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JUST DESSERTS:
THE KIDNAPPING, WATERBOARDING, AND
CONFESSIONS OF BUSH, ROVE, AND CHENEY

A NEUROSCIENCE FICTION NOVEL

BY CHUCK BATES CHAZZBATES(AT)GMAIL.COM

Education: that which reveals to the wise, and conceals from


the stupid, the vast limits of their knowledge.
–Mark Twain
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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 dirt 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 and visualizing the
aerial photo of it he’d seen. The Oyster River was behind a
band of trees across the lower field of the farm. Across the
river all was woods and wetlands. 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’, $197,000! 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 the CIA to provide them 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
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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 could
find no fault with it and soon gave up. This would be a walk
in the park.

The next afternoon he drove up the driveway dressed in a


plaid brown 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 into the gun
pocket and prepared to draw.

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 forehead.
Four black spots appeared there and he collapsed. The hit
man bent over, pressed the little pistol hard against the
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man’s temple and fired twice more. The death spasms


lasted for a few moments and then became still. Vital signs
were zero. 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 looking at 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 2007 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
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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,
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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 had worked my way through school and finished my


doctorate 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 in a tiny
apartment was living in the lap of luxury.
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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 hadn’t the country
taken 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 they
swallowed whole under Bush. Nobody being called on them
due to a subservient press infiltrated with propagandists.

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 vanishing
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 an
autonomous Director of R&D, maintaining pet research
projects on the side. I gratefully accepted a medical school
neurology assistant professorship in Illinois which included a
stimulating mix of teaching and research.

Giles and I drifted apart, living in such different distant


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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?”

Giles was doing his usual machine-gun manner of speech, so


loud I had to hold the receiver away from my ear and focus
to keep up.

“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
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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 best.”

“Yeah yeah, rub it in, Mr. Tycoon. Just don’t forget the days
you actually associated with the little people, not quite as
substantial, who can’t afford the very best. 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, about midway, 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. How are you doing?”

“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 reconciliation? Doesn’t that
increase the risk of it happening again, especially since half
the American people don’t even believe 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.”
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“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.
It might reveal 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! He’s righteously
doing God’s work, punishing sinners to win a place in heaven
for himself.”

“The way progressives worry about the masses 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 old
testament proportions, featuring a sadistic ruthless vain god
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who is the embodiment of psychopathy. Bush’s scorn for


humanitarian ideals is so pronounced, he’s a lurid caricature
of himself. Maybe decent Americans could see the moral
difference, if their faces were rubbed in Bush’s ethical
depravity; the true facts. You can be sure he doesn’t lose
any sleep over the tens of thousands of children he’s
incinerated in Iraq, for instance.”

“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 shit pretty
soon? And that feeling tells me 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
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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 as 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."
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"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 put the dying 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


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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. Everybody seems to
be contributing to the dumbing down of the electorate!"

"Giles, that story seems hard to believe, but I get the point.
Ain't it a shame we have come so far? Didn't H.L. Mencken
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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 just 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 history."

Giles looked thoughtful. “Lately I’ve been riding the ferries in


Washington State and BC Canada pretty often on business,
Fred. It tells me something important about mass
intelligence mand education. On the Washington ferries you
get a chance to sample a big bunch of Americans killing
time. They either game, watch movies, 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. Big difference!”

“Everybody listens to CBC radio in Canada; the level of


political discourse is a hundred times more intelligent,
nuanced, and sophisticated than Fox News or even NPR.
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. In BC, 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 hall meeting where everybody
participates for days afterwards, debating meaty issues
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raised by the presentations they’ve heard.”

I thought about it and answered, “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, as long as 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, Reagan, or McCain, 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, Fred,” Giles answered. “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 have become 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 stats, just estimates from a
study I saw last year. Something like 30% of respondents
said that their political views were almost entirely based on
information they picked up from late night shows like Leno.
They're basing their votes on jokes they've heard on
Letterman! Jesus! The other large group watched TV news,
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feeding on brief, slanted sound bites. Some are getting their


news from the internet and a tiny minority said they use the
newspaper, which is one reason why newspapers are going
broke everywhere.”

“Here’s a great example, way back, from the Washington


Post. Even though it reveals a shocking Bush scandal,
nobody else in the media picked it up. It died a quiet death
as so many Bush exposé’s did. Let me read it to you. 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
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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
19

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 position.
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
20

created him. It’s hard to rig elections that aren’t even close.
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 and
co-opted 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."

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 historic 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.”
21

“Please excuse my ho-hum attitude, Fred, but this is all


yesterday.com 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 great 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’d better not sit this one out
and helplessly watch events overtake us 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. I can’t believe I just heard myself say that!
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 masse, 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 voters. 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 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
22

moments at friends’ 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.
23

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 jumped out. Most American brains were
slowly sautéed in it over the years, gradually hollowing out
the national IQ, hence the brain necropsy I’m conducting
here. The frog metaphor helps us understand how almost
50% of Americans voted Bush twice 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 TV
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 at all, mainly because it’s threatening to the
agenda of the rich and powerful, some of whom own most of
the media.

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 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
24

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.

"Fred!"

"Giles!"

"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 or visit Jihad websites. So
why the secrecy?"

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

"Hey dude! I'm not a complete moron. I've been guessing


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."
25

"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
26

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 super-collider. 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 bytes,
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
27

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 forward.”

“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 both 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 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
28

which is a sound pressure wave reaching the ear. If you


could hear electromagnetic radiation directly, which you
can't, the lowest frequency 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 took a zillion watt
tectonic plate collision.”

"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,
maybe.”

“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
29

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, flatten cities, 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,
30

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 after about a half hour,
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
31

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,
32

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, Giles! 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 interrogation.”

“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
33

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
34

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
refuse.”

