Tagged: actions

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Myanmar military assures UN of 'harsh' action on sexual assault

MAUNGDAW, Myanmar (Reuters) – Myanmar’s military has assured the United Nations of “harsh” action against perpetrators of sexual violence, state media reported on Tuesday, as U.N. envoys traveled to Rakhine State where the military conducted a widely criticized crackdown.

Rohingya refugees are reflected in rain water along an embankment next to paddy fields after fleeing from Myanmar into Palang Khali, near Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh November 2, 2017. REUTERS/Hannah McKay

U.N. and rights groups say nearly 700,000 Rohingya Muslims fled to Bangladesh after a military crackdown launched in Rakhine State in August that the United Nations denounced as “a textbook example of ethnic cleansing”.

Many of the arriving refugees recounted incidents of killings, arson and rape but Myanmar largely rejected those reports as well as the accusation of ethnic cleansing.

The government said its forces were engaged in a legitimate security campaign in response to a string of Rohingya insurgent attacks on the security forces.

“Sexual violence (is) considered as despicable acts,” the state-run Global New Light of Myanmar newspaper cited military Commander-in-Chief Min Aung Hlaing as telling the envoys.

The military was “taking harsh and stronger actions against such offenders”, he said.

The U.N. Security Council envoys traveled by Myanmar military helicopters to northern Rakhine on Tuesday, the final day of their four-day visit to the region, flying over burned and bulldozed villages visible from the air.

The envoys arrived in Myanmar on Monday after visiting refugee camps on the Bangladesh side of the border and government leaders in Dhaka.

In Myanmar, they met separately with government leader Aung San Suu Kyi and Min Aung Hlaing.

British U.N. Ambassador Karen Pierce told Reuters that during Monday’s meeting Min Aung Hlaing was “very forthcoming” on the issue of sexual assaults in Rakhine, adding that the military chief said such offences were “not tolerated”.

Nobel Peace Prize laureate Suu Kyi, in her nearly hour-long meeting with the envoys, pledged to investigate any credible accusations of abuse, said diplomats who attended.

Suu Kyi noted Myanmar’s difficulties in transitioning to rule of law after decades of military dictatorship, said the diplomats, speaking on condition of anonymity.

“She said what had happened or what was alleged to have happened to some of the Rohingya villagers was not acceptable and that if evidence were available it should be reported to the Burmese authorities and they would investigate,” said Pierce.

“What we’ve got to do on the council is think how best to turn that into something operational so that the evidence gets collected and given either to the Burmese authorities or to some sort of international mechanism,” she said.

Suu Kyi’s civilian government has no control over the military. Government spokesman Zaw Htay did not respond to requests for comment.

Buddhist-majority Myanmar has for years denied the Rohingya citizenship, freedom of movement and access to basic services such as healthcare. Many in Myanmar regard the Rohingya as illegal immigrants from mostly Muslim Bangladesh.

When asked if the council could help ensure evidence of crimes such as rape is collected, Russia’s deputy U.N. ambassador Dmitry Polyanskiy said: “I don’t think this is a council matter, frankly speaking. There are a lot of agencies apart from the Security Council.”

‘COOPERATION NEEDED’

In northern Rakhine, the council envoys were shown a reception center Myanmar has built for repatriating Rohingya, aiming to accept a total of 150 people a day, and a transit camp that can house 30,000 returnees.

The envoys passed two bulldozed villages near the camp. They were also shown a rebuilt village.

The Security Council asked Myanmar in November to ensure no “further excessive use of military force” and to allow “freedom of movement, equal access to basic services, and equal access to full citizenship for all”.

On Monday, the council envoys met Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, who asked them to press Myanmar to take back “their citizens”.

Hasina said the refugees should return “under U.N. supervision where security and safety should be ensured”.

Myanmar and Bangladesh agreed in January to complete the voluntary repatriation of the refugees within two years but differences between the two sides remain and implementation of the plan has been slow.

Suu Kyi’s office also said in a statement that cooperation was needed from Bangladesh on the repatriation of refugees.

Reporting by Michelle Nichols and Yimou Lee in YANGON; Editing by Robert Birsel and Darren Schuettler

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Troopers attend 1st Past and Present Garryowen Reunion

KEMPNER — More than 400 past and present troopers of the 1st Squadron, 7th Cavalry Regiment “Garryowen,” gathered Saturday night for a first-of-a-kind Past and Present Garryowen Reunion at the Kempner Veterans of Foreign Wars post.

The unit, which was established July 28, 1866, is part of the 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, and is most well-known for its participation in the Battle of Little Big Horn under the command of Lt. Col. George A. Custer and for its victory against a vastly superior force during the Vietnam War at the IA Drang Valley under the command of Lt. Col. Hal Moore — a victory later portrayed in the Mel Gibson movie “We Were Soldiers.”

The unit’s history, stretching from the troopers’ bravery during the Indian Wars through countless victories in World War II, Korea, Vietnam, Operation Desert Storm and into actions in Iraq during the War on Terror, prompted current and former members of the unit to bring everyone together to help foster the deep pride shared by the unit’s alumni in the newest generation of “Garryowen” troopers.

“I love this. I think this is great,” said Sgt. Janna M. Trevino, a combat medic with the squadron’s Headquarters and Headquarters Troop. “It’s inspiring. A lot of us are new to a (cavalry) unit and have no idea how the cavalry is run. To see all of these veterans and see everyone get together is great — it makes us want to stay motivated and positive while we do our work.”

Trevino, who sang the national anthem at the start of the ceremonies, said watching the interaction between young soldiers and the alumni troopers who served as far back as the Korean War was amazing.

“This is a very fast-paced unit. … The camaraderie is different. This is the type of stuff we need,” she said, adding that she would love to do something similar and more often in order to help foster a sense of pride for the unit within the newest troops who had never served with “Garryowen” before.

“The new privates who have just gotten here have got to experience this,” Trevino said. “Being able to see people who have so much experience in the military. … This is just so great.”

Lt. Gen. Paul Funk, III Corps and Fort Hood commander and a former “Garryowen” commander, even sent a video to the troopers from the Middle East, where he currently command Operation Inherent Resolve — the international coalition to defeat the Islamic State.

“I am even more proud I can hold my head high and say that I am a Garryowen trooper, just like you,” Funk said in the video. “All Garryowen troopers have one thing in common — tenacity, the single most important trait of a trooper. That fixed resolve not to quit when things get tough.”

Retired Sgt. Maj. of the Army Raymond F. Chandler III, a former command sergeant major for the squadron and the 14th sergeant major of the Army, also offered some words of encouragement for all the troopers at the event, both past and present.

“My time in 1/7 Cav for me was the most pivotal and most memorable part of my military career,” he said. “A lot of people ask me, ‘do you miss the Army?’ Hell no, I do not. What I do miss is you. It’s that blood we shared over in Iraq and unfortunately the lives we lost and those who suffer from the visible wounds of war and those who suffer from invisible wounds.

“I just want to tell each and every one of you, thank you for helping to shape my life and for teaching me one of the most important things — that honor is the most important value,” Chandler added. “It’s what makes Garryowen, the 1st Squadron, 7th Cavalry Regiment, the pride of not only the 1st Cavalry Division, but as far as I’m concerned, the rest of the United States Army.”

Plans have already begun for the 2019 reunion, which will occur once the unit returns from an upcoming deployment to Europe with the 1st Brigade.

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Troopers attend 1st Past and Present Garryowen Reunion

KEMPNER — More than 400 past and present troopers of the 1st Squadron, 7th Cavalry Regiment “Garryowen,” gathered Saturday night for a first-of-a-kind Past and Present Garryowen Reunion at the Kempner Veterans of Foreign Wars post.

The unit, which was established July 28, 1866, is part of the 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, and is most well-known for its participation in the Battle of Little Big Horn under the command of Lt. Col. George A. Custer and for its victory against a vastly superior force during the Vietnam War at the IA Drang Valley under the command of Lt. Col. Hal Moore — a victory later portrayed in the Mel Gibson movie “We Were Soldiers.”

The unit’s history, stretching from the troopers’ bravery during the Indian Wars through countless victories in World War II, Korea, Vietnam, Operation Desert Storm and into actions in Iraq during the War on Terror, prompted current and former members of the unit to bring everyone together to help foster the deep pride shared by the unit’s alumni in the newest generation of “Garryowen” troopers.

“I love this. I think this is great,” said Sgt. Janna M. Trevino, a combat medic with the squadron’s Headquarters and Headquarters Troop. “It’s inspiring. A lot of us are new to a (cavalry) unit and have no idea how the cavalry is run. To see all of these veterans and see everyone get together is great — it makes us want to stay motivated and positive while we do our work.”

Trevino, who sang the national anthem at the start of the ceremonies, said watching the interaction between young soldiers and the alumni troopers who served as far back as the Korean War was amazing.

“This is a very fast-paced unit. … The camaraderie is different. This is the type of stuff we need,” she said, adding that she would love to do something similar and more often in order to help foster a sense of pride for the unit within the newest troops who had never served with “Garryowen” before.

“The new privates who have just gotten here have got to experience this,” Trevino said. “Being able to see people who have so much experience in the military. … This is just so great.”

