Project Mayhem

Fri, Jan 10, 2014 - 5:33am

“The Mechanic: In death, a member of project mayhem has a name, his name is Robert Paulsen. His name is Robert Paulsen. His name is Robert Paulsen. His name is Robert Paulsen...”Fight Club (Palahniuk / Fincher / Uhls) video here

In the grand scheme of things, the act and its impact (symbolic or direct, transcendent or practical) is more important than the man. But we as humans are endlessly fascinated with the concept of personal sacrifice, find it easier to elevate ideas, values and beliefs if they can be exemplified by and crystallized in a single representative human figure. Call it personality cult, messiah-worship or simply an honoring of historical heroes, the trend seems as old as human civilization itself. The connection to a set of ideas is made much easier and lasting by imprinting its essence on an actual person that average people can relate to and try to identify with. Deities are anthropomorphized for this same reason. This may ALSO be the reason why the Chinese authorities have yet to reveal/confirm the identity of THIS man (thought to be Wang Weilin (王维林) ). We’ve all seen the image:

What many may not have seen, or remember, was this version of the same image. That's a tank batallion, or more.

No man, no attachment, no cult. Charismatic, popular leaders and/or icons are necessary for ANY idea to change social consciousness. Whether the realistic busts/statues of rulers from Egypt through Rome, the faces of rulers on coinage, Christ/Mohammed/Buddha, the topless Liberty of the French Revolution, the personality cults of totalitarian regimes from Germany to Oceania, faces DO matter.

Destroy the man/woman physically, and the idea is often ELEVATED, not dispersed. Consider Joan of Arc, Jesus of Nazareth, most of the early Catholic saints (who had to have been martyred to be considered for canonization). Hence the importance of destroying the reputation of and marginalizing anyone today. Historically, it was one of the reasons why dissident leaders were eventually gaoled instead of hanged/drawn & quartered. Kangaroo courts and show trials 1940's - 1960's. Today, witness the character assassinations of any number of people trying to speak the truth, most recently Bradley Manning, Julian Assange and Edward Snowden. Though there may be remarkable, courageous people who are not afraid to die, very few exist who are not vulnerable to blackmail or systematic PR assaults. And for those few from the latter category, high-velocity lead remains as a last resort – but in those cases a much more difficult task remains of paying lip service to honoring the fallen leader, while in truth defiling his legacy (JFK? MLK? RFK?).

The reason I bring all of this up is due to the unusual and persistent anonymity of a group of exceptional men and women. These folks took a stand, stood up to be counted. At first through 'acceptable' channels, through law-abiding traditional methods. And when they realized that sanctioned forms of (controlled) opposition such as political activism, protests, letter writing, petitioning politicians, collecting signatures, organizing sit-ins were ineffective, they decided to take a calculated risk with their livelihoods, freedom and reputations, and did what needed to be done. They took no credit, they sought no limelight or recognition. For good reason, of course. Yet, ironically, because they were successful in evading detection, they perhaps lessened some of the impact of their (unquestionably courageous and ultimately effective) deed.

But doing service for one’s community, for one’s fellow citizens, one’s nation and for human values in general is not about clamoring for recognition (and certainly not about satisfying the demand for catharsis of mere spectators such as myself, with no skin in the game).

The story, when I first read about it, brought an immediate glow of cheer and an almost uncontrollable urge to grin ear-to-ear. The more I read, the wider the grin became. At least for me, stuff like this really reaffirms my faith in the better side of humanity – and ultimately is one of the things that has the power to give hope.

In 1971, a small group of eight determined, dedicated people in and around Philadelphia gathered to try to find a way to expose and end the FBI’s domestic surveillance and destabilization efforts against the antiwar movement and the political left. While at that point the Bureau was not quite the (gargantuan) intertwined many-headed hydra that is DHS/DOD/DOJ – it was still very much a tremendously risky operation by eight amateurs. The plan: to break into a small, 2-man satellite office of the FBI in the Philadelphia suburb of Media (the irony is no lost on me…) to try to find documentation of the extensive and patently unconstitutional activities of the agency.

