Once again I've gone a searching (over nearly a month now) for a lost post from "secret sun blog" aka chris Knowles...
Because a friend stumbled full on into the siren strangeness--hitting all the right buttons--but in something like a sleepwalk... So I wanted to him know where he'd landed, and it took me all this time, and much blathering in the DMs.
So here's the post I was searching for, called "Song of the Siren on the River Styx", and of course ole CLK can contact me via twitter or otherwise... If he'd prefer this not be archived here. But.
I feel it's necessary for my own reluctant yet magickal process--and--my belly tells me it might help others find their way back to places that once existed... And not feel the madness of the ever increasing NEWSPEAK-CENSORSHIP... Even if in these cases it is the author-originale deleting things based on his own guts or whims. Crapy copy/paste below the dash-dash-dashes:
FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 26, 2014
Songs of the Siren on the River Styx
Jeff Buckley's family is producing a bio-pic on the late singer's life, provisionally entitled Mystery White Boy. Penny Dreadful star Reeve Carney has been cast as Buckley and Medium/ Gospel of Thomas channel Patricia Arquette has been cast as his mother.
For those of you who may not know, Buckley died by drowning in a river in Memphis, TN in 1997, just as he was celebrating the completion of a new group of songs for the follow-up to his 1994 breakthrough album, Grace.
I don't know if they'll include former Cocteau Twins singer Elizabeth Fraser in the story; if they've read my posts on Buckley's relationship with the Siren, they may very well not. It's not a story a family would want to tell.
But it's the only story that's true.
It's also a story I wanted to revisit not only in light of the news on the film but in light of some rather bizarre omens and portents I've recently discovered within (and without) the Cocteau Twins' catalog itself. It's been almost five years since I wrote in depth on this story so I felt the time was right to revisit it.
Longtime readers will be familiar with some of the synchronicities I uncovered earlier-- one I still can't believe myself-- but as it happens this tragedy is like all great mythic tragedies; it seems to have been a long time in coming. The players involved were merely acting out roles written for them long before their grandparents were born.
There's one particular detail in this story that will leave no doubt in your mind as to the truth of this statement.
If anyone outside rock snob circles knows Liz Fraser it's from 'Teardrop', the song she recorded with Massive Attack, which was used as the theme song for the long-running medical drama House, MD. Some may know her singing from the Lord of the Rings films, some may know her songs from The Lovely Bones, Peter Jackson's adaption of the novel about a murdered girl wandering through the afterlife.
David Lynch fans may know her version of Tim Buckley's "Song to the Siren" (a song he tried to use in Blue Velvet) from Lost Highway, which featured- you guessed it- Patricia Arquette. That song was released on the album appropriately titled It'll End in Tears, a supergroup effort of the British indie label 4AD.
But unless you were there, you'd never know the nuclear-bomb effect she had when her banshee howl first dropped onto the rock cognoscenti's consciousness with 1983's Head Over Heels LP. It wasn't as if an alien had landed and joined a rock group, but...
No, scratch that.
It was exactly as if an alien had landed and joined a rock group.
Not everyone heeded her siren's call, but many of those who did found themselves buying up every scrap of vinyl her voice could be found on, so much so that the Cocteau Twins dominated the independent charts in the UK for much of the early to mid 1980s.
The Melody Maker newspaper declared her, "The Voice of God." Even a nowhere indie band like Felt had a UK hit ("Primitive Painters") simply because Fraser yowled on the choruses.
The Siren and Sideshow Bob
I myself was a tireless evangelist for the Siren. I had been a big Kate Bush fan but literally overnight Bush seemed hopelessly twee and upper class in comparison to this elemental power, which had Kate's soaring beauty but a undertone of ancient terror that only descends upon a host. It can never be learned or practiced.
I enjoyed watching friends sitting stunned as they first heard that yowling. "Alien" (most often), "ghost", "witch", "mermaid", and "fairy" were the terms you'd hear people use to describe her. Not quite human.
Celebrities like Robert Plant, Prince, Madonna and the Cure's Robert Smith were known to be fans, others surely among them (obviously directors like Lynch, Jackson, Alan Rickman and Gregg Araki). Certainly artists like Bjork, The Cranberries, Sinead O'Connor, Grimes and The Sundays were hugely influenced by Fraser's fractal vocal acrobatics.
The Twins' first Los Angeles appearance put the audience in a state not seen since Azusa Street, according to reports at the time. Metal bands as unlikely as Jane's Addiction and Type O Negative would raid the Twins' catalog for riffs and take them straight to the bank.
Jeff Buckley heard the Siren's call too, smitten by her version of his father's signature song. He sought her out, little realizing that Muses, Sirens and other such spirits find broken vessels to express themselves through.
At the time he met her, the Siren was in the middle of a personal meltdown springing from undealt-with childhood sexual trauma and he was a young up-and-comer who soon realized he was in way, way over his fucking head. He inevitably --and fatefully-- broke her heart, leading to the Cocteau's Twinlights EP (as in "we are twin lights…"), filled with Fraser's painfully desperate pleas to Buckley.
A short film called Rilkean Dreams (Fraser compared Buckley to the poet Rilke) was made in 1994 as a promo for the EP, named after the heart-rending "Rilkean Heart." It's hardly a promo as much as it is a nakedly confessional video love-letter to Buckley, with Fraser explicitly apologizing in song for being too needy and clingy here and then accusing Buckley of being selfish and immature there. But it's the symbolism that gets you.
The opening shot of Rilkean Dreams is of a slowly rushing river.
Followed by a sunset.
If ever there was an argument for teaching the art of divining omens and portents in school, that's pretty much it.
The emotional distress Fraser was under came at the worst possible time, after the Cocteaux had signed to a new label who were giving them a major promotional push, booking them on Jay Leno's and Jools Holland's shows, among others. Fraser's singing entered what fans came to call the "dolphin in distress" period, a bizarre and unmusical, Yoko-like series of clicks, grunts and yowls. It was devastating to witness for those who had worshipped at her feet only a few years before.
It was the vision of a woman struggling to exorcise whatever wraith had once possessed her. The band tried to explain it away as an artist trying to expand her palette or some such nonsense, but the excuses were laid bare when Fraser was hospitalized for a full-scale nervous breakdown at the end of tour.
Her singing on record had already become increasing wispy and ethereal as she sang an octave out of her natural range, almost evaporating entirely on the band's final two albums. The euphoric, ecstatic yowling that literally electrified listeners in the 80s was barely heard, if at all.
At some point Fraser and Buckley reconciled, as detailed here. The Cocteaus toured again in 1996 and judging from many recordings, Fraser's voice had returned to its mid-80s peak form. Buckley and Fraser even recorded a duet, but somehow they split again, and Buckley decamped to Memphis to fight a case of writer's block while maintaining a relationship with another singer.
He should have learned from his last experience.
The details of his death sound exactly like what happens when powerful forces detatch themselves from myth and legend and decide to run rampant through consensus reality.
Don't take my word for it- watch the video.
I know that these things happen, it's just that this is the most compelling example of that reality I can think of at the moment. You may have other examples to contribute- I welcome you to do so in the comments.*
Just in case you missed the reference, this is the video to the song Fraser was recording while Buckley was dying, a song she had written about him. Not long after his death, Fraser would walk out on her band forever.
In hindsight, I am not even remotely surprised. Something very, very powerful took possession of Fraser, used her to express itself and as has become clear in recent years, moved on to another host.
Her lyrics may have been unintelligible but the meaning of her songs was always clear- it was primal energy unleashed from a time perhaps before there were human beings as we understand the term today. These are forces that we can only sense the contours of, but are not allowed to truly know. Even mainstream rock critics sensed a very old religion at work, perhaps old in the Theosophical sense.
Songs like 'Persephone' make the heaviest metal sound tame, because Fraser doesn't sound like she is singing about the Queen of Hell, she sounds like she has become her. The ancients would understand.
One human being can harness that for so long. We're just not made to channel that kind of energy. I know of no performer who was able to sustain the kind of intensity the Cocteaux unleashed in that 1982 to late 1990 period, releasing seven albums and ten EPs, nearly all of indispensible quality.
Even The Beatles were done in by it.
Time has subsequently shown just how fragile Elizabeth Fraser is. I don't want to diminish her talent as an artist in her own right, but it's clear that who she is now and who she was then are two entirely separate realities.
LET'S GO TO THE TAPE, BOB
I realized that I hadn't really explained the Cocteau Twins' music in previous Siren articles, so here I will offer up capsule reviews of their discography and comment on the chronology of the Siren drama as it unfolded. As you will see, the music itself was an integral part of the drama; the story and the songs cannot be separated.
You need to understand the context of the music and the effect it had to understand how the drama unfolded. This is especially important now, since kids have no sense how much music mattered to people in the 80s and early 90s. I'll review their discography and place it in the context of the overall Siren drama.
Fasten your seatbelts- I've uncovered some new information that will leave no doubt as to the forces at work in this drama.
Garlands (1982) Fraser picked up Siouxsie's witch-broom just as the Banshees were headed off into Top of the Popsville. This is a deeply divisive album with many Cocteaux fans (the leadoff track is entitled 'Blood Bitch') but I love it. It sits perfectly alongside Unknown Pleasure, What's This For?, 154, Metal Box, and of course, Juju- a dark, occultic, throbbing post-punk filled with rumbling Rickenbacker bass chords, Robin Guthrie's guitars with stompboxes cranked to 11, and tribal drum machine patterns.
