Welcome to the eight installment in my epic examination of the involvement of the far right in "high weirdness." Over the course of this series I have used "high weirdness" as a catchall for a host of arcane topics ranging from psi, psychedelics, UFOs, human potential and the occult. As for the far right, I have largely examined them through the lens of think tanks closely aligned to the American military-industrial complex such as the Committee on the Present Danger Mach I (CPD) and the infamous American Security Council (ASC).
|famed UFOlogists J. Allen Hynek (left) and Jacques Vallee (right)|
"Although the ASC began as an antilabor operation with support from Sears... and other businesses, it soon became involved in foreign policy issues. It cosponsored a series of annual meetings from 1955 to 1961 called National Military-Industrial Conferences in which elements of the Pentagon, National Security Council, and organizations linked to the CIA discussed cold war strategy with leaders of many large corporations, such as United Fruit, Standard Oil, Honeywell, U.S. Steel, and of course, Sears Roebuck. Robert Wood was the key organizer of these events. One conference 'cooperating organization' was the CIA-linked Foreign Policy Research Institute.
"The Institute's foreign policy thesis during this period was spelled out in a book, A Forward Strategy for America by Robert Strausz-Hupe, William R. Kintner, and Stefan T. Possony. In discussing nuclear-option scenarios in a hypothetical expanding U.S.-Soviet conflict, the book makes the following statement:
Even at a moment when the United States faces defeat because, for example, Europe, Asia and Africa have fallen to communist domination, a sudden nuclear attack against the Soviet Union could at least avenge the disaster and deprive the opponent of the ultimate triumph. While such a reversal at the last moment almost certainly would result in severe American casualties, it might still nullify all previous Soviet conquests.
(Old Nazis, New Right, and the Republican Party, Russ Bellant, pgs. 33-35)
Having the weapons capability to destroy the planet many times over would become a major obsession of Possony's, as we shall see. As might be expected, the ASC liked what they saw in Possony's thesis and he would officially become a member of the ASC's National Strategy Committee in 1962. This association would last for decades.
|Edward Teller (left) and his former boss in the NDRC, Vannevar Bush (right)|
"Although not well documented, there are just enough fragments of information to make it legitimate at least to mention another Pentagon figure and his activities around this period. This man was Stefan Possony, and he ran a 'Special Study Group' right inside General Samford's office. This group was quite involved with UFOs. What was this all about? How could a special study group be going on in the highest office of the Air Force Intelligence?...
"In 1951 Possony was regularly involved at very high levels the intelligence community. Late in that year, he was in General Samford's office as the brain trust behind something called the Special Study Group. The exact purpose of the group is not known for certain, but it may have been exactly as stated in a Memorandum for Record (anonymously written by Possony or Lt. Col. E Sterling, the military chief) of April 29, 1952. This is an astonishing memorandum of 5 1/2 pages entirely about Special Study Group thinking and why Sterling and Possony should go to Europe to assess certain possible threats to national security.
"The memo states that the Air Force is pursuing technology at an accelerating pace and the Soviets will be doing so as well. The main area of unpredictability is not the weapons themselves but the types and effectiveness of their delivery systems. Because of the pace of advances, we cannot be sure of where the Soviets are. Then it says this:
The Special Study Group has undertaken a comprehensive study of Russian capabilities in the field of advanced aerial delivery systems, the strategic implications, and probable timetables as to development and operational availability. As an important side product, it is hoped that some much needed light can be shed on the vexing 'flying saucer' problem.
"The text goes on to enumerate the technologies that Sterling and Possony would investigate. The list included 'flying saucers,' and addressed them specifically:
In connection with flying saucers, the Group is attempting to develop a proper framework for fruitful analysis. The Air Force cannot assume that flying saucers are of non-terrestrial origin, and hence, they could be Soviet.
"The rest of the memorandum was an extended set of reasons why the working hypothesis that the saucers were a nascent Soviet delivery system must not be ignored. In the narrative, one case example was utilized to make the argument that, whereas the behavior of the objects was beyond U.S. capability, it was not beyond theoretical capability, and therefore could have been an advanced terrestrially produced device. This argument was based on the sightings reported to Commander McLaughlin by Charles Moore and the General Mills balloon team. Possony used this case study with explicit faith in the reality of its details, including the velocity estimates at slightly greater than gravitational escape velocity, which he found significant. Possony and Sterling believed such sources were not from outer space, based on the testimony of astronomers that indicated that the astronomers would have seen the objects coming.
