Archive for the ‘International Intrigue’ Category

Yeah the Russians are here. I mean, they’re everywhere, but especially in Nashville.

– Layla Santana Crow


Paranoia is a cottage industry in Tennessee where there exists a strange stew of Revelators, Second-Comers, Doomsday-preppers, bootleggers and coonskin-capped militiamen cooked together by the overhead high-voltage power lines running roughshod through the hinterlands. None of the above characters, however, have cornered the Russophobic market in these foothills like Texan native, Layla Santana Crow. In short time, Layla has become an urban myth in Nashville; spoken of, yet rarely seen and when seen, the witness is left dumbstruck enough to be certified as a hysteric. The going wisdom is to not seek out Layla Santana Crow because, sooner or later, she will find you.

I flew into Nashville beside a rhinestone and sequin-bedazzled woman who smelled like a duty-free store (a mélange of perfume samples with a splash of spilt single-malt) who had heard of Layla Santana Crow. Legend had it, or so conveyed my partner-in-transit, Layla had two wolves smuggled from Siberia who could smell Russians from a mile away.

If you ask the pit-boss behind the counter at the airport pork-rib depot, he will tell you that seeking out Layla Santana Crow is akin to dressing up a possum for Sunday service, which meant, amongst other things, updating my last will and testament and grabbing a shovel to bury good intentions.

If you weave your way through the Papists and Baptists of Sunday morning (do avoid the dressed-up possums) while inquiring laypersons of the aforementioned Layla, more than one will ask if your head had been touched without specifying by whom. “Touched by God, son.” One wizened miser clarified while a spinster spoke in condescendingly sympathetic tones, “Bless your heart.” They once knew of a fella like me, more or less bearded, who went looking for “Leah Crow” and when he laid eyes on her he burst into flames. Spontaneous combustion: one moment pyrophoric hipster, the next – poof – ashes. Dust to dust, etcetera.

And yet, into the foothills of Tennessee I sought her, this Layla Santana Crow…

Layla Santana Crow confronts Vic, "were you followed?"

Layla Santana Crow confronts Vic, “were you followed?”

Assuming the identity of my alias, Bucky Swoon, Esq., I tracked down Layla Santana Crow’s whereabouts to a jazz club this side of Ghost Creek where she was holding court amongst the homegrown moonshiners and imported bourgeois from the Atlantic seaboard. The Ghost Creek Jazz Club was a cigar bar which practiced ventilation via osmosis (absorption through the cement walls) and it wasn’t until I kneeled somewhere between sax and trombone before I had any visibility beyond four inches. Scanning the knee-scape, I found a high-density of sophisticated man-slacks near the bar and rightly assumed it to be the compilation of Layla Santana Crow admirers. Betwixt the sophisticated slacks, I deduced, sat the spy-huntress, herself. Her entourage of admirers, asthmatic and arrhythmic (bouncing in-and-out-of-sync to the jazz), was easily dispersed when I began accidentally lighting their silken neckties afire instead of my own cigar. While the fog refused to clear and her face wasn’t quite visible as I neared, the sheer radiance of Layla Santana Crow created a halo in the suspended cigar smoke, providing her more of a celestial quality than even I was accustomed to.

“Hey Vic.” She spoke non-committal, stoic-even, seeing through the smoke and past the Bucky alias in spite of the mustache I had groomed for the occasion. “Were you followed?”

Russian Spies in America

The trial of Igor Sporyshev, the Russian banker in New York who was attempting to funnel financial information back to the Kremlin, reminded Layla Santana Crow of the unearthed spies of her youth. Specifically, Layla was reminded of Anna Chapman, circa 2010 (aye, Layla is a bit younger than us Cold War kids), the sexy spy who had infiltrated New York high society prior to being outted and who has become a celebrity in Moscow after the United States performed a spy-swap with Putin.

Anna Chapman and Igor Sporyshev: Neo-Cold War Russian Spies

Anna Chapman and Igor Sporyshev: Neo-Cold War Russian Spies

“Anna Chapman is an example of how the Kremlin is attempting to spy on America – by infiltrating our social crème de la crème. Yeah, so this guy Igor, the banker, was a fat a-hole, but he was still trying to get American coeds to act as spies for Russia.” Layla Santana Crow explained. “Russia is going straight to the well for their intelligence: they are spying on the housewives of Washington and New York. I bet they have analysts in Havana watching North American television for TMZ and every reality show just for the gossip.”

Indeed, contemporary Russian spies might have a different modus operandi than former generations, but do not doubt their malice for a modicum of a second as their Grand Master is still Vlad “the Paler” Putin, formerly of the KGB. Today’s Russian spies might be educated on episodes of Saved By The Bell, but they are raised on deception and sabotage from the first day they suckle upon the vodka-infused milk of the teat of Mother Russia. It may be a mafia state which governs the Russian people, but its spies are nostalgic for the old Soviet Empire and eager to fulfill a vendetta against the West, regardless of the different ideologies at play during the chilling 20th Century schism. Whether you believe the Cold War was Democracy vs. Totalitarianism or Capitalism vs. Communism or the Establishment vs. Populism, you could boil the fat out of the whole brouhaha into being nothing more than an imperial gun show. 2015 or 1965, it makes no difference.

Russian Spies in Tennessee?

Russians love Country Music and they see Nashville as the gateway to the soul of America. There is nothing more American than a sorrow-drunken cowboy dancing in his boots and there is nothing more Russian than a bare-chested Premier riding a bear as he invades the Ukraine. The second-most Russian thing, however, is a sorrow-drunken Cossack dancing in his boots.

Cossacks are just Cowboys born of another  mother

Cossacks are just Cowboys born of another mother

“For Russian spies whose first language is not English…” Layla Santana Crow told me over lunch at a fashionable East Nashville burger bar. “They can hide their Caucus accent if they enunciate with a southern drawl. It is a lot easier for a spy to acclimate into the Country Western scene, than say, Hip-Hop or Hipster, because the twang accent is easy to emulate and the music lyrics describe exactly how a countryperson must live: a steady dose of religion, alcohol, good times and sorrow.”

“Country music lacks the ambiguity of alternative hipster shit.” Cyrus Lee Hancock, Layla’s head of security, chimed in. “Whether it is a song about drinking liquor before beer or a song about falling in love at night school while pursuing your GED, country music gets to the point. If a Russian spy has to lie about where he was on the night of August 5th at approximately 2200 hours, he can just quote his favorite country song, ‘I was shooting Fireball while lying in the bed of my pickup truck, looking at a picture of Rhonda Sue who was known as being good for uhhh luck.”

“In short, Russians are already half-hillbilly and it is easy enough to fake the rest.” Layla concluded.

Spy-Hunting in Nashville

Layla Santana Crow was neither raised by wolves nor does she own any. Instead, she has a pair of German Shepherds (one is named after a Top-Gun character, another after a salad) who, allegedly, can smell borscht at a hundred yards. It helps her sleep at night.

“Potential Ruby at twelve o’clock with the shaven head and bear-tooth necklace.” Layla spoke between bites of gluten-free biomass as we lunched at the recycled pharmacy on the eastside. “His front teeth are fake, which is common among Rubies who spend their youth getting head-butted and/or falling on their face after draining too many vodka bottles.”

“Or he’s just a dirty hipster with a smack problem.” Security Chief Cyrus Lee pitched-in. “Heroin isn’t good for the chompers.”

“What about the goon sisters over there?” I mentioned with a head nod. “These guys are a pair of ‘Rubies’ if I have ever seen one.”

“Doom and gloom.” Layla Santana Crow named the untoward thugs. “And they’ve pancake batter on their faces to disguise the burst blood vessels in their noses. Another sign of a Ruby. Vic, take a picture of us and be sure to frame the image with the goon sisters in the background so I can add to the database.”

Cyrus Lee and Layla in the foreground with the Goon Sisters in the background

Cyrus Lee and Layla in the foreground with the Goon Sisters in the background

One of the surefire ways to out a Ruby (Layla’s codeword for “Russian Spy”) is to approach one on the sly and engage them with a joke in Russian. Neither Layla nor her head of security speak Russian, but they can sound out the words. For example, Cyrus Lee Hancock will follow a potential Ruby into the bathroom and while poised before the latrines quip, g’p-ka nush-nee which often gets a chuckle out of anyone who understands Russian and who agrees it smells like horse stables are near. At high society events, Layla, dressed to the nines without doubt, will approach a Ruby at the bar and order a double-vodka tonic. She isn’t the greatest fan of vodka, but the order alone will perk up the ears of any Russian. Layla will then take a sip and mention how it tastes like home, but instead of speaking English, she’ll mumble f’vus ga doma. When the Ruby’s eyes light up, the trap is snared.

“Vic, discreetly take a picture of our beers and be sure to focus on the tracksuit.” Layla said. “Only a Ruby would wear a tracksuit that expensive and have such a horrid taste in foot attire.”

The Speakeasy

We parked somewhere downtown, or so I judged by the street traffic I heard. It wasn’t until Layla whispered the password du jour to the doorman and we were safely in the basement (or the attic, I was a bit dizzy) before Cyrus Lee Hancock removed the blindfold from my gourde, granting me sight. We were in a speakeasy. Despite the hordes of desperate dipsomaniacs begging for a seat, there was a table already reserved for Layla and her plus 2. There was nothing on the menu necessarily verboten and we weren’t here for the $12 Dark & Stormy. This speakeasy was a hub of clandestine activity: political hitmen extracted bribes beneath table tops, a Rosicrucian proselytized a defrocked priest, a guitarist sold his soul to the agent who picked him up at the crossroads and some half-naked pagans prostrated themselves before a boar’s head. It was here, Layla Santana Crow surmised, the Russian sleeper agents would meet their handlers over nefarious naval-strength rum drinks.

Some might call Layla’s spy-hunting senseless fear-mongering. She calls it proactive counterintelligence. All it takes is a few firebrand Neo-Soviets to become embedded in Nashville’s Country Music scene and then if there is ever a Russian invasion (perhaps through Canada once the Arctic melts), Putin’s conquerors will have a Nashville fifth column of sympathizers at the ready. As we finished our drinks at the speakeasy, I mentioned to Layla my opinion on the greater threats of American-bred spies hired by the Qatari Royals and, even worse, the largest intelligence network in the world according the late Kyril Bonfiglioli – the International Chinese Waiter Union.

Layla Santana Crow, in the unsettling way in which she comes out of her thousand-yard stare to refocus locally upon your face, tilted her head ever so slightly before finally responding to my comments. “Really, Vic? Paranoid much?”

See also…
***Layla on the Illuminati’s influence of Hip-Hop***


We underestimated ISIL and overestimated the fighting capability of the Iraqi army.

– James Clapper, Director of National Intelligence, September 2014.

Here, take these. They will help you as much as anything if you are afraid of Ebola. There is a vaccine out there, but Big Pharma will not market it as long as the virus stays in Africa. Once it is here, on American soil, then they will cash in.

– Doc Kelly after tossing Vic Neverman a box of TicTac’s, May 2014.

All’s quiet on the western front page headlines, at least where war-torn Palestine and Ukraine are concerned. Instead, the hysteria du jour is the combo-meal blight against humanity: ISIS, Ebola and the rhetorical question on the side, “Were these crises exacerbated by American incompetence?”

