Friday, August 1, 2014

First Contact ~ Updated 2x Below

Indigenous tribe makes first contact with outside world, after CIA assets torch their village and shoot their elders for some awful reason. Indigenous tribe gets a respiratory illness and recovers. José Carlos Meirelles, an old researcher, worries, "If they don’t make things secure for whoever turns up there, unfortunately we’ll repeat history and we will be jointly responsible for the extermination of these people."

Wouldn't that be horrible, if we repeated history by exterminating a group of people with less technology? We must immediately speak out against the scourge of germs! Our only fault lies in our refusal to do more to fight germs.

They love the "smallpox" myth. They love the idea that extermination was caused, not by specially-trained militaries shooting pregnant women in the wombs; not by deliberately burning crops and stealing livestock and slaughtering wild game; not by burning blankets and tipis and ordering people to endure winter in snowfields; but, by germs. Oh, it was just this natural thing that happened. It was their unequipped immune systems. What a load of bloody shit. Even here, in South America a few decades after Iran-Contra, when American-backed warlords are slaughtering more natives and burning more villages, the sensitive non-profit workers are all ready to fret over the real problem: that our advanced germs might, despite our selfless good intentions, somehow hurt these backward people.

Oh, you naughty germs! We're simply powerless to stop you! Why do you trouble us so much, germs?! Why do you force us to develop such safe, effective, and profitable medicines? Why do you commit genocide against foreigners who live on valuable land, oh vile germs?! We're just trying to live in peace!



(Caption: a man of poor genetics and inadequate immune system weeps in contemplation of his home and family, left in ruins by the work of evil germs.)

The study, commissioned by researchers at Harvard in the late 22nd century, revealed that Palestinians lacked resistance to many of the modern diseases that Jewish travelers brought with them upon their return home after briefly vacationing in Europe. Unequipped to deal with nature's new standards, the Palestinians lost most of their numbers to contagious disease, experts said.

Yes, yes, I know, smallpox actually did kill a lot of people, but do not, do not, let the banker-historians make you believe that it was a mostly accidental and occasionally-blanket-related smallpox overdose that wiped the continent. Blaming extermination on some kind of intrinsic weakness of the victim is insulting as well as ridiculous. Each time the WASP stooges went further west, they encountered healthy new tribes who had often taken in the victims of their prior campaigns. If it had been invisible demon-germs doing the work, then the Sycuan wouldn't've had to've been killed and reservationed. You can go back and read stacks of journals where white guys talk about riding all day to garrison a village, shoot loose braves, and blockade a children's school, and it wasn't at all like, "boo-hoo, they're suddenly sick, guess we'll move in." It was more like bang, bang, bang, bang, bang^bang burn^burn.

Before the World War and even the American Civil War, the American cavalry was testing artillery pieces on native villages. They would set up arrays of guns, old and new, and blast the hell out of tribal settlements, then bring in some important asshole general to look at the spread of bodies and tipis to determine which kind of shot and/or gun was more "effective." There's even a private school for rich white kids on one of the old killing fields named after one of the guns used for the clearing of New England: The Hotchkiss School. Crank the handle of irony, as you might find hideously funny if you're read up on the artillery of the early 1800s.

And if some of the CIA's new operatives want to clear a field in Brazil for a landing strip or a new shopping mall, then they'll kill or scare away whomever they feel like. Count on their charitable partners to offer blankets, language training, and condolences for the families and lifestyles unfortunately lost to disease. It's Indian School time again, people! We must needs save and uplift these poor souls!

There is a disease at work here, but you don't need a fucking microscope to see it.

Update: Response to Sven

Sven questions the smallpox theory; response follows:

That's exactly the kind of argument (Charles Mann's popular book that claims smallpox, not Europeans, was the cause of almost all tribal deaths) that we're seeing in greater numbers these days. Now that increased literacy and the internet has made information available to so many more people in the world, patterns of thousands of years of banker-financed colonialism are becoming apparent even to some rural peasants, and elites are struggling to cover up all of their crimes, and offer plausible, nice explanations for everything. Elites are becoming more aware of the use of history to affect perceptions--they can no longer count on people relying on paid professors and journalists to tell them what happened in the past. Instead, independent conclusions are being drawn, and that won't do. Ergo publishers, newspapers, and powerful websites are lashing out with sanitized versions of history, that try to remove indications of recognizable trends, and recognizable puppetmaster work, from history.

(The Holocaust (TM) and American Slavery are the exceptions, of course. Everyone is in agreement, enforced by law, that the Holocaust (TM) happened, and everyone agrees that the American Confederacy was, if not the ultimate evil, the penultimate evil, second only to Hitler. But everything else is open season to change.)