"Possony and Sterling returned from Europe in about five weeks and had become convinced that the discs were not Soviet, after all. Possony, however remained interested in the phenomenon. He, according to Ruppelt, attended many relevant Pentagon meetings and always severely challenged persons dismissive of the reality of the incidents. He asked his civilian assisting, Les Rosenweig, to bring together materials for desktop studies on topics such as the possible propulsion systems used by the disks, and potential methods to contact him. Possony often put ideas in Major Fournet's ear and may have played a role in his 'motion study' of flying disc maneuverability, from which Fournet concluded that the flight capabilities of UFOs were well beyond terrestrial technology..."
(UFOs and Government: A Historical Inquiry, Michael Swords & Robert Powell, pgs. 150-152)
|possibly Stefan T. Possony|
MRU and its potential ties to the CIA were first exposed in 1980 by A.J. Weberman in an article entitled "Mind Control: The Story of Mankind Research Unlimited, Inc" (which can be found here) that initially appeared in an issue of Covert Action Information Bulletin. Weberman is a highly controversial researcher and much of the information concerning MRU is based upon his initial expose. Thus, everything one encounters concerning MRU should be taken with a heaping grain of salt.
The following information was primarily written by Iona Miller, whose credibility should also be questioned. However, she does appear to be in contact with former employees of MRU, which is more than numerous others who have explored this topic have managed. On MRU and its mysterious director, Dr. Carl W. Schleicher, Miller notes:
"Mankind Research Unlimited, Inc. (MRU, and the later nonprofit Foundation, MRF) was a much less publicized eastcoast thinktank like Stanford Research Institute (SRI). MRU was purchased from parent company SCI on August 13, 1973 to become an independent company with its own Board operating through the Director's lifetime. Located in the Washington, D.C. area, it operated from the early 1970s to 1999. Like SRI, many strange phenomena were investigated and developed there, often at government expense.
"MRU’s Director, Carl W. Schleicher, Ph.D. has been accused, along with Dr. Sidney Gottlieb, of being the mind control mad-genius behind MK Ultra and the ‘Manchurian Candidate’ in both Feral Press (Constantine, 1995) and by A.J. Weberman (1) online. Called the 'Father of the Cyborg,' in CIA Mind Control Operations in the USA, Schleicher heartily denied it to his death in 1999. He was preparing to sue Weberman for theft of MRU files and false allegations, according to close associates.
"All research was conducted on a 'need to know' basis. No one seems able to make a coherent story of it, though rumors about connections of Director Schleicher to MK Ultra run rampant. What is known is he had ten active years of military service (1955-1966) for the Navy as a 'war games expert,' and spy in Europe.
"Sources say he was stationed for a time on the electronic intelligence ship,USS Liberty. He retired shortly before the SigInt ship was mysteriously attacked in the 1967 Six-Day War. He then went into 'exotic areas of knowledge' with a mandate to 'peek discretely into the unknown'. He avoided marriage, saying, 'My mission is different.' He always claimed his mission was 'humanitarian.'
"Schleicher attended the Naval Academy, worked overseas in operations research, and spoke six languages, then went into war games, publishing in The Journal of Electronic Warfare. An interest in dowsing got him into the paranormal - but not dowsing for water – dowsing for Vietcong in tunnels in Khe Sanh for the Marines. This led to a meeting with Ostrander and Schroeder, authors of Psychic Discoveries Behind the Iron Curtain, and the game was afoot. He accepted their unfiltered pile of Soviet research and paid $5000 for translations.
"Schleicher had a gruff military personality. His cohorts included former OSS, CIA and military intelligence officers, physicians, psychologists, scientists, anti-gravity investigators, healers, chemists, psychics, dowsers, and remote viewers. MRU developed a low-frequency electronic device that 'interferes with insects' antennae. But, in typical Schleicher fashion, he tersely declined explanation with a pat answer, 'I can say no more.'..
