As no doubt many of you are aware, infamous American cult leader and goth/heavy metal icon Charles Manson shed his mortal coil on November 19, 2017. Manson's death came at a time when Charlie had been enjoying something of a pop culture Renaissance. The ill-fated David Duchovny series Aquarius most recently dealt with some of the more conspiratorial notions surrounding Manson while a reenactment of the Tate murders was crucial to the most reason season of AMC's American Horror Story: Cult. A few years ago it was announced that rocker-turned director Rob Zombie would team with American Psycho author Bret Easton Ellis for their own Manson TV series, but despite such pedigree, nothing seems to have come of it.
Most recently acclaimed hack director Quentin Tarantino was said to be developing his own Manson project, which hit a snag of late due to the ongoing fallout surround longtime Tarantino associate Harvey Weinstein. Even shock rocker Marilyn Manson, who took part of his stage name and persona from Charlie, has been back in the headlines of late in wake of as the Las Vegas shooting.
As many of you are no doubt aware, Manson is often depicted as the quintessential burned out hippie who ushered in the dark side of the Age of Aquarius, or something to that effect. But a closer examination reveals that when one looks past the sex, drugs and rock 'n roll, Manson and his cult had far more in common with later right wing organizations than with the 1960s counterculture.
To wit, Manson and his cult departed from San Francisco, the absolute heart of the 1960s counterculture (at the end of the of Summer of Love no less) and relocated to Southern California. Manson explained this move as an effort to escape the "bad vibes" of San Francisco. But surely things would have been hardly any better for a hippie cult in Southern California at this time, especially around the Los Angeles area.
While pop culture often depicts California as awash in the counterculture statewide in the 1960s nowadays, this was far from the reality. In fact, Southern California (outside of Hollywood) was the absolute heartland of far right organizations during this era. The most well known was of course the John Birch Society (JBS), who had their largest national presence in Southern California at this time, but they were hardly alone.
"The geographical distribution of Birch strength corresponds roughly to the concentrations of petty conservatism around country. The midwestern Bible Belt is fertile soil, and the Mormon-settled state of Utah, Idaho, Washington container membership out of proportion to their population. The eastern seaboard and Chicago largely turned their backs on the society. The Texas, Florida, in Southern California are Birch country.
"Southern California is the lotus land not only for the society but for ultra conservatism in general. When the Australian Dr. Fred Schwarz first set up his theological anti-communism shop in the United States, it was in Waterloo, Iowa, but the siren call of the California southland soon lured him to San Pedro and now Long Beach, where his Christian Anti-Communism Crusade has been anchored since 1958. Possibly nowhere in the nation is there a denser concentration of rightist activity than in Greater Los Angeles. Two well-known outfits are the Liberty Amendment Committee (not to be confused with the Liberty Lobby), which from national headquarters at 6413 Franklin Boulevard pushes for repel of the graduated income tax, and the Free Enterprise Division of Coast and Southern Federal Savings and Loan Association, which supports a staff of paid propagandists struggling 'to preserve the climate of economic opinion favorable to Americanism.' The First National Directory of Rightist Groups, published in 1968 by the Alert Americans Association, lists literally dozens of smaller groups and fronts. Glendale alone boasts the United Patriotic People of the USA, and Community Crusades for Americanism, the Network of Patriotic Letter Writers, Pilots for the American Republic, and the Reverend W. Stuart McBirnie, who originates a daily radio program from his United Community Church and subscribes to the motto 'Free Enterprise under God.' This is in addition to active branches of the National States Rights Party, the American Nazi Party, Young Americans for Freedom, the Constitution Party, and Pro-America."
(Power on the Right, William Turner, pgs. 22-23)
|the JBS in Southern California during the 1960s|
Little remarked upon are the similarities between the Manson Family and later militia groups. Manson and his followers were allegedly preoccupied with a coming race war. In preparation for it, they began to stock pile firearms while searching for isolated compounds in the California desert to dwell in. There are shades of the Covenant, the Sword and the Arm of the Lord here and it is certainly possible that various right wing paramilitary groups in Southern California at the time took inspiration from the Family. But moving along.
After Manson's arrest, the Family would briefly forge close ties with the Aryan Brotherhood, the notorious white supremacist prison gang. Curiously this chapter of the Manson Family is little reported upon, even by alternative researchers, despite producing some of the cult's most shocking post-Tate/LaBianca moments. The alliance began in 1971 and quickly produced several striking moments of violence.