Lt. Gen. Paul Funk, III Corps and Fort Hood commander and a former “Garryowen” commander, even sent a video to the troopers from the Middle East, where he currently command Operation Inherent Resolve — the international coalition to defeat the Islamic State.

“I am even more proud I can hold my head high and say that I am a Garryowen trooper, just like you,” Funk said in the video. “All Garryowen troopers have one thing in common — tenacity, the single most important trait of a trooper. That fixed resolve not to quit when things get tough.”

Retired Sgt. Maj. of the Army Raymond F. Chandler III, a former command sergeant major for the squadron and the 14th sergeant major of the Army, also offered some words of encouragement for all the troopers at the event, both past and present.

“My time in 1/7 Cav for me was the most pivotal and most memorable part of my military career,” he said. “A lot of people ask me, ‘do you miss the Army?’ Hell no, I do not. What I do miss is you. It’s that blood we shared over in Iraq and unfortunately the lives we lost and those who suffer from the visible wounds of war and those who suffer from invisible wounds.

“I just want to tell each and every one of you, thank you for helping to shape my life and for teaching me one of the most important things — that honor is the most important value,” Chandler added. “It’s what makes Garryowen, the 1st Squadron, 7th Cavalry Regiment, the pride of not only the 1st Cavalry Division, but as far as I’m concerned, the rest of the United States Army.”

Plans have already begun for the 2019 reunion, which will occur once the unit returns from an upcoming deployment to Europe with the 1st Brigade.

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Reynaldo Bignone, Argentina's Last Military Dictator, Dies at 90

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BUENOS AIRES — Reynaldo Bignone, the last military dictator of Argentina, died here on Wednesday while under house arrest after being convicted of crimes against humanity in multiple trials. He was 90.

An Army official said the cause was heart failure produced by septic shock in the Central Military Hospital.

Mr. Bignone, a former general, was the fourth and last leader of a military dictatorship that illegally imprisoned, tortured, killed and disappeared tens of thousands of people. He was found guilty of numerous crimes, including killings, tortures and the kidnapping of babies from political prisoners.

His death came just eight days after that of another former Argentine general, Luciano Benjamín Menéndez[1], who had also been convicted of crimes against humanity.

When Mr. Bignone was handed the reins on July 1, 1982[2], the military junta that had engulfed Argentina in repression and economic chaos was on its last legs.

Mr. Bignone, who had retired from the military in 1981, was asked by the military leadership to succeed Gen. Leopoldo Galtieri[3], who in 1982 led Argentina to embarrassing defeat when British forces repulsed an invasion of the British-held Falkland Islands.

Mr. Bignone took over with the stated goal of transitioning to a democratically elected civilian government. On Dec. 10, 1983, he handed power to Raúl Ricardo Alfonsín[4], who had been elected in late October.

Before the transition, however, Mr. Bignone led a methodical process not only to destroy evidence about the dictatorship’s crimes but also to justify its repression. He approved an amnesty that was effectively an effort to shield military officers from prosecution.

Mr. Bignone’s convictions in 10 war-crimes trials led to three life sentences and seven sentences of 15 to 25 years. He was also acquitted in one case and indicted in nine others that never went to trial, according to data from the Argentine attorney general’s office.

“Death was left without its last boss: The genocide perpetrator Bignone died,” Hijos, a human rights group that advocates for descendants of the disappeared, wrote on Twitter[5]. “His family knows the time, the reasons and the location. It can also decide where to bid him farewell. The thousands of families who are Bignone’s victims can’t.”

Mr. Bignone’s convictions and sentences marked a stark shift in how Argentine society regarded him. He had once been seen as the most benevolent member of the military junta because he had led the transition to democracy, but he came to be reviled when his key role in the darkest chapters of the dictatorship became clear.

Mr. Bignone being escorted by a police officer to court in Buenos Aires in 2010.CreditMarcos Brindicci/Reuters

Mr. Bignone was sentenced to prison for the first time[6] in April 2010 after being found guilty of torture and killings as the head of the Campo de Mayo military base, where illegal detention centers had held thousands.

He had also led the military takeover of the Posadas Hospital in Buenos Aires Province, where another illegal detention center was set up.

In 2016, Mr. Bignone was sentenced for his role in Operation Condor[7], a joint effort by right-wing dictatorships in the region to track down dissidents.

He never expressed regret for his crimes. In a memoir[8], “The Last De Facto” (1992), he sought to justify the actions of the juntas.

He did so again before being sentenced in 2010, saying that there had been an[9] “irregular war” underway in Argentina at the time and that the armed forces “had to get involved in the fight to defeat terrorism.”

Reynaldo Benito Bignone was born on Jan. 21, 1928, in Morón, Buenos Aires Province, and entered the Military Academy at 19. He went on to become general secretary of the Army and was named head of the Military College months before the 1976 coup[10] that ousted President María Estela Martínez de Perón.

Argentina’s Defense Ministry stripped Mr. Bignone of his military rank in October 2014.

He is survived by two of the three children he had with his wife, Nilda Raquel Belén Etcheverry, who died in 2013.

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References

  1. ^ Luciano Benjamín Menéndez (www.nytimes.com)
  2. ^ the reins on July 1, 1982 (www.nytimes.com)
  3. ^ Times obituary (www.nytimes.com)
  4. ^ he handed power to Raúl Ricardo Alfonsín (www.nytimes.com)
  5. ^ wrote on Twitter (twitter.com)
  6. ^ sentenced to prison for the first time (www.nytimes.com)
  7. ^ sentenced for his role in Operation Condor (www.nytimes.com)
  8. ^ memoir (www.pagina12.com.ar)
  9. ^ that there had been an (www.lanacion.com.ar)
  10. ^ months before the 1976 coup (www.nytimes.com)
0

Reynaldo Bignone, Argentina's Last Military Dictator, Dies at 90

Advertisement

BUENOS AIRES — Reynaldo Bignone, the last military dictator of Argentina, died here on Wednesday while under house arrest after being convicted of crimes against humanity in multiple trials. He was 90.

An Army official said the cause was heart failure produced by septic shock in the Central Military Hospital.

Mr. Bignone, a former general, was the fourth and last leader of a military dictatorship that illegally imprisoned, tortured, killed and disappeared tens of thousands of people. He was found guilty of numerous crimes, including killings, tortures and the kidnapping of babies from political prisoners.

His death came just eight days after that of another former Argentine general, Luciano Benjamín Menéndez[1], who had also been convicted of crimes against humanity.

When Mr. Bignone was handed the reins on July 1, 1982[2], the military junta that had engulfed Argentina in repression and economic chaos was on its last legs.

Mr. Bignone, who had retired from the military in 1981, was asked by the military leadership to succeed Gen. Leopoldo Galtieri[3], who in 1982 led Argentina to embarrassing defeat when British forces repulsed an invasion of the British-held Falkland Islands.

Mr. Bignone took over with the stated goal of transitioning to a democratically elected civilian government. On Dec. 10, 1983, he handed power to Raúl Ricardo Alfonsín[4], who had been elected in late October.

Before the transition, however, Mr. Bignone led a methodical process not only to destroy evidence about the dictatorship’s crimes but also to justify its repression. He approved an amnesty that was effectively an effort to shield military officers from prosecution.

Mr. Bignone’s convictions in 10 war-crimes trials led to three life sentences and seven sentences of 15 to 25 years. He was also acquitted in one case and indicted in nine others that never went to trial, according to data from the Argentine attorney general’s office.

“Death was left without its last boss: The genocide perpetrator Bignone died,” Hijos, a human rights group that advocates for descendants of the disappeared, wrote on Twitter[5]. “His family knows the time, the reasons and the location. It can also decide where to bid him farewell. The thousands of families who are Bignone’s victims can’t.”

Mr. Bignone’s convictions and sentences marked a stark shift in how Argentine society regarded him. He had once been seen as the most benevolent member of the military junta because he had led the transition to democracy, but he came to be reviled when his key role in the darkest chapters of the dictatorship became clear.

Mr. Bignone being escorted by a police officer to court in Buenos Aires in 2010.CreditMarcos Brindicci/Reuters

Mr. Bignone was sentenced to prison for the first time[6] in April 2010 after being found guilty of torture and killings as the head of the Campo de Mayo military base, where illegal detention centers had held thousands.

He had also led the military takeover of the Posadas Hospital in Buenos Aires Province, where another illegal detention center was set up.

In 2016, Mr. Bignone was sentenced for his role in Operation Condor[7], a joint effort by right-wing dictatorships in the region to track down dissidents.

He never expressed regret for his crimes. In a memoir[8], “The Last De Facto” (1992), he sought to justify the actions of the juntas.

He did so again before being sentenced in 2010, saying that there had been an[9] “irregular war” underway in Argentina at the time and that the armed forces “had to get involved in the fight to defeat terrorism.”

Reynaldo Benito Bignone was born on Jan. 21, 1928, in Morón, Buenos Aires Province, and entered the Military Academy at 19. He went on to become general secretary of the Army and was named head of the Military College months before the 1976 coup[10] that ousted President María Estela Martínez de Perón.

Argentina’s Defense Ministry stripped Mr. Bignone of his military rank in October 2014.

