Daily Archives: September 4, 2007

Surveillance drone used to spy on concert attendees


A new fleet of MW Power microdrones await shipment to police departments, ready to surveil the citizenry

London Times | Sep 4, 2007

by Heather Brooke

Two weekends ago at the V Festival, revellers were surprised to see a remote-controlled surveillance drone flying and filming overhead. Little to nothing was known beforehand about the drone’s use, and news reports after the fact shed little light on why or how its use was approved.

I put in a Freedom of Information Act request and discovered that the drone was part of a sales demo by a company called MW Power at the invitation of Staffordshire Police. What about the legality of the drone, I asked the police? They wondered why I was asking. Was I a competitor? Did I want to sell them a drone? It was unbelievable to the police, I suppose, that a citizen might be concerned about her privacy.

MW Power told me that more than half of Britain’s police forces have asked for a drone demo and many are finalising packages to buy the £30,000 kit – this without any public discussion about whether it is a useful way of combating crime.

Overarching surveillance infringes our privacy. So, for such an infringement to be justified, the police ought to have evidence to show its effectiveness. Instead, the police grab at invasive technologies without regard to the cost in terms of individual privacy or community trust. The police claim that drones will prevent thefts, but they can’t provide any proof. Shouldn’t such proof exist before the police throw taxpayer’s money into the sky?

Cops with helmet cameras, the DNA database, automatic numberplate recognition, CCTV – all these technologies have been slyly introduced: imagined future benefits are played up while the very tangible, immediate costs of lost privacy are airily discounted.

The Crown Prosecution Service, for example, has no figures on the success of CCTV in prosecuting crime. As for prevention, violent crime has doubled in the ten years since CCTV came to blanket the country. And yet Simon Byrne, the Assistant Chief Constable of Merseyside, still says: “People clamour for the feeling of safety which cameras give.”

I don’t. Far better to rely on real eyes in real human heads with real police officers backing them up.

But I’m told by Merseyside Police – the first force to buy a drone – that the flying spy has been “a great success and people feel they’ve reclaimed their parks”.

Has the drone’s footage been used as evidence to prosecute or arrest anyone? No. Not much of a success then.

If police forces were directly accountable to the people they serve, it’s doubtful that we would have agreed to such costly blanket surveillance – whether drones in the sky or cameras on every street corner – without the solid facts to persuade us of its necessity. But when the only person that the police have to please is the Home Secretary, then citizens’ rights are irrelevant.

Ron Paul Places Third in Texas Straw Poll

Mock Primary…

Who would you vote for?

Ron Paul shown at the very bottom, is in second place against Dennis Kucinich. Vote him into the lead! Make Ron Paul so undeniably the winner in ALL polls that nobody can afford to ignore him, he becomes a foregone conclusion in the Republican Primary and is a landslide winner in 2008. That way, despite establishment election rigging, he will still come out on top. And even if they do rig it against him, the people will revolt and demand his presidency at any and all costs. This is the only way to ensure that the Republic is saved.

Kucinich is NOT the answer. Only Ron Paul cares about our sovereignty, our rights and our Constitution. Only Ron Paul will defend us against global government. Only Ron Paul will implement a speedy withdrawl of our military from all war zones. Only Ron Paul will dismantle the globalist occupational government at its roots: the Federal Reserve and the IRS!


. . .

Paul Campaign Concludes Successful Weekend with Solid Straw Poll Finish

Ron Paul 2008 | Sep 2, 2007

FORT WORTH, TEXAS – Congressman Ron Paul placed third in today’s Texas GOP Straw Poll with 16 percent of the vote. The solid outcome marked the conclusion of a highly successful weekend during which the campaign had a rally with over 1,000 attendees, raised well over $100,000. Today’s results continue a trend around the nation of top or middle tier finishes for the Paul campaign.

The presence of Dr. Paul supporters dominated the straw poll site, and campaign leaders were pleased with the results in light of the difficult voting restrictions. Only recent party delegates were allowed to cast ballots, meaning that most of the thousands who turned out for Dr. Paul could cheer and celebrate but not vote. In addition, the straw poll was held several hours away from the Paul’s stronghold of south Texas.

“This was a great weekend for our campaign, and Texans turned out in droves to support Dr. Paul,” said campaign manager Lew Moore. “The pro-war party insiders voting in this straw poll may not support him, but the majority of attendees clearly did.”

Dr. Paul is the only candidate who voted against the Iraq war and favors early withdrawal, a position supported by over 70 percent of the American people. Many experts believe that Republicans cannot win the presidency in 2008 if they nominate a pro-war candidate. Texans appeared to support this position by opening their wallets as the Paul campaign pulled in more money over the weekend from grassroots supporters than the Texas GOP raised from the entire straw poll.

Ron Paul Places Third in Texas Straw Poll

16.7% Ron Paul (217 votes)
41.1% Duncan Hunter (534 votes)
20.5% Fred Thompson (266 votes)
6.4% Mike Huckabee (83 votes)
6% Rudy Giuliani (78 votes)
4.7% Mitt Romney (61 votes)
.46% Sam Brownback (6 votes)
.62% John McCain (8 votes)
.46% Tom Tancredo (6 votes)
2.2% Ray McKinney (28 votes)
.23% Hugh Cort (3 votes)
.77% John Cox (10 votes)

Ron Paul : When in the course of human events…

Paul backers make their presence known


FORT WORTH — Rep. Ron Paul wasn’t there for most of the first day of the Republican straw poll Friday, but his presence was felt everywhere.

In the “Ron Paul” placards people carried throughout downtown.

In the T-shirt likeness of him that supporters wore around the Fort Worth Convention Center.

In the signs posted in front of the convention center, on vehicles parked there and on some downtown businesses such as Four Star Coffee Bar.

Paul, of Surfside, didn’t make it into Fort Worth until his night rally downtown. Nonetheless, he was a candidate who was impossible to ignore.

“We’re going to surround the area as more people come,” said Paul supporter Christopher Laskoski of Fort Worth. “You will see more ground support for Ron Paul than any other candidate.”

Paul supporters are typically proud of their outsider status, but they yearn for mainstream media attention for him as a top contender for the GOP presidential nomination. Several, including Paul’s son, Benbrook doctor Robert Paul, believe that their candidate would be one of the front-runners if the media gave Paul, a Texas congressman and former Libertarian presidential nominee, the attention they think he deserves.

Some Paul volunteers have complained about who can vote in today’s poll.

