Rolling Through the Intelligence Community

A bust of Brian Jones in his native Cheltenham, Gloustershire.

A bust of Brian Jones in his native Cheltenham, Gloucestershire.

In this post I’m going to highlight some unsavory history about the founding of The Rolling Stones. As many people already suspect, this band was almost certainly a creation of the Anglo-American ‘intelligence community’. I believe that The Rolling Stones were created in response to the failure of earlier ‘non-communist left’ undertakings such as the Congress for Cultural Freedom, which by 1962 had been ‘outed’. Our story begins in the Cotswold hills…

In 1942 a boy was born in Cheltenham, England to a well-off musical family. The boy was named Lewis Brian Hopkins Jones. The Jones’ hailed from Wales but moved to the small spa town to further Brian’s father’s career as an aeronautical engineer.

Cheltenham is famous for its literary festival, race track and being home to the disgraced British spying organ ‘GCHQ’ which, these days, does the NSA’s dirty work. GCHQ moved to Cheltenham in 1951, about nine years after the Jones’ moved there. How might an aeronautical engineer have been employed in Cheltenham circa 1942?

The Brits are cagey about defense industry information, but Cheltenham was home to at least two crucial Royal Air Force contractors: the Dowty Group which started in the 1930s and was famous for its work on the Concord jet; and Smiths Industries which produced instruments crucial to RAF Bomber Command. These factories were important enough to have attracted German bombers in December 1940. Both firms are now owned by General Electric. More likely than not, Brian Jones’ dad was building aeronautic equipment for the war effort and then rode the Cold War armaments boom to retirement.

Cheltenham has more going for it than just RAF contractors and spooks, however. Cheltenham is a very desirable retirement location for military brass and moneyed foreign service types, and has been for a while. Cheltenham is the home of an elite, well-connected defense community which makes what happened to Brian Jones even more interesting.

From the age of 16 onward, Brian Jones had a habit of impregnating very young girls and then eschewing all personal responsibility for the resulting babies. (He would have six illegitimate children this way.) Brian Jones’ reputation in Cheltenham was so bad that when the local Arts college heard about it, they withdrew a scholarship which had been awarded to Jones. My point is that Brian disgraced himself publicly and repeatedly in front of the grandfathers of Britain’s intelligence establishment.

That’s not to say everything about Brian’s rep was bad: people knew his dad moonlighted as a church organist and that Brian was musically gifted. In fact, the heights from which Brian fell probably increased his disgrace. Jones was clearly a young man with an unusual psychological profile, he may even have been described as ‘narcissistic‘.

"Hello, Monty. I think we've found our boy."

“Hello, Monty. I think we’ve found our boy.”

By 1962 Brian had established himself as a cad and blues musician in Cheltenham, and it wasn’t long before he was invited to play as a guest with Alexis Korner’s “Blues Incorporated” band in London. Korner was a U.K. transplant by way of Paris, Switzerland, and North Africa; his cosmopolitan parents moved to London in 1940, just in time for the war effort. Alexis Korner has been dubbed ‘a father of British Blues’.

During Jones’ guest appearance with Blues Incorporated, Brian was introduced to Mick Jagger and Keith Richards by Korner, who took special interest in Jagger and Richards even though at that time neither had played music outside their parents’ living rooms. As a recap, Korner brought in a troubled guitar player all the way from Cheltenham for a short-term gig where he could meet two teenagers with no professional musical experience. A ‘father of British Blues’ must have a lot of free time!

This is what rock historian Seth Rogovoy writes about Korner in Forward magazine:

Like many early British rock bands, The Rolling Stones started out playing American blues. Most of the members of the Stones served their apprenticeship in Blues Incorporated, a band led by blues guitarist Alexis Korner, who was born in Paris to an Austrian Jewish father and a Turkish-Greek mother. Stones founding guitarist Brian Jones, drummer Charlie Watts, and keyboardist Ian Stewart all played with Blues Incorporated, and vocalist Mick Jagger and guitarist Keith Richards jammed with the group on a number of occasions, before the five joined forces and formed The Rolling Stones.

Alexis Korner by Chris Walter.

Alexis Korner by Chris Walter.

In fact, Korner’s influence went well beyond the Stones and as Rolling Stone magazine states, Korner “virtually gave birth to an entire generation of superstars and cult heroes” which included Rod Stewart, John Mayall and Jimmy Page (as in Aleister Crowley). A sort of Frank Zappa for the Brits, Korner helped launch Led Zeppelin and Cream. Not long after introducing all the Stones, Korner embarked on a television career with ITV, the television channel launched by the British government in 1955 to ‘compete’ with their BBC. (Government competes with government?!) The Rolling Stones would take up gigs that Blues Incorporated cancelled due to Korner’s budding broadcasting career– a career which made him a brahmin of the British music scene.

Yet, rock’n’roll sensations are not formed on human resources alone…

In mid-1963 a promoter named Andrew Loog Oldham read about The Rolling Stones in a newspaper and jockeyed to become their manager– so goes the story. Oldham was the illegitimate son of Celia Oldham and American Andrew Loog, a member of the 332nd Bombardier Squadron who was shot down before he ever saw his son. Celia, to whom “image was everything“, was kept by a married man who funded her lifestyle– I have yet to pin down who this sugar-daddy was. As one might expect, Andrew grew up to be a very angry young man who is often described with references to the Kubrick film A Clockwork Orange. (In a fit of rage Oldham once pointed a starting pistol at the head of his father in law.)

Andrew’s mom must have latched on to a well-connected man, because according to Rockhall.com, “While still in his teens, Oldham was featured in the fashion pages of both The London Evening Standard and The Daily Mail.”

Andrew Loog Oldman when he was still useful.

Andrew Loog Oldham when he was still useful.

Andrew flitted between a few high-profile jobs: he was a personal assistant to fashion icon Mary Quant, and then became a protegé of music industry tycoons Brian Epstein AND murderer Phil Spector. Before he even hit twenty, Oldham had serious pull in the publishing world: “In January 1963, at 19, he started doing PR for the Beatles, and within a few weeks had scored the coup of getting the Fab Four into Vogue.” This is how Seth Rogovoy describes Andrew Loog Oldham’s contribution to the Stones:

Building on the lessons he learned as a protégé of Brian Epstein — the Jewish owner of a record store in Liverpool, who turned that city’s most popular bar band into the international sensation known as The Beatles — Andrew Loog Oldham, also Jewish, soon took over management of The Rolling Stones, reshaped their image, and steered them toward a broader musical palette.

For one, he turned them into the anti-Beatles, giving them a more “dangerous” and rebellious image — longer and unkempt hair, and an overt sense of sexuality and violence. Oldham enlisted the services of photographer Gered Mankowitz — the son of English Jewish screenwriter Wolf Mankowitz — who was responsible for the band’s early album covers and publicity shots. Mankowitz was as responsible as Oldham was for creating the Stones’s bad-boy image, and he was the official tour photographer on the band’s first United States tour in 1965.

Oldham also encouraged The Rolling Stones to cover a wider range of songs than the Chicago blues that they originally favored.

This ‘style change’ is credited as the beginning of conflicts which would eventually drive Brian Jones from the band (after a huge monetary payoff). Jones was found dead in his pool not long after being dropped and no Stone had time for his funeral– but I get ahead of myself.

Andrew Loog Oldham also managed Marianne Faithfull, who would become a staple of the cult around Mick Jagger. Oldham’s contacts worked well for him: “By the age of 21 he was married to Sheila Klein, daughter of a Hampstead psychoanalyst, had a son and a dog named Genius, owned a £40,000 house, many cars and was officially a millionaire.

Oldham’s management style was heavy on buzz, but light on organization as he admits himself. He also had an odd habit of buying advertizing space for other, supposedly unrelated, promoters:

While piloting the good ship Immediate [Oldham’s firm] and producing Stones hits such as “19th Nervous Breakdown,” “Paint It Black,” “Mother’s Little Helper,” “Lady Jane,” and “Ruby Tuesday,” the ever idiosyncratic Oldham messed with people’s minds by taking out ads for records he had nothing to do with. These were records he simply liked, including the Righteous Brothers’ “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’” and the Mamas and the Papas’ “California Dreaming.”

Andrew Oldham was not the type of person to do favors for anyone; he describes himself as an exploiter. What sort of connection might Oldham have with The Mamas and The Papas, a rock band belonging to the infamous ‘Laurel Canyon’ set in California?

For readers new to California’s music scene, the Laurel Canyon neighborhood of Los Angeles was home to a striking number of famous music groups, including The Doors, The Mamas and The Papas, The Byrds, The Beach Boys, Love and the enigmatic icon Frank Zappa. Laurel Canyon also attracted a different brand of freak, such as the Manson Family, who were tight with the hippie music crowd.

Map showing Laurel Canyon in relation to Hollywood, Mulholland Drive and other famous Los Angeles sites.

Map showing Laurel Canyon in relation to Hollywood, Mulholland Drive and other famous Los Angeles sites.

