wherein the Author, who finds everyone including himself to be one or more types of spy, calls up some late news about the insane racket, recounts how the police and Swiss press broke the Marx story, analyzes carefully what is behind the arrest of Marx, perceiving certain consequences to himself, and receives an anonymous letter with telltale watermarks from New York, representing the star-comet Venus and the Sphinx, whose contents deal with the treason.
"SPYING emerges as a deep paranoiac wish projected onto others." This line sounds great to me! I think to call it a maxim, Maxim #1. "I spy; you spy; he, she, it (the Conspiracy) spies; we spy; you-all spy; they spy." We are ourselves spies or find spies in others.
Nota bene: I possess many other maxims that are not closely related enough to be carried in this work, although, in fact, every good maxim is always relevant to something you are doing -- you see, another maxim! -- as in the following:
"To be alive does not excuse your staying so."
"One is what one's problems are." (To be compared with: "One is what one eats.")
"The only way to get a job done is to do it."
"Don't forget whatever you must forgive." .. and ..
"To want to live is human; to deserve to live is divine."
You see what I mean. And now to definitions.
An ordinary definition is best: spying (and espionage) is the forbidden transfer of knowledge from one government's domain to another's. The domain can also be private, corporate or personal.
Deaths, killings, executions adhere to the image of spying. No sooner do you say "spy" than people picture human figures dangling from gibbets. The number of "spies" hanged by Tories and Rebels in the American Revolution was legion. So, too, among Whites and Reds of the Soviet Revolution. Today people envision sophisticated thievery, battles lost, missiles defused, premiers assassinated, empires overturned.
"This is a spy story, isn't it? Start killing people, crashing cars, bursting in upon Beauty in the Bath! Torture! Come on, get going!"
They do not see the reality, the little lady with the green eyeshade poring over the latest catalogue of the Azerbaijan jelly industry. It is espionage, because it would be so regarded by the Soviet Union, though its arm cannot reach her. Maybe 95% of espionage is just this, I say, but from the smirks I get you would think that there is jam on my mustache and that I call up the scene because, well, that's the way to mislead people, isn't it?
Still, it is true. Join the Space Spy Satellites to the li'l ol' lady and you will have about all you need, except for some people to interrogate defectors and spies betrayed by lovers.
Generally speaking, covert spying is useless or worse; overt intelligence is bureaucratic and goes unused the farther up the ladder of decision it must climb. There is no cause for alarm: even without being in the government, I can get you as good a reading as any outfit anywhere, tomorrow,regarding any crisis, personage, party, lobby, weapons system, prospective event, etc.: how? By telephoning into my network of knowledgeable people and making sense out of their responses. Long before computers were in use, a few of us were cognizant of network theory and of how to zero in to the informed types for critical intelligence.
A large covert and overt C.I.A. intelligence operation had free run of the Iranian monarchy and drew upon an allied espionage system of great size. Summing it all up, the C.I.A. could report to the White House that the Shah's regime was stable and well in command of the country, this six months before a violent revolution overthrew the regime. A man named Roosevelt was in charge of the operation to keep the Shah on top. (I wonder whether he was the strange young officer I caught snooping among my papers in a villa several of us occupied before crossing into Sicily in 1943. Don't be too harsh, Alex," advised my British friend "Robbie", "that was a harmless lad, name of Roosevelt, belongs to OSS." I agreed: a scholarly type, couldn't help riffling through papers.)
Listen to this story of goofy covert espionage: it comes off the news wire of Tass News Agency, quoting from Isvestia, but it rings true; it's almost too absurd to be false:
An espionage operation has been cut short on a soviet railway by competent soviet agencies. A number of foreign firms, the Japanese Sun Union, Marujen Asia Trans, Trans-sib, and the West German Zuest-Backmayer, were involved in the operation. A container, intended for transportation to the West German Republic via Leningrad, arrived at the Soviet port of Nakhodka, the Far East, from Japan. From there it was despatched to the port of Leningrad. The container was opened at the Kuntsevo-2 station near Moscow because of some suspicious circumstances (there was blue light shining from the container and one could hear a muffled humming noise) in the presence of officers of Soviet Customs, the All-Union Soviet Soyuz-tranzit, the Ministry of Foreign Trade, and directors of the Trans-sib Carrier Company who were in Moscow.
