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by ian onuska 3 months ago in investigation

Chapter One of The Flesh Markets: Insights into Evil and Corruption

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In early August 2019, Jonathan Roth, named Times magazine’s Person of the Year in the early 2000s, was convicted of illegal sexual activities involving a minor, soliciting for prostitution on several counts, and transportation of unwitting persons across state lines for the purpose of pimping and pandering a minor. The United States attorney for the southern district of New York Alexandra Johnson has said that Mr. Roth could quickly become the “most quintessential break in the case of a domestic human trafficking network, organized and funded by some of the most powerful and influential men and women in the country.”

Roth was the Gatsby-like man of mystery. His immense wealth and powerful friends brought him a tremendous degree of acclaim, unusual for one who so hastily withdrew from the public eye. His introverted demeanor and cool Coney Island attitude permitted him an almost comically extreme amount of latitude in business and personal relationships. Various Hollywood figures have commented that Roth “exudes power and control, never sweating no matter the situation.” Everything he said commanded respect and admiration.

After a series of money management and investment referral meetings with Mr. Roth, esteemed filmmaker David Kamira claimed to have been “taken in by a Wall Street shark. I would trust that fellow with all I got, and with funding any future project he’s interested in. Mr. Roth has the Midas touch.” Such a praising review was not uncharacteristic of Mr. Roth’s associates, not only in the cultural scene, but even more boisterously in politics with at least three Congressman. While his wealth and skills were beyond compare, they were equally shrouded in a fog of mystery. Little, if any, comprehensive reporting had been done on Mr. Roth’s personal or financial history. It is now clear that all such stories had been purposefully shifted to mere fluff under immense pressure from the New York billionaire’s firm.

Through his entire arrest and arraignment, John Roth maintained a cool air, claiming multiple times in the media that he had clearly become “another victim of cancel culture” and the “Me Too movement”.

Our ever-eloquent Commander-in-Chief was questioned about his former associate Mr. Roth during a press conference concerning the implementation of a new brand of hand sanitizer on Air Force One. His initial response, now met with warranted criticism, was that “Johnny’s really been a great friend over the years, I hope to God that it isn’t true and that it resolves quickly. He’s a fine businessman, we’ve had him for dinner at the White House a few times. This couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy, sure he’s always been a bit of a ladies’ man. He’s sure not the only guy who knows how to appreciate beautiful young women.”

Roth used various strong-arm manipulation tactics to keep his activities out of the public eye and himself out of prison. His federal indictment noted that Mr. Roth “enlisted his business employees in the procurement of underaged girls, and worked with outside agents to obtain minors for the sexual gratification of himself and others commercially.” Not only did the wealthy investor facilitate the sexual abuse of young girls for his own deranged needs, Roth was a transcendent figure in a vast human trafficking network for profit. The extent to which the current government administration, the financial sector, and a slew of beloved members of Hollywood are tangled up in his dealings is unknown but frequently speculated about.

Roth turned federal witness upon his incarceration at Rikers Island, with his dramatic story and potential witness testimony becoming the ace in the hole of federal prosecutors, or so they hoped. A few months in the cell proved too much for the sixty-five year old silver fox. Guilt ridden and starved to two thirds his usual weight, Jonathan Roth was found hanging from a blood-soaked slipknot made of bed sheets.

Just as he was about to turn a snitch, Roth wound up dead in his cell, apparent suicide. Fellow prisoners and the guards on his cell block were resoundingly mute on the subject. No one had seen anything and no one would talk about it if they did, not at Rikers. Nor did any relevant individual have an explanation for the blood stains on Roth’s DIY noose. Various news pundits on CNN and MSNBC have noted that blood rarely escapes a victim during strangulation. The staff officially reported Roth’s death a suicide. No exhaustive investigation was conducted and a full autopsy was determined to be unnecessary.

By now, the mysterious under dealings of the country’s most powerful has slipped into common knowledge. Scandal after scandal, secretive brokering for increased position and influence, and the romantic politick of public life have all but buried the naive notions of a common good, especially in leadership. Are all the systems corrupt? Is it merely the powerful? Does corruption in one part make for corruption in the whole? Is America busting at the seams, scratching and begging for a cataclysmic shift away from its foundations?

