"There are known knowns; there are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns - the ones we don't know we don't know". - Donald Rumsfeld, US Secretary of State 2001-2006
"Facts are meaningless. They can be used to prove anything." - Homer Simpson
nomad x: part one
(an excerpt) from the novel by drew minh
An amorphous figure, silhouetted against a red sky, rushed downward and punched a jagged hole in the glass ceiling of the hotel restaurant. Hobnobbing bar patrons and diners froze, glinting shards of glass above them. The figure, limned by interior light, came down with a meaty thud on the restaurant's marble floor. Guests snapped out of languid, inebriated states and the silence was finally broken by a cocktail glass shattering.
An American voice - wide and strident - cried out. First barely audible to the rest of the guests, then screaming: Jesus christ - Jesus fucking christ!
With trepidation some of the guests moved towards the motionless, twisted body on the floor. Cell phones went up to a dozen different ears. A teen with his parents pointed his cell phone at the body on the floor and snapped a picture.
A woman and a man stood over the contorted, glass-strewn figure. The woman knelt down and put her hand on the body's wrist and her ear above its mouth. She looked back up at the man and shook her head. By now more people had come in to look at the body of what used to be Robert Cambria, a man in his mid-fifties with close cropped, graying hair, wearing pleated pants and a light-blue dress shirt speckled with small blossoming spots of blood.
An Australian witness later described the scene at the Ville de Paris Hotel to an AP reporter as pure pandemonium. She continued: We were all there chatting and dining when suddenly - bam - the glass shatters and down comes this guy. Nobody moved for a few seconds, but when we realized what had happened people started to panic and scream.
BBC Global News later reported that the identity of the man had been leaked: Robert Cambria was a former American Foreign Service diplomat in Africa, and most recently a senior director for African Affairs on the National Security Council. He died just a few hours ago in central Paris in what appears to be a suicide, jumping from his room in the Ville de Paris Hotel, through a glass roof into a crowded hotel restaurant. He was supposed to give a much anticipated speech tomorrow in the city center, and sources have told us that he was going to reveal findings from his mission to Niger that contradicted the Bush administration's claims that Saddam Hussein was purchasing uranium yellowcake for his program of weapons of mass destruction.
A commentator on Fox News said, We're not saying it's part of a jihadist plot, but it sure is suspicious given the violent nature of the protests today outside the American embassy here in Paris. Footage of students amassed outside the embassy rolled. Cut to an American flag burning. I wouldn't be surprised at all, and all I'm saying is that this is very, very suspicious.
The next day a columnist for the French daily Liberation described what happened, then added: It was a horrifying spectacle in the middle of cosmopolitan Paris [
] a taste of the carnage about to be perpetrated half-way around the world by the American-led invasion of Iraq.
Two days later a video went viral, showing how Fox News had re-appropriated images of unrelated anti-global demonstrations from over a year earlier in their coverage of Cambria's death in Paris. Forums lit up across the internet with news of how Fox had sensationalized the event.
Sirens pierced the Parisian night. The first paramedics arrived, followed by policemen and a brisk winter wind. Television vans came to screeching stops outside. Above Robert Cambria's body, through the jagged hole he made in the glass roof, a sliver of dark-purple sky and the edge of a mansard rooftop. Below that, an open window, incandescent orange shining out.
You know what I find amazing? I mean really freaking amazing? I'll tell you what. It's all these intellectuals who think the CIA runs secret torture chambers in Poland and Thailand; that Monsanto is killing us all slowly with genetically modified seeds (with no proof at all to back this up except for some rogue Frog scientists); that climate change is real and not just another millenarian fad created and hyped by pseudo-intellectuals with an agenda; that real estate developers and the Mossad were behind the attacks on the World Trade Center; that the world would be all shiny and happy and everything would automatically be better if it were run by women and oppressed people; that crystals have super magical powers; that everyone gives off a special aura, and that mine is negative (according to my ex-wife's hippie friend); that feng freaking shui makes freaking sense; that the CIA used to run drugs between Nicaragua and the US to fund the Contras; that mobile phone towers will give you cancer if you live close to them; that protesting like zombies in the streets makes sense in a democracy; that AIDS, the crack and the heroin epidemics are government conspiracies to control the population; that the US government tested hallucinogens on American soldiers in Vietnam to turn them into mindless fighting machines; that this whole Iraq thing is really about Bush and Cheney's big oil interests in the Middle east; that they're in bed with the military industrial complex; that Karl Rove is Satan himself; that they're in league with the Israeli lobby - yet they are unwilling to believe that there are dark forces out there that are actively working together to destroy everything we cherish in our Western Democracies and that we have to take action NOW while still can, while they still haven't re-conquered Al Andaluz, while they still haven't fully infested our society and corrupted our youth, rather than wait until we can't take any action at all.
