Real Laws – WIF NonSense

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Real Laws That

Make Absolutely

No Sense

Laws aren’t made to be popular; they are made to enforce behavior and allow humans to live together in functional societies. However, across the world, there are some laws that just don’t make sense. Some aren’t enforceable, some are anachronistic, and some defy facts and/or logic. Below are 10 examples of regulations that will make you ask, “Seriously–how is this a law?”

10. Women in Saudi Arabia are not legally allowed to drive

Saudi Arabia is not known for its tolerant climate toward women’s rights—women in the kingdom, which is governed by Sharia (Islamic law), with a strict Wahabbism interpretation, face numerous restrictions on their day-to-day lives. These religious restrictions, which have the power of law, include a requirement for women to dress conservatively and cover their hair, the need for a male guardian when venturing out in public, and a restriction that requires women to get the permission of a male relative to open a bank account or obtain a passport.

While women in Saudi Arabia have gained some limited rights in recent years, including the right to vote and run for office, they still face numerous limitations on their freedoms, including the world’s only ban on female drivers. While the ban is technically an unwritten religious edict, it is codified as law because Saudi Arabia only recognizes local driver’s licenses, which are not issued to women, and has arrested women who attempt to defy the ban. The kingdom’s ruling family and religious authorities have repeatedly justified the ban, with deputy crown prince Mohammad bin Salman Al Saud saying the Saudi community “is not convinced about women driving” and one conservative cleric contending, without offering evidence, that driving posed a threat to women’s ovaries and would result in children born with health problems (again, this argument is refuted by evidence from every other country on earth). The nonsensical ban has certainly impacted the Saudi economy, with limited mobility hurting female workforce participation, and exacerbated income inequality, as women from wealthy families are able toemploy drivers to get around, but poor women cannot.

Interestingly, while Saudi women (and non-Saudi women in Saudi Arabia) cannot drive cars, they are able to fly planes within the kingdom. The first female Saudi pilot was licensed in 2014.

9. In Utah, drinks can’t be seen by patrons until they are served

If James Bond really wants to be certain his martini is “shaken, not stirred,” he better not drop by any restaurants in Utah. Since 2009, Utah law requires restaurants to prepare mixed drinks behind a 7-foot partition (often made of opaque glass) out of the view of restaurant patrons. This so-called “Zion Curtain,” a nod to the state’s large teetotaling Mormon community, was meant to shield children from the glamour and corrupting influence of seeing a drink being mixed. This, despite any evidence that seeing drinks mixed by professionals would be a potential gateway to underage drinking for Utah youths. About the only good thing you can say about the law is that it is actually better than the alcohol restrictions it replaced. Prior to 2009, Utah law required customers to become members of “social clubs” (i.e. restaurants) or bars before you could consume a drop of alcohol on the premises. Basically, getting wine with dinner involved the same procedure as joining a country club, sometimes even requiring sponsorship.

The “Zion Curtain” law has been unpopular in the state, with a survey showing 70% of Utah residents oppose the law. A revised version of the law, effective July 1, 2017, will allow restaurants to forgo the “Zion Curtain,” but only if they create an adults-only buffer zone around the bar. Again, the law is better than what it replaced, but still tied to the–largely unproven–conclusion that the sight of an alcoholic drink being mixed poses an unacceptable threat to Utah’s youth (but somehow watching adults consume the drinks post-mixing doesn’t).

8. In Mississippi, it’s illegal to have a second illegitimate child

There are archaic “love laws” that remain on the books all over the United States that make everything from living together before marriage, gay sex, and adultery criminal acts. These laws are rarely, if ever, enforced, so their continued existence is perplexing.

Mississippi has one particularly strange law of this type, which states:

“If any person, who shall have previously become the natural parent of an illegitimate child within or without this state by coition within or without this state, shall again become the natural parent of an illegitimate child born within this state, he or she shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction thereof, shall be punished by imprisonment in the county jail for not less than thirty (30) days nor more than ninety (90) days or by a fine of not more than Two Hundred Fifty Dollars ($ 250.00), or both.”