"In the summer of 1971, Manson formed an alliance with the Aryan Brotherhood (A.B.) at Folsom Prison by arranging visits between A.B. members and his girls, who – following Charlie's orders – gave the A.B.-ers hand jobs and lap dances in the Folsom Prison visiting room. Charlie swung a deal with the A.B. where they would protect him against prison beatings and homosexual assaults on the inside and, in return, Charlie's girls would look after A.B. members on the outside.
"The first A.B. member to join the Manson fold was Kenneth Como, who led a group of Manson Family members on a ten-minute shootout during an attempted robbery of the Western Surplus Store in Los Angeles on August 21, 1971. This incident later became known as 'The Hawthorne Shoot-Out.' Others involved in the robbery included Mary Brunner, Gypsy, Charles Lovett (aka. Chuckleberry), Little Larry and Dennis Rice...
"After the arrest of the Manson Family Six, it was learned that the same group had been responsible for the August 13th robbery of a Covina beer distributorship. The motive behind these robberies was to collect an arsenal of weapons to break Manson out of prison. According to Vincent Bugliosi, their madcap plan included using the stolen weapons to hijack a 747 and kill one passenger every hour until Manson – and all other incarcerated Family members – were released...
"Como in due time became a clan leader in his own right, as those Manson Family members who had followed him into armed battle now became his followers. Gypsy declared herself to Como, look, along with Mary Brunner, Charlie's first Manson Family convert. This resulted in a dispute between Manson and Como that soon came to a head, leading to the subsequent breakdown of the pact between the Aryan Brotherhood, and Charlie's Family."
(The Shadow Over Santa Susana, Adam Gorightly, pgs. 144-145)
|the aftermath of the Hawthorne Shoot-Out|
This all unfolded around late 1970. A little less than a year later the A.B. appears to have assisted the Family in tying up loose ends.
"Family members were still involved in murder and attempted murder. Brenda McCann, aka. Nancy Pitman, was arrested on November 11, 1972 in Stockton, California. Brenda had been Bruce Davis' girlfriend, with whom she had been on the lam in the Los Angeles sewers for months before they turn themselves in during December 1970. This time, she was found in a house which contained a body buried in the basement, that of Lauren Willett (19), who had been shot in the head. Along with McCann were two members of the Aryan Brotherhood, as well as another woman named Priscilla Cooper (21). Both women had X's carved into their foreheads, identifying them as Manson Family members. What alerted police to the house was the fact that a car parked outside belonged to a man who been murdered a few days earlier in Northern California. James T. Willett was a former Marine, and had been found in his Marine uniform: killed with a shotgun and decapitated. As the police were busy arresting the four people in the house – which contained a small arsenal of weapons – Lynette 'Squeaky' Fromme called and asked to be picked up, evidently in the slain Mr. Willett's car. The police were only too happy to oblige.
"The motive for the murders remains unknown to this day. It is known that the Willetts have been associates of the Family for some time, at least a year if not longer according to Bugliosi. Bugliosi also wondered if James and Lauren Willett were the same James and Lauren who had driven Ronald Hughes to his campsite; if so, their deaths would be in accord with the Family's tradition of murder-as-cover-up. Bugliosi was unable to find the original James and Lauren, who had long since moved from their last known address. Eventually, the two men of the Aryan Brotherhood confessed to the crimes and were sentenced, as were Nancy Pitman and Priscilla Cooper. There was nothing to hold Lynnette Fromme, so she was set free."
(Sinister Forces Book II, Peter Levenda, pg. 121)The relationship between the Manson family and the A.B. later soured, allegedly on account of Charlie not being racist enough for the A.B.'s liking. Manson assaulted Como in prison while the A.B. reportedly retaliated by slipping Charlie some rat poison. The eventual deflections proved to be costly for Manson as well. Not only was Mary Brunner Manson's first convert, so was also the mother of his son Valentine Michael.
