What caused a mathematics prodigy Unabomber Ted Kaczynski with an IQ supposedly greater than Einstein’s to murder three innocent people and injure even more? Was he angry with society?

Kaczynski’s manifesto outlines his cognitive reasons for doing this, but there’s another element as well. Generally speaking, people with a beef against how technology is used in society don’t live in a shack in the woods, shit in a hole, and become serial killers. They just post angry rants about it on Facebook. To do what Kaczynski did requires something else, generally something traumatic.

And that’s where the story gets really, really, really, really, really weird. I mean like super weird. Twilight-Zone-episode weird.

In fact, if it hadn’t been extensively documented, a lot of folks probably wouldn’t believe what happened to Kaczynski, it’s that weird.

In 1958, he enrolled at Harvard.

In 1959, he was approached by a dude named Henry Murray, a psychologist and researcher at Harvard.

During WWII, Murray worked at the OSS, the predecessor to the CIA. After the war, he became a professor at Harvard, but he retained his government contacts.

Starting in 1959, Murray engaged in a bunch of extremely unethical research experiments on Harvard students at the behest of the US government. The government was investigating ways to traumatize people to the point of breaking their personalities, with an eye toward developing interrogation techniques that would break the will of suspected spies or enemy agents.

Harvard and the Making of the Unabomber
In the fall of 1958 Theodore Kaczynski, a brilliant but vulnerable boy of sixteen, entered Harvard College. There he encountered a prevailing intellectual atmosphere of anti-technological despair. There, also, he was deceived into subjecting himself to a series of purposely brutalizing psychological experiments—experiments that may have confirmed his still-forming belief in the evil of science. Was the Unabomber born at Harvard? A look inside the files


Murray experimented on many Harvard students, one of them being Kaczynski.

One of the experiments he performed on Kaczynski involved having him write down all the things he considered his weaknesses and personality flaws…then brutally attacking him and abusing him using what he’d written as ammunition. Kaczynski was repeatedly abused and attacked by multiple people, all of them Harvard employees, using the material he himself had supplied about his own personal weaknesses, and then—I’m dead serious, you can’t make this shit up—forced to watch footage of himself being attacked and abused.

Over and over.

Henry Murray was never called to account for doing this, though modern academics tend to quietly not talk about his research.

Did Ted Kaczynski’s Transformation Into the Unabomber Start at Harvard?
Kaczynski was subjected to a controversial and disturbing psychological experiment as a young student at the Ivy League school.

It’s not hard to draw a line between what happened at Harvard and Kaczynski targeting academic institutions in particular.

Would he still have been a terrorist if this hadn’t happened to him? Hard to say. Some folks claim his behavior shows the signs of schizophrenia, though some of the psychologists and psychiatrists who examined him after his arrest say he isn’t schizophrenic. There’s no way to wind back the clock and see what would’ve happened if he hadn’t been used in traumatic human experiments at Harvard.

But it’s really hard to look at that, look at the fact he specifically targeted universities (that’s the “u” in “unabom”), and say “nah, couldn’t have had anything to do with it.”

Harvard has sealed the results of Murray’s experiments on Kaczynski and refuses to reveal what Murray wrote about him, so who knows?

Colleges Challenge a Common Protection in Sexual Assault Lawsuits: Anonymity

The former college student said she had been raped three times as an undergraduate at Florida A&M University, twice by students and once by an acquaintance who was on campus regularly.

She withdrew from the university and filed suit, saying that campus officials did not do enough to investigate the claims and protect her from being attacked again and again. As a precaution, she identified herself in public court papers only as S.B.

Her school fired back three times with a demand for the court: Reveal her full name or toss out the case.

For years, students have filed sexual assault complaints under pseudonyms, which allow them to seek justice without shame or fear of being targeted. Universities have generally accepted the practice.

But in two recent lawsuits — S.B.’s case against Florida A&M University and a suit by nine women against Dartmouth College — the schools have demanded that students publicly reveal their identities, going against longstanding legal practice intended to protect plaintiffs in sensitive disputes.

Experts on sexual assault cases say that these demands amount to a newly aggressive stance by universities that face potentially damaging lawsuits, and that they run counter to the spirit of federal civil rights policies. The identities of the women in both cases are known to the university lawyers, but not to the public.

“What you’re seeing in this particular case is real hardball,” said Andrew Miltenberg, a lawyer who typically represents men accused of sexual assault. “And it’s still not the way most lawyers or schools handle it. They’re a little bit more gracious about protecting someone who was their student.”

On Wednesday, S.B.’s lawyer sent a letter to more than 40 state legislators objecting to the university’s tactics and asking them to investigate the matter.

Break up the family? White House weighs new border deterrent.

Violence in Central America has caused a surge in families requesting asylum. The Trump administration has confirmed it’s looking at bold moves to discourage them. But separating moms from kids may prove too draconian, and difficult.

.. For years, deteriorating conditions in Central America, and what Secretary Kelly himself has described as “unimaginable violence” in the region, has driven a surge of families and unaccompanied minors traveling through Mexico to reach the US border.

.. Advocates and many Democratic lawmakers this week have recoiled at the Trump administration’s proposed policy of separating mothers from their children. For their part, officials say the surge is so large that such a drastic policy is necessary.