This law has a dark history. It was designed largely to target African-Americans and originallyclassified parenting a second illegitimate child a felony and included a provision that allowed violators to escape punishment if they agreed to sterilization (fortunately, that version never became law). There was one quirky loophole written into the law: all multiple births would be counted as the first illegitimate child, so if you had twins (or triplets, etc.) out of wedlock, you had found the only way to legally have multiple illegitimate children in Mississippi.

While it may seem harmless to keep these outdated and unused laws on the books, the fact remains that as long as a law is there, someone could decide to enforce it (in the case of laws against adultery, a vindictive spouse seems to be the primary complainant seeking the law’s enforcement against their partner or partner’s paramours). Before gay marriage was legalized across the United States, there was some concern that the law against a second out-of-wedlock birth, borne of racist intentions, could find another discriminatory outlet. The law could theoretically be used to target gay parents, whose marriages were not recognized in Mississippi (and whose children were all, therefore, technically born out wedlock). Another reason for Mississippi to ditch this law: it doesn’t seem to be discouraging Mississippians from having kids outside of marriage. Census Bureau research showed that Mississippi’s percentage of out-of-wedlock births was the second-highest among US states, with more than 48% of births occurring outside of marriage.

7. It’s legal to be naked in public in Vermont, but can be illegal to take your clothes off in public

one man, who strolled through Burlington, Vermont one day in the summer of 2016, wearing only sneakers and a bandana (on his head), apparently knows, it’s not illegal to be naked in public in Vermont, unless you are in a public park. However, while nudity is fine, disrobing in public is generally considered to be a violation of Vermont’s law against lewd and lascivious conduct. A Vermont Supreme Court case (around a flasher) did find that exposing one’s naked body could be a violation of the law and the Court further referenced the need for lewd and lascivious conduct to be obscene or sexual in nature.

Because it’s hard to draw the line between innocently taking off one’s clothes in public and being a flasher, would-be nudists in Vermont are advised to drop trou before they head out in public. When asked about public nudity, Burlington’s police chief described the behavior of a man who was walking through busy intersections in the buff as “inappropriate,” but “not necessarily illegal,” noting that as long as naked folks weren’t stripping down in public, harassing people, or touching themselves, there was not much city police officers could do according to state law.

6. In the US, it is illegal to burn money

Got money to burn? Well if you’re in the US, you can’t, at least not legally (several other countries also outlaw the destruction of currency).  Title 18, Section 333 of the United States Code says that:

“Whoever mutilates, cuts, disfigures, perforates, unites or cements together, or does any other thing to any bank bill, draft, note, or other evidence of debt issued by any national banking association, Federal Reserve Bank, or Federal Reserve System, with intent to render such item(s) unfit to be reissued, shall be fined not more than $100 or imprisoned not more than six months, or both.”

Interestingly, it’s fine to destroy coins, as long as it’s not done “fraudulently,” so collectors of souvenir pressed pennies can sleep soundly at night.

Actually, everyone can pretty much sleep soundly at night. Despite the existence of this law, destroying bills is not a crime that’s often prosecuted, even when it’s done publically. MSNBC’s Larry Kudlow burned a bill on the air to protest inflationary policies without facing any legal consequences. And some think that if burning of currency were prosecuted, the law would likely be ruled unconstitutional as a limit on protected speech, though others point out that since the government pays to print money (about 5 cents per bill), its interest in preserving the cash supply isn’t merely symbolic. In the US, this law is mainly used against counterfeiters, so while burning money is technically illegal (even when it’s YOUR money), the odds that you’ll end up doing time for setting fire to a stack of Benjamins remain low.

5. Under US military law, unsuccessful suicide attempts are illegal

You would think someone who was on the verge of taking his own life would have suffered enough, right? But the US military disagrees, making it a crime for soldiers to attempt to kill themselves, one that can result in disciplinary action, including prison time and a bad-conduct discharge. Under Article 134 in the Manual for Court Martial, prosecution is allowed for self injury that causes “prejudice to good order and discipline” or has a “tendency to bring the service into disrepute”, a provision that has been used to prosecute unsuccessful suicide attempts, even when there was evidence of mental health issues on the part of the offending soldier.

