is a form of collective punishment.

Boycotting other countries

Two recent open statements on boycott over the summer, by Naomi Klein and Neve Gordon, both anticipated the first criticism, but neither went far enough in explaining why it is necessary to boycott Israel and why we don't boycott other countries. Gordon asked the question only to almost completely ignore it, while Klein has provided two explanations that when combined begin to form a coherent response. In her article published by The Nation on 8 January 2009, in response to the question of why we do not boycott other western countries that are also human rights abusers, Klein wrote that "Boycott is not a dogma; it is a tactic. The reason the BDS strategy should be tried against Israel is practical: in a country so small and trade-dependent, it could actually work." While this is true it does not fully respond to the critics.

There are several other reasons why we do not boycott some of the other countries mentioned above. By far the most important of these, outlined by Klein in an interview with Cecille Surasky on 1 September 2009, is that individuals around the world are not boycotting, but rather, they are responding to a call for boycott coming from Palestinian civil society. Klein is not the first to say this; veterans of the South Africa anti-apartheid campaign who led a successful boycott have also stressed the need to stand with indigenous communities. Boycott is a move to heed the voice of an oppressed group and follow its lead. The idea is that there are no movements out of Tibet, in the case of Chinese oppression, or Iraq in the case of the American occupation, that are calling for boycott and for the international community to respond to that call. This is important! The BDS movement comes from within Palestinian society and it is this factor that makes it so powerful and effective. If there were calls for the boycott of places like the US, China or North Korea coming from those the governments oppress, then it would be worthwhile to listen to such calls.

Naomi Klein's original comment that BDS is not dogmatic but tactical is crucial, in that the movement does not claim that BDS can successfully be used in fighting all oppression wherever it is, but that in certain cases of apartheid and colonial oppression, this tool is highly effective. The case of Israel proves very salient here because it receives an almost surreal amount of aid and foreign investment from around the world, most notably the US, with which it enjoys a special status. This makes the daily operations of the Israeli state and its institutions far more accountable to the international community than a place like Sudan, frequently brought up by boycott critics because of the violence in Darfur. It also means, in the case of economic boycott and divestment, that the international community is withdrawing its gifts and support, rather than allowing it to enjoy its special status -- hardly a punishment. It is the high level of support that Israel enjoys that makes it susceptible to BDS, whereas in some of the other countries that are often promoted in debates for boycott, as Klein says, "there are [already] very clear state sanctions against these countries."

In the same September article, Yael Lerer, an Israeli publisher interviewed alongside Klein, echoed this position: "these countries don't have these film festivals and Madonna is not going to have a concert in North Korea. The problem here is that the international community treats Israel like it was a normal, European, Western state. And this is the basis of the boycott call: the special relationship that Israeli universities have with European universities and with universities in the United States, which universities in Zimbabwe don't have. I do believe that Israel could not continue the occupation for one single day without the support of the United States and the European Union."

Critics of BDS must keep in mind the tactical aspect of the movement. We cannot boycott all countries in the world, but this does not mean that BDS against Israel cannot be applied as a tool to force a restructuring of relations between Palestinians and Israelis. This leads into the next criticism regarding boycott as being anti-dialogue.

Boycott is dialogue

Since the signing of the Oslo accords in 1994, many have walked down the path of dialogue -- I tried it for several years -- and found this to be a strategy to stall for time while the Israeli government was building facts on the ground. We saw dialogue become the slogan for former criminals to clean their bloody hands and appear as peaceful while they continued their strategies of oppression; Israeli President Shimon Peres has been the master of such tactics. I found on college campuses in the US where I studied that dialogue was a way to neutralize confrontation and sanitize a dirty conflict. But avoiding confrontation favors the status quo, and the status quo has been, until BDS, in favor of occupation.

