Great Powers Manuver Among Factions in Mexico; Greco-Bulgarian Clash

  • Woodrow Wilson takes the oath of office for hi...

    Woodrow Wilson takes the oath of office for his first term of the Presidency in Washington, DC. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

    Edmond Perreyon of France set a new record for highest altitude in an airplane, reaching 19,281 feet.

  • The last civil suits arising from the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire of March 25, 1911. Building owners Max Blanck and Isaac Harris paid $75 apiece for each dead woman or girl whose family had brought a wrongful death suit.
  • The new capital of Australia was christened in a ceremony that saw the unveiling of three pillars of a memorial column by Governor-General Denman, Prime Minister Fisher, and Minister for Home Affairs King O’Malley. At noon, Lady Denman opened a gold cigarette case, withdrew the paper inside, and announced “I name the Capital of Australia ‘Canberra’.” “Canberra”, which among almost 1,000 suggestions submitted to the federal government, had first been used in 1826 by J. J. Moore in an application to purchase land in what would become the Australian Capital Territory. Other suggestions had been Kangaremu, Blueducks, Eucalypta, Myola, Gonebroke, Swindleville and Cooeeoomoo, and the second most popular proposal had been Shakespeare.
  • Plans were announced by the British Prime Minister to reform the House of Lords, taking away its veto power and abolishing the hereditary succession
  • Film stuntman and daredevil Rodman Law, who billed himself as “The Human Bullet”, attempted to become the first passenger in a manned rocket flight. Law constructed a 44 foot long steel missile, set it up on a vacant lot in Jersey City, set the angle at 45 degrees and aimed the craft at Elizabeth, New Jersey, twelve miles away. Wearing a parachute, he then climbed into a seat on the rocket and told his assistant, fireworks factory manager Samuel Serpico, to light the fuse to ignite of 900 pounds of gunpowder. Law told the crowd that his plan was to bail out when he reached an altitude of 3,500 feet, but the rocket exploded on the launchpad. Law was only slightly injured in the blast, and no spectators were hurt, and he “continued to perform stunts, though never again in a rocket”.
  • Dr. Simon Flexner announced to an audience of physicians at Johns Hopkins University that he had discovered the germ that caused infantile paralysis (polio). The germ proved to be a virus, although Flexner’s discovery that antibodies, yet to be discovered, could successfully attack the disease would send research in the direction of finding a means of developing the immunization against the poliomyelitis virus.
  • Born: William J. Casey, 13th Director of Central Intelligence for the American CIA (1981-1987), in New York City

The New York Time reportage on events in Mexico has become almost a parody of itself.  At the top of the list is the NYT article on reportage in the British press on Mexico.  Says the London Daily Mail, “That does not surprise us, because the New York Times has always expounded the doctrine that the American trusts can do no wrong”.  “Trust” was the term a century ago for what we would call today a large conglomerate corporation.

The generally vulgar tone of the writing, the unthinking parroting of every wild rumor, the promulgation of disinformation and outright lies, and above all the eagerness with which the reportage strains to hope for the best for the bloody anti-constitutional military coup government of Victoriano Huerta and Felix Diaz is genuinely shocking when viewed a century on.  British reportage comes across as a refreshing breath of fresh air in comparison;  the difference is appalling.

However already signs appear in the reports that the new Administration of Woodrow Wilson will not support Huerta.  There will be an opportunity to investigate Wilson’s motives in future posts.

Note also that J. PowerPoint Morgan, the great American banking tycoon, and the deposed President Porfirio Diaz share a cruise on the liner Adriatic in the Mediterranean.  One would love to be the fly on the  wall!

In the Balkans, an there is an armed incident between Bulgarian and Greek forces near Thessaloniki, a harbinger of the near future.

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Constitutionalists Launch Upising in Mexico; Yanina Falls to Greeks

  • Harriet Tubman, an African American abolitioni...

    Harriet Tubman, an African American abolitionist and conductor of the Underground Railroad. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

    Died: Harriet Tubman, 98, former slave famous for conducting thousands to freedom on the “underground railroad”.

    She was given a burial with full military honors at Auburn, New York.

The First Balkan War continues to wind down, and events in Mexico continue to command center stage.   There, reports appear of Federal soldiers in the northern states bordering the United States.  The anti-Huerta forces, already known as the “Constitutionalists” in honor of Francisco I. Madero‘s attempt to defend the same, begin to gather strength.  The historical irony will be that the constitution they sought to defend was that of the old Porfirio Diaz regime, while the Constitutionalists themselves would write a new constitution for Mexico.

