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The hit man conducted a surveillance of the Vancouver Island target area from his
nondescript car. His intended target was staying in a ramshackle farmhouse on five
acres at the end of a short dead end road. From the end of the road he could see a
driveway disappearing into a tunnel created by evergreens, and just a small portion
of the house and fields. He drove back to his motel in Courtenay B.C., 15 minutes
away, thinking about the hit. The Tsolum River was behind a band of trees across
the lower field of the farm. Across the river all was woods and beaver ponds. The
farmhouse was completely private with no line of sight to neighbors. He had been
assured that the target lived alone.

He pondered how easy this kill seemed, and wondered why they paid top dollar for it.
He knew he was among the highest paid free lance assassins in the business.
Incredible. One pull of the trigger and ‘ka-ching’, $97,000! Plus expenses. A job
this easy yet so expensive could only mean a very important target, so sensitive that
the most discrete and untraceable hit man was hired. And the guys who did the
hiring! Every kill he ever did for them was extraordinary; all over the world,

candidates for political office, high government officials including law enforcement.
They also took contracts on university professors, business executives, scientists,
engineers, all sorts of seemingly reputable people in so many countries. Every now
and then an investigative journalist, book author, or union organizer. Who were his
employers, anyway? If they were farming out US government work, it didn’t smell
like the hits he’d done for them to provide government deniability. This outfit had a
different vibe. He sensed the presence of an organization that had interests
everywhere and the ability to remain invisible. These were definitely not Narcos. He
knew their style. Could he be working for Chinese or Russian intelligence services
without knowing it? Whoever they were, they had to be really big, and not the kind
of people you want to disappoint.

He thought about the plan, elegant in its simplicity. Less can go wrong, the simpler
the plan, had always been his credo. Knock on the door, pop him in the forehead at
point blank range, and take your time finding what you need. He tried to find fault
with it and finally gave up. This would be a walk in the park.

The next afternoon he drove up the driveway dressed in a plaid sport coat, white
shirt open at the neck, polyester slacks, and white loafers. In his left hand he
carried Watchtower pamphlets. In his right sport coat pocket waited a small revolver
loaded with .22 long rifle rounds, just enough to do the job at close range with a
report that wouldn’t carry far.

He knocked on the door and it was opened soon after by a bearded man in his 30’s
wearing a T-shirt, blue jeans, and thongs. The hit man said with a wide smile, “How
are you today, sir?” As he did so, he put his hand in the gun pocket and prepared to

The man answered, ”That all depends on who you are,” giving him a suspicious look.

“I’m with Jehovah’s Witnesses,” the hit man started to say, but the door was
slammed in his face before he finished.

“Shit!” he blurted as he kicked the frail door open and saw the target turn to face
him in the hall. This time the gun was raised and he fired four times into the man’s
face. Four black spots appeared on his forehead and he collapsed. The hit man bent
over, pressed the little pistol hard against the man’s temple and fired twice more.
The body spasms lasted for a few moments and then became still. Vital signs said
dead. He watched the corpse for a while to be sure and then turned to the business
at hand. He removed the hard drive from the one computer in the house. On top of
the computer desk was a manuscript of over 200 pages with the right sounding title.
Both went into a plastic grocery bag. He ransacked the house looking for any other
documents of interest, and found none.

Soon he was enjoying the mountain view from the inland highway, heading south for
the ferry at Nanaimo. During the hour wait at the ferry terminal he fished out the
manuscript and began reading it, continuing his study during the two hour ferry ride
to Tsawwassen on the mainland. He read more at a roadside coffee shop and then
drove for the border at Blaine, soon to confirm his kill with his employer and his pay
with his Swiss bank before flying out of Seattle. “So!” he said out loud as he finished
the manuscript while waiting in line to pass the border, “After all these years, I finally
figure out who I’ve been working for! Who would’a thought?”

This is what he read.

Now is the time to set the record straight. The kidnappings and interrogations of
Bush, Cheney, and Rove have excited so much overheated commentary and
misinformation, fact got lost in the fiction. I was there from the beginning and this is
what really happened.

My name is Fred Zufeld. I first met Giles Swanson in Los Angeles in 2006 at UCLA’s
Neuropsychiatric Institute where we were both working on post-doctoral research
projects. I had funding from an obscure foundation designed to keep the Pentagon’s
fingerprints off the research. It clearly had military applications, but everything was
couched in general terms of cognition and induced states of consciousness. I
studiously ignored the implications for interrogation or perhaps even torture. Giles
had a National Institute of Health grant to study ultra low frequency (ULF)
electromagnetic radiation’s effect on the brain.

We were a natural pair because of the overlap between our two areas of research.
Giles was studying the ULF radiation emitted from the earth just prior to
earthquakes. The theory went that this radiation comes from the micro fracturing of
compressed stone as tectonic plates collided in ultra slow motion. He was interested
in stories of animals being agitated and engaging in bizarre behavior prior to major
quakes. If the ULF radiation were inducing unique brain states in farm animals and
pets, and we knew what to look for, they might become a widely dispersed early
warning system. We joked about how some day every home in Southern California
might have a pet somehow prepped or calibrated to give the alarm.

I was exploring whether brain states and thought changes could be induced, not with
drugs, but with various radiations, energy fields, and sensory stimuli. My funding
source seemed unwholesomely preoccupied with mental suggestibility, such as is
claimed for hypnotic states. Some days I wondered if they were seeking some kind
of hypnosis-on-steroids. If I found them the right trance inducer, maybe they’d use it
like in the plot of The Manchurian Candidate.

Giles and I got along famously from the beginning though we were polar opposites in
so many ways. Giles was a huge bear of a twenty eight year old with a thick bushy
black beard, piercing eyes, and shoulder length black hair. He spoke with a Paul
Bunyanesque timbre. He must have been four times smarter than me and I never
stopped being in awe of his intellectual powers. Giles was outgoing, outspoken, and
rarely diplomatic. He emanated a charismatic energy that filled up a room. It
certainly didn’t hurt his self confidence to have inherited hundreds of millions of
dollars and vast property holdings.

How many times did I hear him say, “Fred, I don’t have to take shit from noooobody
nohow, ‘cuz money is freedom and power. If I can’t get respect, I’ll settle for fear
every time as the next best thing.”

Unlike his late mogul father, Giles was not one to identify with the rich and powerful.
His dress tended towards scruffy blue jeans, logger’s shirts in winter and surfer garb
in summer. The gravy and soup stains on his shirts reflected a man living such a rich
intellectual inner life that his external self was an afterthought. In fact, sometimes
you got the idea that Giles’ body was nothing more than a crude life support system

for his mind, and he seemed barely aware that he lived in it.

I must confess that I vicariously basked in Giles’ glory like some rock and roll
groupie. He was everything I’m not. I’ve always been timid and shy, especially with
women. Of course they responded to Giles’ animal magnetism and machismo in
droves, a blessing and a gift to which he seemed entirely oblivious. Yes, I did envy
him all that, but the guy didn’t have a mean bone in his body; he was so gracious
and generous, so considerate, such a loyal friend, how could I stay jealous for long?

I worked my way through school and finished my doctor’s degree on scholarships

and loans. My post-doc research grant was the first decent income I’d seen, which is
why I didn’t think too hard about the likelihood that I was probably compromising my
integrity by doing work intended to do harm. I was for sale, and cheap. Finally
having enough money for a beater of a car and internet service at home was living in
the lap of luxury.

The core of my friendship with Giles went deeper than shared scientific interests. We
were both preoccupied with politics and their underlying history and economics. Our
lunch breaks at the lab invariably consisted of left wing rants and diatribes against
the fascists ruining the country. We nursed a seething rage against George W. Bush
and his minions that knew no bounds. Our fanaticism was fanned to a white heat by
our utter impotence. Why didn’t the country take to the streets to prevent the
invasion of Iraq? How could the Democrats be forgiven for their war votes? How
could the electorate be so gullible, so easily led by the most obvious propaganda?
And the lies. Lies on top of lies. Nobody being called on them due to a subservient
press infiltrated with fascist co-conspirators.

I have not-very-fond memories of eating my sandwich in the lab lounge, frothing

about Cheney’s evil, and then getting gastric reflux as Giles’ eloquent tirades drove
me to the verge of apoplexy. We felt so powerless, and grief stricken too. This
country we had been taught to love, hijacked and held for ransom. And pay we all
did, tens upon tens of billions, eventually trillions extracted from the middle class
and bestowed upon Bush’s corporate cronies.

That was the name of the game until 2008. Obama was elected, closing the UCLA
chapter of our friendship so permeated by political energy. By then we had both
finished up our respective projects and moved on. Giles hooked up with a hi-tech
electronics company in Silicon Valley after buying a controlling interest. He was quite
happy as Director of R&D, maintaining pet research projects on the side. I gratefully
accepted a medical school assistant professorship in Illinois which included a
stimulating mix of teaching and research.

Giles and I drifted apart, living in such different distant worlds, but whenever one
called the other to check in, there was an instant recharge assuring that the bond of
friendship hadn’t broken and had in fact matured. We both dated from time to time,
but neither seemed in a hurry to settle down and raise a family. I rather enjoyed the
independence of my bachelor life in an apartment, especially so after a 15 month
live-in relationship ended awkwardly for me and painfully for her.

One memorable phone call turned out to have prophetic significance. Giles called me
on a Saturday night at my apartment, in the summer of 2010:

“Hey Fred, It’s Giles!”

“Good to hear your voice! It’s been months. How’s it going out there?”

“No complaints. I’ve got a great little team. Some of these whizz kids are just
amazing crackerjack wizards. I must be getting old ‘cuz now I’m the one puffing and
panting to keep up.”

“Oh sure. Over the hill in your early 30’s? I don’t think so.”

“Well, sure, in some respects I’m right on top of my game, but I’m talking about
stuff like writing code. I’ve got this one kid. You tell him what you want, no matter
how complicated, and he writes code like a master playing the piano….it just oozes
out of his fingertips and the first draft almost always works. Incredible. Wish I could
do that.”

“Word to the wise, Giles. That kid can make a fortune writing code for a gaming
outfit, and some day he’s going to notice.”

“Roger that. I’m way ahead of you. Maybe you forgot I can afford to buy the very

“Yeah yeah, rub it in, Mr. Tycoon. Just don’t forget the days you actually associated
with the little people, not so substantial as you. Anything else cooking?”

“I’ve been thinking about a chunk of mountain I have….what to do with it.”

“How big and where?”

Vancouver Island British Columbia, higher altitude, about 100 hectares and very
isolated. Real nice out there and I have this feeling that it’s just right, only for what I
don’t know. Real special place. Big sky. You are looking down on a wooded and
farmed valley almost five thousand feet below. It’s the site of an abandoned copper
mine and the toxic tailings it left behind. But enough about me, let’s talk about you.
So how did you like my last book?”

“Sheesh! That joke was tired the first time you told it. About me? Well, I was sorry to
hear Obama say that the Bush Crime Family is basically going to be given a don’t-go-
to-jail card.”

Giles answered, “It could have been worse; he could have given them all blanket
pardons. But what about the law and the constitution? Is it a good precedent to look
the other way, even in the interests of peace and reconciliation? Doesn’t that
increase the risk of it happening again, especially since half the American people
don’t even suspect crimes were committed? But you support Obama’s general
strategy of reconciliation and cooperation don’t you? It worked for Lincoln and
recently in South Africa both of which obviously inspired Obama.”

“Yeah,” I said. “I was thinking of South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation process.
Justice was felt to be served by war criminals making full and accurate confessions in
public. If they lied, they would stand trial and maybe even hang. So they usually
chose to publically reveal the intimate details of their crimes and this appears to

have satisfied most parties that justice was done, setting the stage for reconciliation.
If we did that here, at least Americans would learn that the constitution was
subverted, laws of the land broken, people murdered, prisoners tortured, money
stolen, invasions mounted illegally and dishonestly, and all the rest. It would be a
hell of a legacy for Bush in the history books, a lesson the USA might not soon
forget. It might help clarify to the public a distinction between conservatives and
progressives put so well by Thom Hartmann on one of his talk show rants. He
described how morality to conservatives is a personal private set of issues, and
progressives have a morality that is more public and collective. The conservative is
concerned about his taxes and his freedoms; the freedom to get richer for instance.
He’s down on consenting adults having sex he doesn’t like. He wants to make sure
criminals are all locked up and on ice so they don’t bother him. His worries are
personal. He disapproves of other people’s behavior and beliefs and wants something
done about it!”

“The progressives’ worry about the public, is right out of the Bible’s book of Mathew
where Jesus tells his disciples that they honor and serve him each time they help an
underdog of society. Progressives worry about the poor, the powerless, the sick, the
weak. They worry about injustice and unnecessary suffering. That’s why they’re
called ‘bleeding hearts’ by conservatives who scoff at caring too much about the
great unwashed. The ruthlessness with which Bush attacked the poor and served
the rich is of biblical proportions. His scorn for humanitarian ideals is so pronounced,
it’s a lurid caricature of a conservative. Maybe decent Americans could see the moral
difference, if their faces were rubbed in the pure shit of Bush’s ethical depravity and
total lack of any humanitarian ideals. You can be sure he doesn’t lose any sleep over
the tens of thousands of children he’s incinerated in Iraq.”

“Yeah.” Giles answered. “Some valid points to be sure. But shades of gray too. If I
were in charge I’m not sure what I’d do, and this is a real tough one for Obama to
get right. Know what? I’m getting that uncomfortable urge I get, sort of like when
you know you’re going to have a bowel movement pretty soon? And that feeling says
something back in there on my brain’s hard drive went ‘aha’ and is going to be telling
me about it one of these days soon.”

“I’ve heard you talk that way before, and what came out was never a turd, buddy,
always a diamond.”

“Aww shucks, yer too kind, partner.”

“Good talking to you, cowboy. Happy trails!”

“Over and out!”

I put the phone down slowly. Giles had talked about this kind of experience before at
U.C.L.A. and delivered some spectacular results. Like many of us, Giles works on a
problem by filling himself up with information and then patiently letting it fall into
place, almost unconsciously, at its own pace. When I do that, sometimes the solution
is the first thing waiting for me when I wake up in the morning. I’ve met a lot of
people who trust that kind of a process, but Giles is the only person I ever met who
uses it to produce ideas and solutions capable of winning Nobel Prizes. Something
was up. The Giles Mind was about to rock my world, yet again. But something was
different. Where did that feeling of dread come from?

My suspicion that Giles' was working up to laying one of his mental golden eggs was
confirmed a few days later with an excited phone call:

"Hey Fred, It's Giles"

"To what do I owe this treat? We usually go months between calls."

"You really got me thinking, Fred. I've been obsessing about it ever since. Before we
talked I was resigned to the high probability that Obama would have to cave in to
political expediency and give the Bush Crime Family a pass. The way I looked at it,
he still has some so called political capital, and he has to spend it wisely. When it’s
mostly spent and the glow of his charisma has faded in the public eye due to daily
attacks from Fox News et al., he's not going to be able to push through bold reforms
like before."

"What does he have to gain from investigating the crimes of the former
administration? I was thinking, as he probably is, that's about the past, not the
future. Look at the price he would pay for pursuing constitutional justice and
correction. The rabid foaming-at-the-mouth far right would demonize him as
partisan, vindictive, divisive, revengeful, and this would be framed in a way to
diminish his mandate and authority to lead. He's probably looking at Bush
administration crimes as presenting much to lose and nothing much to gain. This
wouldn't be easy for him as a constitutional scholar, but it would be a wise decision in
the context of getting the right things done first where the country needs it most.
Obama has to be aware of how Clinton squandered his political capital on gays in the
military and a ham fisted, half hearted attempt at universal health care."

"So I was looking at it that way and it made sense. Fresh political capital is precious,
rare, spoils fast, and once it's spent, it's gone forever. Best to focus it on solving the
economic disaster Bush created and putting the middle class on life support. But
then talking to you sparked a different perspective, a longer view."

"I started pondering how presidential abuses of power set quasi-legal precedents. So
many areas of presidential behavior are not specified by statute or the constitution,
just general principles of separation of powers. Remember how Nixon invented a new
power called “executive privilege” to thwart the law? Under this new rubric, white
house staff ignored subpoenas, refused to provide documents to Watergate
investigators and that sort of thing. Once this monster was born and not challenged
directly in court, it became a precedent later presidents could invoke almost as if it
were customary and legal. For instance Cheney’s refusal to divulge the identities of
the oil tycoons who designed the energy policy of the US in secrecy succeeded in the
courts, in part because of Nixon’s precedent. Bush’s actions have redefined the
powers of the presidency and if this fact is ignored, the next tyrant in the white
house will find it easier to further dismantle the constitution’s separation of powers,
the one thing that has prevented virtual dictatorship in this country. I realized how
dangerous it is to leave unanswered an attack on the constitution. This shouldn’t be
a partisan issue because either party could provide us with a president who finished
the job Bush started, and ignored the rule of law entirely. I realized how terribly
important it is that we stick to the principle that the president is not above the law.
Without that principle, the country’s democratic traditions could not survive for long.
Civil rights to privacy have been so eroded in practice by Bush, it will be very difficult

to put the genie back in the bottle and restore these rights Americans have enjoyed
for 230 years.”

“You also got me thinking about what’s happened to democracy per se in recent
decades, in contrast to how Lincoln was elected president. Back in those days, people
were literate. Candidates would deliver a speech two hours long. Soon after, it would
be published verbatim in the newspapers, maybe four or five pages, two sided. Most
of the voters could understand the erudite arguments ventured in the speeches, and
judge the quality of the proofs offered. The candidate's reputation stood or fell on the
basis of his logic and marshalling evidence in support of his premises. Lincoln
sweated bullets when writing his speeches, not because he needed a sound bite that
would reverberate throughout TV land. He was sweating because his readers were
literate, critical, and ready to drown him out with boo's if he made errors in logic and
offered weak or flawed proof.”

“Here's a little historical tidbit I ran into, that gives you a hint of the mentality of the
masses back in Lincoln's day. There was an opera troupe on the road. Today the
opera they performed would probably be called avant garde; radically artsy. Anyway,
the opera was attended by many coal miners in an isolated town, and there was a
riot afterwards. Half the miners were offended by the performance of the star tenor,
and the other half embraced his experimental artiness. Their heated debate
afterwards came to blows outside the theatre. In other words, the so called "common
folk" were not only literate, but they were sophisticated, critical, and engaged. They
had opinions about art and commerce and politics based on reading books. They
could tell the difference between propaganda and arguments buttressed by evidence
and logic. They even rioted for art’s sake, no less! Percent literacy in the USA has
been steadily going downhill for a century, accelerating with the advent of the public
school system."

"Giles, that story's a queer mix of art and street thuggery, but I get the point. Ain't it
a shame we have come so far? Didn't H.L. Mencken write, "Democracy is the theory
that the common folk know what they want and deserve to get it good and hard?"
Well, uninformed voters certainly deserved Bush. Now they're still getting it good and
hard, paying the price of being so easily conned. But the rest of us had to pay too.
Democracy without an informed electorate is an oxymoron. It takes two to tango! We
can complain about harm done by the Bush administration all we want, but he was
only made possible through the offices of a semi-literate uniformed electorate. He
was their creation and without gullible voters, he'd still be a rich playboy pretending
to be a captain of industry. Most people seem easily duped by sound bites and
propaganda. They're hooked on TV and reading fewer books than at any time in our

“Lately I’ve been riding the ferries in Washington State and BC Canada pretty often,
on business, Fred. It tells me something important about democracy. On the
Washington ferries you get a chance to sample a big bunch of Americans killing time.
They either game, watch movies, or type on their laptops, or look out the window.
On the huge ferries connecting the BC mainland to Vancouver Island, maybe 20% of
passengers are reading hard bound books and another 40% are reading newspapers.
Everybody listens to CBC radio in Canada, where the level of political discourse is a
hundred times more intelligent, nuanced, and sophisticated than Fox News. Political
commentary in the US media has degraded steadily throughout my whole life, and I
think it’s because people are choosing TV and being fed sound bites, not books or

thoughtful articles. What a contrast to Canada where it seems like everybody is

listening to CBC radio. You start talking about a really profound documentary you
heard on CBC and it isn’t unlikely the other person heard it too. So CBC radio is a
kind of village square or town meeting where everybody participates for days
afterwards, debating meaty issues.”

“Semi-literacy is an increasing trend in the US, Giles, but there're other factors. John
Steinbeck said, ‘Socialism is never going to catch on in this country, since everyone
believes they are just a temporarily embarrassed millionaire.’ That seems pretty true
when you see a blue collar guy struggling to survive and voting for Bush, against all
his own best interests. Did he fall for Bush's "good ole boy" act cutting brush on the
ranch, or was it homophobia, abortion, creationism in the schools, and all that stuff
that drove him into the Republican's camp? We'll never know, but those elections
were brilliant Rovian coups. Middle class and poor people identifying with super-rich
elites as if the billionaires had the people's best interests at heart! That takes more
than semi-literacy. It takes a juggernaut propaganda machine operated by an army
of experts.”

“Tell me about it, Giles. Every time I turn around I'm seeing evidence of the
fundamental ignorance of the American people. I've seen several world-wide polls
that tell the tale. All over the world people describe the USA as sinister,
warmongering, eager to torture prisoners, greedy, corrupt, undemocratic, ruled by
the super rich, empire building, dangerous to others, and decadent. In the same
polls Americans opine that the world almost universally views them as a beacon of
freedom, liberty, generosity, humanitarianism towards the less fortunate everywhere,
and true democracy. Americans are becoming clueless. I hear you loud and clear on
the literacy problem. What good is the ability to read if you only do it at work, and
rely on the tube for everything else? Here's some numbers, just guesstimates from a
study I saw last year. Something like 30% of respondents said that their political
views are almost entirely based on information they pick up from late night shows
like Leno. They're basing their votes on jokes they've heard on Letterman! Jesus!
Some are getting their news from the internet and a tiny minority said they use the
newspaper, which is why newspapers are going broke everywhere. The rest rely on
network news sound bites.”

“Here’s a great example, way back, from the Washington Post. Let me read it to
you. If Americans were reading and paying attention, this alone should have toppled
the Bush administration. It’s titled, ‘How the Bush Administration Stopped the States
From Stepping In to Help Consumers,’ by Eliot Spitzer, February 14, 2008.”

Several years ago, state attorneys general and others involved in consumer
protection began to notice a marked increase in a range the widespread
nature of these practices, if left unchecked, threatened our financial markets
of predatory lending practices by mortgage lenders. Some were misrepresenting the
terms of loans, making loans without regard to consumers' ability to repay, making
loans with deceptive "teaser" rates that later ballooned astronomically, packing loans
with undisclosed charges and fees, or even paying illegal kickbacks. These and other
practices, we noticed, were having a devastating effect on home buyers. In addition,
even though predatory lending was becoming a national problem, the Bush
administration looked the other way and did nothing to protect American
homeowners. In fact, the government chose instead to align itself with the banks
that were victimizing consumers.

Predatory lending was widely understood to present a looming national crisis. This
threat was so clear that as New York attorney general, I joined with colleagues in the
other 49 states in attempting to fill the void left by the federal government.
Individually, and together, state attorneys general of both parties brought litigation
or entered into settlements with many subprime lenders that were engaged in
predatory lending practices. Several state legislatures, including New York's, enacted
laws aimed at curbing such practices.

What did the Bush administration do in response? Did it reverse course and decide to
take action to halt this burgeoning scourge? As Americans are now painfully aware,
with hundreds of thousands of homeowners facing foreclosure and our markets
reeling, the answer is a resounding no.

Not only did the Bush administration do nothing to protect consumers, it embarked
on an aggressive and unprecedented campaign to prevent states from protecting
their residents from the very problems to which the federal government was turning
a blind eye.

Let me explain: The administration accomplished this feat through an obscure

federal agency called the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC). The OCC
has been in existence since the Civil War. Its mission is to ensure the fiscal
soundness of national banks. For 140 years, the OCC examined the books of national
banks to make sure they were balanced, an important but uncontroversial function.
But a few years ago, for the first time in its history, the OCC was used as a tool
against consumers.

In 2003, during the height of the predatory lending crisis, the OCC invoked a clause
from the 1863 National Bank Act to issue formal opinions pre-empting all state
predatory lending laws, thereby rendering them inoperative. The OCC also
promulgated new rules that prevented states from enforcing any of their own
consumer protection laws against national banks. The federal government's actions
were so egregious and so unprecedented that all 50 state attorneys general, and all
50 state banking superintendents, actively fought the new rules.

But the unanimous opposition of the 50 states did not deter, or even slow, the Bush
administration in its goal of protecting the banks. In fact, when my office opened an
investigation of possible discrimination in mortgage lending by a number of banks,
the OCC filed a federal lawsuit to stop the investigation.

Throughout our battles with the OCC and the banks, the mantra of the banks and
their defenders was that efforts to curb predatory lending would deny access to
credit to the very consumers the states were trying to protect. But the curbs we
sought on predatory and unfair lending would have in no way jeopardized access to
the legitimate credit market for appropriately priced loans. Instead, they would have
stopped the scourge of predatory lending practices that have resulted in countless
thousands of consumers losing their homes and put our economy in a precarious

When history tells the story of the subprime lending crisis and recounts its
devastating effects on the lives of so many innocent homeowners, the Bush
administration will not be judged favorably. The tale is still unfolding, but when the
dust settles, it will be judged as a willing accomplice to the lenders who went to any
lengths in their quest for profits. So willing, in fact, that it used the power of the

federal government in an unprecedented assault on state legislatures, as well as on

state attorneys general and anyone else on the side of consumers.’

“Spitzer was governor of New York at the time he published this. Soon after, the
glare of federal surveillance was turned on him and he had to resign in disgrace on
account of sexual peccadilloes with prostitutes. Think there’s a connection?”

“Are the Kennedy’s gun-shy? Is the Pope Catholic?” laughed Giles.

“Christ! Why complain about fascist government, Giles, when voters are offered a
choice and don't personally get it? Until lately, most stayed home. I'd say the USA
got exactly what it deserved with Bush. Blame it on the voters who created him.
There's no way he could have stolen two elections were it not for both being a close
race with tens of millions of brain-dead Americans voting against their best interests,
somehow believing that unfettering the billionaires until they turned into trillionaires
would cause middle class folks to benefit. Face it buddy, the electorate has been so
dumbed down by cable TV and propaganda organs masquerading as the free press,
most Americans haven't the faintest idea they're brainwashed and misinformed. So
why complain about crooked or fascist politicians? They're our creation, and couldn't
exist without our ignorance or tacit passive support."

“Now you have to bear with me while I read you this article by Sibel Edmonds at

On a beautiful sunny spring afternoon in 2006, I was sitting outside in the deck area
of a neighborhood café in Alexandria with a friend who is a well-known journalist and
an accomplished writer, for whom I happen to have the utmost respect. We were
discussing the topical ‘Afghanistan & Terror Financing’ issue. Based on well-
established trust between us my friend felt comfortable and open in sharing some
‘significant’ tidbits gathered from ‘credible’ sources within the CIA and DIA, and from
British Intelligence officers. As I listened, the extent of credible information and
documented incriminating evidence gathered excited me to the point where I had to
stop this friend to ask:

‘When are you going to have this published?!’

The response was: ‘This was not the main topic I was investigating for my work.
These ‘tidbits’ came to me as an ‘inevitable attachment’ due to relevancy…’

I had to stop the conversation again: ‘So? This is explosive. Even bigger than the
main topic you’ve been chasing for the last year or so. No one has ever reported
this, so you’ll be the first.’

My friend shook her/his head and said: ‘No one has done it because this topic is
considered a ‘career ender.’ You know what happens to naïve reporters who actually
try to get into this area, don’t you?’

Amazed by this line of reasoning and unable to really process it all I pressed harder:
‘What are you really afraid of?! Government interference? Classification?’
The answer that followed was even more amazing to me - due to my own naivety
back then.

‘Government is the least of my worries. It’s the industry - the media. They go after
anyone who dares touch this area - CIA, narcotics and terrorism. They will attack,
label, and marginalize you, and before you know it your career as a reporter is over.
For good.’

It used to be that you were admired if you took on a tough story. Now you're
portrayed as a nut.

Giles didn’t seem impressed. "No shit, Sherlock, is this a new insight for you? Or do
you recall that Nixon was elected by an historical landslide at a time when any
thoughtful person already knew he was a felon burglar and his opponent was about
the only politician honest enough to tell the truth about the war in Viet Nam?”

“Well Giles, I used to think I could see through the lies and winnow out the truth. I
kept going back to the news believing I could read between the lines. Man oh man
was I ever wrong. Years later I read Manufacturing Consent: Noam Chomsky and
the Media, decades after it was written, and it blew my socks off. He provided
exhaustive documentary evidence that the coverage of the war in Viet Nam was
intentionally false. He could prove that the media had access to the truth, knew
what it was, and opted to print government lies instead, every day. The Reagan
covert ops war crimes in Central America were covered in an even more outrageously
egregious manner. The media weren’t misled. They knew! The book is so loaded
with evidence, it’s a wonder any of those people dared show their faces in public
after its publication.”

“Please excuse my ho-hum attitude, Fred, but this is all stuff we've
known for decades. On the other hand, I'm getting uncomfortable with the passivity
you're talking about. Yeah, we were cowed into submission by Bush's masterful
power grabs, worthy of any banana republic dictator, but with the stakes so high and
the possibility of correction once again thinkable, I'm getting all riled up with hope.
Maybe we better not sit this one out and helplessly watch events overtake us, sitting
on the sidelines. I can't believe what I hear myself saying! It's like I'm suddenly
becoming an activist instead of a passive whiner and complainer. Who would’a
thought! Hey, gotta go. More on this later. That urge I was telling you about is
getting stronger, but it's still vague. This much I can tell you. Until voters smarten up
en mass, there's nothing to protect the country from falling into the hands of another
dictatorial demagogue even more harmful than Bush. See you later! "

Giles' call got me thinking about the political IQ of the average voter. If I can't have
hope for the average voter being well informed, how can I have hope for democracy
in the USA? The more I thought about it, the more I forgave them. Look at what
they have been up against. First, their high schools often graduated them with a
substandard education. So many modern high school grads never got into the habit
of reading. So where could they go for entertainment and current affairs
information? The vast majority of American brains were embalmed in the seductive
formaldehyde of cable TV and gaming.”

We all like to think of ourselves as unique, and we are. But there is one queer thing
exceptionally unique about me, most responsible for making me out of step with the
mass culture. I grew up in a TV permeated world, shielded from it, and there are
very few who share that experience. My parents disapproved of TV because it
interfered with books. So I only had a few experiences with TV growing up. Stolen

moments at friend's homes was about it. Being a pretty shy kid, I tended to find
solace in books since I didn't have a very active social life. As a youngster who had
not yet discovered libraries, I was limited to the literature available around the
house. Looking back, it's hard not to insult my parents’ intelligence. All you could
read around there was right wing trash. The Reader's Digest was the main periodical.
Growing up with nothing else, I experienced it as radical and brave. My gosh! They
were criticizing all sorts of sacred cows and daring to question authority! I so
admired them for their championing of unpopular yet just causes. This was my first
taste of critical commentary and something within me was stirred by it. Maybe my
own social awkwardness and lack of self confidence resonated with anyone attacking
the social order. For whatever reason, I've been that way ever since, but the
compass swung from right wing criticism to left, by my teens.

For some bizarre reason, my mother collected hard bound Reader's Digest
Condensed books, by the hundreds. I read them all. They were pulp fiction, bad
enough, but then they were compressed 70% by Reader's Digest "editors," whores in
the literature trade not much higher on the food chain than literary pornographers.
But when you have to read at a young age for escape from insecurity and a
dysfunctional family life, you read whatever you can get your hands on.

I never did become accustomed to TV. I binged on it from time to time when in hotel
rooms on expense account, but never got hooked. It always seemed so tacky, in
such poor taste, sensational. Every few years I would revisit TV and find it worse
than before. Ever hear about the frog and the pot of water? Throw him in cold water
and he'll die a slow death as you bring it to a boil. Throw him in boiling water and
he'll jump out. Needless to say, Bush benefited from this law of voter behavior.

That's how it was with me and TV. I saw it so rarely, the gross intellectual insult of it
always seemed to be at a full boil. So I naturally l jumped out. Most American brains
were slowly sautéed in it over the years, informing the brain necropsy I’m conducting
here. This same metaphor helps us understand how almost 50% of American voters
voted Bush three times and McCain once. These poor souls were raised on TV and
may not have noticed the very slow progression as it morphed from an
entertainment/informative medium into a propaganda/entertainment organ. If you
could only see it through my inexperienced eyes! All I can say, is that you are better
than what TV does to you, capable of deeper thought. I believe you could respond in
an intellectually sound manner if you were given access to valid information, as
opposed to the quickie sound bites driven by profit motive, corporate media
protecting their self interest, and the ratings wars.

Most important of all, the most important news isn't reported, mainly because it is
threatening to the agenda of the rich and powerful, some of whom own most of the

There is a history being made out there every day, enduring history that will stand
the test of time, and very little of it is being examined on TV. Sorry! Takes too long!
Too complicated. Too troubling to our sponsors, stock holders, and owners. In short,
I think TV and substandard education dumbed down enough of the population to
render them easily led. This could only lead to misrule on a scale never before seen
under the US Constitution. We have only ourselves and TV and corporate greed to
blame. Orwell's 1949 prophetic book "1984" depicts a telescreen in every citizen’s
room. It cannot be turned off. It provides a steady stream of state propaganda and it

also watches you. This means the present day is only 90% Orwellian, the missing
10% being total surveillance of us. But Bush certainly made great strides towards
closing that gap.

Enough of this indulging myself haranguing my much appreciated reader. You came
here to hear the inside dope on the most audacious kidnapping ever committed in
the USA, and so far you are mostly getting a political diatribe. I promise to stop
ranting. Back to the tale. Giles called me a week later.



"Is this an OK time to talk?

"Absolutely. I'm all ears."

"What's the chance your phone is tapped by Homeland Security? I'm serious."

"There's no reason the secret police would have profiled me. I don't belong to any
radical organizations and I don't check Chomsky books out of the library. So why the

"More about that later. How about emails with key words?"

"Hey dude! I'm not a complete moron. I've been aware for years now that emails are
screened for key words. My emails are squeaky clean."

"This is hot. Can't be too safe."

"Hey Giles, not to worry! I promise you I'm on nobody's list….kinda ashamed I'm
not. Another sign of what a cop-out I've been."

"OK Fred, but I've a right to be paranoid. There has been this bell tolling in my
feverish brain, saying over and over, 'Those who do not learn from history are
doomed to repeat it.' It’s become a sort of mantra I can't get out of my head.
Clearly, the true history of the Bush administration is terribly important and only fully
known to a few insiders. Last time I talked to you about good reasons why Obama
can't afford the luxury of setting the historical record straight. He has a country in
collapse to worry about. But I'm worried about the next Bush and all that entails. If
the true story is never told, millions of voters will never learn they were misled, and
they’ll be easy prey to the next demagogue. Here's a chance to provide the body
politic with a vaccine against a certain kind of virus that's bound to infect them
again. Lessons were learned and tactics were perfected by the fat cats and their
public puppets during the Bush years. Look at Rove’s successes. The electorate fell
for it and this mental susceptibility will easily be exploited again. I came around to
thinking that Obama's election is just a temporary stay of execution and the country
could easily fall back into fascism or worse, especially during the fear and turmoil of
a world wide depression."

"I follow you 100% Giles, and was thinking along similar lines. I've been musing
about how a constitutional democracy is only as good as its voters are capable of

independent thought, with ready access to factual information. If the voters are
easily subjected to a monolithic propaganda machine, so significant in what it leaves
out of the debate, democracy loses its original meaning and we're sitting ducks for
the next tyrant."

"Exactly, Fred! So the way to reinforce democracy is to inform and educate voters.
Now to the next level. This is going to take a while, but if you listen up, you’ll still be
there when I connect this to reviving democracy. There's some stuff I ran across at
UCLA I never told you about. Bear with me now, 'cuz it'll take a while to make the
connection. As you know I was messing around with Ultra Low Frequency
electromagnetic radiation, ULF for short. I couldn't very well study it in nature
because it only reveals itself before major quakes way up there on the Richter Scale.
So I was tinkering with ways to generate my own ULF without the use of thousands
of cubic miles of tectonic rock plates rubbing each other. No mean feat let me tell
you. Imagine the forces at work when two plates collide and rock undergoes
pressure like nowhere else on earth. The physics are high energy and close to what
you see in a supercollider or the sun. Atoms briefly, very briefly, lose electrons and
now you are in a quantum mechanics world instead of a neat and tidy Newtonian
world. All the rules change and the ones in force are spooky. At UCLA I got
completely bogged down in that problem. Towards the end I was concluding that the
only place these questions could be asked experimentally was at CERN or some other
accelerator. I pretty much gave up on it, but it has been a rock in my shoe ever
since. I'm not comfortable with defeat as you may have noticed."

"Duh! Not exactly your style. I remember you complaining about lack of progress
before I left UCLA."

"That's right. I was tied in knots and finally gave up after you left. But I took it very
personally and one of the reasons I bought my company was because of their high
energy particle research. The super computers of the future are going to be
operating entirely at the quantum level and they are going to make gigabytes and
terabytes look like megs, not to mention they are going to be a million million, that's
right, a million million times faster. If our concept works out as planned some fine
day, we might rock the whole industry not to mention the world. But I digress. That
kid I told you about who writes code the way we walk, effortlessly, intuitively,
without thinking, just naturally? His real genius is in understanding the problem. He'll
pester you with questions, some of them totally off the wall, until something shapes
up for him. Once he can conceptualize the problem, it’s as good as solved. Answering
his questions teaches me how little I really understand the problem and sometimes I
have to go back to school to master a couple of technologies before we can go

“This has been going on for years now. For him, Gary is his name, it's just an
intellectual puzzle to solve. For me it has been an obsession; bull headed me refusing
to admit defeat."

"By some process beyond my understanding Gary came to understand the high
energy physics problems that stumped me, well enough to mimic ULF radiation
digitally. Here's a zone of uncertainty where his signal is legitimate ULF
electromagnetic, and yet it isn't, depending on how you look at it. Sort of like how
light is a particle and a wave. Depends on what kind of sensor array you choose. In
our case the sensor apparatus was lab animals’ responses 'cuz the whole point was

to see if actual brains are picking up ULF released just before earthquakes.”

"Just a little refresher on ULF. By way of explication let's look at sound waves. The
lower the frequency, as you move from the flute to the bass, the more power you
need to project the waves. Flutes are tiny, and the string bass is big, to send out
those fat sounds. You can amplify a flute through a 5 watt power amp and a 3 inch
speaker. To get the same audibility out of a bass you need many times the power
amp and a huge speaker by comparison. Now imagine the frequency going way way
below that of a string bass. As the notes go lower they are harder to hear due to the
design of our "ear", actually our sensor the cochlea. The amount of power needed to
reach audibility goes up exponentially versus lowering pitch. Finally the tone falls
apart if you go low enough, and starts sounding like a series of clicks, each of which
is a sound pressure wave reaching the ear. If you could hear electromagnetic
radiation directly, which you can't, the lowest ULF radiation would sound like clicks."

“Everybody has witnessed the power ratios I’m talking about. For instance it’s the
bass part of the R&R tune your neighbor is playing that bothers you when you can’t
even hear the rest of the band. ULF penetrates miles of earth to reach us just as
effortlessly, and it’s no accident that the amplifier was a zillion watt tectonic plate

"According to that way of looking at it, we were not going to get any artificial ULF
without expending the kind of energy in play when tectonic plates collide (or nuclear
weapons detonate). No sweat, I figured. That's only the energy output of 10,000
Hoover Dams funneled into a space the size of your fingernail! But Gary was coming
from this totally opposite direction, looking at the characteristics of the signal where
it was received, not the other end where it was generated. He called it modeling, and
once he had captured the nature of the hypothesized signal/brain interaction in a
way that could be described digitally in computer code, he didn't need high energy to
create an ersatz version, a sort of mimic of ULF. He couldn’t project ULF but he
thought he might be able to project a sort of cardboard cut-out phony prop that
would fool the test animal’s brains. Here’s why.”

“Interestingly, the human voice is in an audible frequency range not much different
from the electromagnetic ULF in the range of 300 hertz (cycles per second). Ten to
the twelfth power hertz is a terahertz, which dwells at the top end of electromagnetic
radiation frequency spectrum where you find the vibrations of gamma rays, and
atomic nuclei. The mammalian ear’s frequency sensitivity is this incredibly narrow
line at the low end of the electromagnetic spectrum. Like a strand of spider web
across the bottom of a 100 meter bar. Audible frequencies vibrate very slowly
compared to electromagnetic radiation. In other words, if you could hear ULF, which
you supposedly can't, it would be well within the frequency range the human ear is
designed to accommodate. According to theory, hearing ULF would be just as
impossible as hearing radio waves, infrared waves, or X-rays. But in terms of just
plain frequency, ULF is the only radiation that matches the hearing range of
mammals. As you know, middle A on the piano is 440 hertz and the human ear is
able to sense sound wave frequencies between 20 and 20,000 hertz.”

"Yeah, but what's the point?"

"Several actually, now it really gets weird. ULF is clunky, slow, and crawling along in
terms of frequency, but because the "bass" is playing such low notes, the only thing
that can produce it is absolutely humongous in energy. Suppose you catch your hand

between a dock and a row boat. You get a bruise. Catch your hand between a solid
dock and a creeping super tanker, and you get a surgical amputation. Tectonic plates
move slowly to be sure, maybe a quarter inch a year the way Vancouver Island is
closing with mainland BC, but when an irresistible force meets an immovable object,
the energy released can kill millions and dwarf nuclear explosions with quakes like
the Big One we'll see on the West Coast some day.”

“When plates collide a new card player sits down at the poker table and all the rules
change. Energy levels have propelled us into quantum worlds like those observed in
high energy super colliders where particles almost obtain the speed of light."

"The reason I'm spelling this out, is because the mammalian brain has key molecules
at neural synapses that are tiny and active enough to be susceptible to quantum
mechanic influences. The sound sensor, the cochlea, can't register ULF, but the whole
neural network associated with hearing and interpreting sounds is based on the
premise that input auditory data to be filtered in, not out, are in the same frequency
range as ULF. So if ULF can create quantum phenomena in that frequency range,
neural networks can resonate to the music, by-passing the cochlea and apprehending
information right at the synapse where neurotransmitters are doing the quantum
sized jobs of consciousness, thought, perception, decision making."

"Giles, Whoa! Steady there big fella! Sounds pretty speculative and almost mystical
to me. Be great if tectonic plates could talk to synapses, and I know a gerbil I'd love
to communicate with. Hell, maybe this is why horses whinny for hours before a big
quake even though they are officially deaf to ULF, which would be great to know, But
what do the metaphysics of ‘quantum ULF perception’ in mammals have to do with
protecting democracy?"

"I never thought you'd ask, Freddie m'lad. I'm telling you all this speculation to prep
you for the big task ahead. We have a crude mimic of ULF radiation we can beam
out, and at certain key frequencies it puts all mammals to sleep, deep sleep like they
were knocked out with a Mickey Finn. And we know their cochlea can't hear it. But
when we turn the signal off they wake up and express, in ways suitable to their
species, "Whaaa? Wha happened?" and then they go on about their business as if
they'd just had a refreshing frigging nap! So put that in your pipe and smoke it!"

There was a long silence while I tried to absorb the meaning of this.
“So then you are saying that you have invented a sort of sleep ray?”

“Bang on and righty-o, buddy, and I’m inviting you to join me in saving democracy
like a couple of cowboys riding into a town owned by a robber baron who is stealing
land from the sheep herders. You know the movie. The heros are so fast on the
draw, all the bullies hired by the fat cat are no match for them. There must be at
least a hundred movies on that theme. You and I are going to be packing sleep ray
guns, and they’re never going to know what hit ‘em. Literally!” You might start your
homework by renting that famous old Samurai movie called Yojimbo, by Kurosawa.”

“I have to ask you if this is a joke. What have you been smoking lately?”

“I’m as dead serious and of sound mind as I’ve ever been in my life, swear to god if
there were one which there ain’t.”

“Help me understand this gun of yours, Giles.”


“Well, it’s about the size of a garage right now, but that’s only because we whipped
everything together fast and dirty once Gary spelled out the specs he needed. Just
about everything there is capable of being miniaturized to provide portability, and I
have some engineers working on design problems with the rest of the parts. So it
looks pretty likely that the device will be something a person could pack around,
given a month or two and some luck. As of this moment, you, me, and Gary are the
only ones who know the sleep effects and I want this to be a closely guarded secret.
Everybody else is working on parts, with no view of the whole device. They think it’s
a pure research instrument, period.”

“Supposing you actually had a portable sleep gun, what would you do with it?”

“I think the first thing I’d do is call it a stun gun to give a tip of my hat to all those
science fiction writers who deployed them in their shoot-outs. Then I would pick
targets. For instance, what if you could put the whole Kremlin to sleep including
newcomers who came into the stun gun field to investigate. You could walk into
Putin’s office, rifle his desk, tweak his nose, and walk out. Of course the military uses
would be endless. Any army with this device could go anywhere and do anything
without loss of life on either side. The possibilities are unlimited. Just think of the
powers it would give you! It would be like being invisible and bullet proof all at the
same time, a kind of invincibility that would make Ironman look as vulnerable as a
baby by comparison.”

“You are truly messing with my mind, guy. First off, I simply can’t believe this is a
generalized effect. I’m guessing it’s probably an artifact of your experimental
designs, some intervening variable you haven’t considered. But on the off chance
that you are correct, and you can knock people out at will, painlessly, using nonlethal
means, then such a device would have absolutely stupendous potential for both good
and harm. The power it would give a person would be incredible. By the way, how
are you going to stay awake while you’re going through Putin’s desk?”

“Small detail, m’boy. I’m sure it can be worked out. But here’s the big thing. If I’m
right, then you can participate in history being made as a major player. I need your
skills and knowledge. It’s almost as if fate led you to me at UCLA, though I don’t
believe in fate as you well know. But it’s magical how your expertise is exactly what I
need, to understand the brain states we are inducing; whether we are frying brains
without knowing it, and all sorts of other questions. The sleep response to the
radiation is probably just the neural tip of the iceberg. What in the hell is going on in
there? You’re the one to learn that. I also need to draw on your knowledge regarding

“Christ, Giles, I’m an assistant professor working semester to semester at the whim
of my department head. The office janitor has more job security than I do. This is my
chance publish up a storm, establish myself, and eventually live the good life, which I
call the security of tenure, free to do research, free to teach and learn, my idea of
heaven; the daily pure joys of intellectual challenge and enrichment. Right now I
wouldn’t dare be two minutes late to a faculty meeting, and you want me to just
walk away? Do research that’s secret hence unpublishable? That’s career suicide!
Believe me, I’d love to get involved in something so potentially revolutionary and
promising, but don’t forget, people like me quiver with anxiety when confronted by
insecurity, while people like you boldly leap into the abyss not knowing or even
caring if they have a parachute.”

“That, my friend, is exactly why you need me as much as I need you. You have the
knowledge I need, and I’m the one to give you the Great Adventure of your freak’in
life! A chance to make a difference. Even if the odds are only 50/50 this is going to
work, you would regret to your dying day missing this ride, this chance to serve
society as maybe nobody before, to be one of the guys who saved the world!”

“I can see it that way, Giles. I can also see this as a chance to die young, spend my
life in prison, or live my life a broken man. The way you’re talking this is clearly not
going to stop at pure science. It’s going to evolve into subversive activities. Do you
think you can tweak Putin’s nose, or any other powerful nose, without becoming a
hunted man, on the run, no-where to hide? Have you thought seriously about what
happens shortly after you mount your first stun gun assault? The manhunt, the
Bonny and Clyde shoot out ending?”

“Yeah yeah yeah. C’mon Fred. I’m no fool. First I’m going to create an effective stun
gun, then you’re going to find out what the hell it’s doing to brains, then we decide
what to do with it. One step at a time. Perfection at each step. No craziness. You
know me. Have you ever seen me run off half cocked?”

“Only when you’re talking politics, and I have a very strong feeling your project is
going to end up being all about politics.”

“Look Fred. Let’s not make an easy thing hard. I can fund your position at the
medical school which in return for extra cash, relieves you of your teaching
responsibilities for a year during which you are seconded to my lab. You stay on the
university payroll and it’s a plus for your academic career because your new research
grant is going to be income producing for your department. In fact your department
head is going to be kissing your ass by the time the contracts are signed. He’s going
to be afraid of offending the goose with the golden eggs. This is a deal you cannot

“That’s a fantastic offer and very generous of you, Giles. So I hope you won’t think
me ungrateful to reserve judgment. We need to have a heart to heart talk about
where you see this project going.”

“Done! I’ll fly you down to the Valley Friday night and back home Sunday night, OK?”

“This is so sudden. Let me think.”

“He who hesitates is lost Freddie.”

“………OK. I can get away.”

“My secretary will email you all the travel arrangements. Looking forward to seeing
you again! So long.”

Chapter Two: Silicon Valley

Traveling on Giles’ nickel was a novel experience, my first time flying first class and
VIP treatment door to door. My hotel, just a mile from Giles’ lab, was the most posh

I’ve ever visited and my room was palatial. A driver knocked on my door the next
morning and drove me to the lab in a sleek black high end BMW. The silent smooth
ride and the scent of leather upholstery, texture like butter, was like a tranquilizing
drug. The thought occurred to me, “I could get used to this!”

Giles’ company is housed in a 10 storey building no different than hundreds of others

in Silicon Valley. There’s a chrome three dimensional logo outside the entrance
saying MTM. I never did learn what the acronym stood for. The security desk inside
was expecting me and a young woman dressed the way a lady bank president
probably looks, told me her name was Karen and she would be looking after me for
the weekend. I never believed in the concept of love at first sight, until that moment.
Yes, she was sexy with a perfect figure and a beautiful smile, but it was so much
more than that. She was the most beautiful person I’d ever seen, by a long shot. I
was literally weak in the knees and could hardly stand. My heart pounded and my
mind became a confused mix of ecstasy, sexual arousal, and stabs of grave fear that
I could not have her. We were trading long gazes and I wondered if she felt
something, or were her million watt smiles just all in an average PR day on the job to
her? To my taste, everything about her was perfect. I could have proposed marriage
at that moment in total confidence.

She led me into a teak paneled elevator, apparently too polite to make the
observation that I was behaving in a strange manic manner, probably with a
grotesque shit eating grin on my face I could not possibly remove. Up we went, to
open into a penthouse suite with sweeping views of the valley in all directions. The
suite was a working area, with many meeting spaces created by glass sound barriers
giving the impression of a cubist crystal museum. By the end of the elevator ride, I
could function enough to speak coherently, but my mind was shouting at 200
decibels, “I love her! I want to marry her and have children with her!” It was far
and away the most powerful and bizarre emotional experience of my life. She was
still smiling warmly, so things could have been worse.

A tall man came out of a glass enclosed office and approached us. He was dressed in
a black T shirt and black jeans. His black hair was cut short and his black beard was
trimmed close to his face. He seemed strangely familiar until he said hello and
revealed himself to be Giles.

“My god Giles, what have they done to you? Looks like you’ve lost some weight, did
some body building and adopted a whole new persona. I could have passed you on
the street with scarcely a flicker of recognition.”

“I was looking forward to shocking you, buddy. No more of the seedy academic
lifestyle for me anymore. You’re looking at a transformed person, corporate to the
marrow of my bones. Don’t give me that look! I was kidding! Actually, this costume
I’m wearing and the hair trim and all, is part of my new assumed identity; it’s my
cover, my camouflage for covert ops. Here at MTM this is the basic dress code.”

“ As for you, Karen, take it from me that Fred is a VIP here and you can’t go wrong if
you keep that foremost in your mind. This place is totally open to him; anything he
wants to see or read, anybody he wants to talk to, all our normal security is
suspended in his case. His wish is your command until his plane leaves. ”

“You got it, boss. Red carpet treatment all the way.”

“That’s why I chose you Karen, nothing but the best. I’ve got some calls to make
before we can get down to business, so how about taking Fred over to Gary’s den for
a briefing, and I’ll be available to caucus in about an hour. Fred, Karen has a
Stanford Masters in IT and already has some publications under her belt. Some day
soon I’ll have to learn to live without her while she does her doctors, but maybe
she’ll come back here when it’s done. She’s like my right arm and virtually runs this
place, freeing me up to pamper myself in the lab. Without her I’d be miserable and
lost. You heard it first here. Some day she’s going to be a famous CEO of a research
outfit, while making significant personal contributions to her field. Never saw a
brighter future!”

Karen gave Giles a playful slap on the shoulder with a big smile. ”You know you can
butter me up that way, and it will keep me going for a while, and it’s all part of your
unconscionable exploitation of me!”

I noticed that I was powerfully jealous of her chummy relationship with Giles, as if I
had owner’s rights. Crazy! Insanity!

Karen led me through a maze of corridors to a security checkpoint with a guard on

duty. He was prepared for me and gave me a security badge to wear around my
neck, a different color than the ones I had seen other employees wearing. He said, “I
don’t know who you are but you must be pretty important. Gary and Mr. Swanson
are the only two people at MTM with this security clearance and a swipe of that
badge will open every single secure door in this organization.”

Karen said, “You have to go on alone. When you’re through with Gary and come out,
hit this beeper and I’ll meet you here a minute later.”

I swiped the card at a very imposing stainless steel door that hissed as it slid aside.
It felt like a scene from a Star Trek episode. I walked into a large chamber about 30
yards square with high ceilings. It instantly called up the old days at UCLA as the
smell of my kind of science hit me, a pungent mixture of Rattus Norwegicus and
Rhesus Monkey urine and dung. Their cages lined one wall and the rest of the room
was devoted to devices, none of which looked familiar at first. As I looked closer I
could identify power sources, control panels, what looked like a testing chamber for
the animals, and not much more. Gary appeared from behind a device and offered
his hand. He looked about 24 with a very wispy blonde moustache and goatee and
long blond hair. He might have weighed 130 pounds soaking wet. His face and
manner had a softness, a gentle quality which was also present in his voice.

“You must be the Fred that Giles has told me so much about. If you were even one
tenth the scientist he makes you out to be, you’d have ample reason for pride.
Believe me, it’s a real privilege to finally meet you.”

“I guess that makes us a club of two members because I can safely say your
advance billing has been absolutely stellar. You’d blush if you heard Giles being
carrying on to me like your publicist.”

“What a guy, eh?”

“They broke the mold after they made Giles, that’s for certain. Working alongside
him at UCLA was a great creative leap forward I miss nowadays. Something about
his attitude and way of thinking.”

“Yeah. I’m in hog heaven. This has been the most stimulating job I could ever
imagine. I think Giles has a way of making people feel like they’re a genius, and
when they do it becomes a sort of self fulfilling prophecy.”

“Giles wants me to put my academic career on hold and come over here, which is a
bone crushing dilemma for me right now. If I do take him up on his offer, it will be
precisely because of what you described. He brings out the best in people lucky
enough to be chosen, and once you get a taste of the intellectual challenge he
represents, a lot of standard research looks kind of blah.”

“Amen. Now let me tell you what’s going on in here. Has Giles told you much?”

“Just some basics, broad brush strokes.”

“Here’s the background. ULF radiation shares some characteristics with the higher
frequencies in the EM spectrum. Our original chewing gum and baling wire machine
we cobbled together was in some ways similar to an X-ray machine or the electron
gun in the back of an old TV picture tube, or even a particle accelerator. The major
problem has been that these low ULF frequencies require vast amounts of power in
order to propagate a useful signal, or radiation, or beam, or wave, or field; you can
call it so many things.”

“We finally had to give up on that end of the problem and focus on the intended
target, the brain. I did some computer modeling to imagine how a mammalian brain
might respond to genuine high energy ULF such as recorded prior to big tremblers.
These models were based on all sorts of speculative suppositions, some of them wild
guesses about neurotransmitter responses at synapse if, and it’s still a big if, ULF can
create quantum physics phenomena at the synapse. If that’s true, then almost
anything is possible, of course. As you know, quantum physics violates all kinds of
Newtonian laws if it feels like it.”

“If I let myself, Gary, I suppose I could lay awake nights trying to get my little mind
around quantum mechanics. It’s downright vexing. A particle is tweaked here, and
an almost infinite distance away from that transaction a particle jumps because it
has been tweaked. And there was no time delay, no cause and effect evidence, just
simultaneous action/reaction which by definition can’t exist in a Newtonian world.
How do you deal with force exerted over an infinite distance in zero time?”

“It surpaseth understanding in my case. I take it on faith because it works, I believe

the math, believe the particle accelerator data, and most of all I believe in the great
minds who grasp it better than me. It has been said that only a small handful of
physicists truly understand quantum physics. So, back to the problem, I was building
these neural network models with sky’s-the-limit imagination of a quantum brain
response tweaked by ULF, which addressed the impact on a normal brain, sort of
idling, not being assaulted by some experimental task like avoiding shock. One of my
models suggested that ULF, working at the quantum level, could actually impact
brain waves, as you know, the synchronized firing of tens of billions of neurons, their
way of sorta breathing at idle or working together on tasks. If this were possible,
then the brain could actually have an indirect way of sensing ULF even though the
mammal wouldn’t know it. To make a long story short, we homed in on that
possibility and designed a low frequency oscillating magnetic force field that isn’t true
ULF but has enough power to tip brains over into what just might be quantum

effects. We achieved the technology with superconductors and copious quantities of

liquid nitrogen.”

“The key principle here is resonance. If there’s a harp sitting across the room and I
sing a loud perfect A note, the A strings on the harp will begin to oscillate in
sympathy; if you put your ear to one you will hear a faint A.”

“Actually, Gary, neural resonance is a phenomenon I’ve spent quite a bit of time with
in the lab.”

“Oops! Didn’t mean to talk down to you, Fred. I’m not that familiar with your
background I guess.”

“No offence taken. How does resonance come into play here?”

“Since large portions of the brain deal with auditory signals in their low frequency
range, many important neural networks are sensitized to these frequencies and are
easily triggered by them. So any signal that tweaks them in that frequency envelope
easily gets them firing in waves. So just maybe, once we have induced a wave with
our phony ULF, we seem to be able to capture it with sheer amplitude i.e. power, and
then drag the frequency down without losing control of the neural network. Next
thing you know, maybe the waves have morphed into sleep configuration and the
lights go out. Boink! But that’s just conjecture. We haven’t any proof.”

“Isn’t this just how science usually works?” I answered. “You spend years butting
your head against a brick wall, seemingly getting nowhere, and the problem seems
insoluble, but you are learning little bits of things from the failures, so that finally
when you do stumble into the completely unexpected answer coming out of left field
you have just enough knowledge to recognize it and run with it.”

“Exactly! In the end, all that ULF gave us was a reason to bombard brains with ultra
low frequency anything and everything, which nobody would have any earthy reason
to try, otherwise.”

“When we thought we could induce changes in brain wave amplitude and frequency,
we started searching through the spectrum and viola! At two to three hertz we may
be inducing the deep Delta waves associated with incapacitating dreamless sleep,
thus knocking out rats and monkeys at our whim. We don’t want to try it on humans
until we have a safety check and real time monitoring provided by none other than

“What a story, Gary. If research works out as planned, it rarely takes you as far as
the lucky research that doesn’t, sometimes takes you. So many of the great
discoveries happened that way.”

“Yeah, though I wouldn’t call this a great discovery in the sense of unlocking the
secrets of the brain, which is still essentially a black box phenomenon despite all
science has taught us; it’s the last true frontier. But non-lethal or even harmless
rendering of people unconscious must have some incredibly potent applications in so
many walks of life, everything from surgery to warfare, hence all the secrecy I
guess. Giles probably is way ahead of me in understanding the commercial, political,
philosophical, legal, and social implications. This research is clothed in security that
would make the Manhattan Project look loose by comparison. You would not believe

how stringent it is. For instance, the technicians and engineers who built this gear
don’t have a clue what it’s for or even what it does.”

“I’m thinking of a shopping list of instrumentation needs, if I’m going to be able

contribute anything.”

“No sweat about that I’m sure, Fred. This project has never wanted for cash. It’s a
researcher’s dream come true. Time to do some shopping for gear, I’d say. Oops!
Like Kermit the Frog said, ‘Times fun when you’re having flys’. We’re overdue for our
meeting with Giles.”

We hissed our way out the door and met Karen patiently waiting outside. Minutes
later she was back on hold, unwelcome at our meeting. I wondered if her only
purpose was to make me feel a sexual buzz of anticipation. Was she the big piece of
cheese in the mousetrap? It was almost as if Giles didn’t want me unsupervised for a
single minute. I put that paranoid thought down to basic stress and anxiety triggered
by how fast events were moving.

I was feeling giddy in some ecstatic ways, but fear was definitely was gnawing at my
gut. I had now almost become a co-conspirator in a project I expected to become
illegal and deeply subversive. What in the hell was I doing here? Why didn’t I run for
the exit the first time Giles showed his hand? I guess I knew some of the answers to
that. There’s nothing sexier to most researchers than a chance to make the science
history books. And there seemed to be a possibility of making a meaningful
contribution to society as never before, unlikely to come along again. Not to mention
the warm buzz of a blank check for the best brain assessment instrumentation
money can buy. Academia suddenly looked very dry, dull, boring, and meaningless,
by comparison. We were going to rock the world! I took a deep breath, calmed
myself as best I could, and stepped into the meeting room. What a meeting room it
was, with two glass walls looking far down on patches of vegetation and clusters of
buildings. Giles got right down to business.

“Here’s to the first meeting of the core team, the three musketeers, like the
originals, pledging to fight injustice and misrule. All for one and one for all. I want to
be a little philosophical before we get into the details. Did you find a copy of Yojimbo
to watch, Fred?”

“Took many phone calls but I finally found one and watched it the other night. Great

“Any thoughts about why I wanted you to see it?”

“I was thinking about the impeccability of the Samurai. Their code of honor and total
commitment to it. How every action must meet this extreme standard of
impeccability. In the movie, Yojimbo’s ethic contrasted so sharply with almost
everyone else’s gross stupidity and piggy greed.”

“Do you recall the first battle scene where Toshiro Mafune takes on a large gang of
hired thugs?”

“Stunning choreography! The thugs are moving in slow motion compared to Yojimbo
gracefully darting into their midst, swirling and pirouetting like a ballet dancer. His
sword is out of its scabbard and then back in again before several severed arms and

heads hit the ground. It was all over in a heartbeat.”

“You hit the nail on the head, Fred. Impeccability. Flawless execution. Blinding speed.
The bad guys never knew what hit them and were left dumbfounded, not to mention
missing arms and heads. They appeared half asleep compared to the sharp precision
of Yojimbo. That’s the essence of the goal I seek.”

“The Musketeers were master swordsmen as was Yojimbo, Giles. Is this a


“Yes and no, guys. We are building what is to me a new kind of sword, meant to be
used deftly in defense of social justice i.e. protecting democracy by slaying its
enemies bloodlessly. I’m talking about using the stun gun to penetrate the innermost
fortress guarding the men who chose to operate above the laws of the land. They
thought they could keep the secrets of their crimes hidden forever. They even
bragged about it. Cheney more than once told his henchmen that they would all
probably spend years appearing before impotent senate subcommittees, tribunals,
and courts after leaving office. To this day he feels bullet-proof. Talk about hubris!
He’s been assuming that their defense would be airtight, all this time. Cheney has
already invoked various kinds of executive privilege, some invented out of thin air, to
ignore court orders like demanding the release of documents, and the maneuvering
has scarcely begun. Right now the archives are full of documents that never qualified
for top secret status under national security criteria, but will enjoy all those
protections because of an administrative “to be regarded as secret” stamp. Then of
course there are the FISA crimes. Here, let me read you this from, written
by Eisenberg,

Bush's warrantless electronic surveillance program was illegal. Whether Bush will
ultimately be held accountable for violating federal law with the program remains
unclear. Bush administration lawyers have fought vigorously -- at times using
brazen, logic-defying tactics -- to prevent that from happening. The court battle will
continue to play out as Congress continues to battle over recasting FISA and possibly
granting immunity to telecom companies involved in the illegal surveillance.

