Category Archives: United States

CIA’s Outsourcing of Torture: Mitchell, Jessen and Associates and the Murder of Gul Rahman

cia-timeline-of-the-day-gul-rahman-was-murdered-at-a-cia-black-site-prison

We present to our readers a selection of recently released CIA documents relating to the CIA’s outsourcing of torture to a private consulting firm, Mitchell, Jessen and Associates.  The documents were apparently obtained by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) through a Freedom of Information Act request to the CIA.  The full set of 764 pages was uploaded to the “DocumentCloud” website by Charles Savage of the New York Times on 19 January 2017.  This original full set of documents can be obtained from our own website here:  cia-documents-from-aclu

Our selection featured here is

cias-outsourcing-of-torture_-mitchell-jessen-and-assoc_and-killing-of-gul-rahman_from-764pg-aclu-foia-docs

This 20-page document describes the CIA’s outsourcing of torture initially to a pair of US psychologists: James Elmer Mitchell  and  John “Bruce” Jessen.  This dynamic duo later formed a partnership –  the consulting firm of Mitchell, Jessen and Associates.

SERE training camp at Fort Bragg. Captain Michael Kearns, Psychologist Bruce Jessen (right). SOURCE: Michael Kearns, Truthout.org, via Wikipedia

SERE training camp at Fort Bragg. Captain Michael Kearns, Psychologist Bruce Jessen (right). SOURCE: Michael Kearns, Truthout.org, via Wikipedia

According to the financial statements given by the CIA in the ACLU document trove, between 2001 and 2009, Mitchell and Jessen were paid $74,633,075.75 to teach “enhanced interrogation” methods to CIA operatives as well as, apparently guards and officers from the U.S. Bureau of Prisons.  Mitchell and Associates had, at the time these documents were created, approximately 80 employees all “certified” to provide “expert” torture-enhanced interrogations as well as torture consulting services to the US military and the CIA.

Jessen was involved in the design and execution of the interrogation plan used against suspected  Hezb-i-Islami Gulbuddin operative Gul Rahman.   Hezb-i-Islami Gulbuddin is named after its leader Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, a deranged Islamic fundamentalist once the darling of the US Government back when he was fighting the USSR-backed moderate Afghan Government in the late 1970s and early ’80s.  Once the Stalinist misleaders of the USSR pulled out of Afghanistan in an attempt to placate an increasingly belligerent US capitalist class, Hekmatyar began to turn on his erstwhile allies in the US.  The US policy of financing the rise of Islamic fundamentalism in order to use it as a battering ram against Soviet Central Asia and western China was a short-term solution that has turned into a long-term disaster for the US and especially for the women workers of the Near and Middle East.  The chickens came home to roost on 9/11 as another darling of Reagan-era anti-Sovietism, Osama Bin Laden, launched the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

Our party is inspired by the work of the International Communist League/Spartacist League whose brilliant analysis and defense of of the Soviet Union’s intervention in Afghanistan stands as one of the greatest political achievements of the Trotskyist movement in history.  When the Sparts said “Hail Red Army in Afghanistan” in defense of the reformist pro-Soviet government that was trying to bring Afghanistan into the 20th century by fighting to end such horrors of Afghan tribal society as the buying and selling of brides and horrific enslavement of women, the entire reformist left howled in unison with the US and world imperialism, which backed the Afghan mullahs like Hekmatyar and Bin Laden.  We urge our readers to check out these brilliant writings of the Spartacist League/ICL on Afghanistan from 1979-80:17 November 1978. Sparts demonstrate what Trotskyist leadership is all about with crystal-clear analysis of Iranian Islamic counter-revolution.

https://www.marxists.org/history/etol/newspape/workersvanguard/1978/0219_17_11_1978.pdf

Trotskyists principled internationalist Leninist defense of USSR intervention in Afghanistan.

Trotskyists of Spartacist League/ICL’s principled internationalist defense of USSR and its intervention in Afghanistan, Winter 1979-80.

 

https://www.marxists.org/history/etol/newspape/spartacist-us/1972-1980/0027-0028_Winter_1979-80.pdf

Though there have been calls from several quarters to have these “war on terror” criminals brought to justice, as of this writing they are walking the streets as free men, enjoying the fruits of their labor in the service of the US capitalist class.  On 13 October 2015, the ACLU filed this lawsuit on behalf of the estate of Gul Rahman against Mitchell and Jessen:  salim_v-_mitchell_-_complaint_10-13-15

With bipartisan support among Democrats and Republicans for the aims and methods of the US “War on Terror” (which has claimed the lives of tens of thousands of people) and a long-standing refusal of either party to bring anyone involved in the CIA torture program up on criminal charges, it seems to us highly unlikely that Mitchell or Jessen – or any of their many US government collaborators – will see the inside of a well-deserved prison cell anytime soon.

The only way that the war criminals in the service of the US capitalist class will ever see justice is if the US working class overthrows this bloodthirsty ruling class and takes power into the workers’ own hands.  This will require a socialist revolution led by a Trotskyist vanguard party that creates an egalitarian socialist workers republic which will see to it that these criminals are brought face to face with a jury of their victims.  Donald Trump – a full-fledged representative of the venal, greed-mad US capitalist class, has repeatedly announced to the world his fondness for torture – a sentiment that would have shocked the “Founding Fathers” of the United States, whose bourgeois-revolutionary founding documents officially denounced “cruel and unusual punishments” like torture as a hideous relic of medieval barbarism and sought to end its practice for all time.  It is a sign of the depth of the degeneracy of the 21st-century heirs of Washington and Jefferson that the topmost representative of their class now threatens to “make torture great again”.

For decades the Trotskyists have warned the workers that if the working classes of the world do not organize themselves and overthrow the capitalist system, the result will be a descent into a barbarism even worse than that created by the world’s capitalist classes in World Wars I and II.  The time for the working class to organize for this final struggle against the last class of exploiters is getting short.  We must build revolutionary socialist workers parties NOW and put an end to the savagery of the capitalist system before it plunges the planet into a nuclear World War III in which the world – and for the first time the continental US – will see total destruction of its major cities and of hundreds of millions of workers.  This does not have to happen!

Workers of the World Unite!  Capitalism must die so that the working class may live!

IWPCHI

 

Putin and Wikileaks Didn’t “Hack” US Presidential Election: Clinton A Lousy Candidate Defeated at Polls By 3rd Parties

The bourgeois press is at it again.

This time they are peddling one of the biggest US Government propaganda stories ever deliberately disseminated inside the USA: that the Russian Government of Vladimir Putin “hacked” “The 2016 US Presidential Election”(TM), throwing the election to their B.F.F. Donald Trump.

