Monday, December 24, 2007

Let the mystery be

Iris Dement

Still low with the flu, but my spirit is lighter than it was last post and I wanted something up here to reflect that.

New content next week. Have a safe and encouraging holiday.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

It came upon a midnight clear

Gottfried Helnwein, "Epiphany I: Adoration of the Magi"

Blogging has been suspended until the new year to accommodate the seasonal influx of illness and spiritual anguish. But there's always fresh meat on the discussion board.

"Life is a hideous thing, and from the background behind what we know of it peer daemoniacal hints of truth which make it a thousandfold more hideous."

And a Merry Christmas to you, too, Mr Lovecraft.

Note: I closed comments last night because my identity was being hoaxed by two blogger accounts fraudulently created in my name. I'm reopening comments now, with the notice that l will not be posting further to them (I've since made an exception, and commented at Dec 22 09:17:00 AM), and the warning that if I am hoaxed again the accounts will be traced and complaints will be filed.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

The things that don't add up

"Well what do you think they're going to say?"
Alex Cox introduces The Parallax View

Like Margo Timmins, I'm just thinking of some things that don't have to add up to something. Say, eight dead in an Omaha shopping mall massacre an hour after Bush left the city, while Cheney shopped the ammo aisle of Mack’s Prairie Wings in Stuttgart, Arkansas.

Today is the 90th anniversary of the Halifax Explosion, caused by a collision of a French munitions ship and a Norwegian vessel chartered to carry relief supplies to Belgium. Eleven thousand people were killed and injured. It wasn't until 1945, and another war, that humanity triggered a bigger bang, and this time on purpose.

As well, today marks the 45th anniversary of a near-collision at 18,000 feet over the Gulf of Mexico between a B-29 and an exceptionally fast something. It was detected first by radar, and with each radar sweep the object drew closer to the aircraft by 13 nautical miles or 5,240 miles per hour. Radar operator Sidney Coleman alerted Captain John Harder, who asked him to recalibrate his equipment. Coleman did, and found the radar returns correct, as four other blips appeared, one rapidly accelerating towards the B-29.

The assistant radar operator rushed towards a right window and made visual contact in the expected position, "a blue lit object streaking by the plane...circling around it." Other sets of blips appeared on all three radar sets, and other members of the flight crew confirmed visual contact with "blue-white lights streaking at a fantastic speed":

Captain Harter was studying his radarscope; he noted that forty miles behind the B-29, at the relative position of 6 o'clock, a group of five object was cutting the flightpath of the B-29, and turned as to follow the B-29 from behind. They were heading straight to the B-29 at fast speed, then slowed down when they were closing in on the B-29. The remained right there at the back of the B-29 for ten seconds.

Meanwhile, a larger blip had appeared on the radarscopes. This blip made a motionless half inch spot on the radarscopes, a size impossible to any known plane. The group of five objects pacing the B-29 then turned, and started to accelerate. The entire crew saw on their radarscope that the group of five approached the huge motionless blip and seemed to merge into it. Now, only the large blip remained on the scope. In a moment, the huge blip took speed.

Coleman called Harter on the intercom and told him that he and Bailey clocked the huge blip. Coleman said: "You won't believe this. It was making over 9000 miles per hour." Harter replied: "I believe it, all right. That's just what I figured."

Nothing links the two events except the calender, that they both actually happened in our world, and within the orbit of the military.

Last weekend in Oakville, Ontario, a man named Steve Remian was shot to death by police in a possible suicide-by-cop. Remian had recently returned East from British Columbia, and was still driving with BC plates when he was chased from a donut shop brandishing a pistol and confronted in an affluent park.

Last March, Remian's name surfaced in the trial of Robert Pickton, the BC pig farmer charged with the murders of six Vancouver prostitutes but who has confessed to 49. The jury heard that a suitcase belonging to a Steve Remian was recovered from Pickton's bloody workshop, and his DNA had been recovered from a blanket that also contained the blood of a missing woman. A friend has been quoted as saying Remian "was stunned" to learn he had been tied to the case, though Vancouver's Missing Women's Task Force issued a statement that he "was not a suspect nor was he a person of interest in relation to any of their investigation." Yet Remian had once been charged with sexual assault (the charge was dismissed, though an accomplice was convicted), and a freezer containing the remains of two victims was found to bear an unknown palm print. The RCMP has compared it only to Pickton's.