Of course FISA is just the tip of the iceberg. The Geneva Conventions became US law
when we ratified them. Rendition, torture, and the kangaroo courts at Guantanamo
are just a few of the actions that violated those laws. But the all time elephant filling
up the living room nobody is talking about, is the killing of hundreds of thousands of
women and children in the context of an unprovoked Iraq war of conquest and
occupation. They sanitized this so carefully. Most of the carnage was caused by
airstrikes the press viewed from a distance, under the impression that our smart
bombs were so accurate that civilian casualties were relatively rare and usually
avoidable. Since the Iraq war violated the most basic UN definitions of justifiable
military violence, those deaths would certainly fall under the rubric of war crimes at
den Hague. But you don’t even have to invoke international law because US
definitions of murder easily include contract killing of innocent people on the basis of
deceitful pretexts. And when we bombed the whole city of Mosul into rubble, killing
untold thousands of civilians, the press weren’t allowed to get close enough to see.
What little they did see was self censored because of a brilliant propaganda coup.
Newsmen were embedded in platoons, living with them, patrolling with them,
identifying with them the whole while. They became part of the band of brothers.
Uncomfortable truth was no longer their first loyalty. That, my friends, was a stroke
of sheer propaganda genius that would have won Goebbels’ admiration.”

“Hey boss, are you forgetting that you’re preaching to the choir?”

“I’ll second that, Giles. You’re making me feel like it’s lunch time at the neuropsych
institute. I’m having gastric flashbacks! If this goes on much longer I’ll have to send
out for Tums.”

Giles made a hurt face. “Gimme a break you two. The guy who pays the piper gets to
stand on the soapbox. I guess I want to bring it home that this isn’t about politics.
It’s about crimes against humanity and dismantling the Constitution and Bill of Rights
and international law, unprecedented in the country’s history. We all share the shame
of letting it happen on our watch as citizens and our best redemption is to see that
the truth comes out, the criminals are exposed and punished, and the system is
inoculated against future infection.”

There was a long silence, broken by the soft voice of Gary saying, “You know I don’t
disagree with you.”

“Of course neither do I,” I chipped in.

“Right. Of course. So how important is it to you to finally do something about it after

sitting on your hands and engaging in intellectual masturbation for eight years? What
are you willing to put on the line? Where this is going, could get us killed or
imprisoned. Do you believe we have a responsibility to our society to use our talents
and the luck of this technological breakthrough to their fullest extent? We’ve
stumbled onto a device that almost gives us super powers. If you were Superman
today, would you have the loyalty to the Constitution, that kind of pure patriotism, to
put your life on the line for your country?”

I felt nausea rising in my gut and literally broke out in a cold clammy sweat. “Jesus
Christ, Giles! You call me up here to join you in some research, and now you’re
sounding like some radical imam recruiting suicide bombers!”

“Take it easy, Fred. I’m not talking about a suicide mission and I’m not planning to
spend any time in jail or in court for that matter. Look at what I actually said.
Imagine you are Superman. You have a weapon for which there is no defense, and it
doesn’t hurt the enemy. Hell, it refreshes him with a nap! Nobody gets hurt and
you’re invincible. Anybody wants to collar you, they’ll be asleep until you’re in the
next county. We have the money and the technology to plan the perfect caper. But
we’re like Robin Hood. We commit some minor crimes, unlawful confinement would
probably be the worst, and we strike a blow against tyranny for the sake of three
hundred million people who have been getting the shaft, half of whom will appreciate
it and the other half of whom will find it educational whether they like it or not. The
hardest part will be to become an anonymous folk hero, and fighting the temptation
to reveal yourself so as to bask in the public adulation. On the other hand, let’s say
things don’t go as planned and the worst happens. Maybe we would do some time in
the slammer, but we would do it knowing that we gave our best shot to the most
incredibly worthy cause; the very health and future of your frigging society!”

Gary had been looking stressed and thoughtful. A lot of this must have been brand
new for him.

“Geeze, fella’s. This is a bit much, all at once. I’m feeling kind’a confused, spinning

all sorts of wild scenarios. I think what I need right now is less in the way of patriotic
platitudes and more specifics. What are you actually proposing to do, Giles?”

“Good point, Gary. Looks like my pep talk, calling the troops to action and sacrifice,
went thud. But maybe now that you have contemplated dying for your country the
real plan will be a little more palatable. It’s still in development as is the stun gun
itself. But if the gun works out as hoped, here’s what the raid would look like. We
only get one hit. After that there would be all kinds of new security. So we would
bide our time and wait until we learned that Bush or Cheney or Rove, and whoever
else was handy, were assembled in the same place. They believe in their security so
there’s no reason for them to stay hidden. It would probably be some intimate self-
congratulatory meeting, maybe a low profile confab that wasn’t publicized, sort of
like Cheney’s blood thirsty bird killing scotch swilling jaunts where he shoots his
friends in the face in a drunken stupor, and then sobers up enough to pass a
breathalyzer while his Secret Service keeps the local cops at bay. Or it might be a big
Republican love-in. For us it would be the smaller the better. I would want to knock
everybody out, spirit the bad boys out of there and vanish.”

Gary and I spoke, almost in perfect unison. “Then what?”

“We would rendition them to an underground facility I’m building right now on
Vancouver Island BC. It’s an abandoned copper mine on the side of Mount
Washington. My cover is that I am excavating toxic tailings to help save a river the
mine sterilized. There’s a ski area on top of the mountain nearby, so both car and
helicopter traffic is easy to blend into. Once they were comfy in their new living
quarters, Fred would be in charge of extracting confessions from them. He might
even take a few pages from their interrogation game book. What’s good for the
goose is good for the gander.”

Now it all was starting to take shape and I was astonished. A hundred crazy thoughts
were racing through my mind in a jumble. Gary’s faced was contorted by some
pretty stressed thinking too. When we came up for air, Gary was ready with some
questions long before I had clarified mine.

“Just off the top of my head, I’m thinking of some feasibility issues, Giles. Of course
we’ll study these at length, but it would help me understand a lot if you could answer
a few questions right now.”

“Fire away, Gary.”

“It’s always a good idea to start by honing the desired end product. If the goal is
clear as a bell, then every tactic that leads up to it will stand or fall on the merits of
its contribution towards that end. That’s how Grand Strategies are born. So far I’m a
bit vague on the ultimate goal. What’s your definition of an ideal outcome?”

“What a delicious question, one I’m glad to answer. I want to see full confessions
from Bush or Cheney or Rove; whoever we can get our hands on. And I mean full.
The whole story behind the lies and crimes, even the lies we didn’t know were lies.
This has to go right to the bone, deep with no shortcuts. The confessions have to be
videotaped, depicting perps really owning their testimony with no hedging or
prevarication. These videos have to be presented to every sentient American, and
not just on some obscure blog; they have to make the press, appear on TV, and get
millions of hits on YouTube. The only other goal is for us to walk away from it, free

men. Oh, and I almost forgot to add, since we have a message we don’t want
discredited, and because we don’t believe in solving problems with violence, it is
necessary for nobody to be physically harmed. We may make history as the first
pacifistic terrorists, a strange mixture of commando covert ops, and gentle sleep
inducing care. That’s my definition of a successful mission for now, but of course
there’s a wealth of detail yet to be determined. Both of you guys look a little bit like
you‘ve seen a ghost or something. Why don‘t you take a coffee break without me
and debrief a little? Come up with some ideas and questions without my overbearing
influence. It‘ll be a good reality check for me and the whole project.”

Gary perked up at that remark and so did I. I think we were feeling overwhelmed
and needed to digest what we’d heard before going a step further. We both nodded
vigorously and filed out of the room in a hurry. Gary led the way to an empty
employee lounge where we filled coffee cups, carefully closed the door, and huddled
across from each other at a table, speaking in stage whispers. Gary went first.

“Sweet Jesus help me in my time of need! I’m wondering if this is a dream or if it’s
for real. Am I awake? Did I just hear that I’m elected to kidnap the former
president of the United States? I always hoped I’d leave my mark, but those were
day dreams about some science break-through. I’m shaking like a leaf, and feeling
like I’m already in it so deep there’s no way out. If I opted out it would be an
irreparable security breach and the project would be scratched along with my career
here, or even worse, the project would go ahead and I’d be a felony material

“Me too. How can this not be dangerous? As much as I hate Bush and what he’s
done to the country, that doesn’t mean I want to throw my life away in some crazy
stunt. Yes it’s true that the country should learn the truth about what really
happened in the last eight years. Without that knowledge being widespread, the
same kind of future totalitarian rule is almost assured. The balance of power
between the three arms of government has been shredded, and that was the
founding fathers’ primary defense against a future dictator or at the time, a monarch
taking over. There’s never been such a lawless despot as Bush in US history. So, yes
I agree that the goal is a worthy one of the highest value to society. But I never
intended to die or go to prison in pursuit of my convictions. That was for heroes like
Martin Luther King and Gandhi who I admire but never planned to emulate! I’m just
a timid little researcher who wants to teach and do studies and publish his science.
A hero I’m not. Nor a commando or kidnapper; never was, never will be. I’d say
we’re both in a hell of a pickle.”

What I didn’t mention to Gary was the sudden realization that Karen was indeed a
huge irresistible piece of cheese in this mouse trap and there was no way in hell I
could go home. Now that I had found her, I was going to have to convince her that
she loved me too. Nothing else in life was as important. Did Giles intend this? Now I
was feeling violently ambivalent, but I’d hold my hand in a fire all day to have Karen.

“I guess it could be worse, Fred. The stun gun, if it works as planned, could be the
first incapacitating non-violent weapon in history.”

“Maybe not. Anything it could do is already possible with an injection of a


“Yes and no. How are you going to inject a room full of people simultaneously at a

“Point well taken. But the law is the law, and we’d be breaking them left and right
even if nobody got hurt. I was thinking of telling Giles I’m out and I’ll keep his little
secret and resent for the rest of my life that he has made me an accessory to this
crime or conspiracy. No doubt the conversation the three of us just had, already
constitutes felony conspiracy to kidnap and worse.”

“I can’t blame you, Fred. I feel the same way. But you can walk away and go back
to your career. Here I am sitting on a discovery that could rock several different
fields, in a dream job like no other where the sky’s the limit. I don’t have the
credentials you have. I dropped out of university before finishing my BA because I
was so obsessed with computer science and was feeling held back by my
Neanderthal professors. If I don’t stay here, I’ll end up in a cubicle writing code for
some combat game. It’s the difference between life and death for me.”

“Well, I wish you two all the best, Gary. My part wasn’t of critical importance
anyway. I think Giles invited me mainly because we like to solve problems together
and made a great team at UCLA. He was the mercurial genius with a new grandiose
illumination every week, and I was the plodder, the cautious one, the realist, who
kept him grounded. It’s like we each possessed the trait the other guy lacked.
Together, we were one plus one equals five.”

“Here’s an idea!” said Gary. Who cares if there’s some conspiracy law being violated
right now? We aren’t really in trouble until there’s action, right? So why don’t we let
this play out? Without you, Giles may self destruct like Icarus and take me with him.
You are exactly the voice of caution and practicality we need. Giles wouldn’t take
advice from anyone else. Help us through this as a full player and then bail at the
last minute, just before real crimes are committed. Or, help make this project so
airtight and perfect, you might even decide it’s a slam dunk you don’t dare miss.
What have you got to lose? Along the way you spend a small fortune on your own
lab and become one of the co-founders of a huge technological breakthrough. This
could only lead to future job security for you. How’s that commodity right now?”

“Actually, it’s pretty shaky. There may be budget cuts coming and my position is
probably as expendable as any. I’m way down the food chain in terms of seniority
and until I win tenure, my job could go ’poof’ at the whim of my department head. I
haven’t done any work that really puts me on the map. I guess my publishing
output would be called ’adequate’ and no more. One of the reasons I’m here today
is because the funding Giles offered me would make me special and not at all
expendable for a while. I guess I’m saying that I have some of the same pressures
on me that you’re describing. I think I’m ready to go back to Giles with a proposal.
I’m in for the planning and preparation under the proviso that there be some kind of
firewall that gives me deniability later. The other condition would be the option of a
final hour exit. I could live with that I guess.”

“Maybe things aren’t as bleak as they seemed a few minutes ago. One thing for
sure, when Giles gets a big idea he becomes a force of nature. It’ll take the two of us
working together, just to slow him down for even a minute. Let’s go and broker a
win win win.”

That was what happened. Giles needed us and knew he couldn’t start all over
without us. I made a commitment to join the team and the meeting was finished for
the day.

Giles called Karen and asked her to join us. When she arrived, Giles said, “I know
this is way out of the ordinary, but I’d appreciate it so much if you’d take Fred back
to his hotel and make sure he gets fed there. They have pretty good food. Frankly I
want to handle him with kid gloves right now because he’s essential to our project
and has to make major sacrifices to stay with us. I don’t want him second guessing
his tentative decision tonight and catching a plane home in the morning. Can you do
that for me?”

“Well boss, I wouldn’t be keen to moonlight as an escort service to your VIP guests
as a regular part of my job, but I can see this is a special occasion, so the answer’s

Giles heaved a big sigh of relief. “I owe you a big one, Karen. There was no way I
could get away tonight, or I would have gone myself. You two have a good time.
Sky’s the limit. Celebrate! I’ll only frown if I catch you submitting a modest expense
claim. Maybe you can set a new record in corporate expense account profligacy!”

“I’m up for that Giles,” I said, “Thanks for the offer and we’ll make the most of it.”
Naturally I felt like I’d died and gone to heaven. My first date with Karen!

An hour later found us in a very tastefully posh restaurant at my hotel, drinking

cocktails, scanning menus and making idle conversation.

This was like no other first date I ever had. Karen might as well have been my sister
or a good friend from high school. Despite my crazed feelings of attraction towards
her, conversing was as comfortable and relaxed as an old pair of slippers feel, as if
I’d known her for years. One sign of that, was comfortable silences with no urgency
to fill the space. I felt completely uninhibited. She somehow sent a signal loud and
clear that she liked me and I didn’t need to try to impress her. I found myself
sharing personal information that wasn’t very flattering, simply because her
acceptance of me made it feel safe to do so. Where was the boy-meets-girl tension,
posing, manipulating? Seduction was the furthest thing from my mind. Just being
with her gave me joy that could be called orgasmic. I’d never been so happy, so at
peace, so in love.

Karen told me the story of her life as we allowed our dinner to last for hours. She
seemed so transparent, so authentic, so natural. Her parents were happily married
but her father died in his 50’s leaving her mother plenty of money but the need to
reinvent her life. She had a drug addicted brother who caused the family no end of
worry and stress. She grew up in Albuquerque, always interested in science and
passionate about mountain climbing, skiing, hiking, river rafting, and other outdoor
sports. She’d been engaged while an undergraduate, but broke it off when she
discovered her fiancée was not the man he represented himself to be. It was a big
heartbreak for her to learn that the love she felt was based on a mask he wore.

I talked about my solitary lifestyle, lived more out of necessity than choice. Karen,
on the other hand, had two close female friends as roommates, one small advantage
of rents being unaffordable in the valley. I didn’t pry, but it appeared she wasn’t

romantically involved, my very most fervent prayer.

I told her about my dreams of tenure and leading edge research. She told me about
a PhD program that seemed just right for her. We talked about current events,
economics, religion, politics, child raising, the status of women, music, art, cinema,
kayaking, health, nutrition, the meaning of life, you name it. Anything and
everything, effortlessly. We saw eye to eye on most things important to us.

The whole time this was going on, there was a voice in my mind urging me to
profess my love for her. I guess when you fall in love you want to shout it from the
rooftops, and it certainly would be more honest to share this very pertinent
information. The urge to tell her became stronger as the intimacy became deeper.
Intimacy is the word. I had dated women a dozen times without even scratching the
surface of this kind of intimacy.

There was another voice urging caution; “Tell her too much too soon and you might
scare her off.” Speaking of which, even though I wanted to make love to her more
than I’ve ever wanted anything, there was simply no way I was going to run the risk
of sending her a signal she might interpret as exploitive or manipulative.

Finally it had to end. We were the only customers left and the staff were shooting us
meaningful glances.

I chose my words carefully. “Looks like we’d better call it a night, Karen. I can
truthfully say that this has been the most perfect evening for me in all respects, and
I hate to see it end. I’ve enjoyed your company more than words can say.”

Karen beamed a dazzling smile and answered, “Oh Fred, that’s so gallant of you, you
gracious gentleman. I do hope that our schedules will make room for more nights
like this. If you only knew how much it means to me.”

Fireworks went off in my brain. “Holy shit! Either she’s working a con for Giles, or
she really likes me. And she crossed that line…she’s taking risks by as much as
asking me out, which could expose her to a big humiliating put down!”

I walked her to her car in the parking lot. Before she got in I lightly kissed her on
the cheek and said good night. I made it back to my room without my feet touching
the carpet.

Gary and I became good friends over the weeks that followed, and our alliance
seemed to be just the right counterweight to Giles’ dominance and drive. He had to
make allowances for our security needs, and this meant a much more conservative
and cautious re-thinking of the project. The original goals never did change,
however, because the more we talked about them, the better they looked. The
technical work was progressing. Engineers were miniaturizing each component of
the stun gun and I was putting together a fabulous assortment of neurological
assessment instruments in preparation for gun testing.

I had spent my career waiting in line for rare and precious days on fMRI’s, off and on
for years. These are functional magnetic resonance imaging machines, and the top
of the line at that time was the Tesla 4.4 scanner costing over four million dollars
with another million for the peripheral MRI suite. Today the 5 series Teslas have

more bells and whistles, but no real break-through advances proportional to what the
4.4 had to offer at the time.

These marvelous machines capitalize on a couple of principles that allow us to see

into the brain at work as never before. Neurons need more fuel when they are
working, which is delivered by increased blood flow to that region. “Fresh”
oxygenated blood has a different magnetic signature than “used” blood with depleted
oxygen. When the brain intensifies activity in an area, the fMRI sees this as a hot
spot, making possible functional mapping of the brain in real time. For instance, it
was fMRI that taught us a single small area of the pre-frontal brain lights up when a
person with obsessive compulsive disorder is perseverating about something like
germs on door knobs or the sight of a dirty rag.

Because blood changes are not changing in a crisp timely manner, there being a bit
of a lag between the brain activity and neuron refueling, I also needed a very
sophisticated version of an old technology that’s been around forever, the
electroencephalograph or EEG. This machine reads grouped neuron firing signals
captured by electrodes stuck to the scalp. In the old days this was like trying to pick
out the chirping of a cricket while attending a rock concert, but times have changed.
If you know precisely when you tweaked the brain, digital filters will track only the
signals associated with your timed stimuli. My EEG would be telling my fMRI which
images were suspect and which were right in the pocket.

Competition for fMRI time is so fierce, neuroscientists have been known to sabotage
each other in their greed for access. Their career survival may depend on how much
time they can command and it usually comes down to money. Being the proud
owner of a Tesla 4.4 put me in a very special category of privilege granted to a
fortunate few in the field. I was in a state of acquisitive ecstasy when the
technicians installed it, as if I were getting a thousand Christmas mornings under the
tree, combined. During that time interval, no more than a dozen 4.4’s were in
operation, world wide.

I must confess that I spent a lot of time touching Tesla in the early weeks, almost as
if to confirm she wasn’t a dream. Maybe fondling is a better word than touching. I
know what you’re thinking and you’re wrong; it wasn’t a sexual turn on. Just
imagine a high school boy winning a Lamborghini in a contest. Of course he’d be
lovingly polishing it every day, a sensual nonsexual pleasure, right?

All you can see of Tesla is a simple donut shaped magnet sheathed in white plastic.
There’s a sled that positions the subject’s head in the hole of the donut. The rest of
Tesla is your basic ultra high performance bad boy computer controlled by a nice
keyboard and a spectacular 40 inch high definition plasma flat screen.

This opened up a whole new way of thinking. I could afford to play with it! No idea
was too wild or speculative to test in my magical new world of plenty. I started
formulating brain fishing expeditions where a person could stumble upon a significant
discovery. The human brain became an unexplored oil field where a person might
get a gusher anywhere they drilled with Tesla 4.4 technology.

After Tesla was calibrated the next few months were a time of pure joy. The stun
gun was still in development so I was able to finish up my research-in-progress ten
times faster thanks to Tesla, clearing the decks for action in this new chapter of my

career. This activity was so all consuming, I rarely thought of the stun gun project.
More accurately, whenever the topic occurred to me, I made it go away because of a
faint nausea and dread it triggered. During those months I saw very little of Gary
and Giles and I guessed they were in a flurry of activity.

Meanwhile my relationship with Karen had become a dream-come-true. After four

more intimate and lengthy dinners I felt I had to spit it out. “Karen, I believe I fell in
love with you the first time I saw you. It was fireworks and brass bands, and since
then it just gets stronger every day. My feelings are unlike anything I’ve ever
known, but I’m totally convinced it’s the real thing. I’m completely nuts about you.”

Karen’s eyes gleamed with tears. “Something clicked for me too, Fred. I’m scared,
actually. This seems so precious, so now I’ve got something to fear losing. But at
the same time I know you mean it and it isn’t just some line. You’ve been
broadcasting it every time I look into your eyes, ever since we met. You know I got
hurt when I trusted my heart and it led me astray. But I have to trust my feelings or
I’ll never have a life. And my feelings say I love you.”

“I love you, Karen. I want to spend the rest of my life with you and have children
together and everything. I know this is going way too fast, like maybe some
impulsive teenager would think they were in love, but I believe in it so you might as
well know.”

Karen thought for a moment. “Of course there’s lots more to a couple than just the
romantic idea. Some people have that, and don’t get along or maybe lead parallel
lives they’re so incompatible. I think we have got tons of pure romantic passion and
you’re the best thing that ever happened to me. I think we should go up to your
room and find out how sexually compatible we are. Don’t you think it’s about time?
I mean, we need to explore what this is!”

So we did, and it made every other sexual encounter of my life a pale ghost by
comparison. Sky rockets in flight. Orgasmic communion that made us one single
entity. I was no longer just me alone. I was half of something far bigger and better.

Karen kept paying her rent but she was at my hotel room almost any time I was.
This utterly transformed my day to day mood and outlook on life. I was healed and
complete; no longer socially crippled. I loved and was loved in return. Everyone
should have that. I would cut off all four limbs to avoid losing access to this state of
transcending one’s mere self. This was the real thing, the love that made poets write
great literature, composers write symphonies. I felt sorry for the guys who pick up
gorgeous women night after night, and never tasted this nirvana. Fucking is one
thing. Making love to somebody you passionately adore your whole life is like the
difference between whacking off to porn and discovering the secret of spiritual bliss
and ecstasy. I was hooked, and grateful.

This undoubtedly energized my work and creativity tenfold.

Giles invited Gary and me to a meeting in the same boardroom. Gary was the first
to speak when I arrived.

“Well, we did it. The gun is now a thirty pound backpack with a handheld directional
radiator. It’s downright weird how closely it resembles the rigs used in the Ghost

Busters movie!”

“We know it works because we’ve knocked out lab animals using it on remote
control. But we’re afraid to get too close to it just in case it’s toasting brains. The
field falls off very sharply over distance so you can dial in power settings for fairly
precise radius of action, with an error of plus or minus maybe ten to twelve feet,
effective range a maximum thirty yards. It can be dialed down to a very small
effective area. But of course the operator is getting a strong dose no matter what.
First we find out if it’s safe for animals, then we do some human testing.
Somewhere along the way we also need to explore how to keep the operator and his
cohorts awake and safe. Any thoughts?”

“Just about zip, Gary. Lately I’ve been so immersed in writing up my completed
projects for submission and spending time with my mistress Tesla, my beautiful
Tesla, I haven’t been thinking of much else. One thing I can tell you. My Tesla can
tell us a lot about what’s going on in there when you turn the gun on a brain. As
long as the bursts of the field are tightly timed, Tesla is going to be able to find what
is jumping to that tune in a monkey brain.”

“Shouldn’t be too hard,” said Giles. “There are monster capacitors that have to load
up for about 30 seconds before you can pull the trigger, but once they’re topped off
the use is continuous until the thing goes dead, maybe ten minutes later. A yellow
warning light on the gun tells you when you’re running out of juice. Once we knock
an animal out, the effect seems to last about 30 minutes even with the field turned
off, so there’s plenty of time to reboot the gun. During the time the gun is armed,
you can fire bursts or just hold down the trigger. Of course you use up your power
quicker if you keep the pedal to the metal, but there’s no need. During a burst you
could sweep the gun through 360 degrees if you wanted, or a pie sliced as wide as
you want. But I’m worried about the temporal component that Tesla needs.
Apparently the brain is changing state and then staying there for a half hour. So we
just have one window in time when you can tell Tesla to look for the onset of the
effect. Then it may be thirty minutes before the brain goes back to default waking
state, able to show us the reaction again.”

“Yeah. You have to tell Tesla where to look. She can’t watch a whole brain looking
for a single timed event. You can see how ideal it would be to send in a signal like a
ticking metronome, and then Tesla could spend all day if she wanted, until she found
a bundle of nuclei pulsing to that beat. I‘m going to have to think about how to work
around that.”

Gary said, “What about your EEG? Can you ask it this kind of question?”

“Absolutely, Gary,” I said. “It’s much better suited to such a task. This is like no
other EEG I ever saw. On the one hand EEG is like trying to understand how a car
engine works by listening through a stethoscope on the hood. But this new
technology is as if the computer can take the sound of the engine and tease out the
individual sounds of the combustion, the fan belt, the cam, the valves, the carb, and
everything else, and then depict the sequence of events it’s hearing, and how deep
under the hood each one is positioned. I think this is our best shot.”

“Just thought of something,” said Giles. “Now that the gun is portable we can take
that lab to Tesla instead of vice versa, but the gun’s field might give Tesla a splitting


“Shit!” I said. “Of course you’re right. When it comes to magnetic fields, Tesla might
be like the princess who can’t sleep when there are 20 mattresses on top of a pea.
The stun field might even break her for all I know. But this is speculation and we’ll
know more when we get into it. For starters, I’ll do some EEG screenings. The next
thing would be to turn Tesla on, right after the stun gun was turned off, and hope to
see some residual events after we know better where to look. I’m pretty excited
about establishing a model of whatever you are inducing in these critter’s brains. It
has to be big and bad, to do what it’s doing. I’m sure we can image it eventually.”

The day soon came for our first animal tests. Giles called a meeting with a serious
tone of voice. Something was bugging him.

“We’re moving a step closer to operational and I’m concerned about security. Please
be 100% frank with me. What have you told Karen, Fred?”

“Not to worry, Giles,” I said earnestly. “She respects that this is a super secret
project. It’s awkward that I can’t tell her much about the science I’m doing, but she
understands this is a temporary thing.”

Giles looked relieved. “Love can make a man do things he would never do
otherwise, so you have to stay on top of this issue. Be patient. Karen is going to
know all about this, soon enough.”

“Well Fred,” said Gary, “The ball’s in your court now. You tell me what to do next.”

“I just need you and your gun, and a restricted test environment so the monkey
can’t be yanking out electrodes. Hell, we could probably start tomorrow morning if
that works for you. And of course you’re going to want to see the kick off, Giles.”

“I wouldn’t miss it for the world, guys. I am so proud of you both, and so grateful to
have you on board. I think we’re making history and I can’t think of two people I’d
rather share it with!”

This sounds infantile, but Gary and I both beamed with pleasure, like two little boys
who just won a medal at a spelling bee. I had to face it, walking back to my lab.
Giles’ approval meant more to me than I had admitted to myself. He was more an
authority figure than a friend, now. He was the boss, and I looked up to him in a
different way than before when we were semi-equals at UCLA. That glow I took out
of the conference room could only have been bestowed on me by some kind of father

I sat down at my desk and went into a reverie, flashing back to scenes of my
childhood. They all told the same story; trying to be somebody, and seeking
recognition against some odds, like my timid dad walking on egg shells to placate the
dragon lady, my anxious demanding mother who was popping valium all day and
shaming me every time I acted like a normal little boy. She wouldn’t allow me to
rough-house with my father. Everything I did was criminal because it gave her a
panic attack. But the worst part was how I was raised as a prince, the baby boy who
was totally spoiled compared to my sibs. My three older sisters viewed me as a pest
and I spent my childhood desperately trying in vain to win their acceptance and

attention. Then I started remembering all my efforts to get higher education,

publish, and lately, enjoy the admiration (or at least apple polishing) of medical
students. It all seemed so pathetic. My affair with Tesla was just another chapter of
the same book. If I were a workaholic my whole adult life, what would you call the
present? I was spending 18 hour days with Tesla, seven days a week. She was
going to take this self-doubting nobody and turn him into a somebody? Make me
famous? And was that going to make me feel like somebody? Probably not. And
was it fair to Karen to get half a lover because he was a workaholic? What if I
neglected her and lost her because of my long hours? Had I detected a tone of
jealousy in Karen’s voice when she “jokingly” referred to Tesla as my mistress?

Then I snapped to attention and gave myself a pep talk. “OK, so you haven’t been
very lucky at love and intimacy has been hard for you. You led a life of solitude and
tried to make the best of it. You put all your eggs in one basket, your work. And
now that’s really opening up for you, and you have a fatherly boss who appreciates
you, as opposed to your department head who could care less. And the most
beautiful woman in the world loves you. So what’s not to like? You made a big
investment and it’s paying off, plus your fragile self esteem is getting a shot in the
arm here. Count your blessings, buddy!”

For a while I sat there and felt a lot better. That all went away when a little voice in
my mind piped up, “Yeah, and I’m probably going to prison.”

The next day we started with EEG baselines on a Rhesus Monkey restrained in a
harness next to a deactivated Tesla. The EEG computer wants to compare
stimulated brain states to passive, inactive states, so we had to calm the monkey
down and give him a chance to get used to the new environment. We had a simple
device that triggered a marker on the EEG when the stun field went on, and again
when it went off. Later the computer would use those two known events to look for
associated events anywhere in the brain, guided by comparisons to baseline values.
After the monkey was happy and calm we collect 10 minutes of no-stimulation
baseline, and then some low stimulation minutes in which we spoke to the monkey.

Then we triggered the gun on our monkey from a safe area 40 yards away. The
testing lab had previously been sited far from offices on floors above and below.

After a brief burst of low power stun, we went back to the lab with a heightened
sense of suspense. I could tell Gary and Giles were both playing it cool and
professional, but right under the surface they were eager and anxious.

The three of us stood around the monkey, listening to his measured breathing. He
was almost snoring and was as limp as a rag doll, with eyes closed. I went into the
control room and looked at the stack of huge delta waves rolling across the screen
like a surfer’s dream ocean. These were classic waves of Delta’s incapacitating deep
dreamless sleep.

I hit the intercom button. “C’mon in here guys! I want you to be here when we look
at the first event.”

They were standing behind me a moment later. I hit a different screen and rewound
to the beginning of the session.

“What are we looking at?” asked Gary.

“This is the alert monkey and here comes the marker for the stun. Fasten your seat

“Holy shit! What was that?” exclaimed Gary.

I didn’t know. Right on time with the stun-on marker all 20 electrode lines on the
graph did a crazy dance unlike anything I’d seen. It was a little bit like a pulsing
seizure looks but only for a second. Within another second there were weak Delta
waves that rapidly built in amplitude to a peak in seconds more, and then marched
along for the rest of the session. Interestingly, there was no noticeable change when
the stun-off marker glided by on the plasma screen.

Giles made a frown and said, “Too soon to be sure, but there’s one thing about this
that can’t be ignored. Theoretically a magnetic field per se isn’t supposed to be able
to influence neurons much. We theorized that there was some sympathetic
resonance coming from the brain simply due to the low frequency, but this happened
instantly. It’s true we each have a built-in gravity meter created by calcium otoliths
and neural strain gauges. But I never heard of us having a magnetometer on board.
So how could our gun cause that little explosion? And we never did come up with an
explanation of how a magnetic field could induce anything in there. Now for the first
time we’re facing the brain phenomenon about which we seem to know nothing! And
while we‘re on the subject, how come the Delta keeps rolling after the field is turned

I got excited. “Now that you put it that way, and we’re looking at evidence of the
brain events instead of just the behavior, we have a hard publishable finding that will
have neuroscientists scratching their heads all over the world! Before you know it,
dozens of labs will replicate our setup and start investigating the phenomenon from
different directions.”

Giles‘ frown deepened. “Some day soon, Fred. But we’ve got other fish to fry in the
short term don’t forget.”

I pondered the situation with my mind racing. “What irony. Here I am looking at the
first completely original discovery I’ve ever participated in. Everything else has been
elaborating on other people’s ground breaking work. And this is the one time in my
life that it has to be a secret. In fact, if the commando raid happens, this discovery
would be state’s evidence of how we did it. Maybe some day we’ll publish it
anonymously or something. What am I saying? Nobody does that, at least since the
early astronomers were in danger of being murdered by the Pope for their
discoveries. Y’know what Giles? Stealth science sucks! This is not the way science
is supposed to serve society. We might as well be Big Pharma stealing federally
funded drug research to patent, and gouging sick people.”

Giles looked a bit defensive. “You are absolutely right of course. This is no way to
do science. But it might be a powerful way to serve society. That’s the only reason
we’re doing this work. I’m dreaming of a day when we can go public and be hailed
as heroic whistleblowers and researchers. In fact, that’s a necessary ingredient. If
we can’t stand up and successfully defend our actions and findings some day, the
credibility of all we uncover would remain suspect.”

Gary spoke up. “You dudes are getting ahead of yourselves. We don’t have anything
to report because we don’t know what we are observing. First things first. Is the
stun field safe. Does it work on humans. Can it safely be brought to bear on solving
social problems like fascist ex-presidents, deadly police tasers, or war casualties. I
recommend we worry about these practical questions before we get hung up on the
pure science issues like what’s it made of and what can this teach us about the

“Well said!” exclaimed Giles.

I disagreed reluctantly. “I’m thinking a lot about Jeff Schwartz’s book, The Mind and
the Brain: Neuroplasticity and the Power of Mental Force. That was the first place I
ever saw a mention of how intention and will could conceivably push the
deterministic brain around by means of quantum physics. In fact if Jeff were
standing here right now, he’d probably suggest that our stun field did its deed in the
quantum domain, which is why we are so confused in our Newtonian attempts to
understand, and he’d go on to point out that the principle of neuroplasticity bears
powerfully on everything we’re looking at. If you haven’t read Jeff’s book I think it’s
time you did. This would be well worth revisiting after you have read it. For now,
please bear with me while I hit a couple of the high points. There’s a vast
neuroplasticity literature out there best summed up by a common finding. Take a
guy who went blind at 40. So for 40 years his entire occipital cortex, the whole back
surface of his brain, was processing information supplied by his eyes. There were
billions of neurons doing that visual work. So the poor guy goes blind and turns to
Braille. He’s dedicated. He learns it and reads it every day for hours, running his
fingertips over all those bumps and valleys on the page.”

“A few years later we do some stimulation mapping and discover that the billions of
neurons that used to connect his visual cortex to his eyes, are now connected to his
fingertips. He has sculptured his brain radically with intentionality, force of will, and
focused practice.”

“Here’s another classic case that has been repeated a thousand times. A guy has a
stroke that wipes out motor control to the left side of his body, leaving very little left.
His natural inclination is to use his good hand and work around the bad one. We can
map all that and see that his weak side has a few surviving motor units, a tiny
fraction of what he has on his right side. So, knowing about neuroplasticity, we put
his good arm and hand in a cast. He hates it of course because we’re forcing him to
play to his weak suit. Muttering and resenting, he goes through his months fighting
with his weak side, out of sheer desperation. Viola! All that focus and attention
triggers neuroplasticity which is no more than a billion neurons showing up for work
every morning and saying, ‘whadaya want today, boss?’ In this case the answer is
‘make the best of a bad thing and pick stuff up with the bad hand.’ As time passes
billions of nerves drop what they’re doing and join the party where the intention, will,
focus, and motivation is. That‘s when you take off the cast and declare the stroke
victim rehabilitated.”

“Even a single neuron, any one out of a hundred billion, prefers high priority work, to
work the boss cares little about.”

“If you don’t get that part, ask Darwin about it. The best at adaptation have the best

Darwinian fitness. Neuroplasticity is a crowning achievement driving adaptability.

Here’s a joke. How does a female atheist express having orgasm? Answer: She
screams ‘Oh Darwin Oh Darwin Oh Darwin etc.‘ But I digress. How all this maybe
gets back to non-“physical” and maybe non-Newtonian physics of intentionality? I
was talking about the mental boss who directs neurons with intention and purpose.
Is that boss just a history of reinforcement and punishment that shaped him? Is he
just a mechanical reacting machine, albeit a very complicated one? Jeff does a good
job of debunking a myth that has held back the neurosciences for a long time. Even
today some fairly respected scientists support it. They say that matter cannot be
acted upon by non-matter. The brain is material, not abstract. Therefore it can only
be pushed around by material objects. Therefore, all the phenomena we attribute to
“mind” are really just the noises being made by squishy machinery, and what we
think to be self, or intention, or purpose, is just as much of a hoax as a robot
believing he has a feeling heart or a sense of unique identity.”

“A willful intent that isn’t mechanical and material can’t make nerves do work based
on Newton‘s billiard ball universe. What can? Quantum mechanics is just Jeff’s
guess and there’s no proof really, except that quantum effects can transcend
physicality and synaptic exchanges are tiny enough to maybe, just maybe, react to
quantum forces in a meaningful manner. There’s some talk about the synapse being
overrated as the dispersed control center of the brain.”

“Here’s an email I got the other day from a physicist who works in neurology now. I
wrote him about this issue not long ago.

1) Quantum mechanics is certainly at play, but probably not in the synapse. The
whole synapse/digital signal theory of how the nervous system is integrated is
almost certainly very wrong.

2) Information is more likely transmitted through phase changes in the state of the
water that fills the dendrites, the synapses serving an auxiliary function. My friend
Jerry reminds me that water is not a liquid, it's a gel, and as such it can assume
many states of collective organization, and can support waves of phase change along
the gel's surface.

3) Information is stored holographically and while this sounds exotic, the fact is that
most information in the world is stored and retrieved in that manner. Visual
information is perceived holographically, for example. The eye decodes the
holographic information stored in the visual field, and it does this without the use of
a coherent beam in the traditional manner of the flat film hologram. There may be a
quantum-based coherent reference for information decoding somewhere in the brain,
or there may not be. It's not clear to me that one is necessary. What is clear is that
there is great resistance to exploring the idea. My friend Carl Pribriam did the
seminal work, but as a physicist I can easily think of many simple experiments that
could be done that would shed much light on the matter, but which are not proposed,
funded, or undertaken. That’s one good reason why I would be frustrated as a

Gary and Giles were nodding their heads as I continued. “Some day soon we are
going to have to explore whether the stun can induce phase changes on the surface
of neural gels, but that’s not for right now. Suffice it to say that whatever is driving
neuroplasticity could very well be the mechanism that allows our stun guns to induce

Delta waves, and could be our clue to a deeper neural process. Or maybe we’ve
stumbled onto a door to a netherworld of the deterministic brain where intentionality
has to be mechanical. I don‘t think so. Jeff was trying to figure out how will and
intention can push the deterministic brain powerfully though non-mechanically. My
take on this is that our otherwise useless magnetic field has chanced to land on a
sweet spot, a frequency envelope the brain is tuned into, a gateway to quantum
effects that require no physicality, no mass, no particular momentum, maybe even
no energy or speed. Why? Because we have every reason to believe that our stun
field delivers totally insignificant amounts of those to the mammalian brain, and yet
that brain dances to the tune it cannot possibly hear in the Newtonian domain.”

Gary was getting increasingly agitated as I spoke and now he interjected

vehemently, “But now you’re into metaphysics, by definition! You aren’t talking
about god, but you’re speculating that this squiggle on a screen may not have any
physical cause. How about saying that we are looking at physical evidence of a living
thing touched by a non-physical God. A God who can reach into every brain and do
whatever he wants, until three scientists come along and find him doing his work?”

I had to think that one over for a while, it was so unexpected. “Okaaay…… We don’t
understand what we’re seeing and people have always tended to attribute unknown
phenomena to gods. But what’s your point?”

“You totally missed it,” growled Gary. “I’m suggesting that we’re seeing God’s hand
at work here. The ghost in the machine.”

“Dear Gary, I have the utmost respect for your intelligence. The proof of that is that
I have bet my life, my career, my freedom, on my faith in it. I’m here because two
people I believe to be of superior intelligence have convinced me that this can work
and we can survive it. I am relying on you and Giles to be realistic people. By
realistic I mean in touch with reality and smart and mentally healthy enough to know
the difference between reality and wishful delusions which tend to be driven by
needs like fear, emptiness, depression, and existential angst. I assumed that both of
you have faced these challenges, sucked it up, and chose reality instead of
comforting delusions. In other words, if you wish to invoke a god or two at a time
like this, I’m going to have to re-evaluate whether I dare to link my destiny with
yours. Does god speak to you? What are the chances god is going to command you
to give me up?”

Gary was giving me a very strange and energetic look, something like a burning gaze
along with a quivering lower lip. I was feeling disoriented. One of my formerly rock
solid co-conspirators in crime had just gone intellectually slippery and unpredictable
on me. Gary stuttered for a while and then spit it out:

“This shouldn’t have anything to do with my faith and my beliefs in the goodness of
God. I’m doing my job as it was assigned to me and you have no right, no fucking
right, to question my spiritual life in the workplace, especially as a higher ranked
employee. My beliefs are my business, not yours. Believe me, I‘ll not make the
mistake of sharing them with you again!”

Giles jumped in with a worried placating tone. “Break it up boys! Everybody knows
that religion is personal and doesn’t belong in the workplace. Live and let live is the
answer to this kind of stuff. Don’t bring it to work!”

But I was steamed, and scared too. “You forgot the part about politics and religion
being in bad taste when people are trying to get along politely in the workplace or a
dinner party with strangers. But this isn’t a dinner party and the whole freaking
project is permeated with politics. And now we’re looking at phenomena that may
imply metaphysical questions. This isn’t idle gab around the coffee machine in the
employee lounge. This is thinking, pertinent to the task at hand which has risks to
life and limb. I can get along fine with a delusional monotheist in the next cubicle. I
can go years without talking to him about his beliefs if I need to. But there’s no way
in hell I’m going to place my life in the hands of a religious person. I’m ready to say
goodbye and thanks for the memories!”

I stormed out of the room, leaving the other two speechless.

This development led to a day-to-cool-off policy from Giles. So I spent a day with
the valley instead of Tesla, and it was a beautiful one, spent walking and enjoying
the parks. I walked lovely footpaths along manicured streams, decked with
decorative trees, and my heart soared with the peace and beauty of it. I made
allowances for Gary. He didn’t get here the way I did. He lacked a lot of formal
education and lived in a culture where monotheism was about as common to him as
water is to a fish. How does a fish even think about water? You have to know dry
before wet can mean anything to you. I would be just like him if I had gone to
church every Sunday and never was exposed to anything else. Who would have
exposed him to the great atheistic thinkers of the ages? I had been profoundly
influenced by reading such people who often risked their very lives to think and write
objectively about religion. Hopefully monotheism is in decline after so many
centuries of its being responsible for genocide and obscene atrocities committed in
the name of various deities. Catholics in Madrid Spain alone, burned an average of
three heretics a day for 300 years during the long hard inquisition. Throughout
history, atheists have shown heroic intellectual courage each time they wrote about
their beliefs.

My spiritual awakening started with Mark Twain who wrote something like, “If god
exists, he must be a vain sadistic bastard!” Thomas Jefferson was a great atheist
who knew enough to keep the light of his illumination under a basket. But his
private letters give him away. Jefferson was influenced by the age of enlightenment
led by the great atheists Voltaire, Boyle, Kant, and Diderot. Before them there were
so many brave enough to be burnt at the stake without committing intellectual
suicide. To me, the most noble and dignified death has been achieved by atheists
who calmly accepted their fate without resorting to the tranquillizer of blind faith. I
honor the dozens of courageous geniuses, dating all the way back to ancient Greece,
who suffered and sacrificed while providing enlightenment to liberate fortunates such
as me.

Religion has always enriched the power-mad popes and other kinds of rapacious
exploiters using it to further their selfish ends. Even the Buddhists, the least
monotheistic of them all, sponsored and glorified mass murder and torture during
the Japanese occupation of China. Bush’s cynical manipulation of religion for the sake
of power is nothing new. Just look at the “infallible” Pope’s empire, supported by an
army of ever freshly minted saints. I’ve known all this for decades and have become
quite comfortable in my atheism. I don’t have much respect for monotheists, be
they islamic, jewish, christian, or whatever. To me they’re largely irrelevant, more

about the past than the future, and usually no more than pesky. But Gary’s
delusional belief system could be dangerous to me personally and this development
made it harder for me to trust his judgment, especially if the chips were down. The
last person I want to face danger with, is a partner eager to embrace the rapture and
join jesus. What if jesus ain’t waiting for you, airhead? And please, don’t take me
with you to meet your supposed maker.

So I walked and ruminated most of the day and in the end it was Karen and Tesla
that showed me the True Way. I was going to give up the two loves of my life
because of my narcissistic intolerance of monotheists? Eating crow was the price I
had to pay, if I wanted to stay with them. I made my mind up to kiss ass, whatever
it took, to get back on Gary’s good side. I started composing my apology, the details
of which reveal me to be such a hypocrite, they shall not appear here. I supposed I
would walk over my own grandmother with track shoes on, to get back to Tesla and
Karen. This was the longest we had been apart since we met, and I was in serious

After the peace was brokered, we got back to work the next day. The next thing to
do was see what Tesla’s computer could tell us about the stun “ray”. This instrument
had capabilities I had only heard about and never accessed. The manual was five
inches thick and very heavy reading. There were so many ways the basic raw signal
data could be filtered, queried, correlated, mined, and interpreted. The burst of
neural noise seen when the monkey was stunned could be sliced and diced 50
different ways. First I learned that the signals were coming from all the right places,
brain centers associated with sleep such as the prefrontal area. It also seemed to
depress the activation of the preoptic areas seen during sleep, just the opposite of
what a sleep inducer should do. It wasn’t seizure activity. It matched the frequency
of the stun ray, telling us what we already knew; the stun field was inducing
something. I still didn’t know what, but I had some good ideas about how I wanted
to aim Tesla on the next level of inquiry.

The next time, the monkey was strapped to the sled with his head carefully
immobilized. As before he was knocked out by the stunner, but this time the main
point was to see whether Tesla could keep her composure with it on. I would have
been surprised to get a clear image from her, but she delivered a beautiful series of
them. What we saw were a series of cross sections of the monkey brain with colors
representing the degree of activation. Gray was background idling, and then the
colors got hotter towards the areas where serious things were happening, showing a
gradient that focused on a specific area. Once again we gathered around the plasma
screen and pondered the meaning of it.

Giles said, “What can you tell me about this cold spot in the fronto-parietal cortex?”

I answered, “fMRI sleep investigations always show this. From what I can see, it
wouldn’t look any different if we just happened to catch the monkey napping
naturally. What interests me is how cold the preoptic area looks. I’ve always
thought that the reason sleep activates this area is to give you dreams. Delta sleep
is dreamless among other things, so maybe that explains it. I don’t believe I’ve ever
seen fMRI images of Delta sleep, so I’ll have to check that out.”

Gary said, “To summarize, we have yet to see any safety issues. You’re saying the
sleep looks normal so far. The animals we’ve zapped numerous times with enormous

field strength don’t show any gross behavioral or blood chemistry problems that we
can see. If the stunner turns out to be completely safe, this can only enhance its

I had a sudden idea. “Y’know, if we could slow down the onset by creeping up the
field strength gradually, this might give us enough time to get some three
dimensional images tracing the activity as it develops. This technology is new to me,
and one of the really unique things about Tesla 4.4. Can the gun do that for us?”

It was comforting to note Gary’s enthusiasm. Maybe he had forgiven me and wasn’t
nursing a resentment. “Easy as pie! How much time do you need to get enough
cross sections?”

“I’ll have to work it out. Give me a little time to master this feature of Tesla’s and
get your gun ready. I’m pretty sure I can get a playback of the event.”

Forty eight hours later we had a different monkey on the sled, a gun we could
remotely turn up, and Tesla all primed to show us her magic. The monkey received a
gradually increasing dose as Tesla scanned cross sections as fast as she could. Then
it was time to walk back to the lab and file into the control room while the monkey
slumbered. I instructed Tesla to make it into an ultra slow motion 3-D movie. First
we saw the basic three dimensional forms of a monkey brain as if made from glass.
Faint vague colors came and went within the glass brain as the monkey waited for
his dose inside the donut. Then came the first sign the stunner had crossed a
threshold. Cool colors began to congeal and take form in the prefrontal area. As the
colors got warmer the active area grew and became more distinct. Now it looked like
a pulsating three dimensional blob which then began morphing almost as if a thick
snake were emerging from it. The colors became warmer and brighter as the column
of light gracefully swayed. I flashed on the memory of a snake charmer coaxing a
cobra out of a basket. Maybe all three of us had become mesmerized by that motion
because we gasped in unison when the “head” of the snake thrust upward and went
off, kind of like the burst of professional fireworks. Bolts of bright lights gracefully
blossomed upwards triggering a pulsating glow from the surface cortex. It was
absolutely beautiful, but somehow incredibly sinister too. I had goose pimples and
the hackles were raised on the back of my neck. Giles’ face was pale and he had a
crazy look in his eye. Gary pulled himself together and spoke.

“What was that? Can you tell me what it meant?”

“It reminded me of a snake. I think that’s why I’m shaking,” said Giles.

“Me too,” said Gary.

“Ditto for me,” I said. “That must be a strong resemblance. Most humans have a
deep primal fear of snakes, like an ancestral memory burned into their DNA. What
I’m guessing we saw, was the manner in which neural pathways were rapidly
recruited and directed to induce a sudden train of Delta waves distributed throughout
the brain. I think what spooked me the most was how it seemed so intentional,
almost like the thrust of it was seeking the right bundle and then poured on the gas
when it found what it wanted.”

“That’s exactly what gave me the creeps,” said Giles. “Hey, look at it now.

Everything is just pulsating and I don’t see anything of the blob where it started.”

“It’s really interesting that it made so much sense in super slow motion.” I said. “In
real time that whole dance only took seconds. Consider also that the colors are total
artifacts Tesla put in there for definition. And the snake itself was generated by
mathematical functions interpreting subtle magnetic changes….such indirect
observation. What we saw was largely phony, yet still it lived and breathed for me.”

“No kidding,” said Gary.

“Absofuckinglutely unbelievable,” muttered Giles.

“Maybe not,” I ventured. “Maybe this has more to do with it being our first look
through this kind of lens. Maybe all kinds of brain processes will exhibit that, what?,
intentionality, while the brain is doing its normal work. Y’know there aren’t very
many people on this earth that have looked at the brain this way. Tesla 4.4’s are a
third more expensive than the standard 3.0 you see everywhere, and pretty rare on
the market.”

“Jeff Schwartz might have observed this snake and concluded he was viewing the
standard intentionality of the day to day brain.”

Giles had a thoughtful frown and kept rubbing his chin. “Maybe I’ll regret saying this
tomorrow, but right now I feel pretty sure that whatever we’ve got here is way way
over our heads. It’s a wonder. It’s scary. It’s entertaining, but we still don’t know
sweet bugger all what it is and I seriously doubt if we ever will. But look at the
known facts. Even our most radiated animals appear healthy and happy. The
cleverest EEG in the world reported normal delta sleep patterns, not seizures, not
neurons dying. And Tesla here, the great show woman, is showing us delta sleep
that may or may not be normal, depending on what the literature says about
preoptic depression in delta, if it has an opinion. My inclination is to take a dose of
the stunner real soon. I predict it isn’t going to hurt me, and we’ll have ourselves a
marvelous tool, even if we’re about as informed as a monkey sitting at a
supercomputer. What matters is what it does. Leave the pure science of it to the
time we’re all smarter.”

I thought about it during the long pause that followed. “Yeah. I hear you. Only we
can eat our cake and have it too. It would take me at least a year to begin to exploit
all the talents Tesla can bring to these questions, and that’s work well worth doing.
But hell, lots of drugs have been tried on humans that had probable risks far beyond
what we see here. Sure there’s a risk. Sure we don’t know how much. It feels safe
enough for me to want a dose too.”

“Let’s sleep on it, guys,” said Gary. “I for one, am not interested in having a snake
writhing around in my brain, even if it is mostly smoke and mirrors and electrons.
Right now the idea of getting stunned makes my skin crawl. But I completely
endorse the idea of getting practical and not getting swallowed up in the hall of
mirrors this could become, if we worry too much about what we don’t know. How
about moving on to the animal analog of protecting humans from the effects? Have
you been thinking about that, Fred?”

“Yeah, a fair bit a actually. The quick and dirty solution might be drugs. It wouldn’t

take long to test the most obvious ones, like methamphetamine, Ritalin, cocaine;
any old stimulant would be a start. How about shielding?”

Gary scratched his scalp. “We could whip up a Faraday cage in a day, but I’m
assuming that the magnetic field is doing the work, not some electromagnetic wave
that’s a chance artifact. Probably a waste of time. It would be real easy to build
little monkey shelters of various materials and see what might work.”

Giles had brightened up. “All right then! I like the direction this is going. No time to
get bogged down.”

I continued to study Tesla’s manual. Wouldn’t you worship your new operators’
manual, if you just traded in your rusty ‘64 VW for a Lear Jet? Science depends
almost entirely on measurement, and the quality of it. Sometimes scientific thought
has to wait for hundreds of years for technology to provide it with the measurement
needed to answer the most pressing questions preventing progress. The telescope
destroyed the church’s geocentrism and the microscope revealed microbes, long
after visionary doctors were fired and called crazy for guessing the existence of
germs. William Harvey postulated the circulation of blood in the body 300 years
before it could be confirmed by instrumentation. That was a long wait. With few
exceptions, breakthroughs in instrumentation are the key to progress.

Tesla wasn’t as unique as the first telescope by any means, but by having her I
became a card carrying member of an elite numbering fewer than 30 with access to
this marvelous technology. I felt a sense of urgency because that number could be
500 within a year or so. This would probably be the last time in my career I’d have
such a competitive advantage. In science, if you want to be on the leading edge,
find the baddest instruments. That’s where the action is. This kept me awake with
delusions of grandeur some nights. Positively manic! No drug ever delivered such a
great high.

Thus Tesla’s manual was no mere book. It was my stairway to heaven! My key to
the secrets of the universe. The print jumped off the page and embedded itself in my
mind as if armed with barbed hooks, my hungry intellect screaming for more, like a
heroin junkie jonesing for a fix. Holy Christ! Those were some of the best hours of
my life! Maybe you thought the intellectual life was drab and dull?

Reading about new fMRI findings only whetted my appetite and I spent a lot of time
following up Google leads or new Medline publications. One night at 3 AM Google led
me to a little article in an online magazine called Wired, written by Steve Silberman.
Here‘s the paragraph that caught my eye:

This is a very, very clear single-case experiment," she says. In both sets of images,
the areas of my cortex devoted to language lit up during my inner monologues. But
there is more activity on the deception scans, as if my mind had to work harder to
generate the fictitious narrative. Crucially, the areas of my brain associated with
emotion, conflict, and cognitive control - the amygdala, rostral cingulate, caudate,
and thalamus - were "hot" when I was lying but "cold" when I was telling the truth.

"The caudate is your inner editor, helping you manage the conflict between telling
the truth and creating the lie," Hirsch explains. "Look here - when you're telling the
truth, this area is asleep. But when you're trying to deceive, the signals are loud and


Subsequent literature searches turned up confirmation of these findings. I couldn’t

find anything on this topic done on Tesla 4.4’s, but it was only a matter of time.

The next morning I told Giles about the lie detector fMRI‘s, guessing that some of
Tesla’s unique features could do the job even better. This seemed to get his full
attention. A very intense focused look filled his eyes, and you could almost hear the
gears and watch works in his mind striking sparks and gnashing teeth. “So are you
saying that Tesla could be configured to become a deadly accurate lie detector?”

“Her clunky-by-comparison predecessors are already that. She could be so good it

would be scary, like thought control, nobody being able to hide a secret, almost like
reading minds if you had the right questioner.”

We made hard and meaningful eye contact. “Are you thinking what I’m thinking,
Tonto?” said Giles.

“Kemosabe, I am indeed, and it’s a fucking incredible thing of beauty to behold!”

Giles closed his eyes and put both hands over his face. When he removed them he
had an ecstatic grin and a wicked gleam in his eye. “I’ve seen the future, Fred. Tesla
will accompany us to Mt. Washington, and the two of you will make history there. I
have to get your MRI suite specs to my engineers pronto, ‘cuz our hideaway must be
made ready for our Queen; her Majesty must not be kept waiting!” We exchanged
high fives as if we had already scored the winning touchdown at the super bowl.
Now we didn’t just have our stunner, but another secret weapon, in its way
potentially even more powerful than the gun.

Giles got right into the execution. “Forget the user protection problem and forget
every aspect of Tesla but her lie detector potential. Read everything that’s been
written on this and see what her unique features can contribute. This has utmost
high priority. I’ll delegate all drug and shield testing to Gary for the time being. You
have no more than a month to be ready to move Tesla up North and be operational,
so chop chop, buddy. Why are you still standing here? There’s a world to be saved!

Human Testing

Three weeks later we met in the board room to trade updates. Gary kicked off. “I’m
stumped. You could say a lot of what I’m finding is, in a sense, indirect evidence of
this squirrelly slippery effect being something under the radar, maybe not even
physical, as stupid as that sounds. If it were physical, it should have trouble
dropping an animal protected by six feet of lead, steel, you name it. If it were
physical, massive doses of methamphetamine should at least slow down the effects a
little bit. The only physical thing about it is the way effectiveness drops off over
distance. Everything I’ve learned is negative information about what it isn’t and what
doesn’t work. Sorry guys, I guess I’ve let the team down.”

“Not so fast, Gary,” said Giles. Our plans have just taken on new importance on
account of information I’ll share with you in a minute. The timetable may have to be
squeezed considerably. I think all three of us should focus on stun operator

protection since it’s the essential operational hurdle. Maybe we can come at the
problem from three different directions. Here’s why there’s less time than we
thought. I was just about to announce that I may have identified the time and place
we can capture our targets. I’ve been scanning all sorts of sources on the internet,
tracking speaking engagements of the Bush crime family, looking for a chance to find
as many as possible of them in the same room. I just ran into an announcement
about a very special fund raising event for the GOP to be held in Seattle in about two
and a half months. It’s by-invitation only, a ten thousand dollar a plate banquet at
the Olympic Hotel. This is going to be a big love-in attended mostly by local
Microsoft millionaires and, get this, Bush, Cheney and Rove! There may be some
others of interest too. This could be the only chance in a long long time you’ll find
the big three in the same room. It’s too good to miss.

The bad news is that we have so much to do, but the good news is I haven’t been
telling you about just how close to ready we are. The Mt. Washington facility is
completed, and weeks away from being operational. The transport problems for our
little rendition are largely solved. We have a splendid AgustaWestland 109 Power

I am certified to fly it. The aircraft’s cover is elegant. It’s configured for medical
service and licensed for international medevac duty. It’s owned by a company you
can trace to the Grand Caymans, where the trail goes stone cold. It has already
transferred injured American tourists from Victoria BC’s trauma center to Seattle’s
Harborview Medical Center and vice versa with Canadian tourists here. It does not
have to comply with air traffic control operators except for the purpose of staying out
of air lanes. It tends to go from an accident scene to a hospital helipad, so it has an
excuse to be off the beaten path. Medevacs off a ski hill are not uncommon. It does
its missions of mercy, almost literally off the radar. The helipad at Harborview
Medical Center is a few blocks from the Olympic Hotel. This bird of mine I love
dearly, cruises at 150 knots which is just over 170 miles an hour. Door to door, as
the crow flies, Mt. Washington is about 200 miles from Seattle. It’s conceivable that
we would be leaving US airspace before enough people woke up and went into action
to mount an intensive search.

Two and a half months from now puts us right around Christmas time. By then, Mt.
Washington will be crawling with skiers’ cars going and coming. Getting in and out
by car or helicopter will not attract attention. The copper mine entrance will be
almost invisible when we’re done. All the work up there is being done by skilled
Mexican workers who will disappear back into Mexico without a trace when they’re
finished. They don’t even know what country they’re in! They think they’re working
for the CIA and share rumors that they would be killed if they talked about it back
home. Locals believe we’re covering toxic mine tailings to prevent erosion of toxic
amounts of copper. Historically this has sterilized the Tsolum River, wiping out
salmon runs and every other living thing. The reclamation of the river is quite
popular with the locals, and people are happy that somebody is up there working on
the problem. Incidentally, we actually are sequestering the tailings and saving the
river, having won a bid on a provincial grant.

Here’s a nice little twist. Mt. Washington has a profile that bears a striking
resemblance to George Washington’s. The big chair deposits skiers onto the tip of
his nose. From there you have a spectacular view of Comox Valley, the Straits of
Georgia, and The Coastal Mountain Range on the mainland. It’s almost a vertical

drop to the valley 5,000 feet below. Standing there, our mineshaft is two or three
thousand feet lower and hidden from view off to the right, just about where
Washington’s right ear would be. But before you get all romantic about saving
democracy from inside the stone cranium of a huge George Washington, I’m sorry to
have to tell you the mountain is named after a British Navy hydrographer named
John Washington, born in 1800 and deceased in 1863. He carried on a long
correspondence with Charles Darwin because of their similar interests. February 12,
2009 was the 200th anniversary of both Lincoln and Darwin’s birth, as you may recall.
So now you can connect the naming of the mountain to that era. I believe that an
important chapter of American history is going to be written inside this beautiful
Canadian mountain. Ha! Gives new meaning to Martin Luther King’s ‘I’ve been to
the mountain!’ Later when Bush says that phrase, it’ll mean something entirely

“Sorry for rambling. Back to the point, which is this. The three of us should be able
to manage the whole show without a single additional soul being privy to information
that could connect us to the kidnapping. But to achieve that level of security, we
have to be like Yojimbo. From beginning to end the planning and execution has to
be impeccable. The stunner is going to give us options no kidnapper ever enjoyed.
And Tesla could open a door to an outcome better than our fondest dreams. It’s just
possible that Tesla is going to extract information so deep and dark, it will far exceed
our most paranoid delusions of just how shocking and ugly Bush’s crimes really are.”

“This is the turning point. From now on, we are working on a war footing. If you’re
not 110% committed to the project I need to know.”

Giles gave me a steady gaze and I looked away. Truth time!

“I’ve been taking a lot on faith, Giles, and now I know far more about the plan than
before. Thanks for that. Can you reassure me about how we are going to walk away
from this as free men?”

“Certainly, Fred. That’s only fair. Here’s my fundamental principle. No plan is ever
perfect and this one has its risks. I believe extracting the truth from the Bush crime
family would strengthen democracy in the USA to such a great degree that it would
be any citizen’s patriotic duty to put their own safety and comfort at risk towards this
end. Many American boys have been called to die in wars that shouldn’t have been
fought. ‘Not theirs to reason why, theirs but to do and die, into the valley of death,
rode the six hundred.’ If the light brigade would have had stunners, the poem would
have sounded different! Well, we can reason why and the facts tell us that we have
been put in a position to serve our society as few ever could. This war is a righteous
one. Speaking for myself, this is such a high calling, I’m perfectly clear in my mind
that I must give it 100% because I owe it to my society and its future.”

“Another way to look at it, is how would I feel if I chickened out? The chance of a
lifetime to do one truly shining good deed, to the benefit of millions. I really don’t
think I could live with the guilt if I copped out.”

“Having said all that, I don’t intend on getting caught. We are going to have
fabulous alibis. After the confessions have been extracted and anonymously
published, we have a bullet proof exit strategy. The copper mine is going to cave in
on itself and it would take a year for anyone to dig it out. And if they did, there

wouldn’t be any evidence there that could be used against us. The times we are
vulnerable to bad luck and accidents are brief. Getting three unconscious people out
of the Olympic Hotel and airborne undetected is the biggest challenge of the whole
affair. After that, the choreography is simple in comparison.”

