by Stan Goff
This book is being released in a serialized manner. If there isnt a link to a chapter, there will be one soon.
Table of Contents
- The Development of Domestic Counterinsurgency in the US
- Tradecraft (Becoming Invisible)
- Adventure Sex
- Guns Self Defense
- The Gender Handoff
- Embeddedness Self-Organization
- Hearts Minds (and Stomachs Jesus)
- The Myth of Strategy
- Living the Struggle the Form Appropriate to the Situation
- Counterinsurgency Propaganda (Experts Institutions)
- The Law as a Counterinsurgency Weapon (Battlespace)
- Refusal as Resistance (The Permanent Strike)
- The ‘Burbs the ‘Hood (The Spatial-Scale Aspect)
- Logistics, Battlefield Recovery Self Sufficiency
- The Inescapability of Politics
- Dunbars Company (The Scale Aspect)
by Stan Goff
No one should ever follow anyone who runs around saying The sky is falling! even if it is. Good leadership does not sow fear, but patience, realism, and Sisyphean determination. There are a lot of bad things in the world these days, and a bad system, and the people who run that system. When they are using naked brutality is the time to be least afraid of them. Their real power is based not on fear, which we can lose comparatively easily, but on dependency. The exercise of brutality is a sign of weakness, not strength, and from that revolutionaries should only take heart.
It’s easy enough for any of us to say, Stop crying wolf, and do something. But we need to have some idea what to do.
This handbook is for revolutionaries.
Revolution is defined here as a fundamental transformation of the power relations within a society.
A revolutionary is someone who is committed to this vision, and who actively works to bring it about.
in·sur·gent Pronunciation (n-sûrjnt) adj. 1. Rising in revolt against established authority, especially a government. 2. Rebelling against the leadership of a political party. n. One who is insurgent. [Latin nsurgns, nsurgent-, present participle of nsurgere, to rise up : in-, intensive pref.; see in-2 + surgere, to rise; see surge.]
Insurgents intensively rise up. Seems to me, at least, a good thing… if done effectively.
Recent uses of the word insurgent popularized in the media have been based on the US War Department’s characterization of anyone who opposes US military occupations abroad… or as a claim of status for locals killed by American bombs and bullets. Fifty Iraqis are killed, and the military reports that fifty insurgents are killed. The news media repeats these terms to appear in the know, which further popularizes and legitimates the terminology.
The technical use of the term by the US government began during the Vietnam occupation, and was incorporated into a specific military, then security (military and police) doctrine… called counterinsurgency. This is still a doctrine, and anyone who (1) opposes the government or (2) is known to be committed to the vision of transforming the fundamental relations of power in society, is considered to be an insurgent.
If we are called insurgents, and regarded as insurgents, and if the policies directed against our political vocation are counterinsurgency, then we’d better learn to become good insurgents. I worked inside the US government’s counterinsurgency apparatus for a very long time. That is why I am writing this handbook.
Any discussion of insurgency has to begin with Mao. Let me make a few preparatory comments to inoculate readers from the inevitable knee-jerk reactions.
(1) I am not a Maoist. I do not deify dead revolutionaries, or accept the transformation of contingent strategies and statements from the past into religious doctrines.
(2) Maoism was a theoretical perspective for national independence, not communism. This point is often missed, because the organization that developed what is called Maoism in practice was the Chinese Communist Party. They were the leading organization in a political struggle; but that struggle was not for communism, and they said so. It was for the more immediate goal of Chinese autarky.
(3) Maoism, the strategic theory, was developed for a specific time and place, China as a semi-feudal society, economically colonized, immersed in a cultural history of Confucianism, and militarily occupied by the Japanese. It is not universally transferable as a cookie-cutter principle for other places and times, cultures, or social systems. The minute anyone tries to sell me on Marxism- Leninism-Mao Zedong-Thought, s/he has already lost me. A bible-thumping, millenarian, Southern preacher will hold my attention more effectively; at least he is telling me something about the society that I live in.
(4) The specific approach of what has come to be called Maoism was developed in response to emerging situations during a protracted resistance, and tested in practice; it was not determined in someone’s head beforehand, then applied. It only became an Ism after the fact.
