Category Archives: Security

The British in WWII Reported Own Losses to Undermine Nazi Confidence in Wins

An old story from The Guardian reported how transparency played in a war with liars:

An academic trawl of the corporation’s archives has revealed that while the Nazi regime used puppet broadcasters such as William Joyce – nicknamed Lord Haw-Haw – to spin messages of German invincibility, the BBC was choosing to broadcast detailed news of Britain’s military setbacks. The decision was part of a deliberate strategy to win the hearts and minds of the German people, says Dr Vike Martina Plock of the department of English at Exeter University, who discovered memos from the time during research at the BBC Written Archives Centre in Caversham Park, Reading.

The strategy was simple.

If the Allies could openly admit defeats, it was believed [by Nazi listeners], they must be extremely confident, convinced of their eventual victory over Nazi Germany.

“General MacArthur told President Truman the Chinese are not coming into Korea”

The news right now is about a widely respected and beloved leader in the US Military achieving the highest award for valor.

70 years after the battle of Hill 205, November 25, 1950: Ralph Puckett at 95 years old is to be upgraded to the Medal of Honor.

Source: ArmyTimes. “Retired U.S. Army Col. Ralph Puckett stands alongside troops as they prepare to start a foot march during the 2021 David E. Grange Jr. Best Ranger Competition on Fort Benning, Ga., April 16.” (Sgt. Henry Villarama/Army)

Yet I can’t help but notice an important side-story.

In “Witness to War” Puckett clearly is using his current platform to point out (in a gripping combat story) what a terrible leader General MacArthur was.

General MacArthur had seen Truman the 8th of October and told the President the Chinese are not coming into North Korea… he obviously was wrong about that […] I just couldn’t understand why things appeared to be easy to MacArthur.

This has to mean something big. Puckett is very purposefully throwing MacArthur into the dustbin of history, as any literate historian would too.

…historians have reassessed Douglas MacArthur—not just his command style, but particular decisions he made, and particular episodes from his long and controversial career. In modern evaluations, more often than not, “Dugout Doug” comes up short. […]

How did MacArthur blunder so badly? How could he miss more than 300,000 Chinese soldiers? Once the intelligence finally came in loud and clear, he and his staff of sycophants continued to dismiss it, suppress it, or willfully misinterpret its import. In so doing, they recklessly put tens of thousands of American and other United Nations troops in mortal danger. The result was catastrophic: One of the worst defeats, and one of the most ignominious withdrawals, in American military history.

It was, in some senses, a repeat of his debacle at Bataan. Only in this case, MacArthur had been outwitted and outflanked by a guerrilla army with no air force, crude logistics, and primitive communications, an army with no tanks and precious little artillery. As David Halberstam put it, MacArthur had “lost face not just before the entire world, but before his own troops, and perhaps most important of all, before himself.”

All of this happened because MacArthur was almost criminally out of touch with reality.

I can feel the bitterness in tone when Puckett speaks to the camera about the 8th of October tension of 1950 between MacArthur and Truman, in an otherwise completely neutral and factual retelling of a near-death battle.

Here’s how it was reported to the public around the time Puckett was on the ground thinking MacArthur was dangerously clueless.

Truman fired MacArthur in April 1951 for disobeying orders. Truman surely regretted not firing him sooner.

“I didn’t fire him because he was a dumb son of a bitch, although he was,” Truman later said. “I fired him because he wouldn’t respect authority…”

The Medal of Honor for valor in the Korean War really gives us a chance to listen to a detailed retelling of American history from a soldier who by all accounts has the highest integrity, who is neutral in tone and ultimately who makes others perform better… and who is clearly pointing out MacArthur was a clueless disaster.

Reminds me of the Trump family repeatedly invoking MacArthur as their hero for being a “not nice guy”. I am pretty sure they mean the same sort of thing that historians might refer to as MacArthur’s extremist evangelical white supremacist beliefs.

As late as 1950 [MacArthur] commented to a visiting American churchman: “Please send ten missionaries for every one you now have in Japan. We must have ten thousand Christian missionaries and a million Bibles to complete the occupation of this land.” […] MacArthur’s conviction that democracy and Christianity were inseparable necessities for the rebirth of Japan was readily accepted by many chaplains.