With the foundational principle of the Constitution: All men and women, having been created equal in the image and likeness of God, have certain implicit rights which mustn’t be trampled on by the aggressive majority or the conniving minority. How is it then that there can be so many abused by the powerful, without effective recourse.?Are our notions of human value just dust in the wind and ink on the page? When our hopes for the future are wrapped up in a system manipulated by the powerful, where do we turn? Is it really so easy to naively believe in truth, justice, the protection of the victimized, and the judgement of the guilty? Is it ever easy? Is it even possible, to hold high moral standards?

For instance, imagine the power dynamics of America’s thumbless ancestor across the pond. A powerful man, a known friend of Mr. Roth, and a highly seated member of British aristocracy, may use his position, power, and influence to quell the outcries of whomsoever he pleases. Victims, lawyers, law enforcement— individuals highly invested in the appraisal of truth and the punishment of the wicked— these are who should have the most latitude in explanation, investigation, and the pursuance of justice. This holds true only if they are given the chance to expose corruption and injustice. Such opportunities are often given but sometimes it is not so.

The public believes in this system. They see John Roth convicted and put away and they feel secure in the hope that all is now set aright in the world as the evil are punished. And if he hangs himself, perfect, if he’s murdered in his cell, all the better, it’s the law of the lock-up— pedophiles get killed and tortured first. Some get thrown to the wolves, scapegoats for the criminal justice system.

But those with such invincible political power, a nephew of the queen, a former president, a billionaire, someone who keeps their nose just clean enough, they laugh at the lawyers, and especially at the victims. They are the untouchable, and for those they oppress there is no justice. In the Roth case it holds shockingly true, this insult to decency. Who can prosecute the evil man who creates the law, who runs the land, who ensures the comfortable retirement of his lawmen?

John Roth’s case, though shrouded in mystery and loaded with seemingly unanswerable questions, implicates a very specific group of perpetrators and has aroused a conspiracy in the public eye unlike any previous scandal.

Various articles, witness testimony included, regarding the trial have accustomed the public with the billionaire’s machinations of abuse. His psychological profile befits that of a serial rapist. Where a poorer man covers up his vile deeds with a mask, or even murder, Roth utilized a network of romantic interests and employees, completely under his control, to procure adolescent girls for the purchasing of sexual favors. He very effectively covered his crimes with his money and status. He picked out the weak and broken in society, manipulating their sense of right and wrong, and instilling insurmountable amounts of fear to prevent the revelation of his crimes. He raped children and amputated their hope, proving this notion that the powerful are untouchable. The reader is undoubtedly familiar with his story as it has been deliberated at great length in the news.

For the last year, Roth’s network of victims has been piled over. Despite the deep investigation, the can of worms grows increasingly bottomless. The more shadowed aspects of his crimes lay in the allegations of mass-scale human trafficking operations. Witness accounts largely consisted of young girls and women trafficked out to specific individuals for sex at the behest of Roth and his cronies. The victims would explain, “Johnny and his people were very nice to us. He promised he’d get me into college, show me the world, help me out. He had connections, you know. That’s how he did it. Made you feel special, and he always delivered on his promises. And he’d make you feel like you owed him something.” But behind his personal perverted interests lay an organization even more sinister.

Only from fragmented accounts and hazy memories did a sex trafficking organization— led by men like Roth and other powerful figures capable of facilitating the purchase, sale, and distribution of hundreds of women and children throughout the United States— appear. This is basically popular knowledge. We have all heard the fantastic conspiracy theories on the internet about what might have happened or who may have seen someone or something connected with Roth’s shady business and death.