The rules require straw poll delegates to have been a delegate or alternate to a recent GOP convention. But delegates can bring guests, and Paul supporters are trying to persuade delegates to take Paul supporters in with them to the candidate speeches that begin this morning.

“While we may not win the actual straw poll vote, we want to outnumber any of the other candidates’ support to show that he has a strong chance in the actual primary, where all of the people in attendance will be able to vote,” volunteer Clayton Slade of Richardson said.

They were outside the convention center Friday, many decked out in orange T-shirts with Paul’s likeness saying: “Who is this man? And why is he going to win the Texas Straw Poll?”

In the afternoon, about 30 supporters crashed a rally that Rep. Duncan Hunter, a presidential hopeful from California, held outside the Water Gardens. As Hunter spoke to 50 Republicans about supporting the troops, Paul supporters stood just feet away, holding up Ron Paul signs.

“We’re not necessarily against Duncan Hunter. We’re just here to support Ron Paul,” said Robert Brushaber of Austin.

To further cement their friendliness, as Hunter led his audience in a rendition of God Bless America, Paul supporters quickly joined in.

The CFR: A Force to Be Reckoned With

If one group is effectively in control of our government and multinational corporations; promotes world government through control of media, foundation grants, and education; and controls and guides the issues of the day; then they control most of the options available. The Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), and the financial powers behind it, have done all these things, and promote the “New World Order,” as they have for over seventy years.

– William Blase

The Democrat CFR Members:

Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, John Edwards, Joe Biden, Christopher Dodd, Bill Richardson

The Republican CFR Members:

Rudolph Giuliani, John McCain, Mitt Romney, Fred Thompson, Tommy Thompson

Ron Paul is, thankfully, not a member.

The CFR is ruling class/elitist to its core, and represents a significant threat to our Republic. Its agenda constitutes a one world government, including the likely North American Union, a destabilization of the U.S. economy and the maintaining of U.S. military presence around the world. It promotes organizations such as WTO, GATT and NAFDA; all of which are a threat to our national economic welfare and stability. The CFR is bad news and it needs to be included in any discussion of the candidates.

‘Big Brother’ was watching George Orwell

Oh come on now. Everyone knows Orwell was nothing but a conspiracy theorist. I mean his nightmarish vision of cameras watching us everywhere, the elimination of basic human rights, a trilateral global government in a state of perpetual war against Emmanuel Goldstein and the acceptance of torture were merely figments in the feverish imagination of a delusional paranoiac right?

Come on fellow debunkers! Let’s dispell these crackpot tin-foil hat fantasies right now and crush the conspiracy theorists with a nice big shiny jackboot stamping on the face of humanity forever! Yes! Now is our time to rise up and take over the world!

War is Peace!

Freedom is Slavery!

Ignorance is Strength!

All hail the New World Order!

Vote Clinton/Giuliani in 2008!


. . .

Telegraph | Sep 4, 2007

By Graham Tibbetts

George Orwell, the author who coined the phrase “Big Brother is watching you”, was himself the subject of intense surveillance by the secret services, documents released on Tuesday disclose.

The creator of Nineteen Eighty-Four, which envisages a day when every person’s movements are scrutinised by a totalitarian state, was closely monitored amid concerns that he was a prominent member of the communist movement.

Every aspect of his life came under the microscope during the 1930s and 40s. The scrutiny even extended to his wife Eileen, who had to be vetted before she was allowed to take up a post with the Ministry of Food.

Files released by the National Archives disclose that in 1942, Scotland Yard was paying close attention to Orwell, who was then working at the BBC.

A report on Jan 20 by a Sgt Ewing of Special Branch charted the career of Eric Blair – Orwell’s real name – from 1927, the year of his resignation from the Burma police.

“He drifted to Paris and London and has written a few books on his experiences, under the name of Orwell. He was practically penniless when he found work with the BBC,” wrote Sgt Ewing.

Eton-educated Orwell, who considered himself an anarchist in the 1920s, used his experiences of sleeping rough for the basis of his first book, Down and Out in Paris and London.

As his political views swung towards socialism in the 1930s he was commissioned by the publisher Victor Gollancz to write a book about the conditions of the working classes in the north of England.

According to police, when Orwell reached Wigan in Lancashire the local communist party helped to find him accommodation.

Before The Road to Wigan Pier was published, the author enlisted to fight against the Fascists in the Spanish Civil War, where the brutal actions of the Soviet-backed communists turned him into a lifelong anti-Stalinist.

Working for the BBC during the war, Orwell was placed in charge of the Indian section of the Middle East Department.

Sgt Ewing wrote: “This man has advanced communist views, and several of his Indian friends say that they have often seen him at communist meetings. He dresses in bohemian fashion, both at his office and in his leisure hours.”

However, the report, countersigned by a superintendent, was treated with scorn by the security services.

The minutes of a telephone call in February 1942 shows a security service officer, W. Ogilvie, challenging the Special Branch report and highlighting inconsistencies with Orwell’s published views.

Mr Ogilvie added: “It is evident from his recent writings – The Lion and the Unicorn and his contribution to Gollancz’s symposium The Betrayal of the Left – that he does not hold with the Communist Party, nor they with him.”

. . .


Orwell did not agree fully with the Communist Party, MI5 said
A Scotland Yard Special Branch report in January 1942 said the author of 1984 had “advanced communist views”. However, an MI5 officer responded that Orwell “does not hold with the Communist Party nor they with him.” Orwell is best known for books including 1984 and Animal Farm, which criticise totalitarianism


I know, I know. Who gives a damn what I think? Well.. me for one, and probably a few thousand others who regularly visit this blog. Are you waking up yet? Hope so. Now, onto it…

. . .

Five things William and Harry must do to gain my respect and admiration

1. Renounce their ill-gotten wealth, titles, crowns, orders, regalia, etc – any pretension to “royalty” whatsoever and live as ordinary working citizens for the rest of their lives

2. Renounce all ties to Freemasonry and any other elite secret societies

3. Work for the abolition of the monarchy

4. Work for the dismantling of the New World Order and the Big Brother police state. That means to work for British sovereignty, full reinstitution of constitutional freedoms, the elimination of Big Brother technologies and for an end to British involvement in the current war and associated war crimes

5. Work to expose the assassination of their own mother and bring the real perpetrators to justice, even if it involves their own family members

Once they have at least started on all the above, they will have not only impressed me, but they will also have done their mother’s memory a great service and shown her supreme honor — which they have so far failed miserably to do.

