Notes on Frank Morales, DisinfoGuy

An interesting forum post by Lurquacious casting doubts on the Spatial deconcentration in DC article published by Midnight Notes on the US Kerner Commission Report which followed black urban rioting, and more generally on the writings of Frank Morales.

Submitted by Steven. on January 8, 2013

I first came across the term spatial deconcentration in the mid-eighties when I washed up in Alphabet City, which was at the time a blasted landscape in the Lower East Side of Manhattan. I arrived a fresh-minted paranoid, recently defeated in an encounter with tentacles of the octopus in another land entirely. Looking around at the rubble and poverty existing within the wealth and power of the archetypal metropolis, I could see this neighborhood was contested territory. The hundred-year-old tenements, built to house the waves of immigrants flooding into New York through Ellis Island, had been all but worthless less than a decade before my arrival; building after building had been torched for the insurance money, then abandoned. The City found itself an unwilling owner of these burned-out shells and had resorted to selling them for a dollar a piece to anyone who could afford to pay the accrued real estate taxes, and the local community board was begging people to squat abandoned buildings in order to preserve the housing stock.

Yet by the mid-eighties, the neighborhood was "hot"; landlords were subdividing already small tenement apartments into tiny studio apartments; young white people -- NYU students with rich daddies, baby lawyers from Midtown, baby stock traders from Downtown, and trust fund babies from all over the world -- were happy to move into these miniature homes at two or three times the rents paid by their black and brown neighbors, who were feeling the heat of all the creative harassment techniques landlords could use to get rid of unwanted tenants while staying just inside the law; a state of war existed between the local police precinct and the extensive squatter community. Something was going on here, but what, exactly?

An answer of sorts was offered in the September 1985 issue of World War III Illustrated, a comic book produced by local artists and illustrators that contained the occasional written article. This particular issue, number 6, included an article called "Spatial Deconcentration" by an author called Yolanda Ward. It came with an alarming introduction:

This article is based on material that is publicly available, especially the "Report of the National Advisory Commission on Civic Disturbances," known as the Kerner Commission Report. However, it is also based on materials not publicly available, specifically a number of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) files which Ms. Ward and her collaborators apparently stole from the HUD office in Washington, D.C.

Spatial Deconcentration was first published as part of a collection of notes for a national housing activists' conference held in Washington, D.C. No more than 500 copies were made at that time. Shortly after this first publication, Ms. Ward and two associates were accosted on a Washington street one night by two well-dressed white men, who singled out Ms. Ward from her two friends, ordered her at gunpoint to lie face down in the street, and then shot her in the back of the head. The documents she and her friends allegedly stole from HUD have never been published, nor are they included here. [my emphases]

The article itself described how:

housing activists in Philedelphia [sic] first stumbled across the strangely-worded theory called "spatial deconcentration."

. . . housing leaders had fought their campaign [against efforts to "depopulate Philedelphia [sic] of its minority neighborhoods"]. . . under the assumption that their struggle against land speculators and government bureacracy [sic] had an economic base. . . . they were entirely wrong. . . . instead of being economic, the manifest crises that plague inner-city minorities are founded in a problem of control. The so-called "gentrification" of the inner-cities, the lack of rehabilitation financing for inner-city families, the massive demolition projects which have transformed once-stable neighborhoods into vast wastelands, the diminishing inner-city services, such as recreation, health care, education, jobs and job-training, sanitation, etc. . . are all rooted it [sic] an apparent bone-chilling fear that inner-city minorities are uncontrollable.

The article goes on to describe how Lyndon B. Johnson established the Kerner Commission to study the riots that had convulsed many inner-city ghettoes during much of the 1960s:

Begun in 1967 immediately in the wake of the Detroit riot, it was not published until March of 1968. But only weeks after its emergence, Dr. Martin Luther King was assassinated and the most massive wave of riots that was ever recorded in American history almost forced a suspension of the Constitution. . . .

The Kerner Commission strategists came to the conclusion that America's inner-city poverty was so entrenched that the ghettoes could not be transformed into viable neighborhoods to the satisfaction of its [sic] residents or the government. The problem of riots, therefore, could be expected to emerge in the future, perhaps with more intensity and as a more serious threat to the Constitutional privileges which most Americans enjoy. They finally concluded that if the problem could not be eliminated because of the nature of the American system of "free enterprise," then American technology could contain it. This could only be done through a theory of "spatial deconcentration" of racially-impacted neighborhoods. . . . Inner-city residents, then, would have to be dispersed throughout the metropolitan regions to guarantee the privileges of the middle class. Where those inner-city residents should be placed after their dispersal had been the subject of intense research. . . . Suburbs was its answer; the farthest place from the inner city.

I was disturbed by the article, which seemed to offer an explanation of what was going on in the neighborhood of abandoned, crumbling, squatted housing stock that was my new home, and my recent experiences had left me more than willing to believe any talk of government conspiracy. At the same time, I was puzzled; I read the piece several times but somehow couldn't make sense of it.

The article implied that the Section 8 federal program of housing subsidies for low-income people was being shaped into "a counterinsurgency tool against minorities" to "force inner-city residents to move into the suburbs," yet I knew that many of my elderly neighbors would have become homeless or have had to leave the city if not for the Section 8 payments that helped them pay their rent.

Extraordinary claims were made about a covert war launched by the federal government against racial minorities of the inner cities, yet there was no meat to the argument. It talked of "some kind of sweeping master plan" to depopulate minority neighborhoods, but never quite specified what that plan might be or where it came from. The incendiary question was posed:

Did the military, in 1967, issue an ultimatum to the government to remove the blacks and other inner-city minorities to black suburban "townships" in knit-glove [a later version corrects this to "kid-glove"] fashion with the option, in failure, being the iron fist?

Yet no clear answer emerged from the article. Perhaps it was contained in those stolen papers -- which were neither reproduced nor described. But if those papers were key to understanding the secret conspiracy, why not publish their contents? What purpose was served by keeping the evidence itself secret?

There seemed something faintly ridiculous about the idea of transforming leafy American suburbs into bantustans -- and something rather sad about the belief that the suburbs were "the farthest place from the inner city" -- but the article claimed that "returning suburbanites . . . were finding city life more economical" and asserted, "It was actually a relief to some activists that proof had finally emerged of a real master plan, and not merely another fictionalized account of some remote possibility." Yet no clue was offered as to what that "proof" might be.

Everything, it seemed, came back to those stolen papers, along with the report of the Kerner Commission, which I remembered vaguely as a benign attempt of the 1960s to tackle the deep misery of the American ghettoes following the inner-city riots of 1967. Yet Yolanda Ward asserted that President Johnson's executive order (EO) establishing the Kerner Commission:

led to the emergence of some of the most dangerous theories since the rise of Adolf Hitler.

A strong claim, diametrically opposed to the historical record, and simply not substantiated in the article.

Then there was that very shocking story of the assassination of the author, Yolanda Ward, by:

two well-dressed white men, who singled out Ms. Ward from her two friends, ordered her at gunpoint to lie face down in the street, and then shot her in the back of the head.

If it was true, why hadn't I come across the story anywhere else? How could such a clear example of malfeasance go unremarked-upon in the left-wing and activist journals that were my information sources in the days before the publicly available Internet? Why hadn't I heard of Yolanda Ward? And for that matter, why was the only source for this disturbing tale a comic book?

Eventually, seeing spatial deconcentration taken up and pushed hard by people whose provocative tactics I recognized from my former life, I backed away from the issue. Old-fashioned greed, venality, and political corruption, along with the history of the locality, did as good a job of explaining much of what was happening on the Lower East Side of Manhattan as any unsubstantiated concept of racist warfare by the federal government against the residents. During the subsequent couple of decades, however, spatial deconcentration took on a life of its own, promoted largely by Frank Morales, a local character I'd come to regard with suspicion, if not contempt, for the way he'd manipulated my fellow squatters and appointed himself "leader" of a movement that functioned well, by and large, on the principle of leaderless organization. Other studies emerged over the years, but they all sourced back to the Yolanda Ward article or to subsequent articles by Morales, himself citing Yolanda Ward.

Now, two decades later, a ray of light on the issue came on page 8 of the "Father" Frank Morales thread with the first piece of evidence that didn't circle straight back to the Yolanda Ward article or subsequent development of the concept by Morales. Jingofever had checked the archives of the Washington Post and found:
[i]The Washington Post[/i]

Yolanda Ward, 22, a cochairwoman of the District's City Wide Housing Coalition, was shot and killed during a street robbery in far Southeast Washington early yesterday morning, D.C. police reported.

At last, confirmation that Yolanda Ward existed, she was a housing activist, and she was killed in D.C. in 1980. Jingofever listed several other articles about the murder, all available from the Washington Post archives for a fee. It was worth $19.95 for a temporary subscription to find some answers to the puzzle after all these years; I paid the fee and downloaded seven articles covering the murder, the investigation, and the trials of the perpetrators.

Only the first report, published November 3, 1980, the day after the murder, called the victim Yolanda Ward; subsequent reports corrected the spelling of her name to Yulanda. And while that first report contained an allegation by a member of the housing coalition that her death was a targeted assassination prompted by her activism, details emerged in the subsequent reports that threw doubt on that claim; by the time of the final report on March 10, 1982, it seemed clear that the murder of Yulanda Ward was a tragic and probably unintended consequence of a street robbery. The November 17, 1981, report, "3 SE Men Plead Guilty to Murder of Housing Activist," explains what happened:
[i]The Washington Post[/i]

Ward and three male companions were robbed after leaving a Halloween party. . . . All four robbery victims were told to bend over automobiles during the robbery and not to look up. Pannell [one of the defendants pleading guilty] placed a .41-caliber magnum revolver against Ward's head, [DA] Harrington said, and when she jerked her head back to see what was happening, the gun went off.

The men charged were nineteen, twenty, and twenty-one years old, and a fourth, aged eighteen, had been charged but not yet tried. At least one of them had been involved in another robbery half an hour earlier, and another one was also found guilty of manslaughter charges in a death during a burglary that happened two months after Yulanda Ward's murder. There is nothing in the Washington Post coverage of the crime to substantiate the WWIII claim that:

two well-dressed white men, who singled out Ms. Ward from her two friends, ordered her at gunpoint to lie face down in the street, and then shot her in the back of the head.

Nevertheless, Yulanda's friends suspected a targeted killing because:
[i]The Washington Post[/i]

Ward's home had been burglarized and she had received telephone calls threatening her with bodily harm unless she halted her work.

However, her work involved not just her position as cochair of the housing coalition; she was also on the board of the local rape crisis center, an activity perhaps more likely than housing activism to invoke harassment and threats. Whatever the reason for the harassment, no connection was found between the threats and the killing, although the allegations were investigated by both the prosecution team and the defense lawyers. The fellow activist who had made the assassination claims had not been present at the murder and refused to testify before a grand jury investigating the allegation. Three of the four accused muggers pleaded guilty.

So the assassination was likely a mugging, and the author of the article didn't know how to spell her own name; what else did the article get wrong? What of the military conspiracy against the poor? My September 1985 copy of World War III Illustrated is buried deep within the dogawful mess I laughingly refer to as my archives; luckily, the article is available on the Internet.