The boycott movement is, to be sure, against this dialogue, but not dialogue in an absolute sense. In fact, at its very core, BDS is a movement that is premised on dialogue and of re-appropriating the meaning of dialogue to its rightful place -- one that sees a communication between two equal partners and not one where the occupier can force demands and dictate terms to the occupied. BDS is supposed to foster dialogue by locating those who are committed to real and consistent struggle against Zionism -- and this is most appropriately seen not in economic forms of boycott but in cultural and academic boycott where artists, musicians, filmmakers, academics and other cultural figures are able to come together, converse and build networks in the face of oppressive institutions that are the real target of these boycotts. Where economic boycott creates economic pressure, cultural boycott fosters dialogue and communication precisely because it shames and shuns those that directly collaborate with the Israeli government and its institutions.

The power of all these forms of BDS is in their recognition that true justice can only be achieved when Israelis and Palestinians work together for a common cause, when they realize that their struggle is shared, and when Israelis understand that they must sacrifice alongside Palestinians if they want true peace. The power of BDS is that it offers an alternative to the national struggles of Hamas and Fatah, and calls on Israelis to join Palestinians in their struggle, and to move beyond the comfort zone of preaching peace, and into the realm of action that requires a "no business as usual" attitude. Indeed, BDS provides the means to generate a new movement that can respond to the main Palestinian political parties that have made a mockery of a people's right to resist, despite their achievements of the past. A significant part of this is that BDS enables a discourse that moves beyond "ending the occupation" to place demands for the right of return and equal rights for Palestinians in Israel as top priorities.

If Israelis and Palestinians can build a movement together, can struggle together, then this movement will embody the world they wish to create, one that is shared. Thus, BDS is not a tactic for a national movement; as it gains strength it will prove to have foes on both sides of the nationalist divide. Its power as a tactic lies in its ability to foster a movement that challenges nationalist discourse. It can create the conditions to make possible a movement that recognizes that while national self-determination remains a central element in a world ruled by antagonistic nationalisms, it should not be constrained by traditional notions of nationalism based on superiority and ethnic exclusion, or by the force of current political parties. In this way, BDS is not anti-dialogue, on the contrary, it is a call out to Israelis to be partners in struggle. It is a call out to Israelis to take a step forward towards envisioning collectively an alternative relationship in the land of Israel-Palestine.

It is time to step out of our comfort zones, to confront, to not be satisfied in talking about tolerance and dialogue for the sake of dialogue. It is time to realize that people already recognize the humanity of the other, but that politics intervene to ensure "we" do not grant "them" this humanity. It is time to realize that it is not the Israeli who is targeted by BDS, but the Israeli government and Israeli institutions that collaborate in the occupation of the Palestinians, and degrade and demonize them. Finally, it is time to realize that BDS is a winnable, nonviolent strategy precisely because it works on slowly changing attitudes and building bridges towards a common vision of justice and equality, and because it creates a real feeling of loss, therefore real pressure, on Israeli governments and institutions, that go beyond the lip service of the "peace process."

Sami Hermez is a doctoral candidate of anthropology at Princeton University working on questions of violence and nonviolence.

The Hidden Story of the Americans that Finished the Vietnam War

Graphics by Saatchi and Saatchi
Excerpts and adaptation:

The Soldier's Revolt
by Joel Geier

Our army that now remains in Vietnam is in a state approaching collapse, with individual units avoiding or having refused combat, murdering their officers and noncommissioned officers, drug-ridden, and dispirited where not near-mutinous Conditions exist among American forces in Vietnam that have only been exceeded in this century by...the collapse of the Tsarist armies in 1916 and 1917.

Armed Forces Journal, June 1971

The most neglected aspect of the Vietnam War is the soldiers' revolt--the mass upheaval from below that unraveled the American army. It is a great reality check in an era when the U.S. touts itself as an invincible nation. For this reason, the soldiers' revolt has been written out of official history.

The army revolt pitted enlisted soldiers against officers who viewed them as expendable. Liberal academics have reduced the radicalism of the 1960s to middle-class concerns and activities, while ignoring military rebellion. But the militancy of the 1960s began with the Black liberation struggle, and it reached its climax with the unity of White and Black soldiers.