(5) Just because we cannot always generalize from specifics doesn’t mean no general principles ever emerge from specific circumstances. Hand washing is a generally good preventative medicine measure. Obviously, I believe that there are some more or less universal lessons that can be drawn from the Chinese Revolution led by Mao Zedong, or I wouldn’t be going to all this trouble to disclaim about the Maoist religious cults and their hagiographies of Mao, that serve to put a ridiculous face on the Chinese Revolution and any lessons we might learn from it.
(6) Math matters. That’s why I say we have to begin a discussion of insurgency with Mao. The Chinese Revolution, under the leadership of Mao Zedong, did succeed in achieving political independence for the largest country in the world, and largely succeeded in protecting that independence from hostile encirclement.
That which has survived in terms of validity from the Maoist tradition, in this writer’s humble opinion, is the organizing principle called mass line. The shorthand is, to think of the masses as in three general groups, based on how well they understand the system or the problem at hand: Advanced, Intermediate, and Backward. This is not a strict taxonomy, but one that facilitates a general method.
The guiding maxim of mass line is to consolidate the advanced with organization and strategic orientation that can (1) isolate the backward, and (2) win over the next layer of the intermediate to the advanced. This, of course, raises a lot of questions about what constitutes advanced and so forth, but even that is contingent upon circumstances. In organizing against the war in Iraq, for example, there were two distinct axes along which to plot out this schema: one programmatic, and one philosophic.
Within the larger mass movement, the programmatic question was unilateral and immediate withdrawal. Those with whom I organized in that movement defined this as the advanced position. Out now was advanced, stay and kill Ay-rabs was the backward (generalizing here), and those who wanted out but had questions about the repercussions of immediate withdrawal were the intermediate. The vast majority of those who were politically engaged and wanted to understand the war better, those in the intermediate category who we targeted to win over to the advanced, were consolidated around their opposition to the Bush administration… in other words, mostly Democrats. Obviously, an approach that identified all Democrats as the enemy and anyone who voted for Democrats as idiots would have defeated any chance we had of reaching that next layer of the intermediate. And so we concentrated our public education efforts on being present, supportive, and visible at anti-Bush venues, expressing solidarity with those who shared our alarm and revulsion at aspects of the Bush administration’s actions and policies, then providing information about (1) the bipartisan history of imperialism (without all the lefty jargon that stimulates a post- McCarthy hiccup) that led to the current conjuncture, and (2) pointed out the underlying premise of white supremacy that underwrote almost every concern about a bloodbath that would inevitably ensue in the absence of Western troops in Iraq. Isolating the backward, in this case, was a fairly straightforward case of persistently attacking a couple of key lies, i.e., that Saddam did 9-11 or that the US is a beacon of democracy in the region.
Within the somewhat smaller pool of people who are potential activists in a more general politics of resistance, the mass line approach focused more on philosophical orientation. Advanced was taken to mean anti-imperialist. Backward is seen as plain, uncritical, white-male patriotism. Intermediate are those who fall in neither category, with the next logical layer targeted for the advanced being those who are showing an active interest in the larger questions of history and social systems. Outreach here is more focused on teach-ins, workshops, book clubs, dinner-and-a-movie potlucks at people’s homes, and recruitment into actual work for political actions.
This is mass line in both mass work and political work, as the tradition calls it. It is not based, when done correctly, on promoting a line to the masses. It is based on paying close attention to the real grievances and anxieties of the masses themselves, and developing a political line out of that. The term line, which has been much abused, does not mean imposing ideological conformity on everyone, even though this became its distorted meaning under the war- communism of Stalin. It originally referred to a brick mason’s line, the string stretched on-level to go back and re-evaluate the placement of the last and next brick. It is a strategic orientation, which is not the same as a concrete strategy. In fact, I am going to argue that strategy should never be anything except an orientation written in pencil and not in ink, so to speak.
There is a reason I am taking readers through this Chinese museum.
The lessons of Maoism, and later of Che Guevara as well, as they relate to insurgency, were not just studied by the left around the world. Our own government has been studying them for decades, and its entire social policy at one level has been based on thinking of us as insurgents or potential insurgents. So in order to fully understand how the repressive apparatuses of the US state function, we have to understand that state’s organizing principles.
