Wormwood Star

Original cover of Wormwood Star, 2011.

Original 2011 cover of Wormwood Star, by Spencer Kansa.

Greetings, a.nolen readers! Spencer Kansa contacted me today demanding that this post be removed and threatening me with legal action– I’ve pasted a copy of his email in the ‘comments’ section of this post. Guess I hit a nerve…


In May of this year a revised edition of Wormwood Star: The Magickal Life of Marjorie Cameron was released. This is a fascinating book because Marjorie Cameron was the wife, and probably the ‘handler’, of Jack Parsons. Parsons was Aleister Crowley’s chief L.A.- based acolyte; the L.A. Thelema lodge was the last to keep sending money to Crowley, according to biographer Lawrence Sutin. Jack Parsons had high-level military clearances and access to valuable jet-propulsion research: he was an intelligence prize.

Spencer Kansa’s book is the only biography of Marjorie Cameron I could find, though– on the surface– it’s unclear why Kansa should have any expertise on Cameron. Kansa’s research style is not professional, he’s sloppy about sourcing information. Kansa’s only qualifications appear to be extensive publishing contacts in the music industry (an industry with more than its fair share of Crowley promoters); and his interviews with “William Burroughs, Allen Ginsberg, Paul Bowles and Herbert Huncke”. (Readers will remember that Allen Ginsberg gave Politics of Heroin writer Alfred McCoy a box of CIA TIME-Life notes on Vietnam’s heroin trade which became the basis for McCoy’s book, a book that protected CIA chief William Colby.)

Kansa’s ‘spookage’ doesn’t stop with Ginsberg.Wormwood Star is published by an outfit named ‘Mandrake Press’ in Oxford, which sounds like a homage to the ‘Mandrake Press’ Crowley set up with the mysterious British military figures Major Robert Thynne and Major J. C.S. Mac Allen.

Kansa’s connections are a two-edged sword for Crowley/Cameron fans: on the surface he should have no credibility as a biographer, but to my way of seeing the world, Kansa is likely to have an inside track because of his extraordinary access to ‘spooky’ characters. So if you’re willing to give Kansa’s information sources the benefit of the doubt, as I am, the next question is “Does Kansa write honestly?”

No, I don’t believe that Kansa writes honestly. Everything about this book is sympathetic to Crowley, Parsons, Cameron and Cameron’s promoter Kenneth Anger; everything about Wormwood Star preserves the cult of personality surrounding these people. Kansa doesn’t even try to incorporate Richard Spence’s research on Crowley’s intelligence connections, research that has been widely available for almost 15 years. Neither does Kansa examine Kenneth Anger’s ‘Congress for Cultural Freedom’ connections,  even though the congress has been a known CIA front for over a decade. Kansa’s neglect is easily explained by his resume, particularly because of the people Kansa was given access to interview.

Having said that, Wormwood Star provides a startling array of facts which, when they are extracted from Kansa’s sugar-coating, suggest that Cameron was an intelligence operative in American service, and possibly in the service of the U.K. and Israel too. Jack Parsons’ trouble with security clearances and espionage investigations– trouble which eventually cost him his job– has its roots in actions taken by Cameron, his wife. Ultimately it was Cameron who organized the attempted release of sensitive jet propulsion information to the Israelis; it was Cameron’s weird trip to Switzerland which garnered spook attention; it was Cameron’s strange lefty friends and domineering personality which worried the FBI.

So who was Marjorie Cameron? She came from a small town in Iowa; she had a stable, if somewhat puritanical, family; and she was liked and respected by her classmates despite her ‘artistic’ nature. However, Marjorie was not well-adjusted and from as young as 14 years old she would sneak out at night for casual sexual encounters. Throughout her life Marjorie seemed unemotional about sex; something which would come in handy when WWII broke out and she became a spook for the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS).

The JCS consists of military leaders who the US president appoints to advise him; in Cameron’s case that president was Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who cooperated with William Stephenson’s ‘irregular’ spy network, the British Security Coordination (BSC) to get rid of his critics.

According to Kansa, Cameron was the only woman working in a team of cartographers for the JCS. She was also given a posting at St. Elizabeth’s psychiatric hospital, where William Alanson White’s successor, Winfred Overholser, was now in charge. Overholser was a collaborator with the CIA’s MK ULTRA project, and prior to that he worked with mind-control drugs for Roosevelt’s OSS during WWII.

At some point, the JCS realized that Cameron could be useful entrapping men with “pro-German” sympathies in Washington D.C.; it’s unclear if any of her missions produced useful intelligence. I’ll remind readers that the BSC was busy organizing ‘dirty tricks’ like honey-traps in D.C. at the same time, one such honey-trap was author Roald Dahl .

After prostituting herself for the JCS, Cameron was given a job with Hollywood filmmakers creating war propaganda films in cooperation with the “Hollywood Navy”. If you want to know more about war-film propaganda and what would become the CIA’s MK ULTRA project, see my post on Carl Hovland and race riots.

According to Kansa, while making movies Cameron made friends with “strong union people who began to educate Marjorie about the military and the wider political ramifications of what was going on during the war”. I’ll remind readers that Roald Dahl got his introduction to the Roosevelts through Hollywood director Gabriel Pascal; Tinseltown in the 1940s seems to have well-established, and very elite, espionage connections. Perhaps this shouldn’t be surprising given William Stephenson’s investments in the movie business.

Not all of Cameron’s movie work was glamorous: she was given the job of washing GI uniforms that had been stripped from dead soldiers so that they could be used as costumes. At this time Cameron heard her brother had been injured in combat and she went AWOL to visit him, for which she was court martialed.

One might think that an AWOL/court martial would end Cameron’s association with the military. Quite the contrary, it opened up a new vista in her life. Suddenly, her father and brother both got jobs in California with the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), a highly sensitive military contractor, and Cameron was given an honorable discharge. Kansa states that Cameron never understood why she was given this discharge after the court martial.

I believe I do understand, readers, because not long after moving with her family to California, she shacked up with the JPL’s founder Jack Parsons. Parsons was a Thelema devotee and, according to Parsons, he had been corresponding with Crowley about a ‘magickal’ working with a new friend named L. Ron Hubbard. This working would invoke a special ‘sex-magick’ partner for Parsons. (Parsons’ first marriage was ‘untraditional’ and headed for divorce.) Perhaps Crowley made a phone call to colleagues in Washington after hearing about Parsons new Naval Intelligence friend?

Cameron says she was introduced to Jack Parsons by a friend from the Navy. Either way, Cameron, the Roosevelt honey-trap spook, appeared in the life of her dad’s new boss as miraculously as her dad’s new job appeared at JPL. Could a paramour with a dishonorable discharge have caused problems for Parsons’ high-level security clearances? I suspect so: an honorable discharge paved the way for Cameron’s placement.

Parsons met L. Ron Hubbard, a Naval Intelligence veteran a few months before Cameron came into Parsons’ life. As I’ve stated before, Parsons befriended Hubbard and took Hubbard into his magickal workings.Who was L. Ron Hubbard?

In the 1930s, prior to an obscure career for the Office of Naval Intelligence, L. Ron Hubbard was a student at George Washington University, where the Church of Scientology tells us his mentors were Dr. Fred August Moss and my old buddy, William Alanson White. White’s political beliefs inspired  the Sullivanian cult. According to information provided by Hubbard’s critic Caroline Letkeman, here’s a 1952 transcript of Hubbard explaining his relationship to White in the 1930s, when White was still superintendent of St. Elizabeth’s hospital (where Cameron had been posted in the early 1940s).

Parsons introduced Hubbard to Crowley via a letter, but Crowley seems to have taken an immediate dislike to Hubbard. (Competition?) Crowley’s disapproval didn’t stop Parsons from going into business with L. Ron. In retrospect Parsons and Hubbard’s company, Allied Enterprises, seems to have been a way for Hubbard to fleece Parsons, who’d grown rich on military contracts.

L. Ron Hubbard would go on to found what is now called Scientology, an organization with uneasy links to US intelligence. (I suspect, readers, that Scientology is the psy-op ‘that got away’.)

According to Kansa, Cameron didn’t take Parsons’ ‘magick’ seriously until after his death, however, she did take on an important communication role between Parsons and Crowley. In 1947 it was Cameron who left for Paris on a GI Bill scholarship, with the dual mission of contacting Crowley on behalf of Parsons to explain his involvement with L. Ron Hubbard. (Crowley died before she could see him.) During this trip Cameron thought she was being spied on by NYT correspondent Arthur Krock: “Cameron began to wonder if the Pulitzer Prize winning bureau chief was tailing her for the government, suspicious of why the wife of an important rocket scientist was journeying alone to Europe.”

Cameron did not use the GI Bill money to study art, but instead “seemingly on a whim” went to Switzerland, land of spooks. Her time in Bern was not pleasant, as she saw secret service agents around every corner. Guilty conscience? When Cameron got home, she found her husband under investigation by the House Un-American Activities Commission, ostensibly because of his Communist friends back in the 1930s. (The ghost of James Angleton walks again.) Parsons was eventually cleared, got his security clearances back, and took a new job with Hughes Aircraft Company. But all was not well…

Cameron’s and Parsons’ marriage was ‘untraditional’ like Parsons’ first one; but now Parsons began to get jealous– he often didn’t know where Cameron was or who she was with. Cameron decided to travel to an artists’ commune in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, which Kansa says was favored by US veterans of WWII. (I suspect that a large contingent of these “veterans” were OSSers– what other veterans didn’t have to work after the war?!) Cameron was bitter over the HUAC investigation into her husband; she had been vocal in her criticism of American hypocrisy since WWII, but now she began to make noises about emigrating to places where there was less injustice… like Mexico, or Israel.

Back home, Parsons fretted that his new boss, Hughes, was also spying on him. Parsons nervously began looking for a job in Israel, Cameron’s chosen land. Herbert T. Rosenfeld seems to have strung Parsons along with this: first asking for a proposal for a Chemical factory which went nowhere for Parsons, then asking the American to knock out a rough-draft for a jet propulsion development program. Cameron, now back in the US, did the leg-work putting together this second proposal; it was Cameron who gave the typist classified documents to prepare for the Israelis in late 1950. The typist alerted the FBI, who investigated Parsons again. This is what one FBI agent had to say about Parsons and Cameron:

Subject [Jack Parsons] seems very much in love with his wife but she is not at all affectionate and does not seem to return his affection. She is the dominating personality of the two and controls the activities and thinking of subject to a very considerable degree. It is the opinion if subject were to have been in any way willfully involved in any activities of an international espionage nature, it would probably have to be at the instigation of his wife.

The fallout from the Israeli job search (which never came through) made it impossible for Parsons to get a job Stateside and for a while he pumped gas to support himself and his wife. Needless to say, he’d come a long way from the jet-setting playboy.

 While Cameron was pushing her husband to emigrate to the Holy Land, things were developing at the CIA. In 1951, a few months after Parson’s Israeli FUBAR was discovered, the CIA created ‘the Israeli desk’ for James Angleton, which meant Angleton, a counterintelligence man, got first access to Shin Bet’s information on the Soviets– this would be an important tool for dealing with the CIA’s Soviet Division, which Angleton suspected had been captured by the Russians. I think it’s interesting that in the months following Cameron’s/Parsons’ near-leak, one of the nation’s top rocket scientists was shut down and our ally Israel’s hopes were dashed.

Why might US allies have been treated so harshly? In Richard Bennett’s 2013 book Espionage: Spies and Secrets, Bennett writes this about Angleton:

Angleton began his career in espionage in the wartime OSS. During his time in Italy both before and after the end of the war, Angleton developed a deep relationship with the leaders of the Jewish underground, who later became senior officers in Israel’s secret service, the Mossad. Because of these ties, he entered the CIA with the clear understanding that he would head the Israeli desk.

I had heard that Angleton got into bed with the Mafia in Italy, but I had no idea that Mossad had roots in the post-war Italian mess– and a bloody mess it was, with communist partisans taking revenge on anyone they didn’t like while the Americans looked on. How does Richard Bennett know this about the Israeli desk? It’s hard to say because he doesn’t source that particular information, but Bennett’s work is ‘respected’ enough to be referenced in the CIA’s “The Intelligence Officer’s Bookshelf“, so we can speculate.

Things never got better for Jack Parsons: by 1952 the case against him was dropped due to lack of evidence, but the struggle had ruined his career and his security clearances were never restored. He eked out a living making explosives for Hollywood movies. Cameron never gave up her dream of living in Israel, and convinced Parsons to move to Mexico before taking another crack at the Middle East. Before any of this could come to pass, Parsons died in a freak accident at his home laboratory. When Cameron heard of his death, she exclaimed: “Who will take care of me now? I don’t know how to make a living.”

The apparent insensitivity of that remark might be excused on grounds of something like shock; but her next move shows what a cold fish Cameron really was. Parsons’ mother committed suicide immediately on hearing of her son’s death (they were unusually dependent on each other), and when Cameron found out, her first concern was to remove three lbs of pot she’d stashed at her mother-in-law’s house to avoid it being confiscated by police. Don’t worry, Cameron got the pot out.

Right after Parsons’ funeral Cameron left for Mexico where she had a rendezvous with a mysterious British couple, Nancie and Bill Patterson, who were representatives of another U.K.-based cult called the ‘White Eagle Lodge’. ‘White Eagle Lodge’ had been founded by a spiritualist duo, a medium and her husband much like ‘Hellish Nell’s’ team, which cashed in on channeling the ghost of famous spiritualist Arthur Conan Doyle. The Pattersons helped Cameron conduct one of Crowley’s ‘blood rituals’ and after two months Cameron returned to the USA, a fervent believer in Thelema and amongst the first Americans to experience UFO phenomenon, says Kansa.

Embracing Thelema did little to curb Cameron’s drug addiction or alleviate her money worries. In the face of shrinking options, she professed that she really was the incarnate spirit of Babylon that her late husband and Crowley had dreamed about. She began trying to beget a “moonchild” through liaisons between herself, her small band of white witch-followers and willing black musician “wands”. Cameron was desperately trying to prove her place as a high priestess of Thelema and drum up a living in the process; Crowley’s heir Karl Germer would have none of it. (I’m reminded of Peter Wright’s observation that the intelligence business is a great user of people.) Cameron sunk into penury.

Instead of letting Cameron in on the Thelema business proper, Cameron was made an initiate of the Silver Star, which was a way of putting her under Crowley’s faithful Cefalù desciple Jane Wolfe’s control– the idea being to keep Cameron’s madness from sinking the Thelema ship. It sort of worked, but Cameron continued to court the media with stunts like sending her ‘witches’ over to service Bob Hope sexually (which they did, according to Kansa). For my international readers, Bob Hope was an American entertainer famous for his ‘USO Shows’, or entertaining active-duty soldiers.

Out of money and out of friends, in 1953 Cameron drifted into the orbit of a Hollywood ‘maker’, eccentric and homosexual named Samson de Brier, whose home was like a dingy, art nouveau museum, stuffed with wannabe starlets of both sexes. One of these starlets was Kenneth Anger, who would later reinvent Crowley’s system of control for the 1960s audience, using Cameron as the face of his endeavour.

During the early 1950s, at the beginning of the CIA’s ‘Congress For Cultural Freedom’, Anger was busy making a name for himself in Europe by plying CIA-funded artists such as Jean Cocteau with homoerotic films. But by 1953, Anger was back in the States, flush with his dead mama’s money, flush with a ‘belief’ in Thelema, and looking for a muse like Cameron. Anger would cast Cameron and her witches in the campy film he made with de Brier, Inauguration of the Pleasure Dome, a sort of culturally confused homage to Crowley. Anger would spent the following years promoting Cameron as the new face of Thelema throughout the US and Europe, which didn’t sit well with what remained of Crowley’s European followers like Karl Germer.

Anger’s Thelema take-over bid included high-profile media escapades using his contacts in the film scene, art world and especially the commercial music industry– the industry from which Spencer Kansa draws his connections.

Cameron’s, and Thelema’s, usefulness to the Western 1960s cultural revolutions deserve their own post, as does Cameron’s relation to the founding of Scientology and then her struggle against it. (Scientology is far more profitable than Thelema ever was.) I’ll conclude this summary of Kansa’s book by pointing out that Scientology’s stronghold is in Hollywood and that the BBC takes special interest in Scientology. Thelema’s most modern incarnation first prospered through the British music industry, and is still promoted by high-profile musicians today. Any comment, Langley, MI6?

Rap artist 'Jay-Z' promoting Aleister Crowley's system of control.

Rap artist ‘Jay-Z’ promoting Aleister Crowley’s system of control.

P.S. Long-time readers may notice several shocking similaries between Marjorie Cameron’s life and that of William Donovan’s secretary and T.V. chef Julia Child. I encourage interested readers to check out my double-review of Julia’s autobiography and The Haunted Wood.

Aleister Crowley’s System of Control


In my previous post on The Cult of Intelligence, I speculated that Aleister Crowley’s cult in Cefalù, the “Abbey of Thelema”, had research goals similar to those of MK ULTRA.

I’ve since read more about the “Abbey” and was shocked to find that not only did Crowley’s cult anticipate the more sensational MK ULTRA research, but Crowley employed sophisticated “social influence” techniques which I wrote about in The Banality of Mind Control. Crowley’s cult drew from Freud’s theories and attacked the family just like the Sullivanian cult would do nearly forty years later. Crowley’s Cefalù experiment was the forerunner to much American-lead mind control research during the twentieth century.

