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 alt.religion.christian.boston-church. The sender is identified as "Chris Brokerage," though clicking "view profile" brings up the email address firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.