A working-class army

From 1964 to 1973, from the Gulf of Tonkin resolution to the final withdrawal of U.S. troops from Vietnam, 27 million men came of draft age. A majority of them were not drafted due to college, professional, medical or National Guard deferments. Only 40 percent were drafted and saw military service. A small minority, 2.5 million men (about 10 percent of those eligible for the draft), were sent to Vietnam.

This small minority was almost entirely working-class or rural youth. Their average age was 19. Eighty-five percent of the troops were enlisted men; 15 percent were officers. The enlisted men were drawn from the 80 percent of the armed forces with a high school education or less. At this time, college education was universal in the middle class.

In the elite colleges, the class discrepancy was even more glaring. The upper class did none of the fighting. Of the 1,200 Harvard graduates in 1970, only 2 went to Vietnam, while working-class high schools routinely sent 20 percent, 30 percent of their graduates and more to Vietnam.

College students who were not made officers were usually assigned to noncombat support and service units. High school dropouts were three times more likely to be sent to combat units that did the fighting and took the casualties. Combat infantry soldiers, "the grunts," were entirely working class. They included a disproportionate number of Black working-class troops. Blacks, who formed 12 percent of the troops, were often 25 percent or more of the combat units.

When college deferments expired, joining the National Guard was a favorite way to get out of serving in Vietnam. During the war, 80 percent of the Guard's members described themselves as joining to avoid the draft. You needed connections to get in--which was no problem for Dan Quayle, George W. Bush and other draft evaders. In 1968, the Guard had a waiting list of more than 100,000. It had triple the percentage of college graduates that the army did. Blacks made up less than 1.5 percent of the National Guard. In Mississippi, Blacks were 42 percent of the population, but only one Black man served in a Guard of more than 10,000.

The middle-class officers corps

The officer corps was drawn from the 7 percent of troops who were college graduates, or the 13 percent who had one to three years of college. College was to officer as high school was to enlisted man. The officer corps was middle class in composition and managerial in outlook.

Superfluous support officers lived far removed from danger, lounging in rear base camps in luxurious conditions. A few miles away, combat soldiers were experiencing a nightmarish hell. The contrast was too great to allow for confidence--in both the officers and the war--to survive unscathed.

Westmoreland's solution to the competition for combat command poured gasoline on the fire. He ordered a one-year tour of duty for enlisted men in Vietnam, but only six months for officers. The combat troops hated the class discrimination that put them at twice the risk of their commanders. They grew contemptuous of the officers, whom they saw as raw and dangerously inexperienced in battle.

Even a majority of officers considered Westmoreland's tour inequality as unethical. Yet they were forced to use short tours to prove themselves for promotion. They were put in situations in which their whole careers depended on what they could accomplish in a brief period, even if it meant taking shortcuts and risks at the expense of the safety of their men--a temptation many could not resist.

The outer limit of six-month commands was often shortened due to promotion, relief, injury or other reasons. The outcome was "revolving-door" commands. As an enlisted man recalled, "During my year in-country I had five second-lieutenant platoon leaders and four company commanders. One CO was pretty good...All the rest were stupid."

Aggravating this was the contradiction that guaranteed opposition between officers and men in combat. Officer promotions depended on quotas of enemy dead from search-and-destroy missions. Battalion commanders who did not furnish immediate high body counts were threatened with replacement. This was no idle threat--battalion commanders had a 30 to 50 percent chance of being relieved of command. But search-and-destroy missions produced enormous casualties for the infantry soldiers. Officers corrupted by career ambitions would cynically ignore this and draw on the never-ending supply of replacements from the monthly draft quota.

Officer corruption was rife. A Pentagon official writes, "the stench of corruption rose to unprecedented levels during William C. Westmoreland's command of the American effort in Vietnam." The CIA protected the poppy fields of Vietnamese officials and flew their heroin out of the country on Air America planes. Officers took notice and followed suit. The major who flew the U.S. ambassador's private jet was caught smuggling $8 million of heroin on the plane.