But the reality is, they will most likely never do ANY of these things, so it should be assumed that they will continue to bow to elite pressure to suppress the truth and promote the official story about their mother’s death, regardless of the fact that she was murdered by their own family. Therefore, they are stinking little spoiled Illuminati brats who deserve nothing but utter contempt from the general public until and unless they grow some balls and stand up against the establishment as their mother tried to do.

Screw royalty! It is the most degenerate form of existence on planet Earth. If you believe otherwise, you are nothing but an ignorant fool.


. . .


James Andanson worked for MI6 British Intelligence as an informant

Daily Express | Sep 3, 2007

The development could support the theory that Andanson was murdered by the security services.

By Cyril Dixon

THE mystery over Princess Diana’s fatal car crash took another twist yesterday when startling new evidence emerged about the death of a key witness.

The Daily Express has uncovered dramatic new information which undermines the French police claim that photographer James Andanson doused himself and his black BMW with petrol and set himself alight.

Andanson was found dead in his burnt-out car three years after the smash which killed Diana, her lover Dodi Fayed and driver Henri Paul.

Andanson, suspected of causing the crash by driving a white Fiat Uno into their Mercedes, was said officially to have committed suicide.

But investigators have uncovered a receipt which shows that although Andanson, 54, did buy a substantial amount of fuel on the day he died, it was diesel, not petrol.

Unlike petrol, diesel is not highly inflammable at normal temperatures and would not have ignited if he had struck a match.

You would not be able to set light to diesel with a match.

He used his credit card to buy more than 100 litres of diesel on a visit to a hypermarket near Nant, southern France.

Sceptics would say it is far more likely that the experienced paparazzo bought it to fill up his car for the 400-mile journey back to his home in central France.

They would also think it unlikely for him to prepare his car for a long trip if he planned to kill himself just a few miles away.

The development could support the theory that Andanson was murdered by the security services.

Dodi’s father Mohamed Al Fayed believes he was on the intelligence payroll and that he was killed to stop him exposing a plot to assassinate his son and the Princess.

The Harrods owner’s belief is supported by the evidence of a new witness, a policeman, who said he saw what looked like a bullet hole in the dead photographer’s head.

The officer backs up claims by Christophe Pelat, the fireman who discovered the body, that Andanson had been shot in the head.

Two months ago, Pelat said: “I saw him at close range and I’m absolutely convinced that he had been shot in the head.”

Yesterday’s revelation came just days after the police officer who ran the initial inquiry into how Diana died in Paris’s Alma tunnel blamed the Fiat driver.

Jean Claude Mules said he had compelling evidence that the black Mercedes collided with the Fiat seconds before it ploughed into a pillar. He said his officers would have “had their killer” if they had succeeded in tracing the driver.

Andanson was found dead on May 4 2000 in woodland alongside a country road near Nant, in the Aveyron region of France.

He had apparently left his wife Elizabeth, 45, at their farmhouse in Lignieres, 170 miles south of Paris, and driven 400 miles south to Nant.

A police spokesman said at the time: “He took his own life by dousing himself and the car with petrol and then setting light to it.”

But Andanson’s credit card records show he went into a Géant hypermarket just a few miles away from where he was found dead.

He bought more than 100 litres of diesel and spent almost 600 francs.

Investigators are not certain what he did with the fuel. But his BMW 3 series’ saloon would hold only 60 litres and he may have filled up and transported the surplus in cans. Critically, experts say that it is inconceivable that Andanson would buy diesel to set himself alight.

Ray Holloway, of the Petrol Retailers Association, said: “With petrol it is the vapour that is the risk. It’s very different with diesel.

“Diesel is warmed andcompressed to make it fire. You wouldn’t be able to set light to diesel with a match. It would just go out.

“The flashpoint for diesel, that is the temperature it would need to get to, is something like 63C.

“You would need to warm diesel up with something like a blow torch to have any hope of igniting it, and even then you wouldprobably have to be in a confined space.

“People often get burnedwhen using petrol because they try setting light to the liquid.But what happens is the vapour ignites first.”

The riddle of Andanson’s death will be looked at by Lord Justice Scott Baker, the judge appointed to oversee Diana’s inquest. He has produced a list of 20 questions about the accident which most people assumed had been answered but which must now be re-examined.

Andanson, who worked for the Sipa agency, was famous for his celebrity portraits, including one of Greek shipping tycoon Aristotle Onassis on his death-bed.

But he is also rumoured to have been working for the security services. Former MI6 officer Richard Tomlinson once alleged they use the paparazzi because they are good at tracking the whereabouts of high profile “targets”.

In the summer before the accident, when Diana and Dodi cruised the Mediterranean on his father’s yacht Jonikal, they were plagued by paparazzi. Andanson was one of the biggest players on that scene and was never far away from the couple.

Mr Al Fayed believes Diana, 36, and Dodi, 42, were murdered in a conspiracy driven by the Royal Family and carried out by the security services in August 1997.

He claims they had fallen in love after spending the summer together and planned to marry.

Mr Al Fayed claims the Royals objected to their romance because they did not want Prince William to have a stepfather who was non-white and a Muslim.

. . .


UK press calls for end to Diana ‘conspiracy theories’



‘White Fiat Uno responsible for Diana’s death’, says French cop

Diana coverup unraveling: Fiat driver worked for British Intelligence, shot in the head twice

Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip will be spared grilling over Diana’s death

N Korea ‘removed from terror list’

UK Press | Aug 3, 2007


The US has decided to remove North Korea from a list of terrorism-sponsoring states and lift sanctions against the communist country, a spokesman for North Korea’s Foreign Ministry said.

Washington’s decision to lift sanctions and remove the North from a terrorism list came in a weekend meeting with North Korean representatives in Geneva, the spokesman said in comments carried by the North’s official Korean Central News Agency.

There was no immediate confirmation from the US side.

The move came after North Korea agreed to take “practical measures to neutralise the existing nuclear facilities” this year, the spokesman said.

Besides being subject to economic sanctions, North Korea has also been on a US list of states that sponsor terrorism, effectively blocking the North from being able to obtain low-interest loans from international lending agencies such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.

The North was first put on the list for its alleged involvement in the 1987 bombing of a South Korean airliner that killed all 115 people aboard.

The US gesture improves the prospects for the next round of nuclear talks involving the two Koreas, the US, China, Russia and Japan.

South Korea’s Foreign Minister Song Min-soon hailed the meeting in Geneva as “very positive” but issued a note of caution about the prospect of disabling North Korea’s existing facilities.