In fact, there are two versions on the paper available online; they differ in many trivial respects. The one I believe to be a reasonably faithful copy of the World War III Illustrated version is in the archives of ABC No Rio, a neighborhood artists' collective. Another version, clearly a later one, is available from the Etext archives and other sources. Neither version gets the putative author's name right; the later version corrects some typos in the text, introduces fresh errors (changing the spelling of Rockefeller to Rockerfeller, for instance), tinkers with the punctuation and paragraphing, and includes an expanded introduction containing an obviously erroneous signature line:

-- J.F.W., Editor (published in World War Three Illustrated circa1989)

(the actual year of publication in WWIII was 1985); an amended opening sentence:

This article was researched and written primarily by Ms. Yolanda Ward, sometime in the early Nineteen Eighties

(Yulanda Ward was killed in 1980); and a new sentence ratcheting up the outrage:

The material herein contained details a policy, known as "Spatial Deconcentration," which rivals both Nazi Germany and present day South Africa in its injustice to individuals, its utter disregard for human and civil rights, and outstrips them both in the remarkable secrecy with which it has been, until now, instituted.

I looked at both versions for comparison's sake but have otherwise used the version in the ABC No Rio archives.

Reading through the article again after all these years, I found it no less confusing and even more unconvincing. Rife with exaggeration, non sequiturs, and internal inconsistencies, the material is poorly organized (paragraphs appear to have been transposed in places), chronology is manipulated to imply causality where none exists, and allegations are thrown out without any attempt to substantiate them. It also shows signs of being the product of multiple authors. For example, the person who wrote the first few paragraphs consistently uses the spelling Philedelphia -- this misspelling is used seven times in the opening paragraphs, showing that it's not a mere typo; subsequent paragraphs are written by someone who uses the correct spelling, Philadelphia.

With the heat of my paranoia having cooled and my perspective having lengthened over the years, many of the allegations in the text now seem to me just plain unlikely. How could the federal government have implemented a racist housing policy derived from Pentagon strategists without anyone noticing (apart from "Yolanda" Ward and her associates)? One would expect "the most dangerous theories since the rise of Adolf Hitler" to have concrete and obvious consequences-what were they? Assumption-laden questions are raised ("how could it have been possible for the surgical demolition operations in the minority neighborhoods of the cities to be so identical in all American cities? Could any organization other than the Pentagon have done this?") but not answered, "Yolanda" explains, "because the weight of available documentation and the speed with which it is being collected and digested has been burdensome." The paper doesn't deliver what it promises, and its allegations simply don't ring true.

Perhaps this is the point at which I should make it absolutely clear that I am not arguing the absence of racism in the United States. There is no doubt in my mind that American racism is alive and well; that's clear to those with eyes to see. But there's room for debate on the question of whether institutionalized racism is operating within the U.S. government and whether it was in 1968, when the Kerner report was produced, or in the early eighties, when the "Yolanda" paper emerged; the spatial deconcentration theory adds nothing to that debate. A secret racist "master plan" conceived within the Pentagon and implemented through HUD, no matter how plausible it might seem in light of pervasive American racism, is simply not demonstrated by the evidence offered in the "Yolanda" Ward paper.

Nor am I denying the undeniably alarming militarization of police departments over the last few decades; I simply do not believe the theory of spatial deconcentration offers any insight into how or why it happened, nor do I believe the idea that it originated in a desire to force minorities out of their ghettoes is credible in any way.

The article quotes from several sources in attempting to make its case (though not, significantly, those apocryphal stolen HUD papers). Some of those sources are poorly identified or are documents internal to bodies such as the Urban Institute (which "Yolanda" calls a "bizarre agency"); however, two published sources are very specifically cited: the Kerner Commission report itself, along with the Johnson EO establishing the commission, and:

one Anthony Downs, a civilian. Unlike most of the other contractors, whose names were followed by lines of titles, Downs was simply listed as being from Chicago, Illinois. . . .

Downs had written Chapters 16 and 17 of the Kerner Commission Report; the chapters devoted to demographic shifts in the inner cities and spatial deconcentration. . . .

In 1970, Downs wrote a little-known book called URBAN PROBLEMS AND PROSPECTS, in which he more graphically detailed the theory of spatial deconcentration. . . . The consisten [sic] theme of Down's PROBLEMS, Chapters 16 and 17 of the Kerner Commission Report, and Goodman's works at the Institute, was that of control.

The line of thinking about control found reinforcement in another book Downs wrote in 1973, entitled OPENING UP THE SUBURBS: AN URBAN STRATEGY FOR AMERICA. Downs' theories from the Kerner Commission Report crystalized, [sic] taking as their cue his arguments laid down in URBAN PROBLEMS. The theory of white "dominance" was carefully discussed in SUBURBS.

Luckily, the "little-known book" is still available through interlibrary loan (let's hear it for public lending libraries!), as are Downs's second-cited work and the full report of the Kerner Commission, which contains Johnson's EO in an appendix. I put in a request for the books.

While I was waiting for them to arrive, I decided to see what other sources had to say about the Kerner Commission. Wikipedia would seem to be an obvious place to start, and is the first link thrown up by Google, but the entry is flagged for disputed neutrality; it contains the following assertion:

It was and is assumed at the time that the Commission's work was meant to impede that movement "toward two societies" when in fact the Commission's work, headed by Dr. Anthony Downs, [1] was intended as a work in progress to bring about the spatial deconcentration of concentrated metropolitan Black populations into smaller pocketed neighborhoods called satellite cities or cluster zones. So called urban re-gentrification, block grant and other federal programs through HUD, [2] are just some of the tools used to "blight" formerly stable Black communities.

I guess one person's riot-torn ghetto is another person's "stable Black community." "Yolanda" is not cited by the Wikipedia piece, but her influence is clear. Note 1 is: "see Appenndix [sic] F and K p320 of the Report; see also Urban Problems and Prospects by Anthony Downs fn 1 of Chapter 2; who at that time from [sic] Chicago, but later a fellow of the Brookings Institute," which seems to echo the damning accusation in "Yolanda": "one Anthony Downs, a civilian. Unlike most of the other contractors, whose names were followed by lines of titles, Downs was simply listed as being from Chicago, Illinois." Note 2 simply says: "see 29 Ad.L Rev.,p. 583,fn 35" [sic].

On the other hand, Africana Online seems to hold a favorable opinion of the commission and quotes praise from Martin Luther King Jr.:
Africana Online

The commission presented its findings in 1968, concluding that urban violence reflected the profound frustration of inner-city blacks and that racism was deeply embedded in American society. . . . The commission marshaled evidence on an array of problems that fell with particular severity on African Americans, including not only overt discrimination but also chronic poverty, high unemployment, poor schools, inadequate housing, lack of access to health care, and systematic police bias and brutality.

The report recommended sweeping federal initiatives directed at improving educational and employment opportunities, public services, and housing in black urban neighborhoods and called for a "national system of income supplementation." The Reverend Martin Luther King Jr., pronounced the report a "physician's warning of approaching death, with a prescription for life."

Sounds good to me. What was the problem, again? Indeed, "recommended sweeping federal initiatives directed at improving . . . housing in black urban neighborhoods" is the exact opposite of how "Yolanda" represents the Kerner report.

Africana Online goes on to say:
Africana Online

By 1968, however, Richard M. Nixon had gained the presidency through a conservative white backlash that insured that the Kerner Report's recommendations would be largely ignored.

Then again, the Heritage Foundation sees the commission as a despised tool of the hated welfare state, as explained on the foundation's Web site at the time of the report's 30th anniversary in 1998:
Heritage Foundation

A prerequisite to understanding what happened to create the liberal welfare state, and to accomplishing the goal of rolling it back, is understanding the liberal welfare state itself, its origins, and the thinking that led to its creation. There's no better place to start than by closely examining the so-called Kerner Commission. . . .

Looking back on the Kerner Commission, it resembles a Who's Who of liberal elites back then, including New York mayor John Lindsay, Roy Wilkins of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, and Oklahoma populist senator Fred Harris. . . .

The report looks into the causes of the many urban riots and concludes, "White racism is essentially responsible for the explosive mixture that has been accumulating in our cities since the end of World War II." The report also concludes that a massive redistribution of income had to take place to remedy this problem. It also suggests the addition of 1 million government-created jobs, the institution of a higher minimum wage, significantly increasing welfare benefits, spending more money on education and housing, and so on.

Again, quite different from the "Yolanda" assertion that:

The Kerner Commission strategists came to the conclusion that America's inner-city poverty was so entrenched that the ghettoes could not be transformed into viable neighborhoods to the satisfaction of its [sic] residents or the government. . . . They finally concluded that if the problem could not be eliminated because of the nature of the American system of "free enterprise," then American technology could contain it.

Google also supplies a link to the Summary of the Kerner Commission Report at An Online Reference Guide to African American History. The report sounds nothing like the ruthless strategy "Yolanda" warns us against:
Summary of the Kerner Commission Report

Discrimination and segregation have long permeated much of American life; they now threaten the future of every American.

This deepening racial division is not inevitable. The movement apart can be reversed. Choice is still possible. Our principal task is to define that choice and to press for a national resolution.

To pursue our present course will involve the continuing polarization of the American community and, ultimately, the destruction of basic democratic values.

The alternative is not blind repression or capitulation to lawlessness. It is the realization of common opportunities for all within a single society.

This alternative will require a commitment to national action-compassionate, massive and sustained, backed by the resources of the most powerful and the richest nation on this earth. From every American it will require new attitudes, new understanding, and, above all, new will.

The vital needs of the nation must be met; hard choices must be made, and, if necessary, new taxes enacted.

New taxes-no wonder the Heritage Foundation hated it!

The report's perspective on the housing conditions of African-Americans at the end of the Jim Crow era is clear-eyed and compassionate:
Summary of the Kerner Commission Report

Segregation and poverty have created in the racial ghetto a destructive environment totally unknown to most white Americans.

What white Americans have never fully understood-but what the Negro can never forget-is that white society is deeply implicated in the ghetto. White institutions created it, white institutions maintain, and white society condones it. . . . The term "ghetto" as used in this report refers to an area within a city characterized by poverty and acute social disorganization, and inhabited by members of a racial or ethnic group under conditions of involuntary segregation.

Involuntary segregation, indeed. The issue was not one of forcing reluctant minorities out of their convenient and "economic" inner-city homes; the struggle of the desegregationist era was to break down the exclusivity of the suburbs and gain access for those trying to escape the ghetto.

While waiting for the full report and the Anthony Downs books from the library, I also looked over a couple of articles by Frank Morales expanding on the "Yolanda" piece: "The War for Living Space" (interesting choice of words!) and "Origins of Operation Garden Plot: The Kerner Commission," a section of a larger piece called "The War at Home: U.S. Military Civil Disturbance Planning." A version of the Garden Plot article appeared in Covert Action Quarterly in 2000 and is available on several sites, including Michael Rivero's What Really Happened; the "War for Living Space" piece, self-published by Morales in 1997, has been taken down from the site that previously housed it but is still available through the Wayback Machine.

I found that Morales emphasizes and sharpens the more inflammatory allegations of the "Yolanda" article. Where "Yolanda" claims:

A high proportion of the commissioners for the Report and their contracting stategists [sic] were military or paramilitary men. Otto Kerner himself, chairman of the Commission, was the Governor of Illinois at the time of the Report but before that had been a major general in the army. . . . The Commission's list of contractors and witnesses was no less glittering in military and paramilitary personnel. No less than thirty police departments were represented on or before the Commission by their chiefs or their deputy chiefs. Twelve generals representing various branches of the armed services appeared before the Commission or served as contractors.