“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 assistant 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
35

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 clerk at 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
36

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 doctorate, but maybe she’ll
come back here when it’s done. She’s like my right arm and
37

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,
38

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 in his early twenties
with a wispy blonde moustache and goatee and longish
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. This soft manner seemed to
give him an almost childlike innocence.

“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 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.”
39

“Amen. Now let me tell you what’s going on in here. Has


Giles told you much?”

“Just some basics, broad brush strokes, I answered.”

“Here’s the background. ULF radiation shares some


characteristics with the higher frequencies in the
electromagnetic 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, whether 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? And how do you conceptualize the
atom with four dimensions instead of three?”

“It surpaseth understanding in my case, Fred. I take it on


40

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. 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 chugging along 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; 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,” I answered. “How does resonance come


into play here?”

“Since large portions of the brain deal with auditory signals


in their characteristically low frequency range, many
important neural networks are sensitized to these
41

frequencies and are easily triggered by them. So any signal


that tweaks them in that frequency envelope easily gets
them firing in waves. The neural pathways tuned to the
audible frequency envelope also have other resonance
properties. As you know, every tunnel or vessel has a
certain harmonic note it is tuned to. You can demonstrate
this in the shower by singing all the notes in the scale until
you hit the one your shower stall likes. This note, because
its wave length is perfect for the length of the room’s
reflection of sound, creates a standing wave, and on that
one note your voice sounds many times louder because it is
resonating with itself. So just maybe, once we have induced
a standing brain 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 by an octave 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. And it still wouldn’t explain why.”

“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.”

“So true, Fred! 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
42

provided by none other than you!”

“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 unknown 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 flies.’ 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.
43

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 movie.”

“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?”
44

“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 coincidence?”

“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, 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
45

from Salon.com, 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
46

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,” said Giles. “So how important is it to you


to finally do something about it after sitting on your hands
and engaging in intellectual masturbation for over 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


47

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.

“Jeeze, 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
48

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, or whoever else was handy, were appearing some
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.
49

“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.”
50

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 witness.”

“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-as-a-bunny-rabbit little
51

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 benzodiazepine.”

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

“Point well taken. But the laws are 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
52

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 said. “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
53

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 yes.”

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
54

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. Comfortable
silences with no urgency to fill the space, came and went
naturally. 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
55

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


56

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
57

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
58

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
59

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?
60

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
61

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
62

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
migraine.”

“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
63

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!”
64

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 figure.

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?
65

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
66

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 belts!”

“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
67

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 off?”

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
68

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 brain.”

“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
69

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. 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.”
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“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.”
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“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 neurologist.’

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
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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.


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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
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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,
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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 with
whom I want to face danger, is a partner eager to embrace
the rapture and join jesus. What if jesus ain’t waiting for
76

you? And please, don’t take me with you to meet your


hoped for 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 withdrawal.

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
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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 value.”

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?”
78

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 bumps 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.
79

“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?,
80

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.”
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“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.
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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,
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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 clear.

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
84

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.”
85

“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 helicopter.

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
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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.
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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 different.”

“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!


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“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
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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
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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
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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 both 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.


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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
93

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
94

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 for 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
95

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.”
96

“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 host.”

“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 ease.”

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
97

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
98

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 occult.”

“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
99

and her ex’s report of her private depravity became public in


court documents. Nobody noticed, but the information is still
probably in a courthouse in Tacoma Washington, a public
document 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 the imaginary stuff made
up by 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.”
100

“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 antidepressants.”

“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
101

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


http://www.3dchem.com/3dmolecule.asp?ID=238 to show
102

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 its 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. If what my buddy thinks, turns out to be true,
we’re looking at a molecule that has a unique ability to
phase shift its H20 gel in response to miniscule quantum
level forces, leading to profound membrane liquidity changes
in neurons.”

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.”
103

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.”
104

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
centers or even retinal tissue. I have to go next, because of
your theory about DHA turnover. These are exactly the
105

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


106

around a fully loaded super tanker.”

“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
107

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 feelings.

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
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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
accordion.

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


109

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
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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
111

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
112

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 them.

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
113

centered. “Hey guys! Don’t hyperventilate! Take it easy!”

“Speak for yourself, Tonto,” 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
114

internet. Over the desk hung four small TV monitors showing


each prisoner’s cell, and the MRI / interrogation space.

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
115

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
116

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 be 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
117

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
118

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 us.”

“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
119

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
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are not incapacitated by severe Post Traumatic Stress


Disorder 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.
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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 revealing any accidental personal
clues or loss of DNA material they could keep. Another policy
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was to always speak in a whisper to avoid later voice


recognition.

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
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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
and showed a potential for intoxication that had to be
consciously resisted.

“OK, George. I’m going to take the tape off your mouth and
ask you some questions.”
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“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 later Bush said, “The period after 9/11, as


intelligence estimates made the need clearer…over a few
months.”

“Sorry, the machine says you lied,” I said. “Time for the
waterboard.”

I backed the sled out of the donut, tilted his head down, and
lowered the cloth onto his face. Then I lowered the hose
and used its pistol grip valve to moisten the cloth. As his
mouth filled up with water and the cloth allowed less air,
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
125

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 a minute as his breathing gradually stabilized
and became deeper. There was a look of absolute terror in
his eyes. Then I did the whole thing all over again, doing a
better job of letting him hover on the edge of asphyxiation
without the relief of passing out. After he stabilized I leaned
over close.

“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?”

“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


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which became more confident as his speech continued.

“Don’t do that to me again. I’ll tell you anything you want to


know. Just please don’t do that. I can’t stand it. I’ll
cooperate. Give me a chance and I’ll show you. The war
wasn’t my idea. Karl and I were in the Texas 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
vindicationed.”