|A.B.-er Kenneth Como relaxing with a Manson Family member|
"... In 1980 James N. Mason (n. 1952), a violent Nazi who had joined Rockwell in the mid-sixties, revived the NASL (it had lapsed with Tommasi's assassination in 1975) as a forerunner of new militant American whites supremacist movements committed to an armed struggle against the so-called Zionist Occupied Government (ZOG), a current far-right epiphet for the U.S. government as a Jewish-controlled puppet regime. Mason relaunched Siege, in which he preached violence, racial strife and an all-out war against the hated system. In his quest for extremist mentors, Mason then became obsessed Charles Manson (b. 1934), the notorious killer serving life in prison for conspiracy in the murders of the actress Sharon Tate and others in 1969. Although Manson had carved a swastika into his forehead, his politics were vague. However, Mason regarded Manson as the supreme outlaw and adopted the convicted criminal as the spiritual leader of his neo-Nazi group, the Universal Order (the name came from Manson). Mason's Nazi religion embraced both Hitler and Manson as saviors, thereby combining Koehl's messianic piety with the millenarian violence of Tommasi. In the pages of Siege, Mason paid extravagant tribute to Hitler, Tommasi, Manson and Savitri Devi."
(Black Sun, Nicholas Goodrick-Clarke, pg. 19)
|James N. Mason|
Now that the Process has been brought up, I simply must address Maury Terry's allegations on a nation-spanning cult network that Manson was a part of. Per Terry the cult, often referred to as the "Four P-movement," originated with the Process Church of the Final Judgment and had links not only to the Manson Family, but also the Son of Sam killing spree (which have long been suspected of being committed by more than one person), the Cotton Club murder, and the Atlanta child murders, among others.
As I noted before here, I find Terry's claims to be dubious on some levels. But his raw data is compelling even though I believe his sources (including the Son of Sam himself, David Berkowitz) led him to conclusions that are questionable. Most glaring is Terry's blindness to the extent of which this alleged cult dovetailed with assorted right wing groups despite the frequent references to Nazism in Terry's investigation.
Consider for instance a reputed member of the Son of Sam cult, "Big" Fred Cowan. A bodybuilder and "former" member of he US Army (like Berkowitz himself, any number of militia types and, increasingly, mass shooters in general), Cowan went on a rampage in 1977 in New Rochelle, New York at his workplace that left six people dead on Valentine's Day. By all accounts Cowan was an unabashed neo-Nazi.
"No piker when it came to racism, Cowan decorated his attic apartment with portraits of Adolf Hitler and Heinrich Himmler, Wermacht helmets, vintage German weapons, and a Nazi battle flag. He joined the fanatical, Georgia-based National States Rights Party and stocked up on anti-Semitic literature, but friends still thought he was joking when Cowan spoke about the possibility of 'shooting up a synagogue.' In Cowan's view of life, 'Nothing is lower than blacks and Jews except the police who protect them.' "
(Raising Hell, Michael Newton, pg. 113)
|the banner of the National States Rights Party|
While none of this has ever been proven, it is beyond question that Mentzer was involved in the murder of millionaire Roy Radin in LA. At the time Radin had been assisting famed Hollywood producer Robert Evans, who was already then legendary for his involvement in The Godfather and Chinatown (which was directed by Sharon Tate's husband, Roman Polanski), procure funding for his latest picture, the Francis Ford Coppola-directed Cotton Club. Evans now has something of a cult following thanks to the documentary The Kid Stays in the Picture that glamorized his life and even had a cartoon based upon him at one point. Needless to say, this episode of his life is rarely addressed by "serious" movie buffs.
Reportedly Radin's murder was contracted by a drug trafficker known as Karen Jacobs, who had been using Evans' movie to launder drug money in addition to breaking into Hollywood. At the time of Radin's death Jacobs was married to Larry Greenberger, a member of the Medellin cartel and close associate of the infamous Carlos Lehder. As was noted before here, the Hitler-worshiping Lehder had extensive ties to the Fascist International.
Mentzer, whom Terry dubbed "Manson II," frequently collaborated with another killer known as Alex Marti. An Argentine national, Marti also reportedly had a soft spot for Nazism.
"... Marti, an Argentine and reputed for death squad member was more violent of the two, and also a Hitler to Cody who had a portrait of your in his home, a Third Reich library, and who admired the Nazi method of execution: a single gunshot to the back of the head."
(Sinister Forces Book III, Peter Levenda, pg. 218)Marti assisted Mentzer in killing Radin and reportedly in other murders. Both men appear to have first encountered one another while working as bodyguards for famed pornographer Larry Flynt, the founder of Hustler. In this capacity both men worked for one William Rider, who at the time was Flynt's brother-in-law and the head of his security force. Rider, who was a crucial source for both Steve Wick and Maury Terry concerning Mentzer, was also a curious fellow. During the trials revolving around Mentzer, Rider was accused of poisoning "former" OSS officer, and renowned drug and arms trafficker Mitchell WerBell III, another Flynt security man and luminary of the Fascist International.