First of all it is the very height of hypocrisy for the United States Government to bitch and moan about how some third country intervened in the sacred territory of the US electoral process.  The United States Government has intervened, systematically, in every foreign election in practically every nation in the world since at least WWII, using its Central Intelligence Agency to do everything from hiring fascist goons to beat up leftists campaigning for working-class party candidates to assassinating heads of state!  In its massive, decades-long and ongoing campaigns to rig foreign elections in favor of those candidates who would protect the overseas investments of US capitalists, succeeding US imperialist governments of both Democrats and Republicans have rigged elections, bribed legislators, hired journalists to spread lies about candidates, hired thugs to attack opposition political leaders and their supporters, hired assassins to murder candidates and have hired entire military leaderships to overthrow their own “democratically-elected” governments and unleash murderous attacks on working-class parties, killing hundreds of thousands of workers all over the world, from Indonesia to El Salvador.  Edward Snowden, ex-CIA and NSA contract worker, through WikiLeaks, has proven to the world the extent of US Government spying on political leaders all over the world, from its opponents at the UN to its allies such as Angela Merkel in Germany.  The information acquired through the massive NSA spying apparatus is used to inform US government policy vis-a-vis these competing nation-states’ capital;ist classes and to identify and promote those politicians who are most willing to support the US capitalist class’ economic political and military objectives inside those countries and around the world.  For the US government – owned and operated by the top 10% of wealthy capitalists in the US – to complain about the immorality of Russia allegedly intervening in a US election is like listening to a convicted mass murderer complain about the shabby morals of his convicted mob hitman cellmate.

The mass propaganda operation being directed right now by the US Government of Democrat Barack Obama against Russia is intended primarily for domestic consumption.  Everyone in the rest of the world laughs at the obvious hypocrisy of the US Government; only in the USA are the workers so thoroughly uninformed about the long and inglorious record of massive US intervention in the electoral processes of other countries.  The purpose of the propaganda is to deflect growing unrest among the workers of the USA at their steeply declining standards of living into a campaign against the “evil empire” of Russia – the US government, of course, always being “the good guys”.

The fact is that the US capitalist class is losing political control of its own country, and has just been handed a partial defeat at the polls in spite of the US capitalists having purchased the election for their loyal servant – Hillary Rodham Clinton – to the tune of a billion dollars or so.  To be sure Donald Trump, being one of their own, will take quite good care of the interests of the 1%ers during the next four years, no doubt about it.  But the US capitalist class is enraged that their chosen candidate Clinton – upon whom they lavished hundreds of millions of dollars of campaign funds – was beaten decisively at the polls by that damned annoying working class, who somehow just could not stomach pulling the lever for as obvious a corrupt tool of the class enemy as Hillary Rodham Clinton.  The more they saw of her the less they liked her; she exudes insincerity when she appears in front of a working class audience, wearing expensive designer clothes in front of working-class audiences struggling to clothe themselves and their kids at resale shops.  For many intelligent workers, fed up with the massive corruption of the two main political parties, the only candidates worthy of their vote were the candidates of the third parties: libertarians, Greens and assorted independents and even socialists and “communists” – and so they voted accordingly.

Hillary Rodham Clinton was the bought-and-paid-for political shill of the US capitalist class.  The bankers and stockbrokers and CEOs and other assorted criminals that bankrolled Clinton are not used to not getting full value (and then some) on their “investments” in the political sphere.  And they are really pissed off that a couple of tiny political parties rendered the hundreds of millions of dollars they spent on Hillary’s coronation useless.  But they can’t admit that they are losing control of a political system that they have had a hammerlock on since George Washington was inaugurated; so they blame, not the third parties… they blame the whistleblowers, and the Russians!  “Putin, with the help of WikiLeaks stole our election!” they scream.   What a massive lie!  But then the USA is a phony democracy in which the working masses are brutally exploited and denied even basic human needs so that the rich can live like kings – and they call it “The Land of the Free”(TM) – so big lies, enormous, monstrous lies are told, must be told, in order to justify the continuation of the myth of “The American Dream”(TM).  US capitalism can’t be maintained in any other way; telling even part of the truth about it shatters it into a million pieces.

One of the biggest stories of “The 2016 US Presidential Election”(TM) was completely and deliberately buried by the capitalist press: 2016 was the year that the third parties came into their own.  It was the year in which millions of US workers overcame their traditional reluctance to vote for “lost cause” candidates in a Presidential election and voted FOR the third parties.  And it was this vote – which damaged both Trump and Clinton, but mostly Clinton – that overthrew the US capitalist class’ long planned and paid-for coronation of Hillary Rodham Clinton.

It really doesn’t take a crystal ball to see that this is the case.  The election was lost by Hillary Clinton in a handful of traditional Democratic Party stronghold states.  In the closing weeks of the campaign, when it appeared to the Clinton camp that Hillary’s once-dominant lead over Trump in states like Michigan and Wisconsin was disappearing, HRC was hastily dispatched to kiss as many babies and shake as many hands as she could in those battleground states.  But then a funny thing happened: the more workers got to see her up close, the faster her support eroded.  In retrospect it might have been better for her to stay at one of her million-dollar homes rather than hit the campaign trail in the final weeks: her frantic, insincere pandering turned off precisely those wavering voters it was intended to shore up – and they voted third-party in small but crucially important numbers.

There were six states in which the third-party vote proved crucial to swinging the necessary electoral votes from Clinton to Trump:

Third-Party Candidates Defeated Clinton - Not Putin, Not WikiLeaks

Third-Party Candidates Defeated Clinton – Not Putin, Not WikiLeaks [Credit: IWPCHI]

These numbers tell the entire story.  In these six states – most of which have been Democratic Party strongholds for decades – the vote was almost evenly split between the two candidates of the capitalist-owned-and-operated Democratic and Republican parties.  But enough disaffected Clinton and Republican voters jumped ship to vote for Gary Johnson of the Libertarian Party or Dr. Jill Stein of the Green Party that the vote was flipped in favor of the Republicans.

The Democrats are howling that “third-party voters” are traitors for voting for the candidates of their choice rather than for a candidate – Hillary Rodham Clinton – that they abhorred.  What could be more absurd?  Workers have a right to vote for whomever they wish to vote for.  If your party runs a candidate that they feel does not represent their interests – and Hillary Rodham Clinton, like Donald Trump, certainly does NOT represent the interests of the working class – then those voters have a right to vote for someone else.  In the US – unlike in Europe and much of the world, where Parliamentary systems allow for minor parties to win seats in the national legislatures and to join coalitions in return for influencing major pending legislation  – voting for a third-party candidate who has no chance of winning has long been considered to be “throwing away your vote”.  But this year the level of disgust with the two main parties reached such a level that millions of workers threw off that mental block against voting third-party and voted to break the stranglehold the two main parties have on the national political scene.  We believe it is the beginning of the end for the two-party system in the USA – a vitally important step forward for the working class in the USA.  In fact so long as workers only have two pro-capitalist parties to choose from, the working class can only lose in every election.  This is why we have founded this party: to  build for the working class a party that will defend the interests of the working class in all cases, against all enemies.  If workers want a decent future for their children we must build a revolutionary Trotskyist workers party that fights to overthrow the capitalist system of war, poverty, racism and unemployment and replaces it with an egalitarian socialist workers republic in which all the basic human needs – food, clothing, shelter, education and health care – are no longer privileges granted to us – or not – by the wealthy landlord and capitalist class – but are guaranteed to all under a new socialist constitution.

