Monday, February 27, 2006

What lies beneath

Told about Jesus, told about the rain,
Told me about the jungle where her brothers were slain
By a man who danced on the roof of the embassy. - Bob Dylan

I've just time today to briefly note a story from Mexico that may remind readers of many other stories (with thanks to starroute for the thread on the RI discussion board):

Writer Who Exposed Child Sex Ring Fears Worst Is Yet to Come

MEXICO CITY, Feb 24 (IPS) - When Mexican freelance journalist and human rights activist Lydia Cacho published a book last year exposing a paedophile ring ["Los demonios del Edén" (The Demons of Eden)], she was warned by friends and colleagues that she would run into trouble.

It did not take long for their warnings to come true. She was arrested by the police, driven 900 kms to the state of Puebla, held for 30 hours, mistreated and threatened. Now that she is the target of the wrath of powerful Mexican businessmen and politicians, she is worried that the worst is yet to come.


More recently, she was dragged into a scandal after a dozen taped telephone conversations were leaked to the press and broadcast on Feb. 14. In the obscenity-laced conversations, a voice identified as that of Mario Marín, the governor of the state of Puebla, can be heard telling a man who is allegedly textile mogul Kamel Nacif that "I just gave a bump on the head to that old witch."

In her book, Cacho described Nacif as a friend of Jean Succar, a Lebanese-born businessman who is facing charges of arranging paedophile parties.

The illegally taped phone conversations attributed to the governor and various individuals, including a reporter, apparently took place in December, after Cacho was taken into custody by the police in the southeastern resort town of Cancún and driven to Puebla.

In the conversations, the voices identified as those of Nacif and Marín discuss how they had the activist arrested and thrown into a cell with "nutcases and dykes (lesbians)," so that she would be raped. That did not happen, however, because in the prison in Puebla, "the prisoners themselves and the guards protected me," said the writer. But she was mistreated. Cacho described how she was threatened during the nearly 20-hour trip to Puebla and was only allowed to eat once.


Cacho, who is also the co-founder of the Centro Integral de Apoyo a la Mujer (CIAM), a shelter for victims of domestic violence and rape in her home base of Cancún, interviewed many of Succar's victims for her book. The youngsters described how the hotel owner sexually abused them himself, set up a prostitution ring to allow others to abuse them, and photographed them in order to sell the pornographic images on the Internet.

This case is just one thread in a vast web of similar rings throughout Mexico.

Nacif, as his friend Succar, is a Lebanese emigre with a nasty reputation that long precedes the publication of Cacho's book. Mexico's "King of Denim" has "the unsavory habit of frequently changing the name of his many companies, in order to avoid paying debts, taxes and accumulated worker benefits to those laid off." And six years ago the Sun Herald wrote that "Mexican textile magnate Kamel Nacif has been a familiar face at Las Vegas gambling tables for some 30 years, using phony identification to wager at Caesars Palace when he was still in his late teens. He remains, however, a bit of a multimillionaire mystery man, long suspected by Nevada Gaming Control Board agents of money laundering and arms and narcotics dealing."

(Coincidentally, it was an expat Lebanese crime family operating in the Caribbean Basin that FBI undercover operative Darlene Novinger was investigating in 1982, when she reportedly, and unfortunately, discovered the Bush family implicated in its narcotics trade.)

Nacif filed his suit in the south central province of Puebla, where most of his textile sweatshops are located, and where he could call on his friend the governor to protect his good name, though the crimes in which he is implicated occured in Cancún. (Where last week, a Canadian couple had their throats slit in their hotel room on the eve of their daughter's wedding. Nothing was stolen and the wife was not raped, and Mexican authorities are being markedly uncooperative.) The scandal "of personal power and cronyism" is likely to cost Marin his governorship, but as El Universal editorialized yesterday, that's just the public scandal of "the powerful protecting the powerful." Behind it "is something much more hideous."

There certainly seems to be something about Mexico, and at least some of that has to do with its proximity to hidden American hands. It was allegedly the destination of the children and their minders in the troubling Finders case. ("Once in custody the men were somewhat evasive in their answers to the police regarding the children and stated only that they both were the children's teachers and that all were enroute to Mexico to establish a school for brilliant children.") In little more than a decade, thousands of young women, mostly factory workers, have been raped, tortured and murdered in the borderland maquiladoras without justice being served. ("We believe this is a binational crime," says Emma Perez of the Coalition Against Violence Toward Women and Families on the Border. "And because it's happening on an international border, it requires international involvement," she says. "How many more women have to be murdered for this to be taken seriously?") In November 2004, a crowd "angry about recent child kidnappings cornered plainclothes federal agents taking photos of students at a school on Mexico City's outskirts and burned the officers alive." And as David McGowan writes in Programmed to Kill, one of Henry Lee Lucas's more extravagent claims was that he laboured for a cult as an "abductor of children, whom he delivered to a ranch in Mexico near Juarez. Once there, they were used in the production of child pornography and for ritual sacrifices. Henry has said that this cult's operations were based in Texas, and included trafficking in children and drugs."

Ugly things lie buried everywhere, though in the United States you might not know it if all you know is broadcast journalism. And that's most Americans. Until they regenerate a legitimate media, it may take looking elsewhere, where the graves are more shallow, to see what lies beneath.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Lawyers, Guns, Money and Drugs

For days and nights they battled the Bantu to their knees
They killed to earn their living and to help out the Congolese - Warren Zevon

I'll be returning to the "Grave Mysteries" discussion as soon as I can, but I don't have time tonight to do much more than point you toward this article in Wednesday's Village Voice (with thanks to Paul Thompson for the head's up), that makes sound parapolitical sense of the UAE port deal vetted by the office of John Negroponte.

Regarding the cuts to operational capacity of the Coast Guard and the inadequacy of Customs, James Ridgeway writes:

This is a dream setup for any arms or dope dealer, and that's exactly what the United Arab Emirates is all about.The ties between its top officials and royal family with the Taliban and Al Qaeda go back at least a decade.

The UAE is not only the center of financial dealings in the Persian Gulf, it is switching central for dope and arms dealing. The dope comes out of Afghanistan into the UAE where tax monies are collected and used to buy arms, which were sent back in for the Taliban. Some of this money is thought to have helped finance the 9-11 attacks. A money trail is set forth in the government's filings in the Moussaoui case.

Long at the center of this operation is the mysterious Russian arms dealer, Victor Bout.... His planes are registered to various companies all operating out of the United Arab Emirates.

In fact, the United Arab Emirates have been viewed as hub for trade going and coming to Afghanistan, with drugs coming from Afghanistan on their way to the West, and weapons from Bout, going back. While transportation was via Bout's different air cargo interests, it also involved the Afghan state airlines, called Ariana Airlines. The airline was controlled by Al Qaeda. Al Qaeda agents masquerading as Ariana employees flew out of Afghanistan, through Sharjah, one of the emirates, and on to points west.

Bout, naturally enough for someone beyond the reach of any arm of justice, has been a wildly successful contractor to United States forces in Iraq. Last month, Douglas Farah wrote of Bout's Pentagon connections:

Wisconsin Democratic Senator Russell Feingold first raised the issue of Bout's coalition military contracts on May 18, 2004, in a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing. Feingold asked then-Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz and then-Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage about reports of U.S. military links to Bout's companies. It took Wolfowitz eight months to respond.