Saying that the US security state is becoming more repressive does not tell us much about it, nor does saying that the neo-cons are accelerating the pace of militarization of domestic and foreign policy. What specific military doctrines are being employed, based on what canon of military analysis?
The answer has been the same since Vietnam. The US-directed world system keeps (inevitably) throwing up resistance to an overwhelmingly superior technical military force, i.e., insurgency (or in the new vernacular, asymmetric warfare). Yet few of us actually study counter-insurgency doctrine to see what it is.
Like it or not, if we don’t go along with the dominant program, we are already insurgents. So we’d better be good at it.
Just as in the world-at-large, the claim that all political enemies are insurgents eventually creates the reality. An effective politics of resistance will require that we learn principles of insurgency that outmaneuver the operational principles of counter-insurgency, not by taking up arms (did you get that, guys?), but by exploiting the interstices of the system, amplifying grievances (while weeding out the backward contents of the populist impulse), setting up bases off the grid (with the Chinese, that was geographical, organizing in the countryside to eventually surround the cities), building strengths beyond the reach of the Panopticon, creating de facto alternative social systems, destroying the legitimacy of the existing order in the minds of the masses, and eventually taking political power for the express purpose of establishing popular sovereignty.
Insurgency / Counter-insurgency
Insurgents Handbook T.O.C
by Stan Goff
I want to begin this section by thanking Ken Lawrence and Kristian Williams for the excellent pamphlet The New State Repression (Tarantula Press). We don’t use pamphlets enough any more. From The New State Repression:
Today’s political repression differs fundamentally from the repression practiced around the world in the past. The most basic difference is on the level of strategy the general approach of the state, the outlook of the ruling class.
Their belief is that insurgency is not an occasional, erratic idiosyncrasy but a constant occurrence permanent insurgency, which calls for a strategy of permanent repressionas the full-time task of the security forces.
In preparing to examine the validity of this claim, let’s go to the source: the US government.
DEFINITION OF INSURGENCY
1-1. An insurgency is organized movement aimed at the overthrow of a constituted government through use of subversion and armed conflict. It is a protracted politicomilitary struggle designed to weaken government control and legitimacy while increasing insurgent control. Political power is the central issue in an insurgency. (from FMI 3-07.22 , the US Army’s latest field manual on “counterinsurgency”, October 2004)
This could have been written by Mao Zedong.
It does not say simply armed conflict. It says subversion and armed conflict.
This particular field manual was written to incorporate the lessons of Iraq. In a very real sense, the tail was wagging the dog, since rather than reformulate their basic premises about insurgency and counter-insurgency (I/CI), they reformulated their experiences in Iraq to fit with their preconceptions about I/CI. Welcome to the American government.
The American way of war includes mass, power, and the use of sophisticated smart weapons. However, large main force engagements that characterized conflict in World War II, Korea, and Operations Desert Storm and Iraqi Freedom in the Middle East have become the exceptions in American warfare. Since the American Revolution, the Army has conducted stability operations, which have included counterinsurgency operations. Over the past half-century alone, the Army gained considerable experience in fighting insurgents in Southeast Asia (Vietnam, Laos, Philippines), Latin America (Colombia, Peru, El Salvador, Guatemala, Nicaragua), Africa (Somalia), Southwest Asia (Afghanistan), and now the Middle East (Iraq). Dealing with counterinsurgency since the Vietnam War has fallen largely on SOF [special operations forces]; however, conventional forces have frequently come into contact with insurgent forces that seek to neutralize the inherent advantages of size, weaponry, and conventional force TTP [techniques, tactics, and principles]. Insurgents use a combination of actions that include terror, assassination, kidnapping, murder, guerrilla tactics such as ambushes, booby traps, and improvised explosive devices aimed at US and multinational forces, the host countrys leaders, and ordinary citizens.
While this introductory statement is self-consciously inclusive of the recent experience in Iraq and Afghanistan (neither of which has been adequately or accurately interpreted), it does freely admit that US special operations forces were involved in places where the US had heretofore denied they were actually participating, i.e., Colombia, Peru, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Nicaragua, the first four in which I personally participated in US military missions between 1983-92. I was in Vietnam, as an infantryman, in 1970-71.