The Democrats also complain about how the Electoral College “ripped off” the voters by giving the election to Trump, who lost the popular vote by several million votes.  It is true that the Electoral College is a rip off, and that it does repudiate one of the principle and supposedly fundamental elements of bourgeois democracy – that every vote counts and that the majority rules by popular consent.  But as revolutionary Trotskyists we must point out: capitalist bourgeois democracy has ABSOLUTELY NOTHING TO DO WITH “MAJORITY RULE”.  Bourgeois democracy is a form of phony democracy in which the system is rigged to “look” democratic, but in reality it is a mechanism designed to ensure that it is not the majority who rules, but the tiny minority of wealthy capitalists who rule!  The Electoral College WAS DESIGNED PRECISELY TO REPUDIATE the votes of the masses when we vote against the vital private property interests of the capitalist minority.   In other words, the Electoral College system worked as designed – to protect the capitalist aristocracy’s interests against all efforts of the working masses to fully participate in the national government.  Proof of this lies in the fact that, in spite of the fact that the Libertarians, Greens and other parties polled roughly 4-5% of the vote, they won not one seat in either house of Congress!  And so it was a smashing victory once again for the capitalist class of the USA, which won its 45th consecutive Presidential election.  Once again, the working class – which to this day refuses to build itself a workers party worthy of the name – lost a national election.  Yet again we have a government in which the working class – which makes up over 70% of the population – HAS NOT ONE REPRESENTATIVE IN THE NATIONAL GOVERNMENT!

It is this that the US Government’s propaganda against “Russian hacking” of “The 2016 US Presidential Election”(TM)  is intended to cover up – with a thick, wet blanket of donkey and elephant manure.  The US capitalist class and its paid propagandists in the US press corps do not want you to dwell on the fact that it was the rebellion against the two major US capitalist political parties by ex-Democratic and Republican voters in the form of their vote for third parties that cost Hillary Clinton her coronation.  Because to admit this happened is to point the attention of US workers in the direction of the one possible solution to the steadily declining standard of living that faces them: workers MUST BUILD UP A WORKERS PARTY THAT CAN WIN LOCAL, STATE AND NATIONAL ELECTIONS!  Only this way can we even begin to fight for our rights against the legions of paid lackeys of the rich who are either members of state and national legislatures or lobbying those elected tools of the bourgeoisie.  Only when we have our own revolutionary Trotskyist workers party can we stop merely “speaking truth to power” and finally take power into the hands of the rightful rulers – the true majority – the working class!

—IWPCHI

 

 

Cast of ‘Hamilton’ Present Meek Plea to Trump Flunky Pence – Transcript

We publish here our transcription of the post-performance address given on behalf of the cast and writers of ‘Hamilton: An American Musical’ to Vice President-elect Mike Pence on 18 November 2016.  We produced it from the New York Times video copy of the event.  Though it appears that actor Brandon Victor Dixon, who gave the address on behalf of the cast and writers of the show, made somewhat more extensive remarks, the video ends before he appears to finish his statement.  We have been unable to find a copy of the video which shows the entire event through to the cast walking off the stage.

Many people on the Internet are decrying the fact that actors would dare to break the “fourth wall” between the audience and the performers in a stage performance in this manner and act as if this has never been done before.  Actually it has happened on many occasions, particularly before and after performances.  Also there have been commentators who seem to believe that the address to Pence was some kind of rude political attack intended to embarrass or humiliate Pence.  In reality, Mr. Dixon took great pains to stop any booing of Pence at the beginning of the address and delivered the address in a very respectful if direct manner.  The video shows that if anyone objected to the cast addressing Pence so directly they were in the minority: the vast majority of the audience cheers loudly in favor of the political points that are made.

The political points made by Dixon on behalf of the cast simply consist of pathetic appeals to a man who has been appointed Vice-President by the new President-elect Trump who is busy assembling the whitest, most male-dominated Presidential cabinet in almost 40 years!  “We are the diverse America who are alarmed and anxious that your new Administration will not protect us, our planet, our children, our parents – or defend us and uphold our inalienable rights, sir ” said Dixon.

What a fine example of the impotent method of political shucking and jiving (preferred by US liberals) of “speaking truth to power” in the manner of an obedient if somewhat uppity servant who first declares his respect for the person he is addressing and then makes a pathetic plea to the King’s representative for compassion and understanding of the hopes and dreams of the downtrodden and dispossessed – just as it would have been done during the historic period in which ‘Hamilton’ is set!   The US working class is almost 200 million strong… yet once again we see a de facto representative of the US working class approaching his “social betters” – the capitalist class representative Pence, representing a mere 10% of the US population at best! – hat in hand, pathetically begging our “masters” to treat us kindly… rather than taking the revolutionary road of standing up and overthrowing the racist ruling capitalist class of the USA that Trump and Pence represent!  The numerically tiny US capitalist class who fantasize about returning the USA to the “Good Old Days(TM)” of genocide against the Native Americans and the theft of their lands, white supremacy, total subordination of women to “the menfolk”, slavery and child labor and the ruthless crushing of every attempt of the workers and slaves to fight for their “inalienable rights” that existed – then and now – only on paper!   The fact is that the integrated US working class in 2016 and our immigrant sisters and brothers have no rights that the capitalist class is “bound to respect”; and the fact that the US capitalist class has seen fit to allow Donald Trump and his gang of white supremacist scum to occupy the highest office in the land proves this point beyond doubt!  Anyone who can’t see this is either willfully blind or an imbecile.

What the US working class needs is not shameful “representatives” who present shamefully weak petitions to the “rightful rulers” of the capitalist class but heroic revolutionaries like Lenin’s Bolsheviks who presented their petitions to the Tsar and his hangmen on the ends of bayonets!  These scum who want to impose a racist, capitalist, white supremacist pig like Trump as President of the United States are throwing down a gauntlet to the working classes of the US and the world!  “If you don’t like living in our racist, white supremacist, anti-union America you can get the hell out of ‘our’ country!” they declare!  And they are preparing to unleash their fascist shock troops to intimidate and terrorize those who dare to oppose them!  The rising US fascist threat must be crushed in the egg; it will take a militant, Trotskyist-led workers movement to do it – and the US working class have barely begun that tremendous work!  Don’t you think it’s high time you got off your knees and started to fight for your rights, sister and brother workers instead of begging your mortal enemies to love you and respect you?