“The key to the success of the raid is the stunners. We’ll have three guns with three
fields of fire. Used effectively, the guns will create space and time in which we can
work almost leisurely. Bank robbers have a handful of minutes before the bank is
going to be surrounded by police. As we move through space we create a mobile
island of sleep that neutralizes opposition. Who will give the alarm? Eventually
somebody will observe what’s going on from the safe periphery, or walk into a zone
of sleep we’ve left, but with the guns set at maximum range. We ought to be able to
delay the alarm substantially. None of these security personnel have strategies
designed to counter such a weapon.”

“We pull up to the Olympic in a stolen ambulance, lights flashing. We’re garbed as
EMT’s and the stunners look like first aid gear. Each of us pushes a wheeled litter. We
head for the conference room and turn on the stunners when we encounter security.
We storm the dining room, hose it down with stunners, load the boys on litters, and
wheel them back to the ambulance. Minutes later we’re loading the copter, engaging
in behavior that happens at Harborview around the clock. Nobody even looks up.
We have a head start because we’ve left sleep and confusion in our wake at the
Olympic. I fly towards the Cascade Mountains telling air control I’m off for an
eastern Washington pick-up. When I get to the mountains I take a left and hide from
radar all the way to the BC border. Then I take another left. Once I get to Vancouver
Island I’d go down on the deck and thread my way through the mountains and
valleys, off anybody’s radar until we reached Mt. Washington. Oh, by the way, once
in custody, we keep the boys under with IV sedatives. They are blindfolded. They
are never going to see our faces or have any way to guess where they are. When
they become conscious, they are going to be deep in the bowels of the mountain.
When we let them go the reverse will happen. They’ll never even know they were in
an aircraft, let alone where. This all will be highly disorienting for them.”

I was glad that Gary spoke up, because I was feeling put on the spot.

“In many ways it’s a brilliant plan in its directness and simplicity. The ambulance and
EMT disguises are a natural. But the Secret Service is going to fortify the Olympic
Hotel like Fort Knox. Such a public appearance of Bush and cronies will call for car
bomb protection with streets cordoned off, snipers on rooftops, maybe even hovering
helicopters. The SS is going to worry about getting them in and out of the hotel
which probably means heavily armed convoys. All this ordinance and layers of
outdoor security aren’t going to pass an ambulance without it being searched. The
skirmishing could commence a block before you get to the hotel.”

Giles was quick on the uptake, “That’s why I said we’ll start stunning when we reach
their security perimeter. I’m imagining several layers, including outside the hotel.
But the so called combat outside is going to be silent, so the disguises are there to
give us the drop on the security people inside who don’t have a clue yet. “

I was finally ready with some thoughts. “Given an effective radius of thirty yards,
inside our stuns cover everyone. But outside, you have to wonder what will be going
on with the outer boundary of our circle-of-sleep. Will there be snipers out of our

range? If so, they’ll think we killed everyone with poison gas or something. The
natural thing to do would be to blast away on full automatic. That wouldn’t be fun.”

“Also, I was thinking of the last scene of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. They
come running out, and there’s a couple thousand soldiers ready for them. If we stir
up a hornet’s nest on the way in, what will it look like later when we come out?”

Giles’ face showed intense thought. “I think we can be in and out again within a
matter of a few minutes. But your point is well taken. Time is of the essence
because you don’t want to face even a single shooter outside our range, when we
come out. This is something we can rehearse and time. The circle-of-sleep has a
diameter of sixty yards. Impose that on a city street. It reaches deeply into the
blocks on bother sides. And don’t forget, it’s sphere, not a disc. Thirty yards up is
the top of the sleep dome in the middle of the street, tapering off to right and left by
a few yards as you reach the building on either side. Say it’s 25 yards high along the
building facades. That’s 75 feet, maybe five or six stories depending on the building.
If snipers are the number one concern, they tend to be deployed on roofs and we
need to know how high those buildings are. Consider also that you can sweep
upwards with the stun wand, delivering 30 yards where you point it. Ninety feet
includes more stories. You could paint the rooftops on the way in as a precaution
even if you don‘t see anyone.”

Gary said, “We have a big advantage of surprise and shock. Even a battled hardened
war veteran has never seen a unit take 100% casualties in a heartbeat. An observer
would assume everyone died and he was next. There would have to be some degree
of panic. In fact, assuming there are going to be checkpoints outside, no point in
trying to fool them. They won‘t fall for our ruse and trying would only slow us down.
Far better to paint the whole area on the way in. That way, you’re greeted by a
peaceful scene coming out.”

Giles smiled a big toothy grin. “I can see it better now. That’s the beauty of the
stunner being non-violent. You can afford the luxury of shooting the place full of
holes; you can be totally ruthless, and the worst that can happen is a few bruises
from people dropping. I’d say the more people we can knock out, the more panic,
confusion, and disorder we’ll sow. Remember how I first described it, Fred? The
western movie where the bad guys never know what hit ‘em? That’s the ticket!”

I remembered, alright. “It was unclear what the hell you were talking about at the
time, Giles. It seems so long ago, as if I were young and naïve then. I suddenly had
a rush of dread. “What about helicopters? If there are any in the vicinity they can
track us from a safe distance or get murdered if they stray too close. We’d be
knocking them right out of the sky with pilots passed out at the controls. Their blood
would be on our hands.”

“I thought about that,” said Giles. “It’ll be a no fly zone but ex presidents don’t get
fighter air cover like when they’re in office. TV News helicopters won’t be allowed
even though they’d probably like to cover the anti-Bush demonstrations that are
bound to be there. Bush made his first such appearance at a closed Calgary dinner
and the security was actually quite light. There were riot police because of the
demonstrations, but no hardened check-points to stop suicide bombers and that sort
of thing. There were definitely no helicopters visible. Having them hovering low
overhead creates a nasty militaristic Big Brother sort of negative PR scene to be

avoided, though I’m sure helicopters will be deployed nearby or available. But there
will be all the TV news cameras in Seattle covering the demonstrations. When we go
in, there will be some flashes of truth broadcasted before the cameramen fall down,
and people in their living rooms are going to know something’s up. The same will
probably be true of security personnel watching monitors from a more remote
location, like a van down the street. They’ll want to call in reinforcements. What we
have going for us is the mass confusion; hundreds of people passed out, nobody
close to the action who can describe the situation, and the more distant witnesses
are going to assume that everybody’s dead. They’ll think it’s a poison gas attack and
be running for their lives the other way, or upwind.”

“Yes, there’s the possibility of a helicopter tripping over us by accident and we can
mitigate that risk tremendously by keeping an eye out and avoiding high energy long
range bursts skywards except for clearing snipers off rooftops. If it came to a
showdown with a helicopter trying to follow us, we’d have a tough choice between
being captured and shooting it down. I’m not sure which I’d do. With the panic and
chaos we’re going to unleash, people are going to get hurt and we have to accept
that. I can’t protect people from falling down a flight of stairs, but we sure can aim
and range our stuns with quite a bit of accuracy. Ain’t pretty, but neither are tyranny
and illegal invasions.”

I thought about all the drastic possibilities Giles had suggested, all the things that
could go wrong, and heaved a sigh.

“Here’s how it looks to me right now. I think that Tesla can be used to virtually read
minds in the sense that the subject will quickly come to understand that lying won’t
work. At that point, the choice is between refusing to cooperate, or telling the truth.
Half truths won’t pass muster because you are always asked, “Have you told me
everything about that issue? So Tesla knows if the subject is holding back anything.
This way you can dig deeper and deeper, if and only if there is some powerful
disincentive to just clamming up. If we knew we had that element, then I guess I
couldn’t bear the thought of missing those interrogations armed with such powerful
tools. There’s also the possibility that Tesla could read yes versus no answers from a
brain that was refusing to speak out loud. Combine those abilities with the judicious
use of waterboarding, and there’s no secret they can keep.”

“I’m scared out of my wits about getting into this. But if I passed up this opportunity
to expose the truth about the most harmful presidency in history, I would never
forgive myself. Count me in 100%.”

Giles didn’t show any glee. “It was in the cards from the beginning, Fred. I know
you and I know how passionately you feel about the horror of helplessly witnessing
the hijacking of all the ideals that made the USA better than a tin pot totalitarian
state. I know how ashamed you’ve been about paying taxes to support a
government that routinely tortures prisoners and blows up a million innocent
civilians. Once the stun became reality, you never really had a choice.”

I nodded glumly. He was right, but the clarity was nothing to celebrate. I was pretty
sure this was going to lead to an untimely death from multiple gunshot wounds. “Oh
well, I said to myself. There are worse ways to die than in a good cause.”

Gary said, “Clearly we have to solve the user protection problem, and fast. I’m out

of ideas and need help.”

I said, “Most of your animal testing happened before I got here, and I never looked
at it closely. Could you summarize what you did? Maybe there’s a clue there, or a
different way of asking the question.”

“We were looking for signs of damage,” Giles answered. “Imagine a doctor doing an
annual check up and all the labs that would be ordered. We did all the usual screens
and a few more. For instance we looked at liver enzymes, glucose tolerance, kidney
function, any organ system we could submit to a standard test. We looked at spinal
fluid constituents, cerebrospinal fluid pressure, reaction times for all kinds of stimuli,
and we spent a lot of time comparing pre and post stun learning and memory
performances. Everything was negative. No change pre and post. Not a smidgeon
of evidence pointing to physiological impact.”

“Did you consider actual brain biopsy? Some kind of minimally invasive needle
sampling?” I asked.

Gary looked interested. “We have the instrumentation, but nobody here had the
expertise to understand the data. What would you look for?”

I pondered the question for a while. “Off the top of my head, I’d be interested in
neuronal membrane material, and I’ll tell you why with apologies to Giles who knows
all this.”

Every cell in the body has a membrane covering it. What goes on inside the cell is
insignificant compared to what goes on at the membrane. The membrane is
selectively permeable with such a rich variety of responses you could almost call it
intelligent. Depending on certain conditions being met, the membrane decides what
to admit and what to reject. Receptor sites are like keyholes configured to fit
molecules of a specific shape. When these keys enter their locks, various responses
are triggered. Think of your billions of cells interacting with their environment this
way and you are seeing the fundamental dance of life called you. A long time ago
our ancestors evolved cells that used this dance to process information, hence the
first primitive neurons. Since then neurons have continued to differentiate from cells
evolving towards different purposes, but all cells in the body still have the primary
attribute of doing all their thinking and acting at the membrane.”

“In the brain, the rubber meets the road at the synapse where one nerve can
communicate with another. You have the presynaptic membrane on the neuron
sending the signal and the post synaptic membrane on the receiving side. A vast
number of custom designed receptor sites trigger activity when the right shaped
molecules lock into them. Every psychoactive drug acts on receptor sites at
synapse. Narcotics fit certain sites called the opiate receptors. They were there long
before humans learned how to smoke opium. We release our own opiate-like
molecules and heroin addicts only get high because synapses are designed to accept
home-made molecules, triggering pathways that kill pain, replacing it with pleasure.

“These are called endorphins or endogenous opioid polypeptides. Your body releases
them during heavy exercise, excitement, and orgasm, and this happens for good
reasons. You can see how this feature of the brain conferred Darwinian fitness on its

“Brain health is impossible without neuronal membrane health, and of the

membranes, the synaptic ones are absolutely crucial. So, instead of fooling around
with more synapse altering drugs and worrying about all kinds of home-made
neurotransmitters, maybe we can come at it from a different direction. Your drug
studies suggest the stunner’s action is not the release of some sleep agent at
synapse. If that were the case, methamphetamine would have trumped it with

Giles had been looking impatient as I gave my neuro 101 lecture. “Pardon me
interrupting, but my question is ‘so what?’ Where does this leave us? Cut to the
chase, please.”

“Sorry I’m just thinking out loud, but there’s a thread here. We were taught that the
synapse and its neurotransmitters are the only way the brain does its work. This is a
billiard ball Newtonian process. Meanwhile there’s a plethora of evidence that the
stun field is breaking Newtonian laws and showing us spooky abilities that might say
more about quantum mechanics. If a field can act on brain behavior at the quantum
level, we’re talking the sub-atomic level, not the molecular level. We’re talking about
pushing electrons around. A hydrogen atom is only about a ten millionth of a
millimeter in diameter, but the proton in the middle is a hundred thousand times
smaller, and the electron whizzing around the outside is a thousand times smaller
than that. The rest of the atom is empty. In other words, if neurotransmitter
molecules were the size of the earth, an electron might very roughly be the size of a
ping pong ball. Newtonian physics describes the behavior of very big objects;
quantum physics describes the behavior of stuff so tiny, you can’t get your brain
around it.”

“Please bear with me while I enlarge on this. Neils Bohr discovered the quantum
nature of the atom around the turn of the last century, and announced it in his
doctoral dissertation which was rejected by his committee as sheer lunacy. For the
next twenty five years his atom worked, both mathematically and experimentally. It
computed, and it was comforting that it resembled a little solar system, a nucleus
star with electron planets. Scientists could visualize it in their minds. Then along
came Pauli who dug into the math more deeply. He proved that the location of the
electron/planet had to be described by four numbers. Three of them exist in the
three dimensional world; latitude, longitude, and altitude. Our brains can see that
kind of imagery. The fourth number can’t be visualized in our reality, but it’s just as
real as up, down and sideways. Pauli tried to understand as a physicist what he
could not visualize. The effort literally drove him crazy. He engaged in therapy with
Carl Jung and was pollinated with Jung’s metaphysical theories. They co-published
papers about alchemy, spirituality, simultaneity, and all manner of occult phenomena
that suddenly became theoretically possible in a quantum world. Ever since then,
physics and occultism have had this uncomfortable affair, never quite marriage.
Mystics write books about their brand of spiritualism, marshalling evidence from
quantum physics, and the poor physicists can’t say, ‘This is impossible unscientific
hogwash. Anything they say can be hijacked by mystics to ‘prove’ the power of the

“There is a most astonishing example of this, being done by a mystical charlatan

named J.Z. Knight. This woman claims to be channeling the wisdom of an ancient
warrior named Ramtha. She does the age-old stunt, dating back to the most early

shamans, of feigning a trance and changing her tone of voice to become Ramtha.
She is very convincing. Devotees flock to her growing estates in Yelm Washington,
and pay Ramtha thousands of dollars for his advice. Many of these Ramsters give up
their careers and move to Yelm, just to participate in the cult. JZ may be many
things, but she is not a mediocre marketing person. Millions of dollars were raised
for a movie, two actually, called ‘What the Bleep Do We Know?’ purported to be
documentaries about leading edge theoretical physics. Some of the world’s leading
thinkers in quantum physics fell for the con, thinking that they were promoting their
latest book in a serious documentary. They must have blushed with shame and then
rage to see their little expositions about how spooky physics has become, followed by
commentary from JZ basically saying, ‘See. Ramtha knew all that!’ but in code of
course, never mentioning him. Or maybe they didn’t figure it out until they went to a
faculty meeting and were laughed out of the room by scornful colleagues. It was a
cult PR coup, still being viewed in movie theatres and on DVD’s by suckers who can
only conclude that JZ and by association Ramtha are fully endorsed by the world’s
greatest minds in physics! Absolutely brilliant con! Years ago she had a messy
divorce and her ex’s report of her private depravity became public in court
documents. Nobody noticed, but the information is still probably in the public
domain, waiting for some intrepid investigative journalist to let the air out of her
multi million dollar con. I mention this because you’ll find quantum physics invoked
any time some author wants to prove their mysticism is real. Trouble is, the truth
about quantum physics is more weird, counterintuitive, and bizarre than all those
wacko or criminal cult figures out there, put together.”

“If the stunner is triggering quantum phenomena, we are going to have to be

imaginative in the extreme, to guess where to look. For instance, if we look at the
neuron with new eyes, forgetting everything we’ve been taught about synaptic
transmission, what do we see? In atomic terms, what’s a neuron?” At the atomic
level, where electrons are no longer bound by clunky Newtonian laws, magnetic
fields like ours can theoretically do anything. The atom just needs to be susceptible
for some reason, where others aren’t.

Gary was looking uncomfortable, probably because his neuroscience knowledge was
self taught. But I remembered how Giles described him as gifted in creating the
right questions for clarifying almost any problem.

“I don’t know much about cells, but it must matter what they’re made out of.”

Giles chimed in, “Absolutely, and we’re talking about the membrane which is very
special tissue indeed. The bricks and mortar of membranes are the fatty acids.”

I said, “Yeah, and among them, one stands head and shoulders above all the rest.
Most of the membrane is made out of DHA.”

“What’s DHA?” asked Gary.

“Here’s a crash course about the single most important molecule I’ve ever met,” I
answered. “Docosahexaenoic acid is an omega-3 essential fatty acid. Fish oils are
rich in DHA. Most of the DHA in fish and more complex organisms originates in
photosynthetic and heterotrophic microalgae, and becomes increasingly concentrated
in organisms as it moves up the food chain. Most animals make very little DHA
through metabolism; however small amounts are manufactured internally through

the consumption of other omega-3 fatty acids found in plants and animals. DHA is a
major fatty acid in sperm and all cell membranes, especially neurons, and it’s most
rich in the retina. Dietary DHA reduces the risk of heart disease by reducing the level
of triglycerides. Low levels of DHA result in reduction of brain serotonin levels and
have been associated with depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety, Alzheimers,
aggression, fetal alcohol damage, schizophrenia, and a dozen other diseases.
There’s a mountain of experimental evidence that DHA supplementation is varying
degrees of helpful in the treatment of these illnesses. I’ve seen numerous well
designed double blind placebo controlled studies in which DHA outperformed

“Clearly DHA is more than a stoic brick in the membrane wall of the neuron. The
human brain is taking up significant amounts of DHA all the time, and this high
turnover rate is highly suggestive of it being used in ways we don’t understand yet.
I take handfuls of salmon oil capsules every day in the belief that this is the most
valuable brain food, not to mention all the other benefits. If you want to see how
much the brain depends on DHA I can show you the classic example. Brain damage
associated with alcohol abuse is almost 100% due to the way ethanol interferes with
DHA manufacturing in the body. Of course in fetal alcohol brain damage it‘s far
worse. What I’ve just summarized is just the tip of the iceberg. The DHA peer
reviewed literature would fill this room to the ceiling.”

“Getting back to the idea of atoms being susceptible to subtle forces, look at how
special the DHA atoms are arranged.”

Giles chimed in enthusiastically. “Yeah! It’s a unique arrangement, and the reason
why these molecules can be so useful in membranes.”

“Let me read a couple of abstracts to you,” I said, pulling up some files on my laptop.
Here’s one from Naturewissenshaften.”

‘The omega-3 polyunsaturate, docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), plays a number of

biologically important roles, particularly in the nervous system, where it is found in
very high concentrations in cell membranes. In infants DHA is required for the
growth and functional development of the brain, with a deficiency resulting in a
variety of learning and cognitive disorders. During adulthood DHA maintains normal
brain function and recent evidence suggests that reduced DHA intake in adults is
linked with a number of neurological disorders including schizophrenia and
depression. Here we report a high positive correlation between the molecular activity
(ATP min–1) of individual Na+K+ATPase units and the content of DHA in the
surrounding membrane bilayer. This represents a fundamental relationship
underlying metabolic activity, but may also represent a link between reduced levels
of DHA and neurological dysfunction, as up to 60% of energy consumption in the
brain is linked to the Na+K+ATPase enzyme.’

I pointed my screen at them and clicked on to show them a picture of the
molecule, and then rotated it.

“A picture is worth a thousand words. The way it curls up on itself gives it the ability
to respond actively to different stimuli and environments. This is not just a brick in a
cell wall. It can actively conform itself to different tasks, and in a sense it has an

adaptability and intelligence of its own. When depleted in DHA, the cell wall looses
it’s ability to multitask all the necessary functions. Tweak one of these electron
shells depicted here, and the whole thing probably quivers. I think we’re looking
right at the place when the stunner can influence the brain. The door, so to speak.
The sweet spot.”

Giles had a crafty look on his face as he asked, “Just how much DHA are you taking
every day, Fred?”

“It depends on how much I can afford, Giles,” I answered. “When I’m feeling flush,
I’ll buy a jug of concentrated fish oil and polish it off in a few days. The
recommended dose for that high octane stuff is a tablespoon a day, and I’m chug-a-
lugging it. When I’m low on cash, the cheapest way to go is big bottles of capsules at
Costco. I might take twenty or more in an average day. There doesn’t seem to be
any upper limit. I’ve never experienced side effects, even when I’m being
outrageous. I also eat fish with every meal possible, when I can. You’re probably
looking at the most fish oil lubricated guy you’re ever going to meet, unless you visit
the Inuit living the old ways on seal blubber and arctic char. Before white diets
reached them they had no heart disease, no chronic inflammatory disease, no
mental illness, the list goes on and on.”

Giles really had a shifty look in his eye by now. “Here’s what I’m thinking, Fred.
Suppose the stunner is inducing Delta waves by dancing with the whole neuron at
the sub-atomic level. Most of what’s going to be oscillating in harmonic resonance is
going to be DHA in membrane phospholipids. But you mentioned how DHA has this
unexpectedly high turnover rate, and since you’re virtually pickled in DHA every day,
I’ll wager that your brain has been feasting on your oversupply to its heart’s content,
acquiring profligate habits. Your membranes are probably recharging with fresh DHA
ten times faster than mine. These are just some wild ideas about how your neurons
may be turning over DHA differently, but here’s an even wilder idea. Why don’t the
three of us take a dose of the stunner, gotta do it sooner or later anyway, and see if
your brain reacts differently?”

“Why not?” said Gary. “I’m ready to step up to the plate.”

“Might as well.” I said. “In for a dime, in for a dollar!”

We were in Tesla’s suite with the remotely controlled gun. We sat Giles down on a
recliner it would be hard to fall off of, and hooked him up to the EEG. It was a
solemn moment as we shook hands, wished him luck, and trooped out. Minutes
later, we were back to inspect our handiwork. He was fast asleep. The EEG record
showed the same initial electrical explosion we saw in the monkey, and now all the
areas were propagating huge delta waves with no sign of the eye movement
associated with dreaming.

We stood there looking at him for a while and then Gary said, “How about trying to
wake him up? We do need to know about that aspect.”

“Yeah, but let’s be real gentle. He might be susceptible to emotional trauma or

something, so take it slow.”

First we called to him. Then we gently tugged at him. No response. Gradually we


escalated until finally we were shouting in his ears and slapping him, all to no avail.

About a half hour later, Giles started to wake up. We hovered closely, eagerly
waiting for the first human report from the unknown stun zone. Giles moved a little
bit and then opened his eyes. He seemed disoriented as he looked at us, as if
astonished. Then he seemed to settle down, and be more fully present. By this time
I was brimming over with feelings of suspense and had to blurt out, “How’s it going,
Giles? “How are you feeling?”

He looked at us for a while, and then smiled. “Not much to tell. I remember sitting
here waiting for the stun, determined to fight off the sleep with sheer will power,
there was a flash of throbbing light, white blinding pulsating light and that’s all I’ve
got. I remember waking up moments ago….pretty much the way I’m accustomed to
waking up but I think it took longer because there was a sensation of coming out of a
deeper sleep than usual. I feel OK. If anything I feel refreshed as from a nap. Can’t
think of anything else. I’m looking for anything unusual but I feel pretty much
average. Did I do or saying anything on your monitor?”

“Nada. You closed you eyes and went limp a couple of seconds after we zapped you.”

“Well, I certainly don’t feel like somebody who has been harmed in any way, but that
doesn’t prove anything.”

I said, “That pulsating light is a clue. It sort of fits with the 3-D activation we saw in
the monkey brain, the one that acted like a cobra. These seem to originate in pre-
optic centres or even retinal tissue. I have to go next, because of your theory about
DHA turnover. These are exactly the parts of the brain with the highest
concentrations of DHA. How about hooking me up?”

Soon I was ready for them to flip the switch. They counted down over the intercom
and I saw the flashing lights. It was like a huge strobe light in my face, blinding me
to everything else, whether my eyes were opened or not. I tried to fight it by
concentrating on staying awake, like a drowsy driver. Just a few seconds later the
lights faded and I felt awake, though not quite alert. Moments later I felt completely
normal and asked them to give me another stun dose. This time there was only a
mild fleeting sense of disorientation after a shorter lightshow. I asked for another
dose and this time I felt almost nothing. The strobes were gone.

“That’s enough, guys. C’mon back and lets look at my EEG’s!”

We crowded around the EEG monitor and rewound to the first jolt. What we saw was
a very small perturbation compared to Gile’s. Normal EEG was only briefly
interrupted, and the following stun doses only registered as tiny events.

Gary said, “Fred’s brain seems to have adapted to the stun very quickly. It’s almost
as if it figured out how to filter out the stun, focus on consciousness, and once it
learned the trick, it was almost completely immune to the stun’s influence. Anybody
have an idea how that could be?”

Giles spoke next. “Look at my experience. In a Newtonian brain, there’s no way a

pulsating electromagnetic field of such a low amplitude could induce rod or cone cell
firing, or create light some other way by inducing neural firing in pre-optic centers

where visual information is processed.”

“Yeah,” I said. “That would be as likely as a flea pushing around a fully loaded super

“Crazy!” said Gary. “You say it can’t be, but we’re seeing cause and effect temporal
relationships here just as surely as seeing a baseball hit by a bat.”

“Don’t forget how crucial the frequency is,” said Giles. “At any other frequency the
stun gun would be exactly that flea on a supertanker.”

“However it works, we have made some major progress here,” I said. “It knocks out
humans, apparently without harming them, and just maybe a hand full of fish oil pills
will neutralize the effects. It has to be about the frequency and that probably means
we have tapped into a brain resonance phenomenon previously unknown.”

“How about this?” asked Giles. “The stun is intentionally right in the middle of the
frequency band of audible sound and no doubt all neural pathways designed to
process audio information are tuned to that frequency range. But now there’s
evidence that we fed an auditory frequency right into visual neural systems, almost
like hacking into a process where we didn’t belong. How did we do that?”

Gary said, “It’s like people on LSD reporting smelling sound, tasting art, seeing
thoughts, touching music, sensory substitution stuff.”

I said, “That’s called synesthesia. I keep going back to Jeff Schwartz’s wild idea of
the quantum physics brain. In that domain it is not impossible for a flea to move a
super tanker or disobey all kinds of other Newtonian laws. It’s just that the super
tanker and flea have to be on a small enough scale. In fact the quantum atom has
some “objects” differing in size to the degree of super tankers versus fleas. Such
ratios, seemingly so extreme in the big Newtonian world, are commonplace at the
quantum level where fleas are moving super tankers all the time.”

“Yeah,” said Giles. “But you haven’t really explained anything. You could just as
easily invoke the spirit world or magic. We haven’t got a clue how to investigate the
possible quantum phenomena you’re hypothesizing. That universe seems
impenetrable unless you have high energy accelerators or maybe tectonic plates
colliding. And Schwartz was word mongering too with all his pseudo theoretical
physics-of-the-brain. I don’t mean to insult you, but theories about germs were
fairly regarded as delusional until the microscope was invented, and I defy you to
come up with a single experimental test of any quantum/brain hypothesis. Right
now we have a lot of practical problems that need solving and this quantum
horseshit is no more than intellectual masturbation, given our level of technology.”

I felt deservedly chastened. “Guilty as charged, Giles. I’ll take a mea culpa on this
one. But mark my words, some day after we’ve saved the world and everything, I’m
coming back to the pure science behind these phenomena. There’s a germ of
evidence showing itself that could take our whole understanding of the brain and
turn it upside down. Don’t forget that this all started with animals probably picking
up ELF before tremblers.”

“I don’t doubt for a minute that there’re some historically significant principles to be

discovered here,” answered Giles with a forgiving smile that assuaged my hurt

The Raid

After that, things fell together almost effortlessly. As we accumulated gear we

became hyperaware that even the most tiny thing that accompanied us on the raid
could be the evidence that led the FBI to us afterwards. We kept in mind that our
stolen Medic One van would be put under a microscope. They would be using high
powered vacuums with the finest filters looking for anything with a speck of DNA on
it. Clothing would be one piece work suits sealed with duct tape at the ankles to
rubber boots and wrists taped to latex gloves. Balaclava masks would be taped to
the suits. Under the masks we would wear surgical hair nets to contain dandruff that
might escape.

We spent hours suited up and running drills in the corporation’s basement. Our
main activity was deploying collapsible gurneys we would be taking with us all the
way to our fortress on Vancouver Island. EMT’s do this all day and make it look easy,
but it isn’t. Getting a body onto one while lowered with the brakes locked is
challenging. Then you need help to lift the body waist high as the gurney members

As we practiced, we felt the danger become more real. During the raid, we’d be
doing this maneuver surrounded by a small army of temporarily stunned security
forces, Secret Service Agents, and civilians. Time was everything because our
element of surprise would vanish very quickly. We had to get our prisoners into the
van and on the way before roadblocks were thrown up. We might have to shoot our
way out of there with our stunners and we could not afford to stop moving. One
glitch that even briefly stalled us could mean being overwhelmed and captured.

This was going to be wild, shooting our way into the security zone surrounding the
Olympic Hotel, shooting our way into the convention centre, loading up, and then
escaping with our sirens blaring and lights flashing all the way to the hospital helipad
several blocks away.

The tension increased as the day approached. I couldn’t bear to tell Karen lies, and
she was most gracious about not prying into the secret reasons why I would be gone
for an indeterminate lengthy time. When we parted, I could tell that Karen was
worried about me. She must have told me to “be safe” a hundred different ways.
Her obvious loyalty to us as a couple was the only reason I could go on the mission
without going crazy with longing and fear I’d lose her.

The day before the raid, the team met at a Seattle motel after travelling up the coast
various ways, alone and anonymous. Giles had a rented car that could never be
traced to him in a million years. We scouted the fire station with a Medic One van
nearest the Olympic Hotel, and two backup stations further away, in case the vans
were out on calls. Then we walked the blocks around the Olympic Hotel and drove
the route from there to Harborview Hospital’s heliport where our helicopter was
already placed in waiting. The drive only took a few minutes. The Olympic is a block
from Seneca that goes over I-5 and right up Capitol Hill, called Pill Hill, there are so
many hospitals and clinics there.

We had a largely sleepless night, pacing, watching late shows, cat-napping, talking
about anything but the raid. The next morning after a big breakfast we scouted the
hotel again. Workers were beginning to set up the security check-points around the
hotel. Its entrance is on University Street which was obviously going to be closed off
for that whole block. From what we could see of barricades going up, it looked like
anti-Bush demonstrators and the public were going to be kept out of that area.
There were some comic scenes in Calgary when Bush spoke there for the first time
after leaving office in disgrace, because the rich folks attending had to stand in line
for a long time being harassed at close range by demonstrators. It seemed likely
that this would be avoided in Seattle by sanitizing the block and probably allowing
the limos carrying guests through the roadblocks to alight at the hotel entrance
unmolested. There was probably going to be massive security at those two
roadblocks, and far lighter defenses at the hotel entrance. We had memorized the
route to the ballroom, which fortunately was on the same floor. No need to get
trapped and captured in an elevator! There were different levels on the route, three
or four stairs high, but all had wheelchair ramps. We went back to the hotel for our
final war council. Giles was deadly serious.

“I’ve been telling you from day one how we have to move move move and never get
stalled. Now that we know the setup, it’s clear that our most dangerous obstacle is
people. If there are hundreds milling around outside the barricades, we can get
through them fast with the siren and lights, and shoot our way through the
checkpoint to clear sailing right up the block to the front door. But if we stun a
bunch of people and have them stacked up like cordwood in front of us, you know we
aren’t going to be able to drive right over them. This means we have to stun people
at the roadblock only, using low power at close range. Going into the hotel with
gurneys, we could really screw ourselves if we littered the floors with so many people
that we couldn’t wheel our prisoners out without painstakingly clearing a path. Every
second counts, and we absolutely must enter that boardroom with a smooth highway
behind us to speed our exit. We’ve already talked a lot about how we are going to
avoid that problem in the ball room. Don’t get too excited and forget to clear a single
path to the dais after we stun everyone. Coming back the other way with a prisoner
strapped to your gurney is not the way to do it. And of course, now comes the
hardest part. We have to shoot our way out of the hotel in such a way that we can
keep moving! I think people are going to panic and run away from us, so we do not
want to mow them down unless we absolutely have to. Back at the van you guys
load while I cover your backs. Now for the final exam. We’re screaming up the
block towards the other roadblock. They’ve had 5 to 8 minutes to figure out the
meaning of what they’ve seen unfold. I think they’re going to scatter for cover as we
blast through. Everybody down there will have been contemplating what looks like a
pile of warm corpses at the other roadblock and the hotel entrance. We are going to
look like death on wheels and they’re going to run like rabbits. If they don’t, and
start shooting, we’ll have to stun them and pick our way out through that mess, but I
seriously doubt this is going to happen. And don’t forget to paint the rooftops for
snipers on the way in and out.

That was almost precisely what happened with one big exception. It all went down
in an atmosphere of surreal quiet, marred only by our siren. When we pulled up to
the hotel entrance and killed the siren, the only sound we heard when we jumped
out was the distant screams of several hundred demonstrators and rubbernecks
believing that we had just committed mass murder at their checkpoint. This must
have helped spook the security people waiting for us at the other end. As for the

sumptuous hotel lobby and the ballroom, there was hardly a shout, it all happened to
them so fast. The loudest noise was the thuds of bodies hitting the floor, almost like
a throng of conga drummers jamming together.

The ballroom was downright bizarre. Once inside the door we painted the ball room
and everybody collapsed in unison. It was graceful, like a huge modern dance team
going limp in hundreds of different poses. We got lucky and quickly made our way to
the head table on the stage following a zig zag route through the bodies and only
having to move a few out of the way. One by one the three prisoners were slid off
the stage onto the gurneys and strapped down. We made eye contact with each
other and I said, “Well Sundance, I sure hope the entire army isn’t waiting for us out
there!” The others laughed in a peculiar psychotic giggle, more like a shrill whinny.
We were wound up as tight as a person can be without snapping.

Out of the ballroom and down the corridors, the silence was chilling. Off in the
distance there was muted commotion outside. We came flying out of the entrance to
face dozens of brave, frightened, dazed security people who had moved in to do their
duty. I heard a couple of wild shots fired before they were all down. Now we were
collapsing the gurneys and sliding them into the van while Giles took shots as if he
were at a country fair’s shooting gallery. Somebody would pop up, and he’d drop

Now we were in the van and revving the engine as we tore up the block. Not good.
The conscious people had run for cover but several sleepers were obstructing the
path through the barriers. I was driving and made a snap decision to keep going.
Stopping and clearing the way at this point meant getting shot full of holes. I slowed
the van down to a crawl, made contact with a temporary cement abutment and
floored it. The tandem rear wheels burned rubber and the obstacle slowly moved to
the side. Now there were people running away from us seeking cover and the street
was opening up as I made a sharp left and accelerated towards Seneca Street.
Another two wheeled left, and two blocks later we were entering the bridge spanning
I-5. Giles looked back and shouted. “Nobody behind us right now, but if I see a
chase I’ll stun ‘em!”

I was thinking about how ten minutes ago the whole shootout on the street must
have been filmed by every news camera at our first checkpoint. By this time every
TV tuned to the news would be identifying our Medic One as the perpetrator. I drove
faster, hitting the siren to run people off the road if necessary. I almost passed out,
and realized I’d been hyperventilating, probably during most of the raid. I forced
myself to take a couple of deep breaths and got more centered. “Hey guys! Don’t
hyperventilate! Take it easy!”

“Speak for yourself Kimosabe,” Said Giles in a totally mellow sonorous voice.

Could it be possible that he was enjoying himself and wasn’t scared out of his wits?

I glanced at him and his eyes in the mask glittered with what had to be a huge smile
of contentment and victory.

“You are something fucking incredible,” I said. “You looked like some professional
shotgun dude on a stagecoach surrounded by a Sioux war party, back there. I think
you have gotten in touch with your true nature!”

Gary started giggling hysterically.

Mt. Washington:

The Interrogations

We finally got everyone settled in their new accommodations, had a rather rattled
night’s sleep probably due to adrenalin rebound, and met in our little lounge to plan
our next move. Square feet were precious in our underground chambers, quite a
contrast to head office’s spacious boardrooms with landscape views. Having just
engaged in covert ops, it seemed proper for us freshly minted commandos to be
making plans in a bunker. The room was a bare concrete cube about 15 feet on a
side, with a compact kitchen resembling a travel trailer’s galley and a simple table
with three chairs. There was a small satellite TV hung from one ceiling corner, and a
desk with a laptop and various radio phones. Under the desk purred a large server
which stored all video and managed our broad band internet. Over the desk hung
four small TV monitors showing each prisoner’s cell, and the MRI / interrogation

Adjoining the lounge were three very small bunks in a tiny room and a shared
chemical toilet and shower. A corridor connected cells, MRI, lounge, and an elevator
leading to the surface far above.

Giles kicked off the meeting. “I want to start with a couple of security reminders
you’ve already heard. At no time can you afford to forget about anonymity. If you
slip up, you endanger us all. These guys are clever and resourceful. They are smart
enough to know that even a single hair off your head could lead to a DNA match
down the road. When the shock wears off they are going to become much more
cunning than we could ever be, since we don’t have the psychopathy they’re
packing. So there is going to be absolutely zero conversation in front of them other
than the scripts we’ve written. The less they hear of your voice, the harder it will be
for them to finger you later. Always defend yourself against the threat of having
your mask pulled off. This danger is going to increase as they deduce that we
probably aren’t going to kill them. The longer they wonder, the better.”

“I guess Fred is clear in his mind what the interrogation strategy is, and the
choreography of playing one prisoner off against the other. So if we all know our job
descriptions and the drill, the big question is where to start. We never dreamed we’d
get so lucky as to nab the big three. What’s your take on this, Fred?”

“I haven’t had much time to think about it so this is off the top of my head,” I said.
“How to best mine this unexpected vein of gold? Obviously Bush’s confession would
be the most sensational. But Cheney’s would have more content. He knows the
details Bush wouldn’t have bothered himself with. Rove has the key to Fort Knox
when it comes to election fraud, but I think the most valuable information we have
here, is the network of people who did the dirty work; the war crimes, supervising
the torture, doing the illegal civilian surveillance, the covert ops, the renditions, and
the stuff nobody even guesses. We get the dirt on them, and they’re the guys who
are going to cop a plea and testify against their bosses. Cheney is our best source
and I think our best use of Rove and Bush is to help us unzip Dick. As much as I’d

like to start with Rove’s vote stealing, I say we make Cheney the A-1 target.”

Gary nodded. “Makes sense to me. That means Cheney is passively watching the
other two suffer and break on TV, while contemplating his fate. I think you missed
the most important part. Everybody knows he’s a heartbeat away from a terminal
cardiac infarct. The stress of watching this on TV might kill him for all we know.
Whoever is watching him had better be alert to this risk and be ready to dive in with
nitro-glycerin, oxygen, whatever. If he’s looking agitated, why not turn off the TV
until we’re reassured he can take it. We can always play him re-runs when we know
his resiliency better.”

“Yep,” said Giles. “Being last in line is going to be the hardest. On the one hand he
can try to prepare himself for the ordeal, but everything he’s seeing is telling him
there’s no place to hide, no hope. It should be pretty demoralizing and finally just
plain devastating. In fact this would make him our number one suicide risk. Agree?”

“Totally,” I said. “As this intensifies, his suicide watch has to ramp up. We surely
can’t afford to have him die on our watch. I’d say we skip showing him the
interrogations live and later show him selected footage, starting out mild. There’s no
way he could tell if it’s live or not so the drama is the same. That way we can
gradually run up the pressure on him.”

“I want to start with Bush. My intuitive take on him is that he has the least courage,
the least character; by far the softest of the three. It’s bad luck to say this, but I
predict he’s gonna sing like a canary. And it can’t hurt to take out the leader first
even though the other two have probably only tolerated him as a necessary
simpleton and front man. He’s still the boss, even as a puppet, and if he gives them
up, then it’s every man for himself. Imagine the possibilities if he starts shifting
blame to them. They’ll be demanding their right to a confession to get even.”

“This sounds good to me,” said Giles. “So we give them 48 hours in the pitch dark to
get thoroughly disoriented, and then Rove watches The Bush Show live on TV!”

“Oh my god,” said Gary. “I think I’m going to have a bliss attack!”

I was starting to feel like a mother hen guarding her precious chicks. “We’re going
to watch them like a hawk on the infrared cameras, right? And while I’m doing Bush,
you’re going to keeping the other boys breathing for me? Never taking our eyes off
of them? I’ll take the first shift on the monitors, four on and eight off?”

Giles said, “Before we split up, let’s see what the media are saying.”

He pointed a remote at the TV and went to CNN. We were playing like Katrina or
the Iraq invasion, non-stop, no other news. Commentators were trying to fill the time
with meaningful updates which were all content lite. People were very confused
about the stun guns and nobody got it right. The majority opinion was that we must
have used an opiate gas such as the Russians used to knock out kidnapper Chechnya
Rebels in a Moscow theatre. Some of the people we stunned were interviewed on the
air, and all they could describe was three masked guys.

The whole country must have been tuned in. Nobody knew much. They figured out
that the perps had moved from the stolen Medic One van to a helicopter, but from

there the trail went almost totally cold. Nobody could ID the assumed helicopter or
figure where it went. Air Defense radars weren’t sure if they even saw it take off, let
alone where it went from there. The search radius was based on the several
hundred mile cruising range of such craft, but they speculated that it could have
easily rendezvoused with ground transportation or refueled. One thing for certain,
every helicopter within a thousand miles of Seattle was going to be put under very
close scrutiny. After 20 minutes of commentators repeating themselves we turned
off the TV.

Gary and I looked at Giles. I asked, “How secure do you think we are in terms of the
helicopter? This has got to be the biggest manhunt in history.”

Giles smiled. “I’m pretty confident we lost ‘em. From the time we left Seattle we
were mostly flying close to the deck over largely uninhabited foothills of the
Washington Cascades, and then the Vancouver Island mountains. Our only point of
vulnerability was crossing the border, since drug smuggling interdiction people must
have special radars for that. But that’s almost 150 miles south of here and we were
only exposed for a few minutes crossing the islands of the American San Juan’s and
a couple Canadian Gulf Islands. Even if they wanted to follow up a fix they made on
us then, this would leave them searching pretty much thousands of square miles of
uninhabited mountains from one end of Vancouver Island to the other. Our
helicopter came around Mt. Washington in the pitch dark from total wilderness, and
landed here on the island’s eastern coastal side in less than three minutes. I doubt if
anyone was within earshot. Now it’s completely camouflaged in an area where
nobody goes this time of year. It’s miles to the nearest farm down in the Comox
Valley and the ski area above us is tucked in at night. But just in case, I came
around the far side of the mountain from the ski village and on this side it’s mostly
two thousand feet of vertical cliff beginning not far above our location. If you went
outside and looked straight up, you’d be seeing the summit where the big chairlift
ends. All the skiing goes from there down the other side of the mountain. In other
words, we’re as snug as bugs in a rug: the last place where anyone would look for

“What do you think about spy satellite imaging and sensors?” I asked.

“I gave that some thought. This site doesn’t emit infrared any more than
background, so it blends right in. We do release some fumes from our diesel electric
generator but they’ve been scrubbed pretty well by filters. Visually, there’s really
nothing to see but the old service road ending not far from here, showing no signs of
recent use. You would have to walk right up to the camouflaged chopper to have
any clue this isn’t the same old abandoned mine.”

Taking the first shift, I sat down to watch our three arch criminals wake up in the
dark to weird hangovers created by repeated stun rays and copious I.V. lorazepam.

Over the next four hours, all three went through the similar stages of grogginess and
some shouting followed by tentative exploration-by-touch of their cells. After
determining what was the prison style stainless steel toilet, bunk, and door, they all
eventually flopped down to think about what it all meant. Zooming in on their faces,
there was no doubt that all three were engaged in the most fierce concentration
possible. They didn’t look happy. But neither did they look beat. I figured they had
been in charge, so much of their lives, helplessness and powerlessness were going to

take some getting used to.

Meanwhile the others puttered in the kitchen, watched CNN, read magazines, surfed
the net, and took cat naps.

After my shift I inspected my torture chamber. Tesla dominated the room which was
designed around her. I had a compact workstation where I could have my head just
two feet from the head of the person in Tesla, while observing the brain sections on a
hi-def screen. The patient was meant to be strapped to their sled with full restraints
on head, chest, hips, arms, and legs. The sled was on rollers so their head could be
inserted into the centre of Tesla’s donut. The one thing that made this room so
different from an average MRI suite, was at the foot of the patient tray. Hanging on
pulleys from the ceiling was an array of devices adding up to your basic
waterboarding device. The prisoner could be slid out of the donut until under the
device which was then lowered onto them. A cloth draped over their face, a hose
provided the water, and a basin under this area collected the run off. The
waterboarding sequence was controlled by a hanging cable, your standard industrial
control box for winches, with several buttons on it: raise-lower, water on-off, tilt head
down/up, etc.

Waterboarding is simple in execution, and absolutely terrifying in effect. The

prisoner cannot breathe as the cloth on their face becomes saturated with water and
their upper airway and mouth becomes filled. Drowning can’t be much different.
Waterboarding is a near death experience. A close call in a traffic accident lasts
seconds and leaves a person shaking. Waterboarding is dying for minutes, not
seconds, but every second feels like a year as the prisoner struggles for breath.
Victims of even short term waterboarding bear the emotional scars for life. Very few
are not incapacitated by severe Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome which means a life
of hypervigilance, flashbacks, panic attacks, insomnia, nightmares, and stress
related illnesses. PTSD victims rarely sustain intimate relationships because “getting
in touch with their feelings” is often frightening. They tend to die of cirrhosis, drug
overdose, suicide, or violence. They may suffer from black-out rage attacks that
land them in prison. It’s the most natural thing in the world for them to self medicate
with tranquillizers, alcohol, and hard drugs. Psychotherapy can help them, but many
practitioners work from theories that only make things worse by retraumatizing the
victim as they are directed to describe and relive the events. It is the fortunate
PTSD patient indeed, lucky enough to find a therapist who can help them. Most are
doomed to live lives of chronic anxiety and occasional panic.

Knowing what I knew about PTSD and waterboarding, engaging in this practice
myself was contrary to every humanitarian principle I hold dear. It was also totally in
violation of every kind of professional ethical system impinging on people in my field.
My rationalization was that a churchgoing Christian who believes in “Thou shalt not
kill” nonetheless joins the army and kills the enemy in the belief that this is the
lesser of two evils, the alternative evil being the danger that one’s own country and
family will be conquered and enslaved by an attacker. I sincerely believed that I was
protecting my society from enslavement by an enemy that must be fought just as
surely as the Nazis. I really believed I was acting in self defense, defense of my
society, defense of the constitution, and defense of the ethics of liberty and
democracy. Knowing what I know now, would I do it again? I think I probably
would, only with a difference. I’d know that my behavior was shameful and that I
was committing atrocities. I wouldn’t delude myself, but I’d do it anyway.

One problem with that rationalization of mine, is that soldiers fighting the Nazi’s
would have been violating the Geneva Conventions and committing war crimes if
they would have waterboarded Nazi prisoners. When it came down to it, the reason
why I could contemplate becoming a savage animal, bereft of humanity, was out of
an underlying hatred, a rage against misrule that made me just as vicious as the
men I hated. I know that now, and I’m ashamed of what I did. But at the time,
there was a song in my heart. Revenge can be sweet. For a while. If you can put
your conscience on hold as I did.

So I coldly inspected my own space age hi-tech torture chamber with the clinical
detachment of a Dr. Frankenstein, purposefully ignoring the fact that my rig was
essentially no different from all the torture rooms of history with their bloody hooks,
blades, racks, red hot pokers, shockers, whips, and clubs. Mine was a sanitized
torture, but only on the surface. The anguish to be experienced by the victims was
as old and sinister as human cruelty itself.

The First Bush Interrogation

The stunner made it possible to move prisoners effortlessly. One was built into the
cell area and all we had to do was give them a brief burst and for all three it was
‘lights out’. The cells were designed for this, with soft floors, padded bed frames and
no sharp corners. But you had to be careful to wait until everybody was out of range
from the stainless steel toilet before you hit the button. The prisoner was scooped up
from where he fell, and loaded onto a wheeled gurney. We covered his mouth with
duct tape.

The drill was to wear balaclava masks around the prisoners, even when they were
unconscious. We wore janitor style one piece work suits to avoid any accidental
personal clue. Another policy was to always speak in a whisper to avoid later voice

We wheeled Bush into the MIR room and moved him onto the sled. This was
complicated by him being about as stiff as a rag doll. We had to slide him across
before carefully strapping him in and sliding a roomy cage down around his head.
The cage was part of the MRI mechanism and also mounted a camera to capture a
high quality video record of his face and voice. He seemed much older than my
image of him, his face showing stress lines and wrinkles under a pale sickly
complexion. It occurred to me that the public Bush was always prepped by the best
TV make-up artists money can buy.

The others went back to their duty stations and I went to work, pushing Bush’s sled
into the donut hole and carefully positioning him. I warmed up Tesla and took some
readings, doing some fine adjustments to the sled to home in on the brain section I
wanted. This is a cross section of the brain at a specific depth, just as if you had run
a big band saw from one ear to the other. The section I wanted was the one that
best reveals the brain centers which differentiate between the thoughts that lead to
telling the truth versus the kind of thinking that produces lies.

It makes sense that the two behaviors, truth, and lying, would require two kinds of
thinking. Obviously the truth uses some memory and lying takes what we call
confabulation, invention. Tesla shows the difference by lighting up one brain area or

the other as it is being used. In some studies, fMRI’s like Tesla have been able to
accurately predict lies before they are spoken out loud.

Bush was beginning to come out from under the stun and I waited impatiently,
feeling anxious. Finally, this was the culmination of so much planning, risk, and
effort. What if it failed for some unforeseen reason? What a fool I would be.
Human reactions are so unpredictable, there is no plan for them that’s sure fire.
Quite the opposite. But this was no time for trial and error tinkering with the plan.
It had to work. The suspense and dread became bone crushing, like a ton of lead
pressing me down. I had to remind myself to breathe.

Bush’s eyes opened and took in the scene with frantic darting glances. They bulged
so much there was a lot of white eyeball all around his irises. I leaned over close
and whispered, “You have nothing to fear because everything that will happen to you
here has already been deemed safe and humane by you. You will be waterboarded,
but this is not torture because you said so with the full authority of your office. Nod
if you understand what I’m saying.”

There was a long pause and then he gave me a slight nod. I continued, “This is an
interrogation. The machine you are in can basically read your brain well enough to
know if you are lying or telling the truth. If it isn’t the whole truth, this machine will
flunk you, so don’t ruin a good answer with a little fib on the side. Each time you tell
a lie, you get the waterboard. If you refuse to answer you get the waterboard. You
will confine your remarks to answering questions. If you speak out of turn, you get
the waterboard. Nod if this is all understood.” He did.

Now that I was in the procedure I was focused and feeling more confident. Having
an ex-president completely under my dominance, a man who was recently the most
powerful in the world, was a unique sensation, one that grew on me over time and
showed a potential for intoxication that later had to be consciously resisted.

“OK, George. I’m going to take the tape off your mouth and ask you some

“Now, what was the office to which you were elected in 2001?” Moments before he
spoke there was a glow of orange showing on the “truth zone” on my screen.

His voice came out in a strange choked quavering whisper. “President of the United
States of America.”

“Good for you, George. Now tell me, when did you first make a committed decision
to invade Iraq?”

The screen was confused for a heartbeat before the “Lie Zone” lit up briefly with
bright orange.

Milliseconds after Bush said, “The period after 9/11 as intelligence estimates made
the need clearer…over a few months.”

“Sorry,” I said. “Time for the waterboard.”

I backed the sled out of the donut, and lowered the cloth onto his face. Then I

lowered the hose and used its pistol grip valve to gently moisten the cloth. Bush’s
breathing became labored with whistling sounds coming from his nose. He started to
hyperventilate but his nose constriction seemed to limit how fast he could breathe. I
added a bit more water and the sounds became more frenzied. I allowed this to
continue for two minutes and then added a sizeable dollop of water to the cloth. This
time the breathing attempts sounded much more violent until they reached a peak
followed by silence. His body was convulsing even though he was strapped down
tightly. Every muscle seemed to be in spasm.

At this point I ran up the gear, pulled off the cloth, and pulled down his chin to give
him more airway. At first nothing happened. Just as I was about to reach for the air
bag respirator, Bush gave out a deafening gasp and started breathing rapid shallow
breaths. I grabbed the oxygen mask standing by, put it over his face, and gave him
a light mixture for two minutes as his breathing gradually stabilized and became
deeper. There was a look of absolute terror in his eyes.

“Welcome to the waterboard, George. It must be a comfort to you, to know that this
is not torture. I wonder how many hundreds of times this has been done to people,
so many of them innocent, with your blessing?”

Bush started muttering obscene insults while giving me a sharp look of pure hatred.
The mutterings escalated into screams. I took this as a sign that he had recovered
sufficiently, and put duct tape on his mouth.

“You just broke a rule for speaking out of turn, George, but it’s too soon to go back
to the waterboard so this just means the next one will last longer, next time you tell
a lie.”

After a minute, his tantrum seemed to have spent itself as the muscle twitches
disappeared. I had a moment to reflect, and wondered how Rove felt about
watching this on his protected, tamper-proof, high definition plasma TV screen with
deafening surround sound. I reminded myself that first and foremost this was
theatre designed for Karl and Dick. It must have been scary as hell to see what was

“OK George, now you know the drill. The only question is, how many
waterboardings will it take for you to cooperate? I’m in no hurry, and there’s poetic
justice in you holding out for days. A little pay back for the people you have caused
to be waterboarded. It’s up to you; all in your hands how many times we have to do
this. Word to the wise. People don’t get used to it. It gets harder, not easier. Live
by the sword, die by the sword. Live by the waterboard, die by the waterboard, nice
and slow. Everybody breaks. It’s only a matter of time. Personally, I hope you fight
the good fight, because I’m enjoying seeing you suffer and would hate for it to end
soon. Buck up! Things could be worse! I could be using real torture instead of this
humane stuff you so approve of. Be strong. Fight the good fight! We make
beautiful music together.”

I slid him back into Tesla, tore off the duct tape, and said, “Try to answer that
question truthfully now.”

Bush took a deep breath and spoke in a quiet whimper which became more confident
as his speech continued. “It wasn’t my idea in the first place. Karl and I were in the

governor’s office talking about how it looked doable to run for president and win.
Karl said that between the filibuster and the undecided working class voters, it would
be impossible to do the reforms and take the country back, without a big backlash.
He said I’d spend all my political capital before I was a tenth done. He said the only
presidents who ever succeeded at a job this big, were war presidents. He said,
without a war I wouldn’t have the power we need and we had to plan a war now so
we could run up to it in a convincing way. It had to be Iraq. Who else? Afghanistan
was too easy. This had to be a war with a dangerous enemy and a large army, stuff
to scare the daylights out of the common people. Secret weapons, nukes, you name
it. He said that fear in wartime is the source of power for any president who really
wants to make change. For instance, what it boiled down to was that it would take a
war to be able to abolish Social Security, nothing less. Karl has always made the
plans and I’ve been the doer. We see eye to eye on what needs to be done, and
together we’ve been a dynamite team. The war in Iraq was worth it because it gave
us the power to get done what had to be done. History is going to honor us for that.
I have no regrets and I will be vindicated.”

I was so taken aback by his candor, I was temporarily speechless. Bingo! On the
first try. I had to rethink my line of questioning.

“Thank you for telling the truth George. Thank yourself for saving yourself a world of
hurt. The next question is going to be tougher and I urge you to think hard about
the waterboard before you answer. I want to know what you knew and when,
regarding 9/11. I want you to tell me the story from the beginning. If you leave a
significant part out, just thinking to do that, is going to send a lying signal to this
machine before you even say it. Nod if you understand and have no questions.”

This time Bush pondered for long time before nodding. While he was doing that,
both the truth and the lie zones were flashing on and off, almost as if he were
rehearsing various scenarios. I imagined a trapped animal in a panic searching for a
way out.

I broke in. “George, the machine says you are thinking some lies and thinking some
truth. For your sake, be very careful about where you let your mind wander right
now. Just thinking about possible lies can discredit what you say soon after.”

“ OK, I’m ready to talk. This was back in Texas. I was still governor. I forget
exactly when this first came up. It was after we talked about me becoming a war
president. Karl told me about how Pearl Harbor was used by Roosevelt. What I
never understood before was how Pearl Harbor was perfect for him and he knew it.
He was goading the Japanese right and left. He wanted them to attack, and he
made sure the warnings were ignored as it got closer and closer. Pearl Harbor totally
united the country under Roosevelt. Karl said that an enemy has to shed significant
American blood in order to be feared and hated enough to get our job done. There
are Roosevelt laws still ruining this country today, only because he was looking the
other way as the Japanese worked up to their attack. He as much as instigated it!
The power it gave him was just awesome and it lasted throughout the war.”

“Karl explained that Roosevelt’s inviting and allowing Pearl Harbor is the number one
reason why the country was stolen from conservatives for most of the last 70 years.
He said that if it was OK for Roosevelt to do it, then it was OK for us to do it because
it was the only way to undo the harm to the country done by Pearl Harbor’s uniting

people under Roosevelt. He said the socialist takeover of the USA was only possible
because of Pearl Harbor and it would take nothing less than another one to get the
country back.”

“After that it came up in our conversations and we talked about how it might take
place. Karl said I had better leave it to him because I couldn’t afford to get my
fingerprints on it. He said it would be best if I knew nothing and they would keep me
in the dark so I’d have deniability. That’s all I know, really. I expect the contractors
were a mix of Pakistani ISI agents doing the work running people in the USA with
Saudi personnel, support, and money. As I’m sure you know, my family has a dozen
high level back-channel lines of communications with loyal Saudi princes and such.
Karl could have used any of these totally loyal and secure high level people to get the
ball rolling, and then they would have sub-let the contract to ISI. I really don’t know
who called who. I don’t know if Dick was in on it but I guess he probably was, from
some casual remarks they both made. I played no active role in it but I’m sure Karl
was right at the center because it was strictly a political dirty trick just like Iraq.
They keep saying Iraq was about stealing oil and paying off oil patch friends. What a
bunch of crap. It was all of it, 100%, about taking America back from the socialists.
It was about having to be a war president to get our political agenda through. And it
worked. It was all about winning elections and passing legislation and undoing the
Roosevelt damage to the country. All I did was look the other way on cue, just like
Roosevelt did, only the difference is that I was doing it to save the country and
Roosevelt was doing it to ruin the country. You want all the details, you’ll have to
talk to Karl, and probably Dick. That’s all I can tell you. Really.”

Throughout this speech Tesla was giving Bush an A+ for truth. On the one hand
people have been speculating about a conspiracy ever since 9/11 but all the evidence
has been circumstantial with zero confessions or direct insider witnesses. I realized I
was the first outsider to hear this direct evidence which made it a profound moment
in history. I didn’t know if I could go on with the interrogation. I wanted to strangle
Bush on the spot or burst into tears or both. I was flashing back to people raining
down around the towers as the flames drove them to jump. One video image that
always chokes me is a flying couple, holding hands as they fall to their deaths.
That’s 9/11 to me, and the video clip will replay in my memory forever.

I attended a 9/11 funeral in New Jersey. He was a Port Authority guy so they had a
pipe band out in front of the church, marching slowly in kilts and playing their dirge
to rolls and snaps of snare drums. There was a cherry picker flying an American flag
about 30 feet off the ground that was going from funeral to funeral because it was
the flag from the roof of the trade tower that miraculously survived, though it was a
little beat up. It had become a sacred object. After the service we went outside
where they had lowered the cherry picker, and 40 of us patiently waited in line just
to touch the flag. I think it’s in the Smithsonian now, under glass. Now I look back
on those memories of us united in our mourning and burning with a new sense of
patriotism in the most noble sense of the word, a patriotism of caring for all our
brothers and sisters because the country felt like one big loyal family. Now I think
back to those people waiting in line to touch the flag, hearts full of all the high and
pure things, and I see instead a line of sheep, foolish in their simple beliefs and
naïveté, led to the slaughter yet once again. History repeating itself. The burning of
the Reichstag, the atrocity propaganda making WWI Germans out to be monsters, all
lies, running up to the US entry into WW I, the sinking of the Lusitania, the Tokin
Gulf “incident”, the Maine blowing up in Havana Harbor, and a dozen more, all

variations on the same theme of murderous misrule; justifying wars nobody wanted
but the fat cats.

And here in front of me was Bush without a trace of remorse, truly believing that it
was in such a sufficiently worthy cause, the ends justified the means. His moral
certainty wasn’t shaken one bit. I asked myself if this, then, is what a monster
sounds like. Hannah Arendt’s “banality of evil.” And Bush just like everybody else;
righteously indignant. I’d had enough for one day. In fact I’d had way more than I
could bear. I reached for the stun button on my desk and Bush went to sleep.

The guys came to help me take him back to his cell. Nobody said a word. Too much
information, too fast. We were on overload and were still numb.

I was nauseated for hours afterwards, ashamed to be an American as never before.

Ashamed that I didn’t do anything to stop it, even though I thought at the time I saw
everything coming from the beginning. What did I really know? Squat. How meek
and passive we all were. Worst of all, how gullible, easily led. How were we any
better than the Good Germans of WWII, downwind of Auschwitz, Dachau, and the
other camps, smelling the burning flesh every day and saying nothing. Close to a
million Iraqi civilians dead, so many of them women and children. On our watch.
Millions of Vietnamese killed on our watch. For what was that? God Bless America.

Hours later we were ready to talk over a meal after keeping to ourselves. Bush
seemed almost cheerful in his cell. The worst was over for him, and maybe he
sensed that. We talked about what segments of his confession we wanted to try
feeding to Cheney. Giles broached the subject.

“What do you think about giving him the whole enchilada? Now that we’ve done it, I
don’t see it giving him a heart attack.”

Gary said, “You never know. The waterboarding is violent and ought to scare the
bejeesus out of him, so how ‘bout if we keep that in reserve and cut to the
confessions? That in itself is plenty powerful stuff.”

I liked that. “Good thought, Gary. Somebody update me on how you read Cheney

“Not much to say,” said Giles. “He’s still in the dark and so he’s probably getting
more and more disoriented. That’s stressful, but no sign of panic, or anyway he
seems to be handling it. He mostly lies around and looks like he’s waiting patiently
for the next move.”

I said, “More than ever we want to unzip him, since he would have to be the guy to
make the pentagon look the other way on 9/11, not to mention executing the Iraq
run-up propaganda machine and false intelligence as we already know. Rove
wouldn’t have the channels or the authority, but Cheney virtually ran Rumsfeld. They
were two peas in a pod. Cheney has to be at the heart of 9/11 and Iraq and
everything else pales in comparison.”

Giles looked thoughtful. “I’m guessing that Bush hasn’t got much more in the way of
earthshaking confessions. Rove was putting most of his ideas in his head and the

covert ops details were wisely kept out of his office. Since all three were precisely on
the same page ideologically, Cheney could execute just about any plan safe in the
knowledge that Bush wouldn’t second guess him. No vice president has been so
powerful and free of supervision. It’s amazing how the guy succeeded in keeping his
affairs private. The media rarely said anything about him because so much was
under the radar. Same goes for Rove. I bet Bush didn’t need to know the
operational details of the election fraud, and preferred to simply enjoy the public
functions of the presidency, chairing meetings about newsworthy issues and what
have you. It worked well and the fact that Cheney and Rove aren’t long gone or in
prison goes to show how effective their Teflon was. You have to hand it to those two
guys. The pair accomplished so much! Evil to be sure, but they were exceptionally
good at it. I smell blood, maybe because Bush was such a pushover. He’s already
said plenty to convince Rove and Cheney that he’ll give them up on every topic. How
can we use that?”