He is survived by two of the three children he had with his wife, Nilda Raquel Belén Etcheverry, who died in 2013.

Advertisement

References

  1. ^ Luciano Benjamín Menéndez (www.nytimes.com)
  2. ^ the reins on July 1, 1982 (www.nytimes.com)
  3. ^ Times obituary (www.nytimes.com)
  4. ^ he handed power to Raúl Ricardo Alfonsín (www.nytimes.com)
  5. ^ wrote on Twitter (twitter.com)
  6. ^ sentenced to prison for the first time (www.nytimes.com)
  7. ^ sentenced for his role in Operation Condor (www.nytimes.com)
  8. ^ memoir (www.pagina12.com.ar)
  9. ^ that there had been an (www.lanacion.com.ar)
  10. ^ months before the 1976 coup (www.nytimes.com)
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Homeland Security Stylesheet: Incest Font

Consider Eric Gill, the English stone carver, typographer, sculptor—and progenitor of the typeface Gill Sans. A different Gill typeface, Joanna Nova, is the official font of the United States Department of Homeland Security, named after the only daughter (of three) that Gill did not sexually assault. Despite selecting the typeface dedicated to Gill’s only untouched daughter, the Department of Homeland Security is befouled by association—befouled because all of Gill’s typefaces feel impure after one reads excerpts from the typographer’s diaries, where Gill makes fastidious notes about molesting his servants, his sister, some children, the family dog.

Yet Gill’s typefaces persist in public:

Saab Automobile deploys Gill Sans.
Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
, for sure.
The US Department of Homeland Security, natch.
Save the Children, ditto.
Tommy Hilfiger also.

But some British designers, by way of internet declarations, have sworn off Gill Sans. They will not stuff (commercial) content into a contaminating form. Currently, the name of the font doesn’t reflect its mutating brand identity. I want the font to molt; let’s rechristen MS Gill Sans. At this moment, my fingers are typing in what I will now dub “Digital DaddyCock Sans.” But long after I’ve read the internet declarations from the British designers, the contrails of the incesting father persist; filthy crystals are the speech bubbles of quiet daughters. Homogenitus as declaritive human genitals.

Once established, the history of the font is embedded, and designers cannot simply excise it in hopes of miraculously restoring their pleasure at the control and spaciousness of DaddyCock Sans. The original events surrounding the typeface’s crafting become the substance of the font; this substance crowds and confuses the intended linguistic meaning of words encased in the font. Can a person—me, you—selectively refuse, as an act of resistance, to cognitively process a text executed in a specific font? DaddyCock Sans is the Spanish government’s official typeface on all public signage. Say a woman is driving through the mountains of Asturias, an area that long provided shelter to anarchist guerilla forces, and she suddenly finds herself psychologically incapable of reading all official signage in Spanish. She blows through a stop sign. At this point, she, the refuser, finds “ALTO” (Spanish for “HALT”) unintelligible in DaddyCock Sans. She misses road signs marked “Galicia”—where US nuclear submarines used to roost. She can’t read “Policia” either, as it too is encased in Daddycock Sans. This happens because she has totalized an ethos of resistance. Perhaps emergency illiteracy might be a temporary tactic for refusing the state melding of form and male authority.

James C. Scott, political scientist and anthropologist, suggests that certain forms of elective nonliteracy, when practiced collectively, can function as a “positive medium of cultural life as opposed to a deficiency.” He asserts that historically, marginalized peoples retreated from farming and written language in order to flee emerging nation-states. He focuses on Zomia, the name for a series of alpine terrains stretching across southeast Asia defined by “runaway, fugitive, maroon communities who have, over the course of two millennia, been fleeing the oppressions of state-making projects in the valleys—slavery, conscription, taxes, corvée labor, epidemics, and warfare.” Considered alongside the productive nonliteracy of Zomia, the abolition of select typefaces is an action for those who choose to remain within the nation-state.

Gill’s typefaces are so habitual and spare as to make them seem invisible; they sheath the moral decay of the maker and the corruption of the user. MS Joanna Nova, operating as an official font, provides a stylized interface with the US Department of Homeland Security—an entity that also mishandles human bodies, but on a institutional scale. Some instructional materials on design urge government officials to select a typeface that “achieves a level of harmony and legibility in print.” “Legibility” here pertains only to the kerning, layout, or thickness of the font—obviously it does not include making legible the fact that institutional bodies hold up and hole up specific human bodies. The web page is bright and simple, its whiteness internally lit by a digital sun; it suggests that the government’s hold on detainees is light, temporary, unremarkable. Additionally, some web visitors will have internalized the commercial history of the typeface—including the cover of the 1965 Penguin Modern Classics edition of Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World. They might experientially slide between categories: reader and witness, citizen and suspect. This is the design surface of US fascism.

See dhs.gov. Nested within the site is the home page of US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), responsible for the forced deportation of undocumented immigrants. When I logged on to the ICE home page in October 2017, a phrase in MS Joanna Nova floated above each image in the “Photos” section.

ENFORCEMENT AND REMOVAL—when in MS Joanna Novais easily received by the user’s eye. It is emblazoned above an image of an alleged child rapist, flanked by ICE officers, on a set of airstairs. Since this appears on a web page, the eye consolidates the inflammatory title and caption and the dull photograph into a unified image; this amalgam contains data without analysis, and competing traumas (rape and deportation) severed from context. The inherent banality of institutional websites paired with the evident boredom of the ICE cameraman eliminates the uncanny as a category of experience for this image. By March 2018, I don’t remember the shapes of the heads of the people in the image or the color of their clothing, so much as the casualness of the shot: a composition that could not locate its register (photojournalism or archival document or…).

Above the next image: ENFORCEMENT AND REMOVAL. In bright sunlight, a figure, bald and with glasses, enters a white van; he is charged with the sex trafficking of minors. Again, MS Joanna Nova. Under the snapshot, the caption reads: “Phoenix, Arizona,” in MS Joanna Nova. The sophisticated typeface is in tension with the artlessness of the composition. This half-hearted attention to style while documenting state power is its own style. Let’s dub it “American Bro,” because American violence, formal and informal, has often aimed to appear casual, effortless, masculine, normal, naturalized. I’m supposed to forget that power could ever be any other way.

Each user of the DHS website—grade-school teachers, businesswomen, DREAMers, cyberattack victims, job seekers, and me—is anonymous to one another. But together we users use in MS Joanna Nova; I use it to determine how the intentions of the state are visualized. In the ICE section, I note thick hands and holsters acting out narratives of white chivalry upon a collateral body of characters specified as rapists and pimps. A border economy based on captives and captors is dependent on feminine victims, actual or conjured. The feminine victim as political commodity also articulates itself in other contemporary ways, oblique and direct, ranging from the reproduction and circulation of images of physically-wasted children as a fundraising tool, to more recent instrumentalizations of conflict-related sexual violence to justify invasions.

For centuries, novelists and artists have recycled images of the female victim. See Beatrice (1866), for example, by Julia Margaret Cameron. For this photograph, Cameron worked with a thirteen-year-old model, May Prinsep. May has been instructed to channel sixteenth-century Beatrice Cenci, in the period after Beatrice’s rape at the hands of her father but before her beheading as ordered by the court. Beatrice and her brothers were executed for hiring assassins to kill their father in Florence, Italy. The sculptor Harriet Hosmer offered her own portrayal of Cenci in 1857. Cameron and Hosmer were attracted to the task of depicting a female victim who suffers twice over: once in the privacy of the home, and once at the hands of the state. Perhaps Hosmer—who, as a lesbian, was subject to a certain kind of erasure by the state—was hoping her prone marble Beatrice was covertly instructing: “You too can kill the father.”

Joanna Gill, the font’s muse, unofficially operates as ICE’s muse—an unmolested Anglo daughter. The use of a font created by Eric Gill, when Gill was never punished for his own crimes, feels ironic. Do my fella users feel that too? Feelings about Petra Gill, molested daughter … Indeterminate feelings about Petra’s Jersey (1922) by Eric Gill, a light sketch of a “clothed partial torso and arm.” The image floats on the surface of the viewer’s mind. It’s a relief not to see the face or skin of Petra, the middle daughter, just the slump of fabric. Human escaped. It is my fantasy that Petra unfurls the jersey like the Invisible Man’s bandages and vanishes into the air, reaching the edge of the exosphere, four hundred miles above the earth’s crust. Spare but prurient wood engravings by Gill—titled Girl in Bath I (1922), Girl in Bath II (1923), and Hair Combing (1922)—do not name teenage Petra as their subject. The totality of Gill’s personal papers were not acquired by UCLA until the 1950s. It is only decades later that the details of Gill’s abuses, as recorded in his archived diaries, are published in mainstream biographies. Petra’s image is only then transformed from the artist’s daughter to an actual victim of the artist. My daydream that Petra gets free persists, her perp stranded on the continental crust.