Roth’s conviction was solely predicated upon witness testimony, until large stores of video evidence were found in his New York home— evidence of himself and his closest confidantes engaged in sex acts with young girls. None of the proven victims and credible accusers have produced accounts of what conspiracists say would be “undeniable proof of organized human trafficking”— warehouses filled with cages, cells, and amenities to keep prisoners for extended periods of time. No one has proven the existence of such infrastructure. However there have been numerous rumors alleging financial ties between John Roth’s money managing business and now-determined fronts for various organized crime entities in New York City, Miami, and London. A single unsubstantiated claim made at the outset of Roth’s trial (but later omitted from the official record) blazoned conspiracists by connecting John Roth to known former Irish Mafia figurehead, now reformed philanthropist and aged family man, Charles O’Bannion. Like Meyer Lansky, money man of the Italian Mob following the Castellammarese War, O’Bannion somehow escaped the lock-up despite a long and illustrious criminal career. Other than a family tragedy early this year, O’Bannion has been out of the spotlight and has not once commented on the case.

Roth’s connection to men of power throughout the United States and abroad is very well documented. On numerous occasions he has been known to meander with presidents, the former director of the Central Intelligence Agency, Jackson P. Gross, CEO’s of at least three Fortune 500 companies, and a seemingly endless list of Hollywood celebrities. Based on the accounts of various victims during the trial and a host of press interviews, many of his business and personal associates paid for the trafficking of underaged girls for sexual exploitation on par with the Roth case. A few other individuals accused by Roth’s victims are Prince Thomas, Duke of Sax under the British crown; former NBA superstar Jesse Randley; and Roth’s own defense lawyer, Derek Alonowitz. Roth’s former landscaper claimed upon interview that each had visited Roth’s residences frequently and were “no slouch for a good time.” Another employee’s account goes further:

“I see his abogado [Alonowitz], a few suit type gringos y a big, big man with beard and topless young chicas on his lap. No puedan haber sido young than sixteen years. Next time I see him I know. Prince Thomas! Prince Thomas, el ingles. He have the youngest chica. I saw.”

One of the most vocal victims, a reformed drug addict, preyed upon by Roth in Manhattan for much of her adolescence, Brooke Adams, testified that she was trafficked to Prince Thomas’s personal estate on Roth’s private airplane.

“I can’t say much for anyone else’s experience. I came to meet Mr. Roth through my eighth grade math teacher, her husband worked at some investment company, and she would tutor me on weekends. Her husband told me he could get me a job filing paperwork at some big corporation in Midtown. He said they were looking for kids to work part time after school. It started pretty normal. Just a boring office job, ya know. My parents both worked long New York hours, like every adult I knew. The subway got safer when I was a kid, so I’d just go to work after school, it’d be dark when I got home. Nobody was quite as worried about a little girl walking alone in the city anymore. Then, I didn’t realize the real risk, that I should have been scared of the things that happen in the light and apparent safety of my job rather than the street. I had no idea that my fears would be fulfilled on the eighty-sixth floor of an office building in Midtown.

“The… abuse… started when Johnny (that’s what everyone called him) would come to the office, the office where I worked as an assistant to one of the paralegals he employed. He, apparently, had made it very clear that she needed to take a long lunch that day. I didn’t know what was happening. She left and I was alone with him, he talked to me about my family, and where I went to school, and how much money and friends he had. When he finished… what he did to me… that first time. He left me in the office alone. The lights had been off. I couldn’t even remember him turning them out. All I could hear were the sounds of the fax machine. I would usually take out and check the faxes as they came through before I filed them. But they just kept going. And so did he. He, Johnny, left money on the table. He told me to take a long lunch and that Jenny (the paralegal, my boss) wouldn’t be upset with me.

“After I sat there all alone and scared, I crawled under the desk and bawled my eyes out. I just couldn’t stop crying. I felt… I felt like nothing. He made me into nothing. Before my relationship, excuse me I mean the abuse, with Johnny. I was like… a beautiful tulip, prim and bright and innocent.

I got up from the floor and threw my peanut butter and jelly sandwich with the crust cut off from my mom into the trash. After, after John Roth, I wasn’t that little girl. My childhood, my youth, growing up, it was all tattered, tainted, rotten. And so was I. He made me into fucking garbage and it didn’t stop. Not for a long time.”