“We have to be careful with these new developments but at the same time also make sure that we move forward,” Song said.

. . .



US grants N Korea nuclear funds

Rumsfeld was on ABB Board During Nuclear Deal with North Korea

Bush ignores Asia allowing China to take a greater leadership role as power grows

bushjiang-2002This is all staged by the globalists to make China the new superpower and the “model state” of the New World Order system. The Bush crime family is literally selling America out to Communist China while they reap the profits. Next to the Rockefellers, they are probably the most evil and treasonous family in American history and completely deserve the wrath that will surely overtake them eventually.


. . .

Armitage said there was a danger of Chinese leadership in Asia surpassing that of the US.

Times of India | Sep 3, 2007

SYDNEY: US President George W Bush is so preoccupied with Iraq he is neglecting Asia and allowing China to take a greater leadership role, a former senior US official said in remarks published on Monday.

“In every measure, China is making real hay right throughout Asia,” Richard Armitage, Bush’s former deputy secretary of state told The Australian newspaper in an interview.

“Right now, we’re just so preoccupied with Iraq that we’re ignoring Asia totally.”

Bush is cutting short his attendance at a major Asia-Pacific summit in Sydney this weekend to return to Washington in time for reports to Congress on progress in Iraq by top US general David Petraeus.

Armitage also criticised Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice for skipping two out of three annual meetings which bring the US together with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

The Bush administration had radically underestimated the importance of Asia, he said.

“In almost every measure, military budgets, population growths, the need for raw materials, our interests will force us back to Asia.”

Armitage said there was a danger of Chinese leadership in Asia surpassing that of the US.

Australian Prime Minister John Howard, a strong supporter of Bush’s Iraq policy, was reportedly bitterly disappointed that the US president will miss the second day of the two-day summit.

In an attempt to make amends, Bush has extended his state visit ahead of the APEC summit.

. . .


President’s uncle shares Bush family ties to China

Selling America to Communist China

Bush Chases Saddam, Ignores Real Threats

Red Chinese Slave Labor Floods NAFTA Marketplace With Cheap Goods

Debt Weakens U.S. Hand on China

Neil Bush’s Foreign Business Deals Draw Spotlight

The Great American Job Sell Out

When Americans No Longer Own America

How the Bush Family Makes a Killing from George’s Presidency

Carlyle Group’s Eye on the East

Carlyle Group buys stake in Chinese insurer

Carlyle Group Buys Chinese Company

School uses electric shocks to force behavior modification

This day was a turning point in the history of Israel’s operation—that’s when he decided to ratchet up the pain. The problem, he decided, was that the shock sibis emitted was not strong enough. He says he asked sibis’s manufacturer, Human Technologies, to create a more powerful device, but it refused. “So we had to redesign the device ourselves,” he says. Today, there are two shock devices in use at the Rotenberg Center: the ged and the ged-4. The devices look similar and both administer a two-second shock, but the ged-4 is nearly three times more powerful—and the pain it inflicts is that much more severe.


At the Rotenberg Center, students as young as nine and ten receive shocks for misbehaving. Employees wear remotes bearing a picture of each child around their waist so they don’t shock the wrong kid.

MotherJones.com | Aug 20 , 2007

Eight states are sending autistic, mentally retarded, and emotionally troubled kids to a facility that punishes them with painful electric shocks. How many times do you have to zap a child before it’s torture?

School of Shock

by Jennifer Gonnerman


The Rotenberg Center is the only facility in the country that disciplines students by shocking them, a form of punishment not inflicted on serial killers or child molesters or any of the 2.2 million inmates now incarcerated in U.S. jails and prisons. Over its 36-year history, six children have died in its care, prompting numerous lawsuits and government investigations. Last year, New York state investigators filed a blistering report that made the place sound like a high school version of Abu Ghraib. Yet the program continues to thrive—in large part because no one except desperate parents, and a few state legislators, seems to care about what happens to the hundreds of kids who pass through its gates.

In Rob Santana’s case, he freely admits he was an out-of-control kid with “serious behavioral problems.” At birth he was abandoned at the hospital, traces of cocaine, heroin, and alcohol in his body. A middle-class couple adopted him out of foster care when he was 11 months old, but his troubles continued. He started fires; he got kicked out of preschool for opening the back door of a moving school bus; when he was six, he cut himself with a razor. His mother took him to specialists, who diagnosed him with a slew of psychiatric problems: attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, bipolar disorder, and obsessive-compulsive disorder.

Rob was at the Rotenberg Center for about three and a half years. From the start, he cursed, hollered, fought with employees. Eventually the staff obtained permission from his mother and a Massachusetts probate court to use electric shock. Rob was forced to wear a backpack containing five two-pound, battery-operated devices, each connected to an electrode attached to his skin. “I felt humiliated,” he says. “You have a bunch of wires coming out of your shirt and pants.” Rob remained hooked up to the apparatus 24 hours a day. He wore it while jogging on the treadmill and playing basketball, though it wasn’t easy to sink a jump shot with a 10-pound backpack on. When he showered, a staff member would remove his electrodes, all except the one on his arm, which he had to hold outside the shower to keep it dry. At night, Rob slept with the backpack next to him, under the gaze of a surveillance camera.

Employees shocked him for aggressive behavior, he says, but also for minor misdeeds, like yelling or cursing. Each shock lasts two seconds. “It hurts like hell,” Rob says. (The school’s staff claim it is no more painful than a bee sting; when I tried the shock, it felt like a horde of wasps attacking me all at once. Two seconds never felt so long.) On several occasions, Rob was tied facedown to a four-point restraint board and shocked over and over again by a person he couldn’t see. The constant threat of being zapped did persuade him to act less aggressively, but at a high cost. “I thought of killing myself a few times,” he says.

Rob’s mother Jo-Anne deLeon had sent him to the Rotenberg Center at the suggestion of the special-ed committee at his school district in upstate New York, which, she says, told her that the program had everything Rob needed. She believed he would receive regular psychiatric counseling—though the school does not provide this.

As the months passed, Rob’s mother became increasingly unhappy. “My whole dispute with them was, ‘When is he going to get psychiatric treatment?'” she says. “I think they had to get to the root of his problems—like why was he so angry? Why was he so destructive? I really think they needed to go in his head somehow and figure this out.” She didn’t think the shocks were helping, and in 2002 she sent a furious fax demanding that Rob’s electrodes be removed before she came up for Parents’ Day. She says she got a call the next day from the executive director, Matthew Israel, who told her, “You don’t want to stick with our treatment plan? Pick him up.” (Israel says he doesn’t remember this conversation, but adds, “If a parent doesn’t want the use of the skin shock and wants psychiatric treatment, this isn’t the right program for them.”)