Another fun history fact is — since we’re talking about MacArthur’s “not nice” evangelical views — that the Aryan Nations white supremacist domestic terrorist group was inspired by Colonel William Potter Gale (a close aide to MacArthur who also was a “Christian Identity” pastor).

Gale spent his time after WWII back in America to spread what the SPLC calls “a militia-type antigovernment movement that promoted racist and anti-Semitic views.”

Just to emphasize the point one more time… “MacArthur was almost criminally out of touch with reality” and his incompetence helped spawn veteran-led violent Christian domestic terrorist groups in America.

And that reminds me of a bunch of obviously clueless American flag officers who just published a completely tone-deaf fear-mongering disinformation letter (or as Steven Metz, professor at the US Army War College, called the letter: “unhinged, delusional and, frankly, stupid”).

Think carefully about all this in comparison to the typical caption of this photo…

“Probably one of the most unpopular of Harry Truman’s moves during his seven years and nine months as president was the firing of Gen. Douglas MacArthur. But Truman never publicly wavered in the belief that he did the right thing. Here Truman and MacArthur meet on Wake island, Oct. 1950.” Source: UPI

Truman was right and probably should have fired MacArthur earlier.

Texas Police Violently Assault Cyclist Without Cause

Jaywalking is a fantasy crime, as I’ve explained in detail here before.

It’s a completely bogus framework of law designed to promote wealthy white car ownership, and moreover normalize racist violence against non-motorists.

Texas is a fourth-world country that likes to hurt people, and is more proud of its legacy of slavery (“Remember the Alamo”) or hate doctrines (“Lone Star”) than anything else.

Put these two things together and… color me surprised that the notoriously tyrannical College Station police within the backwards state of Texas were just caught on film being obvious thugs and bullies.

In Texas they simply don’t care.

Was the cyclist riding around where nobody was at risk somehow posing a risk? There’s no risk and the cyclist keeps asking “for what?”

If the police don’t care, they don’t care. Eventually the police said there was a minor traffic violation.

In other words, can you believe Texas police actually were concerned with anyone’s safety? The video shows police treating a cyclist as convenient punching bag and target for their itchy fingers… with no evidence of threat.

Even the wider context doesn’t help change this narrative. The police themselves say they just wanted to prove a point by hurting the cyclist because he didn’t “obey” them.

The Texas police literally crashed (dropped their bike) without justification and then claimed falsely that they were most concerned with stopping crashes.

Police said at 1:04 p.m. the bicyclist was seen running through a red light at University and Nagle Street.

In other words, a cyclist rode in a manner the police disliked and didn’t seem to take their anger seriously. To force him to respect their authority to continue enforcing pointless and racist laws, then they did the dumbest thing possible and perhaps lost all respect.

There are many rational SAFETY-BASED reasons for cyclists to both ride through red lights as well as “jaywalk”.

  • Cyclists in Paris are now allowed to ride through red lights, and San Francisco is mulling a similar move.
  • Two thirds of bike commuters run red lights: “…three main reasons: the need to turn, the failure of a signal to recognize them at an intersection, and the absence of others on the road…”
  • “I treat red lights and stop signs as if they were yield signs. A fundamental concern of ethics is the effect of our actions on others. My actions harm no one.”
  • Virginia Cyclists Can Now Run Red Lights

Logically (ethically) and historically the cyclist already was on more firm ground than the police, and then a pointless violent assault removed the moral standing police obviously thought they deserved.

Now read this:

‘I’m Speechless.’ We Asked Law-Enforcement Officers Around the World How American Policing Looks From Abroad.

This Day in History 1921: Sophie Scholl Was Born

Source: Diana Hildebrandt

On the 22nd of February 1943 a brave 21-year-old woman walked to a Nazi guillotine, displaying full conviction she “had done the best I could have done for my people”.

This is where her life ended. But how did it begin?

Today marks what would have been the 100th birthday of Sophie Scholl. On May 9th, 1921 her protestant liberal German parents had their fourth child, who grew interested in art and music.

Like all “eligible” German children she was forced to endure indoctrination from the “Hitler Youth” program. The Nazi system of hate was designed to stomp children into becoming obedient followers of a fascist regime of ruthless intolerance, and to rebel against their parents.