This matters, readers, because while Crowley probably did have some genuine interest in the occult, he was always an intelligence agent first and foremost. Crowley viewed the world through an ‘intelligence’ lens– and did so since 1913 at least, when he wrote this on a visit to Russia:

Though little agitation was apparent in the general atmosphere of the Fair [at Nizhny Novgorod] the shrewd, astute, subtle, linx-eyed, past master, analytical, psychic, eerie, hard-bitten Secret Service Chief could nose there was a certain discontent with the regime. [From Crowley’s notes to his poem The Fun of the Fair.]

Everything that Crowley touched was open to being used by Britain’s intelligence services. This seriously undermines the religious sincerity of the occult work Crowley undertook, and leads me to wonder why Anglo-American spooks were promoting Crowley’s brand of the occult in their home territory.

Not only were Anglo-American spooks promoting ‘Crowleyesque’ occult ideas; this promotion was sustained over the course of nearly seventy years and spread to the USA by way of NYC. From his base in NYC, British/Canadian spy William Stephenson set up what became America’s ‘Central Intelligence Agency’ in the early Forties; in the 1950s the CIA’s MK ULTRA project dutifully jumped in where Crowley’s ‘mind control’ work had run out of money.

How close was Crowley to William Stephenson’s NYC spy machine? Crowley earned his American spy-boots in New York City during WWI. He worked to discredit anti-war and anti-British sentiments by pretending to be a rabid, pro-German, pro-Irish Nationalist pundit. Biographer Richard Spence believes Crowley played a role in the sinking of the Lusitania, which was used to pull America into WWI. Crowley had mastered Stephenson’s bag of tricks when ‘Intrepid’ was still a boy in school.

I suggest, readers, that the genesis of organizations like the OSS and CIA lies in the careers of Aleister Crowley and like-minded men. Seeing as the entire world is, in one way or another, suffering from the consequences of these mens’ choices, I believe it’s worth our time to reexamine what Crowley was doing.

In this post I’ll put forward that Crowley’s mind-control tactics were drawn from the “system of control” first devised by Adam Weishaupt. Crowley paired Weishaupt’s system with Edward Kelley’s tactics for exploiting the power of belief. I’ll then look at how Crowley’s tactics at Cefalù tally with Philip Zimbardo’s observations on “social influence”, as well as Amy Siskind’s and Daniel Shaw’s observations from their time in cults.

While Crowley had a shockingly sophisticated understanding of mind-control techniques, he hadn’t quite figured out who were the best targets for recruitment– Crowley had a lot of disillusioned followers, and by the time of his death only Jack Parson’s Los Angeles chapter was still on good terms with “The Beast”.

Finding the right target is important. My suspicion is that a large part of the MK ULTRA project aimed at identifying good targets for control, or encouraging the formation of more good targets. That’s where Crowley struggled, and I’ll be looking at the work of John W. Gittinger and his Personality Assessment System in the future.

Right now, let’s get on with Crowley and what he learned from the abortive ‘Illuminati’.

Throughout history, many intelligence professionals have been interested in the occult; by ‘occult’ I mean practicing magic and employing ‘secret knowledge’ to bring about their own will. I believe that the reason for this dual-interest is because both the occult and espionage are about establishing “systems of control”, they’re a natural pairing.

I wrote about “systems of control” while exploring Dr. Philip Zimbardo’s work on mind control. As a quick reminder, here’s how Zimbardo defines that phrase:

The behavior of large numbers of people must be managed efficiently. For this reason, persuaders develop “systems of control” that rely on basic rules and roles of socialization and that impart a sense of belonging. When interaction among people is restricted to interchange between their social roles, however, it becomes easier for ethical, moral, and human concerns to take a back seat. [From On Resisting Social Influence, with Susan Andersen]

Running an intelligence agency requires controlling large numbers of people; people who may not always feel it’s in their interest to cooperate with their intel handlers. Cults, secret societies and criminal organizations all face this same organizational problem– it’s not enough to collect information, a leader must have reliable minions to act on the information. The intelligence community’s ‘cooperation’ problem has been around a long time.

One way to get around this problem is to recruit people who are predisposed to identify with authority or who are naïve about the world and their own interests. Another way around is to collect ‘dirt’ on one’s followers, so that they can be blackmailed into obedience if necessary. Bearing this in mind, I’m going to provide a quote from Libido Dominandi: Sexual Liberation and Political Control by E. Michael Jones, which deals with the papal suppression of the Jesuits (1773) and the founding of the Illuminati:

The significance of the Illuminati lay not in its political effectiveness (it existed a little more than eight years), but rather in its method of internal organization. In borrowing freely from both the Jesuits and the Freemasons, Weishaupt created an extremely subtle system of control based on manipulation of the passions. Borrowing the idea of examination of conscience from the Jesuits and sacramental confession from the Catholic Church to which the Jesuits belonged, Weishaupt created a system of “Seelenspionage” that would allow him to control his adepts without their knowing that they were being controlled…

Weishaupt had not just issued a manifesto calling for revolution, he had created a system of control that would create disciplined cells which would do the bidding of their revolutionary masters often, it seemed, without the slightest inkling that they were being ordered to do so…

Weishaupt took the idea of examination of conscience and sacramental confession from the Jesuits and, after purging them of their religious elements, turned them into a system of intelligence gathering, spying, and informing, in which members were trained to spy on each other and inform their superiors. Weishaupt introduced what he called the Quibus Licet notebooks, in which the adept was encouraged to bare his soul for the inspection of his superiors…

Weishaupt created a technique of what came to be called “Seelenspionage,”or spying on the soul, whereby the superiors in the Illuminati could get access to the adept’s soul by close analysis of the seemingly random gestures, expressions, or words that betrayed the adept’s true feelings.

As part of the systematization of this semiotics, Weishaupt, not unlike Alfred Kinsey 150 years later, developed a chart and a code to document the psychic histories of the various members of the Illuminist cells. In his book on the Illuminati, van Duelman reprints the case history of Franz Xaver Zwack of Regensburg. In it we see a combination of the Kinsey sexual history, the Stasi file and credit rating all rolled up into one document whose purpose is control.

I was struck by the similarity between Weishaupt’s methods and the potential of the PRISM dragnet spying program; or government programs like the ‘Insider Threat Initiative‘. It seems that “systems of control” haven’t changed much since 1777. According to Richard Spence in Secret Agent 666, Aleister Crowley, British Intelligence and the Occult, one of the first mystics Crowley studied was a protegé of Adam Weishaupt’s, Karl von Eckartshausen.

The Illuminati was an Enlightenment organization and therefore lacked an important element: the certainty and totality of God. After a few years Weishaupt began to quarrel with his aristocratic co-founder and the organization splintered. Later students of ‘mind-control’ recognized that Weishaupt’s ‘system of control’ could be strengthened by exploiting the power of belief and investing the cult’s leadership with supernatural powers. Dr. John Dee’s occult writing was a natural place to look for inspiration; early in his career Crowley made a point of copying Dr. Dee’s writings during one of his trips to Oxford University.

Dr. John Dee (1527-1609) was part of Queen Elizabeth I’s espionage network; he was a mathematician and is credited with smuggling crucial navigation instruments out of Belgium which helped Her Majesty’s Navy remedy their ‘technology gap’. As he got older, he became more interested in Kabbalah and ‘controlling spirits’ through magical means. Dee came under the influence of a fraudster and confidence artist named Edward Kelley, who claimed to be able to talk to spirits and raise the dead.

The later half of Dee’s life was something of a tragi-comedy, as he loaned his library, his wife and his fortune to Kelley in exchange for Kelley’s cooperation in ‘talking with angels’ and uncovering magical secrets (and power). The product of this slow fleecing was a book titled Monas Hieroglyphica which is interpreted as a guide to Enochian Magic– invoking and controlling spirits.

Aleister Crowley saw the potential of fusing Weishaupt’s system and Kelley’s ‘Enochian Magic'; Crowley put this hybrid cult in the service of Britannia’s spooks at Cefalù.

Crowley’s Cefalù psyop was one that any student of cult dynamics would recognize: he established a system of control by encouraging isolating behavior and unhealthy power-worship. The ‘Abbey of Thelema’ appears to be his largest mind-control undertaking and his longest sustained media assault. It was also his most cynical abuse of his followers: Crowley began by recruiting two young, working-class, single mothers (Leah Hirsig and Nina Shumway) for his ‘sex magick’ and then used them to garner publicity through prurient media stories about orgies and bestiality.

The best reference I’ve found for details on the Cefalù cult is in the sympathetic biography of Crowley by Lawrence Sutin, Do What Thou Wilt: A Life of Aleister Crowley. The following quotes come from this book and  show which control tactics ‘The Beast’ learned from Adam Weishaupt, as identified by E. Michael Jones.

She [Leah Hirsig] persuaded Crowley to review Shumway’s [Nina Shumway] magical diaries for the period. (All members of the Abbey kept such accounts to chart their spiritual progress.) Upon doing so, Crowley was “utterly appalled at the horrors of the human heart. I never dreamed such things were possible. I am physically sick– it is the greatest shock of my life. I had this mess in my own circle. It poisoned my work; it murdered my children.”

How Shumway’s alleged depravity ran against Crowley’s teaching is difficult for me to determine.

What about Weishaupt’s compromising  “sexual histories”? One of the chief purposes of the ‘Thelemic Abbey’ at Cefalù was to encourage acolytes to engage in compromising sexual acts; the more lewd the better– better for ‘magick’, of course! Crowley’s personal homosexual proclivities were very useful to that end; he offered himself to at least one male acolyte as a painted, cheap, old “New Orleans” hooker. (See the wall painting below!) The acolyte wasn’t interested.

You can’t talk about Aleister Crowley without talking about sex. Sex is useful to manipulators only if it can be diverted down the right channels. I’ll remind readers of Siskind’s observations on how sex was used by the Sullivanians:

The developement of my sexuality and my sense of myself as a sexual being was deeply affected by my experiences with Ralph Klein [a Sullivanian leader]. His voyeuristic comments and attitude impacted me in the sense that I believe I acted in ways that I wouldn’t have otherwise. My early experimentation with sexual activity may or may not have taken place without his input, but I don’t think that my objectification of myself would have been the same. I was taught to distance my sexual feelings from my other emotions. Thankfully, I wasn’t always able to achieve this separation; but at certain points in my life I did have sexual encounters that were fairly impersonal. In the Sullivan Institute community, for anyone to become deeply emotionally involved with one person was considered dangerous.

Sex is useful for isolation if it can be divorced from its role in creating family. (Amy Siskind was also discouraged from having children by her Sullivanian manipulators.) Promoting promiscuous sex (sex that will never build strong relational bonds) or sex that will never result in offspring, is a great way of misguiding people’s natural tendency toward forming family groups and ensuring Nature will never pull the follower away from the cult.

Crowley’s particular take on using sex for isolation was perverting it towards power-worship by making it just another magical tool for self-aggrandizement. Crowley was interested in heterosexual sex and sodomy toward this end. You can read a sympathetic account of Crowley’s “sex magick” here:

Rejecting the prudish hypocrisy of the Victorian Christian world in which he was raised, Crowley identified sex as the most powerful force in life and the supreme source of magical power. Taking an apparent delight in outraging the British society of his time, Crowley made explicit use of the most “deviant” sexual acts — such as masturbation and homosexuality — as central components in his magical practice. At the same time, Crowley was also one of the first Western authors to take an interest in the Hindu and Buddhist traditions of Tantra… One need now only browse the shelves of any Barnes and Noble bookstore or surf the endlessly proliferating web-sites on the Internet to discover the secrets of Tantra, Sex Magick and Tarot, practice Tantra without Tears or even engage in Wicca for Lovers. [From Unleashing the Beast by Keith Urban]

The excerpt above comes from an essay which ends with this question:

Thus, one might well argue that we are now living in a kind of “post-orgy world,” after all the great social and sexual revolutions have broken every imaginable taboo. Yet this has left us in a strange “undefined state,” in which we are left questioning our very being. As Jean Baudrillard observes, “The orgy is over, liberation is over…After a culture based on prohibition…this is a culture based on the questioning of one’s own definition: ‘Am I sexed? What sex am I?’…Liberation has left everyone in an undefined state…This is why there’s so much love-making.” [121] After all, as Crowley seems to have asked himself in the end, what is there left to do after every forbidden desire has been indulged and every taboo transgressed?

I’ll answer Urban by reminding him that Crowley’s initial followers were single mothers who struggled to make ends meet. After the orgy comes old age and children– after the orgy comes vulnerability– and the desire for protection from the powerful, at any price. Crowley understood vulnerability before he even got started in Sicily; he knew that single, vulnerable, mothers would make reliable followers. There would be no point burdening himself with other men’s children if Crowley didn’t understand how to exploit single mothers’ vulnerability.

Crowley’s Cefalù cult had anti-family ideology based on Freud’s theories which the Sullivanians would copy almost forty years later:

Crowley gave Hansi [Hirsig’s boy] and Howard [Shumway’s child]– whom he nicknamed “Dionysus” and “Hermes”– their first lessons in rock climbing. As they were mere toddlers, the ascents he chose must have been mercifully short. But the attitude Crowley displayed here was typical. Under his Thelemic creed, children were to be raised with full freedom to explore their talents and interests. Parents– especially mothers– were to refrain from fussing and over-protecting. The absence of hovering care, Crowley believed, could reduce the impact of the Freudian Oedipal complex, the remnants of which Crowley abhorred in himself.

Freedom from “fussing and over-protecting” can have different interpretations, so let me elucidate: little Hansi and Howard’s freedom from hovering parental care was ensured by Crowley, Hirsig and Shumway’s raging drug addictions. Conditions were so bad for the boys that when Hirsig’s sister came to rescue Hansi, she was given immediate custody on the grounds that the Abbey– a remarkably dirty place per Crowley’s orders– was unfit for children. At the time that Hirsig lost custody of Hansi, she was in Paris with Crowley on one of his many missions there.

Crowley understood how to isolate by attacking the family, immediate and extended, as early as 1907 when he tried to make a disciple of the Earl of Tankerville. The Tankerville incident occurred well before Cefalù, but it shows the depth of Crowley’s understanding:

For all his nervousness and vices, Tankerville was devoted to his family– a trait Crowley viewed as a sentimental encumbrance from which his student required extraction…

The Earl’s wife remained a persistent distraction, as were the children. It was essential that they [Crowley and the Earl] make a Great Retirement together. Crowley decided upon Morocco, by way of Paris, Marseilles, and Gibraltar. “I was of course in paradise,” Crowley wrote, “to be once more among Mohammedans, with their manliness, straightforwardness, subtlety and self-respect!” The trip was, plainly, a fulfillment of Crowley’s own desires, with the further hope that Tankerville, once forced into unfamiliar and rigorous conditions, would cast aside his Anglo-Saxon fears and prejudices. This was Crowley’s standard prescription for spiritual transformation… [From Lawrence Sutin’s Do What Thou Wilt]

In the Middle East and North Africa homosexuality is not exactly encouraged but they do turn a blind eye to it, so the appeal for Crowley is clear. If you’ve ever noticed how expatriates’ behavior can come unhinged in an alien culture, you’ll understand why Crowley would wish to take his aristocratic quarry there. The Earl was not a good choice for indoctrination and quickly saw through Crowley in Morocco.

If Crowley could convince a target to join the Abbey, then life for them in Cefalù was highly regimented– just as life was for the Sullivanians, Siddha Yoga followers and for people in many other cults:

The training time frame would be just over three months. There would be an initial three days during which one was treaded graciously as a guest with an orientation on Abbey life. After this, one was either to leave or set to work. If the latter choice was made, there would be a day of silence, followed by three days of instruction, and then the taking of a solemn Magical Oath to pursue the Great Work pursuant to the teachings of Crowley’s A:.A:.. The remaining weeks were devoted principally to the study of Crowley’s writings, as well as careful yogic and magical practice (all to be carefully recorded in a diary, which was to be left available for others at the Abbey to read, so that all could learn from each other’s work) and manual labor essential to abbey functions… As for recreation, the Thelemites frequently shocked the Cefalù natives by their preference for nude bathing.

Regimented lifestyles are part of what Zimbardo termed “Basic Training in Compliance”. Crowley established a greeting ritual which everybody at the Abbey had to use: “Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law” followed by “Love is the law, love under will”. If you didn’t use this greeting, you were evicted from the building. :)

Crowley also exploited what Zimbardo identified as “saturation and detachment”: Acolytes at the Abbey were not allowed to read beyond Crowley’s teachings, if they were, they were punished. Crowley painted a special room with pornographic scenes that he wanted his followers to immerse themselves in and become desensitized to– more on that later. In a nutshell: Crowleyesque weirdness had to become the new ‘normal’ for Thelema devotees.

Much like Daniel Shaw’s experience with his guru at Siddha Yoga, Crowley was fond of shaming his followers with emotional, verbal and sexual abuse, which included making them eat goat dung for its ‘enlightening’ effect.