One could see many astonishing things in the container. On the metallic frame by the container's perimeter there were two specially made electronic computers, radiation sensors, special cameras hooked up to ventilation ducts that could shoot pictures of a broad panorama from the train around-the-clock. The electronic complex operated on an automatic regime, uninterruptedly, recording every meter of the way.
A criminal investigation is underway over the carriage of espionage equipment on Soviet soil. The USSR protested to Japan and West Germany, demanding explanations and the punishment of the guilty.
Once more now: "The li'l ol' lady is a spy, I am a spy, you are a spy. We are spies, you-all are spies, they are spies." I am merely affording you some limbering up exercises for the tasks ahead, for believing or disbelieving that Marx is a spy, for instance.
The little lady, as I was saying, is a mitey cog in the great industry of espionage, but the idea of espionage is more confusing and deceitful than the Gross National Product (GNP) or Gross Domestic Product (GDP), heretofore the most misleading of public myths. I have shown elsewhere how you can enlarge the GNP of any nation by charging sexual exchanges to the total of goods and services that make up the GNP.
This would be especially useful, say, in boosting the GNP of Cuba, which needs it, by comparison with Sweden, which doesn't. QUID, the French encyclopedia, reports that the average French prostitute is collecting $51.00 per service. Multiply this by twenty million eligible women and by their average rate of dallying per annum, and you had better drop the subject.
This should show you how easy it is to expand the GNP of espionage, to achieve whatever satisfies you as the total of all intelligence, information services, and unauthorized spying upon others that occurs.
It is also relevant in that spy novels often have their characters slipping in and out of bordellos and the flats of call-girls. Since I have never been inside a house of ill-fame, to my knowledge, and have never inquired into the sources of income of my lady friends, I can never have been much of a spy -- correct? I may need your testimony. For who would believe my say-so?
Anyhow, bear in mind the explosive nature of the idea we are handling. Spying can expand enormously simply by forbidding all communication with foreigners. It can do the same by banning the communication of any subject-matter to foreigners. Include all transmissions of "classified material" to anybody, not foreigners alone, and you get another great leap in potential espionage.
For attempting to deliver information about his tanks to a representative of the USSR, a U.S. Army Sergeant in Maryland at the Arsenal was arrested on January 14, 1988; he could be charged with various crimes of espionage under the U.S. Uniform Code of Military Justice (Art.106a), plus failure to report contact with a foreign government (Art.92), larceny of government property (Art.108), and unauthorized disposition of U.S. Government property (Art.108). (Filly and I were laughing at the case of a man who was arrested for walking naked on the Promenade des Anglais in Nice; he was charged with not carrying proper identification and not having five francs in his possession, the minimum to avoid accusation for vagrancy!)
One American spy, a naval officer, John Walker, "sold over a million secrets to the Russians" according to experts:what in the world can a million secrets be? The results were hard to access and assess; he believed no one ever used the secrets he sold; maybe not. The KGB and F.B.I. vied in foolish and clumsy tactics; the Russians almost giving him away to the Americans, the Americans almost letting him escape. A warrant officer at Fort Stewart, Georgia, James William Hall, had a "top secret clearance" and sold "classified defense documents" for several years; lately he sold them to a Turkish national and finally to an F.B.I. (disguised) agent who paid a great deal of money for them. All the play acting of spydom was present; whether the "classified" matter was of consequence is unimportant to the law.
There are a hundred verbs -- just verbs alone -- in the English language that have to do with the use of the eyes and of course all of these could be under the circumstances an instance of spying if aimed at an appropriate object and reported to a forbidden receiver, so now: scan, search, explore, sightsee, detect, watch, examine, be all eyes, note,notice, register, mark, see, behold, witness, take notice, attend to, keep vigil, be on the qui vive, eagle-eye, keep an eye on, look out for, perceive, discern, discover, descry, make out, spot, shadow, hold in view, regard, gaze, peer, and peek.
Furthermore, steal a glance, look around, pore over, reconnoitre, scout, invigilate, watch out for, detect, sight, look on, hold in view, pry, be curious, sleuth, inform, counterspy, probe, hunt, investigate, canvass, delve into, screen, check on, case, see into, prospect, puzzle out, squint, study. Oh, well, 63 will do for the moment.