Gary answered, “Bush is a wedge now for sure and he’s thrown away any solidarity
they might have used in their defense. Now Cheney and Rove won’t be trusting each
other either. Rove is a genius, no doubt about it, and he wanted to know everything
about everybody. He had his own private intelligence organization and because
everything was politicized, everything was his business. Does this mean he has all
the dirt on Cheney and will happily give him up to save his skin?”

Giles said, “We can’t plea bargain like an Attorney General or Special Prosecutor but
in a sense the Troika are in a dress rehearsal of what to do when that day comes.
We already have Bush ratting Rove out so the fear begins. We have to play on that.
But what’s next in the sequence? What kind of deal can we offer Rove in return for
the dirt on Cheney?”

I said, “We can give him a pass on election fraud revealed by Tesla. If he believes,
as he should, that once in Tesla his crimes are an open book, how about if we offer
him immunity, i.e. no elections interrogations, in return for giving us Cheney? Think
it would fly?”

Giles perked up. “I think the answer’s yes if Rove truly believes Tesla can extract the
details of every crime from him. He’d do anything to have immunity. Only he knows
how damning it all is. Let’s revisit how he reacted to Bush’s confessions. Play the
tape back to the speech about 9/11 that fingers him as the instigator. I want to
watch his face up close in synchrony with Bush’s confession.”

Giles fiddled with the digital taping screens on the laptop and pretty soon we were
seeing Rove’s face up close on the main TV with an audio feed from my
interrogation. Bush started talking about 9/11 being Rove’s idea. First there was
clear astonishment on his face, as if he’d seen a ghost, just pure surprise. Then it
morphed into fear. He gave a face like a guy with a gun held to his head. This held
for several long seconds as Bush drove deeper into the plot, putting Rove in charge
of it. Then it turned ugly, like the face of a guy stabbing somebody in a rage. The
look gave me a chill. Cornered or crossed, this guy would be as dangerous as a rat
or a wolverine.

Gary blurted “Duh! He’d need a pass on his 9/11 crimes too. Those are the ones
that would motivate every American to tear him limb from limb. He’d never be safe
on the streets of the USA again, no matter what happened in the courts. We really

can’t offer him what he’d want.”

I said, “Looks like he would tear Bush apart with his bare hands if we left them
together right now. Can we use that? It doesn’t unlock Cheney any way I can see,
and now Bush is the least interesting of the three. We want Rove as bad as we want
Cheney. I say we give him the full boat Tesla treatment and wring him dry if it takes
a week. He’ll be giving us Cheney before we’re done. Ever since I learned he’s the
inspiration for 9/11, the idea of hurting him has become less and less aversive. I
won’t have to be an actor to convince him that having him die on the table wouldn’t
give me a qualm.”

Giles exclaimed, “Bang on! We were going up a dead end.”

“Jesus Christ, Fred!” said Gary. “We better keep an eye on you. I think your inner
murderer is trying to come out. Your dark side. If you get all emotional on us and
do something stupid in the heat of the moment, it’s all three of us who are going to
suffer the consequences. Right now we have such an inflammatory confession on
tape, no jury in the country would convict us for what we’ve done. They’d carry us
out of the courtroom on their shoulders after asking for autographs. We’ve got a
good thing going here and we don’t need some loose cannon to screw it up.”

“Yeah,” said Giles. “I think he’s right, now that I look at it that way. But we have to
keep talking to each other and stay cool. When Bush implicated Rove in 9/11 I had
the urge to storm into Rove’s cell with a baseball bat and beat him to a bloody pulp.
It’s only natural. Mass murder of the innocents has got to be crazy making. You’d
have to be a psychopath yourself, not to feel that way. These guys are so much
more evil than I ever imagined in my most paranoid fantasies. This is going to play
with our humanity and our sanity and it’s going to get worse, thanks to Tesla.
Everybody swear to keep talking and sharing the stress? We’re headed into a
vicarious trauma zone like we’ve never seen before. I have your promise?”

Gary and I said yes in unison, and meant it.

The Rove Interrogations

Getting Rove onto a gurney in his cell was a challenge. Not only was he morbidly
obese, but he was so limp from the stun, it was like trying to move a Manatee
overdosed on muscle relaxants. After struggling for 15 minutes, the three of us
seriously considered installing a winch system in the ceiling of his cell. We decided
to stun him only when on his bunk in the future, which would allow us to lower the
gurney and slide him onto it. Somehow we eventually loaded his blubber on the
gurney, muttering about the low back pain we would be paying for this.

Soon he was strapped onto the MRI sled with mouth duct-taped, and the others left
the room as I rolled the sled into the donut hole.

While I waited for Rove to come to, I pondered the session to come. Now I was
going to be matching wits with an exceptionally cunning psychopath who knew what
was coming after watching the Bush show on TV. He knew the drill, and no doubt
had a plan to thwart it. As soon as that tape came off his mouth, I was going to
have my hands full. I felt that a pre-emptive strike was called for, in hopes of
getting the upper hand.

When his eyes opened, they didn’t look frightened. On the contrary, they looked as
fierce and predatory as a cougar’s.

“Blink twice if you can hear me,” I whispered in his ear. They didn’t blink; they just
beamed rays of pure hatred at me.

“O.K. then, let’s give you a little taste of what’s to come. Welcome to the un-torture,
the procedure you and the boys proclaimed to be civilized and within the Geneva

I backed him out of the donut until he was under the apparatus, pulled the tape off
his mouth, dropped the cloth on his face, and moistened it with the hose. As before,
the sound of his nose breathing became labored. I listened for awhile and then
added more water. The breathing became frantic and explosive.

I have always hated Rove more than Bush and this may be the reason why I waited
longer. I pressed one of his fingernails and it stayed white underneath. Not much
peripheral circulation left and not much oxygen either. But I wanted to make my
point and take charge of the session, so I waited longer. When the spasm of his
muscles stopped I figured he had lost consciousness, so I quickly lifted the gear and
pulled the tape off, holding down his chin to get the air in. He was unresponsive so I
put the air bag mask over his nose and chin and squeezed him a lungful. The air
came out but he didn’t revive until I did it twice more.

He hyperventilated for a while but quickly calmed down. In a tone of voice that
made the hackles rise on the back of my neck, he snarled, “I am going to personally
watch you die a slow painful death, you worthless piece of shit cockroach!”

He starting the next retort as I dried the area and slapped the tape back on. I put
my face near his ear and whispered, “It’s only a matter of time, Karl. You can do it
the hard way or the easy way. I personally would prefer it to take weeks.”

The cloth came down, the tape came off, the water went on, and the scene was
repeated. This time I used more water and waited longer until I was absolutely
certain he had passed out. After I revived him with the air bag I immediately taped
his mouth again, turned my back on him, and pretended to be adjusting the MRI
computer. It took longer for his breathing to stabilize with his mouth sealed. I gave
him just a few breaths and then did the waterboarding all over again. This pattern
persisted for the next 20 minutes during which he came to total suffocation 5 more

I leaned close and said, “Blink twice if you are ready to behave yourself.” This time
he did, and I removed the tape as I said, “You will speak only to answer questions.
Say anything else and you do another series, or die trying.” Rove was mute.

“You know how this machine worked on Georgie-boy, Karl. If I see a lie forming in
your brain, I’ll waterboard you before you say a word. When we get through that
phase of training, you’ll just answer questions truthfully without a thought of lying.”

Rove had a look of severe concentration on his face, his forehead bunched up in a
deep frown. “Nothing I say here is admissible in court, so what do you hope to

accomplish by this?”

“Oops! Big mistake, Karl,” I said as I put the tape on his mouth. “Now you get a
dose for speaking out of turn!”

I felt that Rove’s physical resiliency would soon be ebbing too far to take much more
suffocation. I had to get control of the interview now, or never. This time the
torture was slower, more sensual, more measured in its pace. He had longer to rest
between suffocations and more time to think about the next one coming. I tried to
give the impression that this would last for hours with little remarks like, “Pace
yourself, Karl. Save your strength. Don’t fight it so hard. If you wear yourself out,
I’ll have to sit here and get angry waiting for you to be ready. You wouldn’t want me
to get angry, would you?”

During this half hour, the tape only came off when he was unconscious and went
back on as soon as his eyes opened. We did about 7 repetitions and towards the end
he seemed to be failing to bounce back. He was certainly physically exhausted, but
was the mental fight still in him?”

The answer seemed to be no. This time he had a frightened meek expression on his
face when I slid him back into the MRI and found the brain section I needed.

“Let’s start with the big picture, Karl. Tell me about your philosophy of economics
and governance. Not the party line but your own deepest thoughts and beliefs. If
the scanner says you aren’t telling all, you know the consequences.”

Rove frowned in concentration. Tesla suggested he was running scenarios with trial
hedges and lies, and perhaps rejecting them as too dangerous.

“Good boy, Karl. The screen says you’re trying out some answers and probably
guessing they’ll lead back to the waterboard. It’s basic good self care for you to
think this way before you commit yourself to speech. There’s no penalty for thinking
lies, just as long as you don’t utter them.”

These remarks must have seemed like mind-reading to Rove, because his brain went
into a flurry of activity, lights moving and flashing as if a panic stricken animal were
in there seeking escape or a hiding place.

“Right on Karl. You’re getting it. There’s no place to hide. So cough up!”

Rove let out a heavy sigh of resignation, and began. “The big picture is about power
and control. It’s not about money. Money is necessary but alone it has its limits.
For instance you can be very rich and not proportionately influential if you play your
cards wrong. Power seeking is a natural instinct and you can find it in everyone if
you look for it. I just happen to be good at it. Why do I like power over others?
Why not? It’s intoxicating for one thing. Easy to get hooked when you’ve had a
taste of it and discover you’re talented enough to have just about all you want. Hell!
I was the brains behind the most powerful office on the earth. Let me tell you, that’s
a feeling I’ll be missing the rest of my life.”

“You’re getting a taste of it right now, with the control you have over me. I’m sure
you’ve noticed what a heady experience this can be. Always has been and always

will. I figure it started when the first hunter gatherers had enough of a surplus that
a ruler could emerge and be able to lead them without having to work for survival.”

“At the time of the American Revolution, England’s King had absolute power. The
East India Company had the backing of his invincible army and navy all over the
world, and they worked in perfect concert to establish colonies, corner markets,
monopolize trade and extract immense wealth. Of course much of this wealth went
back to the King so his relationship with the East India Company was symbiotic in
the extreme.”

“The revolution happened because they squeezed the colonials too far. The tea tax
was the final straw that broke the camel’s back. It put thousands of mom and pop
tea parlors out of business while creating a tea monopoly for the crown. With this
economic oppression fresh in their minds, the founding fathers created a constitution
that was radically anti-big business. Corporations could only be created with great
difficulty and their charters came up for review and possible cancellation every year.
The people were very wary of them and hoped wealth and power would not become
concentrated in that sector as before. At that time even the most successful
colonists were not particularly wealthy and the founding fathers wanted to keep
things that way, fearing the birth of a new aristocratic class based on dynasties living
on inherited wealth. They were sick and tired of the blue bloods of England and
preferred a much more egalitarian society.”

“But for all their planning and policy writing, they couldn’t prevent the emergence of
human nature’s acquisitiveness. Eventually corporations established monopolies and
extracted great fortunes from them, with the help of legislators on the take. This
has been going on for over 160 years, with only brief setbacks, and today it can be
said that we have the best government money can buy.”

“Anybody who thinks this is a democracy providing power to the people is a naïve
chump. The real power in the USA doesn’t reside in the Congress and Whitehouse.
It resides in barely visible organizations like the Carlyle Group, the Fed, and the
CEO’s of the big investment banks, not to mention Big Oil, Big Pharma, Big
Agriculture, and so on, all of which are, in effect, monopolies pretending to compete
with their brother corporations. This goes way deeper than price fixing. It’s stuff
like deciding who the next president is going to be and what country needs to be
invaded. There’s a big network of us running the real show.”

“Tax cuts to the super rich don’t create jobs for working people. They spend that
money on stocks and other investments that barely impinge on the companies,
except in a negative way as stockholders seek to extract the most profit for
themselves sometimes by trimming jobs. Investing in stocks and bonds is placing
bets in a huge casino. If a company’s stock goes up, this doesn’t create jobs, just
wealth for investors. The all time coup of our strategy since Reagan has been
convincing working people that tax cuts for the very rich would benefit them because
it would trickle down and translate into more employment and higher pay, which of
course is a crock of shit! But those simpletons believe it to this day, and continue to
think that we are serving their interests. To me, the most pathetic bizarre scene in
the world is a struggling blue collar red neck voting Republican because A)
Republicans represent his financial best interests B) Republicans hate gays the way
he does, C) Republicans love Jesus as he does, D) Republicans believe in the family,
and E) Republicans are patriotic like him. If those suckers only knew how many

Republicans are closet gays, all wrapped in the flag though they avoided military
service, cheat on their wives, and are just posing religiosity. And the biggest
delusion of all is that small government is going to benefit working class folks!
Incredible how they swallow that one. Of course small government benefits the
super rich by making it open season on small investor suckers through deregulation
and cutting the budgets of social programs, not to mention a host of other outcomes
they don’t seem to notice. They are so utterly stupid and gullible, they richly
deserve the governments they elect.”

“Jobs are only created when an owner sees a way to make more from an employee’s
labors than the cost of his pay. This is created by demand for products, not supply
of capital. You can create that demand two ways, either with higher wages for
workers or with easy credit for consumers. Naturally, high wages would create a
middle class of consumers who might think too much and upset the apple cart as
they did with the election of Obama. Much better to create profits from the
consumers who borrowed the money which is how we were able to facilitate an
historically significant redistribution of wealth to the top 5% of Americans. You may
ask why we did that. The answer is easy. It was a double benefit. We could turn
previously middle class and choosy employees with high salary expectations into
humbled desperate-for-a-job-any-job, grateful-to-work-at-WalMart folks. The super-
rich have the power, not us. We are able to exercise our maximum power only with
their blessing. Since power is what we seek, paying off the more powerful is the only
way to obtain our greatest possible share of it. In other words, we ain’t in it for the
money. The money is just a means to our real end. Of course we are well taken
care of when out of power, and want for nothing. But the power seeking is the
driver, and that means stacking the deck for the fat cats, and giving them what they
want. You know what their heart’s desire is? A super rich class and a virtually
enslaved class with digital chip implants allowing them to be tracked and controlled
with perfect precision. That’s the brave new world coming eventually, and you can’t
do anything to stop it. Milton Friedman invented this scam of all scams and he even
convinced the civil libertarians, the Ayne Rand nutcases, that they should fear
government, where in actual fact people are truly oppressed by corporate power
unchecked, much more so than by big government.”

I was tongue tied for a while after this rant. “My god, Karl, you’ve touched on most
of the talking points a person like me would report from the far left, and yet you’re
known as a villain of the far right. I’m flabbergasted!”

Karl laughed. “You obviously don’t know who I am at all. You must think I’m some
kind of mush brained ideologue, but you give me no credit for intelligence and
understanding reality. I know the score. You can call me cynical, and I’ll take that
as a compliment. I love power, the more the better. I love influence and I’ve had a
ton of it. I’ll spew out any ideology that leads to raw unadulterated power because I
was destined to be one of the chosen few, one of the ubermenschen who read their
Nietzsche and then lived it to the fullest. The super rich are my kind of folks because
so many of them are exactly like that too. They aren’t any more greedy than me.
The bucks are just a way of keeping score, that’s all. By any measure, I was the
alpha male around Washington DC for 8 solid years, scaring the shit out of most
anyone I confronted. Sure it has something to do with being a fat geek in school,
bullied by the jocks and scorned by the popular girls, but revenge is a dish best
served cold, and I could never have accomplished what I did without the motivation
provided by the gift of those difficult experiences.”

“Many thanks for your candor, Karl. I never would have thought! Let’s change gears
now. How did you guys orchestrate the run-up to the Iraq invasion?”

“That’s a naïve question,” Rove whispered. “The answers have been documented
many times over. That fucking traitor Seymour Hersh published it all in the New
Yorker. He had sources inside the Pentagon who hated Rumsfeld and gleefully
leaked everything to him. I’ll never understand why he alone didn’t cause a national
scandal that swept us out of power. If it hadn’t been for our propaganda machine
and the public’s fear, a less cowed, more thoughtful public would have hung us!

“It was almost frightening reading the whole plan mapped out in detail, for all the
world to see. It was Cheney’s baby as I’m sure you already know. He kicked butt at
the CIA and demanded stuff from them that couldn’t pass any test. People who
didn’t comply were fired. All this cooked up phony so-called intelligence was stove-
piped straight to Cheney and into the oval office through him, by-passing all the
validation checks you normally find at the CIA. They were in so deep, so
compromised, protecting their jobs and caving in to us, they had no choice but to
take the rap when the WMD lie was exposed. If they would have told the truth, they
would have had to admit that they intentionally fucked the country and got its sons
and daughters killed in combat, just to protect their little careers. I guess that’s
what makes a conspiracy tick; once you co-opt people and they become guilty too,
their self interest keeps them in line. Of course what we had going for us was this
coast to coast national insanity of rage about 9/11. We could have tapped into that
to nuke the Vatican if we felt like it. You just point that rage in a direction, give it a
target, pat it once on the butt, and stand back. Nobody was using their frontal
lobes. Nobody was thinking. It was raw emotion, and we could manipulate it any
old way.”

“But I’m not giving myself enough credit. The technique that made everything
happen like clockwork was my invention and, in my opinion, my crowning
achievement. I guess you could call it a sort of bait-and-switch scam. We made
headlines with new issues every 48 hours. I was the one who created each crisis or
newsworthy event or Next Big Thing whatever it was. It worked like a charm.
Hardly anybody reads newspapers any more, but even if you did, the clarification or
closer scrutiny of day-before-yesterday’s revelation would be buried on page 15 and
the focus of the news would keep shifting, moving on to prevent depth of coverage.
Of course network news has nothing to say about 48 hour old news. It may as well
never have happened. So the president was always answering press corps questions
about the Next Big Thing, and nobody was looking at the information surfacing that
tended to invalidate or repudiate the propaganda we fed them before. There was left
wing talk radio, some left wing periodicals like New Yorker, the occasional editorial,
but these news sources rarely impinged on the mass media or their consumers. Like
Hersh, they were exposing gaping holes in our propaganda efforts but it very rarely
got any traction. Nobody was listening. The Valerie Plame thing was a very rare
exception but even that one was contained. Bush commanded that she be outed, on
my instructions, and Cheney executed the order, but nobody ever came very close to
getting us, despite a marathon investigation. Funny thing, right at the beginning her
husband knew it was my style and accused me of doing it, and it’s felony crime
y’know, to out an undercover CIA operative, but it never stuck. We’ll never know
how many of Plame’s operatives were blown and killed, but there’s probably a few.
Too bad. Her husband brought it on them by fucking with us.”

“Another invention of mine was the “signing statement”. This is where Bush would
get a bill it would be impolitic to veto, so he would sign it with a rider that said in
effect “I may decide, under future circumstances, to disregard this legislation.”
Every time he did that, he was creating an imperial presidency that admitted no
allegiance or obligation to the legislative branch of government. In another age this
would have led to impeachment since it was clearly unconstitutional in the very most
fundamental manner, y’know, separation of powers. But given 9/11 and the war and
the fear and rage and the way congress was afraid to get on the wrong side of any
patriotic issue for even a moment, there was never a serious effort made to stop us.
Just a little muted criticism, that’s all. The whole country was a free fire zone for us.
We did what we pleased. Clearly I engineered the most sweeping reforms of any
administration in recent history.”

“Tell me the story of 9/11, starting from when you first thought of it,” I said.

There was a long pause. Tesla showed brief flashes of color from the lie domain but
mostly a steady pulsating glow from the truth centers. I got the impression that
Rove believed I could tell the difference and he was trying to plan a truthful way to
minimize damage, without triggering more torture.

Rove’s voice quavered at first but became more confident as he continued.

“Back in Texas when we first saw George having a shot at the presidency…. I was
looking at the distribution of voting blocs and matching this with an emerging
nomination strategy and one day the numbers said, this can work. This is when I
started thinking hard about what we could actually accomplish in office. It was
pretty obvious that our base wouldn’t be big enough to carry the day. With such a
huge percentage of undecided’s and people who rarely vote unless there’s a gripping
crisis, I could see that a gradual step-wise reform process would run out of steam
early in his first term. If he were going to win, it would be by the most thin margin
and nothing like a powerful mandate. Just winning wasn’t good enough if it meant
failing to take the country back from the socialists. Back then I was inspired by
Jefferson’s dictum that ‘The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with
the blood of patriots and tyrants.’”

“The national unification and focus we needed could only be provided by an enemy
and there were plenty to choose from. This had to be an enemy everybody loved to
hate. Everybody. Like Pearl Harbor it had to be a stab in the back, a dirty deed. A
sneak attack on the World Trade towers was a no brainer. But it had to be bloody
awful. A couple phone calls to Saudi friends got the sleeper cells in motion, run by
ISI. We couldn’t trust Bin Ladin not to screw up. He was just the figurehead. ISI
ran the operation independently and we didn’t get our fingerprints on it. Since we
could leave nothing to chance, I created a covert ops group of retired Special Forces
sappers to take down the towers with demolitions. This couldn’t be a minor disaster;
it had to shake the country to its very core and scare the shit out of everybody. The
demolition would have been impossible if there would have been cascading
explosions, a total give-away. But we had access to magic stuff called Super-
Thermite. Defense developed it and saw it to be perfect for covert ops, so they
made it available to CIA spooks and Special Forces. Our guys had no trouble
siphoning off a bunch with the help of friends inside.

“Super-Thermite is like science fiction. You paint a stripe of it around a heavy steel
beam and it’s perfectly safe until it dries out. Non volatile. You stick on a detonator,
actually a very hot match instead of an explosive. When Super-Thermite is lit, it
reaches extreme temperatures so fast it will cut through thick steel like a hot knife
through soft butter. So the towers fell down relatively quietly with such a rare
unknown technology, nobody could back up their demolition theories afterwards.
The perfect stealth demolition, even with thousands watching and listening.”

“I know it’s hard to believe a few gallons of paint took down the towers but your
machine will tell you this is no lie. They told me the technology is about particles of
aluminum and iron that are ground down so fine with some sort of nanotech process,
and then mixed so perfectly, the oxidation is instantaneous. One guy said a quart of
the particles had a surface area of a five square miles. Incredible.”

Rove’s enthusiasm for this explosive was making me crazy. It was like somebody
bragging about their high performance car after running down a hundred kids with it.
He was actually proud that they’d been able to harness this invention so, elegantly?
Murdering thousands elegantly?

“Karl,” I spluttered. “I’m about as impressed as if a death camp commandant just

sang me the praises of Zikon-B poison gas.”

Karl gave me a look of disgust. “You have no idea. Your little brain, devoid of vision,
can’t comprehend. Those people died for the good of their country just as surely as
the Marines who died on Iwo Jima. They will always be honored heroes to me and I
have no regrets”

“Relatively few people were involved. Cheney was told because we needed him to
distract the SAC. He immediately grasped the necessity of it. Rumsfeld was in on it.
The Pentagon players executed their role flawlessly. Once the whole thing was
executed, nobody was going to talk, because all the players were equally guilty.
After 9/11 we could pretty much control the media and anybody who asked the
wrong questions was dealt with in no uncertain terms. We made dire threats in the
“interests of national security” and they knew we meant it. There were a few people
who put the pieces of the puzzle together and were told that their families would be
assassinated, and they would never be safe even after Bush was out of office. They
knew it was true. Meanwhile the 9/11 Commission followed their script to the letter.
They ignored the most incriminating evidence and glossed over the rest. Their
report was so detailed, the media were overwhelmed by its complexity and had
trouble pulling sound bites out of it. Only a scholar could pick it apart and a few did.
But their arguments were book-length and hardly anyone reads books any more.
Those books never made national wires and remain obscure today. I think the media
were just plain scared to touch it with a ten foot pole. It would have meant career
suicide, given that their CEO’s were exceptionally supportive of our economic
ideology and didn’t want to see it dismantled for any reason. It would have meant
vast riches out of their pockets. Mainly, I think media people instinctively looked the
other way because the truth could easily be sensed as dangerous to their interests.
We found it was rarely necessary to control the message. Consider also that the
opinion setting journalists in print and TV are making hundreds of thousands in
salaries and many are millionaires. They identify with us and our agenda. The
poorer periodicals and journalists scarcely have any mass exposure anymore.”

“The hard part was accounting for the airliners. It was easy for ISI to con the
hijackers into martyrdom, though it was inconvenient that some of them never
participated and are still alive. We used a truck bomb at the Pentagon. We shot
down the Pennsylvania flight when it looked like the hijackers had lost control of it.
The so called Pentagon plane was ditched in the Atlantic. There were a lot of other
loose ends, but they were easily attributed to the ramblings of conspiracy nuts.
Going into it we knew we had a huge margin of error because the media were going
to behave themselves, or else.”

“Fewer people died on 9/11 than in many small wars we’ve fought for far less
reason. This was the price that had to be paid for saving the country from socialism.
Eisenhower ordered men to their deaths by the tens of thousands in order to win the
war and save the country. I have no regrets and if I had it to do over, I’d just
execute the whole game plan better.”

“We weren’t the first administration to use these kinds of tactics nor will we be the
last. From time to time historical imperatives demand that eggs must be broken in
order to make an omelet.”

“This confession was obtained under torture and is inadmissible in any court.
Everybody knows a torture victim will say what their abuser wants to hear. Nobody
will believe what I said unless they are some conspiracy theory nutcase. What I’ve
just said is utterly useless to you. All it does is prove that you’re guilty of
kidnapping, illegal confinement, and brutality.”

“Gosh, Karl,” I whispered. “Looking at it your way, it almost sounds true, but now
you are going to name names. These people are going to give you up in a heartbeat
when offered a plea bargain. If it takes a solid week of waterboarding, we aren’t
going to be done until I have the names, addresses, and phone numbers of
everybody on the tower demolition team. This machine is going to know if you’re
lying to me, so I don’t even have to confirm the authenticity of the information. Get
ready to rat out your whole organization, top to bottom. I hope it takes a week at
least. I’ve got all the time in the world, and seeing you suffer has become a bigger
ambition than ever, now that I know you’re a mass murderer. What say we do some
more waterboarding to underline my point, or would you prefer to start squealing on
your buddies right now?”

This seemed to have gotten Rove’s attention. His torture thus far had been intense.
I suppose I would have betrayed my own mother under similar circumstances.
That’s what they say about torture. Everybody breaks. Everybody. The only other
way out is to tell believable lies, but Tesla had taken care of that. I started to roll out
the sled and reached for the duct tape.

“Not so fast!” blurted Rove. “Let me think about this for a minute!”

Now the sled was under the waterboard gear and I had my hand on the lowering
controls. Rove was looking up at the apparatus and even though he was totally
pinned down, I saw him shudder. His eyes bulged with panic. This guy was between
a rock and a hard place if ever there was one. I thought of the towers going down
and the people jumping out the windows, and a cold icy rage filled my body.

“Tell you what, Karl. I saw a video of a man and woman flying through the air after

they jumped. They were holding hands and it took a long time for them to hit the
ground. I figured they were both standing there in the broken window, scared to
jump with the fireball at their back, and one looked at the other and said, “Take my
hand.” This waterboard is for them. I want you to meditate on them for a moment,
how they must have felt as they flew to their deaths, thinking about their children,
their loved ones, wishing they could say goodbye, worrying about the pain it would
cause everyone. Meditate on that, Karl, you psychopathic monster, this session is for

I lowered the cloth.

A few hours later we met in the lounge, everyone too mentally exhausted to be very

“Tesla performed above and beyond my wildest expectations,” said Giles. “Every
time he tried to throw you a curve, she nailed it. She even picked up on attempted
misspellings for Christ’s sake! I have no doubt that the demolition team’s data will
check out.”

“What we have here is a technology of mind reading and mind control that opens up
a whole new dimension of civil rights abuse. Now that we’ve opened Pandora’s Box,
the world has changed and will never change back. What’s to keep this technology
from falling into the wrong hands? Before you know it, tin pot dictators are going to
be subjugating whole countries with this machinery. It’s like Dr. Faust. We made a
pact with the devil.”

Gary wasn’t as glum. “Knowledge is power, guys. Power for both good and evil.
Better that we were the first to know. When these confessions are released, it’s
going to be so sensational, the whole world is going to be talking about Tesla and
appreciating the implications. I expect there will be regulations written into law
everywhere before long, the UN, the World Court, every civilized country. Without
the torture, Tesla alone isn’t as invasive. You can just refuse to answer questions
and if you don’t, people will have to dig through hundreds of yes or no answers, the
same way they use lie detectors today. Torture is always going to be illegal and it’s
always going to be practiced in failed states. So nothing has changed, really, except
this combination of techniques has closed the escape route of avoiding torture by
telling effective lies.”

“I suppose you’re right in some ways, Gary,” I said. “But we’ve just made torture a
whole lot more productive and accurate, not to mention fast. This can only
encourage people to torture more, not less. On the other hand, this doesn’t
denigrate our accomplishment. We’ve just busted three of the most horrible
criminals in recent history.”

“What next?” asked Giles.

I pondered the question for a while. “No need to give Cheney a heart attack. We’ve
got him fingered as a co-conspirator in mass murder of two kinds, an illegal war
entered into on account of his propaganda machine, and 9/11 too. Compared to
those two the torture at Abu Graib and Guantanamo and the renditions, and the
illegal wiretaps, etc. etc. are pretty small potatoes. It’s safe to say his goose is
cooked, I figure. In fact, the other crimes are so paltry in comparison, exposing

them all steals thunder from the big two. The one issue I think is too important to
gloss over, is election fraud. We have to expose that because it would continue
otherwise. It cuts right to the heart of stealing democracy itself from the people,
and has to be stopped.”

Giles laughed. “I think Rove is so beat up and despondent, you’re going to get the
whole story without a ‘nuther waterboard session. Any bets?”

Gary and I shook our heads. “Do we look like suckers?” asked Gary. “Rove knows
you can only hang once and his place in history as an arch criminal is already
assured. Why would he take a waterboard now?”

Gary was right. My next session with Rove was the final one.

“OK Karl. I’m going to ask you about the election scams you pulled, and after you
have described them, I’m going to ask you if that is every single significant crime. If
the machine calls you a liar at that point, back to the waterboard for some more fun.
Got it?”

“Yeah” said Rove in a listless voice. We had observed him crying back in his cell. He
was probably looking at his future and it must have been bleak indeed. He looked
depressed enough, we had him red flagged for suicide watch.

“Fire away Karl. Explain all the techniques you used.”

“I publically ran the 2001 and 2004 elections and was drafted to ramrod the 2008
election operating invisibly. Of course the Diebold voting machines were rigged.
They weren’t delivered rigged, since they might be inspected, but later one of our
people would come to do so called maintenance and he’d download the program that
knew exactly how many votes ahead our candidate would be. This is pretty easy to
do in a close race because you just shave a few points and the exit interviews
wouldn’t conflict too noticeably. There were some precincts where they over-did it
and that made us crazy because it was so unnecessary and drew attention.”

“We had ways of beating the other brands of electronic machines too. To tell you the
truth, electronic voting is a fixer’s wet dream. Never met a machine we couldn’t
compromise. Until you go back to paper ballots, that’s how it’s going to be.”

“Our other best method was caging black voters a number of ways. We arranged to
have voters with addresses in black neighborhoods show up on doctored felony
conviction lists which disqualified them at the polls. We also used those addresses to
send fake voter registration cards and warnings about the day of voting being
changed; all kinds of stuff. Those addresses were so useful. Right at the polls we
would already know who we wanted to disqualify on some false technicality. If the
state had a helpful attorney general, we could lose valid voter registrations with
those addresses, even after they’d been submitted.”

“Similar tactics were used for addresses in poor communities that had voted
democrat historically. They didn’t have to be black.”

“We had a lot of cooperation out in the field in 2001 and 2004, a whole army of
people doing everything they could. Things were a little haphazard to begin with in

2008 because I was called in too late.”

“The one thing we couldn’t counter was Obama’s landslide. The waiting lines were so
long and his supporters so energized, our loyal folks would give up and go home
without voting after waiting for hours. We were swamped with sheer numbers.
There were so many belligerent blacks waiting in line at some polls, the people inside
working for us feared for their lives. They didn’t feel safe harassing too many people
and maybe starting a riot.”

“We stole millions of votes in that election and it hardly put a dent in Obama’s
juggernaut. I know for a fact that he actually won by the greatest margin in the
history of the USA. This caught us off guard because so many voters were new to
the system and under our radar. The polls were misleading because Obama had an
army of new younger voters who didn’t use landline phones. It was only towards the
end we saw some cell phone polls and realized our mistake. We were unprepared.
In order to cover the actual spread, we would have had to steal three times as many
votes and many people in the field just didn’t have the nerve to go that far out on a
limb. I mean, anybody with eyes in their head could see it was a landslide. I was
yelling at my people in each state but they couldn’t keep our troops in line.”

“O.K. Karl, are there any other significant techniques you used? Be very careful with
this answer.”

“Not anything as huge as I just told you; just some odds and ends.”

“Mention one.”

“Well, it’s true what everybody is saying about how I put political pressure on a
bunch of US prosecuting attorneys to charge democrats with trumped up election
fraud charges. The idea was to put the heat on democrats and make them the focus
of the debate, which in turn would take the heat off all the stuff we were doing. I
fired the US attorneys who refused to play ball.”

“What about Governor Don Siegelman of Alabama?”

“Oh, that one. Yeah. I had my wife Darby go after him. She took him down on a
silly little technicality through her friend who is Alabama’s Attorney General.
Siegelman really didn’t do anything wrong but we found a hole in his armor and
busted him for bribery in a show trial, a real kangaroo court thing. The idea was that
he had fucked with us, and we needed to send a message to everybody that if you
fuck with us, we are going to fuck you up big time. It was a very good investment in
the sense that if you can’t get respect, fear is the next best thing. After we took
down Siegelman, everybody knew we meant business no matter who you are, even a
governor. Speaking of which, we took down Eliot Spitzer for the same reason, not
only because he was a governor but because he had earlier been jerking our friends
around as Attorney General. What a sitting duck he was! Couldn’t keep it in his
pants, the fool!”

“How about dirty tricks, rumor mongering, swift boat groups and that kind of thing?”

“I didn’t invent it. Lee Atwater did and he proved it worked. It sure worked for me.
The Swift Boat group was a master stroke if I do say so myself. You attack your

opponent’s strong suits with outrageous lies. You tell the big lie often enough, and it
becomes the focus of the debate. Remember when LBJ was accusing his opponent in
Texas of being a thief, a total lie, and one of his aids said, ‘Why are you doing this?
You know it isn’t true.’ And LBJ said, ‘That’s right. I just want to hear him deny it.’
Same thing with Kerry. He just didn’t know what to do with the swift boat big lie.
First he was in shock for 48 hours. Then he kept quiet because it was so outrageous,
he didn’t want to dignify it with a rebuttal. But by that time the media wasn’t going
to talk about anything else until he stood up and answered it. We took him hostage
with a big lie, and he came across like a stuttering fool because patrician that he is,
he doesn’t know how to fight dirty. He was playing by Queensbury Rules while we
were wailing away kicking him in the nuts till they were black and blue. He came
across as anything but tough and presidential. He revealed his pansy nature. It was
like taking candy from a baby. These guys are their own worst enemy.”

“Now I need the names of the key people in each state who reported to you, and
actively engaged in election fraud. And I’ll need to know specifically which crimes
they committed”

“Hey! That’s hundreds of names. I can give you the top two or three in charge of
vote stealing in each multistate region, but that’s all I would be able to remember

Rove proceeded to do that, and was duly knocked out and placed back in his cell.

The Cheney Interrogation

We all agreed on a plan for Cheney, finally. We decided to keep a close eye on him
while we played back everything.

We considered that he had been mostly languishing in the silent dark, with very little
information to help him become oriented. He had been stunned each time we
knocked a neighbor out for their interrogation, and he had found bread and water
pushed through a slot on the bottom of his cell door. He had a couple of bowel
movements. He couldn’t pace very easily without bumping into things in the dark.
So he mostly stayed on his bunk while three days and nights would have passed very
slowly. We figured he was softened up to some degree, and ready for the show.

Now suddenly his plasma TV screen flashed blindingly into life and his high end
surround sound bathed him in every nuance of his cohort’s violent waterboardings
followed by confessions.

We watched him watch the show, zoomed in on his face and hearing the audio as he
did. Sometimes every muscle on his face seemed to be doing a different dance step.
Never did he look like a happy camper. I was thinking he might be wondering how
these confessions would play on network TV.

After he’d seen it all, we stunned him and he woke up strapped to my sled with the
waterboarding gear overhead.

“Hi, Dick. How’s it going?” I whispered as I removed the duct tape.

His eyes fixed on mine for a long moment until he looked away. “You’ll never get

away with this.”

“I could say the same to you about your crimes, Dick. Who’s in the most trouble
here? Me or you?”

“None of this will stick. It’s all obtained under torture.”

“Funny you would use that word, after so many times you have reassured the media
that Waterboarding isn’t torture. Can’t have it both ways. Which is it going to be?”

“OK, so it’s torture. I was wrong. I made a mistake. That isn’t a crime.”

“Actually it is, Dick. You know every provision of each treaty we sign automatically
becomes domestic law, just as surely as legislation signed in the oval office. You
always knew that, and the Geneva Conventions are the law of the land.”

“You’re a kidnapper.”

“And your renditions were mass kidnappings. The big difference between you and
me is that I’m not a mass murderer and war criminal who consciously set out to
dismantle the constitution.”

“Just watch. You’re in control now and you can play the tough guy, but you won’t be
so brave facing the death penalty. You’ll die crying for your mommy.”

“Maybe so. Good point. But maybe I’ll have the satisfaction of being your ruin. You
say this testimony is inadmissible and that’s to be sure, but how about the dozens of
co-conspirators we’ve identified? Do you really think the people of the United States
are going to allow all of them to escape FBI interviews and plea bargaining? They’ll
give you up so fast, you’ll wonder how you ever trusted them.”

Cheney seemed to wilt and exhaled a long breath of defeat. “I still say you’ll never
get away with it if you do it your way, but there’s another way, a win win. You know
I have influence. What do you want? Money? Name your price. You know I can
access it. There are a lot of very powerful and wealthy people who don’t need this at
all. It’s not just our administration. It’s a huge community with a vested interest
you are attacking. There’s no way you could ever hide from their wrath. They have
eyes and ears everywhere. You would be snuffed out or maybe even subjected to
torture yourself. How about your loved ones? How could they possibly be safe?
Want to watch your mother raped and tortured? It can be arranged. I’m not just an
ex-vice president of a mere country. I’m a kingpin in a global organization bigger
than any dozen countries. You simply have no idea how far over your head you are.
People like you are insects we swat every day, just like you’d squash a mosquito. ”

“Thanks for the offer, Dick, but no thanks. You just don’t get it, do you? I’m
anonymous and will remain so. How can you hunt down somebody you don’t know?
These conversations are going to be seen and heard by most people on the face of
the earth before it’s over. Smile for the camera!”

Rove had a frozen look of fear on his face, as if he was only now remembering he
was being filmed. This was truly a shot of a deer paralyzed in the headlights. Then
he composed himself and went on with his sales pitch.

“Suppose you’re right, and remain at large. We don’t forget and we’ll be more
relentless than the CIA, NSA, and the FBI put together. Our investigation will
operate at levels unattainable by police. Remember all those presumed witnesses
privy to information about the Kennedy assassination? About 78 of these people
died in the years after the assassination, either of unusual heart attacks or murders.
You’ll be looking over your shoulder for the rest of your life even if I’m in prison. I’m
the only person who can protect you from a life of fear. I can make you so rich, you
have no fucking idea. You could buy yourself an island or a small country of your
own. You could spend the rest of your life doing exactly what you please and price
would be no object. Think what this would mean, not just to you, but to the people
you care for. Think what you could do for them.”

“Don’t you see what you’re up against? Nothing less than a covert system of
government bigger and broader than any nation. Our power has grown by leaps and
bounds throughout the era of the global economy. Today the real news isn’t made
by national governments. They do our bidding and the real seat of world power is in
the boardrooms and executive suites of multinational corporations working in concert
through the IMF, GATT, and the World Bank. Nothing can stop us. We buy and sell
legislatures and heads of state the way you shop for groceries. People who don’t
cooperate are eliminated as you will be. My case means nothing. It won’t slow down
our eventual total domination, one bit. Your futile gesture means nothing, but you
are sacrificing your life and loved ones for it. Don’t think for a minute any of your
relatives will survive this.”

I was astonished at this diatribe. Cheney was confirming my most paranoid

fantasies about world wide corporate conspiracy. It had the ring of truth, not bluster,
and it suggested the crimes of Iraq and 9/11 were just the tiniest tip of the iceberg.
I felt sick to my stomach. He was probably right. I was in so deep, and only waking
up to the long term consequences to me. What made me think I could mess around
with such centers of ruthless power and not get burnt?

“Well, Dick,” I whispered. “I think you are telling the truth and I also think it’s too
late for me to save myself. So I’m just going to have to get used to the idea of being
a simple minded idealistic patriot who gave his life for a good cause, and took down
some bad guys, some real villains, in the process. That will be my little legacy.
Nothing like yours to be sure; nothing earth shaking. But I’ll leave my mark, and the
more I think about it, I consider it a privilege. This conversation is over.”

“Don’t be a fool! We can both walk away from this getting what we need!”

“Dick, how could a psychopath possibly understand what a principled person needs?
You haven’t a clue what makes me tick because you have no conscience whatsoever.
You probably think everybody on this earth is as sick as you!”

I hit the stun button.

Soon we were back in the longue while our prisoners slept off their latest stun. Giles
lead off as usual.

“I think Cheney’s bargaining is richer than any specific confession because it tends to
endorse all the rest and show his true colors. This asshole comes across like some

cornered Mafia Don desperately and cunningly alternating between threats and
bribes. I think we have plenty enough video to be able to say mission accomplished.
This information is going to trigger a cascade of investigations and plea bargains and

Gary didn’t look happy. “I believe everything he said about the danger we’re in. I’m
not worrying about being arrested. I’m worrying about being disappeared by
Cheney’s friends. How in the hell do you propose to release these videos without
getting caught?”

Giles smiled. “Modern technology, my man. I’m distributing the videos to YouTube
via ISP’s overseas where there can be no investigation traced back to us. It’s better
that you don’t know how, since this is smoking gun evidence we don’t want to give

I was slow to respond because Cheney’s dire threats were still echoing in my head,
triggering feelings of dread and danger.

“I’m thinking that there are going to be two different manhunts going on. The lawful
one and the unofficial one. I don’t know any details of the shadow powers Cheney is
talking about, but I wouldn’t be surprised if we have more to fear from them than we
do the FBI and the CIA. The only security we have is our anonymity. If our identity
becomes known to anyone, any time in the future, we’d be in grave danger
anywhere on this earth. So we have to protect against disclosure at all costs. It
may be a life and death proposition. Tell us, Giles, how we’re going to get out of this
without any loose ends that can hang us.”

Giles seemed unconcerned. “The plan was air-tight from the beginning. The only
evidence that can point to us is the helicopter and this facility. The people who may
have seen the helicopter in Seattle didn’t know it was hot at the time and would not
have noted the phony ID numbers on it I’ve already peeled off. When we’re through
with it, we’ll scour it for micro evidence and then lose it in a secluded body of deep
water. Here’s how we cover our trail locally. We wipe down every surface that could
hold a fingerprint. We destroy anything that might not be turned to dust during
demolition. Then I deploy several hundred pounds of plastique in such a way that
Tesla and our electronics are blasted to tiny bits when we blow up the chamber. Way
up there on top, there won’t be a noise, but the ground will give a shake and we
might set off an avalanche. There will be nothing recognizable left here, which then
becomes buried under a hundred tons of rubble after we blow the elevator shaft. The
serial numbers have already been removed from all this equipment, just in case a
scrap survives. Remember that huge rock overhang towering over the entrance
outside? It’s been drilled and mined. After the shaft has been blown to
smithereens, I’ll drop in on the entrance rubble up top, with a neat little set of
charges that will hardly make a ka’boom, more like a muffled thump. If a crew
worked for a solid month with heavy equipment to clear out the shaft, all they’d find
at the bottom of it would be evidence of an explosion that obliterated everything
there. But we have to clear it of even the slightest spec of material that could
provide DNA evidence or some other kind of ID. I don’t know how much you
understand about explosives, but their destructive force is exponentially multiplied to
the extent they are contained. Down here, there’s no place for the explosive force to
escape or be diffused, so everything in this area is going to virtually be vaporized.”

“What about our prisoners?” asked Gary. “How are we going to reinsert them
without exposing ourselves? After that, we’ll have a whole new getaway trail to
worry about.”

I had been thinking about that and had the glimmering of a great idea. “I think the
tapes ought to hit YouTube about 48 hours before we release the troika. A few
anonymous tips will guarantee that anybody with an internet will hear about them
and watch them, overnight. This is going to be some kind of killer breaking news
that can’t be contained because a million people can download them or share them
in no time. So 48 hours of intense scrutiny will have everybody up to speed on what
we’ve got, and feeling some pretty strong emotions about it. I think the troika
should be handcuffed to a cast iron gate somewhere and the public notified that they
can go down there to tell ‘em how they feel about it. What do you think about that?”

Giles frowned. “Do we want a mob to tear them apart? Could that happen?”

I didn’t know. “That could be good or bad. But I love the idea of the boys facing the
American public face to face and being held accountable. They’ve lived their entire
criminal lives surrounded by security and bullet proof glass, riding around in private
jets and armored limos. Only rarely have they had to face a questioning audience
and even then from a far removed podium, surrounded by Secret Service agents.
That’s about as close as they’ve ever come to facing the people they’ve screwed.”

“Sounds like poetic justice to me,” said Gary.

“Cheney would shit his pants,” said Giles with a beaming grin.

“Rove would cry like a baby, begging for mercy,” said Gary.

“The timing would be tricky,” I said. “How do you inform the people of the troika’s
public appearance without alerting the entire National Guard to be waiting for us?”

“It could be done,” said Giles. “Say we included an announcement with the videos
that told viewers the three would be released and immobilized in a major city with
location to follow, inviting everybody to come, by watching some internet bulletin
boards at a certain time? A lot of people would jump in their cars and go there to
see the fun. The cops would arrive there too, but if we had heavy shackles on the
boys, it might take an hour for the cops to send for cutting tools, set them free, and
get them out of there. During that time, some fair number of people would gather.
There would be magic in the air; three arch villains exposed and on display. Street
theatre! Now how about if we invite them to have a dozen eggs ready, and tell them
they shouldn’t hurt the boys but they should pelt them with eggs? Nobody was ever
killed by a thrown raw egg, but it sure makes a mess and it’s an elegant way to
express disapproval. People who are disappointed we didn’t release the troika near
them, can take a dozen eggs with them that day, and express solidarity by pelting
stretched limos, corporate HQ’s , and other symbolic targets. If there were mass
participation, people would feel their sense of power and the bad guys would be
cowering in their hiding places.”

I said, “We’d best be far away when we triggered the invitation some way.”

Giles said, “I can do that using my safe ISP’s, and have that executed from a website

that wouldn’t leave a trail back to us. I’d just FTP that server with instructions. If
they could track it down the trail would end in Europe. The government would have
warning if we indicated certain chat rooms, bulletin boards, or public information
websites. They’d have time to shut them down. So I think it would be better to
invite people to check the internet per se, and they’ll be able to find us via Google.
The US government can’t shut down the whole internet without really serious

Gary said, “OK now, merry pranksters. Stop and think a moment. What would this

“Good point,” I answered. “Why does this feel so delicious? I’m thinking it’s because
they have been so totally in control of us all these years with unassailable authority
they abused, and we just naturally want to give them a taste of public humiliation
before the system closes around them and protects them from the people they

“We have to do it,” said Giles. “It’s just too good, not to. I’ve got a portable
acetylene torch and some scrap metal. I think I could actually weld some crude
restraints to a heavy metal gate almost anywhere. They’d be a bugger to cut
without special tools. I was thinking of the Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle, surely
abandoned at night. They could yell all they want and nobody would hear them.
Then just about sunrise, the invitation would go out, and a big chunk of Seattle
would be a half hour or less from there. The University of Washington is nearby, and
we could definitely arouse the curiosity and sense of adventure in half the student
body. Of course we’ll invite the whole nation to attend the coming out party, and
hope there are expressions of solidarity as egging parties spring up.”

“Whoa, fella’s!” said Gary. “The whole country is going to be on red alert. AWACS
planes will be in the air and fighters will be ready to scramble. Radars will watch the
airspace of every city. Nothing that flies could escape detection.”

“True,” said Giles. “But did I ever say we were going to copter in and out? I had
some problems with the copter anyway because it’s harder to hide once it’s hot
again. We only need it to get our boys across the border and after that it’s a liability.
After that we only face the risk of getting a speeding ticket while in a van I’ve got
waiting for us, but once we unload the troika, we’re free to go where we please.
Hell! We could check into the Olympic Hotel for that matter, and watch the fun on TV.
I’d planned to do the whole USA part in a rented van, and ditch the copter before all
the shit starts to fly.”

As we became ready to leave our mountain, my thoughts of Karen became more and
more intrusive. As long as I was getting further and further away from her, I could
sort of switch off my longing for her. But now that I was pointed back in her
direction I became obsessed with the thought of seeing her again, making love to
her, caressing her incredibly sexy body. She was on my mind every second I wasn’t
focused on something else and the thought of her gave me such sudden erections,
they started to become an annoyance. Now I understood the expression about
lovers counting the days until they would be reunited. I was counting the minutes
and they were moving too slowly.

Exit and Reinsertion


Giles downloaded the video files to YouTube using methods of which any Top Gun
hacker would be proud. He was using untraceable satellite internet links and an ISP
that was registered under phony ID in Spain long ago for the purpose, not knowing
at the time he would be also be using it as a base for the invitations to the prisoner
release. He also posted announcements in a bunch of chat rooms directing people to
the videos and we sat back to wait for the fireworks.

We watched internet news and scanned the online papers. Nothing all day. We
figured that the networks and big news organizations didn’t know whether to shit or
go blind. Their corporate CEO’s were as much as implicated in many crimes to the
extent that they censored news stories, and hardly any journalist could be entirely
free of the stain of being exposed as a purveyor of propaganda. They must have
been confused and frightened. Then that night it hit the news. The spin was
absolutely incredibly self serving and oozed defensiveness. The mass media worked
from the proposition that it was a hoax and the videos had been cooked by the kind
of people who do digital special effects for movies. Commentators were saying
things with a straight face that nobody who had seen the gritty realism of the videos
would believe. Experts were interviewed by the score, opining that faking these
videos was child’s play to the special effects geeks in Hollywood, some of whom had
apparently gone rogue. It was so preposterous. Surely nobody was going to believe
them. Then we started to doubt ourselves. The same media had cheered the bogus
run-up to the invasion of Iraq and few voices were raised in protest despite the
obviousness of the lies. As we watched the same spun story repeated over and over,
all over the internet press and TV networks, we came to realize that the Big Lie was
working and our effort was for naught. Only a few left wing radio hosts, progressive
online newspapers, or bloggers believed the videos, and they had a small following.

The next day we set out on our final mission with a dark cloud of despair hanging
over us.

The demolition of the facility at noon was anticlimactic and seemed like a funeral
celebrating our failure. Something very big happened underground judging from the
way the surface shuddered, but there was no sound. We had our prisoners stunned
and loaded, so we were back flying amongst the grand mountains of Vancouver
Island minutes later. When we got to the Nanaimo area, Giles headed South and
East towards the Gulf Islands. There’s a channel between long slim islands reaching
all the way to the border. Giles put the chopper right down on the deck, so we were
well below radar level until we flashed out of the last pass and across the line into
the USA near Orcas Island in the American San Juans. Jamming down narrow
winding channels between islands was like a thrilling roller coaster ride at a fair.
Then we shot across Rosario Strait, up Deception Pass, and soon we were thumping
along down Puget Sound.

Giles had put some forethought into our end-game. He had a beautiful uninhabited
bay ready for us replete with a landing area, camping gear, a nice unremarkable van,
and a small boat. Puget Sound is incredibly deep, averaging 450 feet and going all
the way down to 930 feet just north of Seattle. Evidence has been found of giant
squids living down there, though none have been sighted on the surface. This would
be an excellent place to lose a helicopter, provided that you could crash it without
breaking your neck. Giles was confident that he had that part all worked out.

“Fred is going to be standing by in the skiff when I put her down. When I’m
hovering about 20 feet from the water, I’ll nose her forward just a hair, drop a loop of
twine over the stick to hold it there, and then bail after backing off on the throttle.
That way she won’t land on us.”

“Has anyone ever done this before, and lived?” I asked.

“Well, funny you should ask. People rarely do a controlled ditch of a million dollar
copter on purpose with full power access so it isn’t exactly a well explored
phenomenon. I based most of my research on videos of US Army Huey’s ditching in
the ocean during the Viet Nam retreat that turned into a route. All those poor guys
didn’t have a clue and so many Huey’s flipped or broke up when their rotors hit the
water still spinning at top speed. But actually, the only part that scares me is
misjudging the height and getting hurt from too high a jump. In my humble opinion,
the only reason why people don’t do this maneuver safely every day, is because
nobody feels like it.”

“I’m not feeling very reassured,” said Gary.

“I was wondering if the copter is going to land on my head,” I said. “I was also
wondering why Giles thinks we won’t be swarmed by air sea rescue teams
immediately following.”

“Look around us, guys,” said Giles. “This is a remote area that’s part of a huge
timber lease. Nobody is watching but the eagles.”

Ditching the copter in 300 feet of water was a bigger scare than the kidnapping raid
itself. After Giles bailed out, the copter nosed down and began to slowly turn. It
sped overhead so low I had to duck, and crashed no more than 30 yards from my
skiff. I was still feeling the shaky after effects of the panic as I pulled Giles aboard.

“You fucking maniac! You just about got me mushed into hamburger! You never
thought about how a wobbly stick could veer the copter into a U turn, did you?”

This may have been the first and last time I ever saw Giles with a sheepish look on
his face.

“Sorry about that, Bro. Didn’t quite work out as planned.” Then he started to laugh.
“You should have seen the look on your face when the copter came around back at
us. First dismay, then out and out terror. Did your whole life pass before your eyes,
buddy? Your face went snow white and it looked like your eyes were going to pop out
of your head!”

“Oh, I’m so happy I was able to amuse you, asshole! I hope this stunt isn’t a
harbinger of things to come. Suddenly I’m not so confident you have the situation
under control.”

“Give it a rest! I’m sorry, OK? We’re alive and the copter is hidden perfectly. Suck
it up and soldier on.”

I gave out a big sigh. “I don’t have any choice do I?” But the panic had morphed into
a superstitious dread that our run of good luck had ended and the shitstorm of bad

luck we had been accumulating with our recklessness was about to overwhelm and
crush us. I made a mental note to be the devil’s advocate about every element in
the reinsertion mission to come. We were so near to being in the clear. Just a few
hours really. So near, and now it felt so risky with us no longer safely nestled at our
impregnable fortress in the guts of Mt. Washington. Now we were in Washington
State, surrounded by 250 million people who didn’t believe us and equipped with
little more than a tent, a van, and our stunners.

Most stories about prisoners leave out the important aspect of meeting their
excretion needs. Stainless steel toilets made this easy in the cells of Mt.
Washington, but now we were camping. This meant they had to be awake and
handcuffed and they couldn’t be allowed to see any clue that could come back to
haunt us. They had been blindfolded ever since leaving our base and we had been
careful about them not overhearing us, but security was becoming very hard to
manage. One by one we had to help our boys relieve themselves in the woods. For
me, the most disgusting part was standing by with the toilet paper while Rove
squatted and defecated. Ever tried to wipe yourself with handcuffs on? Messy. His
obesity made the whole thing that more gross and nauseating. I’ll leave the rest of
the details to your imagination. The only good part of it was that Rove was obviously
humiliated by his display. Advice to prospective kidnappers: Eye the diet of your
prisoners with the goal of discouraging diarrhea and be aware of obese people’s
propensity for this problem. It was such a relief to have it over, and hope that we
would be leaving him at the zoo before he had the urge again. Clearly, not
everything about being a righteous Robin Hood type kidnapper is glorious and
suitable for a Hollywood movie.

The next day we took our time breaking camp and screening the area for evidence
we did not wish to leave behind. The skiff was set adrift after being wiped for prints.
We killed time, enjoying the rest and sunshine while our prisoners were bound and
gagged in the tent. Giles brought up the game plan for that night.

“It’s coming up over two days since the tapes were posted at YouTube and we can
only guess what the reaction has been today. Certainly our invitations to the release
have been on the minds of law enforcement all over the country and they’re going to
be on red alert. In every town they’ll probably have a Tac Squad or two ready to hit
the road as soon as they have a destination. So we are at the mercy of the clock
and we absolutely must be out of the vicinity by 3AM tomorrow. There are going to
be roadblocks and checkpoints going up as soon as they know which city, but they
can’t lock down all of Seattle with rush hour approaching. If we do get stopped at a
checkpoint, it would take a thorough search to reveal the stun guns’ hiding place.
That will have to be our vulnerability because we want to keep them just in case we
get into a last resort situation where we have to shoot our way out. But that’s the
worse possible thing I can think of happening because law enforcement would swarm
us if they had a clue where we were. Airports, train stations, and bus stations are
going to be watched, but they don’t know what they’re looking for except knowing
there’s three of us. I have us a little log cabin up in the Cascade Mountains about an
hour and a half from the zoo. It’s on Denny Creek before you drive up to
Snoqualmie Pass, at the end of a dirt road, very isolated, beautiful scenery. We can
pop down into North Bend to check the newspapers and internet, in one’s and twos.”

“In case you forgot, we’ve all been on a wilderness trout fishing trip this whole time,
as far as anybody back home knows. Now that cover story is going to come true. We

are trout fly fishermen, and we’re actually going to spend some time doing that in
the Denny Creek area. There’s some nice gear waiting for us at the cabin. That is
also our cover if anyone questions us before we get up there. It will check out if
they want to call our contacts back home. Eventually we’ll mosey back into Seattle
and fly home after losing the van, but we won’t be in a big hurry. Denny Creek is a
great place to decompress and be watchful. This time of year it’s unlikely anyone will
be driving that road to the end. Any questions?”

All this reassuring talk wasn’t helping me. My sense of impending doom had been
building ever since we ditched the copter. I doubted that anything Giles could say,
would make it go away. I just wanted this extreme feeling of vulnerability to be

Gary seemed to feel it too: “I’m feeling nervous about being back near civilization,
Giles. I know that nobody has a fix on us or the van, but I’m worrying about being
pulled over for a bad tail light, or being in a bumper thumper or something else
random. One look in the van by anybody, and we’re toast.”

“Not really,” said Giles. “You forget the van has curtains and no windows in back. We
only need to have the driver showing. We’ll have the troika gagged. But I hear you
and I know what you mean. I feel that way too. The hard part is going to be over in
just a few hours. The main thing is for us to stay focused and not make some stupid
mistake because of the tension. Keep foremost in your mind that we’re invisible so
far. No need to feel, look, or act secretive or guilty. Nobody knows what to look for
and being surrounded by a big city is actually preferable while we’ve got the boys
with us, because it’s easier to get lost in a crowd. We’re a needle in a haystack the
size of the whole USA until the invitations hit the internet.”

All this talk didn’t help. I believed him with my mind but my heart wanted to panic.
My breathing had become frequent and shallow. My heart rate was way up and my
forehead was clammy. I was feeling a spacey light headed kind of faintness. The
panic fed on itself and snowballed and I began to hyperventilate. This had to stop.
The idea of revealing myself as unreliable and cowardly was unbearable. I struggled
for self control.

I used the Valsalva maneuver to knock my heart rate down. With practice this
becomes more and more powerful and I’ve been using it for so many years my body
knows what to do when it gets the message. Almost instantly my breathing became
deeper and slower, almost as if I’d just had an IV tranquillizer. Here’s how an
authority describes it:

“It is a maneuver in which a person tries to exhale forcibly with a closed glottis (the
windpipe) so that no air exits through the mouth or nose as, for example, in
strenuous coughing, straining during a bowel movement, or lifting a heavy weight.
The Valsalva maneuver impedes the return of venous blood to the heart.”

After you do that push with a deeply held breath, you exhale very slowly through
your mouth with a kind of wheeze, and feel yourself go limp as your shoulders drop
and the tension in your chest relaxes. This triggers the relaxation response in a
crisis, but it’s a dangerous thing to do in the middle of a heart attack.

After a few such breaths I felt calmer and could think more rationally. “OK Giles, I’m

game to cowboy up and get it done. It’s only a hundred miles and a little welding
job. Then it’s over for us, and we’ll look back on this as a great adventure, and miss
the excitement. What a story to tell our grandchildren!”

Gary looked pensive. “I wonder what will come of all this. Now that the video files
are out, we’ve set stuff in motion and we can’t put the genie back in the bottle.
Y’know, I’m dying with curiosity, especially knowing that a few miles from here
there’s some newspaper stand that could tell us. First one we see, we have
absolutely got to buy one.”

“You’re appointed,” said Giles. “You can read to us as we go to meet our destiny.”

“Any bets on whether the media are winning the war on truth?” I asked.

Gary answered. “I know a thing or two about computer animation and digital special
effects. Most Americans are computer literate and have a clue about the state of the
art, if only from seeing movies. I’m betting that the media bit off more than they
could chew this time, and maybe even revealed something sinister about themselves
in the process. Those videos could not have been faked and anybody with a grain of
technical knowledge would know that. Probably some day soon technology will be
doing that and worse, but not this year. I think the media panicked and publically
disgraced itself beyond redemption. ”

We lounged on the beach, tended to our prisoners, and loaded up the van long after
the sun set. The ride towards Hood Canal was uneventful until we reached a gas
station with a newspaper stand. Gary bought one and read to us in a stage whisper
(so as not to be heard by the boys bound and gagged in the back) as we wended our
way down Hood Canal’s shore on our left with the Olympic Mountains on our right in
the moonlight, and hardly another car on the scenic two lane road.

“The headline on the Seattle Times goes ‘Country Waits in Suspense for Kidnappers
to Release Bush, Cheney, and Rove.’ Here it quotes Obama expressing concern for
their safety and calls on the kidnappers to return them unharmed. Then he goes
into a very serious admonishment to the American people to remain calm. Listen to
this! ‘I know that many Americans have been profoundly disturbed by the
revelations in the videos. Whether these videos are authentic has not yet been
determined and we must reserve judgment, considering their criminal source.
Technology enables the falsification of any media and this could very well be a cruel,
abominable hoax. I know that many people believe the videos, as evidenced by the
mass demonstrations demanding investigations and calling for justice. Those who
ransacked media offices in most major cities had no right to do that and history may
show that they allowed themselves to be duped by criminals. But these mob attacks
and riots do indicate that many Americans believe the confessions. I take them very
seriously myself, especially if there is an ounce of truth in any of their parts. But this
remains to be seen. I appreciate how explosive and emotional these videos are.’

‘It appears that the staging of the release has been designed for the purpose of
creating a riot during which innocent people could be harmed. The ex-president,
vice president, and Karl Rove have not been proved guilty of any crime and they
remain innocent under the law until such time. As president, I promise a swift and
sure response to this potential crisis and wish to remind all citizens that the laws of
the land prohibit vigilante justice, and violators will be apprehended and prosecuted

to the full extent of those laws. This is a time of great challenge for every American.
You have heard and seen the most provoking and inflammatory videos, and
suspending judgment will be very difficult. This is a test of the American will. Are
we going to let a few criminals turn us into a lynch mob? Is that the American way?
I think not. Those days are far behind us and we seek a higher order of
responsibility and citizenship in this more enlightened society. While we wait for this
to be clarified and resolved, I promise the American people that the confessions,
whether legitimate or staged, will be thoroughly investigated and subjected to the
rule of law. There will be no cover-up. This will not be swept under the carpet as
some fear. You do not need to go into the streets to assure that the truth will be
revealed and justice done. You have my promise. I appeal to your better selves, not
to the urges that have caused riots in the last two days. I understand your dismay
and shock. I have experienced it too. I’m confident that Americans will show each
other and the world that they can navigate through this crisis of trust and use it to
build a better, safer, less corrupt nation. If Americans cannot be fair minded and
reserve judgment, this places civil order and the rule of law under grave stress. I
will not preside over destructive civil disorder for any reason and will declare martial
law if necessary. National Guard troops have been called up and put on alert in
every state. Peace loving Americans who cherish their safety in a lawful society
expect and deserve no less from their president.”