Suicide isn’t treated as a crime for soldiers who succeed. As one military lawyer, defending a client who was court-martialed after a failed suicide attempt, explained this cruel paradox, “If he had succeeded… he would have been treated like his service was honorable, his family would have received a condolence letter from the President, and his death would have been considered in the line of duty. Because he failed, he was prosecuted.”

Certainly, the US military does have a compelling interest in dissuading its troops from suicide. Suicide rates amongst US service members are more than two times the average for the general population. However, there isn’t any evidence that criminalizing suicide attempts reduces their frequency. Data from Canada and New Zealand, which decriminalized suicide in 1972 and 1961 respectively, suggest that removing laws punishing suicide attempts did not impact the suicide rates within those nations.

Common sense suggests that adding criminal charges to the plate of an already suicidal individual only compounds the problems facing that person. The World Health Organization suggests that criminalizing suicidal acts adds to the stigma related to suicide, which can undermine suicide prevention efforts. In other words, laws against suicide attempts, like those within the US military, don’t stop suicides, but they may deter depressed people from accessing help that might prevent suicides.

4. In several US states, atheists are barred from public office

Atheists, those who do not believe in a higher power, have long faced discrimination, and in many places across the globe, that discrimination is codified as law. In 13 Muslim countries, people who reject the state religion of Islam or espouse atheism face the death penalty. In the United States, the situation for atheists isn’t nearly so dire, but for a country whose Constitution includes several references to freedom of religion, the US has a surprising number of legal restrictions on atheists.

In seven US states, state constitutions bar atheists from public office. Maryland’s Constitutiongoes a step further, saying atheists also can’t serve as jurors or witnesses. While these restrictions have been rendered unenforceable by a Supreme Court decision (in a case brought by a Maryland notary who refused to take an oath that required belief in God), that hasn’t stopped some from trying to use them to deny office to atheist elected officials. Given that keeping these bans on the books serves no purpose, some atheist groups have been arguing for their removal. Proponents of removing the atheist bans, like Todd Steifer, chairman of the Openly Secular Coalition, say that if illegal discrimination against any other minority group was enshrined in the state constitution, “You’d have politicians falling all over themselves to try to get it repealed. Even if it was still unenforceable, it would still be disgraceful and be removed. So why are we different?”

3. In some US states, you must disclose if your house is haunted when trying to sell it

While the existence of ghosts is up for debate, with polls showing that almost half the people in the US and the UK believe in ghosts, there is no conclusive scientific evidence that supports their existence. In fact, some scientists have argued that the existence of ghosts is refuted by the failure of the Large Hadron Collider to detect any energy that would comprise such spirit beings. However, even though there’s no irrefutable proof that ghosts exist, some US states still require you to disclose whether your property is haunted when you try to sell it.

The extent of required ghost-related disclosures depends on the state where your house is located. In Virginia, you aren’t legally required to disclose any act or occurrence (including hauntings), unless it had, “effect on the physical structure of the real property, its physical environment, or the improvements located hereon.” So if the haunting extends to blood appearing on the walls, for example, you do need to make it known to buyers. In New York State, the Supreme Court found that once a homeowner publically represents their home as haunted, the home is legally considered haunted, a material condition that must be disclosed to potential buyers. But if you’ve kept Casper’s existence to yourself, you’re in the clear to sell without providing info to buyers. In Massachusetts, there is no requirement to disclose that a home, “has been the site of alleged parapsychological or supernatural phenomenon.” However, if the buyer asks if the place is haunted, it is a crime to lie. For an unproven phenomenon, ghosts seem to get a surprising number of mentions in US real estate law.

2. In Switzerland, it is illegal to keep just one of a social animal

In 2008, Switzerland passed legislation protecting the “social rights” of certain animals. Since passage of this law, it is illegal to keep a single member of a social animal species, a designation which includes goldfish, parrots, and guinea pigs, since a solitary social animal will be lonely.