Crowley was a great believer in pushing his students to the limit through means including intensive verbal abuse: The more difficult the training, the more a student would gain– if he was worthy… [Lawrence Sutin, Do What Thou Wilt]

Crowley’s experiment at Cefalù showed remarkably sophisticated mind-control tactics, especially considering he implemented them forty years before the Sullivanians or MK ULTRA; and sixty years before Zimbardo wrote about resisting social influence. However, Cefalù was always a control experiment, and an exercise in manipulating the British and American media, it was never a real spiritual movement. Cefalù was about controlling large groups of people.

To prove this point, I put it to readers that Crowley wrote a tourist brochure about his pornographic bedroom murals in the Abbey’s ‘Chamber of Nightmares’ as soon as the paintings were finished– before an innocent ‘spiritual explorer’ could have been sure that his painting ‘therapy’ even worked and before the Abbey had attracted anyone besides Crowley and his two concubines:

The brochure raptly assured potential visitors– from whom Crowley hoped to draw new disciples– that the purpose of the Chambre “is to pass students of the Sacred Wisdom through the ordeal of contemplating every possible phantom which can assail the soul. Candidates for this initiation are prepared by a certain secret process before spending the night in this room; the effect is that the figures on the walls seem actually to become alive, to bewilder and obsess the spirit that has dared to confront their malignity.” This secret process may have involved one or more drugs. Opium, ether, cocaine, heroin, laudanum, hashish, and anhalonium were in constant supply at the Abbey, and Crowley administered them to himself in the Chambre on an almost nightly basis. The brochure described, in the third person, the self-purgation that Crowley pursued in the Abbey:

“Those who have come successfully through the trial say that they have become immunized from all possible infection by those ideas of evil which interfere between the soul and its divine Self. Having been forced to fathom the Abysses of Horror, to confront the most ghastly possibilities of Hell, they have attained permanent mastery of their minds. The process is similar to that of “Psycho-analysis”; it releases the subject from fear of Reality and the phantasms and neuroses thereby caused, by externalizing and thus disarming the spectres that line in ambush for the Soul of Man.” [From Sutin’s Do What Thou Wilt]

This is an example of one of Crawley’s “nightmare” paintings at the Abbey:

thelemic abbey painted crowley

Perhaps Crowley’s methods inspired the “Hyper-Realistic Training TM” gurus at Strategic Operations Inc, too!

As I mentioned before, Crowley struggled to attract ‘tourists’, and by the end of his life his only followers still sending Crowley money were in Los Angeles– the followers he had the least personal contact with. (Jack Parsons, the rocket scientist with high-level intelligence connections, was head of the Los Angeles Thelema chapter for a while.) Despite this failure, Crowley never lost his friends in dark places.

Crowley’s system of control was of interest to British military intel agent Capt. M.E. Townshend, one of many British spooks to have dealings with ‘The Beast’. Later in Crowley’s career he would establish a printing press with Major Robert Thynne and Major J. C.S. Mac Allen, called Mandrake Press, which was designed to publicise Crowley’s ideas. Crowley biographer Lawrence Sutin can’t get his head around why the two Majors were interested in Crowley’s occult writing.(!)

Richard Spence, author of Secret Agent 666: Aleister Crowley, British Intelligence and the Occult opines that Crowley’s ‘real’ reason for being in Sicily was to spy on French and Italian naval movements at the behest of intel officer Everard Fielding, who I first mentioned in my post about “Hellish Nell“. Spence doesn’t attempt to explain Crowley’s relentless media courtship, which is only to be expected, as Spence (a Washington D.C. favorite) avoids investigating the parts of Crowley’s life which smell like occult-related psychological operations against the British public.

There are many people today who want to believe that Aleister Crowley was something more than an agent provocateur and an exploitative cult leader in His Majesty’s Service. They want to believe Crowley’s philosophizing has some merit beyond control, much like any cult member runs from the pain of disillusionment. I suggest that these desperate Crowley-believers have as much hope of finding spiritual enlightenment in the declassified MK ULTRA papers.

Throughout Crowley’s career (probably 1897 to his death), he used the cover of a magician or mystic during missions for British Intelligence– this fact doesn’t appear to cause contention. However, believers seem to assume that at some point the ‘cover’ transformed into a true religious quest and that Crowley’s courting the press– especially around his cult in Sicily– was something other than a psyop aimed at the Anglo-American public.

I encourage readers to consider the possibility that Crowley’s Cefalù experiment was conducted with the British public in mind; that Crowley’s scandalous media forays in the U.K. were no less ‘spooky’ than his scandalous media forays in NYC.

Nina Hammett, a sort of Roaring Twenties version of Tilda Swinton, spent some time with Crowley in Cefalu then wrote this article for about him. (Click on it to enlarge.)

Nina Hamnett, a sort of ‘Roaring Twenties’ version of Tilda Swinton, was an acquaintance of Crowley and wrote this article for about him in 1934. Celebrities and similar scandals would ‘plague’ the Abbey during its short life in the early 1920s. (Click on image to enlarge.)

Even though the exploitative nature of Crowley’s undertakings has been well known since the 1930s, Crowley’s legacy was repackaged and marketed in the 1960s by cultural icons like Lucifer Rising creator Kenneth Anger, The Beatles and Led Zeppelin. Even today outfits like the BBC and the History Channel push Crowley, despite the fact that Emperor Aleister has no clothes. Is it possible that someone is still trying to mess with our heads?

William Colby on the Pentagon Papers

Thank you, cia.gov!

Thank you, cia.gov!

I’ve become jaded about politically sensitive ‘leaks’ of classified documents. I guess it started with Alfred McCoy’s self-exposing introduction to his 1991 edition of The Politics of Heroin. (McCoy came out with another edition of this book in 2003 which has extra chapters about the Taliban. One career; one book.) For those of you who are reading a.nolen for the first time, in his 1991 introduction McCoy makes it clear that his book was written with CIA help. The Politics of Heroin is managed opposition to a faction of leaders at the CIA and was probably masterminded by William Colby to distract from his personal involvement with the heroin trade in Vietnam.

I’ve written some damning things about Colby’s Family Jewels leaks; John Marks’ work spinning the MK ULTRA releases; but I haven’t yet touched The Pentagon Papers.

Naturally, Colby’s pet literary agent David Obst managed the release of the ‘Pentagon Papers’ for his client Daniel Ellsberg. Ellsberg is now rocking the Free World alongside US intel agents Edward Snowden, Laura Poitras and Glenn Greenwald… regular readers already know what I suspect went on with Ellsberg and his mind-blowing leaks.

The Pentagon Papers are famous because they are supposed to be the Department of Defense’s in-house history of the Vietnam war. These papers are supposed to prove that the Vietnam War was really about ‘containing’ Communist China and its imperial aspirations. Exposing the ‘real’ motivation of the war also exposed lies that ‘the White House’ had made to the American people.

You can access some of the ‘Pentagon Papers’ by following this link. I have not yet read all of these papers, in order to do so it seems that I’ll have to make another trip to The National Archives and see how many ‘Pentagon Papers’ they can still find.

However, readers, I dare say that we don’t have to catch a bus to Maryland in order to get an inkling about what Obst and Ellsberg were up to in 1971, the year The Cheese came back to Langley. We can learn why the Pentagon Papers were released directly from the horse’s mouth, because the editors of Honorable Men, Bill Colby’s autobiography, kindly included ‘Pentagon Papers’ in Colby’s index. Colby mentions ‘Pentagon Papers’ five times; each time in a positive context.

I will now provide all five quotations from Honorable Men, in the order in which they appear. Perhaps by the end of the fifth quote you’ll come to the same conclusion that I have about Ellsberg’s awesome blow to for government accountability.

Honorable Men, p. 143

Diem [Colby, also Catholic, backed South Vietnam’s president Ngo Dinh Diem] had no mass popular constituency; his Mandarin Catholic background gave him no base among the Buddhist peasant population. His only appeal lay in his nationalism, which had led him to exile rather than accept French colonial rule, and the fact that his non-Communist nationalism seemed a more hopeful prospect than Ho’s Communist version.

Not surprisingly, with so much going against him, hardly anyone gave him much chance of surviving, and virtually no one (including himself) gave him any chance at all of winning the reunification elections against the Communists in 1956. And this included the Americans. A national intelligence estimate, dated August 1954 (and quoted in the Pentagon Papers), stated: “Although it is possible that the French and Vietnamese, even with firm support from the U.S. and other powers, may be able to establish  strong regime in South Vietnam, we believe the chances for this development are poor and moreover, that the situation is more likely to continue to deteriorate progressively over the next year.”

And yet, Diem pulled it off, by taking on his enemies one by one.

So, according to Colby, the Pentagon Papers ‘prove’ that  Diem– and by extension Colby– did better in Vietnam than anyone could have expected! It gets better…

p.226 Honorable Men

Still, the good sense of the CIA officers in Vietnam, their greater familiarity with the country and its people, because of their longer tours of duty there, and their professional tendency to penetrate behind the façades of the situations they faced, all made them valuable contributors in the Country Team discussions, and they provided a useful counterpoint to the optimism of the proponents of panacea programs. And the Agency’s analysts in Washington served in a similar way, their estimates on events in Vietnam being by far the most realistic, as shown in the Pentagon Papers, although their conclusions were in great part neither welcomed nor adopted by policy makers.

For much of the Vietnam War Colby was in charge of CIA operations in Vietnam. He claims that the Pentagon Papers are evidence proving the war would have worked out better if his great work hadn’t been ignored by stupid D.C. policy makers.

p. 239 Honorable Men

By the fall of 1967, then, it looked as though McGeorge Bundy might have been wrong after all, that the structure of the American government could be adjusted to meet the need to fight a people’s war rather than insisting that war is a matter for soldiers and generals only. And although most of the new activity had so far taken place only in Washington conference rooms and offices, and the work in the field in Vietnam was still largely one of plans and preparations, a sense of momentum grew and replaced the earlier frustrations over the gap between high policy proclamation about the war in the villages and the absence of visible action to carry them out. As the Pentagon Papers concluded its account of the formation of CORDS [Civil Operations and Revolutionary Development Support], “the Mission was better run and better organized than it ever had been before, and this fact may in time lead to a more efficient and successful effort,” (Vol. II, p. 622), I was convinced that it would, that finally the United States would be fighting the right war in Vietnam, at the village level, and that it would be successful if it carried out the long-term strategy that had so long been absent but now finally had begun.

So, when Dick Helms in late 1967 suggested a new job for me, I did not demur. I had been chief of the Far East Division for almost five years and heavily involved in Vietnam for eight, and my ideal time frame for holding the same job had come to an end.

The CORDS pacification program was Colby’s baby, and it included the highly controversial PHOENIX program, which killed thirty times as many people as My Lai. Colby ran PHOENIX and was deathly afraid of his program being exposed to the American public. (That’s why Lloyd Shearer’s correspondence with Colby was the final ‘Family Jewel’.) Colby’s fear about the consequences for himself if PHOENIX ‘got out’ is why I believe he also fed information about My Lai to Sy Hersh in ’69.

We know that Seymour Hersh isn’t the good guy he pretends to be, but what about Ellsberg? Colby seems to like what the Pentagon Papers say about him and his Vietnam efforts. Could Ellsberg have played a pivotal role in Colby’s politically motivated leaks to KGB-affiliated media pros? Colby says ‘no’ in the next quote:

p. 337 Honorable Men

But it was on my trip to Bangkok in early May of 1973 that I read in a newspaper the story that would radically shake up my life, and that of CIA. It was the story that reported that, during Daniel Ellsberg’s trial for disclosing the Pentagon Papers, it had been revealed that the office of his psychiatrist, Dr. Lewis J. Fielding, had been broken into by Howard Hunt, using CIA equipment, in search of material that would then be turned over to the CIA and from which CIA would prepare a “psychiatric profile” on Ellsberg for the White House. This was a shocker and I couldn’t understand how I had never heard of it before, when I was supposed to have been in charge of assembling all the CIA material relevant to Watergate. But more disturbingly, I wondered how the news had hit Schlesinger; for I had assured him that I had told him the full story of CIA’s relationship to Watergate on virtually the first day he had arrived at Langley.

I didn’t have to wait long after my return home to find Schlesinger’s reaction. In a most moving vote of confidence in me, Schlesinger said he assumed that the news was as much of a surprise to me as it was to him. But then he went on to say that he would tear the place apart and “fire everyone if necessary,” but we had to find out whether there were any other such questionable or illegal activities hidden in the secret recesses of the clandestine past that we didn’t know about and that might explode at any time under our feet. To do this, Schlesinger said, he wanted to issue a directive to all CIA past and present employees, ordering them to come forward with any matter they knew of where the Agency had engaged in an activity outside its proper charter. With that directive, which he issued on May 9, the CIA “family jewels” were born, and led inexorably to a year of Congressional investigations and a whole new status for American intelligence.

Of course, Colby leaked the ‘family jewels’ to his pets, writer Seymour Hersh and agent David Obst, in 1974 in order to undermine his enemies at the Agency like James Angleton. From Colby’s autobiography, it would seem that he had the inside track on outing “flap potential” projects from day one, AND that Colby was the brains behind Jim Schlesinger’s jittery five-month term as head of the CIA.

I’d like to remind readers that William Colby had suspicious dealings with a known KGB agent in Vietnam (See Tom Mangold’s Cold Warrior). Colby met with a French doctor who worked for the KGB in Saigon multiple times and hid these meetings from the rest of the CIA, despite knowing he was required to report the meetings. The doctor was later convicted of espionage in France. Investigations by CIA counterintelligence staff into Colby’s KGB connections were quashed in 1971 when Colby returned from Vietnam to run the Agency. More than one CIA stalwart has questioned why Colby gave out as many secrets as he did… especially when he was leaking them to journos with KGB ties.

The final Colby ‘Pentagon Papers’ quote is the most interesting to me because it sheds some light on Colby’s KGB network and how ‘American’ intelligence really works. From Honorable Men p. 355:

But one problem I could not solve– Kissinger’s penchant for holding key information so tightly that CIA’s analysts continually complained that they could not make proper assessments of foreign problems if they were barred from knowing what was being told to the American government at the top level and what positions the United States was taking in diplomatic negotiations. Kissinger’s direct links to the Soviet hierarchy, his negotiations with the North Vietnamese and, of course, his dazzling dances through the Middle East, all were reported in the most secret of channels, with no copies coming to Langley. But while I sympathized with the analysts in their frustration, I saw little hope of any change in the situation. The proliferation of leaks in Washington, from the Pentagon Papers to Kissinger’s 1971 “tilt” toward Pakistan against India, had raised the question whether any secrets could be kept, and had driven Kissinger into extreme efforts to keep those he thought absolutely necessary for the conducting of coherent negotiations. And I confess that I agreed with his action; after Marchetti and Agee I felt I could no longer say that it was inconceivable that anyone in CIA would be guilty of an information leak, a position we had proudly held in earlier times.

Some may feel Colby’s crocodile tears are hypocritical, seeing as he set the bar for Agency leakage. ‘Kissinger’ refers to that perennial American power-broker, Henry Kissinger.

The excerpt above raises two questions in my mind. First, Colby was comfortable working with the KGB and with keeping his colleagues at the CIA in the dark about Kissinger’s actions. Was Kissinger also a KGB asset?  I’m not the first to suspect this and according to one high-ranking Polish defector, Kissinger was recruited by the KGB around 1946. At some time after 1961– the height of the MK ULTRA program– this Polish defector, Colonel Michael Goleniewski, severely damaged his own credibility by claiming to be Tsarevich Alexei Nikolaevich. Maybe Goleniewski was just crazy, or maybe one of his handlers at the CIA’s Research Department got to him, but his information led the Brits to catch and convict Soviet spies George Blake and Harry Houghton.

My second question involves “Agee”, who is Philip Agee, a “conservative, Catholic” CIA agent-turned-‘whistleblower’, who was ‘hounded’ by the Agency for his book Inside the Company: CIA Diary. Out of all the 1970s ‘whistle-blowers’, why would Colby mention Agee along with Marchetti, especially since Colby praises Marchetti’s book in his biography? Was Philip Agee another of Colby’s ‘pets’? Agee’s book, Inside the Company was published in the U.K. in 1975. Also in 1975, Playboy magazine gave Agee an interview.

You’ll remember that the Playboy empire was caught pooling its money with the CIA’s at Castle Bank in 1973. Bill Colby’s bank for laundering drug-money, the Nugan Hand Bank, was set up to replace Castle after the 1973 IRS scandal made Castle too hot to handle. For *some reason* two years after this awkward IRS discovery, CIA-asset Playboy gave Agee a platform to air his CIA grievances.

The plot thickens, because while Philip Agee was promoting his CIA diary, he was also in contact with the KGB, according to Christopher Andrew and Vasili Mitrokhin in The Sword and the Shield: The Mitrokhin Archive and the Secret History of the KGB. (See p. 231 of the 2001 printing.)

Colby’s use of the Pentagon Papers to white-wash his own behavior tells me that CIA resources were made available, or the Agency was kept in the dark, depending on the wishes of folks who were *very likely* cooperating with the KGB. I don’t think any of this should be surprising, seeing as the OSS was staffed from day one with Abe Lincoln Brigade kids; and that Bill Donovan spread on another thick layer of Soviet plants; and that the CIA was run by creeps who’d drunk “the milk of FDR“.

I guess the joke’s on all those poor CIA middle-mangers who still think they’re fighting the Rooskies. I’ve got a bridge to sell you, enquiries to adotnolen@gmx.

