Claire's Great Mystery Project Unveiled

Submitted by Bill St. Clair on Sun, 01 May 2005 12:00:00 GMT
From 3rd ear:
"If at first you don't succeed, skydiving is not your sport." -- unattributed

From muth:

"Social Security in any form is morally irredeemable. We should be debating, not how to save Social Security, but how to end it--how to phase it out so as to best protect both the rights of those who have paid into it, and those who are forced to pay for it today. This will be a painful task. But it will make possible a world in which Americans enjoy far greater freedom to secure their own futures." -- Alex Epstein of the Ayn Rand Institute

# I drove to Central Massachusetts yesterday for a meditation gathering. My ride home in the dark was intense, to put it mildly. I wrote the following email about it to the Massacusetts Highway Department:

Date: Sat, 30 Apr 2005 21:57:37 -0400
From: "Bill St. Clair" <>
Subject: Thank you for the center-line reflectors

To Whom It May Concern,

I drove west tonight on Route 9, from Northampton to Pittsfield, in rain and fog, sometimes thick. At times, it was difficult to see the road. Fortunately, much of the way had orange reflectors along the centerline. They made the road easy to see, even in the glare of oncoming headlights. They saved my sanity and possibly my life. Thank you.

-Bill St. Clair

# Claire Wolfe and Aaron Zelman - Rebelfire: Out of the Gray Zone - Claire's "Great Mystery Project" sees the light of day. A rebellious novel of Amerika's distopean future. You can read the first four chapters at They expect to begin shipping paper on May 20. I ordered one. $17.95. There's even a song, Justice Day, with classic rock interpretation by Rockne Van Meter and heavy metal interpretation by Opium War, both available for download in MP3 format. Lyrics by Claire Wolfe. Book and music designed to light in young minds the spirit of rebellion against illegitimate authority. Hmm... since when was any enforced authority legitimate?

He's just a kid.

Trapped in a world where everybody is watched.
All the time.
Where everything is controlled "for your own good."
Where dreams are dulled with drugs.
Where there's no way out.

But Jeremy wasn't made to be controlled ...


# Stan Goff at From the Wilderness - Jurassic Park, Psuedo-events, and Prisons: The fallout from Abu Ghraib, Part VI - image management, Abu Ghraib, My Lai, the Stanford Prison Experiment. Good analysis from Mr. Goff. Starts slow, but once you get through the first few paragraphs it gets interesting. You can find parts 1-5 of this series on the military category page of Mr. Goff's weblog. [smith2004]

Erving Goffman, who coined the term "impression management," prefigures the effect of disruptions in these pseudo-events for the Bush administration, in his 1959 book The Presentation of the Self in Everyday Life:

"I have considered some major forms of performance disruption-unmeant gestures, inopportune intrusions, faux pas, and scenes. These disruptions, in everyday terms, are often called "incidents." When an incident occurs, the reality sponsored by the performers is threatened. The persons present are likely to react by becoming flustered, ill at ease, embarrassed, nervous, and the like. Quite literally, the participants may find themselves out of countenance. When these flusterings or symptoms of embarrassment become perceived, the reality that is supported by the performance is likely to be further jeopardized and weakened, for these signs of nervousness in most cases are an aspect of the individual who presents a character and not an aspect of the character he projects, thus forcing upon the audience an image of the man behind the mask. "

The latest example of this is the collection of scenes Michael Moore used in his wildly successful Fahrenheit 9-11 documentary, where - in violation of the unwritten law of mainstream media to never show embarrassing out-takes of prominent leaders - he shows Bush rolling his eyes cluelessly, John Ashcroft telling the make-up artists to make him look young, and Paul Wolfowitz spitting into his comb to tame his cowlick... where we can all behold these "leaders" as what they are, dangerous geeks who have bullshitted their way into power with the help of advertising psychologists and zillion-dollar PR firms.

The whole pseudo-event of the "good" war in Iraq began to come apart with the photographs from Abu Ghraib prison and the subsequent release of hundreds of heretofore "dangerous" characters who were dramatically and "coincidentally" rehabilitated.


In 1971, Stanford University Professor of Psychology Phillip Zimbardo designed an experiment that would come to be known as the Stanford Prison Experiment. Subjects were recruited and paid a modest stipend, whereupon they were separated into "prisoners" and "guards," and placed in a mock prison built in a Stanford basement. The prisoners were stripped, deloused, shackled, and placed in prison clothes, while the guards were given authoritative uniforms, sunglasses, and batons. Long story short - within two days there was a near prison riot, psychosomatic illness began to break out, white middle-class kids in the role of guards became rapidly and progressively more sadistic and arbitrary, and the two-week experiment had to be abandoned after only six days... before someone was badly hurt or killed.


There has never been a Stanford Military Occupation Experiment to complement the Stanford Prison Experiment, unless we just count the military occupations themselves. There is a structured, systemic antagonism between an occupying military and the people whose land they occupy. And there will be no investigations of any of it, because there never are, unless and until the American public is confronted with them.

The National Command Authority and its cheerleaders cannot say out loud... this is what we are doing, and it can't get done unless we dehumanize the occupied. This reality, this system, will express itself in the thoughts and emotions of you, the troops who carry it out, because this military occupation is in a sense making a prison of Iraq and making you, the troops, its turnkeys.

It will only be those exceptional individuals in the military who refuse to surrender their humanity - no matter how little they may understand the big picture - and who will witness. Those who do break with the system and witness are very important people, important to history, because their refusal to surrender your own moral integrity to the system may lead to our collective salvation by ending this felonious occupation. The troops who filed reports about the abuses at the Abu Ghraib prison were such exceptions.


So I'll leave to others the analysis of whether the troops facing courts martial are scapegoats (they are, and they are also probably guilty as hell), and whether or not the military is letting the officers off with reprimands and walking papers to prevent the fire spreading (which it is). I'll just emphasize that the war in Iraq cannot be won. Not because of the inability of US troops to fight, but because we don't belong there. And since that's the case (which I firmly believe it is) every life - Iraqi, American, or otherwise - that is lost or ruined... is wasted.

All this talk of whether Military Intelligence or the mercenaries working for CACI International or the CIA or the MP commanders were responsible is diversionary bullshit so we won't see how Iraq itself has become the Stanford Military Occupation Experiment. Because if we conclude that the problem is systemic, then the only thing to do to stop this is to walk away. And the Bush administration sent troops there for the purpose not of building democracies, but of building permanent military bases in the heart of oil country, and if they walk away, they can't rightly build bases, can they?


The set collapses and exposes the half-dressed actors backstage. Their names are no longer Terrorism or Democracy, but Abu Ghraib and Fallujah... My Lai, No Gun Ri, Wounded Knee, Jenin, Jakarta, Rwanda, Mozote, Pelican Bay... killing fields and prisons.

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