While this law has great intentions behind it, it does create a bit of a quandary for some pet owners seeking to abide by the law. What if you start with two guinea pigs, but one dies? Do you now have to continue buying replacement companion guinea pigs until the end of time? One enterprising Swiss company addresses just this problem, offering a “rent-a-guinea-pig”service. The rental service provides companion guinea pigs for an otherwise solitary guinea pig’s remaining time, which can be returned after the death of the other guinea pig. No word on how the law will deal with guinea pigs who happen to be antisocial jerks, and are the rare members of their species that don’t want to chill with a buddy. However, the law doesn’t have strong enforcement provisions, especially since the Swiss voted down an attempt to appoint lawyers to act on behalf of pets, so folks who keep a solitary goldfish are unlikely to face penalties (other than pangs of conscience) for violating the law.

1. In China, it is illegal for Buddhist monks to reincarnate without state permission

China’s citizens are subject to a sweeping array of laws, including legal restrictions on thenumber of children they can have and their mobility to relocate within the country. But with regard to Tibetan Buddhist monks, the Chinese government is seeking to extend its control even beyond this life. China’s State Religious Affairs Bureau Order No. 5 requires Tibetan religious leaders (known as living Buddhas or tulkus) who are planning to be reborn to apply to several government entities for approval before doing so. China has called the law, “an important move to institutionalize management of reincarnation,” a statement that merely underlines the inherent futility of attempting to regulate what its citizens can do after death.

The real purpose of the law seems to be to allow Chinese authorities to control the selection of the eventual successor to the Dalai Lama, and to quell any movement in support of Tibetan independence by religious figures in the region. The Dalai Lama has previously said that if Tibet remains under Chinese control, he will be reincarnated elsewhere, suggesting there could be dueling Dalai Lamas in the future—one selected by Chinese authorities through their reincarnation recognition procedures, and another illegally-reincarnated Dalai Lama outside of Chinese territory.


Real Laws

–  WIF NonSense

Spy vs. Spy – WIF Espionage Handbook

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wif-wilcard-saturday-001

Fascinating Facts

about Spies

Spies have long captured the public imagination. Books and movies have been based around the imagined lives and exploits of secret agents. Sometimes, these tales stray far from reality. But sometimes, the truth can be stranger than fiction. Below are 10 facts that detail the real drama, and some surprising truths, about the world of spies.

10. Spies’ Families Often Don’t Know Their Real Identities

It’s pretty obvious why spies have to conceal their true identities from the general public, but often their subterfuge goes much further. Spies’ own family members, including parents and children, may have no idea about what their loved ones actually do for a living. One ex-CIA agent told his parents and girlfriend that he was a low-level salesman to cover his 8 years of undercover work. Covering up his double life involved thwarting attempts by his parents to visit him in Hawaii, where he supposedly worked (he was actually in Afghanistan) and fielding girlfriends’ accusations of infidelity and illicit behavior when they found gaps in his stories.

Even that degree of deception pales in comparison to keeping your true identity from your own children. This situation isn’t just a construct of The Americans, a TV spy drama where KGB agents pose as husband and wife, complete with two unknowing kids, to spy on the US government. In fact, the show’s premise is based on a real-life dilemma many spies who are parents face: when, or if, to tell their children who they really are.

 In one illustration of how this situation can play out, in 2010, 20-year old Tim Foley and his 16-year old brother Alex discovered, after their family home in Cambridge, MA was raided by the FBI, that their parents were part of a Russian spy operation. The Foley brothers claim they had no idea that their parents had any vocations outside of consultant and real estate agent. They knew their parents had been born outside the US, but thought they were from Canada (as both brothers were). They were shocked to discover that the parents they knew as Donald Heathfield and Tracey Foley, were actually Russian nationals whose real names were Andrei Bezrukov and Elena Vavilova.

9. Sex is a Tool of the Trade

matahari

We all know sex sells, but evidently, sex also spies. There are numerous examples of spies using their feminine (and masculine) wiles to dupe targets, create blackmail material, and occupy the enemy. One of the most well-known spies to have employed seduction is Margaretha Zelle Macleod, better known by her stage name,Mata Hari. Depending on which side of the contested story is believed, Mata Hari, a Dutch national, was either passing French secrets to the Germans, or passing false information to the Germans in hopes of abetting the French. Either way, in 1917, a French court declared Mata Hari, “one of the greatest spies of the century,” sentencing her to death. She retained her sexuality to the moment of her death, reportedly forsaking a blindfold and blowing a kiss to the firing squad that executed her.

