Sunday, October 10, 2010
Presently I'm in the midst of reading Rick Strassman's fascinating DMT: The Spirit Molecule. In brief, the book recounts the results of a series of experiments Strassman conducted between 1990 and 1995 concerning the hallucinogen DMT, said to be the most powerful of the entheogens. As eye opening as the book is in its assessment of the spiritual aspects of entheogens there are several paragraphs relating to the funding of Strassman's DMT experiments that I can't get out of my head:
"A generous research grant from the Scottish Rite Foundation for Schizophrenia Research helped establish the earliest phases of the DMT project's scientific merit. Later, more substantial funding for the DMT and psilocybin research came from the National Institute on Drug Abuse, a division of the U.S. National Institute of Health." (pg. xii)
"...I knew that funding from outside the University was crucial for the project to gain all the legitimacy it needed. Additional financial support also would free up my time to find human-grade DMT and help the Research Center pay for some of the work I requested...
"In looking over some of the old DMT and schizophrenia research, it appeared that the Scottish Rite Foundation, a branch of the Freemasons, had funded some of it through their Schizophrenia Research program. I asked this program to send an application for funding. My DMT proposal already discussed the importance of understanding DMT's effects in its possible role as an endogenous schizotoxin. Therefore, it took little work to modify the grant to emphasize these issues more clearly.
"I wrote Dr. Freedman, telling him of my grant submission to the Scottish Rite Foundation. He replied that he was on their scientific review committee, and 'maybe' they would fund a year's support. Within a month, in September 1989, a notification of award arrived announcing a one-year grant for the project.
"I again wrote Dr Freedman, updating him on the research for human-grade DMT. He scribbled a note on my letter and sent a copy of it to the Director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, one of his former students. His telegraphic missive ended: 'Strassman needs someone at the NIDA responsive. Any suggestions??'" (pg. 113)
Needless to say, Mr. Strassman got all the support he needed from the National Institute on Drug Abuse -they ended up bankrolling the entire project after the Scottish Rite got it off the ground. I could find no evidence that this Dr. David X Freedman was a Freemason, but his background would be consistent with a CIA MKULTRA doctor. He was a Harvard graduate that did much research on both LSD and DMT for the NIH in the 1950s. According to journalist and CIA watchdog John Marks, much of the NIH's 1950s research on psychedelics was in part supported by the CIA:
"Sharing the drug with the Army here, setting up research programs there, keeping track of it everywhere, the CIA generally presided over the LSD scene during the 1950s. To be sure, the military services played a part and funded their own research programs. So did the National Institute of Health, to a lesser extent. Yet both the military services and the NIH allowed themselves to be co-opted by the CIA -as funding conduits and intelligence sources." (The Search for the "Manchurian Candidate", pg. 72-73)
Freedman then moved onto Yale until 1966, when he left there to become the Chairman of Psychiatry at the University of Chicago. From there he became the Vice-Chair of Psychiatry at UCLA. He was even involved with Robert Kennedy during the hearings on LSD that led to the Controlled Substances Act. According to Strassman he wielded tremendous power within the psychiatric community and was instrumental in pushing through his DMT research. Strassman even goes so far as to describe Freedman as the most powerful individual in American psychiatry at the time, a doctor whose reputation was largely built on his LSD research in 1950s and 1960s for the NIH and Yale.
Freedman is far from being the only doctor with ties to various intelligence agencies, occultic societies and even outright street gangs that led to the explosion of drug use in the 1960s. Herein lies one of the great paradoxes for those of us that have experienced life changing illumination from drug use, namely that many of these drugs were designed and/or promoted to the public by these various negative organizations that then intern stripped these substances of the spiritual aspects that they had historically been associated with. As a result many that partook of entheogens did not achieve illumination, but did open themselves up to serious physical and legal problems, to say nothing of the possibility of possession the use of these substances carry. In the aftermath of the riots at the '68 Democratic National Convention, the Manson murders, and Altamont the public perception was permanently tainted towards entheogens while their users were perpetually encouraged to seek out the baser pleasures of drug use rather than the higher planes.