Let us consider…

The Obama Administration’s consistent Foreign Policy of “Hold Your Breath and Hope it Goes Away” might work on horse-flies, but with Libya, Syria, Russia, ISIS(L) and Ebola, the diseases only festered and spread. Incompetence knows no political persuasion, the current Administration inherited a world riddled with holes after 8 years of the Dick Cheney Administration’s Foreign Policy of “Shoot First and Let God Sort it Out” (God, as it seems, is an absentee landlord and does not cleanup after His residents, which is how the rats took over the ship Iraq). What is absolutely certain is that we, the West, did not expect this Clusterfuckdom.

Ebola is on American soil and there is a chance worth considering ISIS is here too. If we underestimated these diseases over there, surely we are capable of such bad maths on the domestic front.

The Ebola epidemic will be cataclysmic, this much is inescapable. Developing Africa will be set back decades or more, with substantial damage done to their economy and infrastructure, let alone politics. America, however, is fine as long as Ebola does not evolve into an airborne plague. America will survive because Big Pharma will start churning out the pillboxes to manage the illness (management is more profitable than a cure). The 1st World will survive.

Islamic State of Syria and Such and Such... no big deal, really

Islamic State of Syria and Such and Such… no big deal, really

The ISIS (also known as ISIL, the difference being an Islamic State limited to Iraq and Syria and an Islamic State limited to Iraq and the Levant, which is the majority of the Eastern Mediterranean and the term of choice by the Obama Administration likely because there is a lobby group trying to keep Osiris’s wife’s out of the whole ordeal) threat is similarly cataclysmic – more so for the Middle East, than America, unless you consider gas prices. Rather than being physiologically passed from person to person like Ebola, ISIS is a meme, an idea which could occur to any lone-nut son-of-a-dick in East Paducah. If you look into the franchising of the ISIS brand, the requirements are startling little – you need to be a man (but not always), you need to not like Israel, you have to be at least moderately angry, you need no marksmanship or warrior skill at all just a willingness to shove explosive up your posterior and wait for an opportune moment to fart. You too can be the owner of an ISIS franchise, serving all of East Paducah with as little as $5 down and your life to go.

Is there a complex conspiracy scheme of Islamic fanatics in America? Most likely, no. Is there a threat of ISIS-inspired terror in America? Absolutely yes. A fanatical meme cannot be contained within the tainted sands between Damascus and Baghdad. Not with the internet available…


When it comes to the threat of ISIS sleeper cells, the bat-shit crazy survivalist militia crowd is sitting smug despite being just as bat-shit crazy as ever. I met my favorite bat-shitter, the author of Surthrivalism: Not Just Surviving in a Post-Apocalyptic World, but Thriving!, Cyrus Lee Hancock at a Middle Florida taco joint. He liked the venue, even if it was filled with hipsters.

“Do you know what hipsters are good for?” Cyrus Lee Hancock inquired. I guessed tacos. He answered his own question, “Target practice.”

Cyrus Lee Hancock's business advertised with his trademark Drop Bear

Cyrus Lee Hancock’s business advertised with his trademark Drop Bear

Cyrus Lee Hancock, if you read the transcripts of his ranted dictation, sounds like a curmudgeonly bastard older than sin, yet he is merely a youthful prodigy at the miser trade, the same age of the antagonistic hipster Millennials (roughly 30, give or take a few energy drinks). His disposition, when he is not ranting, is one of cavalier indifference – he appears aloof, staring into space as if trying to remember a grocery list, his eyes glassy and faraway. It’s all a ploy, however – a ruse to lure the fly into the trap. Once your guard is down, he’ll have a fork in your Achilles tendon or a chop-stick up a nostril until it is tickling your temporal lobe. And so I decided on tacos.

Vaya con dios, motherfucker.” Cyrus Lee Hancock saluted the burrito in his basket prior to attack.

How is the survivalist militia community responding to these threats at home? Cyrus Lee Hancock offered to show me a text from one of the fanatics in his Gun Rights Book Club back in Nashville.

Wolf is @ the door. Just read Australian ISIS cell in Australia story. Need to keep stocking up (on ammunition, artillery, barbed wire, etc.). Don’t want to get caught flat-footed.

– Barry von Doom

Indeed, Barry, the wolf is at the door.

Fuck you ISIS, your shitty carsalesmen

Fuck you ISIS, you’re shitty carsalesmen

“Fucking ridiculous, bro.” Cyrus Lee Hancock deleted the message with his typical cavalier indifference. “But here’s the thing. These ISIS fuckers are killing women and children first. They are crucifying Christians and beheading any westerner they can find within a camera lens. They have literally, like for the whole purpose of using the term ‘literal’, created rivers of blood by dumping their murdered victims into rivers. They are morbid, like, fucking mor-bid to the point of being medieval barbaric. Which is why I come to you. You’re the crusade historian. If ISIS occupies American territory as sleeper cells, what sort of medieval defenses can we put up to thwart their fucking savagery? Barbarians at the gate, bro. They’re knocking, how we gonna answer?”

Cyrus Lee Hancock, it should be noted, has been actively preparing himself for just this sort of showdown for the last twenty-five years. He is a gunsmith who obtains gun pieces like random Lego bits at whichever gun shows he can purchase anonymously (thanks exaggerated 2nd Amendment) to later piece together his dream gun, of which he has a nightmarish arsenal. He has purchased suppressors…

“Wait, what?” I asked. “You own a silencer? Why the hell is it legal for a common citizen to own a silencer?”

“It isn’t legal.” Cyrus Lee Hancock admitted. “For an individual to own a noise suppressor for a gun, however, it is legal for a legal trust to own a suppressor.”

“Fucking rubbish.”

“I would like to introduce you to the Legal Trust of Cyrus Lee Fucking Hancock!”

Cyrus Lee Hancock, or at least the Legal Trust of Cyrus Lee Fucking Hancock, is a gunsmith with enough ammunition to take back Crimea and he is building a compound outside Nashville, TN, to rival the one we (he, the delightful water-nymph from the Everglades wife of his and me, Vic Neverman) shared during the Maya Apocalypse of 2012. Cyrus Lee sees himself resilient against the next apocalypse, regardless of its nature, and is preparing himself for an extended siege by the state police, his sinning heathen neighbors, uprising robots, zombie hordes, talking apes, or, perhaps, ISIS terror cells.

“Shit’s gonna get Medieval, man. So hit me. What can I expect? What can I do to defend?”

“Hmm.” I thunk before lecture.

In a world with ISIS comingling with Ebola, you could have a replay of the Athens v. Sparta match where plague victims were catapulted over city walls, just this time it would be Ebola victims catapulted over the walls of the Grand Ole Opry. The Mongols fought the Romans similarly epochs later when the Bubonic Plague was just a fledgling cough & boil act, which helped spread the Black Death throughout Europe. Such debased deviancy shan’t be overlooked by today’s fatalistic douche-bag terrorist.

ISIS Executions

ISIS Executions

The best Crusade Era Fortress had a high outer wall, with a death valley between it and the internal wall, which should be higher than the outer so defenders on the inside ramparts could help in the defense of the outer wall. When you are dealing with a siege, you are going to have to deal with sappers and ladders. The sappers will dig tunnels under your walls in attempt to blow shit up beneath you. Ladders will be laid upon the walls if the enemy has enough men to sacrifice in attempt to gain a position atop your walls – think Benghazi 2012. These days, the battering ram has been replaced with the kamikaze truck bomb – think Beirut 1983. Siege Warcraft has its priorities and right after starving, poisoning, suffocating, scaring the shit out of the opponent, getting through the walls is the prime directive.

Counter-measures against a siege would include boiling tar or oil the defender could rain down upon the enemy as the invader attempted to scale the walls. These days, car batteries and flaming bottles of Fireball cinnamon booze will do. Scorpion bombs were all the rage a millennium ago – you just need a ceramic pot to bottle up venomous ne’er-do-well creatures and fling it at the enemy – it’s a psyche-fucker as much as anything. And if the ISIS terrorists are charging atop elephants they stole from the zoo, Crusader wisdom says let loose with flaming bacon: grease up a bunch of pigs with something flammable then set light and send them after the elephants. Of course, a flaming pig is hard to control and the porcine conflagrant might run right back where they came from, so close the fucking slide glass door you dipshit!

Asia Minor, several stories beneath the ground where the dwarf urinals lay in wait

Vic hundreds of feet underground in Persia, attempting to use the ancient dwarfish urinals of Cappadocia.

To withstand a siege, you need the necessaries: shelter, food, water, guns & ammo. After that, secrecy is a virtue. In Asia Minor, I explored an underground bunker in Cappadocia a thousand and some change years old where ancient Christians hid as the marauding barbarian hordes rode through town. Four stories worth of underground city was built then and still exists today as a meandering Tolkien dwarf retirement community. It was there I found my idyllic off-the-grid home, only to learn my companion was a trained seductress sent to Istanbul to spy on Americans by order of Beijing, but stories, another time… etc.

Are things irreversible? Is this the destiny we must prepare for?

Irreversible, yes, but also containable. Regardless, a world of plague and jihadi jackrabbits must be anticipated. To not prepare would be negligence. This may not be the year a hurricane strikes, but you will still want to be ready for the storm.

And the climate is only getting warmer.

Any kid growing up between Djibouti and Kashmir could see his uncle, sister, pet rock blown to fucking bits courtesy of an American Predator Drone on a bright blue-sky day. Living under a repressive heaven associates an ill-menace with blue skies and the notion of America. They do not see America as the great purveyor of freedom – they do not know what freedom is. The greatest recruiters of tomorrow’s terrorists is, unfortunately, us, the US, the West. Violence begets violence where little exists beyond retribution.

“For fuck’s sake.” Cyrus Lee Hancock derided me. “You sound like a bleeding-heart liberal hipster. You are depressing my burrito. Look at it! It is crying tears of Sriracha sauce.”

“Whatever, asshole.” I responded within the taco joint. “You’re as much a hipster as the rest of them.”

“Blasphemy!” Cyrus Lee Hancock spat and looked for a fork.

Appendix H: Why is Hipster? featuring Cyrus Lee Hancock


Climbing through the Atlas Mountains

Climbing through the Atlas Mountains

Somewhere between the dusty path under our wheel and Marrakesh at our backs we had lost ten degrees of Fahrenheit. Poof! Gone were these degrees, evaporating into the ether as unheard of as a Neverman punchline. Despite the westward road’s climb in elevation, the increased proximity to the African sun actually brought relief from the valley’s all-too-intimate heat. Such change was a welcome one. Weeks ago I had given up on the insistence on cleanliness in vogue of late, surrendering my thrice daily baths and becoming familiar with the smell on my skin of days-old sweat (mostly mine, but not always). I didn’t entirely betray hygiene; I had, after all, packed my toothbrush. I kept my wounds covered because Ebola, I overcooked my pigeon because E-coli and I didn’t fraternize with camels because MERS; but I stank. I smelled of Fes tanneries, of Meknes butcheries, of spoilt vinegar thanks to the puddles of cat piss throughout Marrakesh. Up here, though, in the thinning air of the High Atlas… the wind charmed the nostril with the scent of untainted dirt.

I held my head out the window as a dog, the desert goggles strapped to my head keeping the filthy specks of Africa out of my eyes. To my left, my brother of a Berber-Arab mother drove the latter-century Mercedes truck.

“I have a joke. It is like riddle.” Rafiq began. In the back were the Australians and a California photo-journalist chick with mythical tattoos and a watch she wore on the inside of her wrist like a Mossad agent (thus I considered her highly-likely of Mossad). Rafiq went on with his riddle, “How do you get the camel into the refrigerator in three movements?” Rafiq drove on in the silence. Someone asked if there was a blender involved. Rafiq shook his head, no. “It is romantic joke.”