Have you ever exercised any of these, anyplace, on anybody, or anything, and told it to, or meant to tell about it to, someone who might use it on behalf of any entity,against another entity that claimed some legal right to stop you from doing so? (I dote upon sociologese à la Max Weber.)
If so, then, aha! You were a spy! Maybe not living the life of Riley Master Spy, but at least a Teeny-Weeny Spy. And you may have engaged in espionage.
If you haven't been exhausted by the idea, you can run through the other senses -- hearing (eavesdrop, etc.), feeling ("a breeze of hot air rose from the over-worked shredder"), snooping (nose out, etc.), tasting ("ahhggggghhk!") -- for another hundred words (though vision is the most prolific verbalizer by far) and then move into the mental operations -- "Simple deduction, my dear Watson!"-- the techniques (tap, dig, pry, interrogate, rummage around), technological instruments -- to x-ray, to reproduce, to computerize -- ah, yes, there was something I wanted to do: write about a case of computer espionage!
But just one more moment to make an important point: whatever the sense employed and the action you took, it had to be against the law! Of some government. If not of your own, then of another government that concerned itself with the matter. So if any government grabs you and convicts you for spying or espionage, you've had it. Right or wrong. You needn't philosophize or moralize or self-adjudicate; others will do this job for you.
Even if you are spying on Beech-nut Baby Foods on behalf of the United Nations to see whether they are using pure natural apple juice in their cans, as they have said they are, and get caught copying their secret recipe, they could have you prosecuted by the state for several crimes and misdemeanors -- even if their apple juice were faked. And you might end up sharing the same dinner table at the federal penitentiary with the top executives who in fact did fake the baby juice.
Domestic political espionage is rampant. Remember Watergate and the plumbers who stole records from the Democrats. Then there was the Reagan team of whom somebody, in his first campaign in 1980, maybe it was Bill Casey (later of C.I.A.), stole President Carter's campaign strategy papers.
Or suppose you are tending your garden and minding your own business when the enemy lands parachutists who ask you for the right road to Oshkosh. If you tell them, you can be regarded as a spy, an espionage agent, and a traitor. If you lie to them, you are performing the job of a soldier, but not being in uniform you may be shot as a partisan, terrorist, and spy. Anyway you look at it, you would have better stayed in bed, and if you think it funny, you'll probably be shot for that too.
Who says who says what is espionage? Speaker of the House of Representatives Jim Wright scolded the C.I.A. last year for planting agents provocateurs in Nicaragua to bait the Sandinista government into overreacting, thus injuring its cause among Americans. President Reagan denounced Wright for revealing secret intelligence operations. Later Wright was denounced officially by a Congressional Committee Investigation for concealing large personal financial gains levered by his powerful political position. Whereupon, after much caterwauling, he resigned as Speaker.
Or, again, the General Accounting Office condemns "some very lax procedures with regard to visits by foreign nationals at our weapons facilities." Apparently some nuclear-bomb suspects like Israel, Pakistan, Brazil, and Argentina have been getting intelligence agents invited into jolly visits at Los Alamos, Sandia, and Livermore labs.
I may seem to be too fascinated with the linguistics of espionage to be kosher, but it's part of my cover; it is the best cover, and you have to believe it, the abstracted philosopher, the removed professor, retired now, thus even better. (There was once such pressure to take on good covers that the C.I.A. was paying to put its people through college and into professorships just in order to cover them as spies, hysteron proteron, the cart before the horse, but now old professors are being hired, cheaper, more reliable, less trigger-happy, or at least this is what I have heard said, don't quote me).
With a lifetime of conditioning, and whatever I have not experienced myself the movies and press have supplied, I would not be surprised in the slightest to be caught up in the worst espionage engagement of my life.
That wouldn't qualify in itself as so bad. As I said, I've had it pretty easy all along. Still, I would rather not have any part of it. And I am especially annoyed because I realize how I can become involved in some bass-ackwards way in a completely insignificant criminal case while I am trying my best to dedicate my life to highly important affairs, criminal and otherwise.
It's like my sons, whom I've told on occasion, "Look, if you are going to ruin your life, don't do it on some punk prank or cunning crankery. Try for the Big One."