Suddenly, American racism was not systematic and nationwide, but an unfortunate by-product of the southern states, and American bankers spearheaded the middle class campaigns to educate poor rural whites about how to treat blacks fairly (and to show blacks how to have some backbone, already, and get organized!).

Suddenly, the prison state is an improvement over slavery or Jim Crow. We're supposed to pretend that the "drug war" is about dangerous marijuana and safe alcohol, rather than pharmaceutical corporation lobbying power, and we're supposed to believe that African American incarceration rates are caused by "stupid racist people" rather than being a systematic expression of what the United States always was--a nation that required a rightless, serf-like underclass in order to continue running.

Even in the 1980s, some "radical" historians had started to challenge the American past. But now, clever workers at the Ministry of Truth have edited almost all basic textbooks (and middle class popular nonfiction reads) to show that the Mexican-American war was about "tensions between settlers and Mexican businessmen," rather than a naked, murderous land grab by James Polk and his financial backers.

Remember when Dubya talked about "historical revisionism"? He was reading from elite cue cards, working with the Gates Foundation and other anti-teacher movements to try to enforce mandatory syllabuses and "black and white" memorization of approved historical facts, rather than allowing teachers and professors to teach independent study and critical thinking to kids.

(Sven: Charles Mann, incidentally, is a wealthy lawyer from Massachusetts who has published in the New York Times and for Harvard Business School, neither of which is connected to the Central Intelligence Agency. He's a major player in editing several thoughtful middle-class-targeted publications, and receives regular awards from completely independent book- and article-marketing foundations for writing stuff like 1491. During the early 2000s, he was tapped to further the smallpox theory by his own initiative.)

"Smallpox killed all those people" is a rather less plausible explanation than "white people fixed racism through education," though, for a lot of reasons. The colonial pattern of white Europeans settling in occupied land, using native help for a while to survive, then taking offense at something and wiping out a village happened over and over. It's there in Howard Zinn in the 1400s, and it stretches all the way to the last big American military campaigns in the late 1800s. Indians were consistently able to put thousands of braves in the field, armed and organized and fed, so obviously they had the support of a social network of food preparers, homesteaders, tacticians, et cetera. If they'd been 90-95% wiped out before arrival, there wouldn't have been a need for the massive (literally, on a continental scale) campaigns of supply wagons, settlements, bartering, and murdering that it took to drive them into their concentration camps.

There's an issue of source material, too. When you look at old Indian-related documents, the Indians discuss their problems in terms of "the white man" and "invaders" and "the settlers" and "the cavalry." They talk about being attacked, driven out, and killed. They talk about trading, changing clothes, learning languages and religion, et cetera. They do not talk exclusively, or most, or even very much at all about people getting sick.

Notice also how, during the Triangle Trade, brand-new imported African slaves did not die "90-95%" of smallpox. Many, many different coastal and inland tribal peoples, who had never before encountered Europeans, were kidnapped and enslaved without the slavers losing almost all their human cargo to smallpox--in even worse conditions for physical health than those accorded the Indians. Remember how the Triangle Traders packed slaves into tiny decks, head to feet, chained up for the voyage, breathing the same recirculated air and crapping on themselves? As the saying goes, "You couldn't design a better environment for spreading contagion." If smallpox were really the issue for the colonists, it would've killed so many potential slaves that it would've ended the economic utility of the Triangle Trade.

It is non-cogent; it is absurd; it is something that only gets cited in the case of the invasion of North America, that "smallpox did it." Closed China did not suddenly lose its population to the exponential spread of a contagious virus; some of the Inuit tribes, where it was too cold at first for the shit-cheese French to settle, did not suddenly "succumb to smallpox," despite first-ever European contact; the (think "Hindu") Indians (actual people from India) and the South Africans are never claimed to have this particular, atrociously unique bullshit vulnerability to "European diseases" that is reserved for exonerating Britain and America for deliberately murdering millions of people in an utterly avaricious act of geo-theft.

As the decades go by, we see more and more "missionary" sources coming into popularity. In these, helpful white people present "Indian testimony," and their own opinions, about how sickness claimed people. Missionaries, being smarter than soldiers in some ways, knew that they had to begin building a paper trail right then, rather than waiting 600 years for a bunch of assholes at Columbia University to do it for them. So they produced primary source documents that made Englishmen feel good--stories about how Indians were a tragically sick people in need of further British intervention. This stuff was propaganda before the 1900s. It was religious bullshit, a marketing pitch for further investment, and probably something that the missionaries actually believed, so that they could be proud of their good work in the New World. Now, granted, some of the cases they wrote about were smallpox. But when we're talking about Indians confined to a small territory with bad soil, the gradual sickness of their elders and children that they describe is more likely attributed to malnutrition. Smallpox has very unpleasant, very visible signs pretty soon, whereas if Indians talk about, "And then winter came, and some of the women grew sick," they're not talking about smallpox, however much we'd like to believe it. They're talking about the same trick the British used to depopulate Ireland.