--An extract from Deuce Delgado's syndicated column, Eurabian Notes, on January 1st, 2003
Deuce had just finished writing the first draft for a new post on Eurabian Notes: The Blog, the subtitle of which read: The uncensored and up-to-the-minute ramblings of Deuce Delgado, columnist and author of the bestselling book Bordel!!! Writing Straight Outta Eurabia (formerly known as Paris, France).
He got up from his chair and stepped over a copy of Milton Friedman's Capitalism and Freedom and some months-old editions of Le Figaro and Le Monde. He walked around a clothes rack covered with wet t-shirts and socks, and approached an alcove which housed a small kitchen consisting of a hotplate and a half-fridge. He poured himself a glass of milk and leaned against the wall and contemplated the jumbled and chaotic arrangement of his apartment, lit only by the reflecting light from a sconce and the glow from his computer monitor. One hand on his gut, he tilted the glass of milk up to his mouth and gulped down half of its contents in one motion. The edges of his mouth pulled downwards, his eyes unfocused, and he burped.
He circumnavigated the jumbled mess of his apartment and sat down in front of his computer, then scrolled back to the top of the post he had just written and saved it as a draft.
Get this. I had to make a trip to the 11th arrondisement that oh-so-trendy area around Bastille to meet some people for a new piece I'm writing on anti-Americanism in Europe.
Anyway, leaving my apartment, I walk past all the camel jockies and French hipsters to the usual chorus of America go home and chants of yankee, yankee bullshit just because I am American (I had an argument some weeks ago with some French liberals in a cafe, and ever since then they make Nazi salutes when I walk past them). So I walk by some of those idiots and past the filthy mosque on the corner when I see this flyer on the side of a building. It was a clever parody of those Kill Bill posters: you know, the ones with Uma Thurman carrying a samurai sword. Well, get this. This one had, instead of Uma's head, some chick's head wrapped in a keffiyeh, and instead of Kill Bill it said Kill Bush. Then I took the subway and they had also vandalized all the posters in the stations by covering parts of the posters with their remixed versions.
The new versions looked authentic, meaning they were well-made and someone new what they were doing. This takes planning and coordination, and make no mistake: there are underground anti-western groups here in Europe behind this. I tore flyers down and defaced as many of the vandalized posters as I could - but there were just too many.
(PICTURE LEFT: Taken with a cell phone of one of one of the hijacked Kill Bill posters in the Paris metro in 2003, source: AnaNimus)
His facial muscles tightened as his fingers hovered over the keyboard. He pulled one of the flyers he had ripped off of a wall out of his pocket. In the bottom right corner he saw what he was looking for: a stamp in degraded stencil lettering with the letters NX. His fingers, bathed in the light of his computer monitor, began typing.
And I'm willing to bet it's this guy I've been writing about lately, the anonymous art prankster Nomad X. For the last couple of years there has been a lot of graffiti around the city signed NX - which is what I found on this flyer. For those of you just coming to this blog, Nomad X has been popping up all over the internet lately, on blogs and forums and news items. You probably know this if you've been following my blog, which is the only reliable news source that has been actively following him.
