Author Archive | Matt Staggs

Behind the CIA’s Mission to Secretly Retrieve a Soviet Sub From the Bottom of the Ocean

PIC: The Hughes Glomar (PD)

PIC: The Hughes Glomar Explorer (PD)

IO9′s Charles Strauss has written a great overview of Project AZORIAN: The CIA’s covert plan to retrieve a sunken Soviet nuclear submarine. If you’ve never heard about it before, then I think you’ll find this all pretty interesting. Incidentally, I first became aware of it through Charles Stross’s wonderful Cold War spies vs. Cthulhu mythos series The Laundry Files. AZORIAN becomes a major plot point in the second novel The Jennifer Morgue after negotiations between the Deep Ones and the UK government start to fray over the sub’s retrieval.

Anyway, I particularly like the use of the term “Glomarization” in Strauss’s piece:

Via IO9:

The submarine, if recovered, would be a treasure trove for the intelligence community. Not only could U.S. officials examine the design of Soviet nuclear warheads, they could obtain cryptographic equipment that would allow them to decipher Soviet naval codes. And so began Project AZORIAN.

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Satanic Panic History Lessons Continue At BBC and IO9

PIC: AussieGall (CC)

PIC: AussieGall (CC)

A growing number of influential publications have offered their own takes on the 1980s Satanic Panic since the March 21st publication of our history of our own (“Mazes, Monsters, Charlatans, Satan and Suicide: A Short History of the Satanic Panic“). It’s been amazing to see the Panic become the topic du jour, especially at large, popular websites like IO9 and the BBC. All I can say is that there must be something in the air besides pollen and the sweet, minty fresh smell of chemtrails for so many sites to tackle the same, relatively obscure topic in such a short amount of time! Whatever signal is in the air, clearly we’re all receiving it loud and clear. Must be one of those “Hundredth Monkey” things. Good that more people are hearing about the panic, no matter where they hear it from, but cheers to you, Disinfonauts, for getting the story here first.… Read the rest

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Thinking About Becoming Minority Population Leads Whites Toward Conservative Politics

Fear of a black planet?

PIC: PD

PIC: PD

Via the Association for Psychological Science:

Facing the prospect of racial minority groups becoming the overall majority in the United States leads White Americans to lean more toward the conservative end of the political spectrum, according to research published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.

The findings suggest that increased diversity in the United States could actually lead to a wider partisan divide, with more White Americans expressing support for conservative policies.

Psychological scientists Maureen Craig and Jennifer Richeson of Northwestern University noticed a substantial amount of media attention when predictions were made that the “majority-minority” population shift would happen in 2050 or sooner.

“We wondered how this kind of ‘us-vs-them’ framing would be perceived by members of the current majority,” says Craig.

Craig and Richeson first examined data from 369 White participants who had described themselves as politically unaffiliated in a national Pew Research survey.

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Former ‘Best Mom’ Schemed To Have Woman Raped After Losing Bid On Dream Home

PIC: David Smith (CC)

PIC: David Smith (CC)

A woman recognized in 2006 by Time-Warner as one of San Diego’s “50 Best Moms” has a dark side. After losing a bid on what was described as her “dream home”, 52 year-old Kathy Rowe began embarked on a campaign of revenge against the couple who won. Rowe started with minor, annoying pranks like signing the couple up for visits from religious groups, and then escalated into criminal behavior. Rowe came to the attention of the authorities after it was discovered that she had posted ads online in the wife’s name that stated she had a rape fantasy that she wanted to be fulfilled.

The ads encouraged men who were interested to force their way into the home and rape her, and noted that they should ignore her pleas to stop. The ads were accompanied by the woman’s photo and address, and Rowe had very explicit conversations with the men who responded.… Read the rest

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Moroccan Mentally Ill Imprisoned At Mausoleum To Await Cure from ‘Demons’

PIC: (CC)

PIC: (CC)

Being diagnosed with a mental illness is stigmatizing just about anywhere in the world (The United States only got around to forcing insurance companies to cover mental health treatment less than two decades ago.) but some places are worse than others. In Morocco, the belief that the mentally ill and drug addicted are possessed by evil spirits is a fairly common one. The Bouya Omar mausoleum is a particularly heinous last stop for families looking for spiritual cures for their loved ones’ psychiatric illnesses. The residents are chained, beaten, robbed and left to the mercy of a small group of religious acolytes who supposedly run the place.