In a January 31, 2005, letter to Feingold, Wolfowitz acknowledged that "both the U.S. Army and the Coalition Provisional Authority (in Iraq) did conduct business with companies that, in turn, subcontracted work to second tier suppliers who leased aircraft owned by companies associated with Mr. Bout.... Although we are aware of a few companies that are connected to Mr. Bout, most notably Air Bas and Jetline, we suspect Mr. Bout has other companies or enterprises unknown to the Government."

In fact, as the Los Angeles Times first reported in 2004, Bout aircraft were in constant motion into Iraq after the invasion. A single Bout company, Irbis, flew more than 140 flights into Iraq for the U.S. military and its contractors by the end of 2004.

Over a period of eight years, the United States government has repeatedly asked the UAE to shut down Bout's businesse "as required by UN charter," but Dubai only ventures that it will "study" the issue. Of course: not only are the UAE's rulers Bout's business partners, but they can see the US winking at them even as it makes the "demand."

So there we have it, and a familiar narrative it is, too. Many observers have already concluded that the UAE deal wasn't about security - after all, the enemy is already within - but about money. It should be clear now what kind of money (the kind that's unaccounted for - the best kind), and why Bush made this, of all causes, the first for which he vowed to use a veto in its defense.

This seems a through the looking glass moment for many who stuck by the rhetoric of the administration until now. If this were a legitimate government and these were normal times, its officials would be back on their heels if they were still on their feet. But instead, they're even emboldened to piss away their base with a move that makes no political sense. But then, we're way past politics here.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Signs and wonders

We asked for signs. The signs were sent. - Leonard Cohen

Afraid the time's too short today for writing, but time's getting shorter every day. I don't mean to get all John the Revelator about it, but as Juan Cole's written, "Tuesday was an apocalyptic day in Iraq."

The destruction of Samarra's Askariyah shrine marks a Biblical moment of provocation in Iraq's ersatz Civil War. And just in time, too, because there's a time-table to keep where "real men" want to go.

These must be hard times for soft-headed apologists of "benign" empire, who thought there could be something of worth even to the fiction of liberation and democracy; who believed that civil war would be the last thing sought by Western powers, which wanted peace and security rather than provocation and chaos.

The Samarra mosque contains the shrine of the Hidden Imam, the Mahdi, whom many Shiites believe is about to manifest himself. It's a belief shared and encouraged by Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as well as Iraq's Muqtada all-Sadr. (The United States, of course, couldn't comfortably confront Iran so long as its presidency was held by the frustratingly reasonable Mohammad Khatami. In Ahmadinejad - who, like Bush, most probably won his office as well by election fraud - the US has a fine millenial foil.)

As Washington's Republican Guard must know, one advantage of cultivating a base which believes in the imminent end of the world is that the more catastrophic a regime's governance, the more encouraged its supporters become that they picked the right horseman for an apocalypse. Is all hell breaking loose? Great - all hell should break loose.

How short is our time, and how hot the coming hellfire? One more month, maybe, of this New Normal, before we tumble into the next circle. Consider this report published last Friday by Newropeans Magazine, via the RI forum, thanks to "seemslikeadream":

The Laboratoire européen d’Anticipation Politique Europe 2020, LEAP/E2020, now estimates to over 80% the probability that the week of March 20-26, 2006 will be the beginning of the most significant political crisis the world has known since the Fall of the Iron Curtain in 1989, together with an economic and financial crisis of a scope comparable with that of 1929. This last week of March 2006 will be the turning-point of a number of critical developments, resulting in an acceleration of all the factors leading to a major crisis, disregard any American or Israeli military intervention against Iran. In case such an intervention is conducted, the probability of a major crisis to start rises up to 100%, according to LEAP/E2020.

An Alarm based on 2 verifiable events

The announcement of this crisis results from the analysis of decisions taken by the two key-actors of the main on-going international crisis, i.e. the United States and Iran:

- on the one hand there is the Iranian decision of opening the first oil bourse priced in Euros on March 20th, 2006 in Teheran, available to all oil producers of the region;

- on the other hand, there is the decision of the American Federal Reserve to stop publishing M3 figures (the most reliable indicator on the amount of dollars circulating in the world) from March 23, 2006 onward.

These two decisions constitute altogether the indicators, the causes and the consequences of the historical transition in progress between the order created after World War II and the new international equilibrium in gestation since the collapse of the USSR. Their magnitude as much as their simultaneity will catalyse all the tensions, weaknesses and imbalances accumulated since more than a decade throughout the international system.


LEAP/E2020 anticipate that these two non-official decisions will involve the United States and the world in a monetary, financial, and soon economic crisis without precedent on a planetary scale. The ‘monetarisation’ of the US debt is indeed a very technical term describing a catastrophically simple reality: the United States undertake not to refund their debt, or more exactly to refund it in "monkey currency". LEAP/E2020 also anticipate that the process will accelerate at the end of March, in coincidence with the launching of the Iranian Oil Bourse, which can only precipitate the sales of US Treasury Bonds by their non-American holders.

Perhaps it won't be March. It may be April, or May. But I can't think of a circumstance arising, short of a global religious and numinous event (and who knows - maybe just as ersatz), to prevent War with Iran.

Remember the story of Manhattan's talking fish? In March 2003, on the eve of the invasion of Iraq, a 20 lb carp began shouting in Hebrew about the end of the world. Where it was reported it was played for laughs - the lighter side of apocalypse. Naturally, because such a thing doesn't happen in the world most of us inhabit. And so it must not have happened.

Two fish-cutters, Nivelo, a Gentile who does not understand Hebrew, was so shocked at the sight of a fish talking in any language that he fell over. He ran into the front of the store screaming: 'It's the Devil! The Devil is here!' Then the shop owner heard it shouting warnings and commands too.

'It said "Tzaruch shemirah" and "Hasof bah",' he told the New York Times, 'which essentially means that everyone needs to account for themselves because the end is near.'

Nivelo, a "devout Christian," reportedly still believes the carp was the Devil: "I don't believe any of this Jewish stuff. But I heard that fish talk."

A local resident noted, "Two men do not dream the same dream." I don't know about that. How many of us are there? And surely this can't be our waking lives.

We have the signs. Keep a sharp lookout for the wonders.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

"Grave mysteries" (Part One)

"Aye! listen to the numbers & the words." - The Book of the Law

I've given a lot of space here - some say too much - to Aleister Crowley, the occult and High Weirdness. I'm going to give some more now, because maybe it will help explain why.