Brooke Adams’ story is not unique. What is unique about her tale of abuse and terror compared to that of all the other victims is its connection to the alleged mass human trafficking ring, the wholesale purchase, shipment, and sale of women and children for an abundance of profit and pleasure.

“I was always in such a fog. It went on for years. I spent years with him. I was a hard worker and played sports as a kid. But once I entered high school I just drifted along. Johnny really supported me. I started… I took pills and his money helped with that. I needed the pills, and so I needed the money, and the money wouldn’t come without my complete submission to his every whim. I needed him. I loved him. When it happened, I tried to just go to another place in my head.

“I didn’t think anything of it when Johnny and one of his agent friends noticed my younger sister and wanted to meet her. I introduced them. Why wouldn’t I? I thought my relationship with him, the abuse, thought it was just between me and him. I spent a lot of time at his parties, I made friends with the models and artists and actresses. None of them cared that I was younger. And they all knew Johnny was a freak. Nobody really calls out things like that in those kind of groups. It was the Hollywood scene, ya know. He’d let me work summers at his resorts on the beach, out of the city. I rarely got to vacation otherwise. I thought the abuse was isolated, it was just what he did to me, no one else. It was our relationship. I was alone. I didn’t know about any of the other victims, not back then.

“He meets Lucy, my sister. ‘Wow,’ he’d say, ‘You have some way about you.’ He’d have a way of making you feel so desired and excited. My sister was very accomplished. She was a freshman in high school when I had just graduated. I basically lived with Johnny at this point, or lived off him I suppose. Lucy loved French and Italian cinema. She studied ballet since elementary. When Roth offered to introduce her to the world of filmmaking next time he traveled to Italy, I thought he just wanted to get in my good graces, to show his power. I guess I never truly understood his motivations— well not entirely— until the trial and the other women’s testimonies. I was excited for Lucy and a part of me was glad to be away from him. I didn’t think he could be doing it to anybody else. Maybe I didn’t want to think about it. Sometimes I wonder.

“After a summer in Italy, Lucy came back home. She told me that she thinks something happened. She didn’t know if she should tell mom and dad, or anyone. She brought it up to me, and I ran from it. I ghosted her. I really left her on her own. My little sister… I should have been there for her. Lucy started taking the pills too, and then harder things. But I ran away from Manhattan and away from Johnny. Lucy stayed. And things got really bad for her. She couldn’t handle the drugs. After the Italy trip, she got offers across the country to perform. She would dance on stage for huge crowds, before huddling up in the bathtub or crouched over the toilet for hours in pain. Not much took the pain away.”

Lucy Adams was still in high school when the damage of prolonged abuse— spanning years— drove her to overdose on promethazine and cocaine. Before her death, she revealed the abuse to her parents, and a private investigator, to whom she gave this testimony:

“So it had been a couple months after the ‘Exploration of Balleto Italiano’; in ‘La Bayadere’. I played the lead, Nikita. When I got back to America I was brought to a warehouse party in Boston. I was surprised at John’s attendance at this kind of place, it was so sleazy and just unusual.

“Sometimes I break my life up into four acts, much like ‘La Bayadere’. Before I met him I was a very talented young lady, a simple gem. After I met him and performed and went to Italy… during that time I was just a performer. I was working. It was my job. Mama didn’t raise a quitter. I was surviving John’s… his requirements of me. That was just a part of it. It was what I had to do to earn my way. John was like the High Brahmin. He controlled my little world. Right now I’m still in the third act, recovering from it all. I don’t do that bit very well, not well at all. No I don’t speak to my sister. You already knew that. Yes I understand it’s for the record. I understand the similarities. I have heard her story. Do I blame her?

“The fourth… fourth act is yet to come. Maybe I will one day return to my faithful Solor, my warrior hero who will save me from myself. Yes, I am aware that’s not how the tragedy goes— ‘La Bayadere’ is quite different. In all likelihood I won’t live to see the finale. Or maybe the ending of my tragedy is just my death, how cliche.”