“Holy shit!” exclaimed Giles. “Riots! Massive civil disorder! Network TV offices
ransacked! We communicated! People knew it was for real, and are they ever pissed
off at the people who lied to them. No amount of political spin or propaganda is
going to make it go away now.”

“If they believe it, then to them we’re heroes, you think?” asked Gary.

Giles said, “You know in your heart the confessions are true and that we have done
society a great service. The videos must have been pretty convincing to the public if
there were mass riots. But just because we’re already folk heroes, doesn’t mean the
government won’t want to prosecute us if they catch us. In a sense they might be
happier if we get away with it, because I’m thinking that putting us on trial might be
very very unpopular, that is if we’re right in assuming that the public believed the

I spoke up. “One thing for sure, the whole world is going to be watching for that zoo
invitation. Websites will be buried no matter how much capacity they have and from
there the word is going to spread like wildfire in a hurricane.

We connected to the I-5 highway corridor in Olympia and drove the hour to Seattle,
exiting in the University District on 45th. As we travelled towards the zoo, we were
going through a mixed residential and shopping district. On our left I saw an historic

“Hey guys. Did you know these are my undergraduate stomping grounds? See Dick’s
Hamburgers there? When I was a student at the U, Dick’s was remembered as the
first fast food joint in Seattle. When it opened in the 50’s it was revolutionary to sell
a hamburger for nineteen cents. Makes you realize how inflated the dollar has
become, eh?”

Gary broke into my reminiscences. “Slow down a sec Giles, and take a closer look at

the parking lot. Does it look different?”

We slowed down to a crawl, and surveyed Dick’s briefly before it went by.

“You’re right Gary,” I said. There are clumps of twenty or more people talking
animatedly to each other. It’s an unusual sight.”

Giles said, “Maybe it’s like during a natural disaster the way strangers have so much
to say about shared concerns, all that apartness breaks down. Ever notice how
sociable strangers are, after a flood or an earthquake or whatever? Do you think
they’re talking about us? ”

“Nothing else!” I exclaimed. “Nobody in the whole country is talking about anything
else tonight of all nights. Can you read the mood? I wonder what they’re feeling.”

As we drove down 45th the scene repeated itself. Many street corners seemed
populated with loiterers instead of people bound somewhere. Everywhere people
were talking and gesticulating.

“Y’know what I think?” I said. “If I were getting this kind of news and had watched
those videos in my living room, I’d be bursting to overflowing with feelings and
opinions I wanted to express. Have we united the country sort of the way 9/11
brought everyone together?”

Giles said, “Another way of putting it is that 9/11 has had deep tragic meaning for
everybody, and our videos totally revised the story of it. We may be witnessing the
maturation of the national consciousness concerning 9/11, and this has got to be
profoundly earth-shaking. It was for me. None of the other confessions moved me a
hundredth as deeply as that. A government making war on its own citizens for
political gain. I used to think nobody did that but monsters like Joe Stalin, or Hitler.
I’m certain I’ve only just begun absorbing that information emotionally. Every time I
think of it I have a rage attack and feel like running amok.”

Just as Giles finished, we passed an especially large crowd gathered in a corner

parking lot. There seemed to be a lot of angry looking faces. Two police cars were
parked on the street; the cops looked wary and uncomfortable.

It all started to fit together. “I get it,” I said. “If you do the math, you understand
the expression about the thin blue line standing between lawfulness and anarchy. If
the people united, they could overthrow the government in a single night. There
aren’t enough national guardsmen and police to even slow ‘em down. You could
even throw in the Air Force and the Army, and they couldn’t quell a determined mass
rising. Authorities know that and depend on the masses to be ignorant of their
power, divided and mesmerized by religion, propaganda, drugs, consumerism, and

Gary took umbrage at that remark. “You could show a little consideration and leave
religion off your list, Fred.”

“Sorry, Gary. Won’t happen again. But back to the crowds. Have we opened
Pandora’s box? Are these people ready to murder the troika, first chance they get?
Is that what we want?”

“It’s almost a moot point,” said Giles, “unless of course you want to deliver our boys
to the nearest police station or army fort. We can’t keep ‘em.”

“Holy Moly!” I sighed. “The more I look, the more I’m imagining a tinderbox
situation on the street, really explosive.”

“Look, guys,” Said Giles. “Our boys are monsters who richly earned whatever they
get, be it in a courtroom or a zoo. We didn’t invent all this mass hostility. They did,
with their crimes. We have a zoo invitation going out in a few hours, and we have to
be far away from here when that happens. Changing plans now could be suicidal.”

Gary and I nodded in assent. We had no choice.

It was about 3AM, The Woodland Park Zoo was blacked out and appeared deserted.
The idea was to get in and out fast, since we were now looking very suspicious. The
troika were knocked out with a stunner I would be carrying as lookout and first line
of defense at the parking lot entrance. We wore LED headbands and all else was
dark. Across the lot from my station, Giles went to work on steel stanchions
designed to keep cars away from the pedestrian entrance. He was wire brushing the
paint off patches where he wanted a clean weld.

He had fabricated three sets of crude but extremely heavy gauge restraints. Each
one consisted of an ankle shackle in a U shape that would close on its host when
anchored. The trick was to weld the ends of the shackle to the anchor post, without
burning off the prisoner’s foot from the spreading heat. Giles had some thin
insulating material around the prisoner’s ankle and he also had Gary using wet rags
to cool that end of the shackle. They had planned to position each prisoner on his
back with one knee bent and that ankle shackled tightly.

When Giles lit his torch, shadows danced in its light against the zoo entrance and the
trees. This display made me nervous at my outpost. What if somebody reported a
fire? Soon Giles had the flame adjusted and the welding itself didn’t cause the
blinding flashes you see with arc welding. It was finished in about 15 minutes, each
one of them feeling to me like an agonizing hour. I could imagine a cop radioing his
dispatcher that he was investigating a light at this location. If I had to stun him,
they would miss him eventually and send reinforcements. That’s how I pass my time
when in danger; running worst case scenarios as if that somehow prepares me
better. Albert Ellis coined the phrase “catastrophizing” to describe one of the key
ways we stress ourselves with our self talk habits. He also described how our self
talk triggers shame, guilt, fear, anger, anything nasty and emotionally painful. He
called it Rational Emotive Therapy. His ideas were adopted by others who renamed
the same principles Cognitive Behavioral Therapy nowadays the premier technique.
Ellis’ work helped me understand the importance of not beating myself up all the
time with self talk and it did me a world of good to learn how to identify self
defeating sentences going around in my brain, and argue with them until they give
up and go away. Where do those self deprecating sentences come from? Probably a
lot of places. We learn them from our parents, siblings, classmates, lovers, mates,
and we compose our own by the score. There’s plenty of criticism and disapproval to
be had in anyone’s life, and the most indelible imprints come from the people you
admire the most. Also, I think some of us, definitely me, are born with brain
chemistry that self defeating sentences stick to like flypaper. I think other people,

psychopaths lacking a shred of conscience for instance, are born with brain Teflon
that prevents self doubt and guilty reflection altogether.

So anyway, that’s how I argued with myself to pass the 15 minutes we were entirely
exposed to discovery and arrest. Clearly I am ill suited to the criminal life.

Gary and Giles executed their plan like clockwork and when they were done the three
unconscious men were neatly laid out on the asphalt, each with a massive amount of
steel welding them to a post. We gave them one last fond look of goodbye realizing
this marked the end of hopefully the most dangerous and exciting chapter of our
lives. Dawn was about to break.

Little more than two hours later we were in a rustic one room log cabin, background
music supplied by nearby Denny Creek’s little waterfalls, woodstove bathing us in
cozy infrared heat, just barely beginning to let go of the tension and suspense that
had dogged our every waking moment since the Olympic Hotel raid what seemed like
a very long time ago.

We watched the flickering fire through the stove’s door window and spent a lot of our
time with our own meandering thoughts interrupted by brief remarks.

Giles checked his watch for the twentieth time. “Five more minutes and the zoo
invitation is published.”

We meditated on that for several minutes.

“Bet’cha the Tac squads are on their way by now.” (Gary)

More minutes.

“Wonder if they have the cutting tools to free ‘em” (me)

More minutes.

“I expect a few civilians are checking out the zoo by now.” (Gary)

Long Pause

“I just hope those shackles hold a bit longer.” (Giles)

More minutes

Then I blurted, “I can’t stand it. Is there a radio in this place?”

“Doubt it, but there’s one in the van,” said Giles. “I have no idea if there’s reception

By then all three of us had stampeded for the door. We crowded into the van and
searched for a Seattle radio station. We heard more static than anything else, which
made the bits and pieces of voice too abstract to tell a coherent story. The best
signal was KING radio and tonight it was all news about us, no music. But it was
very hard to know what was actually happening. We started up the van and drove

randomly, looking for a zone of better reception. At the highway we took a right and
headed West towards North Bend. Within a few miles we could make out the story
and pulled into a turnout. KING news had a guy reporting live from the zoo on his
cell phone. Here’s how he described the scene in the early dawn.

“There seem to be at least thirty police in tactical squad gear, and more arriving with
riot gear, transparent shields, face masks, tear gas launchers, that sort of thing.
There’s an armored looking vehicle over by the zoo’s front gate. I’m looking down on
the scene about ten feet up a tree bordering the zoo parking lot across from the
entrance where all the activity is. I haven’t seen the hostages and think they are on
the ground being worked on by a cluster of police. There’s an ambulance in there so
medics may be involved. The parking lot is pretty much crammed with people and
more are coming every minute. Looking behind me I can literally watch the crowd
expand way beyond this area and I’d say thousands of people are streaming into the
area. Since I got here, the pace has increased and by now there’s probably no more
parking around the Green Lake area or anywhere within a quarter mile. Any street I
can see from here, the traffic hasn’t moved an inch since I arrived ten minutes ago
and climbed up on this branch. But just in the time I have been talking the flow of
people from all directions has increased. Maybe they just abandoned their cars
where they got stopped. The police have created a perimeter now. The riot police
have pushed people back and have formed a wall protecting an area half the size of a
tennis court. The crowd is real thick all around it. Nobody seems to know what to
do. It’s like everybody is waiting for something. The police don’t look happy.
They’re outnumbered about a hundred to one right here and it will be a thousand to
one if you include the big picture in the surrounding area. For reinforcements to get
here, they’d have to fly. All the streets are in gridlock and packed tight with people
moving this way, as far as I can see looking West towards the university district. I’m
up on a fair sized hill, and you wouldn’t believe this sight! Across the valley where
Green Lake is, and the hill on the other side, it’s fast becoming like an anthill. Totally
crawling with people by the thousands! I have no idea how many people are here but
they reach all the way to my horizon about a mile away to the west. Everything is
sort of confused and the police are definitely tense but nobody is being violent.
Some people seem cheerful and I’m hearing laughter. It’s quite a feeling being part
of this huge crowd. This small part of the bigger crowd seems content to just be
close to the action. I expect the people back there 5 blocks away are frustrated but
as long as my cell battery holds out I’ll try to give you the picture from my ringside
seat. OK?”

The KING announcer took over and a commercial came on.

We exchanged meaningful eye contact.

“I was thinking of the standoff at Concord at the start of the rebellion, and the
famous ‘shot heard round the world’.” I said. “Something’s gotta give!”

“Sounds like a lot’a folks see it our way, wouldn’t you say?” said Giles.

“Roger that,” said Gary.

On the one hand we were feeling a sort of repressed glee. It was like a dream come
true. On the other hand we knew things could get ugly. None of us wanted to
become the architects of mass violence.

“I sure hope cool heads prevail,” I said.

Both of my cohorts nodded solemnly.

“Back to the zoo,” said the radio.

“While I was off the air, somebody threw an egg and it splattered on a riot cop.
Within a moment there were hundreds of eggs in the air all flying into that zone and
this has remained a continuous bombardment for several minutes. The whole
security zone is covered in slime and broken eggshells. People are singing and
laughing. It’s like a big party, not an attack. The cops don’t know what to do
because they can charge into such a wall of people without getting separated and
overwhelmed. They seem to know they have to hold their ground while they’re just
getting creamed by eggs! What else can they do? They can’t attack and they can’t
run for it. They just have to take it. They have to decide whether to risk using
teargas. So far the crowd hasn’t been violent except for the eggs, but if something
makes them mad, they could totally overwhelm the cops and I think the cops know
that. The Tactical Squad guys are heavily armed but I think nobody wants a
bloodbath. So far the cops have been taking it and I admire their patience. I just
hope to hell the mob doesn’t escalate or this could turn into something terrible, a
real tragedy. Wait! Something is happening in there. It looks like they might be
trying to move the hostages while the eggs continue to rain down on them. I think I
caught a glimpse of Karl Rove’s face surrounded by cops. Yeah. It’s him and he is
walking towards the vehicle surrounded by cops with eggs still flying, maybe more
since people saw him. He’s getting in the vehicle and two more guys are being
escorted over there. It has to be Bush and Cheney. The crowd is beginning to chant
but I can’t make out what it is. More people are picking it up, the chant is spreading
all over. It’s getting deafening. They are picking it up in the valley and it sounds
incredible! Like a million shouting voices! Can you hear me over it? Listen to it!”

Over the radio came a muted roar like you hear at a super bowl game. We couldn’t
make out the words at first and then it became more coherent. The chant was
“murderer, murderer, murderer, murderer”. The guy was trying to yell over it on the
phone but we couldn’t understand him. After several minutes the radio station gave
up and said stay tuned for developments. This left us in suspense. All that angry
energy. Was it going to explode into violence? The suspense was becoming bone
crushing. Ten long minutes went by and then they returned to live coverage. The
guy said that the hostages were being driven out very slowly through the packed
crowd in the armored vehicle. It was half way down the hill. The chant was
following the car as it navigated through a sea of people, an ocean. It was going up
on sidewalks and yards to get around the gridlock. It looked like it might escape or
then again it might be blocked by abandoned cars. The roaring of the chant tapered
off in the distance and the eggs continued to pelt the car until it disappeared over
the hill 15 minutes later. The crowd showed no interest in the remaining riot police
and dispersed. The radio anchor reported that live video of the later events had
been broadcasted on all the network news shows and egg pelting incidents were
taking place all over the country by the hundreds of thousands if not millions. We
turned off the radio and drove back to the cabin in a contemplative mood, trading
idle comments.

Giles mused, “Mission accomplished, guys?”


“I was thinking something completely different,” I answered. “It goes to show that
we could have refused to accept stolen elections, prevented the war, stopped the
torture, changed the course of history with the collective power we have. No
government could stand up to this kind of mass disapproval for long. They’d have to
cave in or risk anarchy. We’ve always had the power to demand what’s right, and
rarely if ever have we organized it and used it effectively. I’d say the principle
reason for this, was a propaganda machine specifically designed to disable the threat
of truly democratic and informed self government.”

Gary smiled. “Today a lot of people felt their anger and their collective power which
could be a big first step in them taking their country back.”

I didn’t see it that way. “Dream on, idealist. They’ll be back in front of their plasma
screens for a lobotomy in no time, until something like this comes along again, in
what, a hundred years? They had to get hit up alongside the head with a two by
four, to get it for a day. They’ll lose it just as fast.”

“I don’t care,” said Giles. “Either way we struck a blow against misrule, one for the
history books. That’s better than just about anybody could expect to do in their
lifetime and I’m very proud of it, more proud than I’ve ever felt.”

“Me too,” said Gary.

“Who am I to complain about a totally audacious mission pulling off a perfect coup?”
I quickly added. “Now let’s take some time off to go fishing before we worry about
the future. We earned a rest.”

“Hear hear!” said Gary.

We drove back to the cabin and cooked breakfast on a primus stove. We were just
sitting down for a leisurely chat afterwards when the door burst open and ten
uniformed men had us face down on the floor and cuffed before you could count to
ten. Black hoods were put over our heads and we were led, one apiece, to three
vehicles that seemed to be headed back to Seattle. After that was a blur. We may
have flown out of Boeing field on a business jet on a flight that lasted somewhere
between six and twenty hours. No way to tell, what with sleeping and no other clues
as everything became disorienting. I got to thinking I was a victim of an
extraordinary rendition, which was also an apt term for what we did with the troika. I
started to worry about what was waiting for me at the end of the flight. Torture?
What did I have that they wanted? Who were they? Was this going to be Cheney’s
threat coming true almost instantly? The bell that tolled in my head endlessly was
the terrible thought that I had been so close to reuniting with Karen, and now I
might never see her again. This was the wound that made me shed bitter tears.

We landed and I was walked to a car in the rain. After an hour’s drive I was ushered
into an office in a basement, judging from the elevator ride. The hood was taken off,
and I found myself in a tastefully decorated executive office, nothing over-done, just
richly paneled in dark wood. Across a glass desk sat a white haired man with the
patrician bearing of a CEO. I was worried about him showing his face. Did this
mean he already knew I would be killed?

His voice was calm and sonorous. “So I finally meet the celebrated Dr. Zufeldt who
has rocked the world with his daring exploits. I should be asking you for your
autograph, considering that nobody on earth is more famous this year, though few
know your name. You can call me Mr. Smith. I hope you are fed, and have had
access to a bathroom.”

“Yeah,” I said. “I’m OK, but pretty disoriented. Who kidnapped me? Who are you
with? Where am I? How did you find us so fast?”

“All in good time, Doctor. I’ll explain why you are here, later. But first I must ask you
a few questions. You see, we are very interested in how you accomplished your
great feat. Would you be so kind as to tell us about the technologies you employed?
We are willing to reward you handsomely for this information. If you feel you cannot
share it with us, we might be forced, very regretfully I’m sure, to extract it from

The tables were turned. Now I was the victim. Helpless. The fear of the unknown, a
thousand times more frightening than known danger. Totally at their mercy. The
feeling was entirely new to me, having never been rendered so defenseless and
vulnerable. Wait a minute! As a child I had been there many times. This was
triggering all kinds of childhood feelings associated with powerlessness and
helplessness. Then I suddenly got over it and became calm. Why was that? Where
in the hell did that come from?

By now you know I’m capable of feeling anxious about anything, even the possibility
of disapproval. You can guess that I’m not the kind of guy who is likely to distinguish
himself by bravery under fire.

We know from a wealth of data that the prisons are full of men who harbor the
emotions of scared little boys, even toddlers, yet they are the perpetrators of the
most disgusting violent crimes. Psychologists who assess the personalities of mass
murderers tend to find very angry, helpless, deeply frightened, abused little boys
living inside big tough looking acting men.

That’s anybody but me. My trauma is a lot more subtle. I was raised on shame.
Shame goes back in my family tree so far, I wonder if it isn’t welded into our DNA. I
can trace family shame on my mother’s side all the way back to the Franco-Prussian
War and beyond. Hells bells! My great grandfather was a draft dodger running from
Bismark, all the way to Vladivostok and then to the USA. A deeply shamed coward in
his homeland? Probably, unless his political sophistication was several generations
ahead of its time. He was later murdered by a jealous husband which meant his
philandering made the front pages and shamed his family. My great grandmother
burned all his photos and refused to allow his name to be mentioned within her
hearing for the rest of her life. My grandfather was a brilliant man and a failure in
his career, dying young from an aneurism during a temper tantrum. My mother had
three abortions out of wedlock in the 1930’s, about as shameful a secret then, as
being a pedophile today. We only learned of her guilty secret decades after her
death. She popped valium throughout her adult life and was too seriously addicted
for them to attempt detoxing her in her elder years of senile dementia/valium
toxicity. She starved to death in a paranoid delusional state, refusing to eat because
she believed the hospital staff were “thugs” trying to poison her. So much shame and
so many dirty secrets, and a lot of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder to keep my mother

afraid of fear and popping valium.

Curiously, I can behave bravely when I have to, which seems paradoxical in light of
my chronic anxiety and timid nature. I once stood up to a violent mob ganging up
on an innocent victim….the injustice of it fired me up and I was fearless. The mob
backed down. When I was drowning in a boating accident I was more surprised to
be dying than afraid of it. People called me brave for scary things I did on a high
ropes course. I guess this goes to show that timid people can be brave under the
right conditions. My rendition seemed to be one such situation, because I was now
resigned to my fate and curiously detached from the danger.

Smith interrupted my train of thought. “We found the three guns hidden in your van,
but they aren’t operable. Some kind of motherboard is missing from them, and
apparently it plugs into a slot on the bottom. Without the processor, the guns are
junk. What do you know about that?”

I pondered this development. “That’s a mystery to me. I wasn’t aware of any

removable card or board. I probably wasn’t told because it wouldn’t have had any
use to me. Maybe it was a maintenance feature.”

“Who was the person maintaining the guns?” asked Smith.

“The other guys know a lot more about them than I do. I can tell you some very
general principles that were shared with me, but I know virtually nothing about the
technical details.”

Smith clearly wasn’t happy with my answer. “About Bush and the other two. How in
the bloody hell did you read their minds and force them to confess all?”

I was feeling surprisingly confident. “You can find all the information in greater
depth than you could get from me, using Google for a few minutes with key words
Functional MRI and Lie Detecting. It’s all there, though we may have been the first
to combine waterboarding with fMRI lie detection. A simple twist really. Nothing
revolutionary. Anybody with the instrumentation could do it.”

“I’d call it revolutionary,” growled Smith. Those confessions are a phenomenon

completely without precedent.”

I was feeling cheeky. “Looks like I’m not very useful to you, since my part of the
technology is all in the public domain, and what you want, I know the least about.”

“Don’t be too sure,” said Smith. “For instance, maybe your buddies are loyal enough
to you, they would provide information to save your life.”

The interview was apparently over on that sour note, because Smith gestured to the
two men standing behind me and I was led down a hall to a cell.

My cell wasn’t very different from the ones at Mt. Washington. I rested on my bunk
and contemplated my uncertain future. Escape was probably impossible and I was
undoubtedly in the hands of formidably powerful people. I had no choice but to
accept my fate and make the best of it. To pass the time I began writing this
account in my head, hoping that I would end up alive long enough to tell my story.

Several hours later I was taken back to Smith’s office. He seemed almost friendly.

“The others have corroborated your statements to me and I appreciate that you have
not yet insulted me with lame falsehoods. Your reward is the privilege of asking me
questions if you wish.”

“Thank you, Mr. Smith. You probably viewed Cheney’s threats and I’m wondering if
you are going to carry them out.”

“Good question, Doctor Zufelt. Cheney always had a big mouth, and this time he
really put his foot in it. He has become much more of a liability to this organization,
than an asset. I expect he’d want to kill you very slowly, but that’s a luxury he can’t
afford right now. He’s got plenty of troubles of his own as you might well imagine. I
expect his heart condition is going to catch up with him, or appear to, if you know
what I mean. ”

“Of course you want to know what’s to become of you, and that’s a complicated
dilemma. We checked out your information and sure enough, apparently the
different parts of your interrogation technique are in the public domain. I must
congratulate you on the way you put those parts together to create the most
effective interrogation strategy I’ve ever seen. So the dilemma is, what are we going
to do with you? Your little kidnapping caper has stirred up more trouble for us than
you’d ever dream, and the damage has only begun. You have already cost a lot of
powerful people their peace of mind, and they aren’t accustomed to this kind of
vexation. You probably can guess that they’re calling for all three of your heads, as
soon as the relevant information has been obtained. Looking at the situation from
our point of view, can you think of any conceivable reason we shouldn’t eliminate

I knew he wasn’t speaking lightly. This might be the do or die turning point, and Mr.
Smith was not going to fall for some bullshit answer. I decided to think fast and tell
him almost exactly what was on my mind.

“OK Mr. Smith, I’m just thinking out loud now and I don’t know where this is going.
I have a few trade secrets you could probably squeeze out of me in a single torture
session, like for instance how we protect ourselves from the stun guns. Then I’d be
expendable again. The way for me to stay alive is to show you where I could take
you over a period of time, and fortunately for me, our technologies are capable of
going far beyond where we are. We’ve opened up avenues of tweaking the human
brain that are brand new and an emerging science in its infancy. Some of the
potential products that could be developed by continued research include real honest
to goodness mind reading and perhaps even better for you, thought induction. Our
crude gun induces sleep, but understanding the mechanism of interaction between
brain and ULF radiation holds out the promise of much more. We think we are on
the threshold of understanding brain processes at the quantum mechanics level
using unique instrumentation based on the stun gun. This would be like the
difference between a horse drawn cart and a Grand Prix race car. You said that I
achieved miraculous interrogation results using existing technologies in new
combinations and the same could be said for this brand new area of brain science we
have discovered. Nobody else is looking at this. My two colleagues have
complementary areas of genius and the three of us add up to a knowledge and skill

set that’s unique on this planet. We’ve already proved that we can shake the world
when we create together, and, given time and money, we could give the world
another big shake on your behalf. In the process, we would be reverse engineering
the stun gun so as to provide you with a working model.”

Smith looked skeptical. “We’re businessmen and economists, not scientists. We’d
have to find our own to supervise you. But you intrigue me. Mind reading? Thought
induction? Hmmmmm.” He pensively tapped his pen on his desk. “What would it
take to generate a proposal detailed enough for review from a scientific expert in
that general area, one we trust? I think in the end we would have to rely on his

I chose my words carefully knowing that I had to close this deal in order to stay
alive. “The three of us almost think as one. I’ve spent years collaborating with Giles,
who has spent years with Gary. I joined the two of them almost a year ago. If you
would allow us to work up a proposal together, that would be the only feasible way to
map out a meaningful quest.”

Smith went for the bait. “No harm in trying I suppose. We’ll give you a work space,
computer access, and of course close supervision. Get started immediately and have
something for me, inside of a week. By then I’ll have the right expertise to gauge
the value in it. Take him back to the cells and return to me for instructions.”

A day later I was led to a door new to me. Inside a large room stood Giles and Gary.
We were glad to see each other, but they looked the worse for wear. The stress
showed on their tired, drawn, pale faces. During our group hug, Giles whispered in
my ear: “The walls have eyes and ears. We communicate the real stuff pretending
to draw and write plans. But not now. We need a couple of straight meetings to lull

Gary and I sat around a circular table in front of a white board. Note pads, pencils
and powerful laptops made up three work stations. Giles walked up to the white

“I’ll chair the meeting for now. First order of business is trading notes to make sure
we’re all on the same page. You start, Gary.”

“What I was told, is that Fred pitched a project to these guys which calls for the
three of us to pursue the leads we discovered while our raid was in development.
The idea is to explore some of these frontiers, looking for products that would be
valuable enough to our captors that they’d feel like allowing us to live.”

“That’s how I understand it.” I said.

“Me too.” said Giles. Give me some ideas about how to exploit what we’ve learned.”

I said, “We knew the whole time that we were working on the raid, we were
stumbling into phenomena a person could spend a whole career studying and
understanding in ever greater depth. It made me wish I could clone myself several
times over, there were so many possibilities opening up. Now we have to eliminate
the ones with the least potential and focus on the winners.”

Giles gave us a very subtle wink as he said, “Well, that’s a no brainer. The most
important product I can imagine would be the mind reading at a distance implied by
brain reflected stun ULF refraction patterns. Duh!”

Gary caught right on. “Are you sure you want to give away the crown jewels? That
was the spinoff item that was going to make us rich and famous. It was our winning
lottery ticket!”

I spoke emphatically. “What’s your life worth to you, Gary? If we don’t prove how
valuable we can be to our captors, we’re going to be thrown out with the trash and
hauled off to the compactor.”

And so it went. We simultaneously discovered the way to go with this ruse, was to
invent pseudoscience from our ULF/brain domain where no expert could touch us or
prove us wrong. In no time at all we were mapping out phantasmagorical theses on
the white board and weaving them into a tapestry of psychobabble, neurobabble,
and ULF nonsense. With the odd knowing look and raised eyebrow, we gradually
sensed that each of us had the same goal in mind. We needed a stun gun to shoot
our way of there and to do that we needed an experimental design that called for
stun gun function.

After days of planning, we began exchanging penciled notes on schematics we

showed each other. Here is a sampling of how our real plan evolved through furtive
one-liners erased afterwards:

What happened to the gun cards?

Buried behind the cabin in a can.
Why didn’t you tell us about ‘em?
No need to know. Danger of guns getting lost or stolen. Sans cards you can’t crack
their code and know what they do or how they do it
Can we build a portable stunner sans your engineers?
Not as pretty, but I think maybe we can. Not sure.
Can Gary stuff a board to create the stunner brain?
I can do that blindfolded
Can you program it?
Already half done. It’s on my hard drive

Gary was writing code like a maniac and drawing circuit board specs, most of it from
memory. Giles was working on a shopping list of items for our captors to provide. I
was working on the grand plan, trying to anticipate what kind of a person would be
judging its merit.

Finally the day came, about two weeks into the project, for us to meet the scientist
we had to con. He looked more like a young stockbroker than a researcher and you
could tell he was hostile, suspicious. We played it cool making small talk trying
gently to find out what in the hell his knowledge base was. He wasn’t telling. All he’d
give was his name, Peter. Ever since then we have been referring to our penises, as
“my Peter.”

Giles and I made the presentation starting out with bogus discoveries that needed to
exist, mixed in with true findings to lend realism. In a nutshell the cooked up
science was that the quantum nature of the brain allows certain ULF frequencies to

reflect back to a sensor after bouncing off the atoms at synapse. Diffraction patterns
carry information about what’s going on in the brain at such a micro level, that they
can be calibrated and standardized on basic thought patterns. In the same way that
there really is a single specific neuron in the visual analysis sector of the brain that
lights up when any subjects see a photo of Bill Clinton (they call it the Clinton
neuron) this kind of specificity suggests that the brain could give up its secrets to a
deep probe that was detailed enough to handle the complexity, and of course that
probe was going to be a stun gun in disguise.

Peter was totally noncommittal and it drove us crazy to get so little feedback. How
do you con a sphinx who never smiles or frowns? How do you know you’re getting
hot or cold when your mark is usually mute? We just had to soldier on and hope for
the best. It was nerve wracking to work under these conditions because it seemed
likely a bullet in the brain would be our first indication that we had flunked the
credibility test.

He would appear unexpectedly, ask pointed questions about the work in progress,
and then disappear. We figured he was watching the cameras a lot from some
control room, so we never shared a wink or grin.

Meanwhile we were hoarding anything fishy we could get our hands on, by drying it
into jerky and hiding it. We were going to need our omega -3 DHA to protect us
from the stunner. After drying it went into Ziploc bags to cut down on the
increasingly suspicious fish smell that pervaded our cells and workspace. Then Giles
came up with the bright idea of ordering bottles of fish oil for the experimental
apparatus, for “calibration purposes”.

Building the software for the gun had been Gary’s specialty, but the hardware had
mostly been in the hands of clever engineers. I knew nothing about the engineering
and couldn’t offer any help there. Giles and Gary spent days debating what to do
each step of the way, frequently expressing regret for having depended on the
engineers so much and not being as involved when the garage sized gun was shrunk
into a portable unit. Then we realized we could stun everybody but us, in a 30 yard
radius that would include Mr. Smith’s office and the guards in the corridors we
needed to knock out. So we built a primitive version of the first gun, giving up a lot
of portability.

If we ever got a chance to deploy it, the gun was not going to remind anybody of
Ghost Busters. It would be more reminiscent of a cubic yard of scrap pipe, tubes,
wires, batteries, circuit boards, and big capacitors, all bathed in wisps of smoky
white, liquid nitrogen fumes. Two people could carry it short distances, with difficulty.

Our secret communications were frustrating and clunky. There was so much to say,
so much to plan, so many problems to discuss and solve. It took days of passing
one liner notes surreptitiously back and forth to accomplish what would have been
possible in a single hour of open discussion.

After two weeks of work, our covert communications had shared this information:
Giles had convinced Smith that the missing stun gun cards had been handed over to
our boss after the mission. This mythical boss had engineered the whole project on
behalf of some unknown organization and we were just pawns in the grand design.
Smith had authorized our research project in the belief that one of the spin-offs

would be a recreation of the stun gun, using reverse engineering and our fragmented
knowledge of the technology. Smith wanted a gun a lot more than our bogus
promises of mind control and mind reading technology. We were going to have to get
it first and use it to escape.

We came to understand that getting out of our prison with a stun gun was the easy
part. The hard part was “then what?” We didn’t know what country we were in. We
had no passports or other ID. We had no local currency. How would we travel and
where would we go? Presumably, Smith’s organization had eyes and ears
everywhere, and some kind of private army of spooks and commandos with a very
long reach, maybe even all around the world. The speed with which they kidnapped
us suggested they were incredibly more effective than conventional law enforcement.

We meditated on that wonderful old movie The Great Escape starring Steve
McQueen. The escapees had elaborate disguises, phony documents, maps, language
lessons, long preparation and training; everything we didn’t. Most were picked up by
German troops soon after the escape. We needed a paradigm shift, a totally
different way to survive on the run.

Pinocchio and Geppetto provided Gary with the inspiration, perhaps with a little help
from the bible’s Jonah. Gary flashed on the idea that even though we were prisoners
in the belly of the monster, what better place to be if we wished to give the monster
a big stomach ache. We weren’t going to run. We were going to take over the
monster and make it tell us its secrets. After all, we were probably international folk
heroes by now. The covert Mr. Smiths of this shadow world government could pick
us off with ease if we were trying to hide, but if we could go public with Smith’s
secrets, we’d be history’s most productive whistleblowers. It meant sacrificing our
anonymity, but that was already blown where it mattered, with Smith’s deadly
organization. They obviously could find us anywhere, so we might as well seek
protection in the glare of publicity.

This paradigm shift changed everything. We were back to our old Jojimbo Samurai
attitudes, the impeccable warriors, the Three Musketeers fighting for liberty and
justice! What a lift it gave us. So much, in fact, that we had to restrain ourselves or
our jailers would have noticed something was afoot.

The plan was basically “there is no plan”. Once we had a working stunner we’d use it
to gain control of the facility and then work out a way of defending it against attack
while we extracted as much damning information from it as possible. This was going
to be ad lib all the way with some challenging improvising.

We had no idea how big the facility was. All we knew were our cells, the hallway to
Smith’s office nearby, and another hallway to our workshop. Beyond that could be a
huge complex full of spooks armed to the teeth, or a small office building. No way of
knowing. We would have to find out fast, establish a perimeter we could defend with
the stun, and then our main tasks would be twofold; trying to hack into the
organization’s database and documents, and somehow squeeze some juicy
information out of Smith. How I wished I had my Tesla with me! It was hard to
think of her reduced to dust and shrapnel, entombed deep in the guts of Mt.
Washington when I really needed her by my side.

We guessed it would be over pretty fast. These people seemed to have immense

power, resources, and freedom of action. Once the trouble started, they might
prefer to solve their problem with high explosives and blow us all to kingdom come.
Maybe we could buy time with a lightning strike that didn’t set off any alarms. This
was going to be a leap into the unknown and in a way it made the excitement even
more delicious. The audacity of it. No plans to worry about, just going with gut
instinct. And what did we have to lose? Those guys were never going to let us walk

Smith’s office was the obvious objective to take and hold. Until they cut us off, it
would be a node accessing their database, and it offered us a chance to squeeze

Gary finally got the gun together and tried it out on very low power. It appeared to
be working and that was all the assurance we could afford. Nods and glances sealed
our determination to stage our revolt the next time we walked into the shop.

The next day Peter seemed to sense something was up. He was irritable and tense,
fussing with gear as he inspected it for the 100th time. By this time we had been
doing mega doses of salmon oil for a week. Gary turned on the stunner and turned
up the power very gently to a low setting. Peter dropped to the floor and took an
unexpected nap. First we duct taped his wrists and mouth. Then we were all over
him for his keys and mag cards. Low and behold! He was packing a little .25 calibre
automatic, a Saturday Night Special! Giles took it. Gary was designated stun
gunner. I felt at a disadvantage and made a mental note to expropriate the next gun
we saw. Giles had a high end digital video camera with him. Gary pointed the stun
gun in the general direction of Smith’s office and shot off a long high energy burst.

Now we were out in the hall and headed to Smith’s office, stepping over two guards
asleep on the floor. Two corners and there was Smith’s door, miraculously ajar! What
a gift! We burst in, and there was Smith, over in the corner sleeping on the floor. We
duct taped him. Giles carefully locked the door.

He looked my way, saying, “What say you and Gary go back for Peter and the guards
while I hold the fort?”

I gave Smith’s office a fast look. “While we’re gone, how about putting tape over the
lens of that video monitor?”

“Roger that,” said Giles. “Good luck!”

We were back with Peter in minutes and went back for the guards. “We duct taped
the cameras in the shop,” I said, as we dragged the guards in.

Giles spoke. “I think we’re in a basement. Remember the elevator ride when we
came? Let’s find it and see if we can disable it, or whatever. If anyone’s in the
vicinity, they’re asleep, so now’s the time to explore, take prisoners, and figure out
how to secure an area we can defend.”

We found the elevator doors nearby. After summoning it, we turned it off. In the
other direction we found a guard asleep at a security desk by a door to an
underground parking lot. We locked the door, braced it with some steel from the
shop, and duct taped the guard.

“Looks like those are the only two access points,” said Gary. “The stunner has a
reach that far exceeds this perimeter, so theoretically we can defend it for a while by
painting 360 degrees with the gun.”

Smith made a movement on the floor and we gathered around him. He shook his
head as if to clear it, and smiled up at us.

“Impressive work, gentlemen. We certainly underestimated you, and I fear this

mistake is going to become a black mark on my otherwise exemplary record.”

Giles took out his video camera and started shooting.

Gary and I lifted Smith up and sat him in a chair. I put my nose up against his and
spoke with quiet conviction.

“Where this goes from here depends on how cooperative you decide to be. I’m going
to show you how I made Bush, Rove, and Cheney tell all. It’s called drowning;
experiencing death by drowning. Believe me, it’s no fun. Each time you do it, it’s
ten times worse. It will stop when you direct me to your personal stash of essential
documents…the stuff you had to save to cover your butt.”

He gave me an earnest look. “We aren’t allowed to save emails or documents. We

have to purge those files every day!”

“Right!” I answered. “And that’s why you have a personal hard drive or memory stick
or something. You are going to keep dying over and over until you produce it. Or, if
you’re telling me the truth, you’ll die many more times convincing me I’m barking up
the wrong tree. Let’s get started. Hey guys, fill up that coffee pot at the sink and
hand me some of those tea towels.”

We duct taped his arms to his sides and his legs together. Gary and Giles pinned him
on the floor and I put the towels over his face. You can fill in the ugly details that
followed. He took his punishment better than the troika at first, but after a few
minutes he was losing his composure fast.

“Nod if you’re ready to deal,” I said.

He nodded and I removed the tape from his mouth.

“Jesus Fucking Christ! I’ve been waterboarding people for years and never would
have thought I’d break so fast. And I must tell you, your technique is so amateur,
about as proficient as a 14 year old getting his first piece of tail. You are really a
fumbler, no talent. But for all that lack of technique I really had no idea whatsoever
how bad it really is. No way in hell am I ever submitting myself to that again! I’d
give up my own children first. I just died! Have you any idea how deep that is? I am
not the same person I was an hour ago. Everything has changed! There’s a memory
stick in the upper right hand desk drawer. It’s the four gig one.”

“Well,” I said, surprised at how chipper he acted, and feeling a little stung by the
sarcastic criticism, “I was hoping to give up my brief career as a torturer and get
back to more humanitarian work. So maybe it’s all for the best, now that an expert

has found me so wanting. Is there a password or any kind of block on the stick?”

“It only works in my computer.”

Giles found it, plugged it in the USB slot and took a look. “Looks like about 200, 250
files. How about if I print them, just in case we can’t hack into the stick later.”

Smith’s laser printer started humming and printing.

I turned back to Smith. “Another thing I need. Somewhere there’s a document that
lists the people who run your organization. Where am I going to find that?”

Smith answered quickly, “We never put that information in one place. It’s forbidden.
The closest you can come, is looking at the email addresses on documents for full
distribution. You already have those.”

“OK,” I said. “I’ll accept that. What do you call yourselves?”

”We call it The Network, capital T and N, that’s all, no formal name.”

“Who is the owner of record here?”

“You are in den Hague, Netherlands, and this building is owned by Siemens. I get
my paycheck from Siemens and similar operations around the world are piggybacked
on other member corporations.”

“How many corporations are participating?”

“Pretty much all the multinationals and so many of the largest national outfits. You
have to be invited.”

“Is there a public face The Network shows?”

“We are the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, WTO, GATT, all the
international trade regulation outfits anywhere on earth. We are the network of all

“Who is at the top?”

“The WTO board calls the shots in one sense, but they answer to a shadow board of
about a dozen CEO’s, mostly bankers, who run the biggest outfits worldwide. You
can fill in the blanks; big oil, big pharma, big agribusiness, defense contracting, and
so on.”

“Tell me about this building and its security.”

This is a five storey office building full of Siemens sales staff, advertisers, book
keepers, and accountants. We are in the basement using a different entrance at the
back of the building pretty much hidden from view. We mainly run field people who
are engaged in spying and black ops. I run a dozen agents or teams altogether. The
building is lightly guarded. To get here you drive in a basement parking lot requiring
a special pass at an automatic kiosk to open a gate. From there you get inside the

main door with a mag card key like the one on my desk. Once inside, you have to
show a badge to a guy at a security gate, and you’re in.”

“What kind of operations do you supervise?”

“Would you accept some US examples run out of other shops? I doubt if the local
names would mean anything to you.”

“Yeah. Go ahead.”

“When Bush was in power we coordinated ops with his people. We helped with
renditions and other kinds of ops where they needed deniability. In turn they often
could go places and do things we couldn’t, for instance sometimes we needed a
drone to blow somebody up with a Hellfire air to ground missile. Those were days of
great progress, a real merging of common interests.”

“What was the common interest you’re talking about?”

“We are beating back the barbarians at the gate, trying to save society from them.
By that, I mean we are making war on the socialists who would seek to dismantle
everything we’ve built. Things changed when Obama came to power, and we had to
go underground in the USA. Of course we still have our friends at the Pentagon, CIA,
NSA, FBI, but they aren’t free to act as before. They need us more than ever. Take
universal health care. This is a deadly threat to the multi trillion dollar private health
insurance industry. One big health insurance company, United Health, based in
Minnesota, paid its CEO William McGuire 1.6 billion dollars over less than 10 years.
That’s the same as one thousand six hundred millionaires standing in a row. A billion
and a billion there, and pretty soon you’re talking real money. These guys stand to
lose a lot.”

“Big Pharma is in pretty shaky shape with their best patents running out and nothing
earthshaking to replace those revenue streams. They used to own and operate the
FDA but those days are probably coming to an end. The last thing they need is a
single national purchaser negotiating cut rate drug deals at gunpoint. Bush took
very good care of Big Pharma with his Medicare “drug reform” but they’re scared to
death of universal health care and they’re frantically buying lawmakers right and left,
hoping to stop it. Then Obama appoints Tom Daschle to get the legislation through.
That really bothered them because Daschle knows all those legislators, has dirt on a
lot of them, is buddies with the rest, and knows exactly how to get legislation
passed. So, one of our US groups homed in on him at the request of the US pharma
CEO committee. It was relatively easy to take him down, especially because we get
so much cooperation from our people in the media, and everyone was tremendously
relieved. Daschle’s days in the limelight are over. ”

“If Obama thinks he’s going to get universal health care, he’s got to be deluding
himself. He’s surrounded by the best government money can buy and Big Pharma
has a huge ownership stake they paid for handsomely. Obama had better keep his fly
zipped, because what we did for Clinton was nothing compared to what we have
planned for him! Similar things are happening all over Europe, for all the same
reasons. We’re the sole Netherlands centre. You’ll find similarly sized operations in
each EU country, based with a variety of corporate covers. Most units appear on
corporate paperwork as in-house security consultants and what have you, but it’s all

centrally directed by the big boys behind the scenes at the WTO.”

“How do you deal with competition between corporations? Do you sometimes get
caught in the middle where you can’t serve all your masters equally?”

“Never in a million years. Smaller companies compete but the big ones in the
Network needn’t waste the time and money. Any competition you think you see is a
smoke screen. Take oil, for instance. The whole world is divided up into agreed to
zones of influence and the price of oil is fixed to the degree that you can do that.
Everybody around the table is one big happy family, cutting up the Christmas goose
and making sure everybody gets their fair share. Most everything we do is based on
a consensus from that particular industry. We’d never stick our neck out on some
caper that didn’t have universal support.”

“Mr. Smith,” I said, “I think you were wise to tell the truth and I’m glad I didn’t have
to hurt you any more than necessary. What becomes of you now?”

“Oh Shit!” he said vehemently as if this was the first he’d thought of it. “I have no
idea, but it can’t be good. I expect your video of me is going to be on YouTube before

“Afraid so,” I answered with a little regret. From the beginning he had seemed like a
civil enough fellow, not cruel, more misled than anything else. “I don’t think you
have much of a future here. Now here’s a crazy idea. We are going to have one hell
of a time getting back to the USA without being arrested. Nobody knows about your
sins yet, and that gives you time to disappear. In fact, if you were to help us get
home, it would look like you had been kidnapped. How would you like it, to
disappear in return for the cover we could lend you in terms of delaying publication
of your video?”

“Truth be told, I’m probably dead meat within hours of my confession hitting the
internet,” said Smith. “All of us spooks working for the big guys have a plan B for a
rainy day. I’ve got a nice house and a very fat bank account in a South American
country with no extradition treaties, and I seriously doubt the network could find me
there. I’ve had many many years to create that safe haven.”

“Any idea how the four of us could get to Canada, for instance?” I asked. “We don’t
have money, ID, nothing, as you know.”

“Yeah, you’d last no more than a few hours out there once the alarm was given. But
that’s enough time for you to ruin me forever with your fucking video uploaded to
YouTube. It looks like a Mexican standoff to me. I’m pretty sure I can grab us a
business jet. I have the authority. It’s just a question of availability on short notice.
No need to fly to Canada. I’m the rendition expert, remember? You guys are so
naïve, trying to play the role of commandos. Sure, nobody can deny you pulled off
the coup of the century with Bush and friends. But without a real pro like me, you
couldn’t even cross a border without getting busted. I can fly into many
international airports, call a person or two, and spirit anyone in or out, no questions

“Let me make a couple of calls. It’s just a matter of how soon, and I’m feeling the
sooner the better with these two guys here waking up. Maybe you could give them

another dose without whacking me?”

The three of us had a little talk while we waited a ways down the hall.

Giles said, “We can’t trust you the way you can trust us, Mr. Smith.”

“What do you mean by that?” asked Smith.

I got it. “We’re an open book, Mr. Smith. We’re wearing our motives on our sleeves.
We’re do-gooders trying to save democracy from people like you, and that’s why we
have to publicize your confession. We’d suffer waterboarding to accomplish that.
And our other obvious motive is to survive, not get rich or whatever. So you can
trust us to do what we must do because we’re transparent and totally predictable.
You, on the other hand, can save your career by killing us or turning us in or
destroying our evidence. This shared flight could be a deathtrap for us since you
hold most of the cards in that environment.”

Smith gave us a broad grin. “You guys are so….je ne sais quoi…refreshing! So fresh
in your ignorant idealism, your enthusiasm, your naiveté, and I must confess, your
apparent willingness to trust me for even a moment. I’d slit your throats for almost
any reason no matter how small, and never suffer a moment’s remorse. Why am I
saying this? Maybe because I got my first taste of the waterboarding that has been
one of my specialties. In a way, it freed me; opened me up to new perceptions and
ways of looking at life. That was my first fucking near-death experience and it
rocked my world. My whole life passed before my eyes as I passed out, just like the
cliché, and I had regrets! Me, a psychopath, good at it and proud of it, having
regrets? What the fuck? I’ve been on a super high ever since, or haven’t you
noticed? I really don’t know what’s happening to me, but I like it. I laugh! I could
cry! The previous me looks from here to have been a very tiresome kind of numb
shithead, shot full of Novocain emotionally. And since I’m being gushy and self
disclosing for the first time in my adult life, y’know what’s foremost on my mind? The
outside chance, the winning lottery ticket against all odds, that you fuckers coming
into my life and disrupting it to its roots might, just might have opened the door to
understanding why everybody else on the planet seems to swoon over the ecstasy of
sex, day in and day out, a phenomenon that I have always viewed from a very
confused cold distance, and not for lack of trying!”

“Think about it. Imagine living on a planet where, say, eating pickled squid is the
source of everyone’s pleasure, the motivation for most of their behavior. Imagine TV
commercials all night where every product is draped in pickled squid to make it more
alluring. Meanwhile there’s a trillion dollar a year pickled squid porn industry, pitched
to the hunger of those who aren’t getting enough. All day you have to listen to lewd
pickled squid remarks and so on. Get my drift? And suppose that you tried pickled
squid, and it was Ho Hum, no big deal. So you tried it some more, and it just got
more tedious and bland.”

“So, metaphor over, you spend the rest of your life politely laughing at dirty jokes,
pretending to appreciate supposedly sexy women, enduring sexy movies,
commercials, everything. And yet, knowing deep in your heart that this has nothing
to do with being gay, because nothing turns you on and you feel like life is passing
you by while everybody else on earth is having all the fun, packing erections all day
that explode into deliriously pleasurable orgasms every night, and you just feel

alienated from your fucking species which runs gleefully on sex drives 24/7, and you
don’t belong?”

“So then you maniacs parachute into my psychopathically numbed out life, and fuck
with my mind to its core. I don’t have a fucking clue who I am anymore after my
glimpse of death, and y’know what, I like it. I don’t just like it, I’m crazy in love with
it. It’s so promising of new things to come, I can honestly say this hard on I’m
packing right now in anticipation of finally experiencing the joy of sex, is one of the
first of my life that wasn’t constructed with heavy manual labor on the part of highly
paid hookers sweating on the assembly line for hours only to see it wilt the moment
they stopped sucking it.”

This was so sincere, Giles and I were both transfixed and flabbergasted.

“uh…thanks for sharing, Mr. Smith.” Giles mumbled.

I tried to compute what I’d just heard. “I trust you right this moment Mr. Smith. So
why not converse with real names?”

“My real name is Arnold Raphael,” answered Smith.

Gary was harassing us with whispers about how he was done and we were shussing
him with our body language, waving him away, not wanting to miss a syllable of this

“You aren’t a Jew are you? Can I call you Arnie?” I asked.

“Sure, call the dead and reborn me, Arnie. Nobody ever has. This me needs a new
name. My parents were Dutch holocaust survivors and all the rest of my recent
ancestors were gassed at Auschwitz.”

“Look, Arnie. I believe everything you’ve just told me. But the new you is untested
and untried. It can turn on a dime. Tomorrow you could wake up with a brand new
inspiration to eat my liver, fresh. I worry about where you are going with this new
consciousness. We need to invest in stable commodities right now because our lives
are at stake. We’re conservative and you have become speculative. Tell me a
reason why I shouldn’t run away from you.”

Arnie took a deep breath and let it out slowly. He almost came into sharper focus as
he relaxed and spoke.

“Yeah. I hear ya. True, I’m not the myself to which I’m accustomed, but I love it and
I want more. You don’t know me. Let me fill you in. Yes I’m a Jew, non-practicing
and proud of my heritage. Don’t get the idea I’m unreliable and some psycho
nutcase. Right this moment I’m ecstatic about my new feelings but I’m also capable
of calculating risks from minute to minute. Old habits die hard and I’m still
essentially the top gun den Hague dude placed closest to the seat of WTO world
power for a reason; you’re dealing with the Babe Ruth of this game and the proof of
that, is you were assigned to me. The really big guys thought we were perfect for
each other because I’m the best. Of course that reputation will change the second
anybody learns you outfoxed me.”

“I have been at the top of my game for too long, missing the pleasures other people

seem to experience in their lives. I haven’t lost my mind. It may be sharper than it’s
ever been. Don’t worry about me getting hypomanic or delusional on you. I truly
have got to get out of here and fuck my brains out to compensate for my lost years.
I have finally learned that I am not immortal, and that my time to live is running out.
We have become allies for strange reasons, but we are nonetheless allies. To get
what we both want the most, we may have to extend some small modicum of trust
towards one another. See? I’m not delusional. I can function even though I’m a
different person than I was. Give me a break. I’m cognitively intact, OK?”

We sent Smith, Arnie that is, to join Gary and had a quick consult in the hall.

“Either this guy’s for real or he deserves an Oscar for best actor. What’s your take?”
I asked.

Giles paused. “If this is a previously rehearsed scam they learn in spook boot camp,
or an improvised act based on generic spyware skills, either way it would be so far
over my head, I wouldn’t be competent to judge. My gut says believe this guy. My
frontal lobes say look out!”

“Me too, Giles. I think we gotta do both, since there’s no alternative. Imagine if he’s
sincere, though. Wouldn’t that get right to the heart of the political dilemma back
home? People so out of touch with their true selves and brainwashed with

We negotiated a deal with Arnie. He would immediately embark on a course of

mega-dose DHA so as to become immune to the stunner. He’d use his rank to order
radio silence in the Citation we’d be flying, a common procedure on some covert ops.
That way the pilots wouldn’t learn of his defection or kidnapping. The Citation would
use its covert ops techniques to land us in Costa Rica without detection. Arnie would
stop by his house on the way to the airport to pick up his gold and make us the best
counterfeit passports money can buy. Apparently he had a desk-top technology that
would even insert the new passport chips with ID data. We’d have new identities
and be able to fly home as returning tourists. Arnie would have his own secret ways
of getting to his safe haven in South America without leaving a trail. We would take
the stun gun with us, on the first leg of the journey at least.

Catching our flight reminded me how insulated-from-the-masses the super rich live.
While the common folk suffered through the usual tribulations in the main terminal,
we were whisked aboard our Citation and took off in minutes.

Arnie and I sat facing each other across a beautiful little oak table as we winged our
way across the Atlantic.

He seemed to have calmed down a bit and was far less voluble.

“I never had the time to fill you in on the US news you missed.”

“I’m all ears, Arnie. Close to three weeks since I heard anything. Hey guys! Gather
‘round for a news update.”

Gary and Giles were standing by Arnie in a heartbeat.

“You must have caught the first day when the media tried a big stone-wall cover-up

with a hastily concocted story about the videos being faked. It totally bombed and
corporate media offices all over the country were trashed, some burned to the
ground by huge mobs.”

“The surviving media news shows underwent a rapid transformation. Their ratings
were in the single digits, their advertisers were gone overnight, and alternative
media like the internet Huffington Post were getting a million hits a minute. Almost
overnight all the commentators associated with the failed counter-story disappeared
from the air. All new faces, critical of the old guard and enthusiastically broadcasting
your videos (which proved so good for ratings) with righteously indignant
commentary. In a sense, the entire country’s media did a 180 and became anti-
establishment and champions of the common folk! And with a straight face, no less!
One had to gasp for breath. There’s definitely a severe irony deficiency over there.”

“The country held its breath for a day and then you released the boys. That became
a media spectacle. Sea’s, oceans of Seattleites filling the air with so many eggs they
blocked out the sun around the car extracting the prisoners. About a day later they
had been scrubbed up and rehearsed. They went on the air with an unbelievable tale
about how the confessions were cooked, how voice sampling and splicing had put
words in their mouths, and their lips had been digitally altered to synchronize with
the words etc. and nobody but the far right, the Rush Limbaugh fans, accepted it.
Your prisoners were under heavy guard in secret locations, there were so many mobs
looking for them. Pretty much the whole country was a mob out for their blood.
This was the supreme test of Obama’s presidency, no doubt.”

“The cities were in a state of anarchy and the ghettos were all in flames. Police didn’t
dare show themselves in public and looting swept the country. Obama declared
martial law, but the National Guard Units, with so many of them in Iraq, were a drop
in the bucket. They formed perimeters just to defend themselves. Obama deployed
The 3rd Infantry Division’s 1st Brigade Combat Team, the so called Homeland
Division, stationed at Ft. Stewart, Ga. for the purpose of shooting and detaining
Americans who misbehave. This is the first time regular US troops have gone into
combat against their own countrymen since the Civil War and it did not turn out well.
Troops shot a few looters and this only seemed to inflame tensions. Within a few
days most of the troops had deserted and gone home. It was either that, or face
crowds in the 10,000’s. The country was essentially lawless.”

“I think Obama had no choice but to tell Bush, Cheney, and Rove that he would give
them up to the mobs if they didn’t make a personal sacrifice for the sake of the
country, and tell the truth on TV. All three broadcasted confessions and abject
apologies. Imagine that! Who could have ever expected to hear Cheney apologize
about anything! But, course, he’s not been himself lately. These pronouncements
were lame to be sure, and pale in comparison to your tapes, but it satisfied enough
Americans that the Guard and Police could reassert control as people left the streets
to the looters. Obama had promised that the three would be prosecuted to the full
extent of the law with no sweetheart deals, and silver tongued devil that he is, the
People believed him. Since then the news has been stories of arrests connected with
9/11, resignations in Congress, key people going into hiding, the death throes of the
Republican Party. A thrill a minute. Any average story on a given day would have
been the story of the year, any other time. No doubt the most tumultuous weeks in
US history since the Civil War.

There were a lot of things to say about the news. We were giddy, proud, intimidated
by the size of what we’d turned loose. There was a sense of unreality. It was like
getting a phone call telling you about a death and your mind not being able to accept
it. After the excitement wore off, Arnie and I were back at it, the only two at the

“Funny how us two Jews ended up on opposite sides in this war,” he said.

“Yeah, Arnie, I guess my name is a giveaway. Tell me about yourself.”

“My dad narrowly escaped being shipped off to the death camps. He escaped the
Netherlands at the 11th hour and joined the Dutch Free Regiment in England after a
long trek on foot into neutral Spain across the Pyrenees. Since he knew the
Germans were exterminating his relatives with their Final Solution, he was delighted
to make war on them, with a vengeance. I suppose he would have been the
Wermacht’s worst nightmare, given his attitude. He told me he turned down a
battlefield commission because officer rank would have separated him from direct
contact with the enemy, every one of which he was determined to kill, or happily die
trying to.”

“On one occasion, shortly after D-Day, he and his remaining mates became
perturbed by a new German tactic of surrendering, and then blowing up his buddies
with grenades, potato mashers, as they approached. Dad decided to commit some
atrocities, he was so angry about that. The next time some Wermacht surrendered,
he determined to murder them, white flag and all. He emptied a whole clip of his
Sten gun into them at point blank range. Lo and behold, every round missed its
mark, and by the time he had reloaded, it was too late for another try at the grand
gesture. He told me that story with wry humor, the joke on himself, the self effacing
twist that said, “This is not about me being a hero, but an inept grim reaper/war
criminal wanna-be.”

“Another time he told me about how complicated it got during a German mass
assault on his position. His Bren gun could only fire so many rounds without the
barrel overheating and choking on its slugs. At that point, you unscrewed it and
replaced it with a cooler spare barrel. But if the Germans kept coming the spare was
red hot too, so you were dead meat if you didn’t cool it off quick, with water. But
there was no water left in your canteen. So, it was piss on the barrel, or die. There
followed this Charlie Chapman routine he described where he was trying to get his
penis out of his pants without exposing himself to fire by rising even an inch from his
prone position, and then trying to convince his plumbing to piss on the barrel, as the
Germans bore down on him with their bayonets fixed. He made me laugh so hard,
my sides almost split, but of course when it was happening, it was anything but
funny. That’s my dad in a nutshell.”

“While he was killing Wermacht my mother was a teenager at Auschwitz, a slave in a

factory who later survived the death march out of there in a blizzard as the allies
approached. All of her family perished there. She was the only survivor.”

“When I think about these echoes from the past, I imagine my father fighting across
Europe in order to get to my mother, as if she were the reason he kept marching and
fighting. And, in a larger sense, I suppose she was.”

“Obviously the war taught my dad to be a survivalist. His only reason to emigrate to
the USA was because it possessed “the world’s best Air Force.” He had definitely not
forgotten the Stukas over Holland, and wasn’t going there again.”

“What I learned from my dad was a survivalist equation about money equaling
security. For him, to paraphrase Vince Lombardy, security wasn’t the most important
thing; it was the only thing.”

“When the radicals marched against the Viet Nam war, all he could see was
Brownshirts and an unraveling of civil order. He went out and bought a Lee Enfield
.303 almost exactly like the one he carried across Europe. The survivalist meaning
of that act didn’t wear off until he gave the rifle to his son-in-law, a pretty unworthy
recipient of any gift from such a tested man as my dad, in the late 70’s.”

“So it’s no accident that the acquisition of money has driven me. What else is there,
really? Why do other people pursue different things from that? I never understood
them, that is until you fuckers waterboarded me, thank you very much!”

“They say every cliché and stereotype has some underlying truth. Maybe Jews are
stereotyped as being obsessed with money because so many starved to death for
lack of it over hundreds of generations. Maybe all that insecurity left a mark on the
race. A hunger for security. On the other hand, a disproportionately large number of
Jews dedicate their lives to humanitarian causes, probably because they identify with
victims of oppression and other underdogs of society. So go figure. ”

“Interestingly, my mom whose beliefs and values were obviously hammered on the
anvil of Auschwitz, came out of there a left winger and it never left her. She said the
communists in the death camp were the ones with a message of hope for humanity.
According to her, they were the ones who had ideals that survived the antisocial
temptations of the life and death struggle. They were the ones who had attitudes
that prevented them from behaving like animals. In an environment where some
Jews were forced to be Capos and became even more cruel and sadistic than
Germans, monsters really, the communists were the ones who performed
humanitarian acts of self sacrifice for others. Maybe they dated back to an idealistic
pre-Leninist, pre-Stalinist time when their movement had not yet become hijacked
by power hungry hypocrites mouthing slogans to justify themselves as the new

“Having just said that, I think my mother’s influence on me over the years was a
stealth conversion that has just now came to fruition in my life, on account of you.
Maybe I can hear you and admire you guys because I so loved and admired my
mother. So much of what you stand for, she always believed. Crazy eh?”

“Ever hear the expression, ‘Virtue untested is no virtue at all?’ Well, my mom’s
virtue was tested in ways we can scarcely understand. She lived in pure hell for
years, worse than war, worse than childhood abuse, worse than a person should be
asked to survive, where death would be welcome relief. And yet her will to live and
her humanity didn’t die at Auschwitz. She was such a generous person with a big
heart. She even forgave the generic Germans, in a manner, before she died, and she
let go of so much of her trauma which had haunted her, dogging her steps for so
many years. When you look at my parents and the tests to their character that few
face and far fewer pass, I must only conclude that virtue untested is indeed just

posing and talk. There can be no doubt that the hellish suffering of my mother, and
her ability to somehow transcend her more likely fate of fear and bitterness, was a
fabulous accident of fate for me. And now that you almost killed me, I’ve been
thinking about the gifts she gave me and how I squandered that unique legacy;
threw it away just amassing a fortune which any old greedy asshole can do given a
little instinct for the jugular. Whew! I’m finished now.”

I was simply blown away. Arnie had started out looking to me like one of his
patrician CEO’s or politicians, so two dimensional and shallow, and now he had
become so much more deep and meaningful. I kept quiet and waited for him to

“It’s so strange. I don’t feel like the same person I was before my near death
experience. I knew over recent years that I was becoming increasingly dissatisfied.
My marriage failed about ten years ago and my two grown kids sided with their
mother. We had lived together as strangers for 31 years. I just didn’t seem to have
the energy or hope to seek a new partner and I became pretty reclusive. It really
wounded me to the core for my kids to cut me off. I see now that I’ve been
depressed and lonely for ten years, most of my life actually, but hid it from my
employers and acquaintances, and largely myself. I never did intimacy very well.”

