After thousands of customers in Pierce County, Washington, were affected Sunday when burglars vandalized three energy substations, power was then knocked out for even more homes after a suspect or suspects gained access to a fourth substation, vandalizing the equipment and causing a fire, according to an update from the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department.
The damaged equipment cut power to around 14,000 customers, police said, weeks after an attack in North Carolina left thousands in the dark for days amid federal warnings of extremist threats to electricity infrastructure.
The Christmas Day vandalism near Tacoma marked more such incidents in the state, where two November attacks on Puget Sound Energy substations were investigated by the FBI. Vandalism and deliberate damage were reported last month at substations in southern Washington and Oregon.
French national suspected of murdering western backpackers on the hippie trail in 1970s and 80s
Charles Sobhraj, the French serial killer known as “the serpent” who targeted western backpackers on the hippie trail in the 1970s, has walked free from a jail in Nepal after he was given early release.
Sobhraj, 78, had been serving a life sentence after he was convicted in 2004 for the murder of an American tourist, Connie Jo Bronzich, in 1975. In 2014, Sobhraj was also convicted of killing her Canadian companion, Laurent Carrière.
Sobhraj, who is a French citizen of Indian and Vietnamese descent, walked out of a high security jail in Kathmandu on Friday morning, after a court ruling this week that ordered his release on the grounds he had served 75% of his sentence and his health was ailing.
Emails obtained by OPB and KUOW show that at least four electric substations in the region have been attacked, at least two by people with firearms
The electrical grid has been physically attacked at least four times in Oregon and Western Washington since late November, causing growing alarm for law enforcement as well as utilities responsible for parts of the region’s critical infrastructure.
According to information obtained by Oregon Public Broadcasting and KUOW Public Radio, at least two of the incidents bear similarities to the attacks on substations in North Carolina on Saturday that left thousands of people without electricity for days.
Portland General Electric, the Bonneville Power Administration and Puget Sound Energy each confirmed Wednesday a total of four separate attacks on electrical substations they manage in Oregon and Washington. Attackers used firearms in at least some of the incidents in both states, and some power customers in Oregon experienced service disruption as a result of an attack.
All three utilities stated they were cooperating with the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The FBI declined to confirm whether it was investigating.’
In stealing $1,000 and calling it artwork, Joe Gibbons assaulted reality like a Dadaist poet – or The King of Comedy’s Rupert Pupkin
Performance art is a kind of madness. Its greatest exponents in their greatest works often seem on the edge of some psychotic meltdown in which reality itself is exposed as a cosmic lunacy. Think of Chris Burden getting himself shot in the arm, or Vito Acconci masturbating under an art gallery floor. Or go right back to the origins of performance at the Cabaret Voltaire in 1916 when the Dadaist poet Hugo Ball babbled inchoately at the nighthawks of Zurich.
When you think of this history – and let’s not forget the riots deliberately induced by Futurist Evenings before the first world war – it seems reasonable to claim that not only was film-maker Joe Gibbons genuinely staging “performance art” when he robbed a New York City bank, as he claimed, but that it was some kind of masterpiece.
Joseph Dibee, former international fugitive and supporter of the Earth Liberation Front and the Animal Liberation Front, got a shorter sentence than his co-defendants, raising questions about how the federal government prosecutes what it considers domestic terrorism
Joker is a 2019 supervillain origin story film directed by Todd Phillips and starring Joaquin Phoenix in the title role. Though based on the DC comic book character, this film takes many liberties with the story material by creating a background for the Joker that has hitherto been kept deliberately mysterious.
The notion of him starting out as a failed comedian comes from Batman: The Killing Joke, but other elements come from two Martin Scorsese films starring Robert De Niro—Taxi Driver and The King of Comedy. This origin story nonetheless can be reconciled with the comic book canon somewhat in that, given how the story is told from the Joker’s point of view, and given his psychotic penchant for mixing fantasy with reality, he is an unreliable narrator; so it hardly matters if events in the movie contradict those of the comic books.
Phoenix’s performance deservedly won him the Best Actor Oscar. For her plaintive, brooding cello soundtrack, Hildur Guðnadóttir won the Best Original Score. The film itself has also been praised (with nominations for such Oscar categories as Best Picture and Best Director), in spite of such controversies as the baseless fear that its sympathetic portrayal of a mentally-ill loner, who shoots people, would inspire incel murders. Actually, the film–despite Phillips’s denial of having intended any political message–is clearly presenting a drama of class war.
Publication, Emily Dickinson mused, “is the Auction Of the Mind,” a condition “so foul” that after a certain point she deemed it better to work in “Poverty” rather than pursue the acclaim to which she knew she was entitled. That sentiment caught my eye because of its slant resonance to the case of Heather Lewis. In 1996, Heather began submitting the sequel to her controversial debut, House Rules. Notice didn’t fare well with editors. Its lurid story—a nameless young woman turns tricks for drugs until she falls in love with the wife of one of her johns, a rich sadist who molested and killed his own daughter and uses the protagonist to reenact his crime night after night—struck industry readers as unbelievable or, even more discomfiting, too close to their notions of the author’s actual experience.