Rider was accused of poisoning WerBell by a private detective known as A. Michael Pascal. Reportedly Psacal, who had also employed Mentzer and Marti, had claimed to be a former CIA agent on more than one occasion. Eventually Pascal was linked to another murder Marti and Mentzer had carried out and reached a plea bargain as his health was failing. Pascal's claims do not appear to have been given much merit by either Terry or Wick, two of the only researchers to examine the Cotton Club murders in depth (surprisingly, there have been few attempts to chronicle this salacious tale despite the fame of Evans and director Francis Ford Coppola).
Certainly Pascal seems to have embellished more than a few things, but Rider seems to have deserved far more scrutiny that either Wick or Terry applied to him. Rider was apparently aware of Radin's murder for some time before reporting it to authorities and "involuntarily" showed Menzer and Marti the spot where Radin's body was ultimately found.
|apparently William Rider (left) and William Mentzer (right)|
Thus, we are left with Mentzer, reputedly a member of a nationwide cult network who is only a few degrees of separation removed from Carlos Lehder and potentially even Mitchell WerBell, key figures in the Fascist International at the time. What's more, Mentzer was frequently working with an Argentine national alleged to have been involved in the death squads there. During this era the Argentine death squads were closely linked to the World Anti-Communist League (addressed at length before here) and Operation Condor, two linchpins of the Fascist International.
Is it absurd to think that Terry's alleged cult network could have this type of international reach?
Not when one considers another alleged associate of Charles Manson. As was noted before here, there are strong indications that Manson knew infamous LSD trafficker Ronald Hadley Stark during his time in L.A., that Stark may even have been a source of the drugs the Manson Family was known to traffick in. Regular readers of this blog are no doubt familiar with Stark, whom I examined at length before here, as are many of you who have studied the murky history of LSD.
|Ronald Hadley Stark|
What's more, many of these neo-fascists were involved in the murky netherworld of what is commonly referred to as Operation Gladio. For the unaware, here are a few details concerning Gladio:
"Operation Gladio was first made public in August 1990, when then-Prime Minister Giulio Andreotti admitted its existence to the Italian Parliamentary Committee on Terrorism. To this day much about Gladio remains mysterious. It seems that planning for the operation began to take shape in 1951... On paper, Gladio was a NATO-backed 'Stay Behind' operation: any Soviet attack on Italy would encounter a pre-established resistance network, a militarily-trained underground with access to secret arms caches hidden across the country...
"The Italian governments initially claimed the Gladio was part of the general agreement within NATO. NATO, however, officially denied any involvement. Revelations that Gladio-type organizations existed in non-NATO nations like Austria, Spain, and Switzerland further eroded the NATO cover story. Gladio really seems to of been what its name means: a double-edge sword to be used against both the Soviets and any elements inside Italy, from either the left or the right, that might try to take Italy out of NATO. Gladio also served as the backdrop for the 'strategy of tension,' which repeatedly destabilized Italian politics with bombings and other terrorist acts. Popular fear of terrorism, from either the 'left' or 'right,' could then be used to justify suspension of constitutional law or even, in a worst-case scenario, a military-backed Pinochet-like 'white coup' to ensure Italy's continued allegiance to the West."
(Dreamer of the Day, Kevin Coogan, pg. 332)
|a patch used by Gladio recruits|
As for Evola, his ideology appears to have been useful on more than philosophical levels.
"One of the principal influences on the ideology of Ordine Nuovo, and of the neo-fascist in general, was the philosopher Julius Evola. Evola rejected what he saw as the decadence of the modern world in favor of the nobility of 'tradition,' based on a blend of mythology, occultism and esotericism. It has been suggested that the remarkable control exercised by the leaders of the extreme right over some of their teenage followers could in part be explained by their dabbling in black magic and esotericism..."
(Puppetmasters, Philip Willan, pg. 43)
To be sure there is quite a considerable amount of evidence of these and cults like the Manson Family along with various neo-Nazi and militia groups were at the forefront of these operations. I have gathered much more evidence of this over the years that what is presented here. Those of you who follow the links and look at some of the older articles sited here will no doubt be able to fill in some of the gaps.
At some point I'll hopefully be able to return to this topic to fill in the remaining pieces. Until then, stay tuned dear reader.