One idiot, blogging under the name San-Fi - a blog dedicated to the thought of Nomad X - posts pictures of Nomad X's agit-prop and writes things which are basically just regurgitations of left-wing propaganda. For example:
Remember the 'proof' that Bin Laden was hiding out in a super bunker somewhere in the mountains of Afghanistan? I just saw a video clip of Rumsfeld on Meet the Press. There he is with a cartoonish drawing of a bunker allegedly hidden in the Tora Bora mountains of Afghanistan. It would be funny if this were a bad B-movie from the seventies, but this is the new reality being foisted on America's sheeple by the neocon overlords.
Here's the drawing they're talking about:
(PICTURE RIGHT: The bunker diagram presented by Donald Rumsfeld on Meet the Press on December 2, 2001)
Another idiot calling himself or herself ApeOria comments:
That's why I dig what Nomad X is doing with his art. He's saying the same thing: The 'bad guys' exist in another dimension - a symbolic dimension that we've already seen in summer blockbusters. They exist on the level of cartoon fantasies. Only bunker-busting 'smart' bombs can enter this fantasy space and destroy the 'bad guys'. 'Smart bombs' are like ideology, the 'bad guys' in the super bunker are what Lacan would call the Petit Object a - the hinge or fulcrum on which our violent ideology spins around.
StrangeAttractor, another liberal tard, replies:
I don't think it's a problem of ideologically misguided masses - as both Zizek on one end and the neocons on the other would have us believe. We are all libidinally invested in this in one way or the other. It is a question of desire, of impulse, of self-interest."
Translation: Nomad X's followers are idiot-crats and Nomad X is a nihilist jackass and a liberal loon. I mean, c'mon, this flaming bag of shit is so quick to ridicule anything about the US government. Does Nomad X mention anything in his art about the oppressed women under the Taliban regime, or about Saddam's massacre of the Kurds? Nomad X, I'll tell you what you are: a TERRORIST ENABLER.
After running his text through a spell checker, Deuce hit the post button.
He was surfing the net for porn - one hand on his mouse, the other below his desk - when his doorbell rang. He walked to his door and picked up the intercom receiver hanging next to it.
A voice crackled through the speaker:
Deuce. It's Wallace. Open up.
Deuce buzzed open the downstairs entrance and cracked his door open in anticipation of Wallace's arrival. He went back to his computer, closed the browser window, then walked to his single-seater sofa and scooped off a pile of dirty clothing and shoved it into a laundry bag.
Wallace pushed open the door and barged in, taking deep breaths through his mouth after climbing the five flights of stairs to Deuce's apartment. Deuce clasped Wallace's right hand, reached around his thick upperbody with his free arm, and pulled him in for a hug.
Wallace, man! So you did get my email with my new address. I was beginning to wonder
Wallace stood back, eyes locked with Deuce's. His chest still heaved from the swift climb up; his florid face contrasted Deuce's pallor. Wallace's terracotta-colored hair was streaked with grey, combed straight back over a clean-shaven mug that sported a mustache and a set of jowls that gave him a perennially obstinate aura.
Looks like you got some sun. You look good, Wall.
You look like shit, Wallace said, as he wriggled out of his jacket and plopped down on the single-seater sofa. You didn't tell me you changed your cell number otherwise I'd have called you. He paused to breathe, then continued: Damn, I'm getting old. I had to SDR all the way over here. Lot's of suspicious looking individuals in your neighborhood.
What the fuck is SDR?
Surveillance Detection Route you rube; evasion techniques. I'm back in action, Deuce. That's why you haven't heard from me for a while. I've been doing shit that's beyond top secret.
What's going on?
Deuce, brother. It's all starting to happen. He sat forward, both forearms pressed into his thighs. Sit down for what I'm about to tell you.
Deuce went to his bed and sat down opposite him.
This is serious shit and I can burn you if you leak it. But I trust you and I need you, and the people I work for green-lighted this briefing. His china-blue eyes, pupils tight despite the mottled chiaroscuro play of shadows in Deuce's apartment, bore straight into Deuce's. Only a few people know what's going on.
Wallace looked at his wristwatch, then back at Deuce. The Lindon Group contracted me. Few people besides the upper echelons of power know they even exist. They deal in perception management in the media, crucial shit right now in these dark times.
Damn man, sounds interesting. How did you get involved with them?