Still, their sneers are justified, for who can resist Fate, Kismet, Accident, Chance, Divine Decree, and Misunderstanding?
Who knows how far I shall be drawn into a trivial broohaha, and for nothing?
The occasion for this unusual outburst of frankness (you may have yawned over it as hemming and hawing) is my concern over the arrest and incarceration of Christoph Marx as a Soviet spy. The Swiss Federal Police caught up with him, it appears.
He was released on May 20, but I have not gone near him. I have heard from him. I have mumbled a couple of short guarded conversations on the telephone. I have also received clippings and stories from persons and sources in several countries.
According to the Swiss Prosecutors, Marx caused "major damage."
But let me quote you the Prosecutors and give you the gist of what three world News Services reported when the case broke. (You may wonder at my heavy coverage; it is not difficult,I assure you, you could do the same.) They are the Associated Press, the Times-Mirror, and Reuters.
Since all reports were based upon the Press Release issued by the Office of the Swiss Federal Prosecutor, I reproduce that first:
Case of Espionage Discovered!
Swiss Citizen Jailed. Soviet Diplomat Expelled!
Retaliation Measures by Soviet Union.
A first secretary of the Soviet Embassy at Bern has been declared persona non grata for engaging in forbidden intelligence gathering activities. In retaliation, the Soviet Union has expelled a Swiss diplomat. Police and judicial investigation led by the federal prosecutor in close cooperation with the police of the canton of Basle has produced evidence of prolonged economic and political espionage by the Soviet diplomat Piotr Leonidov. The aforesaid diplomat took over and consolidated after october 1986 an intelligence relationship that had been established and built up in Basle by his predecessor, himself declared an undesirable person and expelled in the summer of 1986, with an active computer expert of Swiss citizenship. On the occasion of numerous conspiratorial meetings in diverse places in Switzerland, intelligence from the EDP domain was transmitted. The Soviet attempted also, the investigation so far reveals, to obtain, relying upon the financial difficulties in which the Basle businessman found himself stuck, information through him from Swiss and foreign data banks in the areas of economics and science.
In addition, the diplomat prevailed upon the Swiss businessman to investigate his own commercial partners on behalf of the Soviets.There are, moreover, indications of further information activities. The Swiss businessman, who took considerable sums of money for his services, was jailed on April 1, 1987, and freed on May 21, 1987. A Federal investigation concerning forbidden political and economic intelligence continues against him (Art.272 and 273 StGB). The behavior of Leonidov is incompatible with the status of a diplomat. As a member of the Embassy, he enjoys diplomatic immunity, and prosecution according to judicial procedures is not possible. Therefore he was declared to be an undesirable person on May 14, 1987. The Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs protested at the Soviet Embassy in Bern against these intelligence and information activities and demanded the recall of the diplomat. Leonidov left Switzerland on May 20, 1987. Meanwhile the Soviet Foreign Ministry informed the Swiss Embassy in Moscow on June 5, 1987 that the First Secretary of the Embassy Hans Pfohl has been declared persona non grata"in connection with activity incompatible with his diplomatic status" and would have to leave the USSR within a week.
The Federal Department of Foreign Affairs regrets this totally unjustified expulsion and has in consequence protested sharply to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Moscow as well as at the Soviet Embassy in Bern. It is obviously a Soviet retortion measure that is directly connected with the expulsion of Leonidov from Switzerland.
PRECIS OF PRESS SERVICES
The dateline is 9 June 1987 on the A.M.cycle.
Out of Bern, Switzerland.
All three services report that Switzerland had expelled a Soviet diplomat for spying and that the Soviets had retaliated by ordering a Swiss diplomat to leave Moscow as persona non grata. Piotr Leonidov was the Soviet expelled; he had been First Secretary at the Soviet Delegation to Bern only since October last.
