Cut to the Aurora massacre, the premier showing of The Dark Knight Rises, and the sudden appearance of a man dressed in black with a gas mask. He enters the theater exit, throws several gas grenades at the theater floor, and opens fire with a a forty millimeter Glock, a twelve-gauge shotgun, an AR-15 assault rifle with a 100-round drum magazine, and 6,000 rounds of ammunition to back that up. The second Glock is sitting on the seat of his car, parked near the exit.
Hold that image and you have the 24-year old neuroscience doctoral candidate, James Holmes, a young man with several links to the U.S. government research Salk Institute involved in neurologically enhancing soldiers’ abilities on the battlefield, and with connections to DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency), the central research and development organization for the United States Department of Defense).
After you gulp, realize James Holmes, the same Holmes, suspect in the mass shooting of The Dark Knight Rises’ movie goers in Aurora Colorado that left 12 people dead, 58 injured, has had a number of links to U.S. government-funded research centers. Holmes’s past association with government research projects has triggered police and federal law enforcement officials to order laboratories and schools with which Holmes had any past association not to talk to the press about Holmes.
It turns out, though, that the seemingly daft Holmes is one of six recipients of a National Institutes of Health Neuroscience Training Grant at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus in Denver. Holmes is also a graduate of the University of California at Riverside with a Bachelor of Science degree in neuroscience. Although Holmes dropped out of the PhD neuroscience program at Anschutz in June, police evacuated two buildings at the Anschutz center after the massacre at the Aurora movie theater. Holmes reportedly gave a presentation at the Anschutz campus in May on Micro DNA Biomarkers in a class titled “Biological Basis of Psychiatric and Neurological Disorders.” How interesting.
Initial reports of Holmes having an accomplice in the theater shooting have been discounted by the Aurora police. However, there is no explanation that has been given by police of why the Anschutz campus buildings were evacuated after Holmes was already in custody in the Arapahoe County jail. Could it be a search for any linking evidence from Anschutz to Holmes?
The Anschutz Medical Campus is on the recently decommissioned site of the U.S. Army’s Fitzsimons Army Medical Center and is named after Philip Anschutz, the billionaire Christian fundamentalist oil and railroad tycoon who also owns The Examiner newspaper chain and website and the neoconservative Weekly Standard. The Anschutz Medical Campus was built by a $91 million grant from the Anschutz Foundation. This is turning into an even more interesting plot than the convoluted Dark Knight Rises with its plethora of explosions and transformer car beings.
In fact in 2006, at the age of 18, Holmes served as a research intern at the Salk Institute at the University of California at San Diego in La Jolla. Add to that the fact that for the previous two years before Holmes worked at the Salk Institute, the research center was partnered with the Defense Advance Research Projects Agency (DARPA), including Columbia University, University of California at San Francisco, University of Wisconsin at Madison, Wake Forest University, and the Mars Company (manufacturers of Milky Way and Snickers bars) to deter fatigue in combat troops through the enhanced use of epicatechina, a blood flow-increasing and blood vessel-dilating anti-oxidant flavanol found in cocoa and, particularly, in dark chocolate. Nothing like some dark chocolate for a little lift.
The research was part of a larger DARPA program known as the “Peak Soldier Performance Program,” which involved creating brain-machine interfaces for battlefield use, including human-robotic bionics for legs, arms, and eyes. DARPA works closely with the Defense Science Office on projects that include the medical research community. Fitzsimons was at the forefront of DARPA research on the use of brain-connected “neuroprosthetic” limbs for soldiers whose limbs were amputated or paralyzed in combat. Welcome to the future.
According to his LinkedIn profile, James Holmes’s father, Dr. Robert Holmes, who received a PhD in Statistics in 1981 from the University of California at Berkeley, worked for San Diego-based HNC Software, Inc., from 2000 to 2002. HNC, known as a “neural network” company, and DARPA, beginning in 1998, have worked on developing “cortronic neural networks,” which would allow machines to interpret aural and visual stimuli to think like humans, something you might find in the Batman epic. The cortronic concept was developed by HNC Software’s chief scientist and co-founder, Robert Hecht-Nielsen. HNC merged with the Minneapolis-based Fair Isaac Corporation (FICO), a computer analysis and decision-making company. Robert Holmes continues to work at FICO.
It has also been discovered that Holmes, when he was 20, worked as a camp counselor at Camp Max Straus of the Jewish Big Brothers and Sister of Los Angeles. According to the Jewish Journal, among other tasks, Holmes helped to teach boys between the ages of 7 to 10 archery. In another unusual detail, the car Holmes used to drive to the Aurora movie theater had Tennessee plates. Holmes is originally from San Diego.
But there’s more . . .
James Holmes is the grandson of Lt. Col. Robert Holmes, one of the first Turkish language graduates of the Army Language School, later called the Defense Language Institute, in Monterey, California. Graduating from the Turkish language class in 1948, Lt. Col. Holmes spent a career in the Army, which likely included more than a few intelligence-related assignments. Typically, U.S. military officers conversant in Turkish served with either the Defense Intelligence Agency or the Central Intelligence Agency at either the U.S. embassy in Ankara or the Consulate General in Istanbul, or both.
Terrence Sejnowski, the Francis Crick Professor at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies and the director of the Computational Neurobiology Laboratory, in an interview with Cognitive Science Online in 2008, had the following comment about recent studies of the human brain: “Alan Newell [cognitive psychology researcher at the intelligence community-linked RAND Corporation] once said that when AI [artificial intelligence] was founded not enough was known about the brain to be of any help and in the early 1980s, symbol processing was the only game in town. That has changed and we now know a lot about the brain, perhaps more than we need to know.”
More links to Holmes, cyborgs and robots
The links between the younger and elder Holmes and U.S. government research on creating super-soldiers, human brain-machine interfaces, and human-like robots brings forth the question: Was James Holmes engaged in a real-life Jason Bourne TREADSTONE project that broke down and resulted in deadly consequences in Aurora, Colorado? In any event, if the Batman movies are now serving as a newer version of J.D. Salinger’s “Catcher in the Rye,” i.e., subliminal messaging triggering mechanism, Salinger’s novel was of interest to a number of American political assassins. Keep in mind that August 10 is the opening date of the fourth film of The Bourne Legacy. It may be smart to skip the premier in your local theater for a bit.
What’s more, Brasscheck TV tells me, “Jerry, the latest news is that the shooter from the theater in Colorado was under the care of a former Pentagon psychiatrist. Dr. Lyne Fenton won various grants and contracts to study schizophrenia.” So Dr. Fenton, what was James on, and who, pray tell, is studying your gang?
Lastly, this negative publicity, according to Reuters, caused “Batman sequel Dark Knight Rises [to top] movie box office charts this weekend with $64.1 million in US and Canadian sales, a 60 percent drop from its debut last week in the wake of the fatal shooting in a Colorado movie theater.” So it goes in life and the movies.
Jerry Mazza is a freelance writer, life-long resident of New York City. An EBook version of his book of poems “State Of Shock,” on 9/11 and its after effects is now available at Amazon.com and Barnesandnoble.com. He has also written hundreds of articles on politics and government as Associate Editor of Intrepid Report (formerly Online Journal). Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.