I believe a much more realistic view of the Agency is that it’s a vehicle for coopting military resources for private ends, specifically the ends of well-connected American businessmen. These businessmen have never been shy of working with nasty spooks the world over, and will sell out the American people for a quarter.

There is something exquisite about William Colby, and I mean that in the worst possible way. He was never as talkative as his stooge David Obst, but Colby’s extreme nastiness lead him to over-confidence. That over-confidence has a silver lining, because now we have a good idea about what the Pentagon Papers are, what Daniel Ellsberg is, and what Ellsberg’s buddies at the Freedom of the Press Foundation are too.

The Unfortunate Mr. Cosby *Update*

Bill Cosby’s implosion over the past few weeks has been almost as dramatic as Tiger Wood’s back in 2009. I have a little sympathy for Cosby, because although I believe he probably did drug and rape at least some of those young women, I also suspect that his proclivities are being used to silence him.

Cosby has said some dangerous things in the past few years. Here’s Debra Dickerson for Slate in July 2004:

Lately, Bill Cosby has been making a comeback—as Shelby Steele. The 67-year-old comedian—who became America’s Dad in the 1980s and America’s Granddad more recently—has launched a series of surprising assaults on the pathologies of low-income blacks. “They think they’re hip. They can’t read; they can’t write. They’re laughing and giggling, and they’re going nowhere,” he said in Chicago at the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition and Citizenship Education Fund’s annual conference on July 1.

This followed an attack launched at the NAACP’s Brown v. Board of Education 50th anniversary gala at Constitution Hall in Washington, D.C., in May. No laugh tracks there. The Cos has chastised young black men for “beating up your women because you can’t find a job,” blasted poor parenting in the ghettoes, heaped scorn on Ebonics, and lambasted aimless blacks for squandering the hard-won gains of the civil rights movement. Symbolically, he made his comments in high-profile “public” (read: where whites could hear) venues.

Many critics expressed shock that the beloved figure of Americana—the genial observational humorist; the wise paterfamilias of the beloved The Cosby Show (1984-1992); the winner of the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2002—should offer such a pointed, and conservative, political message.

And here’s Cosby weighing in on George Zimmerman, written by someone called “GOTTYtm” for UPROXX in 2013:

In a recent call-in interview with the DomNnate Radio Show, the comedian was asked his unbridled opinion on the George Zimmerman verdict. Cosby’s open to speaking about guns, the prosecution of the case, and the media’s coverage but race isn’t on the table for discussion. In Cosby’s estimation, race was never an issue in the case because, well, nobody can determine if George Zimmerman’s a racist.

“This racial stuff goes into a whole bunch of discussion which has stuff that you can’t prove,” Cosby explained. “You can’t prove somebody is a racist unless they really come out and do the act and is found to be that.”

Cosby also disregards Zimmerman’s history of calling 9-1-1 to report mostly suspicious black males and notes that “the prosecution did not tell the story well, and they lost.” Cosby also cites the Casey Anthony trial and used both incidents to state that the media’s a major culprit. “I found the media were jumping and had this woman guilty,” Cosby remarked. “I will never pay attention to information given to me by TV, radio or whatever about a high-profile case until the jury says what it says.”

[The title of this article is Bill Cosby Says George Zimmerman Isn’t A Racist, Naturally.]

As you can see, Bill Cosby’s been biting the hand that feeds him for a decade. Here’s a timeline of Cosby’s legal trouble. You’ll notice that the first charges hit in January 2005, six months after Slate reported Cosby’s “conservative” views.

What’s interesting to me is that none of the rape charges really got traction before a comedian (who I’d never heard of) threw this zinger at a crowd in Philly on Oct 16th:

“Bill Cosby has the fucking smuggest old black man public persona that I hate,” [Hannibal] Buress says. “Pull your pants up, black people. I was on TV in the ’80s. I can talk down to you because I had a successful sitcom. Yeah, but you raped women, Bill Cosby. So, brings you down a couple notches.”

A video clip of Hannibal Buress sounding off was put online through Philedelphia magazine and went “viral”. [Member how “going viral” was something Benny Johnson liked to study before he got fired? Just a thought.]

So anyway, Cosby was taken “down a couple notches” after saying things that many middle-class black adults say in private. These views are particularly common amongst people who’ve lived in depressed black neighborhoods and who deal with the fallout of what sports personality Charles Barkley terms the “typical B.S.”, or self-destructive behavior. The people who hold views like Barkley’s and Cosby’s are democrats and “conservatives” alike. The problem, readers, is that Cosby’s viewpoint doesn’t sit well with socially liberal media types, nor folks who make money from the self-destructive attitudes that Cosby lambasted– folks who cash in on ‘gangsta’ culture, or who win government funding and tax-exempt status to ‘help’ low-income blacks.

You’ll notice that Cosby’s rape charges weren’t brought up back in 1998 when his politics were safe and his wife Camille wrote the following to US Today:

“I believe America taught our son’s killer to hate African-Americans.”

That quote is part of a screed titled  America taught my son’s killer to hate blacks. The question on everybody’s mind is if Camille knew that her husband drugged and raped multiple white women when she decided to use the death of her son Ennis this way.

I see a pattern here, do you?

Andrea Constand, alleged Cosby victim.

Andrea Constand, alleged Cosby victim.

Tamara Green, alleged Cosby victim.

Tamara Green, alleged Cosby victim.

Beth Ferrier, alleged Cosby victim.

Beth Ferrier, alleged Cosby victim.

Barbara Bowman, alleged Cosby victim.

Barbara Bowman, alleged Cosby victim.

I feel particularly for the black men and women who will read about Cosby’s charges; see these women’s faces; and feel dismay that another successful black man doesn’t want women of his own race. They’ll look at what Cosby has said– observations that Cosby made because he’s being honest and cares about his own people– and discount the truth in Cosby’s words because of the hypocrisy of Cosby’s actions.

Daily Mail caption: "Up in smoke: Cosby hangs out with his arm around his wife, Camille Hanks, at a Four Tops concert at the Cocoanut Grove nightclub in LA. He often left her at home when he went carousing."

Daily Mail caption: “Up in smoke: Cosby hangs out with his arm around his wife, Camille Hanks, at a Four Tops concert at the Cocoanut Grove nightclub in LA. He often left her at home when he went carousing.”

Readers will probably say” “Wait, anolen, you’re writing as though Cosby’s already been convicted.”

Yes, I am. I suspect that Cosby did commit these crimes. I also suspect that many of these women would have slept with Cosby to further their careers, but found out too late that he was kinkier than they bargained for. I point to the case of Barbara Bowman in particular, who went back to Cosby’s home with him, alone, and there accepted an alcoholic drink which she says he’d laced.

I also suspect that Cosby’s promoters knew about Cosby’s proclivities, and that this may have helped Cosby’s career. Cosby made his name promoting an image of what mid-century television producers wanted black men and black families to look like. The Bill Cosby Show, followed by The Cosby Show, was propaganda aimed at white and black people alike; they aired during massive white flight from mostly-black inner city areas and during the aftermath of the destructive 1960s race-riots, which I wrote about here. ‘The Cosby Show’ was a charm offensive, one that could be switched off at any moment by outing Bill’s bad behavior. If you think stuff like this doesn’t happen, consider the torpedoed career of playboy Dominique Strauss-Kahn.

But now Cosby’s not being a good boy anymore.

Ironically, Cosby’s going to be undone by the most noble actions he undertook during his public life. Whatever you think of his opinions, he’s brave to air them and he’s probably doing so because he doesn’t want another generation of young black people to be fodder for CIA social engineering.


It seems that the latest allegation is that Cosby drugged and raped a 15 year old at the Playboy Mansion. Readers will remember that Hugh Hefner, the Playboy founder, was caught pooling his money with CIA assets.

Cosby’s alledged crime took place in 1974, one year after the IRS received a client list for Castle Bank, which they believed was involved in fraud. The list contained Hugh Hefner’s account, Bob Guccione’s account as well as those of so many CIA fronts that the agency quashed the IRS investigation on “national security” grounds.

Bad news, Cosby– they probably have vids.

Sullivanians, or the “Fourth Wall” Cult


One of the Sullivan Institute's buildings in NYC. Thanks, www.thesociallifeofartisticproperty.com.

One of the Sullivan Institute’s buildings in NYC. Thanks, http://www.thesociallifeofartisticproperty.com.

Today I’m going to write about the experiences of Dr. Amy B. Siskind inside the NYC-based Sullivanian cult, as she relates them in the current edition of the International Cultic Studies Journal Vol 5, 2014.

I’m writing about the Sullivanians, or “Fourth Wall” cult, because this group has an ‘elite’ pedigree, as far as American power-circles go, and because the cult’s history sheds light on the origins of the CIA’s ‘mind control’ MK ULTRA program.

Siskind was a child when her mother entered the Sullivanians, right on the heels of divorcing Siskind’s father. (You may be interested in reading about second-generation cult members.) In Siskind’s words, this is what the now-disbanded Sullivanians were all about:

 Pearce and Newton [founders of the Sullivanian cult] believed that the nuclear family was the cornerstone of an unhealthy and selfish society. Specifically, they viewed the relationship of mothers to their children as the cause of almost all psychopathology, and also as the basis of all individual limitations…

Therefore, in order to enable children to become healthy adults, Pearce and Newton deemed it necessary to make radical changes in the structure of the family and in child-rearing practices. The Sullivan Institute/Fourth Wall therapeutic community was an outgrowth of this ideology. In the formative years of the community (1957 to 1970), the leadership undertook the creation of “hitherto unconceived social forms”2 by advising patients to formally break off contact with their families of origin, by advising childless patients not to have children, and by requiring members who were already parents either to send their children to boarding schools or hire full-time caregivers and housekeepers.

2 Pearce and Newton, Conditions of Human Growth, 1963 (Citadel Press), p. 7

Siskind reflects on the negative influences from her involvement with the Sullivanians:

The developement of my sexuality and my sense of myself as a sexual being was deeply affected by my experiences with Ralph Klein [a Sullivanian leader]. His voyeuristic comments and attitude impacted me in the sense that I believe I acted in ways that I wouldn’t have otherwise. My early experimentation with sexual activity may or may not have taken place without his input, but I don’t think that my objectification of myself would have been the same. I was taught to distance my sexual feelings from my other emotions. Thankfully, I wasn’t always able to achieve this separation; but at certain points in my life I did have sexual encounters that were fairly impersonal. In the Sullivan Institute community, for anyone to become deeply emotionally involved with one person was considered dangerous.

My sense of myself as a competent, intelligent person was both enhanced and assaulted at various points by my [cult-appointed] therapists and by the leadership of the community. I was supported in my academic aspirations, but at a certain point the demands of the group made it impossible for me to achieve my goals. Additionally, one of the most basic things about my sense of self-worth as a woman– my ability to raise a child– was questioned.

Simply having a great many social experiences in the context of the community helped my shyness and social anxiety. However, the deeper issues of my difficulties with friendship and committment were never addressed. While I was a member of the group, I was able to develop close relationships with women and a few men. I don’t remember being helped to deepen these relationships.

Because my relationships with my father and mother were stopped during the period I was in the group, I didn’t have the opportunity to develop adult relationships with them. I didn’t learn that I could separate from them, hold different opinions from them, and still love them… I reconnected with my father several months after I left the community, just before my brother died violently in Israel in what was called suicide.

What I’d like readers to take home is how the cult attacked Siskind’s family relationships, particularly the bond between Siskind and her mother, and between Siskind and the children she wished for (Siskind and her husband adopted a baby in later life, after leaving the cult). By attacking the family relationship, the Sullivanians were able to isolate Siskind from meaningful, non-cult influences.

What happened to Siskind struck me because of the new way I learned to understand ‘family’ while I lived in various developing countries. Anglo-American expectations of ‘family’ are different from those in most other parts of the world.

In most of the world two or three generations live together under one roof and, in turn, this multi-generational household is part of a tight-knit community of people with similar backgrounds. In these communities ‘like marries like’ and the ‘in-group’ help each other first.

On the other hand, for people of European descent in the Anglo-American world, ‘family’ tends to mean children and their immediate parents, with grandparents on either side living separately– often too far away to play much of a role in family life. Westerners are discouraged by the State, their church and Academia from distinguishing between ‘self’ and ‘other’ when practising altruism.

This Western difference has huge implications; implications which I might not be aware of if I hadn’t lived overseas. The most important of these is that Westerners have a smaller family network to draw on for protection or support. In order to get to Amy Siskind, all the Sullivanians had to do was convince her mother. Might the outcome have been different if, say, Amy’s grandparents were allowed/expected to have as much say about Siskind’s welfare as her mother?

Cults are not the only danger to vulnerable people. The extended family is important for resisting malignant social influences or government predation, too: consider the Uighur community in China. Uighurs, a Muslim minority, work together to protect themselves from persecution, real and imagined. (The flip side of this is that they often use the same networks for organized crime.)  My point is that in most of the world extended family networks protect the individual from rapacious government officials– family provides protection from broken governments. The Western way of raising children makes us particularly vulnerable to government pressure.

Siskind’s abuse at the hands of the Sullivanians is terrifying, especially considering that she was just a child when the brain-washing started. But what if the isolating policies of the Sullivanians were not just a sad aberration, but an outgrowth of the interests and policies of a well-connected group of people with pull in Washington D.C.?

In this post, I argue that is the case: the Sullivanians’ ideas represented a perversion of popular elitist thinking, but not a very large perversion. I’ll do this by giving a brief history of the ideas and people who inspired the Sullivanians and their connections to Washington D.C. and the ‘intelligence community’. I’ll then offer one anecdote and a few suggestions as to how this cabal’s ideas are being implemented by the Federal government right now. My premise is that strong family bonds are essential to individual freedom; attacks on family bonds isolate the individual and a are part of effective mind-control strategies.

Effective mind-control strategies all use some element of isolation to keep their victims under thumb, this is true whether the manipulator  is an exploitative institution, a religious cult, the ‘intelligence community’ or a narcissistic spouse. The power of  isolation as a control tool has been known for a long time and breaking the target from family who are unsympathetic to the cult is a ‘must’ for cult-leaders. Here’s a quote from Shelly Rosen’s paper titled Cults: A Natural Disaster– Looking at Cult Involvement Through a Trauma Lens, which appeared in the International Cultic Studies Journal vol. 5, 2014:

The primacy of the two-parent, nuclear family is a recent development in human history and is in fact not the only paradigm for clan living in the modern world. The problem with one’s being born and raised in a cult is not that the members are not raised in nuclear families; one could argue that living with many people who support the parent-child bond is a better way to ensure secure attachment (Perry, 2009). Rather, the problem is that the leader and the group process perpetrate boundary violations on the group’s members; often separate spouses from each other, and parents from their children; and isolate their members from the greater world (Lalich & Tobias, 2006). This environment creates abandonment fear and stunts the process of sharing one’s particular proclivities with a variety of others, both of which greatly hinder development. A nuclear family with a narcissistic, isolating parent can be as problematic as a nonkin group with a narcissistic leader. The narcissism and the resulting lack of support, as well as the isolation from the greater human world, create the problem.

So how was isolation, as a manipulative tactic, reinvented in 1950s New York City?

Site of the Sullivanian's propaganda organ, the 'Fourth Wall Repertory Theater', on 79 East 4th Street in NYC. Courtesy www.thesociallifeofartisticproperty.com

Site of the Sullivanian’s propaganda organ, the ‘Fourth Wall Repertory Theater’, on 79 East 4th Street in NYC. Thanks,

The Sullivanians were founded by Saul Newton (born Saul Cohen) and his wife Jane Pearce. The couple met while working at the William Alanson White Institute, an organization which promotes psychoanalysis and the legacy of Sigmund Freud. The couple were also devotees of Harry Stack Sullivan, a founder of the William Alanson White Institute along with Erich Fromm, a one-time associate of the CIA-assisted Frankfurt School intellectuals.

After Harry Stack Sullivan died, Newton and Pearce left the William Alanson White Institute to found their cult, which was formally known as The Sullivan Institute therapeutic community. Newton ruled the community as a dictator, fathering ten children by different women and exploiting vulnerable people like Amy Siskind. How much of an aberration were Newton’s ideas from those of William Alanson White and his protegé Harry Stack Sullivan? Supporters of White and Sullivan say that Newton’s cult was completely out of step with these luminaries’ ideas, but I’m not so sure.

William Alanson White, courtesy of http://mikemcclaughry.wordpress.com

William Alanson White, courtesy of http://mikemcclaughry.wordpress.com

William Alanson White was a New York City surgeon who had two passions: the potential of Sigmund Freud’s work in psychoanalysis and the potential of Boris Sidis‘ work in hypnosis, mental illness and suggestibility. White  promoted Freud’s ideas in the American medical community; he worked personally with Sidis while living in New York at the turn of the twentieth century. (Sidis did his work on hypnosis after Harvard, while he worked as an associate at the Pathological Institute of the New York State Hospitals.)

Beginning in the 1890s, New York and Boston were good places to study ‘mind-control’. At Harvard University, William James worked alongside Sidis to explore ‘exceptional mental states‘ and ‘suggestibility‘– how to control people through suggestion.

In New York, men like Sigmund Freud’s nephew Edward Bernays were developing strategies to manipulate public opinion and control democracies from “behind the scenes”.