More recent examples include the seduction of CIA clerk Sharon Scranage by Ghanian official Michael Agbotui Soussoudis, a relationship that allowed him to acquire a list of all CIA employees in Ghana. The information acquired through this “honey trap” is believed to have resulted in the death of at least one CIA informant in Ghana. While there are no facts and figures around the commonality of the use of sex in espionage, government spies in Russia, China, and the United States are reported to have employed hanky-panky in the service of their nations.

8. Not All Spies are Adults

Clearly, not all spies are going to fit the James Bond mold. It’s critical for a spy to blend into his or her environment seamlessly. A suave, handsome man in expensive suits and cars would surely stand out far too much to take on, say, the role of a clerk in a foreign tax office. But in some settings, any adult would stand out. And, at least on occasion, governments and insurgent groups around the world have relied on child spies to get the information that adults cannot reach.

Generally, when children are used as spies, the situation is pretty bleak. Recruiting and using children under 15 to support armed forces/groups in any capacity is against international law. Children from 15-18 are only allowed to serve voluntarily. Nonetheless, children have been employed as spies in numerous conflicts, recently serving as informants to the Somali government on the identities of insurgents and as messengers, spies, and suicide bombers for the Taliban in Afghanistan. In some cases, as in North Korean gulags or under the East German Stasi intelligence agency, children are encouraged to report to the government on friends and family members’ actions and ideologies.

7. Suicide is Sometimes Part of the Job

cyanide

Obviously, capture is a bad situation for both the spy and the government he or she represents. The spy faces the very real possibility of torture to gain intelligence details and the names of other operatives, and perhaps execution. The spy’s government faces the fallout from the loss of any sensitive information its agent gives up. But as bad as being caught spying is, is it really a fate worse than death? The existence and use of suicide pills by some spies suggests that at least some (and/or their sponsors) view death as preferable to capture.

In 1987, after planting bombs on a South Korean passenger plane, an attack that took the lives of all 115 passengers on board, the two North Korean agents behind the act of terror were taken in for questioning in Bahrain. Following the instructions of their regime, the pair promptly bit into cyanide capsules hidden in their cigarettes. Kim Hyun-hee, one of the agents, described her decision, saying, “I knew when an operation failed, an agent had to kill themselves. So I bit down on the cyanide ampoule.” Kim survived her suicide attempt. While the South Korean government initially sentenced her to death, she was later pardoned under the view that she had been brainwashed by the North Korean State.

6. There are Celebrities Among Their Ranks

juliachild

At first glance, a career in the spotlight would appear to appear to be the polar opposite of the covert work of espionage. However, there are some famous people who have worked as spies, both before and after they became famous.

Before her career in the kitchen, chef Julia Child worked as a typist, then research analyst for the US Office of Strategic Services (OSS), the US intelligence agency during WWII. She earned the “Emblem of Meritorious Civilian Service” for her work. Before becoming a US Supreme Court Justice, Arthur Goldberg also served in the OSS, where his work involved organizing European labor unions and dissident groups to resist the Nazis. Children’s author Roald Dahl earned a reputation as a ladies’ man during his undercover work with the British embassy in Washington D.C., as part of the British campaign to draw the US into WWII.

While, for obvious reasons, there are more spies who later became famous than celebrities who later became spies, there are still several famous people who also worked as secret agents. Jazz Age performer Josephine Baker used her travel schedule and position as a star to support the French Resistance during WWII. She reported on the identities of French Nazi supporters, conversations she overheard from German officers in her audiences, and even smuggled secret documents written in invisible ink on her music sheets.