Be it rape victim, victimized worker, raped worker, or worker raped while traversing the desert towards work, I wish to dodge the narrative orbit that places assault, née human sacrifice, as the whole of representation and the totality of a person’s end. Likewise, the bodies held by the Department of Homeland Security often get fed into a sentimental framework (a liberal reflex) that generates such volumes of emotion that emotion becomes the end experience of the witness as opposed to sparking actual structural change. The MS Joanna Nova typeface circuitously participates in the detention of force-fed bodies, restrained bodies in our private prisons, because it organizes the forward-facing end of the entity and thus conceals assault; it is designed to communicate that the organization is clean and “free of fancy business” (Gill). Do you suspect that I’m advocating for the DHS to replace MS Joanna Nova with MS Antiqua, a font celebrated by the Nazi Party? That I’m urging the adaptation of a font that provides a truer reflection of the DHS’s aims and feelings? I’m not. I only aim to expose unwitting alliances … and to dissolve phallic technique. Duh.

Is there a spell that can do that? What font is it in?

If I restricted myself to other typefaces roughly coeval with Gill’s, I would choose Doves Press font. Although Gill’s typefaces and Doves Press both emerged from the Arts and Crafts Movement, the social origins and physical end of Doves Press font differ from Gill’s typefaces. While Doves Press was financed by a militant suffragette, Anne Cobden-Sanderson, Gill’s best-remembered public engagement with women’s suffrage was his 1910 sculpture Votes For Women, I Don’t Think, purchased by economist John Maynard Keynes. Doves Press font predates Gill’s typography (1926) by twenty-seven years. But by 1919, the entirety of Doves Press font was sunk. In his diary, T. J. Cobden-Sanderson, the husband of Anne, records that the alphabet was “bequeathed to the sea.” T. J. wrapped the punches and matrices in paper parcels and over 105 visits threw the typeface over the Hammersmith, a suspension bridge spanning the Thames. One hundred fifty-one of its metal sorts were recovered from by the Port of London Authority’s diving team in November 2014. Some were moved along by the current and dredging; others were possibly destroyed in two IRA bombings of the bridge. It is not just T. J. Cobden-Sanderson’s suturing of his wife’s name to his own or the feminist bankrolling of the initial endeavor that makes Doves Press font the right typeface for a radical spell; it is that T. J.’s gesture was a furious and poetic hex on his former business partner, Emery Walker. What is a hex? The witches of the Susan B. Anthony coven once wrote that they were not circling in order to bake cupcakes. Their work was to curse. To not lament sexual assault but to extinguish its henchman’s momentum, because they rape so frequently and viciously. With what was this font imbued by being drowned, bombed, dredged, and resurrected? Maybe it can be repurposed to refuse abusive literacy, or to destroy it in kind.

But a typeface with a history of wizardly erasure is not casually purchased at Michaels craft emporium. Online, I make contact with a stencil service, which says I can special order Doves Press font at a price. Also online, former colleagues write to inquire about sexual harassment in one of the many art schools I have taught at; female students are confiding: male faculty members have made sexual overtures. The students decline to file reports. Surfing, I notice that a nontraditional undergraduate that I reported for sexually harassing students is now an adjunct professor at the same school. A secretly shared MS spreadsheet lists perpetrators working in the art field. I mentally note who has been listed and who has not. Three days later, the file disappears. Another Gchat window opens up; a friend talks about the article she is writing on sexual predators in the art world. Offline, my partner and I coolly discuss the named perpetrators while doing chores. Run faucet. “Dickie’s name was on it.” Wipe counter. “Not surprised.” Offline, outside of my home, is an abandoned black BMW. It isn’t mine. It belongs to a former resident of the building we live in. He, a pediatrician, is now in prison for possessing the largest stash of child pornography the cops have ever uncovered in the area. When we walk by the Beamer, my kid occasionally asks, “Why it is that car here?” “Oh, it’s a junker,” I say. “It’s for parts.” Next, I quip to the leaf blowers, who may also be in the know: “Can you please bury that in leaves?”

Tonight, I run the mouse over the Wi-Fi icon.

Router names pop up, including the pedophile’s router. I read his surname in MS Helvetica, and MS Helvetica transmogrifies—a default font for child molesters.

Helvetica, initially Neue Haas Grotesk, was designed by Swiss typographer Max Miedinger in 1957. Miedinger explains: “We designers are sellers of subliminal details that the average viewer does not see, but they do feel.”

Dear Viewer, I felt DaddyCock Sans; now we feel Helvetica. The local pedophile is scheduled to be released this year. He will come to fetch his mail, his Beamer, his router.

Recall again that Miedinger said: “We designers are sellers of subliminal details that the average viewer does not see, but they do feel. The message is somehow warmer, more memorable.”

Wi-Fi Router first accessed 09/01/2016, 12:12 p.m. Wi-Fi Router list last accessed 01/03/2018, 6:07 p.m.

I scroll past the pedophile’s router name in Helvetica. It is memorable, but not warmer. I feel it. My self as a cultural isolate … as if the the violence of the state and the violent sentimentality of capitalism both fall away from me and the ghost-router. This is not possible. My feelings have produced a political bio-fiction: a pedophile as autotroph, producing his own nutrients, operating within a closed system where he climaxes only to photographs of his child self.

01/05/2018, p.m.: After the dog shits and I bag it, I photograph the pedophile’s abandoned Beamer in our shared driveway because the snow plows have further buried it. The snow lips the window. The car cannot back out. I’m afraid the neighbors are watching me photograph the disappearing car. As a cover, I snap a picture of the abandoned basketball hoop … the clear blue sky … when to stop? … a beheaded lantern with a duct-taped nub … the copper beech with a sawn-off limb.

To daydream a law based on pedophiles as autotrophs.

(I realize I’m dreaming of punishment.)

A disassembled homeland security. A rudderless rapist. A self-cannibalized pedophile. A dead fascist?

To sleepwalk around the riot?

The Department of Homeland Security Style Guide, downloaded November, 2017.

White supremacists run free here. The Southern Poverty Law Center lists 724 US hate groups with some ideological stake in white supremacy. Some casual protesters fear that a physical confrontation with white supremacists will result in their own death. All summer there was white hand-wringing: Could a white one who chooses personal safety over resistance still regard itself as a moral being? Our whelp!!! was many Family Unit’s public justification, their tender excuse. Was it also mine? There seemed to be scant middle class identification with the Bread and Roses Strike (1912) and the ways in which strikers’ children were mobilized. There was little mainstream knowledge of the Battle of Hayes Pond (1958), where members of the indigenous Lumbee tribe—including fathers, uncles, and cousins—disrupted a Klu Klux Klan rally. Outnumbering the Klan, the Lumbee cut off the Klan’s light source, absconded with their sound system, and stomped on their abandoned banners while the Klan fled. The Lumbee provide an alternative family model. In these times, can middle-class family reunions be organized as marches against white supremacy?

By winter, the energy of resistance seemed to be redirected. Neo-Nazis swapped for Hollywood sexual predators and ivory-tower sexual predators and politician sexual predators. It is plausible that some pursue and pursued (longstanding) sexual predators in the workplace, at this juncture, because they have equated the pursuit of white supremacists with their own personal unrecoverable harm. The piggie Alabaman with a stiff “pinkie” (or his Hollywood counterpart or his NYC cosmopolitan brethren) are not perceived as murderous, despite public policies that prove otherwise (see their votes on policing, health, foreign policy).

It is possible that the majority of white people claiming to be anti-racist will never physically confront white supremacy because they can only imagine defeat. Perhaps some of their reluctance stems from a failure to imagine victory; they have little sense of what an anti-racist land feels like.

Towards a sort of sanity, I look backward online. I’m seeking an image to reassure me that fascism ends. The image: a dead fascist woman dangles from a meat hook. Her feet are bare and she is upside down. Attached to her corpse is a placard with her name. Ghoulishly, I ask: What font? Bathetically, I ask: Is this what the end of an ideology looks like? But this public desecration didn’t stop the form; the dismembered parts of this far-right belief system have reassembled. When our current iteration of fascism goes dormant again, will the beginning of its hibernation include its governing bodies being strung up … on a slowed internet? I am asking if a gory documentation of the political cycle will load sluggishly. To my own grotesque debasement and relief.

I nightdream, awake in the dark, of people dismantling a fascist state, couple by couple, decoupled, bone by bone, my bone. But my problem is compiling a workable to-do list of actions that will allow me to cross over the shape of the family unit. Guy Hocquenghem refers to this unit as “The Couple,” which includes both heterosexual and homosexual couples; as a form, The Couple has been produced by a millenium of patriarchy and centuries of capitalism. In my nightdream, there are millions of households that go beyond The Couple, that enfold not only mommies, dormies, unckies, but also junkies, roomies, furries, hubbies … generating and sustaining a structure suspended between where we shelter and where we love and rage with strangers. We sleep walkers are also sleep talkers—incoherence is our cover and our pleasure. This nocturnal orality happens in lieu of the waking texts recorded by security forces, We, woozily, operate outside of a passion for hierarchy; exterior reality as it exists today buckles under the flow of beings that cannot meet its passions.

Then I nightmare that you and I are belated, the Capitolocene being the end of our human time.

×

Tam Donner is an American artist and writer.