Andrew Loog Oldham’s run with the Stones ended because of the staged drug-bust I documented in my previous post, though it’s unclear whether Andrew was actually present at the raid. According to Rockhall.com:

Oldham’s empire collapsed nearly as quickly as it developed. In early 1967, Mick Jagger, Keith Richards and Brian Jones were all busted on drug charges. Afraid of being arrested himself, Oldham decamped to California, where he helped Lou Adler and John Phillips with Monterey Pop, suggesting they book Otis Redding, Jimi Hendrix, and the Who. Meanwhile, the Stones felt abandoned by Oldham, while Allen Klein found them lawyers and stood by their side in court. By September 1967, Oldham was no longer managing the group. Immediate Records continued for another couple of years, but the company was unable to transfer the label’s U.K. success to North America and was bankrupt by 1970.

It seems odd to me that the Stones’ media man would run to California just as the Stones’ biggest media bonanza exploded onto the public’s consciousness: the squabbling between The News of the World and The Times over this drug-bust made the Stones. On top of that, Oldham’s behavior suggests that he had ties to David ‘Acid King’ Snyderman, the drug-dealer with a kaleidoscope of passports who came from California with his “White Lightening”. By running to California, Oldham ran to the source of the ‘problem’.

In order to escape the British police Oldham ran to the up-and-coming music scene in California, the homeland of at least one band whose records Oldham had mysteriously taken out ads for. Why would a British subject think he was safe from a U.K. drug charge in California? During better days, Oldham had paid good money to promote Laurel Canyon superstars The Mamas and The Papas for no clear reason; perhaps Oldham ran to Cali because he had friends amongst the strange community surrounding Laurel Canyon’s local military outpost: Lookout Mountain Air Force Station– a military installation with “soundstages, screening rooms, film-processing labs and even an animation department“. [Lookout Mountain Station was founded in 1947, the same year as– yawn– the CIA. Walt Disney, Marilyn Monroe, and Ronald Reagan also worked for the film studios there but why is still classified. If you’re interested in Disney’s manipulation at the hands of FDR, check out Walt and El Grupo.]

Los Angeles was not unknown in Oldham’s circles: Alexis Korner crony John Mayall found professional succour in Laurel Canyon; and we now know that Marianne Faithfull’s old flame Jean de Breteuil sold Jim Morrison the dope that killed him. London rockers and Laurel Canyon navy brats clearly ran in the same circles. Could there have been some sort of organizational connection between the new music scene in London and the just-developing music scene in California?

Whatever connections existed between these two cultural phenomenon, Oldham wasn’t able to sell Californians his remaining UK contacts– namely his former partner Pete Meaden’s client The Who. The teat seems to have been pulled from the wunderkind’s mouth in California: Oldham’s company went bankrupt and he spent the next few years battling drug addictions and obscurity. Great Users of People. Oldham now lives in Bogotá, Columbia with a different wife and writes a new autobiography every few years.

Andrew Loog Oldham. Thank you, examiner.com.

Andrew Loog Oldham. Thank you, examiner.com.

When Oldham went on the lam, management of the Rolling Stones was taken up by someone called Allen Klein:

In 1966, Oldham turned over management of the Rolling Stones to a Jewish accountant from New York named Allen Klein. Klein scored the group a monumentally profitable record deal when their contract with Decca Records came due for renegotiation. The deal was much more lucrative than the one Brian Epstein had negotiated for the Beatles, and after Epstein died in 1967, the Beatles turned to Klein in the hopes that he could do for them what he had done for the Stones.

Once their original springboards Brian Jones and Andrew Loog Oldham had been discarded, The Rolling Stones’ star continued to rise. Mick Jagger decided that he should get into politics, as Tony Sanchez writes:

Mick’s fascination with power, coupled with his conventional middle class upbringing, led him inevitably to conventional politics, and for many years, he harboured a deep and secret ambition to become a Member of Parliament for the Labour Party.

He [Mick Jagger] was actively encouraged by Tom Driberg, the MP for Barking, in Essex, who later became Lord Bradwell. Like many homosexuals, Driberg found Jagger attractive, but he also recognised in him the charisma necessary for success in politics…

The two [Jagger and Driberg] were introduced by the American poet Allen Ginsberg, who was a mutual friend.”

Ginsberg introduced the two men in 1969, about the time that Kenneth Anger was pumping his cult through Pallenberg and Faithfull. Readers will remember that Allen Ginsberg was the guy who handed Alfred McCoy a box of TIME/CIA notes on East Asian drug trafficking which became The Politics of Heroin, a dishonest book which obscures William Egan Colby’s role in the drug trade. (Ginsberg tipped off McCoy around 1973, a few years after he introduced drug-promoter Jagger to Driberg.)

Allen Ginsberg: pedophile and CIA errand boy.

Allen Ginsberg: pedophile and CIA errand boy.

A couple of months ago I wrote about Eleanor Roosevelt’s political conditioning by Louis Howe in Eleanor and ISIS. Driberg seems to have played ‘Louis Howe’ to Jagger’s ‘Eleanor':

When Mick and Marianne moved to their big house in Cheyne Walk, they often entertained Driberg and had long talks about England’s rotten Government. Jagger professed to be an anarchist, but Driberg said that anarchy was no solution; it was an ideal that wouldn’t be practical for centuries. Driberg wanted Jagger to join the Labour Party and become a left-wing activists who would grab the party and shake it by the neck…

But Jagger knew that he would have to give up his career on the off chance that he might have a talent for politics. He seemed afraid to take the risk, and realistically, he knew perfectly well that despite his following among the young, he’d alienated the majority of voters.

Although he continued to talk to Driberg about politics in the abstract, he always found an excuse for not actually joining the Labour Party and standing for his local council.

I doubt that Driberg a.k.a Lord Bradwell wanted Jagger to join the Labour Party, he was astute enough to know that Jagger would never fly. What I think is more likely is that Driberg wanted to tweak Jagger’s nutball politics to better fit the ‘non-communist left’ agenda that was so popular at the CIA and MI6. (In 1966 even The New York Times began to talk about the CIA’s connection to the Congress for Cultural Freedom, so the operation was well and truly lost. By 1969 the ‘intelligence community’ would have been well into setting up new mouthpieces.)

If you’d like to learn more about the CIA’s ‘non-communist left’ agenda, I suggest going straight to the horse’s mouth, and reading what CIA head William Egan Colby had to say about what his old OSS buddies were doing in Europe.

Did Jagger and the Stones’ politics fit a ‘non-communist left agenda’? Yes, according to information Sanchez provides:

Everywhere the Stones went they were searched, raided and intimidated with a zeal that prompted Keith to comment: “They seem to think we’re working for Che Guevara.”

Jagger called a press conference to reveal to reporters in Paris that he was on the Customs’ International Red List.

“Of course there is a list, ” he said. “And of course they are after me…”

However, when the Rolling Stones came to play their first concert “behind the Iron Curtain” in Warsaw, they refused to play for the children of Communist Party members out of contempt for their parents, which of course lead to a riot.

Frankly, I’m getting a little sick of writing about the Stones and adjacent personalities, because they’re obviously tools of the ‘intelligence community’ and therefore have never had anything genuine to say. As someone who was born far too late to feel any connection to 1960s culture, these people are curious, hypocritical relics– yet they are constantly paraded in the mainstream media as innovators and idols. Clearly it’s time for some real iconoclasm.

Sir Mick Jagger in drag, circa 1996, photographed by Anton Corbijn.

Sir Michael Philip Jagger in drag, circa 1996, photographed by Anton Corbijn.

Ken Anger’s System of Control

Kenneth Anger dons Crowley's Cefalu mantle in 1960s London.

Matthew Stone’s 2010 portrait of Kenneth Anger, an homage to Anger’s role in 1960s London. Thank you, matthewstone.co.uk.

In this post I’m going to detail how Kenneth Anger implemented Aleister Crowley’s system of control in ‘swinging’ London. In order to do this, we’ll need to look at what The Rolling Stones, Anger’s most sparkling quarry, were doing just prior to Anger’s arrival.

I wrote about filmmaker Kenneth Anger’s probable ties to the CIA through his cult and pornography work in my post Ken Anger in Context. In that post I stopped the narrative at 1968, just short of Anger’s association with Stones frontmen: the ‘Glimmer Twins’ Mick Jagger and Keith Richards.

Anger’s association with Jagger and Keith, as well as with other notable figures in their milieu, bears all the hallmarks of an exploitative religious cult. I’m not the first person to notice this, Anger’s biographer Bill Landis is quite open about Anger’s Crowleyesque crusade through moneyed London:

He [Kenneth Anger] made a pilgrimage to England, Crowley’s homeland. It was as much a business trip as a spiritual adventure. Like his idol, Anger was about to take up the obscure occupation of fixing heads…

Anger loved the attention. It was clear to him that these people wanted to believe he was capable of magick. [Landis, Anger]

I don’t think that Anger’s role as a cult leader should come as a surprise; he had studied Crowley since the late 1940s. Anger had also been exposed to Alfred Kinsey’s scepticism about Crowley, as well as the sexologist’s obsession with sex and power. Anger understood Crowley’s system of control and by 1968 *somebody* decided to plug Anger into London’s music/trust-fund crowd through art dealer and former military officer Robert Fraser.