All of that is topped with Fraser's warbling and yipping and precocious swatches of lyrics, ripe to bursting with the imagery of ancient nightmares, science fiction and good old-fashioned Celtic witchiness. At this point in the game, Guthrie's shrieking leads are the star of the show. One could easily imagine Roman soldiers shuddering in their armor, hearing these kind of banshee wails over moors lit only by occasional bursts of spectral foxfire.
Even the record cover is witchy- a half-naked man seized by a bolt of eldritch energy in a dark Scottish village. The extended version adds crucial cuts like 'Dear Heart' and 'Perhaps Some Other Aeon'. Hard to believe this is the same band that recorded Four Calendar Cafe.
Head Over Heels (1983) Probably my favorite of the studio albums, for sentimental reasons if nothing else. This sounds like 1983 in a way a 1983 record should, so don't listen to whining about the mix. This is also a light-year leap over Garlands, with melodies replacing mere incantations and Fraser's instrument in full bloom.
We're still smack dab in post-punk territory, with Guthrie layering bass chords on top of distortion-drenched arpeggios and Killing Joke drum patterns. This is a huge-sounding record with a wide stylistic range, and Fraser never sounded as gloriously womanly as she does here ever again. Key cuts: 'Sugar Hiccup', 'In the Gold Dust Rush', 'In Our Angelhood'.
Treasure (1984) Another huge leap, but perhaps also more of a consolidation. The try-anything spirt of Heels gives way to a trademark Cocteau sound, all sleighbells and choral sample patchs, pounding beatboxes and interlocking post-punk guitar and bass chords.
There's plenty of variety, though- the nailbiting shrieker 'Persephone', the stately harpsichord waltz 'Beatrix', and the ridiculously erotic, tongue-in-your-ear fuckscape 'Otterley', to name a few. The addition of Simon Raymonde on bass and keyboards adds a lot of music school depth to the proceedings.
This was released in 1984 but seemed to exist every time at once. Everyone who discovered it assumed it was brand new. And everyone who discovered it assumed it belonged to them alone. Bonus factoid: Buckley used to cover leadoff track "Ivo" at his club gigs in New York.
Omen unheeded: That glorious, angelic postpunk/disco track 'Lorelei' (which comes right after 'Ivo') is named after a water-witch who lured men to their deaths on the River Rhine.
The Pink Opaque (1986): This compilation was put together to introduce the Twins to the American market, culling various EP, single and album cuts, but is essential in the way those old 60s comps are. In fact, this might be your best place to start if you're a Twins novitiate. Every single note on this album is crucial in a way music no longer is to young people. You may not know exactly what Fraser is on about here but she's obviously extraordinarily passionate about it.
In fact, the leadoff track, the ritualistic hymn 'The Spangle Maker', is worth what people used to pay for albums by itself. In fact, the final sixty seconds of 'The Spangle Maker', in which Fraser erupts into a series of blood-curdling howls like a particularly aroused ancient Maenad (she inspired a lot of these kinds of metaphors back in the day), while Guthrie wrenches the clap of creation out of his guitar with an e-bow, is worth your week's salary.
Victorialand (1986) After four years of hammering euphoria, a looping curveball from a band who specialized in them; a pastoral serving of alien folk with layer upon layer of treated guitar acting as primary accompaniment for Fraser's little-girl-in-the-garden fairy tale songs. The sense of playfulness and joy is almost palpable here as Frasier and Guthrie use their prodigious talents (Raymonde was off producing the second This Mortal Coil album) to construct a fantasy of a childhood they never had living in grim Grangemouth, Scotland.
Then a curveball within a curveball: after a happy day in a forest clearing, the darkness of the gods descends like a sheet of ice for the album's closer, 'The Thinner the Air'. It's as if you can see the black clouds roll in as the chords change from carefree and major to hopelessly bleak and minor. After a Greek-like chorus prepares the way, Fraser chills the bones with a piercing, almost primeval solo that reeks of dark portents and terrible tragedies to come, as if Cassandra herself is riding this horse now.†
It's a stunning turnaround to an album whose song titles such as 'Fluffy Tufts' and 'Lazy Calm' accurately describe its mood.
Yet another omen that went unheeded.
The Moon and the Melodies (1986) After the curveball, a changeup: ambient pianist Harold Budd is enlisted for an LP that features four glorious rave-ups and four ambient chillouts (a definite portent of things to come post-Cocteau). Budd, whose since worked extensively with Guthrie, fits the Twins like a glove. In fact his playing is remarkably similar to Raymonde's. His elegant chords add a bit of maturity to the Twins' ecstatic hammering, an effect that would have a huge influence in the days to come.
The four full band tracks here- along with 'Crushed' (released the following year on a compilation album) would mark the end of the Cocteau Twins' Golden Age-- that age of "oh my fucking god, what the hell is this music"-- but their international profile would only rise with the following two albums.
Omens ignored: "Sea, Swallow Me" and "She Will Destroy You."
Blue Bell Knoll (1988) Or Blue Bell Knowles, as I like to call it. Apparently the Cocteau Twins think their fans take 35 minutes to have sex because it seems as if they set out to make the ultimate post-punk fuck music with Blue Bell Knoll. The basic effect is like having Fraser's tongue in your ear for a half-hour and change, the vocals are that erotic.
The entire production seems engineered to be as lush and languid as possible, with even the minor key songs dripping with palpable sensuality. Imagine if late 70s ABBA took a shit-ton of molly after being abducted by aliens and you pretty much have Blue Bell Knoll nailed. The pounding drums and the slashing guitars are MIA, but the catharsis has merely been channeled through another route. I curled into a fetal position the first time I heard this album, quite involuntarily. It hurt, it was so gorgeous.
Omen ignored: 'A Kissed-Out Red Floatboat'- A passenger aboard the American Queen riverboat, famous for its large red waterwheel, discovered Buckley's body floating in the river.
Bonus omen: The bluebell's "knoll" or ring was an omen of death, according to old British legend.
Heaven or Las Vegas (1990) Pre-Nirvana alt.rock was the true Golden Age of the movement. You had a real diversity of music, with different flavors and styles besides irritable white dudes with guitars and long hair living out their Lynyrd Skynyrd fantasies.
On MTVs 120 Minutes you'd see a whole range of styles and flavors, And it wasn't just a boys' club, women were well-represented; that was part of what made the scene "alternative" to mainstream rock. It was into this ferment that Heaven or Las Vegas dropped and finally the world was ready for the Cocteaux and they were ready for the world.
Heaven or Las Vegas is the last great Cocteau Twins album; it has a dizzying range of styles, from the slow funk jam of 'Pitch the Baby', to the old school postpunk-flavored single 'Iceblink Luck' (very much a nod to tracks like 'In Our Angelhood' and 'Because of Whirljack') to the almost quintessential Cocteau title track, a song square in the tradition of early 80s stunners like 'Sugar Hiccup' and 'Pearly Dewdrops Drops'.
But the bottom was about to drop out; Raymonde and Guthrie were nursing serious drug problems (gee, hard to imagine this band using drugs) and Fraser's recent motherhood was dredging up long-repressed horrors from her own childhood.
Nirvana would come along at the end of the Cocteaux' world tour and the alt.rock scene would soon look more like 1971 than 1991. Ecstatic warbling was out, miserable narcissism was in, and dick-waving tantrums would reign supreme for the next three years.
Omens ignored: OK, here's where this story gets insane.
The 8th and 9th songs on this album are 'Wolf in the Breast' and the almost unbearably mournful 'Road, River and Rail' (lyric: "like mother's daughter/to fish, you fly").
Jeff Buckley drowned in the Wolf River in Memphis, which runs parallel to a railroad and is crossed by Interstate 40.
The Wolf River is on the 89th Meridian West.
The neighborhood at the end of the Wolf River is named Frayser.
Now please go watch the first minute of Elizabeth Fraser's video love letter to Buckley again.
That his body was found at the end of Beale Street not only connects us to the Blues, it connects us, via Fraser, to those most Ancient of Days.
Four our purposes, Beale is Ba'al, the charioteer of the clouds, who wields lightning bolts in his hands. As we saw in the BBC video, Ba'al was there that night to bear witness to this most primal of tragedies as it unfolded beneath the Memphis Pyramid.
Note that Las Vegas, the nominal city of the album in question, also has a glass pyramid. I can't think of any other American cities besides Memphis and Las Vegas that do. Is Buckley's place of dying the "Heaven" or Las Vegas the title unwittingly alludes to?
If so, then how appropriate then that these omens would precede the time Buckley met Fraser, for the making of this next album....
Four Calendar Cafe (1993) The alt.rock scene began to shake off the trailer park doldrums in late 1993 and 1994, with the original grunge bands moving away from two-finger tantrums into more challenging territory and new movements emerging such as neo-punk, trip-hop and techno.
But the Cocteau Twins were not doing as well. Guthrie and Fraser's marriage had dissolved, Fraser's romance with Buckley would begin and end that year and leave her shattered, and she began having trouble with her vocal chords.
In that light, why on earth she would choose to sing an octave above her range while she was experiencing throat problems is beyond me. Perhaps it was a commercial consideration, given the fact the band had signed to a new label and Irish singer Enya was finding success with a similar style around that time. Helpful hint: If you ever wonder why your favorite band ever went down some inexplicably commercial route, drug bills are usually a pretty good answer.