Hans Pfohl, First Secretary to the Swiss delegation at Moscow, was expelled. Leonidov was accused of political and economic espionage, in which activities he was assisted by a Basel computer expert, aged 56, who was paid large sums of money for his services. The businessman was not identified by name. The Prosecutor said that it was a serious case. Economic and scientific information from Swiss and foreign data banks was obtained. At "numerous conspiratorial meetings in different places in Switzerland," Leonidov and the Swiss "exchanged documents concerned with data processing" (Reuters). The Swiss was also induced to spy on business partners. Further evidence of espionage was claimed by the Office, but details of it were not provided. The spy connection had been set up by Leonidov's predecessor, who was expelled the previous year. The businessman-computer expert was beset by financial difficulties. The culprit (the same person) was arrested April 1 and released May 21, pending a further criminal investigation. Leonidov was ordered out of Switzerland on May 14, and left six days later. The Swiss diplomat was ordered out of Moscow on the 5th of June. It is noteworthy that the only fact not contained in the Press Release is that the businessman was 56 years old. Someone had talked to a policeman or prosecutor. No reporter tried promptly to locate the accused. So much for the new great age of "Investigative Reporting."
A copy of the Associated Press despatch caught up with me at my retreat on the Island of Naxos in the Aegean Sea.Our place is on a remote peninsula; we have neither electricity nor telephone, but I can manage the rough drive along the beach to town in a car and if anything important comes over the telephone or mail or telex, Pavlos Theophanos, my agent, sends it out by messenger.
It was contained in an airmail envelope, had no return address and was postmarked New York City, 15 June 1987, six days after having gone over the wire. (Evidently somebody had hesitated for six days, or had gotten it from someone else, right?). Other figures on the postmark, possibly 102, might indicate a Greenwich Village postal station. They were too dim to be sure of, this being the Postoffice's way to impede counter-espionage agents (and abandoned women) seeking to track down their man.
It was addressed to me correctly, "c/o Pavlos," then on the next line "Theophanos" standing alone, so it could not have been sent me by a Greek, who would know that the two names made up the full proper name of a Greek, or by someone who had been to see me in Naxos.
Yet it was someone who knew me, for the address is only given to friends who might either wish to visit me or write me about our studies of archaeology and ancient catastrophes. This could be Marx himself, I thought, but how would he have been let out of Switzerland?
And why to America? Was he a double agent for the C.I.A.?
Had he been spirited out by the Russians in an unexpected direction?
Or had he flown the coop, and this would be the reason why he had not signed the piece, written any note to go with it, or put on a return address?
Or had he given it for posting to someone flying to the United States?
If not him at all, then someone worried and involved had sent it.
I examined the paper on which the AP despatch was reproduced. It was unwatermarked typical xeroxing paper, a little better than the typical Greek grade, as was the xerox job itself, and the paper was well-positioned in the copying, a professional job, I thought. (There's no job in the world, do you know, that cannot support a professional touch: digging a hole in the ground, sharpening a pencil, carrying a bucket of water: "The Least of Skills is a Large Skill." Maxim #2.)
The envelope was ordinary, of good quality, lightweight, number 10. But wait, it had watermarks, which, to anyone who knew Marx, bore a special meaning.
There shone through the thin paper a darting airplane or air missile with the word "Starfire," next to a fuselage or cometary body.
To add to my surprise, alongside was lettered the word "Sphinx"!
"It can only be Marx! No matter how improbable!" I declared to Filly. It must be he. He was always hunting for clues and signs of Profound Workings of the Bodies of the Sky through fiery cataclysms upon the Earth and its Humans, and going around saying "Nomen est omen!"
Let me put aside until later the horrendous significance of the Comet. The Sphinx is enough for now. You will recall that her typical pose is a squatting lioness with a woman's large head contemplating the world before Her. This Creature means to us an Enigma, a Keeper of Secrets, a Silence of Ages, a Riddle.
To whom is this anonymous message directed -- is that the riddle? To me, to keep silent? About what? To tell me of the secret behind the news despatch? What is it: "Venus is alive and well?"
A Swiss savant of the last century, who approaches the famous Flinders Petrie in his genius for Egyptology, Edouard Naville, discovered that the Sphinx was an effigy of the Goddess Hathor in her murderous aspect. The Goddess Hathor is Tefnut, also Sekhmet, in Egypt. She is easily recognizable as a Great Goddess elsewhere, too. She is Ishtar, she is Athene, she is much more; and she is Venus!