Fraser had served in the King’s African Rifles during its suppression of the Mau Mau uprising in the 1950s.[1] Britain’s success in quashing the revolt is largely credited to ‘pioneering’ use of psychological warfare: using complete control of information services to spread disinformation and surreptitiously break insurgents’ resolve.

The KAR used control of the media to influence the Kenyan public against the Mau Mau rebels; this fact will be important when I talk about The Times’ and The News of the World’s coverage of the Rolling Stones’ staged drug-bust in 1967. Fraser’s  African adventure set him up well to move amongst London’s privileged class of rich ‘revolutionaries’.

Robert Fraser during his glory days. He also makes an appearance on the Beatles' Sgt. Pepper album cover with Aleister Crowley.

Robert Fraser during his glory days in the Swinging Sixties… right after the Mau Mau operation.

This is how ‘Spanish Tony’ Sanchez, who talks about the Rolling Stones in his autobiography, describes Robert Fraser:

He was a charming man, and he began to build a large circle of friends among the rock stars who were fast becoming a kind of aristocracy. They trusted his advice when he talked about fine art investments for their new wealth, and they found his combination of culture and hip vitality enormously stimulating.

If readers are interested in what the post-war art market in London was like– a very profitable market for well-connected spooks like Roald Dahl– I recommend my post Steal the Mona Lisa? and Robert Wraight’s classic book The Art Game Again! Fresh from the KAF, Fraser was in an excellent position to capitalize on the art boom.

Robert Fraser is crucial to Anger’s story because it was Fraser who introduced Anger to the Stones; just as Fraser introduced Paul McCartney to the Beatles; and Japanese banking heiress Yoko Ono to John Lennon. Fraser was at the heart of the epic Beatles/Rolling Stones marketing battle in the late Sixties and was instrumental in making the political furor around the Stones happen.

Fraser is also the guy who introduced ‘Spanish Tony’ Sanchez to the musicians. Sanchez was a London mafia figure with ties to the infamous Albert Dimes. Sanchez tells us that after Fraser suddenly appeared on London’s art scene, he also suddenly appeared in the middle of London’s crime world. Fraser sought out Sanchez for his underworld connections in a way that reminds me of James Angleton’s work with “Lucky” Luciano.

Tony Sanchez is mischaracterized as  ‘drug dealer to the Rolling Stones'; he was a fixer for Robert Fraser. Sanchez’s autobiography focuses on his relationship with Fraser, Anita Pallenberg and Marianne Faithfull– the mobster is grossly sycophantic to these three people, they formed the ‘core’ of his team.

Sanchez would use his mafia connections to fix problems for Fraser like his crushing gambling debts; where to find drugs for Fraser’s friends (Fraser introduced Brian Jones and Keith Richards to cocaine); and police trouble related to the Stones’ staged drug-bust in 1967.

I say ‘staged’ because that’s exactly what the bust was: a character called “King” from California, who Richards had met one year before in New York City, appeared at a Stones party one evening and equipped them with an illegal drug called “White Lightening”, amongst other narcotics. (I remind readers that George White’s San Fransisco drug-test den reached its heyday ten years prior.) “King” vanished just before the police raided the Stones’ residence and found a small amount of drugs. The police had acted on a tip from editors at The News of the World, a tip which just happened to coincide perfectly with ‘King’s’ deliveries. Sanchez describes ‘King’ as a “James Bond” with “a whole collection of different passports in different names and with different nationalities on them”.[2] In Tony Bramwell’s 2006 biography (published four years before Sanchez’s!) he identifies ‘King’ as David ‘Acid King’ Schneiderman, a.k.a. David Snyderman a.k.a Dave Jove, one of the late Harold Ramis’s set and another Crowley devotee. The Daily Mail says Snyderman was on an MI5/FBI mission to destroy the Stones and that Snyderman had “encyclopaedic knowledge of all the newest strains of LSD, combined with an almost magical ability to procure them”.

In classic, self-absorbed superstar style, Sanchez credits the trap to “someone right at the top” who thought “the Stones are becoming too powerful”. The police raid made the Stones, rather than destroyed them.

The News of the World and The Times coverage of this bust took the form of a delicious journalistic battle between the papers which propelled the Stones to martyr status. Instead of calling the ridiculous spectacle for what it was, the papers took opposing sides (Hegelian Dialectic) which on balance framed the Stones as young rebels fighting for progress and freedom.

Who handed the Stones this gorgeous publicity prize? The Carr family still owned The News of the World in 1967; The Times was owned by the intelligence-heavy Astor family. The squabbling and plotting between these two papers made the Rolling Stones into a riot-inducing force in Britain, then globally. For Fraser, The Rolling Stones’ drug-bust was the Mau Mau uprising played backwards.

The iconic photograph of Fraser handcuffed to Jagger prior to their trial for drug possession, which Sanchez say catapulted the Stones to "martyrs" and "heroes". Their following album did not sell as well as hoped.

The iconic photograph of Fraser handcuffed to Jagger prior to their trial for drug possession, which Sanchez says catapulted the Stones to “martyrs” and “heroes”.

The Rolling Stones made lemonade out of White-Lightening-Lemons, and in reality they owe a huge debt to “King” and whoever sent him. Once that media escapade had settled, America would float over another gift: headline-grabber Kenneth Anger.

Fraser introduced the Stones to Anger in 1968 on the heels of that serendipitous drug-bust; the next thing London ‘turned on to’ was Kenneth Anger’s take-two on Aleister Crowley’s Cefalù cult.

Bill Landis’ biography Anger and Tony Sanchez’s autobiography Up and Down with the Rolling Stones are both useful for fleshing out what Anger’s system of control looked like in practice. Guess what? Anger’s control tactics were a lot like Crowley’s.

The Stones’ lifestyle already provided the promiscuous sex– isolating sex– facilitated by their ‘open’ relationships with girlfriends. Anger achieved intellectual isolation, or what Philip Zimbardo terms ‘saturation and detachment’ by enlisting girlfriends Anita Pallenberg and Marianne Faithfull to influence Jagger and Richards:

Richards was saddled with his paranoiac drug addict girlfriend, Anita Pallenberg. Anger played on her uncertain place in the Stones contingent and her coke-induced phobias. Pallenberg ould be pretty dominant but could also be on the next plane out ant any minute, just a bad memory of excess herself. She needed Anger and his help. [Landis, Anger]

I had hoped that Sanchez’s biography would shed light on how Richards became “saddled” with Pallenberg, but instead he writes, “no one ever seemed to know quite where she [Anita Pallenberg] came from or who she was”. We do know that Pallenberg was of Italian-German descent; an actress (her film with Brian Jones was Germany’s 1967 entry to the Cannes Film Festival); and had worked in something called ‘The Living Theater‘ which featured works by Congress of Cultural Freedom kid Jean Cocteau, and was founded in 1947 in NYC just like Cinema 16.

Anita Pallenberg. Thanks, kzok.cbslocal.com.

Anita Pallenberg. Thanks, kzok.cbslocal.com.

Pallenberg’s relationship with the first Stone, Brian Jones, could be described as narcissistic, it was certainly unhealthy. According to Sanchez:

As a couple Brian and Anita exuded an almost surrealistic aura; they began to look, dress and think so much alike that they became one a single presence in silk and satin…

Sometimes Brian and Anita’s arrogance was frightening. Those who displeased them would be banished from the flat and shunned immediately by any friends who wished to avoid offence to their highnesses.

Jones was a violent womanizer with six illegitimate children by six different women; his refusal to pay child support was a favorite joke between him and Anita. Anita was also preoccupied with Nazi fantasies, she encouraged Jones to buy a car that had once belonged to a Nazi official and even send pictures of himself in Nazi regalia to the British press. Sanchez says this about the photo incident:

The incident was symptomatic of the fact that Anita and the courtiers were cocooning Brian from the real world. Together they went ever further for their kicks: their sexual activities were extraordinary, and they took up astrology and magic. Eventually they were given some acid by one of their sycophants, and Brian and Anita tripped together for the first time. That moment marked the peak of Brian’s brief life and the start of his personality disintegration.

Could Anita Pallenberg have been working as some type of ‘handler’ who helped guide Jones’, and then Keith Richard’s, provocative antics? Could her mysterious appearance have been motivated by somebody in Langley recognizing that her PAS profile made her a good handler for Jones, and then for Richards? (For more on matching handlers to assets, see Marks’ Manchurian Candidate.) Whatever Pallenberg really is, she and Jones introduced LSD to the rest of their set, after they had been given hits by an anonymous “sycophant”.

When Jones ruined himself on drugs, Pallenberg swapped him for a more promising band member, Keith Richards. This partner-swap was encouraged by Marianne Faithfull “for reasons of her own” Sanchez says. Readers will remember that Sullivanian cult leaders would only sanction personal relationships inside the cult that had been approved by them, they felt deep interpersonal bonds were “dangerous”. Pallenberg quickly latched on to Kenneth Anger as soon as Fraser brought him into the Stones’ circle.

