What Pizzagate reveals about evil. Plus, an ex-FBI agent tells what he learned about sex crimes against children.
photo by: Skeptiko
On this episode of Skeptiko…
Alex Tsakiris: One of the great things about Pizzagate is that it really cuts through a lot of the ambiguity with regard to the the “evil question”, because sex crimes against children are evil, clearly evil. So in that way it really makes clear the question, what is the nature of this evil? Is this evil something we just cook up in our consciousness-is-an-illusion brain or does this evil tell us something about this hierarchical nature of consciousness?
Bob Hamer: Had I not been undercover, had I walked past them and heard these men talking like that I would have thrown them off the railing, I mean, it was so disgusting. It demonstrated to me that parents were providing eye candy for these pedophiles and these sick perverts. I don’t know how anyone, just as you had said earlier Alex, how can anyone say that is not evil?
Stay with us for Skeptiko…
Welcome to Skeptiko where we explore controversial science and spirituality with leading researchers, thinkers and their critics. I’m your host, Alex Tsakiris, and the topic of today’s show is not one that’s easy to talk about and not one that you’d expect to hear on a show about consciousness science. I know that because I get plenty of emails asking me when I’m going to get back to NDE and [cyber search 00:01:44]. But hey, there’s an important through line here that I’d like to explore with you that really gets to the heart of what this show is all about, because my primary finding, if you will, from 350 episodes of Skeptiko, is that we are more, that is we’re not biological robots in a meaningless universe, that science tell us we are, we are more.
So really, all questions beyond that are about what that more is, what that spirituality is, what that extended consciousness is, where did it come from, what is its purpose, how does it function in our life and in our world? And sure, these are the deepest, most profound questions that you could ask, that people have been asking for thousands of years, and it’s not like we’re going to figure it out on a couple of podcast episodes. The topic is I think, the most important topic we can talk about and in this ongoing conversation that we’re having, I think it’s nice to keep it fresh and relevant with new things that are happening and look at how those might inform or further our understanding of what’s really going on. And Pizzagate, that is the controversy surrounding the alleged occult themed and pedophilia themed emails of Hilary Clinton’s top aid John Podesta are certainly fresh and I would suggest that they’re very relevant to some of these Skeptiko questions I was just talking about in some really important ways. Let me explain… (continued below)
So, step back and look at NDEs for a minute. So you have a near-death experience science and the conclusion is consciousness survives death. That’s the finding, every significant near-death experience researcher has come to that conclusion, the data’s come to that conclusion, hundreds and hundreds of published studies. You’ve got to be there if you’ve really dug into the data, followed the data where it leads. But the next question about NDE research is, what does the experience seem to be telling us about the nature of this consciousness that survives death? And notice how I said that because that’s really the rub here, because now we’re saying with the NDE research, about this experience, is that this is an experience that people had when they were dead, or at least they had when their brain was so severely compromised that we can’t really even talk about what kind of consciousness experience they would have been having inside of our existing neuro-model about how the brain works.
So with that we take a look at the near-death experience-experience, and we say, “What can we start saying about it?” and one of the conclusions that seems pretty clear, and not everyone sees it this way but it sure as heck seems pretty clear, there appears to be a hierarchy to this consciousness. There is this incredible love, there’s this good, there’s light, there’s also regret, there’s pain, there’s darkness.
Now again, for the atheistic science types, they were able to dance around the good, bad, light, dark stuff as long as they could tie it back to, “Oh that’s part of the human condition, that’s what the brain is just cooking up,” but when we stepped over and said, “No, wait a minute, these are experiences that people are pulling back from a non-brain state.” We are suddenly propelled right in the middle of this spirituality thing that I was saying at the beginning and as we know, for the atheistic science types, this is a call to the battle stations, put down this NDE research or we’re going to wind up with all the churchy folks stepping forward with their big, “I told you so,” and a renewing of the science versus religion battle that we’ve been having for hundreds and hundreds of years.
So back to Pizzagate, one of the great things about Pizzagate is that it really cuts through a lot of the ambiguity with the evil, kind of moral good/bad question, because sex crimes against children are evil, clearly evil. So in that way it really makes clear the question, what is the nature of this evil? Is this evil something we just cook up in our consciousness as an illusion brain or does this evil tell us something about this hierarchical nature of consciousness?
So that’s one of the reasons Pizzagate is so interesting to me and I think so relevant to Skeptiko, but the other reason it’s interesting to me from a Skeptiko perspective has to do with this line we’ve been following with regard to conspiracy, and again this is something that freaks people out when I talk about conspiracy and conspiracy theory. To me it’s just a natural consequence of doing these 350 shows. I mean, go all the way back to the beginning where I’m interviewing Dean Radin about why Steve Novella and prominent scientists like Ray Hyman are lying about his psi research. Well, bang against that problem long enough, like we have, and you’re forced to consider the possibility that there’s a larger game afoot. That’s certainly the conclusion I’ve come to from not only the crazy way materialist science work but also the way that research gets suppressed, misrepresented, misreported and in particular I’m thinking about so many of the cases of near-death experience research that we’ve talked about on this show and chronicled how they’ve been intentionally misrepresented and distorted. But, all that is just to defend this Skeptiko ethos that has evolved which is, when you look at a topic you have to look for the conspiracy, you have to follow the data, follow the data first, but then second you have to look for the conspiracy or you’re liable to be blindsided.
So one of the ways that I’ve come to gauge the conspiracy factor on these topics is to hear the pushback that I get from people who are opposed to a topic I may be covering. Now, mind you, that’s not to suggest that the people who are pushing back are necessarily part of the conspiracy, if you will, I think in a lot of cases they’re more of a reflection of how the larger conspiracy is working its way through our culture.
