“Zombies Are People, My Friend”
In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists, and will persist.
–Dwight D. Eisenhower, January 17, 1961 .
This chapter is largely going to be some anecdotes in order to get us out of the nineties and into the aughties.
There’s an old joke in New York. It goes basically like this.
“So what do you do?”
“I’m an actor.”
“Oh, yeah? Which restaurant?”
Acting is a profession where a very, very small percentage of people who actually consider themselves professional actors make a living at it. Many do in fact wind up waiting tables. The schedule can be flexible and there’s always the possibility of free or discounted food, networking with other actors, musicians, dancers, comedians, singers, and artists who are likewise waiting–and waiting–to be discovered, catch a break, get an agent, land the breakthrough role, etc.
Another, closely related occupation is catering. Catering can be better than working in a restaurant in some ways because you can work jobs when you aren’t acting and say no when you are, and you aren’t typically so dependent on tips and it pays more per hour.
One actor friend of mine once posited that waiting tables could hurt an actor’s skill because she is, in that job, seeking “audience” approval, catering to her clientele. While that skill certainly helps where dealing with fans is concerned, when you are actually working, acting, you have to put such considerations aside to a large degree and serve the story.
At least that was what we agreed to off-stage and in rehearsal. On stage, there was plenty of delighting the audience and, especially in repertoire where you might do the same show thirty or forty times, we came to often note audience response to different kinds of humor and seem to like differing characters/actors during particular performances. Matinees always struck me as the strangest, the most unpredictable. Sometimes it was the bawdy or slapstick stuff, other times the highbrow humor that seemed to get the largest response during a comedy or show that had at least a fair amount of humor. Though we sometimes got into trouble for it, there was infrequent improvisation of stage business. It kept the show fresh and new in the anticipation of the unexpected.
1990 at the Festival saw some changes. The founder and producer was fired by his own board and some new folks were brought in to run the place. Additionally, there was an actor who quit and a near rebellion when an intern was elevated into the major role the actor vacated instead of a more experienced union actor, many of whom had been recommended by other actors in the cast and the one who left. Though things were rough for a while, we got through it and I stuck around for the fall season as well.
After that season ended, we were all out on our own. We were looking for work…and jobs.
So it was that in the early 90s, one fellow New Jersey Shakespeare Festival intern who I saw on a somewhat regular basis was catering. I had a little trouble sleeping one night (or at least later said that I did as a joke) when he told me that he was catering at the Kuwaiti consulate or another similar complex where Kuwaiti VIPs lived while in the United States. Some of the visitors there during this time, the time of Operation Desert Storm, were the young, attractive females of the Emir of Kuwait’s family. I joked that this intern–a friend who often seemed to enrage entire groups of people around him due to some social faux pas and a stubborn, absolute inability to apologize or even recognize that he had gaffed at all–would start an international incident. I actually did check the papers after he told me where he was working. He had described the guards (armed with Uzis or some other SMGs) who walked around periodically. This intern liked to flirt as well, so it seemed a kerfluffle was just waiting to happen with young, beautiful Kuwaiti royalty involved. Gaffe or the proverbial angry (oil) farmer’s daughter, one or the other seemed likely.
Yet nothing like that actually happened. No articles describing trouble of any kind in the Kuwaiti community in NYC at that time that I saw.
However, after the events that happened decades later, the ridiculous number of coincidences I have witnessed and experienced, I did wonder why. If we were all connected to some illegal program, or a whole slew of them, why was he “stationed” there?
That was what first led to me thinking about my own clients. It hadn’t even occurred to me, because I wasn’t spying on them. And yet (as you’ll see) I’ve been treated like a former spy who got burned. In order to even consider what I now believe to be the truth, I had to think about someone else’s situation first, then apply those ideas to my own.
I believe that his real “job”, the one that our unseen handlers engaged him in, was to stand in in case something went wrong. If Kuwaiti internal security realized that the CIA, NSA, etc. had acquired information about whatever was going on or said inside that building, they had a fall guy. Similar to my situation, he was put there as a walking “patsy,” a “zombie” who would as scapegoat protect the technology employed and/or the real spies.
Later on in the decade, when Monicagate became more and more a national topic (actually, did we talk about anything else?), former President Carter stated publicly that President Clinton should step down, resign, for having “lied” to the American people.
That same day, or the next, I started having heart palpitations. I wound up going to the doctor. Eventually it appeared that I had fatty liver, a precursor to cirrhosis. I was not a heavy drinker really, and so my doctor was mystified as to why. Eventually, I saw Morgan Spurlock’s Super Size Me and suggested to him that it may have been sugar content of my horrible work diet. In the film, Spurlock’s doctor says that the test results he saw he would expect after a week or so of binge drinking in Vegas, not from eating fast food. Some days were just so busy that that was the simplest, easiest way to grab a bite and be able to leave before 7 p.m. Then, tired from the day previous, there were often coffee and Danishes to get the day jump-started.