The cipher, the Nine, the whole damn thing

In 1904 Crowley and his first wife, Rose, traveled to Egypt for their honeymoon. While visiting the King's Chamber of the Great Pyramid, Crowley recited the "preliminary invocation" of the Goetia: the occult ritual of "low magic" to bind demons to a sorcerer's will. When the two returned to their hotel room in Cairo, Rose entered a trance state and began murmuring "They are waiting for you," along with "similar urgent but unintelligible phrases" according to Robert Anton Wilson in Cosmic Triggers vol. I. Wilson continues:

Crowley did not like this at all, since it is typical of the uncontrolled, quasi-hysterical trances of spiritualist mediums (whom he despised) and lacked the elements of willed concentration and rational control that he demanded of his magick experiments. Nonetheless, despite his attempts to banish the phenomenon, it kept coming back, and finally, in one of Rose's trances, Crowley set a series of tests for the alleged communicating entity. He asked Rose, for instance, to describe the aura of the being, and she said "deep blue"; he asked the character of the being, and she said "force and fire"; he asked her to pick the being from drawings of ten Egyptian gods, and she picked Horus. She also identified Horus' planet (Mars), and so forth for a series of similar questions. Crowley then calculated the odds against her being right in all cases.... The chance of her guessing right on the whole series by chance was, mathematically, 1/21,168,000. [Crowley claimed that at this point, Rose was ignorant of both Egyptology and the occult.]

The next day Crowley took Rose to the Boulak Museum and asked her to identify the communicating intelligence from the collection of statues and art. She stopped at a stele depicting the goddess Nuit bending over a winged globe, the hawk-headed Horus and a temple priest. "This is the one," she said, pointing at Horus. The museum had catalogued the item no. 666, a detail not lost on Crowley. He decided he'd seen enough, and back at the hotel entered a light trance and over three days, beginning precisely at noon each day, "took dictation" from an entity named "Aiwass" of The Book of the Law, also known as Liber Al, the founding scripture of Thelema and the declaration of the Aeon of Horus, the "Crowned and Conquering Child."

Near the end of Crowley's manuscript appears a cipher: a page of text divided by a grid with a diagonal line running through it, and a "rosy cross" coincidentally evocative of the sign of the Zodiac Killer, who also communicated in cipher. The text addresses Crowley, telling him he would never be able to crack the code, but that one who was to follow him would.

It took a while, but the cipher was finally cracked in the mid-1970s, and The Book of the Law finally became the base text for Thelema's "English Qaballa": a system of decryption that assigns numerical values to words, following the principles of Gematria as applied to the Torah and the Midrash in the Hebrew Kabbalah.

Now, here's where it gets interesting.

Allen H Greenfield, a holder of high office in the Ordo Templi Orientis and affiliated with the Lovecraftian Green Abyss Lodge and the Esoteric Order of the Dragon, is also a veteran UFO researcher held in high regard by the never easily impressed James Moseley. As an "idle experiment," Greenfield began applying to the cipher the bizarre names from UFO contactee events and trance channelling. (Recall the UFO phenomenon exploded in 1947, the year of Crowley's death.) What Greenfield found suggested trans-human intelligences were using occult cipher to encode packets of meaning into seeming nonsense for high human initiates. (An interview with Greenfield can be read here.)

Let's take, for instance, Indrid Cold: the name of the unearthly figure haunting West Virginia in the mid-60s during the Mothman flap. "Indrid Cold" has a numerical value of 112, which resolves in the "English Qaballa" to "We are one." Greenfield notes in his Secret Cipher of the UFOnauts that Keel, author of The Mothman Prophecies, writing before the cipher was broken and the value of Cold's name was discovered, observed that "We are one" was a "touchstone for a thousand New Age contact cults in the 1960s and 1970s."

(Greenfield doesn't mention "the Nine," the supposed Great Egyptian Ennead reconnecting with humanity through trance mediumships, but typical of their communications are declarations such as, "We are nine principles of the Universe, yet together we are one.")

Cold appeared occasionally with a companion named "Carl Ardo," which has a cipher value of 54. This is the Qaballistic equivalent of "Set" and "snake." Their alleged homeworld of "Lanulus" has the value of 58, which resolves to "Hawk's head," suggesting Horus. And 54 and 58 again equals 112: "We are one."

"Lam," Crowley's prototypical "grey alien" he was to sketch "from life" during a later occult working, has the value of 24, or "god"; Sirius = 85 = "of our Lady"; Philip K Dick's VALIS = 41 = "her" (or "Vast Active Living Intelligence System" = 515 = "I am life and the giver of life to every star"); George Adamski's "Orthon," a long-haired "space visitor" calling for peace on Earth, resolves to 68, which equals "Jesus"; and "Men in Black" = 142 = "They pass as shadows."

Greenfield doesn't suggesting that Lam is God, or Orthon is Jesus. Rather that the cipher "uses the name or keyword for those in the know to examine and find a curious correspondence, pointing the way to whatever the essence of the encounter is."

It's late; more later.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Markovian Parallax Denigrate

It's their ways to detain, their ways to disgrace,
their knee in your balls and their fist in your face.
Yes and long live the state by whoever it's made,
sir, I didn't see nothing, I was just getting home late. - Leonard Cohen

On August 5, 1996, Usenet groups were spammed by messages of seemingly random word strings, "sometimes numbering in the thousands in a single posting," under the subject line "Markovian Parallax Denigrate":

jitterbugging McKinley Abe break Newtonian inferring
caw update Cohen air collaborate rue
sportswriting rococo invocate tousle shadflower
Debby Stirling pathogenesis escritoire adventitious novo
ITT most chairperson Dwight Hertzog different
pinpoint dunk McKinley pendant firelight Uranus
episodic medicine ditty craggy flogging variac
brotherhood Webb impromptu file countenance inheritance
cohesion refrigerate morphine napkin inland Janeiro
nameable yearbook hark....

I imagine that night the data stream must have been thick with reports of Usenet abuse. But like much abuse, we have to ask, what's its point? It was either nonsense, or a cipher. And if a cipher, then it was a virtual numbers station.

I used to be an avid listener of shortwave radio, and often found numbers stations without realizing what the monotonous intoning, beeps or bizarre sound sequences might be. Interestingly, no one who knows for sure what they are is talking even now, though the most informed guess is that it's the background noise of the black ops world. Fittingly, they can make for creepy listening. For instance the German station, known as "Swedish Rhapsody," which broadcast in the voice of a young girl. And a new one, apparently transmitting from the Southwest US and known as "Yosemite Sam", that begins with a brief data burst followed by the phrase "Varmint, I'ma Gonna Blow Yah T'Smithereens!" This is repeated ten seconds later on the next highest of four frequencies. "Transmissions always start at an offset of 7 seconds, such as at 10:00:07. The timing of the transmissions seems to be excellent." (If this sounds like fun listening, you may want to consider the Conent Project. Though it was released before the debut of "Yosemite Sam" )

Getting back to "Markovian Parallax Denigrate," Google has archived an example here that was posted to The sender is identified as "Chris Brokerage," though clicking "view profile" brings up the email address

Now, "Susan Lindauer" - does that name mean anything to you? Thanks to Project Willow on the RI discussion board for reminding me of her strange story. At least of the strangeness we can know.

In 1993 Lindauer left a career as a journalist with such credits as Fortune, The Seattle Post-Intelligencer and US News & World Report to join the press office of Democratic Congressman Peter DeFazio. Three years later, at the time of the "Markovian Parallax Denigrate" postings, she was working for former Senator Carol Mosely Brown. And two years after that, in 1998, Lindauer was making a deposition in the Lockerbie Trial that contradicted the official Libya did it! yarn, corroborating the accounts of others, such as former DIA operative Lester Coleman that it was instead all about Bekka Valley heroin and CIA drug dealing. (Coleman's book, Trail of the Octopus, can be read online with free registration here.) Because of her time on the Lockerbie case, Lindauer developed an impressive network of Middle East contacts. (Her Washington contacts weren't too shabby, either. Andrew Card is her second cousin.)