Now, you’ll hear one example of this on the interview we have coming up with Bob Hamer, but another example I can give you, and it’s really such a stark example I can’t resist throwing it out there, is an email that I got from my good friend at the very excellent Buddha at the Gas Pump show Rick Archer. Now Rick, as you know, has been on the show a couple of times and he’s become somewhat of an unwitting muse for me because on one hand he drives me crazy with his party line political progressive brainwashed world view, but on the other hand he does provide me with this kind of mirror for how some of this information is being processed by people who I like and have a lot of respect for and think are really intelligent but think at the same time are totally missing the boat about what’s really going on, in terms of these deep spirituality questions and how they relate to our culture, how they fit into the conspiracy questions. I’ve got to read for you the email that Rick send me, after he listened to my interview with Daniel Pinchbeck where I said, “Look, you know, if you don’t think there’s something to Pizzagate, then well you’re just not paying attention, you’re just not willing to look at the data.” So Rick sent me this:
Alex, you’re a great guy and I love you. You’ve created something wonderful with Skeptiko. Okay, wait for it… Buying into this crap will cause sensible people to abandon your podcast in droves and leave you with an audience of wingnuts. It will also dissuade some important guests from coming on your show. You have an important role to play. Every time you voice your support for something like this, you erode and marginalize your legacy. Wow, ‘legacy’!
Okay, so now my muse has spoken. So now we can talk about Pizzagate and what I really want to try and get to with this is this deep spirituality angle that I was talking about at the beginning of the show, the whole connection back to Skeptiko to the NDE science to the deeper questions about spirituality, because this topic has all the elements we need to talk about the deep spirituality. It has the occult angle, which immediately throws so many people just running over to the Christian religious kind of, “It’s all of the devil,” kind of thing and I just don’t think that fits.
On the other hand, people who are quick to defend the occult and the satanic and freedom of expression, they might want to take a deeper look at this nature of evil question we’ve been talking about.
Then thirdly, like I always say, the people on the outside looking in are the atheistic science types. We can also throw our media, our intellectuals, our academics, we can throw them in the same boat. They’re going to be on the outside of this issue looking in because none of it is real, nothing related to spirituality, to forces beyond this physical realm influencing us could have any reality to it. I mean, how ridiculous is that, how can we possibly make progress on this issue or any of these larger issues when we have this huge blockage of idiots standing in our way? But that’s the problem at hand.
Let’s talk Pizzagate and I want to try and break this down going forward in this already long introduction with the Skeptiko ethos outline that I just kind of sketched out there, I don’t know if you caught it, but it’s a three step process. First, follow the data wherever it lead. Second, look for the conspiracy. Three, find the deep spirituality. So here goes, here how I apply that to Pizzagate.
Data point one, the timeline. It’s November 4th 2016, four days before the US presidential election. Our friends at WikiLeaks release a huge batch of emails from John Podesta, super connected, super high up individual in the Hilary Clinton campaign. Now these emails are a bombshell, they introduce us to this very weird occult practice called Spirit Cooking, they suggest John Podesta’s ties to the occult and even sex crimes against children and they suggest links between all these other folks, political folks, including this very influential guy in DC who happens to run a pizza shop. I won’t mention his name since he’s been well-known to threaten people with really bad things when his name is mentioned, so I’m not going to mention his name.
But anyway, the result of this WikiLeaks email dump is that it spawns this huge opensource investigation on the internet where thousands and thousands of posters are out there looking through the public records and trying to find correlating data to support or in some cases refute the conclusions that people are drawing from these emails.
So, if you’ve never heard about opensource investigations of this type, I mean, they’re incredibly powerful and useful and no one can deny the kind of information that they bring forward. Some of it turns out to be garbage, some of it turns out to be really valuable, but hey, that’s the nature of any kind of investigation.
Let’s bring it down to a concrete example. The Podesta emails contain all this coded speech about pizza and other things that everyone immediately was trying to figure out what it meant, because it was clear these guys can’t possibly be talking about their strange obsession with how thin you can slice pizza. But the challenge for people who got interested in doing this opensource investigation was, can we find any data in the public domain that would add a little bit of substance to that suspicion? And they did, for example people found child porn message boards, where people were using coded speech, even using some of the same coded speech that they found in the Podesta emails. Other people dug through the Twitter and Instagram post that these guys were connected with and found all this really bizarre pedo related weird sexual stuff with all this pizza imagery attached to it. I don’t want to or need to get real graphic here, because it’s still all out there, it’s very easy to find and it’s way, way over the top.
So, if that’s the data for the pedo thing, we might ask, where does it lead? I mean, does it lead to a criminal conviction of sex crimes against children for these people? Clearly not as you’re about to hear in the interview that I’ve done with undercover FBI agent Bob Hamer. These are some of the most difficult crimes to get a conviction on. But I’d like to establish that there’s a different criteria here when we come to trying to measure this and let me throw it out there and see what you think. Would you let John Podesta babysit your children? Would one out of a thousand people, who isn’t a registered sex offender, let any of these people come close to any children they really care about? No fricking way. You know that, I know that and in this case, given that this is just the court of public opinion, is that equivalent to maybe a [Paraviewed 00:16:42] study of whether there is any real connection between these guys and really, really inappropriate behavior involving children?