Nowhere does this document acknowledge directly that the conventional capacity of US armed forces makes asymmetric warfare (which they selectively call terrorism, depending on the political content of specific actions) more likely, though this can be easily inferred. The most remarkable thing, however, about this doctrine (FM’s represent doctrine), is the utter inability to differentiate between, say, Colombia, Nicaragua, and Iraq. What this tells us is that either (1) they don’t know any better, or (2) acknowledging the differences carries too high a degree of political risk in the indoctrination of military officers. In either case, the implication is the same for our purposes here: they are hobbled by their own doctrine. To this we shall return.
Counterinsurgency is those military, paramilitary, political, economic, psychological, and civic actions taken by a government to defeat insurgency. It is an offensive approach involving all elements of national power; it can take place across the range of operations and spectrum of conflict. It supports and influences an HN’s IDAD [host nation’s internal defense and development] program. It includes strategic and operational planning; intelligence development and analysis; training; materiel, technical, and organizational assistance; advice; infrastructure development; tactical-level operations; and many elements of PSYOP [psychological operations]. Generally, the preferred methods of support are through assistance and development programs. Leaders must consider the roles of military, intelligence, diplomatic, law enforcement, information, finance, and economic elements (MIDLIFE) in counterinsurgency. (emphasis added)
Here we have to make a conceptual leap. The US Department of Homeland Security is, at its very base, a counter-insurgency organization, imperial references to “host nations” notwithstanding.
We cannot start the history of the I/CI bias of the US state with 9-11. That pivotal event was used merely to accelerate a process already in motion, and to author a massive government reorganization that would consolidate a higher level of executive power and simultaneously bust the government workers’ union (American Federation of Government Employees AFGE). This makes more sense than many realize, because ever since the Vietnam occupation, when US domestic security adopted a I/CI model for population control, breaking mass organizations like unions already a part of I/CI doctrine abroad has been integral to the I/CI doctrines.
The most infamous of the US state’s domestic counterinsurgency operations was the FBI-directed counter-intelligence program (COINTELPRO), a massive, often extra-legal covert operations campaign directed at a whole range of social activist organizations and individuals in the 1960s and 70s.
The original adoption of I/CI doctrine by domestic state security forces in the US was a panicked reaction to the social upheavals of the 1960s, most especially the Black Freedom Movement (BFM). The anti-war movement that emerged toward the end of this decade was largely facilitated by the ruling class disruptions caused by the BFM and the culture of resistance that was in its wake.
The Southern BFM, under the leadership of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Ella Baker, E. D. Nixon, and others, basing itself on a composite strategic approach of Ghandian non-violence and the unique Black culture of prophetic Prostestantism, succeeded in forcing an end to legal Apartheid in the US South. This disruption was so profound that the white, male ruling class in the US was forced to employ its own troops to resolve the fracture within that class. King’s 1968 assassination likely with collaboration from elements within the federal government decisively provoked the end of the non-violent strategic orientation that has so disoriented the US ruling stratum; but it created a new situation where the center of political gravity within the BFM shifted to militant Black nationalism, based in large cities, even in the North, and open urban rebellions called race riots accelerated after breaking out across the country in 1967. The mostly white, student-based anti-war movement, shortly after King’s assassination and the urban insurrections in reaction to it, were publicly attacked in a police riot during the Chicago-based convention of the Democratic Party.
More and more, the nation watched newsreels where American cities had more military uniforms in evidence than police uniforms. It was inevitable that the US white, male ruling class would begin to see their situation the potential destabilization of power as a state of war.
There was one country that had already accumulated experience in domestic, imperial warfare, and that was Great Britain in Northern Ireland. The theorist of that British “local” occupation and of several distant ones (Kenya 1953-5, Malaya 1957, Cyprus 1962-4) was General Frank Kitson. He termed these multi-modal forms of resistance subversion and insurgency (SI), and developed a doctrinal philosophy for confronting them: low-intensity operations, later to be reformulated by the US as low-intensity conflict (LIC). Kitson published this philosophy as a book in 1971, Low Intensity Operations – Subversion, Insurgency, and Peacekeeping (Faber Faber, 1971). This was to differentiate it from the high-intensity conflict, as described in the excerpt above from the Army’s new field manual.
