Coded message
October 20, 2001 1:02 PM   Subscribe

Coded message in the Bert 'n Osama poster? So says former NSA instructor Robert W Koontz. Link picked up from Yahoo. Check out his own National Security Message Board.
posted by Geo (36 comments total)
Maybe it's just me, but it reminds me of this video they play on the "christian" network, where the host finds musicians such as LL Cool J and Mick Fleetwood conjuring demons in the concerts... Finding things that aren't there.
posted by drezdn at 1:18 PM on October 20, 2001

.....true....but I couldn't help but wonder before if this "bert' thing couldn't be a signal.....think about would have thought they would NOTICE a puppet behind bin ladin....of course my husband thinks i am nuts-but look how much publicity our old pal Bert got thru the would have been ingenious.....

or maybe i should go lay down with a cold compress.....
posted by bunnyfire at 1:34 PM on October 20, 2001

I usually find conspiracy theories quite entertaining for a few minutes, in a cheesy, dumb, very Jerry Springer way. But when some kind of "black helicopters" crap involves 9/11, well, it ceases to amuse me
posted by matteo at 1:36 PM on October 20, 2001

Oh, it's totally a message. The coordinates of the next attack are encoded in the angles of Bert's eyebrows. Like, duh!
posted by brantstrand at 1:59 PM on October 20, 2001

Admittedly, the pictures are pretty spooky, as is the connection to the terrorists. And I can't really fault the interpretation of the pictures as a sort of - perhaps informed - prediction of impending catastrophe. But the fear of biological attacks on the US is clear and substantiated at this point, so it's kind of a moot point.

Since the pictures have been on the site since the late 90's, and the Bert 'n Osama pic (formerly here) was made by someone else, it's a bit of a stretch to me that this is some sort of signal. Some of the symbolism is a bit overdone, as in "the man on the horse is dressed in the manner of an airlines pilot, with appropriate haircut." How hard would it have been to draw on a pair of those little wings?

Frankly, so far as any coded instructions are concerned the only connection seems to be that the plants in the paintings and Bert are both yellow.

And just how practical a signal would it be, anyway, especially since there was no guarantee that that poster would ever be televised or photographed? Much easier to send an anonymous email, or something.

The suggestion that OBL's videotapes contain coded messages seems much more plausible to me.
posted by Sinner at 2:02 PM on October 20, 2001

umm.. HAHAHAHA!!!

thats too funny
posted by BlitzK at 2:21 PM on October 20, 2001

Sometimes a muppet is just a muppet.
posted by holgate at 2:27 PM on October 20, 2001

of course my husband thinks i am nuts....

posted by jpoulos at 2:37 PM on October 20, 2001

What I don't get is why they'd go through all this trouble to send "coded" messages, when they could simply use email and PGP. Silly crap.
posted by jpoulos at 2:40 PM on October 20, 2001

I think he's reading waaaaay too much into the paintings; first, things like "dressed as an airline pilot" or "hair cut like an airline pilot" is a pretty huge inference from just a guy wearing a suit on a horse- that painting looks more like "Downfall... of an agrarian pastoral society into an Industrial Revolution" as opposed to "Destroy the WTC while wearing a suit and tie". Also, looking at the alleged "enhancement" of "Downfall", he appears to have created a White House where there wasn't one in the original picture- look closely at the original, and you'll see the lines just aren't at the same angle when he supposedly shows the White House.

And as for this interpretation of yellow plants or yellow rags as "biological weapons"- well, perhaps yellow, or those particular type of plants, has a meaning of "sickness" in the Middle East. Indeed, he seems to like horsies too, making me think these paintings are really by an 11-year-old girl. His recurring images are horses, Munsch-like trees and landscapes, and that one splash of color in an otherwise dark landscape (kinda like those cheesy b&w photos of kids wearing grown-up clothing with just a single red rose or red hat in color).

But I think most likely, this is an overly paranoid interpretation of an artist who, like many hack artists, tends to stick with the same themes and imagery. These paintings probably have no overt meaning at all- I'm remembering the fabulous world of Art Frahm (the guy who always had women's panties falling down, along with the ubiquitous stalk of celery). Or that other painter I can't find right now who always had a river or stream winding through his pastoral paintings in the same pattern, similar to Bob Ross and his "friendly little trees"...
posted by hincandenza at 2:53 PM on October 20, 2001

If this guy truly is a "former NSA instructor," I think I know why they decided they no longer needed his services.
posted by aaron at 3:16 PM on October 20, 2001

What nonsense. This fellow is clearly a crank.
posted by donkeyschlong at 3:26 PM on October 20, 2001