Hey, but before I get off the data part of this thing, let’s talk about the data as it relates to the occult thing, because I haven’t really even talked about that, because that is established. I mean Marina Abramović, the woman behind the whole Spirit Cooking thing, has publicly stated, “Yeah, this is occult stuff, this is trying to marshal and manage the energies of the spiritual world to get them to do things that you want them to do, whether you deem that to be good or bad.” The problem with her admission and why everyone wanted to reframe it and say, “Oh no, this is just performance art,” which by the way, she says in that statement, she goes, “Look, in an artistic setting it’s performance art, but all the rest of the time it’s occult magic,” and anyone who’s familiar with occult magic looks at it for five seconds and says, “That’s occult magic.” The problem is, what do you make of that, what do you think about that? Do you think that’s automatically satanic, do you think that’s automatically bad, do you think that’s automatically a whole bunch of things?
I want to put that to the side and instead focus on three things where I think that data leads. One is that politically it’s game over for anyone associated with that. As we said, you cannot like that but you can’t be involved in [unclear 00:18:15] occult magic and be elected to high office, it doesn’t work.
So that’s one conclusion we can definitely draw from the data and that can therefore explain why people with political aspirations have done everything they can to twist this story around and get away from the story because it’s game over.
The second place it leads us, which I just eluded to, is that it is absolutely impossible for the atheist secular mainstream media to process the spiritual component of this. I mean, it’s a blind spot. The woman has said this is what I’m doing and they just ignore it because it doesn’t fit within their worldview.
But the third place it leads us is maybe the most obvious, if you can get past the first two, and that’s that there are people who practice occult magic in order to affect things in this material world and until we can at least acknowledge that straight on, then we’re just going to kind of dance around in circles, which is what you’ve seen a lot of already.
So, if that’s the data and if that’s where the data leads, then what’s the conspiracy and the look for the conspiracy component of this analysis? Well, there’s really two that we need to talk about and the first one is rather obvious. These emails were released four days before the US presidential election and they sunk Hilary’s already sinking ship. It’s hard to believe that was an accident. I mean, when it comes to US presidential elections voters do not stray too far from the Christian motif, if you will. So any hints of occult related Spirit Cooking stuff, four days before the election, was probably enough to sink Hilary. If not then certainly the innuendo of child sex abuse among her staff sealed the deal. So, this is a conspiracy. I don’t know who’s behind it or what the real agenda was but hey, that’s part of a conspiracy we’re not supposed to know.
But there’s a second conspiracy involved here that I want you to take a look at, because while I’ve been rattling on about coded emails and opensource investigations, some of you have been thinking, “But wait a minute, Pizzagate is about some crazy guy who shot up a pizza restaurant, that’s Pizzagate,” and in a way you’re right, because that’s certainly what Pizzagate has become. Any Google search will tell you that Pizzagate is number one, a debunked conspiracy theory and number two, something that caused this wacky, dangerous conspiracy theorist to shoot up a pizza restaurant. End of story, move on. But there’s a couple of problems with this scenario. First, none of this was ever really debunked but Dustin never explained his strangely coded emails, why he enjoyed graphic pedophilia themed art and why he had close friends like serial child molester like Dennis Hastert around and continued to send him emails.
Then there’s the thousands and thousands of posts I was talking about and documents uncovered in the opensource investigation and interestingly, and I never hear people mention this, but that was all in the process of being shut down a couple of days before the shooting, when Reddit, without any precedent or explanation closed this enormous Pizzagate thread that had been accumulating.
Then a few days later on December 4th there was the shooting in the pizza restaurant and most folks got the message and if they’re investigating Pizzagate they went running for cover and who can blame them, right?
So let me with that wrap up this introduction and move onto my interview today with ex-undercover FBI agent Bob Hamer and I’m pretty confident that you’ll see how this relates to all this crazy stuff I’ve been talking about here, but just in case you don’t, I have a couple of additional thoughts that I’ll throw out there in the wrap up after the interview.
Here’s my interview with Bob Hamer.
Alex Tsakiris: Today we welcome Bob Hamer to Skeptiko. Bob was a special agent with the FBI for 26 years, he was also a judge advocate in the Marine Corp and as an attorney he tried cases ranging from murder to petty theft. He’s also an accomplished and an award winning author. He’s here today to talk about his book, The Last Undercover: The True Story of an FBI Agent’s Dangerous Dance with Evil, and also we may talk about his work with the organization Veterans for Child Rescue.
Bob, welcome to Skeptiko, thank you so much for joining me.
Bob Hamer: Alex, thanks for having me on, I appreciate it.
Alex Tsakiris: So, would you like to briefly add to that bio that I sketched out again? Maybe you can fill in some of the details, particularly with some of your undercover work you did while in the FBI.
Bob Hamer: Yeah, I was really fortunate, I found my niche in the FBI. As you mentioned, I spent four years on active duty in the Marine Corp and I was a judge advocate, I was a lawyer. I laugh because the Marines didn’t consider me a Marine and the lawyers didn’t consider me a lawyer and even though I’d gone through Officer Candidate School and the six month Officer Basic School. I’d already attended law school, but I was a judge advocate and the Marines weren’t going to allow me to change my MOS if I wanted to stay in and quite frankly I hated being a lawyer. I mean, every case we had there was always a procedural issue. I kind of grew up in that Perry Mason generation where I assumed everyone was innocent and at some point during the middle of the trial some guy came bailing through the backdoor going, “I did it, I did it,” but everybody was guilty it was just a matter of whether procedurally you could convict them. So whether you were on the prosecution side of the table or the defense side, it was whether the search was legal, whether the confession is admissible and I was bored stiff in the courtroom.
Fortunately for me the FBI was looking for lawyers and I applied and got in and man, I loved it and I quickly, within about six months of being within the FBI I had my first undercover assignment and man, I was hooked then. I had that adrenalin rush and I spent many of my 26 years in the Bureau in undercover capacity. So I’ve played the role of a contract killer, I’ve been a high-level drug dealer, I’ve been a street-level drug user, I’ve been an international arms dealer. I mean, I’ve played all the different roles, I’ve always said, I’ve been through about 12 different personalities and enjoyed every one of them.