After months of planning, preparation, stakeouts, casing the office in person (exposing one of the members to potential suspicion/targeting later), on March 8, 1971 (International Women's Day, as they took care to point out in their subsequent letter to the press) the group made its move. Breaking in with some difficulty despite meticulous practice beforehand, the group ultimately carted off more than 1,000 files in suitcases – along with an autographed photo of J. Edgar himself.

The full cast of characters may never be known. But those who consented to being named:

Bonnie and John C. Raines (looking a little rueful, perhaps after losing their latest purchase of shiny on the way home?). Their efforts are all the more laudable considering the fact that this was them in 1971.

These days, the same sparkle is in the same eyes:

Bob Williamson (a few years ago, and more recently)

Keith Forsyth then and nowadays:

William C. Davidon a few years before the operation (right-click image to open in new tab to enlarge and read the caption), and the only more recent photo of him that I could find. Just in case eBay deletes the first image, you may be able to find it in the form of WirePhotos, which the image below is.

'William C. Davidon, 42, a Haverford, PA, College physics professor active in peace movement, who was named as a co-conspirator in a plot to kidnap Presidential Advisor Henry A. Kissinger' (AP AAA Wire Story - wfa 4 0700 files - 1971 EDS - a 1966 photo)'

His obituary is here – he passed away late last year. If this post were worthy of being dedicated, it would be to his memory --- and of course to the other named and unnamed co-conspirators.

The lady who first published the news and details of their findings in the Washington Post despite Attorney General Mitchell’s appeals to Executive Editor Ben Bradlee not to do so (the first of many such requests, as it turned out…), and ultimately wrote the book 'The Burglary', which came out yesterday : Betty Medsger:

From a great piece on the event in the LA Times from 2006:

“The FBI, after building up a six-year, 33,000-page file on the case, couldn't solve it. But it remains one of the most lastingly consequential (although underemphasized) watersheds of political awareness in recent American history, one that poses tough questions even today for our national leaders who argue that fighting foreign enemies requires the government to spy on its citizens. The break-in is far less well known than Daniel Ellsberg's leak of the Pentagon Papers three months later, but in my opinion it deserves equal stature.

Found among the Media documents was a new word, "COINTELPRO," short for the FBI's "secret counterintelligence program," created to investigate and disrupt dissident political groups in the U.S. Under these programs, beginning in 1956, the bureau worked to "enhance the paranoia endemic in these circles," as one COINTELPRO memo put it, "to get the point across there is an FBI agent behind every mailbox."

The Media documents -- along with further revelations about COINTELPRO in the months and years that followed -- made it clear that the bureau had gone beyond mere intelligence-gathering to discredit, destabilize and demoralize groups -- many of them peaceful, legal civil rights organizations and antiwar groups -- that the FBI and Director J. Edgar Hoover found offensive or threatening.

For instance, agents sought to persuade Martin Luther King Jr. to kill himself just before he received the Nobel Prize. They sent him a composite tape made from bugs planted illegally in his hotel rooms when he was entertaining women other than his wife -- and threatened to make it public. "King, there is one thing left for you to do. You know what it is," FBI operatives wrote in their anonymous letter.”

Some write-ups on the case:

Some who kept the history alive, from earlier last year: The FBI, COINTELPRO, and the most important robbery you've never heard of (PrivacySOS)

Burglars Who Took On F.B.I. Abandon Shadows (NYTimes – some great photos and a LOT of sympathetic comments)

A detailed account from Philadelphia (The Inquirer): Book reveals secrets of a burglary from Phila.'s antiwar past

From the once admirable WaPo itself: Band of activists who burglarized FBI office in 1971 come forward

What really ticks me off is that even the sympathetic accounts keep referring to this as a ‘burglary’, the ‘theft’ of government documents, a ‘break-in’, a ‘robbery’ and a ‘heist’. BULLSH*T! Even the language used boxes in and discredits the effort.