If anyone has have considered entheogens as tools of mind control they probably only think of it in a modern context. But entheogens have been used as tools of control in various cults throughout history. This is a topic that I will examine in much greater depth in a latter blog, but here I will give two brief examples: In ancient Greece and the Near East several of the most notorious Mystery Schools used entheogens, probably mushrooms or some kind of ergot, as sacraments in their rituals -namely the Eleusinian and the Dionysius cults. The second, and by far more notorious, was the Middle Eastern assassin cult of the Middle Ages known as the Hashshashin. They maintained a series of fortress around Persia and Syria from which they sent what were essentially the suicide bombers of their day, assassins that would eliminate their targets with a virtual certainty of their own death. In many cases this would involve plunging a dagger into a prince or some other such official in the presence of their guards, then committing suicide immediately awards either by their own hand or by engaging the guards. This was to ensure secrecy was maintained. The absolute fearlessness of the Hashshasins was legendary, as was were their methods of maintaining power. One of them was said to be hashish, which apparently derives its name from the Hashshashins. The assassins were said to consume hashish before carrying out their bloody business. The 19th century historian Thomas Keightly elaborates on both the name and the methods that the cult used to enforce it's control over its follower:
"...Hashisheen, of which the Crusaders made Assassins, comes from Hashish, a species of hemp, from which intoxicating opiates were made, which the Fedavee [the rank-and-file assassins -Recluse] were in the habit of taking previously to engaging in their daring enterprises, or employed as a medium of procuring delicious visions of the paradise promised to them by the Sheikh-al-Jebal.
"It is a curios question how Hassan Sabah [the founder of the Hashshashins -Recluse] contrived to infuse into the Fedavee the recklessness of life, joined with the spirit of implicit obedience to the commands of their superiors, which they so invariably displayed. We are told that the system adopted for this purpose was to obtain, by purchase or otherwise, from their parents, stout and healthy children. These were reared up in implicit obedience to the will of the Sheikh, and, to fit them for their future office, carefully instructed in various languages. The most agreeable spots were selected for their abode, they were indulged in the gratification of their senses, and, in the midst of their enjoyments, some persons were directed to inflame their imaginations by glowing descriptions of the far superior delights laid up in the celestial paradise for those who should be admitted to repose in its bowers; a happiness only to be attained by a glorious death met in obedience to the commands of the Sheikh. When such ideas had been impressed on their minds, the glorious visions ever floated before their eyes, the impression was kept up by the use of the opiate above-mentioned, and the young enthusiast panted for the hour when death, obtained in obeying the order of the Sheikh, should open to him the gates of paradise to admit him to enjoyment of bliss never to end." (The Knights Templar and Other Secret Societies of the Middle Ages, pg. 60)
The techniques of the Hashshashins, especially in regards to enforcing obedience to a leader, are remarkably similar to the methods used by various youth cults such as the Brotherhood of Eternal Love, the Manson Family, and other such groups we shall soon examine. For now though we're concerned with the legacy of entheogens as mind control agents in the 20th century. Unsurprisingly the Nazis, along with the Soviets, were amongst the first 'civilized' governments to experiment with psychedelic drugs as possible tools of mind control. The Ahnenerbe, a Nazi 'think tank' dedicated to all kinds of esoteric topics such as runes, World Ice Theory, the Holy Grail, etc, performed some of the first experiments using mescaline in this capacity. Historian Peter Levenda writes:
"... the Ahnenerbe was actively involved in a program of experimentation on unwitting prisoners with the use of mescaline. Under SS-Sturmbanfuhrer Dr. Kurt Plotner and an inmate-assistant, Walter Neff, drinks given to concentration camp prisoners were spiked with mescaline and the prisoners observed for signs of altered human behavior.
"The experimentation continued right up to the end of the war... discussions were being held... concerning the use of both mescaline and canabinol by the Soviets." (Unholy Alliance, pgs. 233-234)
Naturally we in America could not stand for some kind of mind control gap with the Nazis and the Soviets, so we began our own experiments with entheogens as mind control tools during WWII:
"Even as the S.S. doctors were carrying on their experiments at Dachau, the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), America's wartime intelligence agency, set up a 'truth drug' committee under Dr. Winfred Overholser, head of St. Elizabeth's Hospital in Washington. The committee quickly tried and rejected mescaline, several barbiturates, and scopolamine. Then, during the spring of 1943, the committee decided that cannabis indica -or marijuana -showed the most promise, and it started a testing program in cooperation with the Manhattan Project, the TOP SECRET effort to build an atomic bomb." (The Search for the "Manchurian Candidate", John Marks, pg. 6)
Yes dear readers, the same scientists that created the atomic bomb were simultaneously engaged in testing out the mind control potential of entheogens for own government. Further, much of the Nazi research conducted on entheogens and mind control was absorbed by our own military and intelligence organizations:
"Military authorities sent the records, including a description of the mescaline and hypnosis experiments, back to the United States. None of the German mind-control research was ever made public." (The Search for the "Manchurian Candidate", John Marks, pg. 11)
This was of course only the beginning of the fixation the communities of military and intelligence would have with entheogens. I'll briefly outline some of the highlights of the CIA and other intelligence organizations, taken from journalist John Marks' The Search for the "Manchurian Candidate", of which he largely compiled using CIA documents obtained through a Freedom of Information request.