Lucy would go on to further recount her visits to Boston in subsequent interviews. Often the recordings break in soft, near-silent sobs. More often, the investigator struggled to meet Lucy on any regular occasion. The pains of everyday life grew to be much more than the junior in high school could handle. At the “warehouse party” in south east Boston, she describes a meeting between Roth and a variety of powerful businessmen, many of which sported thick Boston and New York accents. She wasn’t the only young girl there, and this was nothing uncommon. Some of the men would remark that she must have been about the age of their daughters.

The warehouses was quite large, doubling as some kind of bar. This was mostly speculation from Lucy’s testimony. Most of the girls, young men, boys who’d just hit puberty, and the social types stayed with the bottle service and the blow. The businessmen retired to the more industrious side of the warehouse, claiming to need to inspect some ‘product’. She remembered some very military-looking men escorting a group in and out of the heavily secured doors. Under the clouds of smoke and loud music, she barely noticed the fact that they were the few individuals not gravitating toward the girls and the drugs.

Recordings of this testimonial and subsequent explanation were provided by the private investigator, William Hague, hired by the Adams family. Upon Lucy Adams’ death, the family spiraled out of control. Hague, though extremely vocal and diligent in publicizing their case against Roth, lost nearly all of his credibility when he was convicted of aiding in the commission of an especially heinous premeditated murder of a young child. The actual killer himself quickly committed suicide afterwards. The court wanted someone held accountable. Regardless, Hague lost his credibility.

More will be provided about this incident for the reader in the following pages. Briefly: the investigator produced the untraceable, illegal handgun used in the murder. His role is quite ancillary to the overall story, other than the remarkable fact that due to his immense loss of professional credibility, the testimony of Lucy and Brooke Adams was not used in Roth’s trial, nor were the details of their personal accounts of trafficking admitted into evidence.

Lucy’s testimony and similar conspiracy allegations of scary business tycoons in expensive Italian suits sporting muscle and fire power working closely with a known human trafficker create this notion of Roth and his gang of rich cronies and mafiosi selling children in bulk, housing virtual petting zoos behind the locked doors of his Gatsby-like parties. General belief is that Lucy Adams put together bits of the organized trafficking racket— only to die from addiction and have her trusty private investigator get himself locked up in prison.

It would seem that the public has moved on to bigger interests since Roth’s conviction and death. The societal attention span is ever-shortening with presidential elections, looming race riots, and a dying economy on top of a global pandemic

. The editor of the East Coast SILK! Magazine, Manuel Alfred Lingle, became interested in the Roth story upon learning that Roth’s estate was removed from public record— his Manhattan brownstone, the hotels he owned, as well as many of his business properties were seized by the government, apparently. But all accessible local, state, and federal files of his ownership were obliterated. It is as though Roth never owned any property at all, and as the majority of his funds were transferred overseas, it was like clever little Johnny never made it off Coney Island in the first place.

With this recent development, Manny Lingle chose a hot up-and-coming reporter and photo journalist to set about looking into the conspiracies, of a lost fortune and alleged human trafficking league operating across the continental United States. This reporter is the twenty-eight year old Robert Azrael Gryffn— called ‘Gryff’ by many of his friends and the freethinking intellectuals, artists, and poets with whom he expands his social composition. Having spent the nascent years of his journalistic career in the Middle East, negotiating access to known Islamic State affiliates and following troops into Aleppo and Raqqa beginning in 2015, only to be sent on assignment investigating ‘Al-Abu Sayaff’ in Davao City, Philippines after numerous reports of kidnappings and bombings throughout southern Mindanao Mr. Gryffn has developed quite a reputation as an investigator.

Before his work oversees, R. A. Gryffn, as he often introduces himself studied at Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute at New York University, minoring in photo journalism. His wealthy family background put tremendous weight on Gryffn’s shoulders throughout his adolescence. Even his first position at SILK! is said to be due to a streak of nepotism unrequited and unwanted by Gryffn himself. His father, Antoninus Gryffn, was a remarkably successful philosophical writer specializing in Epictetian Stoicism. Through his father’s connections in the Manhattan literary sphere, R.A. Gryffn’s position was assured. At this Robert developed a hot insolent streak in temperament. He was determined to make it on his own and prove that his accomplishments would not come from the money or society of his father. He took the job at SILK! Only to request assignment in the heart of a war zone, and then another, and another. To prove it to Antoninus and his editor— Gryffn put himself in frequent danger so as to tell the story of those people whose ‘normal’ is warfare, whose habitat is destruction, and whose survival is so regularly independent of even their own choices. His work in Syria won him tempered acclaim in the photo-journalist world, and his ground-breaking interviews with kidnapping victims and corrupt officials in the Philippines skyrocketed his written career.

