Tuesday, July 31
"One day you can tell all this to anyone who's willing to listen. No one will believe you. Despite the fact that anyone who makes the slightest effort can see what is waiting at the future."
Bergman directed his first film, Kris ("Crisis"), in 1946, the same year hundreds of "Ghost Rockets" rained down on Sweden. There was probably nothing otherworldly about this, so long as we set aside the proposition that we ourselves may not be of this Earth. Most likely, the flap was the result of experiments or demonstrations conducted over the Baltic by the Soviet Union's own German engineers. An urgent message July 16 to the Swedish War Department states "some highly placed officials believe the phenomena are Russian rocket experiments either purely for research or for War of Nerves. Staff very nervous about release of info to United States and United Kingdom for fear Russians will cry 'West Bloc'. This office urges greatest protection this information."
Sweden was an incidental proving ground, but everything about Iraq reeks of intention.
Shortly, America's first robot squadron will be deployed there. Each "Reaper," the size of a jet fighter, can carry 14 Hellfire missiles, or four Hellfires and two 500-pound bombs, and will be piloted from a console 7,000 miles away in Nevada. For ground-force support, Lockheed Martin is developing the robotic MULE. A Lockheed promotional video can be viewed here ("it will allow soldiers to use technology to perform a number of dull, dirty and dangerous jobs, freeing troops to focus more effectively on the success of their mission"). But naturally, "the most ambitious of the future combat systems" is the robot soldier "with a 'conscience,' which is being designed to look and fight, and in some respects think, like a human soldier.". And encoding ethics into a "new breed" of robot fighters is extremely important, we're told, because possibly "the abuses at Abu Ghraib would not have happened with autonomous robots, immune to human depravity."
An elderly cult leader in Australia named Kenneth Emmanuel Dyers, founder of "Kenja," has been"hounded to his death" over charges of child sexual abuse. Last year he was ordered to "stand trial on 22 child sex offences, but the NSW District Court deemed him unfit for trial in May and ordered a mental health assessment." During Dyers "trademark" meditations, which he called "energy conversion sessions", he allegedly took children as young as 12 into "private rooms, ordered them to strip and molested them." Claims of abuse date back at least 20 years. (A 1999 conviction was overturned on Dyers' appeal to the High Court in 2002.)
"This is a terrible tragedy," said an official statement released by Kenja, "and those that have participated in the attacks on Ken should feel a terrible guilt for their responsibility in this."
Dyer was a former military policeman and Scientologist, and critics have noted "significant similarities between Kenja and Scientology, including vocabulary and teaching material."
About Theresa Duncan and Jeremy Blake: I have to keep checking myself, because I don't want to make a game of Clue out of this. Not least because we're missing so much of the game board, but mostly because it's indecent to turn such fresh tragedy into a mind game. There are many curious aspects to this story, and it's appropriate, I think, to bring them forward, but on the whole I mean to resist the temptation to connect the dots, because there is still far too much space between them.
"Our whole education is just one long humiliation" - Bergman