I’ve mentioned in a previous post that Marianne Faithfull comes from an intelligence family: her father was a British spook in wartime Berlin, where her mother’s half-Jewish family lived freely during WWII helping socialist partisans. Her mother was a cabaret dancer in Weimar Germany.

Marianne Faithfull, still living the nightmare.

Marianne Faithfull, still living the nightmare. Thank you, dailymail.co.uk.

No one really knows why Marianne Faithfull decided to leave her husband (John Dunbar, who owned Indica Gallery which Fraser used to host parties) and throw her lot in with the Stones, but Sanchez speculates:

Though she felt most relaxed and at ease among academics and aristocrats, Marianne gained a vicarious thrill from mixing with the coarse, clever, energetic young men who played the new no-compromise, high-energy music that was clearly changing the world.

My take-home is that Faithfull’s reasons for hanging with the Stones were ones which she chose not to be honest about– or perhaps was only vaguely aware of herself. Like Pallenberg, Faithfull latched onto Ken Anger when Fraser offered him, though according to Anger biographer Landis, Faithfull had regrets later:

In her 1995 autobiography, Marianne Faithfull intimates that Anger was not as wonderful as she once believed, going as far as to call him inept as a magus and filmmaker. She felt her drug addictions made her a pawn for him.

In contrast, Anger describes Faithfull as one of the only six women he ever loved and that they worked well together while shooting ‘Lucifer Rising’.

With Faithfull and Pallenberg firmly in his camp, Anger built up his image as Crowley’s ‘magickal’ heir by performing miracles, e.g.  attending a party at Indica Gallery via the astral plane (the punch was spiked) and weird witchy rituals on the lawn outside Jagger’s estate. (Remember Zimbardo’s mind-control tactic: cause confusion with nonsensical actions justified by arcane explanations which are delivered with confidence.) If somebody did something Anger didn’t like, he would put a magickal ‘curse’ on them and consequently believers ran scared of offending Kenneth. The legend of these ‘magickal’ workings and curses was then embellished by Anger’s buddies in the press.

Drugs were a huge part of Anger’s act, his work in San Fransisco in tandem with the CIA’s MK ULTRA program was crucial for building his knowledge, as Landis says: “Anger was an expert in the effects of certain drugs on different personalities.” Crowley had used drugs to isolate and confuse his followers at Cefalù. Also like Crowley, Anger was big on shaming followers, a mind control tactic that Philip Zimbardo describes as ‘increasing self-consciousness’ in the victim: Anger once sent Fraser a razor blade as a cure for his stuttering.

What I find most interesting about Anger’s system of control in London was how he encouraged unhealthy power worship. Crowley did this by promising power through Enochian magic and trying to attract well-connected people to his cult. This is how Landis describes Anger’s attempt at doing the same thing:

As he had done as a young man in Hollywood, Anger played social butterfly through the art gallery scene. He hooked into a seriously moneyed, exclusive, cocaine- and herion-addicted social circle through Robert Frazier [Landis’ consistent misspelling of ‘Fraser’] and his Indica Gallery in the fashionable Mayfair district…

Although he was dealing with a much more sophisticated crowd, Anger was using the same casting technique he had employed to find Bruce Byron and Bobby Beausoleil, blatantly appealing to narcissism. He provided the opportunity to live out their god/goddess power trip fantasies. Anger convinced the rock stars that only they had the special elemental quality to incarnate the occult deities they would portray [in Anger’s films].

Regular readers know I believe that narcissism, a type of character dysfunction, is useful to exploitative organizations. I believe that narcissism is exploited by unscrupulous leaders in the ‘intelligence community’ because narcissistic people are unusually vulnerable to control; they’re very reliable in serving whoever they look up to. If you’re interested in reading more about why I believe this, please see my posts Great Users of People and The Cult of Intelligence.

In his biography of Anger, Bill Landis recognizes how the narcissism of Anger’s followers opened them up to being manipulated by Anger. Cult-researcher Daniel Shaw, in his essay about Traumatic Narcissists in cults, also recognizes that narcissistic qualities in cult followers make them vulnerable to exploitative cult leaders. (Shaw’s essay is part of the International Journal of Cultic Studies vol 5, 2014.) The source of this vulnerability seems to be narcissists’ untempered desire to be seen as special and valued by authority figures, though nobody really knows for sure what motivates this behavior.

Anger was careful with who he targeted for recruitment, as Landis writes:

Wealthy, troubled, addicted rock stars and jaded billionaire socialites with their heads into hard drugs and mysticism wielded a huge influence over their peers, but their personal problems, fueled by intense lives consumed by work, left them vulnerable to a higher power.

Amy Siskind, another cult researcher who has written about isolating sex and cults, identified “religiosity” and unhealthy competitiveness as characteristics of people vulnerable to cults; Daniel Shaw says traumatic family lives also play a role. (Both from IJCS vol 5 2014). It’s interesting to note that Jagger has a superstitious streak; Faithfull and longtime Anger-funder J. Paul Getty, Jr (son of the art collector) both had very troubled relationships with their parents. I’ll speculate that Anger attached himself to certain figures in London’s ‘swinging’ scene because they showed personality profiles which CIA psychologist John Gittinger would recognize as exploitable.

(On the subject of money, in The Cultural Cold War Francis Stonor Saunders says that the CIA preferred to fund their operations through third parties, particularly wealthy philanthropists– just like J. Paul Getty Jr.! John Marks incidentally recognizes the same funding tactic in Search for the Manchurian Candidate. Getty would continue to fund Anger well after the filmmaker’s star in London had faded.)

J. Paul Getty Jr and his wife Talitha, who would die of a herion overdose.

J. Paul Getty Jr and his wife Talitha, who would die of a heroin overdose. Talitha was related to painter Augustus John through her mother, and ran in the same crowd as Ian Fleming.

As with any cult-leader, Anger became unbearably demanding and because of this Mick Jagger eventually dumped Anger and Marianne Faithfull. This is what Landis says about Anger’s ever-increasing demands, demands which would probably remind Daniel Shaw of his time in Siddha Yoga:

When Jagger arrived back in London, Anger kept his headaches pounding. Anger sought bigger and bigger pieces of him. Time. Money. Attention. Anger was becoming a control freak pest. Since he was such a control freak himself, Jagger never let things go as far as Anger wanted. He started politely backing away, but Anger kept his talons aimed at Richards and Pallenberg.

What saved Jagger from Anger’s vampirism? Family ties– specifically, a *more traditional* married relationship eventually saved Mick Jagger, and later Jimmy Page, from Anger’s grasp.

Bianca had apparently been instrumental in banishing Anger from the Jagger camp: “I didn’t dig Mick’s marriage to Bianca.” [says Anger] Faithfull, whom Anger was still friends with, “had a hard life when she was with Mick. He is a very sophisticated sadist.” [Anger, Landis]

Likewise, Charlotte Page saved her husband from Anger’s leaching:

In October 1976 Anger went to the Page abode in London. Page’s wife, Charlotte, argued with him, called the cops, and booted him out of the house. Though the door was bolted the following day, by week’s end Anger was collecting his belongings…

Anger now began mouthing off about Page and Jagger anywhere to anyone, calling them creeps, losers, junkies, and, the ultimate spiritual insult, spent forces. [Anger, Landis]

I think I’ve made it clear that Kenneth Anger was playing the same game in London circa 1969 as Crowley played in Cefalù circa 1920. Anger employed all the ‘mind control’ tactics I described in Aleister Crowley’s System of Control, The Banality of Mind Control, The Other Loch Ness Monster and Gittinger’s Personality Assessment System.

Kenneth Anger is an intelligence asset who was plugged into a ‘culture war’ operation that the British were already running, but that Kenneth was useful for.

My foray into cult research still leaves me with one question: Is Kenneth Anger a narcissist– like the cult leaders Daniel Shaw describes and like the typical intelligence operatives described by Peter Wright and Philippe de Vosjoli? I think that the answer is ‘yes’ he is, just like his idol Crowley.

This is what Richard Spence, a historian with ties to the ‘intelligence community’, says about the character of Aleister Crowley in Secret Agent 666:

If not the monster some have described, Crowley certainly was capable of immense emotional and physical cruelty. Real flashes of insight illuminate his writings, but if he developed anything to an art, it was selfishness. Aleister Crowley would indeed have been fascinating to meet, but, as others have noted, I would be reluctant to leave my children or my money in his hands.

It might seem that someone so obsessively self-centered and disdainful of common decency as Aleister Crowley would make a poor spy. On the contrary, those very qualities helped to qualify him for the job.

Those are strong words coming from anybody, but especially from Prof. Spence. Does Anger show the same traits as Crowley?