This is no time for presenting timid petitions to King Drumpf I, but for organizing a revolutionary Trotskyist workers party that will fight for an egalitarian socialist workers republic to replace this deeply corrupt, senile, revanchist, racist dinosaur US capitalist class and its rotten economic system that is threatening to destroy the unity of the world’s working classes and even the entire planet!  You want your rights as citizens to be defended now and forever more?  Then stop begging your enemies to do it for you and prepare to create a revolutionary workers government under which your “inalienable rights” – which exist only on paper under capitalism – to become full and permanent under a workers’ republican government!  When we say that “Capitalism must die so that the working class may live!” we are not just spouting a slogan: we are stating a harsh fact, one which you had better come to understand before it’s too late.  To limit the US working class – 200 million strong – to the pathetic role of merely “speaking truth to power” – the alleged “power” of at most 30 million greedhead capitalists – is to accept the status of loyal slaves and to make it a permanent fact of our political lives!  What could be more cowardly?  We don’t want to petition “King Trump” or merely to “speak truth to power” to his flunky ministers like Pence: we want to overthrow the despotic racist regime itself:  Trump and his entire rotten class and their capitalist system.   If the revolutionaries of 1776 had stupidly limited their struggle to merely “speaking truth to power” we’d still be living under a monarchy!  But they were NOT cowards; they were not content to “keep their place” as loyal subjects of the King, being forced to accede to his every decree and command like stupid slaves!  We need to build a political party of the working class that is energised by the same kind of revolutionary spirit that animated the likes of immigrant political theoretician Thomas Paine, Daniel Shays, John Brown, Harriet Tubman and Frederick Douglass and the communist men and women who fought to build the US trade unions and the civil rights movement in the 1930s!

“Workers of the World, Unite!”

— IWPCHI

********************************************************

NY Times Video – Cast of ‘Hamilton’ Present Meek Plea to Trump Flunky Pence

Cast of ‘Hamilton’ Addresses VP Elect Mike Pence After Performance – Complete transcript by IWPCHI, with notes in brackets by IWPCHI.

[Transcribed by IWPCHI from NY Times video of event. Speech delivered by actor Brandon Victor Dixon]

[Cast on stage taking final bows. Wild applause and cheering. Pence not visible during video.]

“Ladies and gentlemen, thank you so much for joining us tonight. You know, we had a guest in the audience this evening [light laughter throughout audience] And Vice President-elect Pence, I see you walking out but I hope you will hear us just a few more moments [one or two people boo, and apparently derisive comments anticipating tenor of speech can be heard] … there’s nothing to boo here ladies and gentlemen; there’s nothing to boo here [light applause] we’re all here sharing a story of love. We have a little message for you sir [Dixon reaches for prepared address in his pocket] and we hope that you will hear us out. [Opens up paper with prepared address and prepares to read it] … and I encourage everybody to pull out your phones and Tweet and post because this message needs to be spread far and wide, O.K.? [Reads: audience completely silent] ‘Vice President-elect Pence, we welcome you and we truly thank you for joining us here at “Hamilton: An American Musical”. We really do. We, sir – we – are the diverse America who are alarmed and anxious that your new Administration will not protect us [applause and cheering, some boos] our planet, our children, our parents – or defend us and uphold our inalienable rights, sir. [Audience silent again]. But we truly hope that this show has inspired you to uphold our American values and to work on behalf of *all* of us. [Cheering] *All* of us. [Loud, sustained applause and cheering from audience. No booing. Dixon continues through loud applause:] Again we truly thank you for sharing this show: this wonderful American story told by a diverse group of men and women of different colors, creeds and orientations. [Loud applause and cheering. Video ends.]

IWPCHI

 

Capital hand in hand with Labor! As true in 1899 as it is today.

Capital hand in hand with labor! by Horace Taylor. 13 November 1899. Illustration shows Marcus Alonzo Hanna as a vulture with large dollar sign on its breast pinning a man representing "labor" to a rock.

“Capital hand in hand with labor!  “If there is anything the matter with Trusts the Republican Party can be relied upon to fix it.” — Hanna.” by Horace Taylor. 13 November 1899. Illustration shows Marcus Alonzo Hanna as a vulture with large dollar sign on its breast pinning a man representing “labor” to a rock.  Source: Library of Congress

 

We are pleased to present to you our dear readers this political cartoon from 1899 extolling the warm relationship of capital and labor as partners with identical interests.  Our “friends” at the AFL-CIO headquarters  will undoubtedly be upset to see their “partners” the capitalists portrayed in such a harsh light.  It gets harder and harder every day for them to sell their lie that workers and their exploiters are natural allies; we are so happy to make their work just that much more difficult.

The cartoon was created by Horace Taylor on 13 November 1899 and shows John D. Rockefeller’s Standard Oil Trust political fixer Mark Hanna of the Republican Party “shaking hands” in partnership with a worker.  The Library of Congress lists this artwork as part of their collection, but for some strange reason they do not offer a color reproduction (or any downloadable high-resolution image) of this honest depiction of the true relationship between capital and labor.  We hope you enjoy it as much as we have!

Workers of the world, Unite!

Capitalism must die so that the working class may live!

— IWPCHI

 

Labor Day 2016: “Workers Must Establish and Maintain Their Own Press If They Expect to be Properly Represented”

Perhaps in response to the spread of popular daily papers being published all over the Midwest in the wake of major union organizing efforts at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries, the AFL began to publish their own papers, with a far more leftist slant than their leadership in Washington, D.C. would have approved of.

The following selection from the labor press of the AFL back in 1904 will show that there once was a time when even the class-collaborationist and hidebound AFL of Samuel Gompers understood – in direct contradiction to the fundamental belief of today’s AFL-CIO “leadership” – that the interests of labor and capital were fundamentally opposed to each other.  “Let the unions understand that they may expect nothing of value from their natural enemies – and in the final analysis the whole question is sifted down to and rests upon and is controlled by the economic interests of the employing class as opposed to those interests of the working class.” So spoke the AFL back in 1904!

This article, which makes an eloquent plea for the necessity of the establishment of an independent labor press if the cause of the working class was to be fairly represented in the mass media, was written 112 years ago – and for the most part could have been written yesterday.  The need for such a press is just as important today as it was then, although in 1904 there were dozens of labor papers in existence scattered throughout the US.  In 2016, apart from the revolutionary socialist press that fights for the cause of the working class – but is almost completely ignored by the mass of slavish US workers – there is no labor press at all.  This is because the pro-capitalist AFL-CIO, whose affiliated locals once recognized the need for and published dozens of such papers, is now led by such a gang of housebroken puppets of the capitalist class that this crying need of the working class goes totally unanswered.   ———— IWPCHI

From the ‘Ohio Valley Worker’ – the ‘Official Paper of the Federated Trades Council of Louisville, Trades and Labor Council of New Albany, Central Labor Union of Jeffersonville.’ [Kentucky and Indiana, USA] – Volume I, Number 33, 10 September 1904

INDEPENDENT LABOR PRESS A NECESSITY

Labor Given the Knife by the Great Molders of Public Opinion.