Sophie, as might be expected of such heavy propaganda, at first participated in regular programmed camaraderie and adventures. She became a squad leader of the Nazi Bund Deutscher Mädel (League of German Girls), where they were trained to sing songs like this one.

Läutet, daß blutig die Seile sich röten,
Rings lauter Brennen und Martern und Töten

(Ringing, until ropes run red with blood,
Ring louder with burning, torture and murder)

Then her loyalty and intelligence began to take effect. Major doubts arose: Why were her friends denied membership for being Jewish? Why were books mysteriously forbidden from any discussion with her own squad? Why were women being denied any future except “wife, mother, and homemaker”?

Her older brother Hans was arrested in 1936 when he crossed one of these invisible lines of secret police, accused of being in a forbidden youth movement (Deutsche Jungenschaft, Bündische Jugend — basically the Boy Scouts).

It was this arrest of her brother that turned Sophie as a 15 year old girl away from Nazism — she felt loyalty to her family and to human values more than the irrational hate programming.

Six years later in 1942 Sophie joined her brother Hans at Munich university, where he already had been active in a group called The White Rose that opposed German fascism.

Sophie then convinced her then fiancee — a 25-year-old law student and officer in the Nazi air force named Fritz Hartnagel — to also support this group.

On the 23rd January 1943, just a month before The White Rose was uncovered and Sophie would be executed, Hartnagel returned to Germany on the last military evacuation plane out of Stalingrad. Dutiful as a Nazi officer, yet supportive of Sophie in The White Rose, he survived the war and died in 2001 at age 84.

Today she is considered one of the most important Germans of all time.

UT-Austin Report: Students Aren’t Meant to Be Safe From Dangerous Harms

Straight armed salute popularized by Hitler, with hand configurations popularized by the KKK… what’s not to like about these giant white crowds in Texas funded by slavery and pledging cryptic loyalty oaths?

Here’s the big story:

UT-Austin released a report… that concluded there was ‘no racist intent’ behind the song, even as the song was written in a racist setting.

I totally get where that report is coming from. This is like UT-Austin saying its culinary school had no intent to poison its students when the food was prepared in a poisonous setting.

Being unconcerned about safety doesn’t prove intent to be unsafe, it’s a proof that safety wasn’t intended.

So the school is saying when its students are unsafe and harmed, that’s because the school didn’t intend to keep them safe and unharmed.

The key point is when UT-Austin fails to show it has anti-racist intent today, it has no intent for the abolition of racism, it is admitting to being racist.

However, if we find that no student is expected to get poisoned from their dining halls (or even from other students), then why should we be expected to put up with dangerous racism at all? That’s inconsistent and illogical.

Study may explain how racial discrimination raises the risks of disease among African Americans…

And now for a little history about UT-Austin’s “racist setting“:

…Littlefield has long been known as one of UT’s earliest and most prolific donors, and all around campus, you can still see his influence: a cafe and residence hall are named after him, and two of the campus’s most prominent landmarks are the Littlefield Home and Littlefield Fountain. In their letter, student athletes are calling for his name to be removed from Littlefield Hall because, as Gordon teaches, Littlefield was a slave owner who fought for the Confederacy in the Civil War.

Late in his life, Littlefield poured money into making UT more Southern-centric and commissioned Italian sculptor Pompeo Coppini to design statues of Jefferson Davis and Robert E. Lee, as well as his namesake fountain. The fountain’s inscription, which was removed in 2016, described how Confederates were “not dismayed by defeat nor discouraged by misrule [and] builded [sic] from the ruins of a devastating war a greater South.” Interestingly, when he was completing the project, Coppini recommended to Littlefield that the monuments should honor Americans fighting in World War I. When Littlefield refused, Coppini replied: “As time goes by, they will look to the Civil War as a blot on the pages of American history, and the Littlefield Mem­orial will be resented as keeping up the hatred between the Northern and Southern states.”

Would you go to Goebbels Cafe? Why eat at Littlefield’s?

Nothing says “food isn’t safe here” like a cafe named after someone who was really into cutting corners and making money from harming others, like slavery and mass atrocity crimes.

