September21, 1991. Every muscle in my body aches. Yesterday we spent
10 hours hiking, digging, and carrying loads of weapons through the woods.
This evening we moved all our supplies from the old apartment to our new
It was a little before noon yesterday when we reached the turnoff near Bellefonte and left the highway. We drove as close to our cache as we could, but the old mining road we had used three years earlier was blocked and impassable more than a mile short of the point where we intended to park. The bank above the road
had collapsed, and it would have taken a bulldozer to clear the way. (Note to the reader: Throughout his diaries Turner used so-called "English units" of measurement, which were still in common use in North America during the last years of the Old Era. For the reader not familiar with these units, a "mile" was
1.6 kilometers, a "gallon" was 3.8 liters, a "foot" was .30 meter, a "yard" was .91 meter, an "inc. ' was 2.5 centimeters, and a "pound" was the weight of .4s kilogram-approximately.)
The consequence was that we lad nearly a two-mile hike each way instead of less than half a mile. And it took three round trips to get everything to the car. We brought shovels, a rope, and a couple of large canvas mail sacks (courtesy of the U.S. Postal Service), but, as it turned out, these tools were woefully
inadequate for the task.
Hiking from the car to the cache with our shovels on our shoulders was actually refreshing, after the long drive up from Washington. The day was pleasantly cool, the autumn woods were beautiful, and the old dirt road, though heavily overgrown, provided easy walking most of the way.
Even digging down to the top of the oil drum (actually a 50-gallon chemical drum with a removable lid) in which we had sealed our weapons wasn't too bad. The ground was fairly soft, and it took us less than an hour to excavate a five-foot-deep pit and tie our rope to the handles which had been welded to the lid of the drum.
Then our trouble began. The two of us tugged on the rope as hard as we could, but the drum wouldn't budge an inch. It was as if it had been set in concrete.
Although the full drum weighed nearly 400 pounds, two of us had been able to lower it into the pit without undue difficulty three years ago. At that time, of course, there had been several inches of clearance all around it. Now the earth had settled and was packed tightly against the metal.
We gave up trying to get the drum out of the hole and decided to open it where it was. To do that we had to dig for nearly another hour, enlarging the hole and clearing a few inches all around the top of the drum so we could get our hands on the locking band which secured the lid. Even so, l had to go into the hole headfirst, with Henry holding my legs.
Although the outside of the drum had been painted with asphalt to prevent corrosion, the locking lever itself was thoroughly rusted, and I broke the only screwdriver we had trying to pry it loose. Finally, after much pounding, I was able to pry the lever out from the drum with the end of a shovel. With the locking band loosened, however, the lid remained as tightly in place as ever, apparently stuck to the drum by the asphalt coating we had applied.
Working upside down in the narrow hole was difficult and exhausting. We had no tool satisfactory for wedging under the lip of the lid and prying it up. Finally, almost in desperation, I once again tied the rope to one of the handles on the lid. Henry and I gave a hard tug, and the lid popped off!
Then it was just a matter of my going headfirst into the hole again, supporting myself with one arm on the edge of the drum, and passing the carefully wrapped bundles of weapons up past my body so that Henry could reach them. Some of the larger bundles-and that included six sealed tins of ammunition
were both too heavy and too bulky for this method and had to be hauled up by rope.
Needless to say, by the time we had the drum empty I was completely pooped. My arms ached, my legs were unsteady, and my clothing was drenched with perspiration. But we still had to carry more than 300 pounds of munitions half a mile through dense woods, uphill to the road, and then more than a mile back to the car.
With proper pack frames to distribute the loads on our backs we might have carried everything out in one trip. It could have been done easily in two trips. But with only the awkward mail sacks, which we had to carry in our arms, it took three excruciatingly painful trips.
We had to stop every hundred yards or so and put our loads down for a minute, and the last two trips were made in total darkness. Anticipating a daylight operation, we hadn't even brought a flashlight. If we don't do a better job of planning our operations in the future, we have some rough times ahead!
On the way back to Washington we stopped at a small roadside
cafe near Hagerstown for sandwiches and coffee. There were about a dozen
people in the place, and the 11 o'clock news was just beginning on the
TV set behind the counter when we walked in. It was a news broadcast I'll
The big story of the day was what the Organization had been up to in Chicago. The System, it seems, had killed one of our people, and in turn we had killed three of theirs and then engaged in a spectacular - and successful - gunfight with the authorities. Nearly the whole newscast was occupied in recounting these events.
We already knew from the papers that nine of our members had been arrested in Chicago last week, and apparently they had had a rough time in the Cook County Jail, where one of them had died. It was impossible to be sure exactly what had happened from what the TV announcer said, but if the System had behaved true to form the authorities had stuck our people individually into cells full of Blacks and then shut their eyes and ears to what ensued.
That has long been the System's extra-legal way of punishing our people when they can't pin anything on them that will "stick" in the courts. It's a more ghastly and dreadful punishment than anything which ever took place in a medieval torture chamber or in the cellars of the KGB. And they can get away with it because the news media usually won't even admit that it happens. After all, if you're trying to convince the public that the races are really equal, how can you admit that it's worse to be locked in a cell full of Black criminals than in a cell full of White ones?