Rob’s mother is not the only parent angry at the Rotenberg Center. Last year, Evelyn Nicholson sued the facility after her 17-year-old son Antwone was shocked 79 times in 18 months. Nicholson says she decided to take action after Antwone called home and told her, “Mommy, you don’t love me anymore because you let them hurt me so bad.” Rob and Antwone don’t know each other (Rob left the facility before Antwone arrived), but in some ways their stories are similar. Antwone’s birth mother was a drug addict; he was burned on an electric hot plate as an infant. Evelyn took him in as a foster child and later adopted him. The lawsuit she filed against the Rotenberg Center set off a chain of events: investigations by multiple government agencies, emotional public hearings, scrutiny by the media. Legislation to restrict or ban the use of electric shocks in such facilities has been introduced in two state legislatures. Yet not much has changed.

Rob has paid little attention to the public debate over his alma mater, though he visits its website occasionally to see which of the kids he knew are still there. After he left the center he moved back in with his parents. At first glance, he seems like any other 21-year-old: baggy Rocawear jeans, black T-shirt, powder-blue Nikes. But when asked to recount his years at the Rotenberg Center, he speaks for nearly two hours in astonishing detail, recalling names and specific events from seven or eight years earlier. When he describes his recurring nightmares, he raises both arms and rubs his forehead with his palms.

Despite spending more than three years at this behavior-modification facility, Rob still has problems controlling his behavior. In 2005, he was arrested for attempted assault and sent to jail. (This year he was arrested again, for drugs and assault.) Being locked up has given him plenty of time to reflect on his childhood, and he has gained a new perspective on the Rotenberg Center. “It’s worse than jail,” he told me. “That place is the worst place on earth.”


One Punishment Fits All

Massachusetts officials have twice tried to shut the Rotenberg Center down—once in the 1980s and again in the 1990s. Both times parents rallied to its defense, and both times it prevailed in court. (See “Why Can’t Massachusetts Shut Matthew Israel Down?” page 44.) The name of the center ensures nobody forgets these victories; it was Judge Ernest Rotenberg, now deceased, who in the mid-’80s ruled that the facility could continue using aversives—painful punishments designed to change behavior—so long as it obtained authorization from the Bristol County Probate and Family Court in each student’s case. But even though the facility wasn’t using electric shock when this ruling was handed down, the court rarely, if ever, bars the Rotenberg Center from adding shock to a student’s treatment plan, according to lawyers and disability advocates who have tried to prevent it from doing so.

Since Evelyn Nicholson filed her lawsuit in 2006, the Rotenberg Center has faced a new wave of criticism and controversy. (See “Nagging? Zap. Swearing? Zap,” page 41.) And again, the facility has relied heavily on the testimonials of parents like Louisa Goldberg and Marguerite Famolare to defend itself. Not surprisingly, the most vocal parent-supporters tend to be those with the sickest children, since they are the ones with the fewest options. But at the Rotenberg Center, the same methods of “behavior modification” are applied to all kids, no matter what is causing their behavior problems. And so, while Rob would seem to have little in common with mentally retarded students like Michael and Andrew, they all shared a similar fate once their parents placed them under the care of the same psychologist, a radical behaviorist known as Dr. Israel.

Dr. Israel’s Radical Behavior

Israel’s success with Andrea convinced him to start a school. In 1971, he founded the Behavior Research Institute in Rhode Island, a facility that would later move to Massachusetts and become known as the Judge Rotenberg Center. Israel took in children nobody else wanted—severely autistic and mentally retarded kids who did dangerous things to themselves and others. To change their behavior, he developed a large repertoire of punishments: spraying kids in the face with water, shoving ammonia under their noses, pinching the soles of their feet, smacking them with a spatula, forcing them to wear a “white-noise helmet” that assaulted them with static.

In 1977, Israel opened a branch of his program in California’s San Fernando Valley, along with Judy Weber, whose son Tobin is severely autistic. Two years later, the Los Angeles Times reported Israel had pinched the feet of Christopher Hirsch, an autistic 12-year-old, at least 24 times in 30 minutes, while the boy screamed and cried. This was a punishment for soiling his pants. (“It might have been true,” Israel says. “It’s true that pinches were being used as an aversive. The pinch, the spank, the muscle squeeze, water sprays, bad taste—all those procedures were being used.”) Israel was in the news again in 1981, when another student, 14-year-old Danny Aswad, died while strapped facedown to his bed. In 1982, the California Department of Social Services compiled a 64-page complaint that read like a catalog of horrors, describing students with bruises, welts, and cuts. It also accused Israel of telling a staff member “to grow his fingernails longer so he could give an effective pinch.”

In 1982, the facility settled with state officials and agreed to stop using physical punishments. Now called Tobinworld, and still run by Judy Weber, it is a $10-million-a-year organization operating day schools near Los Angeles and San Francisco. The Rotenberg Center considers itself a “sister school” to Tobinworld, and Israel makes frequent trips to California to visit Weber. The two were married last year.

Despite his setback in California, Israel continued to expand on the East Coast—and to generate controversy. In 1985, Vincent Milletich, an autistic 22-year-old, suffered a seizure and died after he was put in restraints and forced to wear a white-noise helmet. Five years later, 19-year-old Linda Cornelison, who had the mental capacity of a toddler, refused to eat. On the bus to school, she clutched her stomach; someone had to carry her inside, and she spent the day on a couch in a classroom. Linda could not speak, and the staff treated her actions as misbehaviors. Between 3:52 p.m. and 8 p.m., staffers punished her with 13 spatula spankings, 29 finger pinches, 14 muscle squeezes, and 5 forced inhalings of ammonia. It turned out that Linda had a perforated stomach. She died on the operating table at 1:45 a.m.

The local district attorney’s office examined the circumstances of Vincent’s death but declined to file any charges. In Linda’s case, the Massachusetts Department of Mental Retardation investigated and found that while Linda’s treatment had “violated the most basic codes and standards of decency and humane treatment,” there was insufficient evidence to prove that the use of aversives had caused her death.