Morales speaks in terms of an:
Morales in "Origins of Operation Garden Plot"

overwhelming presence within the commission and its consultants of military and police officials. One quarter of over 200 consultants listed were big-city police chiefs, like Daryl F. Gates, former chief LAPD. Numerous police organizations, including the heavily funded Law Enforcement Assistance Administration (financiers of SWAT), guided the commission's deliberations. No less than 30 police departments were represented on or before the commission by their chiefs or deputy chiefs.

This passage manages to contradict itself by adding an inflated assertion ("One quarter of over 200 consultants . . . were big-city police chiefs") to the "Yolanda" claim that: "No less than 30 police departments were represented on or before the commission."

When the library copy of the full Kerner Commission report arrived, I discovered that neither of those figures is correct.

Appendix F of the report lists "Consultants, Contractors, and Advisers," by my count, actually 232 of them, so if Morales is right, we should find fifty-eight "big-city police chiefs." The list includes the kinds of people one would expect to have an interest in the prevention and control of riots: sociologists, economists, attorneys, judges, law school professors, city council members, firefighters, representatives of the Legal Aid Society, a librarian, policy wonks of all kinds, someone from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, three journalists from the Dayton Daily News, and the editor of Ebony magazine. Several consultants in addition to the "civilian" Anthony Downs are identified by location only.

And fifty-eight "big-city police chiefs"? Well, no. Just eight consultants are described as "Chief of Police," including those from such "big cities" as Rochester, NY, and Kansas City, MO.

Adding those described as police commissioners or superintendents brings the total to ten. Let's include former chiefs and commissioners: twelve, still a long way from Morales's figure. So we'll add in deputies (including Daryl F. Gates, at that time still deputy chief of the LAPD, not chief, as Morales claims), assistants, inspectors, former inspectors, and a couple of directors of public safety: by stretching the definition of police chief as far as it will go, it's possible to get as high as twenty, which is still less than 10 percent of the listed consultants, contractors, and advisers.

By any count, Morales's claim is just plain wrong. Perhaps the more modest claim by "Yolanda" ("No less than 30 police departments were represented on or before the commission") might be sustainable if we include the list in Appendix E, "Witnesses Appearing at Hearings of the Commission"? Again, no.

A total of 101 witnesses appeared before the commission (some of the witnesses are also listed as consultants), and there are many notable names of the era, from Edgar J. Hoover to Martin Luther King, Jr., from Cyrus Vance, listed as "Former Deputy Secretary of Defense on National Guard Matters," to JFK's brother-in-law, Sargent Shriver, who was running LBJ's far-reaching antipoverty programs and appeared as director of the Office of Economic Opportunity; Dick Gregory is on the list as "comedian, lecturer"; the ubiquitous Vernon Jordan spoke on behalf of the Voter Education Project; even Stokely Carmichael made an appearance, speaking on behalf of the Ad Hoc Committee of Black Militants. It's a sign of the times that only one of the 101 names is female: Mrs. Charlotte Meecham, representing the Police Community Corrections Program of the American Friends Service Committee.

Police departments, however, are surprisingly underrepresented, with just five witnesses. By way of comparison, the Ad Hoc Committee of Black Militants fielded four representatives, including Carmichael.

If we include a former chief of police of Syracuse, NY, who appeared as director of HUD's Inspection Division, and the executive director of the Independent Association of Chiefs of Police, we can stretch the number of police witnesses to seven; however, three of the police departments are already accounted for on the Consultants list, so the two lists together yield twenty-four police representatives, not all of them actual police departments. But four of the twenty names on the Consultants list are from police departments already accounted for through other representatives (when, for instance, both chief and deputy chief appeared before the commission). So only twenty "police departments [using the term in its widest sense] were represented on or before the commission," not the "No less than 30" claimed by "Yolanda."

Morales includes the following claim that does not appear in "Yolanda":
Morales in "Origins of Operation Garden Plot"

The heavily funded Law Enforcement Assistance Administration (financiers of SWAT) guided the commission's deliberations.

In fact, this organization is not listed as consultant, witness, or in any other capacity -- not surprising, given that it wasn't established until several months after the Kerner Commission report was published.

So the police representation claims made by "Yolanda" are greatly exaggerated, and Morales has expanded the exaggeration into outright lies.

But what of the military? Morales repeats the "Yolanda" claim that "Twelve generals representing various branches of the armed services appeared before the Commission or served as contractors." I found only eleven names on the two lists with any kind of military association, four of whom were civilians (the director of operations for the Department of the Army; Cyrus Vance, as described above; a former Secretary of the Army giving his opinion as an attorney; and Alfred Blumstein of the Institute of Defense Analysis) and seven who were active or retired major generals and/or adjutant generals: five with the National Guard and two major generals accompanying the governor of Michigan, who were probably also National Guard.

Only seven generals, not twelve (three major generals, two adjutant generals, one retired major general, and one former adjutant general), among 232 consultants and 101 witnesses, and all or almost all of them representing the National Guard, not "various branches of the armed services" -- hardly the "overwhelming presence" claimed by Morales. But let's not forget Otto Kerner himself. "Yolanda" apparently sees his chairmanship as a sign of military influence:

A high proportion of the commissioners for the Report and their contracting stategists [sic] were military or paramilitary men. Otto Kerner himself, chairman of the Commission, was the Governor of Illinois at the time of the Report but before that had been a major general in the army.

Morales drops the mention of the army but retains the implication of a military career:
Morales in "Origins of Operation Garden Plot"

former Major General and then Governor of Illinois, Otto Kerner.

Kerner's actual military service is specified in Appendix D, "Biographical Materials on Commissioners":
The Kerner Commission

Governor of Illinois 1961- ; . . . U.S. District Attorney, Northern District of Illinois, 1947-54; County Judge, Cook County, 1954-61. Illinois National Guard in 1934-41; 1946-54, advancing from Private to Captain, 9th Infantry Division, European Theater of Operations; Field Artillery School, Fort Sill, Oklahoma; and 32nd Infantry Division, Pacific Theater of Operations 1941-46, retiring as Major General; Soldier's Medal, Bronze Star, Army Commendation Ribbon, Presidential Unit Citation (34th Field Artillery Battalion).

He was in the National Guard before and after World War II, served with distinction in the army during the war, served as U.S. district attorney in Illinois and then as a county judge while remaining in the National Guard after the war, and retired from the National Guard thirteen years before his appointment to head the commission and seven years before being elected governor -- a somewhat different picture from that implied by Morales and "Yolanda."

In fact, as might be expected just a couple of decades after World War II, a majority of the commissioners, six of the eleven, including Kerner himself, served in some military capacity during the war. "Yolanda" tries to bolster the claim that "high proportion . . . were military or paramilitary men" by reducing the number of commissioners from eleven to seven. One of the commissioners, Herbert Jenkins, was chief of police in Atlanta, Georgia; perhaps he's what "Yolanda" means by a "paramilitary" man. And only Commissioner James C. Corman, U.S. representative for the 22nd District of California, remained on active duty beyond post-WWII demobilization; he served in the Marines at Bougainville, Guam, and Iwo Jima from 1942 to 1946 and then, after some years as an attorney in Los Angeles, returned to the Marines and served again from 1950 to 1952.

The Kerner Commission is the cornerstone of the military conspiracy, according to Morales and "Yolanda," but it turns out that the image of consultant and witness lists "glittering in military and paramilitary personnel" is simply not true.

Not just the makeup of the commission is misrepresented; its founding document, President Johnson's executive order, is also distorted. Morales says:
Morales in "War for Living Space"

Johnson's executive order, which set up the commission, called for an investigation into "the origins of the recent major civil disorders in our cities, including the basic causes and factors leading to such disorders and the influence, if any, of organizations or individuals dedicated to the incitement or encouragement of violence." The order sought recommendations in three major areas: "Short term measures to prevent riots, better measures to contain riots once they begin, and long term measures to eliminate riots in the future." [emphasis added] The commission's two immediate aims were "to control and repress black rioters using almost any available means," and to assure the white population that everything was in hand, even though the operative logistics of relying on local police with National Guard and federal troop back-up for use in urban class warfare "proved to be quite inadequate." [the bolding and "emphasis added" are added by Morales]

He revises the passage slightly for "Origins of Operation Garden Plot":
Morales in "Origins of Operation Garden Plot"

The executive order establishing the commission called for an investigation of "the origins of the recent major civil disorders and the influence, if any, of organizations or individuals dedicated to the incitement or encouragement of violence."(4) The work of the commission was funded from President Johnson's "Emergency Fund." The executive order sought recommendations in three general areas: "short term measures to prevent riots, better measures to contain riots once they begin, and long term measures to eliminate riots in the future."(5) Their two immediate aims were "to control and repress black rioters using almost any available means",(6) and to assure white America that everything was in hand.

Both versions contrive, through selective quotation and misleading juxtaposition of statements from different sources, to give an erroneous impression of the EO. In his "Garden Plot," however, Morales gives the game away by footnoting his sources.

The first section he quotes is fine as far as it goes; it's from subsection (1) of the EO's Section 2:
Lyndon B. Johnson in his executive order

SECTION 2. Functions of the Commission. (a) The Commission shall investigate and make recommendations with respect to:
(1) The origins of the recent major civil disorders in our cities, including the basic causes and factors leading to such disorders and the influence, if any, of organizations or individuals dedicated to the incitement or encouragement of violence. [my emphases]
(2) The development of methods and techniques for averting or controlling such disorders, including the improvement of communications between local authorities and community groups, the training of state and local law enforcement and National Guard personnel in dealing with potential or actual riot situations, and the coordination of efforts of the various law enforcement and governmental units which may become involved in such situations;
(3) The appropriate role of the local, state, and Federal authorities in dealing with civil disorders; and
(4) Such other matters as the President may place before the Commission.

(Section 1 of the EO lists the commissioners appointed by Johnson; sections 3 to 6 deal with administrative matters; section 7 calls for a report by March 1, 1968.)

Note how in "Garden Plot" Morales omits (without indicating the omission by ellipses) the phrase "including the basic causes and factors leading to such disorders," leaving the impression that Johnson was interested only in finding people to blame for the unrest. And of course, activities such as "communications between local authorities and community groups" do not fit the picture and are omitted, as is "the training of state and local law enforcement and National Guard personnel in dealing with potential or actual riot situations," which contradicts the idea of Pentagon-led "urban class warfare."

The second quotation Morales claims is from the EO, "short term measures to prevent riots, better measures to contain riots once they begin, and long term measures to eliminate riots in the future," is actually from "Remarks of the President upon Issuing an Executive Order Establishing a National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders, July 29, 1967," reproduced in the commission report as Appendix B. But once again, Morales edits the text to give the impression he wants. In his "Remarks," Johnson posed a long list of questions, including:
Lyndon B. Johnson upon issuing his executive order

    -Why riots occur in some cities and do not occur in others? . . .
    -How well equipped and trained are the local and State police, and the State guard-units, to handle riots?
    -How do police-community relationships affect the likelihood of a riot-or the ability to keep one from spreading once it has started? . . .
    -Who suffered most at the hands of the rioters?
    -What can be done to help innocent people and vital institutions escape serious injury?
    -How can groups of lawful citizens be encouraged, groups that can help to cool the situations?
    -What is the relative impact of the depressed conditions in the ghetto-joblessness, family instability, poor education, lack of motivation, poor health care-in stimulating people to riot?
    -What Federal, State and local programs have been most helpful in relieving those depressed conditions?

This hardly suggests a racist intent to wage war on the poor. Johnson went on to say:
Lyndon B. Johnson upon issuing his executive order

We are asking for advice on
-short-term measures that can prevent riots,
-better measures to contain riots once they begin,
-and long-term measures that will make them only a sordid page in our history.
I know this is a tall order.