(I should probably note for my own current well-being that I’m a lot healthier these days and that most of that seems to have reversed itself. The liver is a hardy organ.)
Around this same time, I started writing letters to my representatives. The Democrats in Congress seemed to initially want to follow Carter’s advice and begin impeachment of President Clinton. The economy, and my suspicions that the hullabaloo was largely political, the result of powerful enemies controlling media outlets, set me on edge. A few days later, Congress backed off of that idea and started defending the President against attacks from the Right.
This is what I meant earlier when I said that there was some activism that I don’t regret, not one iota. There’s more later, Plamegate and Squidgate. Whether or not those things were my idea, I’m still glad I tried, did what I did.
It’s true that I no longer hold the Democratic Party in high regard. It seems to me that they have betrayed pretty much every single thing that they claim to uphold as ideals, now offer only lip service to their own platform and even that has slipped more recently with Democrats just as war-happy as any neocons. And as you’ll see later, our leaders are more interested in exploiting people than helping them. But in the 90s, the idea that special business interests might succeed in getting a president removed from office over a personal matter for non-personal political gain bothered me.
The Clinton administration had been up to that point the toughest on big tobacco, for example. They had also, though, thrown the military-industrial complex a few bones in Eastern Europe. The conflicts had, perhaps, sated their appetites for the moment.
Closer to the point of this book, there was what happened related to mind control and human experimentation. Let me back up a little first.
The troubled female intern from the ’89 season, as I said, wanted to move to Missouri. I found out later that she had moved to L.A. when she appeared in an article from the Los Angeles Times for a show that she was in. She had behaved strangely while working at the Festival. What I learned later was that she had written the FBI and both the George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton White Houses about what had happened, or what she thought had happened, to her.
It was the Chief Executive of the latter administration who, as he often does, made some smart political moves, recognizing what might later come to pass. Had her letter, and those of perhaps other similar victims, made Clinton and his people aware of what was going on?
First, Clinton apologized to the victims of MK/Ultra . Second, he signed some executive orders, 12891 on January 15, 1994, “Advisory Committee on Human Radiation Experiments”, 12975, (amended with 13018, 13046, and 13137) on October 3, 1995, “Protection of Human Research Subjects” .
E.O. 12891 resulted in some hearings on human radiation experiments in Congress  in March of 1995. The executive order called to halt all such nonconsensual work (though it dated most of it as having already ended in the 1970s).
Though it seems to me that President Clinton was not able or did not end these programs forever, he did have the foresight to distance himself from them. It was (and I hope still is) likely that there will one day be hearings and news about this phenomenon.
Where and how did it re-start? Or was it never truly stopped? I don’t know for certain.
I could not help but notice that one of the longest running victims, a Canadian, of this newer program started being harassed in the early 1980s  and that coincided with the creation of yet another intelligence apparatus, JSOC (the Joint Special Operations Command). Little is known of JSOC’s actual activities. They were closely involved with the assassination of Osama Bin Laden . They do not like the limelight at all, and that may be why you mostly see CIA and other entities mentioned for that raid.
JSOC is essentially the President’s own black ops directive, or is supposed to be. It often pools the resources of other entities, such as CIA, DIA, NSA, NRO, etc.
Could it be that some within the Reagan administration decided it might be a good idea to develop this to create a permanent Republican majority or at least to make whichever party is in power more friendly to Wall Street at the expense of the American public? Could such a person had run with that idea and assigned JSOC the duty of reinstating it under the guise of national security?
Or did top NATO commanders who found allies within the administration pick up where the CIA left off? Seeing how it would work much better to have some sort of behavioral modification techniques used instead of having so many paid double-agents within terrorist and other radical organizations (as had been done with GLADIO) would seem an obvious and likely upgrade to the effort. Voice-to-skull could be used to direct operatives in the field and there would be no incriminating financial trail, no direct, traceable associations with the organizations within the NATO countries and their intelligence apparatuses. In fact, most of those directed wouldn’t even know who they worked for, or the real reason that they did what they did.
Or both? Maybe a Republican effort to use nonlethal weapons for domestic purposes launched an “arms race” with the Democrats who decided that emulating the other party’s unscrupulousness was the winning move.
Ever wonder why so many elections are so close in recent years, requiring recounts? So have I. The potential for mass voter fraud is high with voice-to-skull and just plain old subliminal messages and psychological manipulation that has become at last more science than art. More on the possibility of a domestic political party “cold war” later.
On top of that, you’ve got NATO behaving like a sovereign nation, declaring a secret war on the very countries it is made up from along with the rest of the world. It’s quite the mess.
I haven’t even gotten into the “Citizens United” Supreme Court decision. How many justices do you think would be required to be remotely modified to make a decision swing the way you want it? How much would it cost and what would be the financial gain? And all you’d have to do is target them with the same technology you used on Jared Lee Loughner.