Alex Tsakiris: Fascinating. So tell us in particular about this book and the case that’s behind it, The Last Undercover.
Bob Hamer: Yeah, you know I really had no desire to ever write a book. I say that a lot of defense counsellors claimed I was a great fiction writer but they were always referring to my affidavits that I wrote against their clients, but I really didn’t have any desire to write a book. But I got involved in an organization called NAMBLA, it’s the North American Man/Boy Love Association.
Alex Tsakiris: You got involved through your work as a special agent with the FBI?
Bob Hamer: Yeah, yeah as an FBI agent and a lot of people always thought it was a joke, it was an episode on South Park, I know Howard Stern used to talk about it and I believed people thought, “Oh, there can’t be such an organization that exists like this.” Well, there really was.
My involvement with NAMBLA originally started sort of by the backdoor. One of the fun things about working undercover is you have to assume a variety of roles, which means you’ve got to be strong enough and smart enough to play a role that is believable. So at various times, I mean at one point I was kind of an expert on western art, I have forgotten everything about it that I learned for that particular undercover assignment. I’ve had to learn about specific weapons or about investments or about real estate, just depending upon what the undercover role was.
Well, in this particular case the FBI had arrested a guy back in Knoxville, Tennessee who’s been involved in child pornography and when they searched his computer they found that he had taken video of himself having sex with boys over in Thailand. When they investigated further they found out that he had gone over to Thailand as part of a sex tour, an organized sex tour, that put together by a travel agent in Los Angeles.
At the time I was an FBI agent in Los Angeles. Los Angeles was tasked by headquarters to investigate this travel agent. So, I was called in because I was a certified undercover agent to work this travel agent. I like to joke, when the case agent first approached me it was, “Hey, we need an undercover agent, it involved sex tours to Thailand,” and I said, “Hey, sign me up if the government’s going to pay for my massages over there, I’ll do it.” Well then he said, “No, this is for boy lovers, BLs, these are for men who are sexually attracted to boys and these men fly from the United States over to Thailand to engage in sex acts with these kids.” So, I signed up.
You have to understand, let me back up just a little bit so your listeners understand. In the FBI it’s not like television, the supervisor doesn’t walk out into the squad bay and says, “Hey, who wants to be a pedophile today?” and some guy raises his hand and he says, “Okay, you’re going to go undercover as a pedophile.” In the Bureau, there are probably 12,000 to 13,000 agents, depending on what period of time we’re talking about. Only those that are certified to work undercover can do the undercover work. So typically there may only be 100 to 150 agents that are certified to work undercover. Not every FBI agent wants to work undercover, a lot of great agents have no desire to work undercover. Some agents that apply for the undercover program can’t get through the initial screening process. Then there’s a two-week in service that the Bureau wants you to think it’s like BUDs training or boot camp or Marine Corp Office Candidate School, it’s not, but a lot of guys can’t get through that two-week undercover in service that they have, because it’s stressful and they want to see how you react to stress.
Then guys that graduate that are certified to work undercover may only work one or two assignments because they don’t like the hours, they don’t like the pressure, they move up in management. So at any one time there may only be 100 to 150 people that are certified to work undercover and there weren’t a whole lot of us on the west coast.
So I like to joke that towards the end of my career I was getting all the IOU assignments. If they needed someone that was impotent, old or ugly, they were calling on me. So that’s how I got involved. I was contacted because I was a certified undercover agent, “Do you want to work this travel agent case?”
Alex Tsakiris: Well, let’s talk about this topic a little bit though, because I understand you’re joking with it and we’ve got to kind of lighten it up a little bit because sex crimes against children is something that a lot of people just won’t talk about. I mean, if you want to clear a room talk about 10 year old boys being raped by 50 year old men. But I guess I think that the whole reason we’re having this dialog here, and I suspect that part of the reason why you wrote this book, is that it is something we have to face or we wind up with all sorts of craziness where otherwise intelligent, well-meaning people are saying some just rather ridiculous stuff that sounds like it’s in defense of this behavior or somehow normalizing it or minimalizing it. Do you have sense, do you have any feeling after having gone through this, does that bug you when you see that going on, or do you see that going on?
Bob Hamer: No, you’re absolutely right, you’re spot on with your evaluation. The book was written because I was so disgusted by this undercover assignment. I’ve had more dangerous assignments, I’ve had a contract put out on my life, I’ve shot people, I’ve been shot at. I was the undercover agent in the LA mafia family case, there is no LA mafia anymore, we wiped out the top 15 members of the LA mafia. I mean, I’ve been involved in some pretty dangerous undercover assignments but this was my most disgusting assignment and this was my most difficult assignment and having spent three years in the organization, not on a daily basis when I was meeting with these people, but over a three year period, conversing with them, meeting with them face to face, writing letters to those that were in prison and eventually convicting eight members of the group’s inner circle, I was so disgusted by what I had seen, so disturbed by the communication that I had with these men, listening to them tell about what they had done to kids, what they wanted to do to little boys, I needed to write about this, maybe for catharsis on my part but really to expose to the world, to let the world know about this boy lover agenda.
A lot of people can’t read the book, you’re absolutely right, it’s like, “Oh I want to bury my head in the sand and I don’t even want to talk about this,” and now you’re seeing this whole pedophilia is becoming the next civil rights issue.
