Apophenia 6 October 2019.

The German psychiatrist Klaus Conrad (1905-1961) studied the development of schizophrenia.  In a 1958 book he defined an early stage of schizophrenia as “apophenia.”  Conrad explained that apophenia consisted of the “unmotivated seeing of connections [accompanied by] a specific feeling of abnormal meaningfulness.”[1]  What follows is an attempt to illustrate this idea by reference to a contemporary political controversy.

 

The “Steele Dossier” was inserted into public consciousness between July and September 2016.   The “Whistleblower Complaint” was inserted into public consciousness between July and September 2019.

The author of the “Steele Dossier” reportedly was Christopher Steele, a highly-regarded former British intelligence officer.  The author of the “Whistleblower Complaint is believed to be a highly-regarded Central Intelligence Agency officer.

The basis of the “Steele Dossier” was unverified hear-say.  The basis of the “Whistleblower Complaint” was largely then-unverified hearsay.

The “Steele Dossier” was first communicated to a consulting firm in the employ of the Hillary Clinton campaign, and to an FBI agent stationed in Rome.  Then, when the information did not reach the public or result in an official investigation, it was shared with journalists.  The “Whistleblower Complaint” was first communicated to a government “tip-line” and resulted in a formal complaint.  Then, when the information did not result in an official investigation, it was shared with Congressman Adam Schiff (D-CA), the chair of the House Intelligence Committee.

The “Steele Dossier” alleged—among other things–that: 1) that Trump presidential campaign officials conspired with the Russians; 2) that Carter Page played a key role in this conspiracy; 3) that Paul Manafort directed the conspiracy; 4) that Trump’s personal attorney, Michael Cohen, had met secretly with Russian representatives in Prague.

“The Whistleblower Complaint” alleged—among other things–that: 1) Trump tried to extort the government of Ukraine to dig up dirt on Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden; 2) Trump’s personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, played a key role in this conspiracy; 4) US Attorney John Durham may be investigating Ukrainian leads as part of his probe of the origins of the Russia-Trump investigation.

It is useful to recall the context for both cases.  In the case of the “Steele Dossier,” Russians had intervened in the 2016 US presidential election, not least by releasing secret information stolen from the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton.  The Australian government informed American officials that a Trump campaign adviser, George Papadopoulos, had told one of their diplomats that the Russians had “dirt” on Hillary Clinton.  President Trump has doubted/denied the reports of American intelligence agencies about Russian interference and took umbrage at the investigation of alleged conspiracy between his campaign and the Russians.

In the case of the “Whistleblower Complaint,” 1) Ukraine suffers from endemic corruption.  During the Obama Administration, Vice President Joe Biden led an effort to pressure the government of Ukraine to shape up.  2) Information on the dealings in Ukraine of Trump’s one-time campaign manager, Paul Manafort, provided some of the basis for Manafort’s indictment.  3) In 2014 Hunter Biden joined the board of a Ukrainian energy company run by oligarch Mykola Zlochevsky.  Once Vice President Joe Biden took charge of trying to damp-down Ukrainian corruption, Hunter Biden’s position created an apparent conflict-of-interest that was acknowledged by the New York Times.  4) In Spring 2019, Ukraine’s Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko began alleging “interference” in the 2016 US presidential election by Ukrainians working against Trump.  Other officials have denied these allegations.

 

It is impossible at this point to predict the final outcomes of the two cases.  The case of the “Steele Dossier” is not yet concluded.

1) In March 2019: Special Counsel Robert Mueller “did not establish” that a Trump-Russia conspiracy had existed.  2) The Special Counsel did not charge former Trump campaign official Carter Page with any crime.  The Special Counsel stated that Michael Cohen never visited Prague.  Paul Manafort was convicted of financial crimes committed before 2016 and for obstruction of justice committed during the investigation of those crimes.  He was not charged with conspiring with the Russians.  3) The Department of Justice Inspector General has been investigating allegations of Federal Bureau of Investigation misconduct in FISA warrant applications to surveil former Trump campaign official Page.  This investigation included a July 2019 extended interview with Steele.  By mid-September 2019, a draft report on the FISA warrants was circulating inside the Department of Justice and the FBI.   4) In late April 2019, Attorney General William Barr appointed US Attorney John Durham to investigate the origins of the Russia investigation.

The case of the “Whistleblower Complaint” is just beginning.

1) After the Mueller Report, Democratic efforts to impeach Trump had languished, with House majority leader Nancy Pelosi paying more attention to public opinion polls and the situation of the moderate new members of the House than to the left wing of the party.  2) The “Whistleblower Complaint” shifted the balance of forces.  House of Representatives Democrats launched a formal impeachment inquiry.  3) Attorney General Barr has denied being asked to contact Ukrainian officials, having any contact with Ukrainian officials, having any contact with Giuliani with regard to Ukraine, and knowing about the Trump phone call until several weeks later, possibly as a result of the whistleblower’s complaint.  4) In late September 2019, John Durham was reported to be investigating how the incriminating information on Manafort reached the FBI from Ukraine.

There is a lot of scope for apophenia in these events.