“Something really snapped when you waterboarded me. There was the frantic
struggle against suffocation and then total defeat as I passed out. But that moment
seemed to last a month. This may have been when I saw my life through my
mother’s eyes. I saw my whole life as empty, pointless, wasted. And for the first
time, I fully appreciated how precious each moment really is. What hit me the
hardest was this realization that everybody else was spending their valuable
irreplaceable time on this planet much more wisely than me. They were in loving
relationships and they knew how to have fun. They experienced the joy of love, sex,
beauty, friendship, art, music, good food, you name it. They seemed to derive great
satisfaction from good works and humanitarian causes. This is all totally alien to me.
I don’t understand it at all, but in that death moment I knew to the marrow of my
bones that I’d missed the boat.”

“When I came to, I realized I’d been given another go at it, just like Ebenezer
Scrooge in the Christmas Story. I was filled with hope and determination not to
waste my second chance. Funny thing. I became filled with confidence that I could
have a meaningful sex life. Ever since, I’ve been feeling like some romantic lovesick
teenager with a perpetual erection. I think I’ve fallen in love with every female I’ve
seen since then, including our flight attendant. I intend to settle down in my new
life, fall in love, and make up for lost time.”

“I’m curious how you came to be such a radical left winger. You seem pretty smart,
so how could you fall for all that tired Marxist bullshit? Didn’t the Bolsheviks
demonstrate how bankrupt it is? I’m really curious about what makes you tick,
especially now that I’ve found my own ideology so unsatisfying.”

I thought about his question before answering.

“If you want to hold left wingers responsible for the Bolsheviks, then we get to
invoke Hitler and Mussolini as your conservative representatives. In both cases an
ideology was hijacked by power-mad psychopaths merely to serve their ends. Sad

how any ideology has a way of ending up that way. Goes to show how easily led all
decent people are, when confronted with people untroubled by moral compunctions.
I’d put Bush in that category, even if he really believes Jesus gives him instructions.
Somehow I can’t imagine Jesus instructing his followers to crisp a hundred thousand
innocent children, even though that kind of morality is written all over the Old

“I think I would have adopted some kind of anti-authority point of view, no matter
where on earth I happened to be born. There was a lot of craziness, dishonesty, and
injustice in my family. By the time I was a teenager, I was already a rebel without a
cause, angry and disrespectful towards any authority figure who impinged on my
little life. I preferred any contrarian political views I ran into. But I never had a very
deep ideology until I started reading Noam Chomsky. His books, and I read almost
all 50 plus of them, revealed to me that there are two completely different histories
of the USA. One history is written by the establishment, the “substantial people.”
The other history, the one I believe to be accurate, is a sad story of greed and
misrule, ruthless predatory economic exploitation and expansion often requiring war,
disguised by propaganda. I think the USA ceased to be a democratic country a long
time ago. Here’s a little example. During a Kerry/Bush debate, they were asked
about universal health care. Most every poll, and there have been hundreds over the
years, has shown Americans to be in favor of universal health care, anywhere from
70% to 90%+. Kerry was asked about the issue and he said, ‘We won’t see it,
because there isn’t the political will to make it happen.’”

“What this could only mean, was that so called political will could be sufficiently
bought by special interests that the wishes of 90% of the voters would have to be
ignored. This went so deep, they were never given a chance to vote on the issue.”

“Reading Chomsky was like being Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz, pulling back the
curtain and discovering a fat little man operating the machinery of governance, when
you thought all along that it was the People.”

“When I’m reading Chomsky, it’s easy to change lenses and see him through the
eyes of a right winger. I’ll reread a passage through that filter, and he sounds like
Lenin or Trotsky; a caricature, if you spin it that way, of all those communist clichés
we were taught to hate and fear from an early age. When I do that, I sigh and wish
an impossible forlorn hope that his message could reach a wider readership in the
USA. Chomsky is the most read author on the planet, excluding the USA. At home
he’s marginalized as an America-hater and his so called un-American views rarely
see the light of day. The corporate media never quote the most popular American
political commentator in the world! Now there’s a propaganda disconnect if ever
there was one. I see him as a patriot in the tradition of the founding fathers. His
voice is the strongest most informed call for real democracy. That isn’t communism.
What could be more American than democracy? Chomsky isn’t un-American; he’s
anti-corporate, just like the founding fathers! How ‘bout you, Arnie? Have you ever
considered yourself patriotic, defending high principles of some kind?”

Arnie guffawed. “Are you kidding? Patriotism? Power to the people? Feed the
starving Africans? I don’t think so. We are all internationalists or better put,
ubernationalists. The masses you attach such great importance to, are grist for our
mill, nothing else. They work for us, the cheaper the better, and they consume for
us, the deeper in debt the better. The global economy has created fantastic

opportunities for writing the masses right out of the equation in terms of power and
influence. To us the ideal future is made of two classes, a ruling class and a slave
class. That’s why we dream of a micro chip implanted in every common person on
earth, and no middle class to worry about democracy the way you do. I find your
idealism refreshing but terribly obsolete. The war on the masses by the thieves of
their labor, Marx’s class war, is over. It’s already been won. Anywhere on earth you
look, working class people, the proletariat, have less power than before. When
Reagan came into office over 35% of American workers were protected and
empowered by union membership. What’s the percentage now that the auto unions
have been eviscerated? In 2007, prior to the auto sector meltdown, 16% of workers
age 55 to 64 were unionized, and 4.8 % of workers age 16 to 24 were. Those
numbers are far lower today and slipping fast as the auto unions are eviscerated.
The percentage will be zero when The Network completes its plan. Further union
destruction is one of the positive spin-offs of the world recession.”

“The WTO overrules the decisions of sovereign states at its whim. Bankers dictate
terms to their governments, not vice versa. You complain that democracy is long
gone, leaving only a propaganda mirage behind to mark its passing? How about
concepts like nationalism and sovereignty? They scarcely exist anymore, except in
the abstract. But don’t get me wrong. I’m talking about what is, not what should be.
My epiphany told me that there’s more to life than wealth and power, both of which
I’ve had plenty of. I’m a neocon dropout trying to find my soul, so to speak, and I’m
open to new beliefs as never before. But the war’s over and you lost. Are you going
to be the last man on earth to notice?”

I laughed ruefully. “You make me feel like Don Quixote! There’s a lot of truth in what
you say. But look at it another way. The unwashed masses you dismiss so lightly
outnumber the fat cats a million to one. Look what just happened on account of our
little kidnapping caper. There was a mini-rising that scared the shit out of the
substantial people, and if your dad would have been alive he would have bought
himself an AK-47 this time. They know all the armies on the planet couldn’t quell an
uprising that had mass participation. History shows that you can only squeeze the
peasants so far, and then they’re going to be so miserable, they’ve got nothing to
lose by going into the streets and burning down your castles. Take a little misrule,
add a draught, a famine, an economic crash, climate change catastrophes, whatever,
and things could change over night.”

Arnie brightened up at this. “We know that, and now you’re getting into the reason
for the chip implants. If there’s a riot, we could scan the identity of every participant
and locate them later for punishment or correction. Iran knocked an insurrection flat
in 2009 using video to ID people they later arrested and beat or murdered. The
control we can exert over the masses has already been multiplied a thousand times
over by the digital revolution and we’ve only scratched the surface of possibilities.
Just a small example: First we were using search engines to red flag key words in
emails, after which a series of artificial intelligence engines winnow out the priority
emails for human review. Then along came voice recognition software so fast and
accurate, we can transcribe the content of every phone call. Once there’s a digital
transcription, the key word search engines can screen all verbal communications too.
All this control requires tremendous computing speed and extraordinary data
storage. At my shop, guys are using terabytes of memory the way we used to use
bytes. And the speeds! So what this all means, is that information technology is so
fast and so big, you can start thinking in terms of a file for each and every member

of the human race, and we can register their every movement, electronic
communication, and credit card transaction, and tons more provided they have an ID
chip implant. A complete database for each individual containing mined summaries of
all red flagged communications, information about job history and performance,
health, personal buying habits, political preferences, and all kinds of behavior worth
tracking. Now we’re talking social control! No government in history ever had a
thousandth this much information about or control over each individual citizen. Like
I said, you already lost the war, and our control is just going to grow exponentially.
Welcome to our brave new world, or maybe I should say their brave new world,
seeing as I have become a fugitive from it.”

“Shit, Arnie!” I exclaimed. “I’d hate to think you’re right. Pretty depressing if you
are. Here’s one trend that’s counter to all these other concentrations of wealth and

Arnie interrupted me. “I defy you to name me a single one!”

“How about internet communication?” I countered. “Information posted there isn’t

under corporate control and spin. Even the Chinese government can’t completely
control it. Sure there’s tons of junk, but people are pretty adept at sorting it out.
Nowadays you can organize a demonstration or some other kind of protest, even a
revolt, on a shoestring budget, using the internet. Look how Obama raised millions,
how we got our message across using YouTube, how Iranian dissidents mobilized in
2009. You could call that investigative reporting and mass activism on steroids, and
before it’s over some heads are gonna roll. I was especially pleased to see how hard
it was for the Iranian riot squads to murder people undetected. Many of their victims
were videoed and beamed around the world. Without the internet, it might have
been close to impossible to get our confession videos aired. Corporate media could
have easily gotten the word to suppress it. What if our success inspired a whole lot
more of this kind of guerrilla action? All by itself, your little confession wouldn’t
make much of a splash, but people might be primed to do better at putting the
pieces of the puzzle together.”

Arnie jumped in again. “Yeah, and just supposing they do, Suppose they figure it all
out. What are they going to do about it?”

“A couple of things come to mind,” I answered. It takes leadership to make change

and a lot of people thought Obama was the one to clean up the mess Bush made,
and reform government deeply. Then he surrounded himself with neocon economic
advisors from the Chicago Milton Friedman school of thought, the people who
deregulated the financial institutions and siphoned trillions of tax dollars to them, on
his watch! Turns out Obama is neocon economically. But an informed electorate can
pressure him to do the ethical democratic thing and back him up with voter power
and polling power. An informed electorate could make democracy work again by
demanding campaign finance reform.”

Arnie looked skeptical. “And how is campaign finance reform going to restore
democracy for the masses?”

“That’s the heart and soul of the problem,” I answered. “The way things are today,
it’s political suicide to do anything but pander to corporate contributors. Winning
campaigns requires massive media advertising, probably another downside of the

electorate being so ignorant, uninformed, and easily swayed. If you don’t have the
big advertising bucks, you lose. Politicians are probably motivated by survival needs
more than greed. Get a level playing field with stiff limits on campaign spending,
and merit may be more often rewarded than corruptibility. Part of that reform would
be building some kind of firewall between legislators and lobbyists.”

“It’s kind of like nuclear disarmament. Nobody wants to be disarmed unilaterally or

give away an advantage. The people getting tons of money are in power, so
naturally they don’t want to lose that advantage and get beat by a non-incumbent
who benefits most from a leveled playing field. This reform is going to have to be
imposed on incumbents and the only people for the job is an activated informed
electorate demanding it, or else.”

Arnie laughed. “Don’t hold your breath waiting for US legislators to clean up
Congress. That’s about as likely as a banker loaning out all the bank’s money and
then sneaking out of town, or bank robbers advocating harsher penalties for their
own kind.”

I nodded in ascent. “Yeah. Even this airhead idealist knows it ain’t gonna happen
until a gun is held to their heads! But speaking of which, suppose, just suppose for a
moment that the graft and corruption eventually becomes unbearable to the public.
That’s happened before, hundreds of times in history when oppressed people had
enough and became fed up. At some point they become aware of their power in
numbers. When this happens historically, it gets messy. The American Revolution
got messy that way.”

“I was thinking about the Shaw of Iran and Batista in Cuba, plus a half dozen popular
coups in Central and South America, though I could invoke the crises in several
other countries lately, not to mention revolts going all the way back to the French
Revolution, ancient Greece, and the Roman Empire.”

“Look at the Shaw. He lost whatever legitimacy he had as an hereditary monarch, as

his role as a colonial puppet ruler became evident, in this case the USA being the
puppeteer. Eventually the Iranian People rose against him. His troops quickly
sickened of machine gunning down their own fellow citizens, and elected to take sick
leave and stay home. The Shaw flew out of the country shortly after and never
returned. Presumably his plane carried more pounds of gold than it carried loyalists.”

“How about the National Guard at Kent State University in May of 1970? Guardsmen
shot into the crowd of student demonstrators 67 times for 13 seconds, killing four
students and wounding nine others. How likely would it be for guardsmen to
maintain a stomach for this level of mayhem against fellow countrymen, no matter
how badly they hated their politics? Their certainty that lasted for 13 seconds, might
have degraded rapidly if they would have been outnumbered 1,000 to 1. Put
yourself in their place. Doesn’t survival trump every hand? In other words, are the
People of the USA as powerless as they accept? If they ever become aware of just
how much power they have collectively, can their will be denied indefinitely without
grave consequences?”

“Paradoxically, this country’s birth gave rise to the most explicit national distrust of
corporate greed and laws to contain its sinister force in society. The much celebrated
American Revolution was about two things, both amazingly ahead of their time as if

understood by founders with the gift of prophesy. King George’s American colony
had been economically raped by the East India Company which paid huge kickbacks
to the King in order to maintain its spheres of influence around the world with the
help of the British Navy and troops. Obviously King George was happy to grant them
any monopolies and tax their competitors to extinction, hence the Boston Tea Party,
launched on behalf of hundreds of mom and pop tea shops bankrupted by the King’s
new tax favoring his pet corporation. The American Revolution was a fucking anti-
trust revolt!”

“Since the American Revolutionary War was about rapacious corporate expropriation
of wealth, monopoly power, and the victimization of powerless colonial citizens, it
should come as no surprise that the new laws of the infant USA sought to protect its
citizens from the same plague that destroys us now. This is almost biblical in the
sense that ‘greed is the root of all evil’ is the principle any successful country must
take into account if it wishes to protect its citizens from corporate predation. The
USA was way ahead of its time with a constitution and laws that sought to prevent
economic rape at the hands of greedy corporations. Back in those days, monarchies
were so merged with colonial corporations, today they would have to be called fascist
states. So when we honor our founding fathers (none of whom were actually rich),
we especially respect their courage in standing up to homeland fascism and enacting
laws to prevent the infection of that evil virus here. The trouble with human nature,
is that these protections were subverted as corporate wealth corrupted US
lawmakers. The founding fathers had it up to here with England’s aristocratic class
in which no one worked. They just lived corrupt decadent lives on inherited wealth
and dabbled in ruling. So the founding fathers created inheritance taxes and anti-
trust laws to prevent the growth of such a parasitic class of rich ruling dynasties. US
history shows that such dynasties will spring up and take over, no matter how hard
you try to prevent it. When you let the rich get richer, they will eventually buy the
very government designed to curb their excesses.”

“But I digress. Colonial Americans took up arms to rid themselves of government

sponsored corporate theft, just as countless societies throughout history have
responded violently to the unbearable loss of their livelihood on the part of corrupt
governments acting in unison with business people unable to curb their lust for more,
more, more, until they killed the goose that laid the golden egg.”

“When the people have been squeezed too hard for them to bear, they have a way of
getting assertive, and they tend to topple governments in days, not months. When
they get truly pissed off, they swamp the local peacekeepers and throw the bums
out. At that point the bums fly to countries with no extradition treaties, in planes
heavily laden with gold ingots. And that is the last we hear of them.”

“This repeating theme in history can and will show itself in the USA unless democracy
is rehabilitated. Obama’s landslide victory gave people hope, after the despair and
anger of observing Rove’s successful assault on democracy for eight years. But
Obama has to deliver on that promise of reform, and he can’t even get cooperation
from his own party. If his Blue Dog Democrat legislators keep playing their spoiler
game, hope is going to turn into disillusioned rage, fuelled by economic hardship. I
think Obama has an almost impossible challenge facing him. He has raised the
expectations of the previously passive frightened masses. But to meet those
expectations, he has to take power back from the corporations you describe as the
winners of a quiet war, the fat cats who have consolidated their stranglehold on the

world such that they are unassailable. Countries are going to rise in revolt, but
revolt against what? Their governments are just helpless pawns and puppets. How
can the masses throw out the corporate dictators when they don’t even know who
they are? I suspect that the best they can do, is what they’ve already done; elect a
reformer. Now they’ll support him as best they can, but if he fails I think the country
will go up in smoke the way Watts did during the race riots.”

Arnie had been laughing as I spoke. “Your logic is impeccable and it led you to
support my point of view. Like I said, the war is over and the neocons won. The
masses can burn Washington DC to the ground and it won’t change a thing, because
that town is no longer the seat of true power. It’s a fully owned subsidiary of World
Government Inc.!”

I knew he was right, and a feeling of helplessness swept over me. We thought we
were so heroic exposing the crimes of Bush, Cheney, and Rove, as if we could clean
up government, educate the voters, and save democracy in a single stroke. But the
truth was, they were puppets doing the bidding of their masters, and we had barely
perturbed the truly powerful people behind all their crimes.

Giles must have sensed the drama because he came over and sat down. “Mind if I
join you, gentlemen?”

“By all means,” said Arnie.

“Put yourself in my place, Arnie.” I asked. “Suppose you really wanted to dismantle
the corporate take-over of the globe. Think about it. Can it be done? How would
you do it?”

Arnie looked eager, as if the question had captured his imagination. “I may be better
placed to answer that question, than just about anyone. Naturally I know The
Network’s security inside out, but also I know where you’re coming from, maybe
even better than you do. As a chief intelligence officer, part of my job has been
studying the opposition and calculating the risks they might pose. I’m probably
better acquainted with left wing thought and writings than all you amateurs put
together. So gather ‘round and learn from the master, children!”

“Well, Globalism is a diffuse decentralized network of power centers, not a

monolithic institution like the US government. The most powerful Network boards
have rotating chairs and most decisions are made by consensus. Generally
speaking, your influence in The Network is roughly equivalent to the size and
importance of the companies you run. Foremost it’s a CEO’s club, and the rest of the
players have consultative roles. That’s at the planning and policy level. Obviously
the banks are at the very top, but sizes can be deceiving. The US government is
certainly dancing to the tune of the big banks, but one stands head and shoulders
above the rest and that’s Goldman Sachs. Its executive suite is precisely the
financial power center of North America, and virtually the world for that matter.
Lloyd Blankfein is the single most powerful despot in the world economy as long as
he sits at that desk. He has a couple of counterparts in Europe associated with older
banks, and these constitute sort of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. You must hear this
article by Matt Taibbi in Rolling Stone. Bear with me while I read some of it to you.
It cuts to the very essence of how The Network gains and maintains wealth and
power. Understand the real Goldman Sachs and you have looked into the soul of The

Network.” I warn you this is a long document and I’ll only read part of it. If you pay
close attention, it will make you wiser than any other single source I can name.”

Arnie pulled a fat file from his attaché case, cleared his throat and began reading in a
very commanding manner. He could have had a career on the stage.

Goldman Sachs, the world's most powerful investment bank, is a great vampire
squid wrapped around the face of humanity, relentlessly jamming its blood funnel
into anything that smells like money. In fact, the history of the current financial
crisis, which doubles as a history of the rapid decline and fall of the suddenly
swindled-dry American empire, reads like a Who's Who of Goldman Sachs graduates.
By now, most of us know the major players. As George Bush's last Treasury
secretary, former Goldman CEO Henry Paulson was the architect of the bailout, a
suspiciously self-serving plan to funnel trillions of Your Dollars to a handful of old
friends on Wall Street. Robert Rubin, Bill Clinton's former Treasury secretary, spent
26 years at Goldman before becoming chairman of Citigroup - which in turn got a
$300 billion taxpayer bailout from Paulson. There's John Thain, the asshole chief of
Merrill Lynch who bought an $87,000 area rug for his office as his company was
imploding. A former GoIdman banker, Thain enjoyed a multibillion-dollar handout
from Paulson, who used billions in taxpayer funds to help Bank of America rescue
Thain's sorry company. And Robert Steel, the former Goldmanite head of Wachovia,
scored himself and his fellow executives $225 million in golden parachute payments
as his bank was self-destructing. There's Joshua Bolten, Bush's chief of staff during
the bailout, and Mark Patterson, the current Treasury chief of staff, who was a
Goldman Lobbyist just a year ago, and Ed Liddy, the former Goldman director whom
Paulson put in charge of bailed-out insurance giant AIG, which forked over $13
billion to Goldman after Liddy came on board. The heads of the Canadian and Italian
national banks are Goldman alums, as is the head of the World Bank, the head of
the New York Stock Exchange. the last two heads of the Federal Reserve Bank of
New York - which, incidentally, is now in charge of overseeing Goldman - not to
mention ...But then, any attempt to construct a narrative around all the former
Goldmanites in influential positions quickly becomes an absurd and pointless
exercise, like trying to make a list of everything. What you need to know is the big
picture: If America is circling the drain, Goldman Sachs has found a way to be that
drain - an extremely unfortunate loophole in the system of Western democratic
capitalism, which never foresaw that in a Society governed passively by free markets
and free elections, organized greed always defeats disorganized democracy. The
bank's unprecedented reach and power have enabled it to turn all of America into a
giant pump-and-dump scam, manipulating whole economic sectors for years at a
time, moving the dice game as this or that market collapses, and all the time
gorging itself on the unseen costs that are breaking families everywhere - high gas
prices, rising consumer-credit rates, half eaten pension funds, mass layoffs, future
taxes to payoff bailouts. All that money that you're losing, it's going somewhere, and
in both a literal and a figurative sense. Goldman Sachs is where it's going: The bank
is a huge, highly sophisticated engine for converting the useful, deployed wealth of
society into the least useful, most wasteful and insoluble substance on Earth-pure
profit for rich individuals.

They achieve this using the same playbook over and over again. The
formula is relatively simple: Goldman positions it self in the middle of a speculative
bubble, selling investments they know are crap. Then they hoover up vast sums
from the middle and lower floors of society with the aid of a crippled and corrupted

state that allows it to rewrite the rules in exchange for the relative pennies the bank
throws at political patronage. Finally, when it all goes bust, leaving millions of
ordinary citizens broke and starving, they begin the entire process over again, riding
in to rescue us all by lending us back our own money at interest, selling themselves
as men above greed, just a bunch of really smart guys keeping the wheels greased.
They've been pulling this same stunt over and over since the 1920s and now they're
preparing to do it again, creating what may be the biggest and most audacious
bubble yet.

If you want to understand how we got into this financial crisis, you have to first
understand where all the money went – and in order to understand that, you need to
understand what Goldman has already gotten away with. It is a history exactly five
bubbles long - including last year's strange and seemingly inexplicable spike in the
price of oil. There were a lot of losers in each of those bubbles, and in the bailout
that followed. But Goldman wasn't one of them.

BUBBLE#1 The Crash of 1929

“Goldman wasn’t always a too-big-to-fail Wall Street behemoth, the ruthless face of
kill or-be-killed capitalism on steroids - just almost always. The bank was actually
founded in 1869 by a German immigrant named Marcus Goldman, who built it up
with his son-in-law Samuel Sachs. They were pioneers in the use of commercial
paper which is just a fancy way of saying they made money lending out short-term
IOUs to small-time vendors in downtown Manhattan.”

You can probably guess the basic plotline of Goldman's first 100 years in business:
plucky, immigrant-led investment bank beats the odds, pulls itself up by its
bootstraps, makes shit loads of money. In that ancient history there's really only one
episode that bears scrutiny now, in light of more recent events: Goldman's
disastrous foray into the speculative mania of pre-crash Wall Street in the late
1920’s. This great Hindenburg of financial history has a few features that might
sound familiar. Back then, the main financial tool used to bilk investors was called an
investment trust.

Similar to modern mutual funds, the trusts took the cash of investors large and small
and (theoretically, at least) invested it in a smorgasbord of Wall Street securities,
though the securities and amounts were often kept hidden from the public. So a
regular guy could invest $10 or $100 in a trust and feel like he was a big player.
Much as in the 1990’s, when new vehicles like day trading and e-trading attracted
reams of new suckers from the sticks who wanted to feel like big shots, investment
trusts roped a new generation of regular-guy investors into the speculation game.
Beginning a pattern that would repeat itself over and over again, Goldman got into
the investment trust game late, then jumped in with both feet and went hog-wild.

The first effort was the Goldman Sachs Trading Corporation; the bank issued a
million shares at $100 apiece, bought all those shares with its own money and then
sold 90 percent of them to the hungry public at $104. The trading corporation then
relentlessly bought shares in itself, bidding the price up further and further.
Eventually it dumped part o fits holdings and sponsored a new trust, the
Shenandoah Corporation, issuing millions more in shares in that fund – which in turn
sponsored yet another trust called the Blue Ridge Corporation. In this way, each
investment trust served as a front for an endless investment pyramid: Goldman

hiding behind Goldman hiding behind Goldman. Of the 7,250,000 initial shares of
Blue Ridge, 6,250,000 were actually owned by Shenandoah - which, of course, was
in large part owned by Goldman Trading.

The end result (ask yourself if this sounds familiar) was a daisy chain of borrowed
money, one exquisitely vulnerable to a decline in performance anywhere along the
line. The basic idea isn't hard to follow. You take a dollar and borrow nine against it;
then you take that $10 fund and borrow $90; then you take your $100 fund and, so
long as the public is still lending, borrow and invest $900. If the last fund in the line
starts to lose value, you no longer have the money to pay back your investors, and
everyone gets massacred.

In a chapter from The Great Crash, 1929 titled ‘In Goldman Sachs We Trust’, the
famed economist John Kenneth Galbraith held up the Blue Ridge and Shenandoah
trusts as classic examples of the insanity of leverage-based investment. “The trusts”,
he wrote, “were a major cause of the market's historic crash; in today's dollars, the
losses the bank suffered totaled $475 billion. It is difficult not to marvel at the
imagination which was implicit in this gargantuan insanity," Galbraith observed,
sounding like Keith Olbermann in an ascot. –If there must be madness, something
may be said for having it on a heroic scale.”


Fast forward about 65 years. Goldman not only survived the crash that wiped out so
many of the investors it duped, it went on to become the chief underwriter to the
country's wealthiest and most powerful corporations. Thanks to Sidney Weinberg
who rose from the rank of janitor's assistant to head the firm, Goldman became the
pioneer of the initial public offering, one of the principal and most lucrative means by
which companies raise money. During the 1970’s and 1980’s, Goldman may not
have been the planet eating Death Star of political influence it is today, but it was a
top-drawer firm that had a reputation for attracting the very smartest talent on the
Street. It also, oddly enough, had a reputation for relatively solid ethics and a
patient approach to investment that shunned the fast buck; its executives
were trained to adopt the firm's mantra, ‘long-term greedy'- One former Goldman
banker who left the firm in the early Nineties recalls seeing his superiors give up a
very profitable deal on the grounds that it was a long-term loser. “We gave back
money to 'grownup' corporate clients who had made bad deals with us,” he says.
”Everything we did was legal and fair- but 'Iong-term greedy' said we didn't want to
make such a profit at the clients' collective expense that we spoiled the

But then, something happened. It's hard to say what it was exactly;
it might have been the fact that Goldman's cochairman in the early Nineties, Robert
Rubin, followed Bill Clinton to the White House, where he directed the National
Economic Council and eventually became Treasury secretary. While the American
media fell in love with the story line of a pair of baby-boomer, Sixties-child,
Fleetwood Mac yuppies nesting in the White House, it also nursed an undisguised
crush on Rubin, who was hyped as without a doubt the smartest person ever to walk
the face of the Earth, with Newton, Einstein, Mozart, and Kant running far behind.
Rubin was the prototypical Goldman banker. He was probably born in a $4,000 suit,
he had a face that seemed permanently frozen just short of an apology for being so
much smarter than you, and he exuded a Spock-like, emotion-neutral exterior; the

only human feeling you could imagine him experiencing was a nightmare about
being forced to fly coach. It became almost a national cliché that whatever Rubin
thought was best for the economy - a phenomenon that reached its apex in 1999,
when Rubin appeared on the cover of Time with his Treasury deputy, Larry
Summers, and Fed chief Alan Greenspan under the headline, THE COMMITTEE TO
SAVE THE WORLD. And "what Rubin thought, mostly, was that the American
economy, and in particular the financial markets, were over-regulated and needed to
be set free. During his tenure at Treasury, the Clinton White House made a series of
moves that would have drastic consequences for the global economy - beginning
with Rubin's complete and total failure to regulate his old firm during its first mad
dash for
obscene short-term profits.

The basic scam in the Internet Age is pretty easy even for the financially illiterate to
grasp. Companies that weren't much more than pot-fuelled ideas scrawled on
napkins by up-too-late bong smokers were taken public via IPOs, hyped in the media
and sold to the public for megamillions. It was as if banks like Goldman were
wrapping ribbons around watermelons, tossing them out 50-story windows and
opening the phones for bids. In this game you were a winner only if you took your
money out before the melon hit the pavement.

It sounds obvious now, but what the average investor didn't know at the time was
that the banks had changed the rules of the game, making the deals look better than
they actually were. They did this by setting up what was, in reality, a two-tiered
investment system - one for the insiders who knew the real numbers and another for
the lay investor who was invited to chase soaring prices the banks themselves knew
were irrational. While Goldman's later pattern would be to capitalize on changes in
the regulatory environment, its key innovation in the Internet years was to abandon
its own industry's standards of quality control.

Since the Depression, there were strict underwriting guidelines that Wall Street
adhered to when taking a company public," says one prominent hedge-fund
manager. "The company had to be in business for a minimumof five years, and it
had to show profitability for three consecutive years. But Wall Street took these
guidelines and threw them in the trash. Goldman completed the snow job by
pumping up the sham stocks: "Their analysts were out there saying is
worth $100 a share. "The problem was, nobody told investors that the rules had

“’Everyone on the inside knew” the manager says. “Bob Rubin sure as hell knew
what the underwriting standards were. They'd been intact since the 1930s.’ Jay
Ritter, a professor of finance at the University of Florida who specializes in IPOs,
says banks like Goldman knew full well that many of the public offerings they were
touting would never make a dime. “In the early Eighties. the major underwriters
insisted on three years of profitability. Then it was one year, then it was a quarter.
By the time of the Internet bubble, they were not even requiring profitability in the
foreseeable future.”

Goldman has denied that it changed its underwriting standards during the Internet
years, but its own statistics belie the claim. Just as it did with the investment trust in
the 1920s, Goldman started slow and finished crazy in the Internet years. After it
took a little-known company with weak financials called Yahoo! public in 1996, once

the tech boom had already begun, Goldman quickly became the IPO king of the
Internet era. Of the 240 companies it took public in 1997. a third were losing money
at the time of the IPO. In 1999, at the height of the boom, it took 47 companies
public, including stillborns like Webvan and eToys, investment offerings that were in
many ways the modern equivalents of Blue Ridge and Shenandoah. The following
year, it underwrote 18 companies in the first four months, 14 of which were money
losers at the time. As a leading underwriter of Internet stocks during the boom,
Goldman provided profits far more volatile than those of its competitors: In 1999,
the average Goldman IPO leapt 281 percent above its offering price, compared to
the Wall Street average of I81 percent.

How did Goldman achieve such extraordinary results? One answer is that they used
a practice called "laddering” which is just a fancy way of saying they manipulated the
share price of new offerings. Here's how it works: Say you're Goldman Sachs, and comes to you and asks you to take their company public. You agree on
the usual terms: You'll price the stock, determine how many shares should be
released and take the CEO on a "road show” to schmooze investors, all
in exchange for a substantial fee (typically six to seven percent of the amount
raised). You then promise your best clients the right to buy big chunks of the IPO at
the low offering price -let's say's starting share price is $15 - in
exchange for a promise that they will buy more shares later on the open market.
That seemingly simple demand gives you inside knowledge of the IPO's future,
knowledge that wasn't disclosed to the day-trader schmucks who only had the
prospectus to go by: You know that certain of your clients who bought X amount of
shares at $15 are also going to buy Y more shares at $20 or $25, virtually
guaranteeing that the price is going to go to $25 and beyond. In this way, Goldman
could artificially jack up the new company's price, which of course was to the bank's
benefit – a six percent fee of a $500 million IPO is serious money. Goldman was
repeatedly sued by shareholders for engaging in laddering in a variety of Internet
IPOs, including Webvan and Net2ero. The deceptive practices also caught the
attention of Nicholas Maier, the syndicate manager of Cramer & Co., the hedge fund
run at the time by the now-famous chattering television asshole Jim Cramer, himself
a Goldman alum. Maier told the SEC that while working for Cramer between 1996
and 1998, he was repeatedly forced to engage in laddering practices during IPO
deals with Goldman. "Goldman, from what I witnessed, they were the worst
perpetrator," Maier said. "They totally fuelled the bubble. And it's specifically that
kind of behaviour that has caused the market crash. They built these stocks upon an
illegal foundation - manipulated up and ultimately, it really was the small person
who ended up buying in." In 2005, Goldman agreed to pay $40 million for its
laddering violations - a puny penalty relative to the enormous profits it made.
(Goldman, which has denied wrong doing in all of the cases it has settled, refused to
respond to questions for this story.)

Another practice Goldman engaged in during the Internet boom was ‘spinning,’
better known as bribery. Here the investment bank would offer the executives of the
newly public company shares at extra-low prices, in exchange for future
underwriting business. Banks that engaged ill spinning would then undervalue the
initial offering price - ensuring that those ‘hot’ opening price shares it had handed
out to insiders would be more likely to rise quickly, supplying bigger first-day
rewards for the chosen few. So instead of opening at $20, the bank
would approach the CEO and offer him a million shares of his own
company at $18 in exchange for future business effectively robbing all of Bullshit's

new shareholders by diverting cash that should have gone to the company's bottom
line into the private bank account of the company's CEO. In one case, Goldman
allegedly gave a multimillion-dollar special offering to eBay CEO Meg Whitman, who
later joined Goldman's board, in exchange for future i-banking business. According
to a report by the House Financial Services Committee in 2002, Goldman gave
special stock offerings to executives in 21 companies that it took public, including
Yahoo! co-founder Jerry Yang and two of the great slithering villains of the financial-
scandal age - Tyco's Dennis Kozlowski and Enron's Ken Lay. Goldman angrily
denounced the report as ‘an egregious distortion of the facts’ - shortly before paying
$110 million to settle an investigation into spinning and other manipulations
launched by New York state regulators. ''The spinning of hot IPO shares was not a
harmless corporate perk," then-attorney general Eliot Spitzer said at the time.
"Instead, it was an integral part of a fraudulent scheme to win new investment-
banking business. Such practices conspired to turn the Internet bubble into one of
the greatest financial disasters in world history: Some $5 trillion of wealth was wiped
out on the NASDAQ. alone. But the real problem wasn't the money that was lost by
shareholders, it was the money gained by investment bankers. who received hefty
bonuses for tampering with the market.

Instead of teaching Wall Street a lesson that bubbles always deflate, the Internet
years demonstrated to bankers that in the age of freely flowing capital and publicly
owned financial companies, bubbles are incredibly easy to inflate, and individual
bonuses are actually bigger when the mania and the irrationality are greater.
Nowhere was this truer than at Goldman. Between 1999 and 2002, the firm paid out
$28.5 billion in compensation and benefits - an average of roughly $350,000 a year
per employee. Those numbers are important because the key legacy of the Internet
boom is that the economy is now driven in large part by the pursuit of the enormous
salaries and bonuses that such bubbles make possible. Goldman's mantra of ‘long-
term greedy’ vanished into thin air as the game became about getting your check
before the melon hit the pavement.

The market was no longer a rationally managed place to grow real, profitable
businesses: It was a huge ocean of someone else's money where bankers hauled in
vast sums through whatever means necessary and tried to convert that money into
bonuses and payouts as quickly as possible. If you laddered and spun 50 Internet
IPOs that went bust within a year. so what? By the time the Securities and Exchange
Commission got around to fining your firm $110 million, the yacht you bought with
your IPO bonuses was already six years old. Besides, you were probably out of
Goldman by then, running the U.S. Treasury or maybe the state of New Jersey. (One
of the truly comic moments in the history of America's recent financial collapse came
when Gov. Jon Corzine of New Jersey, who ran Goldman from 1994 to 1999 and left
with $320 million in IPO-fattened stock, insisted in 2002 that "I've never even heard
the term 'laddering' before.) For a bank that paid out $7 billion a year in salaries,
$110 million fines issued half a decade late were something far less than a deterrent
- they were a joke. Once the Internet bubble burst, Goldman had no incentive to
reassess its new, profit-driven strategy; it just searched around for another bubble
to inflate. As it turns out, it had one ready, thanks in large part to Rubin.


Goldman’s role in the sweeping global disaster that was the housing bubble is not
hard to trace. Here again, the basic trick was a decline in underwriting standards,
although in this case the standards weren't in IPOs but in mortgages. By now almost
everyone knows that for decades mortgage dealers insisted that home buyers be
able to produce a down payment of 10 percent or more, show a steady income and
good credit rating, and possess a real first and last name. Then, at the dawn of the
new millennium, they suddenly threw all that shit out the window and started writing
mortgages on the backs of napkins to cocktail waitresses and excons carrying five
bucks and a Snickers bar. None of that would have been possible without
investment bankers like Goldman, who created vehicles to package those shitty
mortgages and sell them en masse to unsuspecting insurance companies and
pension funds. This created a mass market for toxic debt that would never have
existed before; in the old days, no bank would have wanted to keep some addict ex-
con's mortgage on its books, knowing how likely it was to fail. You can't write these
mortgages, in other words, unless you can sell them to someone who doesn't know
what they are.

Goldman used two methods to hide the mess they were selling. First, they bundled
hundreds of different mortgages into instruments called Collateralized Debt
Obligations. Then they sold investors on the idea that, because a bunch of those
mortgages would turn out to be OK, there was no reason to worry so much about
the shitty ones: The CDO, as a whole, was sound. Thus, junk-rated mortgages were
turned into AAA-rated investments.

Second, to hedge its own bets, Goldman got companies like AIG to provide
insurance- known as credit-default swaps - on the CDOs. The swaps were
essentially a racetrack bet between AIG and Goldman: Goldman is betting the ex-
cons will default. AIG is betting they won't. There was only one problem with the
deals: All ofthe wheeling and dealing represented exactly the kind of dangerous
speculation that federal regulators are supposed to rein in. Derivatives like CDOs and
credit swaps had already caused a series of serious financial calamities: Procter&
Gamble and Gibson Greetings both lost fortunes, and Orange County, California, was
forced to default in 1994. A report that year by the Government Accountability Office
recommended that such financial instruments be tightly regulated - and in 1998, the
head of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, a woman named Brooksley
Born, agreed. That May, she circulated a letter to business leaders and the Clinton
administration suggesting that banks be required to provide greater disclosure in
derivatives trades, and maintain reserves to cushion against losses. More regulation
wasn't exactly what Goldman had in mind. ''The banks go crazy - they want it
stopped,” says Michael Greenberger, who worked for Born as director of trading and
markets at the CFTC and is now a law professor at the University of Maryland.
"Greenspan, Summers, Rubin and [SEC chief Arthur] Levitt want it stopped.

Clinton's reigning economic foursome - "especially Rubin," according

to Greenberger - called Born in for a meeting and pleaded their case. She refused to
back down, however, and continued to push for more regulation of the derivatives.
Then, in June 1998, Rubin went public to denounce her move, eventually
recommending that Congress strip the CFTC of its regulatory authority. In 2000, on
its last day in session. Congress passed the now-notorious Commodity Futures
Modernization Act, which had been inserted into an 11,000 page spending bill at the
last minute, with almost no debate on the floor of the Senate. Banks were now free
to trade default swaps with impunity. But the story didn't end there. AIG, a major

purveyor of default swaps, approached the New York State Insurance Department in
2000 and asked whether default swaps would be regulated as insurance. At the
time, the office was run by one Neil Levin, a former Goldman vice president, who
decided against regulating the swaps. Now freed to underwrite as many housing-
based securities and buy as much credit-default protection as it wanted, Goldman
went berserk with lending lust. At the peak of the housing boom in 2006, Goldman
was underwriting $76.5 billion worth of mortgage-backed securities - a third of which
were subprime - much of it to institutional investors like pensions and insurance
companies. And in these massive issues of real estate were vast swamps of crap.

Take one $494 million issue that year, GSAMP Trust 2006-83. Many of the
mortgages belonged to second-mortgage borrowers, and the average equity they
bad in their homes was 0.71 percent. Moreover, 58 percent of the loans included
little or no documentation- no names of the borrowers, no addresses of the homes,
just zip codes. Yet both of the major ratings agencies. Moody's and Standard &
Poor's, rated 93 percent of the issue as investment grade. Moody's projected that
less than 10 percent of the loans would default. In reality, 18 percent of the
mortgages were in default within 18 months. Not that Goldman was personally at
any risk. The bank might be taking all these hideous, completely irresponsible
mortgages from beneath-gangster-status firms like Countrywide and selling them to
municipalities and pensioners - old people, for God's sake - pretending the whole
time that it wasn't grade-D horseshit. But even as it was doing so, it was taking
short positions in the same market. in essence betting against the same crap it was
selling. Even worse, Goldman bragged about it in public.

‘The mortgage sector continues to he challenged,’ David Viniar, the bank's chief
financial officer boasted in 2007. ‘As result we took significant markdowns on our
long inventory positions, ...However, our risk bias in that market was to be short,
and that net short position was profitable.’ In other words, the mortgages it was
selling were for chumps. The real money was in betting against those same

‘That's how audacious these assholes are,’ says one hedge-fund manager. ‘At least
with other banks, you could say that they were just dumb - they believed what they
were selling, and it blew them up. Goldman knew what it was doing." I ask the
manager how it could be that selling something to customers that you're actually
betting against - particularly when you know more about the weaknesses of those
products than the customer- doesn't amount to securities fraud.

“ It's exactly securities fraud.” he says. ‘It's the heart of securities fraud.’

Eventually, lots of aggrieved investors agreed. In a virtual repeat of the Internet IPO
craze, Goldman was hit with a wave of lawsuits after the collapse of the housing
bubble, many of which accused the bank of withholding pertinent information about
the quality of the mortgages it issued. New York state regulators are suing Goldman
and 25 other underwriters for selling bundles of crappy Countrywide mortgages to
city and state pension funds, which lost as much as $100 million in the investments.
Massachusetts also investigated Goldman for similar misdeeds, acting on behalf of
714 mortgage holders who got stuck holding predatory loans. But once again,
Goldman got off ....virtually scot-free, staving off prosecution by agreeing to pay a
paltry $60 million - about what the bank's division made in a day and a half during
the real estate boom.

The effects of the housing bubble are well known - it led more or less directly to the
collapse of Bear Stearns, Lehman Brothers, and AIG, whose toxic portfolio of credit
swaps was in significant part comprised of the insurance that banks like Goldman
bought against their own housing portfolios. In fact, at least $1.3 billion of
the taxpayer money given to AIG in the bailout ultimately went to Goldman,
meaning that the bank made out on the housing bubble twice: It fucked the
investors who bought their horseshit CDO’s by betting against its own crappy
product. Then it turned around and fucked the taxpayer by making him pay off those
same bets.
And once again, while the world was crashing down all around the bank, Goldman
made sure it was doing just fine in the compensation department. In 2006, the
firm's payroll jumped to $16.5 billion an average of $622,000 per employee. As a
Goldman spokesman explained, ‘We work very hard here.’ But the best was yet to
come. While the collapse of the housing bubble sent most of the financial world
fleeing for the exits, or to jail, Goldman boldly doubled down - and almost single-
handedly created yet another bubble, one the world still barely knows thefirm had
anything to do with.


By the beginning of 2008 the financial world was in turmoil. Wall Street had spent
the past two and a half decades producing one scandal after another, which didn't
leave much to sell that wasn't tainted. The terms junk bond, lPG, subprime
mortgage and other once-hot financial fare were now firmly associated in the public's
mind with scams; the terms credit swaps and CDGR were about to join them. The
credit markets were in crisis, and the mantra that had sustained the fantasy
economy throughout the Bush years - the notion that housing prices never go down
– was now a fully exploded myth, leaving the Street clamoring for a new bullshit
paradigm to sling. Where to go? With the public reluctant to put money in anything
that felt like a paper investment, the Street quietly moved the casino to the
physical-commodities market – stuff you could touch: corn, coffee, cocoa, wheat
and, above all, energy commodities, especially oil. In conjunction with a decline in
the dollar. the credit crunch and the housing crash caused a "flight to commodities."
Oil futures in particular skyrocketed, as the price of a single barrel went from around
$60 in the middle of2007 to a high of $147 in the summer of 2008. That summer. as
the presidential campaign heated up, the accepted explanation for why gasoline had
hit $4.11 a gallon was that there was a problem with the world oil supply. In a
classic example of how Republicans and Democrats respond to crises by engaging in
fierce exchanges of moronic irrelevancies, John McCain insisted that ending the
moratorium on offshore drilling would be ‘very helpful in the short term,’ while
Barack Obama in typical liberal-arts yuppie style argued that federal investment in
hybrid cars was the way out. But it was all a lie. While the global supply of oil will
eventually dry up, the short term flow has actually been increasing. In the six
months before prices spiked, according to the u.s. Energy Information
Administration, the world oil supply rose from 85.24 million barrels a day to 85.72
million. Over the same period, world oil demand dropped from 86.82 million barrels
a day to 86.07 million. Not only was the short-term supply of oil rising, the demand
for it was falling - which, in classic economic terms, should have brought prices at
the pump down. So what caused the huge spike in oil prices? Take a wild guess.
Obviously Goldman had help - there were other players in the physical-commodities

market - but the root cause had almost everything to do with the behavior of a few
powerful actors determined to turn the once-solid market into a speculative casino.
Goldman did it by persuading pension funds and other large institutional investors to
invest in oil futures - agreeing to buy oil at a certain price on a fixed date. The push
transformed oil from a physical commodity, rigidly subject to supply and demand,
into something to bet on, like a stock. Between 2003 and 2008, the amount of
speculative money in commodities grew from $13 billion to $317 billion, an increase
of 2,300 percent. By 2008, a barrel of oil was traded 27 times, on average, before it
was actually delivered and consumed.

As is so often the case, there had been a Depression-era law in place designed
specifically to prevent this sort of thing. The commodities market was designed in
large part to help farmers: A grower concerned about future price drops could enter
into a contract to sell his corn at a certain price for delivery later on, which made
him worry less about building up stores of his crop. When no one was buying corn,
the farmer could sell to a middleman known as a ‘traditional speculator’, who would
store the grain and sell it later, when demand returned. That way, someone was
always there to buy from the farmer, even when the market temporarily had no
need for his crops.

In 1936, however, Congress recognized that there should never be more speculators
in the market than real producers and consumers. If that happened, prices would be
affected by something other than supply and demand, and price manipulations
would ensue. A new law empowered the Commodity Futures Trading Commission -
the very same body that would later try and fail to regulate credit swaps - to place
limits on speculative trades in commodities.

As a result of the CITC's oversight, peace and harmony reigned in the commodities
markets for more than 50 years. All that changed in 1991 when, unbeknownst to
almost everyone in the world, a Goldman-owned commodities-trading subsidiary
called J. Aron wrote to the CFTC and made an unusual argument. Farmers with big
stores of corn, Goldman argued, weren't the only ones who needed to hedge their
risk against future price drops – Wall Street dealers who made big bets on oil prices
also needed to hedge their risk, because, well, they stood to lose a lot too. This was
complete and utter crap - the 1936 law, remember, was specifically designed to
maintain distinctions between people who were buying and selling real tangible stuff
and people who were trading in paper alone. But the CFTC, amazingly, bought
Goldman's argument. It issued the bank a free pass, called the "Bona Fide Hedging"
exemption, allowing Goldman's subsidiary to call itself a physical hedger and
escape virtually all limits placed on speculators. In the years that followed, the
commission would quietly issue 14 similar exemptions to other companies.

Now Goldman and other banks were free to drive more investors into the
commodities markets, enabling speculators to place increasingly big bets. That 1991
letter from Goldman more or less directly led to the oil bubble in 2008, when the
number of speculators in the market - driven there by fear of the falling dollar and
the housing crash - finally overwhelmed the real physical suppliers and consumers.
By 2008, at least three quarters of the activity on the commodity exchanges was
speculative, according to a congressional staffer who studied the numbers - and
that's likely a conservative estimate.

By the middle of last summer, despite rising supply and a drop in demand, we were
paying $4 a. gallon every time we pulled up to the pump. What js even more
amazing is that the letter to Goldman, along with most of the other trading
exemptions, was handed out more or less in secret. ‘I was the head of the division of
trading and markets, and Brooksley Born was the chair of the CFTC’ said
Greenberger, "and neither of us knew this letter was out there.’ In fact, the letters
only came to light by accident. Last year, a staffer for the House Energy and
Commerce Committee just happened to be at a briefing when officials from the CFTC
made an offhand reference to the exemptions.

I had been invited to a briefing the commission was holding on energy,” the staffer
recounts. "And suddenly in the middle of it, they start saying, 'Yeah, we've been
issuing these letters for years now.' I raised my hand and said, 'Really? You issued a
letter? Can I see it?' And they were like, 'Duh, duh.' So we wentback and forth, and
finally they said, 'We have to clear it with Goldman Sachs.' I'm like, 'What do you
mean, you have to clear it with Goldman Sachs?' The CFTC cited a rule that
prohibited it from releasing any information about a company's current position in
the market. But the staffer's request was about a letter that had been issued 17
years earlier. It no longer had anything to do with Goldman's current position.
What's more, Section 7of the 1936 commodities law gives Congress the right to any
information it wants from the commission. Still, in a classic example of how complete
Goldman's capture of government is, the CFTC waited until it got clearance from the
bank before it turned the letter over. Armed with the semisecret government
exemption, Goldman had become the chief designer of a giant commodities betting
parlor. Its Goldman Sachs Commodities Index – which tracks the prices of 24 major
commodities but is overwhelmingly weighted toward oil- became the place where
pension funds and insurance companies and other institutional investors could make
massive long-term bets on commodity prices. Which was all wll and good, except for
a couple of things. One was that index speculators are mostly "long only" bettors,
who seldom if ever take short positions - meaning they only bet on prices to rise.
While this kind of behavior is good for a stock market, it's terrible for commodities,
because it continually forces prices upward. "If index speculators took short positions
as well as long ones, you'd see them pushing prices both up and down," says
Masters, a hedge-fund manager who has helped expose the role of investment banks
in the manipulation of oil prices. "But they only push prices in one direction: up."
Complicating matters even further was the fact that Goldman itself was cheerleading
with all its might for an increase in oil prices. In the beginning of 2008, Arjun Murti,
a Goldman analyst, hailed as an "oracle of oil" by The New Ycrk Times, predicted a
"super spike" in oil prices, forecasting a rise to $200 a barrel. At the time Goldman
was heavily invested in oil through its commodities-trading subsidiary, J. Aron. It
also owned a stake in a major oil refinery in Kansas, where it warehoused the crude
it bought and sold. Even though the supply of oil was keeping pace with demand,
Murti continually warned of disruptions to the world oil supply, going so far as to
broadcast the fact that he owned two hybrid cars. High prices, the bank insisted,
were somehow the fault of the piggish American consumer; in 2005, Goldman
analysts insisted that we wouldn't know when oil prices would fall until we knew
"when American consumers will stop buying gas-guzzling sport utility vehicles and
instead seek fuel-efficient alternatives." But it wasn't the consumption of real oil that
was driving up prices - it was the trade in paper oil. By the summer of 2008, in fact,
commodities speculators had bought and stockpiled enough oil futures to fill 1.1
billion barrels of crude, which meant that speculators owned more future oil on

paper than there was real, physical oil stored in all of the country's commercial
storage tanks and the Strategic Petroleum Reserve combined. It was a repeat of
both the Internet craze and the housing bubble, when Wall Street jacked up present-
day profits by selling suckers shares of a fictional fantasy future of endlessly
rising prices. In what was by now a painfully familiar pattern, the oil-commodities
melon hit the pavement hard in the summer of 2008, causing a massive loss of
wealth; crude prices plunged from $147 to $33. Once again the big losers were
ordinary people. The pensioners whose funds invested in this crap got massacred:
CALPERS, the California Public Employees' Retirement System, had $1.1 billion in
commodities when the crash came. And the damage didn't just come from oil.
Soaring food prices driven by the commodities bubble led to catastrophes across the
planet, forcing an estimated 100 million people into hunger and sparking food riots
throughout the Third World. Now oil prices are rising again: They shot up 20 percent
in the month of May and have nearly doubled so far this year. Once again, the
problem is not supply or demand. "The highest supply of oil in the last 20 years is
now,” says Rep. Bart Stupak, a Democrat from Michigan who serves on the House
energy committee. "Demand is at a 10-year low. And yet prices are up.

Asked why politicians continue to harp on things like drilling or hybrid cars, when
supply and demand have nothing to do with the high prices, Stupak shakes his head.
"I think they just don't understand the problem very well," he says. "You can't
explain it in 30 seconds, so politicians ignore it.

Arnie put down the file and looked at us. “I can see you’re getting dazed so I’ll stop
now. The paper covers two more bubbles Goldman exploited or will soon, with its
usual genius. One is the series of financial institution bailouts which took place in
2009 in which two trillion were secretly given to Goldman and others by the Fed and
the other is a pending carbon credit cap and trade market that will probably earn
Goldman a trillion or so. You can find the details in Rolling Stone. I was hoping that
this would provide a taste of the real deal, the flavor of what’s going on behind the
façade and the masks and the propaganda on network news. How did it grab you?”

Giles was solemn. “I believe it, but I’m sad to hear it. These are my most paranoid
conspiracy theories confirmed, and I’d rather they be wrong. It sucks that you
validate the truth of this, since I’d really rather pretend things aren’t that bad. That
far gone.”

Gary had a long face too. “The part that I don’t understand is the heartless cruelty
off these people. Getting rich off the suffering of old pensioner investors. It’s as if
all that money stole their very humanity from them and left savage animals,
monsters, behind. It’s so ugly, nauseating.”

I had a question. “So you read us this to give us a peek at the day to day workings
of The Network? Now I’ve met it face to face?”

“Yes and no,” said Arnie. “It could be an auto manufacturer calculating the cost of a
safety feature compared to the cost of settling death claims. This happens all the
time at Big Pharma where they’re saying stuff like, “The drug will kill about 100,000
in five years during which we can make 3.2 billion. So the question is, what
projected settlements to families of victims will offset profits. Is it financially viable?”

“The attitude and the mentality at Goldman is a pure version of the Network’s

organizational culture everywhere. All shared values. So now you know what makes
‘em tick, eh?

“Yeah,” sighed Giles. “No shame. None. That guy who stood up to McCarthy at a
HUAC hearing: ‘Have you no decency, sir?’” He asked.

“So here’s a brief rundown on how it works. In terms dirty tricks and special ops
there’s a hierarchy of managers and operatives. I was upper middle management,
having proved myself during years of field work. The Network has a public face in
the various committees and boards of the WTO, GATT, IMF, and World Bank, but
that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Behind those facades there’s a system of offices all
over the world with den Hague the central coordination center. Some units are
embedded the way I’ve been in Siemens. Other centers have some innocuous name,
some kind of storefront identity like a CIA outpost would have.” But it’s more of a co-
op than a top-down line of authority. These CEO’s don’t like taking orders and an
authoritarian Network wouldn’t suit them. Think of it more like organized crime. You
have families which are ruled hierarchically by their God Fathers, but when there are
territorial squabbles the God Fathers convene to seek peaceful solutions. In other
words, even though the crime families are lawless and anything goes in their
territories, they realize the need for macro coordination by consensus. Such
meetings are chaired by senior God Fathers, but these men don’t run the show
operationally. Think of The Network as a criminal’s co-op, a network of independent
Mafia families, and you’ve got it.

“If you want to study a detailed description of one major arm of The Network, read
John Perkins’ book Confessions of an Economic Hit Man. He’s lucky to be alive, after
leaking so much sensitive information. What probably saved him, is that his story is
so outrageous and unbelievable, nobody but lunatic conspiracy theorists took it
seriously. But our predatory economic operations are all spelled out there and every
word is true. I suppose his story should have been front page news, but the media
never picked it up. Wonder why, eh? Also, on YouTube there’s a documentary that
explores his story. It’s called Zeitgeist Addendum. If you haven’t seen it, I
guarantee it will knock your socks off! Perkins’ revelations are only part of it. Very
effective exposé of the Network, and like Perkins, it just doesn’t register in the
public’s consciousness. No mass media outfit would touch it with a ten foot pole.
That would be career suicide.”

“Back to your question. By definition, the hydra headed Network is lorded over by
CEO’s. They have done very well in the USA ever since Reagan began the neocon
revolution some thirty years ago. All around the world, CEO salaries tend to be
about 40 times that of their average worker, and that was true in the USA back in the
1970’s. But the neocons engineered a massive redistribution of wealth there. Here
are some valid statistics I got from Les Leopold’s book, The Looting of America: How
Wall Street's Game of Fantasy Finance Destroyed Our Jobs, Pensions, and Prosperity
—and What We Can Do About It. Today, one tenth of the richest one percent of
Americans own as much wealth as the bottom 50% of Americans. In other words, a
handful of Americans have as much money as 150 million of the least rich
Americans. The forty-to-one CEO pay ratio started to creep up under Reagan and
then went ballistic. Back in 2009 the ratio was about six hundred to one for CEO’s
generally, but most revealing are the one hundred top earners. These elite 100
CEO’s who represent most of the governance of The Network, are sporting a ratio of
1723:1. They are making seventeen hundred and twenty three times the salary of
their average employee! If I were one of their stockholders, I might be thinking,
“Wait a minute. This one dude has reduced the profit of the company by a billion or
more, which is reflected in the reduced value of my stock!” But what can that poor
schmuck do about it? The board of directors supposedly there to protect the
shareholder’s interests, are CEO’s themselves, cronies sitting on interlocking boards
voting their buddies raises. Quid pro quo.”

“During the 30 years that CEO’s became a new dynasty of super-rich despots, the
average worker’s wage dropped 20% in inflation adjusted dollars. The productivity of
the average worker skyrocketed because of technology and more overtime. Today
Americans work far longer and harder than anyone else in the industrialized world, and
they produce more. But they don’t exactly proportionally share in the wealth they’ve
created for their corporations, do they? Three decades of the ‘financial innovation’
based on printing new dollars around the clock and increasing debt has generated so
much profit for the financial industry that its share of total US corporate profits rose
from 10% in 1980 to 35 % in 2007 at the same time the vast majority of Americans
worked increasingly longer and harder with a lower standard of living to show for it.”

“In this day and age, if you’re going to run one of the bigger multinational
corporations, you are expected to invest a certain amount of your time in The
Network’s policy, execution, and governance. Your company really can’t afford not to
participate because this is where the pie is divided and the portions assigned. You
have to be at that table. No need to get a list of names from me, just Google the
Fortune 500 CEO’s.”

“I’m thinking crazy off the wall stuff here, but here are some ideas. The stun guns
can penetrate just about any security perimeter on earth, which is why we wanted
the technology from you so badly. There’s a dozen internet services who will find
you the unlisted home address of anybody, for about twenty dollars a pop. So you
could raid any CEO’s home and kidnap them the way you did Bush et al. But where
would it get you? Confessions like Perkins’? His didn’t make much of a stir and yet
he exposed the whole 3rd world game plan in detail. You could certainly scare the
living crap out of them, just showing that nobody’s safe from you, the modern Robin
Hoods. I think I’d just terrorize The Network by slitting their throats. After a dozen
or so died that way, despite all their security precautions, they would be running
around like chicken little! They’d be afraid to go to sleep! Remember Brave Heart’s
revenge on the lords who betrayed him? He murdered some of them in bed. In

their castles.”

“What a concept, Arnie!” I laughed. “All the Fortune 500 CEO’s immobilized by
panic, waiting for their turn. Of course they’d rush off to secret locations and at
worst it would mean some inconvenience to them, hardly more. Is there a time and
a place most of them get together?”

“Davos, Switzerland, every January. CEO’s from the 1,000 largest multinationals and
a ton of experts presenting. Of course there’s an army protecting the conference,
called the World Economic Forum, but of course it’s actually your annual Frat party
and conspiracy fest for the top Network princes. Hey! Wait a minute! Ever hear the
expression ‘If the only tool you have is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail?’”

“Yeah Arnie, apropos to what?” I answered.

“Well you guys are so in love with your stun guns, you want to save the world with
‘em, even if they’re the wrong tool for the job. Try to get past that and listen
carefully to this brainstorm. At the Davos gathering of all the most powerful players,
the most important part of the meeting is when they get together in their specialty
groups, oil in one room, wheat in another, corn, natural gas, banking, soybeans,
coal, steel, dry goods shipping, refining, gold, pharmaceuticals, uranium, etc. etc.
They sit around a table and decide how the prices are going to fluctuate over the
next year, where the artificial shortages are going to happen, who is going to bid for
which oil field or mine exploration auction, who is going to stay out, who gets which
zone of control, who is going to be put out of business, which government has to fall,
what leader needs to be assassinated, which senators have to be bought for
deregulation of which market…all the price fixing, monopolistic practices illegal all
over the world, all the governmental manipulation and corruption, the basic game
plan for the next year, and scarcely a hint of competition. Just friendly give and
take. And ever now and then, a group will even decide a frigging war has to take

“I was working security for at least a dozen of these World Forums, sometimes in
charge. I know for a fact that all the backroom deals are video taped because I
often supervised the units doing it. Since so many crimes are being committed in
these meetings, the videos are handled like nuclear weapons plans, ultra top secret.
They’re needed as documentary evidence if there are disagreements later about
promises made. Since nothing is written down, the tapes are everything. Think
about it. During the birth of this all-world government, its players are still subject to
their local laws. By definition, this global economic new order is finding it necessary
to break those local laws daily. So, until you have complete control and exterminate
national governance, you can’t leave paper trails that will get you indicted back
home, even though the words ‘home country’ no longer mean anything to you. And
you still face the problems of deals that go sour, and people who go on being
aggressive with a sense of self entitlement. I mean, CEO’s rose to power by being
ruthless competitive motherfuckers, and it’s not as if globalism is all one big love-in.
These CEO natural born killers are attending Davos meetings to find their chance to
rape and pillage while beating off their equally predatory competitors. On the other
hand they know they have to make it work and get along. Why? Because true
globalism means that the common folk, the unwashed, the middle classes, the
national laws, will have no say whatsoever and democratically elected governments
no longer suppress the power of greed.”

“There have been many secret meetings about this challenge at den Hague HQ. All
the players agree that they want to operate unfettered by governments and the
despised commoners who elect them. But without their laws and judges and
attorneys, and courts, how are we going to settle our inevitable disputes? We are
realists. And practical. We know that if we’re gonna enslave the commoners of the
earth, we are going to have to get along with each other to some degree. That’s the
price we must pay for the advantages of flying over the heads of state and their local

“This issue has emerged at about the same speed that globalism has, over recent
years. Each time the players cut up the pie annually at Davos, and at other
meetings as required, it has reared its ugly head. The potential rewards of globalism
to our CEO masters are so great, they are committed to making it work.”

“Here’s a clarification. The term CEO may have at one time described people who
worked their way up through the ranks in the same company for 30 years before
attaining leadership of it, purely on the basis of merit, competence, and winning all
those competitions along the way. Today with the large corporations, that’s virtually
never the case. Today’s CEO is generic. He or she may know nothing about the
company or even its industry. The CEO’s have become a selected few in a new caste
system, a unique aristocratic subculture that takes care of its own. How does one
gain entrance to this elite group? A club of CEO buddies, the company’s board of
directors, choose you, and they know if you are one of them. You need not apply for
the job. They will recruit you. It’s an aristocracy you almost have to be born into. It
is not a meritocracy! So it helps to be born into a dynasty, and failing in that, you
have to attend universities too expensive for any but token commoners. There you
meet your frat brothers and forge alliances that will last a lifetime. George W. Bush
is an outstanding example of how membership in this elite has nothing to do with
character, talent, or merit. Here’s a little story, a true one personally observed by an
associate of mine, to make my point.”