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
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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…….uuuummmm I really didn’t know


how bad it would be. I was out of the loop…..they wanted
me to have deniability. They kept me in the dark. I thought
there was just going to be some kind of small thing, some
kind of little attack…..maybe an assassination……nothing like
this.”

“When did it all start, George?”

“Back in Texas. I was still governor. I forget exactly when.


I know it was after we talked about me being a war
president. Karl told me we’d need an attack on American
soil to get the war off the ground. He said I better not know
too much and I told him………I told him he knows best and
do what you gotta do and leave me out of it. After 9/11 I
was shocked. I had no idea. At first I thought maybe it was
something real and not the phony attack. I called Karl in
and demanded an explanation. I was angry. I said I never
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authorized anything that big!”

“Karl explained about how Pearl Harbor was used by


Roosevelt. What I never knowed before was how Pearl
Harbor was perfect for him and he knew it. He was sticking
it to the Japanese right and left before they decided to
attack. 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 gobs of American blood in order
to be feared and hated enough to get our job done. There is
Roosevelt’s 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 instigationed 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.”

“What could I say then? What could I do? It was done and
you can’t turn back the clock.”

“Tell me everything you know, everything, about how it was


planned and executed.”

“After I chewed Karl out, I wanted to know how this was


going to stay a secret. I wanted him to prove that he hadn’t
put my presidency in danger. So I demanded to know what
they did. Karl called Dick over. Sometimes they gang up on
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me. I think the two of them have been working together to


get me to do a lot of stuff, all kinds of stuff. Sometimes I
have to remind them who the president is, and then a day
later they’re pushing me around again like I’m working for
them.”

“So they ganged up on me and told me to stay out of it. But


I was so angry and scared about us getting caught, this time
I stood up to them and said you have to tell me how safe
the plan was, how safe we are, and you better convince me
that you didn’t fuck up. Mostly I take their advice because
they know what they are doing a lot more oftener than I feel
sometimes, and I think this was the only time they ever saw
me have a full sized Texas sissy fit and yell at them.”

“The contractors was Jihadist Pakistan Government ISI


agents doing the work running Saudi agents in the USA with
Saudi Princes writing the checks. As I’m sure you know, my
family have a dozen high level back-channel lines of contacts
and friendships with Saudi princes loyal to us and such. Karl
could have used any of this totally 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 whom. I do
know that two Saudi princess who were in on the money
part were compromised and had to be killed. There was
some kind of leak. A trail leading back to them and they
could have blown Karl and Dick some way.”

“I played no actively role in it but I’m sure Karl was right at


the center because it was strictly a political dirty trick just
like Iraq. Everybody 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
130

other way on cue, just like Roosevelt did, only the difference
is that I were doing it to save the country and Roosevelt
were doing it to ruin the country. As a war president,
democrats were scared shitless to block anything we could
call unpatriotic…..sometimes we even could throw treason at
them and it would stick! You want all the details, you’ll have
to talk to Karl and 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 no confessions or direct insider
witnesses. The media either ignores them or characterizes
them as conspiracy nutcases though there are carefully
referenced books brimming over with documentary evidence
that the 9/11 commission published many lies and
studiously ignored the most incriminating evidence, such as
the simultaneous collapse of a building untouched by the
attacks, in a classic demolition manner. These books are
rarely read and never mentioned in the media. Clearly the
topic is another career killer for investigative journalists,
maybe the most toxic untouchable topic in modern times.
Did any German reporters publish articles critical of
Auschwitz, Dachau, and the other death camps during the
war? If so, it would have been their last living act. I realized
I was the probably the first outsider to hear this direct
evidence which made it a profound moment in an historic
national disgrace. 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 that video clip will replay in my memory forever.

I attended a 9/11 funeral in New Jersey. He was a distant


relative, a Port Authority guy so they had a pipe band out in
131

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, LBJ’s Tokin
Gulf non-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
132

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? Ten’s of thousands of children
have been incinerated by US bombs in Iraq. On our watch.
Millions of Vietnamese killed on our watch. For what was
that? God Bless America, Land of the Free. Amen.

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 now.”

“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
133

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
134

three way defense. Maybe Cheney and Rove won’t be


trusting each other either, and if so that has got to be huge.
I think Bush gave us a hint of how closely Rove and Cheney
worked together to run the whole show. not just 9/11. It’s
almost as if Rove were working for Cheney, keeping Bush on
a short leash while Cheney stayed in the shadows. I wonder
how far back that goes? I bet they were making all sorts of
plans for Bush long before he knew.”

“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?”

“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
135

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.

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!”

“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. 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
is 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
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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.
137

“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 Accords.”

I backed him out of the donut until he was under the


apparatus, tilted the sled, 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 as his mouth
filled up.

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!”

He started 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
138

to take weeks.”

The cloth came down, the tape came off, the water went on,
and the scene was repeated. I was getting better at holding
the asphyxiation right on the edge of collapse, thus
extending the experience of actually dying. 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 times. His time spent in the zone of
dying was getting longer as I perfected my technique with
the hose, titrating the flow.

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


139

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 terrified


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, so long as you don’t utter them.”

These remarks must have seemed like mind-reading to


140

Rove, because his brain went into a flurry of activity, lights


moving and flashing as if a panic stricken animal were in
there running every which way.

“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 himself, 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.”
141

“The revolution happened because they squeezed the


colonials too far. 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.”

“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. 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
142

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
143

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 corporate aristocrats,
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 Ayn 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
144

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
teen experiences. Long ago I decided to become a self made
superman the way Nietzsche defined it, and I’ve succeeded
by any measure.”

“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
has 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 so surreal 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,
145

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. To this day, despite overwhelming evidence
to the contrary, significant percentages of Americans believe
that Saddam Hussein was a co-conspirator in 9/11! Can you
believe that?”