The war was fought by NLF troops and peasant auxiliaries who worked the land during the day and fought as soldiers at night. They would attack ARVN (Army of the Republic of Vietnam) and American troops and bases or set mines at night, and then disappear back into the countryside during the day. In this form of guerrilla war, there were no fixed targets, no set battlegrounds, and there was no territory to take. With that in mind, the Pentagon designed a counterinsurgency strategy called "search and destroy." Without fixed battlegrounds, combat success was judged by the number of NLF troops killed--the body count. A somewhat more sophisticated variant was the "kill ratio"--the number of enemy troops killed compared to the number of Americans dead. This "war of attrition" strategy was the basic military plan of the American ruling class in Vietnam.

For each enemy killed, for every body counted, soldiers got three-day passes and officers received medals and promotions. This reduced the war from fighting for "the hearts and minds of the Vietnamese" to no larger purpose than killing. Any Vietnamese killed was put in the body count as a dead enemy soldier, or as the GIs put it, "if it's dead, it's Charlie" ("Charlie" was GI slang for the NLF). This was an inevitable outcome of a war against a whole people. Everyone in Vietnam became the enemy--and this encouraged random slaughter. Officers further ordered their men to "kill them even if they try to surrender--we need the body count." It was an invitation to kill indiscriminately to swell a tally sheet.

Rather than following their officers, many more soldiers had the courage to revolt against barbarism.

Ninety-five percent of combat units were search-and-destroy units. Their mission was to go out into the jungle, hit bases and supply areas, flush out NLF troops and engage them in battle. If the NLF fought back, helicopters would fly in to prevent retreat and unleash massive firepower--bullets, bombs, missiles. The NLF would attempt to avoid this, and battle generally only occurred if the search-and-destroy missions were ambushed. Ground troops became the live bait for the ambush and firefight. GIs referred to search and destroy as "humping the boonies by dangling the bait."

Without helicopters, search and destroy would not have been possible--and the helicopters were the terrain of the officers. "On board the command and control chopper rode the battalion commander, his aviation-support commander, the artillery-liaison officer, the battalion S-3 and the battalion sergeant major. They circled...high enough to escape random small-arms fire." The officers directed their firepower on the NLF down below, but while indiscriminately spewing out bombs and napalm, they could not avoid "collateral damage"--hitting their own troops. One-quarter of the American dead in Vietnam was killed by "friendly fire" from the choppers. The officers were out of danger, the "eye in the sky," while the troops had their "asses in the grass," open to fire from both the NLF and the choppers.

When the battle was over, the officers and their choppers would fly off to base camps removed from danger while their troops remained out in the field.

Of the 543,000 American troops in Vietnam in 1968, only 14 percent (or 80,000) were combat troops. These 80,000 men took the brunt of the war. They were the weak link, and their disaffection crippled the ability of the world's largest military to fight. In 1968, 14,592 men--18 percent of combat troops--were killed. An additional 35,000 had serious wounds that required hospitalization. Although not all of the dead and wounded were from combat units, the overwhelming majority were. The majority of combat troops in 1968 were either seriously injured or killed. The number of American casualties in Vietnam was not extreme, but as it was concentrated among the combat troops, it was a virtual massacre. Not to revolt amounted to suicide.

Officers, high in the sky, had few deaths or casualties. The deaths of officers occurred mostly in the lower ranks among lieutenants or captains who led combat platoons or companies. The higher-ranking officers went unharmed. During a decade of war, only one general and eight full colonels died from enemy fire. As one study commissioned by the military concluded, "In Vietnam...the officer corps simply did not die in sufficient numbers or in the presence of their men often enough."

The slaughter of grunts went on because the officers never found it unacceptable. There was no outcry from the military or political elite, the media or their ruling-class patrons about this aspect of the war, nor is it commented on in almost any history of the war. It is ignored or accepted as a normal part of an unequal world, because the middle and upper class were not in combat in Vietnam and suffered no pain from its butchery. It never would have been tolerated had their class done the fighting. Their premeditated murder of combat troops unleashed class war in the armed forces. The revolt focused on ending search and destroy through all of the means the army had provided as training for these young workers.