Four Calendar Cafe is a pleasant enough 90s pop album and somewhat of a return to the aural sensuality of Blue Bell Knoll, but it's a world away from the revelations of the mid- 80s Cocteaus. You keep waiting for Fraser to get out of Enya-mode and let it rip and she never does. She only sings in her natural mezzo on the closing track, and that's only on the choruses.
And worse was yet to come, the "distressed dolphin" tour and the rest of it.
Omen ignored: The single "Evangeline" shared a title with a Longfellow poem about a woman whose long-lost lover reunites with her only to die in her arms.
Milk and Kisses (1996) By far their least essential album, but it shouldn't be. The idea for this album was to get back to the 80s Cocteau sound, but too much water had passed under the bridge, Fraser's muse didn't make it to the sessions and there isn't much in the way of catchy riffs to lift the material out of the murk.
It also doesn't help that Guthrie seems determined to produce the album to death. Several cuts here-- 'Tishbite', (the epithet of a famous Biblical UFO abductee) 'Violaine', 'Treasure Hiding' and 'Seekers Who are Lovers'-- worked very well live, freed of the smothering overdubs and boasting meaty live guitars and Fraser's full-throated mezzo, but the mopey Twinlights songs didn't disappear like they should have and subsequently drag everything down.
UPDATE: Bla bla bla, shut the f**k up, Chris. I've been listening to the Milk & Kisses remaster with real earphones and it's like the greatest opioid ever created. Or the greatest hallucinogenic opioid ever. Seriously, try it at home.
It's apparently engineered to hit all those deep pleasure centers in the autonomic brain, so I'm thinking it's also packed to the hi-hats with weird alien subliminals from some distant star system. Plus, the guitars are a lot punchier and Liz is a lot more possessed than on Four Calendar Cafe.
Fraser and Buckley were obviously back together at the time of the album's pressing if the "Love and a thousandfold rose" (oh, my) dedication are any indication, we already heard the songs and there was much better material on the b-sides, so what was the point exactly? A lost opportunity for a fitting swan song.
Yeah, shut up, Chris. Stop listening to crappy MP3s you ripped back during the Clinton Administration.
Omen ignored: Besides including the songs from the fateful Rilkean Dreams video, 'Violaine' admonishes a lover (presumably Buckley) to "be careful, love, be careful, love."
Lullabies to Violaine Vol 1 (1982-1990) The Twins put just as much essential music on their EPs as their LPs. This set starts off in witch-mode, with the ironically titled Lullabies filled with noisy post-punk sorcery. Peppermint Pig shows the band lurching towards dancepunk, but the real revelation comes with the orgasmic Sunburst and Snowblind, which culls 'Sugar Hiccup' from Heels and adds three equally good tracks, the aching crush song, 'From the Flagstones', the witchy howler 'Hitherto', and the pleading post-punk charger 'Because of Whirljack'. From then on it's one cathartic mindgasm after another, with only a couple duff tracks here and there. This is all pure post-punk Twins, beauty and terror in equal parts, with everything cranked to 11 but still sounding achingly beautiful.
Tracks like 'Great Spangled Fritillary' and 'Pale Clouded White' sound ancient and irreducibly pagan, like lost transmissions from some Mediterranean mystery cult that bounced off the stars and back, with Fraser as priestess/horse, riding the fumes of the gods. The last track, 'Watchlar', shows a road sadly not taken, a funky, synth-driven slow-burner that's as sexy as it is spooky.
Lullabies to Violaine Vol 2 (1993-1996) This set is immeasurably less essential than the first but is probably a better investment than the last two studio albums, whose singles it culls. If the Twins were hedging themselves into a corner for their new label on their LPs, they were breathing quite a bit more on the b-sides and EPs (Fraser has since dismissed the Twins' post-4AD work).
None of this material is a patch on their original 4AD material but has some traces of the old fire and is considerably more adventurous and arty than you'd expect at this late date. One of the EPs has Seefeel's Mark Clifford doing ambient deconstructions of selected tracks and the long out-of-print Snow EP is here, including their priceless versions of 'Winter Wonderland' and 'Frosty the Snowman'. Not essential by any means, but worth getting if you get the bug.
POSTSCRIPT: A few years back The Cocteau Twins were offered five million dollars to reunite and perform at the Coachella Music Festival in California. They initially accepted but Fraser pulled out at the last minute, infuriating her fans and her former bandmates. She's done some work-for-hire gigs over the years, none of which is a shadow of her work with The Cocteau Twins.
In 2012 she performed at the Meltdown Festival in England at the behest of Anthony Hegarty, singer of Anthony and the Johnsons. She performed a number of Cocteau Twins songs but in radically revamped arrangements that reviewers compared to 70s easy listening music. She's been sitting on a number of tracks for a solo album for over a decade now and many fans have given up waiting.
I think the fact that she essentially ended her career a few months after Buckley's death proves that the events affected her more powerfully than we can know. I can only hope she's found happiness in her new life, after having brought so much magic and beauty into this fallen, broken world.
* Some have speculated that Buckley may have committed suicide but the evidence is weak and tenuous; based mostly on the fact he made phone calls to old friends shortly before his death.
But he had just finished material for a new album and was about to re-emerge from a self-imposed exile (he bragged to one friend he was going to "work his ass off" ), re-connecting with old friends makes perfect sense in that context. Buckley's comment to that same friend that he would see her "on the other side" was almost certainly a reference to the then-current Ozzy single, which was inescapable on rock radio at the time.
His swimming fully dressed in the Wolf River sounds very much like a triumphal, "I am a golden god" rock star move- it would have been a natural act of celebration for an artist as history-minded as Buckley, who often swam there. All the more so given the fact that he was blasting "Whole Lotta Love" on his boombox (an extremely unlikely exit song even for a Zep fanatic, never mind a musical omnivore like Buckley) and jokingly comparing his voice to Cocteau Twins admirer Robert Plant at the time.
Locals have pointed to a number of accidental deaths on the Wolf River, noting that its placid surface hides a vicious undertow. Quite an apt metaphor for this particular drama.
The Buckley Estate responded to the usual post-mortem rumors with this statement: "Jeff Buckley's death was not "mysterious," related to drugs, alcohol, or suicide. We have a police report, a medical examiner's report, and an eye witness to prove that it was an accidental drowning, and that Mr. Buckley was in a good frame of mind prior to the accident."
There are at least seven finished tracks from the final Cocteau Twins album that Simon Raymonde rates as some of their best work. One of these, "Touch Upon Touch", is already in circulation, but Fraser is blocking the release of the rest. Here's hoping she comes around.
† The solo seems to appear 30 minutes into the actual running time of the music when gaps are accounted for. Thirty is an important number in this story, no?
at September 26, 2014
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Labels: Elizabeth Fraser, Jeff Buckley, Las Vegas, Rock and Roll, Synchronicity, The Mysteries, The Siren
andrewbigdoor2:49 PM, September 26, 2014
A flurry of thoughts regarding what I've learned about music/vibration's profound effect upon the human heart/brain. The one that springs to the forefront is the research that was done by scientists that showed our brain's capacity to understand and appreciate music evolved before the speech centers...definite correlation to your thoughts on Fraser's "muse". Fuck, wish I could spend an evening with you discussing music, musicians and high weirdness.Reply
Christopher Loring Knowles10:35 AM, September 27, 2014
That's extremely interesting, Andrew. If you have any specific links to recommend please let me know.
Cascadia Vape12:32 PM, September 28, 2014
This is a related article I think you and Andrew might find interesting: http://montalk.net/metaphys/265/soul-resonance-and-music
andrewbigdoor3:09 PM, September 29, 2014
it has been a few years since I learned that, so I couldn't remember if it came from an article, a PBS special or an itunes lecture series on the brain and music. But of course, as Universe likes to do, The Daily Grail has a link to an article on the BBC today where it mentions it:
" But dig a little deeper and the story becomes more interesting. While musical instruments appear to be a relatively recent innovation, music itself is almost certainly significantly older. Research suggests it may have allowed our distant ancestors to communicate before the invention of language, been linked to the establishment of monogamy and helped provide the social glue needed for the emergence of the first large early and pre-human societies."
andrewbigdoor8:47 PM, September 29, 2014
And if you really want to make the hair on the back of your neck stand up, read this speech from a few years ago to the incoming freshman class at the Boston Conseravtory:
Lawrence6:31 AM, September 27, 2014
Amazingly interesting post. I had absolutely no idea that Buckley was intimate and seriously so (even if briefly) with Frazer, but then I wouldn't know these kind of things. If I read it here all that time ago, I must have just forgotten it.
It's worth bringing up a couple of additional points. Buckley in a sense died like his father, tragically young. His father's was of course drug related, but it does add in hindsight another kind of warning to the young Jeff. Also there has been a recent pretty good film entitled 'Greetings from Tim Buckley', that welded the lives of Tim and Jeff together. That film is more about Jeff than Tim, and a pivotal event in his life. Penn Badgley who plays Jeff is uncanny, he looks like him and acts just as you would have expected Jeff to.
A further factoid, or rather opinion worth sharing, Jeff B's version of 'Hallelujah' is simply the best I have ever heard.Reply
Christopher Loring Knowles10:38 AM, September 27, 2014
Buckley seemed pulled from his father's drama into another drama entirely, something much older and far more primal. I've been researching this story for a long time- really ever since I first heard Buckley's music and knew instinctively he had some connection to Fraser. I had no idea how much.
