The Department of Homeland Security:
When The Phoenix Comes Home To Roost
Information management is key in the
Bush Regime’s effort to make terror the organizing principle in
American society, while at the same time making its homeland security
apparatus appear to be legal, moral, and most importantly, popular.
And the way that is done is through a concerted psychological warfare
"The implication or latent threat of terror was sufficient to
insure that the people would comply.” William Colby, RIP
On 12 December 1970, the big American brains running the Vietnam War
issued a report titled, Internal Security in South Vietnam-Phoenix.
The report was significant at the time insofar as it recognized that,
"the contest with the Communists has shifted to a new
level." Main force operations had given way to political
proselytizing, terrorism, and penetrations into the Government of
South Vietnam, all of which were managed by the Viet Cong
Infrastructure, or VCI. The report described the VCI as, "the
political and administrative organization through which the Communists
control or seek to control the people of South Vietnam."
According to the report, defense against the new VCI strategy would
depend on the ability of the CIA's Phoenix Program to provide the
corrupt Government of South Vietnam (GVN) with internal security.
Phoenix did this first by coordinating all US and GVN agencies that
contributed to the identification and neutralization of the VCI.
("Neutralization" meant to kill, capture or make to defect,
and the CIA went about this in typical corporate fashion: it imposed
an 1800-per-month neutralization quota on its men in the field.)
Secondly, and more importantly, Phoenix provided the GVN with Internal
Security by compiling a computerized blacklist of political opponents,
which included anyone espousing peace. Those who found their names on
the Phoenix blacklist could be assassinated, or kidnapped, detained,
and tortured indefinitely on the false accusation of one anonymous
Granted, the "war on terror" is unlike the Vietnam War, but
based on his innate illegitimacy, Bush is obsessed with internal
security, and has created the Department of Homeland Security under
former Pennsylvania Governor Tom Ridge to pacify the American people.
It is the largest reorganization of the US government in 50 years, and
according to Lawrence Korb at the Brookings Institute, might,
"bankrupt the country." But at a cost of $50 billion in
taxpayer’s money, it will provide Bush with the "internal
security" apparatus he needs to assure the continuity of
political power in his hands, indefinitely, at the expense of our
democracy and liberty.
And it brings the Phoenix Program home to roost.
Phoenix As The Conceptual Precedent For Homeland Security
The Phoenix "concept" is that terror is an organizing
principle of society. This includes every type of terror, from the
A-Bomb that incinerated Hiroshima, to the "collective
punishments" Israel uses to deny Palestinians jobs, health,
education, pride. It’s National Guardsmen patrolling airports, and
hooded policemen armed with automatic rifles, searching cars without
probable cause. It is color-coded warnings of terror attacks that
never occur, and unsubstantiated reports brought to you by Network
The concept also includes selective terror, which was perfected by the
Viet Minh and involved the murder and mutilation of French colonial
officials and their Vietnamese suppletifs. The Viet Minh, like the
Palestinians, were so incredibly out-gunned they had to choose between
submission, annihilation in an open rebellion, or selective terror -
including suicide bombers. The purpose of selective terror was to
psychologically isolate the oppressor, while demonstrating the ability
to strike small blows for freedom, until a general uprising was
In 1964 the CIA concluded that in order to win the Vietnam War, it had
to neutralize the VCI through selective terror, so it set in place the
foundation stones upon which Phoenix was built: 1) Counter Terror
Teams; 2) the Province Interrogation Center (PIC) Program, which
consisted of a US engineering firm building an interrogation center in
each of South Vietnam’s 44 provinces, one of which was managed in
1972 by Representative Rob Simmons (CT-R): and 3) the Hamlet Informant
Program (HIP), designed to identify VCI suspects at the grass roots
level of society. The similarities are between HIP and Attorney
General John Ashcroft’s short-lived Operation TIPS (the Terrorism
Information and Prevention System) are obvious.