Landis describes two bitter motivations in Anger’s life: his frustrated career as a Hollywood actor and a frustrated career as a mainstream filmmaker. To hear Anger tell it, no one ever gives him the adulation he’s due– even from the time of his childhood. Anger, as his older brother describes, chose the stage-name ‘Anger’ because he was angry. It never seems to occur to Anger that his filmmaking is solipsistic and doesn’t cater to public tastes, so is therefore unlikely to earn him mainstream success. All the attention Anger got from the BBC (and it has been a lot of attention throughout his career!), attention from MOMA, and the Whiney Museum, and The British Film Institute, and PBS came despite his obscurity and some would say despite his mediocrity… but whatever Anger gets, it’s never enough.

Anger was never able to keep friends for long either; his friendships characteristically end with a fight; Anger banishing the ‘guilty’ party; and then smearing them in the press. By the 1980s Anger went to prostitutes for sex and was no longer in touch with his large family in California.

Like somatic narcissists, Anger hasn’t been able to grow old gracefully. As the years went by, he made a great effort to always be seen with desireable young men. On top of that, Anger has a tendency to push his bad feelings about himself onto people who offend him, take this slur against contemporary pornographic filmmaker Fred Halsted, for example:

He will have to go through those same changes like John Rechy of City of Night, because it’s terrible how– well, I was never a narcissist and it’s very hard for those who are hardcore narcissists to see that they go into a bar and people’s heads no longer turn. So that’s why I just wait. ” Anger chuckled. “No, I don’t dislike Fred.”

It’s easy for me to paint men like Aleister Crowley and Kenneth Anger as the bad guys, and they certainly have made the world a worse place, but in fairness they are just two of many confused– or even sick– people who were/are exploited by the ‘intelligence community’, as documented by the work of John Gittinger. IMHO, Anger would be better off if somebody in 1947 had scooped him up, like the father-figure in ‘Fireworks’, and taken the angry, confused man away from the spooks at Cinema 16.

 

 

[1] I couldn’t find exact dates for Fraser’s KAF adventures; the Mau Mau rebellion spanned 1952-60. In his autobiography Life, Keith Richard says this about Fraser:

Captain Fraser, who’d had a commission in the Kings’ African Rifles, the strong arm of colonial authority in East Africa, was posted in Uganda, where Idi Amin was his sergeant.

Idi Amin, the notorious Ugandan dictator, served with the KAF in Uganda and Kenya, where he fought the Mau Mau for the British.

[2] This detail about ‘King’ is interesting, because the CIA department responsible for issuing false identification and bogus foreign passports was disproportionately smeared by Colby’s 1974 ‘Family Jewels’ leaks, ostensibly because that department failed to keep track of the false documents they issued. Read all about it here.

Colby was setting himself up as a drug-lord in 1967 and by 1974 Colby clearly had a score to settle with the CIA false-passport people: could sloppy drug dealers with a stash of fake id’s like ‘King’ have had something to do with Colby’s vindictiveness?

Steal the Mona Lisa?

ML MISSING POSTER-FINAL

A few weeks ago, my husband alerted me to an interesting documentary about the 1911 theft of the ‘Mona Lisa’ from Paris’s Louvre Museum by Italian immigrant Pietro ‘Vincenzo’ Peruggia. This 2012 documentary is titled The Missing Piece: The Truth About the Man Who Stole the Mona Lisa.

At first, I loved this documentary. The director, Joe Medeiros, had done his homework: Medeiros travelled to Italy to interview the daughter of the thief, Celestina Peruggia, and actually employed a team of researchers and translators to scour Italian and French archives for information on the case.

What impressed me even more was that Medeiros showed sensitivity to Celestina’s feelings about her father: he seemed genuinely concerned that his research may prove her dad’s motivation was not patriotism, as the 80-year-old Celestina passionately claimed. Was Medeiros a documentary maker who went out of his way not to be exploitative?

However, as the documentary progressed, I noticed that Medeiros brushed over two important details which ran contrary to his argument that ‘Vincenzo’ Peruggia, a simple-minded house painter with a criminal record, was a lone thief. First of all, Medeiros seems remarkably naive about the art world circa 1911; he brushes over the very serious criminality of theft-suspect Guillaume Apollinaire and his shady business partner, art dealer Paul Guillaume. Medeiros also downplays the significance of Peruggia being given an audience with another preeminent art dealer of that time, Sir Joseph Duveen (First Baron Duveen). Peruggia tried to sell the Mona Lisa to Duveen during this meeting in London which happened shortly before Peruggia turned in the painting in Florence, Italy. Were these ‘downplays’ the innocent mistakes of a documentarian who doesn’t understand the art market?

I wanted to give Medeiros the benefit of the doubt, but on watching the documentary for a second time, my conclusion is that Medeiros is not the folksy, nice-guy he initially comes across as. He presents his viewers with a false choice: either accept his thesis that Peruggia was a lone villain, or you’re a fool who believes sensationalist, poorly-researched stories like the ones William Randolph Hearst published in his newspapers. Whoa.

It’s remarkable that a work-a-day Italian guy from Philly would start throwing stones at William Randolph Hearst, because by doing so Medeiros involved himself in a fight that is both before his time and out of his league. Here’s the nut: William Randolph Hearst was an art collector in competition with men like J. P. Morgan and Alfred Barnes. (Remember the name Alfred Barnes, readers.) Hearst was also in political opposition to these men, as Jennet Conant remarks in her book The Irregulars, only Hearst publications declined to join the FDR/British Security Coordination propaganda campaign designed to smear Americans who opposed British or Roosevelt interests.

William Randolph Hearst, J.P. Morgan, Alfred Barnes and a small group of other American mega-millionaires all bought their art from a small band of European dealers, preeminent among this band were Joseph Duveen and Paul Guillaume. Alfred Barnes and Paul Guillaume were particularly close, to the consternation of other European art dealers. This is how Christine Biederman describes Duveen and Guillaume for the Dallas Observer:

“The honors started rolling in [for Paul Guillaume]: Thus the former tire dealer and man who helped remove much of France’s cultural heritage to America received the Legion d’Honneur and was appointed to prestigious posts, including the Conseil Superieur des Beaux-Arts. But for the French Revolution, he would, like his crooked British contemporary Joseph Duveen, undoubtedly have been knighted by the King.”

(Biederman’s article on Paul Guillaume, his creepy wife and her legal battle with the Louvre is exceptional and is the best I’ve found on this topic.)

Paul Guillaume’s business associate was Guillaume Apollinaire who, when the Mona Lisa was stolen, had already established a history of selling art stolen from the Louvre, not all of which he had returned when the famous portrait was stolen. Medeiros’ strident claim that one lone Italian guy stole the Mona Lisa smells off to anyone familiar with the art market during this period. Why would a film-maker take such an incredible stance?

Researching the theft of the Mona Lisa is a dangerous hobby, readers, because in doing so you’re liable to blow the lid off shady dealings which built a famous art collection that is now controlled by The Philadelphia Museum of Art’s benefactors. You’re liable to put the provenance of this collection into question, which may expose the Philly museum and its partners to massive lawsuits, lawsuits which may even impact the ongoing lawsuit between the French government and the heirs to Paul Guillaume’s estate.

You guessed it, readers. Medeiros’ documentary was funded, indirectly, by the ‘education wing’ of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, who along with other Philly cultural leaders and their partners in Philadelphia’s local government, were shamed in 2009 by another documentary, The Art of the Steal, because they collaborated to dishonestly wrest control of Alfred Barnes’ art collection. Barnes had purchased much of his collection from Apollinaire’s business partner Paul Guillaume.

A real art-lover would never be so arrogant as to say “It’s my way or you’re an idiot” about a crime like the theft of ‘La Gioconda’. I propose that a ‘third way’ is possible, a ‘third way’ which Medeiros is desperate to distract his viewers from. Peruggia may have been hired to steal the poorly-guarded painting because of his temporary access to the Louvre’s collections. Peruggia may have been hired to steal the painting for a rich collector who never intended to exhibit the painting again– or at least not show it to anyone who would recognize the painting/ dare to tell authorities!

Rich American art collectors often did illegal things to grow their collections; even the Boston benefactress Isabella Stewart Gardner boasted of duping Italian export officials to outfit her museum. (This unsavory, but widespread, practice was criticized in Henry James’ The Golden Bowl.) Ironically, Gardner’s museum was brazenly looted in 1990– a crime which was never solved and is a sore spot for the FBI, considering their cooperation with Whitey Bulger and suspected organized crime ties to the theft. So if, in the future, scholars recognize that Paul Guillaume was a fencer of stolen goods as well as a preeminent art dealer, no one ought to be surprised.

Such a revelation could put the provenance of works Guillaume sold to Americans into question. Given recent international legal precedents established by the return of art stolen during Nazi occupation, you can see why the Philadelphia Museum of Art might want to put any rumors like ‘Vincenzo Peruggia didn’t act alone’ neatly to bed. If Guillaume’s name is associated with a high-profile theft, what other ghosts may rise? What stars of Philly’s newly acquired Barnes Collection might face legal action from Europe?

