Nuclear Mafias, Cyber-nuclear Terrorism, and the limits of Full Spectrum Dominance
How do they figure that a nuclear Doomsday Machine is any sort of “asset?”
A Chinese-Filipino I hung out with for a few months in 1971 – call him Gene – taught me a lot about the “Outsider’s” point of view. His father, part of the commercial elite of the Philippines (wholesale food production and trade), sent him to California to go to school.
One of the “gems of wisdom” he enunciated (which later proved all too true) was that “military towns are Mafia towns”, citing San Diego (where he was in the process of moving) as an example. The military demands an authoritarian, business-like culture, education system, etc. No room for radicals or independent thinkers, and some sort of “black ops” or contracted Mafia can take care of them, sparing the taxpayers and elected officials from the embarassment and expense.
Since I had grown up in such a town (Great Falls, MT, with a nuclear strike force of 200 Minuteman missiles at Malmstrom AFB, carrying up to 600 nuclear warheads), it was all too familiar to me, but I’d never seen it from “the Outside.” Although many people here opposed the preparations for nuclear war (focussed clearly by “Dr. Strangelove”, “Fail-safe” and other anti-nuclear “survivor” films and even TV shows in the 1950’s and ’60’s), there was little beyond the mainstream Catholic and Protestant peace sentiments, and they were very subdued. Any sort of “demonstrations” were virtually unheard of. We also later learned that many foreigners (from “communist” or otherwise “hostile” countries) were prohibited from living here, and if they did, they had to register and place themselves under surveillance. Thus, we had become “a nuclear Bantustan” on the model of South Africa.
We did have a local free press which was highly critical of this “nuclear enterprise” – the installation of the latest solid-fuel “Minuteman” missiles which could be launched to hit targets in the Soviet Union in a matter of minutes. This was 1962, when Montana Senator Mike Mansfield had replaced LBJ as Majority Leader. Perhaps that had something to do with the Minuteman being sited here – a Mission which every Democrat is still taught was a great thing for our local economy and national security.
A couple of years later, the Tribune was sold to Cowles Media (the Minneapolis Star-Tribune), which might have had a more positive view of the nuclear Doomsday Machine, and better connections to the Military-Industrial Complex. The Vietnam War, which was resisted all over the country by every tribe and class and in every imaginable venue, was basically ignored in Great Falls. We believed whatever the government told us, and no one here ever heard that our sainted Senator, Mike Mansfield, was doing all he could to get us out of Vietnam. He would have been challenged and defeated by a Goldwater Republican if we had known.
The College of Great Falls employed a number of Berrigan-style Catholics – often Jesuits or from the Catholic Workers tradition, but even this caused a scandal. When we later organized a campaign to block new missile systems, CGF was dropped by the Air Force as an “approved” college for Missile Launch Officers to pursue an advanced degree. That was a big hit to the finances of this quiet Sisters of Providence school, and it later re-organized as “The University of Great Falls” with an emphasis on programs like pre-med, pre-law, and Criminal Justice which would fit in with the needs of local Air Force personnel and veterans, a third or more of whom were “missile cops” guarding the nuclear arsenal.
Our local “peace movement” (for a time re-vitalized in the late 1980’s by the World Beyond War campaigns) was often politically conservative and against abortion and other “liberal” causes, but Christianity is ultimately a “peace religion” at its core, and that remained. We also had a great Bishop – Hunthausen – who later became Bishop of Seattle and was reprimanded for his progressive views. Father Gregori and Ron Haverlandt were also notable peace, justice, and indigenous rights advocates in the Electric City, building on the tradition of Sister Providentia, who succorred local Native Americans for many decades, and at a time when there was little support for such activities.
UCSB in 1971
I was working in the computer center of UC Santa Barbara in 1971, and living in the student ghetto, Isla Vista – the scene of anti-war riots and a Bank of America branch burned the year before. UCSB was the “party school” of the UC system, with beaches on three sides (mostly nude, in those days), and that was a major reason I took a working-class job there. My various attempts to form lasting relationships with accomplished people had generally failed- nearly always in the case of females- and I thought this might be a good place to gain some social skills.