Again Morales edits a sentence to slant it toward the impression he wants to give; "long-term measures that will make them [riots] only a sordid page in our history" becomes "long term measures to eliminate riots in the future," somewhat more ominous-sounding, and in case you didn't get the point, in "War for Living Space" Morales puts the phrase in bold and includes "[emphasis added]"!

The third statement quoted by Morales, "to control and repress black rioters using almost any available means," which he claims is one of the two immediate aims of the commission, not surprisingly appears nowhere in Johnson's EO or his "Remarks" -- even if that were the intention, one would hardly expect a president to say so in an official document. In fact, in "Origins of Operation Garden Plot," note 6 gives the source as "James W. Button, Black Violence, The Political Impact of the 1960's Riots, Princeton University Press, 1078 [sic; presumably 1978] pg.116." The second so-called "aim," "to assure white America that everything was in hand," is neither presented as a direct quotation nor sourced in a note; needless to say, it's no more a part of the commission's remit than is the inflammatory "control and repress" quote.

It should come as no surprise that both Morales and "Yolanda" also misrepresent the commission's report, distorting its findings and recommendations. "Yolanda" attacks the report head-on, claiming that it argues the exact opposite of what it actually says:

The Kerner Commission strategists came to the conclusion that America's inner-city poverty was so entrenched that the ghettoes could not be transformed into viable neighborhoods to the satisfaction of its [sic] residents or the government. The problem of riots, therefore, could be expected to emerge in the future, perhaps with more intensity and as a more serious threat to the Constitutional privileges which most Americans enjoy. They finally concluded that if the problem could not be eliminated because of the nature of the American system of "free enterprise," then American technology could contain it. This could only be done through a theory of "spatial deconcentration" of racially-impacted neighborhoods.

This is not even a simplification of the report's nuanced and comprehensive response to Johnson's list of issues to be addressed. In fact, the Kerner Commission recommended pouring money into ameliorating the misery of the ghettoes, yet the second prong of the commission's strategy, unlocking the virtual prisons of the inner-city ghettoes by tackling the white racism that kept black people out of the suburbs, is turned on its head and reinterpreted as a conspiracy to force minorities out of the inner cities. The Kerner report sees the available options as stark:
The Kerner Commission

Three choices are open to the nation:

    * We can maintain present policies, continuing both the proportion of the nation's resources now allocated to programs for the unemployed and the disadvantaged, and the inadequate and failing effort to achieve an integrated society.
    * We can adopt a policy of "enrichment" aimed at improving dramatically the quality of ghetto life while abandoning integration as a goal.
    * We can pursue integration by combining ghetto "enrichment" with policies which will encourage Negro movement out of central city areas.

The report comes down heavily in favor of the third option.

In Part II of the report, "Why Did It Happen," the commission looks at the background to the riots, and the report's summary makes its position clear:
The Kerner Commission

White racism is essentially responsible for the explosive mixture which has been accumulating in our cities since the end of World War II. Among the ingredients of this mixture are:

    * Pervasive discrimination and segregation in employment, education and housing, which have resulted in the continuing exclusion of great numbers of Negroes from the benefits of economic progress.
    * Black in-migration and white exodus, which have produced the massive and growing concentrations of impoverished Negroes in our major cities, creating a growing crisis of deteriorating facilities and services and unmet human needs.
    * The black ghettos where segregation and poverty converge on the young to destroy opportunity and enforce failure. Crime, drug addiction, dependency on welfare, and bitterness and resentment against society in general and white society in particular are the result.

At the same time, most whites and some Negroes outside the ghetto have prospered to a degree unparalleled in the history of civilization. Through television and other media, this affluence has been flaunted before the eyes of the Negro poor and the jobless ghetto youth.

Yet these facts alone cannot be said to have caused the disorders. Recently, other powerful ingredients have begun to catalyze the mixture:

    * Frustrated hopes are the residue of the unfulfilled expectations aroused by the great judicial and legislative victories of the Civil Rights Movement and the dramatic struggle for equal rights in the South.
    * A climate that tends toward approval and encouragement of violence as a form of protest has been created by white terrorism directed against nonviolent protest; by the open defiance of law and federal authority by state and local officials resisting desegregation; and by some protest groups engaging in civil disobedience who turn their backs on nonviolence, go beyond the constitutionally protected rights of petition and free assembly, and resort to violence to attempt to compel alteration of laws and policies with which they disagree.
    * The frustrations of powerlessness have led some Negroes to the conviction that there is no effective alternative to violence as a means of achieving redress of grievances, and of "moving the system." These frustrations are reflected in alienation and hostility toward the institutions of law and government and the white society which controls them, and in the reach toward racial consciousness and solidarity reflected in the slogan "Black Power."
    * A new mood has sprung up among Negroes, particularly among the young, in which self-esteem and enhanced racial pride are replacing apathy and submission to "the system."
    * The police are not merely a "spark" factor. To some Negroes police have come to symbolize white power, white racism and white repression. And the fact is that many police do reflect and express these white attitudes. The atmosphere of hostility and cynicism is reinforced by a widespread belief among Negroes in the existence of police brutality and in a "double standard" of justice and protection--one for Negroes and one for whites.

Chapter 6 of the report, "The Formation of the Racial Ghettos," looks at the movement of black Americans throughout the twentieth century from the rural poverty of the South to the city ghettoes of the North. The report's summary of the chapter points out:
The Kerner Commission

Within the cities, Negroes have been excluded from white residential areas through discriminatory practices. Just as significant is the withdrawal of white families from, or their refusal to enter, neighborhoods where Negroes are moving or already residing.

Chapter 8, "Conditions of Life in the Racial Ghettos," puts the lie to the Wikipedia image of the "stable Black community." The report summarizes:
The Kerner Commission

A striking difference in environment from that of white, middle-class Americans profoundly influences the lives of residents of the ghetto.

Crime rates, consistently higher than in other areas, create a pronounced sense of insecurity. For example, in one city one low-income Negro district had 35 times as many serious crimes against persons as a high-income white district. Unless drastic steps are taken, the crime problems in poverty areas are likely to continue to multiply as the growing youth and rapid urbanization of the population outstrip police resources.

Poor health and sanitation conditions in the ghetto result in higher mortality rates, a higher incidence of major diseases, and lower availability and utilization of medical services. The infant mortality rate for nonwhite babies under the age of one month is 58 percent higher than for whites; for one to 12 months it is almost three times as high. The level of sanitation in the ghetto is far below that in high income areas. Garbage collection is often inadequate. Of an estimated 14,000 cases of rat bite in the United States in 1965, most were in ghetto neighborhoods.

Ghetto residents believe they are "exploited" by local merchants; and evidence substantiates some of these beliefs. A study conducted in one city by the Federal Trade Commission showed that distinctly higher prices were charged for goods sold in ghetto stores than in other areas.

Lack of knowledge regarding credit purchasing creates special pitfalls for the disadvantaged. In many states garnishment practices compound these difficulties by allowing creditors to deprive individuals of their wages without hearing or trial.

Forty years later, we seem to have forgotten the truly awful conditions that prevailed in the American ghettoes; how else to explain the comfortable fiction of "stable Black communities"?

The commission devotes some eighty pages to the report's Part III, "What Can Be Done," consisting of chapter 10, "The Community Response," chapter 11, "The Police and the Community" (which includes discussion of grievance procedures and how to increase nonwhite police recruitment), chapter 12, "Control of Disorder" (containing the subsection "Danger of Overreaction"), chapter 13, "The Administration of Justice under Emergency Conditions" (pointing out that the "assembly-line" justice dispensed within the ghettoes was strained to breaking point during riots, leading to a loss of even basic due-process rights for those arrested), chapter 14, "Damages: Repair and Compensation," chapter 15, "The News Media and the Disorders," and chapter 16, "The Future of the Cities."

The commission pulls no punches in chapter 11:
The Kerner Commission

The abrasive relationship between the police and the minority communities has been a major -- and explosive -- source of grievance, tension and disorder. The blame must be shared by the total society.

The police are faced with demands for increased protection and service in the ghetto. Yet the aggressive patrol practices thought necessary to meet these demands themselves create tension and hostility. The resulting grievances have been further aggravated by the lack of effective mechanisms for handling complaints against the police. . . .

The Commission recommends that city government and police authorities:

    * Review police operations in the ghetto to ensure proper conduct by police officers, and eliminate abrasive practices.
    * Provide more adequate police protection to ghetto residents to eliminate their high sense of insecurity, and the belief of many Negro citizens in the existence of a dual standard of law enforcement.'
    * Establish fair and effective mechanisms for the redress of grievances against the police, and other municipal employees.
    * Develop and adopt policy guidelines to assist officers in making critical decisions in areas where police conduct can create tension.
    * Develop and use innovative programs to ensure widespread community support for law enforcement.
    * Recruit more Negroes into the regular police force, and review promotion policies to ensure fair promotion for Negro officers. . .

Chapter 12 looks in more detail at policing issues:
The Kerner Commission

The maintenance of civil order cannot be left to the police alone. The police need guidance, as well as support, from mayors and other public officials. It is the responsibility of public officials to determine proper police policies, support adequate police standards for personnel and performance, and participate in planning for the control of disorders.

To maintain control of incidents which could lead to disorders, the Commission recommends that local officials:

    * Assign seasoned, well-trained policemen and supervisory officers to patrol ghetto areas, and to respond to disturbances.
    * Develop plans which will quickly muster maximum police man power and highly qualified senior commanders at the outbreak of disorders.
    * Provide special training in the prevention of disorders, and prepare police for riot control and for operation in units, with adequate command and control and field communication for proper discipline and effectiveness.
    * Develop guidelines governing the use of control equipment and provide alternatives to the use of lethal weapons. Federal support for research in this area is needed.
    * Establish an intelligence system to provide police and other public officials with reliable information that may help to prevent the outbreak of a disorder and to institute effective control measures in the event a riot erupts.
    * Develop continuing contacts with ghetto residents to make use of the forces for order which exist within the community.
    * Establish machinery for neutralizing rumors, and enabling Negro leaders and residents to obtain the facts. Create special rumor details to collect, evaluate, and dispel rumors that may lead to a civil disorder.

The Commission believes there is a grave danger that some communities may resort to the indiscriminate and excessive use of force. The harmful effects of overreaction are incalculable. The Commission condemns moves to equip police departments with mass destruction weapons, such as automatic rifles, machine guns and tanks. Weapons which are designed to destroy, not to control, have no place in densely populated urban communities. [my emphasis]

Again, the complete opposite of what "Yolanda" and Morales would have us believe. In chapter 16, the commission initiates a clear-sighted discussion of how best to approach the (at that time) increasing numbers of impoverished African-Americans concentrated in the segregated inner-city ghettoes, and this section also provides an example of some of the most egregious manipulation of the report by Morales:
The Kerner Commission

By 1985, the Negro population in central cities is expected to increase by 72 percent to approximately 20.8 million. Coupled with the continued exodus of white families to the suburbs, this growth will produce majority Negro populations in many of the nation's largest cities.

The future of these cities, and of their burgeoning Negro populations, is grim. Most new employment opportunities are being created in suburbs and outlying areas. This trend will continue unless important changes in public policy are made.