There’s also an ‘intelligence community’ angle to this story. Guillaume Apollinaire was not just any old art promoter and journalist. He was given special access to France’s National Library to catalogue its restricted pornography collection ‘L’Enfer'; the catalogue was completed before his death in 1918. This is huge, readers, because Apollinaire’s research opened up the writing of the Marquis de Sade to social control researchers like Aleister Crowley and his handlers at British Intelligence. Apollinaire is how U.K. spooks learned of Revolutionary France’s methods for social control.

Apollinaire’s spookiness doesn’t end there. Apollinaire’s wingman, Pablo Picasso, an outspoken Communist, was useful to Soviet agitprop campaigns yet became a multi-millionaire thanks to the Western art market. The CIA would latch on to another Apollinaire-friend named Jean Cocteau during their anti-Stalin leftist ‘culture war’ in the 1950s and 60s: The Congress for Cultural Freedom. (You can read about Cocteau and Kenneth Anger’s connection with the Congress in my post Ken Anger in Context.) In 1953, just as the Congress and MK ULTRA got going, the first English translation of de Sade was made by American literary golden-boy Austryn Wainhouse. Wainhouse worked in Paris in the early 1950s just like Kenneth Anger, and also like Kenneth Anger at that time, Wainhouse was interested in bringing pornographic novel The Story of O to English-speaking audiences. Amy S. Wyngaard, Syracuse University professor of French, says this about Wainhouse:

“Mr. Wainhouse’s work in fiction and translation was at the cutting edge at a pivotal moment in American literary history.  The archive is of particular importance in illuminating the processes behind Mr. Wainhouse’s translations of de Sade’s works, which transformed the face of publishing and literary studies in the 1960s.”

So you see, Apollinaire was ahead of the curve on topics which were useful to social controllers.

What I’m trying to express is that while Joe Medeiros appears to do his homework, he’s very selective in what he chooses to share. For instance, Medeiros tries to dismiss French investigators’ interest in Picasso and Apollinaire as xenophobia and classism by including this snippet from art historian Pierre Paix, who talks about Apollinaire’s arrest after the Mona Lisa heist:

“We see a poet, but the police see a foreigner and they are convinced that Apollinaire is part of an international gang that stole the Mona Lisa. And Picasso is defending himself saying that he has nothing to do with the case. In order to settle it they had to give the stolen sculptures back to the Louvre, which they did.”

Stupid French cops, right? Not so fast–what “stolen sculptures”?!

Here’s the context that Medeiros left out. Picasso was in possession of two Roman statues stolen from the Louvre in 1907, he used them as models for his 1907 painting ”Les Desmoiselles d’Avignon”– was the great artist thumbing his nose at French authorities? Picasso didn’t return the stolen figures to the Louvre until 1911, four years later, to secure the release of Apollinaire who the police were questioning about the Mona Lisa.

Les_Demoiselles_d'Avignon

‘Les Desmoiselles d’Avignon’– originally titled ‘The Brothel of Avignon’.  The Roman figures inspired the faces on the right. What message was Picasso sending?

This is how art historian Robert Shattuck describes Picasso and Apollinaire’s criminality:

In August of 1911, however, disaster struck Apollinaire’s flourishing career… One of Apollinaire’s acquaintances from poorer days, who had worked briefly as his secretary, an itinerant Belgian named Géry Pieret, had twice stolen small statuettes from the Louvre out of pure bravado. He sold the first lot to Picasso and left some with Apollinaire.

Shortly after Pieret’s second escapade, the theft of the Mona Lisa, on August 21, made sensational headlines all over the world. Pieret proceeded to sell one of the stolen statuettes to the Paris-Journal, which used it for publicity purposes to taunt Louvre officials about the laxness of precautions against theft. Apollinaire and Picasso, both of them suddenly terrified of arrest and deportation as undesirable foreigners, packed Pieret out of Paris, debated throwing the remaining statuettes into the Seine, and finally turned all the goods over to the Paris-Journal for anonymous restitution. In reality, Pieret was innocent of the Mona Lisa theft. Nevertheless, the Sûreté uncovered Apollinaire’s name, searched his apartment, cluttered with all kinds of statues and paintings, and arrested him on September 7th…

But imprisonment was by no means the worst blow. During the hearings Apollinaire listened in astonishment while Picasso, under questioning, denied having any part in the affair and finally even denied knowing his friend. [ From The Banquet Years, Robert Shattuck 1955)

TIME magazine (the CIA front) has an even less flattering account of Apollinaire’s/Picasso’s role in the Louvre thefts, according to this 2009 article by

“Soon the man showed up at the newspaper’s offices with a small statue, one of several that he claimed to have stolen four years earlier from the Louvre. The anonymous thief turned out to be a bisexual con man named Honoré Joseph Géry Pieret. He had once served as “secretary,” and perhaps other roles, for Guillaume Apollinaire, the poet and art-world polemicist who was Picasso’s constant supporter in the public skirmishes over modern art in the French press. Before long, Pieret had implicated Apollinaire in the thefts. When police arrested Apollinaire, he admitted under pressure that Pieret had sold the pilfered works to none other than Picasso. Thinking they had found their way into a crime ring that might be behind the Mona Lisa case, the cops then dragged Picasso before a magistrate for questioning.

Picasso, who at 29 had just begun the transition from bohemia to the haute bourgeoisie, was terrified. He was a foreigner in France; any serious trouble with the law could get him deported. And this could have gotten serious, because the accusation was true. Four years earlier, he had bought from Pieret two of the pilfered sculptures, Roman-era Iberian heads whose thick features and wide eyes he would introduce into the great painting he was then just about to embark upon, Les Demoiselles d’Avignon. Though he would deny it in court, he almost certainly knew at the time that both heads were lifted from the Louvre. He may even have pushed Pieret to take them in the first place. But prosecutors couldn’t build a case that either Picasso or Apollinaire had stolen the heads, much less the Mona Lisa, and both of them went free.”

(Richard Lacayo also appears in Medeiros’ documentary; in his interview he seems to support Medeiros’ thesis about Peruggia being a ‘lone thief’.)

So much for poor immigrant victims of law enforcement bigotry. But what about Medeiros’ other big ‘downplay': Peruggia’s meeting with art-world-Goliath Joe Duveen?

Medeiros interviews one art crime expert from the FBI, Robert Wittam. (The FBI doesn’t have a great track record with finding stolen art, as the Isabella Stewart Gardner museum knows well.) You’d think that FBI Agent Wittam would have explained to Medeiros that the hardest part about stealing famous artwork is selling it later, but if the agent did explain this, Medeiros edited it out of the film. As it stands, Medeiros fails to recognize the importance of Peruggia’s meeting with Duveen, especially as the meeting was confirmed by a third party, Duveen’s nephew.

Peruggia tried to sell the Mona Lisa to Duveen by making a trip to London and engaging an audience with the lofty art-dealer. Peruggia, on his own, would have about as much chance of getting an audience with Duveen as I would have of getting one with the late Jean Paul Getty.

Art historian Peter Wraight credits Duveen with setting up the modern art market: manipulating scarcity to raise and sustain prices, mostly as a hedge against inflation and currency manipulation for very wealthy people. (See Wraight’s fantastic 1974 book The Art Game Again!.) Duveen is supposed to have opined that “Europe has a great deal of art, and America has a great deal of money.” Whether he said this or not, the quip aptly describes Duveen’s business practices.

The art market caters to the very rich, and attracts the very unscrupulous– it’s no coincidence that items looted from Iraq’s national museum turn up in London. Fans of Roald Dahl will know that after he became disillusioned with spy-work, the 25-year-old writer made money in the murky world of art dealing:

He [Roald Dahl] still had some of his inheritance invested in the stock market and art was in his blood. It had fascinated him since childhood, while his wartime relationship with Millicent Rogers had begun to open his eyes to the way the art market worked… At twenty-five, Roald had been able to access the GBP 5,000 in his trust fund… he purchased two other Matthew Smiths, some watercolors by Smiths’s great friend Jacob Epstein and a small portfolio of Impressionists and Post-Impressionists… He gave one Epstein to Millicent Rogers and sold another at a good profit… “Each time I sold a short story,” he later wrote, “I would buy a picture… In those days, fine pictures were inexpensive. Many paintings that today could be acquired only by millionaires decorated my walls for brief periods in the late forties– Matisses, enormous Fauve Rouaults, Soutines, Cezanne watercolours, Bonnards, Boudins, a Renoir, a Sisley, a Degas seascape  and God knows what else.” [From Storyteller by Donald Sturrock]

Dahl, the BSC boy, was in the right place at the right time to cash in on the post-war art boom, which Robert Wraight put at the feet of Joe Duveen and viewed with such disdain. (Quite rightly, imho.)

My point is, Duveen– who died in 1939– was a connected player. Peruggia was a no-name house painter from an Italian backwater; Duveen’s nephew describes Peruggia as a “seedy-looking foreigner”– not the typical Duveen fare. As anybody with an ounce of street-smarts knows, the audience with Duveen was arranged for Peruggia when the initial buyer for ‘La Gioconda’ fell through.

