scientology’s runway

Earlier this year, I posted some photographs that were sent to me by a reader. The images, taken inside a Scientology compound, showed small metal disks that had been encoded with sound recordings outlining the history and teachings of Scientology. The disks, we were told by our anonymous informant, were meant to carry the message of Scientology through nuclear war, through the end of human civilization, and well into whatever’s waiting on the other side… Well, it seems as though the place where these disks are stored has now been discovered. Here’s a clip from the Washington Post:

Secret Flying Saucer Base Found in New Mexico?

Maybe. From the state that gave us Roswell, the epicenter of UFO lore since 1947, comes a report from an Albuquerque TV station about its discovery of strange landscape markings in the remote desert. They’re etched in New Mexico’s barren northern reaches, resemble crop circles and are recognizable only from a high altitude.

Also, they are directly connected to the Church of Scientology…

“Buried deep in these New Mexico hills in steel-lined tunnels, said to be able to survive a nuclear blast, is what Scientology considers the future of mankind,” ABC’s Tom Jarriel said in his report. “Seen here for the first time, thousands of metal records, stored in heat-resistant titanium boxes and playable on a solar-powered turntable, all containing the beliefs of Scientology’s founder, L. Ron Hubbard.”

That’s right, it looks as though our friends in the Church of Scientology are keeping the disks hidden deep within a secret mountain fortress, and, what’s more, they’ve marked the location so that it’s visible from space…. Here’s more from the article:

What do the markings mean? For starters, the interlocking circles and diamonds match the logo of the Church of Spiritual Technology, which had the vault constructed in a mesa in the late 1980s. The $2.5 million construction job was done by Denman and Associates of Santa Fe, but company Vice President Sally Butler said of the circles, “If there is anything like that out there, it had nothing to do with us.”

Perhaps the signs are just a proud expression of the Scientology brand. But there are other, more intriguing theories.

Former Scientologists familiar with Hubbard’s teachings on reincarnation say the symbol marks a “return point” so loyal staff members know where they can find the founder’s works when they travel here in the future from other places in the universe.

I know you’re probably expecting me to poke fun, but, truth be told, this is exactly what I’d do with my archives if I had the resources to do so. EXACTLY…. It’s naive to think that our culture, as it exists now, will make it too much farther into the future, and, in my opinion, any group with the resources to do so that isn’t looking into preserving their message, as silly as that message may be, is being negligent.

In my opinion, if your organization isn’t creating monoliths of some type to ensure the existence of your message (at least in an academic sense) in the future, and doing whatever it can to increase the likelihood that these relics might be discovered and understood by future races, you don’t deserve to exist. Scientologists, at least on this count, in my estimation, are 100% in the right. And, who knows, in the end they might end up at the front of the pack in the “spiritual marketplace” that is Earth. (“Wide-open spiritual marketplace” is a term that I heard used recently on conservative talk radio to describe China. Basically, they were saying that a billion souls were up for grabs and that every church in existence was trying to make inroads… I like the idea of souls as currency.)

As much as it pains me to say it, if I were the Pope, or anyone else running a large spiritual corporation, I’d be launching satellites right and left and buying up abandoned missile silos by the dozen to house copies of the Bible etched in titanium… Personally, I think it would probably be a bad thing for the universe if we entered into a spiritual arms race like the one I’m suggesting, but I think, at least from the perspective of those most invested, it should be part of any religion’s long-term strategy.

[Links to these images can be found at the Boing Boing site.]

Posted in Church and State | 6 Comments

the belated thanksgiving post

I agonized over this year’s traditional Thanksgiving post for several hours last week, trying to put into words how thankful I am for the fact that I met Linette and that we were somehow able to scramble up our respective DNAs in such a way as to create a baby as bright and as cheerful as Clementine, but I just couldn’t seem to hit the right tone. So, the holiday came and went without comment from me. I don’t suppose that fact made anyone’s Thanksgiving less enjoyable, but it ate at me the whole weekend like the carcass of a nearly pick-clean bird… At any rate, I hope your Thanksgiving went well and that you were able to find something in this crazy, mixed-up world of ours to be thankful for. (If you feel like sharing, I’d be curious to know what you were (are) thankful for.)