“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 days 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
146

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
147

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
148

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 five square miles. Incredible.”

[Residues of super thermite have been found in every


sample of 9/11 dust studied and this was published in a
science journal you can find on the web at
http://www.bentham-open.org/pages/content.php?
TOCPJ/2009/00000002/00000001/7TOCPJ.SGM author’s
note]

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
149

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
150

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; no witnesses that way. 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


151

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. You are also going to give up your Saudi and ISI 9/11
buddies. 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
152

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 them.”

I lowered the cloth.

A few hours later we met in the lounge, everyone too


mentally exhausted to be very animated.

“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.
153

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 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
154

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 so
depressed, we had him red flagged for suicide watch.

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

“I publically ran the 2002 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
155

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 we hated that 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 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. You get these lists by
privatizing statistics gathering and contracting with people
sympathetic to the cause. We also used those addresses to
send fake voter registration cards and warnings about the
day of voting being changed; all kinds of things. Those
addresses were so useful. 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 2002 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
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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 landslide. 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 democrat officials 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.”
157

“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 judge was a marvel! I couldn’t have done any
better if I’d been the hanging judge myself! The idea was
that Siegelman 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 you want people to fear you. 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 on Wall Street 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
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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 completely.”

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.
159

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.”
160

“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 a break.”

“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 an international 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 in over your head you are.
People like you are insects we swat every day, just like you’d
161

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!”

Cheney 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
162

corporations working in concert through the IMF, GATT, and


the World Bank. Nothing can stop us. We buy and sell
legislators 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!”
163

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 confessions.”

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 away.

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
164

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
165

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.


166

“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
167

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 repercussions.”

Gary said, “OK now, merry pranksters. Stop and think a


moment. What would this accomplish?”

“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 abused.”

“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
168

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
169

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
170

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
171

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
172

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 much
173

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
174

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 over!

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
175

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
176

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. ”
177

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
178

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
179

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 confessions.”

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 landmark.

“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?”
180

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
181

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 entertainment.”

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.”
182

“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
183

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
184

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
185

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 here.

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
186

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!”
187

“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’t 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.
188

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
189

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


190

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
191

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
you.”

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
192

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.
193

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.”
194

“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.”
195

“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 you?”

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
196

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 judgment.”

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
197

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 them.”

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 board.

“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.”
198

“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
199

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


200

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,
201

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
202

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
203

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
204

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 away.

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 Smith.

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.
205

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. There has to be a wider alarm since
we have stunned people on upper floors.”

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.”
206

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 dyinging 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


207

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! I just fucking died!
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 organizational chart and
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.”
208

“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 that.”

“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
209

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 spy satellite mission or 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. On the other hand, take universal health care. This is
a deadly threat to the multi trillion dollar private health
insurance industry, and the even bigger pharmaceutical
industry. One big health insurance company, United Health,
210

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. You may ask how Bill
McGuire can be worth billions and I’ll tell you. United Health
makes a fortune by disallowing claims. Agents have a quota.
They have to disallow 60% of claims on the first go-around,
since lots of people will give up at that point, not knowing
any better. Lots of people die because they can’t have that
surgery. So United Health profits from killing lots of their
customers. Any CEO who can do that and sleep at night has
to be a psychopath with no conscience. True clinical
psychopaths capable of mass murder without a qualm are
fairly rare, and there aren’t that many people generally,
smart and experienced enough to be a CEO who knows the
ropes. So Bill McGuire is a fairly rare and highly sought after
commodity in the health insurance industry, whose
psychopathy can earn billions in profits.”

“As an aside, my successful career in the Network


necessitated psychopathy and I’ve lived that life for a long
time. This trait is highly prized by the Network and if you
don’t have it, you better pretend you do if you want to get
ahead. Outside of certain high security prisons and gangs,
The Network is the highest concentration of psychopaths on
the face of the earth, who naturally gravitated to it and
flourish there as I did. I prided myself on my ruthlessness
and cruelty, even sadism all those years, until you guys gave
me a near death wake up call. Now I’m not so sure. But
back to Big Pharma.”

“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
211

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, especially single payer like
the rest of the industrial world, and they’re frantically buying
lawmakers right and left, hoping to stop it. Their drugs sell
all over the world for half what people pay in the USA. 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. He
could have been another Tom DeLay hammer. 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. But he’s
valuable, so after we ruined him we put him to work as a
United Health lobbyist on a multimillion dollar salary.
Nothing personal Tom, just doing business. He ain’t
complaining!”

“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!”

“It cost the medical insurance lobby and Big Pharama


millions to create and fund the “Teabag” coalition revolt back
in 2009, which was the dress rehearsal for the show-down in
Summer 2009 over health care reform. The dynamic duo of
big pharma and health insurance Inc. funded the community
recruitment, training, and transportation that facilitated the
disruption of “town hall” debates on health care reform
called by congressmen. Hitler’s Brown-shirts proved long
ago that these tactics can completely paralyze the
212

democratic processes. It’s a sign these guys are getting


desperate. They are funneling a fortune into the creation of
ersatz “grass root” uprisings; anything to blunt Obama’s
attack on their wealth and power. Some people call this kind
of grass root movement ‘astroturf.’ I personally supervise
staff in the US who instruct a couple dozen US legislators
how to vote, day to day, on the basis of the massive funds
The Network has provided them. Half of our congressional
lap dogs are democrats. Now days, they’re called Blue Dogs
which means they’re owned and operated by The Network.
You simply have no grasp of the depth of this. We own these
guys, and they vote how The Network tells them to. They
cannot afford not to.”

“Here’s an essay off the internet that describes a US


operation I helped fund and deliver on behalf of a pharma
group and a health insurance group. I was in this one up to
my ears as a bag man, dealing 1:1 with Dick Armey. I’m
paid to stay abreast of what the left wingers are saying and
planning to do next.