By the time Linda died, Israel was moving away from spatulas and toward electric shock, which, from his perspective, offered many advantages. “To give a spank or a muscle squeeze or a pinch, you had to control the student physically, and that could lead to a struggle,” he says. “A lot of injuries were occurring.” Since shocking only required pressing a button, Israel could eliminate the need for employees to wrestle a kid to the ground. Another benefit, he says, was increased consistency. It was hard to know if one staff member’s spatula spanking was harder than another’s, but it was easy to measure how many times a staff member had shocked a child.

Israel purchased a shock device then on the market known as sibis—Self-Injurious Behavior Inhibiting System—that had been invented by the parents of an autistic girl and delivered a mild shock that lasted .2 second. Between 1988 and 1990, Israel used sibis on 29 students, including one of his most challenging, Brandon, then 12, who would bite off chunks of his tongue, regurgitate entire meals, and pound himself on the head. At times Brandon was required to keep his hands on a paddle; if he removed them, he would get automatic shocks, one per second. One infamous day, Brandon received more than 5,000 shocks. “You have to realize,” Israel says. “I thought his life was in the balance. I couldn’t find any medical solution. He was vomiting, losing weight. He was down to 52 pounds. I knew it was risky to use the shock in large numbers, but if I persevered that day, I thought maybe it would eventually work. There was nothing else I could think of to do…but by the time it went into the 3,000 or 4,000 range, it became clear it wasn’t working.”

This day was a turning point in the history of Israel’s operation—that’s when he decided to ratchet up the pain. The problem, he decided, was that the shock sibis emitted was not strong enough. He says he asked sibis’s manufacturer, Human Technologies, to create a more powerful device, but it refused. “So we had to redesign the device ourselves,” he says. He envisioned a device that would start with a low current but that could increase the voltage if needed—hence its name, Graduated Electronic Decelerator or ged—but he abandoned this idea early on. “As it turns out, that’s really not a wise approach,” he says. “It’s sort of like operating a car and wearing out the brakes because you never really apply them strongly enough. Instead, we set it at a certain level that was more or less going to be effective for most of our students.”

Thirty years earlier, O. Ivar Lovaas, a psychology professor at ucla, had pioneered the use of slaps and screams and electric jolts to try to normalize the behavior of autistic kids. Life magazine featured his work in a nine-page photo essay in 1965 with the headline, “A surprising, shocking treatment helps far-gone mental cripples.” Lovaas eventually abandoned these methods, telling cbs in 1993 that shock was “only a temporary suppression” because patients become inured to the pain. “These people are so used to pain that they can adapt to almost any kind of aversive you give them,” he said.

Israel encountered this same sort of adaptation in his students, but his solution was markedly different: He decided to increase the pain once again. Today, there are two shock devices in use at the Rotenberg Center: the ged and the ged-4. The devices look similar and both administer a two-second shock, but the ged-4 is nearly three times more powerful—and the pain it inflicts is that much more severe.


Students who receive electric shocks carry the device around in a backpack and wear the electrodes 24 hours a day; some are also monitored at all times by at least one Rotenberg Center employee.

The Mickey Mouse Club

Ten years ago, Israel hung up a Mickey Mouse poster in the main hall, and he noticed that it made people smile—so he bought every Mickey Mouse poster he could find. He hung them in the corridors and even papered the walls of what became known as the Mickey Mouse Conference Room. Entering the Rotenberg Center is a bit like stepping into a carnival fun house, I discovered during a two-day visit last autumn. Two brushed-aluminum dogs, each nearly 5 feet tall and sporting a purple neon collar, stand guard outside. Giant silver stars dangle from the lobby ceiling; the walls and chairs in the front offices are turquoise, lime green, and lavender.

Israel, 74, still holds the title of executive director, for which he pays himself nearly $400,000 in salary and benefits. He appears utterly unimposing: short and slender with soft hands, rounded shoulders, curly white hair, paisley tie. Then he sits down beside me and, unprompted, starts talking about shocking children. “The treatment is so powerful it’s hard not to use if you have seen how effective it is,” he says quietly. “It’s brief. It’s painful. But there are no side effects. It’s two seconds of discomfort.” His tone is neither defensive nor apologetic; rather, it’s perfectly calm, almost soothing. It’s the sort of demeanor a mother might find comforting if she were about to hand over her child.

Before we set off on our tour of the facility, there’s something Israel wants me to see: Before & After, a homemade movie featuring six of his most severe cases. Israel has been using some of the same grainy footage for more than two decades, showing it to parents of prospective students as well as visiting reporters. They’ve already mailed me a copy, but Israel wants to make sure I watch it. An assistant slips the tape into the vcr, Israel presses the remote, and we all stare at the screen:

1977: An 11-year-old girl named Caroline arrives at the school strapped down onto a stretcher, her head encased in a helmet. In the next shot, free from restraints, she crouches down and tries to smash her helmeted head against the floor.

1981: Janine, also 11 years old, shrieks and slams her head against the ground, a table, the door. Bald spots testify to the severity of her troubles; she’s yanked out so much hair it’s half gone.

Both girls exhibit autistic behaviors, and compared with these scenes, the “After” footage looks almost unbelievable: Janine splashes in a plastic pool, while Caroline grins as she sits in a chair at a beauty salon. “Most people haven’t seen these pictures,” Israel says, setting down the remote. “They haven’t seen children like this, so they cannot imagine. These are children for whom positive-only procedures did not work, drugs did not work. And if it wasn’t for this treatment, some of these people would not be alive.” The video is extremely persuasive: The girls’ self-abuse is so violent and so frightening that it almost makes me want to grab a ged remote and push the button myself. Of course, this is precisely the point.

Considering how compelling the “After” footage is, I am surprised to learn that five of the six children featured in it are still here. “This is Caroline,” one of my escorts says an hour or two later as we walk down a corridor. Without an introduction, I would not have known. Caroline, 39, slumps forward in a wheelchair, her fists balled up, head covered by a red helmet. “Blow me a kiss, Caroline,” Israel says. She doesn’t respond.

A few minutes later, I meet 36-year-old Janine, who appears in much better shape. She’s not wearing a helmet and has a full head of black hair. She’s also got a backpack on her shoulders and canvas straps hanging from her legs, the telltale sign that electrodes are attached to both calves. For 16 years—nearly half her life—Janine has been hooked up to Israel’s shock device. A couple years ago, when the shocks began to lose their effect, the staff switched the devices inside her backpack to the much more painful ged-4.

