Erdine (Adrianople) Falls to the Bulgarians

  • Battle of Adrianople (1913): The Turkish city of Adrianople (Edirne in Turkish, Odrin in Bulgaria), at one time the capital of the Ottoman Empire, was captured Bulgarian troops under the command of General Savov. Four months later, after the Second Balkan War broke out between Greece, Serbia and Bulgaria, the Turkish Ottoman troops would recapture on July 23, 1913.
  • Mexican Revolution: Venustiano Carranza announced his Plan of Guadalupe, and began his rebellion against Victoriano Huerta’s government as head of the Constitutionals.1913-03-28-009

The fall of Erdine (Adrianople) to the Bulgarians after a four month siege is the most significant news in the past week.  Tensions between Austria-Hungary and Serbia-Montenegro over Skutari and Albania more generally appear to be on the wane as well.

Also note the article on Japanese naval expansion, particularly its reference to being able to face a “certain power” capable of massing 22 battleships in the Pacific.  That power could only be the United States.

Also note the 40-odd page long overview of the Russian economy in the Times of London.  We can only show its extent by listing its table of contents!  This followed last weeks’ 3- full column length review of U.S. agriculture, noting its general stagnation.  It was quite interesting, but simply too lengthy to post here.  All in all, it is a measure of the habits of an imperial hegemony at the end of its historic tenure.

A sharper contrast could not be drawn with the low and vulgar quality of standard U.S. journalistic fare as evidenced in the New York Times, the legacy of the influence of Pulitzer and Hearst.   Not to mention its propensity for the mindless peddling of falsehoods and other disinformation, a habit that continues to this day.

This is epitomized by the Time’s memoir to a certain Lord Wolseley, a career that typified the British Empire. It is highly recommended that the reader check out the Wikipedia on Wolseley, of Anglo-Irish gentry “settled in the time of William II” at the end of the 17th century.  There was hardly a corner of the planet Earth that did not feel the jackboot of 1st Viscount Wolseley’s presence.  While stationed in Canada during the U.S. Civil War, Wolseley even had himself smuggled into Virginia on a Confederate blockade runner, where he was pleased to fraternize with the military command of the Slaveowners’ Republic, and wrote an apologetic for the infamous Nathan Bedford Forrest, future founder of the Ku Klux Klan terror organization, after one of his frequent massacres of Black prisoners of  war.  The bloody bastard!

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U.S. Pulls Out of China Loan Deal; Vienna Rattles Sabres

  • New York State Senator Franklin D. Roosevelt, 31, was sworn into office as the youngest Assistant Secretary of the Navy in American history, and the first federal government job for the future United States President.
  • Exactly 50 years after his March 18, 1863 selection, King George I of Greece was assassinated in Salonika while walking the streets of the city recently captured from Turkey. The King, who had refused bodyguards and was accompanied only by his equerry, was shot in the back by Aleko Schinas, a Greek citizen.
  • U.S. President Wilson announced that the U.S. government was withdrawing approval of American banks in the
    Quotation from Woodrow Wilson's History of the...

    Quotation from Woodrow Wilson’s History of the American People as reproduced in the film The Birth of a Nation. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

    proposed six-nation loan to China.

  • Song Jiaoren (Sung Chiao-jen), the President of the Kuomingtang Party in the Republic of China, was shot and fatally wounded while waiting for a train in Shanghai; Song would die two days later. Song’s killer, Wu Shiying, had been assisted by Ying Guixing, and a search of their apartments found documents linking the murder to cabinet Minister Hong Shuzu, Interior Minister Zhao Bingjun, and even President Yuan Shikai.
  • Constantine I took the oath of office as the new King of Greece
  • Wireless communication between the United States and France began when the U.S. station at Arlington, Maryland sent a message received at the Eiffel Tower in Paris

It continues to be a slow news period.  The main items of note include Woodrow Wilson’s’ withdrawal of U.S. government backing for a multinational loan to the new Chinese Republic.   Back in  the days before the IMF and other such international financial institutions, the leading imperialist powers would typically float loans to less developed countries in exchange for being granted key positions in the state financial institutions of the target country.  From this vantage point they could then squeeze the target country without mercy.  The Ottoman Empire, Egypt and the Latin American republics had been typical victims.    In the case of China, the leading powers tended to gang-bang in a sort of wolf-pack, just as they did in suppressing the Boxer Rebellion in 1900. In the long run the attempted subjugation of China would not succeed, marking probably the most signal failure of imperialism’s attempted conquest of the world, though the Japanese imperialists would eventually make the most determined, and the most destructive,  attempt.

The other current events of note are the assassination of the Greek King, George I, and his replacement by the new (and pro-German) King Constantine.   the ominous noises coming from Vienna (Austria-Hungary) concerning the continued Montenegrin-Serbian assault on Scutari, and on the Albanians generally.  Meanwhile the New York Times suggests for the first time that Victoriano Huerta’s claims concerning the strength of the opposition to the coup are less than credible.

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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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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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