The New York Times, meanwhile, continues to expend many column inches in defense of Henry Lane Wilson, still U.S. Ambassador to Mexico.  This is of course against the now existing historical evidence, but it wouldn’t be the last time for the Times, as seen when it offered its front pages as a platform for a stream of lies manufactured by Judith Miller: http://www.jstudies.com/nacaf/miller/wmd.htm

Let’s see if the Times of 100 years ago feigns similar apologetic.

In contrast, attention is drawn to the penetrating Times of London article below on how the results of the Balkans War has shifted the European balance of power against Germany, provoking another round in the arms race.

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Huerta Moves Against Carranza; Pancho Villa Enters Mexico Against Huerta

  • Mexican revolutionary Pancho Villa, who had been living at the Hotel Roma in El Paso, Texas under the alias “Doroteo Arango“, crossed the Rio Grande back into Mexico, along with eight companions, to rebuild his army and to overthrow Mexican President Victoriano Huerta. By year’s end, Villa would have control of the state of Chihuahua, which served as his base for anti-government raids.

    800px-Fierro_Pancho_Villa_Ortega_Medina

    Pancho Villa (3rd from right)

  • The tercentenary of the reign of the Romanov dynasty was celebrated across the Russian Empire, although on the Julian calendar then in use in Russia and 13 days behind the Gregorian calendar used in the rest of the world, the date was February 21. Tsar Nicholas II, the last of the dynasty, would be deposed less than five years later.

Contrary to the tone of faux confidence of the Anglo-American press, Victoriano Huerta faced increasing armed opposition to the stabilization of his rule.  Venustiano Carranza had immediately begun to organize a resistance to the Huerta-Diaz coup from his base in Coahuila state in North Mexico.  Carranza was joined by the arrival of Pancho Villa in Chihuahua state from the United States, to where he had fled in 1912 to escape execution by Huerta when he was at the head of the Federal armies under the Madero presidency.  Here Villa was to reorganize the famous Division del Norte, at its maximum consisting of up to 50,000 soldiers.  Despite their alliance,  Carranza and Villa came from completely different social origins:  Carranza was the son of wealthy ranchers from Coahuila state, politically a liberal of the Francisco Madero type, and would be the key force behind the Constitution of 1917.  Villa, from Durango state, was the son of peones de hacienda,  essentially a post-feudal sharecropping economic institution that could also include mining and ranching operations.  Many were owned by the Catholic Church, explaining the hostility to the Church in the Revolution.  The hacienda system was legally abolished in 1917.  Villa’s army led the expropriation of land for redistribution to  peasants, going beyond the liberalism of Madero and Carranza at that time.

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Huerta-Diaz Extend the Bloodbath; Clash on the U.S. Border

  • Soldiers of the Ninth U.S. Cavalry, stationed in Douglas, Arizona, traded gunfire with Mexican Army troops mexi1913who were across the border in Agua Prieta, in a skirmish between the border patrols of both nations. Reportedly, four Mexican federal soldiers were killed, and some of the U.S. Army soldiers charged across the border into Mexico to pursue the retreating Mexican troops
  • Woman Suffrage Parade of 1913: A group of 8,000 supporters of granting women the right to vote in the United States, led by Alice Paul of the National American Woman Suffrage Association, was besieged by a mob as the marchers, mostly women, paraded down Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, DC, on the eve of the presidential inauguration

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Inter-Anglo-American Suspicions of U.S. Motives in Mexico

Today’s feature at the top left is the New York Times reprint of a (London) Daily Mail article that “assails our good faith” and one that is treated to more or less outraged reactions in the U.S. press.

Also recommended is the Times of London‘s retrospective article on the legacy of the U.S. Taft Administration at the top right.  Inter-imperialist rivalries reveal much more from the point of view of an antagonist or competitor.  And France, Britain and Germany  were anxious that the Huerta-Diaz coup not tilt the investment playing field even further to the advantage of the North Americans.  In particular, “It is noted that ‘colonists’ are beginning to pour back from the country to the town, and that the exploitation of labor is ousting as a source of wealth the exploitation of natural resources.   It is feared that in a community where the premise of Marx’s gloomy generalizations exist, organized capital may be able, as things are, to entrench itself in the high places of government”.

The N.Y. Times reportage continues to get it quite laughably wrong on events in Mexico.

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Taft’s Mexico Policy Ends in a Bloodbath

  • U.S. Secretary of State Philander Knox proclaimed that the Sixteenth Amendment had been ratified by the necessary three-fourths of the states, officially making a federal income tax part of the Constitution.

The Huerta coup in Mexico has become, as the English say, “Bollocksed”, with the double murder of the President and

English: Francisco I Madero arriving on the fi...