But how you're likely to know Lindauer's name is by her March 2004 arrest for acting as an "unregistered agent" of the Iraqi government over a period of five years. (Shades of the stitch-up of George Galloway.) Lindauer argued that her efforts to lift sanctions and to prevent war were being misrepresented. To the Associated Press, Lindauer claimed she was being punished for involving herself in US foreign policy. Though the media portrayed her as a spy and its echo chamber called her a traitor, she was never charged with espionage.

That was two years ago. Her case has yet to come to trial. In fact, she's been judged unfit to stand trial. Today, "she is confined to a federal mental facility in Texas, perhaps never to get her day in court...She is being held past her scheduled release date, which had been sometime early this month, and, she tells friends, might be forcibly medicated as part of her treatment."

According to two court-appointed doctors:

the defendant is suffering from psychotic disorder not otherwise specified, delusional disorder, hallucinatory phenomena, and mood disturbance that render her mentally incompetent to the extent that she does not understand the nature and consequences of the proceedings against her and is unable to assist properly in her defense at this time.

Lindauer had been free on bail until last September when the court, informed by the judgement of the doctors, decided she needed closer observation. Now, it's unclear when she's getting out, and "friends say her mental state seems to have worsened during incarceration":

"I got a call from her Feb. 4," says [friend JB] Fields. "They are talking about forcibly medicating her. She sees women around her, in Carswell [federal medical center in Fort Worth, Texas], who can't hold their own silverware to eat because of medications, and she doesn't see how such treatments make anyone more fit for trial. Seems a lot like the way the Soviets used to treat dissidents." Lindauer told another friend she was being guarded like a terrorist at Carswell, and a relative of Lindauer who recently attempted to visit her was turned away, Fields says.

So, what was all that about "Markovian Parallax Denigrate"? Lindauer was caught up in the Lockerbie intrigue by 1994. Anyone cross-posting a cipher to Usenet would be unlikely to use his or her own email address. And yet hers was.


"59372 98324 19043 78903 95320...". The mechanized female voice drones on and on... What have you stumbled on to? Instructions to spies? Messages exchanged between drug dealers? Deliberate attempts at deception and misinformation?

Chances are, all of the above

Chances are, by 1996 some parties were unhappy with Lindauer sniffing around the drugs of Lockerbie. And so, perhaps for short-term shit-disturbance and a cheap investment in an unknown, long-term pay out, the "Markovian Parallax Denigrate" was created and ascribed to Susan Lindaur. (It's interesting to see "Webb" in the word string. It was in August, 1996, the same month of the "Markovian Parallax Denigrate," that Gary Webb's "Dark Alliance" first appeared.) Deliberate misinformation, to suggest Lindauer was playing a double game, and to lay down some legend if she gave them cause to use it.

Psychotic, delusional, hallucinatory. But they were after her.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Why They Fight

"All right, let's sum up. This year in History, we talked about the failure of democracy." - Starship Troopers

So, let's see what we've got: when Plame was outed by Cheney's office she was working on the Iran file, tracking WMD technologies; the congressional probe into NSA spying will likely now be dropped; new photos of Abu Ghraib frat pranks have filtered out; an Ohio Republican county commissioner has been charged with the attempted abduction of a 14-year old ("come here, little girl"), and Democratic senate hopeful Paul Hackett has been pressured by his party to drop out of a race the popular Iraq war vet could probably win to ensure a slot for a career politician who probably won't.

What's missing? Oh yeah: Harry Whittington has a pellet in his liver, now too, as well as in his heart (though he's said to be doing "extremely well"); Dick Cheney admits to drinking; and the ballistics just don't make sense at the reported distance of 30 yards.

Anything else? Just everything. Everything touched by the fallen angel of the American republic has become a farce, begetting tragedy. It's why The Daily Show has become the premier news program in the United States, because citizen/viewers are permitted to laugh at their condition, but powerless to do anything to change it.

It seems a defining characteristic of the present hegemon that if they deny it, it must be true. Should Bush ever deny having danced the hokey pokey with Jack Abramoff, the next week we'll see the pictures of the two in the Oval Office, shaking it all about.

Many Democrats, bless their blinkered souls, thinks all this means they're winning. That historic low poll numbers for Bush will translate into great gains next Fall and a sure victory for a safe, DLC candidate in 2008. They think, if they can't impeach the President for taking the country to war on a lie or the de facto President for Plame, then surely to God Cheney will be forced to resign for shooting a man.

As if. He's not going anywhere unless the "Lord calls him home" - whoever, and wherever, that may be for Dick Cheney - because even though Life Goes On for most people as if it isn't really happening, the Big Show with Iran is just ramping up. So Dick won't be leaving just yet.

It's wrong, I think, to call what's coming the "War with Iran," when actually it's just another campaign in the Long War that's intended to survive us, and walk the world through its greatest crisis of conflict and resolution. This is spelled out clearer than ever in the Pentagon's latest Quadrennial Defense Review, a .pdf of which can be read here. (See also this thread on the RI discussion board.)

As Bill van Auken notes, the language has been massaged so the enemy is no longer identified as "terrorists" but as "extremists" or "violent extremists." US forces are transitioning from "battle-ready" to "battle-hardened" to meet the "new strategic environment" in which the United States will not only be going to war with nations, but also "conducting war in countries we are not at war with." The Pentagon also intends to "provide US NORTHCOM with authority to stage forces and equipment domestically prior to potential incidents when possible."

How long has it been since you watched Starship Troopers? Perhaps you should again. I caught some of it last week on television, and I was surprised at how reality has outpaced it. I don't mean the space travel and the giant bugs; I mean the abandonment of democracy and dutiful dissent and the remodeling of America into a martial society. The bugs, of course, were never bugs anyway. They're the eternal, dehumanized other that needs only extermination. (The original title of 2002's giant spider movie Eight Legged Freaks was "Arac Attack.")

Paul Verhoeven's film is smart enough to satirize Robert Heinlein's rather straight-ahead authoritarianism (for instance, citizenship is a privilege of those who sign up for "federal service"), though satire seems a hard thing to grok for those who were disgusted by the story of "Hitler Youth in love."

Besides expounding principles of governance which could arguably be described as fascist, Heinlein was also - again, arguably - a student of the occult, and a familiar of the principals of the Babalon Working: Jack Parsons, L Ron Hubbard and "the Scarlet Woman," Marjorie Cameron.

In the 1993 the essay Whence Came the Stranger: Tracking the Metapattern of Stranger in a Strange Land, "Adam Walks Between Worlds" writes

Cameron and others recall that Heinlein and Parsons were quite close friends. They may have met at the Los Angeles Science Fiction Fan club wich maintained a reading room -- they were certainly seen there together. It was also common for science fiction authors to tour the Pasadena-based Jet Propulsion Laboratories that Parsons co-founded. Heinlein was particularly avid in availing himself of such tours. He used to take years off to study advances in science and often wrote glowing of NASA. So here was Parsons, the wunderkind of the rocket scientist community while Heinlein was its chief PR man and visionary. Space travel was both men's passion and livelihood. They had much in common, including their friendship with L. Ron Hubbard, who must have mentioned one to the other. Heinlein lived within driving distance of Agape Lodge which often performed the Gnostic Mass and, judging from Stranger and other writings, Heinlein was quite familiar with the ritual.