Bernays was a propagandist for the Woodrow Wilson administration, which came into power because Teddy Roosevelt, the ‘bull moose’, decided to run as a third presidential candidate in 1912. Readers will remember that after WWI, Teddy worked with Leonid Andreyev’s translator and murderer Herman Bernstein to blame the war on the Kaiser while Wilson built his brave new world at Versailles.

Sigmund Freud's nephew and advertizing guru Edward Bernays.

Sigmund Freud’s nephew and advertizing guru Edward Bernays.

During the first few decades of the twentieth century elitist East Coast circles were quite open about their desire to ‘take control’ of the American Experiment (look at the books they published!); their  openness about their political aims was something that didn’t really change until the lead-in to WWII, which is why CIA counterintelligence head James Jesus Angleton focused on pre-war intelligence during his investigations into Soviet spy networks.

My point is that the seven MK ULTRA subprojects which investigated hypnosis would have started by looking at what Boris Sidis and his friends had done; Sidis was the most widely known and best connected researcher into hypnosis. If the destroyed MK ULTRA documents concerned the same topics Philip Zimbardo wrote about in On Resisting Social Influence, then White’s, Sidis’ and Bernays’ students/colleagues would have been highly desirable partners for the CIA.

Was William Alanson White the type of character who would lend his knowledge to a cause like Bernays’ democracy-manipulation, or to a project like MK ULTRA if he’d lived long enough? Here’s a quote from his autobiography about how he first won public prominence in NYC:

This element of publicity has been a rather interesting one in my career. The incident above cited [White’s appointment to a NY State medical committee] was not by any means the first experience I had of this sort. I got an unusual amount of attention from the press during my career as an ambulance surgeon. I figured in a number of rather dramatic incidents which made good copy, and I always got along very well with the fourth estate.

What type of a surgeon panders to the press with gory tales of their unfortunate patients? Not an ethical one.

Newspaper articles which appealed to base interests also appealed to Theodore Roosevelt, and White soon got Teddy’s patronage. White was given a position in Washington D.C. at St. Elizabeth’s Hospital, a notorious asylum which after WWII would hold at least one political prisoner. White would also become president of the American Psychological Association (like Philip Zimbardo), an association which has had unsavory relations with the CIA since 1953 at least. White was an expert manipulator of federal funding and appropriations bodies; he left a well-endowed legacy to his protegés like Harry Stack Sullivan.

Harry Stack Sullivan spent his life as a Washington D.C. psychiatrist and political operator. Sullivan was a homosexual and worked hard to promote acceptance of homosexuals in the US military.  As we know, the LGBT community currently plays a disproportionate role in the armed forces.

But there’s more to Sullivan than his work for the large LGBT community in Washington D.C.

Harry Stack Sullivan, thanks theglaringfacts.com

Harry Stack Sullivan, thanks theglaringfacts.com

Sullivan studied with Freud and took Freud’s theories further with ‘interpersonal psychoanalysis‘, which involves analyzing people by looking at how they interact with others, particularly with their ‘significant other’, in hopes of providing insight into mental disorders.

It may interest regular readers to know that Heinz Kohut, the preeminent narcissism researcher whose work is referenced by the US military to explain the prevalence of narcissism in their ranks, has this to say about Narcissism and interpersonal relationships:

Patients with NPD [Narcissistic Personality Disorder] may have a history of many failed relationships secondary to disappointment that the relationship is not giving them the longed-for childhood gratification and their missing self object needs.7

7. Muslin MD, Hyman L. Heinz Kohut: Beyond the pleasure principle: Contributions to psychoanalysis. In: Reppen J, editor. Beyond Freud: A Study of Modern Psychoanalytic Theorists. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc; 1985. pp. 203–29.

Another way of interpreting what Kohut says is that people who suffer from narcissism tend to isolate themselves, or at least, are unlikely to form deep, lasting relationships with other people. Narcissism is a barrier to forming healthy families.

A little speculation on destroyed MK ULTRA research: It’s conceivable that a manipulator who is interested in exploiting a condition like narcissism could use Sullivan’s case histories for identifying patterns of behavior which may signify reliable ‘recruitment’ targets, for example, a person with a string of brief, failed marriages. After all, people with “NPD” don’t have it stamped on their forehead.

Much like Freud, Sullivan’s work had political implications. Sullivan declared that society was to blame for some mental illnesses; that social prejudices were at the heart of some individuals’ maladjustments– he wrote a paper on this titled The Illusion of Personal Individuality. (See p. 56 of Harry Stack Sullivan: Interpersonal Theory and Psychotherapy, by F. Barton Evans III.) The logical conclusion from Sullivan’s assertions is that society needs to change in order to ‘promote mental health’.

Before I move from Sullivan to Saul Newton, I’d like to make one last observation on Sigmund Freud. Much of Freud’s work has now been discredited, he was a coke-fiend who ‘theorized’ by imagining his motivations were the same as his clients. (If you’re interested, read The Decline and Fall of the Freudian Empire, by Hans Eysenck.) However, while some of his ideas have dubious medical merit, I suggest that they are politically powerful and that’s why they haven’t been forgotten.

Consider, for instance, the ‘Oedipus Complex’. This is Encyclopedia Britannica’s definition of Freud’s term:

Oedipus complex, in psychoanalytic theory, a desire for sexual involvement with the parent of the opposite sex and a concomitant sense of rivalry with the parent of the same sex; a crucial stage in the normal developmental process. Sigmund Freud introduced the concept in his Interpretation of Dreams (1899).

Freud suggests that somewhere at the heart of every child’s relationship to their parent is a desire for incest. Freud’s highly controversial theory attacks the family bond by suggesting that deep down a child’s relation with their parent is an abusive sexual relationship, a relationship that inspires disgust. Since Freud had no scientific basis for this ugly assertion– he made up the Oedipal Complex based on a misreading of Sophocles’ play Oedipus Rex– one has to wonder what, exactly, was Freud’s motivation? Has there ever been a more fundamental attack on the family?

Sigmund Freud, great showman, not-so-careful reader?

Sigmund Freud, great showman but not-so-careful reader?

I encourage readers to review Siskind’s description of what the Sullivanians were about, and ask themselves if Newton and Pearce’s ideas really were so different from those of their idols White and Sullivan. After all, Newton’s community was free of the ‘neurosis-enducing’ nuclear family which passed on the arbitrary values of a ‘neurosis-enducing’ society…

Finally, on to Saul Newton himself.

Saul Newton was a Canadian who came into his own through Chicago’s revolutionary, communist circles. From Chicago, Newton joined the Abraham Lincoln Brigade, an American volunteer organization which fought with the Communists during the Spanish Civil War. (KGB/OSS agent Ernest Hemingway is famous for singing their praises.) The Abraham Lincoln Brigade was exceptionally well-connected amongst what would become the core of FDR’s Office of Strategic Services, and this University of Pennsylvania author estimates “At least 60 percent were members of the Young Communist League or CP [Communist Party].”

Now playing in Ferguson, MO!

Now playing in Ferguson, MO! Thank you, horizontefbt.blogspot.com.

In 1957, after Newton had finished shooting Spaniards alongside OSS’ers and Communists, he got a job with a Freud-centered think-tank, married Jane Pearce and started his cult.

What type of people did Newton target for mind-control? Well, the daughter of well-known author James Agee, Julia Agee, for one. James Agee worked with Whittaker Chambers at TIME magazine, Clare Boothe Luce’s front for the CIA. In his biography, Witness, Chambers claims that he and James were the principal minds behind TIME’s book review section, as well as a “special projects” section:

Presently, a new post was devised for me. It was called Special Projects. It was a new department of the magazine whose staff consisted of my friend, James Agee, and me. Its purpose was to provide Time chiefly with cover stories which, because of the special difficulties of subject matter or writing, other sections of Time were thought to be less well equipped to handle.

Cough, cough, cough.

Readers will remember that Whittaker Chambers was a KGB agent who became an asset of J. Edgar Hoover and provided crucial testimony against other Soviet spies in the USA.

I don’t have a full list of Sullivanian members, but Julia Agee’s involvement alone suggests that Newton was targeting a population close to the ‘intelligence community’. (Julia’s father had committed suicide by the time of her involvement with the Sullivanians.)

What I hope I’ve shown is that the Sullivanians were a well-connected cult that inherited the ideas of well-connected Washington D.C. operators and targeted people who were within easy reach of the  ‘intelligence community’. Newton chose to implement his control strategy with tactics that mirrored the beliefs of his idols and targeted victims’ relationship to their immediate parents, the strongest remaining family bond in the Western world.

But what about the rest of us, the people Quinn Norton characterizes as the “lesser people“, who aren’t part of the ‘intelligence community’? Are we victims of the same family-bashing?

A few years ago when I worked at a NYC think-tank, I attended a talk in which the head of the Chicago School System told an audience of New York bankers that Chi-town’s goal was to “take charge” of children as young as two years old, in order to prevent “bad influences” from parents, by which he meant ‘parents passing on their values to their children’. Since then, ‘early education’ specialists in my own community have announced their intention to roll out similar programs for two year olds. Their goal is ever-earlier intervention in the parent child bond.

But you don’t have to take my word for it, there are many examples of the US government taking over parental responsibilities. Consider Charlotte Iserbyt’s description of how Washington-approved sex education was sold; or social services’ ludicrously free hand in taking children from parents; or the state and federal governments’ increasingly early intervention in the education and health of children. These programs take over parents’ rights and responsibilities and put the State in charge instead– I’ve provided a few examples, but talk to anybody honest in education, social work or healthcare and you’ll find many more.

My time living overseas has taught me to suspect attacks on the family from the State. I suspect the motives of Washington D.C.-cronies who want to insert themselves in between a kid and their folks, because if there’s anything that the Sullivanians can teach the rest of us it’s that a bureaucracy can’t replace family and the results of trying to do so are devastating to kids– but very useful to exploitative organizations.



Summer Days With Coo

Summer Days with Coo movie poster.

Summer Days with Coo movie poster.

It’s been a long time since I’ve done a movie review, and since ‘Black Friday’ and other assorted consumer-fests are on the horizon, I’d like to draw readers’ attention to another excellent Japanese movie, Summer Days With Coo.

This is the story of an orphaned water sprite, called a ‘kappa’, whose resilience in the face of suffering teaches a Japanese pre-teen about what it means to love and respect other people.

Traditional Japanese rendering of a 'kappa' water sprite.

Traditional Japanese rendering of a ‘kappa’ water sprite.

If you’re tired of vampy Disney princesses who whine about their personal responsibilities, then Summer Days With Coo will be very refreshing. The movie is free of obnoxious ‘American values'; it’s a sympathetic introduction to Japanese culture and mythology; and has great (original!) storytelling.

One of these costumes didn't have to be modified for the 'Adult' market.

One of these costumes didn’t have to be modified for the ‘Adult’ market. Try Summer Days with Coo instead of Frozen this year.

The downside to Summer Days with Coo is the price. The cheapest version available on Amazon is US$40.00; but if that’s outside your budget, some kind person has put up a high-quality English-subtitled version on Youtube:

Having said that, this film is worth more than two copies of ‘Frozen’ and I encourage people to support quality film-making. Coo was directed by Keiichi Hara, while Masao Kogure wrote the story.

Traditional European rendering of the Snow Queen by Edmund Dulac.

Traditional European rendering of the Snow Queen by Edmund Dulac.

If you’re interested in the good things I have to say about Studio Ghibli, another Japanese animation studio, check out my post here. Summer Days With Coo is not a Ghibli film, but a co-production between several companies. It’s also not a film for under-5’s, because there’s some violence at the very beginning. If you’ve got very young children, I suggest My Neighbour Totoro instead of ‘Frozen’; for kids between 5-12 I suggest Spirited Away instead of ‘Frozen’, if Coo’s initial samurai violence is too much for you. (Disney ‘presents’ Ghibli films in the US, but Ghibli execs don’t let Burbank destroy their films– good story there.)

The uplifiting news is that if you’re willing to step away from the Disney monolith, there’s a lot of good children’s programing out there: ethical kids need ethical entertainment.


P.S. If you’re interested in the history of Disney and the Franklin Delano Roosevelt administration’s cooperation with the KGB, you’ll enjoy Walt and El Grupo.


The Cult of Intelligence

While looking into Philip Zimbardo’s writing for my previous post, I came across the latest edition of the International Journal of Cultic Studies, the “Traumatic Narcissism” issue. The point of the issue is to look at how narcissistic cult leaders control their followers, or as Zimbardo would put it, how the cult leaders establish “systems of control“. Narcissism comes into play because, whatever the group’s stated intention, their only goal is self-aggrandizement of the leader(s).

I have never worked for any intelligence agency, but I was struck by how similar ex-cult-members’ stories of abuse paralleled stories I’d heard from the handful of people I’ve known who grew up and worked in the ‘intelligence community’. One writer in particular, Daniel Shaw, wrote a very thoughtful account of his decade in Siddha Yoga, the Eat, Pray, Love guru’s cult, titled The Relational System of the Traumatizing Narcissist.

Shaw writes about the cult for an audience of psychoanalysts and that irony is not lost on him. Shaw tells how one inlaw responded to his decision to become a psychoanalyst in his early forties: “Great! You’ve left one cult, and now you’re joining another!”

I’m not going to speak to the psychoanalytic merits of the theories presented in this edition of the journal; it’s the personal recollections of the authors that interest me most. Unlike some of the other contributors, Shaw doesn’t paint cult followers as blameless “altruists” who are victimized by a manipulating narcissist. Shaw is brave enough to suggest that there’s something narcissistic about cult followers too; his description of ‘traditional’ narcissistic behavior could just as easily apply to cult followers:

A thin-skinned, shame-prone, or deflated pathological narcissist… may mascochistically seek approval and recognition from idealized, grandiose others.

Shaw’s observation about why people willingly choose to join cults parallels my own belief about the usefulness of ‘narcissism’ to exploitative organizations.

Shaw’s writing is courageous: it’s hard to admit that one has been a fool, it’s doubly hard to admit foolishness when something ugly about ones’ self made that foolishness possible. What makes men like Shaw exceptional is that they matured enough to take a step back and realize their cult leader wasn’t giving them anything of value in return for their devotion. That back-step is a difficult step to take, and anyone who pulls themselves out of a cult-like situation deserves respect, especially if that person had the misfortune to be born into the cult.

I can’t broach the ‘intelligence cult’ topic without addressing John Marks’ and Victor Marchetti’s book The CIA and the Cult of Intelligence, which I believe they wrote with the blessing of CIA director William Colby. Colby praised Marks’ and Marchetti’s conclusions in his autobiography in 1978, in which Colby claimed that *the rest of the CIA*, but not himself, suffered from a cult-like culture.

"The challenging thing about being very important is that you're surrounded by crazy."

“The challenging thing about being very important is that you’re surrounded by lunatics.”

Anyone who trusts Bill Colby does so at their own risk, however, the best propaganda contains an element of truth and I believe that the intelligence community is hobbled by its cult-like culture. Colby was part of this culture, he used it throughout his career and used it one last time to deflect criticism from himself in his autobiography.

You may be surprised by the nature of the anecdotes in this post. In a nutshell, leaders of the intelligence community do not respect the personal boundaries of ‘intelligence community’ members, much like cult leaders don’t respect their followers’ boundaries. Intelligence community members, like cult-followers, dont’ expect to have any boundaries between themselves and their bosses. I’ll remind readers of Quinn Norton’s observations on the “IC” (“Intelligence Community”, for those of us who don’t belong to it):

The IC are some of the most surveilled humans in history. They know everything they do is gone over with a fine-toothed comb — by their peers, their bosses, their lawyers, other agencies, the president, and sometimes Congress. They live watched, and they don’t complain about it.

A person who has never lived in a cult environment may assume that Quinn Norton is talking about being ‘micro-managed’ at work, or ‘hemmed in by a pile of paperwork’. Not so. The ‘combing’ is not just about work-related things: it’s who you marry; how you spend your free time; what your political beliefs are. Nothing about the “IC” professional is private. Everything has to serve the master. This is how Shaw describes cult environments:

Followers in cults are traumatized in various ways by the different kinds of abuses they are exposed to as they accept the leader’s control over them; these abuses typically include intimidation, belittling and humiliation, and, more concretely, severe overwork and deprivation of sleep and proper nutrition. The follower’s rewards, which are recognition from the leader and the ensuing prestige the followers gain within their group, are bestowed and rescinded at the leader’s whim, keeping the follower in a state of instability and fear about displeasing the leader and thereby losing status and favor.

Bearing what Shaw says in mind, here is the first of my anecdotes: An agent wanted to marry someone who was a clear security risk. Quite sanely, “IC” leaders said “no”. Also sanely, the agent said “I’m going to marry this person.” The sanity ends here, because instead of asking the agent to drop their badge by the front door, the “IC” tried to shame them into changing their mind about the marriage by demoting the agent to a low-prestige clerical job, which the agent carried out dutifully. After several months, the “IC” suddenly changed its mind, let the agent marry the security risk and gave the agent back a ‘worthy’ job. (I don’t know if it was the same job.)