English: Francisco I Madero arriving on the first day of the Decena Tragica Febrary 1913 author unknown (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Vice-President, Francisco Madero and Pino Suárez.  This was a huge public international embarrassment for United States foreign policy, producing expressions of shock and disgust throughout the “civilized” world, however much these expressions were hypocritically and racially projected upon the Mexicans themselves.

It is now a matter of historical fact, based on the record of official telegraph communications between the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City and Washington D.C., that Taft’s U.S. ambassador to Mexico, Henry Lane Wilson, had been up to his neck in a direct conspiracy with both Huerta and Diaz to “peacefully” remove Madero and his Cabinet.  The fly in the ointment proved to be the “dreamer” Madero’s insistence on carrying out the duties of the executive office that he had been democratically elected to and had sworn an oath to defend.  This act of resistance prompted much angst in the embassies of the “civilized” states of Western Europe and the U.S., who showed their respect for “democracy and the rule of law” by incongruously blaming Madero for the bloodshed and demanding that he resign in the face of a lawless armed coup, acting as if the Ambassadors of the U.S., Britain, France and (interestingly enough) Germany were the true electors of Mexico rather than the Mexican people themselves.

Decena_trágicaAs the Wikipedia article on La Decena Tragica puts it, on the 18th of February “Félix Díaz, the leader of the mutiny, Victoriano Huerta, the commander of Madero’s forces, and the American Ambassador, spent the next three hours in conference in the smoking room of the American embassy, framing up a plan for a new government to succeed that of the betrayed and imprisoned President Madero. Díaz pressed his claims for the presidential office, on the grounds that he had fought the battle. But Huerta’s claims were stronger, for in truth, if he had not turned, the revolt could not have succeeded. (At this time, also, Huerta had command of more troops than Díaz.) Three times they were on the verge of parting in anger, said Ambassador Wilson, but his labors kept them together and they finally worked out what was represented as a compromise: Huerta would become the “Provisional President,” but would call for an election in October and support Díaz for the permanent presidency. A cabinet was agreed on, Ambassador Wilson taking a leading part in this matter. The Ambassador approved the appointment of Enrique Zepeda as Governor of the Federal District, and stipulated for the release of Madero’s ministers. Ambassador Wilson made no stipulation concerning the President and the Vice President”.

One should not wonder too much why the outgoing U.S. President Howard Taft and his Ambassador would want to back a coup in Mexico right before the incoming President, Woodrow Wilson, assumed office; the presentation of fait accomplis to the next President as problems to be handled has been de rigueur for quite some time in the U.S. system, continuing up to this day, as with the 2008 TARP swindle handed off by Hank Paulson to Barak Obama – with Obama’s full support, of course – at the end of the Bush Presidency.

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U.S. Moves Military to the Borders of Mexico

English: c.1890 sitting portrait of Henry L Wi...

c.1890 sitting portrait of Henry L Wilson while in business in Spokane, Washington, a copy of which may also be found in the Library of Congress. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

  • The first survey stake for what would become the city of Canberra, capital of Australia, was driven into the ground by King O’Malley, the Minister for Home Affairs.
  • The State of Arkansas outlawed the practice of convict leasing.
  • Four days after their forced resignations, former Mexican President Madero and Vice-President Pino Suarez, were shot to death after being transported from the presidential palace to a prison. The official explanation by President Huerta was that the two men were being transported in automobiles and “two-thirds of the way to the penitentiary, they were attacked by an armed group…and the prisoners tried to escape. An exchange of shots then took place in which one of the attacking party was killed, two were wounded and both prisoners killed.” Other accounts were that Major Francisco Cardenas, who was escorting the prisoners, shot both men and that President Huerta was told by U.S. Ambassador Henry Lane Wilson to do “whatever he thought best for the country”, after which “Huerta did just that”, having the two men executed at the prison.

Note that only recently (1901) had Australia  been federated under the British Crown as the Commonwealth of Australia by the Commonwealth of Australia Constitution Act a.k.a. a Dominion of the British Empire.  Canada had become the first successful Dominion of that Empire in 1866, all those previous having been failures today known as the United States of America.  This included the first attempted English Dominion – before the union with Scotland – in the attempted combination of present-day New Jersey, New York and all of New England into a “Dominion of New England” in the 1690’s that quickly fell apart.

The First World War was the proving ground for the mythic blood foundation of the new Twentieth Century Dominion. But right now it is staking down its own Distrito Federal.

The “Wilson” spoken of here is of course not that of the newly elected but not yet acting President Woodrow Wilson, but Henry Lane Wilson, then Taft’s ambassador to Mexico.  Here the New York Times correspondent catches more than a whiff of ambassadorial involvement in the events of La Decena Tragica, as that correspondent discretely conveys to us.

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