Tet--the revolt begins

The Tet Offensive was the turning point of the Vietnam War and the start of open, active soldiers' rebellion. At the end of January 1968, on Tet, the Vietnamese New Year, the NLF sent 100,000 troops into Saigon and 36 provincial capitals to lead a struggle for the cities. The Tet Offensive was not militarily successful, because of the savagery of the U.S. counterattack. In Saigon alone, American bombs killed 14,000 civilians. The city of Ben Tre became emblematic of the U.S. effort when the major who retook it announced that "to save the city, we had to destroy it."

Westmoreland and his generals claimed that they were the victors of Tet because they had inflicted so many casualties on the NLF. But to the world, it was clear that the U.S. had politically lost the war in Vietnam. Tet showed that the NLF had the overwhelming support of the Vietnamese population--millions knew of and collaborated with the NLF entry into the cities and no one warned the Americans. The ARVN had turned over whole cities without firing a shot. In some cases, ARVN troops had welcomed the NLF and turned over large weapons supplies. The official rationale for the war, that U.S. troops were there to help the Vietnamese fend off Communist aggression from the North, was no longer believed by anybody. The South Vietnamese government and military were clearly hated by the people.37

Westmoreland's constant claim that there was "light at the end of the tunnel," that victory was imminent, was shown to be a lie. Search and destroy was a pipe dream. The NLF did not have to be flushed out of the jungle, it operated everywhere. No place in Vietnam was a safe base for American soldiers when the NLF so decided.

What, then, was the point of this war? Why should American troops fight to defend a regime its own people despised? Soldiers became furious at a government and an officer corps who risked their lives for lies. Throughout the world, Tet and the confidence that American imperialism was weak and would be defeated produced a massive, radical upsurge that makes 1968 famous as the year of revolutionary hope. In the U.S. army, it became the start of the showdown with the officers.


The refusal of an order to advance into combat is an act of mutiny. In time of war, it is the gravest crime in the military code, punishable by death. In Vietnam, mutiny was rampant, the power to punish withered and discipline collapsed as search and destroy was revoked from below.

Until 1967, open defiance of orders was rare and harshly repressed, with sentences of two to ten years for minor infractions. Hostility to search-and-destroy missions took the form of covert combat avoidance, called "sandbagging" by the grunts. A platoon sent out to "hump the boonies" might look for a safe cover from which to file fabricated reports of imaginary activity.

But after Tet, there was a massive shift from combat avoidance to mutiny. One Pentagon official reflected that "mutiny became so common that the army was forced to disguise its frequency by talking instead of 'combat refusal.'" Combat refusal, one commentator observed, "resembled a strike and occurred when GIs refused, disobeyed, or negotiated an order into combat."

Acts of mutiny took place on a scale previously only encountered in revolutions. The first mutinies in 1968 were unit and platoon-level rejections of the order to fight. The army recorded 68 such mutinies that year. By 1970, in the 1st Air Cavalry Division alone, there were 35 acts of combat refusal. One military study concluded that combat refusal was "unlike mutinous outbreaks of the past, which were usually sporadic, short-lived events. The progressive unwillingness of American soldiers to fight to the point of open disobedience took place over a four-year period between 1968-71."

The 1968 combat refusals of individual units expanded to involve whole companies by the next year. The first reported mass mutiny was in the 196th Light Brigade in August 1969. Company A of the 3rd Battalion, down to 60 men from its original 150, had been pushing through Songchang Valley under heavy fire for five days when it refused an order to advance down a perilous mountain slope. Word of the mutiny spread rapidly. The New York Daily News ran a banner headline, "Sir, My Men Refuse To Go." The GI paper, The Bond, accurately noted, "It was an organized strike...A shaken brass relieved the company commander...but they did not charge the guys with anything. The Brass surrendered to the strength of the organized men."

This precedent--no court-martial for refusing to obey the order to fight, but the line officer relieved of his command--was the pattern for the rest of the war. Mass insubordination was not punished by an officer corps that lived in fear of its own men. Even the threat of punishment often backfired. In one famous incident, B Company of the 1st Battalion of the 12th Infantry refused an order to proceed into NLF-held territory. When they were threatened with court-martials, other platoons rallied to their support and refused orders to advance until the army backed down.