This was a case of enforcement of the very founding principles of the Constitution by a dedicated and courageous group of citizens. They are, by very definition, heroes: people who rose to perform extraordinary feats in trying circumstances to better the lives of their fellow men and women. I salute them, and give thanks for their courage and resoluteness.

I also wanted to make sure all of Turdville (or at least the subset willing to suffer through my long-winded diatribes :-) ) is aware of this portion of American history because this work is very, VERY far from done. Despite the publicity, the revelations of a fundamental betrayal of trust and abuse of power by the government and the subsequent oversight and reforms achieved as a direct result, we have the same problem back in spades, don't we? Metastasized, if you will. Moved to (multiple) different buildings, given new badges and names, moved off-budget as needed -- and has grown in size a hundred times over.

I have quite a bit of respect for the Occupy movement, who despite their half-baked and at times communistic tendencies and alleged Soros-funding at least called attention to some dire problems and DID SOMETHING. Ineffectual? Unfocused? Infiltrated? Controlled opposition? Perhaps. But they DID move the needle ever so slightly in terms of raising awareness. Anonymous might very well be a creation of our good friends at No Such Agency, a shadow-opponent to justify their existence – but as members are caught and prosecuted with some regularity, maybe not. In any case, same verdict: THEY ARE DOING SOMETHING. Whatever your opinion might be on the character, motives and ultimate effectiveness of Bradley, Julian and Edward – THESE GUYS CHOSE TO ACT. The same goes for the founders and operators of Zero Hedge -- and of course our host Turd Ferguson.

(Attributed to George Orwell, though this guy has different ideas. I can't remember offhand, will have to re-read 1984.)

My dad and uncle were both involved in the replication and dissemination of ‘subversive’ material involving heretic ideas about 'freedom and democracy' at a time when the likely outcome of being caught would probably have been in a good case a long prison sentence and subsequent loss of livelihood. My father also (on a small scale, of course) organized a 'smuggling ring' among his colleagues across the world abroad to circumvent the COCOM trade restrictions which prevented technology needed for medical and research purposes from being exported to the 'boogeymen' behind the iron curtain. They were obviously not caught, otherwise I would not be here writing this today. In my own humble way, I would like to think I am striving to follow in their footsteps. When one day we are all sitting around the campfire by the lake at Dog’s Gulch, sipping on some of the host’s finest nectars, I’d like to be able to regale you with stories of achievements greater than what I could boast of today. And I hope to be able to hear many of yours.

Yes, it’s difficult and at first glance insurmountable. Our current adversaries are all but indistinguishable from the entire system, wield ever-larger power, have most of the money, and control most of the infrastructure. They are immune from prosecution, congressional hearings have become a laughable farce, they have no shame and are impervious to exposed proof of blatantly criminal behavior. They rig the electoral process and pervert governmental functions both legislative and judicial. What can be done that even amounts to a gnat bite on an elephant’s rear end? I have no ‘homework assignment’ to offer, only the reminder that asymmetrical engagements many times ultimately swing in favor or of the ‘weaker’ party. But only if that side ever decides to join the engagement. Standing aside may not forever remain an option.

Think outside the box, and stay thirsty, my friends.

[redacted to avoid air-to-surface projectiles]

[redacted due to bad vibes]

(credits on photos are imbedded in them [click], or are from the articles listed.)

PS: While there is no rational reason to think so, I hope a Turdite got the print of Davidon from eBay. The more I think about it, the more this gentleman reminds me of the 'REAL' Tyler Durden. Speaking of which, the Tylers and Turd should have gotten mention in the main body of the article, an omission I corrected.

About the Author


Jan 10, 2014 - 5:48am



Jan 10, 2014 - 5:57am

30C3: To Protect And Infect - The militarization of the Internet

Anyone interested in privacy, are the lack of should listen to this video. Scary Stuff.

Jan 10, 2014 - 6:02am

# three

Now to go back and read.

Jan 10, 2014 - 6:11am

No left or right...