You think Goebbels is an exaggeration? Indonesia had to give up Hitler-themed attempts to mix genocide and meals.

If these Indonesians had named their cafe Littlefield’s instead and covered the walls with pictures of lynchings nobody would have complained, right?

A “greater South” obviously was Littlefield’s way of saying he was continuing Civil War by other means, as President Grant very openly warned American soldiers.

To be clear, when UT-Austin’s big donor poured his money from slavery into commemorations of discredited and defeated domestic terrorists who killed Americans, he was asked at that time to also at least honor some American soldiers.

He refused. His superstition, ambition and ignorance was on full display.

Such a failure of patriotism, refusing to honor American soldiers, was made even worse by instead erecting giant monuments to slavery that celebrate rape, torture and killing of Americans… it is clear that safety for UT-Austin students was never intended.

If they can’t commit to something so basic as anti-racism, then surely they aren’t capable of things like food safety either. Anyone caught poisoning others on campus now surely would be excused for lack of intent, and being just a natural outcome in such a poisonous setting.

Again, the key point is when UT-Austin fails to show anti-racist intent today, no abolition of racism, they are being racist.

UTA is giving a big FU to its own people.

Perhaps it’s past due time to change their song and their hand gestures? I mean why not just roll with “Longhorn Coach” protocol and tell students and fans they must learn now how to give a “Herman salute” (middle finger).

Source: Texas Takes claims “Coach Herman was just reviewing the signal for the ‘Go Fuck Yourself Bitch’ play”

And now to lighten the mood, here’s a comedian telling jokes about racism and schools in America:

Court Rules Email HyperLinks Are Not Attachments

The Southern District Court ruled in Nichols et al. v. Noom, Inc., no. 20-cv-3677 (Mar. 11, 2021) that, given lack of an exportable target, a hyperlink fails to become an attachment, and thus a producing party does not have to deliver anything more.

While the Court appreciates that hyperlinked internal documents could be akin to attachments, this is not necessarily so. When a person creates a document or email with attachments, the person is providing the attachment as a necessary part of the communication. When a person creates a document or email with a hyperlink, the hyperlinked document/information may or may not be necessary to the communication.

“Active Measures” and the 2016 Presidential Election

Recently I’ve seen some people are still commenting on social media “what does Russia have to do with 2016” so I just send them a critically-acclaimed 2018 documentary.

…key weapons of political warfare: propaganda, cyber attacks and recruiting agents of influence…

Financial fraud wouldn’t be enough alone to bind together villains of this story (after all, they could end up competing with each other), and so allegedly they’re in conspiracy to grab power to abuse women and children (which intelligence agencies refer to more commonly as “undermine confidence in democracy”).

Though retiring Russian president Boris Yeltsin mistakenly believed that his successor would fight against totalitarianism while ensuring the freedom of the press, it wasn’t long before Putin proved eager to indulge the nostalgia of the populace, guiding it backward through history toward a revived Soviet nationalism. The parallels between Putin’s regressive crusade and Trump’s “Make America Great Again” mantra are expanded upon in Bryan’s film, as is their shared contempt for [women].

The FBI referred to Russian interference rather dryly:

On July 13, 2018, a federal grand jury sitting in the District of Columbia returned an indictment against 12 Russian military intelligence officers for their alleged roles in interfering with the 2016 United States (U.S.) elections.

And here is the movie trailer for easy reference:

Is the Betsy Ross Flag Racist?

I was really excited to watch this video about Chinook “electronic warfare” until I clicked on play and a giant Betsy Ross flag showed up as the backdrop.

There are some places this American flag featuring a 13-star circle (colloquially known as the Betsy Ross) would seem appropriate. This isn’t one of them.

The Betsy Ross wasn’t the first flag of America, it wasn’t the only flag (there were hundreds of interpretations of “constellation” of white stars in the Flag Act of 1777), but it was nonetheless a flag commissioned just before the 1780s.

What was a hot topic of the 1780s? Slavery (or more precisely, passively allowing racism to continue).