In February 2018 Antoninus Gryffn suffered a stroke while his son was returning from Manila. His estate was left mostly to Robert while his sister handled the funeral affairs. As of late Robert’s escapades abroad have seemingly come to stall. After about a year covering the Fashion District in Manhattan and the art sector of Philadelphia, Manuel Lingle assigned Gryffn to write the story of John Roth, a mild-interest society piece, intended to be a quick dusting over the disgraced New York native’s history, his enormous wealth, and where his friends are now.

Over the course of a few weeks, R.A. Gryffn gained intimate acquaintance with every known detail of the case. Not unfamiliar with legal documentation and court procedure Gryffn easily accessed local, state, and federal police records and witness testimony.

In his observation of Gryffn, Lingle noted a sometimes manic, intense, even hysterical curiosity— as are so often found in Pulitzer winners and groundbreaking reporters. Gryffn had framed in his apartment the works of his journalistic inspirations. Above his stacks of Peter Maas, was framed a particularly clever column from the popular “Observer” from New York Times writer Russel Baker, the Washington Post’s coverage of the Watergate scandal, and documentation of the Life Magazine photographer and war reporter Margaret Bourke-White. Such distinguished figures embolden Gryffn’s resolve and uncompromising attitude in exploring a story and following it to an honest conclusion.

His colleagues are particularly insistent upon impressing the fact of his coolness of speech and composure with impertinently sardonic wit. R.A. Gryffn imprisoned the apathetic attitudes for which he was often predisposed in times of immense frustration by viewing each day as all that life has to offer. “The present is all we have,” as he said at his father’s funeral, “and each moment passed belongs to the afterlife. We cannot get back the lost moments, nor can we devote our attentions to a future that may never come. Nor should we, for this present is a gift.” Antoninus would have undoubtedly appreciated the nod to the lessons of Rufus the Unbreakable.

The following chapters consist of Gryffn’s research , notes, analyses, and, most ardently, interviews connecting a serial rapist billionaire, known organized crime figures, government contractors, a convicted pedophile, and, perhaps most importantly, the victims who suffered and continue to suffer at the hands of monsters.

The text collects the cohesive report of R.A. Gryffn as compiled many months after his initial assignment. The SILK! article remained uncompleted while the collection of Gryffn’s work far exceeded the scope of such a short magazine piece. The reader will understand the implicit difficulty in ascertaining a proper detailing of Gryffn’s process from his accumulated volume of notes and investigative and philosophical thoughts about these monsters. Much, if not all, cannot be corroborated by any other source than his own reporting and lines of witness testimony. If his claims are to come under much scrutiny— perhaps it should be for how thoroughly they initiate personal self-evaluations by the reader, as many of the witnesses interviewed are remarkably damaged, often living in personal hells of their own creation. None of the witnesses interviewed have come forth to rebut Gryffn’s assertions when presented the opportunity prior to the accumulation of this text. Most seem to be even more difficult to track down after recent developments in the case— but more on that later as it presents itself.

At various points in Gryffn’s research, he touches upon his own moral qualms about the individuals he investigates, and the horrific realities they describe. Often, what is upsetting or repulsive to the common man is nothing, if not common place, to those whose souls are so fractured beyond repair. Such is the case of each interviewee in their own way. When discussing the perpetrators involved, they are the poor in spirit, the kinds of people who create nothing but madness for themselves. They hurt themselves and bring misery, and want nothing more than that— except to hurt and bring the same misery to others.