These ARE the British we're talking about here. They would more openly exterminate entire tribes in Africa in the pursuit of diamonds, killing everyone who didn't run away and leaving the rest to the Serengeti, to die or to be assimilated into another tribe and vanish. It's like following the trail of a serial killer who eats his victims' skin. We find Mr. Britain leaving the scene of yet another suburban home, blood on his lips and epidermis stuck between his teeth, and in the basement, six flayed women are chained to the wall next to semen-covered epidermiphage porn magazines.

So we shine a flashlight into Mr. Britain's eyes, and ask him what happened, and he says, "Oh, unfortunately, I did break in the door, but a deadly bacterial infection had already consumed their skin. I felt terrible about it, so I guess I'll just take the house."

How believable is that? Does it become more believable if his three best friends provide notarized affidavits verifying that they saw it happen? If one of them has a scaly patch on his arm that, according to his doctor, was contagious? It's just not believable. It's like assuming the Mossad has no agents in America.

It was also a substitution of white testimony for Indian testimony. If we listen to the Indians, they speak not about the diseases, but primarily about being invaded. That'll gradually be edited out of culture, until only "disease" sources are left. We'll probably reach a point in time where the average Earthling believes that the aboriginal Americans died solely from disease as a result of a European migratory pattern. We're almost there--plenty of people already believe that. It just takes a few more turns of the crank to shut off questions from future generations.

Old white people, though, are a great source of information--people who remember their grandfathers talking about shooting Indians, driving Indians away, all those begging Indians out there on the reservation...the real stories (the fading stories) that we have to tell are of a deliberate genocide. The Lakota remember being buried in mass graves at Wounded Knee, but how many tribes literally vanished, because they didn't have the range of the Lakota? If you burn a village and bury 500 groaning people with musket wounds, how long does it take before your language, myths, and name vanish from even the best "Native peoples" map? You can only remember a Wounded Knee if there's some of the tribe left to remember.

9 comments:

  1. I've been lead to believe (from Charles C. Mann's 1491) that smallpox and various other diseases were responsible for wiping out 90-95% of the indigenous population in many areas, sometimes even before Europeans arrived. Of course, as I understand it they promptly slaughtered and enslaved the survivors and fed the two-spirits to their dogs (so kind of "ooh, they're suddenly sick, losers! bang bang bang bang") , but are you saying the whole massive plague due to lack of a long history with European and African diseases story is a lie? I've heard Tenochtitlan was probably more populous than any city in Europe at the time, as well as very organized and technically advanced, so its hard for me to imagine Europeans coming in in a small band and managing to take the city without the aid of crippling disease and chaos, at least at something like Black Plague levels, although disease does seem like a suspicious and convenient new idea to be suddenly popularized now. (by the way, your blog is amazing. Keep up the awesome work! :) )

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    1. =]

      Put your response into the post, as the "smallpox" issue is pervasive enough that your question will probably be everyone else's as well.

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    2. Hmm. The lack of disease resistance argument is also applied to Australia, all of the Americas, Siberia and Pacifica. The idea is that they were all isolated from Eurasia-Africa for thousands of years, while those continents engaged in a genetic arms race with smallpox and other diseases. Pacifica and the Americas also have very low genetic variation because they were settled originally by very small groups, which would make the consequences of any lack of resistance more uniform and therefore more severe. I've heard the European colonizers of Africa lost incredible numbers (60% of everyone during the Scramble) due to African diseases, especially malaria and yellow fever. Africans do actually have genetic resistance to Malaria, which was never endemic in Europe, where as Europeans do not have that resistance, and african-americans are now losing their resistance since it involves sickle cell anemia, otherwise unhealthy in the absence of endemic malaria.

      Also, North America and the Carribean were by all accounts relatively low population, so it makes sense that the Europeans might have had the physical might to massacre without aid from disease, but Central and South America had much bigger and more organized populations. The Mexica empire, according to Mann, the primary Spanish sources and the megalithic evidence, contained millions of people and was ruled by a powerful and imperial oligarchy with an organized military. It seems strange that a small band of Spanish explorers could exploit weaknesses and divisions in such a structure and manage to conquer it, never mind hold that power as they repeated the feat in Guatemala and Peru, and add insult to conquest by unilaterally replacing the religion and cutting up whoever they didn't like or who didn't cooperate in exploitation.