Anyway, the day after our man-the newscaster said his name was Carl Hodges, someone I've not heard of before-was killed, the Chicago Organization fulfilled a promise they'd made more than a year ago, in the event one of our people was ever seriously hurt in a Chicago jail. They ambushed the Cook County sheriff outside his home and blew his head off with a shotgun. They left a note pinned to his body which read: "This is for Carl Hodges."
That was last Saturday night. On Sunday the System was up in arms. The sheriff of Cook County had been a political bigwig, a front-rank shabbos goy, and they were really raising hell.
Although they broadcast the news only to the Chicago area on Sunday, they trotted out several pillars of the community there to denounce the assassination and the Organization in special TV appearances. One of the spokesmen was a "responsible conservative," and another was the head of the Chicago Jewish community. All of them described the Organization as a "gang of racist bigots" and called on "all right-thinking Chicagoans" to cooperate with the political police in apprehending the "racists" who had killed the sheriff.
Well, early this morning the responsible conservative lost both his legs and suffered severe internal injuries when a bomb wired to the ignition of his car exploded. The Jewish spokesman was even less fortunate. Someone walked up to him while he was waiting for an elevator in the lobby of his office building, pulled a hatchet from under his coat, cleaved the good Jew's head from crown to shoulder blades, then disappeared in the rush-hour crowd. The Organization immediately claimed responsibility for both acts.
After that, it really hit the fan. The governor of Illinois ordered National Guard troops into Chicago to help local police and FBI agents hunt for Organization members. Thousands of persons were being stopped on Chicago streets today and asked to prove their identity. The System's paranoia is really showing.
This afternoon three men were cornered in a small apartment building in Cicero. The whole block was surrounded by troops, while the trapped men shot it out with the police. TV crews were all over the place, anxious not to miss the kill.
One of the men in the apartment apparently had a sniper's rifle, because two Black cops more than a block away were picked off before it was realized that Blacks were being singled out as targets and uniformed White cops were not being shot at. This White immunity apparently was not extended to the plainclothes political police, however, because an FBI agent was killed by a burst of sub-machine-gun fire from the apartment when he momentarily exposed himself to hurl a teargas grenade through a window.
We watched breathlessly as this action was shown on the TV screen, but the real climax came for us when the apartment was stormed and found empty. A quick room-by-room search of the building also failed to turn up the gunmen.
Disappointment at this outcome was evident in the TV newsman's voice, but a man sitting at the other end of the counter from us whistled and clapped when it was announced that the "racists" had apparently slipped away. The waitress smiled at this, and it seemed clear to us that, while there certainly was no unanimous approval for the Organization's actions in Chicago, neither was there unanimous disapproval.
Almost as if the System anticipated this reaction to the afternoon's events, the news scene switched to Washington, where the attorney general of the United States had called a special news conference. The attorney general announced to the nation that the Federal government was throwing all its police agencies into the effort to root out the Organization. He described us as "depraved, racist criminals" who were motivated solely by hatred and who wanted to "undo all the progress toward true equality" which had been made by the System in recent years.
All citizens were warned to be alert and to assist the government in breaking up the "racist conspiracy." Anyone observing any suspicious action, especially on the part of a stranger, was to report it immediately to the nearest FBI office or Human Relations Council.
And then he said something very indiscreet, which really betrayed
how worried the System is. He stated that any citizen found to be concealing
information about us or offering us any comfort or assistance "would be
dealt with severely." Those were his very words-the sort of thing one might
expect to hear in the Soviet Union, but which would ring harshly on most
American ears, despite the best propaganda efforts of the media to justify
All the risks taken by our people in Chicago were more than rewarded by provoking the attorney general into such a psychological blunder. This incident also proves the value of keeping the System off balance with surprise attacks. If the System had kept its cool and thought more carefully about a response to our Chicago actions, it not only would have avoided a blunder which will bring us hundreds of new recruits, but it would probably have figured a way to win much wider public support for its fight against us.
The news program concluded with an announcement that an hour-long
"special" on the "racist conspiracy" would be broadcast Tuesday night (i.e.,
tonight). We've just finished watching that "special," and it was a real
hatchet job, full of errors and outright invention and not very convincing,
we all felt. But one thing is certain: the media blackout is over. Chicago
has given the Organization instant celebrity status, and we must certainly
be the number-one topic of conversation everywhere in the nation.
As last night's TV news ended, Henry and I choked down the last of our meal and stumbled outside. I was filled with emotions: excitement, elation over the success of our people in Chicago, nervousness about being one of the targets of a nationwide manhunt, and chagrin that none of our units in the Washington area had shown the initiative of our Chicago units.
I was itching to do something, and the first thing that occurred to me was to try to make some sort of contact with the fellow in the cafe who had seemed sympathetic to us. I wanted to take some leaflets from our car and put one under the windshield wiper of every vehicle in the parking lot.