From the start, the prosecution built its case upon a portrait of Pickton as the lone maniac, though the farm was a "constant buzz of activity, with people and vehicles coming and going all the time." Frequent parties at "Piggy Palace" included bikers wearing Hells Angels' colours and the mayor of Port Coquitlam, who says he attended a "get to know you" event in 1996 when he was on the school board, the year victims Tanya Holyk and Olivia Williams vanished. It's always been all about Pickton, though he told police "I'll take the fall for everything. I'm the head-honcho and you've got me."

Pickton implies that there were others involved, but no snuff films as was whispered about, no Hells Angels on the periphery, though they were often at his home. He's being gallant, he implies, taking the fall, now that police had him in their cross-hairs, in jail.

Remian is dead, Pickton will take the fall, and whoever else may be involved remains protected. And meanwhile, in Edmonton...

On November 18, Jennifer Lopez fled with her husband George DeJongh and her three boys rather than hand them over to their grandfather for a court-ordered period of 90 days. The grandfather is California Republican Congressman Gary Miller. DeJongh and her family had contended that Miller's son Brian had molested the children, an accusation the congressman denies, though Brian Miller pled guilty in 2000 to charges of spousal and child abuse and served four years probation and performed 224 hours of community service. (Congressman Miller claims his son pled guilty only because he wanted to put the case "behind him," and has since "learned to control his temper.") That a court would reverse custody and award care to a convicted abuser "speaks for itself," though perhaps what it says is more complex than Congressman Miller's spin.

Six days later, early on the morning of November 24, Miller's daughter Elizabeth "died unexpectedly." I haven't seen a cause of death yet, though an early report has medical examiners "waiting on the results of toxicology tests." Reportedly, Elizabeth was "the one family member who refused to testify against Jennifer Lopez."

While on November 5 17-year old Benjamin Stanford disappeared, his car abandoned on the emergency lane of an interstate, the passenger side door open. On November 13 his body was found with a gunshot wound to the head. The coroner has ruled it a suicide, though he was shot behind the ear, and his cell phone and car keys were not recovered. Stanford was the grandson of Jim Preuitt, Democratic State Senator and former Chair of the Rules Committee, and his family is not accepting the verdict. It is offering a $100,000 reward for information leading to an arrest and conviction in his death.

I'm not suggesting there is a link between the deaths. Only the obvious: that innocents are pawns of power, and power knows no natural decency. Like the Duke says in Pasolini's Salo, "the bourgeoisie has never hesitated to kill its own children."

And then
there are other things that don't add up, or at least not all by themselves, which is how such stories are told. A Blackwater veteran of Iraq who has been charged for possession of child pornography, and a Senate aide arrested for attempting to arrange a lunchtime encounter with a 13-year old boy. An article in the Idaho Statesman detailing eight more allegations against Larry Craig states that Craig's "denials began June 30, 1982, when CBS broke news of a scandal alleging gay sex between congressmen and underage pages. The following day, before any public allegation that he was involved, then-Rep. Craig issued a denial. Craig married a year later and adopted the three children of his wife." Trent Lott's liasons have been corroborated by Hustler's editorial director Bruce David, who claims to have sources other than expensive escort Benjamin Nichols, but may not publish because of Lott's resignation. "Our whole reason for doing this is to get them out of power," says David. (Presumably, since Dennis Hastert has also resigned, we won't be hearing more of the former wrestling coach's unusual relationship with live-in chief-of-staff Scott Palmer and deputy Mike Stokke.)

But that is to miss the point, of this story and so many like it. It's not the hypocrisy, stupid: it's about the nature of power itself, who is allowed a measure of it, and what they have over their heads.