...only tyranny and freedom. Excellent summation. Boils down into a few simple words what has been rolling around in my noggin for years. Will read posting in its entirety later, gotta hustle my ass out the door to my slaving job now.

Jan 10, 2014 - 6:22am

This is extremely important

This is extremely important Brent triangle as it is telling about coming geopolitical ME crisis already by end of August 2014. Israel- Iran- Saudi- Syria game. 6 month extension of agreement which Israelis will find Iran has totally breached ends in May.

Similar WTI triangle resolves only in end of December 2014- early January 2015 which means impact from higher oil prices will be somehow muted by e.g sales from USA domestic Strategic reserves or other supply sources from within North America and Mexico. So Oil inflation will hit the USA in early 2015 , 2014 real GDP will still be positive. That gives some time for longer support for unpopular tightening actions.

Reason is this ability of the USA to manage differential between Brent and WTI which has been increasing since Syrian chemical attack:

Jan 10, 2014 - 6:33am

I consider Constantine the

I consider Constantine the Great even more important then Jesus Christ..without him, there would be no Christian empire in the West ( which is now called Western Empire); Nor Byzantine Empire where Christianity survived after the fall of Roman Empire. Nor Russian Orthodox Christian empire; Nor may be a single Christian.

Of course, Jesus Christ was indispensable, however: it is one thing to deliver a vision and find some followers; it is another to spread it out ( as apostles did, like a venture capital taking a lost of risk) and it is completely another level to chose one of possible competing visions and institutionalize it. Only institutionalized religions have gained traction long term. We may even not know about many religious movements that had been started, been on the rise, and then had disappeared in obscurity.

Constantine the Great was by no measure a nice guy, though. But his legacy stays on.

Jan 10, 2014 - 6:48am

It is written....

It is written, "When the true identity of a hero is unknown, it becomes infinitely more difficult to personally attack or slander that hero."


(I know, because I just writ it.)

I Run Bartertown
Jan 10, 2014 - 7:13am


Another great one! Thanks.

I may have mentioned at some point that I'm not a fan of the Left in general, but they do have one major thing going for them. Aggression.

The Tea Parties were hailed in some circles for protesting so civilly and leaving their protest sites cleaner than they were when they arrived, let alone what they look like after an occupy or union protest. There's a certain merit in that and I understand the sentiment. These are the people who run their businesses, lives, and families in an orderly and productive fashion. They were new to the protesting thing but they weren't going to leave the place a mess because a mess is not their nature. But their working within the system, while demonstrating their capability, has also demonstrated that mass protests to 'adjust' a system while wanting it largely intact, are ripe to be co-opted. What they've done hasn't worked.

Contrast that to the tactics of the 'hard left' who protested the IMF and World Bank in Seattle. They didn't want any part of the 'high road'. Their protest left destruction and was dubbed the Battle in Seattle. But the WTO marches on and the establishment has just used the flare-up as an excuse and study guide to make such actions more difficult in the future.

If there is a latent threat to the system, I believe it lies in the personnel who comprise the Right (vets, hunters, mechanics, farmers, etc.) adopting the strategic approach of the Left. We're going to break shit. We're going to make a mess. Violence works. The generation in power now has ridden a wave of success from the 60's and 70's where most concessions to the Left were made under threat of violence. From the 'great society' initiative to avoid a 'long, hot summer' of threatened violence, to our current AG having participated in armed intimidation at his University, violence works. Aggression and concrete action 'outside the system' (as the document 'liberators' in your piece) at the very least, will be necessary.

"You decide your own level of involvement" [in Project Mayhem] - Tyler Durden

Jan 10, 2014 - 7:28am

Here is somebody who is doing something

Between January 11 and January 24, you may see people walking along the south-bound side of the highway, carrying signs that refer to the “New Hampshire Rebellion.” As one who plans to join those chilly souls, I wanted to write to explain why.

This isn’t an email asking for money. Nor are any of us who are organizing this running for any political office.

Instead, this email is just the facts — with a few reasons to explain the walk, and our hope for what it might revive.

Fifteen years ago, New Hampshire was at the center of a national movement for fundamental reform.