…I’m certain that few of the people involved in these situations actively dislike black people – or think lowly of them. Instead, they’re just people acting normally in a system that promotes and protects Eurocentric power by denying, and at best bracketing, the humanity of Africans and Afro-descendant people. In this world, you don’t have to be a racist to be racist; it’s racist to just passively allow racism to continue.

Pennsylvania’s Act for the Gradual Abolition of Slavery of 1780 set forth truly revolutionary concepts like proposing an end to racism — all children born in the state would be free persons regardless of race or their parents’ race.

In other words, a 1780s flag might make sense in a video about life in the 1780s. Think about a display of all the flags in American history (updated 27 times so far), all side by side that also has one from that time period displayed.

It would be a flag among all the American flags, symbolizing one less-than-ideal chapter of the past. Kind of like saying “here’s an old flag that we no longer fly, it’s from a time of slavery and we use it to show how far we’ve come since then”. It is a flag to symbolize mistakes made, with other flags to show direction and progress since that time.

For another example, think about a history video, with some historians discussing context around the flag, or in a museum about what life was like in 1780s.

Ample opportunity would be given to explain how this flag is from long ago, a time that nobody would want to go back towards because… slavery, not to mention misogyny and a host of other things. Again, was it the only flag? No. Was it the primary flag? No.

This flag really isn’t really supposed to speak for itself because it raises many important questions that really shouldn’t be left open and unanswered.

When used on its own with no context, just a substitution for the present American flag, it tends to beg whether someone is thinking “forget all the Amendements, never mind all the changes, let’s go backwards to white nationalism of the 1780s”.

Or more literally, the Betsy Ross flag typically serves as a warning to Black people they are “neither welcome nor seen as equal”.

To be fair, hate groups tend not to rely on Betsy Ross alone to signal everything they want to say. Nazis and KKK in other words wave this flag along with their other flags, although that might be changing lately.

Here’s how the Betsy Ross used to show up in domestic terrorism meetups:

Source: Twitter
Source: Brad Warthen

An entire video from 2007 shows how the Betsy Ross is appropriated. Again it clearly isn’t sufficient on its own, they have to surround it with other hate flags to make their point.

There’s an important subtext here, which is that in 2007 Nazis were still very much attached to displaying the swastika and costuming to look like Hitler.

It seems absurd today, but back then it was still a Nazi thing to dress like a reenactment of 1938 Germany.

After 2016 the American Nazis were very much opposed to wearing a swastika (they literally banned it themselves after claiming for decades any bans on swastikas would be immoral). Nazis realized they could just fly Trump flags instead.

Here’s what their meetups look like now, and again a Betsy Ross isn’t on its own:

Source: Twitter

Trump plus Betsy Ross = KKK/Nazi (this shouldn’t be news to anyone literate in basic American history).

And on that note, here’s how the Betsy Ross shows up in various domestic terrorism recruitment fliers:

Source: NY
Source: Illinois
Source: Washington

For what it’s worth, the person who took credit for one of these campaigns was found dead after warning he was threatened by others in his group for “not being racist enough”.

That reminds me of how some experts maintain that the Betsy Ross isn’t racist enough yet for them to register it alone as a symbol of hate. Those kind of comments might have been a basis for the KKK to kill their own man.

So what does flying a Betsy Ross represent?

All of this being said, the bottom line is still a Betsy Ross flag probably didn’t come from Betsy Ross, and it absolutely did come from a time when America didn’t consider Black people human and it basically operated as a white police state.

That’s pretty bad on its own.

If there were any real proof the Betsy Ross flag came from Betsy Ross, we might also have to ask whether her design was meant to represent her values of the time (she eloped and intermarried and suffered from American misogyny, in a story not unlike Hutchinson).

Still not great.

It’s like asking the question whether America is racist. The answer is obviously yes, especially at the time of ill-gotten gains under this flag, as Brookings wrote:

When a person critiques America for the racism that is deeply embedded in our social institutions, some feel they are being personally attacked. This is because deep down they realize that they benefit from unearned assets associated with whiteness.

Discussing whether a flag of 1776 America is racist is like someone asking if the “America First” platform of 1915 was racist, or for that matter like asking whether a 1938 flag of Germany was anti-semitic.

Kind of obvious, no?

Washington could have freed his slaves. He did not. Washington could have demanded “all men created equal” was written as all people. He did not.