In the 1950s the mind control drug fixation would be taken to new levels that would climax with the 'counterculture' movement of the 1960s. LSD would become the next wonder drug the CIA specifically would become infatuated with. In the 1950s they conducted numerous experiments with the drug that ultimately led to its spread to the general populace. Some of these experiments included tests on CIA personal themselves in which LSD was randomly administered to unsuspecting assets around the office (to the point where the Agency actually released a memo requesting that Agents cease spiking the water cooler with LSD); and in other cases, 'safe houses' were set up in New York City (in Greenwich Village specifically) and San Francisco so that the effects of LSD, marijuana, and such substances could be observed on 'Johns' lured back to these safe houses by Agency funded prostitutes where they would then be drugged and observed by CIA personnel.
Some of the most notorious CIA LSD experiments were conducted by Dr. Ewen Cameron in Canada at the Allen Memorial Institute on mental patients. Cameron, who got his start with funding from the Rockefeller Foundation and maintained a lifelong obsession with combating schizophrenia (seemingly a reoccurring theme amongst psychedelic researchers), developed a technique that he called 'depatterning'. Originally this consisted of placing patients in a virtually nonstop, drug induced sleep for several weeks and possibly up to a month, combined with two or three daily doses of electroshock. Later Cameron developed another technique known as 'psychic driving', in which he attempted to implant an idea in a patient's mind via tape loops that they may have been forced to listen to up to 16 hours a day. Eventually sensory deprivation, in which a patient was placed in a sealed box for weeks on end, was employed in conjunction with the tape loops. Finally LSD was added to the mix, in which patients were given a heroic dose in conjunction with the tape loops and at times, even the sensory deprivations techniques. Needless to say, several of Cameron's long suffering patients were so traumatized by his 'therapies' that they struggled to even perform basic household choirs for years afterwards. It's interesting to note that several of the techniques used at Gitmo, especially tape loops and sensory deprivation, seem to have been based upon Cameron's research.
However, nothing did more to further the spread of entheogens like the testing that was performed at several major universities across the United States on both the staff and students. Marks states:
"In a university city like Boston where both the CIA and the Army were carrying on large testing programs at hospitals connected to Harvard, volunteering for an LSD trip became quite popular in academic circles. Similar reactions, although probably not as pronounced, occurred in other intellectual centers. The intelligence agencies turned to America's finest university and hospitals to try LSD, which meant that the cream of the country's student and graduate assistants became the test subjects.
"In 1969 the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs published a fascinating little study designed to curb illegal LSD use. The authors wrote that the drug's 'early use was among small groups on intellectuals at large Eastern and West Coast universities. It spread to undergraduate students, then to other campuses. Most often, users have been introduced to the drug by persons of higher status. Teachers have influenced students; upperclassmen have influenced lowerclassmen.' Calling this a 'trickle-down phenomenon', the authors seem to have correctly analyzed how LSD got around the country. They left out only one vital element, which they had no way of knowing: That somebody had to influence the teachers and that up there at the top of the LSD distribution system could be found the men of MKULTRA." (The Search for the "Manchurian Candidate", pgs. 128-129)
In many cases that 'somebody' Marks references as spreading LSD to the teachers was most likely Captain Al 'Trips' Hubbard, also known as the 'Johnny Appleseed of LSD.' Martin Lee and Bruce Shlain's amazing Acid Dreams offers the best account of the man's work, from which the following descriptions are collected from. The Captain was a former OSS man that made a fortune as a uranium entrepreneur and remained in close contact with the intelligence and military communities via undercover work for numerous government agencies such as the Federal Narcotics Bureau and the Food and Drug Administration. He also worked for a major defense subcontractor known as Teledyne in the mid-60s. He denounced the CIA but this seems to have been over a pay dispute dating back to his OSS days, and what the Agency did to his beloved LSD.
Captain Trips first used LSD in 1951 at the age of 49 and immediately afterwards he made it his life's mission to turn on as many people as possible. He would go on to distribute over 6000 doses of LSD in the 1950s and early 60s. He would turn on major intellectual figures, such as Aldous Huxley, who took LSD for the first time with the Captain. The Vatican itself was enamored with the Captain, granting him special permission to administer LSD within the context of the Catholic faith. Even major heads of state couldn't say no to the Captain:
"Although few are willing to disclose the details of these sessions, a close associate of Hubbard's insisted that they 'affected the thinking of the political leadership of North America.' Those said to have participated in the LSD sessions included a prime minister, assistants to heads of state, UN representatives, and members of the British parliament. 'My job,' said Hubbard, 'was to sit on the couch next to the psychiatrist and put the people through it, which I did.'" (Acid Dreams, Martin Lee and Bruce Shlain, pg. 50)
With men like Captain Trips to spread the new dogma, one wonders how the counterculture could have possibly gone so wrong (sarcasm)? Marks elaborates on the effects of the rapid spread of LSD amongst ivory league universities and it's broader implications for society:
"CIA officials never meant that the likes of Leary, Kesey, and Ginsberg should be turned on. Yet these men were, and they, along with many other lesser-known experimental subjects, like Harvard's Ralph Blum, created the climate whereby LSD escaped the government's control and became available by the early sixties on the black market. No one at the Agency apparently foresaw that young Americans would voluntarily take the drug -whether for consciousness expansion or recreational purposes. The MKULTRA experts were mainly on a control trip, and they proved incapable of gaining insight from their own LSD experiments of how others less fixated on making people do their bidding would react to the drug." (The Search for the "Manchurian Candidate", pg. 130).