The Workers Must Establish and Maintain Their Own Press If They Expect to be Properly Represented.

No argument is needed to convince the intelligent observer of passing events of the growing need of a labor press that has no entangling alliances with any of the agencies which have undertaken the task of emasculating the labor unions or destroying them entirely. The most superficial reader of the daily press is quick to notice the manner in which the news agencies of the world are continuously and forever giving Labor the worst of it in every conceivable manner. The Associated Press, the chief news-gathering agency in America, is made up of one or more daily papers in the various cities of the country, and the stuff put upon the wires and known as the Associated Press dispatches is usually gleaned from the matter prepared for these local papers. Very often a proof of the matter set up for the daily papers is supplied the [sic – IWPCHI] Associated Press correspondent, and often, without any corrections or changes whatever, the matter is telegraphed all over the country and appears in all papers receiving the press report as Associated Press dispatches.

The foregoing recital is made for the purpose of showing that, while the Associated Press if damned for false stories, especially in nearly all cases where there is a strike or other controversy between Capital and Labor, in reality the blame rests upon the daily papers, whose reporters, acting under instructions, have juggled the facts so as to make it appear that Labor is wrong and that the employers are persecuted saints. To be sure, the daily paper merely serves its master in this. It looks to the “business interests,” the banks, corporations, manufacturers, and large employers of labor generally for its support. And, obeying the impulse to defend the class-interest of the element to which it belongs, the daily paper uses all its powers to thwart organized labor, confuse the union membership, and help the employers to a victory that means no improvement in the condition of the workers.

The facts above stated are so patent, and are being more and more recognized by wage-earners, as the days come and go, that we deem an extended mention thereof to be superficial were it not for the moral the story contains.

Under the circumstances what is Labor to do? Must it docilely submit to the fate of inaction? Shall it cower and cringe before the public gaze because it has been lied about and vilified – and whipped back to the factory, shop or mill through the misrepresentation of men in control of the daily press, whose economic interests are opposed to those of the workers? No! There is a better solution of the problem. The thing to do is to build up a LABOR press – owned by Labor and controlled by Labor. Through your own press, fellow-workers, you may become powerful, but not otherwise. With a medium that is under your ownership and control your organization may become a power not now more than dreamed of. To establish and make secure such a Labor press is the duty of the hour. You must have your own medium to give utterance to your demands, crystallize the sentiment that may be created in your favor, and finally do battle for you in every conflict in which you may be engaged.

THE WORKER is the only paper within several hundred miles of Louisville that is organized and established on the right basis. It is the only one that is democratically owned by the forces of Labor, and therefore is the only medium through which the favors of those friendly to Labor ever reach the point for which they are intended. It is the only genuine Labor paper.

Everyone who reads the Louisville daily papers will recall that within the past couple of years they vied with each other in their efforts to get up a union labor department. Regularly each week a column or two was devoted to the news of the unions. Where are these departments now? When they have not entirely disappeared they have dwindled to virtually nothing. This is a manifestation of the studied purpose of the Employers’ Association and all its friends to give no recognition to organized labor except to oppose and belittle this great movement. A representative of one of the daily papers, in a semi-confidential manner, gave the writer the tip several months ago that from that time on there would be less labor union news in the city daily papers than has been customary to give. Events have proven that he knew whereof he spoke. Labor is to be ignored – or, if given any consideration at all, it is to be given the knife.

Again, let the unions understand that they may expect nothing of value from their natural enemies – and in the final analysis the whole question is sifted down to and rests upon and is controlled by the economic interests of the employing class as opposed to those interests of the working class. We do not blame the employers for defending their interests, but the workers MUST awaken to a proper defense of THEIR interests, and this can be done only by and through the press which they own and control, and not through the press that almost without exception gives Labor the hot end of it in every great issue and on every great question.

Set up and support your own press and keep it true to its purpose. Therein lies your only safeguard, fellow-unionists.

[Emphasis given in capitalized words in original – IWPCHI]

Labor Day, 2016: Once Upon A Time, The US Had “Labor Newspapers”… Lots of Them

On this “Labor Day” weekend we are reminded of the terrible state of the union movement in the USA.  Under the pro-capitalist leadership of the AFL-CIO since the anti-communist witch-hunts led by Wisconsin Senator Joseph McCarthy back in the ’50s drove the commies out of the unions, the percentage of the US working class holding union cards has steadily dwindled.

Union membership rose vertically in 1930s under anti-capitalist Communist and trotskyist leadership; collapsed when "Reds" were driven out of unions in late 1940s.

Union membership rose vertically in 1930s under anti-capitalist Communist and Trotskyist leadership; collapsed when “Reds” were driven out of unions in late 1940s.  Wealth distribution towards top of income pyramid shows distinct inverse relationship to percentage of workers in higher-paid union jobs. Anticommunist, pro-capitalist AFL-CIO “leadership” has overseen 65 years of almost unbroken failure to organize the unorganized.  Time to dump these bums and build a revolutionary Trotskyist class-struggle leadership in the unions!

Today’s AFL-CIO “leadership” regales the membership with the lie that “the interests of labor and capital are one and the same”.  Look at point one in the following AFL-CIO handout:

Pro-capitalist AFL-CIO spreads lies about "unity of interests" of capital and labor. Is it any wonder that union membership has fallen off a cliff with these "labor lieutenants of capital" at the helm?

Pro-capitalist AFL-CIO spreads lies about “unity of interests” of capital and labor. Is it any wonder that union membership has fallen off a cliff with these “labor lieutenants of capital” at the helm?  Every word of this document is pure bullshit, sowing illusions that workers can get a fair deal under the capitalist system.

It wasn’t always this way.  In the late 19th and the early years of the 20th century US workers and their union leaders understood that the interests of capital and labor were directly COUNTERPOSED and IRRECONCILABLE.  Union leadership in those days was full of anarchists, socialists and (after 1917) Communists inspired by the Bolshevik Russian Revolution.  Though the top AFL-CIO leaders like Sam Gompers were hidebound pro-capitalist quislings, many of the local unions had more left-leaning leaders who taught that the working class could expect nothing but a knife in the back from the capitalist class – and their media outlets, which in the early days of the union movement before radio and television meant just one thing: the newspapers.  And so, in order for the truth about the union movement to be broadcast to the masses, the socialist parties and later on the AFL-CIO itself began publishing newspapers telling the workers’ side of the story.  From union and socialist and anarchist strongholds like the lumber and mining unions in the Pacific Northwest to the shores of the Atlantic, union newspapers were created.  Where once the US produced perhaps dozens of daily socialist, anarchist and trade-unionist newspapers none are in existence today.   Outside of the important revolutionary socialist papers that struggle to obtain the support of the slavish, pro-capitalist US working class of today (and can only publish weekly or biweekly or monthly as a result) the US has not a single pro-union daily newspaper!  What is wrong with this country and its working class?   Here is a selection of papers we ran across today as we checked out the archives at  Newspapers.com:

The Knights of Labor, Richmond, Virginia, 1886: “That is the Most Perfect Government in Which An Injury To One Is the Concern Of All.”