Several things could have happened here, the “IC” may have eventually decided that they could use this marriage to spread disinformation– I just don’t know. However, the “IC’s” actions tell us that the most important thing to them was ensuring that the agent was still reliable: the “IC” decided that they could roll the dice with a security risk as long as the agent proved their continued reliability through a shaming exercise. My understanding is that these shaming exercises are not uncommon and are used to ‘correct’ undesirable political opinions too.

Imagine how distressing a demotion like the one I just described would be to someone with narcissistic tendencies! (Narcissism is unusually prevalent in the military community, and therefore is likely prevalent amongst spooks as well.) Never the less, the agent jumped through every hoop, no matter how arbitrary, and probably did so with full knowledge that the marriage was allowed so that it could be used.

The weirdness doesn’t end there– Shaw makes the following observation about cults and their intolerance of independent thinking:

The more successful and powerful a particular cult becomes, the greater the risk of public exposure, and therefore, the more urgent and hysterical the culture becomes. The leadership of the group becomes more shameless and without boundaries, demanding more and more time, money, and energy of the followers; defining enemies of the group to eventually include anyone not in the group; and becoming increasingly punitive of deviance within the ranks.

Quinn Norton gives us an example of the “IC’s” sweeping definition of their ‘enemies':

The question is who gets to be part of the “we” that are being kept allegedly safe by all this exploiting and listening and decrypting and profiling.When they [the ‘intelligence community’] attacked Natanz with Stuxnet and left all the other nuclear facilities vulnerable, we were quietly put on notice that the “we” in question began and ended with the IC itself. That’s the greatest danger.

When the IC or the DOD or the Executive branch are the only true Americans, and the rest of us are subordinate Americans, or worse the non-people that aren’t associated with America, then we can only become lesser people as time goes on.

In that same vein, here’s my second anecdote and again it’s about “IC” powers interfering in members’ marriage choices: A few decades ago, two well-connected young people wanted to get married. They both had family in the higher echelons of the intel business; had shown great promise in their respective fields; and were set to enjoy a lifetime of being ‘plugged-into’ the intel sphere. However, both of them– independently– had shown a tendency to be critical of “IC” policies on ethical grounds. They were made aware that their marriage would be frowned upon by the “IC” because partnering up could aggravate their unreliable tendencies– no security risks, mind you, just “deviance” in their thinking. Result? The couple is still happily married, but ostracized from the intelligence community, the community they grew up in. A loss for the USA– and for the “IC”.

I’ve been highlighting the word ‘reliability’ here because reliability is the indispensable characteristic that the ‘intelligence community’ looks for in recruits. It’s not the same as loyalty: only a healthy, mature person can give loyalty. Reliability is about putting the wishes of the cult leader above all else, regardless of anything else. As Daniel Shaw describes:

The follower’s deficiencies are grouped under the umbrella of “the ego,” or a similar idea using different words, which is regarded as a harmful appendage or blockage of the true self, and which must therefore be purified by the leader for the follower to reach her potential. Purification in the case of cults typically means being subjected to various forms of sadistic belittling and humiliation, including, in some cases, beatings. Purity may also be judged by one’s willingness to give over most of any money one might have, or willingness to be subjected to sexual abuse, or both. Leaders do not have to be grateful for anything they are given or for anything they take from followers– when taking, they are understood to actually be giving.

It's an honor to serve in Her Majesty's Secret Service.

It’s an honor to serve in Her Majesty’s Secret Service.

Here I’d like to remind readers what Peter Wright, a second-generation lifetime spook, said about his employer’s one-way demands: “MI5 expects its officers to remain loyal unto the grave, without necessarily offering loyalty in return.”

I’ll also point out that you don’t have to read many books on espionage before you’re fed up with glowing war-stories about women and men who used themselves, or their fortunes, in pursuit of ‘state secrets’. If you’re willing to drop your pants for Allen Dulles’ goals, then you’re truly ‘chosen’!

One of the more interesting parts of this IJCS issue is the exploration of what type of person typically joins a cult. Both cults and the intelligence community like to recruit people who won’t recognize or object to abuse because 1) they are too young to know themselves or their own interests or 2) they were born into a cult-like environment. College students are the perfect target for type 1) recruiting, according to Shaw:

For years, cults have recruited on college campuses, because this is where they can find intelligent recruits who are likely to be struggling with identity issues, with idealism, with social adjustments– and with separation issues, and all the complicated fears and rebellions that are part of growing up.

College campuses are/were a favorite recruiting ground for US, Russian and British intel operations; I suspect all spook outfits sometimes recruit this way. College students are notoriously malleable and have little life experience, so they make the perfect target for indoctrination.

A lot of people go to college, but not all of them wind up in a cult or at the CIA. What about type 2) recruiting, going after people who were raised in cultish environments? To help explain type 2) recruiting, I offer a quote from another IJCS contributor, Shelly Rosen: (Her paper is titled Cults: A Natural Disaster– Looking at Cult Involvement Through a Trauma Lens)

For second-generation cult members (those born and raised in cultic groups), this dynamic is magnified. They have been raised in an encompassing community whose culture is defined by the needs and abusive practices of the leader during times of critical social and emotional development for them. In addition, their own parents will likely transmit some of the traumatizing and immobilizing aspects of the group in their own efforts to be good soldiers.

Here’s a summary of some of the characteristics Rosen identifies with people who are drawn to cults:

- They come from an “Idealistic” community; one that appeals to people with a predisposition to “religiosity”.

- They come from an environment that fosters anxiety about competition; is isolating; that discourages individuals from recognizing manipulation.

I wish that Rosen would elaborate on what she means by “religiosity”, because it has struck me how many prominent intelligence people have come from Mormon, Jewish and Catholic communities, all of which have stronger in-group identification than your typical WASP congregation.

My final anecdote is about an “IC” subordinate (who came from one of those three backgrounds) and their boss: One day this subordinate startled their boss by asking for sex. Why? The subordinate’s job required them to be absent from other people and the subordinate had been this way for so long that they were desperate for any type of companionship. The request was a cry for help. The boss behaved ethically in as far as they didn’t take advantage of the subordinate. However, when the boss related this story to me, they were somewhat bemused by my pity for the subordinate: “What? They’re okay.”

I don’t believe the boss was trying to be callous or cruel: they simply did not recognize that this type of emotional pain was a problem. The boss was second-generation intel, they’d grown up in the spook milieu: good spooks “soldier” on, regardless of the situations that they’re put in. Nothing is too much to ask from an agent. In their own way, that boss was as ignorant and vulnerable as Shelly Rosen’s ex-cult client who reached 18 years old without knowing which state she was living in.

I put it to the intelligence community that burning out your staff like this is a problem, as it is in any other industry, because the strain will eventually affect employees’ judgement and make them less effective. If what the intelligence community does really is of exceptional importance, then it’s not only ethically unacceptable to abuse employees like this, but it’s also a *real* danger to national security.

Acculturation issues are not the only issues that may make somebody an appealing recruitment target. Both Shaw and Rosen observe that traumatic events during adolescence, like the death of a parent, may have an emotionally stunting effect which may lead the child to crave authority figures and security. British agent Aleister Crowley’s life fits this pattern perfectly; I suspect that his cult experiment in Sicily– which provided inspiration for the 1960s cultural revolution in the USA– had research goals similar to those of the CIA with their MK ULTRA program.

Why does any of this matter? It matters because, if I’m correct, then the general public is faced with a two serious problems:

1) We cannot expect the “IC” to maintain ethics which the population at large can live with.

2) We cannot expect the “IC” to police itself.

Cults don’t self-regulate, they spin off into delerium as their leaders get drunk on their own power. I recognize that intelligence work often involves ethically ‘grey’ activity, but in order to keep things ‘grey’, there needs to be *real* debate inside the “IC” about what intel programs are appropriate, otherwise “IC” activity will spin out of control into the ethically ‘black’ region, as evidenced by programs like PRISM.

Cults don’t police themselves. Their members believe that they’re the good guys and the rest of us (at best!) need guidance. This arrogance is typical of the intelligence community, who are often complacent about their intellectual superiority and ability to weigh ‘pros’ and ‘cons’. In the 1970s, we had a half-*ssed attempt at self-policing with the FISA court, which unsurprisingly turned out to be a sad joke. (Frankly, I’m not sure that this court was meant to be anything other than a fig-leaf.)

If I am right, and the “IC” is a cult, then the only option left for US citizens is to push for the IC’s dissolution. Take away the money.

Cults can’t function at the high level which a democracy needs intelligence outfits to function on. Cults are a corrosive type of institutional culture that won’t change with new management. Intel pros who were molded in the cult environment need to be removed from positions of influence. The culture has to be erased.

The USA made it through the first 160 years of its existence without organizations like the CIA or NSA; we were actually quite popular before these institutions came into being after WWII. We got what intel we needed from our military and diplomatic organs; we didn’t need to profile our own citizens or map voting trends in friendly nations. An “IC-free” world is possible, and if we as a nation want any quality of life in the future, we need to work toward that possibility. Otherwise, it won’t be long before, like the Chinese Communists, we’re swatting swallows and knocking the heads off Buddhas.



Next week… was MK ULTRA a one-off, or the culmination of decades of pre-WWII ‘mind control’ research?


The Banality of Mind Control

Philip Zimbardo, courtesy of HeroicImagination.org, his think tank which studies street gangs, amongst other things.

Philip Zimbardo, courtesy of his think tank HeroicImagination.org, which studies street gangs, amongst other things.

I’ve written about the MK ULTRA programs a lot recently; they’re an easy subject to write about because they’re so theatrical and unlikely. Magic mushrooms creating the perfect soldier? Psychokinesis undermining the Evil Empire? It all sounds made for Hollywood…

… which should be a red flag. We know that the MK ULTRA release in 1977 opened only a fraction of the program up to public scrutiny. John Marks (therefore, Bill Colby) says that Richard Helms destroyed a good deal of the MK ULTRA evidence around 1973. We don’t really know much about what MK ULTRA, the ‘mind control’ program, was investigating. We don’t really know if the CIA found out anything useful or not.

The showmanship surrounding the MK ULTRA project was designed to dazzle with ridiculous projects and then dissuade further investigation with claims of fruitless research. The point of this post is to suggest that the CIA did ‘discover’ something about ‘mind control'; something social observers have been aware of since the time of Plato. Mind-control is not a mystery: it’s an everyday occurance through social pressure, education and the arts. The most effective techniques are the most commonplace, which brings me to a paper by Susan M. Andersen and Philip G. Zimbardo titled On Resisting Social Influence.

The thesis of this essay is that “mind control” exists not in exotic gimmicks, but rather in the most mundane aspects of human experience. If this is true, it implies that people can learn to resist untoward influences, which are defined here as influences in which intentions are hidden and the subtle constraints of individual behavior are profound. When information is systematically hidden, withheld, or distorted, people may end up making biased decisions, even though they believe that they are freely “choosing” to act. These contexts may thus involve “mind control.” Although resisting cleverly crafted social influences is not easy, it is argued here that it is possible to reduce susceptibility to unwanted interpersonal controls by increasing vigilance and by utilizing certain basic strategies of analysis.

What if all those MK ULTRA files that Helms burned were about shuffling the boards of media companies; or working with the Department of Education; or buying recording studios; or employing advertizing consultants? What if  MK ULTRA was about the CIA turning itself into the best-organized political lobby ever?

Zimbardo and Andersen’s paper was first published in Cultic Studies Journal, 1984, Volume 1, Number 2. Philip Zimbardo himself was one of the National Academy of Science’s personal sources for their biography of Carl Hovland (Zimbardo was a student of Hovland’s before taking a professorship at Stanford in 1968); Zimbardo was also president of the American Psycological Association, an organization which gets a lot of (bad) play in the MK ULTRA saga. (The APA is currently involved in an ongoing CIA-torture scandal.)

On Resisting Social Influence is an abridged version of a report Zimbardo and Andersen did for the Office of Naval Research, a US military/private industry collaborative organization . (The Office of Naval Research funded Zimbardo’s famous– and creepy– ‘Prison Experiment‘ in 1971, shortly after he got his first professorship. It seems Zimbardo was well connected with the military from day one.)

I’m not saying Philip Zimbardo is necessarily a CIA asset himself, but he learned and worked in their milieu, so I think it would be prudent to carefully consider Zimbardo’s observations on ‘mind control':

Formidable quests to gain control over the human mind have often employed exotic technology. Exquisite torture devices, electroshock therapy, mind altering drugs, hypnosis, and sensory deprivation have all been used to get targeted persons to do the bidding of various agents and agencies of control. Indeed, these methods carry enough wallop to distort and sometimes destroy the mind’s normal functioning. But they are not adequate for the task of reliably directing behavior through specific scenarios as designated by would-be manipulators.

John Marks’ expose of the CIA’s secret mind control program (see The Search for the “Manchurian Candidate”) suggests that no foolproof way of “brainwashing” another person has ever been found. After a decade of intensive, costly research into the technology of such control, the CIA’s MKULTRA program was deemed a failure. Covert operations could claim little more than being capable of turning unsuspecting victims into “vegetables.”

Effective mind control exists in most mundane aspects of human existence: the inner pressures to be bonded to other people, the power of group norms to influence behavior, the force of social rewards (such as smiles, praise, a gentle touch). We influence one another, intentionally or unintentionally, using the most basic principles of social psychology, motivation, and social learning. It is people in convincing social situations and not gadgets or gimmicks that control the minds of other people. The more worried we are about being seen as ignorant, uncultured, untalented or boring, and the more ambiguous the events are that are to be evaluated, the more likely we are to take on the beliefs of those around us in order to avoid being rejected by them.

What Zimbardo appears to be saying is that social pressures like ‘political correctness’ are a form of mind control. Could it be that the CIA found obscure strands of Mexican hallucenogenic mushrooms but missed age-old knowledge of crowd psychology? I think not.

I do think that Zimbardo is in an excellent position to give us some insight into what the destroyed MK ULTRA documents might have contained. In this post I’m going to summarize Zimbardo and Andresen’s paper and offer some suggestions– not proof, but suggestions– on how these manipulative practices might be used now.

Zimbardo’s paper discusses two “basic principles of social psychology”:

1) “Basic Training in Compliance”

Etiquette and protocol are powerful inhibitors of unconventional action. When people around us behave alike and as they are expected to, it becomes difficult for us to evaluate their actions critically or to deviate from what is expected of us in the situation… It is the wiser course of action, we are taught, to go with (or around) power, not to challenge it.

Those who occupy social roles that carry prestige and credibility in our eyes can work wonders. The most potent influences are eased around to us by our buddies or by reputable “experts,” rather than by those whom we think of as “enemies.” A neighbor tells us to stop by for a chat with some interesting people, our doctor prescribes a new antibiotic, a businessman offers us exciting financial prospects, brother says he’s impressed with a new pastor. Such testimonials encourage us to take the first step along most of the paths we’ve chosen for ourselves, good and bad, because such influences are basic to being engaged in social life.

To this day in every major American university with a Philosophy department you can find ‘experts’ touting ‘critical theory’, which is mostly just the revolutionary politics espoused by the CIA-affiliated Frankfurt School intellectuals. There’s very little consistent philosophy in ‘critical theory’– its confusion is even admitted by friendly biographer Martin Jay*– yet academics still take ‘critical theory’ seriously… I propose, readers, that academics adopt this view because ‘everybody else’ appears to.

For another example of Zimbardo’s observations in practice, consider Charlotte Iserbyt’s recollections about her time as a “change agent” for the U.S. Department of Education, where she was taught how to “con the community”.


2) “Saturation and Detachment”

Unlike our response to “overtly” persuasive communicators who may beseech us to buy the latest gourmet cookware, to jog daily, to elect particular politicians, or to give to certain charities, situations with “normal appearances” (see Goffman,Relations in Public) don’t seem to require skepticism, resistance, or even our conscious attention. We often move through them “on automatic” and are thus prone to being influenced without our slightest knowledge.

Perhaps we don’t want to be wholly critical and alert at all times, but mindlessness is often promoted as a way of encouraging passive acceptance at the expense of individual discretion. The hook is that when we are faced with complex problems we often yearn for simple answers and rules of thumb for how best to proceed. Immersing ourselves in the teachings of a powerful leader, in the say-so of the dominant partner in a relationship, or in the total ideology of any highly cohesive group can be comforting.

What if Dick Helms was burning reems of paper on the CIA’s work with the Ad Council, for example.


The ‘total ideology’ of the Ad Council makes a tattered flag.

Zimbardo’s and Andresen’s paper goes on to describe some of the ways Navy personnel (and the rest of us) can resist social influences. The antedotes may tell us something about the poison:

A) “Developing a Critical Eye”

To acquire the kind of sensitive skepticism needed to detect undesirable influences when they arise, people must learn to be vigilant to discontinuities between the ideals people espouse and their concrete actions…

The biggest lies are often hidden by a compelling context and are discovered later on the basis of discontinuities that in hindsight are obvious.

Discontinuities like “neoconservative” political sociologists who want to teach others about avoiding “racism, prejudice and political extremism”.

B) “Resisting Persuasion: Confidence, Clarity, and Persistence”

The best persuaders always appear to be just like us. They understand our problems, empathize with our predicament; in fact, they were there once themselves. They speak our language, share our needs, and know the inside jokes. When someone appears to share our concerns, he or she becomes a cohort, an ally, someone we can trust and give the benefit of the doubt. The tactic is powerful because attitude change, like all socialization, is most effective when it goes unnoticed.

