The Sky's The Limit
For some time, especially after the "Christmas mobilization," and realizing that Helga had created a universal trump card with her "World War III" threat, Sky began to wonder about the source of these manipulative tactics. The fact that these arguments would always supplant more reasonable ones disturbed him. They were beyond reason. Argumentation that served solely to diminish the ability of others to reason struck him as the hallmark of a cult. He resolved to look into cult literature, to see how many of these techniques were common ones. Some time earlier, he had discovered Steven Hassan's Combatting Cult Mind Control in the Windy Hill lunch room, and decided on that day that he would finally read it. On March 29 he finished the book. He was fascinated by the section on difficulties people face upon trying to re-enter society, and sent those sections along with the de Paoli memo to Nick and Tarrajna.
Sky next sent the de Paoli memo to Summer, Alli, and Todd. Todd forwarded it to Riana. Riana was fascinated by it, particularly in light of what had been happening with Helga, because the way that de Paoli described Helga's behavior was very much in line with what Riana had observed. Riana was terrified, however, when she saw that it came from a 'slander" site and immediately erased it from her e-mail.
Given all the stress everyone was under, Riana began to worry very seriously about Sky. Todd and Riana discussed the real possibility that he may undergo a nervous breakdown, given everything that had happened since the summer.
At this point Sky still believed that we could 'save" the organization if we just got rid of the cult "parts."
On March 30-April 1, Sky flew to Boston. This was part of a plan to get more of a reading from youth members outside Purcellville. Inspired by recent discussions, he thought that maybe the youth actually still maintained some independent motivation distinct from the otherwise pervasive corruption. He had one discussion with the Boston leadership, where they were pretty explicit about not liking the direction in which things were moving. Ian Brinkley said he hadn't been able to do any background work on the Weekly Reports for quite some time. This depressed Sky, who felt personally responsible for him being in that situation. Rachel, Frank, and Jenny were very upset about the collapse of intellectual work. Sky was emboldened enough to have a talk with the entire office, where members voiced their frustrations.
Sky took Jenny aside and gave her a full briefing. Jenny was impressive in voicing what she really thought, at one point asking: "Why do we have to deploy every day?" Even after the crazy Sunday briefing, Jenny and Frank made fun of Lyn's crazy "in the bushes" formulation. Frank asked, "If some guy is hiding in the bushes at Windy Hill, what the hell is security doing?" Their response seemed very good, but it didnít last. During this trip, Nick and Tarrajna called Sky, rather provoked, but intrigued, by his email containing the cult exit material. At this point, Sky still thought that he could simply inoculate people against "Helga's" cult program, and 'save" the organization.
As of mid-March, Sky told Summer that things had gone too far and he was no longer going to worry about disclosing sensitive information regarding Lyn, et al. over the phone. Sky began an open and almost constant dialogue with Summer, and later, Alli, regarding the situation with Lyn and the organization, briefing them on Helga's attempts to cause a split in the organization, the fact that Debbie was a habitual liar and most of her contacts were likely fake, and his fears of whether Lyn had ever made any honest discovery or forecast. Sky told them about finding and reading Hassan's book and Summer and Alli immediately began looking through his website (Freedom of Mind). They also began looking up old briefings and literature, and realizing what a mess past ICLC campaigns had made of the organization's reputation in San Francisco -- something that had become very clear to Summer during his campaign. At the same time, they began finally reading forbidden resignation letters from former members in an effort to paste together information about the identity and history of the organization. In the course of their research, the discrepancies in the last year began to fall into place. 51 These documents, readily available for anyone to view on the internet, later proved to be real-life "Purloined Letters." At this time however, they still thought the organization, or at least the best ideas in it, could be salvaged and perhaps the problem was not Lyn, but that he was subject to the manipulations of all the insane people around him. However, it was slowly dawning that there was no way you could have such an insane structure and organization history with a leader who was completely oblivious. Either LaRouche was complicit, and the source of the problems, or he would have to be impossibly ignorant.