Posted in Other | 10 Comments

unleashing the zombie claus virus

Thanks primarily to the efforts of a Michigan expatriate living in Hawaii, it looks as though my Zombie Claus idea might actually become reality. A date has even been set… The attack on southeastern Michigan will take place the evening of Friday, December 16… More information will be forthcoming (said operative in Hawaii is even going to launch a Zombie Claus countdown site), but I wanted to let you know so that you could get about the business of securing a Santa outfit, affixing bits of gore, and reserving Greyhound tickets for the Ann Arbor / Ypsilanti area. I also wanted to put the word out to the designers and illustrators in the audience that we’re in need of a kick-ass Zombie Claus logo. (Please.)

And, if you’re in the area and you think that you might be interested in participating (either as a zombie, as a victim of a brain-eating zombie attack, as an anti-zombie protester, or as part of the documentary team), send me an email and I’ll add you to the ZC distribution list.

Oh, and if you know where inexpensive and/or used Santa outfits can be gotten, let me know. (Ideas on how to make your own Santa outfits would also be appreciated.)

Posted in Special Projects | 7 Comments

john rendon: the man who sold the war

If you haven’t read it yet, the new issue of Rolling Stone has a very good piece on John Rendon, the well-paid public relations consultant who has been at the helm of Bush’s pro-war propaganda machine since the very beginning.

The article starts out by setting the stage, going back well before the war, to the formation of Ahmad Chalabi’s Iraqi National Congress (INC) and their lobbying in the U.S. for military action against Saddam. (Rendon, it seems, was working with the INC at the time, having been commissioned by the U.S. government after the first Gulf War to build and legitimize a CIA-approved entity which could replace Saddam’s regime.) And, as any good story on the propaganda that led us to war must, it starts with Judith Miller. Here’s a clip:

….The INC’s choice for the worldwide print exclusive (ed: for a story that they were peddling on WMD, even though their source, Adnan Ihsan Saeed al-Haideri, was dismissed by the CIA as untrustworthy) was equally easy: Chalabi contacted Judith Miller of The New York Times. Miller, who was close to I. Lewis Libby and other neoconservatives in the Bush administration, had been a trusted outlet for the INC’s anti-Saddam propaganda for years. Not long after the CIA polygraph expert slipped the straps and electrodes off al-Haideri and declared him a liar, Miller flew to Bangkok to interview him under the watchful supervision of his INC handlers. Miller later made perfunctory calls to the CIA and Defense Intelligence Agency, but despite her vaunted intelligence sources, she claimed not to know about the results of al-Haideri’s lie-detector test. Instead, she reported that unnamed “government experts” called his information “reliable and significant” — thus adding a veneer of truth to the lies…

And, from there, the article gets into part that I found most interesting — the use of the foreign operatives/journalists to seed stories in the global media (which would then inevitably find their way back to America). Here’s another clip from the article:

…By law, the Bush administration is expressly prohibited from disseminating government propaganda at home. But in an age of global communications, there is nothing to stop it from planting a phony pro-war story overseas — knowing with certainty that it will reach American citizens almost instantly. A recent congressional report suggests that the Pentagon may be relying on “covert psychological operations affecting audiences within friendly nations.” In a “secret amendment” to Pentagon policy, the report warns, “psyops funds might be used to publish stories favorable to American policies, or hire outside contractors without obvious ties to the Pentagon to organize rallies in support of administration policies.” The report also concludes that military planners are shifting away from the Cold War view that power comes from superior weapons systems. Instead, the Pentagon now believes that “combat power can be enhanced by communications networks and technologies that control access to, and directly manipulate, information. As a result, information itself is now both a tool and a target of warfare”…

To see this accomplished, the Bush administration reached out to Rendon, a man who had helped the U.S. government control public opinion, win wars and install pro-American governments in the past… Here’s a example of how Rendon worked during the first Gulf War on behalf of another client, the royal family of Kuwaiti.