At the time Heather took the stoic route, shelving Notice and writing The Second Suspect, the final installment of what she considered a trilogy. She ditched the first-person narrator for third-person detachment, filtering the central conceit of incest, misogyny, and murder through a detective’s objective gaze rather than the unnerving subjectivity of a survivor. The crime-drama prism got the novel published but didn’t save The Second Suspect from being dissed as “transgressive,” its subject matter attributed to “an almost adolescent need to shock.” The taunts stung, not least because they deliberately failed to understand Heather’s work, but also because of the implicit suggestion that the kinds of experiences she wrote about weren’t fit materials for art. The situation was complicated by the collapse of Heather’s career in the wake of The Second Suspect’s failure; in addition, after a decade of sobriety, she started drinking again. These lamentable developments, coupled with who knew what personal traumas, culminated in her suicide in 2002; it is only through the valiant efforts of a handful of supporters that Notice is now being published nearly a decade after she wrote it.
Artists have long gotten away with murder, sometimes literally. After Benvenuto Cellini killed his rival, the goldsmith Pompeo de Capitaneis, in 1534, Pope Paul III—a Cellini fan—reportedly pardoned the Florentine artist, declaring that men like him “ought not to be bound by law.” In 1660 the Dutch painter Jacob van Loo stabbed a wine merchant to death during a brawl in Amsterdam, and then fled to Paris. But, as the art historians Rudolf and Margot Wittkower have noted in their vigorously researched 1963 treatise on the behavior of artists, Born Under Saturn, van Loo had no problem being elected to the Royal Academy there just two years later. His reputation as an artist was what mattered.
Artists have not only indulged in criminal behavior and then been forgiven for it, by philosophers and historians, princes and popes, they have also sometimes openly advertised it. “I do not understand laws,” Arthur Rimbaud wrote in 1873, summing up the attitude of the renegade artist. “I have no moral sense. I am a brute.”
Those lines, as well as Pope Paul’s (which Cellini shares in his autobiography), appear in Mike Kelley’s 1988 installation Pay for Your Pleasure, a long hallway lined with painted portraits of dead white men (intellectuals, artists, and the like) paired with choice quotations from them celebrating destruction, violence, and lawbreaking. It is, viewed from one angle, an indictment of the archetype of the artist as a macho man unbound by legal codes.
The installation is always shown with an artwork by a murderer, selected based on the exhibition’s location. (A painting by the serial killer turned artist John Wayne Gacy appeared in the debut.) Writing about Pay for Your Pleasure, Kelley wondered, “How can we safely access destructive forces?” and suggested that “criminals themselves, safely filtered through the media, serve the same function” as art. Gacy’s paintings, he argued, “allow us to stare safely at the forbidden.” He sets artists and criminals together, on the same level.
André Breton appears in Pay for Your Pleasure as well, alongside this infamous bit from his “Second Manifesto of Surrealism” of 1930: “The simplest Surrealist act consists of dashing down into the street, pistol in hand, and firing blindly, as fast as you can pull the trigger, into the crowd.”
This is a milestone moment: criminality explicitly proposed as a work of art.
No Surrealist ever acted on Breton’s suggestion. Nevertheless, his statement cracks open a secret history, hiding in plain sight, of artists who have not only broken laws to make their art, but have used lawbreaking itself as their medium. They have stolen artworks, robbed banks, and purchased and distributed drugs, experimenting with crime in much the same way that their contemporaries have experimented with silk screens or video. They have explored crime’s psychological effects (on both perpetrator and victim), its very definition, and its place in culture.
Figures likely to be an underestimate, says Global Witness, as land defenders are killed by hitmen, crime groups and governments
More than 1,700 murders of environmental activists were recorded over the past decade, an average of a killing nearly every two days, according to a new report.
Killed by hitmen, organised crime groups and their own governments, at least 1,733 land and environmental defenders were murdered between 2012 and 2021, figures from Global Witness show, with Brazil, Colombia, the Philippines, Mexico and Honduras the deadliest countries.
The NGO has published its report on the killings of land and environmental defenders around the world every year since 2012, after the murder of Chut Wutty, a Cambodian environmentalist who worked with the Global Witness CEO Mike Davis investigating illegal logging. Killings hit a record of 227 in 2020 despite the pandemic.
Decades after Ted Kaczynski was caught, society is still asking some of the same questions about him: Is Ted a genius who went astray? Or simply a madman who murdered three people in cold blood? Project Unabom takes an in-depth look back at the Unabomber saga and Ted Kaczynski’s legacy from the perspective of FBI agents who worked to solve the case, his brother who turned him in, and Ted’s very own writings. New episodes out every Monday. Project Unabom is an Apple Original podcast, produced by Pineapple Street Studios. Listen and follow on Apple Podcasts.