On Friday, March 30, 2012 Summer and Alli made the decision to methodically inform other members of the San Francisco local about Sky's story. Summer met with Michael Steger while Alli met with both Nicole and Amie. It was during these meetings that Summer and Alli had frank discussions that presented the contents of the De Paoli article as having validity. At this point, the decision to leave still had not been made--but they knew that everybody needed answers. It was in these discussions, that the idea came up of having Sky come out, under the pretext of holding a town hall meeting, along with Todd and several leading members from other locals, to hold a completely frank and honest "constitutional convention" broaching these issues with the rest of the locals. However, the following events made such a trip impossible.
On April 1, after Summer had his last town hall meeting (at this point they still thought they would stay at least until the end of the campaign) Summer, Alli, and Amie came back to the house to find Nicole frightened after a discussion she had had with Adrien, (who had been at his grandfather's funeral at this time). Adrien, having listened to the Sunday call, said that Sky was being attacked explicitly by Lyn. They listened to the call where Lyn described a 'senior member" "hiding in the bushes" outside of NEC meetings "reminding people not to raise funds." This was likely referring to a discussion Larry Hecht had with Pavel outside of one of the NEC meetings, but at the time, most interpreted that person to be Sky. Sky called Liona from Boston and found out that the attack on Larry was provoked by a briefing Barbara had given Lyn about Sky circulating the Dino de Paoli memo. At that time, however, Lyn was still willing to sacrifice anybody other than Sky. Lyn announced that there was an enemy operation being run against the organization being coordinated between California and Purcellville. He repeated many times that, "We have the names, addresses, and phone numbers of all the enemies involved in this thing."
The nature of that call created an eerie environment. Summer and Alli realized at that moment that, were they to stay, any discussion of real issues and problems, such as questioning LaRouche or the history of the organization itself, would not be tolerated, and they would be caught up in an insane stasi-like environment worse than what had been happening all this last year. They called Sky and decided they had to leave that week, telling him to purchase a ticket for Southern California rather than San Francisco (as his previous idea had been). On Monday morning, the weekly candidates" call was scheduled to take place. En route to the office, Summer received a phone call from Sky. Sky told him that somebody sent the De Paoli memo to Phil, that he couldnít handle any more of the crazy internal situation, and that they should leave now. At this point, Lyn, still looking for anyone else but Sky to blame, shifted full blame to Michael Steger. Alli and Summer decided to leave that day and meet up with Sky in Southern California to decide what to do.
Before packing, they met with Mike and MyHoa to tell them they were leaving and that Lyn was blaming Michael for the De Paoli memo. After Summer and Alli went home to pack, Mike and My-Hoa notified Phil, Barbara, and others and immediately the Stegers called together members of the local for a meeting. Apparently in this meeting, (attended only by Nicole, Amie, and Vu), the Stegers told them that Summer, Alli, and Sky were an operation and that the De Paoli memo proved it. Nicole and Amie were upset, fought with Mike and My-Hoa, and stormed over to Summer and Alli's house demanding to know why they were leaving before having the planned meeting with the national leadership around these concerns. Though the goodbyes were difficult and the decision to leave was a painful one, Summer and Alli, given what they had seen over the previous several days, realized that a meeting or any discussion inside the organization would be of no use and left that night.
The next few days, they received many phone calls, text messages and emails from those still in the organization. We highlight one of these discussions to illustrate the untruthfulness of certain later accusations. On the morning of April 3rd, Kesha contacted Summer asking him why he was not on the candidates" call the day before. Upon being informed that Summer had left, she said that this had the potential to destroy the organization. Summer told her things were too crazy, that Lyn was being manipulated, and the dishonesty in general was too unprincipled to stay in. When Kesha asked what to he was going to do, Summer told her, "You have a mind, I have a mind. We donít need this organization in order to do good things." It was reported later that this discussion proved that Summer was trying to recruit Kesha to an alternate movement. 52
The very next day, April 2, an internal memo was released (see documentation below) where it was stated, with no evidence, that "over the past 24 hours it has been conclusively determined that Sky Shields has been operating as an agent of influence of enemies of Lyndon LaRouche for an extended period of time."
"The following memo has been approved by Lyndon LaRouche.
51 Since February, Summer, after reading Lawrence Kubie's book "The Neurotic Distortion of the Creative Process,"
tried to reconcile the strange behavior exhibited by Lyn as both insane and creative and had concluded that he was
neurotic. He presented this as a likely possibility in discussions with Sky. The reports of former members helped
clarify that he was definitely insane-- possibly a genius.