Right-Wing Turncoat Gives the Inside Scoop on Why


Conservatives Are Rampaging Town Halls
by Francis Schaeffer
The Republican Old Guard are in the fix an atheist would be
in if Jesus showed up and raised his mother from the dead:
Their world view has just been shattered. Obama's election
has driven them over the edge. Consider Former
Congressman Dick Armey. Several far right foundations and
the multitrillion dollar health-insurance industry have
teamed up with him to organize the far right foot soldiers of
the Republican Party to intimidate people speaking on
behalf of health-care reform. They are using my old shock
troops -- given many of these folks were first energized by
the Evangelical pro-life movement that my late father and I
started in the 1970s. What we did to clinics they are now
213

doing to congressmen and others speaking out for health


care reform.

Having failed at the ballot box, having watched their Fox


News-organized "tea parties" fizzle, the intimidation tactics
which the Republicans have embraced are being used in a
well-financed, top-down orchestrated fake grass roots
campaign by corporate interests to try and protect the
profits of the insurance business. Armey's FreedomWorks is
organizing against health care reform. Armey's lobbying firm
represents pharmaceutical companies including Bristol-
Myers Squibb. Armey's lobbying firm also represents the
trade group for the life insurance industry. FreedomWorks
is supporting the status quo at all costs. (They are also fans
of fossil fuels. Armey's lobbying firm represents Sheikh
Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Prime Minister of the
UAE, on energy related issues.)

Last year, the Wall Street Journal exposed FreedomWorks


for building "amateur-looking" websites to promote far right
interests of Armey. FreedomWorks represents a top-down,
corporate-friendly approach that's been the norm for
conservative organizations for years. How do I know this is
the norm? Because I used to have strategy meetings with
the late Jack Kemp and Dick Army and the rest of the
Republican gang about using their business ties to help
finance the pro-life movement to defeat Democrats. I know
this script. I helped write it.

Democratic members of Congress are being harassed by


angry, sign-carrying mobs and disruptive behavior at local
town halls. It's the tactic we used to follow abortion
providers around their neighborhoods. "Protesters"
surrounded Rep. Tim Bishop (D-NY) and forced police
officers to have to escort him to his car for safety. We used
to do the same to Dr. Tiller... until someone killed him.
214

How Can The Right Stoop So Low?

I used to know Dick Armey quite well. One of my sons even


worked for him as an intern. I knew Armey in the context of
his being a fan of my late Evangelical Religious Right leader
father Francis Schaeffer. (Back in the day when I was a right
wing "pro-life" organizer who has long since quit the
Republicans in disgust at their -- our -- descent into
extremism and hate.) Armey was once a decent guy,
whatever his political views. How could he stoop so low as to
be organizing what amounts to America's Brown Shirts
today?

I think I know what happened to him, Gingrich and the rest:


They can't compute that their white man-led conservative
revolution is dead. They can't reconcile their idea of
themselves with the fact that white men like them don't run
the country any more -- and never will again. To them the
black president is leading a column of the "other" into their
promised land. Gays, immigrants, blacks, progressives, even
a female Hispanic appointed to the Supreme Court... for
them this is the Apocalypse.

The last presidential election (to paraphrase Bart Simpson)


"broke their brains." What else could explain their embrace
of intimidation -- rather than discourse -- over the health
care debate and such unsavory moments of madness as the
Republicans accusing Obama and Judge Sonia Sotomayor of
racism, knowing full well that they'd just destroyed their
chances with the Hispanic community forever?

The "Scorched Earth Policy"

Dick Army and company have been driven mad by their


reversal, not just of political fortunes but of seeing that
they've wasted their lives. They now know they were wrong:
about the country, the free market, war for fun and profit,
215

and what the American people really want. They made their
best case and were rejected by the American people -- and
by history. Bush was their man and he turned out to be a
fool. So now all the Republican gurus have left is what the
defeated Germans of World War Two had: a scorched earth
policy. If they can't win then everyone must go down.
Obama must fail! The country must fail!
Here is a leaked excerpt from the folks organizing the
intimidation campaign:

- Artificially Inflate Your Numbers: "Spread out in the hall


and try to be in the front half. The objective is to put the
Rep on the defensive with your questions and follow-up. The
Rep should be made to feel that a majority, and if not, a
significant portion of at least the audience, opposes the
socialist agenda of Washington."

- Be Disruptive Early And Often: "You need to rock-the-


boat early in the Rep's presentation, Watch for an
opportunity to yell out and challenge the Rep's statements
early."

- Try To "Rattle Him," Not Have An Intelligent Debate:


"The goal is to rattle him, get him off his prepared script and
agenda. If he says something outrageous, stand up and
shout out and sit right back down. Look for these
opportunities before he even takes questions."
The Last Republican Tactic: Outright Lies

A barrage of outright lies, wherein the Democrats are being


accused of wanting to launch a massive euthanasia program
against the elderly, free abortions for everyone, and "a
government takeover" of health-care is now being combined
with physical intimidation that in several cases has required
police escorts to protect pro health-care reform speakers
surrounded by angry plants sent to disrupt public forums on
216

the health-care issue. Demonstrators hung Rep. Frank


Kratovil (D-MD) in effigy outside of his office. (Missing from
the reporting of these stories -- with the notable exception
of Rachel Maddow -- is the fact that much of these protests
are coordinated by public relations firms and lobbyists who
have a stake in opposing President Obama's reforms.

There is no daylight between the Republican Party, the


health-care insurance industry, far right leaders like Dick
Armey, the legion of insurance lobbyists, and now, a small
army of thugs. All we're missing is actual uniforms,
otherwise we now have a full blown American version of the
Nazi Brown Shirts.