In "The War for Living Space," Morales turns this statement of concern for the growth of ghettoes into a racist fear of the black population itself:
Morales in "War for Living Space"

"By 1985, the Negro population in central cities is expected to increase by 68% to approximately 20.3 million. . . This growth will produce majority Negro populations in many of the nations largest cities. The future of these cities is grim. . . [italics added] This trend will continue unless important changes in public policy are made. . . [the italics and "italics added" are added by Morales; the ellipses are also his]

Morales omits mention of the white exodus from and lack of employment opportunities within the central cities; he removes the phrase "and of their burgeoning Negro populations" from the sentence "The future of these cities, and of their burgeoning Negro populations, is grim," implying that "The future of these cities is grim" because of the growth in the black population, not the growth of the ghettoes. By removing the employment sentence, he is able to give the impression that the trend that concerns the commission is black population growth, not the lack of employment opportunities and livable conditions for ghetto-dwellers. And again he emphasizes a sentence he's edited to fit his purpose.

The difference between the report's figures and those in Morales's redaction (Kerner says "expected to increase by 72 percent to approximately 20.8 million"; Morales says "expected to increase by 68% to approximately 20.3 million") appears to be because he has conflated two different sections of the report to create his effect. The Kerner figures are from the summary of chapter 16; Morales's version uses statistics from a different sentence within the chapter itself. He goes on to cherry-pick sentences from that chapter:
Morales in "War for Living Space"

"We believe that action of the kind outlined . . . can contribute substantially to control of disorders. . . . But there should be no mistake about the long run. The underlying forces continue to gain momentum." [ellipses in Morales's version]

This sounds ominous, but Morales has again omitted some essential information:
The Kerner Commission

We believe that action of the kind outlined in preceding pages can contribute substantially to control of disorders in the near future. But there should be no mistake about the long run. The underlying forces continue to gain momentum.

The most basic of these is the accelerating segregation of low-income, disadvantaged Negroes within the ghettos of the largest American cities.

Again the commissioners' concern is for those trapped within the ghettoes; by omitting the final sentence in the extract above, along with the anchoring phrases "in preceding pages" and "in the near future," Morales changes the slant of their words to imply that their concerns are suppression of disorder and fear of black population growth. And again:
Morales in "War for Living Space"

Further, the "rapid increase in the young Negro population has important implications for the country. This group has the highest unemployment rate in the nation, commits a relatively high proportion of all crimes and plays the most significant role in civil disorders."

The Kerner Commission

This rapid increase in the young Negro population has important implications for the country. This group has the highest unemployment rate in the Nation, commits a relatively high proportion of all crimes and plays the most significant role in civil disorders. By the same token, it is a great reservoir of underused human resources which are vital to the Nation.

The Kerner commissioners see America's black youth as a vital resource despite the challenges they face; Morales strips out the subtlety of the argument to leave only the negatives.

Then we find this scathing indictment by Morales:
Morales in "War for Living Space"

the solution lies in "creating strong incentives for Negro movement out of central city ghettos and enlarging freedom of choice[italics added] concerning housing, employment and schools." The aim is clear. [the italics and "italics added" are added by Morales]

Freedom of choice? Evil bastards! Here, of course, Morales has to clarify; after all, just as for Humpty Dumpty, words mean what he chooses them to mean:
Morales in "War for Living Space"

For Downs, "freedom of choice" amounts to "voluntary segregation" outside the cities. For the elite racists whom Downs represents, "the probability of civil disorders" must be faced.

The section of chapter 16 that this is wrenched from, whether actually written by Anthony Downs, as claimed by "Yolanda" and Morales, or by some other consultant, is headed "The Integration Choice." The report's summary explains:
The Kerner Commission

Three choices are open to the nation:

    * We can maintain present policies, continuing both the proportion of the nation's resources now allocated to programs for the unemployed and the disadvantaged, and the inadequate and failing effort to achieve an integrated society.
    * We can adopt a policy of "enrichment" aimed at improving dramatically the quality of ghetto life while abandoning integration as a goal.
    * We can pursue integration by combining ghetto "enrichment" with policies which will encourage Negro movement out of central city areas.

The first choice, continuance of present policies, has ominous consequences for our society. The share of the nation's resources now allocated to programs for the disadvantaged is insufficient to arrest the deterioration of life in central city ghettos. Under such conditions, a rising proportion of Negroes may come to see in the deprivation and segregation they experience, a justification for violent protest, or for extending support to now isolated extremists who advocate civil disruption. Large-scale and continuing violence could result, followed by white retaliation, and, ultimately, the separation of the two communities in a garrison state. . . .

To continue present policies is to make permanent the division of our country into two societies; one, largely Negro and poor, located in the central cities; the other, predominantly white and affluent, located in the suburbs and in outlying areas.

The second choice, ghetto enrichment coupled with abandonment of integration, is also unacceptable. It is another way of choosing a permanently divided country. . . . a policy of separation can only relegate Negroes to a permanently inferior economic status.

We believe that the only possible choice for America is the third -- a policy which combines ghetto enrichment with programs designed to encourage integration of substantial numbers of Negroes into the society outside the ghetto. . . . large-scale improvement in the quality of ghetto life is essential. But this can be no more than an interim strategy. Programs must be developed which will permit substantial Negro movement out of the ghettos. [my emphases]

Chapter 16 goes into more detail, and here are the sentences that Morales cherry-picks to ludicrous effect:
The Kerner Commission

The Integration Choice . . . would be aimed at reversing the movement of the country toward two societies, separate and unequal. . . . [and] would call for large-scale improvement in the quality of ghetto life. But it would also involve both creating strong incentives for Negro movement out of central-city ghettos and enlarging freedom of choice concerning housing, employment and schools.

The result would fall considerably short of full integration. The experience of other ethnic groups indicates that some Negro households would be scattered in largely white residential areas. Others -- probably a larger number -- would voluntarily cluster together in largely Negro neighborhoods. The integration choice would thus produce both integration and segregation. But the segregation would be voluntary.

Again, a nuanced argument that Morales turns on its head with "'freedom of choice' amounts to 'voluntary segregation' outside the cities"; the phrase Morales uses in the same statement, "elite racists," is nothing but a slander.

And while we're on the subject of slander, in "Origins of Operation Garden Plot," Morales quotes the following shocking sentence:
Morales in "Origins of Operation Garden Plot"

A key player within the commission, "consultant" Anthony Downs, stated at the time that, "it would be far cheaper to repress future large-scale urban violence through police and military action than to pay for effective programs against remaining poverty."

A footnote reveals that this quotation is from page 176 of one of the books cited by "Yolanda," Opening up the Suburbs: An Urban Strategy for America, published by Downs not "at the time" of the Kerner Commission report but in 1973, five years later. A decade or more of so-called "white flight" from the city centers of the United States had resulted in what Downs describes as a:
Anthony Downs in [i]Opening up the Suburbs[/i]

deeply entrenched division: the legal and political separation between central cities and suburbs in our metropolitan areas.

The most serious drawback of this division is exclusion of most poor, near-poor, and ethnic minority households from many of our suburban areas. Such exclusion helps perpetuate a host of problems by concentrating the burdens of coping with poverty inside central cities. It also prevents suburbs from achieving certain improvements in their efficiency and quality of life. Moreover, this exclusion will eventually undermine achievement of one of our fundamental goals: true equality of opportunity.

We have already recognized the un-American implications of suburban exclusion based upon race or nationality. But there is no correspondingly widespread recognition of the long-run drawbacks of excluding the poor and near-poor from suburbs. Therefore, this book focuses upon the need to open up the suburbs economically rather than ethnically, even though both are vital in the long run. [p. vii]

Chapter 16, "Making the Choice," is his concluding chapter, in which says:
Anthony Downs in [i]Opening up the Suburbs[/i]

This book has presented two main themes. One is that America's remaining urban poverty cannot be attacked effectively without reducing the spatial concentration of the poor. The second is that practical means of achieving this goal exist-means that would not seriously threaten the quality of life of the middle- and upper-income majority. However, adopting those means would require many members of that majority to make additional sacrifices in money, power, and degree of neighborhood dominance.

At present, I believe the American middle-class majority is overwhelmingly opposed to making these additional sacrifices. Although its members and leaders rhetorically express a desire to combat poverty and improve conditions in crisis ghettos, they show little willingness to bear the costs of doing so. [p. 171]

What is to be done? Downs's answer is that the American middle-class majority must be persuaded that both self-interest and justice require that the suburbs be opened up to ghetto-dwellers. He takes a hard look at the more cynical reasons middle-class suburbanites might have for agreeing to accept the poor in their midst, including "Protecting against Possible Violence and Disruption," and it is in this context that he makes the statement cited by Morales as evidence of Downs's participation in a conspiracy against the poor. Downs says:
Anthony Downs in [i]Opening up the Suburbs[/i]

The desire to avoid future violence might provide a self-interest motive for the middle class to combat poverty more effectively.

If this reasoning is taken to mean that the middle class must enact massive additional programs against urban poverty or else face violent domestic revolutionary efforts that will disrupt peaceful suburban life, I believe it is false. If it is taken to mean that failure to combat urban poverty more effectively will perpetuate high urban crime rates, could lead to some large-scale disorders, and might reduce individual civil rights, then I believe it is true.

The civil disorders in black ghettos that began about 1965 were disturbing and destructive. So were student riots and urban bombings a few years later. Yet none of these phenomena came close to "burning down" even one city. In fact, each of several recent hurricanes caused more property damage than all civil disturbances since 1960 combined. . . . I cite these comparisons not to minimize the disturbing nature of civil disorders but to place them in a reasonable perspective.

Considering economic factors alone, it would be far cheaper to repress future large-scale urban violence through police and military action than to pay for effective programs against remaining urban poverty. This might require abrogating civil rights of many citizens deplorably. Yet it could be done with little other inconvenience to the middle class.

Urban crime will be far harder to repress and will cause much more difficulty for middle-class citizens. . . . in the long run, central-city blighted areas will grow if we fail to reduce urban poverty and disperse the urban poor more effectively. The portions of each metropolitan area considered unsafe will therefore expand, too. Avoiding these outcomes provides a strong self-interest motive for middle-class citizens to support more effective antipoverty efforts. [pp. 176-177; my emphasis]

Clearly Downs isn't advocating the military option at all; quite the opposite. Morales cherry-picks a single sarcastic statement out of a nuanced argument and presents it as proof of ill intent.

"Yolanda" does something similar with Downs's Opening up the Suburbs:

The theory of white "dominance" was carefully discussed in SUBURBS. Included here were ideas for "...a broader strategy," where "...a workable mechanism ensuring that whites will remain in the majority..." was produced. But Chapter 12 of SUBURBS . . . was called "Principles of a Strategy of Dispersing Economic Integration," and laid down five basic concepts: 1) establishing a "favorable" political climate for the strategy; 2) creating "economic incentives" for the strategy; 3) preserving suburban middle-class dominance; 4) rebuilding inner-cities; 5) developing a further "comprehensive strategy." In outline format he anlyzed [sic] each one. He noted that experiments should be conducted before the strategy was effectuated and that "...more effective means of withdrawing economic support..." should be developed for the inner cities to clear the way for landbanking inner-city neighborhoods.