Old contacts at the agency from when I freelanced for them years ago. They contacted me to work as a field op at their European branch in Paris because of my knowledge of the terrain and loyalty to the cause. Things are getting big, Deuce. The shit all over the news. The unrest. The European jihad. We have intelligence it's about to get bigger. Soon. Like now, soon.
What? What's going on?
These wahabi weaklings are about to strike. Tonight, Deuce. Here in the heart of Paris. We just know the time, but we don't know where or how.
Holy shit! When?
Actually Deuce, he paused and fixed his eyes on Deuce's, like less than ten minutes ago.
What? Deuce sprang up and went for his computer
Wait! Hold on there cowboy, said Wallace. I just got a message. He took his phone out of his pants pocket and checked it. My god, he said, standing up. My god.
Goddamnit, Wallace! What is it?
There's no turning back when I bring you into this. Are you're loyal to the American cause? To freedom?
Get ready to leave now. Robert Cambria - he's a director at NSC - was just killed downtown. Took a swan dive out of his hotel room window. They fucking did it.
Who? What the fuck is going on?
You got press pass credentials?
Well, yeah, a pass from an old event I covered.
Good enough. Get it.
Deuce pulled on a thick cotton pullover and put on a Northface winter jacket over that. He left his khakis on, slipped on a pair of loafers, and hurried out of his apartment behind Wallace.
They pushed through still-crowded cobble stone streets, up Rue des Poissoniers. The streetlamps overhead cast down a coppery light on the littered streets.
Man, what a shithole, Deuce. Surrounded by all these
his words trailed off.
Yeah, said Deuce, looking at the chaotic mix of Arabic and Haitian street hawkers closing up shop in the darkness of the early evening. The heavy scent of raw fish guts and barbecued corn on the cob wafted in the air. This place was all I could afford on my own - after the divorce. I'm in the red now. The guy who hooked me up with it didn't say I was going to be next to two mosques and all this crap though.
They weaved in and out of crowds surrounding vendors with plastic jewelry and knock-off Ray-Bans, passed the mouth of the Chateau Rouge metro, and arrived at the street.
We need to get there soon, said Wallace as he searched up and down Barbes for an available cab. He spotted one coming down the street and hailed it. They ran across the street and hopped in a silver-colored Peugot. Wallace told the cabbie:
Le Ville de Paris Hotel, s'il vous plait.
D'accord, chef, said the cabbie, a Vietnamese guy with wind-tussled ashen hair and a cigarette dangling from his mouth. He turned off the taxi sign and gunned the car into the center-bound traffic. Wallace turned to Deuce and said under his breath:
Probably got his cigarette on the black market. On my way over here I saw a bunch of the Arabs selling them next to the Barbes stop. You know the profits go straight to jihadists.
I'll be sure to put that in my next column.
They hit a green light at Rue de Clichy and took a right. Up ahead of them the multi-colored neon of strip joints and sex shops. Wallace and Deuce shifted back into their previous positions after being jostled by the sharp turn.
Deuce, man, the news is full of signs
I know. We're living historical times.
It's sick. The bestiality, beheadings. It's all coming now. This is the clash people need to know about.
See, that's what I can't understand. What you're getting at. You've been vague ever since you dropped by my apartment.
Wallace looked out the window towards the mirrored entrance of a strip joint. Don't you see, Deuce? It's gonna happen here first. In a big urban melting pot like Paris, in a western liberal stronghold. Right under our noses unless people are awakened. People need a cause to get behind. They need to have a tangible enemy. Unless their city gets blown up and unless there's a bad guy pointing a gun at them, they don't do shit.
But then shit happens. Like tonight.
Exactly. It's unfortunate innocents have to die, but they will have to in order for people to wake up.
They were silent, watching the neighborhood change from the tourist and sex club filled chaos of Clichy to the sidewalks buzzing with shoppers near Lafayette. They took a sharp turn off Boulevard Haussman and up ahead they saw a jumble of cars and people. A wash of light came from the sidewalk where a mobile television crew was interviewing someone. Three police cars and an ambulance blocked the road.
This is fucking madness, grumbled Wallace.