Thursday, September 19, 2013

Our Regularly Scheduled Ritual

In remarks made to Telemundo on Monday, President Obama described the September 16th Navy Yard Shooting as an example of "a ritual we go through every three or four months."

I'm a strong believer in the power of language, particularly of words.  Analysis of phrasing and word choice can tell you far more about a person than the literal meaning of what they say, even sometimes far more than they want you to know.  I've written before about Oswald's famous "I'm just a patsy" comment and how the word "patsy" has a very different connotation than its synonyms.  Most people interpret his statement in the literal sense to mean "I've been framed" or "I'm just a scapegoat."  Unlike these terms, "patsy" has a very specific meaning in the American vernacular of the early twentieth century, and with the types of people with whom Oswald is known to have associated.  A patsy isn't innocent.  A patsy is a fall guy, someone who is "in" on whatever crime is being committed, but is left "holding the bag" so to speak by his cohorts.  Oswald's statement implies that he was involved with or at least aware of something illegal and that it has now dawned on him that he's the one being left to take the rap for it. 

Ritual, like patsy, has a specific meaning.  Two specific meanings actually.  The first of course is "ritual" in the religious sense.  In the coming days and weeks, you're going to have no shortage of theorists who will tell you that is exactly what the Navy Yard Shooting was: a religious rite orchestrated by persons unknown for nefarious purposes.  Such theories are entertaining to contemplate, but ultimately there is no identifiable proof. I prefer to stick to what can be proven, which ties into the second meaning of ritual: convention or habit.  A case can be made that the Navy Yard Shooting is very much a ritual in this regard.  So much about the event strikes us a familiar.  Even in these first few days after the event, its connection to previous patterns we've seen is already clear. 

The following is a summary of what is currently known about the shooting and the shooter and their similarities to other suspicious events:

The SWAT Team received a "stand down" order.
The most famous incident of a "stand down" order was on 9/11 when no jets were sent to intercept the hijacked planes, despite the fact that NORAD had sufficient time to scramble fighters from any of the multiple bases on standby.  A full timeline of the 9/11 stand down can be found here, which also features information regarding the drill underway during 9/11 that allegedly confused things.  Reports of drills scheduled during the Sandy Hook massacre and the Boston Marathon bombing have not gone unnoticed in the alternative media.  It bears noting that the story broke on the BBC website; not exactly known for being a den of conspiracy theorists.

Shooter Aaron Alexis had made some bizarre statements to the police in August 2013.
Specifically, Alexis stated that he was being followed and electronically harassed by three people after an incident in the Virginia airport.  For those of you not familiar with certain dark corners of the conspiracy realm, the technical term for what Alexis described is "gangstalking."  Differing explanations of the gangstalking phenomenon can be found here and here, with videos offering more detail here and here and here.  There are a significant number of people who believe that they are currently being gangstalked, meaning Alexis was not alone in this belief.  Belief, however, does not necessarily imply truth, and yet the sheer number of alleged victims and their various evidence warrants more consideration than most people have given the subject. 

The concept of gangstalking has roots in reality.  It is common knowledge that both law enforcement and intelligence agencies surveil individuals in the course of their duties.  Targeted individuals,  or TIs, as they call themselves, rarely connect their stalkers with any legitimate authorities and state the purpose of the stalking is harassment, not intelligence gathering.  In my research I have come across very few targeted individuals who could offer a tangible reason for the stalking other than being randomly singled out for persecution.  In summation, gangstalking appears to be a huge plume of smoke emanating from a very small fire.  I do not doubt that there are some individuals out there who are being surveilled by persons unknown, but the bulk of TIs are likely mistaken.

Alexis also mentioned the use of electronic harassment -- another frequent claim of TIs -- and it was revealed yesterday that he had carved "My ELF weapon" into his shotgun.  ELF, or extremely low frequency, is considered by some to be either a form of electronic harassment or mind control.  A good overview of ELF theories ranging from the proven to the extremely specious can be found here, but the fact that the US military is interested in so-called "non-lethal weapons" is not exactly a secret or a conspiracy theory.  In 2010, the US Marine Corps requested proposals from contractors, stating they were specifically interested in "studying advanced non-lethal RF directed-energy weapons and non-lethal laser weapons able to cause temporary blindness, painful heating of the skin, and other kinds of pain."  The request was part of what is know as the US Joint Non-Lethal Weapons Directorate, which the Department of Defense is so proud of they gave it its own website.  It's already working too.  The Army uses these handy briefcase-sized "Escalation of Force" kits and the Navy uses the "Acoustic Hailing Device" which does double-duty as a communications device and a weapon.  It bears noting that it has been mentioned that Alexis reportedly heard voices: The Acoustic Hailing Device reportedly allows individuals to speak to one another from over a quarter-mile away by using the device.  A good overview of the past, present, and future of Electronic Warfare can be found in this article, published a week before the shooting. 