The “Black and White Auditorium” filled with inverted “stars”

Rogue Science

In 1994, matthew israel had just 64 students. Today he has 234. This astonishing rate of growth is largely the result of a dramatic change in the types of students he takes in. Until recently, nearly all were “low functioning,” autistic and mentally retarded people. But today slightly more than 50 percent are “high functioning,” with diagnoses like add, adhd, and bipolar disorder. New York state supplies the majority of these students, many of whom grew up in the poorest parts of New York City. Yet despite this change in his population, Israel’s methods have remained essentially the same.

Israel has long faced criticism that he has not published research about his use of electric shocks in peer-reviewed journals, where experts could scrutinize it. To defend his methods, he points to a bibliography of 110 research articles that he’s posted on the Rotenberg Center website. This catalog seems impressive at first. Studied more closely, however, it is not nearly so convincing. Three-quarters of the articles were published more than 20 years ago. Eight were written or cowritten by Lovaas, the ucla-affiliated behaviorist. One of America’s leading autism experts, Lovaas long ago stopped endorsing painful aversives. And Lovaas’ old studies focus primarily on children with autism who engage in extreme self-injury—not on troubled teens who have been diagnosed with adhd or add.

But then, it would be hard for Israel to find contemporary research supporting his program, because the practice of treating self-abusive kids with pain has been largely abandoned. According to Dr. Saul Axelrod, a professor at Temple University and an expert on behavior modification, “the field has moved away from painful stimuli because of public outcry and because we’ve devised better techniques,” including determining the cause of an individual’s self-abuse.

Another expert Israel cites several times is Dr. Brian A. Iwata, a consultant on the development of sibis, the device Israel modified to create his ged. Now a professor of psychology and psychiatry at the University of Florida, he’s a nationally recognized authority on treating severe self-abuse among children with developmental disabilities. Iwata has visited the Rotenberg Center and describes its approach as dangerously simplistic: “There appears to be a mission of that program to use shock for problem behaviors. It doesn’t matter what that behavior is.” Iwata has consulted for 25 states and says there is little relationship between what goes on at Israel’s program and what goes on at other facilities. “He may have gotten his Ph.D. at Harvard, but he didn’t learn what he’s doing at Harvard. Whatever he’s doing, he decided to do on his own.”

Paul Touchette, who also studied with B.F. Skinner, has known Israel since the 1960s when they were both in Cambridge. Like Israel, Touchette went on to treat children with autism who exhibit extreme self-abuse, but he isn’t a fan of Israel’s approach either. “Punishment doesn’t get at the cause,” says Touchette, who is on the faculty of the University of California-Irvine School of Medicine. “It just scares the hell out of patients.”

Over the decades, Touchette has followed Israel’s career and bumped into him at professional conferences. “He’s a very smart man, but he’s an embarrassment to his profession,” Touchette says. “I’ve never been able to figure out if Matt is a little off-kilter and actually believes all this stuff, or whether he’s just a clever businessman.”

Big Reward Store

Employees carry students’ shock activators inside plastic cases, which they hook onto their belt loops. These cases are known as “sleds,” and each sled has a photo on it to ensure employees don’t zap the wrong kid.

Behaviorism would seem to dictate that staff shock students immediately after they break the rules. But if employees learn about a misbehavior after it has occurred—by, say, reviewing surveillance footage—they may still administer punishment. Rob Santana recalls that Mondays were always the most stressful day of the week. He would sit at his desk all day, trying to remember if he had broken any rules over the weekend, waiting to see if he’d be shocked.

Employees are encouraged to use the element of surprise. “Attempt to be as discreet as possible and hold the transmitter out of view of the student,” states the employee manual. This way, students cannot do anything to minimize the pain, like flipping over their electrodes or tensing their muscles. “We hear the sound of [a staffer] picking up a sled,” says Isabel, the former student. “Then we turn around and see the person jump out of their seat.”

Employees shock students for a wide range of behaviors, from violent actions to less serious offenses, like getting out of their seats without permission. In 2006, the New York State Education Department sent a team of investigators, including three psychologists, to the Rotenberg Center, then issued a scathing report. Among its many criticisms was that the staff shocked kids for “nagging, swearing, and failing to maintain a neat appearance.” Israel only disputes the latter. As for nagging and swearing? “Sometimes a behavior looks innocuous,” he says, “but if it’s an antecedent for aggression, it may have to be treated with an aversive.”

New York officials disagreed, and in January 2007 issued regulations that would prohibit shocking New York students for minor infractions. But a group of New York parents filed a federal lawsuit to stop the state from enforcing these regulations. They prevailed, winning a temporary restraining order against the state, one that permits the Rotenberg Center staffers to continue using shock. The parents’ case is expected to go to trial in 2008.

When they talk about why they use the shock device, Israel and his employees like to use the word “treatment,” but it might be more accurate to use words like “convenience” or “control.” “The ged—it’s two seconds and it’s done,” says Patricia Rivera, a psychologist who serves as assistant director of clinical services. “Then it’s right back to work.” By contrast, it can take 8 or 10 employees half an hour or longer to restrain a strong male student: to pin him to the floor, wait for him to stop struggling, then move his body onto a restraint board and tie down each limb. Restraining five or eight kids in a single day—or the same student again and again—can be incredibly time-consuming and sometimes dangerous.

Even with the ged, the stories both students and employees tell make the place sound at times like a war zone: A teenage boy sliced the gym teacher across the face with a cd. A girl stabbed a staffer in the stomach with a pencil. While staff have been contending with injuries ever since Israel opened his facility, the recent influx of high-functioning students, some with criminal backgrounds, has brought a new fear: that students will join forces and riot. Perhaps tellingly, among high-functioning kids most of the violence is directed at the staff, not each other.

“Our Students Have a Tendency to Lie”

Katie, 19, tells me she overdosed on pills at 9, spent her early adolescence in and out of psych wards, was hooked up to the ged at 16, and stayed on the device for two years. “This is a great place,” she says. “It took me off all my medicine. I was close to 200 pounds and I’m 160 now.” She admits her outlook was less rosy when she first had to wear the electrodes. “I cried,” she says. “I kind of felt like I was walking on eggshells; I had to watch everything I said. Sometimes a curse word would just come out of my mouth automatically. So being on the geds and knowing that swearing was a targeted behavior where I would receive a [GED] application, it really got me to think twice before I said something disrespectful or something just plain-out rude.”

As Katie speaks, LaChance runs her fingers through Katie’s hair again and again. The gesture is so deliberate it draws my attention. I wonder if it’s just an expression of affection—or something more, like a reward.

“Do you swear anymore?” I ask.

“Oh, God, all the time,” Katie says. She pauses. “Well, I have learned to control it, but I’m not going to lie. When I’m on the phone, curse words come out.”