Alex Tsakiris: Yeah, and that’s strange and I want to stop and explore that for a minute, because I do get the sense that there are some otherwise intelligent, well-meaning people who just kind of get vapor lock on this. I’ve give you a small example. I was working on an interview for the show and I was in contact with a woman who was the co-author with someone who’d been on the show and I like and respect and we started talking a little bit about this prominent political figure that was linked to this kind of pedophilia sex crime thing and the net result is she says, “I think that what goes on between people in the bedroom should be private,” and I was like, “No wait a minute, no sane person equates that statement with pedophilia,” yet I get the sense, and I’d like to get your view on this, that it’s kind of been mixed up in our culture and in the way the media communicates it to where people actually kind of say things like that without really kind of thinking it through.
Bob Hamer: Well, I agree with you. I hope that she wasn’t thinking it through, but as I saw in NAMBLA… Now, you have to understand, the whole purpose of the North American Man/Boy Love Association, it is a 501(c) I think, I shouldn’t say that, it is an organization that is protected by the first amendment because on paper their mission to abolish age of consent laws.
Alex Tsakiris: Explain that a little bit.
Bob Hamer: Yeah, so your listeners understand. Most nations, every state in the United States has a minimum age of consent law. In other words, if a 50 year old man has sex with an 18 year old, that’s okay if the age of consent law is 18. Now, what you see in NAMBLA was, their mission was to abolish the age of consent law, they wanted to just do away with it completely and say, “Look, if two consenting people are doing this, then it’s okay.”
Now, let’s take it one step further. When you hear that on the surface, ‘two consenting people’ similar to what your guest said, you know, what people do in the bedroom is okay, so when we’re talking about two consenting people we’re talking about two 30 year olds or a 40 year old and a 20 year old, you know, that’s one thing. NAMBLA talks about intergenerational sex. So you think about a 50 year old and a 30 year old, okay that’s fine. But they want to abolish all age of consent, so they believe that as long as you’re consenting, regardless of your age, it should be okay.
Alex Tsakiris: Bob, let me just interject. Two things here so we don’t get too far afield. I want people to understand. The case that you investigated, you investigated men, like 40 or 50 year old men who were planning to have sex with 10 year old boys, right?
Bob Hamer: Exactly, yes.
Alex Tsakiris: So, I mean we can get into the legal technicalities and stuff like that, I mean, I think we’ve got to kind of come down to that and understand, there’s all this grey area about consent and we hear about these horror stories of people who do wind up in a situation that we can have empathy for. I’m a dad, I don’t know about you, I have four kids, I remember when my boys were 10 year olds, I remember when my girls were 10 year olds, the idea of someone raping them at that age or somehow tricking them, it’s soul crushing, it’s psyche crushing. I mean, I want it to be clear, that’s what you were investigating. You weren’t getting into 15 year olds or 16 year olds.
Bob Hamer: I wasn’t getting into 15 year olds, I’m just trying to give the listeners an idea of where the line is drawn.
Alex Tsakiris: And the other thing is, the NAMBLA thing is bullshit right? I mean, it was bullshit, they’re not really interested in that.
Bob Hamer: NAMBLA, during my three years there was no effort at any time to abolish age of consent laws. There was no legislative effort, there was no movement to write letters to your congressman or your legislators. All this organization was designed to do was for like-minded men to get together and to talk about where they could go to have sex with little boys and how they could seduce little boys. That was the whole purpose of this organization, even though on paper it was to abolish the age of consent laws.
Alex Tsakiris: That kind of leads into what I really wanted to accomplish, along with telling people about this book and these other organizations that you’re a part of to try and help improve this situation is, I want to tap into your expertise and experience in working on these crimes. I mean, be clear that they’re crimes, we’re talking about crimes. But maybe to dispel some of these myths and at the same time identify some of the patterns that go along with this criminal behavior. Tell folks about the Toys R Us story.
Bob Hamer: Yeah, when I first joined the organization it was to provide me backstopping for this travel agent case we were investigating. So I was trying to figure out, “Okay, this is a boy lover movement, I’ve got to think like them, I’ve got to talk like them, I’ve got to convince this travel agent that I’m one of them, so I joined NAMBLA. During my research I came across NAMBLA, it’s an organization, you can send in $35 and now you’re essentially a card carrying member. So I joined the organization.
Soon after I had joined I received some emails, “We have prisoners, we have members that are in prison, can you send Christmas cards to our in prison members?” So I sent Christmas cards. Then it was like, “We have a pen pal program, can you write letters?” So I started corresponding with some of these members and the correspondence for the most part was disgusting.
Now, I find out that they were having their national meeting in San Francisco. Now, you have to understand Alex, when this organization first started they had very open meetings, they were meeting in libraries and public buildings because it was deemed part of this sexual revolution and a movement that was part of the sexual revolution. They were marching in the Gay Pride parades and openly marching in those parades. Then there was a ground swell that forced this group to go essentially underground.
So these meetings, I wanted to go to this meeting in San Francisco, I was told, “No, you haven’t been a member long enough and you have to be sponsored by another member. Usually it takes three years before we’ll invite you to one of our meetings,” because they’d had so much exposure, so much adverse exposure in the past.
When I finally get invited and what happened was, I was working on the Joint Terrorism Task Force but I was still in this organization. I was corresponding with the members, I was sending them Christmas cards, I wrote articles for their magazine The NAMBRA Bulletin. All of a sudden I get invited to their New York meeting that they were having the next year. So San Francisco I wasn’t invited to, now when they have their New York meeting I’m invited to that and it’s over Veterans Day weekend. I go back to New York, we meet at Grand Central Station.
Now, as I mentioned before, I’ve targeted some pretty tough organizations, the mafia, Asian organized crime groups, Russian organized crime groups, street gangs, I’ve never met a more paranoid group than this.