Henry, who always keeps a cool head, emphatically vetoed the idea. As we sat in the car he explained that it was sheer folly to risk calling any attention whatever to ourselves until we had completed our present mission of safely delivering our load of weapons to our unit. Furthermore, he reminded me, it would be a breach of Organization discipline for a member of an underground unit to engage in any direct recruiting activity, however minimal. That function has been relegated to the "legal" units.
The underground units consist of members who are known to the authorities and have been marked for arrest. Their function is to destroy the System through direct action.
The "legal" units consist of members not presently known to the System. (Indeed, it would be impossible to prove that most of them are members. In this we have taken a page from the communists' book.) Their role is to provide us with intelligence, funding, legal defense, and other support.
Whenever an "illegal" spots a potential recruit, he is supposed
to turn the information over to a "legal," who will approach the prospect
and sound him out. The "legals" are also supposed to handle all the low-risk
propaganda activity, such as leafleting. Strictly speaking, we should not
even have had any Organization leaflets with us.
We waited until the man who had applauded the escape of our members in Chicago came out and got in a pickup truck. We drove by him and noted his license number as we pulled out of the lot. When the network is established, the information will go to the proper person for a follow-up.
When we arrived back at the apartment, George and Katherine were as excited as Henry and 1. They had also seen the TV newscast. Despite the exertions of the day, I could no more sleep than they, and we all piled back in the car, George and Katherine sharing the back seat with part of our greasy cargo, and went to an all-night drive-in. We could stay in the car and talk safely there without arousing suspicion, and that's what we did-until the early-morning hours.
One thing we decided was that we would move immediately to new
quarters George and Katherine located yesterday. The old apartment just
wasn't satisfactory. The walls were so thin that we had to whisper to one
another to avoid being overheard by our neighbors. And I'm sure that our
irregular hours had already caused the neighbors to speculate on just what
we do for a living. With the System warning everyone to report suspicious-looking
strangers, it had become downright dangerous to us to remain in a place
with so little privacy.
The new place is much better in every way except the rent. We have a whole building to ourselves. It is actually a cement-block commercial building which once housed a small machine shop in a single, garage-like room downstairs, with offices and a storeroom upstairs.
The place has been condemned, because it lies on the right-of-way for a new access road to the highway which has been in the planning stages for the last four years. Like all government projects these days, this one is also bogged down-probably permanently. Although hundreds of thousands of men are being paid to build new highways, none are actually being built. In the last five years most of the roads in the country have deteriorated badly, and, although one always sees repair crews standing around, nothing ever seems to get fixed.
The government hasn't even gotten around to actually purchasing the land it has condemned for the new highway, leaving the property owners holding the bag. Legally, the owner of this building isn't supposed to rent it, but he evidently has an arrangement with someone in city hall. The advantage for us is that there is no official record of the occupancy of the building- no social security numbers for the police, no county building inspectors or fire marshals coming around to check. George just has to take $600-in cash-to the owner once a month.
George thinks the owner, a wrinkled old Armenian with a heavy accent, is convinced we intend to use the place for manufacturing illegal drugs or storing stolen goods and doesn't want to know the details. I suppose that's good, because it means he won't be snooping around.
The place really looks like hell on the outside. It's surrounded on three sides by a sagging, rusty chain-link fence. The grounds are littered with discarded water heaters, stripped-down engine blocks, and rusting junk of every description. The concrete parking area in front is broken and black with old crankcase oil.
There is a huge sign across the front of the building which has come loose at one end. It says: "Welding and Machining, J.T. Smith & Sons." Half the window panes on the ground floor are missing, but all the ground-floor windows are boarded up on the inside anyway.
The neighborhood is a thoroughly grubby light manufacturing area. Next door to us is a small trucking company garage and warehouse. Trucks are coming and going at all hours of the night, which means the cops will not have their suspicions aroused if they see us driving in this area at odd hours.
So, having decided to make the move, we did it today. Since there was no electricity, water, or gas in the new place, it was my job to solve the heating, lighting, and plumbing problems while the others moved our things.
Restoring the water was easy, as soon as I had located the water meter and gotten the lid off. After turning the water on I dragged some heavy junk over the meter lid so no one from the water company would be likely to find it, in case anyone ever came looking.
The electric problem was a good deal more difficult. There were still lines up from the building to a power pole, but the current had been shut off at the meter, which was on an outside wall. I had to carefully knock a hole through the wall behind the meter, from the inside, and then wire jumpers across the terminals. That took me the better part of the day.
The rest of my day was occupied in carefully covering all the chinks in the boards over the downstairs windows and in tacking heavy cardboard over the upstairs windows, so no ray of light can be seen from the building at night.
We still have no heat and no kitchen facilities beyond the hot-plate we brought over from the other place. But at least the john works now, and our living quarters are tolerably clean, if rather bare. We can continue sleeping on the floor in our sleeping bags for a while, and we'll buy a couple of electric heaters and some other amenities in the next few days.