On January 1, 1999, New Hampshire’s Doris Haddock, aka “Granny D," at the age of 88, started a walk from Los Angeles to Washington, with a single sign embolden on her chest: “campaign finance reform.” It took her 13 months, but on February 29, 2000, at the age of 90, she made it, and was greeted by thousands in Washington, including many Members of Congress who believed in her cause, and who walked with her those last few miles.

One of those believers had made her cause his cause in New Hampshire. Seven months after she began her walk, Senator John McCain traveled to Bedford, and declared that he — alone among Republicans — would make “campaign finance reform” his issue.

Money, McCain said, "corrupts our political ideals,” whether that money "comes from big business or from labor bosses and trial lawyers.” And though he was “a conservative” who believed that skepticism about government was "a very healthy thing,” McCain worried we had gone too far. Skepticism had become a “pervasive cynicism” that was “hurting our democracy.” “All of our ideals are corrupted,” McCain said. “We are all corrupted.”

I met Granny D only remotely — she was a guest blogger on my blog in 2004. And I’ve met Senator McCain only a few times, and each time, for just a few minutes. I think I can say with some confidence that it’s hard to imagine two more different souls.

Yet here they were, united in this one common belief: That if we don't change the way money mattered to politics, we are never going to see any sensible change in Washington.

Whether on the Right or the Left, it doesn't matter. Corruption isn’t a partisan issue. The system of corruption in DC doesn’t bend to the Democrats any more than to the Republicans. Corruption is an American issue. It is a democracy issue. And it raises this one question for every citizen and patriot: Can we get our democracy back?

We've decided to take up that question, to continue Granny D’s walk, along the lines of John McCain’s run.

We want to revive the movement that flourished here fifteen years ago, so that by the presidential primary in 2016, every candidate for president has been asked a single question by the citizens of New Hampshire hundreds of times:

"What are YOU going to do to end the system of corruption in DC?"

That is the aim of the “New Hampshire Rebellion.” We’re not arguing about gun rights, or abortion, or the right to marry, or climate change: Those are important issues, all. But before we can think about those issues, or any issue, sensibly, we believe we need a politics not addicted to money.

Every time a candidate speaks, whether Republican or Democrat, or anyone else, we want this question asked. We’ll capture the answers, and post them. And by the beginning of 2016, if we, as a people, are lucky, we will have a clear sense of who will carry this anti-corruption cause forward. And New Hampshire can choose, not just the next President, but the next chance for this Republic.

You can learn more on our site — — and maybe volunteer a bed in your home or even just some coffee HERE.

Or you can watch this fantastic 3 minute video about the walk by one of our volunteers HERE.

Or you can watch an 18 minute video that I did explaining why I’m in this movement HERE.

None of this is going to be easy. Neither the walk, nor this campaign.

But to borrow from President Kennedy, we don’t do this because it’s easy. We do it because it's hard. And not just because it’s hard.

We do it because if we don’t do this now — if we don’t end this system of corruption that has paralyzed our government — our government will fail. It will fail us, and our children, and the hope of democracy everywhere.

So that is why we walk — from January 11 to January 24, and then twice more before the 2016 primary.

Join us if you can. In any case, thank you for your time.

Lawrence Lessig

Paid for by Labels & Lists, Inc. - 14818 78th Ave NE, Kenmore, WA 98028

Edit: Oops, great write up JY, but I still say Betty is a bathtub bonger! lol

Jan 10, 2014 - 7:33am

cmon ivars...

Constantine more important than Christ...? without Jesus, what would've constantine promoted...without constantine, Jesus woulda still been Jesus...and something tells me God woulda figured another way to get the 'word' out...