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe journey continued. Rafiq begged us to “think” about the joke. The answer was clear, he insisted. What wasn’t clear was our intent in the High Atlas Mountains. It began as something of a dare over smuggled gin – me auld mate of the Australian Consulate, Digger McKenzie, and I were desperate to unearth Qatari spies, especially if they had ties to the Muslim Brotherhood. While the MB presence in Morocco had decreased after the reactionary appeasement to the Arab Spring by King Hassan, there were rumors of the Muslim Brotherhood being rife within the Rif and the Atlas Mountain ranges. Where our quixotic caravan wandered was Bled el-Siba, the Berber tribal country translated as ‘the Lands of Dissidence’. These were the mountains of the one-eyed rogue, Bou Hamara (translated ‘the man with the she-ass’) and of the kidnapper of Americans* el Raisuni: both scoundrels a century dead (give or take a hanging). The High Atlas was bandit country, fertile ground for a brotherhood of Islamic radicals on the run.

*President Teddy Roosevelt once put a bounty on Raisuni if a kidnapped Greek-American businessman was not returned unharmed, “Perdacarus Alive or Raisuli Dead!” Gunboat Diplomacy was nothing if not direct.

Since World War II, the Muslim Brotherhood had been a power player in Egyptian culture and politics (note past tense had). With the coming of 2011’s Arab Spring, the Muslim Brotherhood seized power in Cairo with a little propaganda help from al-Jazeera Network and funding from the Qatari Royal Family. This would be the MB’s greatest (though brief) achievement and ultimately their undoing. The American Military of Egypt (armed by America, trained by America, etc. by America) held themselves a fashionable coup d’état and tossed the Muslim Brotherhood out of the country. Not only that, the most recent state of Egypt called treason on several al-Jazeera journalists for their part played in bringing the Muslim Brotherhood to power (read more in my Qatar expose –kangaroo courts convicted the journos, rather unfairly, even if al-Jazeera paychecks are signed by Qatari royals). Suddenly without a country, where would the Muslim Brotherhood run? To the war-torn streets of Damascus and Baghdad? Or here… the Land of Dissidence?

I should mention, my introduction to the Muslim Brotherhood was pre-Arab Spring thanks to the French Documentary OSS117: Cairo, Nest of Spies.

Vic in Bled el-Siba, the land of dissidence

Vic in Bled el-Siba, the land of dissidence

We left Rafiq’s grandfather’s Mercedes in the village of Imlil and hiked our way up the mountain path to the village of Armed. Beyond Armed were valleys of river rock, thousand-years dried, and mountain peaks separating us from the Sahara. Both Imlil and Armed were villages prone to Berber territorialism, yet hardly breeding grounds for Islamic jihad. We still chatted and made tea with each passing villager, leaving my bladder a traffic warden ushering the minty, sugary stuff in as easily out.

At last, during a shade break well-beyond Armed, Rafiq answered his own joke, “How do you get a camel into a refrigerator in three movements? Open the refrigerator door, push the camel inside, close the door. Inshallah.” Ahh. Ahha. Arabic humor, you can’t mistake it. These are the same dudes who invented algebra, probably another of their jokes. The (Israeli-)American photo-journo asked, “How is this a romantic joke?” Digger, the Aussie, deadpanned, “Guess it depends on how you push the camel.”

Many thousands of miles away, in the disputed territories of Iraq and Syria, American drones are bombing jihadists who call themselves the Islam State of Iraq and Syria, or more commonly ISIS. These terrorists are the threat English-speaking governments & media insist have sleeper cells occupying the London Underground, digging beneath the Mexican Border and hiding under your bed. ISIS is ushering forth their own eugenics campaign – decapitating heathens is Natural Selection in favor of ‘the Faithful’, at least this would be their rationale should they be well-read on Darwin and Evolution. While misguided support of ISIS exists in the streets of Morocco, there does not seem to be any sort of organized threat here. Yet…

“There is reasoning why ISIS is only in two countries: ISIS is agent of America.” said the Frenchman wearing nothing but his very brief underwear and a curly red beard with beaded knots. It was a profound allegation that had us on our heels, but then we were leaning back as soon as this 6’+ Neanderthal emerged from the woods scratching his briefs and speaking French. I might, at this juncture, mention Rafiq is as allergic to Frenchmen as I am to Mayonnaise – which are related allergies. If you ask Rafiq about the period of the French Protectorate of Morocco, his kindly eyes will darken and he would spit on the ground if he weren’t so damned polite, incensed to the point of claiming, “Nothing was protected, only occupied.” Therefore French suck. Not that Rafiq ever shied from the occasional Parisian girlfriend, but these are details outside the realm of geopolitic.

Mister Giggle's nephews, Stink and Blink, with a mule train in the distance

Mister Giggle’s nephews, Stink and Blink, with a mule train in the distance

We didn’t happen by the Neanderthal, Francois, by accident. Our troupe had been hiking along when we encountered a mule-train recognized by Rafiq (these are the hills he grew up in). He connected with these Berber muleteers who invited us in for tea. All so bloody-fucking British, you would think, but the hospitality is nothing new to country folk – here or anywhere. Digger, his Australian companions, the Cali-Israeli chick Ly, and I enjoyed our tea as Rafiq rapped Berber with his people. He returned to us with another joke, “Lion is king of the jungle and so he plans a party. He invites everyone to party he is having and every animal attends except for one. Who is the animal and why is he not attending?”

It was while we were sipping our tea and pondering the party snub when the Neanderthal, Francois, emerged from the woodwork in his skivvies and a dead rabbit in hand. We asked Francois the Frank the same questions we had asked the village people and all of the muleteers in between – mostly, had you seen any Islamic radicals? Francois the Frank scratched his red beard, looked longingly at Ly, scratched his groin through the skivvies using the spare fingers of his rabbit hand and then spoke heavily-accented English directly to Digger McKenzie, who he assumed was the man in charge.

“ISIS exists, but not here. ISIS only exists in Iraq and Syria. Iraq and Syria is where it exists because this is where America wish it exists. America does not like Syria regime, they are too friendly with Iran. America does not like Iraq regime, they are too friendly with China.”

Digger and Rafiq have tea with the muleteers

Digger and Rafiq have tea with the muleteers

Surprise, surprise… We had ourselves an educated Neanderthal. Apparently, that cyber café back in Armed came in handy. I couldn’t disagree with his premises. Syria’s dalliances with Iran didn’t make any friends in the Pentagon and it was true the previous Prime Minister of Iraq, al-Maliki, was cutting deals with China to give them oil once Iraqi oilfields were back in running order. All this and a free toaster, however, was hardly enough evidence to suggest the United States were behind the rampaging ISIS jihadists.

“Where come the money for ISIS? They have money, they have guns. Where this come? It come from Saudis, it come from Qataris, all by approval from Mother Liberty Miss America!” The Frenchman saluted as he ranted. The French had tendency towards douchebagginess. Digger McKenzie later diplomatically confirmed in his infinite wisdom: only the Dutch were worse.

Francois the Frank’s mumblings seemed absurd, yet absurdities worth considering… chaotic warfare in Syria and Iraq does benefit American aims to keep China and Russia off-balance. The be-headed Christians made an example of by ISIS were merely the sacrificed pawns of the Occidental War on the Orient. If you read behind the groin-scratching madness of the half-naked Neanderthal, you can start to see a conspiracy unfold. China is desperate for oil and the longer Iraq remains in chaos the longer China has to wait to quench its thirst. China is, ultimately, the power in the East (Orient) and the eventual Endgame opponent of America and the West (Occident).

Russia is even more susceptible to oil scarcity. Russia’s economy is dependent on a high oil price – the USSR even more so. In the 1980s, the United States managed to manipulate oil prices and the Soviet Union collapsed (#Reaganomics). To this day, the United States still manipulates the oil supply. The theory of “peak oil” is but myth meant to exaggerate supply & demand economics. There is no doubt plenty of oil exists and it is being held back by the United States. Canada wants a pipeline, fuck that. Iraq wants to rebuild their oil infrastructure and sell to the East, fuck that. The United States would rather keep oil underground than allow Russia or China to get their filthy mitts on the latest vintage.

As Russia encroaches on the Ukraine – just watch as surplus oil hits the market in a flood. The cost of oil will drop (though it will be hidden from the gas prices at your local petrol station) and this drop in price will drive Russia to economic ruin and/or nuclear agitation. Who drives this sudden surplus of oil? Us. US. US of A.

“If the Lion throws a party and every animal attends but one, who is it that does not attend and why?” Rafiq had asked back at the tents of the muleteers. After many guesses, the California girl surmised, “It is the camel.” Why did the camel not attend the party? “He is still in the fridge.” She was correct. The poor beast of burden was shivering his bones in the fridge as the lion party went on.

“Okay, an Aussie joke.” Digger interjected, not to be outdone. “Three Aussies enter the Medina and realize they forgot their watch. They ask a Moroccan sitting next to a bull what time it was. The Moroccan reaches out to the bull’s scrotum and weighs its bollocks with his hand before replying, ‘2:15’. Amazing, the Aussies think. The next day, they return with a watch and find the same man next to a bull. They ask him again what time it was. Again, the man cups the bull’s balls and estimates a time. The time matches with the Aussie’s watch. ‘How do you do that?’ the Aussies inquire. The man waves them forward… if you lift the balls of the bull up, behind them you can see the clock tower.”

Again – the answer is often clear, but blurred by our manic imagination.

It’s just a joke, but there is a pattern worth recognizing: Arabic tendency versus Western conviction. Westerners hear the same joke and expect different results. When the punchline comes, it is too late. Towers fall. I am no Arabist, but I read. I read about the English in Afghanistan in the 1840s and damn does it seem similar to the same tribal warfare we encounter now. I read about the Indian Mutiny of 1857 – incited when Muslim and Hindu troops under the employ of the English were led to belief their gun cartridges were greased by pig and cow fat. Western Diplomacy is short-sighted and long-barreled. Eastern-diplomacy is long-game and dagger-in-the-back. This shit is ongoing, eternal. After the atrocities of World War II, Western Powers bulldozed a path for permanent Israeli settlement in the Levant – the umpteenth Crusade, this time with a Hebrew King of Jerusalem instead of a leprous Frank. Has this crusade been any different than those of the last few millennia? Has the British cartographical dissections of Jordan and Iraq worked out? Ask the various tribes and ethnicities that make up the majority of those countries what they think of their chances at democracy.

Rafiq had a final joke, “How do you get an Elephant into the refrigerator in four movements?”

I was able to respond easily enough, “Open the door, remove the camel, push in the elephant and close the door.” Rafiq turned towards me and asked, innocently, if I had heard the joke before. I had not.

Egypt is in the process of purging itself of all things Qatari. It is a part of a reactionary movement against the former ruling party – the Muslim Brotherhood, an Islamic quasi-political organization financed by the ultra-conservative Qatari government. The Muslim Brotherhood came to power in Cairo in the aftermath of the cluster fuckage initiated by the Arab Spring and they were just as quickly ushered out courtesy of military coup. As a result of the anti-Qatar knee jerk, Egypt has unjustly imprisoned three al-Jazeera journalists on unfounded allegations (evidence = nil) of fomenting dissent and chaos as a means to usher in the right-wing government. Al-Jazeera, of course, is a Qatari news network. Call it guilt by association. The so-called “International Community” is in uproar about the Egyptian vendetta against the press, yet there is barely a yawn from said community calling out Qatar for acting as a sticky-fingered meddler.