Hathor waded in the blood of the larger part of mankind whom she slaughtered around the globe. In Egyptian Thebes, ruled by Pharaoh Akhnaton and his Wife-Mother Queen Tiy, human sacrifices were made to the Sphinx. Akhnaton sponsored a brilliant cultural interlude and then plunged into disgrace.
From the Thebes of Egypt to the Thebes of Greece. Once more a world-famous Sphinx. This time she is alive and the horror of a progressive city. Whoever passes her on the way to Thebes is posed a riddle. If the answer is unsatisfactory, the traveller is killed. The Chamber of Commerce of Thebes is understandably worried.
Never fear. There stalks along the road a strapping man named Oedipus, fresh from killing (unbeknownst to himself) his Father, the King of Thebes, and the surly chauffeur of his Father's chariot. Stop! Sphinx Ahead! Oedipus is posed the riddle.
I blush to repeat it: my grandsons used to pose me much better ones, and they were living in Greece too, which shows there is some progress in the world. So has my English friend, Hugh Dickinson, who just coined me a new Classical riddle, "Why is a pyramid like a chamber-pot?" to which I replied, "Because both are dedicated to Uranus." I caught him by surprise, for his answer was "Because the root syllables in Greek are pyr for `fire' and `amis, amidos' means chamber pot or vessel."
But, Stay! No more! I must offer it. "What walks on four legs in the morning, on two in the afternoon, and on three in the evening?" Answer: "Man does: he crawls as a baby, walks as an adult, walks only with a cane as an old man."
Enough. The Sphinx, with a scream of frustration and rage, casts herself off the cliff hitherto used for the unfortunate nitwits en route to Thebes, and dies to the everlasting glory of Oedipus and the citizens of Thebes.
Well, you know the story. Oedipus is called upon by a grateful citizenry to fill a vacancy lately opened up in town, the Throne. With a good-looking chick, approaching a certain age, thrown into the bargain -- the Queen, Jocasta. Until the age of psychoanalysis, Jocasta was the worst problem of Oedipus, for she was his own Great Mother, but now the good Doctors have also given him the Sphinx to account for. Not only does he indirectly bring about the suicide of his Wife-Mother Jocasta, which he deeply regrets, but unconsciously the myth has provided a murder of his mother again in the form of the Sphinx, she symbolizing the bad, repulsive, repressive, denying mother, Jocasta being the Good Mother aspect.
(Please don't ask me aggressively "And how do you know all this, Huh??" True geniuses of psychiatry have developed these points.)
The conclusion: Men are driven to mutual slaughter by their obsessed memory of the ancient depredations of the Great Mom of the Sky, Primordial cometary Venus. This is the Marx view and I have something to do with it.
I should have been correct about Marx, starfire, and the Sphinx, yet I had erred. This I learned soon enough after I landed back in New York, a few days later.
I tuned in on Leonard Siegel of the Foreign Desk of the Washington Times, he being next to myself in possessing the smarts about the two Marxes, Karl and Chris.
"I say, have you heard?"
"Yes, he says, I have indeed!" (He is Irish; "indeed" is indeed often called for.)
"I have this AP despatch, where could it have come from?"
"Tis Culver Stapleton," he says.
"Yes, indeed, he was in touch with me. From him it was that I learned about Chris Marx."
So now it was to Mr. Culver Stapleton that I betook my telephone, he being a dedicated public relations consultant to the Office of the Governor. "Culver, hello, how are you?, fine, yes, just got back, yes, everything OK? How're the cosmic heretics, OK?, you and the rest? good enough."
"What do you think of the Marx case?"
"Not good, makes me uncomfortable."
"How did you find out about it?"
"It was funny, I was at the office and looking over the wire service coming in and saw this spy business and looked at it closer, then closer, and it hit me that it was Marx who had been trapped, it couldn't have been anyone else, the computer expert, Basle, the age, hard up. So I made a copy of the AP despatch and sent it to you."
"Yes, thanks, I was glad to get it, but why didn't you put a return address on it?"
"Yes," he said. "I thought that you would be interested to know, maybe not, who knows, it's all rather crazy. It is disturbing, don't you think?"
"Rather." But I didn't press the point of the return address. I could understand his thinking. Unless you are experienced in espionage situations, you are likely to be panicked by a spy flitting in from worlds away. Talk of leprosy, of AIDS, try advertising yourself as a spy.