The Rotenberg Center does not have a rule about how old a child must be before he or she can be hooked up to the ged. One of the program’s youngest students is a nine-year-old named Rodrigo. When I see him, he is seated outside at a picnic table with his aide. Rodrigo’s backpack looks enormous on his tiny frame; canvas straps dangle from both legs.

“He was horrible when he first came in,” Rivera says. “It would take five staff to restrain him because he’s so wiry.” What was he like? “A lot of aggression. A lot of disruptive behavior. Whenever he was asked to do a task that he didn’t feel like doing, he would scream, yell, swear. The stuff that would come out of his mouth you wouldn’t believe—very sexually inappropriate.”

“Rodrigo, come here,” one of my escorts says.

Rodrigo walks over, his straps slapping the ground. He wears a white dress shirt and tie—the standard uniform for male students—but because he is so small, maybe 4 feet tall, his tie nearly reaches his thighs. “What’s that?” he asks.

“That’s a tape recorder,” I say. “Do you want to say something?”


Unfazed by the presence of Israel, Rivera, and my other escorts, Rodrigo lifts a small hand and pulls the recorder down toward his lips. “I want to move to another school,” he says.

The Employee-Modification System

To understand how the Rotenberg Center works, it helps to know that it runs not just one behavior-modification program, but two—one for the residents, and one for the staff. Employees have no autonomy. If a staffer believes it’s okay to shock a kid who is smashing his head against a wall, but it’s not okay to shock someone for getting out of his chair without permission, that could spell trouble. “There’s pressure on you to do it,” a former teacher told me. “They punish you if you don’t.”

I met this former teacher at a restaurant, and our meeting stretched on for six hours. At times it felt less like an interview than a confession. “The first time you give someone a ged is the worst one,” the teacher said. “You don’t want to hurt somebody; you want to help. You’re thinking, ‘This has got to be okay. This has got to be legal, or they wouldn’t be doing this.'” At the Rotenberg Center, it’s virtually impossible to discuss such concerns with coworkers because there are cameras everywhere, even in the staff break room. Staff members who want to talk to each other without being overheard may meet up in the parking lot or scribble notes to each other. But it’s hard to know whom to trust, since Israel encourages employees to file anonymous reports about their coworkers’ lapses.

In addition, staff members are prohibited from having casual conversations with each other. They cannot, for example, say to a coworker, “Hey, did you see the Red Sox game last night?” “We don’t want them discussing their social life or the ball games in front of the students or while they’re on duty,” Israel says. “So we’ll sometimes actually have one staffer deliberately start a social conversation with another and we’ll see whether the other—as he or she should—will say, ‘I don’t want to discuss that now.'” Monitors watch these setups on the surveillance cameras and punish staffers who take the bait.

Former employees describe a workplace permeated with fear—fear of being attacked by students and fear of losing their job. There are so many rules—and so many cameras—it’s not easy to stay out of trouble. Employees quit or are fired so often that two-thirds of the direct-care employees remain on the job for less than a year.

Monitoring staff observe students, classrooms, and staff throughout the school day by a closed circuit TV system, The residences are similarly monitored through an online digital video monitoring/recording system.

The Hard Lessons of Connie Chung

Matthew Israel has been fielding questions from journalists since the 1970s, but few have examined his operation as thoroughly—and critically—as the producers at Eye to Eye with Connie Chung did. In 1993, they spent six months investigating the facility. They even found an employee willing to go inside with a hidden camera. But Israel ended up getting the last laugh. As he recounts the story for me, he can barely contain his glee. “We refused to meet with her unless the parents could be in the same room,” he says, grinning. “She talked to the parents, and they really gave it to her.” This is no exaggeration: When Chung tried to ask him tough questions, his parent-supporters shouted her down.

Throughout this raucous meeting, Israel had his own camera rolling, too, which turned out to be a brilliant move. Before cbs got its 40-minute story on the air, Israel launched a national campaign to discredit both Chung and her report. He accused her of being “biased” and “hostile,” and to prove it, he distributed edited videotapes of her interview to media critics and cbs affiliates. It worked. A New York Times television critic savaged cbs, accusing it of using “shabby tricks of the trade.” Suddenly the story was not about whether the school had abused students—but whether cbs had abused the school.

“I don’t think it was a positive thing for her career,” says Israel, still smiling. It’s late in the day, right near the end of my visit, and I’m starting to wonder why he’s brought up this topic.

By now I’ve spent 22 hours with Israel and his staff—wandering around the facility, meeting parents they’ve brought in for me to interview. But before I depart, there’s one more place I want to see, the room where they repair the geds. Israel and Glenda Crookes, an assistant executive director, agree to take me there. It is just past 7 p.m. and drizzling as we climb into Israel’s Lexus for a short drive to the maintenance building.

There, Crookes and Israel lead me down a hall, past storerooms filled with red helmets, ged sleds, batteries and their chargers. The room at the end of the hall looks like it could be a repair shop for any sort of electronics equipment: scissors, screwdrivers, industrial-grade glue, a Black & Decker Pivot Driver. On one desk, I spot a form called a ged Trouble Report. The report explains that someone dropped off Duane’s shock device because it was “making rattling noises.” Crookes explains, “Anytime a screw is loose or anything is wrong with the device, it’s automatically sent back here.”

A Trouble Report on another desk suggests a more serious problem: “Jamie Z was getting his battery changed, Luigi received a shock.” “What does this mean?” I ask. Crookes picks up the paper, reads it, then hands it to Israel and walks away. Her gesture seems to say, I cannot believe we just spent two days with this reporter and now this is the last thing she sees.

Israel stares at the report, then reaches into his pocket and pulls out a pair of reading glasses. Nobody says anything. Outside, one car after another races by, the tail end of the evening commute.

After a minute or two, Israel says, “Well, I don’t understand the whole of it.” He is still staring at the paper in his hand. “But there was apparently a spontaneous activation.” The ged, in other words, delivered a shock without anyone pressing its remote.

This moment reminds me of something Israel told me earlier about the premise of Skinner’s Walden Two, that by changing people’s behaviors you can help them have a better life. But, Israel was careful to add, “The notion was that you needed to have the whole environment under control. With a school like this, we have an awful lot. Not the whole environment, but an awful lot.”

He was right; he controls nearly every aspect of his facility. But all of his surveillance cameras and microphones and paperwork and protocols had failed to protect Luigi, a mentally retarded resident who had done nothing wrong.