Who was that initial buyer? We’ll probably never know because both Paul Guillaume and Guillaume Apollinaire are dead– but the French police suspected that it was a rich American, and the behavior of rich American art collectors supports such suspicions. Duveen doesn’t appear to have alerted the British police to the fact that a “seedy foreigner” tried to sell him the Mona Lisa.

sir-joseph-duveen-1869-1939-everett

Sir Joe Duveen with lady friends. Duveen was also involved in selling Vermeers which turned out not to be Vermeers…

There are other clues that Peruggia was acting as part of a team– he used a false name during the period in which he stole the Mona Lisa- ‘Vincenzo’ Peruggia. After serving a brief jail time for the theft, Peruggia returned with his wife to Paris under his real name Pietro, got a job doing something and spent the rest of his life in Paris, where he was buried in a high-demand cemetery.

While his fellow Italians back home in Dumenza are ashamed of Peruggia, Peruggia himself showed no self-consciousness. Pietro made a point of taking his wife to the Louvre on his return to France and bragged: “The shingles on this building will rot, but my name will remain famous.” Narcissism, anyone?!

Why would Joe Medeiros make this dishonest film? To answer that, I look to who funded the project:

1) The Greater Philadelphia Film Office was the fiscal sponsor for Medeiros’ film. This is how the Film Office describes itself:

GPFO, first established in 1985 as a part of Philadelphia city government, continues to reside within city offices. In 1992, we became a regional economic development agency, incorporating as the Greater Philadelphia Film Office, a Pennsylvania non profit corporation, in July, 2000.

The GPFO are part of the same cabal who benefited from moving the Barnes Collection to Philly’s ‘museum mile’ against the wishes of Alfred Barnes.

2) Medeiros’ relatives Angelo and Jessie Mestichelli provided funding, as did Tom and Anne Caramancio, who I couldn’t find anything about.

3) The Pacific Pioneer Fund, which is an organization that funds ‘independent’ documentaries gave Medeiros $5,000; the PPF gets its money from the estate of San Fransisco lawyer Peter Sloss. The Independent magazine describes the board of the PPF:

“Who makes up the staff of the Pacific Pioneer Fund?

Peter Sloss, president; Nancy Sloss, vice president; Hillary Sloss, Dan Geller and Ellen Bruno, board members. Half of us are filmmakers. Ellen and Dan are past grantees whom we’ve had as filmmaker consultants for individual panels and really liked their sound judgment so we invited them to the Board.

What does the Sloss family’s philanthropic footprint look like? According to Peter Sloss’s obituary in ‘JWeekly.com’:

“Sloss devoted himself to the local Jewish community in multiple ways, serving with the S.F.-based Jewish Community Federation, the Jewish Community Endowment Fund, the Osher Marin JCC, Mount Zion Hospital and the JCL, among others.”

Apart from his Jewish causes, Sloss also served on the board of the Berkeley Repertory Theatre.

4) The film’s largest (and first) funder has a philanthropic footprint which is very similar to the Sloss Family’s, but is based out of the Philadelphia area. The Daniel B and Florence E Green Family Foundation gave Medeiros $26,000.

The Green Family Foundation has given some money to the Philadelphia Theater Company, but most of their charitable work seems to be for specifically Jewish projects through the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia.

The Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia is associated with The Honickman Foundation, which overseas a large part of the Philadelphia Museum of Art’s public education program:

The Education Committee of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, co-chaired by Lynne Honickman and Marta Adelson, was convened to advance education within the Museum and the Greater Philadelphia region.

Of course, Lynne Honickman and Marta Adelson are trustees of the Philadelphia Museum of Art as well as leading employees of the Honickman Foundation. The Honickman family money seems to come, at least in part, from Pepsi Cola & National Brand Beverages, LTD and Canada Dry Delaware Valley Bottling Company.

(L-R)Harold Honickman, Jon Bon Jovi, Lynne Honickman and Leigh Middleton attend the "Coming HOME" 20th anniversary gala for Project H.O.M.E. at the Philadelphia Marriott Downtown on September 23, 2009 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. HOME was the Green Family Foundation's big charitable endevour. Thank you, zimbio.com.

(L-R)Harold Honickman, Jon Bon Jovi, Lynne Honickman and Leigh Middleton attend the “Coming HOME” 20th anniversary gala for Project H.O.M.E. at the Philadelphia Marriott Downtown on September 23, 2009 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Green Family Foundation’s big charitable endeavour was for Federation Housing Inc– you need a password to read who sits on their board. Thank you, zimbio.com.

I dare say that getting the Greens to fund Medeiros was a nice way for the Philly Art Museum to get their message out while hiding their involvement in the documentary. (The Greens don’t seem to have funded any documentaries before Medeiros’.)

So you see, a certain group of people who benefit from burying the unsavory history of the Barnes Collection have *likely* teamed up to spare the reputation of Paul Guillaume, the art dealer who made the Barnes Collection possible, by blaming one of the most high-profile art thefts ever solely on a simple Italian peasant.

Ken Anger in Context

Thank you, Time.com.

Thank you, Time.com.

For the last few days I’ve been reading Bill Landis‘ biography of Kenneth Anger; the book purports itself to be an unauthorized biography and apparently Anger ‘lawyered up’ when he heard Landis was pursuing the project. Needless to say, the book was published to critical acclaim in 1995 and is largely complimentary of Anger. This Buffalo News review is splashed across the book’s back cover:

 “As good a biography as we’re likely to get of an artist who cherishes the mystery he as created of his life.”

If that sounds a little tepid to you, Buffalo News had good reason. While Landis clearly made an effort to interview Anger’s family and not-so-enthused acquaintances like Bruce Byron, there is surprisingly little context given to Anger’s story. Bill Landis was an Air Force brat who in the 1980s left Wall Street to become a porn star under the pseudonym ‘Bobby Spector‘. In the 1990s Landis ‘went respectable’ by documenting the sleazy underbelly of NYC’s film scene in publications like The Village Voice, as well as hosting exploitation film screenings across the United States.

The uncomfortable fact is that during the period 1947-1968, Kenneth Anger was everywhere the CIA was. In the early fifties, Anger courted the CIA-funded Jean Cocteau in Paris while Cocteau frontlined for the CIA’s ‘Congress for Cultural Freedom’. In the mid Fifties, Anger investigated/promoted Crowley’s Cefalù sex cult with Alfred Kinsey, just as the CIA was reviving Crowley’s ‘system of control’ research through MK ULTRA. In the mid-to-late 1960s, Anger pushed LSD use and exploited San Fransisco’s demimonde just like MK ULTRA’s George White had for his spy research.

It’s not hard to notice the overlap between Anger’s work and the CIA’s; I leave it to readers to surmise why Landis failed to do so. MK ULTRA and the ‘Congress for Cultural Freedom’ are both well-document CIA  programs: the ‘Congress for Cultural Freedom’ was known to be a CIA front since at least 1978 when CIA head William Colby outed the congress along with Gloria Steinem in his autobiography. The MK ULTRA/LSD connection in San Fransisco has been widely recognized since 1979, when John Marks published his iconic book, The Search for the Manchurian Candidate.

In this post, I’m going to add the historical context to Anger’s early career in Europe, New York City and San Fransisco; the context that Bill Landis should have included in his– otherwise– reasonably good book on Anger. This context covers two aspects to Anger’s career: 1) his ‘rise’ to the European film scene in the early 1950s and 2) Anger’s association with Kinsey and how both Kinsey and Anger’s work paralleled George White’s LSD/prostitution work for the CIA.

Ken Anger and ‘Operation Congress’

Kenneth Anger (born Kenneth Wilbur Anglemeyer) first ‘got noticed’ as an underground film creator with his homoerotic short ‘Fireworks’ (1947), in which an Anger-like character turns tricks, then finally gets beat up/raped by a bunch of burly sailors. ‘Fireworks’ is widely recognized as the film which opened up gay pornography to a more main-stream audience. You can watch it on Youtube if you want to.

What interests me about Anger’s film was that it caught the eye of Amos Vogel (born Vogelbaum), a NYC transplant by way of Israel, whose family left Austria after the Anschluss. [Correction, Vogel wanted to go to Israel, but stayed in NYC instead.– a.nolen] In October 1947, one month after the CIA was founded, Vogel founded Cinema 16, an ‘underground’ film distribution network. Vogel contacted Anger about ‘Fireworks’, according to Landis, and ‘Fireworks’ was among the first films promoted by Cinema 16.

‘Catching the eye of Cinema 16′ appears to have launched Anger’s career: it sent him to Europe; got him a Ford Foundation grant; and gave him street cred in San Fransisco during the later 1960s. Cinema 16 also gave him important contacts– in 1962, while living in NYC, Anger was housed by an old friend from Cinema 16, Marie Menken, who was then working for CIA-front TIME magazine “in the cable room taking communications from overseas”, says Landis. More on her later.