Mainstream media articles (like this one) have been quick to point out that belief in ELF is the domain of the "tinfoil hat" crowd, all the while failing to mention any of the above listed examples of the real-world existence of electronic harassment technology. 
(Not me.  I promise)

I'll grant you that you'd have no trouble finding a lot of people who claim to be electronically harassed that are simply just paranoid.  However, the fact that Aaron Alexis believed that he was the victim of ELF does not necessarily mean he was wrong or crazy.  The technology exists.  It was being used by the US Navy, for which he was a former member and a then-current contract employee. 

Aaron Alexis' personal life was perhaps more bizarre than his claims of harassment.
Several items jump out at me from what we know about Alexis' life in the months leading up to the shooting:
  1. He was employed by The Experts, a government contractor for IT services. According to their "About us" page, CEO Thomas Hoshko's previous jobs include working for the Pentagon in: "Directed operations of the Special Intelligence Communications Center for the Chief of Naval Operations, Director of Naval Intelligence and Joint Chiefs of Staff, including but not limited to, secure communications (DMS) , satcom and cryptography for the DOD, NSA, White House and intel agencies."  Is The Experts a CIA-front company?  According to this timely article, the CIA has recently developed a taste for investing in IT startups.   
  2. Alexis was a IT consultant for one of the military's top contractors.  He had a "Secret" clearance and apparently performed his job well enough to travel for his company regularly from Texas to Japan to Rhode Island and finally to the DC-area.  My knowledge of this field leads me to believe that he was well compensated for his work.  Just using round numbers, it would not be unreasonable for him to have been making between $75,000 and $100,000 annually.  This would actually be the low-end estimate, as secret clearances typically are able to command a higher wage since the pool of potential employees is smaller.  Alexis wouldn't have been "wealthy" by anyone's standards, but he would have been able to live comfortably for a single man in his mid-thirties with no dependents.  Why then did Alexis not have a permanent residence?  Granted, his position as a contract worker who travelled frequently would have made a buying a home a bad decision, but as recently as May of this year, Alexis was living and working with the owners of Happy Bowl Thai in White Settlement, TX, just outside of Fort Worth.  Alexis should have been able to A) afford to live somewhere else and B) if he was able to secure a job with The Experts and get a secret clearance in 2013, he would have been able to find more lucrative employment. 
  3. Alexis spoke fluent Thai, better than some native speakers according to his former boss.  How and when Alexis learned to speak Thai is unknown.  It is possible that he received training during his time in the Navy, but he had never been stationed overseas and typically the military doesn't offer language training unless it is a requirement of the job.  We are left to assume that Alexis learned it on his own, as the Happy Bowl Thai owners stated he already knew Thai at the time that they met him.
  4. The current media narrative that Alexis was mentally unstable and had anger issues isn't corroborated by any of his close associates.  The most that is being said is that he was frustrated with his job, but apparently no more or no less than any white-collar worker would be.  There's an odd synchronicity here with Lee Harvey Oswald, who was alternately described as a loner or a very friendly guy and an abusive husband or a loving spouse depending on who was telling the tale.  Alexis -- like Oswald, Mark David Chapman and David Berkowitz -- was a very intelligent man who took menial jobs despite being overqualified.

Where does this leave us? Nowhere definite.  But whether this a conspiracy or merely a criminal matter, there are definite aspects of this event that are going unreported by the mainstream media.  The story seems to have already slipped down the memory hole of the public consciousness.  As of this writing (three days after the event), news about the shooting is buried in the middle of the page on CNN.com, as a small sidebar on MSNBC.com, and not at all on the front pages of FoxNews or the DrudgeReport. 

When, and if, any of the above questions are answered, I will keep you updated.