This persuasive tactic is, I believe, the one George Orwell picked up on in his essays on power worship and writing for children: the fairytale of the supreme leader involves a number of ‘good’ sidekicks, one of which any given child can identify with. In this way the author ‘speaks the language’ of the reader, who then becomes more receptive to indoctrination. Are you a Hermione Granger; or a Cho Chang; or one of the Weasleys; or perhaps a member of the “Order”?

See anyone here you can identify with?

See anyone here you can identify with?

Another manipulative technique is forceful communication:

Research shows that powerful people express confidence and self-assurance across all channels of communication – through body language, through words, and paralinguistically. Regardless of someone’s “real” credibility, what we end up responding to is how competent, confident, honest, and stable he or she appears to be.

An example of this would be those intelligence professionals who shouted their confidence in Saddam Hussein’s “weapons of mass destruction”. They’re the experts, right?

Continuing in the WMD vein, confusion is a useful manipulative tool:

Mind control typically involves coming to accept a new reality… Elaborate but inadequate justifications for recommended actions can be very confusing. Once confused, we can easily be persuaded by false analogies, semantic distortion, and convenient rhetorical labels because we will tend not to question them and to think about them creatively, but to accept them at face value.

The final prong to this psychological attack is closely paired with confusion: belittling the victim’s confidence in their own powers of judgement.

Susceptibility to control becomes greater with increased self-consciousness. When people are induced to focus attention on themselves by being made to feel awkward, deviant, or silly, and to worry excessively about what others think, they can be led to resolve opinion disparities with others in the favor of the other person’s opinion.

Consider the chilling effect of the following slurs: ‘racist’, ‘anti-Semitic’, ‘homophobic’, ‘authoritarian’, etc. These slurs are used to divert attention away from what’s being said by ‘shaming’ the speaker.

C) Resisting Manipulation by Fear

Manipulating fear is the demagogue’s favorite tactic, consider Sen. Mary Landrieu’s or Rep. Charlie Rangel’s latest spewings.

Zimbardo’s take:

By making us feel fearful or anxious, the manipulator is in a position to ease our discomfort by providing reasonable explanations and soothing solutions. Much advertising is based on this principle. So are many social interactions.

Famous graphic designer Paul Rand's advertizement for ABC's broadcast of talk show host Drew Pearson's program "in the presence of" George Governor Ellis Arnall.  Rand, born Peretz Rosenbaum, was a favorite designer of IBM and the Office of the Coordinator of Inter-American Affairs, which organized Walt Disney's South American tour during WWII.

Famous graphic designer Paul Rand’s advertisement for talk show host Drew Pearson’s program “in the presence of” Georgia Governor Ellis Arnall, as broadcast by ABC. Pearson’s 1946 talk show attacked the Ku Klux Klan; just like Superman was doing at the same time. Rand, born Peretz Rosenbaum, was a favorite ad designer for IBM and the Office of the Coordinator of Inter-American Affairs, which organized Walt Disney’s South American tour during WWII.

D) Resisting Manipulation through Feelings of Guilt

Gnawing feelings of guilt can also provide a powerful impetus for personal change. Feelings of self-disgust, a desire to confess, to do penance, or perhaps even to experience suffering, are all potent persuaders in their own right. Simply being in the presence of those less fortunate can often be influential, particularly if we are somehow made to feel responsible for their plight. Professional beggars make it their business to make passersby feel guilty for being well dressed and well fed.

Observers like Norman G. Finkelstein have noticed how Jewish suffering during WWII has been used to push for policies of dubious moral nature. The use of the Holocaust to further Zionist causes is interesting, considering how close Zionism was to the hearts of some intelligence operatives in the 1960s, and perhaps even as far back as the 1920s.

What the MK ULTRA documents do tell us is that the CIA was very interested in how Chinese Communists maintained their power by manipulating China’s national character. (This fascinating study is contained under subproject 108, MORI ID# 17364). The Chinese are famous for using public displays of guilt– ‘struggle sessions‘– for ‘re-education’. Why was the CIA interested in control via manipulating a nation’s character?

E) Identify False Choices

Once aware that their prey is bagged, they emphasize the victim’s freedom of choice – after tactfully constraining the alternatives…

Skillful persuaders may also deny us our freedom in order to control our behavior with the help of the reactance principle. Studies have shown that when we perceive severe limitations on our behavioral freedom we sometimes move to reassert this freedom by advocating the opposite position, which may be exactly what the opposition wants.

freedom isnt free

Finally, Zimbardo talks about “systems of control”, which touches on the ‘cult’ psychology work that he’s well known for. These observations will have particular meaning for readers who enjoyed my post Great Users of People, and I’ll be writing more about intelligence “systems of control” in the future. In the meantime…

The behavior of large numbers of people must be managed efficiently. For this reason, persuaders develop “systems of control” that rely on basic rules and roles of socialization and that impart a sense of belonging. When interaction among people is restricted to interchange between their social roles, however, it becomes easier for ethical, moral, and human concerns to take a back seat.

Perhaps those NSA employees who willingly participate in the dragnet spying against their fellow citizens are victims of such manipulation; perhaps these agents’ ethical lapses have something to do the highly-persuasive, cult-like, environment they live and work in?

When a group of people becomes more preoccupied with seeking and maintaining unanimity of thought than with carefully weighing the pros and cons of alternative actions, raising moral issues, and critically appraising decisions, unanimous resolutions are often reached prematurely. As part of the package, members may be led to support these decisions for better or for worse. When tightly-knit groups are insulated from outside sources of information and expertise and their leaders endorse prospective policies before members have a chance to air their views, decision-making processes deteriorate.

Decision-making processes at the NSA deteriorated to the point where dragnet spying programs were approved in the first place. As much as I dislike the ‘intelligence community’ in general, I do believe that it’s leadership in previous generations was smarter and a little more restrained about ‘pushing the envelope’ with Checka-like surveillance programs.

Finally, I remind readers that the Checka had a habit of turning on their own:

The tighter a system is, the more likely that minor challenges will be met with retaliation. In prisons, mental hospitals, religious or political cults, military establishments, concentration camps, and so on, some people have virtually total control over the existence of others, and minor deviations or threats to that power are intolerable.

As I stated at the beginning of this post, I haven’t given any hard proof of  what the MK ULTRA files Helms burned contained. However, I think Zimbardo and Andersen’s observations are better informed than most. I think that some of the discontinuties in American cultural and political life suggest that researchers at the CIA were not so out of touch as Bill Colby would have us believe.



* See chapter 2 “The Genesis of Critical Theory”, page 82 of Martin Jay’s The Dialectical Imagination: A History of the Frankfurt School and the Institute of Social Research, 1973.

CIA: Profiling Voters For Your Safety

manchurian candidateTODAY: More on MK ULTRA subprojects that John Marks didn’t want to talk about!

MK ULTRA Subproject 127 was never mentioned by John Marks in his book The Search for the Manchurian Candidate: The CIA and Mind Control, the book designed to present MK ULTRA material to the American public.

In subproject 127 CIA researchers analyzed fifty years of voting records for individuals in a low-literacy, USA-friendly, developing democracy. They were trying to figure out what would make people vote different ways over time.

I’m concerned about Project 127 because I don’t see any reason why the CIA should be worried about voter behavior in a friendly nation, especially when the goal of such a study is to distill general information about voter behavior over long periods which could be used to manipulate voters in the United States. Is the CIA in the business of manipulating allies’ democratic governments in the long-term? Are they in the business of manipulating American voters?

Subproject 127 was designed “to study the open voting records of [REDACTED] registered voters over a fifty year period.” [MORI #ID 17385, page 9] From the same document:

2. This study is an attempt to do a longitudinal study of the factors that affect the voting of people over a considerable period of time. The results of the study could contribute to [REDACTED]. In addition, the data represents a unique gold mine of information to study some of the fundamental behavioral characteristics of people.

Subproject 127 analyzed voters based on “ecological patterning” (you’ll remember that’s CIA for ‘race‘), “social standing” and affiliation to established parties, which ran from “conservative” to “Communist”. In order to vote in this friendly country, you had to be male, over thirty and own a house.

The study was focused on what it takes to get voters to change who they vote for; one advisor pushed for data on “individual turnover and population succession”. This means looking at how aging, migration and “activation of non-voters” changes the political landscape. They also wanted to look at how hot-button issues and political personalities can shift the scene.

I probably don’t have to tell readers this, but “population succession” issues have been at the heart of American politics for the last fifty years; these issues got going due to 1960s immigration reform.

Subproject 127 shows the CIA ‘gearing-up’ to meddle in another democracy. This meddling might bother me less if I didn’t know that the agency was interested in manipulating politics back home in the USA, as evidenced by their interest in inner city youth and projects like MH CHAOS. I am very suspicious of an unaccountable, clandestine government agency which concerns itself with multi-generational voter behavior.

Some CIA people at the time of the study were nervous about  Project 127 too. The MK ULTRA documentation contains a letter from Project 127’s mysterious lead researcher to the CIA directors in charge of funding:

I may note that we have not asked any other foundation to support this project. So far our experience with [REDACTED] foundations has been that they react unfavorably to research in the field of political sociology. [MORI ID# 17385, page 11]

While most of the CIA grant-givers showed “unqualified enthusiasm” about the operational possibilities of the “Voting” project, one correspondent was concerned that getting an American foundation to fund such a study would raise red flags inside the target nation:

My own reaction to the project is that it might possibly be considered a little inappropriate for an American foundation to participate in a study of voting in a friendly nation. If some of the results from the study turned out to be surprising and politically important, it is conceivable to me that a question might be raised concerning the support of the study by funds coming from outside the country.

There was also *something* unsavory about the way Agency researchers got access to the voter data in question: something happened to make this data available, and correspondents made it clear that such an opportunity might not present itself again. The circumstances suggest that the data was obtained unethically.

As always, I don’t expect readers to take my word about Project 127, and have provided photographs of the 20 documents in question here. The results of the study were not included in the MK ULTRA file, so we can’t be sure that the CIA found anything useful– but we know that such uncertainty was important to Colby’s damage control strategy. Neither can we be sure that the study was conducted exactly according to the design laid out here, however page 12 tells us that the CIA did shell out around $7,500.00  for the research in 1960, so we know it went ahead in some form. We also know that money was still being given to the project in 1962 [page 5].

Whatever the researchers found or didn’t find, we can be sure the CIA was very interested in this type of voting data and we should to ask ourselves: “Why?”

Why does the CIA have to know what motivates voters’ choices over 50 years? I think it’s entirely reasonable that spooks ‘war game’ out different political situations overseas that might affect American interests, but we don’t need the Agency to become a repository of ‘tricks’ to change voters’ choices over time. The CIA can’t handle that type of power.

Bearing the limitations of this clandestine organization in mind, projects with goals such as “contributing to the general field concerning voting behaviors” really scare me. Who was helping the CIA reach this goal?

All the names in Project 127 have been blacked out except that of MK ULTRA big-wig “Sid G.”, who is ‘Sidney Gottlieb’. Who might the CIA have gone to for ‘the latest’ in voter behavior research 1959/60? A book by Pippa Norris of Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government, Electoral Engineering: Voting Rules and Political Behavior states the following:

Part I: Theories of Social Cleavages and Voting Behavior
The seminal sociological studies of voting behavior developed during 1960s by Seymour Martin Lipset and Stein Rokkan emphasized that social identities formed the basic building blocks of party support in Western Europe.
Seymour Martin Lipset

Seymour Martin Lipset

My guess is that the CIA’s man was Seymour Martin Lipset. My evidence follows:

1) Seymour Martin Lipset was an anti-Stalinist leftist, a political persuasion which was very popular with the CIA after WWII. (Interested? Read Francis Stonor Saunders’ Cultural Cold War.)

Lipset was also a fervent supporter of the state of Israel, whose work “explored racism, prejudice and political extremism“, and who was “one of the first intellectuals to be called a neoconservative“. You can get a full list of his accolades from the Hoover Institution.

2) Seymour Martin Lipset enjoyed prestige across American academia, which is pretty typical for somebody who can make it rain Agency money:

He occupied prestigious academic positions at Columbia, Berkeley, Harvard, Stanford, George Mason, the Hoover Institution and the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.

He was the only person to be president of both the American Sociological Association and the American Political Science Association. (New York Times, Jan 4th 2007)

3) Seymour Martin Lipset had the right research style to be the CIA’s mystery researcher.

There is only one working reference which hasn’t been blacked out in the MK ULTRA release [p.16]: “The Lazarsfeld-type of panel, based on interviews, is a much better tool..”

Later in his career, Seymour Martin Lipset would go on to become president of the Paul F. Lazarsfeld Society in Vienna. Lipset embraced the same methodological ideologies that are extolled in the CIA documentation.

4) Seymour Martin Lipset ran with the CIA crowd.

A) In the 1940s Paul F. Lazarsfeld (the same guy who formulated the paneling method used by Lipset’s CIA ‘Voting’ project and whose Viennese admiration society eventually asked Lipset to be president) worked with Herbert Marcuse and Leo Lowenthal on “anti-Semitism in American Labor” for the Jewish Labor Committee.* Herbert Marcuse had been an OSS agent since 1942 and was a CIA agent at least until 1952. Paul Lazarsfeld, Lipset’s icon, ran with a spooky set.

Paul Lazarsfeld

Paul Lazarsfeld

Leo Lowenthal, Lazarsfeld’s co-worker, wrote a book with Seymour Martin Lipset one year after the CIA’s “Voting” project began, which was titled Culture and Social Character.  (See the bibliography below.) Lowenthal was a prominent member of the exiled Frankfurt School intellectuals along with CIA-agent Herbert Marcuse.

During WWII, Leo Lowenthal worked for the US Office of War Information (OWI), the same propagandists who employed Carl Hovland, who inspired MK ULTRA project 102, which focused on mapping the politics of inner-city youth (the ‘riot’ demographic). In fact, Paul Lazarsfeld and Carl Hovland are both considered fathers of communication research in the USA and their professional relationship was cemented through their mutual OWI work.

B) Seymour Martin Lipset got money from the same private political organizations as OSS/CIA-agent Marcuse, namely, the Anti-Defamation League and the American Jewish Committee. (See the bibliography below.) According to Thomas Wheatland’s The Frankfurt School in Exile:

As Neumann recounted to Horkheimer:

“I have just come back from a two hour conference that Graeber and I had with Dr. David Rosenblum, chairman of the public relations committee of the Anti-Defamation League and of the American Jewish Committee. The outcome is briefly this: It is likely that we shall get a grant of $10,000 for the execution of the Anti-Semitism project if this sum is matched by an equal sum supplied by the institute… I am confident that we have a very big chance of getting the $10,000 and though your presence here might not be indispensible I feel, that in this situation, every step should be done to ensure a happy conclusion of our endeavors.”

‘Horkheimer’ relates to the preeminent Frankfurt School member Max Horkheimer, ‘Neumann’ is Franz Neumann, another Frankfurt School-er to join the OSS. Seymour Martin Lipset himself would later become a consultant to the American Jewish Committee.

Seymour Martin Lipset has all the right friends to be a covert CIA asset. Here’s a taster of some of the scholarship that resulted from Lipset’s *probable* 1960 work with the CIA. I’ve highlighted Lipset’s Anti-Defamation League work, Lipset’s work with Lowenthal and works by Lipset which have a similar flavor to research done by Herbert Marcuse and his team, such as Prophets of Deceit.

Partial S. M. Lipset Bibliography:

LIPSET S. M., RAAB E., Prejudice and Society, New York, Anti-Defamation League, 1959.
LIPSET S. M., Political Man : The Social Bases of Politics, New York, Doubleday, 1960.
LIPSET S. M., GALENSON W., Labor and Trade Unionism, New York, John Wiley and Sons, 1960.
LIPSET S. M., SMELSER N., Sociology : The Progress of a Decade, Englewood Cliffs, Prentice-Hall, 1961.
LIPSET S. M., LOWENTHAL L., Culture and Social Character, New York, Free Press, 1961.
LIPSET S. M., (Abridged modem edition of Harriet Martineau), Society in America, Garden City, Doubleday-Anchor, 1962.
LIPSET S. M., The First New Nation : The United States in Historical and Comparative Perspective, New York, Basic Books, 1963.
LIPSET S. M., (Abridged modem edition of M. Ostrogorski), Democracy and the Organization of Political Parties, volumes I and II, Garden City, Doubleday-Anchor, 1964.
LIPSET S. M., WOLIN S., The Berkeley Student Revolt, Garden City, Doubleday-Anchor, 1965.
LIPSET S. M., Estudiantes universitarios y politica en el tercer mundo, Montevideo, Editorial Alfa, 1965.
LIPSET S. M., BENDIX R., Class, Status and Power : Social Stratification in Comparative Perspective, New York, Free Press, 1966.
LIPSET S. M., SMELSER N., Social Structure, Mobility and Development, Chicago, Aldine Publishers, 1966.
LIPSET S. M., SOLARI A., Elites in Latin America, New York, Oxford University Press, 1967.
LIPSET S. M., ROKKAN S., Party Systems and Voter Alignments, New York, Free Press, 1967.
LIPSET S. M., Student Politics, New York, Basic Books, 1967.
LIPSET S. M., Revolution and Counterrevolution, New York, Basic Books, 1968.
LIPSET S. M., HOFSTADTER R., Turner and the Sociology of the Fronder, New York, Basic Books, 1968.
LIPSET S. M., HOFSTADTER R., Sociology and History : Methods, New York, Basic Books, 1968.
LIPSET S. M., The Left, the Jews and Israel, New York, Anti-Defamation League, 1969.
LIPSET S. M., Politics and the Social Sciences, New York, Oxford University Press, 1969.
LIPSET S. M., ALTBACH P., Students in Revolt, Boston, Houghton, Mifflin, 1969.
LIPSET S. M., RAAB E., The Politics of Unreason : Right-Wing Extremism in America 1790-1970, New York, Harper and Row, 1970.