Key Economic Events Week of 10/14

10/15 8:30 ET Empire State Fed MI
10/16 8:30 ET Retail Sales
10/16 10:00 ET Business Inventories
10/17 8:30 ET Housing Starts and Bldg Perms
10/17 8:30 ET Philly Fed MI
10/17 9:15 ET Cap Ute and Ind Prod
10/18 10:00 ET LEIII
10/18 Speeches from Goons Kaplan, George and Chlamydia

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Key Economic Events Week of 10/14

10/15 8:30 ET Empire State Fed MI
10/16 8:30 ET Retail Sales
10/16 10:00 ET Business Inventories
10/17 8:30 ET Housing Starts and Bldg Perms
10/17 8:30 ET Philly Fed MI
10/17 9:15 ET Cap Ute and Ind Prod
10/18 10:00 ET LEIII
10/18 Speeches from Goons Kaplan, George and Chlamydia

Key Economic Events Week of 10/7

10/8 8:30 ET Producer Price Index
10/9 10:00 ET Job Openings
10/9 10:00 ET Wholesale Inventories
10/9 2:00 ET September FOMC minutes
10/10 8:30 ET Consumer Price Index
10/11 10:00 ET Consumer Sentiment

Key Economic Events Week of 9/30

9/30 9:45 ET Chicago PMI
10/1 9:45 ET Markit Manu PMI
10/1 10:00 ET ISM Manu PMI
10/1 10:00 ET Construction Spending
10/2 China Golden Week Begins
10/2 8:15 ET ADP jobs report
10/3 9:45 ET Markit Service PMI
10/3 10:00 ET ISM Service PMI
10/3 10:00 ET Factory Orders
10/4 8:30 ET BLSBS
10/4 8:30 ET US Trade Deficit

Key Economic Events Week of 9/23

9/23 9:45 ET Markit flash PMIs
9/24 10:00 ET Consumer Confidence
9/26 8:30 ET Q2 GDP third guess
9/27 8:30 ET Durable Goods
9/27 8:30 ET Pers Inc and Cons Spend
9/27 8:30 ET Core Inflation

Key Economic Events Week of 9/16

9/17 9:15 ET Cap Ute & Ind Prod
9/18 8:30 ET Housing Starts & Bldg Perm.
9/18 2:00 ET Fedlines
9/18 2:30 ET CGP presser
9/19 8:30 ET Philly Fed
9/19 10:00 ET Existing Home Sales

Key Economic Events Week of 9/9

9/10 10:00 ET Job openings
9/11 8:30 ET PPI
9/11 10:00 ET Wholesale Inv.
9/12 8:30 ET CPI
9/13 8:30 ET Retail Sales
9/13 10:00 ET Consumer Sentiment
9/13 10:00 ET Business Inv.

Key Economic Events Week of 9/3

9/3 9:45 ET Markit Manu PMI
9/3 10:00 ET ISM Manu PMI
9/3 10:00 ET Construction Spending
9/4 8:30 ET Foreign Trade Deficit
9/5 9:45 ET Markit Svc PMI
9/5 10:00 ET ISM Svc PMI
9/5 10:00 ET Factory Orders
9/6 8:30 ET BLSBS

Key Economic Events Week of 8/26

8/26 8:30 ET Durable Goods
8/27 9:00 ET Case-Shiller Home Price Idx
8/27 10:00 ET Consumer Confidence
8/29 8:30 ET Q2 GDP 2nd guess
8/29 8:30 ET Advance Trade in Goods
8/30 8:30 ET Pers. Inc. and Cons. Spend.
8/30 8:30 ET Core Inflation
8/30 9:45 ET Chicago PMI

Key Economic Events Week of 8/19

8/21 10:00 ET Existing home sales
8/21 2:00 ET July FOMC minutes
8/22 9:45 ET Markit Manu and Svc PMIs
8/22 Jackson Holedown begins
8/23 10:00 ET Chief Goon Powell speaks

Key Economic Events Week of 8/12

8/13 8:30 ET Consumer Price Index
8/14 8:30 ET Retail Sales
8/14 8:30 ET Productivity & Labor Costs
8/14 8:30 ET Philly Fed
8/14 9:15 ET Ind Prod and Cap Ute
8/14 10:00 ET Business Inventories
8/15 8:30 ET Housing Starts & Bldg Permits

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