© 2018 e-flux and the author

0

Homeland Security Stylesheet: Incest Font

Consider Eric Gill, the English stone carver, typographer, sculptor—and progenitor of the typeface Gill Sans. A different Gill typeface, Joanna Nova, is the official font of the United States Department of Homeland Security, named after the only daughter (of three) that Gill did not sexually assault. Despite selecting the typeface dedicated to Gill’s only untouched daughter, the Department of Homeland Security is befouled by association—befouled because all of Gill’s typefaces feel impure after one reads excerpts from the typographer’s diaries, where Gill makes fastidious notes about molesting his servants, his sister, some children, the family dog.

Yet Gill’s typefaces persist in public:

Saab Automobile deploys Gill Sans.
Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
, for sure.
The US Department of Homeland Security, natch.
Save the Children, ditto.
Tommy Hilfiger also.

But some British designers, by way of internet declarations, have sworn off Gill Sans. They will not stuff (commercial) content into a contaminating form. Currently, the name of the font doesn’t reflect its mutating brand identity. I want the font to molt; let’s rechristen MS Gill Sans. At this moment, my fingers are typing in what I will now dub “Digital DaddyCock Sans.” But long after I’ve read the internet declarations from the British designers, the contrails of the incesting father persist; filthy crystals are the speech bubbles of quiet daughters. Homogenitus as declaritive human genitals.

Once established, the history of the font is embedded, and designers cannot simply excise it in hopes of miraculously restoring their pleasure at the control and spaciousness of DaddyCock Sans. The original events surrounding the typeface’s crafting become the substance of the font; this substance crowds and confuses the intended linguistic meaning of words encased in the font. Can a person—me, you—selectively refuse, as an act of resistance, to cognitively process a text executed in a specific font? DaddyCock Sans is the Spanish government’s official typeface on all public signage. Say a woman is driving through the mountains of Asturias, an area that long provided shelter to anarchist guerilla forces, and she suddenly finds herself psychologically incapable of reading all official signage in Spanish. She blows through a stop sign. At this point, she, the refuser, finds “ALTO” (Spanish for “HALT”) unintelligible in DaddyCock Sans. She misses road signs marked “Galicia”—where US nuclear submarines used to roost. She can’t read “Policia” either, as it too is encased in Daddycock Sans. This happens because she has totalized an ethos of resistance. Perhaps emergency illiteracy might be a temporary tactic for refusing the state melding of form and male authority.

James C. Scott, political scientist and anthropologist, suggests that certain forms of elective nonliteracy, when practiced collectively, can function as a “positive medium of cultural life as opposed to a deficiency.” He asserts that historically, marginalized peoples retreated from farming and written language in order to flee emerging nation-states. He focuses on Zomia, the name for a series of alpine terrains stretching across southeast Asia defined by “runaway, fugitive, maroon communities who have, over the course of two millennia, been fleeing the oppressions of state-making projects in the valleys—slavery, conscription, taxes, corvée labor, epidemics, and warfare.” Considered alongside the productive nonliteracy of Zomia, the abolition of select typefaces is an action for those who choose to remain within the nation-state.

Gill’s typefaces are so habitual and spare as to make them seem invisible; they sheath the moral decay of the maker and the corruption of the user. MS Joanna Nova, operating as an official font, provides a stylized interface with the US Department of Homeland Security—an entity that also mishandles human bodies, but on a institutional scale. Some instructional materials on design urge government officials to select a typeface that “achieves a level of harmony and legibility in print.” “Legibility” here pertains only to the kerning, layout, or thickness of the font—obviously it does not include making legible the fact that institutional bodies hold up and hole up specific human bodies. The web page is bright and simple, its whiteness internally lit by a digital sun; it suggests that the government’s hold on detainees is light, temporary, unremarkable. Additionally, some web visitors will have internalized the commercial history of the typeface—including the cover of the 1965 Penguin Modern Classics edition of Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World. They might experientially slide between categories: reader and witness, citizen and suspect. This is the design surface of US fascism.

See dhs.gov. Nested within the site is the home page of US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), responsible for the forced deportation of undocumented immigrants. When I logged on to the ICE home page in October 2017, a phrase in MS Joanna Nova floated above each image in the “Photos” section.

ENFORCEMENT AND REMOVAL—when in MS Joanna Novais easily received by the user’s eye. It is emblazoned above an image of an alleged child rapist, flanked by ICE officers, on a set of airstairs. Since this appears on a web page, the eye consolidates the inflammatory title and caption and the dull photograph into a unified image; this amalgam contains data without analysis, and competing traumas (rape and deportation) severed from context. The inherent banality of institutional websites paired with the evident boredom of the ICE cameraman eliminates the uncanny as a category of experience for this image. By March 2018, I don’t remember the shapes of the heads of the people in the image or the color of their clothing, so much as the casualness of the shot: a composition that could not locate its register (photojournalism or archival document or…).

Above the next image: ENFORCEMENT AND REMOVAL. In bright sunlight, a figure, bald and with glasses, enters a white van; he is charged with the sex trafficking of minors. Again, MS Joanna Nova. Under the snapshot, the caption reads: “Phoenix, Arizona,” in MS Joanna Nova. The sophisticated typeface is in tension with the artlessness of the composition. This half-hearted attention to style while documenting state power is its own style. Let’s dub it “American Bro,” because American violence, formal and informal, has often aimed to appear casual, effortless, masculine, normal, naturalized. I’m supposed to forget that power could ever be any other way.

Each user of the DHS website—grade-school teachers, businesswomen, DREAMers, cyberattack victims, job seekers, and me—is anonymous to one another. But together we users use in MS Joanna Nova; I use it to determine how the intentions of the state are visualized. In the ICE section, I note thick hands and holsters acting out narratives of white chivalry upon a collateral body of characters specified as rapists and pimps. A border economy based on captives and captors is dependent on feminine victims, actual or conjured. The feminine victim as political commodity also articulates itself in other contemporary ways, oblique and direct, ranging from the reproduction and circulation of images of physically-wasted children as a fundraising tool, to more recent instrumentalizations of conflict-related sexual violence to justify invasions.

For centuries, novelists and artists have recycled images of the female victim. See Beatrice (1866), for example, by Julia Margaret Cameron. For this photograph, Cameron worked with a thirteen-year-old model, May Prinsep. May has been instructed to channel sixteenth-century Beatrice Cenci, in the period after Beatrice’s rape at the hands of her father but before her beheading as ordered by the court. Beatrice and her brothers were executed for hiring assassins to kill their father in Florence, Italy. The sculptor Harriet Hosmer offered her own portrayal of Cenci in 1857. Cameron and Hosmer were attracted to the task of depicting a female victim who suffers twice over: once in the privacy of the home, and once at the hands of the state. Perhaps Hosmer—who, as a lesbian, was subject to a certain kind of erasure by the state—was hoping her prone marble Beatrice was covertly instructing: “You too can kill the father.”

Joanna Gill, the font’s muse, unofficially operates as ICE’s muse—an unmolested Anglo daughter. The use of a font created by Eric Gill, when Gill was never punished for his own crimes, feels ironic. Do my fella users feel that too? Feelings about Petra Gill, molested daughter … Indeterminate feelings about Petra’s Jersey (1922) by Eric Gill, a light sketch of a “clothed partial torso and arm.” The image floats on the surface of the viewer’s mind. It’s a relief not to see the face or skin of Petra, the middle daughter, just the slump of fabric. Human escaped. It is my fantasy that Petra unfurls the jersey like the Invisible Man’s bandages and vanishes into the air, reaching the edge of the exosphere, four hundred miles above the earth’s crust. Spare but prurient wood engravings by Gill—titled Girl in Bath I (1922), Girl in Bath II (1923), and Hair Combing (1922)—do not name teenage Petra as their subject. The totality of Gill’s personal papers were not acquired by UCLA until the 1950s. It is only decades later that the details of Gill’s abuses, as recorded in his archived diaries, are published in mainstream biographies. Petra’s image is only then transformed from the artist’s daughter to an actual victim of the artist. My daydream that Petra gets free persists, her perp stranded on the continental crust.

Be it rape victim, victimized worker, raped worker, or worker raped while traversing the desert towards work, I wish to dodge the narrative orbit that places assault, née human sacrifice, as the whole of representation and the totality of a person’s end. Likewise, the bodies held by the Department of Homeland Security often get fed into a sentimental framework (a liberal reflex) that generates such volumes of emotion that emotion becomes the end experience of the witness as opposed to sparking actual structural change. The MS Joanna Nova typeface circuitously participates in the detention of force-fed bodies, restrained bodies in our private prisons, because it organizes the forward-facing end of the entity and thus conceals assault; it is designed to communicate that the organization is clean and “free of fancy business” (Gill). Do you suspect that I’m advocating for the DHS to replace MS Joanna Nova with MS Antiqua, a font celebrated by the Nazi Party? That I’m urging the adaptation of a font that provides a truer reflection of the DHS’s aims and feelings? I’m not. I only aim to expose unwitting alliances … and to dissolve phallic technique. Duh.

Is there a spell that can do that? What font is it in?