The financial gain math is obvious. The technology exists. Therefore, someone is using it for that and other purposes. You know that it’s true. It has to be. Self-restraint is was never something the founders counted on. This system of government was built on the idea of competing powers, checks and balances. It is currently unbalanced in just about every meaning of the word.
I believe that is where we are. I believe that is close to what happened.
A few chapters back I mentioned that my former partner wound up at a French bank for a time. One day in 1999, September or October or so, he called me and asked if we could take on a temporary roommate. There was a bank intern (the French require military or public service of all citizens, which can be working as interns at French companies) who was staying on after the internship ended. He would become a bank employee. My partner didn’t want to rush into it though, so he asked me to set up dinner plans to see how we all got along.
I called another former NJSF intern (the one whose father had perhaps been CIA and died of a gunshot wound) and we set it up to meet at our apartment on the Upper East Side. My partner and the bank intern showed up first and we waited for my actor friend. The Frenchman was in his early 20s. I thought he was rather cute. We’ll call him Adrienne.
We quickly exhausted the usual topics strangers talk about when they first meet. There was a lull in the conversation.
Adrienne looked over at our TV and VCR. There was a row of VHS tapes. On the end, I think, was one of my old favorites, Die Hard.
Adrienne looked at me and asked, “Crease,” which was how he pronounced my name and I found that adorable as well, “do you know what is the view of American film in France?”
He seemed to be asking a serious question. I thought for a second and had no idea. I shook my head.
He started laughing and said, “Big explosions!!!”
His laughter continued. I laughed as well, but not quite as hard. He was teasing me a little.
I countered, “Adrienne, do you know how Americans view French cinema?”
He, as I had, looked to be in deep thought for a moment but had no guess to offer.
I set up the scene by motioning and stating that someone else, off camera, had asked a question, but indicated that my face was in close up. I stared off into space, perhaps conveying some existential dread, and took a long, slow drag of a cigarette as I considered the question, whatever it had been, put to my character. I paused a bit longer. Then I slowly and quietly said, with a French accent, “Non.”
He burst out laughing. We had not so much perhaps removed a cultural barrier as made it clear that we at least knew what they were and found them humorous. Even our own.
This was the beginning of a the most intense and short-lived “bromance” of my life. I learned a great deal from Adrienne about enjoying life and French views on US culture, especially the American corporation, at least where Parisian banker families were concerned.
And that friendship would, somehow, relate later to whatever it is that’s happening now. It would relate to both destroying my life and, somehow, saving it. Someone would, ten years later, use it as leverage, control. Or try to.
It would even play a role in titling this book.
1 NPR, “Ike’s Warning of Military Expansion, 50 Years Later”, NPR Staff, 17 January 2011:
2 You can watch the apology here:
3 The Federal Register, index of William J. Clinton Executive Orders:
4 You can watch or read some of the testimony from the 15 March 1995 hearings. Much of it is quite disturbing and shows that, despite what the American people were told about MK/Ultra human experimentation ending in the early 60s, continued into the 70s, probably under another name, perhaps MK/Search or a name that has still not been revealed.
In the Name of Science: A History of Secret Programs, Medical Research, and Human Experimentation, Andrew Goliszek, Macmillan, 15 November 2003, pp. 166-172:
Dr. Valerie Wolf
As a therapist for the past twenty-two years, I have specialized in treating victims and perpetrators of trauma and their families. When word got out that I was appearing at this hearing, nearly forty therapists across the country, and I had nearly a week and a half to prepare, contacted me to talk about clients who had reported being subjects in radiation and mind-control experiments.
Christina DeNicola/Christina Coleb:
[CIA’s Dr. Luther Wilson Greene] moved on to wanting me to kill dolls that looked like real children. I stabbed a doll with a spear once after being severely traumatized, but the next time, I refused. He used many pain induction techniques, but as I got older, I resisted more and more. He often tied me down in a cage, which was near his office. …
The next year I was sent to a lodge in Maryland . . . to learn how to sexually please men. I was taught how to coerce them into talking about themselves, and it was [various doctors and officials named], who were all planning on filming as many high agency government officials and heads of academic institutions and foundations as possible, so that later, when the funding for mind control and radiation started to dwindle, projects would continue.
5 I’m speaking of organized stalking and electronic harassment (OSEH) target advocate Eleanor White. More on OSEH later. In the meantime, enjoy the unheeded letter that appeared in the July 2013 issue of the Washington Post express from Freedom from Covert Harassment and Surveillance (that organization is headed up by Derrick Robinson, who is, I think, former NSA):
Full issue is here (19MB):
6 See Deep State: Inside the Government Secrecy Industry,
D.B. Grady and Marc Ambinder, Wiley publisher, 2013, ISBN-10: 1118146689, ISBN-13:978-1118146682.
Also, many articles by investigative reporter Jeremy Scahill. These usually have to do with the drone and assassination programs run by CIA and JSOC.