“When Bush was at Yale, he and some frat brothers got drunk and engaged in some
vandalism. They were arrested and charged. The day of their court appearance,
Georgie’s friends were worried. They appeared in coat and tie, ready to make all the
right kinds of sounds to get a break from the judge. George didn’t show up. The
arraignment proceeded without him for an hour and then the door burst open and in
strode George himself, dressed in a T-shirt, blue jeans, and cowboy boots. He
interrupted the proceedings by walking straight up to the judge’s dais. He pulled out
a check book and barked at the judge in a demeaning manner, “How much!”

“The judge looked at him. You can imagine what was going through his mind about
his career’s future. He quickly established the amount of damages, Georgie wrote a
check and scornfully tossed it to the judge, and strode out. The gavel banged, ‘case

“Doesn’t this say volumes about what George W. Bush II knew about his place in
society, probably from an early age?”

“So this CEO subculture was caught with its hand in the cookie jar during the
meltdown of 2008 and that was a setback. They don’t like fame; they like money,
and a low profile thank you. The scandals made it even more necessary to get our

house in order. Now days we have our own regulators at den Hague. They mediate
disputes using simple methods. The two sides argue their cases out loud, not on
paper, in front of a tribunal. Then the judges retire to a projection room and view
the videos of the actual deal being made with conditions spelled out. The
complainants don’t know the videos exist; nobody does but the judges and a few
techs and security people like me. The videos are just too hot, too incriminating. If
people knew they existed, the system of give and take would go underground to
avoid the cameras. Chaos would replace order. All the complainants know, is the
judges come back from their deliberations and announce their decision which
attempts to be measured and fair. Our CEO’s don’t know it’s based on the merits of
promises made over handshakes, on video. People are pretty satisfied with the
judges, partly because the videos are their secret weapon lending them an aura of
wisdom, accuracy, and insight.”

“So if you exposed the videos, you’d not only publish the criminality of the CEO’s and
their corporations, but you’d also throw sand in the gears of the Network’s self
governance. This could truly be a master stroke, and not that hard to do.”

How about if I show you how to steal them? They’d be more sensational than all your
confessions on YouTube, and there wouldn’t be a CEO that wasn’t guilty of at least a
few felonies. That, my boys, would be the ultimate coup. This is what I meant by
saying maybe the stun guns aren’t the key to the solution.

“People like me never sit in these meetings. It’s the big boys only. But I’ve sneaked a
peek or two at the tapes and it’s a hell of a phenomenon. You have to understand
that CEO’s of the top 1,000 companies share a unique royal culture. They all sit on
each other’s boards, hiring, firing, rewarding each other. You don’t get invited into
that club unless you have the mentality of Genghis Kahn or Attila the Hun. When
they get together and the doors close, they let their hair down and speak freely,
knowing that everybody is on the same page. Honor among thieves! They brag
about how they’re fucking their shareholders, the same shareholders they publically
swear allegiance to, every time they give a speech. They ponder the murder and
mayhem that might get a job done. They negotiate mergers and company buyouts
like Mafia dons dickering over territory. The whole time, they’re cracking sarcastic
jokes about the suckers, the victims, the politicians they own, the shareholders, the
loyal company customers for whom they have only scorn, the countries they’ve
enslaved, how they got away with leaking an Exxon Valdez equivalent of oil spill in
the Niger Delta every year. Really. No kidding. I saw that video with my own eyes.”

“For the record, Shell Oil is the worst polluter in Nigeria, yet they are able to meet
stringent spillage specs when they need to, like on the North Slope. In Nigeria they
don’t even bother to cap blown wells, some of which spout thousands of gallons an
hour into the delta. To cap them would cost money! No respect for anything or
anybody. It’s them against the world, the ubermenschen, the master race taking its
appointed dominant place. Their attitude alone would make anyone’s skin crawl, not
to mention the crimes they commit. Hubris alone doesn’t capture the meaning.
Narcissism, grandiosity, intoxicated with power, none of these words does it justice.
They are the grotesque expression of pure unmitigated evil greed. Show their true
face to the world and people will remember Bush and Cheney as rank amateur
villains by comparison. Penny ante crooks. Mere pick-pockets!”

“But this is a new era you have created, and this Davos meeting will be like no other.

When the CEO’s get together in interest groups, the main topic of conversation will
be the loss of public confidence, the hostility towards authority, the likelihood that
the neocons and conservatives will be unceremoniously consigned to the dust bin of
history and the impact this will have on CEO’s. These guys already know their backs
are up against the wall. Their panic will unite them as never before and they’ll be
saying things about the voters, the consumers, democracy, the government, and
themselves, stripped of the usual niceties and diplomatic obfuscation. Their dilemma
today is so unique, I can’t imagine what will come out, but I promise you it will be
revealing as never before. I wonder how the French royals talked in their cells,
waiting for the guillotine during the French revolution. Remember the saying,
‘nothing clears the mind like the prospect of facing a firing squad in the morning?’”

Gary had moved over to hear this and the three of us were exchanging glances that
said we were salivating with hunger to possess the videos.

Giles’ eyes were as big as chicken eggs. “Talk about the perfect companion to the
Bush/Rove/Cheney tapes, taking it to the next level. We absolutely have to do this.
But what’s in it for you, Arnie?”

Arnie thought for a moment. “I really don’t know. I’ve never had a cause and
always sold myself to the highest bidder. But even though you guys tortured me and
ruined my career, I can’t help but sort’a like you and admire what you’re doing.
These rich guys I’ve been working for have never had any loyalty towards me. They
use me like toilet paper when it suits them. People like me eat their shit and ask for
more, all for the money. That’s the only power they’ve ever had over me. And when
I was dying, I realized that I already had more than enough money to live large
forever, so why humiliate myself for more? Why suffer for money I don’t need?
Didn’t make sense at the time and still doesn’t. So I say fuck ’em. If you guys want
to try to sabotage their world take-over, why not? It wouldn’t break my heart to see
some of those jerk-off’s laid low. It’s really that attitude they have of being god’s gift
to the world and people like me are their natural born inferiors meant to serve them.
That never went down very well. Maybe I would feel different if I had ever been
shown respect…just some basic respect.”

“So here’s what I propose we do. We land in Costa Rica, set up shop in the capital
city where we can be lost in the crowd, find a simple little hotel suite, and devise a
master plan for Davos. If my people are looking for us, they’ll be expecting you to
head North and me to be heading home unless I’m under duress. Staying near our
last known position near San Jose breaks all the rules of evasion and escape. So we
enjoy the hotel and the rest until the heat’s off, and then we part company after
you’ve got a game plan for Davos.”

“Isn’t this the damnedest thing?” said Giles. “The Network wants our heads on a
platter so they send us to their top spook who just happens to be one of the few
people alive possessing the keys to the US Mint, Fort Knox, and the Crown Jewels
combined, which he gives away to the radicals. Go figure! Was it fate, or blind luck,
or what?”

We were all laughing up a storm at the irony of it. I gasped, “Call it fate, like karma
if you mean chickens coming home to roost. If you want to rule the world, make sure
your self importance isn’t too off-putting to those underlings who guard you!”

While we were talking the Citation was taking evasive maneuvers, turning off its
transponder during a steep dive down to the ocean and flying towards Costa Rica
near the wave tops. Apparently we had evaded air control, and if someone was
watching they would think we ditched. We took catnaps and awoke to feel the jet
landing. Upon unloading, we found ourselves on an isolated airstrip with no visible
tower or personnel, just a corrugated steel shed. The air was cool and fresh,
suggesting that we were on some sort of high altitude plateau. By the time the first
glow of sunrise began to provide light, the Citation was sent on its way with
commands to maintain radio silence until re-entering UK airspace. When they got
there, they were going to get an earful.

Arnie unlocked a heavy padlock on the shed and opened the door to reveal a red
Jeep Cherokee, apparently gassed up and ready to go. We threw our gear in and
buckled up as Arnie pulled onto the airstrip.

“Pretty handy, eh?” He said proudly. This car is going to be very hot before long. I
want to get to the outskirts of San Jose, the capital. That’ll take two hours, pushing
it. Then it’s important to lose the car. I want them to think we hit the highway North
or South. Any ideas about dumping the car? I’m improvising here.”

“Is there some kind of favela on the edge of the city?” I asked.

“Yeah,” answered Arnie, “but nowhere’s as huge as Sao Paulo’s.”

“How about if we abandon the jeep with the keys in it, near a bus line but as much
into the favela style of neighborhood as we can. The car ought to be stolen pretty
fast and after that anything could happen to it; chop shop, change hands several
times, get repainted with different plates maybe, who knows.”

“Now you’re talking!” said Arnie. “It’ll last as long as a drop of maple syrup on an

Giles added, “We can use the jeep to get our gear and stunner to a hotel, and then
somebody can lose it that way and take a cab back.”

Arnie’s Spanish was fluent, opening all doors effortlessly, so he was the one who
dropped off the jeep after checking us into a modest hotel. Our rooms had nice
views of the mountains and comfortable beds. The suite had its own kitchen and
living room, tastefully appointed. It was a great relief to take a bath and a nap, and
forget about all the drama for a while.

Others chose to watch a soccer game on a plasma flat screen.

Later I joined Arnie on the veranda to drink a beer and look out over the city.

“I assumed those two heavy suitcases are full of money, Arnie. I’m curious how you
are going to get it down to South America. Aren’t you afraid of losing it at some
border? Especially with all the drug smuggling and interdiction going on.”

Arnie smiled. “Moving illicit cash R us, Fred. That’s what we do! In this case it ain’t
cash. The suitcases are full of one troy ounce .9999 pure gold Canadian National
Mint Maple Leaf coins, worth about a grand US each. The beauty of them is that the

whole world trusts the Canadian Mint and these coins have never been successfully
counterfeited. You needn’t assay the gold for purity and you don’t even have to
weigh it. So it is exceptionally negotiable almost anywhere. And of course when the
US dollar moves into hyperinflation, they’ll be selling for five or ten grand a pop. ”

“Yeah, but this time your Network is looking for you, Mr. Arch Smuggler. Right?”

“True, but I’ve got some moves. The Network transfers absolutely stupendous
amounts of dirty money around, under trying conditions. Every country is aware of
drug money laundering problems and on the lookout for it, depending on the extent
to which they’re on the take, themselves. Drug money just permeates this part of
the world, corrupting all it touches. To give you an idea, we had an undercover guy
who penetrated the Columbia cartel system, not to bust them, but to help us be sure
they were keeping their promises on our deals. At that time there was a weekly
money flight from Bogotá to Mexico City, essentially Mexico’s share, their fee for
delivering the cocaine to the USA, mostly at the Juarez/El Paso crossing. They would
fly 12 tons of coke a week into Juarez and then truck it into the USA. A US customs
official can make a million dollars by looking the other way for one truck. Anyway,
our guy in Bogotá got aboard one of the money jets when it was half loaded, and
took some pictures. This was a freight Boeing 767. The cargo was pallets of one US
hundred dollar bills, shrink wrapped into blocks about chest high. The forklifts were
running back and forth, stacking them to the ceiling. We calculated the money on
board using a formulation of how many hundred dollar bills per ton, subtracting the
weight of the pallets of course, since we knew the plane’s official payload was
maxed. A planeload here and a planeload there, and pretty soon you’re talking real

“Doing business with the Narcos can be scary because some are so unpredictable,
but we need each other. Just think back to the symbiotic relationships during
prohibition, between gangsters like Al Capone, crooked cops, rum runners, distillers
and their suppliers, and of course retail sellers and end users. There was lots of
money to be made and everyone had a piece of the action, some seemingly
reputable and some obviously disreputable and criminal. It worked. Always has.”

“If this were a normal Network covert op and I got into a sticky situation, I’d get on
the phone to my nearest Narco contact. I’d be able to get almost anything short of
airstrikes. Need a team with RPG’s and 50 cal. machine guns? Maybe not here in
Costa Rica, but easy as pie in Mexico. Here, they’d send me hitmen who keep a low
profile and don’t shoot up five city blocks like the Mexicans. In short, when I want to
move my gold, I’ll make a phone call to a Narco contact, negotiate a fee, get a verbal
insurance agreement, and then hand it all over to a stranger who comes over. It will
be delivered to me intact because nobody would dare touch it. That would be
suicidal if it were insured by El Gato or whoever. Y’know what the narcos do if a drug
or money shipment is busted and they suspect an informant? They murder every
single person associated with that shipment who had access to the information
leaked. They figure it’s worth it to kill 15 innocent men, to get one rat. You have to
admire their thoroughness. In this case I do have to be careful who I’m dealing
with, because the Network is going to be guessing what I might be up to, who I
might call, that sort of thing. My best Narco contacts are known only to me and vice
versa. We both like it that way. Keeps life simpler.”

“Speaking of money laundering, we’re sitting in the heart of that beast right this

moment. The ideal money laundering factory is a hotel. It’s very easy to pretend
rooms were rented to thousands of people, and why should the tax man want to
check their identities since this is declared income? They say on any given day, more
than two thirds of the empty hotel rooms in Mexico are going to acquire retrofitted
ghost occupants by tax time, thus turning dirty drug money into slightly taxed clean
money. Small price to pay, compared to other laundering fees.”

“You surprise me, Arnie,” I said in astonishment. “You talk about the drug cartels as
if they’re business partners. I thought the war on drugs was a conservative agenda
item. What gives?”

“You’re just an innocent child, Fred. As if the captains of commerce are so moralistic
they wouldn’t dare soil their hands touching dirty money! Money is money. A direct
consequence of the Columbian cartels shipping cocaine into the US through Florida
back in the old days is that most of the skyscrapers in Miami built in that era were
financed by cocaine money laundered by Miami banks that exploded in size and
profits. Only a tiny fraction of the revenues built the skyscrapers; they’re just the
most visible sign. Every national and international financial institution that could,
grabbed a piece of the action. Then cartel turf wars turned Miami into a battlefield so
bloody, US federales took over from corrupted local law enforcement and Florida got
too hot to do business. So the cartels started flying coke into Mexico, and in the
process Mexican thugs became rich enough to raise private armies and purchase
most levels of government. Those new trade routes turned Mexico into one big
marijuana plantation plus thousands of large methamphetamine labs. Today well
over half of Mexico’s drug profits in the USA come from marijuana exports to the US.
If marijuana were ever legalized there, the Mexican cartels would suffer a hammer
blow. Many would collapse. The war on drugs in the US is their best friend, ensuring
their monopoly and inflating prices. The one thing drug lords all over the globe fear
most, is the danger of countries adopting legalized drug policies like those in the
Netherlands, which not only decrease the harm caused by drug abuse, but also put
the dealers and gangsters out of business. It’s certainly true that the Network has
an uneasy relationship with the cartels. But they have so many shared interests;
neither party would like to see the other collapse.”

“Since fate has provided you with me as your personal spokesman for The Network,
I’ll try to represent their case accurately, even though their ideology stopped thrilling
me early in my lucrative career with them. You must not underestimate how
important your War on Drugs has been. The cartels by this time have made trillions
off the War on Drugs, but The Network has achieved things far more precious than
mere wealth. Our take-over of the world economy might have been impossible
without it.”

“Your face tells me you doubt that proposition, so allow me to marshal evidence in
proof of it. The Network could never have succeeded without a secure base of
operations that possessed the military might to subdue all opponents to its
international ambitions i.e. none other than the USA. In other words our US
powerbase was essential and we need conservative governments there to make
everything work smoothly. Notice however that our power increased exponentially
throughout the Clinton administration and showed every sign of flourishing under
Obama’s, that is until you shit-disturbers came along! Now the world will find out
whether Obama is indeed a wholly owned and operated subsidiary of Goldman Sachs
as we assume. Here’s where the war on drugs fits in. First, you have tens of millions

of Americans smoking cannabis and the drug laws make it open season on them. You
can arrest and imprison any of them that might not vote conservative, and if it’s a
felony beef, they’ll never vote again. By definition a dope smoker is far less likely to
vote Republican, right? Meanwhile, what with the trend of prison privatization,
corporations are making a fortune warehousing citizens we want to keep out of the
voting booths. Criminals are now a valuable commodity like corn, and the US grows
and harvests them better than anybody. The USA has 5% of the world’s citizens,
and 25% of the world’s people behind bars, over half of whom are nonviolent drug
offenders only there because of the war on drugs. Over 7.3 million Americans are
either in prison or on parole or probation. One male out of eighteen is behind bars
or on parole. And of course it’s no accident that 77% of prison inmates are black.
The war on drugs is an interesting term, considering that it means waging war
against your own citizens! What a concept! Only in the USA, and other failed states
like Somalia.”

“The war on drugs steals the thunder from addictions treatment and prevention (to
be avoided because they empower people and make slaves uppity) while driving up
prices that increase supply. Then oversupply deflates prices and addictions become
more affordable and prevalent. Americans who are high on heroin, coke, or weed all
the time are part of the desired solution, not the problem. They are not going to
vote or revolt and they cease to be part of a meaningful democracy. And they are
easily led because they’re uninformed, dumbed down. Marx said religion is the
opium of the masses. Neocons would like opium to be the religion of the masses, in
a sense. Humanitarians hate the human suffering and despair caused by drug
addictions. To Neocons, anything that dis-empowers the peasants is a plus. Just
look at the ghettos or Detroit. These are Neocon dreams-come-true, with the added
benefit of drug profits finding their way into Neocon financial institutions, another tax
on the poor that keeps them down.”

“Have you noticed the gradual militarization of domestic police? It started with
soldierly TAC squads and riot control units, and now it’s spiraling up. Drug busts are
exercises in military maneuvering with automatic weapons, grenades, high tech intel
gadgets, even air support and amour; all certain to come in very handy indeed if the
masses ever get really uppity and unruly. If we didn’t have a drug threat, we’d have
to invent one. Y’know how a squad attacks a drug house storm trooper style? Over
350 innocent homes were mistakenly invaded that way last year because of a wrong
address or whatever. Many of these invasions caused innocent deaths since
everybody was so trigger-happy. See how these drug raids are perfect rehearsals for
future strikes against subversives like union organizers, activists, or populist leaders?

“Also, you must understand that drug money has financed most of the black ops of
the CIA for the last 30 years or so. If a mission is so illegal it must never show up in
any congressional audit, then obviously you can’t use federal money that will leave a
paper trail. The easiest way to obtain untraceable money is to sell drugs, and the
CIA has been selling them by the ton. Cut that off, and their operations would have
to stand up to congressional scrutiny.”

“Ha! Now I can tell you really don’t believe me at all! If you’ll give me a minute on
this laptop, I’ll pull an article off the internet that will make my case while it is also
revealing of MSM, the acronym for media propaganda. O.K. Here’s the article from
Sibel Edmonds’ website, Listen up and go back to

Mr. Gonzalez retired from the DEA as Special Agent in Charge of the El Paso, Texas
Field Division in January 2005 after 32 years in law enforcement. He began his
career in 1972 at the local level in Los Angeles, California and joined the DEA in

“By Sandalio Gonzalez”

“In late fall of 2005, Time Magazine’s DC Office was provided with detailed
information and documents regarding a major story involving the DEA. The story had
not been broken publicly before, and several publishers were competing to get what
they referred to as an ‘Exclusive Scoop’, since they had been briefed generally and
shown sample documents. Time Magazine seemed anxious to see and hear it all, and
we were told they’d run it ‘big time’ if they were given documents, provided with
access to witnesses, and all this ‘exclusively.’ Well, Time Magazine was in fact given
everything they asked for; exclusively.

After Time’s DC office reporter Tim Burger received the initial/sample documents and
statements (with NSWBC acting as coordinator and third party), they sat on the
story for more than a month. Later we were told that the story was transferred to
their Miami Office. After follow ups and pressure by NSWBC on the status of this
‘exclusive story’ with Time, one last meeting was set up with Tim Padgett, Time’s
Miami bureau reporter.

The meeting with the Time reporter in Miami was attended by several other current
and former DEA agents as sources and witnesses. Some of these witnesses had to
travel to attend the meeting and provide the Time reporter with their reports. The
three agents disclosed their account and documented information involving the
never-public-before scandal and the subsequent cover up by the US government.
Sibel Edmonds, Director and Founder of NSWBC, and Professor William Weaver,
Senior Advisor for NSWBC, had also flown to Miami to attend and monitor the

The center of the report dealt with ‘never-before-public’ documents and first hand
witness statements, the Kent Memo, and related subjects and information. This case
and its facts, statements, and documents, given to Time Magazine before and during
that meeting, involved one of the most serious allegations ever brought against DEA

On Dec. 19, 2004, Thomas M. Kent, an attorney in the wiretap unit of the Justice
Department’s Narcotics & Dangerous Drugs Section (NDDS), submitted his memo to
his section chief Jody Avergun, who would soon thereafter leave the DOJ to become
the Executive Assistant to DEA Administrator Karen Tandy, with full knowledge of the
reported corruption and cover up, and did nothing to correct it. The copies of this
memo were forwarded to several high-level officials within DOJ and DEA.

In his memo, Mr. Kent reported several corruption allegations involving the DEA's
office in Bogotá, Columbia. The allegations in the memo were supported by several
credible DEA agents in Florida with impeccable records. These agents – witnesses -
were muzzled and retaliated against after they attempted to expose the corruption.
Based on Mr. Kent’s report, supported by other DEA agents, the DEA's Office of
Professional Responsibility (OPR) and DOJ's Office of the Inspector General (OIG)

covered up the report and the corruption charges and sabotaged investigations by
the Florida DEA office.

Here are the major points covered by Mr. Kent in the memo:

• Several DEA agents in Colombia are in fact on drug traffickers' payrolls.

• Some of these corrupt US officers are directly involved in helping Colombia's

paramilitary death squads launder drug proceeds.

• The implicated agents have been protected by "watchdog" agencies within the
Justice Department.

Here is an excerpt from Mr. Kent’s Memo:

“As discussed in my (prior) memorandum dated December 13, 2004, several
unrelated investigations, including Operation Snowplow, identified corrupt agents
within DEA. As further discussed in my memorandum, OPR's handling of the
investigations into those allegations has come into question and the OIG investigator
who was actively looking into the allegations has been removed from the

And here is another regarding other agents and witnesses who had come forward:
“As promised, I am providing you with further information on the allegations and
evidence that is already in files at OPR and OIG. Agents I know were able to vouch
for my credibility and several individuals close to the prior investigations that
uncovered corruption agreed to speak with me…Having been failed by so many
before and facing tremendous risks to their careers and their safety and the safety of
their families, they were understandably hesitant to reveal the information I
requested, including the names of those directly involved in criminal activity in
Bogotá and the United States. They agreed to reveal the names to me on the
condition that I not further disseminate these for the time being. They are prepared
to provide the Public Integrity Section with those names and everything in the files
at OPR and OIG, and then some, if called upon to do so”.

According to the report, one of the corrupt agents from Bogotá was actually caught
on a wiretap in 2004 while he was discussing criminal activity related to the
paramilitary group called the United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia (AUC). The
group is known to be involved in narco-trafficking and arms dealing at the highest
levels, and has been involved in death squads responsible for murdering thousands
of Colombians. Kent reports that during the wiretap, this DEA agent discusses his
involvement in laundering money for the AUC. However, despite being caught on
tape the agent faced no reprimand. Just the opposite, according to Kent, the agent
was promoted: "That call has been documented by the DEA and that agent is now in
charge of numerous narcotics and money laundering investigations.

The memo also alleged that DOJ officials shut down a money laundering
investigation because they knew it was connected to the DEA corruption case in

"In June 2004, OPR and DEA, the two agencies embarrassed by the prior allegations
(involving the Bogotá agents) and likely to come under tremendous scrutiny for their

own actions in response, demanded that my case agent turn all of the
(investigation) information ... over to OPR," Kent states in the memorandum. "One
week after submitting the (information) to OPR, the money laundering investigation
was shut down."

In addition to the facts included in Kent’s reports, Time Magazine was also provided
with corroborated reports on related cases, including a case of major leaks from the
US Embassy in Bogotá that contained extremely sensitive intelligence.

That meeting gave Time Magazine one last chance, and the benefit of the doubt, to
live up to its word given to us previously; to expose this major case and even more
serious cover up by the Justice Department’s IG. We made it clear that after waiting
for Time Magazine for months they had to give us a response within a day or two as
to whether they were running the story, and if so when. The reporter, Tim Padgett,
did seem genuinely interested, and made it clear that he had to persuade the editors
and magazine management. He appeared to have his reservations as to the
magazine’s willingness and or courage to ‘touch’ a story of this magnitude. We never
heard back from him, or Tim Burger, or anyone else from the magazine. Time
Magazine never delivered the ‘exclusive scoop’ given to them, all packaged with
credible DEA witnesses and envelopes containing official documents. In fact, the
MSM has never thoroughly covered this story. The only coverage of Kent Memo was
given by web-based publisher, Narco News.

Comments in response by Mr. Tim Padgett, reporter, Time Magazine, Miami


I contacted Mr. Padgett twice via e-mail. To my second request he provided me with
the following reply: For the record, I had no reservations about Time Magazine's
"willingness and or courage to 'touch' a story of this magnitude." Time regularly
takes on controversial stories; we simply decided in the end, after examining the
material at hand, not to pursue this one.

This disheartening episode is, unfortunately, very familiar, and the story of DEA
corruption and entanglement with Colombian drug cartels appears to have been
ignored after initial interest for a variety of reasons. First, it is not easily digestible
and therefore runs afoul of editors’ and reporters’ prejudice toward stories that may
be quickly and simply related to the public. Emphasis on simplicity instead of on
what the public should know about, cuts down on research and reporter time, which
are expensive, and feeds into the common belief that the public is largely incapable
of understanding, or uninterested in, complicated stories. Second, running such a
story may anger sources of information from government that reporters have come
to rely upon. As great as any one story may be, a reporter’s career in these areas
often depends on keeping friendly relations with cultivated sources. Ultimately,
sometimes these sources end up dictating what shall and shall not be published.
Finally, a story must make it past editors and staff who have interests that conflict
with the goal of getting important news to the public. Considerations of effects on
advertisers, sources of information, how shareholders and management will view
decisions to publish particular stories, and other matters unrelated to
“newsworthiness” affect a potential story’s fate. We need only look to The New York
Times’ decision to delay reporting the existence of the probably unconstitutional
Terrorist Surveillance Program (TSP) for an example of how forces inside MSM may
outflank the newsworthy nature of a story.

The story concerning the Bush Administration TSP was set to break just before the
presidential election in 2004, but apparent appeals by Bush Administration officials
and President Bush himself to The New York Times delayed publication until
December 2005. And the story only came to light because of a whistleblower and the
fact that the matter appeared destined to emerge in other forums. The refusal of The
New York Times to publish the story in 2004 very possibly is the only reason that
Bush prevailed over John Kerry. Time magazine’s failure to investigate the events
outlined in the Kent Memo and by veteran, decorated DEA agents concerning wide-
ranging government corruption is another abysmal example of how the public is ill-
served by the MSM.

Arnie finished reading with a flourish. “I know precisely how this works because it
was part of my job from time to time. As a senior resident spook near HQ it was
natural for me to often be the Network’s liaison to like minded agencies such as the
CIA, NSA, MI6, ISI, and a dozen others you’ve never heard of in other countries. It
could be a company or the Pentagon or a Network-loyal head of state, for that
matter. If they sensed the threat of an embarrassing leak, obviously I was one of
the go-to guys, because I would be the pipeline to the CEO of that particular media
outfit. I’d get on the horn to the right Network heavyweight who would in turn give
a heads up to the CEO overseeing that media corporation. Almost instantly, some
editor or TV documentary producer would get a call from their boss, and that was
that. The reporters could cooperate, or end their careers on the spot. The editor or
producer had the same choice, or even a vice president of the company. These
situations could come up as often as several times a week when something big was
brewing. While it’s true that the media feed lies to the public every day, usually
misinformation provided by government, the most important aspect of the
propaganda is what isn’t reported.”

“It all fits together in perfect harmony. If the CIA is destabilizing a Central American
government, there can be only one reason: there is a threat to US commercial
interests. I wouldn’t want to be the life insurance company holding Hugo Chavez’s
policy! The Network and the upper reaches of the Pentagon, CIA, NSA an so on,
we’re all on the same team.”

“Some days I would be protecting the CIA or the Pentagon from bad European press,
and the next day, the influence would be going the other way from corporate to
government, something like a request for a Latin union leader to be taken out or an
election subverted. If you were the CEO of American Fruit, you’d have lots of issues
to discuss with me, which I would pass on to my contacts in the US military or
security community. People probably think a CEO can pick up the phone and request
that the Secretary of Defense start a war for him. It might have been true with
Rumsfeld and Cheney, but now I’m the backdoor channel to special Pentagon and
CIA friends who can still help out; lots of high caliber favors are still available.”

Here’s a great story. Paul Bremer is running the CPA out of the green zone in
Bagdad, supposedly the most powerful authority in Iraq, right? He’s working on the
Iraq constitution which of course is a Neoliberal wet dream containing every concept
Milton Friedman ever thought. He’s come to the part that determines how Iraq’s oil
wealth is going to be assigned. About the time he is forging the policy, a guy you
never heard of, dressed in cowboy boots and hat, flies into Bagdad from Houston,
strides into Bremer’s office like he owns it, and instructs Bremer to tear up that draft

and rewrite it his way. Bremer, who answered directly to Bush at the time, meekly
complies. A Houston oil man, unknown to the American public, not holding any
public office, possessing the authority to write Iraq’s constitution to his specifications!
Now ain’t that rich? Needless to say, his authority came from The Network, not the
President of the United States, who says ‘yes sir, no sir, three bags full sir,’ when this
Houston Mafia Don visits the oval office. He probably even put his boots up on
Bush’s desk. In the oil domain, the Carlyle Group is pretty much calling the shots.”

“You can see how important The Network is to this communication and coordination,
because governments are uneasy about doing dirty deals directly with just any
corporate representatives; you’d have to vet them all for perfect loyalty. Both
parties benefit from a broker like me or my superiors to keep the deals at arm’s
length. It was a perfect marriage during the Bush years, and the Clinton years too,
interestingly. Remains to be seen if Obama is going to cooperate. We are seeing
hopeful signals.”

“Crazy!” sighed Giles. “Absolutely insane. Let’s turn in and plan the great video
heist tomorrow.”

All agreed, and went to bed with visions of nasty little Neocon devils dancing in their

The next morning we enjoyed breakfast on the veranda. Arnie had obtained a white
board and felt markers from the hotel. We had notepads.

Arnie stepped up to the whiteboard. “Ever since we talked about this yesterday, I’ve
been looking for the weak link in the chain of custody for the videos. I was still
stumped when I went to sleep, and I think we need to brainstorm the problem. So
first I’ll background you.”

“Here’s the Hotel Steigenberger Belvédère where all the hard core Davos action
happens.” He drew a diagram of entrances and major corridors. “This is the security
HQ, and this over here is the very secret and protected place that records the
conspiracy videos. The video files are saved on external hard drives with massive
memory; only two or three need to be in there and there’s always thousands of gigs
to spare, even with backup duplication. The drives are always bright yellow, cases
no bigger than an old fashioned cigar box. In this almost fortified vault, they’re
guarded like the Hope Diamond by people who don’t know what they are. Of course
the drives are most vulnerable to theft when they’re being transported out of the
hotel and eventually to a vault at den Hague. The whole area around the hotel is
heavily guarded by security forces, mainly tasked with riot control. Since that
perimeter is multilayered and considered impenetrable, the hotel interior is relatively
free of obviously armed goons whose presence would cast a pall on the festivities
anyway. There will just be the usual well dressed guys lurking around, talking into
their shirt collars with Uzi’s under their sport coats.”

“Our standard procedure is to put the drives in an attaché case and march them to
an SUV waiting at this side exit. The SUV joins a car armed to the teeth, and drives
at high speed to Davos airport where the attaché case goes aboard a business jet as
its only payload. It’s flown to den Hague, and another little convoy escorts it to the
vault building and so on. We didn’t want to draw attention to the drives of course, so
the attaché case is never guarded in a targeted way. The decoy is a VIP looking

personage who gets all the attention from security, and a nondescript aid on the
periphery just happens to be carrying this very ordinary, even slightly shabby
attaché case. So you see how very precious those drives are to us; as volatile and
dangerous as a bunch of plutonium! Can anybody see something I couldn’t? Ideas?”

Giles spoke up. “How about using stunners sort of like we did in Seattle; shoot our
way into the vault, and then shoot our way to safety? Gross to be sure, but who can
stop us?”

“Anything goes, sky’s the limit. We’ll come back to these ideas when we’re ready to
be practical,” said Arnie. Anybody else?”

“Some sort of switch scam, so they take the wrong drives to den Hague, and don’t
even know we have the real ones?” ventured Gary.

Giles said, “How about hacking physically into the system, I mean like the actual
wiring connecting cameras to the drives, and making our own copies?”

I had an idea. “Tell us more about the jet waiting for the drives. What security
precautions are taken there beforehand, how do they take delivery, and who guards
the drives during the flight?”

Arnie brightened up. “Yeah, now you’re thinking outside the box. The business jet
has a pilot and a co-pilot. That’s it. It lands at Davos an hour or so before taking
delivery, and during that time it’s just another jet among hundreds there for the
conference. In fact, visiting CEO’s have to jet-pool like crazy because there isn’t
enough parking for even a tenth of their jets. Being who we are, we have a reserved
parking place very handy to the gate, where of course there’s tight security. I can
draw you a diagram that indicates our parking space, and I can tell you almost to the
minute, when our jet is going to be there.”

“The convoy drives up to the plane, the drives are passed to the pilots, both of whom
are packing little Glocks, and away they fly into the wild blue yonder.”

“Say we could get into the parking lot disguised as workers, using fake passes.
Could we take the plane or is it going to be in a defensive posture?” I asked.

Arnie thought about it for a while. “I think you’re onto something. We never worried
about plane security for several reasons. It’s already in a secure area, given all the
airport systems. It’s just a plane among so many, and its special purpose is only
known to a handful of people, most of whom wouldn’t even know which plane. We
thought it should blend in and not call attention to itself with security personnel.”

“On the other hand, the pilots know they’re carrying mysterious precious cargo and
they aren’t going to allow strangers aboard to fix an instrument or whatever ruse,
without checking the whole thing out.”

Giles spoke. “Our primitive stunner could get us on the plane, no sweat. We could
put on their uniforms to do the handoff of the drives. We’d have a plane to escape
in, but nobody to pilot it. Shit!”

We all looked at Arnie. He had a very intense, strange look on his face, like he’d just

seen a ghost. We waited while he heaved a great sigh, followed by a groan and a

“Fuck me! I can’t believe I’m going to say this. I must be out of my mind. That plan
would work, probably like a charm. It covers all the bases. I’m that pilot you need,
god damn it to hell, and I’m going to regret this forever! What kind of a spell have
you fuckers cast over me?”

“You don’t have to tweak, Arnie,” I said soothingly. “Talk is cheap and we’re just
spinning scenarios here. You’ve already made sacrifices above and beyond anything
we deserved from you, and we probably owe you our lives or close to it. So consider
us friends who appreciate your thought of helping. But nobody is going to hold you
to anything. Feel free to explore this idea.”

Arnie had a wild look in his eye. “With me on the team it gets even better. We can
take over the plane before it leaves den Hague, a time when there’s no elevated
security to speak of. I’ll be a marked man in that city, but I have my ways of being
invisible. I know that airport like the back of my hand and just off the top of my head
I can think of five easy ways to get at the jet before take-off. It would be most
direct to break into the plane before the crew gets there, impossible for you maybe,
but effortless for me. Then we’d jump ‘em when they came aboard, truss ‘em up like
Christmas turkeys, and take their uniforms.”

Giles broke in. “Sounds like a strong plan so far. How about testing it with some
questions about how the whole thing teases out in the end? Would it end up in a
safe situation for us all? Or would it almost guarantee assassination or worse? I’m
thinking about how fast The Network found us. Is there such a thing as real escape
from their clutches?”

“Great idea!” I exclaimed. “We were getting ahead of ourselves. Time to slow

Giles gave me a look that could only mean something like “Glad you’re aware we
have a nibble from a big fish and don’t want to scare him off. It’s time to help him
feel safe, before he bolts for the door.”

Arnie spoke. “Good point. Double cross a narco and he’ll kill you last, after torturing
all your relatives and loved ones to death in front of you. Double cross people in the
Network and it’s different. It’s all business. Financial knives thudding into backs daily
and may the craftiest man win. In other words everybody is always ready to make a
deal and anybody who takes something personally is considered a crappy
businessman. Revenge makes sense only if it’s profitable, like intimidation of an
opponent. Don’t forget these guys graduated from Harvard, Yale, Wharton, Oxford,
fraternity men to the grave. Lot’s of them Skull and Bones brothers.”

Gary had been silent for quite a while. “Look at it this way guys. So a hundred top
CEO’s are caught with their pants down on video participating in felony crimes of
conspiracy. Arnie’s testimony is buttressed terrifically because it’s obviously systemic,
not just a few bad apples, and Arnie explains the big picture. Governments are
shamed into launching investigations that generate indictments because the People
are demanding it en mass. Some CEO’s flee the country hours after they see
themselves on YouTube. Others huddle with their lawyers and plan plea bargains

ratting out their colleagues. It’s every man for himself. The administrators of The
Network are in disarray as new revelations surface daily. Previously bought and paid
for politicians and other leaders aren’t returning their calls as if they’re lepers. The
public is up in arms, like a lynch mob world wide, burning mansions and limos if they
show themselves. Corporate offices are targeted. The Network’s secret
infrastructure is decapitated by paralysis. Stock markets crash. Governments fall.
Civil disorder reigns. Nobody knows who to trust.”

“If even a small percent of that came true, revenge would be a luxury the fat cats
couldn’t afford. Too risky. Not enough control over information. The most safe place
for us would be in front of the floodlights and TV cameras daily. If we were Robin
Hood style folk heroes, the “substantial people” would think twice about coming back
at us for fear of the backlash. Talk about a bully pulpit! We could preach our gospel
to millions giving us their rapt attention. We could overrun a political party with a
hostile take-over, or start our own. We could spend the rest of our careers
participating meaningfully in the reform and reconstruction of government and the
corporate sector.”

“Actually we have to do that and I’ll tell you why. If we just posted those videos and
disappeared, anarchy and education would be our only contribution. If we’re really
serious about building, not just tearing down, then we have a moral obligation to live
and work under the difficult conditions of the chaotic transformation we sparked, and
use our fame to teach people they don’t need to burn the cities down in order to
restore democracy. For a period of time we might be just about the only credible
opinion setters on TV.”

Everybody pondered Gary’s passionate speech at length. I spoke.

“Sow the wind, reap the whirlwind. Does that mean, play with the wind, payback is
a tornado up your butt? Seems appropriate. I vote with Gary. We aren’t merry
pranksters doing guerrilla street theatre or practical jokes to entertain ourselves. We
actually felt it was our patriotic duty to save democracy if we could, however
romantic and grandiose that sounds. So many young men gave their lives believing
they were fighting for democracy, and so often they weren’t, and had been duped by
the kind of men we’re trying to take down now. Though it may seem melodramatic,
I’m ready to die for the cause. Too late to turn back now. I say we do the last raid
and then go public.”

Giles wisely kept quiet. His plan to reel in Arnie with assurances of safety was
blindsided by Gary’s and my romantic flights of patriotic fancy and self immolation,
to be followed by sainthood? Life everlasting? Arnie spoke next.

“From a strictly practical point of view, a high public profile is probably the safest.
Even a wounded Network can find us anywhere and kill us with a flick of their bick,
like swatting a bug. That’s not good news. To paraphrase Machiavelli, ‘Never wound
an enemy. He’ll only mend and come back stronger, more hostile, and more
determined. Only move on him when you can kill him.’ Pretty sage advice and I
wish we could follow it. Next best thing is to go public and spread the word about
just exactly who wants us dead. I would publically give the FBI the names and
addresses of the suspects to round up if I’m whacked. Might give them pause. I
could hang in there with you guys for the good of the project….until we’ve got the
videos. Then I can actually disappear, since that’s part of my profession.

Meanwhile, I don’t think anybody is going to want to arrest a virtuous whistle blower
like me. Later I’d be glad to come out of hiding long enough to validate my video
confession. I’m not so sure about you guys. After all, you did kidnap and torture
two heads of state and their advisor or have you forgotten?

“I’ve just been rethinking that,” I said. “I would lay low and read the writing on the
wall before making a final decision about outing myself. First steal the videos, get
them seen by a mass audience, and meanwhile try to take the pulse of public opinion
about us and about the material we’ve released. I’ve been out of touch, and have no
idea what’s been happening to the revelations in the USA lately. We must watch
some cable news tonight if we have it. In any event, The Network is obviously more
dangerous to us than the law right now, and they know who we are, whereas the law
probably doesn’t, unless The Network wants to tell ‘em.” Right up until the time the
Network is completely distracted by assault and damage control, I have much to fear
from them, wouldn’t you say, Arnie?”

“If you knew the truth, you’d be shitting your pants right now, probably hiding under
your bed,” laughed Arnie. “We have eyes and ears everywhere.”

“How in the hell did you do it?” asked Giles. “You guys jumped us within hours of
coming out of hiding.”

Arnie laughed again. “It isn’t like we have an agent on every street corner. But
when you have the most powerful men in high places all cooperating, the data
mining you can do absolutely dwarfs anything the law is allowed to. It’s just
staggering the speed with which we can search communications for key words. Our
CEO’s who command communications companies give us access to every cell and
landline phone call, telegram, fax, email; every electronic communication on the
planet, every bank account, every credit card purchase, every transaction, any
surveillance cameras and their memories (which now days is millions of eyes). Of
course face recognition software is moving even faster than voice recognition,
allowing for data mining in that domain as well. Right now face recognition is still a
memory hog and relatively slow, reserved for special cases. Which is why we are so
high on chips. Lots of the garments you’re wearing have tiny chips, so we can often
nail you, ‘boink’ when you pass through a scanner at a store entrance. Fast and
dirty. I think face recognition will never catch up with chips, and eventually it will be
a technology reserved for rare outliers who never had an implant. Now we’re
focusing on the implants as the most elegant solution. They’re getting smaller and
smaller, easier to implant covertly. Some day, everybody will have one, and not even
know it. That’s our dream. Guess the name of the team working on this…………no
takers? It’s called ‘How did you know?’ How did you know my name and everything
else about me? Because everything about you is fed into a single database linked to
your tiny chip code. Knowledge is power.

Creation and maintenance of a slave class requires resolution of data, creating in fine
detail everything we need to control you. Resolution is our siren call. Resolution is
the universe in a grain of sand. Resolution is knowing everything about you,
instantly, the moment you’re scanned. What purpose does this serve? All of them!
This little device gives the word micromanagement new meaning. Look at how free
you are today, even if you’re a 9 to 5 wage-slave. With all your discretionary time
you might threaten our dominion over you in some manner. Back in the old days you
might have attended meetings that sought to form, god forbid, dare I say the word,

a union! Today you might subscribe to a magazine that gave you dangerous ideas, or
listen to a subversive radio talk show that put ideas in your little head that caused
you unrest. If you make that sort of behavior a habit, we must weed you out, cull the
herd, purify it, throw you out on the trash heap before you infect others. Knowledge
is the key to individual control and the chip is the key to individual knowledge.”

“The people of the Network know the masses could rise up against them and great
efforts are made to maintain this almost perfect economic environment. We call it
“socializing risk and privatizing profit.” Companies too big to fail can place their risky
bets in the Great Casino of finance, knowing they’ll be bailed out by taxpayers if they
stumble. Heads I win, tails you lose. They talk about free market capitalism being
their code of honor, as if they are bravely fighting a Darwinian survival-of-the-fittest
contest where only merit is rewarded. But in truth, they are corporate socialists,
sucking at the taxpayer’s teat like so many piglets, in collusion rather than
competition with anyone. They rarely pay any corporate taxes anymore.”

“Ever read Naomi Klein’s Shock Doctrine? This is another gem, like Perkin’s hit man
book. It’s all spelled out and it’s all true. Understand that book and you’ll know
what’s really going on. Here, let me find her website and read it to you. Listen up!
This is precious.”

He read, “At the most chaotic juncture in Iraq’s civil war, a new law is unveiled that
would allow Shell and BP to claim the country’s vast oil reserves…. Immediately
following September 11, the Bush Administration quietly out-sources the running of
the “War on Terror” to Halliburton and Blackwater…. After a tsunami wipes out the
coasts of Southeast Asia, the pristine beaches are auctioned off to tourist resorts....
New Orleans’s residents, scattered from Hurricane Katrina, discover that their public
housing, hospitals and schools will never be reopened…. These events are examples
of “the shock doctrine”: using the public’s disorientation following massive collective
shocks – wars, terrorist attacks, or natural disasters -- to achieve control by
imposing economic shock therapy. Sometimes, when the first two shocks don’t
succeed in wiping out resistance, a third shock is employed: the electrode in the
prison cell or the Taser gun on the streets.”

”Based on breakthrough historical research and four years of on-the-ground

reporting in disaster zones, The Shock Doctrine vividly shows how disaster capitalism
– the rapid-fire corporate reengineering of societies still reeling from shock – did not
begin with September 11, 2001. The book traces its origins back fifty years, to the
University of Chicago under Milton Friedman, which produced many of the leading
neo-conservative and neo-liberal thinkers whose influence is still profound in
Washington today. New, surprising connections are drawn between economic policy,
“shock and awe” warfare and covert CIA-funded experiments in electroshock and
sensory deprivation in the 1950s, research that helped write the torture manuals
used today in Guantanamo Bay.”

”The Shock Doctrine follows the application of these ideas though our contemporary
history, showing in riveting detail how well-known events of the recent past have
been deliberate, active theatres for the shock doctrine, among them: Pinochet’s coup
in Chile in 1973, the Falklands War in 1982, the Tiananmen Square Massacre in

1989, the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, the Asian Financial crisis in 1997 and
Hurricane Mitch in 1998.”

“How do you like that?” hooted Arnie. “I tell you, it’s for real. That’s why global
warming doesn’t scare us one bit. Mass catastrophe, the bigger the better, is just a
golden opportunity to radically “reform” economic systems and acquire assets at
bargain prices. When the economic meltdown happened, my friends were buying
gold bullion by the ton, and stashing pallets of bars in their personal vaults. They
weren’t scared; they were licking their chops, anticipating buying opportunities of a
lifetime. Same thing happened in the mid 1930’s when huge fortunes were made
buying up assets, a dime on the dollar. So the game is rigged. We win when there’s
prosperity and we win when there’s collapse and catastrophe. Meanwhile the
suckers, the peasants, are in a daze, like zombies.”

“But back to your case. Like I was saying before, it’s only recently that digital
memories have become large enough and computers fast enough to do data mining
on this incredible scale. I’m embedded in Siemens primarily because of their
collaboration with Nokia. It’s called the Nokia-Siemens Network. Geeks at Nokia
developed all the tricks for tapping cell phones. Nokia sells this technology to
governments all over the world, not just friends, but also states like Iran, Syria, The
Sudan, anybody. My operation in den Hague specializes in robotic cell phone tapping
using voice recognition software to mine data from millions of cell calls per hour.

We plugged in some temporal search parameters coinciding with your disappearance

around the time of the raid, plus the right key words. Search engines put you on a
short list of a half million possibles. Then the intuitive artificial intelligence engine did
its magic on our short list, at the speed of light. It isn’t bound by key words. It
registers political leanings based on distributions of indicator words. It’s so smart,
that it could flag you as a likely radical, just from the way you talked about the
weather. No kidding. This is not an exaggeration. This method was pioneered by
psychologists norming personality tests like the PAI or the MMPI. Little did they
dream that the power of their empirical statistical norming methods would unlock the
door to robotic identification of radicals or subversives. So we had your profile that
told us you are the kind of person who does your kind of weird shit. And if we would
have been watching in real time instead of retrospectively, we could have conceivably
predicted your kidnapping caper before you even thought of it. I’m seeing disbelief
here. Is there someone here who knows what I’m talking about and can validate

I reluctantly raised my hand. “Yeah. Those statistical methods are powerful. You
invent 500 yes or no statements about one’s self, and administer the test to 10,000
people who are normal-seeming in the domain you wish to measure, say narcissism.
Then you give the same questions to 10,000 diagnosed victims of flaming narcissistic
personality disorder. These are people who sincerely believe they are the best, the
very best, at everything they do, including humility. Then you pick out the test items
that tend to differentiate between the two groups, and you have a narcissism
assessment scale that works, even if the powerful test items, intuitively, don’t seem
to address the dichotomy or the topic at all. They work even if the content doesn’t
seem germane to the issue! Each item has tiny predictive power, but a thousand of
those differentiations based on your choices, reveals anything about you, any
characteristic that has been normed in the statistical database. If you don’t believe

in the power of these tests, take one. It will turn you into a believer unless you have
no personal insight whatsoever. These tests are far more invasive than most people
dream, and unleashing this technology to support tyranny is absolutely scary. What
really terrifies me is that the technology could conceivably be automated…..a robot
that has the statistical power to read your personality and predict your behavior from
your choice of words! ”

“Thank you, Fred! So pretty soon I had all of your lovely phone political diatribes and
emails on my computer, with all the probability indicators mapped out. Looking back
over that documented history, it was easy to see where you were headed before
even you knew it at the time. Once we had some names, it was like shooting fish in a
barrel. Connecting Giles to the helicopter was easy, but we couldn’t find the damn
thing. I think Giles bought a fly rod with a credit card long before the raid, and that
location eventually led us to Denny Creek. I never told you we had a team at Mt.
Washington later the same day you flew out of there. A crazy coincidence. We were
led there by Giles’ video uploads to YouTube, which he probably considered
untraceable. Not. I’d already seen all his convoluted ISP accounts and satellite
internet connections before he deployed the videos. But I was too slow on the draw.
He was only one among many candidates. What gripes me the most is we already
knew he owned the Mt. Washington mine. Duh! We just didn’t connect the dots in
time. It was when he uploaded the videos from a dish in that sector we kicked
ourselves and sent in a team ASAP. Missed you by a hair, and for that error the
confessions go public and rock the world! That mission alone could have made my
fame and assured me a stellar career. What do I get instead? You save my soul, so
to speak, and I spend the rest of my life a hunted man.”

“One thing we can’t do is watch you from a spy satellite and drop a bomb on you,
like the US does. But that doesn’t bother us because if such a job needs doing, we
have plenty of friends at Defense who will do it for us.”

“Fred! Buddy. The stuff I learned from your computer! Are you some kind of closet
obsessed porno masturbator? What’s wrong with real live women, eh? Don’t they
like you or something?”

I was blushing so badly I thought I might pass out. “What are you talking about,

“Remember when the Chinese military hackers got caught taking over the Dali
Lama’s computers, plus strategically important embassy computers in 130
countries?. We were there first! For years. And we’re still way ahead of them.
Y’know when your computer stops what it’s doing and tells you you’re getting an
involuntary operating system update? I met the guy at Microsoft who thought of
that. Brilliant! That ‘update’ whether involuntary or not, is handing all your
passwords and files and internet visit histories, even keystroke histories, over to
Microsoft who forwards them to us and also uses them for their own marketing
purposes. Which is how I was able to view precisely the same porno babes you were
whacking off to, and I must say I’m a bit appalled that you selected teenagers. At
your age! At least it wasn’t kiddie porn. Could have been worse. Hey, don’t take it so
hard! I’m just fucking with you! Just kidding. I mean I’m just showing how much
we can know about everybody. Based on my insider experience, I’d have to say you
are quite an average dude with nothing to be ashamed of. If you think you’re a bad
boy, I could tell you stories! Except that email exchange you had with Lucy. Were you

drunk or what? Is that called email sex? Kinky email sex? Take it easy, man, I’m just
fucking with you! Just be glad I’m leaving out the really sordid stuff, OK? You
should thank me instead of giving me that look. Word to the wise everybody,
everything, I mean everything on your computer is being uploaded any time we feel
like it. In this wireless internet world you are an open book every time you turn it
on, and we’re working on that minor problem as I speak.”

I found this power-tripping aspect of Arnie pretty disagreeable, and sulked for hours
before I got over it. The nerve!

Giles was ecstatic. “Arnie, I am so overwhelmed! You are so generous to be sharing

this with us. I never would have imagined how deep it went. I’m sitting here,
wishing the camera was on, consoling myself that some day you would tell the world
all this. How do you feel? You must be feeling torn in half.”

Trust Giles to be practical and always the leader, diplomatically protecting the project
, while I’m selfishly feeling defensive about my shameful secrets being revealed.
Some things never change. He went on.

“We and people like us have been your foes for so long, throughout your
distinguished career. I understand finally why you have hated us and feared the
power we might mobilize among the masses.”

Arnie seemed to almost physically get down off his high horse and once again speak
to us as equals instead of simpletons.

“Crazy, ain’t it? I don’t know. I can’t believe what I’m saying and doing. It is truly
unreal, like a dream. But with a difference. In The Network I always had a sense of
observing myself at work from a detached distance. Now I’m guessing my mother’s
values created that gap, the gulf between my public self and my private eye-on-
myself. I think I led two lives, one for winning my father’s approval long after he
died, and a more subliminal, invisible to me, life tuned to my mother’s values my dad
found subversive and often contemptible. Don’t forget, back in those days it was
perfectly normal for the wife to suffer contempt from her husband when she
ventured a meek opinion in what was essentially a man’s domain like politics. Times
have changed, even reaching the last bastions of male chauvinism in den Hague.”

“I think I’m saying that this is no psychotic break, revealing a sick me. Rather it’s an
experience of feeling a side of myself that was always there and repressed for
reasons of ambition and fear. In so many ways it is liberating and bringing me joy, a
new delicious sense of self, freed from so many denigrating sentences my father
taught me about me. I was never good enough for him. Never measured up. Never
tried hard enough. He was trying to be a good father I’m sure, but his only way of
trying to motivate me to help myself, was scathing disapproval. My mother, on the
other hand, accepted me unreservedly, even when I was in trouble as a teenager.
I’m feeling sad about having spent so much of my life trying to measure up to a long
dead father’s impossible standards. Every day I spent striving for promotion in The
Network was dedicated to pleasing dad, rotting in his grave these many years. Crazy
to do that! To live each day as if to win praise from the dead, praise they can’t give
you. A better life would be the one my mother tried to instill in me. One of self care,
caring for others. Helping instead of ripping off others. Finding love. Embracing the
fleeting miracle of life! I threw my life away and never knew it.”

Arnie was crying now, but we weren’t trading looks of “he’s some kind of freak.” His
little speech had touched us and we believed in him. We felt only compassion for his
painful life and existential emptiness. Underneath that empathy was another
realization that had been growing for days. Arnie was the all time world’s richest
winning lottery ticket for us. He was an angel sent by god, (though of course we
weren’t monotheists with the exception of Gary). Arnie was certainly our miracle of
a lifetime.

Arnie pulled himself back together and proceeded. “Where were we?

Giles summed up. “I think we agreed that safety-wise, after the CEO raid, Arnie is
going to be OK, and the three of us will have to feel our way as circumstances
develop. In the meantime, The Network is probably hot on our trail and may come
through that door any minute for all we know. Gary, why not power up the stunner
to standby, just in case we get in a firefight. I still have this little .25 automatic,
which could come in handy. Now that I think about it, given the 30 yard radius of the
stunner effects, we might be hard to capture. So next is a game plan for the Davos

Arnie spoke. “Once in den Hague, I think it’s one, two, three, and awaaaay. We’d
have a fully fuelled jet that could take us far. We’d have a choice of numerous
airfields scattered around the world, similar to the one we just used. So suppose
that we’ve got the video drives and we’re airborne, what would be the best

Giles said, “My building in Silicon Valley is our best and only real fortress. We have
additional stunners there like the ones we lost at Denny Creek. “Can you get us

“Under normal circumstances, the answer to your question would be yes,” answered
Arnie. “We come and go where and when we please, no questions asked, and
borders mean nothing to us unless we’re dealing with rogue states who haven’t
capitulated to The Network. But as a marked man in a hijacked plane, my ID’s are no
longer a skeleton key that can open any door. It’s time to go back to some old
fashioned spycraft. I ‘ll call in a big marker I have with a certain Narco named

Soon Arnie was babbling rapid Spanish on the phone while we channel surfed looking
for news. It sounded like there were heavy negotiations going on. Finally Arnie hung
up and turned to us.

“Enrique can always use another jet in his fleet. From time to time he tends to lose
one when it’s delivering his coke. In return for a Network jet, which will be too hot to
be useful to anyone but a smuggler, he’s willing to use his magic to insert us into
Holland for our big score. Don’t know how he’ll do it but I’m confident he can. Then
we’ll fly our hijacked jet with Davos videos to a Mexican drug airstrip, refuel, hook up
with Enrique’s people and they’ll get you into California, providing a vehicle at the
airstrip. I’ll be driving south to my safe haven as you get back to Silicon Valley. How
these guys get past US defense and drug interdiction radars is an art we have never
needed to master, so I don’t know precisely how they do it. There’s always a chance
the DEA will be waiting for you. But Enrique is a class act and rarely loses a plane.

Before we part company, sometime soon we’ll video a grand slam confession from
me for you to take with. I’m going to name names and tell the stories of the dirty
tricks our security apparatus has committed. It’s some heavy stuff including the
assassination of Trujillo for instance. I know the actual guy who planted the bomb on
his plane. Might cause a stir. We’ll prearrange a safe communication channel, in case
we need to reconnect later. See anything interesting on the news yet?”

I answered, “So far every story is related to the confessions and the continuing
aftermath of their release. There are little portions of the troika’s later network TV
confessions and man oh man, do they ever look sick. If we thought we knocked the
stuffing out of ‘em, that was nothing compared to now. It looks like Obama was
steadfast in the crisis. Commentators are calling him a Winston Churchill kind of
giant who spread calm and confidence when everyone else was freaking out.
Apparently it was his finest hour. He’s certainly got something to feel calm about!
With his opposition in Congress discredited and struck speechless, and approval
ratings pushing 90%!”

Giles looked up. “If only Davos could be right now instead of a month from now. The
things they’d be saying at this moment!”

I was thinking. “Maybe not. We’re coming in on the tail end of a tornado. People
are still wandering around the wreckage in a daze. CEO’s too. Davos today might be
incoherent, but in a month it’ll be cold ruthless damage control. This crisis peaked a
while ago and the country needs a month to absorb the meaning of it. If we had
Davos videos to show right now, I’d advise against it, because there’s only so much a
person can take all at once. The whole society feels as if the rug has been pulled out
from under them and they’re in shock. We’ve accomplished so much, the Davos
videos are just fine, coming along a month later to make sure the movement of
reform and correction includes the corporate criminals too. People will hear things
from Davos and Arnie that will show them how The Network was an integral part of
the entire Bush strategy and execution. This is going to give Obama so many arrows
for his quiver, and a huge popular upsurge of support for reform. What a prospect.”

“Question, guys.” said Gary. “We’ve got a plan roughed out OK but that leaves us on
hold for almost a month. This guy Enrique can probably pick us up anywhere, when
it’s time to do den Hague, right? So is this the most secure place we can hide out for
a month? Isn’t it likely the Network spooks are getting closer?”

“Of course Gary is exactly right,” agreed Arnie. “All those techniques I was talking
about take a little time crunching data, but it’s inevitable they’ll get here. Matter of
when, not if. And I don’t want to be here to greet them, ‘cuz they’re not going to be
happy with me at all. Right now our challenge is to create a perfect sort of
disappearance that leaves absolutely no trace, and that’s not easy. Let’s eat and kick
around some ideas.”

Over lunch we talked about how worn out we felt. The idea of a vacation was lovely.
We discussed how we’d like to spend almost a month. The consensus was that
provided it was safe, we’d be happiest on the ocean where we could do water sports
and enjoy the cool salt air. This time of year tourists flock to the beautiful beaches of
Mexico and Central America.

“I think we can do even better than that,” Arnie said. “Ever heard of Panama’s Coiba

Island? It’s almost a half million acres of paradise off the west coast. It was a penal
colony that Noriega turned into his most secure and cruel torture prison. The rest of
the island remained untouched for generations because it had always been off-limits.
Today it includes an undersea park, the largest and most preserved coral reef on the
coast. Many rare species inhabit it, found almost nowhere else. The jungles are as
pristine and beautiful as any on earth. The prison is now a ruin. The only
accommodation is two small cabins rented by the ranger station. Some tourists visit
on day trips from the mainland. We could take our own SCUBA gear…..a good cover
to explain being there. The rangers have air. We’d make runs to the mainland for
groceries now and then, an hour and a half each way. How about if I check and see
if the cabins are free? This place is so remote and off the beaten path, I wouldn’t be
surprised if we could snap up the cabins. Hey, let’s turn on the news before we turn

The news was interesting. Our hotel provided English CNN and once again, our crisis
was just about all they talked about. The country had narrowly escaped coast to
coast anarchy. The cities with the big ghettos were still war zones, fires blazing,
firemen afraid to go in. Police and National Guard troops had “restored order” in
most cities but everywhere there was sporadic looting probably because the men in
blue were spread so thin. Law abiding people were staying barricaded in their homes
worrying about the lawlessness on the streets, if they had the misfortune to live in
the wrong neighborhood, but the trends were positive and it was only a matter of
time before peace would be restored.

Peace was not breaking out for some people in particular. There was a new national
pastime in which you never left home without a few eggs in your pocket, just in case
you encountered targets of opportunity. So many eggs were being thrown, it was
hard to find them in the stores. Limousines were plastered after being on the street
for a few minutes. Republicans no longer made public appearances for the same
reason. Rich people were laying low or masquerading as average Joes. Expensive
restaurants didn’t bother to open and got egged anyway. It was open season on fat
cats and there were so many egging incidents everywhere, nobody was being
charged. To arrest an egger was an invitation for a riot to start. Eggs seemed to
have filled a need, a niche, for people to express their anger. Protest signs weren’t
strong enough, but injurious violence must have been too much for most people. So
the masses chose this middle ground of angry self expression and seemed to derive
immense satisfaction from scoring hits and getting away with it.

Coiba Island sounded like a great idea. We made arrangements, Arnie had his gold
picked up, we bought diving gear with cash, and then we moved everything into a
beater of a car we had bought with cash. Wonderfully for us, the Panamanian border
crossing had no scanners or computers and our passport identities were so fresh
they didn’t yet have any footprint anywhere. Our passports got a stamp, and the rest
of the world didn’t know. We spent about three and a half weeks unwinding on the
island, reading great books, taking nature walks, eating great home cooked meals
from the sea and the fruit trees, and most of all diving the most spectacular reefs
possible, for hours every day and never getting enough of it. The reef diving is a
whole other book length story of otherworldly beauty and drama. It was truly idyllic
and the closest thing to paradise on earth. The animals were even unafraid of
humans so we had monkeys, iguanas and critters I can’t name as friendly house
pets. And no bugs! Perfect temperatures. Sunsets to die for, every night. We
seemed to get along famously, and Arnie was an ex-officio member of the Three

Musketeers by the end. He said that he had never been so contented in his life. He
spent many days preparing his video material and we filmed an epic exposé of The
Network with enough hard evidence in it to hang a few dozen evil doers, some of
them near the top. We said we’d miss him, and Arnie assured us there would be
ways to stay in touch; that fate might not be done with the four of us yet.

We regretfully packed and talked about our final raid. Giles raised the subject which
had been left to lay fallow by mutual consent, throughout all those perfect days
marching by.

“So let’s get back to the den Hague operation, Arnie. Tell us about how we’re going
to be inserted.”

“We place ourselves in Enrique’s hands with confidence. His henchmen meet us at
an obscure airfield in Panama. We are flown into Holland and set loose with a car to
get us to den Hague. I know you’re going to ask me how a Mexican drug runner can
fly drugs, or us, into Holland undetected. It’s almost totally developed flat farm land.
I’m guessing he’s in cahoots with a big time farmer who has found that business jets
full of coke are a better harvest than corn, but I don’t know the details.”

“So we get to den Hague International Airport and penetrate their security to access
the Network’s jet, the night before their mission. This part for me is elementary. I
know that airport so well and have been so frustrated over the years about how it
leaks, not like a sieve, but like a colander. So many of my ops originated there, and
I always had to create my own security, knowing better than to trust theirs. Hell, we
have several gaping holes to choose between!”