Paul Brennan, a member of the Irish resistance who has escaped from Long Kesh Prison and is in hiding, noted in 1993 that:
Northeast Ireland is the Central America of Great Britain. It is a population-control laboratory for the British military /constabulary/intelligence community to try to test the theories of General Frank Kitson. All present British policy, both political and military, can be found in his book Low Intensity Operations. The late general would be well pleased with the model northeast Ireland has become in providing a unique testing ground for his philosophies.
Brennan’s characterization of LIC (or I/CI doctrine) as being fundamentally based on the exercise of “population control” is an extremely important insight into this doctrine, particularly as it relates to domestic operations in the US. Obviously, population control has always been a preoccupation of the state. But I/CI makes some fundamental assumptions that shape population control practices.
“Their belief is,” again quoting Lawrence, “that insurgency is not an occasional, erratic idiosyncrasy but a constant occurrence permanent insurgency, which calls for a strategy of permanent repression as the full-time task of the security forces.”
Kitson explicitly theorized two key aspects of the current approach: (1) that power automatically creates resistance, and that resistance is always a potential state of insurgency, even when things seem perfectly calm and stable, and (2) that in order to control the real enemy (the population), false enemies had to be employed to implant the state’s paranoia in the minds of the population in order to counter that latent resistance.
Ian Buckley, writing about Kitson, explains the latter.
It was…General Frank Kitson… who first thought up the concept that was later used in the formation of Al Qaeda. He called it the ‘pseudo gang’ – a state sponsored group used to advance an agenda, while discrediting the real opposition. The strategy was used in both Kenya and Northern Ireland. In the case of Northern Ireland, most of the violence that was attributed to ‘Loyalists’ was in actuality not their handiwork, but the result of the activities of the death squads affiliated to the British secret state.
Christian Parenti, who has done extensive research and writing on the US prison system one of the key arms of US population control explained in an interview:
I chart the rise of the emerging anti-crime police state in the United States from the 1960s to the present. The first wave of this current buildup that were experiencing, a wave that starts in the 1960s, can be seen in many ways as counterinsurgency by other means theres no better example of this than [Nixons aide] H. R. Haldemans quote in his diary when discussing Nixons war on drugs: he tells that the president says the real issue is the blacks, and the solution is to devise a system of control that acknowledges this while not seeming to. That is their description of the war on drugs: a way of controlling insurgent populations and insurgent neighborhoods. By the 1980s the politics shift to some extent because there isnt the same level of insurgency in America that there was in the 60s and 70s.Its still very much about class and racial control…
The World Communist Conspiracy was replaced by the War on Drugs as a place-marker until the Global War on Terror could be constructed. This is classic Kitson.
Dev of Domestic CI in the US
Insurgents Handbook T.O.C
by Stan Goff
The Development of Domestic Counterinsurgency in the US
James Madison once said, “War is the true nurse of executive aggrandizement.�? He didn’t say that when there is not war to support an agenda of executive aggrandizement, a war shall have to be invented.
Lawrence, writing in his 1985 pamphlet The New State Repression, 16 years before 9-11, said:
Political repression exists in three discernable forms: police brutality, which is widespread violence committed by armed agents of the state against members of oppressed communities, nationalities, and classes, usually of a diffuse and relatively random character; vigilantism, which is violence committed by ostensibly private (non-government) individuals and organizations, sometimes random but more typically aimed at explicit targets [I will include sexual and domestic violence against women in this category, which will be explained later in this handbook. -SG]; and secret police activity, nearly always directed by elite government agencies against carefully chosen enemies considered to be political threats to established authority.
The existence of non-official, and non-systematic violence as a means of repression cannot be over-emphasized. Just as the Geneva Conventions and the Laws of Warfare international laws that govern warfare explicitly forbid many of the practices that are generally the only efficacious methods available to armed political resistance movements the domestic control apparatus has an interest in maintaining a legal framework that favors established power.
The absence of uniforms, for example, is a common condition of armed resistance movements, yet this is explicitly outlawed in the post-WWII international legal framework.