Richmond, VA K of L paper_'The Labor Herald'_ 17jul1886

The Knights of Labor were originally organized as a secret society at a time when union organizing was punished as a “conspiracy” of labor against the “rightful rulers” of the USA.  Having just emerged from secrecy in 1886 during the rapid rise of the “Eight-Hour Day” movement, the K of L were driven back underground in the wake of the vicious anti-union attacks led by the US capitalist class and their press in revenge for the Haymarket Massacre in Chicago that took place in May of 1886.

Mt. Vernon, Illinois “Progressive Farmer” of the Farmer’s Mutual Benefit Association (FMBA), 1895

Farmers across the US were forced to band together in the wake of economic crises of the late 1800s that resulted from land speculation and droughts that ruined the rural economy and kept farmers at the mercy of bankers, grain speculators and railroads. The Farmers Mutual Benefit Association was formed and published newspapers across the Midwest.

Farmers across the US were forced to band together in the wake of economic crises of the late 1800s that resulted from land speculation and droughts that ruined the rural economy and kept farmers at the mercy of bankers, grain speculators and railroads. (Some things never change!) The Farmers Mutual Benefit Association, though not a trade union, was formed and published newspapers across the Midwest.

 

Elwood, Indiana “Daily Labor Record”, 1896

Insert here

Even small towns like Elwood, Indiana had their own labor papers in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

 

Louisville, Kentucky and New Albany and Jeffersonville Indiana’s “Ohio Valley Worker”, 1904: “The Official Paper of the Federated Trades Council of Louisville, Trades and Labor Council of New Albany, Central Labor Union of Jeffersonville.”

Perhaps in response to the spread of popular daily papers being published all over the Midwest in the wake of major union organizing efforts at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries, the AFL began to publish their own papers, with a far more leftist slant than their leadership in Washington, D.C. would have approved of.

Perhaps in response to the spread of popular daily papers being published all over the Midwest in the wake of major union organizing efforts at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries, the AFL began to publish their own papers, with a far more leftist slant than their leadership in Washington, D.C. would have approved of. This one features a poem dedicated to Socialist Party leader Eugene V. Debs.

 

Greensboro, North Carolina “Labor News”, 1908: “Organ of the State Federation of Labor.  Endorsed by Greensboro Trades Council.  Motto: Organization, Education And Elevation.”

The less-than-inspiring motto of this AFL paper demonstrates a more conservative political philosophy and an appetite for seeking the approval of pro-capitalist "public opinion".

The less-than-inspiring motto of this AFL paper demonstrates a more conservative political philosophy and an appetite for seeking the approval of pro-capitalist “public opinion”.

 

Everett, Washington “Washington Socialist”, 1914: “Workers Of The World, Unite!  You Have Nothing To Lose But Your Chains.  You Have A World To Win.”

A revolutionary socialist newspaper of 1914 pulls no punches about where it stands. Anti war articles rail against WWI: "[We] deplore the fact that the wage class of Europe have allowed themselves to be lured to the battlefield to be slaughtered for the benefit of the master class."

A revolutionary Socialist Party newspaper of 1914 pulls no punches about where it stands. Anti-war articles rail against WWI: “[We] deplore the fact that the wage class of Europe have allowed themselves to be lured to the battlefield to be slaughtered for the benefit of the master class…the proletariat have no country, but are and should be citizens of the world, and that they have therefore but ONE enemy, the capitalist class…”

Decatur, Illinois “Labor World”, 1915:  “The Paper That Won’t Be Muzzled… Endorsed By The Trades And Labor Assembly”

Insert

WWI saw the US working class, which had initially completely opposed any involvement in the “War to end all wars”, being driven by the jingoist press into joining in the effort to defeat “the Hun”.  The Socialist movement, led in many midwestern cities by German workers, was attacked for its principled anti-war stance for being “pro-German”.  This placed the editors of newspapers on the defensive throughout the period of build-up to the entry of the US into the war until the anti-communist Palmer Raids shut down many of these papers in the wake of the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia in 1917.

 

Everett, Washington “Northwest Worker”, 1917:  “Official Organ of the Socialist Party of Snohomish and Stevens Counties… Spokesman for the Only Useful Class in Society – The Working Class”

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By 1917, the US had been transformed by 3 years of incessant warmongering from the capitalist press from a nation utterly opposed to entry into WWI to a nation eager to plunge into the worst bloodbath in world history to that time.  Working-class papers that had held to their anti-war principles were severely attacked in print and in public.  The Socialist Party openly hails the bourgeois-democratic revolution that had taken place in Russia in February of 1917, toppling the hated Czar from his throne.

 

Cincinnati, Ohio “Labor Advocate”, 1917: “A Paper Without A Muzzle For All Who Toil… Property and Official Organ of the Building Trades Council of Cincinnati and Vicinity… Independent… Non-Partisan”

Pro-capitalist AFL newspaper pushes pro-war propaganda, using a front-page cartoon of a German soldier butchering a (probably Belgian) woman with a babe in her arms. The dear American Mother urges her sons to take up the sword to defend the innocent woman from "the Hun". Touting in its masthead the slogans "Independent" and "Non-Partisan" it urges its readers to take a very partisan stance in the mass slaughter of WWI.

Pro-capitalist AFL newspaper pushes pro-war propaganda, using a front-page cartoon of a German soldier butchering a (probably Belgian) woman with a babe in her arms. The dear American Mother urges her sons to take up the sword to defend the innocent woman from “the Hun”. Touting in its masthead the slogans “Independent” and “Non-Partisan” it urges its readers to take a very partisan stance in the mass slaughter of WWI.

 

Duluth and Superior, Minnesota “Labor World”, 1918:  “For Social Justice, Economic Reform, And Political Progress”

The motto says it all: this paper is pro-capitalist and reformist, seeking labor "peace" and mere "political progress", not revolution. The blurb in the upper-left corner of the masthead, addressed to potential business advertisers, states that the people who read this paper are not of the "working class" but of the "consuming class".

The motto says it all: this AFL paper is pro-capitalist and reformist, seeking labor “peace” and mere “political progress”, not revolution. The blurb in the upper-left corner of the masthead, addressed to potential business advertisers, states that the people who read this paper are not of the “working class” but of the “consuming class”.

 

Wilmington, North Carolina “Union Labor Record”, 1918:  “The Medium of Organized Labor and Guardian of the Workingman’s Interest.  Endorsed by the North Carolina State Federation of Labor.”

Insert

By the end of 1918, the US working class – outside of a few strongholds of internationalist socialism — has been stampeded into supporting the US drive to enter WWI.  This southern AFL paper decries war profiteering while trumpeting a “united war work drive”.