It's generally acknowledged by most sources nowadays that the CIA was instrumental, if not the primary culprit, in the rise of the drug culture in the 1960s. Typically this is chalked up to unintended consequences by both Agency apologists and the drug culture itself. Yet given the stated 'transcendental' nature of Captain Trips' 'mission', combined with the vast quantities of LSD he was handing out to the general populace (the sales of which the Agency tracked even back then), it's hard imagine that they weren't in some way aware of the possible consciousness revolution the drug could produce. Is it possible that the Agency was aware of these positive effects and instead chose to roll the dice on various entheogens' controlling abilities winning out over their illuminating properties? Fortean researcher John Keel pondered such implications:
"We are witnessing a worldwide phenomenon today: mass illumination of millions of people, particularly young (under thirty) men and women in all wakes of life... Illumination is basically a sudden, overwhelming insight into the whole structure of the cosmos and man's relationship to it....
"But as in all aspects of the general phenomenon, there seem to be other forces imitating this process and producing false illuminism. Young people experimenting with LSD and other hallucinogens sometimes have experiences that they believe are contacts with the Cosmic Consciousness but which ultimately prove to be destructive. Charles Manson is a good example of this. Some LSD users do, however, appear to undergo a pure form of illuminism, but it is likely that they were already illumination-prone and would have had the experience eventually anyway." (Our Haunted Planet, pgs. 201-202)
Still, the intelligence community, the cults, and other players were involved in a dangerous game. A wave of mass illumination of the peoples was obviously one of the few things that could derail their various agendas. Towards the mid-60s it even appeared as if this was a distinct possibility for an incredibly brief period of time. Luckily the intelligence groups and the cults already had a plan for discrediting any kind of spiritual enlightenment that would be associated with entheogens as well as ensuring their users would be both criminalized and opened up to possession.
At this point I suppose I should pause and briefly address the creditability of the claims that I'm making, namely that much of the drug epidemic in Western societies associated with the street gangs is in fact being directed by various cults and intelligence agencies above them. As outrageous as this may seem it must be remembered that one of the most technologically advanced regimes in human history came to power through a similar association of gangs and cultic groups and maintained power through the systematic terrorism of a vast intelligence and military wing: the Nazi regime, especially the SS. The origins of the Nazi party lie in the Thule Society and the Free Corps, essentially a uniformed gang of WWI veterans recruited around Germany to stop the spread of communism. The Nazi regime, a thoroughly occultic organization in its own right, came to power with the backing of the SA, or Brownshirts, a paramilitary wing comprised of organized gangs and veterans. After the Nazis came to power the SA along with various cultic groups who's loyalty was suspected were purged from the Party while the surviving factions were condensed into the SS. In the aftermath of Germany's defeat in the First World War the country seemed poised for collapse followed by conquest by the Communists, who had already established a Socialist Republic in Bavaria (also the birthplace of Adam Weishaupt).
Historian Peter Levenda described the rise of cultists, and eventually the Nazis, thusly: "The Thule, a mystical society based in part on the theosophical writings of Guido von List and Lanz von Liebenfels -which is to say, an amalgam of Eastern religion, theosophy, anti-Semitism, Grail romance, runic mystification, and Nordic paganism... There are roughly 250 members of the Thule in Munich... and over fifteen hundred in Bavaria... a bizarre individual, an occultist, an initiate of the Eastern mysteries in Turkey as well as Freemasonry, and the leader and founder of the Thule -the self-styled Baron Rudolph von Sebottendorff -makes an impassioned plea to the assembled cultists for armed resistance to the Reds...