As the fear of punishment faded, mutinies mushroomed. There were at least ten reported major mutinies, and hundreds of smaller ones. Hanoi's Vietnam Courier documented 15 important GI rebellions in 1969. At Cu Chi, troops from the 2nd Battalion of the 27th Infantry refused battle orders. The "CBS Evening News" broadcast live a patrol from the 7th Cavalry telling their captain that his order for direct advance against the NLF was nonsense, that it would threaten casualties, and that they would not obey it. Another CBS broadcast televised the mutiny of a rifle company of the 1st Air Cavalry Division.

When Cambodia was invaded in 1970, soldiers from Fire Base Washington conducted a sit-in. They told Up Against the Bulkhead, "We have no business there...we just sat down. Then they promised us we wouldn't have to go to Cambodia." Within a week, there were two additional mutinies, as men from the 4th and 8th Infantry refused to board helicopters to Cambodia.

In the invasion of Laos in March 1971, two platoons refused to advance. To prevent the mutiny from spreading, the entire squadron was pulled out of the Laos operation. The captain was relieved of his command, but there was no discipline against the men. When a lieutenant from the 501st Infantry refused his battalion commander's order to advance his troops, he merely received a suspended sentence.

The decision not to punish men defying the most sacrosanct article of the military code, the disobedience of the order for combat, indicated how much the deterioration of discipline had eroded the power of the officers. The only punishment for most mutinies was to relieve the commanding officer of his duties. Consequently, many commanders would not report that they had lost control of their men. They swept news of mutiny, which would jeopardize their careers, under the rug. As they became quietly complicit, the officer corps lost any remaining moral authority to impose discipline.

For every defiance in combat, there were hundreds of minor acts of insubordination in rear base camps. As one infantry officer reported, "You can't give orders and expect them to be obeyed." This democratic upsurge from below was so extensive that discipline was replaced by a new command technique called working it out. Working it out was a form of collective bargaining in which negotiations went on between officers and men to determine orders. Working it out destroyed the authority of the officer corps and gutted the ability of the army to carry out search-and-destroy missions. But the army had no alternative strategy for a guerrilla war against a national liberation movement.

The political impact of the mutiny was felt far beyond Vietnam. As H.R. Haldeman, Nixon's chief of staff, reflected, "If troops are going to mutiny, you can't pursue an aggressive policy." The soldiers' revolt tied down the global reach of U.S. imperialism.


The murder of American officers by their troops was an openly proclaimed goal in Vietnam. As one GI newspaper demanded, "Don't desert. Go to Vietnam, and kill your commanding officer." And they did. A new slang term arose to celebrate the execution of officers: fragging. The word came from the fragmentation grenade, which was the weapon of choice because the evidence was destroyed in the act.

In every war, troops kill officers whose incompetence or recklessness threatens the lives of their men. But only in Vietnam did this become pervasive in combat situations and widespread in rear base camps. It was the most well-known aspect of the class struggle inside the army, directed not just at intolerable officers, but at "lifers" as a class. In the soldiers' revolt, it became accepted practice to paint political slogans on helmets. A popular helmet slogan summed up this mood: "Kill a non-com for Christ." Fragging was the ransom the ground troops extracted for being used as live bait.

No one knows how many officers were fragged, but after Tet it became epidemic. At least 800 to 1,000 fragging attempts using explosive devices were made. The army reported 126 fraggings in 1969, 271 in 1970 and 333 in 1971, when they stopped keeping count. But in that year, just in the American Division (of My Lai fame), one fragging per week took place. Some military estimates are that fraggings occurred at five times the official rate, while officers of the Judge Advocate General Corps believed that only 10 percent of fraggings were reported. These figures do not include officers who were shot in the back by their men and listed as wounded or killed in action.

Most fraggings resulted in injuries, although "word of the deaths of officers will bring cheers at troop movies or in bivouacs of certain units." The army admitted that it could not account for how 1,400 officers and noncommissioned officers died. This number, plus the official list of fragging deaths, has been accepted as the unacknowledged army estimate for officers killed by their men. It suggests that 20 to 25 percent--if not more--of all officers killed during the war were killed by enlisted men, not the "enemy." This figure has no precedent in the history of war.