While doing his "federal service" Hubbard wrote a novel that virtually prefigures The Turner Diaries entitled Final Blackout. Published in 1940 and "generally considered Hubbard's best science fiction novel," Final Blackout is described by an Amazon reviewer as "an adventure story written for fascists, by a fascist":

Here's the set-up: a world war, started by weak, democratically elected elitists, has been dragging on for decades. A courageous soldier known simply as "The Lieutenant" overthrows the corrupt military power structure and takes matters into his own hands. He defeats all challengers and installs himself as a military dictator, bringing peace and prosperity to war-ravaged Britain. This new regime's torture and execution of dissidents is mentioned only in passing -- but I guess you can't make an omelet without breaking a few eggs.

It's not just science fiction, but the para-science of UFO research that finds itself triangulated with the occult and the far right. In Messengers of Deception, Jacques Vallee catalogues contactee themes such as intellectual abdication, racism and social engineering that support Paris Flammonde's observation that "a great many of the contactees purvey philosophies which are tinged, if not tainted, with totalitarian overtones."

In an interview six weeks before 9/11, Bob Dylan said "We are living in a science-fiction world where Disney and Disney's science-fiction have won. This is the real world. Science-fiction has become the real world, whether we realize it or not."

That's true, even though we're not fighting the giant bugs yet. It's true, because enough people have been made to see no difference, and we who do are now the "extremists."

Monday, February 13, 2006

Accidents will happen

I've lived in this town for thirty years, and to no one I'm a stranger
And I put new bullets in my gun, chamber upon chamber - Nick Cave

I hate the sense that TranceFormation of America makes. I've referenced the book several times here, notably with respect to Dick Cheney's endowment, Bill Bennett's sado-masochism and the ubiquity of Oz programming, and each time I've apologized for doing so. Cathy O'Brien's account of her decades of torture and mind control is a fittingly dissociative jumble of contaminated memory, fantasy and truth, and if the rationality of these times were any less attenuated I'd be inclined to not bother trying to separate the parts:

Dick Cheney, then [assistant] White House Chief of Staff to President Ford...was the reason my family had travelled to Wyoming where I endured yet another form of brutality - his version of "A Most Dangerous Game," or human hunting.... Dick Cheney had an apparent addiction to the "thrill of the sport." He appeared obsessed with playing A Most Dangerous Game as a means of traumatizing mind control victims, as well as to satisfy his own perverse sexual kinks.

It's just out of this world, right? But then Cheney goes and shoots a man, in this world - not the otherworld of O'Brien's narrative - so another suggestive point of unfortunate contact is made, and the weirdness bears down a little more.

Reportedly this was the first occasion for the victim, Austin "millionaire attorney" Harry Whittington, 78, to go hunting with Cheney. Naturally enough he's a Republican, and not surprisingly he's a Bush appointee: a few years ago, then-Governor George Bush named him to the Texas Funeral Services Commission. If that means anything to you, it probably means Funeralgate. TFSC was the investigating body on the case of Service Corporation International, headed by Bush family friend Robert Waltrip, which had been "recycling graves" and throwing corpses in the woods. Eliza May was the director of the TFSC when the investigation began, and was fired, she claimed, on account of pressure from the Governor's office to help his friend at SCI. Her replacement? Harry Whittington. (As we've noted, SCI has gone on to better things, like being tasked to disappear the dead of Louisiana.)

Whittington was shot by the Vice President on the happy Republican hunting grounds of the 50,000 acre Armstrong Ranch of South Texas. The ranch had belonged to late Bush "Pioneer" Tobin Armstrong, who died last October, and is now the property of daughter Katherine. Perhaps the most interesting family biography belongs to Tobin's widow and Katherine's mother Anne, who advised Nixon, served as Ford's British Ambassador, and "approved covert actions on the President’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board under Reagan." Perhaps also worth noting is that Anne was a Halliburton director when the company first hired Dick Cheney.

This happened on Saturday, but the incident wasn't news until late Sunday. What happened in the interim? I could imagine Cheney calling Wolf, the Harvey Keitel character in Pulp Fiction, to clean up his mess. But in the horror show we can't stop watching, Cheney himself is the cleaner. So how was the missing time spent?

Then, when the shooting was finally reported, it was told as a joke. Dick Cheney puts an elderly man in intensive care, and the newsreaders can't stop grinning. In the blogosphere too, it became a piece from the lighter side. What's that about, but a coping mechanism to keep the absurdity at safe distance. You let it get to close, it can either drive you mad or efface your presumption of the world. We need to be able to cope with the Deep Absurdity, but sometimes we need to stop laughing long enough to do something about it.

It's suggested that Whittington is wholly responsible for getting "peppered"(note: not shot in the face and chest), by his having separated himself from the hunting party and approached them from behind. Cheney, so goes the word picture goes, was tracking a bird, wheeled about, and - whoops.

An accident? Sure; could be. But just as possible is an intentional act, because in so much they do, the Bush Administration and Cheney at the head of its class conduct themselves with the berserking disregard of a thrill kill cult. They've shrugged "It was an accident" over too many bodies. Even those who don't know O'Brien's account of Cheney's love for hunting humans have been given great cause to wonder, what isn't he capable of? Remember, this is a man who attended the Auschwitz memorial ceremony dressed for a duck hunt, wearing a wool cap which read "Staff 2001." Was he enjoying a good, deep-body chuckle, knowing he wouldn't be held to account for it by anyone but people like us, and so could get away with it?

Guy de Maupassant's "Diary of a Madman" tells the posthumous, first person story of a respected judge whom no one would ever suspect of murder, and so he senselessly kills a little boy and a fisherman just because he could. ("Who would ever know? Who would ever suspect me, me, me, especially if I should choose a being I had no interest in doing away with?") Appended to the diary de Maupassant adds this remark: "Alienist physicians to whom the awful story has been submitted declare that there are in the world many undiscovered madmen as adroit and as much to be feared as this monstrous lunatic."

I frequently read remarks such as What will it take for Bush to lose his base? Eat a baby on live TV? Maybe we'll yet find out.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

The gods must be crazy

Like a crystal swan in a sky of suns
His ship comes shining. - Bruce Cockburn

It certainly was a rare and splendid thing to hear so much truth spoken to power at Tuesday's funeral of Coretta Scott King. (How often in his five long years has Bush addressed an unvetted crowd? How many times have the props been Army, Navy, Air Force or Marines?) And the predictable spin of studied apoplexy the power-shills displayed at the "Wellstone-ing" of the occasion was hysterically absurd. (Much talk of "disgracing the memory," which amounts to the same as the only good civil rights leader is a dead civil rights leader.) Someone should tell them that to be truly Wellstoned is less about pomp than circumstance.

So sure, it felt good, watching two generations of Bush squirm while Joseph Lowery poured brimstones on their heads, and Jimmy Carter evoked wiretaps and the Helter Skelter time of Katrina. But in the end - and that's what this seems like, doesn't it? - truth to power is an unsatisfying equation. because what is it that power gives in return? At the King funeral, it responded as it often does, by rising to its feet and joining the ovation, and then sitting back down with a huge smirk on its face. Power is liberal with words, even "amen." And yet, some words power must keep to itself.

