Posted by: Ben | May 24, 2012

Case Of The Ex: Liberty Island

“Go ahead. Advance up the stairs to the command centre at the top. I will take my rusty metal bones and sweep away into the junk pile”
Gunther Hermann

Liberty Island, New York

Google Earth view of Liberty Island.

The base on which the Statue of Liberty stands is in the shape of an irregular eleven-pointed star that must surely have some occult or numerological significance even if it seems impossible to say what that significance might be. Rather than go delving into the rabbit-hole of numerology, I prefer to allow an expert, the spoon bender and soi-disant former CIA psi-op, Uri Geller to puzzle it out. At the time of writing, nobody had told Geller about the number’s link to the Statue of Liberty.

The Statue’s base began life as Fort Wood, one of a series of defensive fortifications built to defend New York harbour in advance of the War of 1812. During the Civil War it was used to house Confederate prisoners. On the construction of the Statue the base was refitted, and it currently houses a museum. It was at this time that premillenial air ducts, large enough to allow a man in an overcoat to pass through while crouched down, were installed.

The Statue hosts a plaque bearing the text of Emma Lazarus’ poem, The New Colossus:

“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

The plinth on which the Statue stands was paid for by public subscription. The design, a truncated pyramid, features a combination of classical elements, such as Doric columns, and more modern ones, such as the choice of poured concrete as a construction material and the four identical doorways, each of which is guarded by a symbolic proximity mine that welcomes visitors with a cloud of noxious gas.

The statue itself, copper on an iron frame, was heavily damaged in a terrorist attack on a date that, perhaps surprisingly, no-one ever mentions. As well as losing its head and arm, substantial structural damage occurred. There is some dispute about the responsibility for the attack – JC Denton believes that the National Seccessionist Force is responsible, while his colleague Alex Jacobson has a seemingly far-fetched theory involving the French terrorist group, Silhouette. NSF informer Harley Filben believes it was a false-flag attack carried out by the United Nations Anti-Terrorist Coalition “to make the NSF look bad”, but according to Walton Simons, that agency was only formed after the attack, by “executive order” (of the Secretary-General?) The method of attack appears to have been a conventional explosive, probably C4. The head now lies on top of the base, part-buried in concrete, while the torch is on display in the downstairs museum.

Since the attack, tourism on the island has largely dried up, and the former gardens are now mainly used for storing crates. Liberty Island has had a military presence since before the construction of Fort Wood (when it was known as Bedloe’s Island), and it is now home to the headquarters of UNATCO.

Perhaps the most grimly ironic episode in the statue’s history occurred in 2052, when a detachment of NSF terrorists (as they were then designated) managed to seize a shipment of Ambrosia vaccine in New York Harbour. Intercepted by UNATCO troops, the terrorists managed to divert the vaccine itself to the city, but a number of them ended up, tempest-tost, on Liberty Island.

Possibly remembering the Alamo, the NSF commander’s suicidal plan was to try holing up in the Statue of Liberty, a massive, obvious target which shares an island with the headquarters of the organisation that was trying to stop them. Having already removed the stolen Ambrosia to another location, their only bargaining chip was their single hostage, UNATCO agent Gunther Hermann. They were faced with a force of heavily armed soldiers, accompanied by at least two killer robots. The commander’s idea of strategy was to hide at the top of the plinth, tell his ragtag army of good ole boys and bums to shoot on sight and then surrender to the first agent who reached him. Initially UNATCO, under the command of Joseph Manderley, held back, using the siege as an opportunity to test the abilities of newly-trained agent JC Denton. The outcome was a massacre, the only NSF survivors the commander himself (unless Denton disobeyed orders and killed him) and any members of his organisation that Denton had been able to render unconscious on his way up. Those still walking were gunned down in their gas-mask uniforms by the UNATCO troops who followed Denton up the plinth.