Soldiers put bounties on officers targeted for fragging. The money, usually between $100 and $1,000, was collected by subscription from among the enlisted men. It was a reward for the soldier who executed the collective decision. The highest bounty for an officer was $10,000, publicly offered by GI Says, a mimeographed bulletin put out in the 101st Airborne Division, for Col. W. Honeycutt, who had ordered the May 1969 attack on Hill 937. The hill had no strategic significance and was immediately abandoned when the battle ended. It became enshrined in GI folklore as Hamburger Hill, because of the 56 men killed and 420 wounded taking it. Despite several fragging attempts, Honeycutt escaped uninjured.

As Vietnam GI argued after Hamburger Hill, "Brass are calling this a tremendous victory. We call it a goddam butcher shop...If you want to die so some lifer can get a promotion, go right ahead. But if you think your life is worth something, you better get yourselves together. If you don't take care of the lifers, they might damn well take care of you."

Fraggings were occasionally called off. One lieutenant refused to obey an order to storm a hill during an operation in the Mekong Delta. "His first sergeant later told him that when his men heard him refuse that order, they removed a $350 bounty earlier placed on his head because they thought he was a 'hard-liner.'"

The motive for most fraggings was not revenge, but to change battle conduct. For this reason, officers were usually warned prior to fraggings. First, a smoke grenade would be left near their beds. Those who did not respond would find a tear-gas grenade or a grenade pin on their bed as a gentle reminder. Finally, the lethal grenade was tossed into the bed of sleeping, inflexible officers. Officers understood the warnings and usually complied, becoming captive to the demands of their men. It was the most practical means of cracking army discipline. The units whose officers responded opted out of search-and-destroy missions.

An Army judge who presided over fragging trials called fragging "the troops' way of controlling officers," and added that it was "deadly effective." He explained, "Captain Steinberg argues that once an officer is intimidated by even the threat of fragging he is useless to the military because he can no longer carry out orders essential to the functioning of the Army. Through intimidation by threats--verbal and written...virtually all officers and NCOs have to take into account the possibility of fragging before giving an order to the men under them." The fear of fragging affected officers and NCOs far beyond those who were actually involved in fragging incidents.

Officers who survived fragging attempts could not tell which of their men had tried to murder them, or when the men might strike again. They lived in constant fear of future attempts at fragging by unknown soldiers. In Vietnam it was a truism that "everyone was the enemy": for the lifers, every enlisted man was the enemy. "In parts of Vietnam fragging stirs more fear among officers and NCOs than does the war with 'Charlie.'"

Counter-fragging by retaliating officers contributed to a war within the war. While 80 percent of fraggings were of officers and NCOs, 20 percent were of enlisted men, as officers sought to kill potential troublemakers or those whom they suspected of planning to frag them. In this civil war within the army, the military police were used to reinstate order. In October 1971, military police air assaulted the Praline mountain signal site to protect an officer who had been the target of repeated fragging attempts. The base was occupied for a week before command was restored.

Fragging undermined the ability of the Green Machine to function as a fighting force. By 1970, "many commanders no longer trusted Blacks or radical whites with weapons except on guard duty or in combat." In the American Division, fragmentation grenades were not given to troops. In the 440 Signal Battalion, the colonel refused to distribute all arms. As a soldier at Cu Chi told the New York Times, "The American garrisons on the larger bases are virtually disarmed. The lifers have taken the weapons from us and put them under lock and key." The U.S. army was slowly disarming its own men to prevent the weapons from being aimed at the main enemy: the lifers.

Peace from below--search and avoid

Mutiny and fraggings expressed the anger and bitterness that combat soldiers felt at being used as bait to kill Communists. It forced the troops to reassess who was the real enemy.

In a remarkable letter, 40 combat officers wrote to President Nixon in July 1970 to advise him that "the military, the leadership of this country--are perceived by many soldiers to be almost as much our enemy as the VC and the NVA.