We can compare Downs's chapter 12 with the "Yolanda" version. The chapter, "Principles of a Strategy of Dispersed [not Dispersing] Economic Integration," does indeed lay down five basic concepts, or "strategic objectives," and they are similar to the "Yolanda" list:
Anthony Downs in [i]Opening up the Suburbs[/i]

    1. Establishing a general economic and political climate favorable to this strategy
    2. Motivating the key "actors" in the process by providing them with specific economic incentives to perform their functions in it
    3. Achieving dispersed economic integration in ways that will preserve suburban middle-class dominance
    4. Concurrently improving the quality of life in inner-city areas
    5. Relating this strategy to a more comprehensive overall urban development strategy and the institutional mechanisms required to achieve it [p. 132]

However, in placing this list immediately following the unattributed phrase "a workable mechanism ensuring that whites will remain in the majority," "Yolanda" implies the "strategy" is white dominance; in fact, Downs's strategy of dispersed economic integration is:
Anthony Downs in [i]Opening up the Suburbs[/i]

a process of achieving greater intermixture of low- and moderate-income households in many different parts of each metropolitan area almost simultaneously. It involves mainly incremental but accelerated changes in existing processes and institutions. This strategy is only one part of what should eventually become a more comprehensive strategy for urban development in each metropolitan area. [p. 131]

Note that Downs's point 4, "Concurrently improving the quality of life in inner-city areas," is changed to "4) rebuilding inner-cities" in "Yolanda," the better to support the contention that the strategy includes "clear[ing] the way for landbanking inner-city neighborhoods" that will then be renovated for the gentrifying white hordes to come. In fact, Downs proposes no such thing. "Yolanda" takes the quote "more effective means of withdrawing economic support" from a chart expanding on Downs's five points. In the chart, his point 4 is divided into 4 subpoints, including:
Anthony Downs in [i]Opening up the Suburbs[/i]

    3. New means of comprehensively "managing" entire inner-city neighborhoods should be developed to provide a more effective means of withdrawing economic support from housing units that ought to be demolished [p. 135; my emphases]

Downs insists that "improving the quality of life in inner-city areas" is vital. But because, as he points out, previous antipoverty resources were concentrated on patching up substandard ghetto housing rather than on eliminating barriers that prevented the poor from moving out of that housing, he wants to see resources shifted away from slapping Band-Aids on slums and toward providing decent new housing outside the ghettoes. "Yolanda" lifts a phrase out of his text to imply he's proposing the opposite of what he actually means.

Indeed, the lie that Downs's strategy involves "withdrawing economic support . . . to clear the way for landbanking inner-city neighborhoods" is specifically refuted by a section of chapter 12 titled "Initial small-scale capital investment in inner-city areas, followed by large-scale urban renewal":
Anthony Downs in [i]Opening up the Suburbs[/i]

At least some specific capital investment should be carried out to produce short-run physical improvements in crisis ghettos. Examples are new housing, housing rehabilitation, better recreation facilities, street lighting, sewer and water systems, and new public buildings. These projects should not be undertaken at a very large overall scale. Yet when such projects are proposed by persons or groups with a proven record of success, they should be given enough resources to improve these areas.

In the long run, I doubt that most such projects will be able to withstand the corrosive impacts of continued poverty concentration. Nevertheless, crisis ghettos should not be completely abandoned while we await metropolitan-wide solutions. These areas contain millions of America's most deprived and downtrodden citizens. They deserve attention and resources as a demonstration of their importance, even if the long-range results are not impressive. Moreover, they should have a key voice in determining how such resources are used. . . .

Eventually, if poverty becomes sufficiently deconcentrated, crisis ghettos can be redeveloped with large-scale projects that create entirely new neighborhood environments. [p. 143; emphasis in the original]

As for his strategy of dispersed economic integration, almost as though he foresaw how his work would be distorted, Downs sought to preempt criticism by adding the following disclaimer:
Anthony Downs in [i]Opening up the Suburbs[/i]

Unfortunately, nearly everyone responds to the words dispersed or economic integration with the same erroneous mental image. Each visualizes a compulsory, almost overnight shift of millions of poor people-mostly black-directly out of central-city slums into practically every residential block in suburbia. This hypothetical image repels almost everyone. Central-city blacks see it suddenly dissipating their growing political strength. Suburban whites envision their quiet neighborhoods invaded by gangs of welfare-supported delinquents. Those skeptical of government's ability to manage any large-scale undertaking consider it unworkable. Still others view it as cultural chauvinism that would compel millions of poor people to abandon a life style they cherish.

Dispersed economic integration as I conceive of it would exhibit none of these traits. [pp. 131-132]

Unfortunately for him, "Yolanda" and Morales aren't concerned with Downs's complex analysis of how to further the tricky task of desegregating American cities after the Kerner Commission's far-reaching proposals were smothered at birth by the Nixon administration. Downs's work is interesting to them only insofar as they can twist his words to make him sound like a racist and build the case for their conspiracy fairy tale.

Downs's point 3, "Achieving dispersed economic integration in ways that will preserve suburban middle-class dominance," requires explanation, as does the related phrase quoted by "Yolanda": "a workable mechanism ensuring that whites will remain in the majority." On the issue of white dominance, Downs is pragmatic:
Anthony Downs in [i]Opening up the Suburbs[/i]

Most American white middle-class households want to maintain racial dominance in their own neighborhoods as well as economic class dominance. In this case, "dominance" means a preponderance of whites in an area and in its institutions.

Clearly, race and color have no necessary linkage with the kinds of social, cultural, economic, or religious characteristics and values that have a true functional impact upon adults and children. Yet a majority of middle-class white Americans still perceive race and color as relevant to the kind of neighborhood homogeneity they desire. . . . However demeaning this unjustified behavior may be to minority-group members, it must be recognized as real if we are to understand why residential segregation by race has persisted so strongly in the United States and what conditions are necessary to create viable racial integration. The expansion of black residential areas has led to massive transition from white to black occupancy mainly because there has been no legal mechanism that could assure the whites in any area that they would remain in the majority after blacks began to enter.

Once blacks begin entering an all-white neighborhood near a racial ghetto, most whites become convinced the area will eventually become all black, because this has happened so often before. Hence it is difficult to persuade whites not now living there to move into vacancies arising through normal housing turnover. They are willing to move only where whites seem likely to remain the dominant majority. So almost all vacancies are occupied by blacks, and the neighborhood inexorably shifts toward a heavy black majority. Once this happens, the remaining whites also try to leave.

As a result, whites who would be quite satisfied to live in an integrated neighborhood as members of the majority are never given an opportunity to do so. Instead, for reasons beyond the control of each individual, they are forced to choose between complete racial segregation and living in areas heavily dominated by members of what they consider "another group." Given their values, they choose the former. [pp. 98-99]

Morales summarizes this as:
Morales in "War for Living Space"

Downs would make white supremacy the public policy. [emphasis by Morales]

Yet again, Morales adds emphasis to the very statement not made by the person he attributes it to. Downs is talking in terms of numerical dominance; nowhere does he use the term "white supremacy," and the concept of supremacy has nothing whatsoever to do with his argument. While recognizing the prevailing dynamics between race and class within American society, Downs essentially sees the problems of the ghettoes as being rooted in economic class, not race:
Anthony Downs in [i]Opening up the Suburbs[/i]

[M]ost urban neighborhoods containing relatively high concentrations of low-income households are neither economically nor socially viable. They do not provide reasonably decent, safe, and healthful living environments. On the contrary, poverty-dominated environments breed conditions that perpetuate poverty among the residents, drive out most households who can afford to move elsewhere, and adversely affect surrounding areas. . . .

. . . both the upgrading desired by low- and moderate-income households and the protection of neighborhood quality desired by middle- and upper-income households can be achieved simultaneously in the same neighborhoods if a significant number of low- and moderate-income households live there, providing that middle-class dominance is maintained. "Middle-class dominance" means that the preponderant majority of persons living in a neighborhood or interacting in most institutions serving it (such as public schools) are from middle- and upper-income households. . . .

This does not mean that predominantly low-income areas can never be viable or that all middle-class dominated areas are viable. But it does imply that neighborhood viability is normally linked with middle-class dominance and is difficult to maintain without it. [p. 87]

If Anthony Downs deserves criticism for his racial attitudes, that criticism should perhaps be directed more at his naivete than anything else; the following passage betrays his almost utopian bent:
Anthony Downs in [i]Opening up the Suburbs[/i]

I believe the middle-class desire for racial dominance will gradually disappear in the minds of many (but not all) white Americans. This will occur as more and more whites discover that minority-group individuals with the same incomes as their own share the same values and behavior patterns. Many white middle-class Americans may then be willing to live in racially integrated-but economically homogeneous-neighborhoods with black majorities, if a significant number of other whites live there too. . . .

Therefore, in the long run, I expect economic class discrimination to be more persistent in American residential neighborhoods than racial discrimination, even though the latter has been stronger up to now. . . . I believe residential discrimination aimed at excluding members of ethnic minorities is likely to fade out long before discrimination aimed at excluding the poor. [pp. 101-102; emphasis in the original]

In the second of his books cited by both "Yolanda" and Morales, Urban Problems and Prospects, Downs devotes one of his longest chapters, "Racism in America and How to Combat It," to a consideration of how racism has operated historically in American society, how racism benefits whites economically, politically, and psychologically, and how to combat "more than 300 years of systematic subordination." This chapter originally appeared as a publication of the U.S. Civil Rights Commission.

Urban Problems and Prospects was published by Downs in 1970, between the Kerner report and Opening up the Suburbs. About a third of the book deals with highways and transportation issues and how they impact housing for the poor; a long chapter called "Alternative Futures for the Ghetto" also discusses the question of white dominance under the heading "The Law of Dominance":
Anthony Downs in [i]Urban Problems and Prospects[/i]

The achievement of stable racial integration of both whites and nonwhites in housing or public schools is a rare phenomenon in large American cities. Contrary to the views of many, this is not because whites are unwilling to share schools or residential neighborhoods with nonwhites. A vast majority of whites of all income groups would be willing to send their children to integrated schools or live in integrated neighborhoods, as long as they were sure that the white group concerned would remain in the majority in those facilities or areas.

The residential and educational objectives of these whites are not dependent upon their maintaining any kind of "ethnic purity" in their neighborhoods or schools. Rather, those objectives depend upon their maintaining a certain degree of "cultural dominance" therein. . . .

There is no intrinsic reason why race or color should be perceived as a factor relevant to attaining such relative homogeneity. . . . Yet I believe a majority of middle-class white Americans still perceive race and color as relevant factors in their assessment of the kind of homogeneity they seek to attain. Moreover, this false perception is reinforced by their lack of everyday experience and contact with Negroes who are, in fact, like them in all important respects. . . .

However demeaning this phenomenon may be to Negroes, it must be recognized if we are to understand why residential segregation has persisted so strongly in the United States, and what conditions are necessary to create viable racial integration. [pp. 34-35; emphases in the original]

Urban Problems and Prospects also contains a short chapter called "Home Ownership and American Free Enterprise," and this may be the ultimate source of the odd "Yolanda" allegation that the Kerner Commission decided the problem of inner-city poverty "could not be eliminated because of the nature of the American system of 'free enterprise.'" After all, Downs states that:
Anthony Downs in [i]Urban Problems and Prospects[/i]

unsubsidized ownership of property occupied by many of the poorest people in our society is not economically feasible. [p. 164]

He's arguing in this chapter that in America, within the free enterprise system that favors home ownership, high housing standards enforced by building codes mean that:
Anthony Downs in [i]Urban Problems and Prospects[/i]

[M]any hundreds of thousands of United States households cannot afford to pay the cost of living in minimum-quality dwelling units, as defined by existing housing and building codes.

How can society respond? The only possible alternatives are:

    1. Increase the ability of the poor to pay for housing by providing massive housing or income subsidies.
    2. Reduce the housing and maintenance standards required by law, so that what is now considered poor and illegal would no longer be illegal.
    3. Enforce the present laws regarding quality of existing housing, but allow poor people to build new, now-illegally-low-standard units (as they do now in most of the world).
    4. Enforce the present laws regarding quality of new housing, but allow massive violations to persist concerning older existing housing.