"The Thule cultists... need no encouragement. They begin stockpiling weapons in secret supply dumps in and around Munich, anticipating a counterstrike against the New Socialist Republic. They make alliances with other nationalist groups, such as the Pan-Germans under editor Julius Lehmann, the German School Bund, the Hammerbund... and an organized resistance movement is born. All the mystical and clandestine labors of the past twenty years involving a series of secret and occult organizations with elaborate initiation ceremonies and complex magical rituals, from the List Society's inner HAO (Higher Armanen Order) to the Order of the New Templars, will soon culminate in a pitched battle in the streets of Munich between the neo-pagan Thule Society and the 'godless Communists'" (Unholy Alliance, pg.33)
After the failed Palm Sunday Putsch which resulted in a total Soviet takeover of Bavaria Sebottendorff begins organizing Free Corps, uniformed gangs of WWI veterans, in Bamberg for a counter strike. After the Soviet Republic executes several of the Thulists remaining in Munich, the Society struck back:
"...an obituary appears in Sebottendorff's Munchener Beobachter -a newspaper which a year later becomes the official Nazi propaganda sheet, the Volkischer Beobachter -giving the names of the seven murdered cultists and laying the blame on the doorsteps of the Red Army. The citizens of Munich are finally outraged, shaken out of their lethargy. Thulists continue their well-organized campaign of agit-prop against the Communist regime. The people take to the streets.
"The Free Corps -twenty thousand strong -marches on Munich under the command of General von Oven. For the first time in history, storm troops -members of the Ehrhardt Free Corps Brigade -march beneath a swastika flag with swastikas painted on their helmets, singing swastika hymns. As they enter the city, they find that the Thule has managed to organize a full-scale citizen rebellion against the Soviet government. They join forces." (Unholy Alliance, pgs.34-35)
The Free Corps would go on to drive the Communists from Munich. However, their foothold was still strong in greater Germany. A vacuum of leadership existed to face the Communist threat, one that the Thule Society was more than willing to fill with their own agenda:
"... the leading industrialists and aristocracy of the city, along with a generous helping of local police and military officials, are designing a two-pronged strategy of political activism. The Thule Society will do the organizing, will make the right connections among the society figures, the wealthy capitalists, the intelligentsia. They will stockpile weapons. They will organize units of the Free Corps, particularly the Ehrhardt Brigade... and the Friekorps Oberland.
"But another arm of the Thule has already begun recruiting -not among the Munich's 'beautiful people,' the rich and the powerful -but among the working people... There will be no overt involvement of the Thule Society in this group, which is to be called instead the German Workers Party... Perhaps between these two groups -the Thule with its academics, nobles, and factory owners meeting at the Four Seasons, and the German Workers' Party with it's rough-and-tumble factory workers meeting in beer halls -they will be able to form a united front against Communism, international Freemasonry, and world Jewry.
"Within a year, this project of the Thule Gesellschaft will become the NSDAP: the National Socialist German Workers' Party. The Nazi party. It will sport a swastika flag and a swastika armband, and its leader will be a war veteran, a corporal who had been sent by the German Army to spy on the organization: Adolph Hitler." (Unholy Alliance, pg. 36)
Now that the foundation was in place the rest, as they say, was history: "The SS... was originally intended to be Hitler's personal bodyguard. The early history of the Party was such that the SA, or Brownshirts, were really the first shock troops -'Storm Troopers' -of the Nazis: brutal enforcers and street gangs in uniform that intimidated the opposition and acted as a kind of private army for the Party (a type of Free Korps, such as that supported by the Thule; indeed the leader of the SA, Ernst Rohm, had been a Free Korps leader well known around Thule headquarters)...
"...Himmler joined the SS when it was still a bodyguard unit... After he became the head of the SS in 1929, however, he began to reform it along lines that can only be described as cultic...
"While it is known that he [Hitler -Recluse] consulted astrologers and was interested in various forms of alternative medicine, alternative science, and alternative religion, what is not generally known is the extent to which the Nazi government became committed to serious support of such practices. Nor is it generally understood just how thoroughly Himmler's eccentric ideas of race, ritual, and mysticism came to infuse the entire Nazi phenomenon, thus coalescing into one of the most dangerous cults in the world." (Unholy Alliance, pgs. 167-168)
The rise of Nazism in Germany clearly demonstrates the close relationship between cults and their military wing, the street gangs. Many will probably object to me referring to the Free Corps or the SA as street gangs as they were largely composed of military veterans and organized along such lines. But many modern US and Mexican gangs share similar structures. For instance motorcycle gangs have historically proved attractive destinations for military veterans in the US. The Oakland chapter of the Hell's Angels (and by default, much of the rest of the Hell's Angels MC) was founded by ex-Army man 'Sonny' Berger, who named the gang after a unit of US paratroopers from WWI. According to journalist Hunter S Thompson in Hell's Angels: A Strange and Terrible Saga Berger was hardly the only veteran within the MC, which were known for sporting various Nazi emblems such as the swastika and Death's Head. Thompson even went so far as to describe the Angel's as modern-day 'Brownshirts'. He didn't know how prophetic his observation in 1966 would prove to be.