So, our initial meeting on Friday night, we were to meet at Grand Central Station at the dining concourse. They weren’t going to announce where the meeting was taking place until that night, they didn’t want to give law enforcement any chance to set up and raid the meeting or take photographs of those members who were going into the meeting and everything. So their security was that tight.
Well, that night, while we were in the Grand Central Station, congregating around, the, kind of the leader of the group, they don’t have a president but kind of the guy who was taking charge of the organization was a fellow named Peter Melzer, he was a schoolteacher back in New York City before he got fired because of his associations with NAMBLA, he asked if we wanted to take a tour of Times Square.
So, we begin this walk from Grand Central Station down to Times Square and as we are getting closer I can begin to feel the excitement, I mean it’s like going to a UFC football game or you could sense, sort of this excitement on the part of the members and all of a sudden we come to Toys R Us and these guys, as we walk in, they run to the railing and Toys R Us is closed now in Times Square, but they had a 60-foot indoor Ferris wheel and these men ran to the railing and stood at the railing and watched these boys going around on the Ferris wheel and pointing out the different boys based upon what clothes they were wearing and talking about, “Oh that kid in the number 32 jersey, this is what I’d like to do with them,” and were getting pretty explicit with the sex acts that they wanted to do to these little boys. I say this, had I not been undercover, had I walked past them and heard these men talking like that I would have thrown them off the railing, I mean, it was so disgusting what they were doing. It demonstrated to me that parents, well-meaning parents who’d brought their children to a public arena were providing eye candy for these pedophiles and these sick perverts talking about what they really wanted to do to these little boys.
Alex Tsakiris: And this is not a crime?
Bob Hamer: No, no, it was not a crime, they were not acting out upon it, they were just saying what they wanted to do.
Alex Tsakiris: You see because, I think we can spend a lot of time and energy worrying about what’s a crime. Now, I realize as an FBI, a special agent for the FBI, that’s your job working with the district attorney that’s your job. Like you said earlier about one of the things you disliked about being a lawyer, it seemed like you spent all your time on procedural issues.
So, I want to get your opinion, kind of a little bit outside of your experience as an FBI agent, but this distinction between, kind of common sense, you know, like common sense says, “Hey, I’d throw these guys off the rail.” I mean, these are disgusting people that are going to act out these crimes against these defenseless kids versus I understand your role as an FBI agent but in the terms of public discourse, I think sometimes we get hung up on proving a crime, which is what we should do before we incarcerate somebody versus the court of public opinion when the evidence is highly suggestive that these individuals or a particular individual is involved in this kind of behavior. Do you have a sense for where I’m going with that?
Bob Hamer: Well, I think it’s important that we understand what these people are doing and how they’re thinking because as we mentioned just a little earlier in this interview, there is a movement afoot to describe pedophilia as a civil rights issue and the next civil rights issue, so there’s a movement to remove pedophilia from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual or the DSM-5.
Alex Tsakiris: Right.
Bob Hamer: Just as homosexuality was removed in the 60s I believe. Now there is a movement afoot by professionals, this isn’t just somebody that doesn’t know what they’re talking about, these are psychiatrists, psychologists with advanced degrees that believe that we should remove this as a mental disease and disorder.
Alex Tsakiris: So I’m a little bit familiar with that, my wife is a forensic psychologist and she actually has worked in prison. One thing I just wanted to throw in about her work that she educated me on, you know, you hear about how sex offenders are treated in prison and I wasn’t sure whether that was myth or not and I know from my wife she said, “No, that is like totally real,” and maybe you want to talk about that too. But I mean, you can’t even say ‘low person on the totem pole’ in prison, I mean, these people are at risk of losing their life, that’s how much they’re loathed by even the prison population, right?
Bob Hamer: Well in some prisons it’s true. The kind of gentler federal system now, we’ve actually established in Butner in North Carolina at the federal prison there is where a lot of the sex offenders go so that they are kind of housed in the same arena. One for safety but also for counselling and rehabilitation allegedly. But yeah, we used to joke when we would arrest a sex offender, we’d say he’d probably agree to plead guilty to bank robbery for 10 years than a sex offence for 5 years, because he’d rather have the inmates believe he was a bank robber than a sex offender, particularly a child molester.
Alex Tsakiris: So, let me touch on another thing that’s kind of part of the story that you told and maybe you can elaborate on it, but another characteristic we see is that these folks like to associate with each other, they like to get together with other pedophiles, even if it’s just to exchange images of child porn of if it’s to exchange techniques in terms of how to get kids and stuff like that. Maybe you want to talk to this, but you end up work with a diverse, if you will, group of individuals across a political spectrum, across an outwardly spiritual perspective, I mean speak to that, you know what I’m getting at.
Bob Hamer: Yeah, what I found in this organization was it ran the gamut of the social economic perspectives. I met Manson members, I met the illiterate, I met wealthy people, I met people that were on welfare. One of the guys that we ended up convicting was a dentist, he actually flew to the meeting in Miami in his own plane. We arrested a PhD psychologist. So the people that we convicted in our operation, we had a PhD psychologist who worked at two Chicago area hospitals, a dentist from Dallas, we have three special ed. teachers, we had an ordained minister, we had a blue collar worker and we had a body builder personal fitness trainer. So it did run that gamut.
Now, in my communications with imprisoned NAMBLA members, I mean I had airline pilots, school administrators, ministers, barely literate people, foster parents, I mean it just ran the entire educational gamut and economic gamut.
Alex Tsakiris: You know, you talked about all the correspondence that you did with these inmates and these other members, can you speak to anything about… because you did speak to the extent to which they go to hide this behavior, because not only as a criminal but the scorn that it gets just from the public is… I’m sure you worked on other cases with mafia organized crime where people are more or less kind of proud as long as they don’t get caught of the fact that they have this association, not so much the case here. So can you speak to coded speech, coded emails, coded communication and that kind of thing?