The Carter presidency inherited George Herbert Walker Bush as Director of Central Intelligence. In one of Bush's early briefings with the President-Elect, Carter reportedly told his DCIA, "I want to have the information that we have on UFOs and extraterrestrial intelligence. I want to know about this as President." Bush turned him down. The information existed on "need to know," and "simple curiosity on the part of the President wasn’t adequate." This according to Marcia Smith, then Science and Technology analyst at the Congressional Research Service, which was then tasked by Carter to deliver what the CIA refused.

Carter, rightly judging he could not trust Bush, shortly replaced him with his Annapolis classmate Stansfield Turner. (Bush later wrote about Carter, "beneath his surface cool, he harbored a deep antipathy to the CIA.") Turner triggered the so-called "Halloween Massacre" which eliminated 800 field positions. This was a milestone in the privatization, and deep criminalization, of the covert assets of US intelligence, which then clustered out of government around their champion, George HW Bush.

Smith drew into her project Daniel Sheehan, then General Counsel to the United States Jesuit National Headquarters who went on to found the Christic Institute.

According to Sheehan,

[Smith] asked me if as Legal Counsel for the Jesuit Headquarters whether I could get access for the Library of Congress from the Vatican library. The Vatican library has a fairly large section concerning the issue of extraterrestrial intelligence, and UFOs. I undertook to contact the Jesuit who actually runs the Vatican library, and much to my shock, they said we couldn’t have access to it.

A second request to the Vatican library failed, even though Sheehan stressed he was acting on behalf of a department the Library of Congress and it was the President himself who requested the information. (Interestingly, Smith later asked Sheehan to address the scientists of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory on the topic of the potential religious implications of alien contact.)

I think most of us realize that the jihads and crusades of this century are merely the Straussian religious text to the subtext of control via manufactured crises. On September 18, 2001, Tehran saw the largest vigil in the Muslim world to honour the memory of the victims of 9/11. Of course, this was not the religious impulse the architects of this crisis meant to encourage. So the forces of moderation in Iran were frustrated, and the fundamentalist engines were fed the fires of provocation and aggression to carry us to this point, at which words and truths fail us and we again are presented with the despairing inevitability of war.

On the evening of December 29, 1980, while driving in the Huffman area of east Texas, Betty Cash, Vickie Landrum and Vickie's seven-year old grandson Colby encountered a large "diamond of fire" hovering at treetop levels over Highway FM1485, emitting odd bleeps and occasionally releasing a "large cone of fire" from its lowest point which made the road impassable. They stopped the car, and Vickie, "a committed Christian who does not believe in UFOs or extraterrestrial life...thought it was the coming of the end of the world." The three exited to get a better look, though they could feel the heat of the object burning their skin. Colby became terrified and cried to his grandmother.

From the account Vickie later told Air Force personnel at Bergstom Air Force Base when she and Betty were interviewed about the incident:

Colby was screaming and crying and everything so, and I thought the world was coming to an end, and I believed that sooner or later we'd gonna have to meet somebody. And I was telling him that ah.. look right in it, you know, I was showing him, I didn't find where the object was, you know when I... it was kinda like a flat... aluminum, I guess, you know, the inside of it looked dark, you know, the object did, and I was telling him to look right inside if he saw a big man it'd be Jesus.

As they watched the object begin to depart, a swarm of helicopters surrounded it. Betty said later, "they seemed to rush in from all seemed like they were trying to encircle the thing." Betty and Vickie counted more than 20, many which they later recognized as double rotor CH-47 Chinooks, spread over an area of eight kilometers. Hours after the incident, Cash and the Landrums began suffering radiation sickness:

Over the next few hours Betty's skin turned red as if badly sun burned. Her neck swelled and blisters erupted and broke on her face, scalp and eyelids. She started to vomit and continued to do so through out the night. My morning she was almost in a coma. Some time between midnight and 2am Vickie and Colby began to suffer similar symptoms, although less severe. At first they suffered the sunburn like condition and then diarrhea and vomiting. It was a miserable night for all three victims. The following morning Betty was moved to Vickie's house and all three were cared for there. Betty's condition continued to deteriorate and three days later she was taken to hospital. The burns and swelling altered Betty's appearance so radically that friend who came to visit her in hospital did not recognize her. Her hair began to fall out and her eyes became so swollen that she was unable to see for a week.

More on the Cash/Landrum incident can be read here, which adds:

An off duty Dayton policeman and his wife were driving home from Cleveland through the Huffman area the same night and also observed a large number of CH-47s. A man living in Crosby, directly under the flight path, reported seeing a large number of heavy military helicopters flying overhead. Oilfield laborer Jerry McDonald was in his back garden in Dayton when he saw a huge UFO flying directly over head. At first he thought it was the Goodyear airship, but quickly realized it was something else. "It was kind of diamond shaped and had two twin torches that were shooting brilliant blue flames out the back", he said. As it passed about 45 meters above him he saw that it had two bright lights on it and a red light in the center.

This is, despite its being an offense to the sensibilities of secularists, a new age of religon. Or perhaps more accurately, a caricature of a religious age. (And quite literally so, given the psy-op incitement of offensive cartoons.) And UFOs are, for close contactees, often religious and metaphysical events ("if he saw a big man it'd be Jesus"). And more, they are also of military consequence (from the interview, Betty Cash: there was helicopters completely around the object...the type of helicopters that I've never been used to seeing.... They were the ones that had two deals, two rotors on them, and they were quite a few." USAF Captain John Camp: "Did these helicopters have any type of markings?" Cash: "Yes, they sure did: 'United States Air Force'"), and of such intelligence classification that neither George HW Bush nor the Vatican Library would share their knowledge with President Jimmy Carter.

Great blood sacrifice is coming to much of the world as it takes a controlled descent into chaos, but that also brings opportunity for the few who hold the words of power. And when peace comes, it will come with strange gods.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

The Trouble with Fascists

"We Fascists are the only true anarchists. Once we've become masters of the state, true anarchy is that of power." - Pasolini, Salo

Fascists have, let's call them, boundary issues. The boundaries of states, and I mean both federations and conditions, and the boundaries on the roadmaps of the soul. They transgress.

Now of course, transgression can be a good thing, providing it's your own boundaries you are crossing. In fact, in almost every religious culture, transgression is allowed to be a holy thing. Think of fools of God like Saint Simeon Salus, a sixth century hermit who would perform such antics as blowing out the candles of a church just as the service was beginning, eating sausages on Good Friday and defecating in the marketplace. Yet as George Hansen tells in The Trickster and the Paranormal Simeon was also known to perform miracles, including the multiplication of food, telepathy and predicting the future. Nityananda, who last century violated many orthodox Hindu laws and would embarass his devotees by his nakedness and such happenings as smearing excrement over his body and sitting "with large piles of it, offering some to passers-by as a sweet." (The inversion of food/excrement and mouth/anus is a recurring and powerful transgression. The Aztecs had a copraphagic deity named Tlazolteotl, "Divine Excrement," also known as Tlaelquani, the "Eater of Ordure." See also "The Eye of Horus".) But Nityananda is remembered for his "miraculous healings, prophetic powers and even weather control." Joseph of Copertino mortified his flesh with chains and metal plates that pressed into his sores, and wore broken crockery around his neck to increase his humiliation. Joseph is also arguably the best-documented levitator in history. He also displayed telepathy, clairvoyance, healing powers and more. Sri Ramakrishna, one of India's greatest saints, often dressed as a woman and would eat the food left as temple offerings for gods.