Al Jazeera calling for people to call for "regime change" in Egypt

Al Jazeera calling for people to call for “regime change” in Egypt

I am lion, hear me uproar. Rar. Fuck-off Qatar, says me.

My thought is thus: Just because Egypt is paranoid, it doesn’t mean Qatar wasn’t out to get them.

Qatar has long financed the Muslim Brotherhood, an organization designated as a terrorist organization by Russia, Syria, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (ironically, all but the neo-Soviets reside in Qatar’s neighborhood). Qatar has also financed the Muslim Brotherhood’s Palestinian love-child, Hamas. Wait… do let that sink in. Qatar finances Hamas. Not hummus, Hamas. Hamas is an off-shoot of the Muslim Brotherhood. Yes, the same Hamas martyring the Palestinian people in an effort to create anti-Israel propaganda. (S)He of sound judgment should be able to empathize with both the Israelis and the Palestinians in their conflict, but (s)he should also acknowledge Hamas is no better than a horde of drunken jet-ski douche sister-fuckers squatting on your lawn on Memorial Day weekend (the reference may be poorly understood outside the State of Florida, but it describes a quality of undeveloped ape Dante reserved for the seventh sub-basement of Hell).

Yet Qatar is ill-admonished for such dealings.

Except here. Fuck you, Qatar. I admonish you.

Qatar is right... there

Qatar is right… there

For those unaware, Qatar is a growth on the back of Saudi Arabia, jutting out into the Persian Gulf like a sandbar pissed on by Midas. Qatar, traditionally an economy based on pearl diving, is now the world’s richest country per capita (#ThanksOil). Their population of 1.8 million includes 1.5 million foreigners imported to further develop metro-monoliths in the 120 degree Fahrenheit desert. This is true – less than 300,000 Qataris exists within Qatar, the rest are migrant workers dying in droves due to the oppressive conditions. Fortunately, for Qatar, there are more workers where the departed came from.

Help Wanted: come to beautiful, majestic Qatar to build monoliths in the Desert

Help Wanted: come to beautiful, majestic Qatar to build monoliths in the Desert

Of course, do not forget Qatar bribed their way to owning the 2022 FIFA World Cup. Who did they beat out in the official voting to see who would host the World Cup? US. The US of A. So… great, let’s have a soccer tournament in the summer on a speck of land where God did not intend life to live. Much better than Orlando, right? Inshallah, right?

Why is there not more outrage over Qatar from the Western World? Our friends – the Sauds and the American-sponsored military of Egypt – hate the Qataris. Why does the United States sit idly by without gut-punching these rabble-rousing usurpers? Damn it, if anyone deserves a knee to the groin, it is Qatar. But nothing… crickets scratch their legs uninterrupted…

How? Why? WTF?

Well, because Qatar has money courtesy of oil and a few pearl necklaces. Qatar has the media influence courtesy of al-Jazeera. Qatar has soccer influence courtesy of owning FC Barcelona (and in the works to buy out Manchester United). These bits alone cannot influence the almighty corporation of America, but what can is this:

Most of those employed by Qatar are not actually Qatari

Most of those employed by Qatar are not actually Qatari

Qatar is no underdog just because there are only 278,013 Qataris living in Qatar. The small fish in the big pond just happens to have a helluva bite. What is Qatar after, really? They partner with the commonly known Western Devil (US), yet they are the most conservative Muslim nation outside of their neighboring Sauds (also friends with US). Do they want to indoctrinate their fundamental beliefs on the rest of the world via subliminal messaging during soccer futbol matches? Are they a state suffering Napoleon complex, eager to assert their relevance dominance on the rest of the world? Are they just a bunch of misunderstood Persian Gulfers crazy from the heat?

All of the above?

Magic 8-ball says ‘all signs point to yes’.

History is the biographical shadow play on the cave wall of a manic, semi-self-aware species of ape dancing in front of the fire. History is decided by the victors, mere lipstick applied to the slaughtered pigs of the defeated. History is a child backing away from the broken cookie jar. Ambrose Bierce defined history as “An account mostly false, of events mostly unimportant, which are brought about by rulers mostly knaves, and soldiers mostly fools.” As flawed as the books may be, history does reflect our future by highlighting patterns from the past. Marx said history repeats itself as farce, but then what does farce repeat itself as?

The world only seems to be coming apart at the seams. In reality, it is Sweeps Week as reruns of ancient feuds are played out LIVE! on our cable news networks. Japan has militarized itself for the first time since the last world war in order to deal with Chinese pursuits in the South China Sea. Saudi Arabia and Iran are fighting a proxy Sunni v Shia war in the apocalyptic playground of Eastern Syria and Western Iraq as the established tyrant Assad has cried havoc! and ISIS lets slip the dogs of war. Russia had a fine winter harvest, hosting the Olympic Games and annexing Crimea as Vlad Putin stabbed his arse with another syringe of testosterone. In the Holy Land, Hamas defied their will to live and Israel rained a plague of hellfire down on Palestine.

And then Malaysia Flight MH17 was shot down over the Ukraine by pro-Russia rebels. Thoughts of the USS Maine (1898, Cuba), the HMS Lusitania (1915, North Atlantic), and the USS Maddox (1964, Gulf of Tonkin) come to mind as war inducing catalysts. I cannot help but compare 1914 with 2014; 100 years ago complicated alliances and a tinderbox of ethnic tensions brought about the Great War. Fortunately, for the purpose of this discussion, an old colleague was in Casablanca and available to help sort through the madness.


Jojo, the German bankster, sat beside me in the dark confines of the Rialto Theatre in Casa’s Art Deco district. I apologized for my slurred speech; I was as hung-over as a drowned parrot after spending the last forty hours in a deep, brooding drunk with my Aussie friends in Rabat after we learned one of our own was aboard the MH17 flight (and this is the last I will speak to that; apologies, but it is too acute that I dare not bare it). I didn’t give Jojo the background into my state and he would have been disinterested anyway. I asked him, if history repeats itself as farce, what does farce repeat itself as…

Jojo emitted a condescending snort of amusement, scratched his chin and delivered a speech too Shakespearean and academic for me to digest on a blackened liver, “A Midsummer Night’s Dream leads to The Winter’s Tale, but all circles back, eventually, to Titus Andronicus: a bloodbath that would consume the complacent.”

Paranoid Profile: Jojo, the German

I last saw Jojo in Split, Croatia, when he was working as an advisor in Zagreb towards Croatian ambitions to join the European Union. He was a married family man, then, with a profound respect for the double-jointed hips of the sashaying local broads. Ours was a discussion, at length, into the last hundred years of conspiracies in the Balkans. In 2014, Jojo was semi-retired, living in Basel, Switzerland, with a predilection for absinthe, fairly off the radar, yet within striking distance to Zurich or Geneva should his services be required. He had re-branded himself as a backroom theoretical rogue economist for hire to postulate pseudo-cyber/economic warfare scenarios. He was anti-IMF, anti-World Bank and quite the historian. He rotated between mistresses and in 2013 attempted to negotiate the American citizenship of a Belarussian 22 year-old (younger sister of a friend of a mistress) by marrying her off to yours truly – Vic Neverman. I was… ‘open’ to the idea until Jojo’s mistress made hasenpfeffer out of his pet in retaliation for his dalliances.

“I hate this city.” Jojo sneered. “No history, just filth. My last time here, Casablanca 1987, I come to this theatre, Rialto, to see ‘The Ice Pirates’ movie which starred Robert Ulrich (not to mention future Hellboy & SOA star Ron Perlman). Half of the movie is blurredness censorship. Moroccans disrespect the bare thighs of Angelica Huston, though a still-unknown Mary Crosby is delectable. Much unfortunate.”

I offered a second venue, literally a block away: Petit Poucet, a pre-war bar built by the Franks, it was a cultural icon. Humphrey Bogart’s Casablanca was a bullshit Hollywood set; Petit Poucet was the true mid-century representation of the waning years of French occupation – Morocco’s own version of La Belle Epoque, indeed. Petit Poucet also had kindly grandfatherly barkeeps who smiled upon my arrival, clearing off a spot at the bar and serving up a bowl of olives. North Africa, during the recent troubles in Palestine, was not an easy place for a westerner to find comfort, but Petit Poucet was familiar territory: a good of a place as any for Jojo and I to discuss Realpolitik in relative peace.

I asked Jojo if he found any relation between 1914 and 2014.

Gavrilo Princip, Yugoslav Nationalist, assassinates Archduke Franz Ferdinand in 1914

Gavrilo Princip, Yugoslav Nationalist, assassinates Archduke Franz Ferdinand in 1914

Ja.” He responded mildly, sipping his Speciale Flag pilsner. “Damn pesky Slavs. They are always inciting conflagration at the forefront. Putin, Vladimir, he has Panslavic desires, uniting Ukraine and the Baltic States back with Russia. Poor Vladimir, deeply he laments the end of the USSR. He wants Russian hegemony over the former ‘Republics’ they lost in 1991. You know this word, ‘hegemony’? Is like political power.” Jojo demonstrated by grasping an olive with his non-beer hand and squeezing until extra virgin oil seeped through his fingers. “The Serbs, they are Southern Slav; in 1914, Serbian Anarchists, the Nationalists, they wish to get rid of Austrian Hegemony in the Balkans. In 1914, Serbs wanted greater Slav nation and supported Russia. In 1914, Russia wanted to drive wedge between Hapsburgs and their Slavic subjects. Panslavic unification.”

“Right.” I skipped into the jump rope. “Similarly, has not the West been occupied with driving a wedge between Russia and Ukraine? Getting Ukraine to join the EU and leave Putin’s Soviet Union behind? Are not Western Europe and America pissing in the face of the sleeping bear?”

Jojo grumbled, “Europe is pussies. Europe is indifferent, economically they need as much help as can get for European Union. America, yes with the pissing. Europe, no. The dominant country in EU is Deutschland. We Germans do not oppose the Russians. Since 1950s, we have policy of OustPolitik – we favor the East, German Chancellors have been pro-Russia. Germany does not provoke the bear. EU just needs Ukraine for economic gain.”

“Is it just America, then, provoking the bear? Perhaps the US is trying to drive an economic wedge between Germany and Russia.”

Jojo nodded meager acceptance, “Ja, perhaps. US of A, though, is currently performing ‘Eastern Pivot’ to Asia. Obama was not ready for Ukrainian situation. United States was caught by surprise as they are too focused on China. Now, is not an easy situation, Ukraine, Arab Spring… Secretary Clinton, Secretary Kerry, they are having to speak to events in Middle East and Eurasia, but they want to be looking to China.”

“The latest Malaysian Airline tragedy almost helps the west as it is entirely damaging to Putin’s regime in the Kremlin. Do you think it will be enough to turn Germany away from Russia?”

Vlad Putin inciting chaos in the Ukraine

Vlad Putin inciting chaos in the Ukraine

Jojo groaned his indecision. “Russia wants chaos in the Ukraine. If Russia cannot have the Ukraine, chaos is best. The Ukraine offers a buffer state and chaos allows Russia to control trade routes, oil routes, Panslavic unification of Russian ethnicity. Russia will not admit to wrong-doing and the rest of the world hesitates. Germany will say nothing. I speak earlier of Europe being pussies. Germany, we live with war guilt. We will use economic sanctions, ja, but to mobilize military as Japan is now doing, nein. This will not happen. Deutschland will be invaded before Germans commit to war again.”