The Hell's Angels were hardly the only motorcycle gang hanging around California at the time with veterans within their ranks. According to Ed Sauder's The Family one of the more notorious veterans was former Coast Guard grunt Danny DeCarlo, treasurer of the Straight Satans and close associate of the Manson Family. In fact, DeCarlo would be one of the Family's primary sources of arms, maintaining a shack full of weapons on the Spahn Ranch. As the 1960s wore on the Spahn Ranch would develop into something of a training camp for the Manson family. With the aid of DeCarlo and Viet Nam veteran and Spahn ranch hand Juan Flynn Manson would begin training the Family along increasingly militaristic lines. Some have even speculated the Spahn Ranch was a kind of training facility for the military wings of various cultic groups hanging around California at the time. Flynn was hardly the only veteran amongst the Spahn ranch hands, some of whom would lend their expertise in training the Family. The Straight Satans would also make heavy use of the Spahn Ranch as a kind of warehouse of arms and contraband. The Straight Satans were not the only motorcycle gang Manson was in association with at the time. Others included the Joker's Out of Hell as well as the Satan's Slaves, a motorcycle gang also associated with the Process Church of Final Judgment. Several members/associates of the Family such as Bruce Davis and Bill Vance had involvement with either or both Satan's Slaves and the Process. With such an assortment of characters hanging around the former movie set one can forgive the local police for starting to believe that the Spahn Ranch had become some kind of paramilitary compound.
The Family and the various motorcycle gangs hanging around California in the 1960s would provide valuable shock troops for the powers that be. Altamont and the Tate-Lebianca murders would permanently derail whatever illumination the hippie movement may have produced amongst the masses as well as setting the stage for America's War on Drug, one of the key features of the police state that has arisen in our nation over the past 40 years. The use of military men in the street gangs continues to this day in a similar vein, though now it's much more prominent on the other side of the border.
MS-13 has become a major international force in the past two decades. Founded by refugees from El Salvador in Los Angeles in the mid-80s, it would go on to spread all across North, Central and South America. Many of the founders were ex-military, some of whom received intensive training in guerilla warfare during El Salvador's CIA-backed civil war in the 80s. Some have even speculated that they may have been trained personally by the Agency. They're noted for their brutality, carrying out hits in an almost ritualistic fashion that frequently involves beheading. Beheading has been a staple of cultic-linked gangs, such as the outfit Arthur R Manby ran out of Taos, NM, in the early 20th century which left a slew of decapitated heads in its wake. According to occultic researcher James Shelby Downard, beheading was the preferred method of killing a wizard.
MS-13 would go on to be employed by the Sinaloa Cartel as a paramilitary wing in their bloody gang war with the Gulf Cartel for control of the US market. Not to be out down, the Gulf Cartel would enlist the services of Los Zetas, a former Mexican special forces unit trained by the US Military at the School of the Americas. I've already addressed Los Zetas and the general cultic nature of many of the major Mexican drug cartels in a previous post but I will note that the scale of the border war these two gangs have provoked should be ample evidence that gangs can easily achieve military style organization. MS-13 and Los Zetas combined could probably topple the Mexican forces. So, how great is the difference between these organizations and the German Free Corps and the SA? Either of these gangs, as well as numerous others outfits across the US, could easily destabilize this nation and drive the police forces totally off the streets as happened in Los Angeles in the early 90s. This would surely garner strong public support for a police state much as the numerous acts of violence, typically in the form of street fights with socialists groups, that the SA carried out in the 1920s led to the rise of the Nazi Party.
For those still questioning the links between cults, street gangs and the intelligence community, I've saved the best for last: The Brotherhood of Eternal Love. Essentially the Brotherhood began as a motorcycle gang, morphed into a hippie cult, and ended up as CIA front, all the while becoming the largest LSD distribution ring in the world. It may even have always been a CIA front -countless unsavory 60s figures fell within in its orbit at one point or another.
According to Acid Dreams it all began with 'Farmer' John Griggs, a dubious LSD messiah along the lines of Captain Al 'Trips' Hubbard. Griggs was introduced to acid shortly after holding up a Hollywood producer and robbing him of his stash LSD in the process. A week later Griggs and other members of his motorcycle gang dropped the acid at Joshua Tree Nation Park and apparently had a life changing experience. Griggs was so blown away by the experience that he actually traveled across the entire country, to New York state, to discuss this experience with none other than Timothy Leary himself. Leary was impressed with the ex-hood and suggested he should start his own church. Griggs took this advice to heart and in October of 1966 the Brotherhood of Eternal Love incorporated.