US baseball catcher Moe Berg was known for being one of the smartest men to ever play the game. A Princeton graduate, Berg spoke 8 languages and had passed the bar before turning to baseball and joining the Washington Senators. Berg’s intelligence career began when he traveled to Japan as part of an all-star baseball exhibition tour. During his tour, he took home movies of Tokyo’s skyline and shipyards, which were reportedly used to help plan US bombing raids during WWII. After leaving baseball, Berg joined the OSS, where his work included parachuting into Yugoslavia to evaluate resistance groups and evaluating Nazi progress towards a nuclear weapon.

5. Not All Spies are Human

homing-pigeon

Spies often need to blend into the background and to be able to quickly get in and out of tight spaces to get the information they need without being detected. In some cases, the spy who best fits the parameters of the mission may have four legs, flippers, or even wings and a beak. Robert Wallace, who led the CIA’s office of Technical Services in the ’90s notes the appeal of turning to other species for espionage dirty work: “Animals can go places people can’t Animals are unalerting.”

Animal spies have been trained for a variety of roles, dependent on both the capabilities of their species and the intelligence needs of the country. Homing pigeons were used during WWI to dispatch messages between divisions, and in a pilot program, to take aerial photographs using automatic cameras. The US Navy, through the ongoing Navy Marine Mammal Program (NMMP) has trained dolphins to detect and report underwater mines. An outfit called Animal Behavior Enterprises(ABE) worked with the CIA and Army during the Cold War, employing animals including ravens and cats to retrieve documents and serve as living listening devices.

While ABE has ended its intelligence work and one of its former employees suggests that technology has rendered many applications of animal spies superfluous, the same employee continues to work training dogs to perform tasks for European security agencies. Their ranks may be diminished, as the NMMP shows, but there still continue to be some intelligence roles that are best filled by non-human agents.

4. Spy Agencies Can Employ Very Aggressive Hiring Practices

cia

It doesn’t come as a surprise that authoritarian regimes can have very heavy-handed methods of persuading their citizens to become spies. One former North Koreanagent says she was simply plucked from her school as a teenager to become a spy: “One day a black sedan showed up at my school. They were from the central party and told me I’d been chosen…I was just told to pack.”

However, even democratic countries can make potential spies offers they can’t refuse. When describing how the Mossad, Israel’s intelligence agency, pressured his brother, Eli Cohen, to join their ranks and spy on Syria, Maurice Cohen noted, “Even as the Mossad was recruiting my brother, they secretly went to his employer and got him fired. He had a wife and kids to support.”

In 2002, the Russian Security Service accused the US of using drugged drinks and cookies to try to recruit a Russian defense worker who visited the US Embassy in an ex-Soviet Republic. Russia insisted that the ploy had backfired, with the defense worker subsequently working with Russian intelligence to feed misinformation to his US handlers.

3. Spies Sometimes Assume the Identities of the Dead

death-certificate

How does a spy come up with a believable cover identity? Some spies maintain their existing identities, just disguising their real professions. Most US spies overseas operate under “official cover,” which is to say they are given fake jobs in US agenciesor embassies that offer diplomatic immunity. “Non-official cover” is more dangerous, requiring the use of an assumed name and profession, without the protection of diplomatic immunity in the event of discovery.

 In cases where spies need to assume a realistic identity, assuming the identity of someone else, usually someone who died as a child, can be a useful shortcut to create a backstory and official documentation to support the cover identity. In Britain, undercover police seeking to infiltrate protest groups used the identities of 80 dead children between 1968 and 1994. The identities of these children served as cover identities for officers, allowing them to easily obtain drivers’ licenses and passports that would stand up to scrutiny if anyone checked.

A similar strategy, the theft of the identity of a dead Canadian infant, appears to be how a Russian spy (mentioned in #10) created his cover identity, Donald Heathfield. This practice is reportedly on the decline due to the digitization of death records.

2. Spies May Kill Their Own to Protect Their Cover

freddie

You’d think that spies working on the same side would try to help each other out, or at least not hurt each other. Usually, that’s what happens, but sometimes things go awry, and the life of one agent is deemed to be less important to the mission than the cover of another.