“After the crash of MH17, the black boxes have been removed, the missile launchers hidden; there may not be enough evidence to determine who is ultimately responsible for the tragedy. Still, Russia directly or indirectly is to blame, but will anything actually change?”

“Some things change. Some things, not so much. Israel and Palestine – eventual ceasefire (temporary, as always). The Israelis will not want world calling them bad guys. Palestine will lose fervor for martyrdom. Russia and Ukraine – eventual de-escalation. Pro-Russia rebels will be forced to turn to politics, not guns. Once more peaceful, MH17 will be footnote. Syria and Iraq, there is no hoping. Strife will exist unless dominate power exerts force. Damascus and Baghdad, everything in between, will become dust and ash…that is, unless the Great Powers divide up the Middle East and run as fiefdoms; a far more pragmatic outcome, wouldn’t you say?”

FES, Morocco

I was on the payroll.

Whose payroll, it was uncertain.

Foolish is he who follows his heart into espionage. If you are going to dabble in espionage, you should only be swayed by financial gain, not ideologies which can be appealed to by any two-bit hack positioning himself as a “friend of the cause.” Sure, you might think you are playing for the right team, but just as you believe you are safely past Checkpoint Carlos, los Federales appear and Natasha, your anti-establishment, on-again/off-again intimate bunkmate unmasks herself to reveal her true identity as Stan from the IRS who is after your estranged uncle’s back taxes.

Why should you only get into espionage for the money, not for ideological nonsense? Because Stan.

Fortunately, the Australians (I assume they were them) paid well. My handler (boss, benefactor or spy-pimp, if you will; I often called him “mother” to which, in his chagrin, he’d suggest I’d be a might bit prettier if he had birthed me) could usually be found grilling saussies in the rock garden of his diplomatic villa in Rabat’s bubbling suburb of Sale. Bruce MacKenzie weighed dozens of stone and cast a shadow over the entirety of the local Kasbah. “I’ve got a new mission for ya, Vic.”Bruce informed me as he stuck his fork into a steaming sausage (actual pork frozen and flown from Brisbane to Morocco). “Heaps of gratitude if you choose to accept it. I need ya in Fes.” Here was when he appealed to my ideology: he was bringing the girls out on a holiday. He was emptying the Australian Embassy secretarial pool for the weekend and wanted to take them to “the Athens of Africa.” Would I be there to see the ladies through safely? The short answer, without the stammer, was yes. I had seen his secretarial pool. “Good on ya, Vic!” Bruce roared his appreciation. “And thanks for the new details on this Baroness bird.” Bruce MacKenzie then yelled over his shoulder at his fellow-countrymate, Digger McKenzie (no relation), “Say Digs, would you ring up the Qatari desk before you knuckle-down into that pigeon pie? I’ve a bone to pick with that dodgy bastard at the consulate.”

So began my sojourn to Fes with the greatest buddy a paranoid off-the-grid spy novice could have: Rafiq. Rafiq was much like me: tall, lean, punctual, deviously handsome, repetitive, punctual, dark & brooding, enigmatic, effortlessly flippant, wickedly cunning with an uncanny sense of direction. The chief difference was he was a mix of Arab and Berber while I was a mix of Slav, Turk, Spaniard, Cherokee, Prisoner of Mother England, Scot, Magyar and Pakistani Gypsy (there might be a drop of Irish whiskey in the mutt cocktail somewhere). Rafiq also spoke Arabic, Berber, English and the Romance languages while I was still humming my way through the Queen’s English. We were, however, both the same age (over-ripened though undercooked) and beholden only to our adored nieces. He did have this one shtick that sent the ladies swooning – he would shake hands with his right hand and then immediately move the escaped palm to his chest to ensure his passionate heart did not erupt from his breast plate. Brilliant, really.

Neither of us trusted the other, but we got along quite swimmingly.

Tariq and Vic, a pair of Nevermen

Rafiq and Vic, a pair of Nevermen

In Fes, I followed the footfalls of Rafiq and some tabby tomcat named Mister Giggles through the medieval corridors of the old medina. Mister Giggles was a striped bastard, feral and malicious, licking his maw after spare mice bits and hissing at the heathen sinners as they pass. Mister Giggles had thirty-four thousand half-brother bastards wandering this city and a few sisters and cousins after them, each one of them stink-eyed and crooked toothed, yet pleasant as punch when you dangled ostrich gizzards their way.

“There are 12,000 dead-ends in the medina of Fes.” Rafiq warned.

“Yesterday you told me there were only 10,000 streets in the medina.”

“Yes.” Rafiq confirmed; his brow billowing as a storm cloud billows. “And for every street there are many dead-ends. There is a story of the Englishman who buys a home in the Fes medina. He leaves for milk and never finds his home again. It is funny.”

“Indeed.” I agreed as did Mister Giggles, the spit-shined white stray that poked its head out of a cardboard box to see what the uproar was about.

I embraced Fes and the One Thousand and One scents of an Arabic night: cat piss and saffron, the recycled teeth peddled by street dentists, muleteers driving their mulleted mules, knife sharpeners scraping pigeon liver off of metal, tanneries dipping animal hides into guano to preserve the color, tagine stews and roasted lamb, couscous and mint tea, sacrilegious sex and Hammam sweat, the old clothes of the water-sellers with their jangling bells. All the way, Rafiq led and Mister Giggles would follow, one moment he was a black cat, the next a calico.

By the time I had lost all faith in my navigating skills, Bruce MacKenzie and the secretarial pool arrived.



I was there at the train station, gracious host, hoisting luggage from train to waiting van. This was when I first met Sheila, the Australian typist with hair of Celtic bronze knots tinged with rust, who hid behind aviator goggles and a semi-bemused smirk. Sheila’s waning enthusiasm barely qualified my existence, but it was just a façade, a false calm under-which her humble bosom betrayed her cool as lungs heaved deep-lunges for oxygen. I too, was unlike myself. I combatted her “Well, hello Vic” with a “Howdy, Pilgrim”, which is entirely unlike me to quote John Wayne, but I was on auto-pilot, especially after my bewildered greeting rescued a smile from beneath her guise, allowing it to escape and eviscerate the aortas that attempted to hold my heart into place. My knees turned to J-E-LL-O and Sheila was forced to drag me into the van like an exhausted fish struggling to breath out of water. Sheila might have been slight, but she was full of piss, vinegar and vegemite and easily hauled my carcass into our vessel.

Mister Giggles watched the ordeal with absolute condemnation, shaking his filthy whiskers the whole damn time. Laugh it up, Giggles…

Mister Giggles spying from afar

Mister Giggles spying from afar

Touring the medina of Fes, we entered one gate and when I lost the path, I led them out to another gate, assuring them we took the better, more scenic, route. Along the way, we found the foul tanneries with all that bird shit being tossed about. We lunched on vegetarian tagines and bottled water. We shopped for leather goods and Damascene plates from Meknes. At a pottery studio, I allowed Bruce and his hens to browse as I entered into the café where the resident potters break for French cigarettes and card games. It was here where Sheila was casually sipping hot tea like a tulip suckling a droplet of spring dew.

“Have you seen these before?” I asked, picking up a handful of playing cards off the ground. “They are like Moroccan tarot cards.”

“And what are you like, Vic?” Sheila asked behind the aviators that swallowed half of her face. “The conqueror or the escapist?” She dropped the cards on the table, stood up and walked away. Goddammit, if she didn’t already know my greatest weakness was woman-speak. What the hell did that all mean? I watched the departure of her blue jean gait as everything beneath my shoulders fell away into the abyss, flushed by some chick from Oceania along with the cigarette she was hiding from her boss, Bruce.

Later in the evening, after the swallows occupied twilight with their maniacal flight, the secretarial pool was exhausted and quick to bed. As they slept, I stayed out late with Rafiq, exploring the heathen dens of the new city with Mister Giggles, the mangy calico, the three of us smoking shisha and drinking terrible wine and terrific beer as I lamented my troubled love-life.

Camel Butcher Shop

Camel Butcher Shop

The next day I guided the troop back through the medina (though I mostly followed one Mister Giggles after another) and we visited the ancient university and the Koranic school. Sheila remained aloof and I remained flummoxed, though manufacturing the utter coolness of an orca napping in an igloo. Without fail, Mister Giggles brought us to the camel butcheries where I was able to find falafel for the secretarial pool to feast on as I waited for the butcher to grill my lunch. Casually gazing through the haze of smoke and heat off the camel barbeque, I spotted a blue-eyed brunette casually gazing back. Her eyes did not shy after meeting mine and her chin rose as it dripped with chickpea grease. Her dimples drew out a devious smile that ripped apart my ribcage and played spoons against the rivets of my spine. Her name was Caroline.

Hearing laughter, I looked down at my feet to see a calico rolling in refuse. Yeah, laugh it up, Giggles…

At the end of our second day, as the ladies of the Australian Embassy lumbered up the stairs towards their quiet chambers, Sheila stopped me. At last, her aviators were removed from her face and hung from the collar of her blouse between the slight – yet perky and beguiling – coils of hempen necklace. Sheila’s brown eyes were moist and earthy, a dampened sacred soil that buried me alive and my demise could not have come sooner or so sweet. “Will you join us for a beer tonight then, Vic?” Sheila asked, her upturned lips an invaluable commodity. I guffawed some unintellectual affirmative. She put my thoughts into better perspective, “You wouldn’t miss it for the world?” I gave an imbecilic nod and she disappeared into the elevator.

Not for the World.

When I heard Sheila ask if I would “join us” I assumed she was referring to herself in the plural as royals do (just like my saying, “we’d like to take us a piss as our bladder has filled over the rim”). Instead, she meant “us” as in a whole flock of wild geese of Australian women and passers-by. It ended up being a group of ten of us – the secretarial pool of the Aussie Embassy, a couple of Swiss women, a lady lounge singer from NYC and Bruce MacKenzie, the Under Secretary of the Australian Consulate in Morocco.

I took the gaggle back to my previous haunt L’etranger. It is difficult to describe the scene of our arrival to a westerner, unless you think of Vic Neverman as some sort of warlord, pimp or soccer hero. I was greeted with a strange oriental merriment bordering on sarcasm. The bouncer of the club, the host, the emcee all embraced me, crying “Ali Baba! Ali Baba returns! Put more beer on ice!” and then kissed either cheek of mine. This outrageous display of affection startled the throngs of ladies in my tow. I shrugged, humbly, and begged the women to follow me into the parlor of absurd notion. My servants quickly reassembled couches into a horseshoe so that my retinue might best crowd itself. I ordered beer, champagne, hookah, bottles of varying wine and the customary cucumbers and olives.

“Victor.” Caroline spoke of me as an Aussie accented songbird sighting spring beyond the crystalized flakes of winter. “What is it that brings you here, to Morocco?”

“Spice.” I spoke with intoxicated certainty, winked with a twitch and slurped my beer with minimal spillage into my Ali Baba beard. We casually chuckled merrily together, Caroline and I; the music was too loud for anything conversational. Beside Caroline sat Sheila, her shoulder chilling as it turned away from us.

A night out with Vic Neverman at L'etranger

A night out with Vic Neverman at L’etranger

Hours passed, revelry continued. Caroline had migrated across the horseshoe to speak with the Swiss when Sheila leaned across me and ignited my olfactory with scents alternating between her dollop of melted peach ice cream perfume and the rich au jous of the sweat that salted her skin. Sheila reached for the champagne with the delicacy and splendor of a fawn crawling out of her mother doe. I toasted the beauty that is life, Bisaha! Bahia! and dreamt of a life together, Sheila and I, at the Gagaju bush camp in Queensland with barefoot children running amuck as I washed cloth diapers downstream with the freshwater crocs… But, wait, no… that wasn’t a dream insomuch as a memory of a different Aussie girl and a younger, much younger, Neverman. My trance was terminated with the birdsong voice of Caroline, Victor! Please do tell us that story of the Costa Rican goatsucker again! Sheila, the other woman, looked at me dully, almost urging my departure, well go along, then, Vic. Tell them your bloody story.