No, I don't believe that these people are about to take over
the country. No, the sky is not falling. But the Republican
Party is. It is now profoundly anti-American.

The health-insurance industry is run by very smart and very


greedy people who have sunk to a new low. So has the
Republican Party's leadership that will not stand up and
denounce the likes of Dick Armey for helping organize roving
bands of thugs trying to strip the rest of us of the ability to
be heard when it comes to the popular will on reforming
health care.

Conclusion: the Fascist Formula

Here's the emerging American version of the fascist's


formula: combine millions of dollars of lobbyists' money with
embittered troublemakers who have a small army of not
terribly bright white angry people (collected over decades
through pro-life mass mailing networks) at their beck and
call, ever ready to believe any myth or lie circulated by the
semi literate and completely and routinely misinformed right
wing -- Evangelical religious underground. Then put this
little mob together with the insurance companies' big bucks.
217

That's how it works -- American Brown Shirts at the ready.

What's the results of the fascist formula for the rest of us?
Well, think how this "method" worked against Dr. Tiller's
abortion clinic and how that story ended. In this case a
once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to save our economy from
going bankrupt because of spiraling health care costs may
be lost, not because of a better argument, but because of
lies backed up by anti-democratic embittered thuggery. The
motive? Revenge on America by the Old White Guys of the
far right, and greed by the insurance industry.

What Can Be Done?

It's time that this whole shabby (and insane) business be


exposed, vilified in run out of town on a rail by whatever
responsible Republicans -- if any -- that are still in the party
and who want to see the fortunes of their party revived.
Republican leaders taking insurance industry money via
lobbying firms and using it to organize what amounts to
roving bands of thugs not only need to be exposed but
thrown out of the public debate forever. They should
become absolute pariahs.

It's time to give this garbage a name: insurance industry


funded fascism.

Arnie looked up from his computer screen. “Remember the


TV show, “The Untouchables?” Everybody in Chicago during
prohibition was on the take from Al Capone. Mayors, cops,
judges, legislators, everybody. Except one US Marshal, Elliot
Ness. You guys have your modern day Elliot Ness, and he’s a
senator! He’s Senator Bernie Saunders from Vermont. One
lone unbought guy, speaking against his corrupt brother
senators. He’s some kind of mind-fucker for The Network.
If we could shut him up, life would be so much easier. But
he’s squeaky clean. No girlfriends, no shady deals, no sign
218

of greed. He’s driving us crazy. Can’t get at him! And he has


a senator’s bully pulpit. Makes us look bad. Last meeting I
attended was about the Bernie problem, the general
consensus being that we are just going to have to kill him.
Auto accident. Heart attack. Mugging. Something!

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 long.”
219

“Afraid so,” I answered with a little regret. From the


beginning he had seemed like a civil enough fellow, 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 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
220

spirit anyone in or out, no questions asked.”

Mr. Smith frowned. “This is a hell of a dilemma for me. My


failure to contain you guys is a very big black mark on my
record but it won’t get me fired. I would probably be put out
to pasture in some cubicle doing terminally boring cell phone
intercept analysis. The taped confession is another thing. I
literally know where the bodies are buried, and so many
other skeletons in Network closets. My confession proves I
can’t be trusted which means I’m a walking dead man just
like Cheney. I really have no choice. It’s time I went into
deep cover and stayed there.

“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.”
221

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
222

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
223

confession.

“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.
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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 propaganda?”

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 from
headquarters 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
225

desk-top technology that would even insert 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
226

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
227

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 table.

“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


228

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
229

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 a hail
of whizzing bullets 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 Brown shirts 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
230

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 dictators.

“Having just said that, I think my mother’s influence on me


231

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 continue.

“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
232

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
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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 sadistic morality is written all over the Old Testament.”

“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
234

predatory economic exploitation and expansion often


requiring predatory 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
235

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
236

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 Neo-con
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
237

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 power.”

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
238

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 after viewing it.”

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
Neo-con 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 Neo-con
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?”
239

“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.
240

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
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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
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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
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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 Neo-cons 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
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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, of all places. 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.
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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.”

BUBBLE #2 TECH STOCKS

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
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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 marketplace.”

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
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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
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in the trash. Goldman completed the snow job by pumping


up the sham stocks: "Their analysts were out there saying
Bullshit.com is worth $100 a share. "The problem was,
nobody told investors that the rules had changed.

“’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.
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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 Bullshit.com 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 Bullshit.com 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
Bullshit.com'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
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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 Bullsrul.com opening at $20, the bank would
approach the Bullshit.com 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
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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
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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.

BUBBLE #3
THE HOUSING CRAZE

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
257

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
258

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
259

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 mortgages.

‘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.’
260

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
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bubble, one the world still barely knows thefirm had


anything to do with.

BUBBLE #4
$4 A GALLON GAS

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
262

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.
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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 -
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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
265

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 Michael
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
266

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
267

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
268

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


269

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.”
270

“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 Neo-con
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 Neo-cons 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,
(forty times the company’s average wage) 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, were sporting a ratio of
1723:1 in 2009 and now the ratio is far higher. They
were 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 and dividends!” 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.”