After the 1970 invasion of Cambodia enlarged the war, fury and the demoralizing realization that nothing could stop the warmongers swept both the antiwar movement and the troops. The most popular helmet logo became "UUUU," which meant "the unwilling, led by the unqualified, doing the unnecessary, for the ungrateful." Peace, if it were to come, would have to be made by the troops themselves, instituted by an unofficial troop withdrawal ending search-and-destroy missions.

The form this peace from below took came to be called "search and avoid," or "search and evade." It became so extensive that "search and evade (meaning tacit avoidance of combat by units in the field) is now virtually a principle of war, vividly expressed by the GI phrase, 'CYA' (cover your ass) and get home!"

In search and avoid, patrols sent out into the field deliberately eluded potential clashes with the NLF. Night patrols, the most dangerous, would halt and take up positions a few yards beyond the defense perimeter, where the NLF would never come. By skirting potential conflicts, they hoped to make it clear to the NLF that their unit had established its own peace treaty.

Another frequent search-and-avoid tactic was to leave base camp, secure a safe area in the jungle and set up a perimeter-defense system in which to hole up for the time allotted for the mission. "Some units even took enemy weapons with them when they went out on such search-and-avoid missions so that upon return they could report a firefight and demonstrate evidence of enemy casualties for the body-count figures required by higher headquarters."

The army was forced to accommodate what began to be called "the grunts' cease-fire." An American soldier from Cu Chi, quoted in the New York Times, said, "They have set up separate companies for men who refuse to go out into the field. It is no big thing to refuse to go. If a man is ordered to go to such and such a place, he no longer goes through the hassle of refusing; he just packs his shirt and goes to visit some buddies at another base camp."

An observer at Pace, near the Cambodian front where a unilateral truce was widely enforced, reported, "The men agreed and passed the word to other platoons: nobody fires unless fired upon. As of about 1100 hours on October 10,1971, the men of Bravo Company, 11/12 First Cav Division, declared their own private cease-fire with the North Vietnamese."

The NLF responded to the new situation. People's Press, a GI paper, in its June 1971 issue claimed that NLF and NVA units were ordered not to open hostilities against U.S. troops wearing red bandanas or peace signs, unless first fired upon. Two months later, the first Vietnam veteran to visit Hanoi was given a copy of "an order to North Vietnamese troops not to shoot U.S. soldiers wearing antiwar symbols or carrying their rifles pointed down." He reports its impact on "convincing me that I was on the side of the Vietnamese now."

Colonel Heinl reported this:

That 'search-and-evade' has not gone unnoticed by the enemy is underscored by the Viet Cong delegation's recent statement at the Paris Peace Talks that Communist units in Indochina have been ordered not to engage American units which do not molest them. The same statement boasted--not without foundation in fact--that American defectors are in the VC ranks.

Some officers joined, or led their men, in the unofficial cease-fire from below. A U.S. army colonel claimed:

I had influence over an entire province. I put my men to work helping with the harvest. They put up buildings. Once the NVA understood what I was doing, they eased up. I'm talking to you about a de facto truce, you understand. The war stopped in most of the province. It's the kind of history that doesn't get recorded. Few people even know it happened, and no one will ever admit that it happened.

Search and avoid, mutiny and fraggings were a brilliant success. Two years into the soldiers' upsurge, in 1970, the number of U.S. combat deaths were down by more than 70 percent (to 3,946) from the 1968 high of more than 14,000. The revolt of the soldiers in order to survive and not to allow themselves to be victims could only succeed by a struggle prepared to use any means necessary to achieve peace from below.

The army revolt had all of the strengths and weaknesses of the 1960s radicalization of which it was a part. It was a courageous mass struggle from below. It relied upon no one but itself to win its battles.

The only organizing tools were the underground GI newspapers. But newspapers became a substitute for organization.

The hidden history of the 1960s proves that the American army can be split. But that requires the long, slow patient work of explanation, of education, of organization, and of agitation and action. The Vietnam revolt shows how rank-and-file soldiers can rise to the task.