"MRU's capability and experience is divided into four fields, including biophysics -- Biological Effects of Magnetic Fields,' 'Research in Magneto-fluid Dynamics,' 'Planetary Electro-Hydro-Dynamics' and 'Geo-pathic Efforts on Living Organisms.' The latter focuses on the induction of illness by altering the magnetic nature of the geography. MRU first researched the area of Biological Effects of Magnetic Fields focusing on the induction of illness by altering the magnetic nature of the geography.
"Mankind Research Unlimited distributed a CIA directive, summarized in a brochure on the 'Cybernetic Technique'. It discussed the Agency's development of a 'means by which information in modest rate can be fed to humans utilizing other senses than sight or hearing. 'The Cybernetic Technique,' based on Eastern European research,' involves beaming information to individual nerve cells. The purpose, the directive states, is the enhancement of mental and physical performance. To protect MK Ultra, the CIA subcontracted research and development to universities, prisons, private laboratories and hospitals...
"This inside source discredits accusations of Schleicher working for either the CIA or The Aviary, infamous UFO debukers.He says MRF was associated with Rockefeller Foundation and NSA, producing several books for them. Recent admissions (2) about covert mind control experiments have come from Naval Intelligence. Approval authority is now required for all 'severe or unusual intrusions, either physical or psychological, on human subjects (such as consciousness-altering drugs or mind control techniques),' implying they had done so in the past."
|Carl W. Schleicher|
In addition to Possony, some other curious characters have been linked to MRU include: Christopher Bird, Stanley Krippner and Berthold E. Schwarz, among others. Bird was a writer and anthropologist while both Krippner and Schwarz were psychologists. Unsurprisingly, all three men harbored a keen interest in telepathy.
Bird was even a co-author of The Secret Life of Plants, which addressed the consciousness of vegetation. He was also an authority on dowsing, and is considered to be the premier America authority on it in the second half of the twentieth century. Schwarz had a longstanding interest in UFOlogy, and was highly regarded in the field. He appears to have had a much more esoteric take on the phenomenon that seems to be more in line with ideas of Jacques Vallee.
Krippner was a major advocate of LSD, and was also one of the leading parapsychologist in these United States at the onset of the 1960s counterculture. He performed psi experiments as part of the so-called "Dream Laboratory" that predated both MRU and the more well known research at SRI.
"In his work at the Dream Laboratory at Maimonides Medical Center, Montague Ullman, along with psychologist Stanley Krippner and researcher Charles Honorton, produced compelling evidence that accurate precognitive information can also be obtained in dreams. In their study, volunteers were asked to spend eight consecutive nights at the sleep laboratory, and each night they were asked to try to dream about a picture that would be chosen at random the next day and shown to them. Ullman and his colleagues hoped to get one success out of eight, but found that some subjects could score as many as five 'hits' out of eight."
(Holographic Universe, Michael Talbot, pg. 206)
Unsurprisingly, Possony does not appear to be the only one of these associates with deep state ties either. Christopher Bird has acknowledged that he was employee of the CIA during the 1950s, but it is likely this connection never ended. Curiously, Peter Tompkins, who he co-wrote Secret Life... with Bird, had been an OSS agent during WWII. Bird was also reputedly a member of convicted murderer Ira Einhorn's "psychic mafia."
"... the 'Mind Over Matter' conference that Einhorn organized on the Penn campus in late January 1977. It was one of several gatherings of the psychic mafia that Ira midwifed. The key players were all in attendance. Andrija Puharich, the ringmaster of the paranormal, speaking about the Space Kids. Chris Bird, an expert in odd corners of the paranormal with reputed CIA connections, talking about dowsing, as well as the biological implications dealt with in his best-selling book, The Secret Life of Plants. Tom Bearden, a retired Air Force colonel whose raucous self-published The Excalibur Briefing postulated a grand alternative view of reality, 'a theory of biofields which unites mental phenomena with physics.' The theory also encompassed UFOs and cattle mutilations."
(The Unicorn's Secret, Steven Levy, pgs. 189-190)
Colonel Thomas Bearden, a close associate of Puharich's, was also reputed to have been a member of MRU, but I have been unable to reliably conform this. Still, Bearden may provide some insights into why Possony, a political strategist rather than a psychologist or scientist (unlike the bulk of the other figures involved in MRU), became involved with MRU. The thing Puharich, Bearden, Bird, Possony and longtime MRU director Carl W. Schleicher (and likely Krippner and Schwarz) all seem to have in common is a keen interest in Tesla technology. A lot of MRU's research seems to have involved electromagnetism and was based upon Tesla's theories concerning it.