If I restricted myself to other typefaces roughly coeval with Gill’s, I would choose Doves Press font. Although Gill’s typefaces and Doves Press both emerged from the Arts and Crafts Movement, the social origins and physical end of Doves Press font differ from Gill’s typefaces. While Doves Press was financed by a militant suffragette, Anne Cobden-Sanderson, Gill’s best-remembered public engagement with women’s suffrage was his 1910 sculpture Votes For Women, I Don’t Think, purchased by economist John Maynard Keynes. Doves Press font predates Gill’s typography (1926) by twenty-seven years. But by 1919, the entirety of Doves Press font was sunk. In his diary, T. J. Cobden-Sanderson, the husband of Anne, records that the alphabet was “bequeathed to the sea.” T. J. wrapped the punches and matrices in paper parcels and over 105 visits threw the typeface over the Hammersmith, a suspension bridge spanning the Thames. One hundred fifty-one of its metal sorts were recovered from by the Port of London Authority’s diving team in November 2014. Some were moved along by the current and dredging; others were possibly destroyed in two IRA bombings of the bridge. It is not just T. J. Cobden-Sanderson’s suturing of his wife’s name to his own or the feminist bankrolling of the initial endeavor that makes Doves Press font the right typeface for a radical spell; it is that T. J.’s gesture was a furious and poetic hex on his former business partner, Emery Walker. What is a hex? The witches of the Susan B. Anthony coven once wrote that they were not circling in order to bake cupcakes. Their work was to curse. To not lament sexual assault but to extinguish its henchman’s momentum, because they rape so frequently and viciously. With what was this font imbued by being drowned, bombed, dredged, and resurrected? Maybe it can be repurposed to refuse abusive literacy, or to destroy it in kind.

But a typeface with a history of wizardly erasure is not casually purchased at Michaels craft emporium. Online, I make contact with a stencil service, which says I can special order Doves Press font at a price. Also online, former colleagues write to inquire about sexual harassment in one of the many art schools I have taught at; female students are confiding: male faculty members have made sexual overtures. The students decline to file reports. Surfing, I notice that a nontraditional undergraduate that I reported for sexually harassing students is now an adjunct professor at the same school. A secretly shared MS spreadsheet lists perpetrators working in the art field. I mentally note who has been listed and who has not. Three days later, the file disappears. Another Gchat window opens up; a friend talks about the article she is writing on sexual predators in the art world. Offline, my partner and I coolly discuss the named perpetrators while doing chores. Run faucet. “Dickie’s name was on it.” Wipe counter. “Not surprised.” Offline, outside of my home, is an abandoned black BMW. It isn’t mine. It belongs to a former resident of the building we live in. He, a pediatrician, is now in prison for possessing the largest stash of child pornography the cops have ever uncovered in the area. When we walk by the Beamer, my kid occasionally asks, “Why it is that car here?” “Oh, it’s a junker,” I say. “It’s for parts.” Next, I quip to the leaf blowers, who may also be in the know: “Can you please bury that in leaves?”

Tonight, I run the mouse over the Wi-Fi icon.

Router names pop up, including the pedophile’s router. I read his surname in MS Helvetica, and MS Helvetica transmogrifies—a default font for child molesters.

Helvetica, initially Neue Haas Grotesk, was designed by Swiss typographer Max Miedinger in 1957. Miedinger explains: “We designers are sellers of subliminal details that the average viewer does not see, but they do feel.”

Dear Viewer, I felt DaddyCock Sans; now we feel Helvetica. The local pedophile is scheduled to be released this year. He will come to fetch his mail, his Beamer, his router.

Recall again that Miedinger said: “We designers are sellers of subliminal details that the average viewer does not see, but they do feel. The message is somehow warmer, more memorable.”

Wi-Fi Router first accessed 09/01/2016, 12:12 p.m. Wi-Fi Router list last accessed 01/03/2018, 6:07 p.m.

I scroll past the pedophile’s router name in Helvetica. It is memorable, but not warmer. I feel it. My self as a cultural isolate … as if the the violence of the state and the violent sentimentality of capitalism both fall away from me and the ghost-router. This is not possible. My feelings have produced a political bio-fiction: a pedophile as autotroph, producing his own nutrients, operating within a closed system where he climaxes only to photographs of his child self.

01/05/2018, p.m.: After the dog shits and I bag it, I photograph the pedophile’s abandoned Beamer in our shared driveway because the snow plows have further buried it. The snow lips the window. The car cannot back out. I’m afraid the neighbors are watching me photograph the disappearing car. As a cover, I snap a picture of the abandoned basketball hoop … the clear blue sky … when to stop? … a beheaded lantern with a duct-taped nub … the copper beech with a sawn-off limb.

To daydream a law based on pedophiles as autotrophs.

(I realize I’m dreaming of punishment.)

A disassembled homeland security. A rudderless rapist. A self-cannibalized pedophile. A dead fascist?

To sleepwalk around the riot?

The Department of Homeland Security Style Guide, downloaded November, 2017.

White supremacists run free here. The Southern Poverty Law Center lists 724 US hate groups with some ideological stake in white supremacy. Some casual protesters fear that a physical confrontation with white supremacists will result in their own death. All summer there was white hand-wringing: Could a white one who chooses personal safety over resistance still regard itself as a moral being? Our whelp!!! was many Family Unit’s public justification, their tender excuse. Was it also mine? There seemed to be scant middle class identification with the Bread and Roses Strike (1912) and the ways in which strikers’ children were mobilized. There was little mainstream knowledge of the Battle of Hayes Pond (1958), where members of the indigenous Lumbee tribe—including fathers, uncles, and cousins—disrupted a Klu Klux Klan rally. Outnumbering the Klan, the Lumbee cut off the Klan’s light source, absconded with their sound system, and stomped on their abandoned banners while the Klan fled. The Lumbee provide an alternative family model. In these times, can middle-class family reunions be organized as marches against white supremacy?

By winter, the energy of resistance seemed to be redirected. Neo-Nazis swapped for Hollywood sexual predators and ivory-tower sexual predators and politician sexual predators. It is plausible that some pursue and pursued (longstanding) sexual predators in the workplace, at this juncture, because they have equated the pursuit of white supremacists with their own personal unrecoverable harm. The piggie Alabaman with a stiff “pinkie” (or his Hollywood counterpart or his NYC cosmopolitan brethren) are not perceived as murderous, despite public policies that prove otherwise (see their votes on policing, health, foreign policy).

It is possible that the majority of white people claiming to be anti-racist will never physically confront white supremacy because they can only imagine defeat. Perhaps some of their reluctance stems from a failure to imagine victory; they have little sense of what an anti-racist land feels like.

Towards a sort of sanity, I look backward online. I’m seeking an image to reassure me that fascism ends. The image: a dead fascist woman dangles from a meat hook. Her feet are bare and she is upside down. Attached to her corpse is a placard with her name. Ghoulishly, I ask: What font? Bathetically, I ask: Is this what the end of an ideology looks like? But this public desecration didn’t stop the form; the dismembered parts of this far-right belief system have reassembled. When our current iteration of fascism goes dormant again, will the beginning of its hibernation include its governing bodies being strung up … on a slowed internet? I am asking if a gory documentation of the political cycle will load sluggishly. To my own grotesque debasement and relief.

I nightdream, awake in the dark, of people dismantling a fascist state, couple by couple, decoupled, bone by bone, my bone. But my problem is compiling a workable to-do list of actions that will allow me to cross over the shape of the family unit. Guy Hocquenghem refers to this unit as “The Couple,” which includes both heterosexual and homosexual couples; as a form, The Couple has been produced by a millenium of patriarchy and centuries of capitalism. In my nightdream, there are millions of households that go beyond The Couple, that enfold not only mommies, dormies, unckies, but also junkies, roomies, furries, hubbies … generating and sustaining a structure suspended between where we shelter and where we love and rage with strangers. We sleep walkers are also sleep talkers—incoherence is our cover and our pleasure. This nocturnal orality happens in lieu of the waking texts recorded by security forces, We, woozily, operate outside of a passion for hierarchy; exterior reality as it exists today buckles under the flow of beings that cannot meet its passions.

Then I nightmare that you and I are belated, the Capitolocene being the end of our human time.

×

Tam Donner is an American artist and writer.

© 2018 e-flux and the author

0

After reports of chemical attacks, White House considers new military action against Syrian regime

The Trump administration has considered new military action against the Syrian government in response to reports of ongoing chemical weapons use, officials said, raising the prospect of a second U.S. strike on President Bashar al-Assad in less than a year.

President Trump requested options for punishing the Assad government after reported chlorine gas attacks — at least seven this year — and possibly other chemicals affecting civilians in opposition-controlled areas.

In a Feb. 25 incident, residents and medical staffers in a rebel-held Damascus suburb, Eastern Ghouta, described symptoms associated with chlorine exposure. One child died, medical staffers reported.

The president discussed potential actions early last week at a White House meeting that included Chief of Staff John F. Kelly, national security adviser H.R. McMaster and Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, officials said.

One official, who like others spoke on the condition of anonymity to address internal deliberations, said that the president did not endorse any military action and that officials decided to continue monitoring the situation.

Dana White, chief Pentagon spokeswoman, denied that Mattis took part in discussions about military action in Syria and said the “conversation did not happen.”

One senior administration official said that Mattis was “adamantly” against acting militarily in response to the recent chlorine attacks and that McMaster “was for it.”