The decision to start dealing drugs seems to have been made very early -the Brotherhood had big mystical ideas, so they needed big bucks to carry them out. Initially they began smuggling marijuana, first from across the border with Mexico, then by importing hashish from Afghanistan, a seemingly insignificant region of the world that pops up over and over again in the various histories. If this wasn't enough, by late '67 Leary himself made the scene along with his patron, William Mellon Hitchcock, a heir from the infamous Mellon banking dynasty. Soon Hitchcock himself would become something of a financer for the Brotherhood. The Mellon banking dynasty had a cozy relationship with the American intelligence community, notably David Bruce, son-in-law to former US Secretary of the Treasury Andrew Mellon, and head of the OSS' London offices during WWII. Hitchcock would go on to launder much of the Brotherhood's fund through a Caribbean CIA front, the Castle Bank, which would go onto to become one of those most notorious criminal-associated banks in our nation's history.
After the arrest of LSD chemist Owsley Stanley in 1967 a void had opened in the LSD market. It was to be filled by two chemist, one Tim Scully, a man seemingly with genuine idealist intentions; and another, Nick Sand, a follower of Gurdjieff and associate of the Hell's Angels and other fringe types who had been involved in Leary's New York operations and had followed Hitchcock out to California. These two chemists would step into Owsley's role with Hitchcock handling the financial end and the Brotherhood picking up the distribution end. By the time Scully and Sand closed down their laboratory in 1969 they had produced over 10 million hits of the legendary orange sunshine acid. Leary even got in on the act, recommending orange sunshine above all other acid. Orange sunshine would go on to pop up in all 50 states and numerous foreign countries. It was even the most popular brand of acid for US soldiers fighting in Viet Nam.
Just as the Brotherhood seemed to have made it things began to unravel. It started with Hitchcock running afoul of the law and wanting to distance himself from the drug trade. Maters were further complicated with the death of Farmer John Griggs himself, who overdosed on PCP. Finally, Leary was imprisoned in early 1970. This led to more unsavory elements, such as Sands, assuming command positions. Eventually this enabled the figure of Ronald Stark to move in and eventually take over the Brotherhood.
Stark was an individual that at various times was described as Palestinian, Israeli, and/or Italian. He spoke ten languages fluently, including Chinese, French, German, Arabic, and Italian. In 1967 he had a mere $3,000 in his bank account. By 1968 he was a millionaire. Besides the Brotherhood he ran multiple other drug rings across the world. When he first met the Brotherhood he posed as a representative for a French LSD ring, a kilo of pure LSD in hand, which was more than the Brotherhood had ever seen in one place at a time. He was bisexual and used both sex and drugs to manipulate people. Stark quickly took over the banker functions of Hitchcock, but became much more personally involved in the running of the organization.
Not only did Stark turn the Brotherhood into one of the largest drug smuggling wings in the world, he made them militant. In The Family Ed Sanders strongly implies the Brotherhood was the initial financial backer of the Weathermen Underground as a kind of military wing:
"...the underground Weatherpeople, funded by a group of psychedelic dealers called the Brotherhood of Eternal Love, were plotting to free Timothy Leary..." (The Family, pg. 369)
The extent to which the Brotherhood was involved with the Weathermen will probably never be known but it is wildly acknowledged now that they put up the $25,000 reward that led the Weathermen to spring Leary from prison. The Brotherhood would go on to smuggle Leary into Europe and eventually Afghanistan, which turned out to be a major tactical mistake on Leary's part. At the time it was swarming with US narcotics agents looking to break up the Brotherhood's international ring and they pulled enough strings with Kabul to get Leary sent back to the US in early 1973.
There's even a possibility that the Brotherhood were involved in the Tate murders carried out by the Manson family. Many have long suspected that the Tate residency was targeted in part as retaliation for a massive drug burn. Wojciech Frykowski, a friend of Roman Polanski and wife Sharon Tate, had become a major player in the LA LSD and MDA markets. Frykowski was dating Abigail Folger, heiress of the Folger coffee dynasty and financial patron of Frykowski's endeavor. Frykowski had burned his suppliers of at least $11,000 all the while working toward setting up his own wholesale distribution ring with Folger's financial backing. Some researchers believe that Frykowski and Folger were the Family's intended targets that fateful night on August 9th, 1969, and that Tate was not even supposed to be at the residency along Cielo Drive that night.
Journalist Maury Terry writes in The Ultimate Evil:
"According to police reports, friends of Frykowski and our own sources, Fryowski became involved in LSD dealing and also was offered a wholesale distributorship of the amphetamine MDA -which was found in both his and Folger's systems the night they died.