“Look how interlocking boards control things. The trillion


dollar private health insurance industry has a license to print
money in the sense that they can increase rates and disallow
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claims to their heart’s content. The biggest, United Health,


paid their CEO so much, it represented one dollar out of
every $700 spent on healthcare in the US each year! In
other words, billions over the years. Congress gave private
health insurance companies a special antitrust waiver which
means they can engage in monopolistic price fixing that
would be felony crime in other industries. If the US adopted
a single payer health insurance system like the rest of the
industrialized world, they would be out of business, so
naturally they pushed back. Their CEO’s sit on the boards of
all the big news conglomerates; national wires, newspapers,
and TV networks. Thus it was no accident that Americans
never learned about the significance of single payer health
insurance. The media virtually ignored the existence of the
single payer option. It was never on the table in Congress
because anyone speaking those words was taking a career
poison pill. A single payer system would also force Big
Pharma to negotiate drug prices with a huge single national
buyer who could drive a hard bargain. Drugs would drop
50% or more in price and the gouging would end. But,
viola! The Big Pharma CEO’s sit on the boards of the big
media companies too. So Americans only heard and read
lies about alleged “fatally flawed” national health systems all
over the world. All over Europe and elsewhere, national
health care systems provide vastly superior service, better
outcomes, and populations in better health, for half the price
of health care in the USA. Most are single national payer
systems. You are never going to learn that on TV or read
much about it in the press. The most important thing about
propaganda is what isn’t reported, not the lies and the spin
you see and hear.”

“The Republican party was not always owned and operated


by CEO multimillionaires and billionaires and their cronies, at
the expense of working class people. Back in 1954
Republican President Dwight Eisenhower was in a big
ongoing argument with his brother Ed, whose politics almost
272

perfectly reflect today’s GOP. Here’s a chunk of a famous


letter Ike wrote to him. This is from The Papers of Dwight
David Eisenhower, Volume XV - The Presidency: The Middle
Way Part VI: Crises Abroad, Party Problems at Home;
September 1954 to December 1954 Chapter 13: "A new
phase of political experience"

Dear Ed:

I think that such answer as I can give to your letter of


November first will be arranged in reverse order--at least I
shall comment first on your final paragraph.

You keep harping on the Constitution; I should like to point


out that the meaning of the Constitution is what the
Supreme Court says it is. Consequently no powers are
exercised by the Federal government except where such
exercise is approved by the Supreme Court (lawyers) of the
land.

Should any political party attempt to abolish social security,


unemployment insurance, and eliminate labor laws and farm
programs, you would not hear of that party again in our
political history. There is a tiny splinter group, of course,
that believes you can do these things. Among them are H. L.
Hunt (you possibly know his background), a few other Texas
oil millionaires, and an occasional politician or business man
from other areas. Their number is negligible and they are
stupid.

“How far the GOP has come since then! It was Ike who
warned us about the military-industrial complex, and
everything he predicted about them came true. He was
taxing millionaires at a 90% rate and the economy was
doing great with no federal deficits. And of course, Abe
Lincoln was a Republican too, which just goes to show how
parties have their own phases of growth, decay, and death,
273

morphing every which way on the way up and the way


down.

“Thanks to Reagan, we’ve had 30 years of CEO’s becoming a


new dynasty of super-rich despots. During that time 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
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 national debt while selling worthless securities
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 if you’re looking for
conspirators; 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
274

didn’t make much of a stir and yet he exposed the whole 3rd
world rip-off 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
275

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
place.”

“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 and jailed 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 CEO’s
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
276

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
national laws.”

“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
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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 dismissed!’”

“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
278

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
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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 spilled oil 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 of Alaska. 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 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!”
280

“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 Neo-cons 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 filthy 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
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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 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
282

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.”
283

“Now you’re talking!” said Arnie. “It’ll last as long as a drop


of maple syrup on an anthill.”

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,
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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 money.”

“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
285

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 hit men 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
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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 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
287

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, 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 and sells them better than anybody. The USA
288

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. Neo-cons 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
Neo-cons, anything that dis-empowers the peasants is a
plus. Just look at the ghettos or Detroit. These are Neo-con
dreams-come-true, with the added benefit of drug profits
finding their way into Neo-con 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,
289

we’d have to invent one. Y’know how a squad attacks a


drug house storm trooper style? Over 350 innocent homes
in the US 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,
www.123realchangeblogspot.com. Listen up and go back to
school!”

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 1978.”

“By Sandalio Gonzalez”

“In late fall of 2005, Time Magazine’s DC Office was


provided with detailed information and documents regarding
290

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
interview.

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
291

officers.

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
292

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
investigation.

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
293

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 Bogotá:

"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
294

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 Office:

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
295

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 media 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
296

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 and 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.
297

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. A good
example is this article from www.gregpalast.com a
muckraking investigative journalist who has been giving The
Network heartburn for decades. More than once we have
been this close to killing him:

Eighty billion dollars of WHAT?


I searched all over the newspapers and TV
transcripts and no one asked the President
what is probably the most important
298

question of what passes for debate on the issue of health


care reform: $80 billion of WHAT?
On June 22, President Obama said he'd reached agreement
with big drug companies to cut the price of medicine by $80
billion. He extended his gratitude to Big Pharma for the deal
that would, "reduce the punishing inflation in health care
costs."
Hey, in my neighborhood, people think $80 billion is a lot of
money. But is it?
I checked out the government's health stats (at HHS.gov),
put fresh batteries in my calculator and totted up US
spending on prescription drugs projected by the government
for the next ten years. It added up to $3.6 trillion.
In other words, Obama's big deal with Big Pharma saves
$80 billion out of a total $3.6 trillion. That's 2%.
Hey thanks, Barack! You really stuck it to the big boys. You
saved America from these drug lords robbing us blind. Two
percent. Cool!
ALERT
Now it's Let's Make a Deal with 299
hospital lobbyists.
For perspective: First, the President was caught with
Imagine you are in a his principles down, cutting a
Wal-Mart and there's scuzzy back-room deal with
a sign over a flat pharmaceutical lobbyist Billy Tauzin
screen TV, “BIG to limit drug price savings to just
SAVINGS!” So, you 2% over 10 years (see attached,
break every promise "Obama on Drugs: 98% Cheney?"),
you made never to the New York Times today reports
buy from that union- that another deal was sealed by
busting big box - and lobbyist Chip Kahn of the American
snatch up the $500 Hospital Association.
television. And when
you're caught by your Here are the numbers they don't
spouse, you say, "But, want you to see: Hospitals will be
honey, look at the allowed to hike their prices and
deal I got! It was revenues by six trillion dollars
TWO-PERCENT OFF! I ($5,853 billion) over the next ten
saved us $10!" years, only $155 billion less than
they had projected before the
But 2% is better than Obama "reform."
nothing, I suppose. Or
is it? In all, the Obama back-room deal
will "reduce" our $26 trillion total
The Big Pharma hospital bill over the next decade by
kingpins did not one-half of one percent.
actually agree to cut
their prices. Their Once again, the lobbyists got the
promise with Obama gold mine, the public got the shaft.
is something a little Say it ain't so, Mr. President.
oilier: they apparently
promised that, over ten years, they will reduce the amount
at which they would otherwise raise drug prices. Got that?
In other words, the Obama deal locks in a doubling of drug
costs, projected to rise over the period of "savings" from a
quarter trillion dollars a year to half a trillion dollars a year.
Minus that 2%.
We'll still get the shaft from Big Pharma, but Obama will
have circumcised the increase.
300

