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April Fools

< '''The Sky's The Limit''' | WHY WE LEFT | '''Clarity''' >

On the morning of April 2, before the memo was posted, Todd called Riana to inform her that Sky, Summer, and Alli had resigned, which came as a total shock to her. At this point, Riana felt that all hope of saving the intellectual nature of the organization, the idea that it would be a scientific driver for humanity, was now lost. Without Sky as an "inside" ally to help direct policy, Riana knew that the insanity that she had witnessed in the organization would only increase. She hadnít formulated anything concrete at this point.

Riana went to the studio to do work, but was highly distracted. She and Megan Beets were very cagey with each other, and it became clear that Megan knew something as well, but Riana didnít know what, or how much. Megan said that some very bad things were going on, and that Sky had said some crazy things when he was in Boston, according to Jenny. Riana replied that there were some crazy things going on in the National Center. Megan said it sounded like an operation. Riana thought so as well, but she thought, at this point, that it was an "inside" operation, run by Helga, et al. to oust Sky as the last man standing in the way of going back to the "galley slave" model of organizing from the period before the youth movement. It took very little for Riana to see that she and Megan were not on the same page. She told Megan she wasnít feeling well and went back to the house.

Later, sitting with Adam Sturman, who had been relating strange goings on in Purcellville, she finally burst and declared to him that Sky, Summer, and Alli had resigned, which took the breath out of him. Based on Adam's knowledge of a recent event where Lyn had threatened to fire Hector, and Sky had threatened to resign if he did, Adam hypothesized that Summer and Lyn must have had some falling out and that Sky was defending his brother. He proclaimed that "the old man better back down." At this point, Riana did not wish to contradict Adam, but she believed that the issue was far more complex, and tied, in some way to the Sunday night call, the De Paoli memo, and the incredible amount of stress Sky was under. But at this point, she and Adam both agreed that this was likely the end of the "youth movement."

At a bar in Leesburg they toasted the end of their efforts in the movement, hoping that they wouldnít lose touch with each other in the chaos that was likely to follow. Both assumed that they were about to witness a general disintegration.

Back at Adam's house they waited for Cody to arrive, since he was at Windy Hill, and would be able to tell them more about the situation. By the time he got there, Riana had had far too much to drink, and the mood was quite somber. Cody began to relay how erratic Sky was behaving, how Ben picked him up at the airport, and claimed 53 that Sky had been making claims that he "feared for his life," or something to that effect. Riana, in her drunkenness, proclaimed, "No! You donít understand, that's a reference to the "Jonestown" documentary. I doubt that he actually fears for his life the way you are thinking. He thinks Helga is trying to set up a cult."

This, of course, in no way helped things. In fact, Riana quickly saw how her one remark got used and reused in the following days, always with little or no understanding as to what she had meant.54 Riana spoke with Todd that night, and told him that she was going to leave the movement. He didnít fully believe her, since she had made such statements before, and had always "come back to reason." He told her to get some sleep; the wound wouldnít be as fresh in the morning.

The next morning Riana called Peter, as they were supposed to meet up at some point anyway, and she was going to leave on Thursday. She wanted to talk to a friend, and to someone who might understand part of what she was thinking. He agreed to meet and they ended up walking to a fast food joint to get coffee. As they walked, she poured out everything that had built up in her over the last year: the inequalities, the money problems, the attack on the intellectual core of what they had joined, the insanity of the summer. As she spoke, she said, "Peter, I"m leaving the movement." The fact that she had said it out loud surprised her, a little, but once she had begun, she wasnít going to relent.

"What about Todd?"
(This became the constant refrain over the next few days. "Oh, you"re leaving; what about Todd?!?")
"Todd's is his own man and must make his own decisions."
"You need to get back. You think he"ll talk you out of it?"
"He"ll try. But this is CRAZY."
"What about Lyn, his forecasts, what we"re trying to do?"

Here she paused, and then the words flowed out of her: "I believe in the nine forecasts; I believe LaRouche is a genius, that he formed an organization that is doing what no one else will do. I believe it, but this is unsustainable, and it can not continue in this way. And I will have no part in creating another Susan Schlanger. No one should die on a phone team."

When Riana got back to her room, she took her medication and became extremely sick, which ended up being a useful cover for the rest of the day. Adam Sturman texted her when "the memo" went up. She read it immediately. Because text messages lack inflection, initially, she thought that Adam thought that it was as insane as she did. She soon found out in a direct discussion that he believed the accusations that were made therein.