These programs worked in tandem. On the basis of a false accusation
made by a single anonymous HIP informant, a Counter Terror team would
"snatch or snuff (assassinate)" a VCI suspect. If snatched,
the suspect was detained indefinitely under "administrative
detention" laws in a PIC, or one of the hundreds of detention
centers the CIA constructed across South Vietnam. VCI suspects were
shuffled back and forth between PICs, detention centers, and squalid
jails until they died or defected. Otherwise they were sent for
"disposition" to a military tribunal or a CIA-advised
Security Committee. Disposition meant imprisonment on Con Son Island,
90 miles off the southern tip of South Vietnam. Referred to as Ho Chi
Minh University, Con Son Prison was the Phoenix version of Bush’s
hideous detention camp in Cuba.
Administrative detention, detention centers, and military tribunals
are principal Phoenix-derived elements of the illegitimate Bush
Regime’s homeland security apparatus.
In June 1967 these CIA programs were combined to form the Phoenix
Program, which coordinated all the existing US intelligence, police
advisory, and military units in the attack on the VCI. Phoenix
ostensibly had no operational units of its own, but as is true of
homeland security personnel, Phoenix advisors organized and
participated in terror missions, even in countries outside South
Phoenix employed every weapon of terror available to it, including
assassins who performed what Israeli euphemistically refers to as
"targeted kills", military cordon and search operations like
the one that generated the My Lai massacre, massive round-ups of
civilians, and indiscriminate air and artillery strikes like the ones
Under Phoenix, due process was non-existent, and corrupt US and
Vietnamese officials used the Phoenix blacklist to extort innocent
civilians as well as VCI. It was the greatest blackmail scheme ever
invented: if you didn’t do what the President and his clique wanted,
your name appeared on the blacklist - and you were as good as dead.
Be forewarned: the Bush Regime is already compiling its blacklists:
the INS-State Department TIPOFF blacklist; the "No-Fly"
blacklist of peace activists, which is distributed to airlines by the
FBI and the Transportation Security Administration; and local
blacklists like the one kept by the Denver police department.
The Method In Their Madness
After the uninvestigated terror attacks of September 11, Bush’s
rationale for "eternal war on terror" evolved, and on 20
September 2002, it was set in stone with the promulgation of "The
National Security Strategy of the United States," through which
Bush conferred upon himself the right to launch preemptive attacks on
any nation he can characterize as a terrorist threat. This First
Degree Murder strategy makes Americans feel safer, but it has a
sinister, unstated purpose: by generating more human misery and
terrorists around the world, Manifesto Bush will generate more
domestic dissidents, and provide Bush with the pretext he needs to
impose the internal security apparatus that will terrorize and repress
Americans, and allow his Regime to maintain its dominance.
Manifesto Bush is a function of Bush’s paranoid belief - based on
his innate illegitimacy - that the American people must be pacified to
ensure their support for his eternal war on terror. In fact, homeland
security is the lynchpin in the Bush Regime’s plan for world
domination, for without political "internal security," it
cannot wage the eternal war on terror abroad (with all the economic
benefits to Bush and his clique that entails). There is no other need
for the Department of Homeland Security; it is a Trojan Horse through
which Bush will unleash his ideological storm troopers on America, and
exploit his ill-gotten power to achieve personal and political gain.
The Bush Regime is creating this fascist police state through the Big
Lie. Case in point: the Homeland Security website says that the threat
of terrorism, "is a permanent condition," that
"requires our country to design a new homeland security
structure."8 In "Metaphoric Entrapment In Time,"
sociologist Anthony Judge tells how terror is the key to creating the
new homeland "security structure." "Personal violence
is for the amateur in dominance," but, "structural violence
is the tool of the professional. The amateur who wants to dominate
uses guns; the professional uses social structure. The legal
criminality of the social system and its institutions, of government,
and of individuals at the interpersonal level is tacit violence.