I'd also let readers here now we've had a very large and fruitful thread on the FB on this post so if you're a member and haven't checked it out lately, you may want to.
dboy3:36 AM, September 29, 2014
oooh! Chris. I have just been discussing this very thing with alan abadessa green. I believe that when you and another are able to successfully pull off a great love affair, it brings you to the attention of 'the others'. And you become candidates for becoming archetypal exemplars. Which is a fair synopsis of what seems to be the mythical gist of Buckley and Fraser. Exemplarhood is tricky, and that kind of thing always comes with a price. Usually a very significant one. Like a damn Greek Tragedy. And probably inspired by the same archetypal energies.
Laurence12:46 PM, September 27, 2014
I was playing song to the siren knowing something sad in my life was taking place. My mom passed away, in the middle of that song in Sept. 1985. I collected 4AD vinyl with a passion. Cocteau Twins, 12inch singles. Gave it all away to goodwill 3 years ago. The physical weight of memory was more than I could bear / bare...
Christopher, btw google is not playing well with me so if you see some extreme weirdness, I can not tell you what is going on.
Christopher Loring Knowles9:07 PM, September 27, 2014
That's heavy stuff, Lawrence. I know music can do some serious imprinting in times like that. Thanks for sharing.
Rose Weaver7:02 PM, September 27, 2014
This is absolutely THE wyrdest post I've seen here to date. The personal syncs are simply astounding, especially in combination with my latest entry as well as Gordon's. As he rightly notes, it seems as though we were writing our respective entries about the same time. I recall reading yours, then his, not long after posting my own entry, and I posted mine after seeing SO many syncs within my own world that rocked my world, the earthquaking beneath my foundation, not gently (which I have experienced in other countries), but rattling windows and causing cracks to appear. Wyrd stuff leaks in through cracks, you know... and it did.
The actions I had to take were a bit radical to silence the noise in order to rediscover clarity, and now I find myself having to repair the cracks and rebuilding bridges. Hopefully some of those bridges can be rebuilt. If not, eh...
The Universal (mind) is speaking to us. I know it's attempting to say something to me. The problem is that it feels as if it's not simply speaking anymore, it is screeching in a much higher octave range now... urgent in it's desire to be heard.
I feel it and sometimes see it's message, but not sure we're all working together to help raise our senses to decipher it, you know? Scary business, that.Reply
Christopher Loring Knowles9:06 PM, September 27, 2014
Well, what you're describing is part of an ongoing process. As it accelerates the volume increases. What I would recommend- if you aren't doing so alreadt- is document all the information that speaks to you on a personal level and sort it out on a periodic basis. And I'm speaking to everyone here. If you feel like some force is speaking to you, the least we can do is work to translate it. I may be speaking to the choir but the advice is for all readers as well.Reply
omen rama3:29 PM, September 28, 2014
Thank you so much for introducing me to this band. I spent all night listening to 4 calendar café. Even the lighter songs have a sort of dark underlying feel. When she drops into her natural voice - it's absolutely moving.Reply
Christopher Loring Knowles11:35 AM, September 29, 2014
Yeah, that album really disappointed me at first but has since grown on me. It's a snapshot of its time.
Jonny B4:21 PM, September 28, 2014
Hi Chris, I very much enjoyed reading this post. Dunno if you've hear Simon Raymonde's new group called Snowbird, but its eerie how similar to the Cocteau's it is, albeit with more earthbound lyrics, even the artwork is similar. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lu9CRv_PR8kReply
Christopher Loring Knowles11:36 AM, September 29, 2014
Similar to Twinlights, definitely. Thanks for the link.
jehoverNover7:09 PM, September 28, 2014
Love it when you do music related stuff, Chris. These are some really jarring syncs.
The idea of singers (like Fraser) losing the magic element in their voice is something I find fascinating. Yeah, there's the ordinary/technical explanation, but other explanations are more interesting and possibly more accurate - or at least, give a more complete picture.
Reminds me a little of Axl Rose and how he lost the demon-witch.
Christopher Loring Knowles11:36 AM, September 29, 2014
I didn't hear that one. What's that all about?
jehoverNover7:18 PM, September 29, 2014
Just referring to how his voice changed so much. In GNR fan circles it's referred to as the "rasp" issue. i.e. up until the end of the old lineup in 93', he could sing in that scratchy/raspy/witchy way that he was known for.
When he re-emerged in the early 2000's, his voice had totally changed (and is still the same today). He can't do the raspy thing. His voice is much higher, and there's no "oomph" behind it.
During a tour in 06', there were elements of his old voice that came back a bit, but the power still wasn't there.
I could write pages on this, so I'll stop now. That's the gist though.
omen rama7:14 PM, September 28, 2014
I read the all of your pieces pertaining to Elizabeth Fraser and Tim Buckley. Very interesting stuff. When I heard your siren I immediately thought of Sia. While watching a 4 part interview with Sia, she mentions John Buckley AND how she is sort of channeling something when writing. A bit of an internet sync:)
Christopher Loring Knowles11:37 AM, September 29, 2014
Yeah, Sia's great. I haven't kept up with her recent work but I was really digging her stuff a few years ago. Thanks for the link.
Ali11:01 PM, September 28, 2014
This post is all kinds of interesting awesome. While listening to Persephone, I internet searched for info on Cocteau Twins' lyrics and found some quotes from Liz that seem to support the notion that she wasn't just channeling the *sound* of some eldritch goddess:
"...[the dictionary] is how I got some of the words. And then I got to the stage where, I don't know, something just came in."
"Like, if I'm 17 and I don't even know when I'm hungry, am I tired, have I had any sleep - if you don't even know that, then how can you talk about lyrics that come from such an unconscious place? I always said 'I dont' know', and I didn't."
P.S. I second @Lawrence's opinion--Buckley's version of Hallelujah is absolutely the best.Reply
Christopher Loring Knowles11:38 AM, September 29, 2014
Well, we'll take a deeper look at that in the next post. I think she's being just a tad disingenuous.
Ali12:58 AM, September 30, 2014
Oh I look forward to it! (Rock stars disingenuous? Who ever heard of such a thing???) Keep up the great work.
Red Dirt Reporter10:16 PM, September 30, 2014
Was thinking about Tim and Jeff Buckley late last year.And that Jeff was singing "Whole Lotta Love" before he disappeared into the murky depths. http://www.reddirtreport.com/dust-devil-dreams/i-think-we-lost-buckleyReply
Anonymous8:54 AM, March 17, 2015
Have you heard Jess and the Ancient OnesJess and the Ancient Ones - Astral Sabbat (OFFICIAL VIDEO): https://youtu.be/5hgWxb1bXkE that voice. I've heard it before. A very haunting post.Reply
Eric Wargo10:36 PM, March 29, 2015
Chris, I left a post here yesterday that may have ended up in your spam filter. I wanted to let you know about my latest post on TheNightshirt--the last part responds to your excellent series on the Fraser/Buckley synchronicity.
Christopher Loring Knowles10:40 PM, March 29, 2015
I didn't see anything in the spam folder. Do you have a link?
Eric Wargo10:45 PM, March 29, 2015
It's here: http://thenightshirt.com/?p=2279
Raindog9518:53 AM, December 29, 2017
I'm coming late to this information, but EXCELLENT work on uncovering this mystery.
I've been a fan of The Cocteau Twins since the 80's, and they never really stopped being in my thoughts.
This new information has brought them back into my life with even more power.
I haven't fully been won over by your arguements yet, due mainly to the difficulty of finding a reliable source for the lyrics.
However, it's a pretty convincing story. And it feels right in my gut....
Disturbingly, I almost wish a Siren would take some interest in ME. Probably not a good idea, but a very alluring one.
Thanks for these articles. I'm hoping that my last scepticism will be erased when I find an original source for the lyrics. I'll have to buy Garlands again, to check out the lyrics in there, as my last copy was on tape, and disappeared many years ago :-)
James9:20 PM, February 05, 2018
I haven't been able to stop listening to Song to a SirenReply
Monday, July 12, 2021
Once again I've gone a searching (over nearly a month now) for a lost post from "secret sun blog" aka chris Knowles...
Friday, May 28, 2021
Here's a thread I wrote on twitter--all about this goddamned video of kids investigating a weird policing robot--and how the video itself and the comments below it are all slanted IN FAVOR of the robot and being CRITICAL of the children.
Read below the dash for my unrolled thread from twitter:
Monday, February 1, 2021
Information about Shills and Disinformation online. Recovered from Bobby Garner's "Congregator.net" via the Wayback Machine
25 Rules of Disinformation: How to Fight Back
8 Traits of The Disinformationalist: What to Look For
by H. Michael Sweeney
copyright (c) 1997, 2000, 2001 All rights reserved (Edited June 2001)
Twenty-Five Ways To Suppress Truth: The Rules of Disinformation
(Includes The 8 Traits of A Disinformationalist)
Built upon Thirteen Techniques for Truth Suppression by David Martin, the following may be useful to the initiate in the world of dealing with veiled and half-truth, lies, and suppression of truth when serious crimes are studied in public forums. This, sadly, includes every day news media, one of the worst offenders with respect to being a source of disinformation. Where the crime involves a conspiracy, or a conspiracy to cover up the crime, there will invariably be a disinformation campaign launched against those seeking to uncover and expose the truth and/or the conspiracy. There are specific tactics which disinfo artists tend to apply, as revealed here. Also included with this material are seven common traits of the disinfo artist which may also prove useful in identifying players and motives. The more a particular party fits the traits and is guilty of following the rules, the more likely they are a professional disinfo artist with a vested motive. People can be bought, threatened, or blackmailed into providing disinformation, so even "good guys" can be suspect in many cases.