[1] See: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apophenia.  I first encountered the term in William Gibson, Pattern Recognition (2003), a sort-of science fiction novel set in what John LeCarre called “the recent future.”

Zion Island 15.

Reichsarchiv.  Nachlasse Lange.  Personal letters.

20 July 1947.

My dear Lange[1],

You must be quite bored out there to be spending time reading old intelligence circulars and speculating on such idle questions.  Still, you recall quite correctly.  Here are the details in laymen’s terms.

In 1942 we had an outbreak of typhus in a Wehrmacht division on rest-and-retraining assignment here.  The doctors initially put it down to the men having returned with the disease from Russia.  As you know, it is common throughout the East.  The entire division went through an additional round of de-lousing with Zyklon-B.  However, some local French people then came down with it as well.  A young member of the medical staff who had been trained as an epidemiologist made further inquiries.

The French victims were all from a section of the town fairly removed from the camp.  The young doctor interviewed each of the French victims.  Being French and from the same neighborhood, they naturally shared many features and activities.  However, the doctor diligently eliminated one after another.  In the end, he found that they had all fallen sick soon after purchasing some butter on the black market.  All had purchased the butter from the same shop, ironically named “Au bon beurre”!  The shop-keeper immediately was interviewed.  He admitted to having purchased a large quantity of butter from a German mess-sergeant at the nearby-by base.  Shown photographs of all the mess-sergeants from the base, he picked out the guilty man.

The sergeant admitted the theft and sale, but that did not resolve the issue of the spread of the typhus.  Chemists examined the remains of the store of butter.  They reported that it had been infected with the germ that causes typhus!  Where had French butter come to be infected with typhus?  One answer would be to follow the path of the butter back from the mess stores to its point of production.  Another answer would be to try to identify the origin of the typhus infection.  The investigation bogged down for a time as we followed both lines of inquiry.

In the end, it turned out that a researcher at the Institut Pasteur had stolen the germ culture from a laboratory.  With the assistance of a friend who worked in Les Halles market, he had infected a shipment of butter consigned to the Wehrmacht camp.

So, yes, it is possible to “weaponize” diseases.  I hope that you and Dr. Mengele find this information useful.

H H,

Knochen.[2]

 

[1] Obersturmbannfuhrer der SS Dr. Rudolf Lange, Headquarters, Sipo-SD, Theresienstadt, Madagascar.

[2] Standartenfuhrer des SS Dr. Helmut Knochen, Office of the Police Attache, German Embassy, Paris.

Zion Island 14.

Reichsarchiv.  Nachlass Bach-Zalewski.  Private files–Miscellaneous.

Sipo-SD IV-B-4.

Partial transcript of a recorded conversation, Toamasina, Madagascar, 14 May 1948.

……….

MB[1]: So, you saw him?[2]

MA[3]: I saw him.  Talked to him.  Talked for hours.  Aliphas[4] met me at the train station and took me home.  It took a week to set up.

MB: And?  Will he help?  What did you tell him?

MA: I explained our situation, what it’s like here, how it isn’t what they put in the fucking papers, when they do put anything in the papers.  I told him from now on we had to be strong, rely on ourselves.

MB: And he agreed?  He understood?

MA: Eventually, yes, the little bastard agreed.  He’d seen that news-reel.  It took forever to talk him out of that.  He’s German, but he got out a long time before.  Everything is theoretical to him.

MB: Will he help us?  Does he understand what we want?

MA: Maybe.  There are a lot of moving parts.  A lot of things have to be organized.  Organized like we did in the old country.

MB: It’s going to take time, then.  If we have it.  They’re probably watching us even now.

MA: He gave me the name of a man, Raymond.  Arranged for me to see him.  I went to El Paso to see Raymond.  It’s just across the border.  Took the train up to the north.  Had to wade across the river in the night with a bunch of laborers just to get in.  Raymond says the place is like a fortress since the election.

[1] Menachem Begin: b. 1913, Brest-Litovsk, Russian Empire.

[2] Reference unclear.

[3] Mordechai Anielewicz: b. 1919, Warsaw, Russian Empire.

[4] Avram Aliphas: b. 1911, Kolno, Russian Empire; migrated to Palestine 1936; settled in Mexico 1940: taught at the Hebrew School in Mexico City.

Zion Island 13.

Reichsarchiv.  Nachlasse Bach-Zalewski.  Private files–Miscellaneous.

 

Sipo-SD IV-B-4.

Partial transcript of a recorded conversation, Theresienstadt, Madagascar, 14 August 1952.

 

(excerpt).

…..

AG[1]: There’s something else.  The piano player from Rick’s.  You’ve heard him?  Course you have.  You love the night-life.  I met him at a party.  There were a lot of people there and a lot of booze.  We ended up in one of the little groups late in the evening.

 

PR[2]: You ended up in the same group or he was working his way toward you?

 

AG: Dunno.  Could have been.  Turns out he’s not French or German either, the “Graf” aside.  He’s a Russian, one of the refugees.  Grew up in Shanghai, then the family moved to France maybe twenty years ago.  He speaks French and Russian, but also English and German.