      Finally, Mann says that the only totally reliable indigenous testimony is within a few generations of 1492, since such a catastrophic plague event, if it happened, would obliterate diversified economy including historians and teachers. The Spanish, for their part, burned all indigenous written records, so the younger generations would be left with astounding myths told by grandparents in contradiction to Spanish propaganda, and have no way of knowing what to believe. These survivors would also be the small group with relatively higher resistance, making it less likely for them to suffer repeat plagues after a few epidemic cycles, while also being so weakened that it would be possible for disorganized but determined Europeans to conquer them, as happened in the American West, matching original sources.

      Mr. Britain certainly killed and flayed those women, but there is no reason to think that he was physically stronger than them, nor that they trusted him (as he never bothered to hide his intentions and character from first landing), so it remains to be explained how Mr. Britain single handedly managed to overpower six strong and intelligent women who had arms in the house at the time of comparable quality to anything belonging to Mr. Britain, and remain without serious injury. If the scaly patch (which really does look necrotic) isn't to blame, then the most obvious fallback is the range of racist doctrines which prevailed before this theory, such as that they were stupid, inferior, overly trusting or subject to divine wrath as heathens.

      I'm friends with indigenous people from Guatemala, and the first few are just racist bullshit, while the last one is unlikely. That seems to me to mean that the lack of plague explanation raises more questions than it answers, and leaves us without a good theory to explain how the Europeans accomplished colonization.

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    3. Military organization, and numbers, only takes you so far. The Palestinians against the Israelis, right? There's an aspect of technology at work in the conquest of the Americas 1492 that goes far beyond just guns.

      The Europeans had armor, external (and 100% secure) supply lines, and heavy artillery. It wasn't just a question of a line of riflemen firing in coordination--even though that would disrupt the hell out of a much larger line of natives, who had never before experienced it. It's a question of heavy cannon blowing apart solid rock walls that had previously been considered impenetrable. It's scatter-shot being used to rip apart twenty men at once. It's a single position on a hill, manned by half a dozen guys, being able to batter an entire city apart in one evening.

      If we went back in time, and prepared the Central American armies for European technology, they might've been able to organize and respond to it well even using their less-efficient technology. But faced with a lack of knowledge about it, they would go down hard, easily 100 for every 1.

      Look at how surprised France was by Hitler's blitzkrieg--and that was just a strategic twist, rather than a technological one. For the aboriginal Americans, facing guns and artillery would've been akin to us facing flying saucers with nuclear-proof shields.

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    4. http://youtu.be/anEuw8F8cpE

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    5. I'm not sure Cortes had a secure supply line, given he was acting against orders and had a batalion of troops sent after him to imprison him, although its true he used them for reinforcements after subduing them. I'm not sure if Cortes or the other conquerers had access to heavy artillery, but if they did, your version seems fairly credible even without plague. Still though, we're talking about millions of people here. That would require a lot of artillery and a lot of ammo, especially given how outnumbered the Spanish were. It would have gained them allies though. I'm not informed enough to say whether this is possible or not, although its probably possible to find out for sure with enough research.

      That said, you still haven't given any scientific reasons why the plague hypothesis is incorrect. There are more recent accounts of the exact same thing happening with some of the same diseases to Europeans in Africa, Africans exposed to new diseases in Africa and to Hawai'i in the 18th-19th centuries, as well as to rabbit populations in the 1950s http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rabbits_in_Australia and http://www.hawaii.edu/publichealth/ecohealth/si/course-indighlth/readings/WilcoxandMaly.pdf and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/African_trypanosomiasis. I don't currently have enough knowledge of the reliability of the human source material to say for sure, but it certainly makes sense to me that human populations with low genetic variation with no ancestors who had been exposed to a number of extremely lethal pathogens as they developed and gained immune system resistance over thousands of years in another area of the globe would suffer drastic depopulation when introduced. Also, how can the sudden Brazilian depopulations and jungle reclamations after the hemispheres came into contact, but completely without any conquest or even exploration by Europeans, be explained other than with malaria, yellow fever, smallpox and measles?

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  2. Custer's children should have begun a kickstarter campaign to fund provision of iPhones and iPads to the red-skinned survivors of his slaughter.

    Guy Picciotto wrote a song based on a myth?

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    1. Gawd, I can so see some guy giving a TED talk about "The Custer Foundation," replete with a slide show presentation of Indian kids learning about addition and subtraction on their new iPhones on the prairie...

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    2. By slaughtering many of them, and then putting them in pens with readily available EtOH, and then giving them Modern Devices, we progressed their society and introduced them to democratic civilization.

      Omelettes & eggs, you know.

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