Bob Hamer: Yeah, we did have in some of the communication, one of the guys that we ended up convicting was a former special ed. teacher, he ended up getting 30 years in our investigation but when they searched his trash they found communication like, “I saw a sidewinder today, like a size 8,” and we believe that he was speaking in code when he was writing it. In the letters that I was getting back and forth with these guys and the emails, they were talking in code. In fact part of our sting was, when they had originally set it up they wanted to go down to Costa Rica to see if they could find some boys down there, well the FBI, we wanted to be in charge of this, so I told them that I was aware of a place in Ensenada, down below Ensenada that we could go. So it was always referred to as a fishing trip that we were going to as opposed to going down to have little boys.
So yeah, there was coded messages that they used in their discussions with each other and in our written communication.
Alex Tsakiris: Bob, let’s talk about evil, your title of your book is The Last Undercover: The True Story of an FBI Agent’s Dangerous Dance with Evil. You’re a Christian, I am not, but I believe there’s evil, I believe there’s evil both in this world and beyond this world, whatever we understand that to be. Here’s the question though, do you think our inability, our apparent inability to deal with that idea, that there is an evil, or even to address these topics from some kind of spiritual perspective, spiritual dimension, do you think that prevents us or inhibits us from really making progress on some kind of solution, some kind of better way of dealing with this?
Bob Harmer: Well I think with a lot of issues that’s true. We’re afraid to speak out because it’s not politically correct or because we’re viewed as being judgmental. I do believe there’s certain conduct that is evil and should be labelled as such and we shouldn’t be afraid to talk about it. I mean, kind of going back to this whole pedophilia and making that a civil rights issue, I think once that is made a civil rights issue it’s going to make a huge change as to how this is viewed.
Who would have guessed three or four years ago that we would be talking about transsexuals and men being allowed to go into the restrooms of women. Now we talk about that, not because of the transsexual but because it’s a civil right because of the idea that while there are people that are this way, that are born this way, we shouldn’t be judgmental because this is the way they are created so we should allow this. That’s what the whole movement is with this pedophilia as I see it, it’s because they’re saying, “Well, people are born this way or people choose to be this way and who are we to judge?” We can look at other societies where this is okay and I saw this NAMBLA, they are blaming a moralistic society for making this behavior that was so prevalent in the Greek society, in Ancient Greek society and in societies even today in other potentially third world countries where this is permitted, so it should be permitted here in the United States.
Alex Tsakiris: Right, so I think we’re almost there on the same page, I mean, there is this kind of secular atheist, really nonsense. I mean, to 90% of people, if you go and poll people anywhere you can, 90% of them would say in some general sense, “I believe in God,” whatever that means or, “I believe that there’s a good/evil, that there’s some kind of morality.” I don’t know the statistics but I’m sure that I you polled those same people about whether or not there’s a morality issue with 50 year old men having sex with 10 year old boys, I think you’d have the same kind of numbers, you know, 99%. So, this is some kind of nonsense that I don’t know how it gets advanced because no sane person is thinking that this is a civil rights issue or that this secular atheist kind of, there is no possible way that we can get to the bottom of whether there’s a right or wrong, this issue in particular really brings it into focus because you couldn’t get one out of a hundred people to buy that.
Bob Hamer: At some point the majority, the vast majority of us recognize perversion. In this particular case, of the eight members that we convicted, seven that agreed to go on this little jaunt down to Mexico, every one of them spoke of having anal sex with 10 to 12 year old boys, that’s what they wanted to do. I don’t know how anyone, just as you had said earlier Alex, how can anyone say that is not evil, that that’s okay if the boy say it’s okay? How do you even justify that?
Alex Tsakiris: And I’d go one step further and I don’t want to push you into saying this but I think it’s evil in this spiritual way that we don’t totally understand. I mean, you and I might not see totally eye to eye on that but I think there’s a spiritual force here at play and I think it’s influencing and it’s not just people who identify as being of satanic, rituals, satanic kind of abusers, it’s people who don’t identify to that but are still somehow being influenced to engage in this behavior. Now that’s my opinion, I don’t want to hang that on you, but I think that until we are at least willing to explore that possibility, I just think we have zero chance, zero chance of really getting our arms around this.
Bob Hamer: Yeah.
Alex Tsakiris: Okay, I’m not going to lead you into that one unless you have anything to say about that.
Bob Hamer: No.
Alex Tsakiris: Okay, so one last thing on this case and then I want to talk about some of the other groups you’re involved with and actually trying to make a difference, I know this is a horribly serious issue but I got to chuckle out of the way you kind of introduced, I guess you call it gallows humor in some of this, you’re a fantastic writer, very accomplished. You haven’t only written this book but you’ve written other very successful books and you’re very accomplished at that, but you wound up writing articles for these folks to somehow work your way into an organization. What is this one, Castration: Myth or Miracle? I don’t what the titles are, I know when I heard it I just couldn’t stop laughing.
Bob Hamer: Yeah, Castration: Myth or Magic. Part of it is, you have to understand, and you’ve seen this, I’m sure your wife sees this with what she’s been through in forensic psychology, but humor is a great stress reliever, and so I use that and I believe that as a leader it’s important that you provide humor in a relaxed atmosphere in which you can work and whether it’s gallows humor, whether it’s combat humor or whatever it is, you just have to laugh to allow this. So I wrote that.
