Friday, 17 March 2017

Cold War Paranoia: the Real Thing . . . a Poisoned Brick Thrown from an Upper Window

As you may be aware from my occasional despatches from Stoneburgh Military Academy – the elite alma mater for generations of British Intelligence operatives – I have documented in a number of communiqués the insider’s view of our Applied Behavioural Science and Psychological Operations unit, PsyOps, and its analyses of notable Cold War players of the Great Game.
       Insights, for instance, into the politico-criminalistics of two legendary Cold War subversives, the profiling of MI6 double agent George Blake and the Soviet spy Anthony Blunt, may be read here . . .
Cold War grandstanding:
Soviet ballistic missile paraded in Red Square, Moscow.

Lessons learned from ideological grandstanding by Cold War warriors.

Agreed, Stoneburgh’s preoccupations with its established I.n.t.C.l.e.a.r. Intelligence Clearance criteria for the integrity of trainees entering the Service would seem, at first glance, to suggest a narrow academic purview that precludes the wider socio-cultural landscape. 
       That this is not so, you may be sure, is due to the perceptive application of Predictive Investigative Psychology techniques by the IOC (Intelligence Operations Courseand its close observance of the socio-cultural context when examining the lessons the ideological grandstanding by Cold War warriors can teach us.
       As I have shown, in the Blake/Blunt profiling, it is through the behavioural patterns of both active counter-espionage operatives and those rogue agents suborned and bribed by foreign powers, that the fatal inherited weaknesses by which agents can be compromised are exposed . . . for it is in the subject’s childhood – well, particularly in childhood – that extreme ideological beliefs are found to germinate and, with them, ideological paranoia.
Professor Weisse (Stoneburgh Military Academy’s lecturer on politico-criminalistics), June 2015: ‘It is my belief that deeply embedded ideology from a subject’s formative years can be awakened (or, in today’s terms, ‘radicalised’) by the very real hostile intent of enemy powers, so the greatest vigilance must be maintained to identify telltale signs or detect unguarded disclosures.’
       And lest you imagine that Cold War Childhood Paranoia is a state of mind beyond the reach of my empathic identification, may I tell you that, five years after the Cuban Missile Crisis, I was witness to an episode in the New York City borough of Queens that induced in me an authentic prickly sense of doom, revealed to me by a child’s-eye view of imminent annihilation falling from the sky.

‘Kids down the block say they wanna kill all the bad guys.’

In my view, then, those days of Cold War paranoia are not beyond retrieval.
       Which brings me to that day I set out with little Nathan for Corona Park, the day his mother was taken by his father to Mount Sinai hospital for her annual physical. Both second generation Polish-Americans, she was a store detective in the city and his father was the boss of a maintenance crew for Manhattan’s wooden water towers.
       So timid six-year-old Nathan was used to inclining his earnest bespectacled old-man’s face to study the New York skyline; an elevated inquisitiveness came naturally to him.
       ‘Them kids down the block.’ His small hand tightened in my clasp and he nodded in the direction of the apartment house on the corner of our avenue. ‘Real mean kids.’ He pointed to a third floor window and balcony. ‘Say they wanna kill all the bad guys.’
       ‘How’re they going to do that?’ I asked with smile. (The two boys who lived on the third floor – Lee and Frankie – I knew to be aged seven and nine.) 
       Nathan pointed to the upper window.
       ‘Got stuff up there to be throwed down on the bad guys. Th’other day Frankie says as how he’s gonna fix ’em. The bad guys. Says as how them guys are gonna get throwed down on them eighteen hunnerd poisoned bricks.’

‘Weapons of mass destruction . . . satellites, celestial bodies, outer space.’

It follows, then, that I shall ask a not irrelevant quick question. Have you heard of the 1967 Titicut Follies (directed by Frederick Wiseman and filmed by John Marshall), a documentary masterpiece about the patient-inmates of Bridgewater State Hospital for the Criminally Insane, a Massachusetts Correctional Institution in Bridgewater, MA?
       Yes. A documentary film completed fifty years ago.
       Nineteen Sixty-Seven. A year I have cause to remember.
       1967. Churchill’s state funeral. Coffin borne on gun carriage. Muffled drums.
       1967. Communist China explodes its second atomic bomb.
       1967. The Vietnam War enters its twelfth year.
       1967. U.S. troop levels reach 463,000 with 16,000 combat deaths to date. 
       1967. Chinese shoot down two U.S. fighter-bombers outside Vietnam’s border. 
       1967. Massive pro-war and anti-war demonstrations in New York. 
       1967. The United States and the Soviet Union sign the Treaty on Peaceful Uses of Outer Space. This agreement bans weapons of mass destruction from orbiting satellites, celestial bodies, or outer space.

‘Stockpiling nuclear weapons is like kids with toys.’

Theatre of Cold War Paranoia.

The extended soliloquies of the inmates (some Vietnam vets) in the Bridgewater Hospital exercise yard are Pure Theatre, that is, the Theatre of Cold War Paranoia . . . a crazed exuberance of prophets and the possessed.
       The ex-vet seer Borges (above right) pronounces: 
‘America is a female part of the earthworld and she’s sex crazy. Her sexiness brings on wars like the sperm that is ejected by man; it’s by a woman in her own body. It has the same influence. But this is a gigantic pattern . . . stockpiling nuclear weapons is like kids with toys, they figure they got to start playing with those toys . . . They’re no good. They’re Judases. They’re money-changers. I’ll tell you one thing. Even Pope Paul is not without sin. Believe in him and the cardinals! I say he’s unworthy of being the pope of the world and I announce that the rightful pope is now Archbishop Fulton Sheen and the other one, Cardinal Spellman, so help me God. I, Borges, say so !’
      ‘Stockpiling nuclear weapons is like kids with toys.’ 
      As six-year-old Nathan predicted in the same year: ‘Got stuff up there to be throwed down on the bad guys.’

Catherine Eisner believes passionately in plot-driven suspense fiction, a devotion to literary craft that draws on studies in psychoanalytical criminology and psychoactive pharmacology to explore the dark side of motivation, and ignite plot twists with unexpected outcomes. 
see Eisner’s Sister Morphine (2008)
(where the counterespionage operations of Stoneburgh may be read in Red Coffee)
and Listen Close to Me (2011) 
and A Bad Case (2015)
(In the latter two volumes, Stoneburgh operatives feature in Lovesong in Invisible InkListen Close to Me and Inducement)
see also extracts from the Stoneburgh Files here:
and for more insights on 
Anthony Blunt

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