Domestic “security�? measures have to be seen in more than their legal framework. Strict interpretations of state actions are forced through gauntlet of difficult probative criteria, while the extra-legal actions of police in oppressed communities and the exercise of vigilantism, even when it supports the existing power structure, is seen as externalto the system, though it is an essential adjunct.
As insurgents, we must work outside the legal framework. That is not saying we should break the law, or that we shouldnt. It is saying that we cannot accept the legalistic framework of the ruling stratum as our analytical framework. We have to see and name the extra-legal dimensions of political repression, of counterinsurgency directed against us, in order to appreciate the counterinsurgent state in its entirety.
Lawrence’s pamphlet was written in 1985, before the Clinton administration passed the so-called Crime Bill, which with its add-ons has resulted in the largest per capita prison population in history (around 725 inmates per 100,000 of population… China’s per capita rate is around 110 per 100,000). According to Wikipedia, “In 2002 roughly 93.2 % of prisoners were male. About 10.4 % of all black males in the United States between the ages of 25 and 29 were sentenced and in prison by year’s end, compared to 2.4 % of Hispanic males and 1.2 % of white males. As of June 30, 2005, about 1 out of every 136 U.S. residents was incarcerated either in prison or jail. The total amount being 2,186,230, with 1,438,701 in State and Federal prisons and 747,529 in local jails.�?
Prison is the fourth leg of US domestic counterinsurgency. And again, special attention is given to African America, attention that has been a constant since Nixon began employing counterinsurgency doctrine as domestic “law enforcement.�?
Just as Kitson used Northern Ireland as a “population-control laboratory,�? the US state uses African America as its counterinsurgency laboratory.
H. R. Halderman’s memoirs of Nixon’s revulsion toward Blacks and his belief that they are “the whole problem,�? does not show that fear motivates policy-makers; it shows that the real policy-makers, the ones behind the scenes, have to mount successful persuasion efforts aimed at decision-makers, like Nixon.
An important example of this is Louis Giuffrida.
When Nixon was bombing Cambodia and spying on his domestic “enemies�? in 1971, then-Governor Ronald Reagan had hired a retired Army Colonel, Louis Giuffrida, to run a training program for California “emergency management personnel.�?
In 1966, six Black law students had founded an organization in response to pervasive anti-Black police brutality (one of the pillars of population control) in the Bay Area. They named it the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense. Harassment and provocation by the State of California, and counter-provocations by the BPP, led to the arrest of BPP leaders in 1968-9, and a gun battle between the BPP and police in 1969. Meanwhile, the BPP had branched out across the country. Eventually the BPP became the primary target of the counterinsurgency program COINTELPRO, and was destroyed. The point here is that Reagan hired Giuffrida to train California’s security apparatus in counterinsurgency.
It should not be lost on readers that when Reagan became president he appointed Giuffrida the first head of a new agency, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
Giuffrida started his 1970 training program in California by establishing the California Specialized Training Institute (CSTI), which not only trained California’s “emergency responders�? in counterinsurgency, but police from across the country. As California goes, so they say, so goes the nation. Nixon’s felonious Attorney General Edwin Meese became tight with Giuffrida and facilitated the national outreach of the CSTI.
One of Giuffrida’s CSTI texts was for a course called “Civilian Violence and Terrorism,�? in which students were indoctrinated in the racialist rationalizations required to support a program of counterinsurgency, using African America as the “population-control laboratory.�?
The racially separated segments of our society, as they have done repeatedly in the past, have emerged with periods of sporadic violence. A white man cannot ever be black, red, or brown and so long as the white man remains superior in numbers he will be the repressor and the constant target of the mad dog.
This was being taught to federal, state, and local law enforcement officers and emergency response personnel. But the more instrumental logic of power is revealed later in the same text. The text unapologetically acknowledges that American expansion was accomplished by the extermination and imprisonment of indigenous people, and notes that to keep that power, more of the same was in order.
With the exception of the mentally deranged or the intoxicated person, all acts of illegal and criminal violence have roots somewhere in our present social, economic, or political environment.