[pp. 162-163]

Subsequent chapters suggest Downs himself favors the subsidy option; the solution that "Yolanda" and Morales claim he proposes -- sending in the military to suppress the inevitable dissent fomented by unlivable conditions -- is significantly absent from his list of alternatives. In case we miss the implications of options 2, 3, and 4, he describes the consequences of lowered housing standards:
Anthony Downs in [i]Urban Problems and Prospects[/i]

In fact, most Americans have no conception of the filth, degradation, squalor, overcrowding, and personal danger and insecurity which millions of inadequate housing units are causing in both our cities and rural areas. Thousands of infants are attacked by rats each year; hundreds die or become mentally retarded from eating lead paint that falls off cracked walls; thousands more are ill because of unsanitary conditions resulting from jamming large families into a single room, continuing failure of landlords to repair plumbing or provide proper heat, and pitifully inadequate storage space. Until you have actually stumbled through the ill-lit and decaying rooms of a slum dwelling, smelled the stench of sewage and garbage and dead rats behind the walls, seen the roaches and crumbling plaster and incredibly filthy bathrooms, and recoiled from exposed wiring and rotting floorboards and staircases, you have no real idea of what bad housing is like. [p. 116]

To portray this well-meaning sociologist grappling with the intractable problems of the ghetto as nothing but a callous racist is a travesty of the truth and a clear injustice both to Anthony Downs and to the Kerner Commission, which was praised by Martin Luther King Jr. himself as a "prescription for life."

We must return to the Kerner Commission report itself to examine the most damning accusations by "Yolanda" and Morales, those on military involvement in planning for control of domestic unrest. Morales claims in "War for Living Space," based on nothing but his own assertion, that "Spatial deconcentration" is "US military lingo for 'ghetto dispersal.'" Two pages later he expands on this:
Morales in "War for Living Space"

"Spatial Deconcentration" is a US military term for what is an easily understandable concept. It represents the process through which poor people and the debt-ridden "working class," particularly African and Latino communities, are driven from the urban centers of America and "relocated" and "reconcentrated" into even more crowded living conditions, shelters, and private prisons. The means by which this resettlement is implemented are varied and include arson, diminished "fire protection," state sponsored drug-running, police terror, bank redlining, phony "vacate" and demolition orders, perpetual "rent" increases and "legal" evictions.

If nothing else, this shows that Morales understands the "true" "purpose" of "scare quotes." He cannot and does not explain, however, how the military managed to gain influence over "arson, diminished 'fire protection,' state sponsored drug-running, police terror, bank redlining, phony 'vacate' and demolition orders, perpetual 'rent' increases and 'legal' evictions." Nor does he try to explain why deconcentration would involve a process of reconcentrating the poor "into even more crowded living conditions."

But he was writing "War for Living Space" in 1997, a time in New York when the Giuliani mayoral administration (with no help from the military) was waging war against the squatters, and the article focuses on racism and housing issues, deflecting attention away from local greed, real estate speculation, and political cronyism and onto the bogeyman of military involvement (a bogeyman that the NYPD helped invoke by bringing a "tank-like vehicle," as the New York Times called it, into the neighborhood during the mass eviction of the 13th Street squats).

In "Origins of Operation Garden Plot" Morales retools the theory for a new millenium, positioning the Kerner Commission at the roots of military intrusion into civil society as a whole:
Morales in "Origins of Operation Garden Plot"

The Kerner Commission's "study" of "civil disorder" lead directly to (civilian) recommendations regarding the role of the military in domestic affairs. The report dutifully "commends the Army for the advanced status of its training." Further, it states that "the Department of the Army should participate fully in efforts to develop nonlethal weapons and personal protective equipment appropriate for use in civil disorders." In addition, "the Army should investigate the possibility of utilizing psychological techniques to ventilate hostility and lessen tension in riot control, and incorporate feasible techniques in training the Army and National Guard units."

Under the heading, "Army Response To Civil Disorders", the commission report states that "the commitment of federal troops to aid state and local forces in controlling a disorder is an extraordinary act. An Army staff task group has recently examined and reviewed a wide range of topics relating to military operations to control urban disorders: command and control, logistics, training, planning, doctrine, personnel, public information, intelligence, and legal aspects." The results of the Army brass's study was subsequently, "made known to the National Guard and to top state and local civil and law enforcement officers in order to stimulate review at the state and local level."

Some of this is accurate -- though notable, of course, more for what it leaves out. In the 400-plus-page Kerner report, the commission devotes some twenty-five pages to a "Supplement on Control of Disorder," including a one-and-a-half-page section called "Army Response To Civil Disorders." As the commissioners explain:
The Kerner Commission

In this supplement we focus principally on controlling disorders that have escalated beyond immediate police capabilities and require a total community response to halt the violence. We also consider the rarer cases where state or Federal forces are necessary to achieve control.

Within this context, we assess the present capabilities and preparedness of public safety forces, military units, civil government, and the community at large, and make recommendations to help insure adequate response at all levels. [p. 267]

Section headings in the supplement are "The Police and Control of Civil Disorders" (discussing planning, training, and equipping local police forces), "Fire Departments and Civil Disorders" (looking at the hazards faced by firefighters when called out during riots), "State Response to Civil Disorders" (examining state police forces and the National Guard), the aforementioned "Army Response to Civil Disorders," "Coordinating the Control Response" (by far the longest section, looking at vertical coordination -- state/local and state/federal -- and horizontal coordination, including youth and community groups to patrol their own neighborhoods during times of tension), and finally, "Legal Needs for Riot Control" (examining federal, state, and local laws relating to disorders and recommending legislative changes).

The "Army Response" section of the supplement provides yet another example of how Morales makes unacknowledged cuts in quoted passages to change the meaning intended by his sources. As already quoted above, Morales says:
Morales in "Origins of Operation Garden Plot"

Under the heading, "Army Response To Civil Disorders", the commission report states that "the commitment of federal troops to aid state and local forces in controlling a disorder is an extraordinary act. An Army staff task group has recently examined and reviewed a wide range of topics relating to military operations to control urban disorders. . . ."

The first sentence opens the "Army Response" section:
The Kerner Commission

The commitment of Federal troops to aid state and local forces in controlling a disorder is an extraordinary act. Only twice in the last 35 years have governors requested Federal troops to help quell civil disorders.

As pointed out elsewhere in this report, however, it is imperative that states have backup forces for controlling major disorders. This section considers the capabilities and preparedness of the Active Army to perform the backup function.

An Army staff task group has recently examined and reviewed a wide range of topics relating to military operations to control urban disorders. . . . [pp. 279-280]

Morales omits the sentences detailing how rarely federal troops have been called out to civil disorders and how the commission considers Army preparedness to be a "backup function," creating the false impression that the commission intends army intervention to be a routine means of controlling riots.

In the "Control of Disorder" supplement, the commission repeats its opposition to the militarization of the police:
The Kerner Commission

The exaggerated reports of sniping in many cities experiencing disorders created unwarranted apprehension among some police administrators. This concern has led to a belief in some communities that police officers should be armed with highly destructive implements of war.

The Commission believes that equipping civil police with automatic rifles, machine guns, and other weapons of massive and indiscriminate destructive force is not warranted by the evidence. Chemical agents provide police forces with an effective and more appropriate weapon. If violence by rioters mounts beyond the control capability of the police, trained military forces should be called in. We should not attempt to convert our police into combat troops equipped for urban warfare.

The true source of police strength in maintaining order lies in the respect and good will of the public they serve. Great harm is likely to result from the use of military weapons of mass destruction by police forces which lack the command and control and firearms discipline of military units. [pp. 271-272; my emphases]

By "chemical agents," commissioners mean tear gas, which they consider a safer option than firepower; at several points in the report, they emphasize their opposition to the use in the streets of such "weapons of mass destruction" as automatic rifles and machine guns. Nevertheless, in recommending tear gas where guns might otherwise be used, they caution:
The Kerner Commission

It is important to avoid the indiscriminate use of chemical agents. Special care is required when used in densely populated areas. Whenever they are used, clear advance warning should be given to all who may be affected, and adequate escape routes should be opened to allow a crowd to disperse upon being so ordered. [p. 278]

Note the report's use of the phrase "urban warfare" in "We should not attempt to convert our police into combat troops equipped for urban warfare"; Morales throws the term in with a couple of other disconnected phrases:
Morales in "War for Living Space"

[T]he commission's final report, which was issued in March 1968, "commends the Army for the advanced status of its training," its preparation for "civil disturbance" and "urban warfare."

The commission does indeed commend the army for "the advanced status of its training," but as we see above, the term "urban warfare" appears in the report in another context entirely.

In discussing the effectiveness of the National Guard, the report points out a particular advantage of the army. Both of the incidents when federal troops were called to a civil disorder happened in Detroit, and the report notes that in the most recent of these, which occurred in 1967:
The Kerner Commission

Evidence from Detroit indicates that Active Army troops were more effective than National Guard units in controlling the disorder. According to many observers, the higher percentage of Negroes in the Active Army was a significant contributing factor. After reviewing this evidence and examining the percentage of Negroes in Guard units, this Commission recommended immediate efforts to increase substantially the number of Negroes in Army and Air National Guard units. [p. 276]

But just as commissioners don't want police officers equipped with heavy firepower, they don't want troops -- National Guard or "Active Army" -- on the streets with guns either:
The Kerner Commission

The rifle is the soldier's basic weapon. . . . [It] has a psychological effect for a show of force that distinguishes military units from the police. Unfortunately, actual use of the rifle in riot control operations is generally inappropriate. It is a lethal weapon with ammunition designed to kill at great distances. Rifle bullets ricochet. They may kill or maim innocent people blocks away from the actual target.

Unless or until an effective nonlethal replacement for the rifle is developed, it will of necessity continue to be the basic arm for the individual Guardsman assigned to civil disorder duty. The Commission recommends that the Department of Defense immediately institute a research program that seeks to develop a new type of ammunition for use in civil disorders. It should be capable of striking with deterrent but not lethal force at reasonable range. [p. 277]

For the same reason the commissioners make the statement quoted by Morales: "the Department of the Army should participate fully in efforts to develop nonlethal weapons and personal protective equipment appropriate for use in civil disorders." From our position of hindsight forty years later, we might criticize the commissioners for their faith in the concept of nonlethal weaponry; within a few years of the report, rubber bullets were to become a byword for state brutality against demonstrators. But a fair reading of the Kerner report shows that the commissioners promoted development of so-called nonlethal weapons as a means of avoiding lethal ones.

Similarly, Morales quotes them as calling for the development of "psychological techniques" but he omits the sentences explaining what they mean by that:
The Kerner Commission

The Army should investigate the possibility of utilizing psychological techniques to ventilate hostility and lessen tension in riot control, and incorporate feasible techniques in training the Army and National Guard units. The Hong Kong Police Department has successfully used a number of such techniques in controlling disorders. For example, when confronted by a mob of screaming rioters, a detachment of Hong Kong police used microphones and amplifiers to amplify and play back the mob noise on the mob itself. The noise confused and ultimately broke up the mob. The "singed chicken" episode described in the Profile in Chapter 1 of the Elizabeth, New Jersey disorder is an example-although not a planned one-of how humor can break tensions and dissipate a crowd. [p. 281]

Again we might read this from the perspective of psychological warfare techniques developed in recent decades, but the example of the singed chicken (described on p. 40 of the report) shows that commissioners were thinking in different terms. In this incident, a threatened bloodbath was averted when a chicken escaped through a shattered window of a poultry market and into an angry crowd. Someone tried unsuccessfully to soak the chicken in gasoline and set it alight, and the crowd's anger was dissipated by laughter at the spectacle of the singed bird fluttering away from its attacker.