Structural violence is a structure of exploitation and social
Now that the Department of Internal Security has been voted into law,
Bush has laid the groundwork for America’s new "legally
criminal" social structure. And the Phoenix has landed in our
Phoenix As The Organizational Model For Homeland Security
Upon its creation in 1967, Phoenix was managed by a committee of five
senior CIA and military officers. The Phoenix Committee functioned
like Bush’s Homeland Security Council; as a board of directors that
advised the chairman and formulated policy.
Directly under the committee was a Directorate, which the CIA hid in
the Civil Operations and Revolutionary Development Support (CORDS)
component of the Military Assistance Command/Vietnam (MACV). A senior
CIA officer served as Phoenix Director, and was assisted by a staff of
CIA and military personnel. The Directorate planned and conducted
anti-VCI operations, managed the judicial processing of 200,000
Vietnamese civilians caught in the Phoenix dragnet, and made sure that
CORDS and its six divisions (for defectors, security, refugees, public
safety, civil affairs, and psychological warfare) stayed focused on
CORDS is the organizational model for the Department of Homeland
Security, which consists of directorates for Information Analysis and
Infrastructure Protection, Science and Technology, Border and
Transportation Security, and Emergency Preparedness and Response. The
critical Office of Intelligence, which will include 1000 analysts from
dozens of contributing agencies, is hidden within the Directorate of
Information Analysis and Infrastructure Protection. Former CIA officer
John Gannon will head this Office, which, insofar as it will
coordinate the other directorates in terror operations, is the
homeland security equivalent of the Phoenix Directorate.
Phoenix personnel were assigned at national, regional, province, and
district levels. A province in Vietnam is the equivalent of a state in
the US, and the Province Coordinator was the main man in the Phoenix
chain of command. He managed the CIA’s Counter Terror teams, and its
interrogation and informant programs. And just like the Phoenix
Directorate eclipsed CORDS, the CIA managed DHS Intelligence Office
unit will wag the homeland security dog - by coordinating
intelligence, sending warnings to state, local, and private sector
officials, and managing terror operations. The DHS will employ close
to 170,000 people and operate at an annual budget of about $50
billion, but, as Senator Joseph Lieberman (D-CT) has said, "(I)f
we don’t create a very strong coordinator and analyzer of
intelligence, we have not completed our work."
Employees from the CIA’s Counter-Terror Center will fill the most
important positions within the DHS Intelligence Office. The
Counter-Terror Center has also posted officers within terrorism task
forces in 56 US localities, to "plan daily operations."
These 56 CIA officers serve the same function as the 44 Province
The involvement of CIA officers in domestic law enforcement means the
suspension of our civil liberties, for in their search for opponents
of the Bush Regime, the CIA will reach into every corner of society,
including our homes, workplaces, public facilities and computers.
But worse abuses than blanket surveillance will occur. The problem of
internal security is tactical - sniffing out terrorists and launching
preemptive attacks that kill them before they strike. That is what the
Phoenix Directorate did, and the Department of Homeland Security
ostensibly will do. But just as the Phoenix Committee managed the
strategic "internal security" function in Vietnam, Bush’s
Homeland Security Council will wage political warfare against its
domestic opposition in America, and this operation will not appear on
any organizational chart.
Phoenix As The Prototype Of Political Warfare
The greatest danger facing America is the Bush Regime’s secret
political warfare program within its internal security structure. The
precedent is the Phoenix Program.
In 1968, through the Phoenix Program, South Vietnam's President Nguyen
Van Thieu sabotaged peace negotiations with the North because, like
Bush, he had stolen his office and thus preferred political
"internal security" over a settlement that would allow for
majority rule. Thieu’s actions led to Congressional investigations,
which in 1970 revealed that the CIA had used Phoenix as, "an
instrument of mass political murder," to "neutralize"
politicians and activists who opposed Thieu or espoused peace.
"By analogy," said Representative Ogden Reid (D-NY),
"if the Union had had a Phoenix program during the Civil War, it
targets would have been civilians like Jefferson Davis or the mayor of
Macon, Georgia." Nowadays such "neutralizations" are
made to look like accidents, as in the Senator Paul Wellstone and
Missouri Governor Carnahans plane crashes. Like the anthrax letters
mailed to Democratic senators, it takes only a few such black
propaganda operations to silence Bush’s political opposition.