Oh puhleeeze...
posted by spilon at 3:38 PM on October 20, 2001

muppets and pirates oh my!
posted by stbalbach at 3:42 PM on October 20, 2001

I am convinced that people will be finding coded messages in all sorts of fucking things.
posted by fuq at 3:57 PM on October 20, 2001


that was one of the funniest posts I've seen in a long time, fuq! heheh
posted by BlitzK at 4:12 PM on October 20, 2001

the presence of an interested correspondent named Atlas on the koontz message board indicated to me a direct connection between the former NSA instructor and ancient greek mythology.

after a monumental war between the Titans and Zeus, that nearly ripped the Universa apart, Prometheus' brother Atlas was condemned

To bear on his back forever
The cruel strength of the crushing world
And the vault of the sky.
Upon his shoulders the great pillar
That holds apart the earth and heaven,
A load not easy to be borne.

Edith Hamilton writes:

Bearing this burden he stands forever before the place that is wrapped in clouds and darkness, where Night and Day draw near and greet one another. The house within never holds both Night and Day, but always one, departing, visits the earth, and the other in the house awaits the hours for her journeying hence, one with far-seeing light for thouse on earth, the other holding in her hands Sleep, the brother of Death.

There's a hidden message in everything if you look for it.
posted by gomez at 4:47 PM on October 20, 2001

does OBL have a DSL connection in his cave? uploading images can take a while...
posted by aeiou at 5:12 PM on October 20, 2001

the fact that he refers to bert as "a yellow mask like creature that symbolizes biological attack." is kinda cool
posted by outsider at 5:14 PM on October 20, 2001

"Since 1985, Dr. Koontz has been involved in projects that are not publicly discussed." That's no surprise!
posted by Carol Anne at 5:36 PM on October 20, 2001

This is weird. The poster on the left (you, the viewer's left) seems to be missing Bert but the main poster has him beside OBL. Take a look at OBL beside Bert in the white turban, thats the same picture as OBL in the poster on the left!!! We can conclude that Bert was included in the main poster intentionally because someone else had removed him from the other poster.
posted by HoldenCaulfield at 5:38 PM on October 20, 2001

Grrrrr......just realized the link I provided DOES NOT have Bert anywhere in the picture. But if you followed the original discussion on Oct 9 then this could be of help.
posted by HoldenCaulfield at 5:41 PM on October 20, 2001

posted by HoldenCaulfield at 5:43 PM on October 20, 2001


I don't see your point.. and I don't see bert in either poster
posted by BlitzK at 5:44 PM on October 20, 2001

umm yeah.. exactly..

but I didn't see your other posts until I posted the last one!
posted by BlitzK at 5:45 PM on October 20, 2001

Joe Rogan and Kevin Booth on the secret code.
posted by Optamystic at 6:04 PM on October 20, 2001

Earlier today there was a message on Koontz's board from one Stephen Balbach, probably the same MeFi stbalbach who posted in this thread. But now, it is gone from the index.

Balbach's post seemed polite and well reasoned with a link to the real story of the Bert 'n Osama poster. Koontz's reply: You Have Addressed Few Issues, Your Analysis is Trite and Worthless (as he deleted the message) was brief and to the point.

Always nice to see balanced discussions of these kinds of theories.
posted by Geo at 6:37 PM on October 20, 2001


My favorite by Koontz response to criticism so far had this to say

But nuclear physicists are always dumb, aren‘t they? Any American can teach them about any subject, provided that such Americans can get a few minutes to pry themselves away from "Survivor II” or the “Jerry Springer Show.”

Your remarks are asinine and infantile.

This is not a reputable source.
posted by Sinner at 7:16 PM on October 20, 2001

Maybe the code had something to do with pigeons...
posted by adampsyche at 7:23 PM on October 20, 2001

i wont post to it , but I did see a picture tonite of taliban front of Big foolin......

i still want to know where Ernie is......
posted by bunnyfire at 7:28 PM on October 20, 2001

Dr. Koontz, nuclear physicist and amateur culture critic. President of the NSA's Art Appreciation Society.
posted by skylar at 1:26 AM on October 21, 2001

Koontz deleted my Post! It was perfectly polite and reasoned. Ill be sure to let the Good Doctor know about MeFi .. delete this Doctor!
posted by stbalbach at 7:36 AM on October 21, 2001

i still want to know where Ernie is......

Ernie is here. So sad.
posted by stbalbach at 7:38 AM on October 21, 2001

I was thinking "neat" until I noticed this.

Hey kids, if you crack that password you'll own his web board.

Former NSA instructor maybe, security expert, fuck I hope not..
posted by Leonard at 9:17 AM on October 21, 2001

re ernie: so sorry I asked...........
posted by bunnyfire at 11:26 AM on October 21, 2001

re ernie: so sorry I asked...........
posted by bunnyfire at 11:27 AM on October 21, 2001

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