That night there was the "normal" NEC meeting. She didnít go, using her illness as a good excuse. Right afterward, Adam texted her and told her that she really needed to listen to it, since it was really good. The minute it was posted, Riana listened to it. Lyn began by talking about all the wonderful things they were doing: the breakthroughs with the Planetary Defense Paper, the Arctic Development proposal, and the amazing work Michael Kirsch was engaged in with NAWAPA. He gave a presentation about the moment of victory that was clearly in sight. When the Q and A began, Michele Fuchs asked about the memo that had gone out about Sky, Summer, and Alli. Lyn attacked them as having been an enemy operation in our midst, claiming that we would be stronger now that they had been 'smoked out."

Riana felt nauseated as she listened to the whole thing. A line from Tennessee Williams" Cat on a Hot Tin Roof came to her mind, and she couldnít shake it. "What are you disgusted with? Mendacity! You know what that is? Lies and liars. Mendacity!"

But the effect on other members was quite the opposite. Megan Beets called her a little later on to ask her how she was doing, and Riana told her she was disgusted. Megan asked if she had listened to the NEC.

"You should really listen to the NEC. It was wonderful."
"I listened to the NEC. I think it was bullshit."
"That doesnít sound good."
"Damn right it doesnít sound good."
"I think you should talk to someone."
"I"m talking to you, and I donít want to be, and I certainly donít want to talk to 'someone else" who is going to try to convince me that bullshit isnít bullshit. I donít know what I think about Sky, but I've lost hope in our generation."
"That's very bad."
"I"m getting off the phone now, good bye."
When Riana hung up the phone, she felt horrible. Megan was her dear friend, she didnít want to "disorganize" Megan, and she certainly didnít want to yell at her, but she was feeling more and more like a caged animal, trapped in that basement room. She text messaged Todd that she had to get out of Purcellville, that she couldnít contain herself.
"I just had a blow up with Megan. The wolves are closing in."
April 4th, Wednesday: Sometime around 8am, Sky text messaged Riana. When she saw this she thought, "Persona non grata, persona non grata!" The phrase was so strongly associated with seeing his name and number on her phone, that she almost dropped it, and she spoke out loud, as if he could hear her, "I canít talk to you, you fool! You left the movement; you are now persona non grata!"

Still, she desperately wanted to talk to him.

(The following is a sampling of Riana's e-mail correspondence this day. She has decided to include it because it gives a good indication of her frame of mind.)

Riana Nordquist
to Sky
date: Wed, Apr 4, 2012 at 10:18 AM
(no subject)

Sky,

I really want to talk to you. But as you probably know, this memo went out yesterday: "The following memo has been approved by Lyndon LaRouche: 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..." [Full memo above] I really don't know what to think, from what Bruce went through with Todd. I honestly feel betrayed on all levels by just about everyone. I am pretty goddamn fed up with the whole mess. And the sad thing is, I really believe in what we are fighting for. I know that the Planetary Defense paper, and the Arctic Development paper that were lauded along with the NAWAPA thrust in last night's NEC were your brain children. And without you, I really don't know how we will avoid the real pitfalls of the 80's organizing. But fuck, man. I think that you, too, have been duplicitous. All I can say, is that I am truly sad. I love you."


(Sky text messaged that they should meet in person.)

Riana Nordquist
to Sky
date: Wed, Apr 4, 2012 at 12:13 AM
(no subject)

Just to let you know, I still really want to talk to you. The cell phone issue is an LPAC issue. I know there is real craziness going on. But what I said about feeling betrayed also still holds. I didn't realize how much I cared about you, until this happened. What I told you in the bar that night is beginning to look like the only option. New Mexico desert. All the political problems still exist. Drought. God, Sky, I feel as if I've been turned inside out.


Sky Shields
to me
date: Wed, Apr 4, 2012 at 4:09 PM

Riana,

Let's talk. I can guarantee that I've told you everything that was on my mind pretty much in real time. The decision to leave wasn't made until Sunday night after that crazy call. I initially honestly thought the De Paolo thing would give insight into how to operate in this situation, but then it blew up in a totally bizarre way and made remaining in these circumstances damn near impossible for the time being.

But yes, I would like to talk in person since it clearly isn't possible to be assured of basic confidentiality by email.

--Sky

P.S.

In case it needs to be said, I have not been in contact with either Dennis King or Obama, have not been siphoning funds, do not think we should bankrupt the movement in order to fund some sort of parallel operation, in case any of that might have been the duplicity you're referring to. Otherwise, I am at a complete loss and we should speak in person.


Riana Nordquist
to Sky
date: Wed, Apr 4, 2012 at 4:21 PM
(no subject)

Sky,

The duplicitousness that I was speaking about was what seems to be the possibility of meeting up with Nick in California? And inviting Kesha and Rachel to do so as well? I do believe that that also may be a fabrication. I am in a total state of shock, honestly. And as you might imagine, I can't imagine much of a future for this association without you. Can we meet, or speak on a land line tonight or tomorrow morning? I leave tomorrow evening.