So, what was that about fascism, and what am I going on about now? I'm going on about Pasolini's final film, the one he may have died for: Salo.

"You must be stupid to think that death would be so easy. Don't you know we intend to kill you a thousand times?"

It's a hard film to see, and not just because it's hard to sit through. Its graphic sexual sadism has prompted its banning around the world. (I first tried to catch it at a Toronto Forbidden Films festival in the mid-80s, but the Ontario Film Board forbade the screening.) Given how there are many works in the past 30 years that have out-grossed it, I suspect it's still problematic not so much for its generalized sexual sadism as for its pointed depiction of fascist sexual sadism.

The film is an adaptation of the Marquis De Sade's 120 Days of Sodom, which Pasolini set in Mussolini's "Republic of Salo," the Nazi puppet state of northern Italy that he nominally administered during the final years of the war.

If you haven't seen it, you've seen and heard of something like it. Forced nudity on collared and leashed prisoners with covered heads, paedophilic rape, coprophilia, humiliation and torture, ritual abuse and murder. Is it fascism? Is it Salo, or someplace else?

(And I should say, the death of a thousand times includes such insufferable yet mundane things as the Killing Jokes of deadpan irony. The Cheney/Bush gang are masters of timing. It's Republican prostitute Jeff Gannon getting back his press pass, this time for "Pajama Media." It's Rumsfeld comparing Chavez to Hitler. Doesn't he know what he's saying, and doesn't he know what he sounds like? Yes, and yes: of course he does. And it must give him tremendous pleasure.)

"Our guide restored the divine character of monstrosity thanks to reiterated actions. That is to say: rites."

It's been a topic before here how the psycho-sexual atrocities of Abu Ghraib and Gitmo, and most certainly the unnamed secret prisons in the "War on Terror's" encircling gulag, did not arise in a vacuum and without the stage direction of senior officials. They also enact ritual, and are more than reminiscent, to both students and survivors, of the methods of covert mind control. Survivor Kathleen Sullivan has says that "many survivors...are experiencing an additional set of reactions....wave after wave of devastating emotions and flashbacks after each new revelation is made public. What was done to the prisoners is too similar to what was perpetrated against most of us." And last July I wrote that the "mission is brutalization. Not just of the captives, but of the captors and their codependent subjects in the Homeland. Because the transformative mission extends beyond the literal confines of Abu Ghraib and Gitmo, to the imaginative boundaries of Empire."

But there's more going on here than brutalization. Or rather, the brutalization has, I believe, a sacramental aspect. Because there's a liminal quality to the bulldozing of values which achieves for the fascists - and possibly also for some fragmented parts of their victims - an ecstatic state of transgression. Perhaps understanding this dynamic will help explain and anticipate the congruity of fascism with occultic crime and untangle "Satanic Ritual Abuse" from the double caricatures of fundamentalist hysteria and secular humanist disdain.

Pasolini, by the way, was murdered the year of Salo's release, after having received death threats from neo-Fascists on its account. Last year, Italian police reopened the case after Giuseppe Pelosi, a then-17 year old who served nine years for the killing, recanted. Pelosi said Pasolini hadn't, after all, tried to rape him with a wooden stake, but had been killed by a politically motivated group of men, and he "had to play the game played by these people, the 'respectable' people who ordered the murder."

Those are some wild games, the games respectable people play.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

JFC Fuller's Army

But there's no danger
It's a professional career - Elvis Costello

Just a quick note about how they're the damnedest things, the things I didn't know.

Since I was fourteen or so I've had on my bookshelf a copy of JFC Fuller's Decisive Battles of the Western World. I knew he was a Major General, an early advocate of air power and mechanized assault, and a popular military historian. I'd known his philosophy of armoured warfare won more favour in Germany than in Britain, and that it became the blitzkrieg of commanders such as Heinz Guderian. And that was about it. What I didn't know was Fuller was both a fascist and an occultist, and no slouch at either.

Fuller served on the Policy Directorate of Oswald Mosley's British Union of Fascists, and was the only Englishman honoured with an invitation to Adolf Hitler's 50th birthday party in 1939. He was also a life-long Thelemite and an early advocate of Aleister Crowley. A .pdf of Fuller's early study of Crowley, The Star in the West, can be read online here, and also his Secret Wisdom of the Qabalah. (By the way, an online edition of his Foundation of the Science of War is hosted by the US Army Command and General Staff.) He was also an accomplished artist of occult subjects. That's his work, entitled "Knowledge and Conversation," next to his portrait in the above illustration. Kenneth Grant, in Outer Gateways, states that Fuller actually drew the sigils for Liber XII, "one of the most mysterious communications every received by Crowley" under alleged inspiration of the entity Aiwass.

Grant adds that Fuller's sigils are evocative of those reproduced by purported UFO contactee George Adamski, who insisted that they were "not to be interpreted mystically, but as glyphs of the nut-and-bolt variety." (In the 1950s Adamski asserted he had been contacted by "spacemen" from Venus, much as the occupants of the airship of 1897 claimed to have been out-of-state rather than off-world. Now, the claims of origin are most often distant stars. The lies, whether human or trans-human, keep abreast of science's plausible denial.)

Grant writes:

It is well known that Hitler had occult affiliations, and that one of his chief engineers was the celebrated Werner von Braun who later enabled the Americans to visit the moon. Is it not feasible that Hitler, in favouring Fuller as he did, was not only interested in Fuller's tank designs but also in his other, more recherche machines? The fact should not be overlooked that Hitler was in contact with entities as enigmatic and as alarming as Aiwass, and perhaps his interpretations of the messages he received from them were as coloured by his conditioning as were those of Crowley.

So, what's the point? Two points: if we mean to combat fascism, then we should learn to recognize it on our bookshelves and in the mindbombs dropped by respectable fascists. (Fuller's Generalship of Ulysses S Grant is still an influential study of the Civil War strategist, though one Amazon reviewer does chide his history of The Second World War for barely mentioning the extermination of millions of Jews, Gypsies and Slavs.) Also, we had also better brush up on our occultism. Because we can't really know the fascist character if we project upon it our familiar secular and liberal mental landscapes. That is going to take us to mad places, but that's the nature of comprehending the method.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

There Is No More Firmament

We could comprehend our condition by the moon
But they've ordered the moon not to shine
- Nick Cave

Antonin Artaud again.

In 1933, three years before his dissociative initiation into the peyote ritual of the Tarahumara, Artaud completed an eight-page, one-act play set in the year 2000 entitled There Is No More Firmament:

On a busy street crowds of people witness the sky seeming to fall from the heavens, with light and darkness alternately becoming their environment. Confused, they gossip, argue, pray, and curse while the newspapers distribute conflicting stories about the situation, quoting politicians and scientists alike, all denying that the end is near, and all claiming to have the truth.