Via Yahoo! News:

…A thin mist hangs in the air as a handful of troubled souls wander aimlessly around the Bouya Omar mausoleum in central Morocco, the occasional chilling cry rising from behind its walls.

These are Morocco’s “possessed” — from violent schizophrenics to hard drug users — who are believed to be tormented by evil spirits and whose relatives bring them here to await deliverance.

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Priest Charged with Raping and Torturing Schoolteachers During ‘Exorcisms’

Pic: Seal of the SSPX (PD)

Pic: Seal of the SSPX (PD)

An unnamed priest affiliated with the breakaway Catholic sect The Society of St. Pius X has been charged with the 2010 rape and torture of three French schoolteachers during an “exorcism”. Authorities will not name the priest’s name for fear that doing so may identify the victims.

The Society of St. Pius X is a radical traditionalist Catholic splinter group and is not recognized by the Roman Catholic Church. Its members, in turn, reject the authority of the Pope. The Society has faced much criticism over the years from people who consider its teachings anti-Semitic and reactionary: Founder Marcel Lefebvre was vocal in his praise of France’s Vichy government and advocacy for the return of absolute monarchy.

Via RT:

Police say the priest raped three women in the autumn of 2010 after he met them at the private religious school Ecole Notre-Dame-de-la Sablonniere in Goussonville, west of Paris, which he was running at the time, according to French media reports.

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How The CIA Used ‘Dr. Zhivago’ As A Cold War Propaganda Tool

PIC: CIA (PD)

PIC: CIA (PD)

Note to self: Convince CIA to serve as book distributor for next Disinformation Company title.

Via Christian Science Monitor:

CIA officials had rave reviews for Boris Pasternak’s classic Russian novel “Doctor Zhivago” — not for its literary merit but as a propaganda weapon in the Cold War, the Washington Post reported on Sunday.
Related stories

The US intelligence agency saw the book as a challenge to Communism and a way to make Soviet citizens question why their government was suppressing one of their greatest writers, according to newly declassified CIA documents that detail the agency’s involvement in the book’s printing, the Post said.

The Soviet government had banned the novel and British intelligence first recognized its propaganda value in 1958, sending the CIA two rolls of film of its pages and suggesting it be spread through the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe.

Keep reading at the Christian Science Monitor.Read the rest

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Pesticides May Be Reason Farmers More Likely To Develop Parkinson’s Disease

PIC: USDA (PD)

PIC: USDA (PD)

An initial study in 2000 implicated exposure to pesticides as a possible risk factor in the development of Parkinson’s disease. Fourteen years later, we know even more about how these chemicals damage the brain.

Via Scientific American:

In 2000, a meta-analysis linked confirmed and presumed pesticide exposure with increased risk of Parkinson’s. Subsequent work supported this connection, including a large 2006 study that followed patients for nine years. The patients exposed to pesticides had a 70% higher incidence of Parkinson’s when the study ended; the risk was the same for exposed farmers and exposed non-farmers, hence some other farm-related factor wasn’t to blame. The study didn’t report on specific toxins, but more recent work out of The Parkinson’s Institute in Sunnyvale, CA, founded by Langston after the MPTP discovery, did. The authors took detailed occupational and exposure histories from farmers and their families. Paraquat upped Parkinson’s risk 2.5-fold.

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Scientist Struggling To Find Commercial Interest in Push-Button Orgasm Implant

Little man in a canoe. Pic: Anoldent (CC)

Little man in a canoe. Pic: Anoldent (CC)

Women whose mates have a hard time pushing their “button” may benefit from a 2001 invention that triggers orgasms at will, provided that its creator can find commercial interest in the device.

Via New Scientist:

Stuart Meloy, a surgeon at Piedmont Anesthesia and Pain Consultants in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, was investigating how the device could be used to treat woman who have difficulty achieving orgasm, but we reported in 2003 that volunteers for early tests were proving hard to find.

As of 2014, the massive media interest in the device has not translated into the $6 million that Meloy estimates would be needed to run a full trial.

Health insurers do not cover the cost of experimental treatments, and approval from regulators is needed to license the devices for treating a specific condition, such as sexual dysfunction. “Staging an FDA pivotal trial is a fairly expensive undertaking, and that takes money I don’t have right now,” Meloy says.

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