In some accounts, this is said to be the force behind telepathy.
"Roughly speaking, the conventional picture of electromagnetism is shown by Bearden to be incomplete. Electromagnetism is 'nested' in dimensions deeper than the 3-D world. It arises from supersensible realms of existence or hyperspaces which Bearden refers to as 'nested levels of the virtual state.' The vacuum of space is actually a plenum, according to modern physics. Using the scalar electromagnetic wave, which is prior to the vector electromagnetic wave that produces electromagnetic fields, Bearden says, the vacuum of space itself can be engineered. He shows in quantum physical terms that energy may be produced directly at a distant site or extracted from it, without energy transmission through space. Essentially, beams of pure potential may be deliberately produced and intersected at a distance to cause effects. Thus, the entire range of extra-sensory and psychokinetic phenomena now appear to have an elegant explanation, albeit one which requires a radical modification of classical physics."
(Psychic Warfare, Appendix I, John White, pgs. 217-218)
|Colonel Thomas Bearden|
But beyond this, electromagnetism is also believed to be capable of producing some extremely terrible weapons. And it would appear that this is what lay behind Possony's interest in such things, if articles he wrote such as "Scientific Advances Hold Dramatic Prospects for Psy-Strat" and "The Tesla Connection" for Defense & Foreign Affairs during the early 1980s are any indication.
And that brings us to one of the longstanding obsessions of the ASC.
Space: The Final Defense Contract?
In 1965 an interesting book was published entitled Strike From Space. It dealt with the alleged growing threat of Soviet space-based weapons, and would be one of the first serious tracts bemoaning the gap in such defenses. By the late 1970s, any number of conservative pundits (and even a few members of the "psychic mafia") would join the chorus, pointing to the mythical Soviet advances in a host of futuristic weapons systems. But the first formal salvo appears to have been fired here and it was penned by the recently deceased Dame of Malta Phyllis Schlafly (whose funeral Trump attended) and Admiral Chester Ward, a long time luminary of the American Security Council.
Possony would join the fray in 1970 and would continue to sound the alarm for well over a decade. Eventually he would become one of the chief architects of the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI), more commonly referred to as "Star Wars." The great Institute for the Study of Globalization and Covert Politics (ISGP) provides an excellent run down of the ASC's Possony-driven march towards the weaponization of space:
"One of the most important aspects of the conservative establishment has been its support for space-based weapons. The U.S. effort to develop these type of arms goes back to a 1970 book entitled The Strategy of Technology: Winning the Decisive War. The book was written by Pentagon strategist Dr. Stefan T. Possony. In 1962, during the Cuban Missile Crisis, Possony was invited to join the national strategy committee of the ASC, together with Edward Teller. Both men would serve on the board for more than two decades.
"Possony's book was very popular among hawkish Pentagon officers and became required reading at the Air War College and the National War College. It advocated for the development of a defense program that would be too high-tech and costly for other nations to reproduce or counter without collapsing their economy. Two important projects that grew out of this economy were Strategic Defense Initiative and the stealth program. The latter was developed by companies as Lockheed and Northrop, both corporations with membership in the American Security Council but with little representation on any of the council’s boards. With Strategic Defense Initiative it is somewhat different.
"The principal lobbying firm for SDI, or Star Wars, was High Frontier, set up in 1981 by General Daniel Graham, a member of the national strategy committee of the ASC. His deputy at High Frontier became General Robert C. Richardson III, another member of the strategy committee. General James Abrahamson, a member of the ASC and a visitor of Le Cercle, was director of the Strategic Defense Initiative Organization from 1984 to 1989. Another prominent ASC member was Karl R. Bendetsen, chairman of the SDI Panel for Reagan at the Heritage Foundation from 1980 to 1984. His deputy was General Graham. Edward Teller was also part of the study group. In late 1981 the group began to split over the type of designs that should be supported. General Graham and his High Frontier group wanted to built a system with 'off the shelf' components. Other members pushed for more complicated systems that would require much more research: rail guns, particle beam weapons, chemical lasers, etc. The father of the hydrogen bomb, Edward Teller, further complicated matters by insisting 'on the inclusion of third-generation weapons powered by nuclear bombs'. Teller's idea of the nuclear X-ray laser was to detonate nuclear weapons in space in order to power 'up to 100,000 separate laser beams at 100,000 targets in space'.  This estimation seems to have been a bit of an overstatement. The project was canceled after inconclusive test results. Outside experts were of the opinion that the nuclear explosion would only be able to power a few dozen lasers at most. Many also thought it to be more practical and ethical to go with the non-nuclear option.