[Our] mission can be accomplished only if we fully understand that … legitimate violence is integral to our form of government for it is from this source that we can continue to purge our weakness… [I’ll leave reader’s to psychoanalyze the skin-crawling masculinity behind this choice of words. -SG]
It is necessary for the police executive to treat his occupation like all other executives. He must do it well but not so well he puts himself out of a job. He must reduce crime but not stop it.
He faces an impossible task of being required by law (actually or by his own interpretation) to preserve a free and democratic society and at the same time he must eliminate crime and violence. These tasks are totally incompatible…
This heavy-handed approach in foreign policy led directly to the Iran-Contra-Cocaine fiasco during the Reagan presidency, in which most of the principles avoided jail time, including the President of the United States, but where anyone who paid the least attention knew that this was a legal technicality and that the administration was guilty as hell. The whole episode created a crisis for the American security state and its domestic counterinsurgency strategy, by putting the alarming accumulation of executive power on public display.
Across the Atlantic, Reagan’s friend and collaborator, Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher had fallen prey to her own coterie of right-wing intelligence operators. One of the leaders of this crew was Brian Crozier.
Australian-born, and raised primarily in France, Crozier followed the Christopher Hitchens trajectory of detached academic leftist turned reactionary. This has also been the personal ideological path of several neo-cons, once enamored of sectarian Trotskyisms (alas, there are many). Crozier made a career out of free-lancing around the edges of the Anglo-American intelligence agencies throughout the Cold War as a kind of journalist/consultant (he was a propagandist). He was, in fact, a proto-neo-con; and he convinced Thatcher to support a private intelligence agency that would assist Thatcher in defeating the so-called Left in UK. Crozier also helped Thatcher write her speeches in ways suggestive of the future message-control of Karl Rove. For Crozier, the definition of Left was quite broad. He once said, warning of an impending leftist takeover, that UK had come to be “dominated by extreme Left Labour MPs and trade unions, whose long term goal. is to transform Britain into another East Germany or Czechoslovakia. Without a correctly motivated intelligence and security apparatus, the subversives would win.�?
Thatcher’s clueless intransigence eventually led to her political downfall, at the hands of her own party, in 1990. Reagan shuffled off to become a right-wing propaganda icon. The US invaded Iraq, and in this transitional moment, the Third Way was being prepared by a CIA-constructed British Labor Party and a Democratic Leadership Council-constructed US Democratic Party, in the persons of Bill Clinton and Tony Blair.
With them, a more nuanced approach to domestic counterinsurgency was inaugurated, relying more directly on the maxims of another British military pensioner with experience in Northern Ireland, Robin Evelegh.
Evelegh pointed out the inevitable drawbacks of a highly secretive executive and the constant employment of directly draconian measures.
A community that does not support the Police can be policed effectively, but it is markedly different from policing a community that helps its Police. The case is therefore made for the two fundamental measures necessary to achieve detection in a population… These are: to provide for the compulsory registration and identification of the population so that the Security Forces can know who is who, what they look like and where they live; and to make the active development of informers… by the Security Forces not only lawful but as easy as possible.
Lawrence remarked on Evelegh:
Methods currently in use in the U.S. have reduced the “political price�? even further than Evelegh envisioned. Media campaigns to frighten parents about the possibility that their children might be kidnapped are followed by a concerted police/school/corporation (usually McDonald’s) offer to help protect kids by fingerprinting and photographing them; thus they are registered with the police long before they have any idea of the possible consequences [now DNA is routinely collected from kids -SG]. And Selective Service has purchased lists of young men who signed up long ago at an ice cream store to receive free treats for their birthdays; the government uses the lists to find 18-year-olds who haven’t registered for the draft.
The United States has managed to pursue a “two track�? strategy, employing both Evelegh and Kitson’s proposals simultaneously. At the same time as apparently benign Evelegh-type policies are being implemented, such as requiring every child on Welfare to have a Social Security number, the more draconian Kitson methods are also advancing, mostly under the banner of anti-terrorism. [Readers are reminded that this was authored in 1985. -SG]
While the Bush administration has re-employed higher levels of Kitsonesque brutality in its domestic counterinsurgency, their most significant attempts have been to improve intelligence collection efforts directed at the US population, which was emphasized much more strongly by Evelegh.