The Bush Regime policy of using terror as an organizing principle of
society was clearly summarized by right wing pundit Michael Ledeen
when he said, "New times require new people with new
standards." These new people will have the will power to,
"stamp out," the, "corrupt habits of mind,"
manifest in the thoughts or actions of anyone who opposes Bush Regime
aggression. According to Ledeen, "The entire political world will
understand it and applaud it. And it will give Tom Ridge a chance to
succeed, and us (the fascists) to prevail."
This is the maximum danger of homeland security, and it happened here
before, when Oliver North established his infamous "off the
shelf" Counter-Terror network to side step Congress and wage the
illegal Contra War, and enable Reagan to sell missiles to Iran without
notifying Congress. This Counter Terror network evolved into the
CIA’s Counter Terror Center, which will staff the DHS Intelligence
Office, and, in liaison with 56 terror task forces, will provide the
Bush Regime with the same political "internal security" it
has provided right wing regimes since Eisenhower. Blackmail is the
key, and hundreds of businesses and institutions across the country
have already been placed on the CIA’s homeland security "Watch
List." According to Bob Woodward, one Bush official said that
merely being on the list "could destroy the livelihood of all
those organizations…without a bomb being thrown or a spore of
anthrax being released."
According to Elizabeth Becker of the New York Times, "the leaders
of many federal departments and agencies have been scrambling to
figure out… how they can influence the outcome (of the impending
Department of Homeland Security) without appearing disloyal."
According to James Bamford, "pressure has been building on the
intelligence agencies to deliberately slant estimates to fit a
political agenda," and "a growing number of military
officers, intelligence professionals and diplomats …charge that the
administration squelches dissenting views..." What this boils
down to is mandatory self-censorship: no one will probe Bush’s
relations with the bin Laden family, or ask why he whisked them and
members of the Saudi Royal family out of the country in the wake of
September 11. And no one will ask about Israeli spy rings in the US,
and their "false flag" relationship with the people who flew
the planes into the Twin Towers.
Phoenix As Psychological Warfare Precedent for Homeland Security
Information management is key in the Bush Regime’s effort to make
terror the organizing principle in American society, while at the same
time making its homeland security apparatus appear to be legal, moral,
and most importantly, popular. And the way that is done is through a
concerted psychological warfare campaign. The first step is organizing
a political cadre to spread the word, and again we look to Phoenix as
a model. The soldiers slated to participate in Phoenix were trained at
a CIA-managed Special Forces motivational indoctrination school at
Fort Bragg. These Phoenix advisors were the first political cadres to
infiltrate the American military. In return for adopting the right
wing party line, a successful career was guaranteed. Several former
Phoenix officers now enjoy important internal security posts, like
Major General Bruce Lawlor, Chief of Staff of the Department of
At Fort Bragg, CIA unconventional warfare experts instructed Phoenix
advisors in using Armed Propaganda to wage political warfare. A
training manual on the subject was reprinted in the early 1980s by a
former Phoenix operator involved in the Reagan Regime’s illegal
Contra War. Titled "Psychological
Operations in Guerrilla Warfare," it states that, "the
human being should be considered the priority objective in a political
war. And conceived as the military target of guerrilla war, the human
being has his most critical point in his mind. Once his mind has been
reached, the "political animal" has been defeated, without
necessarily receiving bullets."
Homeland security personnel will pass through the same political and
motivational indoctrination courses before they go to work. Critical
Infrastructure personnel will spy on colleagues who may inadvertently
or maliciously serve as "terrorist surrogates," by publicly
or privately revealing information on infrastructure vulnerabilities.
They will "covertly identify" and watch these people, until
it becomes necessary to expose them in the media as being under
investigation. No one will want to be identified, even falsely, as
"inadvertent" or "malicious terrorist surrogates,"
knowing that once they have been defined in these terms they are
subject to being "stamped out," as right wing pundit Michael
Ledeen has suggested.