The prospect of renewed military action, even if tabled for now, underscores the explosiveness of a conflict that has become a battlefield for rivalries between Russia and Iran on one side and the United States and its allies on the other.

The White House discussions come amid a drumbeat of accusations from Trump administration officials, who have sought to galvanize international pressure on Syria over repeated small-scale chemical attacks amid an escalation of widespread conventional air and ground assaults that have killed hundreds of civilians in recent weeks.

On Monday, the Assad government allowed a U.N. aid convoy to deliver food and other aid, but not certain medical supplies, to Eastern Ghouta, even as shelling and airstrikes continued.

The Trump administration has condemned Iran for deploying weapons and fighters that have helped turn the war in Assad’s favor. It has also blamed Russia for failing to enforce a U.N.-backed cease-fire proposal and for allowing the use of chemical weapons to continue.

“The civilized world must not tolerate the Assad regime’s continued use of chemical weapons,” White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement Sunday.

Russian and Syrian officials have rejected reports of government chemical weapons use.

Images of Syrians suffering the effects of chemical exposure appear to have energized the president to explore launching a new assault, as they did before the missile attack he authorized on a Syrian air base in April.

Trump ordered the Pentagon to fire Tomahawk missiles[1] on the Syrian facility believed to be linked to a sarin gas attack that killed 80 people. It was the first direct American assault on the Assad government, a step that President Barack Obama had shied away from, even after an estimated 1,400 people were killed in a gruesome attack[2] in August 2013.

[New chemical attacks reported in Syria, and Trump administration blames Russia[3]]

Administration officials say Syria has continued to make and employ chemical weapons despite an internationally backed deal[4] to remove its stockpiles after the 2013 incident.

According to the Syrian American Medical Society (SAMS), which tracks reports from medical staffers, patients have reported symptoms linked to chlorine exposure seven times this year. In November, also in Eastern Ghouta, hospitals described seeing patients with symptoms indicative of sarin, the society said.

Unlike with earlier deadly incidents, U.S. officials say, the Assad regime is now conducting only small-scale attacks and is relying mainly on chlorine, which is made from commercially available materials and is more difficult to detect than nerve agents such as sarin.

“They clearly think they can get away with this if they keep it under a certain level,” a senior administration official told reporters last month.

Officials also suspect Syria of using ground-based systems rather than aerial means for delivering chemical agents, because they are harder to track.

The Syrian government has resorted to such attacks, officials say, to compensate for manpower shortages and to discourage supporters of the opposition from returning to strategic areas.

Even as the U.S. military winds down its campaign against the Islamic State, the Trump administration risks being more deeply drawn into Syria’s civil war, in which NATO ally Turkey is another important player. Many U.S. officials say that only greater political stability can prevent the extremists’ return.

The Pentagon has sought to keep its mission in Syria tightly focused on the Islamic State. There are about 2,000 U.S. troops in the east and north, tasked with advising local forces who have been battling the extremists.

[Trump administration: Syria probably continuing to make, use chemical weapons[5]]

Some officials also have raised concerns about conclusively assigning responsibility for chlorine attacks. Others express skepticism that another strike would deter Assad when the last one did not.

But other officials, particularly at the White House and the State Department, appear more open to renewed action against Assad. They say that a U.S. response might deter the Assad regime from rebuilding its chemical arsenal in a way that might eventually threaten the United States and might demonstrate that the United States will not be deterred by Russia’s presence in Syria.

The discussions highlight the gray area that chlorine has occupied in the West’s response to chemical weapons use in Syria. While chlorine is not a banned substance, its use as a choking agent is prohibited under international chemical weapons rules.

The Assad government’s reported employment of chlorine has been much less lethal than that of sarin, at least in recent reported incidents in Syria. SAMS said two people had been killed in the seven attacks this year.

Mattis told reporters last month that the United States was seeking evidence[6] of renewed sarin use.

Fred Hof, an Obama administration official who is now at the Atlantic Council, said the United States would send a “deadly” message if it lashes out after chemical attacks but does nothing when civilians are killed with conventional arms.

“When we go out of our way to say, in effect, the only time we will lift a finger to protect Syrian civilians is when particularly deadly chemical weapons are employed, we are inadvertently — unintentionally but inevitably — encouraging the Assad regime, the Russians and the Iranians to attack civilians with everything at their disposal,” he said.

Even if Trump authorizes another attack, the Pentagon is likely to advocate limiting U.S. involvement in the war. The April attack, which included 59 cruise missiles, was aimed narrowly at an isolated airfield, minimizing the likelihood of tit-for-tat escalations.

The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons is investigating whether chlorine was used in recent attacks in Eastern Ghouta, Reuters reported.

Greg Jaffe in Washington and Louisa Loveluck in Beirut contributed to this report.

References

  1. ^ fire Tomahawk missiles (www.washingtonpost.com)
  2. ^ gruesome attack (www.washingtonpost.com)
  3. ^ New chemical attacks reported in Syria, and Trump administration blames Russia (www.washingtonpost.com)
  4. ^ internationally backed deal (www.washingtonpost.com)
  5. ^ Trump administration: Syria probably continuing to make, use chemical weapons (www.washingtonpost.com)
  6. ^ seeking evidence (www.reuters.com)
0

After reports of chemical attacks, White House considers new military action against Syrian regime

The Trump administration has considered new military action against the Syrian government in response to reports of ongoing chemical weapons use, officials said, raising the prospect of a second U.S. strike on President Bashar al-Assad in less than a year.

President Trump requested options for punishing the Assad government after reported chlorine gas attacks — at least seven this year — and possibly other chemicals affecting civilians in opposition-controlled areas.

In a Feb. 25 incident, residents and medical staffers in a rebel-held Damascus suburb, Eastern Ghouta, described symptoms associated with chlorine exposure. One child died, medical staffers reported.

The president discussed potential actions early last week at a White House meeting that included Chief of Staff John F. Kelly, national security adviser H.R. McMaster and Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, officials said.

One official, who like others spoke on the condition of anonymity to address internal deliberations, said that the president did not endorse any military action and that officials decided to continue monitoring the situation.

Dana White, chief Pentagon spokeswoman, denied that Mattis took part in discussions about military action in Syria and said the “conversation did not happen.”

One senior administration official said that Mattis was “adamantly” against acting militarily in response to the recent chlorine attacks and that McMaster “was for it.”

The prospect of renewed military action, even if tabled for now, underscores the explosiveness of a conflict that has become a battlefield for rivalries between Russia and Iran on one side and the United States and its allies on the other.

The White House discussions come amid a drumbeat of accusations from Trump administration officials, who have sought to galvanize international pressure on Syria over repeated small-scale chemical attacks amid an escalation of widespread conventional air and ground assaults that have killed hundreds of civilians in recent weeks.

On Monday, the Assad government allowed a U.N. aid convoy to deliver food and other aid, but not certain medical supplies, to Eastern Ghouta, even as shelling and airstrikes continued.

The Trump administration has condemned Iran for deploying weapons and fighters that have helped turn the war in Assad’s favor. It has also blamed Russia for failing to enforce a U.N.-backed cease-fire proposal and for allowing the use of chemical weapons to continue.

“The civilized world must not tolerate the Assad regime’s continued use of chemical weapons,” White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement Sunday.

Russian and Syrian officials have rejected reports of government chemical weapons use.

Images of Syrians suffering the effects of chemical exposure appear to have energized the president to explore launching a new assault, as they did before the missile attack he authorized on a Syrian air base in April.

Trump ordered the Pentagon to fire Tomahawk missiles[1] on the Syrian facility believed to be linked to a sarin gas attack that killed 80 people. It was the first direct American assault on the Assad government, a step that President Barack Obama had shied away from, even after an estimated 1,400 people were killed in a gruesome attack[2] in August 2013.

[New chemical attacks reported in Syria, and Trump administration blames Russia[3]]

Administration officials say Syria has continued to make and employ chemical weapons despite an internationally backed deal[4] to remove its stockpiles after the 2013 incident.

According to the Syrian American Medical Society (SAMS), which tracks reports from medical staffers, patients have reported symptoms linked to chlorine exposure seven times this year. In November, also in Eastern Ghouta, hospitals described seeing patients with symptoms indicative of sarin, the society said.

Unlike with earlier deadly incidents, U.S. officials say, the Assad regime is now conducting only small-scale attacks and is relying mainly on chlorine, which is made from commercially available materials and is more difficult to detect than nerve agents such as sarin.

“They clearly think they can get away with this if they keep it under a certain level,” a senior administration official told reporters last month.

Officials also suspect Syria of using ground-based systems rather than aerial means for delivering chemical agents, because they are harder to track.

The Syrian government has resorted to such attacks, officials say, to compensate for manpower shortages and to discourage supporters of the opposition from returning to strategic areas.

Even as the U.S. military winds down its campaign against the Islamic State, the Trump administration risks being more deeply drawn into Syria’s civil war, in which NATO ally Turkey is another important player. Many U.S. officials say that only greater political stability can prevent the extremists’ return.

The Pentagon has sought to keep its mission in Syria tightly focused on the Islamic State. There are about 2,000 U.S. troops in the east and north, tasked with advising local forces who have been battling the extremists.