 

Everett, Washington “Labor Journal”, 1922: “Official Paper Everett Central Labor Council… Published In The Interest Of Organized Labor”

Insert

Another pro-capitalist AFL paper, featuring the uplifting, inspiring saying (in the face of a mass lockout of workers by the railroad barons): “In the struggle between poverty and talent, poverty generally triumphs.”

The AFL-CIO unions today publish not newspapers but newsletters for their membership only, featuring self-aggrandizing pabulum about how great the local piecards are… and of course the death notices… and large displays of US flags everywhere – along with attacks on the Republicans and lists of “friends of Labor” Democrats to vote for in the upcoming elections.  No wonder the AFL-CIO is going down the tubes with this pathetic, pro-capitalist leadership!  If we want to see the union membership rise again like it did in the 1930s, we need to kick out the pro-capitalist labor fakers and replace them with a revolutionary Trotskyist class-struggle leadership that fights not just for “a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work” but for workers socialist revolution in the USA and around the world!  There will not be any dancing in the streets after WWIII, sisters and brothers.

Workers of the World, Unite!  Capitalism Must Die So The Working Class May Live!

—IWPCHI

U.S.A. Has Always Been a Phony ‘Democracy’: Ferdinand Lundberg’s “Sixty Families” (1937)

We are pleased to be able to offer our readers the long out-of-print and legendary expose of the oligarchical nature of the US capitalist ruling class: Ferdinand Lundberg’s “Sixty Families”, published during the Great Depression in 1937.

Lundberg’s very well-researched book revealed how few people actually control the political and economic life of the United States, in complete contradiction to the widespread belief – held principally by the poorly self-educated and therefore pathetically slavish U.S. working class – that the US is an egalitarian, democratic meritocracy, just as the “Founding Fathers” designed it to be.

Of course, the “Founding Fathers” of the USA never designed their government to be anything even remotely resembling a true democracy: they created a dictatorship of the bourgeoisie in which over 70% of the population was disenfranchised because they were either female, black, Native American or simply because they owned no – or not enough – property.

We obtained this copy of the book from the Internet Archive, where it is, as we write, being made available to the world for free.  If anyone wishes to object to our republishing it we suggest that they take up their complaint with the Archive.

We will be publishing each chapter of the book separately and not necessarily in chronological order.  We are reading it ourselves for the first time and will try to bring you the juiciest chapters first.

Enjoy!

[Update, 2 September 2016:  We apologise for the inconvenience – we should have uploaded the Index and the Reference Notes for the book earlier.  That oversight has been corrected. – IWPCHI]

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Lundberg – America’s Sixty Families (1937) – Title page, Acknowledgments, Foreword and Contents

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Lundberg – America’s Sixty Families (1937) – Chapter I – Golden Dynasties and Their Treasures

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Lundberg – America’s Sixty Families (1937) – Chapter II – The Sixty Families

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Lundberg – America’s Sixty Families (1937) – Chapter III – The Politics of Pecuniary Aggrandizement: 1896-1912

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Lundberg_America’s Sixty Families (1937) – Chapter XII – The ‘New Deal’ – And After

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Lundberg – America’s Sixty Families (1937) – Bibliography

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Lundberg – America’s Sixty Families (1937) – Reference Notes

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Lundberg – America’s Sixty Families (1937) – Index

 

 

 

6 August 2016: 71st Anniversary of U.S. War Crime – the A-Bombing of Hiroshima, Japan

To commemorate the 71st anniversary of the US war crime of the dropping of the atomic bomb on the city of Hiroshima, Japan, we present excerpts from the book “Hiroshima Diary” by Dr. Michihiko Hachiya.  On August 6, 1945 Dr. Hachiya was the Director of the Hiroshima Communications Hospital, one of the few facilities that was not completely leveled by the nuclear blast.  At home at the time of the explosion, not far from ground zero, Dr. Hachiya was severely injured.  Unable to work in the days after the attack, he began to keep a diary of the events taking place around him.  These excerpts are personal accounts of witnesses in Hiroshima on August 6th and 7th – eyewitnesses to the immense human toll of the bombing , which we do not see in many photographs.  Photographs of the thousands of dead taken immediately after the blast are kept hidden from the public, though they do exist.  Immediately after the end of WWII, the US Government began a massive propaganda campaign in an attempt to get US citizens comfortable with the idea of surviving as victors in a nuclear war with the USSR and China.  Graphic images of what happens to human beings in a nuclear war were not allowed to be shown; instead, children were taught to “duck and cover” under their flimsy school desks when they saw the flash from a nuclear bomb.  At home, people were encouraged to build air raid shelters and bomb-proof bunkers under their homes, and to keep them stocked with canned goods and water so they could survive the immediate effects of the A-bomb.  But the oral and written histories of Hiroshima and Nagasaki tell a different story: one of unimaginable horror and human suffering that was inescapable for almost everyone within 5 miles of the center of the explosion.  Today’s nuclear weapons are many times more powerful than the bombs dropped on Japan; so these eyewitness accounts give us only a hint of what would happen in a modern nuclear war.  As the capitalist world hurtles toward World War III we offer this brief look at what lies in store for all of us unless we the workers put an end to the capitalist system of exploitation, poverty and war and establish a global coalition of egalitarian socialist workers republics in its place.

The US Government, which launched wars in Korea that killed 3 million, Vietnam (another 3 million); backed dictatorships throughout South and Central America and the Caribbean that slaughtered hundreds of thousands of workers and trade union leaders; organized the slaughter of hundreds of thousands of workers in the Philippines and Indonesia; and has killed over 1 million in Iraq and hundreds of thousands in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Libya and Syria tries to sell the big lie that ISIL/ISIS are ruthless killers!  The most ruthless mass-murderers on this planet – the US capitalist class and their blood-soaked government – slaughtered more workers in two days in August 1945 than ISIL/ISIS – vicious as they certainly are – has killed in the past two years!  And more often than not, the US political party in power that ends up happily leading workers into a slaughterhouse at the behest of their corporate owners is… the “lesser evil” Democratic Party!

U.S. capitalism must die so the working classes of the U.S. and the world may live!  Workers of the world, unite!

— IWPCHI

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[Excerpts from “Hiroshima Diary – The Journal of a Japanese Physician – August 6-September 30, 1945” by Michihiko Hachiya, M.D., Director, Hiroshima Communications Hospital; Translated and edited by Warner Wells, M.D., University of North Carolina School of Medicine.  University of North Carolina Press, 1955.]

Mushroom cloud rises over Hiroshima, Japan, August 6 1945. Photo taken by Enola Gay tail gunner S/Sgt. George R. (Bob) Caron. Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.

Mushroom cloud rises over Hiroshima, Japan, August 6 1945. Photo taken by Enola Gay tail gunner S/Sgt. George R. (Bob) Caron. Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.

Don’t go,” I said. “Please tell us more of what occurred yesterday.”