“Now comes the good part. I know the jet. We break into it. A small thing for me,
but an unthinkable concept to most others. We plunk ourselves down in closets,
secure in the knowledge that nobody will inspect them. Come morning the pilots
arrive and fly to Davos, pick up the attaché case full of drives, and start to fly back.
Another routine pick-up. In mid air, I come out and signal for you to do likewise. We
walk forward to the flight deck through an empty passenger area, and point your
little .25 caliber pistol at them. I take the stick while you guys duct tape them.
Maybe we take a bottle of chloroform and a rag, in case they aren’t impressed by the
little gun. I fly us to our Mexican rendezvous.”

“If security has been heightened on account of my worrisome absence and your
video confessions, we play it by ear, improvising like good jazzmen. But the key is,
nobody is going to think about us lurking in the closets. That’s why I put this new
element in. They can fuss all they want about their chain of custody concerns and
invent new passwords and security for the handoff of the video drives, but we’re
coming at them out of left field. You can’t guard against what you don’t know, and
nobody knows how to break into a Citation. They think of it as a secure given. To me
it’s like breaking into a car.”

“How did you figure that out?” asked Gary.

“By chance, actually. Y’know how you lock your keys in the car and have to break in
to get home? I did that to myself many years ago, on an airstrip in the frozen North
of Siberia. At least -40C and me in a sport coat. It was break in and take off, or
freeze to death, or go back to a town where half of the people there wanted to kill

me on sight. I tell you, I was motivated. All I could find was a screw driver, and I
had a little flashlight. Necessity is the mother of invention!”

So all these years later, my Siberian misadventure and lesson pays off big time. I
think this is the key to getting in and out unscathed.”

We thought so too, and expressed our confidence in the plan.

It worked out just the way he described it, without a hitch. The video boxes were in
our possession and the four of us were saying our goodbyes on the edge of a
Mexican airstrip deep in the narco controlled mountains. Arnie was in his car, talking
through the open window before driving down to his new life somewhere in South

“It’s so crazy how meeting you brought me here!”

Giles spoke for all three of us. “We love you Arnie! You give us hope that people can
change and want to live together in mutual respect instead of fear and predation!
You da man!”

Arnie responded, “Safe journey guys. The world is becoming a whole lot different on
account of our chance meeting, and I’m not sorry. I thank you for leading me back
to what my mother taught me. A retired psychopathic assassin could do worse!”

We waved until he drove over a hill and turned to our new friends, Enrique’s boys,
with some trepidation. Now that Arnie was gone, we felt naked. But despite their
lurid tattoos and ruthless looks, they were quite polite and helpful as they flew us
into California without incident. As the jet neared California I could feel the
increasing closeness of Karen as if she were a heat source, a small sun we were
approaching. Later we were driving to Silicon Valley with no more fears of being
busted by the DEA.

Checking back into Giles’ company wasn’t as awkward as we had imagined. After all,
he was the boss, and if he wanted to go fly fishing for months, that was his

Karen was there, and we quickly found a private office after the welcoming
formalities. I locked the door, pulled the shades and we embraced passionately.
She cried, telling me how frightened she became when the news made her guess I
was in danger. Hugging her sent me into a state of ecstasy. She was much more
beautiful and sexy than I remembered her, ten times more attractive and perfect
than the fading image I had been carrying in my mind for these months. She told
me that I was her hero and I had gone off and done a brilliant brave thing, the very
best possible. That’s all the reward I’ll ever need, hearing her say that.

Everybody had a warm welcome for us as we moved back into our offices and labs,
as if nothing out of the ordinary had happened. But we knew better. Giles called a
meeting as soon as we were settled in, in the same glass board room as where this
had all started.

He led off. “I feel like we’re racing the clock, boys. The Network has figured out by
now that their most precious and damaging secrets have been stolen, and they’ll

know it’s us soon if they don’t know already. All of their resources will be focused on
plugging this damaging leak, any way possible. Gary, you have authority to draft any
geek on the premises for the task of getting these videos viewable. Anonymity
means nothing any more, since The Network knows who we are. So go for it now
and I’ll do the rest with Fred. Our best chance of survival is to ferret out the most
incriminating video clips and share them with the public. You probably have
hundreds of hours of video, considering there were dozens of meetings, and you’ve
got to find the stuff that really communicates the nature of their criminal conspiracy.
Don’t get hung up on the fine points. Search for the segments that reveal the depth
of it, the electrifying clips that communicate the big picture. Do you think you can
trust a few people around here to help us?”

Gary seemed to be assembling a mental list. “Yeah. The technical part is covered.
The hard part is reviewing all that footage, with the right ear. Doesn’t take technical
smarts; takes political smarts and sophistication, and that’s a talent we don’t track
here. I guess I could trust about three guys, based on how well I known them.”

Giles answered, “You’ll have to do the best you can with what you’ve got. Fred and I
are going to set up a defense perimeter and then join you. Stick around for a minute
to help us with that.”

“Expect a war, Fred. They have the capability to drop a bomb on us once they locate
us. This place has no doubt been under surveillance ever since they ID’d us, so I’m
thinking our last stand is just minutes or hours away, now that we’re back. Let’s
think about defense. Ideas?”

My heart was pounding. He was right. We had never been in more danger, and yet it
was so strange that this battlefield was a building full of complacent workers never
dreaming that our arrival had brought the full might of a lethal international machine
against them.

“We gotta strip down to essential volunteers, Giles. It’ just not right to get innocent
employees killed in a fight they never signed up for.”

“Of course you’re right. Fred. “First thing is to call a mass meeting in the employee
cafeteria. Doesn’t matter any more, now that our cover is blown.”

Giles picked up the phone, punched in a code, and his voice boomed on the company
PA system, “Hello everybody. This Giles Swanson. All employees are instructed to
assemble in the cafeteria immediately! This means now!”

About 15 minutes later we were all there. Giles jumped up on a table and gave this
speech to a packed room of over 300 employees:

“If you haven’t figured it out by now, we are the guys who kidnapped Cheney, Rove,
and Bush.”

Pandemonium broke out and the cheers were deafening. Giles kept try to quiet the
crowd down, but his gestures only made them roar louder. Minutes went by before
Giles could be heard, and finally the crowd listened.

“There is a very dangerous situation developing. A foreign power wants information


we have here, and may try to take it by force. This information could protect
America’s democracy from utter collapse. We don’t intend to let them have it, but we
have to defend ourselves without the help of local police who might be compromised.
Go home and stay there until further notice if you have kids or others who depend on
you. There is absolutely no blame for going and I encourage it. If you want to put
your life on the line with us, head up to the top floor and sign in. But keep in mind
this could be like the last stand at the Alamo. Security people who are leaving, don’t
worry about it. We understand. Join us for a few minutes, top floor, to help us
coordinate, and you’re outa here. And hey, everybody! I really appreciate your
forbearance in this. Consider it paid leave.”

The cheers and hollers and applause lasted until Giles shouted over it, “We love you
too! Now go on! Git!”

It petered out and they headed for the exits, most for the front door and a few grim
featured fellows waiting for the elevator, perhaps the elevator to their doom. Karen
stayed in the room. She gave Giles a formidable look, sort of what you’d see from a
mother Grizzly guarding her cubs. “Now that I have Fred back, nobody is going to
come between us. We are a package deal. Take it or leave it!”

Giles knew he was outgunned, and gave her the nod with a big smile.

Top floor, all was pandemonium until Giles took charge. “You new guys. To me you
are as patriotic as any soldier who went to war for his country. You security guys
heading out? No blame. Pair off with guys who don’t have security uniforms, and
teach them your job, your territory. Adapt your duties to the building under siege by
a pack of commandos, and think of how you should respond. Do it now!” Pairs of
volunteers and security men were buzzing. Newcomers were getting side-arms and
lessons on how to fire them. The remaining volunteers surrounded Giles. When the
pair’s buzzing tapered off, Giles said, “You trainer guys can go. Thanks for the help.”

After they’d gone he said, “We invented a gun here. We call it the stunner. It puts
people to sleep for a half hour if they’re within 30 yards at full power. You are
protected from the weapon if you have a bunch of this stuff in your blood.”

He held up a Costco mega-bottle of fish oil capsules with the label torn off.

“Everybody should swallow a half bottle right now, and then a handful every hour
afterwards until it’s over. Do it now. Line up! Take a couple of bottles with you!”

“We have seven stun guns in stock. We need to place them carefully, so their field of
fire isn’t wasted overlapping. First we need to decide the area we want to defend.

Gary grabbed a felt market, stepped to the whiteboard and drew a rough floor plan
of the basement. “This corner is where we have to work. Guns need to protect it
and you could start thinking about positions. We absolutely must have internet
connectivity. Can this be cut off? Any ideas?”

An IP guy spoke up. “You’re forgetting there’re hundreds of computers in this

building with optic cable internet connections every which way. They’d have to have
monster schematics to sort us out from the rest of Silicon Valley, which totals a zillion

fibers by now.”

“Thanks for that!” said Gary, “What better forest of lines to hide in. And for certain
we’ll all leave here with memory sticks in our socks. As a last resort all it takes is
one person to get the information out.”

“OK Gary, off you go with your team,” said Giles. “Good hunting!” Gary and three
others headed for the basement.

The rest of us gathered closer around the board and started talking about possible
ways me might be attacked. We concluded that the toughest scenario was a block
buster bomb that blew the whole place to dust. Nothing we could do about that, but
it seemed unlikely since it would leave so much evidence and collateral damage.
More likely a very fast accurate high tech raid from people who might know enough
about stunner performance to end-run it.

“What would you do?” Giles asked the top security guy, Sam, who apparently had
some experience serving with Special Forces. “How would you work around a
defense of stun weapon like this?”

“That’s a no brainer. I’d stand off at a distance and deploy stunners of my own. If
the Russians can knock out or kill a theatre full of people with a gaseous narcotic, no
doubt these guys have it too. We have gas masks here for hazmat emergencies,
and I think there are enough to go around. Everyone should have one and become
familiar with their use. We can also configure the building’s air system to take in
zero outside air for the time being. If there’s a gas attack we can reconfigure it to
scavenge toxic air from the building. They might not expect that. These kinds of
tasks need handheld radio coordination so we need to assign our radio units where
they’ll do the most good. We need lookout positions on the roof with spotlights
running off the generator, one at each entrance, and lookouts who can see all the
building’s sides. Since the gunners don’t need to see their targets in order to score
hits, they should be most heavily fortified, leaving radio fire control to their spotters.
Let’s get some people building them impregnable positions surrounding the
basement. This is so crazy. Until now, you always knew where you were taking fire
from, and you had a chance to throw a grenade in the gun slit. But in this firefight,
the bad guys are going to be blundering around half blind unless they have X-ray
vision like superman! This could give us a big edge against a superior force.”

A team gathered gasmasks from various stations around the building and everyone
got a quick course in using them.

A fellow raised his hand and asked, “How about if they try to burn us down?

Sam answered, “I’m glad you raised that. It would be my plan B and here’s why. I
wouldn’t want the police and press and TV cameras down here if I could help it.
Gunfire will bring attention as would a building on fire. So I’d try the more silent gas
RPG through windows, first. Fire would be second because it could be staged as a
common event. I might dress my team as fire first responders, that sort of thing.
Hope they blend in if things get out of hand. Here’s a tough plan B they might have.
If they hammered the building with incendiary RPG’s the whole place might go up in
smoke so fast, we’d be crisped before the alarm sounded. The bad guys could be
long gone when the Fire Department arrived. Unless we were prepared with a

fireproofed vault as a safe haven to buy us time.”

Giles reacted to that. “The only fireproofed storage we have is a fairly compact walk-
in vault for precious records and what have you. It would fit ten people max and run
out of air pretty fast. It’s supposed to prevent paper from burning for hours of fire,
but that doesn’t mean people would survive.”

“Too risky,” said Sam. “So we need to have all fire doors closed, all sprinkler systems
on both automatic and manual control, fire stations manned, armed with
extinguishers. Don’t forget, these guys have to get it over with fast. If we slow
them down we win by default, because they dare not be detained by local

As the meeting began to wind down with people breaking into groups, I gave Giles a
double eyebrow raise with a nod towards a corner. We spoke there, away from the

“Just a couple of thoughts, Giles. Didn’t want to waste everybody’s time, but I
wanted to fly a couple of ideas by you.”

Giles seemed distracted and distant. It occurred to me that he was commander-in-

chief of his brigade now, and my priority on his time had diminished. So I blurted
out my speech, condensing it all the way.

“This passive defense posture is all well and good, but it sacrifices some of the stun
gun’s best virtues. They maneuver and we stay put. Eventually they figure out how
to breach our stun-wall, unless we’re rescued by the US Cavalry first, who then
arrests us for kidnapping.”

“Presumably they come as a rapid in-and-out force since they probably don’t want
publicity. They can’t rely on using local law enforcement because the videos we stole
might be leaked or retained as evidence. So it’ll be some private army, like
Blackwater or Brown and Root people. They’ll fly into the local airport and pile into a
couple of waiting vans like a Tac squad. Where would they deploy in such a way to
avoid local law enforcement attention and TV cameras if there’s fireworks? This
would be key to their exit strategy too.”

I had caught Gile’s attention and he was into it. “Of course you’re right. They’ll
research the lay of the land. Magnificent thinking, Fred! If they do their homework,
they’ll conclude that only one place will suit their needs best. You know the little
parking lot adjoining the employee lunch area; the Japanese garden with the
footbridge over the goldfish pond?”

“Been there many times. Nearby but private because of the foliage, and a couple of
ways to drive out. It’s a natural. So I’m thinking you don’t need seven stunners.
Five would be fine for homebase defense. Sam and I could lay in ambush at the
Japanese garden and knock them all down before they disperse. And if it turns out
we were completely wrong, we can harass the shit out of them from their rear no
matter where they deploy, if we have night vision goggles like they’re sure to have.”

Giles nodded jubilantly. “We take the fight to those fuckers and it won’t fit their
training in so many ways. They might even get confused about how to cope! Hey

Sam! Get over here!”

A quick meeting ensued. Sam sent a fellow out to pick up night vision gear from a
friend, and we sat back to talk about our little plan.

“We need a bunch of strong snap-ties, y’know, the nylon electric cable ties the police
use now days, and we each ought to have a couple rolls of duct tape,” said Sam.

I showed him how to operate a stunner and he was intrigued. “If we could get the
drop on these guys we could capture them all! But then what would we do with

I thought about it. “Since us three are wanted kidnappers, we sure don’t want to
hurt anybody too bad in the commission of our so called crimes, even if the bad guys
aren’t lawmen. I mean, who’s the real criminal in this situation? Of course that’s the
beauty of a stunner. Humanely incapacitating.”

As the day wore on, we had to fight the temptation to kibitz Gary’s frantic efforts to
extract meaningful material from hours of videos. His team needed to focus without
distractions so we left them alone. The building settled down into a fort-like routine
of sentry reliefs, rotating meals in the cafeteria after a careful inventory and
rationing of food supplies, improvised sleeping areas under development, stockpiling
water in case they cut it; we were hunkering down for a long siege. I flashed back to
memories of the Alamo movies. The defenders are outnumbered, and they’re hoping
to stall the inevitable in hopes that they’ll be relieved by a rescue force before being
overrun. In our case the videos represented our way out, or anyway our last hurrah.
They would be a blow against the enemy we had to deliver before losing our freedom
and submitting to the US justice system or the Network commandos.

Giles broached the subject over dinner. “Supposing we post some deadly videos on
YouTube. Then what? March down to the local police station and surrender?”

“Good point, Giles. To what extent is the justice system under the influence of The
Network? Do we want to come in out of the cold, only to be secretly renditioned
back to den Hague? When we were there last time, we started talking about how the
public might be our best ally. Anything done to us in secret is not going to be nice.
Any idea how we might move from this mission to an ending where we are so visible
to the public and they are so aware of us, the bad guys have to avoid the glare of
publicity and leave us to the lawful folks?”

Giles brightened. “This siege is starting out covert on both sides, but maybe it can
end in scenes like we set up in Seattle; ten thousand eggs in flight, that sort of

“Now you’re talking!” I exclaimed. “If we can hold out long enough to get the videos
aired, the next logical thing would be to invite the public down here to, what? Hear a
resounding speech from a balcony? What could a giant mob do to further the process
we’re trying to induce?”

Giles was smiling. “The national TV cameras would be there. Remember some of
those Obama mass rallies? The whole country participated vicariously via TV. This
time Obama would be watching from the sidelines, and the message to him and

Congress could be loud and clear: take the country back from corporate rape and
rule. Give it back to the people. Simple as that, actually. Democracy would expand
to fill the vacuum. Isn’t this exactly back where we started at UCLA? Educate the
voters? Reform the corporate corruption of government? This is déjà vu all over

“Well, as Yogi used to say, ‘when you come to a fork in the road, take it!’” I laughed.
“This is all doable, if Gary finds some video clips that drive the lesson home. It has to
be so glaringly obvious that the people will rise up, not just in brief protest, but in a
sustained mass movement Obama would have to accommodate. The parade has to
look so big to him that he’ll have to run to the front of it to stay a leader. Let’s go
down and see how Gary and his crew are doing.”

Minutes later we were in the basement looking over Gary’s shoulder at the video
screen while he filled us in.

“From the superficial review we’ve made trying to catalogue the different meetings
and pick out the hot ones, this is not like the Davos conspiracies of the past Arnie
described. These are more like emergency councils of war. There seems to be a
main meeting of top generals, principal leaders in each industry sector. They chair
the other meetings of their colonels planning execution of higher policy. Luckily we
stumbled onto it almost right away. You have to see this kick-off speech from the top
Chief of Staff honcho. You’re simply not going to believe this!”

Gary clicked his mouse and on the video screen a man appeared at the head of a
large board room table surrounded by Brahmins sporting the usual navy blue blazers
and white hair. He was calling the meeting to order in English, with an accent hard to

“Good to see you all again gentlemen. A word about the last year before we address
the future. We knew all along it was a bubble. If you were smart you saw the peak
coming and got out with enough cash to buy up anything you want at rock bottom
bargain prices right now. If you were even smarter, you socialized risk and
privatized profit, using taxpayer’s bailout money to raise cash for new acquisitions.
In any event, I hope the year was good to you!”

“As you know, I’m speaking for Lloyd Blankfein and the others on The Network Board
and what I’m about to say expresses our consensus on the current crisis. If you
came here expecting a message of panic or despair you’re going to be disappointed,
because I carry a call to battle and an expectation of victory. Forty years ago we
were under the thumb of our respective governments and had to do their bidding.
They taxed us and regulated us at their whim and we had to sit there and take it,
just as our forefathers, the captains of industry, commerce, and banking in the
1930’s, had to kowtow to Roosevelt and his followers around the world, cringing
under their socialist lash and jackboots. We were lost in the wilderness for many
decades until Newt Gingrich with his New Contract for America ushered in a new
enlightenment. Reagan and Bush 1 led us out of the wilderness and Bush 2 showed
us the promised land! Since 2001 we’ve been able to centralize and consolidate
power as never before. Today we can face a challenge like Obama’s presidency or
this recent uprising of the rabble with confidence and equanimity. Why? Because the
war against the socialists is over and we won. Our control over the world economy is
now more profound than any group of governments. It can be truthfully said that

the USA is no longer the #1 world power. We are that power today, and we have
hegemony everywhere on the planet. Obama and other leaders can try to regulate
us, but their governments don’t have the reach to touch us internationally. The
United Nations has an important sounding name, but no real international consensus,
will, or clout. We are, in fact, the World Government, quietly gathering into our
hands the reins of control. We had the world’s most powerful standing army to
further our interests under Bush 2, and now we don’t. No matter. What needs
doing, doesn’t require an army because most people on earth depend on our
products and services and truly cannot live without us. The Bush 2 era gave us
everything we needed, and so-called reformers like Obama have no choice but to
dance to our tune.”

“But we do face new challenges which must be overcome, before it will be business
as usual again. The global economic meltdown had already put us on the defensive.
None of us enjoyed hearing Dick Cheney, our self appointed spokesperson, brag
about our power. Until he opened his big mouth, those famous confessions would
have only stirred up rage towards the Bush 2 administration. Now, thanks to
Cheney, much of the international indignation is directed towards us. I’m sure you
have all experienced some expression of disapproval, too often in the form of thrown
eggs, and more importantly, public calls for regulation, investigation, and
enforcement. There’s a new anti-corporate consciousness stalking the legislatures,
and our elected allies there can’t help us as easily as they once did. Polls suggest
tremendous popular support for anti-trust legislation, monopoly busting, and
everybody is singing that sad dirge called, “Too big to fail is too big to exist.” Our
centralized powerbases are under governmental assault in all the industrialized
countries as I’m sure you are aware. A pessimist could say we are backed in a
corner, fighting for our dream of a centralized global economy owned and operated
by us. There’s talk of breaking up the big banks or nationalizing them. The
centralized media conglomerates are under attack. Huge corporations have
collapsed. Even our coordination centers in den Hague are being scrutinized by local
law enforcement, as if they had jurisdiction.”

“We are at a turning point and we have a choice to make. We can be passive and
allow mob rule to chip away at our prerogatives and options, or we can actively
assert ourselves and take what is ours, what has always been ours. The board
believes these mobs and new reform movements need some shock therapy.
Something to sober them up, get their attention, help them understand that they are
lost without us, that is our conservative politicians, and leaders like Obama can only
bring them disaster. By the time the therapy is over, they’ll be collectively grateful
that we came to their rescue as only we can. We have it within our grasp to render
Obama a little footnote in history, a populist fancy that flared briefly, and then was
blown out by practical necessity; a forced popular choice between us, and
catastrophe. But before they’re going to feel that way, we are going to have to
literally scare the crap out of them! Punish them for their delusion that charismatic
leaders can somehow save them from the world we have planned for them. We have
to hammer them until they’re crying mama!”

He was interrupted by cheers and laughter.

“As you know, times of disaster create special opportunities for progress. Take our
uncooperative colleague Hugo Chavez who continues to nationalize our oil fields in
Venezuela. What if a disaster should befall him; a terrorist attack? One that cut off

all oil shipments, overnight creating an unbearable American shortage? What if

Americans had a choice between invading and stabilizing Chavez’s oil fields or
suffering food shortages, hunger, and terminal economic collapse? It would be a
lose/lose for Obama.”

“We want you to go back to your industry groups and think how your sector might
facilitate the desired pain and fear of such a scenario or others like it. We’ve also
considered terrorist attacks on US refinery capacity or Saudi shipping terminals; oil
shortages being the justification for goods and services grinding to a halt. Shipping,
trucking, and railroads frozen. Empty shelves in the supermarkets. Power blackouts
lasting for weeks! No gas at the pumps.”

“Leave it to us, to create the primary crisis. In your groups, plan how your systems
will fall apart instantly, but believably, inducing the maximum fear and deprivation in
the shortest time. Once the masses are completely demoralized, we’ll buy their
assets for a dime on the dollar, turn the lights back on, and everybody will be so
relieved, they won’t remember to riot. But we hammer away until Obama and other
heads of state read the lesson clear, that they must maintain civil order and protect
us and our assets from harm if they want to get re-elected. We have to show them
that reform and regulation is political suicide. We used to use the carrot to obtain
the government policy we needed. That time has passed. Now we resort to the
stick! The gloves are off. Got it?

“I wish to leave you with a vision of the future, one that I believe will emerge from
the present challenges we face. We must thank Milton Friedman for the rewards it
will bring. Soon the world will be entirely unfettered by barriers to the movement of
capital, workers, and trade of all kinds. Taxes will be miniscule, sufficient only for
maintaining basic infrastructure. Borders will be quaint historical landmarks,
unguarded. Nationalism and sovereignty will be vague memories. The earth will
consist of two peoples, living symbiotically, in harmony. The workers will be content
because they will see no alternative. And they will consume as never before. If the
portion of the world’s resources we allocate to them is insufficient to meet their
needs, periodic die-offs will prune their numbers down to stable levels. The chaotic
mob rule called democracy will disappear from the earth to be replaced by rule by
us, Plato’s Philosopher Kings. We will continue to refine and perfect our world
economic system until it runs like a Swiss watch, never missing a beat.”

“Never before did we have the unity and power to do what comes next. Now, for the
first time, we assert ourselves and take the power we have earned, power we
already built but never used until now. Power over the entire species which depends
on us for life itself. So do not be afraid and timid. Feel your power! Together we
rule! OK then! Off to your groups and may we all prosper!”

There was wild applause as they rose and headed for the doors. The screen went

We looked at each other, awestruck. Giles said, “I made out about a half dozen
famous CEO’s at the table, but I didn’t ID the speaker.”

I said, “This is so rich! That was none other than Baron David René James de
Rothschild, chairman of Rothschild and Sons Bank, a world financial power since the
late 1800’s and more recently a pioneer in the economic rape and pillage of the

developing world. They are the people who virtually invented the privatization scam.
Here’s how it works. First an IMF team of so called advisors convince, say a South
American government, to borrow billions based on their rosy development scenarios
that can never succeed. The World Bank happily loans the cash and before long the
country is in danger of default. Now the IMF moves in with the remedies, or else
they foreclose, one of which is privatization. In that country there used to be a
commons, shared by the people, stuff like drinking water, the roads, hospitals, the
electric grid, sewers, air to breathe, railroads, buses, oil and gas in the ground,
mineral wealth, the list goes on and on.

“So the IMF demands that all that stuff be privatized, sold, or the country will be
economically cut off from the rest of the world. They call it economic reform but it’s
really Milton Friedman’s shock therapy. All these national treasures are sold, but of
course never to the highest bidder. The highest briber has the winning bid, given the
corruption in these governments. It’s called “Crony Capitalism”. Happens the same
way in the industrialized world anytime the commons is sold off.”

Giles cut in. “Perfect example of graft in BC recently when they privatized the
provincially owned railway in a sweetheart deal, got caught with their hand in the
cookie jar, and now they’ve sold all the rivers! To their cronies. The fucking rivers! Oh
yeah, I almost forgot the Jordan River Wilderness they gave away too. That is a
priceless parcel the size of greater Los Angeles, bordering the Straits of Juan de
Fuca. And the public just watched in a daze. Sheep to the slaughter. This land
belongs to you and me?”

I went on. “Rothschild and Sons brokered these huge 3rd world selloffs, taking
enormous fees. Now you have starving peasants who can no longer afford to ride
the bus, paying thirty times more for a gallon of drinking water than a New Yorker!
And all their infrastructure is falling apart because the new owners have no long term
interest in maintaining it. They’d be happy to liquidate the power grid and sell off
the parts, if it meant a profit. And of course since these are all monopolies, the price
gouging is completely unlimited. Out of control. When the peasants riot and are
mowed down by the army, the IMF people exchange high fives. Police state
crackdowns always mean new investing opportunities”

“So what better head honcho for The Network, than a fucking Rothschild, who ought
to be tried for crimes against humanity. Just perfect!”

Gary laughed, “Is this video incredible, or what? The speech is definitely not the
kind of stuff they intended for public consumption!”

Giles gave Gary a hearty slap on the back. “Good work! Congratulations to you and
your team! Just terrific! I recommend you look next for the subcommittees who are
going to be talking about power grids, food supply, banking of course, and anything
to do with oil.”

Gary smiled. “How about if we get this video onto YouTube ASAP, in case we’re shut

I interjected, “Big decision here, guys. Is this the time to invite half of California to
our rally? Our coming out party?”

“What are you talking about?” asked Gary.

“Fred and I were talking about holding a public rally here as a way to tell our story
and maybe prevent our assassinations in the bargain. Too many witnesses kind of
thing,” answered Giles.

“How about if we invite people down here to camp out, y’know, stick around. We
could use the support which would gradually grow as the videos became known,” I

Giles lit up. “Perfect. Put some text at the end of the video with that kind of
invitation, and the expectation of more videos to come. Sound OK?”

Gary and I nodded. I spoke. “Won’t be long before dark, and our defence can only
work so long. The videos will bring crowds, and cops too, looking for us. This is the
next chapter we were going to have to face sooner or later, since our identities are
known. It’s not ideal, but safer than us versus The Network. We just need time to
mine those video files and make the high points public. Hey Gary, how about posting
the raw video files in their entirety, on some of those commercial storage websites?
We can invite people to download them and do their own investigations and parsing,
really spreading the stuff around to safeguard it.”

“Easy,” said Gary. “I can do that in minutes. And we’ll invite people to those archives
along with our first video release tonight.”

Giles looked very pleased. “We’ll let you get back to your work, Gary. Time to deploy
our evening defenses. Good hunting!”

The Siege

Sam was waiting for me when I got back upstairs. He had found pairs of black
coveralls, black stocking caps, black gloves, and some goop that would serve as
black face paint. He showed me how to operate the night vision goggles and I
practiced navigating with them in a dark room. I showed him the finer points of stun
gun operation.

Sam gave me a quick briefing. “If these guys come, you can be sure they’re good,
and able to deal with the unexpected. You drop one of them and all the others will
know pretty fast because they have frequent check-ins with their central coordinator,
either voice or clicks if they have to be silent. No point in trying to fake the check-
in’s cuz they think of that and use code. Of course dispersion is safer for them, and
once out of their transport, they’ll head in all directions fast. Everything they do has
multiple levels of redundancy, so if you stun a whole van load, there’s probably
another one unloading on the other side of the building or something. They don’t
abort to check on a downed or missing team mate; they complete the mission and
leave the mop up to other personnel held in reserve, so there could be more than
one wave you encounter.”

“We have some searchlight positions and spotters on the roof we can call in if we’re
seeking targets, just in case they cut the grounds lights.”

“We have to play to our strong suits. If we try to maneuver their firefight way, our

weapons lose their superiority. If at all possible we need to stay hidden, not move,
and knock down anybody who comes within range.”

“We suited up and filled our overall pockets with snap ties and rolls of duct tape.
Lookouts had seen no activity on the grounds but we assumed they were under
covert observation, so we planned a sneaky insertion. After dark, a fellow pulled a
car up to the entrance and we quickly stole into it and laid on the floor. Then he
started driving around the grounds with the lights off, stopping frequently as if he
were inspecting the area with his flashlight. In the middle of his rounds he briefly
stopped next to the arched bridge over the Japanese goldfish pond and we low
crawled the few feet to cover under the bridge as he drove away. It was slightly
awkward crawling with the stun gun packs on our backs and we took them off to get
comfortable for a wait. Sam’s Special Forces experience apparently made him very
quiet and still. We sat there, every now and then turning on the goggles and
peeking out to scan the area which was flat enough to afford a fairly wide view.
About a hundred yards away was the main entrance to the building with not a single
light showing. Behind us were two feeder roads from the public road. It seemed
logical that a team would deploy in a parking lot 20 yards away, behind a line of
decorative trees that would hide them from the building. If that would be the case
we could paint that whole area with our stunners, never leaving our hiding place.

Crickets chirped and bats hunted mosquitoes. There was no moonlight, either
because of clouds or its phase. Only a few stars twinkled through gaps in the
overcast. A little distant city glow reflected off the high cloud cover. Sam had
warned me that they would have infrared vision, so it would be important to stay
under the bridge and not move. Two hours went by very slowly and now it was
11PM. I had been OK so far, but the suspense was starting to get to me. I thought
about the bats, and whether I’d end up a predator or prey before the night was over.
I started to sweat and a queasy semi-nausea appeared in my gut. myself a little

“Look, the confessions succeeded fabulously. Now this Rothschild video is going to
make waves too. And there could be lots more. You have made a difference. You
have probably changed the course of history. Not many get to participate in that, as
intimately; as you have. This was a good cause well worth dying for and you knew it
was dangerous when you got in. It would be the shits to fail, and get killed for your
trouble, but you didn’t. You succeeded. If you could have seen all this coming you
would have elected to be right here right now, no place else. If you die, it’s in glory.
Take it as a privilege to risk your life pursuing something this important. Few get the
opportunity. If it goes bad, you can die with a smile. Really! Think about it!
Everybody has to die sometime. Could you ask for a more glorious exit?”

My body showed signs it believed me. I calmed down and felt resigned, resolute,
dangerous to my enemies. I could feel the ancestral warriors in my DNA coming out.
These thieves, who would steal the world from decent people and cause so much
suffering. I wanted to kill ‘em by the score. My eyesight and hearing became
amplified. I was totally focused, no second thoughts or distractions. My mind was
crystal clear, in the moment. I was a panther laying in wait for a deer, patient and

Sam whispered right up against my ear. “Just because they come from one side,
doesn’t mean they won’t come from the other too.”

I turned on my night vision and saw something new over to my left, mostly shadow.
It was the silhouette of a crouched over figure moving purposefully towards the
building, probably within range. I gave him a burst and there was the most faint
sound of his body crumpling to the ground. Sam tapped me, pressed his face to my
ear and whispered. “Tire sounds approaching the trees on our right. This is already
two pronged.”

Now we heard a quiet engine shut off from our targeted parking are. We both
painted that area with long bursts in complete silence while funny little noises came
from there. A bump. A thump. A scraping sound. Then silence.

Sam whispered. “Time to do a precautionary 360.” With our backs to each other we
painted two overlapping semicircles, theoretically 60 yards in diameter since each
gun gave a 30 yard radius of effect. The sound of someone hitting the ground came
from the direction of my first shot.

Sam whispered. “Now we wait and do another 360 when we hope the trap is
recharged with bad guys.”

I was thinking how the geometry of our attack would not look the same to them. It
would take some thought for them to be able to guess there was an epicentre,
especially because they’d be mystified by the nature of the weapon, that is, unless
they had received a full briefing from the boys at den Hague! That would change
everything. They’d be able to read our minds and home in on our perfect

I got a brainstorm and whispered it to Sam. “Pretty soon they’ll have enough data
points to start plotting our position. Let’s hide in their car to give our field of fire a
different centre. If we can whack some people from there, we could come back”

Sam agreed and we moved out with night vision. There was a black super SUV in
the parking lot, one door open, one man down. Inside were 12 snoring commandos.
It took only minutes to line them up on the pavement with mouths taped, wrists and
ankles snap-tied, and belts hog-tying them in backwards arches. We slipped into the
SUV and lowered the windows. The key was in the ignition. We waited 15 minutes
and heard no sound. We did another 360 from inside the SUV and heard some

“Sam!” I whispered. “These guys didn’t come here to spend all night. They want in
and out before the cops come. Some other force has gone on to the objective and
the mop up team will find this scene soon. But we want to cripple the point of the
spear, not the rear echelon.”

“Yeah. Let’s drive this thing in the dark and paint the whole frigging grounds. the
fight has gone past us. I can feel it.”

Sam sat in the backseat with a stunner out each window. Between the night vision
and knowing the grounds pretty well, I figured I could zip around pretty fast,
painting an area around the building.

I whispered to Sam, “I’m going to drive the loop road like hell until you holler you

see the green gun lights turn yellow. Then I’ll try to find cover in the minute or so
before we have to recharge the capacitors on red. Then away we go again, looking
for targets of opportunity. OK?”


“OK. Start shooting!”

I started the SUV and took off, careening down the driveways trying to cover as
much fresh area as possible like a guy with a lawn mower. I saw a few shapes
moving and dropping, trying to get a sense of where there might be more. A couple
of bullet holes appeared in the windshield and I could hear the crack of rounds
hitting sheet metal. I figured they had silencers. After one trip around the loop Sam
yelled “yellow!” and I drove straight to the main entrance of the building, pulling up
flush with the door. We got out of the SUV using all of it as a barrier as the stun
guns charged. Now there was a clatter of hard whacks as rounds hit the other side.
They seemed to be spent before getting to our side; maybe the SUV had armour. I
got on the hand held radio.

“Hey guys. Can you light up the grounds? A couple of searchlights were playing
over the grounds and I was getting a running commentary.

“Back over near the Japanese garden, several guys moving. North side of the
building 50 yards out! lots of guys advancing in skirmish formation like they want in.
This has to be the main force! Maybe 50! I see RPG’s!

We were back in the SUV, both watching the red lights. They turned green and we
went tearing off in the direction of the north side, flying around the corner of the
building with stunners on full blast. This time we could see too much and they could
see us. Dozens of commandos jogging towards the building and a guy down on one
knee to point his RPG at us. I drove straight for him with it floored, trying to guess
when to swerve away from the launch. He went down just as the RPG released,
shooting straight up in the air. The stun must have reached him. Now I was aware
of the staccato whacking of rounds hitting us. I got a crazy kamikaze rage on me. I
became deaf and everything became surreal, happening in ultra slow motion. I was
the bulletproof warrior deftly slaying the enemy. I was Jojimbo tearing up the mob
of slow motion goons. I was swinging a blade that cut a 60 yard wide swath, so the
challenge was to use it effectively without wasting it on redundant turf. The SUV
became the handle in the middle of that blade which I directed through space in
implied though invisible arcs of symmetry, gracefulness, economy, and…dare I add,
impeccability? The commandos seemed like so many gophers running from the
world’s largest lawnmower. In no time at all they were all down.

We ran over to the Japanese garden and knocked down a dozen more before my high
started to wear off. Our guys were trussing up prisoners and dragging them into the
building by that time. We drove all over the grounds with headlights and help from
roof searchlights. It appeared that whatever other support personnel and vehicles
had disappeared. Our people were outside the building tying up sleeping prisoners.

Now I was feeling numb and tired, driving up to a pool of light at the main entrance.
Giles, Gary, and some others came out to say hello to Sam and me. That’s when I
noticed the blood. It seemed to be all over me but I couldn’t feel any pain. Pretty

soon they had me out of the SUV and on a table being treated by a guy with first aid
training. Karen was hovering, looking very worried ands holding my hand. A couple
of people were holding pressure bandages tightly on one forearm and my temple.
They didn’t seem too worried so I didn’t worry either. I must have dozed off because
I woke up on a cot with Sam, Giles, and Gary hovering over me. Sam had the most
to say about my wounds.

“The reason you’re alive, is they were shooting armor piercing rounds. In war we
always use anti-personnel rounds, used to be called dum dums. When they hit you at
3000 feet per second they pancake to the size of an old fifty cent piece or at least a
quarter and the shock wave from it will knock out a chunk of muscle the size of your
fist. The armor piercing rounds don’t expand, they go right on through, leaving a
little hole. I think they used these rounds because they wanted to maim and disable
instead of kill, almost like a humanitarian load, ha ha! Of course the trouble was,
they pierced the hardened SUV and got to you, whereas the softer anti-personnel
round wouldn’t have. So it was a trade off. One clipped your skull where all the
blood came from your scalp blood vessels, and the other put a neat hole in your
forearm there. No biggie. I stopped counting bullet holes in the SUV after I got to
150. I think we both live charmed lives! And let me tell you Fred. If I were ever
going to be in battle again, and I do not intend to, having you by my side would be
my number once first choice and that’s no shit! You were some kind of baaad
hombre out there! They knew! That’s why those superman commando dudes were
running away from you like frigging rabbits!”

I looked up at Giles who had a fond look on his face. “What’s the situation, Giles?”

“Kinda crazy. They had silencers, we had stunners, the only sound was a single RPG
that went straight up and came straight down and went bang in the dirt. So the
police never came, and we have almost 50 very morose super-troopers tied up we
don’t know what to do with. They seem embarrassed! I think their leaders scooted
and the highest rank here is equivalent to an infantry first lieutenant, which means
he knows nothing about the big picture. Meanwhile Gary posted our Rothschild video
on YouTube and is finding many gems in the other files, each of which could end a
career if not a whole corporation. I really have no idea what comes next, except that
the damage is done, the cat is out of the bag, and The Network can’t put the genie
back in the bottle, to mix a few metaphors, but what the hell, I’m feeling, like,
intoxicated! This was the most…the completest thing! You two taking on a little army
and defeating them without really hurting any of them. Just a few bumps. A new
chapter in the history of warfare, featuring you brave guys and our talented little
stunners! Y’know, guys have earned Congressional Medals of Honor for less than you
did last night. No kidding!”

“I really believed I was Jojimbo for a while there, Giles. And it felt good.”

“Maybe there’s a Jojimbo in every guy, trying to come out, and you found yours!
Funny how we talked about that at the beginning, the impeccable Samurai code of
behavior and honor.”

“Yeah. Almost spooky. So what next, Giles?”

“I’m taking it one day at a time now, feeling good that we got the truth into the
public record and nobody can take that away from us. Right now I’m making lists,

like how many hundred portapottys and BBQ rigs and steaks are we going to need to
serve up picnics for a whole bunch of campers we’ve invited over, the kind of
campers who feel like talking about confessions and speeches they saw on YouTube.
I don’t think The Network’s private army is going to get its shit together fast enough
to spoil our party. Why bother. The damage is done. After the campout, I don’t know
and don’t seem to care. I’m feeling pretty contented, if you know what I mean. If
they lock us up, so be it. I’m done running from the law, and my heart is full of

“Roger that, Giles. Last night when I got scared of the fight coming, I got a rush of
feeling whole, feeling complete, feeling my life had meaning and I could face death
with a smile, feeling like a lucky man. You know I have you to thank for all that.”

“Who owes who, buddy? You fucking saved my bacon last night! Those guys were
going to swarm all over us and next thing you know, we’d be back in some den
Hague torture chamber. Am I lying?”

“High stakes game. Winning works for me!”

“The way things are going, Arnie’s going to be able to come out of hiding, testify a
bunch, and walk the streets in safety afterwards,” said Giles.

“Then there’d be four musketeers, or even five, considering the service to the cause
rendered by Sam. His expertise came in handy when we needed it most. How about
working as a political activist/bodyguard/security consultant for a while, Sam?”

“I must confess life was getting too dull there for a while,” said Sam, “but those 150
plus bullet holes reminded me why I chose this life and I think it would be wise to
stick with it. You guys are a little too edgy for my advanced years. But thanks for
the offer, and the excitement, anyway.”

Gary stepped up to my cot. “You aren’t looking too bad for a guy shot full of holes.”

“Hello Gary! It only hurts when I laugh. Who would have thought I’d be a casualty of
the Silicon Valley war, an untold chapter in American history? But seriously, please
tell me what you’ve found in those meeting videos since we parted company.”

“Glad you asked ‘cuz it’s an awesome phenomenon indeed. This was no ordinary
Davos meeting. The Network was in crisis already from the economic meltdown and
doubly so because of us, and the agenda was all about damage control and taking
advantage of the situation. So none of the usual agendas were there; everything
swept away by this tidal wave of threat, and another tidal wave of greed, seeking
opportunity to exploit times of upheaval. These people are accustomed to choosing
their wave, and riding their surfboard on it victoriously, profiting from any
development, be it good or devastating.”

“Rothschild’s marching orders to his chiefs of staff were perfect for us. We could
never have imagined a more revealing moment in the history of The Network. He
basically sent them back to their subcommittees to carefully plan the details of a
grand conspiracy designed to create a sudden collapse of societies all over the world,
in the sense that all their life support systems were to be cut off. Everything from
food, water and electricity, to police, jobs, rule of law, safety; society’s whole

infrastructure pulled out from under them. It was a call for anarchy and survivalist
violence. The cities would become free fire zones, ruled by gangsters. Every man for
himself! Everyone fearing for their lives. Then The Network would dictate terms,
rescue them from their governments, start shipping food and power when the
correct people were back in charge.”

“I think all those CEO’s had long since lost their regal composure. They’d already
been beat up by public opinion after revelations of their salaries, stock options, and
bonuses paid as they drove share prices into the ground and brought ruin on their
titular owners. Some had been reamed new assholes by congressional committees,
and some of their brothers had been indicted or resigned in disgrace. Then the
confessions came along and radicals used Cheney’s threats to supercharge targeting
the most greedy CEO’s on their blogs and websites. Our egg idea was the final
straw, in retrospect a stroke of genius everyone could understand and exercise.
Many of these CEO’s who formerly became billionaires in comfortable anonymity,
became photographed, infamously known personages. They couldn’t get from their
limos to their office buildings without sparking a mini egg pelting riot.”

“The once royal, dignified, and measured CEO’s of previous Davos conferences,
arrived this year ‘all shook up’.” They gladly engaged in planning The Network’s
counterattack, but since they were already stressed to the max, they didn’t exercise
discretion and caution. What we saw on the videos were CEO’s who had been
suffering largely alone, tremendously grateful to be supported by their sympathetic
peers in the secret brotherhood of Davos, and too ready to speak from the heart,
believing they were finally among the few friends they could trust. There was a lot
of emotion expressed by powerful men who never would do that ordinarily. That’s
self revealing in itself. But the best thing is the way they revealed their true
predatory selves to their trusted brothers, as never before.”

“The meetings went on for days, dozens of different industry committees. Sometimes
it was like group therapy! They never stopped spilling their guts! Anywhere you
review a video meeting, you see several things simultaneously. One, you see a guy
saying personal things he will never live down in a million years. Two, you will see
him actively committing felonies such as inciting to riot, sedition, price fixing,
restraint of trade, and a dozen others including treason. The videos alone will launch
a thousand prosecutions of indictable federal and state felonies, if not World Court

“The editing problem wasn’t ferreting out dirt on these fuckers. The problem is too
much dirt to process! That’s why your idea of a public archive online was so brilliant.
It’s going to take an army of investigators months to mine this database months.
We could never do it justice. Rothschild explicitly commanded them to engage in a
criminal conspiracy, and everybody followed those orders with enthusiasm.”

“The consequences of our confessions caper have already been earth shaking and
they’re not over yet. Many dozens of criminal investigations are following up on leads
we provided, the ones concerning 9/11 being the most explosive. But that was
nothing compared to this. This is some kind of a global tsunami. A hundred years
from now, PhD candidates are going to be writing dissertations in political science,
history, and economics, based on their interpretations of these videos. In the short
term, we’re looking at a whole CEO class going to prison, to be replaced by careful
people, keenly aware of new laws limiting their power. If we didn’t kill Network style

globalism the day we stole those videos, I’m the Queen of England.”

“Gary! Fantastic!” I exclaimed. “But isn’t it a bit premature to proclaim such a

victory? Didn’t we not so long ago elect Obama and announce that the good guys
won, and the bad guys were gonna pay? And then we learned that our mass
mobilization in the belief that Obama was a true reformer, was met by a new
president who no doubt had good intentions, but nonetheless found it expedient to
compromise our, and presumably his, beliefs and values in the interests of
practicality and perhaps a quixotic yearning for national unification? So I’m saying
it’s great that we got the goods on the bad guys. But it will still take political
courage and will to do the right thing. Even given all the ammunition we’ve
provided to law enforcement, the question still remains whether this country has the
morality, the balls, the courage, the sense to do the right, lawful, legal, constitutional
thing, not because it’s a winner or a unifier, but because it’s right. The new people in
the Network who replace their jailbird buddies are going to go on being rich and
powerful, and dangerous too.”

Gary smiled. “Yeah. True. But just wait until you see Obama’s next polls! They
wanted to cut him down to size and make him beg them to allow him to stay in
office. It backfired, major! The Republican opposition is virtually in hiding, and
Obama can probably pass any legislation he pleases, with a humongous national
consensus behind him. The Network gave him more political capital than he can
spend. And this is only the first day of the Davos revelations. The best is yet to

I pulled an article out of my pocket I had printed from Sibel Edmond’s website,

“Yeah, maybe, but after I read you this article, maybe you’ll think differently. This is
the woman who translated intercepts for the FBI and became a whistleblower
proving that Bush and Rice had plenty of intelligence about 9/11, months ahead of
time. Listen to this.”

“Two Sides of the Same Coin: Heads-Heads”

“In politics we presume that everyone who knows how to get votes knows how to
administer a city or a state. When we are ill... we do not ask for the handsomest
physician, or the most eloquent one.” -- Plato

“During the campaign, amid their state of elation, many disregarded Presidential
Candidate Senator Barack Obama’s past record and took any criticism of these past
actions as partisan attacks deserving equally partisan counterattacks. Some
continued their reluctant support after candidate Obama became grand finalist and
prayed for the best. And a few still continue their rationalizing and defense, with
illogical excuses such as ‘He’s been in office for only 20 days, give the man a break!’
and ‘He’s had only 50 days in office, give him a chance!’ and currently, ‘be
reasonable - how much can a man do in 120 days?!’ I am going to give this logic, or
lack of, a slight spicing of reason, then, turn it around, and present it as: If ‘the man’
can do this much astounding damage, whether to our civil liberties, or to our notion
of democracy, or to government integrity, in ‘only’ 120 days, may God help us with
the next [(4 X 365) - 120] days.”

“I know there are those who have been tackling President Obama’s changes on
change; they have been challenging his flipping, or rather flopping, on issues central
to getting him elected. While some have been covering the changes
comprehensively, others have been running right and left like headless chickens in
the field - pick one hypocrisy, scream a bit, then move on to the next outrageous
flop, the same, and then to the next, basically, looking and treating this entire
mosaic one piece at a time.
Despite all the promises Mr. Obama made during his campaign, especially on those
issues that were absolutely central to those whose support he garnered, so far the
President of Change has followed in the footsteps of his predecessor. Not only that,
his administration has made it clear that they intend to continue this trend. Some
call it a major betrayal. Can we go so far as to call it a ‘swindling of the voters’?”

On the State Secrets Privilege

“Yes, I am going to begin with the issue of State Secrets Privilege; because I was the
first recipient of this ‘privilege’ during the now gone Administration; because long
before it became ‘a popular’ topic among the ‘progressive experts,’ during the time
when these same experts avoided writing or speaking about it; when many
constitutional attorneys had no idea we even had this "law" - similar to and based on
the British ‘Official Secret Act; when many journalists did not dare to question this
draconian abuse of Executive Power; I was out there, writing, speaking, making the
rounds in Congress, and fighting this ‘privilege’ in the courts. And because in 2004 I
stood up in front of the Federal Court building in DC, turned to less than a handful of
reporters, and said, ‘This, my case, is setting a precedent, and you are letting this
happen by your fear-induced censorship. Now that they have gotten away with this,
now that you have let them get away, we’ll be seeing this ‘privilege’ invoked in case
after case involving government criminal deeds in need of cover up.’ Unfortunately I
was proven right.”

“So far The Obama administration has invoked the state secrets privilege in three
cases in the first 100 days: Al Haramain Islamic Foundation v. Obama, Mohammed v.
Jeppesen Dataplan, and Jewel v. NSA.”

“In defending the NSA illegal wiretapping, the Obama administration maintained that
the State Secrets Privilege, the same draconian executive privilege used and abused
voraciously by the previous administration, required the dismissal of the case in

“Not only has the new administration continued the practice of invoking SSP to shield
government wrongdoing, it has expanded its abuses much further. In the Al
Haramain case, Obama’s Justice Department has threatened to have the FBI or
federal marshals break into a judge's office and remove evidence already turned over
in the case, according to the plaintiffs’ attorney. Even Bush didn't go this far so
brazenly. In a well-written disgust provoking piece Jon Eisenberg, one of the
plaintiffs’ attorneys, poses the question: ‘The president's lawyers continue to block
access to information that could expose warrantless wiretapping. Is this change we
can believe in?’”

“This is the same President, the same well-spoken showman, who went on record in
2007, during the campaign shenanigans, and said the following:

‘When I am president we won’t work in secret to avoid honoring our laws and
Constitution.’---Presidential Candidate, Barack Obama, 2007

“Yes, this is the same President who had frowned upon and criticized the abuses and
misuse of the State Secrets Privilege.”

On NSA Warrantless Wiretapping

“The new Administration has pledged to defend the Telecommunications Industry by

giving them immunity against any lawsuit that may involve their participation in the
illegal NSA wiretapping program. In 2007, Obama’s office released the following
position of then Senator Obama: “Senator Obama unequivocally opposes giving
retroactive immunity to telecommunications companies ... Senator Obama will not be
among those voting to end the filibuster.” But then Senator Obama made his 180
degree flip, and voted to end the filibuster. After that, along with other colleagues in
Congress, he tried to placate the critics of his move by falsely assuring them that the
immunity did not extend to the Bush Administration - the Executive Branch who did
break the law. Another flip was yet to come, awaiting his presidency, when Obama’s
Justice Department defended its predecessor not only by using the State Secrets
Privilege, but taking it even further, by astoundingly granting the Executive Branch
an unlimited immunity for any kind of ‘illegal’ government surveillance.”

“Let me emphasize, the Obama Administration’s action in this regard was not about
‘being trapped’ in situations created and put in place by the previous administration.
These were wilful acts fully reviewed, decided upon, and then implemented by the
new president and his Justice Department.”

Accountability on Torture

“President Obama’s action and inaction on Torture can be summarized very clearly as
follows: First give an absolute pass, under the guise of ‘looking forward not
backward,’ to the ultimate culprits who had ordered it. Next, absolve all the
implementers, practitioners and related agencies, under the excuse of ‘complying
with orders without questioning,’ and then start giving the ‘drafters’ of the memos an
out by transferring the decision for action to the states.”

“After granting the ‘untouchable’ status to all involved in this shameful chapter in our
nation’s dangerous downward slide, he now refuses to release the photos, the
incriminating evidence, and is doing so by using the exact same justification used
repeatedly by his predecessors: ‘Their release would endanger the troops,’ as in ‘the
revelation on NSA would endanger our national security’ and ‘stronger whistleblower
laws would endanger our intelligence agencies’ and so on and so forth.”

“Not only that, he goes even further to shove his secrecy promotion down other
nations’ courts throat. In the case of Binyam Mohamed, an Ethiopian citizen and a
legal resident in Britain who was held and tortured in Guantanamo from 2004 to
2009, and filed lawsuits in the British courts to have the evidence of his torture
released, Mr. Obama’s position has been to threaten the British Government in order
to conceal all facts and related evidence. This case involves the brutal torture and so

very ‘extraordinary’ rendition practices of the previous administration, the same

practices that ‘in words’ were strongly condemned by the President during his

“Today he and his administration unapologetically maintain the same Bush

Administration position on extraordinary rendition, torture, and related secrecy to
cover up. Here is Ben Wizner’s, the attorney who argued the case for the ACLU,
response “We are shocked and deeply disappointed that the Justice Department has
chosen to continue the Bush administration’s practice of dodging judicial scrutiny of
extraordinary rendition and torture. This was an opportunity for the new
administration to act on its condemnation of torture and rendition, but instead it has
chosen to stay the course.” Yes indeed, President Obama has chosen to protect and
support the course involving torture, rendition and the abuse of secrecy to cover
them all up.”

The Revival of Bush Era Military Commission

“After all the talk and pretty speeches given during his presidential campaign on the
‘failure’ of Bush era military tribunals of Guantanamo inmates, Mr. Obama has
decided to revive the same style military commission, albeit with a little cosmetic
tweak here and there to re-brand it as his own. Many former supporters of Mr.
Obama who’ve been vocal and active on Human Rights fronts have expressed their
‘total shock’ by this move and its pretence of being different and improved, ‘As a
constitutional lawyer, Obama must know that he can put lipstick on this pig - but it
will always be a pig,’ said Zachary Katznelson, legal director of Reprieve.”

“Thankfully the ‘on the record’ statements of Candidate Obama in 2008 on this issue,
contradicting his action today, are accessible to all:

‘It's time to better protect the American people and our values by bringing swift and
sure justice to terrorists through our courts and our Uniform Code of Military Justice.’

“Suspect terrorists (emphasis on ‘suspect’) cannot have just trials consistent/in line
with our ‘courts and Uniform Code of Military Justice’ via military commissions. It’s
almost an oxymoron! And if you add to that the other Obama-approved ingredients
such as secrecy, rendition, and evidence obtained under torture, what have we got?
Anything resembling our courts and Uniform Code of Military Justice system?”

On War and Bodies Piling Up

Here is the first paragraph in a New York Times report on May 15, 2009:

“The number of civilians killed by the American air strikes in Farah Province last week
may never be fully known. But villagers, including two girls recovering from burn
wounds, described devastation that officials and human rights workers are calling the
worst episode of civilian casualties in eight years of war in Afghanistan.”

The report also includes the disagreement over the exact number of ‘Civilian
Casualties’ in Afghanistan by our military airstrike:

“Government officials have accepted handwritten lists compiled by the villagers of

147 dead civilians. An independent Afghan human rights group said it had accounts
from interviews of 117 dead. American officials say that even 100 is an exaggeration
but have yet to issue their own count.”

Does it really matter - the difference between 147 and 117 or just 100 when it
comes to children, grandmothers…innocent lives lost in a war with no well-defined
objectives or plans? If for some it indeed does matter, then here is a more specific
and detailed report:

“A copy of the government's list of the names, ages and father's names of each of
the 140 dead was obtained by Reuters earlier this week. It shows that 93 of those
killed were children -- the youngest eight days old -- and only 22 were adult males.”

Maybe releasing the photographs of the nameless unrepresented victims of these

airstrikes should be as important as those of torture. Because, from what I see, they
and their loss of lives have been reduced to some petty number to fight about.”

“When I was around twelve years old, in Iran, during the Iran-Iraq war, my father, a
surgeon in charge of a hospital specializing in burns and reconstructive surgery,
decided to take me to the hospital to teach me an unforgettable lesson on war. I
think one of the factors that prompted him was my new obsession with classic war
movies; you know, ones like ‘the Great Escape.’ Anyhow, he took my hand and we
entered a ‘transition ICU Unit.’ In that room, on a standard size hospital bunk bed,
laid an infant of eight or nine months of age, or what was remaining of her. Over
eighty percent of her body was burned; to a degree that the skin had melted and
absorbed the melting clothing on top -impossible to remove without removing the
skin with it. Instead of a nose two holes were drilled in the middle of her face with
tubes inserted allowing breathing, the upper eyelids were melted and glued to the
lower ones, and…I am not going to go further - I believe you get the picture.”

“This baby was the victim of an air strike, a bombing that killed her entire family and
leveled her modest home to the ground. My father pointed at this heartbreaking
baby and said, “Sibel, this is war. This is the real face of war. This is the result of war.
Do you think anything can justify this? I want to replace the glamorous exciting
phony images of those war movies in your head. I want you to remember this for the
rest of your life and stand against this kind of destruction…”

“And I do. This is why I am offended by those petty numbers when it comes to
civilian deaths. This is the reason I believe some may need pictures of these
atrocities as much as those of torture to replace those ‘Shock & Awe’ footages fed to
them by our MSM.”

“All this death and destruction is carried out while the administration’s Afghan policy
is still murky and confused, and it’s strategy ambiguous. Sure, our so-called ‘New’
Afghan Strategy includes more troops and asks for a much larger budget allocation;
nothing new there. It is another war with no time table. It is the continuation of the
same abstract ‘War on Terror’ without any definition of what would constitute an
‘accomplished mission.’ One minute there is pondering on possible ‘reconciliation’
with the Taliban, and the next minute seeking to topple it. In fact, to confuse the
matter even further, we now hear this distinction between ‘Good Taliban, Bad Taliban,
and the Plain Ugly Taliban.’ As stated by Karzai on Meet the Press on May 10, 2009,

not all Taliban are equal!!”

“I can go on listing cases of Mr. Obama’s change on change. Whether it is his

reversal on protection for whistleblowers, despite his campaign promise to the
contrary, or his expansion of the Un-American title of ‘Czardom,’ where we now have
more czars than ever: Border Czar, Energy Czar, Cyber Security Czar…Car Czar…
maybe even a Bicycle Czar!. Or…But for now I’ll stick with the major promises that
were ‘Central’ to him getting elected, all of which he has flipped on in less than 150
days in office, a track record indeed.

“What I want the readers to do is to read the extremely important cases above, step
back in time to those un-ending campaign trail days, and answer the following

How would Senator McCain have acted on these same issues if he had been elected?
How would Senator Hilary Clinton? Do you believe there would have been any major
differences? Weren’t their records almost identical to Senator Obama’s on these
issues? If you are like me, and answer ‘same,’ ‘same,’ ‘no,’ and ‘yes,’ then, why do
you think we ended up with these exact same candidates, those deemed ‘viable’ and
sold to us as such?”

“With too much at stake, too many unfinished agendas for the course of our nation,
and too many skeletons in the closet in need of hiding for self-preservation, the
‘permanent establishment’ made certain that they took no risk by giving the public,
via their MSM tentacles, a coin that no matter how many times flipped would come
up the same - Heads, Heads.”

“’Politics will eventually be replaced by imagery. The politician will be only too happy
to abdicate in favor of his image, because the image will be much more powerful
than he could ever be.’ --Marshall Mcluhan”

After reading the article to Gary, I had an epiphany. “I’m game to go to work on the
rebuilding of democracy if they’ll have me and I don’t end up in jail. But there’s
been something in the back of my mind ever since we left Mt. Washington. Standing
there looking down on that beautiful valley, I think it’s called Comox Valley, with its
storybook farms and the mountain looming over it, and Georgia Straits behind it and
on the other side, the coastal mountain range; it was just breath taking. I’ve never
seen a more perfect place. When I get a chance, I’m going to rent one of those little
hobby farms in the valley and spend some time watching the sunsets behind Mt.
Washington while I write the story of what we did.” Karen frowned. “I’ve just been
accepted the PhD program of my dreams. How about if we take a lover’s vacation,
just for us, and then you write your book while I get started in school? Then we can
figure out a way to live together, that is if you want to.”

I said from the heart, “I’ve never wanted anything more in my life.”


The hit man checked into the Olympic Hotel because of reading about it in the
manuscript, and went to his room. He stretched out on the bed and called a special

A guarded voice answered, “Who is this?”

“I’m calling about the groceries.”

“Did you get them?”

“Yes, I got everything on the list.”

“Good work. Burn the papers. Throw the hard drive in a lake. The money is on its
way. Anything else?”

“I read the book.”

“Figured you would. That’s OK.”

“One question. Just curious.”

“Go ahead.”

“All this stuff is known. So why suppress it.?”

“I shouldn’t be sharing this, but I know you can keep a secret and it isn’t that big a
deal anyway. Zufeld is becoming a national hero. An icon. His message had to die
with him, or it would have become a manifesto, a sacred document drenched in his
martyr’s blood. It could have been more of a threat than his career as a reformer. If
it were published, The Network’s fucking grandchildren would still be up against it
100 years from now when they were running the show.”


“Pleasure doing business with you as always.”


That night the hit man thought about Arnie a lot. Arnie’s career paralleled his in
some respects and both had arisen to the top of their respective black ops
specialties. Arnie’s father was a saint compared to the hit man’s who beat him black
and blue daily growing up. It was spooky how closely Arnie’s solitude and inability to
enjoy sex, relationships, and beauty resembled his own life. There was something
profoundly unsettling about the way Arnie changed, and it looked as if he had found
himself a better way. The hit man had more money than he knew what to do with,
and didn’t know how to enjoy it. Arnie’s story seemed to suggest that the hit man
could find more happiness and satisfaction in retirement than he had ever thought
possible. And there seemed to be a formula for achieving this. It looked like it
would help to do good works. What a crazy notion. The hit man doing good works?
Preposterous! But maybe they knew something he didn’t. It would mean a lot to
find out what sex is all about. And how about the love of a beautiful woman? What
would that be like? If Arnie could do that, why not the hit man? Do you have to
confess in order to get all this good stuff? That’s a pretty hefty price to pay. This
dialogue went on most of the night. He woke up with a new resolution. Why not
give it a try and see what happened? He didn’t fear revenge from employers
because he always made sure they knew nothing about him. None had ever laid

eyes on him, that he knew of. So why not live on the wild side and try a little
experiment. Cross over to the other side for a while and see how it feels over there.
You can always go back under an assumed identity, because you’re so sneaky. You
can get away with anything.

The next morning, the hit man took the manuscript to an instant print shop. He had
it scanned and sent it as a PDF document to Huffington Post and some other left
wing websites. He printed ten hard copies and carefully addressed each of them to
publishers. When he posted them he had a liberating feeling of burning bridges
behind himself and throwing himself into a new exciting unknown. He went to
SEATAC airport and changed his ticket to a country where he maintained an
absolutely secret safe haven.

As he flew out of Seattle he felt a strange sensation, hard to put a finger on. Then
he realized he was smiling a kind of smile he could not remember ever expressing. It
felt good. Maybe this experiment was going to pay off.

The End