A rational person participating as one interested in the truth will evaluate that chain of evidence and conclude either that the links are solid and conclusive, that one or more links are weak and need further development before conclusion can be arrived at, or that one or more links can be broken, usually invalidating (but not necessarily so, if parallel links already exist or can be found, or if a particular link was merely supportive, but not in itself key) the argument. The game is played by raising issues which either strengthen or weaken (preferably to the point of breaking) these links. It is the job of a disinfo artist to interfere with these evaluation... to at least make people think the links are weak or broken when, in truth, they are not... or to propose alternative solutions leading away from the truth. Often, by simply impeding and slowing down the process through disinformation tactics, a level of victory is assured because apathy increases with time and rhetoric.
It would seem true in almost every instance, that if one cannot break the chain of evidence for a given solution, revelation of truth has won out. If the chain is broken either a new link must be forged, or a whole new chain developed, or the solution is invalid an a new one must be found... but truth still wins out. There is no shame in being the creator or supporter of a failed solution, chain, or link, if done with honesty in search of the truth. This is the rational approach. While it is understandable that a person can become emotionally involved with a particular side of a given issue, it is really unimportant who wins, as long as truth wins. But the disinfo artist will seek to emotionalize and chastise any failure (real or false claims thereof), and will seek by means of intimidation to prevent discussion in general.
Twenty-Five Rules of Disinformation
1. Hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil
2. Become incredulous and indignant
3. Create rumor mongers
4. Use a straw man
5. Sidetrack opponents w name calling, ridicule
6. Hit and Run
7. Question motives
8. Invoke authority
9. Play Dumb
10. Associate opponent charges with old news
11. Establish and rely upon fall-back positions
12. Enigmas have no solution
13. Alice in Wonderland Logic
14. Demand complete solutions
15. Fit the facts to alternate conclusions
16. Vanish evidence and witnesses
17. Change the subject
18. Emotionalize, Antagonize, and Goad
19. Ignore facts, demand impossible proofs
20. False evidence
21. Call a Grand Jury, Special Prosecutor
22. Manufacture a new truth
23. Create bigger distractions
24. Silence critics
Eight Traits of The Disinformationalist
6. Artificial Emotions
8. Newly Discovered: Time Constant
It is the disinfo artist and those who may pull their strings (those who stand to suffer should the crime be solved) MUST seek to prevent rational and complete examination of any chain of evidence which would hang them. Since fact and truth seldom fall on their own, they must be overcome with lies and deceit. Those who are professional in the art of lies and deceit, such as the intelligence community and the professional criminal (often the same people or at least working together), tend to apply fairly well defined and observable tools in this process. However, the public at large is not well armed against such weapons, and is often easily led astray by these time-proven tactics. Remarkably, not even media and law enforcement have NOT BEEN TRAINED to deal with these issues. For the most part, only the players themselves understand the rules of the game.
This why concepts from the film, Wag-The-Dog, actually work. If you saw that movie, know that there is at least one real-world counterpart to Al Pacino's character. For CIA, it is Mark Richards, who was called in to orchestrate the media response to Waco on behalf of Janet Reno. Mark Richards is the acknowledged High Priest of Disinformation. His appointment was extremely appropriate, since the CIA was VERY present at Waco from the very beginning of the cult to the very end of their days - just as it was at the People's Temple in Jonestown. Richards purpose in life is damage control.
For such disinformationalists, the overall aim is to avoid discussing links in the chain of evidence which cannot be broken by truth, but at all times, to use clever deceptions or lies to make select links seem weaker than they are, create the illusion of a break, or better still, cause any who are considering the chain to be distracted in any number of ways, including the method of questioning the credentials of the presenter. Please understand that fact is fact, regardless of the source. Likewise, truth is truth, regardless of the source. This is why criminals are allowed to testify against other criminals. Where a motive to lie may truly exist, only actual evidence that the testimony itself IS a lie renders it completely invalid. Were a known 'liar's' testimony to stand on its own without supporting fact, it might certainly be of questionable value, but if the testimony (argument) is based on verifiable or otherwise demonstrable facts, it matters not who does the presenting or what their motives are, or if they have lied in the past or even if motivated to lie in this instance -- the facts or links would and should stand or fall on their own merit and their part in the matter will merely be supportive.
Moreover, particularly with respects to public forums such as newspaper letters to the editor, and Internet chat and news groups, the disinfo type has a very important role. In these forums, the principle topics of discussion are generally attempts by individuals to cause other persons to become interested in their own particular position, idea, or solution -- very much in development at the time. People often use such mediums as a sounding board and in hopes of pollination to better form their ideas. Where such ideas are critical of government or powerful, vested groups (especially if their criminality is the topic), the disinfo artist has yet another role -- the role of nipping it in the bud. They also seek to stage the concept, the presenter, and any supporters as less than credible should any possible future confrontation in more public forums result due to their early successes. You can often spot the disinfo types at work here by the unique application of "higher standards" of discussion than necessarily warranted. They will demand that those presenting arguments or concepts back everything up with the same level of expertise as a professor, researcher, or investigative writer. Anything less renders any discussion meaningless and unworthy in their opinion, and anyone who disagrees is obviously stupid -- and they generally put it in exactly those terms.
So, as you read any such discussions, particularly so in Internet news groups (NG), decide for yourself when a rational argument is being applied and when disinformation, psyops (psychological warfare operations) or trickery is the tool. Accuse those guilty of the later freely. They (both those deliberately seeking to lead you astray, and those who are simply foolish or misguided thinkers) generally run for cover when thus illuminated, or -- put in other terms, they put up or shut up (a perfectly acceptable outcome either way, since truth is the goal.) Here are the twenty-five methods and seven traits, some of which don't apply directly to NG application. Each contains a simple example in the form of actual (some paraphrased for simplicity) from NG comments on commonly known historical events, and a proper response. Accusations should not be overused -- reserve for repeat offenders and those who use multiple tactics. Responses should avoid falling into emotional traps or informational sidetracks, unless it is feared that some observers will be easily dissuaded by the trickery. Consider quoting the complete rule rather than simply citing it, as others will not have reference. Offer to provide a complete copy of the rule set upon request (see permissions statement at end):
Twenty-Five Rules of Disinformation
Note: The first rule and last five (or six, depending on situation) rules are generally not directly within the ability of the traditional disinfo artist to apply. These rules are generally used more directly by those at the leadership, key players, or planning level of the criminal conspiracy or conspiracy to cover up.
1. Hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil. Regardless of what you know, don't discuss it -- especially if you are a public figure, news anchor, etc. If it's not reported, it didn't happen, and you never have to deal with the issues.
Example: Media was present in the courtroom (Hunt vs. Liberty Lobby) when CIA agent Marita Lorenz 'confession' testimony regarding CIA direct participation in the planning and assassination of John Kennedy was revealed. All media reported was that E. Howard Hunt lost his libel case against Liberty Lobby (Liberty Lobby's newspaper, The Spotlight, had reported Hunt was in Dallas that day and were sued for the story). See Mark Lane's remarkable book, Plausible Denial, for the full confessional transcript.
Proper response: There is no possible response unless you are aware of the material and can make it public yourself.. In any such attempt, be certain to target any known silent party as likely complicit in a cover up. In this case, it would be the entire Time-Warner Media Group, among others. This author is relatively certain that reporters were hand-picked to cover this case from among those having intelligence community ties.
2. Become incredulous and indignant. Avoid discussing key issues and instead focus on side issues which can be used show the topic as being critical of some otherwise sacrosanct group or theme. This is also known as the 'How dare you!' gambit.
Example: 'How dare you suggest that the Branch Davidians were murdered! the FBI and BATF are made up of America's finest and best trained law enforcement, operate under the strictest of legal requirements, and are under the finest leadership the President could want to appoint.'
Proper response: You are avoiding the Waco issue with disinformation tactics. Your high opinion of FBI is not founded in fact. All you need do is examine Ruby Ridge and any number of other examples, and you will see a pattern of abuse of power that demands attention to charges against FBI/BATF at Waco. Why do you refuse to address the issues with disinformation tactics (rule 2 - become incredulous and indignant)?
3. Create rumor mongers. Avoid discussing issues by describing all charges, regardless of venue or evidence, as mere rumors and wild accusations. Other derogatory terms mutually exclusive of truth may work as well. This method which works especially well with a silent press, because the only way the public can learn of the facts are through such 'arguable rumors'. If you can associate the material with the Internet, use this fact to certify it a 'wild rumor' from a 'bunch of kids on the Internet' which can have no basis in fact.
'You can't prove his material was legitimately from French Intelligence. Pierre Salinger had a chance to show his 'proof' that flight 800 was brought down by friendly fire, and he didn't. All he really had was the same old baseless rumor that's been floating around the Internet for months.'
Proper response: You are avoiding the issue with disinformation tactics. The Internet charge reported widely is based on a single FBI interview statement to media and a similar statement by a Congressman, neither of which had actually seen Pierre's document. As the FBI is being accused in participating in a cover up of this matter and Pierre claims his material is not Internet sourced, it is natural that FBI would have reason to paint his material in a negative light. For you to assume the FBI to have no bias in the face of Salinger's credentials and unchanged stance suggests you are biased. At the best you can say the matter is in question. Further, to imply that material found on Internet is worthless is not founded. At best you may say it must be considered carefully before accepting it, which will require addressing the actual issues. Why do you refuse to address these issues with disinformation tactics (rule 3 - create rumor mongers)?