When British intelligence was attempting to infiltrate the IRA, their agent Freddie Scappaticci (pictured above) managed to work his way up to head the IRA’s internal security force. In that role, he was responsible for the death of a number of people. British press reports say as many as 40, and a former British handler says, “well into the tens.” Among those deaths were at least a few fellow British agents. The blood on his hands helped bolster Scappaticci’s credibility within the IRA, since it was believed that no one who had killed for the cause could be a British agent.

Kevin Fulton, another undercover British asset within the IRA, believes he almost became another casualty of Scappaticci’s cover story. As an an article in The Atlanticputs it, “his handlers decided he would make a good sacrifice: another mark of credibility for their prize agent.” Fulton escaped death at the hands of his fellow British spy by fleeing and going into hiding.

 1. Even When Spies Retire, They May Not Die of Natural Causes

assassin

Once their spying days are over, some agents enjoy a quiet retirement. Ex-CIA spy Jason Matthews recently described his decision to spend his retirement writing spy novels to counter the restlessness he felt when his intelligence career ended, saying that, “Being in the Agency is a very experiential career, like being a policemen or a fireman or a jet pilot, and when it stops, it really stops.”

However, some spies don’t share that experience. Remnants of their professional lives follow them into retirement, and perhaps, to their unnatural deaths. In 2002, 17 years after defecting to Russia, former CIA agent Edward Lee Howard met his end in Moscow, after reportedly breaking his neck in a fall down the steps in his house. The death that was ostensibly accidental, but certainly raises questions.

In the case of ex-Russian spy Alexander Litvenenko, the evidence of murder is incontrovertible. Litvenenko published an expose of the misdeeds of the Russian intelligence service before fleeing to the UK in 2000, where he was granted asylum. However, in 2006 he died after being poisoned with radioactive polonium, allegedly while meeting two former agents for tea. For some spies, retirement isn’t a respite. It’s just another terrifying chapter in their danger-filled lives.


Spy vs. Spy

WIF Handbook-001

– WIF Espionage Handbook

Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #57

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #57

 … Some form of dementia causes John to wander aimlessly about, no sense of whether he is afoot or on horseback…

The Letter-001

Here at the stable, in the lamplight, he opens the mysterious envelope that had briefly distracted him that morning, nearly forgotten.

This is what it said:

Laura Letter-001

A sudden fever sweeps through John Ferrell, likely flush with excess cerebral blood flow, driven by a racing pulse. The thought of this happening to him was the last thing on his mind, nor had he been exactly consumed by guilt in the intervening months since that hot and dusty July day; all that has changed, starting right now.

Daze

 Some form of dementia causes John to wander aimlessly about, no sense of whether he is afoot or on horseback, as if in a daze. Sitting, standing, vertical or horizontal, no matter his position, nothing jives with reality. All he knows is that when he heads toward his San Luis Lake mansion, he must turn away.

More than an hour passes before he can right himself. He returns to the stable, straightening the crumpled edges of the paper in his pocket. This time he sees the need to act, grabbing a lantern to light his way to the lake, formulating a plan as he goes. His subconscious has been a step ahead of his consciousness.

Laura Bell, thinking that had he intended on meeting her, thought he would have been there by now. The delay causes doubt. Her world seems to be falling apart. Her future at the only job she’s ever had, is obviously about to end.

          There is no reason to ruin perfectly good footwear, so she undoes the high ankle buttons, places them the bench and descends into the calm waters of San Luis Lake, without capturing the one last deep breath that would sustain her for a couple of minutes. She has no intentions of surviving.


 

Alpha Omega M.D.

San Luis Lake5-001

Dispair

Episode #57


 


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Complete Listing of Episodes

Complete Listing of Episodes

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Contents Alpha Omega

Drowning in Life

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Langston Hughes

“I went down to the river,
I set down on the bank.
I tried to think but couldn’t,
So I jumped in and sank.”

― Langston Hughes

Ted Hughes

“Nobody wanted your dance,
Nobody wanted your strange glitter, your floundering
Drowning life and your effort to save yourself,
Treading water, dancing the dark turmoil,
Looking for something to give.”
― Ted HughesBirthday Letters

Drowning In Life