"Fryowski, a recent immigrant to the United States, didn't have the money to make wholesale drug purchases, he was unemployed. This was a subtlety the police apparently missed. But his girlfriend had the funds. Coffee heiress Abigail Folger had the cash to support Frykowski's endeavor and our sources say she did just that." (pg.486)
"A Los Angeles source who was knowledgeable about the Manson set in 1969 said: 'Frykowski was the motive. He had stung his own suppliers for a fair amount of money and that didn't go down well at all with the people at the top of the drug scene here. And to make it worse, he was upsetting the structure of the LSD marketplace by dealing independently, outside the established chain of supply. He was a renegade." (pg. 489)
Terry goes on to breakdown the LA drug scene at the time and the players involved in the Fryowski hit:
"The Los Angeles drug scene in 1969 could be likened to a field of pyramids which roughly divided the marketplace into various specialized segments. Near the top of one pyramid, the chemical dope edifice, was a man connected to Jetz [a pseudonym Terry uses for mid-level dealer -Recluse] ; a superior, so to speak. This man was said to have been a former Israeli who had strong links to the international intelligence community. He wasn't employed by U.S. or Israeli intelligence, at least not at the time of the murders. Rather, he was regarded as a rogue who, in addition to his elevated narcotics ranking, was suspected by some of being an operative for the Soviet Union; perhaps free-lance." (pg.490)
Ronald Stark claimed at various times to be an Israeli and connected to the CIA. In Acid Dreams Lee and Shlain write:
"His modus operandi was not unlike that of an intelligence operative. He often claimed to know exactly how things worked in the espionage community. He said he knew lots of spies, and to some friends he even boasted of working for the CIA." (pg. 250)
Both Manson researchers Maury Terry and Ed Sanders believed Manson was in part carrying out a contract for a hippie cult deeply involved in the LA drug scene that had been burned by Fryowski. They presumed this cult was an organization known as the Process Church of Final Judgment, which will be examined in much greater length in a later installment. However, I will note Sanders and Terry both began to suspect the Process was a front for some kind of U.S. intelligence group:
"This information, which I unearthed in 1986, apparently explained something Ed Sanders earlier told me: 'There were so many investigations going on out there after the murders that I began to wonder if the Process was a front for some intelligence operation.'" (The Ultimate Evil, pg. 490)
However, it seems that they were wrong about the intelligence-backed cult the Manson Family was working for. While there are a lot of compelling reasons for the Process, even Terry acknowledges they were never more than bit players in the drug trade. The Brotherhood was firmly at the top of the LA LSD market in the late 1960s. If Fryowski was upsetting the LSD distribution pyramid in LA all the way to the top, then it most certainly would have involved the Brotherhood. Further, Terry's description of the LA head of the drug pyramid fits Ronald Stark to a T. Then there's the fact that Stark continued dealing virtually unabated well after the Brotherhood was taken down in the early 70s. Eventually, when Stark was taken down in the late 70s in Europe he was ultimately released by an Italian court on the basis that he had been employed by the CIA since the early 60s:
"True to form, Stark dropped out of sight shortly after he was released from prison in April 1979 on orders from Judge Giorgio Flordia in Bologna. The judge's decision was extraordinary: he released Stark because of 'an impressive series of scrupulously enumerated proofs' that Stark was actually a CIA agent. 'Many circumstances suggest that from 1960 onwards Stark belonged to the American secret services,' Floridia stated." (Acid Dreams, Lee and Shlain, pg. 281)
Stark would go on to die under mysterious circumstances shortly thereafter, a fitting final chapter to the Brotherhood. To recap: They were a motorcycle gang that became a cult who sold marijuana for funding then, after coming into association with major gurus (Leary) and financiers (Hitchcock), morphed into an international drug cartel and eventual CIA front. It's entirely possible that they were always a CIA front. As previously noted, Hitchcock came from the intelligence linked Mellon banking family, while Leary got his start in Harvard, a Mecca for the Military-Industrial Complex and MKULTRA testing specifically during Leary's era. Leary himself was probably not an actual intelligence asset, but was likely considered useful as a kind of shock troop. Regardless, the Brotherhood would go on to associate, and even fund, countless militant factions that permanently derailed the counterculture -the Weathermen Underground, the Hell's Angels (who took over street level distribution of LSD in LA and other cities after Nick Sand rose to prominence within the Brotherhood) and quite likely the Manson Family. They were essentially a one cult wrecking crew for any illumination that entheogens could have brought upon the masses. Rather than illumination, countless young people became enslaved to various parasitical cults in which a charismatic leader used various entheogens to manipulate their followers into performing numerous acts of terror and debauchery that brought about loud, deafening cries from the masses for a police state. Again I will briefly note the remarkable similarities between some of the modern day hippie cults and the Hashshashins.
Our political leaders were all to happy to step in and pretend to solve the problem that they had helped create through their networks of cults and gangs, under the direction of a vast, Byzantine intelligence community. The public was given a simple explanation: entheogens were the culprit, tearing down the fabric of traditional morality. And in the hands of men like Captain Trips, Farmer John Griggs, Timothy Leary, and others entheogens were reduced to such villainy. But as always, the public was never given the full truth -that the drug epidemic and emerging counterculture was one that was largely designed and directed by the CIA; and that the entheogens, if people were made to understand their nature, need not be tools of mind control.