“Well…” I, raconteur, stood and addressed my audience. “It is actually a Puerto Rican goatsucker.”

Midnight arrived like a thud, everything turning into pumpkin. I settled the bill – which is excruciatingly difficult to do in clubs where the abacus is the only cash register. Exiting into the street, I saw a black cat lick its scrotum and then smile.

“Hello, Mister Giggles.” I greeted my companion, certain tonight that I, Vic Neverman, would have the last laugh.

I led my caravan down the darkened street, my mind drawing a map of the sharp left ahead, the half mile beyond that which would return us to the main boulevard of Nouvelle Ville. I was an expert stranger, well in control of my path. Mister Giggles, walking beside me, coughed a hairball in mockery of my hubris.

Spanish cards, frequently played in the dens of Morocco

Spanish cards, frequently played in the dens of Morocco

Cursed with pattern recognition, my eyes spied something amiss on the dark pavement. I reached down and picked up a playing card, the same type I had found earlier. Sheila! I call to her attention, eager to ask her nearer. Holding the card in her hands, Sheila’s intuition prompted her to claim, solemnly, regrettably, “It’s the death card.”

Shriek! The crowd of lady that had assembled dispersed; Sheila held onto the card, looked up at me, asking what she should do. On my suggestion, she dropped it! The card fell onto the NYC lounge singer’s shoe and all girls screamed. I asked for calm, insisting the ill omen was just a warning and we should keep together and be careful. Somewhat assuaged, the ladies calmed and their inebriation assisted in quickly distracting them to other subjects. We continued and within moments all omens were forgotten.

“Victor, where would we be without you?” Caroline asked, admiring me as she walked along my western flank.

Attempting to remain humble, I responded, “You’d just have to hail a cab, I guess.” I turned to my opposite shoulder to see if Sheila might appreciate my modesty, but she was hidden deep under her aviators despite the after-midnight darkness of the street. Resigned, I returned to Caroline to make some casual quip about her having breakfast at my place (i.e. the continental spread at the hotel), only to find Caroline preoccupied with Mister Giggles who decided to cross the street here rather than wait for the crosswalk.

“Oh, kitty, no…” Caroline suggested plainly, with maternal insistence. Mister Giggles wasn’t registering. “Kitty, no!” Caroline was more impassioned, hurrying towards the curb. Mister Giggles snorted his contempt towards her, though did not advance further. “Kitty!” Caroline hollered, “No!” Mister Giggles, spooked by the raging Aussie, darted into the street until thwap and we were all left witnesses.

It seemed to be in slow motion, watching Caroline reach out for Mister Giggles… Mister Giggles darting into the street… the red cab thwap! The audible thump was Mister Giggles, you see, as he was interrogated by the front of the taxi cab – THWAP!

Mister Giggles was overtook by the front left wheel of the car, run-over, and then lurched up into the wheel-well to be spat out again and re-run-over. The car braked to a stop. Pause… Absolute silence from the spectators… The car sped forward, leaving the crime scene behind. The crime scene, it was a mound of giggles. I cringed, hoping the beast was dead, knowing that otherwise I would have to put Mister Giggles out of his misery with a coup de grâce stomp from the business end of my flip-flop. Fahck! Mister Giggles lives! The damned cat pulled himself to his feet and fueled by adrenaline in the last 260 seconds of his existence, Mister Giggles dashed down the alley to where he would surely collapse and expire.

I cannot even attempt to explain the disposition of Caroline. She pulled her collar up above her mouth in horror and was inconsolable even when Bruce MacKenzie wrapped his bear arms around her, insisting all was right with the world, there were too many bloody cats anyhow. It was a futile gesture, Caroline was in hysterics. I turned to Sheila and she stared back at me, aviators removed, her eyes widened at the realization… the death card she had drawn… Her eyes then tightened with bitter blame… the death card Vic Neverman had given her. For every mL of Caroline’s despondence was a Liter of Sheila’s hatred for the Neverman. Or perhaps vice versa – I am American and this metric shit is confusing.

I managed to corral the women and deliver them safely to the hotel. The dark omen had played out, but those under my watch were safe. After the women left by train the next day, I would never see them again. Sheila, at least, waved goodbye, or perhaps, she was fanning the flames of my dejection.

As for Mister Giggles, he was waiting for me outside the hotel, splotchy black and white, stink-eyed and surly, laughing his mangy ass off.


Read more of Vic’s travels in Morocco here.

Read more of Vic’s troubled paranoid romances here.

Flashingback to a Conversation on Immantizing the Eschaton

BIMINI, Bahamas

“To Immanentize the Eschaton is to help facilitate religious end times here on Earth” Rufus Holdsworth mentioned to me years ago over rum drinks under an oak tree. We had both spent too much time in the sun and he was wearing his scuba mask backwards so it appeared like the back of his head had huge bug-eyes. “It’s like ripping off the band-aid real fast in expectation of seventy virgins hurrying to kiss your boo-boo.”

“What does ripping off a band-aid have to do with the United States’ invasion of…(whichever nation we were invading at the time)?” I inquired.

“See if you can dig this, man. Christian, Judaic and Islamic faiths all have their ‘End of Days’ scenario that involves the emergence of a messiah and the saving of the chosen. Within all governments of all lands exists some right-wing apocalypto-philiacs who read that shit literally and would like to speed the process along. The Middle East is held together by an old band-aid and there are those on every side who would like to rip it off. They would like to fulfill whichever prophecy that would ‘Immanentize the Eschaton’. In my mumbling humble opinion, G.W.Bush would like to see the return of Jesus occur under his watch, which is why we are invading (wherever we were invading on that day) to help bring about Armageddon. Israel and Iran have their heaven on earth scenarios that certain parties within their governments would like to bring about as well. Be they Sunni, Shiite, Jew or Christian – all apocalyptics are the same – they’d love to bring about the end of the world because of their own religious fetishism.”

About the times of the End, a body of men will be raised up who will turn their attention to the prophecies, and insist upon their literal interpretation, in the midst of much clamor and opposition.

– Sir Isaac Newton

The Passing of Ariel Sharon & the Prophecy

SharonAriel Sharon is considered one of the great military heroes and statesmen of modern Israel. He strove for peace and before his 2006 stroke he was shifting the paradigm in Israel by attempting a “unilateral disengagement” of the West Bank which would allow for an independent Palestine. If his dream had become realized, it could have potentially quelled a lot of antagonism between the allies of Israel and her enemies.

This is not a preamble into a conspiracy theory, mind you. Ariel Sharon’s stroke may have been convenient for the war-hawks, but hardly required the hand of a conspirator as Ariel was not the vision of health. Once when asked why he didn’t wear a bullet proof vest against the many who had threatened to kill him, Ariel admitted there wasn’t a vest that fitted his girth. The guy liked his snacks, his booze and his cigars. A stroke for an obese man in his 70s is not an outlandish concept.

The Jewish Rabbi Yizhak

The Jewish Rabbi Yizhak

Instead of conspiracy premises, this is a story about a prophet, Yitzhak Kaduri. At 108 years old, Yitzhak predicted (months before Sharon’s stroke) the prophesized Judaic Messiah would return, but not until the death of Ariel Sharon. As any apocalyptist knows, the rise of a Messiah comes with the End of Days. Because of this, Jewish mystics and apocalyptists have been waiting for the inevitable demise of Sharon who lied is his coma state for 8 years. The spectators watched for those long years with the words of Yitzhak Kaduri weighing heavily. Would Sharon’s eventual finale be the catalyst to Immanentize the Eschaton?

Yitzhak names the Messiah in his notes...

Yitzhak names the Messiah in his notes…

“Here’s the twist, though.” Cyrus Lee Hancock explained over the phone from his Nashvillain evangelical mission. “Not only does he predict the Messiah, but this old Jew, Yitz, he says on his deathbed he knows the name of the Messiah and eventually he writes it down. This is 2006, he writes down the name of the Messiah who he says is already living in Israel and he puts it into a sealed envelope – not to be opened for a year. Who knows why? Anyway, the name of the prophet is ‘Yehoshua’ which means ‘Jesus’ to us red-blooded shellfish-eating Americans. Basically, the wisest Jew of the last millennia says the Hebrew messiah is Jesus H. Christ. Not only that, but that Jesus won’t bother coming back until this Sharon mensch Rocks the Kasbah!”

So what does this mean?

“Rapture, mon ami. J.H.C. comes down in his Christly hovercraft and raptures up the chosen few.” Cyrus Lee Hancock, Reverend of the Church of John the Revelator in Tennessee, explained. “There’s going to be plagues of locusts with scorpion stingers and frogs raining down, just an awesome shit storm. I, of course, shall remain behind after Jesus’ soul-grab. As much as it troubles me, I want to remain with the sinning heathens and try to arm them against the rise of the Anti-Christ.”

“Nice way to hedge your bets.” I noted. If Cyrus Lee Hancock did not have a ticket for Jesus’ hovercraft, he could claim it was his intent to stay behind all along. He did have the personal arsenal to keep Hell at bay.

What the “Yehoshua” revelation does mean is that the return of the messiah is not just relevant for those of the Judaic faith, but Christians as well. Would God act so ironically to send a Jewish Messiah with the same name as a previous Christian Messiah, unless, of course, they were the same dude? Who is to say? Of course, the modern day prophet Yitzhak Kaduri said the Messiah will return AFTER Sharon’s death. Well, that is anywhere from this weekend to a distant forever from now. So we are on the clock, but are End Times imminent?

I inquired Erasmus of Otterdam Military Academy if he thought Israel’s mystical right-winged war-hawks might try to use the Kaduri prophecy to initiate an attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities. He responded, “No. Israel doesn’t yet have enough Iron Dome interceptors to protect themselves against an all-out attack from both Iran and Hezbollah. They should not rush to conflict just yet.”

“It’s hard to tell how the Israelis may react to a prophecy realized.” Rufus Holdsworth told me over the phone from a location he wouldn’t disclose. “But you are missing a particular point. You are looking for reaction to prophetic visions, but you are completely ignoring the fact that the prophecy may be true. You think it is Hocus Pocus, but how would you react if it became true?”

Cynically, by default.

Nikos Michaloliakos and his Golden Dawn: Nazis with fanny packs

Nikos Michaloliakos and his Golden Dawn: Nazis with fanny packs

The Golden Dawn made their entrance to the cocktail party like a pachyderm on roller skates – all violent momentum destined to doom your seersucker with spilt vermouth. The party host, left flummoxed, was impotent against the impolite immigrant-bashing and the beastly slaughter of charcuterie. The neo-fascist Golden Dawn regurgitated behind the sofa, wiped shit off their shoe and made off with the silverware. In the ruins of Greece’s economy, such manners were tolerated. The Greek people were desperate and their desperation gave way to anger, anger fueled by the vitriol nationalism upchucked by this upstart – the political party of the Golden Dawn.