The truth of the play is that the star Sirius is about to collide with the Earth. Robert Anton Wilson provides a synopsis of sorts in his Cosmic Trigger, Vol. I:

There Is No More Firmament begins with discordant music indicating "a far-off cataclysm." The curtain rises on an ordinary street scene, with actors coming and going rapidly. There are bits of ordinary conversation ("Wines ... windowglass ... gold’s going down"), suggestions of violence and insanity ("He’s undressing me. Help, he’s ripping my dress off..." "I’m on fire, I’m burning, I’m going to jump") and, finally, the word "Sirius" repeated in every tone of voice and every pitch of the scale:


Actors rush about claiming that the sun is getting bigger, the plague has broken out, there is thunder without lightning, etc. A reasonable voice tries to explain, "It was a magnetic phenomenon...." Then the loudspeaker tells us:


"One actor claims it is the end of the world. Another says it is two worlds ramming each other.... Finally, one scientist comes forth to explain to the audience, "The molecular grouping in Sirius is everything. These two forces, ours and theirs, had to be put in touch with each other."

While something at least gives the impression of rushing towards us - something that's made claims of Sirian provenance, Freemasonic influence and eschaton - it's not literally Sirius. But Artaud was right about the firmament. Except, of course, that it never was there. It only felt like it because our presumptions of the universe were shared by so many and left untested for so long. Once that began to change, the vault of Heaven that fixed the stars in place wasn't so sure.

I'm not just talking about the High Weird stuff, though I will and we should. I also mean the more mundane unthinkables being enacted upon the stage of this world. That's not to say unthinkable acts are anything new, only that they seem that way to those who've never before considered them.

Of course, this historical moment's premier catalyst for consideration of the unthinkable is 9/11, though the 2000 election makes a strong contender. And once we go there, with all our intelligence and informed intuition, there is no more firmament. The stars are still there, but they're no longer hung like Christmas ornaments from the crystalline dome of a failed cosmology. It's dark and cold with no roof on the world, so we may want to re-imagine one as a fiction of normalacy, and draw a line dividing the corrupt terrestrial from the glorious celestial. That's how we get people who can say "Bush knew" while they call Mena "tinfoil," and for whom Skull and Bones was a forbidden topic after Kerry's selection. But the unthinkables just keep on coming, and those who draw lines proscribing discourse will be overtaken by the events precipitated by the thoughts which earlier overwhelmed them.

Does anyone today need signs and wonders - does anyone even need to read a paper, or maybe the scriptures of their choice - to have a sensible impression of the spiritual monstrosity of the Cheney/Bush regime? Because this is where the loss of my firmament has left me: that this public display of twilight power is merely the secular flowering of an ancient root that shares more with Egypt's Old Kingdom than America's new republic.

In his book Outer Gateways Kenneth Grant - to whom Aleister Crowley entrusted his portrait of Lam and intended to succeed him as "Outer Head" of the Ordo Templi Orientis - observes that occultists have always been asked to persuade "the Masters" to deliver signs and wonders for those who can't imagine the "existence of a world beyond the senses." Yet no number of miracles would suffice to convince those "too obtuse to accept the vast accumulated testimony of tradition and the thousands of well attested cases of transhuman phenomena."

Grant then adds:

However, since the middle of the present century the Masters would seem to have decided that the massive exhibition of mysterious phenomena is, at last, in order. For what otherwise explains the frequent and sometimes alarming appearance in our skies, during the past forty years or so, of inexplicable lights and unidentified objects? ... These weird phenomena have been sighted not predominantly by occultists, magicians or metaphysicians, but by ordinary people following the pursuits of ordinary people, soldiers, sailors, policemen, airmen, farmers, lorry drivers, and so on. A glance at any one of literally hundreds of books on so-called UFOs should convince any but the hopelessly purblind that numberless (because uncounted) individuals, and groups of individuals, alive today have seen with their own eyes phenomena equal to, if not surpassing, anything witnessed by the few who were privy to Madame Blavatsky and her Mahatmas. But has there yet been a general acceptance of miracles?

In one of the posts regarding the alleged portals of Skinwalker Ranch I mentioned that a family named Bradshaw had earlier experienced a similar two-year brush with high weirdness near Sedona, Arizona, and "also claimed to witness a similar 'structure' in the sky that appeared to serve as a gateway between different realities." I recently got hold of the 1995 book of the case entitled Merging Dimensions: The Opening Portals of Sedona by Tom Dongo and Linda Bradshaw. (In this interview, Dongo mentions his documenting an earlier Sedona incident of a man who witnessed a "floating window in the air and several nine foot tall Bigfoot type creatures nearby that he felt were guarding it, and how someone later, in the same general area, another man also saw the same type of thing. Neither man knew each other." One, says Dongo, was a retired Air Force colonel.)

There is the usual cluster of paranormal suspects at the Bradshaw Ranch: strange entities, UFOs and orbs, as well as military incursions. And then there's the "portal." Unlike the skinwalker portal, this one was allegedly photographed twice. The reproductions are included in the book.

Bradshaw writes that one evening she was walking on her property when suddenly, "before my eyes, a huge and brilliant light appeared in the sky above me.... I did not see anything but the light itself and it remained there for only a few seconds." She was disappointed she hadn't brought her camera, and then made a point of taking it with her on her walks. Some time later on another evening, on a walk with her camera in hand, the light appeared again in the same spot: "I only had time to click the shutter twice, when the light instantly closed, leaving me to question whether it had been real."

When she picked the film up from the developer, she was surprised to see detail in the huge rectangular light in the darkness that sat about 15 feet off the ground judging by the juniper tree just off its side. Sedona is arid desert, but the detail revealed "an oceanside scene or that of a late afternoon sunset on a sloping plain." A telephone pole is in the right foreground, but the nearest pole is over a mile away from the site where the photos were taken. The two photos are not identical, and show movement between shots, principally of one or maybe two humanoid figures in the bottom left. The pictures also show a discoid UFO in flight and numerous pyramid-like objects.

Perhaps most curiously, there is also what Dongo describes as a "flying bat...along with what looks like the number 39 with a large dot directly after the 9." That's not what I see. The "bat's wings" are not organic, but seemingly tooled straight and tapering lines, intersecting at what looks like the hinge of a compass. The compass rests on its side, with one point directed to the ground and the other to the sky, encompassing the disc. And to me, the "39 with a large dot" looks more like "33°." I think that's interesting, especially because Dongo and Bradshaw don't see it, and don't tell others to see it. (Though naturally I should acknowledge that what I see may say more about me than the photograph.)

Do I believe the story of Bradshaw's portal? I'd be a fool to simply because I read it somewhere and saw a blurry picture open to interpretation. But it's not about belief; none of it is. It's about all the things I can no longer comfortably disbelieve. It's not just the sense that, without a firmament, anything can happen, because anything can still be an exception. It's that the narratives which now make the most sense of our times are approaching fantasy and horror fiction. It's about hearing the ring of truth in the strangest places. With so many unlikely bells ringing the same notes, what are we to do? Especially since we know the answer to Grant's question: "has there yet been a general acceptance of miracles?" So what's expected of us now?

The government urges you to remain calm.