4. Use a straw man. Find or create a seeming element of your opponent's argument which you can easily knock down to make yourself look good and the opponent to look bad. Either make up an issue you may safely imply exists based on your interpretation of the opponent/opponent arguments/situation, or select the weakest aspect of the weakest charges. Amplify their significance and destroy them in a way which appears to debunk all the charges, real and fabricated alike, while actually avoiding discussion of the real issues.
Example: When trying to defeat reports by the Times of London that spy-sat images reveal an object racing towards and striking flight 800, a straw man is used. The disinformationalist, later identified as having worked for Naval Intelligence, simply stated: 'If these images exist, the public has not seen them. Why? They don't exist, and never did. You have no evidence and thus, your entire case falls flat.'
Proper response: 'You are avoiding the issue with disinformation tactics. You imply deceit and deliberately establish an impossible and unwarranted test. It is perfectly natural that the public has not seen them, nor will they for some considerable time, if ever. To produce them would violate national security with respect to intelligence gathering capabilities and limitations, and you should know this. Why do you refuse to address the issues with such disinformation tactics (rule 4 - use a straw man)?'
5. Sidetrack opponents with name calling and ridicule. This is also known as the primary 'attack the messenger' ploy, though other methods qualify as variants of that approach. Associate opponents with unpopular titles such as 'kooks', 'right-wing', 'liberal', 'left-wing', 'terrorists', 'conspiracy buffs', 'radicals', 'militia', 'racists', 'religious fanatics', 'sexual deviates', and so forth. This makes others shrink from support out of fear of gaining the same label, and you avoid dealing with issues.
Example: 'You believe what you read in the Spotlight? The Publisher, Willis DeCarto, is a well-known right-wing racist. I guess we know your politics -- does your Bible have a swastika on it? That certainly explains why you support this wild-eyed, right-wing conspiracy theory.'
Proper response: 'You are avoiding the issue with disinformation tactics. Your imply guilt by association and attack truth on the basis of the messenger. The Spotlight is well known Populist media source responsible for releasing facts and stories well before mainstream media will discuss the issues through their veil of silence. Willis DeCarto has successfully handled lawsuits regarding slanderous statements such as yours. Your undemonstrated charges against the messenger have nothing to do with the facts or the issues, and fly in the face of reason. Why do you refuse to address the issues by use of such disinformation tactics (rule 5 - sidetrack opponents with name calling and ridicule)?'
6. Hit and Run. In any public forum, make a brief attack of your opponent or the opponent position and then scamper off before an answer can be fielded, or simply ignore any answer. This works extremely well in Internet and letters-to-the-editor environments where a steady stream of new identities can be called upon without having to explain criticism reasoning -- simply make an accusation or other attack, never discussing issues, and never answering any subsequent response, for that would dignify the opponent's viewpoint.
Example: ''This stuff is garbage. Where do you conspiracy lunatics come up with this crap? I hope you all get run over by black helicopters.' Notice it even has a farewell sound to it, so it won't seem curious if the author is never heard from again.
Proper response: 'You are avoiding the issue with disinformation tactics. Your comments or opinions fail to offer any meaningful dialog or information, and are worthless except to pander to emotionalism, and in fact, reveal you to be emotionally insecure with these matters. If you do not like reading 'this crap', why do you frequent this NG which is clearly for the purpose of such discussion? Why do you refuse to address the issues by use of such disinformation tactics (rule 6 - hit and run)?'
7. Question motives. Twist or amplify any fact which could be taken to imply that the opponent operates out of a hidden personal agenda or other bias. This avoids discussing issues and forces the accuser on the defensive.
Example: 'With the talk-show circuit and the book deal, it looks like you can make a pretty good living spreading lies.'
Proper response: 'You are avoiding the issue with disinformation tactics. Your imply guilt as a means of attacking the messenger or his credentials, but cowardly fail to offer any concrete evidence that this is so. If you think what has been presented are 'lies', why not simply so illustrate? Why do you refuse to address the issues by use of such disinformation tactics (rule 6 - question motives)?'
8. Invoke authority. Claim for yourself or associate yourself with authority and present your argument with enough 'jargon' and 'minutia' to illustrate you are 'one who knows', and simply say it isn't so without discussing issues or demonstrating concretely why or citing sources.
'You obviously know nothing about either the politics or strategic considerations, much less the technicals of the SR-71. Incidentally, for those who might care, that sleek plane is started with a pair of souped up big-block V-8's (originally, Buick 454 C.I.D. with dual 450 CFM Holly Carbs and a full-race Isky cams -- for 850 combined BHP @ 6,500 RPM) using a dragster-style clutch with direct-drive shaft. Anyway, I can tell you with confidence that no Blackbird has ever been flown by Korean nationals nor have they ever been trained to fly it, and have certainly never overflown the Republic of China in a SR or even launched a drone from it that flew over China. I'm not authorized to discuss if there have been overflights by American pilots.'
Proper response: 'You are avoiding the issue with disinformation tactics. Your imply your own authority and expertise but fail to provide credentials, and you also fail to address issues and cite sources. You simply cite 'Jane's-like' information to make us think you know what you are talking about. Why do you refuse to address the issues by use of such disinformation tactics (rule 8 - invoke authority)?'
9. Play Dumb. No matter what evidence or logical argument is offered, avoid discussing issues except with denials they have any credibility, make any sense, provide any proof, contain or make a point, have logic, or support a conclusion. Mix well for maximum effect.
Example: 'Nothing you say makes any sense. Your logic is idiotic. Your facts nonexistent. Better go back to the drawing board and try again.'
Proper response: 'You are avoiding the issue with disinformation tactics. You evade the issues with your own form of nonsense while others, perhaps more intelligent than you pretend to be, have no trouble with the material. Why do you refuse to address the issues by use of such disinformation tactics (rule 9 - play dumb)?'
10. Associate opponent charges with old news. A derivative of the straw man -- usually, in any large-scale matter of high visibility, someone will make charges early on which can be or were already easily dealt with - a kind of investment for the future should the matter not be so easily contained.) Where it can be foreseen, have your own side raise a straw man issue and have it dealt with early on as part of the initial contingency plans. Subsequent charges, regardless of validity or new ground uncovered, can usually then be associated with the original charge and dismissed as simply being a rehash without need to address current issues -- so much the better where the opponent is or was involved with the original source.
Example: 'Flight 553's crash was pilot error, according to the NTSB findings. Digging up new witnesses who say the CIA brought it down at a selected spot and were waiting for it with 50 agents won't revive that old dead horse buried by NTSB more than twenty years ago.'
Proper response: 'You are avoiding the issue with disinformation tactics. Your ignore the issues and imply they are old charges as if new information is irrelevant to truth. Why do you refuse to address the issues by use of such disinformation tactics (rule 10 - associate charges with old news)?'
11. Establish and rely upon fall-back positions. Using a minor matter or element of the facts, take the 'high road' and 'confess' with candor that some innocent mistake, in hindsight, was made -- but that opponents have seized on the opportunity to blow it all out of proportion and imply greater criminalities which, 'just isn't so.' Others can reinforce this on your behalf, later, and even publicly 'call for an end to the nonsense' because you have already 'done the right thing.' Done properly, this can garner sympathy and respect for 'coming clean' and 'owning up' to your mistakes without addressing more serious issues.
Example: 'Reno admitted in hindsight she should have taken more time to question the data provided by subordinates on the deadliness of CS-4 and the likely Davidian response to its use, but she was so concerned about the children that she elected, in what she now believes was a sad and terrible mistake, to order the tear gas be used.'
Proper response: 'You are avoiding the issue with disinformation tactics. Your evade the true issue by focusing on a side issue in an attempt to evoke sympathy. Perhaps you did not know that CIA Public Relations expert Mark Richards was called in to help Janet Reno with the Waco aftermath response? How warm and fuzzy it makes us feel, so much so that we are to ignore more important matters being discussed. Why do you refuse to address the issues by use of such disinformation tactics (rule 11 - establish and rely upon fall-back positions)?'
12. Enigmas have no solution. Drawing upon the overall umbrella of events surrounding the crime and the multitude of players and events, paint the entire affair as too complex to solve. This causes those otherwise following the matter to begin to loose interest more quickly without having to address the actual issues.
Example: 'I don't see how you can claim Vince Foster was murdered since you can't prove a motive. Before you could do that, you would have to completely solve the whole controversy over everything that went on in the White House and in Arkansas, and even then, you would have to know a heck of a lot more about what went on within the NSA, the Travel Office, and the secret Grand Jury, and on, and on, and on. It's hopeless. Give it up.'
Proper response: 'You are avoiding the issue with disinformation tactics. Your completely evade issues and attempt others from daring to attempt it by making it a much bigger mountain than necessary. You eat an elephant one bite at a time. Why do you refuse to address the issues by use of such disinformation tactics (rule 12 - enigmas have no solution)?'
13. Alice in Wonderland Logic. Avoid discussion of the issues by reasoning backwards or with an apparent deductive logic which forbears any actual material fact.
Example: 'The news media operates in a fiercely competitive market where stories are gold. This means they dig, dig, dig for the story -- often doing a better job than law enforcement. If there was any evidence that BATF had prior knowledge of the Oklahoma City bombing, they would surely have uncovered it and reported it. They haven't reported it, so there can't have been any prior knowledge. Put up or shut up.'