Contemporary Golden Dawn with Nazi symbolism

Contemporary Golden Dawn with Nazi symbolism

The Nazi-ish organization known as the Golden Dawn had not completely taken over Greek politics, but they goose-stepped their way into a sizeable foothold in the Greek parliament with 2012’s elections. The rise of the Golden Dawn, however, lurched to a halt this last week after members of the party were linked to the gruesome murder of outspoken liberal Greek rapper Pavlos Fyssas. The police, who were once supportive (the BBC reported that in Athens’ elections last year, 1 in every 2 police voted for a Golden Dawn candidate), now turned on the Golden Dawn on suspicion of being a criminal organization. While previous orchestrated violence against immigrants was ignored, the murder of a left-wing artist of Greek blood was enough to finally begin the crackdown on party organizers.

If the name sounds familiar, it should. A hundred years ago, the Golden Dawn was a Hermetic Order whose occultist members included Bram Stoker, W.B. Yeats and Aleister Crowley. The two separate organizations could not be more unalike, yet this did not draw pause in the scrutiny of yours truly. Last year, I compared the two organizations – the Greek Neo-Nazis with the Victorian Era wizard cult

It befalls to me, Vic Neverman, or someone like me, perhaps less-bearded, but someone who is an apt student of the occult with a keen eye on current events to explain the ironic difference between two unrelated groups with the same optimistic name. Please allow me, dear trusted reader, to explain to you both the Golden Dawn and the Golden Dawn. Neither of these groups include amongst their ranks Goldie Hawn, but I have not fact-checked this. If you came to this blog in search of Goldie Hawn news, I plead you to please look elsewhere.

– Vic Neverman, May of 2012

While the coincidence between the two groups would seemingly end in common names, the earlier, mystical Golden Dawn was not wholly without Nazi ties. Please allow me the luxury of harping back to Europe, 1941… England and Germany were at war. Hitler and the Oberkommando der Wehrmacht are not entirely occupied by English aggression because to the east all they see is Red: Communist Russia. In his dreary memoirs, Mein Kampf, Hitler mentions that an Anglicized-ally in England would be important to defeat communism. Back in England, Winston Churchill would have none of it. Churchill seemed unwilling to budge in his distaste for Germany, despite England being on the verge of collapse after the pyrrhic victory of the Battle of Britain. The British Royal Family, however, was not entirely united with Churchill.

it was reported that the Duke of Windsor entered into an agreement which in substance was to the effect that if Germany was victorious in the war, Hermann Gering through his control of the army would overthrow Hitler and would thereafter install the Duke of Windsor as the King of England.

– FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover in a memo to President Roosevelt

Rudolf Hess, Hitler's left hand man

Rudolf Hess, Hitler’s left hand man

Enter the Nazi 3rd in command, Rudolf Hess. Rudolf and Adolf were playmates in the early days of the Nazi party and were a part of the 1923 failed German coup known as the Beer-hall Putsch. Both men would eventually serve time for their rebelliousness, allowing them to grow faster friends (and collaborate on Mein Kampf). Adolf Hitler and Rudolf Hess were also associated with the mysterious Professor Haushofer, who was a member of the Vril, a secret society who believed in the Aryan ubermensch. Sound familiar? This occult shit was all the rage. Years later, as war between England and Germany dragged on; Professor Haushofer was a known supporter of peace with England. His pupil Rudolf Hess felt the same. Rudolf Hess may have also been influenced by a Swiss Astrologer who passed him advice advocating a peace mission to England. Curiously, the Swiss astrologer was likely under the employ of British Secret Agent, Ian Fleming – the very man who would go on to author the James Bond novels. Complicated story cut short: there were vast undercurrents pushing for peace in both England and Germany in the first half of 1941.

Haushofer and Hess, Professor of the Occult and his Pupil

Haushofer and Hess, Professor of the Occult and his Pupil

In May, Rudolf Hess flew on an apparent peace mission to England. In his possession, he had contacts given to him by Professor Haushofer, including names of members of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn. Occultists of the world unite! The alignment of planets in the constellation of Taurus made 5/10/1941 the best day for Hess to make his trip. Perhaps the astrologer did not properly calibrate the density of Uranus… Low on fuel, Hess had to bail from his plane somewhere south of Glasgow and was promptly put under arrest by some lymie bloke with a pitchfork. Hess begged to see the Duke of Hamilton, but was eventually thrown into the Tower of London. Hitler spurned his old chum, calling Rudolf Hess insane for making such a journey. Winston Churchill called Hess’ peace mission a “frantic deed of lunatic benevolence.”

Rudolf Hess, second in line of succession behind Hermann Goering, was a Nazi with a plan for peace. The friends he sought were the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn. For his deeds, Hess was tried as a war criminal at Nuremberg and spent the rest of his life in Berlin’s Spandau prison. In 1987, the 93 year-old Rudolf Hess committed suicide. No good deed goes unpunished.

And so the historical “what-if?” must be asked… If Nazi Germany allied itself with England, it would by extension be allied with the United States. Perhaps the Germans calm their Axis partners in Tokyo and Pearl Harbor is left in tranquility through 1941. Perhaps, then… instead of the eventual cold war between western Europe and the USSR for the next forty-odd years, we would actually have had a hot war between western democracies (with plenty of National Socialism in the mix) and Communist Russia. What sort of post-apocalyptic wasteland would Europe be now if that were the case?

We shall never know. After Rudolf’s “suicide”, the Hess family insisted on a separate autopsy. This new investigation found the body exhibited signs of strangulation versus hanging from a noose. What’s more – Rudolf Hess’ nurse claimed he would not have been able to raise his arms above his shoulders to assemble the self-euthanizing bow-tie. Conspiracy theories abound that Her Majesty’s Assassins where there in Spandau and put an end to Hess before he was released in order to ensure the Truth about a potential peace was kept from the public.

Churchill, Roosevelt and Stalin enjoying the spoils of war

Churchill, Roosevelt and Stalin enjoying the spoils of war

A Prince without a Castle... young Phil

A Prince without a Castle… young Phil

Prince Phillip, Duke of Edinburgh, is more victim of circumstance than he is a sinister conspirator. Said circumstance is pretty heavy, mind; dense and thick like blood pudding on a gut tumbling with guilt. Haphazard happenstance put this bellicose outsider inside the British Royal Family – the most scrutinized clan this side of Billy Ray’s Cyrus brood. Prince Phillip has been blamed for dastardly deeds of indescribable inhumanity (though, herein, we shall certainly attempt to describe) and after 90 years I am sure there are innumerable sins unaccounted for. It is for his reputation, not for any facts or lack thereof, that we present Prince Phillip the Vic Neverman Conspiracy Lifetime Achievement Award of 2013.

Before he wooed the future Queen Elizabeth, Phil was merely the Prince of Danes. Oh, and Greece. He was born with some pedigree in 1921 as a member of the House of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg (oh yes, that house, you know the one – end of the block with the trimmed hedges and gloomy post-modern undertones, where the matron lives in her negligée, the mail man comes twice a day and their Halloween candy sucks) and could trace his bloodlines to both Queen Victoria of England and the Russian Czars – Y’know, before they were killed off by the Bolsheviks.

I would like to go to Russia very much – although the bastards murdered half my family.

–          Prince Phillip, in 1967, after asked if he would like to visit the Soviet Union.

At 18, the Prince of Danes met his distant cousin Elizabeth (5 years his junior) the same year he joined the British Navy. Phillip would fight in World War II in both Mediterranean and Pacific theatres and would eventually marry that distant cousin, tossing away his Danish and Greek nobility and adopting his mother’s Anglicized maiden name, Mountbatten. Of course, at the bequest of know-it-all Winston Churchill, Phillip’s progeny were to remain members of Elizabeth’s House of Windsor.

I am nothing but a bloody amoeba. I am the only man in the country not allowed to give his name to his own children.

–         Prince Phillip

Elizabeth and her distant cousin Phil

Elizabeth and her distant cousin Phil

Phillip would remain in the Navy long enough to put enough medals on his chest to make Qaddafi spin in his grave. Post-military, Phil was quite the busy-body. He would serve as UK President of the World Wildlife Fund from 1962 to 1981. This prestiged position was the basis of a rant of American conspiracy theorist, Lyndon LaRouche, who blamed Phil for using his position to fight overpopulation.

The 1994 Rwanda genocide is but the latest instance of the WWF in action. How did it work? Since 1990, the WWF has been managing a “gorilla protection program” in Gorilla Park in Uganda… all these parks served as training bases, staging areas and arms depots for the invading ‘rebels’ – who were in reality all soldiers and officers in the Ugandan Army of the British puppet Yoweri Museveni… so the entire Rwanda genocide had nothing to do with tribal or civil warfare. It was a British-orchestrated assassination and invasion program.

–         Lyndon LaRouche, Executive Intellgence Review, 1994

Another conspiracy theorist, David Icke, named Phillip and the House of Windsor as being Nazis tied to the Illuminati-Babylonian Brotherhood. Oh yes, and that they are all 12 foot-tall shape-shifting lizards.

David Icke eats English Royal Lizards with Catsup

David Icke eats English Royal Lizards with Catsup

Shape-shifting withstanding, Prince Phillip was certainly an ornery chap and often meddled in familial romances. In the early 1950s, Queen Elizabeth’s sister Princess Margaret was in love with a divorced older man, Peter Townsend (not of The Who), and after Phillip pushed his sister-in-law to avoid scandal, the relationship dissipated. In the early 1980s, Phillip’s eldest son was dallying too long in a relationship without commitment and Phil told Charles he should propose to Lady Diana Spencer or break-off the courtship. Soon after Prince Charles was engaged to Lady Di.

The rest is History. Or conjecture, for that matter. It would be Lady Di’s death in 1997, years after the divorce from the Royal Family, when Prince Phillip would be deemed a murderous bastard by conspiracy theorists world-over.

8/31/97, Paris

Diana, Princess of Wales, was killed in a car-accident along with her lover, Dodi Al-Fayed, and the driver Henri Paul. The one survivor was Dodi’s bodyguard Trevor Rees-Jones who was seriously injured enough to retain no memory of the accident, conveniently enough. The accident officially occurred because Henri was drunk and trying to elude paparazzi photographers when he spun off the bumper of a Fiat Uno and struck a pillar within the tunnel they travelled. Dodi’s father, Mohamed Al-Fayed, the owner of Harrods department store, became the chief conspiracy theorist on the event, stating that it was Prince Phillip and the MI6 who assassinated Lady Di and Dodi.

Dodi and Di being all scandalous and stuff

Dodi and Di being all scandalous and stuff

The motive? Di was pregnant with Dodi’s spawn. A birth would give princes William and Harry a bastard of a half- Moslem brother, something Grampa Phillip could not live with. Not under his watch. At least this is the truth according to Mohamed, who is likely to not receive a Christmas card from the House of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg anytime soon. Mohamed said that Diana had come to him to claim Phillip was threatening her with her life. Her own butler, Paul Burrell, made a lot of money with his 2003 book when he mentioned Diana prophesizing she would be murdered by manufactured car accident. Her voice coach, Peter Settelen, claimed Diana told him her former body-guard lover was murdered in a faked motorcycle crash. Do you believe in coincidences?

Mohamed Al-Fayed does not believe in coincidences. But he does believe in Fashion! C’est Chic, it is the return of Happy Hour with this sleek ensemble…

fuck fuck fuckin fashion!!!

fuck fuck fuckin Herrods fashion!!! Just a thousand pounds for a gdam cocktail dress

Circumstantial coincidences about the Parisian car crash:

–         Why had the security cameras been turned off right before the crash?

–         Why did the ambulance take so long to take Princess Diana to a hospital that was not the closest?