Heck, Washington could have spent more than six months at a time in Philadelphia and thus agree to the terms of the 1780 Act for the Gradual Abolition of Slavery. He did not!

In fact it seems the opposite; while flying his 13 stars and bars flag, Washington is said to have knowingly and repeatedly violated the state’s law (as well as its 1788 Amendment) by constantly rotating his slaves so he could keep them.

Let’s be honest. The American Revolution almost certainly extended and expanded slavery, and repressed women, far more than if Britain had maintained control of its colonies. In the War of 1812 America started enlisting Black freemen to fight against the British and then afterwards taking away the guns and freedoms of the victorious Black veterans (a racist theme that would repeat again in 1899 after the Spanish American War, in 1918 after WWI and so on).

America of 1776 thus can not be separated from the act of forming a new framework of tyranny, especially in Georgia (where British abolition of slavery in 1735 was violently reversed by immigrants who restarted slavery and said it was impossible for white people to live in America without Blacks doing all their work for them). This story was repeated in Texas as well.

That’s right, I just said 1735. America’s Revolutionary war was fought by whites who fully intended to extend slavery, and who were setting the stage for an even bloodier Civil War a century later on the same principles of tyranny.

Britain (as well as France), to put it simply, had been debating release of slaves in the late 1700s and then freed them. Yet during that same time in America was doubling down on slavery and violent white militias were killing anyone who even dared report on mistreatment of Blacks or speak of abolition.

To be fair, France — like America — decided to restart slavery after it had been abolished.

“The decision to reestablish slavery isn’t just a stain on Napoleon’s legacy, it’s a crime,” Louis-Georges Tin, campaigner and honorary president of the Representative Council of Black Associations (CRAN), told DW. Napoleon’s decision in 1802 to reinstate slavery not only betrayed the ideals of the French Revolution, it also condemned an estimated 300,000 people into a life of bondage for several more years, before France definitively abolished slavery in 1848.

Even more to the point, America after 1808 decided to build a whole new slavery economy based on the state-sanctioned rape of Black women by any white man available… Black children were forcibly birthed (roots of the anti-abortion movement) so they could be bought and sold in the millions! It wasn’t about cotton.

Thus if you’re showing a Betsy Ross flag without some clear reason and some context to be displaying the militant symbol of a white police state that ruthlessly trafficked humans and murdered the press to silence speech, what are you even doing?

On its own it begs the important question whether you have a Confederate battle flag in your pocket, or a 14/88 tattoo somewhere. What’s your context for the 13 stars instead of 50?

I mean to put it another way, even Nazis and KKK bring context whenever they fly it. The Betsy Ross amplifies such messaging for obvious reasons despite being unable to carry a hate tune on its own. This flag both leads people to Andrew Jackson, as well as Barack Obama, but on its own it’s an open question.

It’s kind of obvious why hate groups like such a flag. When they fly it on its own it’s like a subtle invitation to normalize and talk up white nationalism without revealing their full regalia. Psssst, hey kids do you like Washington? Yeah? How about Andrew Jackson or Woodrow Wilson?

In dissolving the 1776 Commission on his first day in office, President Biden helped end one source of misinformation about our past, a reminder that, as we work to restore democracy, we will need to restore honest inquiry and accurate history as well.

It’s an encoded signal to recruit for extremism. Much like flying the various flags of Germany — the revision you choose to fly reveals a lot.

If America had always had one flag this would be an entirely different story, yet this flag is tied only to a particular time of systemic racism and oppression by whites.

This Day in History 1970: Ohio National Guard Kills Kent State University Students

On this day in 1970 four students were killed during an assault on Kent State University campus by Ohio National Guard carrying M1 rifles with bayonets attached:

Source: Kent State University’s 2021 Virtual Commemoration of May 4, 1970.

…three shot in the chest and one in the head… with some injured by bayonets…

  • Allison Krause
  • Jeffrey Miller
  • Sandra Scheuer
  • William Schroeder

In total over a dozen people were shot by the National Guard in the back and side, including innocent bystanders walking away or standing elsewhere. All unarmed, all far away.

Source: Kent State University’s 2021 Virtual Commemoration of May 4, 1970.