Proper response: 'You are avoiding the issue with disinformation tactics. Your backwards logic does not work here. Has media reported CIA killed Kennedy when they knew it? No, despite their presence at a courtroom testimony 'confession' by CIA operative Marita Lornez in a liable trial between E. Howard Hunt and Liberty Lobby, they only told us the trial verdict. THAT, would have been the biggest story of the Century, but they didn't print it, did they? Why do you refuse to address the issues by use of such disinformation tactics (rule 13 - Alice in Wonderland logic)?'
14. Demand complete solutions. Avoid the issues by requiring opponents to solve the crime at hand completely, a ploy which works best with issues qualifying for rule 10.
Example: 'Since you know so much, if James Earl Ray is as innocent as you claim, who really killed Martin Luther King, how was it planned and executed, how did they frame Ray and fool the FBI, and why?'
Proper response: You are avoiding the issue with disinformation tactics. It is not necessary to completely resolve any full matter in order to examine any relative attached issue. Discussion of any evidence of Ray's innocence can stand alone to serve truth, and any alternative solution to the crime, while it may bolster that truth, can also stand alone. Why do you refuse to address the issues by use of such disinformation tactics (rule 14 - demand complete solutions)?
15. Fit the facts to alternate conclusions. This requires creative thinking unless the crime was planned with contingency conclusions in place.
Example: 'The cargo door failed on Flight 800 and caused a catastrophic breakup which ruptured the fuel tank and caused it to explode.'
Proper response: The best definitive example of avoiding issues by this technique is, perhaps, Arlan Specter's Magic Bullet from the Warren Report. This was eloquently defeated in court but media blindly accepted it without challenge. Thus rewarded, disinformationalists do not shrink from its application, even though today, thanks in part to the movie, JFK, most Americans do now understand it was fabricated nonsense. Thus the defense which works best may actually be to cite the Magic Bullet. 'You are avoiding the issue with disinformation tactics. Your imaginative twisting of facts rivals that of Arlan Specter's Magic Bullet in the Warren Report. We all know why the impossible magic bullet was invented. You invent a cargo door problem when there has been not one shred of evidence from the crash investigation to support it, and in fact, actual photos of the cargo door hinges and locks disprove you. Why do you refuse to address the issues by use of such disinformation tactics (rule 15 - fit facts to an alternate conclusion)?'
16. Vanish evidence and witnesses. If it does not exist, it is not fact, and you won't have to address the issue.
Example: 'You can't say Paisley is still alive... that his death was faked and the list of CIA agents found on his boat deliberately placed there to support a purge at CIA. You have no proof. Why can't you accept the Police reports?' This is a good ploy, since the dental records and autopsy report showing his body was two inches too long and the teeth weren't his were lost right after his wife demanded inquiry, and since his body was cremated before she could view it -- all that remains are the Police Reports. Handy.
Proper response: There is no suitable response to actual vanished materials or persons, unless you can shed light on the matter, particularly if you can tie the event to a cover up other criminality. However, with respect to dialog where it is used against the discussion, you can respond... 'You are avoiding the issue with disinformation tactics. The best you can say is that the matter is in contention ONLY because of highly suspicious matters such as the simultaneous and mysterious vanishing of three sets of evidence. The suspicious nature itself tends to support the primary allegation. Why do you refuse to address the remaining issues by use of such disinformation tactics (rule 16 - vanish evidence and witnesses)?'
17. Change the subject. Usually in connection with one of the other ploys listed here, find a way to side-track the discussion with abrasive or controversial comments in hopes of turning attention to a new, more manageable topic. This works especially well with companions who can 'argue' with you over the new topic and polarize the discussion arena in order to avoid discussing more key issues.
Example: 'There were no CIA drugs and was no drug money laundering through Mena, Arkansas, and certainly, there was no Bill Clinton knowledge of it because it simply didn't happen. This is merely an attempt by his opponents to put Clinton off balance and at a disadvantage in the election: Dole is such a weak candidate with nothing to offer that they are desperate to come up with something to swing the polls. Dole simply has no real platform.' Assistant's response. 'You idiot! Dole has the clearest vision of what's wrong with Government since McGovern. Clinton is only interested in raping the economy, the environment, and every woman he can get his hands on...' One naturally feels compelled, regardless of party of choice, to jump in defensively on that one...
Proper response: 'You are both avoiding the issue with disinformation tactics. Your evade discussion of the issues by attempting to sidetrack us with an emotional response to a new topic -- a trap which we will not fall into willingly. If you truly believe such political rhetoric, please drop out of this discussion, as it is not germane, and take it to one of the more appropriate politics NGs. Why do you refuse to address the issues by use of such disinformation tactics (rule 17- change the subject)?'
18. Emotionalize, Antagonize, and Goad Opponents. If you can't do anything else, chide and taunt your opponents and draw them into emotional responses which will tend to make them look foolish and overly motivated, and generally render their material somewhat less coherent. Not only will you avoid discussing the issues in the first instance, but even if their emotional response addresses the issue, you can further avoid the issues by then focusing on how 'sensitive they are to criticism.'
Example: 'You are such an idiot to think that possible -- or are you such a paranoid conspiracy buff that you think the 'gubment' is cooking your pea-brained skull with microwaves, which is the only justification you might have for dreaming up this drivel.' After a drawing an emotional response: 'Ohhh... I do seem to have touched a sensitive nerve. Tsk, tsk. What's the matter? The truth too hot for you to handle? Perhaps you should stop relying on the Psychic Friends Network and see a psychiatrist for some real professional help...'
Proper response: 'You are avoiding the issue with disinformation tactics. You attempt to draw me into emotional response without discussion of the issues. If you have something useful to contribute which defeats my argument, let's here it -- preferably without snide and unwarranted personal attacks, if you can manage to avoid sinking so low. Your useless rhetoric serves no purpose here if that is all you can manage. Why do you refuse to address the issues by use of such disinformation tactics (rule 18 - emotionalize, antagonize, and goad opponents)?'
19. Ignore proof presented, demand impossible proofs. This is perhaps a variant of the 'play dumb' rule. Regardless of what material may be presented by an opponent in public forums, claim the material irrelevant and demand proof that is impossible for the opponent to come by (it may exist, but not be at his disposal, or it may be something which is known to be safely destroyed or withheld, such as a murder weapon.) In order to completely avoid discussing issues, it may be required that you to categorically deny and be critical of media or books as valid sources, deny that witnesses are acceptable, or even deny that statements made by government or other authorities have any meaning or relevance.
Example: 'All he's done is to quote the liberal media and a bunch of witnesses who aren't qualified. Where's his proof? Show me wreckage from flight 800 that shows a missile hit it!'
Proper response: 'You are avoiding the issue with disinformation tactics. You presume for us not to accept Don Phillips, reporter for the Washington Post, Al Baker, Craig Gordon or Liam Pleven, reporters for Newsday, Matthew Purdy or Matthew L. Wald, Don Van Natta Jr., reporters for the New York Times, or Pat Milton, wire reporter for the Associated Press -- as being able to tell us anything useful about the facts in this matter. Neither would you allow us to accept Robert E. Francis, Vice Chairman of the NTSB, Joseph Cantamessa Jr., Special Agent In Charge of the New York Office of the F.B.I., Dr. Charles Wetli, Suffolk County Medical Examiner, the Pathologist examining the bodies, nor unnamed Navy divers, crash investigators, or other cited officials, including Boeing Aircraft representatives a part of the crash investigative team -- as a qualified party in this matter, and thus, dismisses this material out of hand. Good logic, -- about as good as saying 150 eye witnesses aren't qualified. Then you demand us to produce evidence which you know is not accessible to us, evidence held by FBI, whom we accuse of cover up. Thus, only YOU are qualified to tell us what to believe? Witnesses be damned? Radar tracks be damned? Satellite tracks be damned? Reporters be damned? Photographs be damned? Government statements be damned? Is there a pattern here?. Why do you refuse to address the issues by use of such disinformation tactics (rule 19 - ignore proof presented, demand impossible proofs)?'
20. False evidence. Whenever possible, introduce new facts or clues designed and manufactured to conflict with opponent presentations -- as useful tools to neutralize sensitive issues or impede resolution. This works best when the crime was designed with contingencies for the purpose, and the facts cannot be easily separated from the fabrications.
Example: Jack Ruby warned the Warren Commission that the white Russian separatists, the Solidarists, were involved in the assassination. This was a handy 'confession', since Jack and Earl were both on the same team in terms of the cover up, and since it is now known that Jack worked directly with CIA in the assassination (see below.)
Proper response: This one can be difficult to respond to unless you see it clearly, such as in the following example, where more is known today than earlier in time... 'You are avoiding the issue with disinformation tactics. Your information is known to have been designed to side track this issue. As revealed by CIA operative Marita Lorenz under oath offered in court in E. Howard Hunt vs. Liberty Lobby, CIA operatives E. Howard Hunt, James McCord, and others, met with Jack Ruby in Dallas the night before the assassination of JFK to distribute guns and money. Clearly, Ruby was a coconspirator whose 'Solidarist confession' was meant to sidetrack any serious investigation of the murder AWAY from CIA. Why do you refuse to address the issues by use of such disinformation tactics (rule 20 - false evidence)?'
21. Call a Grand Jury, Special Prosecutor, or other empowered investigative body. Subvert the (process) to your benefit and effectively neutralize all sensitive issues without open discussion. Once convened, the evidence and testimony are required to be secret when properly handled. For instance, if you own the prosecuting attorney, it can insure a Grand Jury hears no useful evidence and that the evidence is sealed an unavailable to subsequent investigators. Once a favorable verdict is achieved, the matter can be considered officially closed. Usually, this technique is applied to find the guilty innocent, but it can also be used to obtain charges when seeking to frame a victim.