Paul Denton is your conscience here. Unlike the uniformed UNATCO soldiers, Paul praises you for restraint and criticises you for killing. But he doesn’t know what he’s talking about if he thinks a non-lethal takedown is the most silent way to eliminate resistance. When you shoot someone with a tranq dart it’s the least silent takedown imaginable. First they shout. Then they run to your position, shooting. Then they clutch their stomachs and cry out in pain. It takes them about a minute to keel over. Either Paul’s an idiot, or he’s never taken anyone down non-lethally.

A cloud was on the mind of men, and wailing went the weather,
Yea, a sick cloud upon the soul when we were boys together.
Science announced nonentity and art admired decay;
The world was old and ended: but you and I were gay.

This early in Deus Ex, before skill points and augmentations have materially impacted play, stealth plays a vital part, especially in the initial stages. Funnily enough, the one aspect of the game that doesn’t really work in this stage is the shooting, since you don’t yet have the accurate aim you need to shoot properly. It takes a good few seconds to line up a shot, so leaping from around a corner spraying bullets into faces will have to wait for another day. Rather, it’s necessary to pick your victims off one by one. That said, once you find your way to enough weapons and ammo you can turn the island into a bloodbath if that’s what you want. There’s an entertaining way for the morally bankrupt to take over the base of the statue in seconds by hacking the turrets to make them fire on the guards. You can also practice the martial art of planting proximity mines next to alarm panels, or climb as high up the statue as you can with a sniper rifle and pick off the guards down below. But if you’re like me, you’ll play it like Thief, incapacitating guards where necessary, slipping past them where possible.

JC smokes himself to death trying to create enough room in his inventory to pick up a medikit.

Once you deal with the commander, a friendly UNATCO soldier comes up behind you to let you know the situation. He’s carrying an assault rifle of a type you haven’t hitherto had access to and probably won’t for a while. If you want it, you’ll have to knock him out, or kill him, and take it. Now that’s interactive entertainment.

As Jon Ronson put it when he profiled the US militia movement in his documentary series The Secret Rulers Of The World, “There is a conspiracy theory at the heart of the American Constitution. The Second Amendment, the right to bear arms, is there to protect the people against a government that can become tyrannical.”

(If you’re interested in the real origins and consequences of conspiracy theories it’s a must-watch.)

To summarise: the militia movement is a collection of armed right-wing anti-governmental groups concerned with the preservation of their Second Amendment rights and opposition to a New World Order, capitulation of the US government to global rule by the United Nations. They have been characterised as extremist, racist and anti-semitic, and linked to neo-Nazis, charges that they dismiss as an attempt by internationalists to discredit them as, they say, they get uncomfortably close to the truth.

(From a British perspective, that some in the US should fear American subjugation to a global political body looks like paranoid raving, since the evidence of US cultural and political hegemony over other countries is overwhelming. However our own cultural and political influence is not what it used to be and yet easily underestimated, so it’s easy to see how a society that prizes such influence could tear itself apart over the mere suggestion that it could be lost.)

The NSF appears to be a successor or continuation of the militia movement, a loose alliance between red-state patriots and the urban underclasses who have adopted some of their anti-state rhetoric. Southern accents dominate, although are by no means exclusive – the commander of the siege on the Statue could be a native New Yorker; he’s also black, which might encourage us to view the NSF as more inclusive than a present-day militia. Apart from their gas-masked troops that the game’s interface identifies as “terrorists”, they have two or three more casually dressed accomplices identified as “mercenary thugs,” plus Harley Filben and his arms-dealing female companion.

The word “secessionist” is interesting in this context. One would typically associate it with separation of the Southern states in particular. But the NSF representatives we meet on Liberty Island seem to consider the government in Washington to be illegitimate, although they are sketchy on what the alternative should be. These mirror the concerns of some Americans that Obama’s presidency is in some way illegitimate (witness the kerfuffle over his birth certificate) but the implication here appears to be that Washington is in some way controlled by the United Nations – a UN which now has its own standing army which operates in the continental United States and is permanently based on Liberty Island. The internationalist fears of the Patriots are being expressed more openly than ever before, but there is evidence that they have come true.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: