Most people understand that our political system has been hijacked by monied and corporate interests, what they don’t yet understand however is the extensive level of control exercised by the national security state through much less obvious means. Confessions of a DC Madam: The Politics of Sex, Lies, and Blackmail outlines how the appetites of high ranking officials render them vulnerable to blackmail, and how strong-arming operations are covered-up by complicit media and justice system personnel. Continue reading
Karen Wetmore’s memoir, Surviving Evil: CIA Mind Control Experiments in Vermont, is a moving account of her childhood and confinement as a teenage psychiatric patient in Vermont hospitals. Like many survivors of extreme trauma, she still struggles to make sense of her experiences, but unlike most, she’s done years of investigative work, tracking down every available medical document related to her case. The records revealed she’d been treated by doctors listed as contractors of the CIA’s behavioral experimentation program MKUltra. After her book was published in 2014, she continued to ply the CIA with multiple FOIA requests. Their most recent non-response responses to her were telling enough, they claim the records she’d requested are still classified.
She says, “The Vermont press and the national press remain silent on the information I documented in my book, despite having been informed. A foreign journalist told me that he couldn’t understand why American journalists were not, as he put it, “All over this story.” Again I ask the question: What did CIA do in Vermont institutions that requires such measures to ensure secrecy fifty years later? Beginning in September 2013, I decided to try to find out.
Thirty years ago, when I was enrolled in a Women’s Studies course, we devised a little experiment/study. We (all women) sat on a low wall adjacent to a busy sidewalk on campus and cat-called men as they walked by. Further down the block, one of our classmates stopped the victims and asked them to fill out a questionnaire about the experience. The results were inconclusive, not surprisingly, given that it was such an anomalous event. Most of them expressed shock or surprise more than anything else. Street harassment has long been a topic of study and outrage for feminists, but if my memory is at all to be trusted, it’s never gained this level of attention.
The video below went viral this past week. It generated a great deal of commentary, from NPR, to blogs, tweets, and points in between. I read some valid criticisms of the piece itself, but I also saw a lot of confusion, predictably over what, exactly, constitutes harassment. Continue reading