It was a horrible sight,” said Dr. Tabuchi. “Hundreds of injured people who were trying to escape the hills passed our house. The sight of them was almost unbearable. Their faces and hands were burnt and swollen; and great sheets of skin had peeled away from their tissues to hang down like rags on a scarecrow. They moved like a line of ants. All through the night, they went past our house, but this morning they had stopped. I found them lying on both sides of the road so thick that it was impossible to pass without stepping on them.”

View of Hiroshima A-bomb from Honkawa Elementary School, taken 30 seconds after bombing.

View of Hiroshima A-bomb from Honkawa Elementary School, taken 30 seconds after bombing.

I lay with my eyes shut while Dr. Tabuchi was talking, picturing in my mind the horror he was describing. I neither saw nor heard Mr. Katsutani when he came in. It was not until I heard someone sobbing that my attention was attracted, and I recognized my old friend. I had known Mr. Katsutani for many years and knew him to be an emotional person, but even so, to see him break down made tears come to my eyes. He had come all the way from Jigozen to look for me, and now that he had found me, emotion overcame him.

He turned to Dr. Sasada and said brokenly: “Yesterday, it was impossible to enter Hiroshima, else I would have come. Even today fires are still burning in some places. You should see how the city has changed. When I reached the Misasa Bridge this morning, everything before me was gone, even the castle. These buildings here are the only ones left anywhere around.

Effects of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima. View from the top of the Red Cross Hospital looking northwest. Frame buildings recently erected. 1945, US Department of Defense

Effects of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima. View from the top of the Red Cross Hospital looking northwest. Frame buildings recently erected. 1945, US Department of Defense

[…]

Mr. Katsutani paused for a moment to catch his breath and went on: “I really walked along the railroad tracks to get here, but even they were littered with electric wires and broken railway cars, and the dead and wounded lay everywhere. When I reached the bridge, I saw a dreadful thing. It was unbelievable. There was a man, stone dead, sitting on his bicycle as it leaned against the bridge railing. It is hard to believe that such a thing could happen!”

He repeated himself two or three times as if to convince himself that what he said was true and then continued: “It seems that most of the dead people were either on the bridge or beneath it. You could tell that many had gone down to the river to get a drink of water and had died where they lay. I saw a few live people still in the water, knocking against the dead as they floated down the river. There must have been hundreds and thousands who fled to the river to escape the fire and then drowned.

The sight of the soldiers, though, was more dreadful than the dead people floating down the river. I came onto I don’t know how many, burned from the hips up; and where the skin had peeled, their flesh was wet and mushy. They must have been wearing their military caps because the black hair on top of their heads was not burned. It made them look like they were wearing black lacquer bowls.

And they had no faces! Their eyes, noses and mouths had been burned away, and it looked like their ears had melted off. It was hard to tell front from back. One soldier, whose features had been destroyed and was left with his white teeth sticking out, asked me for some water, but I didn’t have any. I clasped my hands and prayed for him. He didn’t say anything more. His plea for water must have been his last words. The way they were burned, I wonder if they didn’t have their coats off when the bomb exploded.”

[…]

Somebody asked him what he was doing when the explosion occurred. […]

I was the ranking officer in the local branch of the Ex-officer’s Association, but even I didn’t know what to do because that day the villagers under my command had been sent off to Miyajima [the next village towards Hiroshima from where he was in Jigozen, approximately 10 miles southwest of ground zero – IWPCHI] for labor service. I looked all around to find someone to help me make a rescue squad, but I couldn’t find anybody. While I was still looking for help, wounded people began to stream into the village. I asked them what had happened, but all they could tell me was that Hiroshima had been destroyed and everybody was leaving the city. With that I got on my bicycle and rode as fast as I could towards Itsukaichi. By the time I got there, the road was jammed with people, and so was every path and byway.

Again I tried to find out what had happened, but nobody could give me a clear answer. When I asked people where they had come from, they would point towards Hiroshima and say. ‘This way.’ And when I asked where they were going, they would point toward Miyajima and say, ‘That way.’ Everybody said the same thing.

Hiroshima Street Scene with injured Civilians. Credit: Australian War Memorial, CANBERRA ACT 2601

Hiroshima Street Scene with injured Civilians. Credit: Australian War Memorial, CANBERRA ACT 2601

I saw no badly wounded or burned people around Itsukaichi, but when I reached Kusatsu, nearly everybody was badly hurt. The nearer I got to Hiroshima the more I saw until by the time I had reached Koi [a railroad station on the very western limits of the city] they were all so badly injured, I could not bear to look into their faces. They smelled like burning hair.

The patient's skin is burned in a pattern corresponding to the dark portions of a kimono. Credit: National Archives and Records Administration 519686

“The patient’s skin is burned in a pattern corresponding to the
dark portions of a kimono.”  Credit: U.S. National Archives and Records Administration 519686

[…]

The area around Koi station was not burned, but the station and the houses nearby were badly damaged. Every square inch of the station platform was packed with wounded people. Some were standing; others lying down. They were all pleading for water. Now and then you could hear a child calling for its mother. It was a living hell, I tell you! It was a living hell!

Today it was the same way. […] I left Koi station and went over to the Koi primary school. By then, the school had been turned into an emergency hospital and was already crowded with desperately injured people. Even the playground was packed with the dead and dying. They looked like so many cod fish spread out for drying. What a pitiful sight it was to see them lying there in the hot sun. Even I could tell they were all going to die.”

[…]

Dr. Hanaoka made an appearance. “Let me tell you, if I can, what happened,” he said. “I stopped by the Red Cross Hospital on my way here. It is swamped with patients, and outside the dead and dying are lined up on either side of the street as far east as the Miyuki Bridge.

Between the Red Cross Hospital and the center of the city I saw nothing that wasn’t burned to a crisp. Streetcars were standing at Kawaya-cho and inside were dozens of bodies, blackened beyond recognition. I saw fire reservoirs filled to the brim with dead people who looked as though they had been boiled alive. In one reservoir I saw a man, horribly burned, crouching beside another man who was dead. He was drinking blood-stained water out of the reservoir. Even if I had tried to stop him, it wouldn’t have done any good; he was completely out of his head. In one reservoir there were so many dead people there wasn’t enough room for them to fall over. They must have died sitting in the water.

Even the swimming pool at the Prefectural First Middle School is filled with dead people. They must have suffocated while they sat in the water trying to escape the fire because they didn’t appear to be burned.

Dr. Hanaoka cleared his throat, and after a moment continued: “Dr. Hachiya, that pool wasn’t big enough to accommodate everybody who tried to get in it. You could tell that by looking around the sides. I don’t know how many were caught by death with their heads hanging over the edge. In one pool I saw some people who were still alive, sitting in the water with dead all around them. They were too weak to get out. People were trying to help them, but I am sure they must have died. I apologize for telling you these things, but they are true. I don’t see how anyone got out alive…”

Hiroshima victim photographed 1951

Hiroshima victim photographed 1951