Thanks to Lisa Pease for forwarding Gaeton Fonzi's Reply from a Conspiracy Believer to Vincent Bugliosi for his "tautologically strained" Reclaiming History. Fonzi was one of the principal staff investigators of the House Select Committee on Assassinations, and his account, The Last Investigation, should be on every shortlist of essential titles pertaining to the JFK assassination. Bugliosi both lists The Last Investigation as a source and dismisses it as biased because Fonzi "had long been a conspiracy theorist.” Fonzi never was. "I went from an agnostic to a conspiracy believer," he writes, on the weight of evidence he had a hand in uncovering. (Most significantly, and convincingly, the identification of the CIA's David Atlee Phillips as Veciana's - and hence Oswald's - "Maurice Bishop.")

Bugliosi is a strange one. He could hardly make the claim that his own JFK book is unbiased scholarship. Rather, it's a prosecutor's case for Oswald as the lone gunman. Yet he was an early champion of reopening the RFK case against Sirhan Sirhan, and contributed some important investigative work that undermined the official account:

In 1975, Vincent Bugliosi, who was then working with Schrade to get the case reopened, tracked down the two police officers depicted in the photograph. To that time their identity had been unknown. Bugliosi identified the two officers as Sgt. Charles Wright and Sgt. Robert Rozzi. Both Wright and Rozzi were sure that what they observed was not only a bullet hole, but a hole containing a bullet.

If the hole contained a bullet, then it would have been the ninth bullet, since seven bullets had been recovered from victim wounds and the eighth was to have disappeared into the ceiling (necessary to account for acknowledged holes in the ceiling tiles). So any additional bullet presented a serious problem for those wishing to state there was no conspiracy.

In a declaration filed with the courts, Bugliosi stated:

"Sgt. Rozzi had told me and he told me unequivocally that it was a bullet in the hole and when I told him that Sgt. Rozzi had informed me that he was pretty sure that the bullet was removed from the hole, Sgt. Wright replied 'There is no pretty sure about it. It definitely was removed from the hole, but I do not know who did it.'"

Shortly after the assassination, the LAPD removed the doorjambs and ceiling panels in the Ambassador Hotel and booked them into evidence. One has to wonder why someone would tear off a doorframe or book a ceiling panel into evidence if it contained no evidence of bullets.

Bugliosi is also major figure in Turner and Christian's important The Assassination of Robert F Kennedy, passionately arguing there was a "conspiracy mosaic" behind Sirhan's conviction, and in the same year defended KCOP-TV in televangelist Jerry Owen's libel suit that the Los Angeles station had falsely accused him of a relationship with RFK's conspirators.

In his closing argument (Owen, by the way, won the case, and the TV station was found guilty of slander), Bugliosi contended that "not too long ago, anyone who uttered 'conspiracy' or 'CIA' was chalked off as a 'conspiracy buff':

But recent revelations, your Honor, have indicated that there is a little more credibility to the word "conspiracy." If there is a conspiracy here it could possibly involve people in the highest levels of our government, or people out of the government who had substantial political interests inimicable to Senator Kennedy. And if it was a conspiracy, it most likely was a conspiracy of considerable magnitude, and someone like Owen would have been a lowly operative.

Yes, that's Vincent Bugliosi talking.

So how do we explain him? How could he be so right about Sirhan and RFK - not to mention the stolen election of 2000 - and so wrong about Oswald and JFK? Maybe he's in someone's keep; maybe he's too smart to be so stupid. Or maybe, here, he's just sincerely wrong. I'm often told off in shrill emails that I must be a shill, because how can I possibly not see what they see? (And I think, in every instance, they've had something to do with controlled demolition, Ron Paul or the International Jewish Conspiracy©.) So perhaps Bugliosi, like Chomsky, just doesn't see this, and it will have to remain a mystery to me why they can't. Because I believe that it's possible for intelligent people to sincerely arrive at conclusions I believe profoundly wrong. That may lead me sometimes to naive assumptions, but I also believe it hubris to think otherwise.

And as long as it took me to post about Marvel Zombies, I feel I still didn't get to the point.

Zombies are perfectly nihilistic monsters, but zombie stories needn't be. If they're parables then they're certainly not. And if that's what Marvel Zombies is, then its apparent nihilism is something else: a Twilight of the Gods. (Nietzsche gets the rap of nihilism too, but he's exhilaratingly not.) Heroes need to die if we're ever to do anything ourselves, and they can't die heroically if we're ever to be free of them.

Finally, I'm reopening the comments to unregistered readers. Let's see how that goes.