The monsters who commit such horrible sins against innocence, humanity, and God that follow— they seem to be suffering. Their victims suffer, justice suffers, the essence of the self evaporates. As the reader will come to understand, too often the abused and the abuser learn to share the desire for pain, for evil. Emotional damage, gone unchecked, rotting like a cancer in the brain leads those hurt to long for more hurt, to torture them in their own mind, to abuse their body, to be deceived, and left broken. Both victim and perpetrator deceive themselves, saying what they don’t mean, arrogating untruths. Their souls grow blackened. They pretend to want the familiar sickness of nihilism, and they believe they do. And maybe they do, it is uncertain.

The victim cries in true distress, “He hurt me. He broke me. Now I am nothing. All I want is disorder and pain. I want to burn my house down with myself inside! And the world too. Send it all to hell! It has only hurt me.” And she’s right of course, in her own way. And if she doesn’t voice this desire for self-destruction, she’ll undoubtedly demonstrate it in her conduct, turning to what will replace the present pain with relief, and long-term pain with death. As people so often act out their deepest beliefs and motivations, despite what is accepted or commanded by their ego. Such is self-deceit as an antidote to the chaos it produces. Such is the cycle of denial.

The monster also cries out, “The world has always been against me. My mother beat me, father left me. All who’ve wronged me did it laughing, too. I’m a dirty scoundrel, a dog, not worth a damn and neither is anyone else. No one is worth a thing. I don’t want to do good, and I don’t want it done to me! I want to do evil, for the sake of the thing. Is it so wrong? Then damnit I want to be wrong. I’ve a craving to destroy something pleasant. Wouldn’t that be lovely? No? Then to hell with you too. It’s an awful thing that I love, and I love it for its rottenness.” And of course he rarely articulates it. Rarely does such a person also possess the power of self-critique necessary to put to words his own psychology. But in reflection he believes in his wickedness. In guilt and action he proclaims it. Especially in action. Here they each come to hate the world.

It may be noteworthy to present this idea to the reader through an example of what R.A. Gryffn encountered during his projects investigating extremist groups in the Middle East and the islands of Southern Asia, in order to clearly impart to the reader the journalist’s stomach for depravity, and sarcastically callous, yet brilliant, methods of coping with horror and those who create it.

In the resettlement of a small neighborhood devastated by American and Russian bombing runs, Gryffn’s reporting clearly presented the chaotic psychological suicide of living in warfare:

“The domestic troops brought to trial a bearded old orthodox religious official who found a little orphan boy on the side of the road huddling in resupply crates from the United Nations. They proceed to inform me through the translator that this walking antique had been a very well-respected man of God who was driven to insanity when his home and family were turned into a crater. This pious elder took the orphan boy and strung him up on the posts of the mosque. The boy hung there and squirmed as the old man drove thick two-inch steel nails into each of his fingers, and the entire length of his wingspan at three inch intervals. The box of nails was of average capacity, as was the boy’s size. The bearded fellow continued as the child became unconscious from the shock and incredible pain. This fellow sat next to the boy as he was agonizingly depleted of blood, the soldiers tell me. The boy was dead when they arrived at the mosque and promptly took the man of God into custody. When I got a look at the old gentleman he stood shaking uncontrollably, yet beaming with the largest grin. His lips quivered as he frantically twisted and tangled his long white beard hairs. He whispered to himself, out of breath and on the verge of wheezing, ‘I am a wretch! It is nice, I hate all and the world. I am a wretch and I hate myself and it is grand! Where is my family? I must show them the good work! Where are my wretched children, son and daughter? Where are my old parents, long bedridden? And that little boy, where is his family? Where are his mama and papa such that he should be crawling in the sand and dirt for scraps? They should see how I’ve helped him. They should see such good work. Oh, such a wretch that I am! But I did help that boy. I did it and it was nice. Thank God.’ Some of it was lost in translation and mumbles and his multifarious contradictions. The old man was tried and executed for it, I believe. And the town found this a justifiable good.”

ian onuska
ian onuska
Read next: Chad Alan Lee
ian onuska

Engineering Student at Drexel University

Author of The Flesh Markets: Insights into Evil and Corruption available on

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