[Trump administration: Syria probably continuing to make, use chemical weapons[5]]

Some officials also have raised concerns about conclusively assigning responsibility for chlorine attacks. Others express skepticism that another strike would deter Assad when the last one did not.

But other officials, particularly at the White House and the State Department, appear more open to renewed action against Assad. They say that a U.S. response might deter the Assad regime from rebuilding its chemical arsenal in a way that might eventually threaten the United States and might demonstrate that the United States will not be deterred by Russia’s presence in Syria.

The discussions highlight the gray area that chlorine has occupied in the West’s response to chemical weapons use in Syria. While chlorine is not a banned substance, its use as a choking agent is prohibited under international chemical weapons rules.

The Assad government’s reported employment of chlorine has been much less lethal than that of sarin, at least in recent reported incidents in Syria. SAMS said two people had been killed in the seven attacks this year.

Mattis told reporters last month that the United States was seeking evidence[6] of renewed sarin use.

Fred Hof, an Obama administration official who is now at the Atlantic Council, said the United States would send a “deadly” message if it lashes out after chemical attacks but does nothing when civilians are killed with conventional arms.

“When we go out of our way to say, in effect, the only time we will lift a finger to protect Syrian civilians is when particularly deadly chemical weapons are employed, we are inadvertently — unintentionally but inevitably — encouraging the Assad regime, the Russians and the Iranians to attack civilians with everything at their disposal,” he said.

Even if Trump authorizes another attack, the Pentagon is likely to advocate limiting U.S. involvement in the war. The April attack, which included 59 cruise missiles, was aimed narrowly at an isolated airfield, minimizing the likelihood of tit-for-tat escalations.

The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons is investigating whether chlorine was used in recent attacks in Eastern Ghouta, Reuters reported.

Greg Jaffe in Washington and Louisa Loveluck in Beirut contributed to this report.

References

  1. ^ fire Tomahawk missiles (www.washingtonpost.com)
  2. ^ gruesome attack (www.washingtonpost.com)
  3. ^ New chemical attacks reported in Syria, and Trump administration blames Russia (www.washingtonpost.com)
  4. ^ internationally backed deal (www.washingtonpost.com)
  5. ^ Trump administration: Syria probably continuing to make, use chemical weapons (www.washingtonpost.com)
  6. ^ seeking evidence (www.reuters.com)
0

US Banks on Diplomacy With North Korea, but Moves Ahead on Military Plans

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WASHINGTON — A classified military exercise last week examined how American troops would mobilize and strike if ordered into a potential war on the Korean Peninsula, even as diplomatic overtures between the North and the Trump administration continue.

The war planning, known as a “tabletop exercise,” was held over several days in Hawaii. It included Gen. Mark A. Milley, the Army’s chief of staff, and Gen. Tony Thomas, the head of Special Operations Command.

They looked at a number of pitfalls that could hamper an American assault on North Korea’s well-entrenched military. Among them was the Pentagon’s limited ability to evacuate injured troops from the Korean Peninsula daily — a problem more acute if the North retaliated with chemical weapons, according to more than a half-dozen military and Defense Department officials familiar with the exercise.

Large numbers of surveillance aircraft would have to be moved from the Middle East and Africa to the Pacific to support ground troops. Planners also looked at how American forces stationed in South Korea and Japan would be involved.

Pentagon officials cautioned that the planning does not mean that a decision has been made to go to war over President Trump’s demands that North Korea rein in its nuclear ambitions.

A war with North Korea, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis has said, would be “catastrophic.” He and Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr., the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, have argued forcefully for using diplomacy to address Pyongyang’s nuclear program.

Commanders who attended the exercise in Hawaii were told that roughly 10,000 Americans could be wounded in combat in the opening days alone. And the number of civilian casualties, the generals were told, would likely be in the thousands or even hundreds of thousands.

The potential human costs of a war were so high that, at one point during the exercise, General Milley remarked that “the brutality of this will be beyond the experience of any living soldier,” according to officials who were involved.

So, too, would be the sheer logistical enterprise of moving thousands of American soldiers and equipment to the Korean Peninsula. Moreover, senior military officials worry that after 17 years in Afghanistan and Iraq, American troops have become far more used to counterinsurgency fighting than a land war against a state, as an attack on North Korea would likely bring.

But Mr. Mattis also has ordered top Pentagon leaders to be ready for any possible military action against North Korea. Already, ammunition has been pre-staged in the Pacific region for ground units.

And Mr. Trump’s words[1] — “Military solutions are now fully in place, locked and loaded, should North Korea act unwisely,” he said in an August post on Twitter[2] — have left senior officers and rank-and-file troops convinced that they need to accelerate their contingency planning.

A White House decision to attack is almost wholly dependent on cooperation from South Korea — not only in committing its troops or other assets to the battle but also accepting the risk of widespread bloodshed on its civilian population if the North fires back.

With a revival recently signaled on the long-dormant diplomatic track to resolve the Korean crisis, Pentagon officials said they did not want to disrupt any chance for a negotiated resolution. North Korea’s declaration at the end of the Winter Olympics that it was willing to open a dialogue with the United States[3] offered a small amount of hope that the political pageantry of the Games would lead to more substantial results.

United States Marines at a military camp in Afghanistan this year. Top American commanders worry that after 17 years in Afghanistan and Iraq, troops are better prepared for counterinsurgency fighting than a land war against a state, as an attack on North Korea would likely bring.CreditMassoud Hossaini/Associated Press

Mr. Trump’s response[4] that the United States, too, was interested in talking compounded that hope. “We want to talk also,” Mr. Trump said earlier this week, but “only under the right conditions.”

But Trump administration officials still insist that the United States will not sit with North Korea unless Pyongyang agrees to open negotiations on its nuclear program, a condition the North has rejected.

And so the planning continues.

Mr. Mattis and other senior military leaders fear that a stray incident could spark a sudden conflict with the North. Of particular concern is the “ladder of escalation” — a chain of actions prompted by the shooting down of a North Korean or American jet, or sinking of a ship of which Mr. Mattis and other Pentagon leaders could quickly lose control.

Harsh new sanctions that the Trump administration announced last week[5] are a prime example.

The economic penalties target 28 ships that are registered in China and seven other countries, and intend to further cut off North Korea’s imports of oil and exports of coal. But by going after the shipments, the United States is edging closer to the imposition of an economic blockade on the North.

While Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin stopped short of saying the United States Navy would forcibly board ships on the high seas, administration officials privately have said that sailors may yet be called upon to do so, if hostile foreign vessels are suspected of transporting certain material to North Korea.

That, Defense Department officials say, could easily spark an incident that could escalate.

Mr. Trump recently referred to another type of incident that American officials fear could spark a war.

During a speech in Seoul last year[6], he brought up North Korea’s 1969 downing an American spy plane that had been flying over the Sea of Japan. All 31 Americans aboard were killed in the attack by two North Korean MiGs.

At the time, President Richard M. Nixon chose not to retaliate. It is unclear if Mr. Trump would follow the same course; in bringing up the episode last year, he warned, “Do not underestimate us, and do not try us.”

The Hawaii planning exercise looked at a wide range of military capabilities and missions. They included:

■ How many conventional and Special Operations forces could be deployed, in phases, to target North Korean nuclear sites.

■ Whether the Army’s 82nd and 101st Airborne Divisions could be charged with fighting in tunnels.

■ Exhaustive plans to take down North Korea’s integrated air defenses, allowing American manned and unmanned aircraft into the reclusive country.

■ Plans for the morbid but necessary details of personnel recovery plans, such as if pilots are shot down, and the evacuation of the dead and wounded.

In a meeting on Monday in “the Tank” — a secured space in the Pentagon where the Joint Chiefs of Staff discuss top-secret issues — General Milley told senior military leaders about the exercise but did not outline details of the war plans, officials said. The Army holds around eight tabletop exercises every year for different countries and scenarios.

In April, a larger meeting is being planned between Mr. Mattis and the global combatant commanders. It is one of the periodic meetings that Mr. Mattis has with the top military brass, but is expected to heavily focus on North Korea.

Special Operations forces have been briefed on some details of a plan that is separate but related to a potential strike on North Korea, officials said. However, Special Operations forces have yet to change course from their current operations.

Although the planning is continuing apace, a military operation against North Korea has yet to be given a formal name. Special Operations units, however, have already been assigned to specific task forces with names such as Trident and Falcon.

A version of this article appears in print on , on Page A11 of the New York edition with the headline: U.S. Advances Military Plans for North Korea. Order Reprints | Today’s Paper | Subscribe[7][8][9]

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References

  1. ^ Mr. Trump’s words (twitter.com)
  2. ^ August post on Twitter (twitter.com)
  3. ^ willing to open a dialogue with the United States (www.nytimes.com)
  4. ^ Mr. Trump’s response (www.nytimes.com)
  5. ^ Harsh new sanctions that the Trump administration announced last week (www.nytimes.com)
  6. ^ speech in Seoul last year (www.whitehouse.gov)
  7. ^ Order Reprints (www.nytreprints.com)
  8. ^ Today’s Paper (www.nytimes.com)
  9. ^ Subscribe (www.nytimes.com)