And what did Obama give up in return for $80 billion? Chief
drug lobbyist Billy Tauzin crowed that Obama agreed to
dump his campaign pledge to bargain down prices for
Medicare purchases. Furthermore, Obama’s promise that we
could buy cheap drugs from Canada simply went pffft!
What did that cost us? The New England Journal of Medicine
notes that 13 European nations successfully regulate the
price of drugs, reducing the average cost of name-brand
prescription medicines by 35% to 55%. Obama gave that up
for his 2%.
The Veterans Administration is able to push down the price
it pays for patent medicine by 40% through bargaining
power. George Bush stopped Medicare from bargaining for
similar discounts, an insane ban that Obama said he’d
overturn. But, once within Tauzin’s hypnotic gaze, Obama
agreed to lock in Bush’s crazy and costly no-bargaining ban
for the next decade.
What else went down in Obama's drug deal? To find out, I
called C-SPAN to get a copy of the videotape of the meeting
with the drug companies. I was surprised to find they didn't
have such a tape despite the President's campaign promise,
right there on CNN in January 2008, "These negotiations will
be on C-SPAN."
This puzzled me. When Dick Cheney was caught having
secret meetings with oil companies to discuss Bush's Energy
Bill, we denounced the hugger-muggers as a case of foxes
in the henhouse.
Cheney's secret meetings with lobbyists and industry
bigshots were creepy and nasty and evil.
But the Obama crew's secret meetings with lobbyists and
industry bigshots were, the President assures us, in the
public interest.
301

We know Cheney's secret confabs were shady and corrupt


because Cheney scowled out the side of his mouth.
Obama grins in your face.
See the difference?
The difference is 2%.

“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 Neo-
con devils dancing in their heads, not to mention fears that
Obama/Bush means Tweedle Dee/Tweedle Dum.

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
302

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.
303

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
304

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 bellow.

“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
305

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 down.”

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
306

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
307

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
308

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
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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 file 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
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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
even 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
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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
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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, key word searches, and artificial
intelligence to mine data from millions of cell calls per hour.

We plugged in some temporal search parameters coinciding


with our target’s presumed 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
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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 me?”

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
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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, Arnie?”
315

“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’re computer is an open book except when
you turn it off and unhook it, 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
316

imagined how deep it went. I’m sitting here, wishing the


camera were on, consoling myself that some day you would
tell the world all this. How do you feel? You must be feeling
ambivalent.”

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. Giles went on.

“We and people like us have been your foes for so long,
throughout your distinguished career. I see why you would
have 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 scorn 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
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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 tearing up and choked 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
318

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. So next
is a game plan for the Davos Videos.

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 destination?”

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 there?”

“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 Enrique.”

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
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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%! I wonder if he could
become such a populist leader with such mass appeal, he
wouldn’t have feel obligated to kiss ass with The Network
the way he’s been doing.””

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!”
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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.” asked 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
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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 in.”

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
322

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
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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
324

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
325

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 America.

“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
326

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 prerogative.

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
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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.”
328

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!”
329

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!”
330

“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?”

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?”
331

“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
332

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 responders.”

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 hubbub.

“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.
333

“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
334

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 them?

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
335

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 thing.”

“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 again.”
336

“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 place.

“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.
337

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
338

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
339

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 for their
mamas!”

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, freezing all Winter, 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
340

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
341

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 black.

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
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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
343

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 down?

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 said.

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
344

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
345

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
346

before the night was over. I started to sweat and a queasy


semi-nausea appeared in my gut. myself a little speech.

“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 deadly.

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
347

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
emplacement.

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
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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 noises.

“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?”

“Roger.”

“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
349

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
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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
351

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
352

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 serenity.”

“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?”
353

“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,
354

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
and their governments, start shipping food and power when
and only when reform leaders like Obama caved in and
made deals.

“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


355

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
indictments.”

“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 for 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
356

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
357

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 come!”

I pulled an article out of my pocket I had printed from Sibel


Edmond’s website, www.123realchange.blogspot.com

“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’
358

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,
359

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 courts.”

“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
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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 willful acts fully reviewed, decided upon, and
then implemented by the new president and his Justice
Department.”
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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
candidacy.”

“Today he and his administration unapologetically maintain


the same Bush Administration position on extraordinary
rendition, torture, and related secrecy to cover up. Here is
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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
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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:
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“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
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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 its 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 questions:
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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
367

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 number.

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
368

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.”

“Thanks.”

“Pleasure doing business with you as always.”

“Goodbye.”

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?
369

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
370