The commissioners' call to "investigate the possibility of utilizing psychological techniques" may be the most questionable statement in the entire 400 pages of the report, yet there's nothing there to indicate they intended anything more than what they say: "techniques to ventilate hostility and lessen tension."

There's another example of manipulation by Morales in the section quoted above:
Morales in "Origins of Operation Garden Plot"

The results of the Army brass's study was [sic] subsequently, "made known to the National Guard and to top state and local civil and law enforcement officers in order to stimulate review at the state and local level."

It's possible this did happen, but the quoted words are taken from the "Army Response" section:
The Kerner Commission

The Commission, in preparing this portion of the Report [the "Supplement on Control of Disorder"], has relied heavily upon information developed by the Army task group established in the office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Military Operations and commends the Army for undertaking the overall review of the Army function. The Commission recommends that each state consider a similar review of its own control capabilities. It further recommends that the results of the Army review be made known to the National Guard and to top state and local civil and law enforcement officers in order to stimulate review at the state and local level. [p. 280]

Aside from the question of whether a group within an office of a deputy chief of staff counts as "Army brass," the pruning of this passage gives too much weight to the army review by removing commissioner's concern for state reviews, which they hope the army review will stimulate. In fact, much of the brief "Army Response" section is taken up with discussion of how army planning and training can be shared with the National Guard and state and local authorities. As the report emphasizes:
The Kerner Commission

We firmly believe that primary responsibility for the control of civil disorders rests with the cities and that the states should provide the necessary reserve manpower and resources. [p. 287]

As to the Constitutional basis for calling out federal troops when a state's manpower and resources are not adequate to handle a major disorder, the report appends an opinion in the form of a "Letter from the Attorney General to the Governors, August 7, 1967." The letter explains to governors how they can request federal aid under Article IV, Section 4 of the Constitution and sections 331 and 334 of Title 10 of the United States Code. The attorney general of the day, the author of the letter, was -- well, would you look at that, small world, eh? -- Ramsey Clark.

A final quotation from Morales's spatial deconcentration articles shows how easy it is to reverse meaning, implying nefarious intentions with just a few words:
Morales in "War for Living Space"

"Spatial deconcentration," US military lingo for "ghetto dispersal," becomes part of the lexicon of HUD/NYC-HPD and other "housing" agencies. By 1974, the Congress had enacted the Community Development Act which promoted spatial deconcentration. In fact, more recently, "Title 1: Housing Assistance Section of the Housing and Community Development Act of 1992" ties "assistance" to the establishment of a "demonstration program to assist low-income families living in rental units in moving from areas of concentrated poverty."

Amazing how he can get away with this stuff! He singularly fails to demonstrate that "Spatial deconcentration" is U.S. military lingo for "ghetto dispersal," yet without that claim to open the paragraph, one would see nothing wrong and everything good about programs "to assist low-income families living in rental units in moving from areas of concentrated poverty." Throw in an unsubstantiated allegation of military involvement, and the program is tainted. Notice, too, his favored technique of scare quotes on "assistance."

An entire generation of activists in New York was bamboozled by Frank Morales into swallowing his disinformation, and now the disinformationist has recycled this crap into his credentials as a "Police State expert," as Alex Jones calls him. Less than a year ago, he repeated his slander against the Kerner Commission in an interview with the late Theresa Duncan on her "Wit of the Staircase" blog ("Dessert Topping On The Apocalypse Or Paradise Now? Wit Talks Art, War and Religion With Activist Father Frank Morales"):
Theresa Duncan

Wit: So these Pentagon Programs against domestic dissent were ramped up after the popular movements of the sixties, correct? They didn't want young people rising up and ending any more of their wars.

FF: Yeah. The historical roots of Operation Garden Plot, namely the Pentagon civil disturbance plan, emerged from the Kerner Commission. This was a federal commission that was appointed in 1967 according to a President Johnson Executive Order, to examine the roots of the riots that took place. There were 109 urban uprisings that took place in 1967, and they're looking at particularly Detroit and Newark, Watts. This report mentions ways in which to prevent riots in the future, and it's also the first document to outline how Operation Garden Plot is a preemptive concept in this regard. [my emphases]

Whatever outlining a preemptive concept means! Needless to say, the Kerner Commission doesn't mention Operation Garden Plot at all -- as a "preemptive concept" or in any other way.

And no, commissioners weren't "looking at particularly Detroit and Newark, Watts" -- chapter 1 of the Kerner report, "Profiles in Disorder," contains brief narratives of the riots in 1963-1964, 1965 (including four paragraphs on Watts), 1966, and Spring 1967, then longer analyses of the 1967 disorders in Tampa, Cincinnati, Atlanta, Newark, Northern New Jersey (including Elizabeth, NJ, site of the "singed chicken" incident), Plainfield, and Detroit. This may be a minor point, but it illustrates that nothing Morales says about the Kerner report, even the most trivial details, can be relied upon.

After lying about the report for so long, he may believe it doesn't matter what he says because no one will check the facts. Well, here are the facts. Where he cannot manipulate quotations to imply the opposite of what is intended, he falls back on secret documents, internal reports, files that only he or his associates have seen. Just as with the HUD papers supposedly stolen by "Yolanda" and her "collaborators," Morales boasts to Theresa Duncan about:
Theresa Duncan

the documents that reveal these secret programs that I have in my possession,

but even when documents are publicly available, he seems incapable of quoting accurately. He even misquotes the Bible:
Theresa Duncan

FF: . . . To quote Jesus, or at least to quote somebody who was apparently quoting Jesus, "See, and then you'll see. Hear, and then you'll hear."
Wit: Yes, back to Paul. I think.
FF: Paul, yeah. Corinthians 13.

There are two letters to the Corinthians, and neither contains anything even close to "See, and then you'll see." However, 1 Corinthians 13:12 does say: "For now we see through a glass, darkly," which might serve as a warning for anyone relying on Frank Morales for information.

Lest anyone argue that the criticisms in this paper apply only to the Kerner report material and that more recent work by Morales is sound, let's take a quick look at a recent article of his, "'Homeland Defense' and the Militarisation of America" at, which is somewhat breathlessly introduced:

The following text is an Update to Frank Morales' award winning article "The Pentagon wages War on America", which received a 2003 Project Censored Award.

This article is packed with examples for those wishing to test their spot-the-Morales-bullshit skills, so I'll refrain from taking it point by point. Instead, let's look at just one egregious example of twisted quoting.

The "Update" offers links to its three sources:

Link 3 is dead, so when Morales says:
Morales on

the "war on terrorism" is the cover for the war on dissent. But don't take my word for it. Listen to what the California Anti-Terrorism Information Center spokesman Mike Van Winkle had to say recently

well, we'll just have to take his word for it. But the other two links are live, and we can compare one of his quotes with the original. He says:
Morales on

The Army "civil disturbance" manual, correlated to present day realities, also makes the point that "civil disturbances include acts of terrorism," which "may be organized by disaffected groups," who hope to "embarrass the government," and who may in fact "demonstrate as a cover for terrorism."

The sophistry involved in turning a peace rally into a pro-al Qaeda rally is precisely the logic that is operative within Pentagon driven civil disturbance planning situated within the broader context of so-called "homeland defense."

Sophistry indeed! The document he's referring to is the United States Army Field Manual 19-15, but the mangled quote is not on the page linked to by his URL, which points to chapter 8, "Crowd Control Formations." The quotation comes from chapter 1, "Civil Disturbances":
United States Army Field Manual 19-15

Civil disturbances arise from acts of civil disobedience. They occur most often when participants in mass acts of civil disobedience become antagonistic toward authority, and authorities must struggle to wrest the initiative from an unruly crowd. In the extreme, civil disturbances include criminal acts of terrorism. Civil disturbances, in any form, are prejudicial to public law and order.

. . . . [an entire section is omitted here]

Civil disturbances may arise from a number of causes. Most often they arise from political grievances, urban economic conflicts and community unrest, terrorist acts, or foreign influences. The event may be triggered by a single cause. Or it may arise from a combination of causes.

Demonstrations of political grievances range from simple protests of specific issues to full-scale civil disobedience. Many forms of political protest, while disruptive, are not unlawful. These protests may be spontaneous, but they generally are planned events. They may even be coordinated with local authorities. Most protectors [sic; presumably a scanning error for "protesters"] are law-abiding citizens. They intend their protests to be nonviolent. Violence occurs mainly when control forces must try to contain a protest or arrest protectors [sic] involved in civil disobedience. The presence of agitators increases the chance of violence. Agitators want to provoke the control force into overreacting. This embarrasses authorities. It can also gain media and public sympathy for the protectors.

Urban conflicts and community unrest arise from highly emotional social and economic issues. Economically deprived inner-city residents may perceive themselves treated unjustly or ignored by the people in power. Tension can build in a community over a variety of issues. Community services and housing and labor issues are often disputed. Tension creates the potential for violence. When tension is high, it takes only a minor incident or a rumor of an injustice to ignite a civil disturbance. This is particularly true if the community's relations with local police are part of the problem.

Significant cultural differences in a community can create an atmosphere of distrust. Unrest among ethnic groups competing for jobs can erupt into civil disturbance. Sometimes a large group of refugees resettles in one community, creating unrest in the community. If jobs are in short supply and refugees are taking what jobs there are, feelings of animosity can arise. As emotions run high, violence becomes likely.

Civil disturbances may be organized by disaffected groups. These groups like to embarrass the government. [my emphases]

It is simply not correct to say, as Morales does, that the army handbook speaks in terms of "acts of terrorism," which "may be organized by disaffected groups." The "sophistry involved in turning a peace rally into a pro-al Qaeda rally" is entirely an artifact of Morales's selective quotation.

There was something going on in Alphabet City in the last years of the twentieth century, but it had nothing to do with the mishmash of misdirection and outright lies proffered by "Yolanda" and Frank Morales. Real estate fortunes were being made through the gentrification of the neighborhood, and that very process of gentrification meant that the neighborhood, historically a locus of organized dissent, required pacification to make the place safe for yuppies, providing plentiful opportunities for the police to practice crowd-control techniques. Militarization of the police was going on in front of our eyes, and our self-appointed leader told us it was the fault of Anthony Downs and the Kerner Committee. When the NYPD was recruited at vast expense to the New York taxpayers to protect the interests of real estate speculators and Giuliani's pals, Morales and his minions told us our neighborhood was under twenty-four-hour-a-day armed occupation for more than a year because of a Pentagon-planned, race-based, federal war against the poor.

The poor and homeless of the inner city were indeed under attack, and the spatial deconcentration theory was a tool to blind them to the direction from which that attack emanated, to send them off chasing shadows instead of dealing with the actual threats that faced them.

And now Frank Morales has appointed himself an expert on militarization of the police (Alex Jones calls him "the Police State expert") just as, twenty years ago, he appointed himself leader of the squatter movement on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. With his housing conspiracy retooled to fit concerns about the militarization of civil society, Morales can rely on our short memories, foreshortened all the further by our current pace of technological advances, to aid him in foisting absurdities and libels that prevent us seeing clearly, not through a glass, darkly.

Taken from