"Bendetsen and his camp that pushed for more exotic weapons, like lasers, railguns and particle beam weapons (Gen. Keegan actually tried to convince members of government that the Russians already had these weapons), were the favorites of Reagan, but it was Graham's Brilliant Pebbles system that was ultimately seen as the most practical of all SDI systems. Brilliant Pebbles relied on space-based pods filled with small missiles that would take out enemy ICBMs. The missiles didn't have any active warheads - kinetic energy was enough to destroy the targets. However, the program was eventually canceled in 1994 under the Clinton administration, which saw these systems as unnecessarily expensive and potentially destabilizing. It is only in modern times that the United States has been looking again for potentially interesting space-based weapons systems."
It has of course long been insisted that some of the more exotic weapons proposed by Teller and the like were in fact developed in private. UFOlogist in particular fixated upon SDI and there was much speculation as to whether it was actually designed to protect the United States not from the Soviet Union, but an extraterrestrial power. In 1997 Colonel Philip J. Corso would go to great lengths in linking SDI to an alleged EBE threat. Corso, who was addressed in part four, was not a member of the ASC per se, but he was an initiate of the mysterious secret society known as the Sovereign Order of Saint John, which in turn a part of the ASC-sponsored Coalition for Peace Through Strength (noted before here).
But in addition to UFOs, Corso would also link SDI to Tesla weapons:
"For over fifty years, now, the war against UFOs has continued as we tried to defend ourselves against their intrusions. The Hughes hunter-killer satellites of the 1970s were our first step in applying a planetary defense system that held any real threat against EBEs. When, late in the 1970s, we realized that a directed-energy weapon and high-energy laser were even more effective than exploding satellites, our defensive ability was enhanced even further. We recognized that by applying both the technology we found at Roswell and Tesla's vision of a particle beam to our own antisatellite missiles and laser targeting equipment, we could achieve the rapid aim/rapid fire capability that these type of defenses demanded. But we were still playing cover-up games even though the Russians were now finally acknowledging that maybe cooperation between the superpowers was called for to meet a common threat.
"In the 1980s, both President Reagan and Chairman Gorbachev recognize the need for cooperation against a common enemy. While neither officially owned up to the threat of EBEs and alien hostilities, both acknowledge that if the United States and the Soviet Union could lay aside their differences and participate in a shared policy to defend the space around the earth, then both superpowers would benefit. For his part, President Reagan pushed hard for the rapid development and deployment of a space-based defense technology to defend the planet. Called the Strategic Defense Initiative, and derisively dubbed 'Star Wars' by the press, the SDI was described in 1985 in President Reagan's own words as 'a defense shield that won't hurt people but will knock down nuclear weapons before they can hurt people.'
"Briefly, the Strategic Defense Initiative was described by the White House and the military as a space-based defense system to protect the United States from an all-out nuclear attack by the Soviet Union. It would include satellites that could detect the massive nuclear launch within seconds, orbiting lasers to destroy the first wave of missiles, laser-equipped submarines that could defend against the next round of attacks, and a ground-based missile system providing the last line of defense. In addition, the SDI also included what I thought was the best of its weapons, a missile-launched kinetic energy beam weapon that locked onto incoming warheads or low-orbiting space vehicles and knocked out their electronics with a particle beam. The elegant aspect to the kinetic energy beam weapon was that you couldn't really defend against it. Lasers, even high-energy lasers, had their shortcomings in that once a laser beam bounced off the surface, the surrounding energy envelope protected the surface from subsequent pulses. You either knocked out your target right away or shielded against subsequent hits. But with a particle-beam weapon, you penetrated the surface, just like microwaving a piece of meat, destroyed its electronics to render it useless, and then broken apart or melded it from within.