I would do almost anything to deter the people from Central America from getting on this very, very dangerous network that brings them up through Mexico into the United States,” Kelly told CNN earlier this week.

.. It has also cut the number of refugees admitted to the United States each year to 50,000, down from 110,000.
.. But Central American families seeking asylum at the border are not part of the refugee admissions program, scholars point out. According to US immigration law and international treaties, officials are obligated to give asylum-seekers due process and a hearing to consider their claims.
.. “Is that what the US wants to be identified with around the world?” asks Camilo Pérez-Bustillo, executive director of the Human Rights Center at the University of Dayton in Ohio. “If we want to deter this kind of migration, we might want to focus on the conditions that produce it, and on policies that are transformative in terms of those conditions…. Punishing, in effect, the victims of those conditions because they’re seeking protection seems to be literally perverse.”
.. It is reportedly drafting plans to cut billions of dollars from agencies such as the Coast Guard, the Transportation Security Administration, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which provides relief after natural disasters, in order to fund its expanded crackdowns on undocumented immigrants
.. Officials have now been instructed to prosecute parents of unaccompanied minors for the crime of human trafficking. Critics consider this deterrent effort, too, a severe blow to those attempting to unify their families, or even save their children’s lives.

.. Supporters of the president’s immigration policies, too, note that the nation’s obligations to asylum-seekers are often easily abused.

.. “An important problem is, a lot of time there are adults bringing kids with them, but they are not their own kids, and they are sort of rent-a-child operations,”
.. “Because under Obama, if you had a kid with you, it was almost an automatic ticket to being let go”
..  These TV and radio announcements warned people that they would be sent back if they tried to enter the country.“Well, that wasn’t true,”

.. Part of the reason for this surge in immigrants, most of them from Central America, continues to be the ongoing gang violence in countries such as El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras, which have some of the world’s highest murder rates for nations not at war.

.. in years past the surge of asylum seekers from Central America included a large number of unaccompanied teenagers. Now she mostly sees families with younger children. “So it’s also very difficult for family members already here, and already working long hours, to take on the responsibility for young children needing care all the time, from changing diapers to watching toddlers and preschool age kids.”

.. “You can’t have a first-cut process that approves everybody,” he says. “The ‘credible fear standard’ needs to be raised significantly so that you don’t even get fed into the pipeline for asylum unless you have a more-than-plausible story

.. But few experts believe that in the end, the policy of separating mother from their children would deter families from trying to apply for refuge.

“If the choice is to stay in your country and die, or come to the United States and face whatever may come, it’s not really a choice,”

..  “As traumatizing as it would be to be separated from your children, if the alternative is to see them killed, it’s not really a choice and it won’t be a deterrent from coming.”



Mike Pompeo Is Good for Diplomacy

dwell for a moment on the awfulness of Tillerson.

He came to office with no discernible worldview other than the jaded transactionalism he acquired as ExxonMobil’s C.E.O. He leaves office with no discernible accomplishment except a broken department and a traumatized staff.

Six of the 10 top positions at State are vacant; even now the United States does not have an ambassador to South Korea, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, South Africa or the European Union, among other posts.

.. he did seem to figure out that Vladimir Putin is a bad guy. But that’s progress only because he was previously the Russian despot’s premier apologist.

.. he opposed the president’s two best foreign policy decisions: moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem and decertifying the Iran deal.

.. Some secretaries of state — Colin Powell, for instance — alienate their bosses by siding with the bureaucracy. Others, like Henry Kissinger, do the opposite. Tillerson is the rare bird who managed to do both.

.. unlike Tillerson, he will have credibility with foreign governments. Just as importantly, he’s been willing to contradict the president, meaning he’ll be able to act as a check on him, too.

Trump isn’t going to be disciplined by someone whose views are dovish or establishmentarian. But he might listen to, and be tempered by, a responsible hawk.

.. The notion that Kim Jong-un is going to abandon his nuclear arsenal is risible. What, other than reunification of Korea on Pyongyang’s terms, would Kim exchange his arsenal for?

Equally risible is the idea that his regime will ever abide by the terms of a deal. North Korea violates every agreement it signs.

.. might strike it at South Korea’s and perhaps Japan’s expense. This president has never been particularly fond of our two closest Asian allies, much less of the cost to the United States of aiding in their defense.

.. The promise of Pompeo is that he can provide ballast against some of Trump’s other gusts, particularly when it comes to the Kremlin.

  • On Syria, he dismisses the possibility of a collaborative relationship with Russia.
  • On Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, he insists, “America has an obligation to push back.”
  • On WikiLeaks, he calls it a “non-state hostile intelligence service.”
  • On Russian interference in the U.S. election, he acknowledges it as incontrovertible fact and warns of the “Gerasimov doctrine” — the Russian conviction that it can use disinformation to win a bloodless war with the West.

.. If the thought that Putin has strings to pull with this president alarms you, Pompeo’s presence should be reassuring. However much you might otherwise disagree with him, the guy who graduated first in his class from West Point is not a Russian stooge.

.. he’d be smart to model his behavior on Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, the administration’s one undisputed star, who thrives in his job because he’s plainly not afraid of losing it, much less of speaking his mind.