I actually found the job more or less by chance, and since I already worked part-time in the UCLA computer center, it was easy to move to a full-time job at Santa Barbara – where some of the most advanced remote computing systems were being developed – the fabled “BBN Box” which became the first router, which you could “log on” to. The “N” in BBN was von Neumann, who designed the first framework for digital computers which is still used – the “Von Neumann Architecture” of I-O devices, processing, and storage in RAM and ROM form.
So, I was literally present at the birth of the Internet – both at UCLA and then at Santa Barbara, which had an NSF grant (and probably DARPA, or whatever it was called then) to develop a national network of about 10 engineering schools so they could use our relatively large and fast IBM-360-75. Big deal. I had nothing to do with it. But I was an avid Sci-Fi reader and “futurist”, although that term was itself mostly science fiction (or “prophecy”) in those days.
One contemporary film captured this well – “Collossus: the Forbin Project” in which American military computers hook up with Soviet ones and take over the world. And there was also the recent “2001 A Space Odyssey” (1968) where the computer on a space mission to Jupiter kills the human members of the crew. And there were early Star Trek episodes with a similar theme (1966-69 -exactly shadowing my years at UCLA). So, I was already well-aware of all the dangers of centralized computer control systems, and monitoring of everyone’s “transactions” of whatever kind.
It’s interesting to reflect that “machine thinking” applies to politics just as well as computer hardware. But it’s a particular kind of politics – organized, money-driven, corporate – the same structure found in any sort of dictatorial system, criminal or otherwise (and all are ultimately “criminal” in the sense of being destructive of human values).
During the Vietnam War, and in the midst of strikes and mass demonstrations, university computer centers had been taken over by “student radicals” and “peace activists” who accused them of participating in military planning and procurement, along with police state “pacification” projects, supporting Apartheid in S. Africa, or whatever crimes against humanity were being funded. In one case, they totally demolished the tape-drives and other visible stuff, while leaving the expensive “guts” (core storage, which then cost about $1 a byte, as opposed to maybe $1 a gigabyte which we have, today). A large main-frame computer might have as much as 2 megabytes of core storage (like ours at UCSB, and much of it was still the old “donut/3-wires” system – not even transistorized.) Therefore, we “long-haired computer freaks” (later called “hackers”) were in demand if there was a riot, figuring that we could talk our brethren radicals out of doing anything “stupid.”
Fortunately, no such confrontation ever happened to me. At UCSB, the leading hardware guy was right out of the Charles Manson family, but he was the only one who understood the system and could make it work. Maybe I took a hint from that, when I quit the job after less than a year, ostensibly to return to Montana to help my family.
That was when I met Gene of Manila, or maybe it was Leyte, where my father had wanted to return and start a night club after WWII. Gene was one of the most accomplished people I’d ever met – world-class chess player, a fine classical pianist, and a student of culture in general. He spoke several languages, and was an anglophile, besides. He may have been born during the Japanese Occupation, and many people thought he was part-Japanese. He was also looking for economic opportunities, and social advancement in a very strange time and place – Southern California c. 1970.
When I met him, he had already gone over to the Dark Side, joining car gangs (souped-up VW’s), dealing pot, and when I met him, in the process of joining the beach-van culture of surfers and various criminal elements. But he did it all from a very superior perspective – not someone trying to “work his way up” and finally get into “the Mafia”, which many drug dealers were doing at that time. He was trying to “figure out this culture”, which was very unsettling to him. Although he seemed very “corporate” in his thinking – “grow or die,” “expand the business”, “develop a new territory,” etc., most of his mind-set was classical Chinese philosophy and practice – something which was ubiquitous in the I-Ching-throwing counter-culture, as well as the vast proliferation of other Eastern schools of philosophy and spirituality which had found a foothold in California. Soon, Kung-Fu with David Carradine and all sorts of “martial arts” films and TV series would proliferate like another Cultural Revolution. Indeed, we explicitly thought of ourselves as being “culture freaks” rather than political revolutionaries, without any particular attachment to Mao and the Red Guards. I read somewhere that in the 1970’s, there were 100,000 “Maoists” in Norway (out of a population of about 4 million). So, it was a global phenomenon.
This was Gene’s overseas-Chinese family history (“the Jews of E Asia”), and coming from the Philippines, much of it was military and related to US Imperialism. He had come to the source, in order to better-understand how to function in “the Empire.” He had military ID. He could shop at any US base commissary. He had no revolutionary (or even “reformist”) attitudes or values whatsoever, which took me awhile to figure out. He could have been a highly-trained Intelligence officer, or maybe Counter-Intelligence, infiltrating the radical student elements in California, as well as the then-nascent drug cartels and “Counter-culture” – which seemed a real threat to “Authority” in those days. If so, he did it entirely with an “underworld” rationale and style…. like James Bond infiltrating the Mafia.