It did not need to be said that you were not in contact with the aforesaid, nor that you have not been siphoning funds.


Riana Nordquist
to Sky
date: Wed, Apr 4, 2012 at 4:32 PM
(no subject)

Could you meet me at the airport tomorrow before my flight? I fly out on United at 5:20pm. I could have Peter take me early. I fly out of Dulles. Nice and neutral. I would like to see you before I go.


Sky Shields
to me
date: Wed, Apr 4, 2012 at 4:37 PM

Ah! Ok. Summer spoke to Kesha and did not invite her anywhere. I only spoke to Rachel about how to improve the fundraising, though I told Jenny that I'd like to continue working with her even if I left or got the boot. Perhaps that latter counts as an invitation. No, I'm only hoping that this is legitimate insane paranoia on the part of the memo writers rather than outright lies. Ok, it's freaking me out how much this stuff is catching with some people. That, almost more than any event of the past six months.


Sky Shields
to me
date: Wed, Apr 4, 2012 at 4:39 PM

But yes! Let's talk tonight. My cell plan is separate from the org.


Riana Nordquist
to Sky
date: Wed, Apr 4, 2012 at 4:41 PM

I see. Mine isn't. I will try to call you some way. They are having meeting after meeting now about how this is an in depth operation that goes back months and involves Nick and Tarrajnna. And I have been freaking out. So I'm not making a very good name for myself.


Sky Shields
to me
date: Wed, Apr 4, 2012 at 4:57 PM

I fly out of Dulles at 7 am. That's very early, but I would like to meet up.


Riana Nordquist
to Sky
date: Wed, Apr 4, 2012 at 5:15 PM
(no subject)

There used to be pay phones. But no more. Many a tense movie scene could no longer exist in this, our modern age. I am unsure how we can meet up tonight, given my constraints. I am stuck here, with no ability to get out, and I am already attracting attention, because I ain't showing up and smiling like I ought. Todd is doing is damndist to keep me calm. I just had a bad run in with Bruce. So, I would love to talk to you as soon as I am able.


Sky Shields
to me
date: Wed, Apr 4, 2012 at 5:49 PM

Can you borrow Liona's cell phone? I think it's separate.


Riana Nordquist
to Sky
date: Wed, Apr 4, 2012 at 6:02 PM

Sky,

Adam knows that you met with Liona and the word is that your long term plan to create another movement failed utterly. Now people are all relieved, because "the longstanding operation in our midst has been rooted out" and we can really fight as a unified organization! I am supposed to tell Bruce and Barbara about my communications with you. I told Adam that you texted me this morning, but never called. That's it. I also told him that Bruce and I just had a blow up and I don't want to talk to Barbara. I told him that while everyone else is optimistic and having a kumbaya moment, I am not. I really like Adam. But man, this is not a good situation. I need to be able to get back to Todd, and we need to figure out what we want to do together. I've already made things very difficult. I don't think I'll be able to talk to you before tomorrow. Then, I can call you on Todd's verizon phone, which his family pays for.


Sky Shields
to me
date: Wed, Apr 4, 2012 at 6:41 PM

Riana, this is fucking insane. This situation is nuts. It doesn't matter what anybody thinks or who checks the phone records. This mode of operation is bizarre. History will only remember it as bizarre. Any historian will quickly check the facts and realize what was really happening. This is only meant to manipulate our own members."


It was only at this moment that an "awakening" occurred, as if Riana had been awoken from a dream. She looked at his message and called him.

At this moment, Riana knew she would never be a part of the "movement" again. But the feeling was so freeing, she was honestly shocked. At this point, she still thought Lyn was a genius, she still believed in "the mission", but the feeling of freedom was undeniable.

When Todd read the April 2nd memo about Sky being a long term agent against the organization working with the Obama administration and the British, and that Sky was committed to shutting down the fundraising of the organization, he knew that it was impossible to conduct the necessary investigation in less than twenty-four hours, and that Sky was not sabotaging the fundraising, but had been trying to do something to improve the income. At that point Todd questioned the viability and integrity of the organization as a whole, and decided by Friday, April 6, that he could not be part of such an association any longer.


Notes:

53 Falsely.
54 It is useful to note that while Sky had recommended that Riana watch the documentary on Jonestown, it was not because he thought Lyn was planning a mass suicide, but because he thought it was interesting to see how many parallels there were between how The People's Church operated in its early phases, and how our organization had operated in its early phases, which was the issue that had occupied a great deal of their time in trying to prevent a return to the organization "pre- youth movement." One of the things that resonated most strongly with Riana were the parallels between what Lyn had been saying about his upbringing and Jim Jones" childhood.

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Page last modified on September 28, 2012, at 08:05 AM