Culver wondered whether I was concerned. I said, no, but told him jokingly that I expected momentarily a call from the Agency on the matter. He did not think it funny.
I should have pressed him a little farther, although this is a business where the more you press, the less the response. Did he really fear that the mail would be opened and his name would become associated with the case --assuming the Greeks opened mail, or the mail was forwarded to me in France, or wherever I was?
Even so, if he was not implicated with Marx or whatever, why should he care? Just answer a question or two and be done with it, even in the unlikely situation that someone in authority were to get his hands on this incriminating envelope... No, it won't wash.
Why did he not write me and take the occasion to express his horror at this viper in our midst or to say, "Thank God,this viper never got near us -- did it, did it, did it?"
The most amazing thing and believe me, I'll show plenty of proof of it -- I am not, repeat, not, paranoid -- is the occurrence of these symbols, two of them: nothing in the whole encyclopedia of myth, symbols and signs, and I have two such encyclopedias right here and a mind as full as an encyclopedia with like material, could so catch what Marx is up to, and what the case is all about than this fine pair: the fiery shooting star and the Sphinx.
Culver was startled at my mention of the watermark. (Whereupon I think: if he is taken aback, it could be for four opposing reasons: he is innocently struck; he is guiltily moved by the coincidence; he is surprised at my discovering his secret symbols; or a third party has tricked him with a gift.)
He could not remember where he had gotten the envelopes. A likely story. It leads to the question why he did not send the press release directly from his office when it had come in.
The answer is reasonable: he followed the rules of the government and did not mail private correspondence out on government stationary nor use public monies for private stamps. The man is an angel! I think that there may be three others like him among the swarms dove coting in the City Hall and City Government; the myriad regards government postage as a fringe benefit.
Culver has courage; he has shown that in our struggles for freedom of expression and publication in the sciences. (It is amazing how much support you get when you are hazed for saying "Reagan sucks" and how your support disappears when you say "Darwin sucks.")
But Culver is a discreet man, a careful person, even too proper. There is no point to having a letter running around the world after Alexander Falcone.
Could he have suspected that Marx was working with me? And therefore wanted to put a small distance between himself and me?
Or could he have feared that I was poking around on behalf of a "friendly" Agency to see whether he, Culver, was tied in to Marx? Here we go -- nonsense!
Still, still, and yet: those insignias on the envelope. Gad, if only Freud were alive! And the Bernoulli Family of Basle! One to advance the hypotheses and the others to lay the odds! It could all connect up with the Soviet spy system.
Baffling! It would cream the pants of the gargantuan Professor Paracelsus, also of Basle University. This is the sort of problem, precisely, that he had in mind when he ejaculated his doctrine, "Magick is a Great Hidden Wisdom --Reason is a Great Open Folly."
It's all rather annoying, I must say. Here I am, many years later, still catching the aftermath of McCarthyism.When you grow old (Oh, yes, you will!), your friends begin to throw in their hands, and you become pettish about the game ending and take their misfortunes personally.
They form a kind of life support system, which you dislike feeling cut back to any sensible degree. Like here, Christoph Marx is incommunicado, dead to the world, and, quite apart from whether he is a pal or not, he is a sustaining source whom I don't want to be disconnected.
I can give you higher social motives, and will, but these private motives will do as well. Someday I shall write a novel about an old man who commits crimes to protect his sources.
I will say, too, that the history of Joe McCarthy's attacks upon the State Department and the Eastern liberal Establishment in general scared the daylights out of a whole young generation of the well-educated, well-behaved classes of the United States. There were years in the nineteen-fifties when the politically aware and respectable citizenry would not be together for more time than it took to wet their whistle before the latest episode of the Red-Witch-hunters would introduce itself into the conversation. It was the"Dallas" of the day.
Perhaps I should crack right off the bat that I who experienced these years, and many of my tribe, could find the theme of this book right here in Joe McCarthy's greatest logical feat, wherein he demonstrated that the reason why he had not been able to collar one or another of the several score communists whom he accused of infesting the Department of State was precisely because they were communists, and therefore had no inclination whatsoever to step forward, and moreover were fully trained to live and work underground in the vital bowels of the American Nation. The fact that none could be found was proof that they were there.