What I’ve hope I’ve shown today is that John Marks, and ultimately Bill Colby, wanted to steer the American public away from a project that has much more importance than goofy psychic studies or LSD as a  truth-serum. I have not answered the question: “Why did Colby want this information released, only to ignore it?”

I can, however, offer a speculative guess as to ‘why’. Both subproject 127, and the ‘riot demographic’ subproject 102 which I wrote about last week, involve academic researchers who travelled in similar spheres– specifically, friends of Carl Hovland, Paul Lazarsfeld– and who shared similar political ideas. (Muzafer Sherif was just as ‘anti-Nazi’ as any of the Frankfurters.)

It may be that Colby and friends included these subprojects as ‘sleepers’ to use against CIA patrons of the aforementioned academics should they ever attack Colby et alia in the future– much like Colby outed MH CHAOS and HT LINGUAL to attack James Angleton. (See Cold Warrior by Tom Mangold.) Since these subprojects haven’t been aired in over thirty years, my guess is that Colby and that group stayed cordial until the CIA director’s untimely death.

Next week… did the CIA really not find anything through MK Ultra research?



*Paul Lazarsfeld was instrumental in resettling the Frankfurt School intellectuals in the United States. Lazarsfeld’s ‘Radio Research Project’ at Princeton University and later Columbia employed Frankfurt academic Theodor Adorno.

The CIA and Race Riots

Muzafer Sherif

Muzafer Sherif

Today I’m going to pick up where John Marks left off in The Search for the Manchurian Candidate: The CIA and Mind Control. I’m going to talk about a subproject that John Marks didn’t explore thoroughly and spread misleading information about. This subproject looks at “Human Ecology” which is the CIA’s name for studying inter-group conflict or race relations.

In the late 1950s the CIA began to profile groups of 14-17 year old inner city and non-English speaking youths who were roaming the streets. They wanted to find out what these boys’ political push buttons were and they engaged the help of a well-connected social psychologist to ‘map’ the boys’ attitudes.

This profiling work was done under the auspices of MK ULTRA; it was given the financial designation of “Subproject 102″. The declassified MK ULTRA files give these documents reference number (MORI ID#) 17358, I’ve provided photographs of all subproject documentation on this page. (So you don’t have to take my word for their existence!)

“Inner city youths of the age 14-17″ will strike anyone who’s lived in a ‘depressed’ American urban neighborhood as a very interesting demographic to target, because this is the ‘riot demographic’. If you’re looking for a group of people who are easy to ignite, this is it. 14-17 year olds are the indiscriminate crime demographic: misguided kids who are bored, have bad attitudes and often embrace a culture of criminality. These are the kids who will go around trashing cars, breaking windows or attacking weak-looking people just because they can. They’re the kids who’ll suddenly decide to rush old folks, as we saw in Milwaukee last year– but this pattern is repeated all over the USA, all the time.

There is crime amongst other age groups too, but 20-somethings and older are less likely to engage in indiscriminate crime– they shoot other criminals over drug disputes and the like. (In fact, neighborhoods where drugs are sold are often safer because the dealers keep the hooligans in check in order to avoid police attention.)

For more examples of the “riot demographic” at work, consider the youths rioting in London; or the youths rioting in Paris; and the 1994 Los Angeles riots. The same pattern olds true for urban rioting during the 1960s.

The American race riots of the 1960s have a lot in common with riots that are happening across the Western world today–  the sequence of events is strikingly similar: a cop shoots a youth under strained circumstances; rioting ‘spontaneously’ starts and destroys the local economy; the neighborhood ends up being on lock-down for the next 40, 50, 60 years. It’s a great way of spreading the police state and inciting distrust between races. This distrust is politically useful for demagogues and FBI informants like Rev. Al Sharpton.

Of course, I’m not saying all riots are caused by 14-17 year old ‘inner city’ males, nor am I saying that once a riot starts only 14-17 year olds maintain the riot– plenty of older people get in on the action. I’m saying that it’s relatively easy to start these young lads rioting and the CIA was all over them in the early 1960s. (The CIA were also all over militarizing the police, which came out in Colby’s Family Jewels leak.)

So what does John Marks have to say about Subproject 102? A lot of misinformation. I’ll let Bill Colby’s pet writer speak in his own words:

In other instances, the Society [Human Ecology Society, CIA front] put money into projects whose covert application was so unlikely that only an expert could see the possibilities. Nonetheless, in 1958 the Society gave $5,570 to social psychologists Muzafer and Carolyn Wood Sherif of the University of Oklahoma for work on the behavior of teen-age boys in gangs. The Sherifs, both ignorant of the CIA connection,* studied the group structures and attitudes in the gangs and tried to devise ways to channel antisocial behavior into more constructive paths. Their results were filtered through clandestine minds at the Agency. “With gang warfare,” says an MKULTRA source, “you tried to get some defectors-in-place who would like to modify some of the group behavior and cool it. Now, getting a juvenile delinquent defector was motivationally not all that much different from getting a Soviet one.”

*[Footnote] According to Dr. Carolyn Sherif, who says she and her husband did not share the Cold War consensus and would never have knowingly taken CIA funds, Human Ecology executive director James Monroe lied directly about the source of the Society’s money, claiming it came from rich New York doctors and Texas millionaires who gave it for tax purposes. Monroe used this standard cover story with other grantees.

– From The Search for the ‘Manchurian Candidate: The CIA and Mind Control, Chpt 9 ‘Human Ecology’ page 159.

Marks’ explanation of Subproject 102 is almost entirely bunk, and I’ll explain why.

To begin with, the part that isn’t bunk: The MK ULTRA documents which were released to Marks did not include the names of Muzafer and Carolyn Wood Sherif. All names associated with subproject 102 were blacked out. However, this sentence was included in a letter from the agency scout/consultant who brought the Sherifs to the attention of MK ULTRA directors at the CIA:

In my opinion Dr [REDACTED]’s project is highly significant because of its concentration on group behavior in a natural setting with a very minimum of interference or artificiality. It may not be apparent from your correspondence with Dr [REDACTED] that his wife will be a very active participant also. Mrs [REDACTED] [REDACTED] in the near future. The two of them represent a most able team of field investigators.

MK ULTRA MORI ID #17358 file 21.

Either Marks worked out who this couple were from his knowledge of social psychology (!? Marks’ previous career was in the US State Department) or his ‘MKULTRA source’ told him the names of the pair.

Very little in the MK ULTRA documentation supports Marks’ source’s assertion that the goal of the Sherifs’ work was to help inner city youths “cool” it by identifying boys who might moderate group behavior (see emboldened text in the quote from Manchurian Candidate). At most, the Sherifs’ summary suggests that ‘channeling antisocial behavior’ is one way the data they’re collecting might be used. Psst, Marks! Your insincerity is showing! Marks describes MK ULTRA on page 20 of Manchurian Candidate as an “assault on the human mind”– is it likely that such an assault would include honest inner-city charity work, John?! Naturally, Marks’ “MKULTRA source” didn’t want to disclose their name.

The CIA recruited Sherif because of his research into group psychology; work which he conducted with WWII-era propagandist Carl Hovland. (The results of their collaborative work were finally published in 1961.) Prior to Hovland’s collaboration with Sherif, Hovland’s research involved analyzing how wartime audiences would respond to messages in propaganda movies such as Why We Fight. This is how one author on social-judgment-theory.wikispaces.com describes Hovland’s contribution to the war effort: “Like many other early communications theorists, he worked with the U.S. War Department during World War II to study the effectiveness of persuasive films and audience resistance to those films.”

Sherif’s 1950s/60s work focused on group attitudes and how to change group attitudes. He and Hovland are considered fathers of social judgement theory, which offers a framework for tailoring messages to groups so that the messages will have maximum impact. In 1959 Sherif and his wife were mapping inner-city boys’ prejudices and political attitudes so that CIA messages could achieve “maximum influence”.

This is how the same CIA talent scout describes Muzafer Sherif’s cunning:

Dr. [REDACTED] made an unusually good impression on community workers in [REDACTED][REDACTED], where he worked last year. More than any other investigator that I have seen in recent years, he was able to obtain the confidence of [REDACTED] minority groups in getting their full support of his research activities. He uses relatively naive but highly motivated observers who are given special training for this purpose. As a result his data are quite fresh and most revealing of things that are often hidden from the individual in more professional observer roles.

MK ULTRA MORI ID #17358 file 21.

I’ll now provide a series of quotes from the Sherifs’ research summary as it appears in the actual MK ULTRA documentation, you can judge for yourself what’s going on:

Operation Report to the [REDACTED][REDACTED][REDACTED]

Description of Research Work on Natural Groups 1958-1959 [REDACTED][REDACTED]

This report describes social-psychological research on natural groups in different socio-cultural  settings in different [REDACTED] cities during the period of October 1958- August 15th 1959 while the writer was [REDACTED].

…three kinds of data were collected:

(1) Data related to specific settings. (e.g. living conditions, family size and stability, income, education, mobility.)

(2) Data related to group structure (organization) and to group products. (e.g. shared practices, values or norms, reactions to deviation), based on the actual behaviors of individual members during the course of their interaction.

(3) Data related to self-attitudes, aspirations and goals of age-mates of group members living in areas representing the same and different settings.

The later aspect of the study was strategic in linking ecological data mentioned under (1) and group behavior mentioned under (2).

Natural groups formed in socio-cultural settings undergoing differing degrees of transition are most suitable for this purpose. This consideration determined that cities be chosen that were in the process of salient and accelerated transition and that areas within them be selected whose populations are themselves in varying stages of acculturation to dominant features of American life (e.g. [REDACTED] rapidly growing city.)

While the present project is mainly concerned with theoretical and methodological issues, namely integrating conceptual tools and methods of field and laboratory studies, it is assumed that substantial advances in these respects are bound to have implications for more realistic and effective handling of (a) problems of intergroup relations in actual settings and for (b) devising measures for channeling socially undesirable modes of behavior… into more constructive modes…

In all cases, data were collected by persons who were perceived by group members or respondents, as the case might be, as “one of us”.

1. The area of study was specified to the observer. His initial task was to identify a group in that area composed of no less than 7 and no more than 12 male members within the age range of 14-17 years.

(a) Procedure for identification of groups: Observers did not identify groups by questioning of members or local adults. Groups were identified by direct observation “at a distance” through repeated inspection of possible gathering points in the area (e.g. playground, recreation center, vacant lot, drugstore). The initial criterion for selecting a group for observation was simply observed frequency and recurrence of association at specified locations in the area. At no time during this stage did the observer directly converse or question group members.

(B) Establishing contact and rapport with the group: Once a group was identified on the basis of observed frequency of association, the observer set about to establish contact and a plausible pretext for his presence in the area… For example, one observer observed a group of boys associating frequently to play basketball. After thus identifying a group for study, he appeared on the scene with a new basketball, which soon attracted their attention. His pretext for being on the scene was that he needed the exercise to lose some weight.

2. The first focus of observation being status structure of the group… Status Rankings: On the basis of repeated observations of the group the observer was able to specify at least the top three and bottom positions in the group… independent rankings of school authorities provided such a check.

3. The second focus of observation was group products such as common practices, values or norms and sanctions. The criteria for such products were observed recurrences over a period of time of common terms, common modes of apparel, common procedures in activities, and specific reactions to deviations, sanctions, from such customary behaviors on the part of a member.

One finding concerning reaction to deviation, to be expanded in the reporting of the study, is of particular interest. In the lower socio-economic area in [REDACTED] the group observed had considerably greater importance in the lives of its members than other aspects of the social organization in the area… Consequently, the group member suspected (as one was) of “squealing” on the group was in trouble. On the other hand, the norms of the group in the somewhat higher socio-economic area [REDACTED] were less comprehensive in the activities covered and observed reactions to deviation were of a milder nature.

III. Questionnaire Data Self-Radius-Goals Schedule… A schedule was prepared for administration in high schools, designed to be easily read and completed. The items pertained to self-conceptions, aspirations and goals of adolescents. Topically the contents can be grouped according to the content of the socio-cultural data. Thus, there were items pertaining to residence and housing conditions, language use and cultural preferences, attitudes toward educational and occupational achievement, toward parents and authority figures, conceptions of financial achievement and deprivation, and finally friendship preferences as related to intergroup affinities and rejections…

For example, the median estimate of weekly income needed to be “really well off” varies from $82.60 in the low socio-economic level [REDACTED]-speaking area, to $332.14 in the upper level English-speaking area. Such data, representing relatively “free” estimates of respondents, are clearly significant psychologically…

I encourage readers to read the full report for themselves, which is available here: Subproject 102 . Am I saying that every riot since 1959 has been a CIA plot? No, I’m not. I’m saying that in 1959 an agency which likes to implement regime change through civic revolt was very interested in a group of boys who happen to fit the typical riot demographic. A few years after this 1959 study, the USA experienced a rash of riots which followed similar patterns; we continue to experience these riots to this day. Globally since 1959 a number of regimes which the CIA didn’t like have been toppled after sudden civilian rioting, mostly in urban centers. I’m saying that in 1959 the CIA had prepared itself– done its social psychological mapping– to be involved in some of these riots.

How did Muzafer Sherif get into bed with the CIA? Muzafer was born in 1906 to a wealthy family in Odemis, Izmir, Turkey. His given name was Muzafer Sherif Basoglu, but he changed it later to ‘Muzafer Sherif’ for reasons that are unclear to this writer. Muzafer studied at Harvard and Columbia University in the 1930s and was an outspoken critic of the Nazis, which lead to him being imprisoned for a short time in Turkey. The US State Department sprung him from jail in Turkey and then gave him a fellowship at Princeton University. In 1946 Muzafer became resident fellow in psychology at Yale University, home of Rockefeller-funded professor Carl Hovland.

Carl Hovland

Carl Hovland

Carl Hovland had been a psychology professor at Yale before taking a three-year leave of absence to work for the War Department during WWII. After the fighting was done, he returned to Yale where it’s likely that Muzafer came under his patronage. Carl Hovland was often retained as a consultant to various government and corporate institutions who wanted to devise policies that involved group psychology and manipulation, according to the National Academy of Sciences:

Hovland also served as an insightful and trusted consultant to numerous governmental and educational agencies, industrial organizations, and philanthropic foundations.

So, Mufazer was plugged into government work from the earliest days of his relationship with the State Department. This strongly suggests that his wife, Carolyn, is lying about their ignorance of the Human Ecology Society’s CIA funding. She had doubts enough to ask James Monroe about the source of the Society’s funding; but she and her husband didn’t seek the advice of her husband’s seasoned patron? If I was worried about who I might be working for, Carl Hovland would be the first person I’d bounce my concerns off of…

Perhaps this is just a coincidence, but when Colby et alia wanted to leak the Sherifs’ work to the public in 1977, they went to another State Department boy– John Marks– to do the dirty job of ‘spinning’ Agency race-profiling. Is John Marks now living a life on the lam, having outed some of the CIA’s most precious secrets? Is he running scared that some day a MONARCH baby will shoot him with a poisoned dart gun, or drive a stake through his heart? No, he’s not. Marks spent his career running a comfortable think-tank out of Washington D.C. called ‘Search for Common Ground’. (No longer searching for ‘Manchurian candidates’!) Perhaps you’d like to donate some money to Marks’ non-profit, or take advantage of one of their limited time offers?

John Marks handing out awards at his think-tank circa 2007.

John Marks handing out awards at his think-tank circa 2007.

I’m writing this as the latest reincarnation of the typical American inner-city riot hits critical point: Ferguson, Missouri rioters’ cause célèbre was the death of Micheal Brown, an 18-year old with a criminal past who was shot during an altercation with a police officer. His parents are appearing before the United Nations– Earth’s Alien Ambassadors– this week suggesting that their son’s death should be on the UN Committee on Torture’s agenda.

I don’t think that the UN is going to do anything to slow the militarization of police in the United States, nor anywhere else. However, I promise this will happen: black neighborhoods in Ferguson, Missouri will be destroyed; the police force will become more ‘diverse’ and much better armed; nutballs like the FBI’sNew Black Panther Party‘ will infect local politics with their hate and prevent rational civic discourse, ensuring the need for even more draconian policing… citizens everywhere will lose.

I hope I’ve given readers of anolen.com a better perspective on how the USA, and the rest of Europe, lost our way. In the meantime, I’ll leave you with one thought: gasoline needs a match to start it burning. Here’s a picture of aggressive protestors outside an up-scale shopping mall near Ferguson, Missouri called ‘Frontenac’. This photo was taken on Oct 13th 2014. What do you think is going on? ‘Cause I think some of those protesters were probably protesting in the 1960s too. ;)

ferguson frontenac 1