Friday, September 09, 2005

tin-foil hat time, part III

this is a picture of a Baby Einstein Musical Toy
I find myself bemused by this little curiousity from the bottom of Evil Twin's toy. It's something I've never noticed before, but now that I am aware of it, I may have to check the bottom of everything I own. What could possibly be the purpose of such rules:
This Device complies with Part 15 of the FCC rules. Operation subject to the following two conditions:
  1. This device may not cause harmful interference.
  2. This device must accept any interference received, including interference that may cause undesired operation
The only reason that I could think of why a toy would be required to be unshielded, is so that it could be subverted somehow. Yeah, I know. Whacked, right?
Well, there's a book that you might want to read, called The Men Who Stare At Goats, by Jon Ronson.cover of The Men Who Stare at Goats by Jon RonsonNow, as tin-foil hat subjects (hereafter refered to as "TFHs") go, the subject of this book is pretty out there. But Ronson is no 21st century von Daniken. He reports on largely secret military experiments in paranormal phenomena which include subliminal interrogation techniques, psychic "tracking" of targets, and attempts to kill using pure mind-power. While the documentation on this stuff is largely that of interviews with subjects that some might consider a bit "unreliable" (such as General Stubblebine, who blames his inability to walk through walls on the distraction of the Afghanistan situation), considering the subject matter, this shouldnt come as a great surprise. However serious the military may have been about these experiments (probably not very, what we call "secrecy" may have been merely embarassment), I personally suspect that eveything Ronson is reporting is more-or-less true. The military has an obligation to at least try anything that might give it a tactical advantage, how ever much a TFHs it might be.
Those are my words, not Ronson's, but the story he tells doesnt make any of the early history in this book (with one dark, LSD-laced CIA exception) seem threatening. At one point, his description of the brief fight against Manuel Noriega in Panama sounds like something out of a Tim Powers book.
Where things begin to turn distrurbing is with the current administration. "Reactivated" psychics, interrogations involving the Barney Song (the silliness of which undermines its true sinisterness), gung ho martial artists armed with a toy-like piece of equipment capable of creating excruciating pain, and subliminal conditioning; these items in context of the BushCorp's enthusiasm for war are worrying. Ronson also implies the need for concern by saving for last a story of the CIA, secret keeping, loyalty testing, and probable murder in the 1953 death of Frank Olsen. Intelligence gathering, secrecy and loyalty issues... sound familiar?
Anyway, the point of bringing up this book was this: Who's to say that this rather bizarre rule #2 isnt there to allow the subversion of said toy, or anything else to which it applies, by some Intelligence organization? Not that they had a plan, or that it would work if they had one, but just that it might leave the door open, that some day they might figure out how to slip through. Now how's that for Tin Foil Hat Subject!

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