One of the things I used to do in most of my undercover assignments, I use music and I would play… I had an international weapons case where we were dealing with a $60 million conspiracy for shoulder fired missiles. About six or seven times, the main target of our investigation, when he got into my undercover car, every time he got into the car I had a cue to the Charlie Daniels’ song, Uneasy Rider and the first line on every undercover tape that you hear, it’s Charlie Daniels saying, “Don’t you know it, this man’s a spy, he’s an undercover agent for the FBI,” and that’s a line right from Uneasy Rider. When I had the bad guys in the car I would be playing Folsom Prison Blues and Jailhouse Rock, anything that had a prison theme, I would play it.
When one of the NAMBLA members got into my car and he was actually an ordained minister, I had a cue to a Charlie Daniels’ song called Simple Man and essentially the line is, “We should take these child molesters out to the swamp, put them on their knees and tie them to a stump and let the alligators and the bugs do all the rest.” So I had my own sound track when I was doing it.
I bought two kilos of crystal meth from a guy and I had it timed perfectly. So just as he was handing it to me and explaining it and the details of the case I had Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes singing, “If you don’t know me by now, you will never ever know me.”
Alex Tsakiris: So Bob, you’ve written this book, amongst other books that you’ve written, The Last Undercover, people can find it at bobhamer.net. Tell us a little bit about your work with this group Veterans For Child Rescue and what you’re trying to do there.
Bob Harmer: Yeah, I’ve known Craig Sawyer for several years now and have always appreciated his work. I’m sure most of your listeners are familiar with him, if not he’s a former member of SEAL Team Six. He was a Marine first and then a member of SEAL Team Six. Been a US air marshal involved with some television shows, both as a technical advisor. He was involved in a series in which they went after predators, animal predators over in Africa and he just has a passion to save children and to help children and he started this group. It’s vets4childrescue.org and what he wants to do is he wants to expose this whole issue of child abuse and what we’re finding is that there are people that are getting away with this because of their position in society and obviously there have been recent people coming out in Hollywood talking about the pedophile issue in Hollywood and the child abuse and some are getting caught and some aren’t and I think Craig wants to shine a light on this whole child abuse issue.
It should be our mission, it should be each of our missions to protect our children. Trite as it may sound they are out future and if we don’t protect them, who is? So that’s what he wants to do with vets4childrescue. It’s a 501(c), you can donate to it. The idea is that he wants to start first with a documentary, identifying the issues and then hope that this can be picked up and go into a series where they would be targeting pedophiles and exposing them.
Alex Tsakiris: Well it’s important work and as we said early on, I mean, you’re to be commended, your service is great, but then your willingness to go, to be that guy that when they came out to the pool there and said, “Who’ll take this case?” to take it on, because it’s not easy, I’m sure it soul crushes a lot of people. So that’s awesome.
Bob Hamer: Well you know Alex, as I said earlier, this is my most difficult case, this was, because I’d posed as a contract killer, I’d posed as a drug dealer and when you’re a contract killer, I mean, when someone’s hiring me they don’t care whether I’m republican or democrat or I look football or the ballet, they just want to know that, if they’re hiring me to kill someone that I can do it. In my undercover role, let me make that clear to your listeners. The same with the drug dealer. Drug dealers don’t really care what your beliefs are as long as you have the money to purchase the drugs. But in this particular case, in the NAMBLA case, I had to think like them, I had to talk like them, I had to act like them.
A good example was the dentist that I talked about, he bragged about how he had taped a Sylvan learning commercial and not because he thought it could help his kids learn how to read better, it was because he was in love with the little boy on the commercial. These members love the movie Lord of the Flies because there was a bunch of little boys running around in their underwear. So I had to think like that and so it made it very difficult. I am a raging heterosexual, I have been married for 43 years, I’ve never cheated on my wife, but one of the meetings we had down in Boca Raton, Florida, it was a beautiful evening, women were running around in beachwear, I mean gorgeous women and I couldn’t look at them because I was a boy lover, I was a BL and while we were sitting out there on the outdoor patio of a restaurant and these women are parading up and down the street, these guys are going, “Oh my gosh, look at that kid in the blue shirt, this is what I want to do to him. Let’s play the dating game, who do you want to ask out, who do you want to do, who do you want to do?” That’s what they were talking about. So that whole while I’m sitting there, I have to be focused like them and think like them and I can’t get caught slipping.
Now, I will say, on particular day they were arguing about where we should go to dinner. There was a group of us that were down there, “Where do we go to dinner?” I did suggest Hooters and I said, “I think we should go to Hooters because the cops have figures no boy lovers would ever go to Hooters,” but I was voted down on that suggestion.
Alex Tsakiris: Oh fantastic.
Our guest again has been Bob Hamer, the book you might want to check out is The Last Undercover. You can get it of course on Amazon and you can check out Bob’s website bobhamer.net.
Bob fantastic. Thank you so much for joining me today.
Bob Hamer: Alex, I appreciate you having me on and thanks for talking about this topic, it’s not one that a lot of people want to talk about and this is one that we need to know, we need to protect our children and I appreciate you doing this.
Thanks again to Bob Hamer for joining me today on Skeptiko. I said I’d have a couple of additional thoughts, let me throw those out in the form of a question, the kind that I usually tee up at the end of these interviews. Do you think people are ever influenced by evil spirits?
Now I know question’s pretty stark and it probably throws people off but that’s why I took 20 minutes of an intro to explain why that question is, I think, a natural result of all these shows, all these investigations we’ve done of consciousness, of near-death experience, of psi research, of all of that. At the end of the day one of the questions that falls out is, if there is this extended consciousness realm, in what ways is it influencing this material world?
Again, the advantage of looking at Pizzagate or Bob’s case with NAMBLA, is that I think we can all agree in these cases we’re looking at evil. The moral ambiguity question is really off the table. There are some people that do really, really evil things and I suspect that there’s an as below/so above kind of thing going on here too.