We’ve been watching gangster movies since the 1930’s. Some of our biggest, most popular movie stars might appear as an Al Capone or some other “heavy.” It tended to legitimize the whole gangster thing, reverting to a simpler boss-driven tribal society, and real-life gangsters had a lot to do with producing and distributing such films. Chinese gangsters (Tongs) and martial arts cults, along with Ninja, the Filipino martial arts (used in the Bourne films) flourished, and most of it goes back centuries, or even millenia – like our Graeco-Roman wrestling, fencing, etc.
This also explains the origins of “identity politics”. Each tribe, race, class, or other “demographic” (an accurate term, for once) is perceived to have particular interests which must be addressed in political campaigns. The Greens, for one, were supposed to have transcended that conundrum. We were for the interests of all – and for the planet and resources upon which all must live for the rest of eternity. No one seems to get this latter point, but it is the essence of all religions, as well as an open and diverse society.
Native Americans and other indigenous people tend to “get it”, or did before they were corrupted by “White Man’s Thinking.” And that is why it is so troubling to see Native Americans running for office on essentially a “White Man’s platform”, wanting nothing but more “welfare” and “federal support” for the very stuff that’s killing us – like a nuclear arsenal and continuing or expanding fossil fuel use – two policies which cost Denise Juneau the election (for Montana’s lone House seat), in my opinion. She certainly couldn’t compete in the military arena with a decorated Seal Team 6 Commander, who was very measured and sane in most of what he said.
Yet, she basically surrendered the contest to him before it had even begun, saying nothing against war or military spending – let alone the prison system, which she should have been “up in arms” about. Unfortunately, she also holds a law degree from what must be one of the worst law schools in the country – the University of Montana – which has consistantly supported all the ALEC policies to create a domestic Police State with the largest prison population (and the most lawyers, cops, and jailers) in the world. And it has expanded 5-fold since 1971.
Denise Juneau also earned Master’s from Harvard’s School of Education – something which former Dem Gov. Ted Schwinden’s son, Mike, also had, and later moved to Boston to live and work. By emphasizing these personal “accomplishments”, I can well imagine that many Native Americans didn’t care to vote for her, or vote at all, since she was still probably the best Democrat running for a major office in Montana. She wasn’t doing much for her people, but she had done a lot for the education bureaucracy and teacher’s unions, who were funding her campaign.
Ultimately, the Dem “strategists” (using the term loosely) didn’t want her to win. Rep. Zinke could do a lot more for their corporate bosses than Denise, who would follow the NEA line to the letter, and perhaps make further claims for the descendents of people illegally massacred by the Feds, in the process of stealing their lands and resources. No matter how much a Native American claims to favor strip-mining, logging, oil drilling, nuclear warfare or whatever, she’s always suspect, because those activities are the ultimate crime or sin – raping and looting our common Mother which sustains us all.
And so, a close race became a rout. Denise just wasn’t addressing the issues of importance to her own people, let alone the rest of us – peace, sustainable economy, loss of national sovereignty through trade deals and NATO, and ending corporate control of our vital institutions – especially the “criminal justice system” and our local utilities and public services (like education, libraries, public broadcasting, etc) which are constantly under assault from out-of-state (and in-state) corporate interests, as well as “government take-overs” from Washington, D.C.
That’s what no doubt “tipped the scales” from a close race to a rout. The Control Freaks always end up at the same point – they want to keep controlling us, no matter what we believe or which office we hold or organization we belong to. Worse, it’s never their fault, and whatever negative consequences follow from their desires to dominate and control us, it’s always safe to blame the victims, or some imaginary “enemies” like Russia or China.
This is, by the way, the essence of Fascism – total control of the economy and the government by corporate interests, usually with a military emphasis and a desire for war and global “Full Spectrum Dominance”, a police state at home, and prisons in place of health care, food, and housing. Amerika Uber Alles is no longer a slogan. It’s our official “Defense Posture”, and well on the way to being fully-implemented in domestic policy as well. STOP NATO. Peace Now.