Who gave the order to shoot?

Source: Pulitzer

Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young wrote their iconic song “Ohio” immediately upon seeing the photographs in the news.

Tin soldiers and Nixon’s comin’… Four Dead in Ohio… soldiers are cutting us down

That single was out on the street in 10 days… The message was very simple… [America was] killing our own children in support of secret mass slaughter in Cambodia…

Kent State University 2021 Virtual Commemoration:

Stanford Racism Precipitated “National Policy of Exclusion” and Internment Camps

I’ve written before how Stanford pushed virulent racism as Governor of California (1862–1863).

Local racism was bad on its own. Yet here’s an example of how it also fed directly into American federal policy:

In May 1912, President Woodrow Wilson wrote to a California backer: “In the matter of Chinese and Japanese coolie immigration I stand for the national policy of exclusion (or restricted immigration)…We cannot make a homogeneous population out of people who do not blend with the Caucasian race…Oriental coolieism will give us another race problem to solve, and surely we have had our lesson.”

The President of the US was in violent agreement, doubling-down on a particular Californian manifestation of racism that had bloomed under Stanford’s high-profile hatred of Asians.

On May 3, 1913, California enacted the Alien Land Law, barring Asian immigrants from owning land. California tightened the law further in 1920 and 1923, barring the leasing of land and land ownership by American-born children of Asian immigrant parents or by corporations controlled by Asian immigrants. These laws were supported by the California press, as well as the Hollywood Association, Japanese and Korean (later Asiatic) Exclusion League and the Anti-Jap Laundry League (both founded by labor unions).

What’s that you say?

How does this anti-Asian action in 1913 and the later overt white nationalism of America link back to Stanford?

The Atlantic paints the picture for us in the years following Stanford’s infamous “white nationalist” speech as Governor:

With help from the journalist Knute Berger, I’ve uncovered more than a dozen attacks attributed to the Klan in California from 1868 to 1870, as well as a smaller number in Utah and Oregon. That figure is minuscule compared with what the former Confederate states endured in these years. Nonetheless, each of these western attacks left victims and sowed terror. And collectively, they challenge common assumptions about America’s long history of white-supremacist violence.

Indeed, Stanford seems front-and-center to bolstering the anti-Asian hate groups and domestic terrorism that became normalized in California.

Spurred by popular Sinophobia, California lawmakers campaigned against the two signal measures of the Reconstruction era, the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments. […] They falsely claimed that the Fifteenth Amendment would extend the vote to all Chinese, when in fact Asian immigrants were barred from citizenship and suffrage. […] California became the lone free state to reject both amendments outright.

Let’s look back at the 1860s language of Stanford again, just to be clear.

California Governor Leland Stanford, then CEO of the Central Pacific Railroad, had harsh words about the Chinese… “To my mind it is clear, that the settlement among us of an inferior race is to be discouraged by every legitimate means. Asia, with her numberless millions, sends to our shores the dregs of her population.”

“Anti-coolie clubs” were organized immediately following Stanford’s speech in 1862, brewing hate and exclusion leading directly into a Klan violence explosion of 1867.

Stanford’s racist platform became increasingly violent over just 5 years.

This climate of hate then elevated from California into a national partisan issue.

Source “Asian America Chinese and Japanese in the United States Since 1850”, Roger Daniels, 1988, p 36

Do you see how Stanford was into railroads and agriculture, both heavily dependent on Chinese immigration, yet he also was a leader in denying Asian Americans any prosperity from their hard work for him?

Economics cartoon published by “The Wasp” magazine of San Francisco, illustrating local racism as self-interested hypocrisy, 1878

That hypocrisy was a form of racist servitude, similar to how Blacks technically were emancipated yet actively denied freedoms or rights. This matters a lot in American history because we see California’s “leaders” from its start — particularly Stanford who personally profited from hate — building racism into their foundations of political power.

11th Senatorial District is San Francisco, where “Workingmen’s Party” and “Anti-Coolie” hate groups sprung up under Stanford’s 1862 white insecurity platform.

It’s a legacy of Stanford that thus leads President Wilson even before WWI to say he is aiming for a national policy of exclusion, which by 1915 became known as the “America First” platform to revive the KKK (more lynchings of blacks under Wilson in 1915 than all the years of the prior decade combined).

