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Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Somebody Loves Raymond

In January of 1999, the mix format collided with the traditional form of radio drama to produce a sterling piece of conspiracy art when “Spooked” aired on Pacifica station KPFA (Berkeley) as an episode of Over the Edge.

The premise: the host introduces a guest as Raymond, an ex-CIA insider who disguises his voice through computer-generated speech. As the program unfolds, however, the host gets Raymond to admit that he is not in fact human, but rather a computer program, RAICS (Remote Artificial Intelligence Cryptography System), created by the CIA in the 1960s, and later discarded. Hackers found out about RAICS later, and uploaded gigabytes of information into it, causing the program to develop a conscience (after all, it does have artificial intelligence). Consequently, Raymond (the program re-named itself after the main character in The Manchurian Candidate) has been on a crusade to expose the CIA’s “crimes against humanity” ever since.

During the course of this piece, Raymond spews copious information about CIA malfeasance, all of which is not only true, but well documented. Mae Brussell protégé Dave Emory, in the days before his suddenly loutish behavior (witnessed by many, but unknown to him, apparently) got him kicked off of KPFA, appears as one of the actors. One would also suspect that Emory wrote a good deal of the script, judging from the phraseology and cadence of Raymond’s speech.

Also curious to note: a couple of months after this aired, the problems that began at KPFA and spread to sister station WBAI (New York) began a couple of months after this aired. Part of those problems had to do with the implementation of policy directives from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, whose board had become increasingly staffed by veterans of Radio Liberty, Radio Free Europe, and The Voice of America--three propaganda arms used heavily by the CIA.

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