 

PR: What’s he like?

 

AG: Smart.  Big talker, but not so much boasting.  More like he can run on and on with stories.  Lots of them funny.  Sort of puts you to sleep, like the doctor before an operation.  A feygele[3] I think.

 

PR: So why tell me?

 

AG: He wants to meet people.  Says it’s lonely being so far from home; says the Germans aren’t too interesting.  Said it in a way that might make you think he didn’t like them—without coming right out and saying so.  Also, he wants to see something of the island.  He says the steamer from Shanghai stopped here on the way to France when he was a boy, but he never got off the ship.

 

PR:  OK, I’ll tell them.  Try to avoid him until they decide.

 

[1] Abraham Gancwajch: b. 1902, Czestachowa, Russian Empire.  Head of Office to Combat Usury and Profiteering in the Resettlement Community.

[2] Perec Rachman, b: 1919, Lwow, Polish Republic.  Interned by Soviet Union, 1940.

[3] Yiddish: a man who is believed to be gay.

Zion Island 12.

 

SECURITY LEVEL: COSMIC.

 

TO:                  Mr. J. Edgar Hoover, Director, Federal Bureau of Investigation.

 

FROM:            Mr. Clyde Tolson.

 

DATE:            29 March 1951.

 

RE:                  Possible Further Security Breach, Manhattan Project.

 

Saypol[1] telephoned.  The Rosenbergs[2] have been convicted.  He anticipates that Judge Kaufman[3] will impose a harsh sentence.  Therefore, the Rosenbergs undoubtedly will inform on their KGB contacts.  They would have to be heartless fanatics not to do so.  Testifying will save their lives and not leave their sons as orphans.

 

It is vitally important, that they provide full and forthcoming information.  Recent information suggests that the security breach at Los Alamos may be more complicated than the Bureau had first understood.  This opens new lines of investigation that must be pursued.

 

At some undetermined point, Julius Rosenberg and/or Harry Gold may have supplied information on atomic weapon design to others in addition to the Russians.  The NYPD “Red Squad” has—informally–reported[4] that both men met several times with “Walter Glassman.”  The FBI assesses that this person is identical with “Vladek Spiegelman.”[5]

Bureau legal attache, Mexico City, reports that one “Gualtiero Vidrio” [translates as “Walter Glass”] entered Mexico through port of Veracruz traveling on a European Union passport.  The men may be identical.[6]

 

QUESTIONS:

Vidrio/Glassman/Spiegelman is NOT known to be a Russian operative.

Who does he represent?

How, when, and for what purpose did he arrive in the United States?

 

[1] Irving Saypol, born 1905; BA, Saint Lawrence University, JD, Brooklyn Law School; United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York.

[2] Julius and Ethel Rosenberg.  Espionage agents of the Soviet Union.

[3] Irving Kaufman, born 1910; JD, Fordham University School of Law.

[4] FBI Special Agent James Joseph Kelly conferred with NYPD Detective John Gerald Kelly (the men are brothers) at “The Slaughtered Lamb,” a bar in Brooklyn on Saturday, 24 March 1951.

[5] Born 1906, Czestochowa, Russian Empire.  Primary school education only.  Textile dealer.  Spiegelman was relocated from Poland to Madagascar, 1941.  Arrived in the United States on date and by means uncertain.  Agent evaluations of Spiegelman/Glassman range from “modest/unassuming/deferential” to “ruthless and calculating.”

[6] Passport information states that Vidrio was born in 1906, Czestochowa, Russian Empire.  Lately resident of Berlin, German Reich.

Zion Island 10.

IPNdeM press release, December 1947.  (My translation.)

The Instituto Politechnico Nacional de Mexico announces with great pride that Professor Albert Einstein will hold a visiting fellowship at “el Poli” for Spring Semester 1948.  While Professor Einstein will not be teaching any classes, he will give several public addresses and be available for consultation during his stay.  He will reside at a private home at #45 Avenida Viena in Coyoacan.

Zion Island 9.

Library of Congress/Admiral John A. Waters, Jr., Papers/Director of Security, Atomic Energy Commission/Miscellaneous/Notes to Self.

 

No Date.  Yellow legal pad.  Transcribed from hand-writing.

Who?

Krauts?  Already sharing Congo ore.  RH seems keen on no-pro.

Limeys?  Limited share from Congo.  RAB all about domestic reform.

Russkies?  Not much industry or science.  No air force.  Nuke Chechens?  HA!  What an idea.

Japs?  Big difference between them and US/Ger.  But Japanese China has bunch of Ur.

**Still, Geiger counter ships leaving Seattle/SF/Long Beach.

 

2 containers/30 lbs.  Why so little?  Need X for a “Trinity” bomb.  Need Y for a “Super.”  Need a lot more than that for a program.  + sci/ind infra.

Interrupted by fire engines?  Bolted?

Try again?

 

WEAPON DESIGN.  Or just dump it in Pepacton reservoir.  See what happens?

 

Then, Timms issue.[1]  Vetting.  FitzG—slimey.

 

[1] General(ret.) Thomas Timms, candidate for Commissioner, Atomic Energy Commission.