This is all rarely ever discussed. Comment below if you disagree. I mean it’s far more likely to hear people discuss America’s disgraceful internment of Japanese Americans during WWII. These internment camps seem for most Americans to be the most recognizable frame of reference, any time anti-Asian history becomes a discussion topic.

Source: Foreign Policy (Library of Congress/Corbis/VCG via Getty Images). Left: A Japanese-American woman holds her sleeping daughter as they prepare to leave their home for an internment camp in 1942. Right: Japanese-Americans interned at the Santa Anita Assembly Center at the Santa Anita racetrack near Los Angeles in 1942.

It turns out these anti-Asian concentration camps were a logical conclusion of Stanford’s high-profile 1862 platform as well; a result of America failing to fight back against a peculiar Californian strain of violent racism.

Any rational person for example might seek for explanations why Japanese could be so callously pushed into camps by America, yet Germans and Italians were not.

Or perhaps more significantly, people should ask why German Nazi soldiers captured and held as prisoners of war were literally treated as “allies” and helpful hands around the American farmland… while at the same time loyal and patriotic Japanese-Americans were taken off their farms and put into concentration camps.

The answer to this completely different treatment is simple: Stanford (or really the racism that Stanford practiced and encouraged as CEO, Governor and US Senator).

An infamously ruthless and immoral business man had promoted anti-Asian hate movements in the West from his seat in local government all the way to national policy.

Stanford in the 1860s inscrutably linked Californian white-insecurity issues to federal policy, as a means of enabling self-interested white businessmen to steal land from Asian Americans.

Source: “Personal Justice Denied: Report of the Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians”, Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians, 2012, pg 35

Internment of the Japanese thus was lobbied by California businessmen into federal government, and NOT the other way around as is often told incorrectly.

It was a repeat of tragic history, a long time strategy, where Californian industry set out to abuse segments of workers, deny prosperity and steal land/assets because of racism.

From a competitive standpoint you can imagine the glee of white property owners who get to seize assets of their Asian American neighbors.

On the other hand, when Black Americans were relocated into vacant Japanese American homes in San Francisco (to work in the Navy yards and help with WWII war efforts) there allegedly was a lot of unease and discomfort, which led these Black Americans to move up/out and build their own houses instead (not to mention they were targeted by “Urban Renewal” forcing them out).

Kind of amazing to think about just how few Asian Americans had achieved property rights and prosperity against ruthlessly racist government-sanctioned attacks, yet there remained no tolerance and ongoing threats to force the numbers to zero.

The federal government in WWII fell into this trap, enabling false “fear” of the entirely self-interested California racist tycoons.

However, WWII also saw something different unfold. The federal government slowly turned itself around on California policy and by 1945 started to shake off some of Wilson and Stanford’s troubled legacy of racism (thanks to Roosevelt).

A Japanese American may be no more Japanese than a German-American is German, or an Italian-American is Italian, or of any other national background. All of these people, including the Japanese Americans, have men who are fighting today for the preservation of the democratic way of life and the ideas around which our nation was built.

We have no common race in this country, but we have an ideal to which all of us are loyal: we cannot progress if we look down upon any group of people amongst us because of race or religion.

In 1948 the federal government was in opposition to California racism. However significant damage to America had been done nonetheless by those going along with Stanford instead of standing against him.

Stanford’s long legacy of hate, exclusion and internment camps (not to mention genocide) thus present essential reading that helps illuminate America’s long struggle to move aware from horrific consequences of systemic racism.

At the end of the day we have to ask ourselves in all seriousness, why is Stanford still a name people today want to associate themselves with?


Update: In comparison to Stanford’s overt racism and fear-mongering of the 1860s, consider at that exact time Lincoln’s 1864 “Act to Encourage Immigration“.

Indeed, Lincoln wasn’t a man ahead of his time, he was highly logical and empathetic, unlike the extremely regressive racism and xenophobia of Stanford.

The U.S. is at its best when it welcomes talent from around the world and gives people the tools to succeed and thrive here.

Stanford, like a Wilson or Trump, was the U.S. at its worst.