…To coordinate the operation, Rendon opened an office in London. Once the (first) Gulf War began, he remained extremely busy trying to prevent the American press from reporting on the dark side of the Kuwaiti government, an autocratic oil-tocracy ruled by a family of wealthy sheiks. When newspapers began reporting that many Kuwaitis were actually living it up in nightclubs in Cairo as Americans were dying in the Kuwaiti sand, the Rendon Group quickly counterattacked. Almost instantly, a wave of articles began appearing telling the story of grateful Kuwaitis mailing 20,000 personally signed valentines to American troops on the front lines, all arranged by Rendon….

And, it didn’t hurt that Rendon was alreadyintimate with the INC.

…By the time the Gulf War came to a close in 1991, the Rendon Group was firmly established as Washington’s leading salesman for regime change. But Rendon’s new assignment went beyond simply manipulating the media. After the war ended, the Top Secret order signed by President Bush to oust Hussein included a rare “lethal finding” — meaning deadly action could be taken if necessary. Under contract to the CIA, Rendon was charged with helping to create a dissident force with the avowed purpose of violently overthrowing the entire Iraqi government…

Thomas Twetten, the CIA’s former deputy of operations, credits Rendon with virtually creating the INC. “The INC was clueless,” he once observed. “They needed a lot of help and didn’t know where to start. That is why Rendon was brought in.” Acting as the group’s senior adviser and aided by truckloads of CIA dollars, Rendon pulled together a wide spectrum of Iraqi dissidents and sponsored a conference in Vienna to organize them into an umbrella organization, which he dubbed the Iraqi National Congress. Then, as in Panama, his assignment was to help oust a brutal dictator and replace him with someone chosen by the CIA. “The reason they got the contract was because of what they had done in Panama — so they were known,” recalls Whitley Bruner, former chief of the CIA’s station in Baghdad. This time the target was Iraqi President Saddam Hussein and the agency’s successor of choice was Ahmad Chalabi, a crafty, avuncular Iraqi exile beloved by Washington’s neoconservatives….

So, you got all that? Basically, what it’s saying is that this fellow, Rendon, under the direction of the CIA and Pentagon, created the Iraqi National Congress, sold it to the world as a legitimate alternative to Saddam’s administration, and then began making the case (with faulty intelligence) for WMD that would lead our country into war… Then, in the immediate wake of September 11, things got thrown into overdrive. And the rest, as they say, is history… (An interesting side-note raised in the article is that almost “half of the CIA’s work is now performed by private contractors — people (like Rendon) completely unaccountable to Congress.”) Rendon, by the way, has been charging the CIA and the Pentagon $311.26 an hour for his services during all this time.

And here, for the other side of the story, is the response from the Rendon Group to the article in Rolling Stone… Brilliantly, they end by pointing out that the writer for Rolling Stone had been drinking “French” wine during the interview. (The bastard!)

Posted in Politics | 3 Comments

steve guttenberg is killing this blog

I think my blogging days may be drawing rapidly to a close. I was just sitting on the couch debating whether or not my time was better spent watching Steve “I ain’t aging so well” Guttenberg in a horrid re-imagining of the Poseidon Adventure, or coming into my office here, catching up on world events and blogging. Steve Guttenberg won out (and, as soon as the commercials are over, I’m headed back to the couch).

From now on, I think I’ll just use this site as a place to dump photos of my daughter. Here she is with a banana. Perhaps every week I’ll post a photo of her consuming a different type fruit or vegetable in some nice outdoor setting.

Posted in Pop Culture | 12 Comments

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