The Bush Regime already has its political cadre, Ledeen’s "new
people" who have been defeated by implicit threat and have
embraced the fascist principles they were subliminally indoctrinated
with for years through the corporate propaganda machine. These
"new people" are fast joining "front"
organizations like the Freedom Corps, the Citizen Corps, Community
Emergency Response Teams (which will train kids at school to prepare
for the disasters the illegitimate Bush regime and its Timmy McVeighs
will surely visit upon America); the Neighborhood Watch Program that
will allow the Bush Regime to detain its drunk and disorderly
political opponents as terrorist surrogates; and the Medical Reserve
Corps (MRC), through which overpaid doctors will monitor patients
within the faltering health care system.
Within these front groups, as stated in the Guerrilla Warfare manual,
are the cadre trained "in techniques of persuasion over control
of target groups" to support the Bush Regime. In a national
emergency, including the preordained war on Iraq and economic
depression, the cadre will be mobilized; they will attend mass
meetings, carry placards, shout slogans, and if necessary grab guns
and ropes and form lynch mobs.
As in Vietnam, only five percent of the people need to be organized in
this fashion in order to wield control over the indifferent ninety
percent, and defeat the five percent that form the resistance.
Again, we look to Phoenix for what’s to come. In 1969 Phoenix became
a massive screening operation, and generating defectors became its
main objective through the Popular Information Program. Under the
banner of, "Protecting the People From Terrorism," Phoenix
psychological warfare teams crisscrossed the countryside, Michael
Savage-style radio shows, leaflets, posters, and movies to appeal to
peoples’ cultural beliefs to get them to denounce Communism and
accept the corrupt Government of Vietnam. CIA officers taught
Vietnamese district chiefs how to teach classes on government
ideology: "problem individuals" were given a motivational
indoctrination course, and everywhere "the populace was
encouraged to report the activities of the VCI by dropping a note
addressed to the police in local mailboxes." This method
accounted for 40% of the information used in Phoenix operations in one
Psychological operations in support of the Phoenix attack against the
VCI were so effective that in 1970, the Pentagon’s Special Assistant
for Counterinsurgency and Special Activities described Phoenix as,
"the number one MACV PSYOPS priority."20 Likewise, when Bush
publicly his proposed legislation for the Department of Homeland
Security on 6 June 2002, he stressed that the organization’s primary
mission was to "mobilize and focus… the American people
"to accomplish the mission of attacking the enemy where he hides
and plans." By which he means the enemy within.
Phoenix As The Model For Maximum Abuses
In a national emergency, the CIA will form "special units"
within the 56 terror task forces around the country. And it will form
hit teams within the special units for political "internal
security" operations, just like Phoenix Coordinators formed hit
teams under cover of the security forces at their disposal.
Phoenix psyops also included "compromise and discreditation"
operations, like the one the FBI used against Martin Luther King
before they killed him. Information about his personal life was leaked
to discredit him; he was blackmailed about extramarital affairs; and
he was sent a message with the suggestion that he should commit
suicide. "There is only one way out for you," the forged
document read. "You better take it before your filthy, abnormal,
fraudulent self is bared to the nation."
Forged documents like the one used against King are an important facet
of internal security. One political opponent jailed by Thieu through
the Phoenix Program revealed the existence of, "a systematic
campaign of vilification by use of forged documents." Forged
documents used to justify false arrests or conceal illegal operations
often emerged as "captured documents." Aides to the Senate
Foreign Relations Committee investigating Phoenix in 1970 wryly
reported that "There seems to be captured documents to prove any
point or to support, retrospectively, almost any conclusion."
Forged documents and "compromise and discreditation"
operations will become a tool of the Bush Regime’s homeland security
apparatus, just as they are in the eternal war on terror overseas. We
have already seen Network News broadcast "edited" videotapes
of Osama bin Laden, and in the Afghanistan war, captured documents
were routinely used as a form of black propaganda to justify military
actions that resulted in "collateral" damage.