"Amidst the warnings that the SDI wouldn't work, was a giant unscientific gamble and a corporate giveaway, couldn't provide the massive shield against nuclear missiles, would violate the ABM treaty President Johnson had negotiated with the Russians, and was a giant waste of the taxpayers money, guess what?
"We didn't have to shoot down thousands of Soviet incoming warheads, and the Soviets never really cared about the ABM treaty in the first place because they knew they weren't going to launch a first strike and neither would we. We both knew who the real targets of the SDI were, and it wasn't a bunch of ICBM warheads. It was the UFOs, alien spacecraft thinking themselves invulnerable and invisible as they soared around the edges of our atmosphere, swooping down at will to destroy our communications with EMP bursts, buzz our spacecrafts, colonize our lunar surface, mutilate cattle in their own horrendous biological experiments, and even abduct human beings for their medical tests and hybridization of their species. And what was worse, we had to let them do it because we had no weapons to defend ourselves."
(The Day After Roswell, Philip J. Corso & William J. Birnes, pgs. 290-292)
At least, presumably, till the SDI was functional, despite widespread claims that the more exotic weapons such as those particle beams were never developed. As was indicated above by Corso, in most accounts these particular brand of death rays said to be based upon concepts developed by Tesla.
"In the 1930s Tesla announced other bizarre and terrible weapons: a death ray, a weapon to destroy hundreds or even thousands of aircraft at hundreds of miles range, and his ultimate weapon to end all war – the Tesla shield, which nothing could penetrate. However, by this time no one any longer paid any real attention to the forgotten great genius. Tesla died in 1943 without ever revealing the secret of these great weapons and inventions.
"Unfortunately, today the Soviet Union has long since discovered and weaponized the Tesla scalar wave effects. Here we only have time to detail the most powerful of these frightening Tesla weapons – which Brezhnev undoubtedly was referring to in 1975 when the Soviet side at the SALT talks suddenly suggested limiting the development of new weapons 'more frightening than the mind of man had imagined.' One of these weapons is the Tesla howitzer recently completed at the Saryshagan missile range and presently considered to be either a high energy laser or a particle beam weapon..."
(Psychic Warfare, "Tesla's Secrets and the New Soviet Superweapons," Thomas Bearden, pg. 178)Those alleged Soviet supwerweapons shall be addressed in just a moment, but an overview of these claims is warranted here. Particle beams on the whole had come a common staple of this type of conspiracy literature by the 1990s. Peter Beter had been railing against them since at least the late 1970s. In his narrative, the Soviets had developed highly advanced particle beam weapons by this time that were deployed first via satellites, and then upon a moon base. American had originally set up a moon base in the early 1960s (a claim Corso also made) with the idea of establishing our own beam weapons there. The Soviets were one step ahead of us, however, and launched a sneak attack with their own particle beam weapons as well as electromagnetic-powered UFOs that easily over powered US space-based weapons. After the conquest of space, the Soviets then began their stealth conquest of America...
|General George Keegan|
On the whole one is struck by the degree of paranoia present on both the far right and fringe left concerning particle beams and other such technologies during the late 1970s and early 1980s. The United States was perpetually depicted as falling behind the super weapons race, creating a climate of apocalyptic dread that made something like the final version of the Strategic Defense Initiative sound perfectly reasonable in contrast.
In the twenty-first century, with the USSR long confined to the dustbin of history, this all sounds perfectly ludicrous. By the climate of fear nourished by such claims made those Congressional dollars flow like water into a host of arcane of weapons research. So while the particle beam gap was surely an elaborate propaganda campaign, it may have been crucial in the eventual creation of such weapons. There have of course been rumors for years (including from the scientist who claims to have provided the designs) that HAARP was an offshoot of SDI advances in Tesla technology. All of this is highly, highly speculative, and I have long dismissed many of the claims surround HAARP, but am deeply unnerved by the decades-spanning obsession of many luminaries of the far right in developing such things.
|the HAARP facility in Alaska|
And with that I shall wrap things up for now. We shall consider these alleged super technologies again, but in the next installment I shall address some of the other curious pursuits and characters that latched onto the ASC network in the 1980s. Stay tuned.