Example: According to one OK bombing Federal Grand Juror who violated the law to speak the truth, jurors were, contrary to law, denied the power of subpoena of witness of their choosing, denied the power of asking witnesses questions of their choosing, and relegated to hearing only evidence prosecution wished them to hear, evidence which clearly seemed fraudulent and intended to paint conclusions other than facts actually suggested.
Proper response: There is usually no adequate response to this tactic except to complain loudly at any sign of its application, particularly with respect to any possible cover up. This happened locally in Oklahoma, and as a result, a new Grand Jury has been called to rehear evidence that government officials knew in advance that the bombing was going to take place, and a number of new facts which indicate it was impossible for Timothy McVeigh to have done the deed without access to extremely advanced explosive devices such as available ONLY to the military or intelligence community, such as CIA's METC technology. Media has refused to cover the new Oklahoma Grand Jury process, by they way.
22. Manufacture a new truth. Create your own expert(s), group(s), author(s), leader(s) or influence existing ones willing to forge new ground via scientific, investigative, or social research or testimony which concludes favorably. In this way, if you must actually address issues, you can do so authoritatively.
Example: The False Memory Syndrome Foundation and American Family Foundation and American and Canadian Psychiatric Associations fall into this category, as their founding members and/or leadership include key persons associated with CIA Mind Control research. Read The Professional Paranoid or Phsychic Dictatorship in the U.S.A. by Alex Constantine for more information. Not so curious, then, that (in a perhaps oversimplified explanation here) these organizations focus on, by means of their own "research findings", that there is no such thing as Mind Control.
Proper response: Unless you are in a position to be well versed in the topic and know of the background and relationships involved in the opponent organization, you are not well equipped to fight this tactic.
23. Create bigger distractions. If the above does not seem to be working to distract from sensitive issues, or to prevent unwanted media coverage of unstoppable events such as trials, create bigger news stories (or treat them as such) to distract the multitudes.
Example: To distract the public over the progress of a WTC bombing trial that seems to be uncovering nasty ties to the intelligence community, have an endless discussion of skaters whacking other skaters on the knee. To distract the public over the progress of the Waco trials that have the potential to reveal government sponsored murder, have an O.J. summer. To distract the public over an ever disintegrating McVeigh trial situation and the danger of exposing government involvements, come up with something else (Flight 800?) to talk about -- or, keeping in the sports theme, how about sports fans shooting referees and players during a game and the focusing on the whole gun control thing?
Proper response: The best you can do is attempt to keep public debate and interest in the true issues alive and point out that the 'news flap' or other evasive tactic serves the interests of your opponents.
24. Silence critics. If the above methods do not prevail, consider removing opponents from circulation by some definitive solution so that the need to address issues is removed entirely. This can be by their death, arrest and detention, blackmail or destruction of their character by release of blackmail information, or merely by destroying them financially, emotionally, or severely damaging their health.
Example: As experienced by certain proponents of friendly fire theories with respect to flight 800 -- send in FBI agents to intimidate and threaten that if they persisted further they would be subject to charges of aiding and abetting Iranian terrorists, of failing to register as a foreign agents, or any other trumped up charges. If this doesn't work, you can always plant drugs and bust them.
Proper response: You have three defensive alternatives if you think yourself potential victim of this ploy. One is to stand and fight regardless. Another is to create for yourself an insurance policy which will point to your opponents in the event of any unpleasantness, a matter which requires superior intelligence information on your opponents and great care in execution to avoid dangerous pitfalls (see The Professional Paranoid by this author for suggestions on how this might be done). The last alternative is to cave in or run (same thing.)
25. Vanish. If you are a key holder of secrets or otherwise overly illuminated and you think the heat is getting too hot, to avoid the issues, vacate the kitchen.
Example: Do a Robert Vesco and retire to the Caribbean. If you don't, somebody in your organization may choose to vanish you the way of Vince Foster or Ron Brown.
Proper response: You will likely not have a means to attack this method, except to focus on the vanishing in hopes of uncovering it was by foul play or deceit as part of a deliberate cover up.
Note: There are other ways to attack truth, but these listed are the most common, and others are likely derivatives of these. In the end, you can usually spot the professional disinfo players by one or more of seven (now 8) distinct traits:
Eight Traits of the Disinformationalist
by H. Michael Sweeney
copyright (c) 1997, 2000 All rights reserved
(Revised April 2000 - formerly SEVEN Traits)
1) Avoidance. They never actually discuss issues head-on or provide constructive input, generally avoiding citation of references or credentials. Rather, they merely imply this, that, and the other. Virtually everything about their presentation implies their authority and expert knowledge in the matter without any further justification for credibility.
2) Selectivity. They tend to pick and choose opponents carefully, either applying the hit-and-run approach against mere commentators supportive of opponents, or focusing heavier attacks on key opponents who are known to directly address issues. Should a commentator become argumentative with any success, the focus will shift to include the commentator as well.
3) Coincidental. They tend to surface suddenly and somewhat coincidentally with a new controversial topic with no clear prior record of participation in general discussions in the particular public arena involved. They likewise tend to vanish once the topic is no longer of general concern. They were likely directed or elected to be there for a reason, and vanish with the reason.
4) Teamwork. They tend to operate in self-congratulatory and complementary packs or teams. Of course, this can happen naturally in any public forum, but there will likely be an ongoing pattern of frequent exchanges of this sort where professionals are involved. Sometimes one of the players will infiltrate the opponent camp to become a source for straw man or other tactics designed to dilute opponent presentation strength.
5) Anti-conspiratorial. They almost always have disdain for 'conspiracy theorists' and, usually, for those who in any way believe JFK was not killed by LHO. Ask yourself why, if they hold such disdain for conspiracy theorists, do they focus on defending a single topic discussed in a NG focusing on conspiracies? One might think they would either be trying to make fools of everyone on every topic, or simply ignore the group they hold in such disdain. Or, one might more rightly conclude they have an ulterior motive for their actions in going out of their way to focus as they do.
6) Artificial Emotions. An odd kind of 'artificial' emotionalism and an unusually thick skin -- an ability to persevere and persist even in the face of overwhelming criticism and unacceptance. This likely stems from intelligence community training that, no matter how condemning the evidence, deny everything, and never become emotionally involved or reactive. The net result for a disinfo artist is that emotions can seem artificial. Most people, if responding in anger, for instance, will express their animosity throughout their rebuttal. But disinfo types usually have trouble maintaining the 'image' and are hot and cold with respect to pretended emotions and their usually more calm or unemotional communications style. It's just a job, and they often seem unable to 'act their role in character' as well in a communications medium as they might be able in a real face-to-face conversation/confrontation. You might have outright rage and indignation one moment, ho-hum the next, and more anger later -- an emotional yo-yo. With respect to being thick-skinned, no amount of criticism will deter them from doing their job, and they will generally continue their old disinfo patterns without any adjustments to criticisms of how obvious it is that they play that game -- where a more rational individual who truly cares what others think might seek to improve their communications style, substance, and so forth, or simply give up.
7) Inconsistent. There is also a tendency to make mistakes which betray their true self/motives. This may stem from not really knowing their topic, or it may be somewhat 'freudian', so to speak, in that perhaps they really root for the side of truth deep within. I have noted that often, they will simply cite contradictory information which neutralizes itself and the author. For instance, one such player claimed to be a Navy pilot, but blamed his poor communicating skills (spelling, grammar, incoherent style) on having only a grade-school education. I'm not aware of too many Navy pilots who don't have a college degree. Another claimed no knowledge of a particular topic/situation but later claimed first-hand knowledge of it.
8) BONUS TRAIT: Time Constant. Recently discovered, with respect to News Groups, is the response time factor. There are three ways this can be seen to work, especially when the government or other empowered player is involved in a cover up operation: 1) ANY NG posting by a targeted proponent for truth can result in an IMMEDIATE response. The government and other empowered players can afford to pay people to sit there and watch for an opportunity to do some damage. SINCE DISINFO IN A NG ONLY WORKS IF THE READER SEES IT - FAST RESPONSE IS CALLED FOR, or the visitor may be swayed towards truth. 2) When dealing in more direct ways with a disinformationalist, such as email, DELAY IS CALLED FOR - there will usually be a minimum of a 48-72 hour delay. This allows a sit-down team discussion on response strategy for best effect, and even enough time to 'get permission' or instruction from a formal chain of command. 3) In the NG example 1) above, it will often ALSO be seen that bigger guns are drawn and fired after the same 48-72 hours delay - the team approach in play. This is especially true when the targeted truth seeker or their comments are considered more important with respect to potential to reveal truth. Thus, a serious truth sayer will be attacked twice for the same sin.
I close with the first paragraph of the introduction to my unpublished book, Fatal Rebirth:
Truth cannot live on a diet of secrets, withering within entangled lies. Freedom cannot live on a diet of lies, surrendering to the veil of oppression. The human spirit cannot live on a diet of oppression, becoming subservient in the end to the will of evil. God, as truth incarnate, will not long let stand a world devoted to such evil. Therefore, let us have the truth and freedom our spirits require... or let us die seeking these things, for without them, we shall surely and justly perish in an evil world.
This information is published with permission of the author,
H. Michael Sweeney ~ The Professional Paranoid: How to Fight Back When Investigated, Stalked, Harassed, or Targeted by Any Agency, Organization, or Individual.
Please visit his website at: proparanoid.com