–         Who was the driver of the Fiat Uno?

–         How could Rees-Jones not remember anything?

–         Why had Lady Di’s body been embalmed before an autopsy?

It is clear, then, at least according to Mohamed, that Prince Phillip is the bastard who blew out Elton John’s Candle in the Wind (the non-Norma Jean candle, that is). <– watch this if you want to get all teary-eyed and stuff

However, we more skeptically minded conspiraciologists must take into account a few bonus details. No one else knew of the engagement between Di and Dodi other than Mohamed. Diana’s postmortem blood tests proved she was not pregnant and her holistic healing masseuse even claimed this to be so. In 2006, the Independent newspaper found of the 14 cameras in the Parisian road tunnel, there are only 10 and all were security cameras trained outside of the tunnels except for one which was turned off after 11 pm when the traffic unit closed down. The ambulance ride was not 43 minutes, but almost half that, and it was to the closest trauma hospital that could be found. Al-Fayed could not prove that the driver Henri was not drunk. He most certainly was fucking three-and-thirty sheets to the wind. And all those who perished in this grisly accident? …they weren’t wearing seatbelts. I repeat, Di and Dodi were not wearing their seatbelts as they sped away from paparazzi, well over the speed limit in a damn tunnel!

Lo! Prince Phillip, the always outsider. Born in Greece and quickly booted out. He served Her Royal Navy during World War II, yet many in England referred to him as “the Hun” for his German ancestry. At one of the Queen’s Jubilees, Phillip quipped that he should have stayed in the Navy. Indeed, good sir. Indeed. Yet in this world of chance and circumstance, the people are not at rest with random occurrence. Surely, there must be a power behind the darkness, some evil causing such events… Surely, there must be a reason for this madness. And so Conspiracy Theory is born. Thank you, Prince Phillip, for being a plump vessel to carry the weight of so many theories. Congratulations on being the recipient of the Vic Neverman Conspiracy Theory Lifetime Achievement Award of 2013!

Heavy is the chest that bears a hundred and fifty medals, Prince Phillip on ParadeTo celebrate your 90+ years of our scrutiny, I present some of the best Prince Philip quotes as provided by British media:

If it has four legs and is not a chair, has wings and is not an aeroplane, or swims and is not a submarine, the Cantonese will eat it.

–          Prince Phillip, 1986 statement, BBC News

If you stay here much longer, you’ll all be slitty-eyed.

–          Prince Phillip, Said to a group of British students in China in 1986, BBC News (in all fairness note: the Chinese students in England were forgiving of this grandpa faux pa as their families told them to return before they became “round-eyed”)

I just wonder what it would be like to be reincarnated in an animal whose species had been so reduced in numbers than it was in danger of extinction. What would be its feelings toward the human species whose population explosion had denied it somewhere to exist… I must confess that I am tempted to ask for reincarnation as a particularly deadly virus.

–          Prince Phillip’s Foreword to If I Were an Animal (1987) by Fleur Cowles

Aren’t most of you descended from pirates?

–          Prince Phillip, Said in 1994 to an inhabitant of the Cayman Islands  BBC News

You are a woman, aren’t you?

–          Prince Phillip, After accepting a gift from a Kenyan woman, BBC News

How do you keep the natives off the booze long enough to get them through the test?

–          Prince Phillip, Asked of a driving instructor in Scotland, BBC News

You managed not to get eaten then?

–          Prince Phillip, Said to a British student in Papua New Guinea, BBC News

Do you still throw spears at each other?

–          Prince Phillip, Said in 2002 to a Indigenous Australian businessman, BBC News

Do you know they’re now producing eating dogs for the anorexics?

–          Prince Phillip, Said to a blind, wheelchair-bound woman who was accompanied by her guide dog, in The Telegraph (3 May 2002)

While presenting a Duke of Edinburgh Award to a student and informed the young man was going to help out in Romania for six months, Prince Phillip asked if the student was going to help the Romanian orphans and was told that he was not, Prince Phillip responded

Ah good, there’s so many over there you feel they breed them just to put in orphanages.

–          Prince Phillip, as quoted in The Scotsman (8 July 2006)

Get me a beer. I don’t care what kind it is, just get me a beer!

–          Prince Phillip, On being offered the finest Italian wines by PM Giuliano Amato at a dinner in Rome in 2000.

If a cricketer, for instance, suddenly decided to go into a school and batter a lot of people to death with a cricket bat,which he could do very easily, I mean, are you going to ban cricket bats?

–          Prince Phillip, In a Radio 4 interview shortly after the Dunblane shootings in 1996. He said to the interviewer off-air afterwards: “That will really set the cat among the pigeons, won’t it?”

Cats kill far more birds than men. Why don’t you have a slogan: ‘Kill a cat and save a bird?’

–         Prince Phillip, On being told of a project to protect turtle doves in Anguilla in 1965.

We, as we read, must become Greeks, Romans, Turks, priest and king, martyr and executioner; must fasten these images to some reality in our secret experience, or we shall learn nothing rightly.

-Ralph Waldo Emerson, The Essays of Ralph Waldo Emerson

You’ve heard of a “Mexican stand-off”, where three or more combatants face each other, with one holding the advantage over another while at the mercy of a third? In a regular duel, he who shoots first has the advantage. In a Mexican stand-off, he who shoots first has a disadvantage (though whom he shoots first would likely argue that).  This is where we, the United States, stand very Mexicanly with the situation that is Syria – kind of screwed if we act, kind of screwed if we don’t…

Courtesy of Political Geography Now, a map of Syria’s cousin-fucking-esque complications

Syria is like tax reform, cousin-fucking and scuba diving: the deeper you venture the more complicated it becomes. What we have in Syria is a tyrant who is killing the people he rules because of their dissent. This has given rise to fierce backlash by rebel factions which are comprised of various different ideological groups, many of whom embrace militant Islamic Jihad. If the United States were to back the rebel forces against the tyrant Assad, they may effectively create a terrorist state in the ashes of what was before just a terrorist-friendly monarchy. So what to do?

I have the answer: we must become Turks. Or at least I shall become a Turk. In Northern Syria, the border with Turkey is aflame with tension. The two former allies are now at each other’s throats. A Syrian plane flying to Damascus from Russia this week was grounded in Turkey out of Turkish paranoia it was carrying arms (it, according to Russia, was not). We are at the brink of war between Turkey and the embattled Assad regime to the south. With Russia already angered at Turkish actions, we have the making of a conflict with far-reaching consequences. This could be the Crimean War all over again and if there was anyone foolish enough to Charge with the Light Brigade, look no further than Vic Neverman!

Turkey: where East meets West meets Volleyball

Turkey is the greatest American ally in the Middle East, I mean other than the Israelis who want us to go to war with Iran and the Saudis who indirectly funded 9/11 with the protection pay-outs they gave to al Qaeda. Turkey is that friend you largely ignore, but who your mother always insists on you hanging out with because she knows what’s good for you and, to be honest, Turkey kinda has the hots for your mom anyway, not that she knows that, but whatever, Turkey has been very successful at implementing a secular Islamic government. It may not be what Ataturk envisioned when he threw out the last of the Sultans after the original World War, but it is still a pretty damn impressive government with a thriving economy and the most beautiful women’s indoor volleyball team at the Olympics.

What an Assadhole?

My thought is this – Assad the tyrant has got to go. To fill the void, we ask the Turk to turn back to their Ottoman days and just take Syria back over. The Turks could rule Syria better than Assad or the Jihadists, so let’s back Turkey. To show my own personal support, I am attempting to enlist in the Turkish military. That’s right – at the height of the Ottoman Empire, the Sultan had a crack regime of troops who were foreign-born Christian children snatched from their families through invasion/occupation. They were called “the Janissaries.” I think it neigh time to bring the Janissaries back and I nominate myself: Victor Ulysses Neverman, as Janissary number one.

Jorah Mormont: protector of young, unconscious women

What would I, Vic Neverman, have to offer to a military unit? First – I am the co-author of Cry Havok! And Let Slip the Doge of War, which is the complete authority on the Frank/Venetian invasion of Constantinople during the Fourth Crusade (pending publication and, ah, um, the actual writing of the book). Second – I am very familiar with Byzantine politics having watched the first two seasons of “Game of Thrones”, having read 4 out of those 5 books and having been compared to the character Jorah Mormont for his penchant for spending time with scantily clad younger women. Third – I am a certified rescue diver. Fourth – I am sure I will come up with something later. And lastly – my features are actually fairly Turkish despite the Jorah Mormont comparison

For an example of my Turkish-ness: once when crisscrossing Istanbul by buss, ridiculous traffic forced me to emerge from the public transport and into the street. It was too late before I realized the cause for congestion was a soccer hooligan rally. To my left was an army of riot police, complete with shields and masks. Surrounding me were hundreds of young soccer fanatics, chanting the local Turkey Cola team’s fight song, smashing beer bottles on the street and lighting off flairs. Hardly the place for a lost American tourist. But alas! I purchased a scarf with the black & white checkers of the Turkey Cola Eagles, wrapped it around my neck and suddenly, and without question, became one of the Turks. It took me twenty minutes to fight my way out of that crowd, but in the meantime, I was hugged by men to the left and right as I tried to match their drunken vocals in whatever song they sang. I think that makes me an honorary Turk.

The Blue Mosque Blues: Vic In Istanbul

And then there is my Turkish heritage. I will not lie, it is a heritage that has been argued. My Turkish blood was recently explained by your narrator to a Palestinian nurse who I ravenously desired in the distant spring of my youth, which coincidentally occurred in Spring of this very year 2012. This Palestinian beauty, I was told by my close ally Raz Kelly, would not date men who were not Arab. Fortunately for me, Raz’s brother and my personal physician, Doc Kelly, introduced me to the nurse as, “My friend, Ibrahim, the Turk.” While Turks are Persian and not Arab, it was close enough to get me a first date over tea with the young woman. Upon hearing my name was not exactly “honest Ibe”, my date inquired if I really was Turkish. “Sure” I responded, “By way of rape and pillage.”

Allow me to explain as perhaps some background is in order. Presenting… the Neverman Genealogy! Courtesy of a DIY DNA swiping and analysis kit.

Tens of thousands of years ago, my people left Africa and settled in Pakistan.

A few thousand years ago, my people were forced out of Kashmir and headed west.

A thousand years ago, my people found their way into Eastern Europe and settled what would become Hungary and Slovenia.

A few hundred years ago, eastern Europe was occupied by Turkish soldiers. The blood of the invaders tends to get into the drinking water, ya know? Pillage, plunder and bastardize was the way of the world.

Last night, I watched my blu ray of Game of Thrones before falling asleep and dreaming I was Jorah Mormont.

So yes – Nevermen are just the bastards of the Danube left behind by the Ottoman conquerors.

“So you see, I am Turkish-ish.” I told my date, this, on the last occasion we were to meet.

Which brings me to my impending military service…

I have checked with the United States State Department and I am allowed to serve in a foreign military (just as many Jewish Americans will serve with Israeli military) as long as there are no conflicts of interest, as that would be treasonous and no one wants that. So now I am just waiting to hear back from Turkey on my offering. Their delay may be in regards for the certain compensation I am demanding: mainly to have Turkish passports drawn up in any names I choose and to be made Duke of Tyre once Turkey takes over Lebanon. Vic Neverman, Duke of Tyre, Esq. It has a ring to it…

“‘ello there! Me name’s ‘Vic’ and I am a Jannisary. Say… which way is Damascus?”