We can also expect a slew of false rumors from the homeland security
cadre, designed to ruin the reputations of politically incorrect
families in their villages and towns, especially environmentalists who
pose a threat to critical infrastructure corporations. The paranoia
that currently infects the Arab-American community will spread
nationwide, until no one is sure who is a spy for the Thought Police.
Midnight arrests and disappearances into "administrative
detention centers" will become commonplace, as the definition of
a "terrorist surrogate" achieves political connotations,
and, as happened in Vietnam, the definition is expanded to include
people deemed dangerous to the "public order." As Ambassador
Ellsworth Bunker wrote in 1972, this "means that virtually any
person arrested…can now be held on criminal instead of political
No specific charge will be required; a homeland security cadre will
simply accuse someone of disturbing the public order. The definition
of sedition will grow to include disseminating information about
government corruption, or undermining the will of the State (as
Ashcroft is fond of saying) by challenging its authority. Calling for
civil disobedience will be equated with threatening homeland
tranquility. Cadre in the Office of Cyberspace Security will expose
you as a terrorist surrogate for sending sarcastic or satirical
emails. How can you prove you were only joking when you blamed Bush
for the terror attacks on the World Trade Center, and said that
Cheney’s refusal to investigate the attacks proves that Bush did it?
A Final Word Of Warning
Already we passively permit paramilitary policemen in hoods to search
our cars, without probable cause, for snipers who may or may not be
connected to Al Qaeda. These policemen are helping us, right? They
would never turn their guns on us, right? As stated in the CIA’s
terror manual, and as is known to the homeland security cadre like
Michael Ledeen, "Implicit terror always accompanies weapons,
since the people are internally "aware" that they can be
used against them."
Knowing this, every town will form a Homeland Security Committee,
chaired by the Bush Regime’s local political cadre, who will process
"confidential" reports from concerned citizens about the
activities of terrorist suspects. These reports will pass through an
ideological filter as they work their way up to the DHS Intelligence
Office, where motivationally indoctrinated CIA officers will gleefully
pull the plug on peace activists, environmentalists, people espousing
national health care, and anyone else posing a challenge to the
reactionary right wing and the internal security forces that are
firmly in its grip.
What makes this possible is that Ashcroft has vowed to "arrest
and detain any suspected terrorist who has violated the law," but
he has yet to define what a suspected terrorist is. This is what
happened in Vietnam too. There was never any consensus about the
definition of a VCI sympathizer. Four years after the Phoenix Program
was initiated, the New York Times revealed that 26,843 VCI and VCI
sympathizers had been "neutralized" in the previous 14-month
period. During Congressman Hearings that were being held at the time,
Representative Ogden Reid (D-NY) asked William Colby, "Are you
certain that we know a loyal member of the VCI from a loyal member of
the South Vietnamese citizenry?" Colby said, "No."
So the definition of a terrorist suspect or surrogate is deliberately
left open, paving the way for political repression through
institutionalized terror. The anti-terror legislation passed by
Congress and signed by Bush allows for secret searches of the homes of
people who meet the nebulous criteria of "suspected
terrorist." No doubt these secret searches violate the Fourth
Amendment, so Ashcroft, again lifting a page from the Phoenix
playbook, has vowed to "employ new tools that ease administrative
Ashcroft was laying his meaning between the lines, but what he meant
was that the Bush Regime’s political police will be empowered to
detain US citizens without probably cause. When four Congresspersons
charged that the administrative detention laws under the Phoenix
Program violated that part of the Geneva Conventions guaranteeing
protection to civilians in time of war, CIA legal experts argued that
Article 3 applied, "only to sentencing for crimes, and does not
prohibit a state from interning civilians or subjecting them to
emergency detention when such measures are necessary for the security
or safety of the state."
In this way indefinite detention, torture, and summary execution, all
carried out without previous judgment pronounced by a regularly
constituted court, were perfectly legal, because they were the result
of "administrative procedures" and did not involve a
This is Phoenix, and it’s what the Bush clique of crazies has in
store for America.
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