Cinema 16 played ‘Fireworks’ publicly for the first time in 1948 at the Los Angeles Coronet Theater; the film got favorable reviews from Lewis Jacobs in Hollywood Quarterly. Cinema 16 and Hollywood Quarterly seem to have had a symbiotic relationship: HQ ran a gushing introductory piece on Cinema 16 written by Cinema 16’s founder Amos Vogel.

Amos Vogel, Anger's ticket to intelligence work.

Amos Vogel, Anger’s ticket to intelligence work.

Hollywood Quarterly (1945-1957) was financed by UCLA and featured the writing Theodor Adorno, a member of the Frankfurt School which, like Vogel’s family, left Europe when the political winds turned against them. Academics from the Frankfurt School would go on to work at the OSS and later receive CIA largess. (See Left of Hollywood: Cinema, Modernism, and the Emergence of U.S. Radical Film Culture By Chris Robé.) Hollywood Quarterly was amenable to reinventing itself to fit the CIA’s anti-Stalin leftist politics and purged itself of communist-smelling contributors in 1951. (See Hollywood Modernism: Film and Politics in the Age of the New Deal by Saverio Giovacchini.)

What was Hollywood Quaretly’s mission? The University of California Press says this about its publication:

Writing Just After the end of World War II, the editors of the Hollywood Quarterly posed the following question: “What part will the motion picture and the radio play in the consolidation of the victory, in the creation of new patterns of world culture and understanding?”

None of the information I’ve presented above proves that Hollywood Quarterly or Cinema 16 were CIA fronts, it only proves that they acted like CIA fronts. Unfortunately for the legacy of Kenneth Anger, ‘The Congress for Cultural Freedom’ was a CIA operation beyond question, and Cinema 16 propelled Anger onto Congress-frontman Jean Cocteau’s lap.

In 1948 Cocteau hosted the Festival of Damned Film in Biarritz, France. Fresh from his Cinema 16 success, Anger sent Cocteau a copy of ‘Fireworks’, which Cocteau adored and gave his ‘Poetic Film Prize’ at the festival. Cocteau’s enthusiasm eventually lead Anger to move to Paris in 1950.

Jean Cocteau was a practical man. When Paris was under German occupation, he cooperated with the Germans. When Paris was under American occupation, he cooperated with the Americans. In her book on the Congress of Cultural Freedom (The Cultural Cold War, 2000), Francis Stonor Saunders details Jean Cocteau’s work for the CIA promoting the anti-Stalinist left across Europe.

The Congress for Cultural Freedom, or ‘Operation Congress’ as Saunders calls it, really started in NYC in 1949, with a meeting of anti-Stalinist leftists at– of course– the luscious Waldorf Astoria hotel. The CIA’s operatives were setting up the Congress during 1950– when Anger moved to Paris– and by early 1951, the Congress announced that Jean Cocteau would be among its keynote speakers at its first festival in April 1952. Music from Igor Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring was also on the CIA’s playbill.

Kenneth Anger’s antics with his supporter Jean Cocteau spanned the period 1950- Fall 1953. Anger hung out with Cocteau while Cocteau was negotiating with CIA representatives. During this time, Cocteau and Anger would scandalize Parisian audiences with a production of Igor Stravinsky’s/Jean Cocteau’s adaptation of Oedipus Rex– the production was scandalous because Cocteau dared show his face so soon after collaborating with the Nazis. Judging from a few clues in Landis’s biography, Anger’s antics with Cocteau/Stravinsky presaged the CIA’s antics with Cocteau/Stravinsky by a couple of months.

The ever entertaining Jean Cocteau.

The ever-entertaining Jean Cocteau.

Anger spent two periods in Paris, 1950-mid 53 and late 1955-58, but his artistry failed to impress the more established French cultural scene both times. By 1958 biographer Landis says Anger’s reputation in France was on “tenuous ground” because he was “a gauche American with a reputation for pop iconography”. Many Americans who worked with the CIA’s heavy-handed Congress eventually drew ire from the French, as Saunders documents in the chapter titled ‘Cette Fête Américaine’:

Diane Josselson [wife of a prominent Congress organizer Michael] remembered the Paris of this time as brimful with anti-Americanism, a “Yanqui Go Home” mentality everywhere: “The people one met weren’t really like that, but they did have an idea that the typical American was gross.” Many Americans were irked by this ungenerous response to their largess. “I could get quite distressed at Europeans if I allowed myself to,” confessed C.D. Jackson.

I ask readers to remember the name C.D. Jackson.

During Anger’s second Paris stay in 1958 he entered his Hollywood-shot film starring Thelema-promoter Marjorie Cameron, ‘Inauguration of the Pleasure Dome’, into the film competition hosted by the World’s Fair in Brussels– a venue where Soviet and American artistic offerings went head-to-head. Anger’s ‘Pleasure Dome’ lost because, Landis says, the Soviets had stacked the judges. Anger’s friend from Cinema 16 and the CIA-funded TIME magazine, Marie Menken, also attended the ‘stacked’ film competition in Brussels.

Why was the lady who handled TIME magazine’s international cables at a film festival? Because her superior at TIME, C.D. Jackson, was also a Congress for Cultural Freedom organizer.  Anger’s performance at the Worlds’ Fair had important culture-war implications. Here’s what Saunders has to say about C.D. Jackson at TIME:

In the early 1950s, one man alone did more than any other to set the agenda for American cultural warfare. As president of the National Committee for a Free Europe, and later, special adviser to Eisenhower on psychological warfare, C.D. Jackson was one of the most influential covert strategists in America… Graduating from Princeton in 1924, ‘C.D.’ joined the family firm and travelled extensively in Europe, cultivating contacts which would provide a valuable resource during later years. In 1931 he joined Henry Luce’s Time-Life empire as an advertising executive. During the war, he was one of America’s leading psychological warfare specialists, serving as deputy chief for the Office of War Information Overseas, North Africa and Middle East, and then deputy chief of the Psychological Warfare Division (PWD)  of SHAEF (Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force, which was under Eisenhower’s command.)

After the war, C.D. returned to Time-Life Inc. where he became vice-president of Time. He was an early activist in Allen Dulles’s New York crowd, one of the Park Avenue Cowboys. Then, in 1951, he was invited to take part in a CIA-sponsored study recommending the reorganization of the American intelligence services. This led to a job as an ‘outside’ director of the CIA covert operations via The Truth Campaign and the National Committee for a Free Europe…

When C.D. Jackson wasn’t doing all that, he found time to be on the board of the United Negro College Fund and the Carnegie Corporation of New York!

Psychological warfare expert Charles Douglas (C. D.) Jackson.

Psychological warfare expert Charles Douglas (C. D.) Jackson.

My point is, readers, that Ken Anger had some surprisingly well-placed friends and a knack for knowing what the CIA is interested in, then inserting himself in the middle of it. It’s almost as though Ken Anger was an Agency asset himself…

Going to San Fransisco?

I’ve covered a period in Anger’s life stretching between 1947-1958 in the first half of this post. For the next half we need to return to 1947 when Dr. Alfred Kinsey contacted Anger wanting to buy a copy of ‘Fireworks’ for his ‘sexual history’ collection. Kinsey would become a father-figure to Anger.

I first referenced Kinsey in my post about Aleister Crowley’s System of Control, in which I quoted E. Michael Jones on Adam Weishaupt’s ‘system of control’ for his organization ‘The Illuminati':

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.

Alfred Kinsey was a spiritual father to Anger; they shared an interest in Aleister Crowley, but Kinsey thought Crowley was a fraud– according to Landis, Kinsey was only interested in getting his hands on Crowley’s sex diaries for his ‘sex history’ collection, which provided the impetus for Anger’s and Kinsey’s pilgrimage to Cefalù in 1955. (Did Kinsey think the diaries were still there?!) After Kinsey’s death in 1956, Anger would describe himself as an archivist, “a volunteer working for the Kinsey Institute”. Anger’s affiliation with the Institute would certainly help him in 1965, when San Fransisco police picked him up on suspicion that he had made a snuff film, according to Landis: “The Kinsey Institute shielded him, classifying him as a freelance gatherer of sex films.”

Kinsey’s methods for growing his ‘sex history’ collection were strikingly similar to MK ULTRA agent George White’s methods for growing his sex and drug knowledge: working with local police to exploit the demimonde.

George White was an old OSS man who worked in the New York Police Department Narcotics division; he’d wanted to join the CIA prior to 1952 but powerful enemies, including J Edgar Hoover, had stymied his career. When Sidney Gottlieb, head of the CIA’s ‘Technical Services Staff’ (TSS) division, approached White in 1952 White agreed to help the CIA test drugs on unwitting, marginalised people who White knew from his drug work in NYC. This is how an anonymous TSS source describes White’s test subjects to John Marks: “He knew the whores, the pimps, the people who brought in the drugs.”

George White. Thank you, sfweekly.com.

George White. Thank you, sfweekly.com.

In May 1953, around the time Anger left Paris and returned to Hollywood to make ‘Pleasure Dome’, White set up the first Greenwich Village (NYC) drug-test den for the CIA. Prostitutes would lure men to the dens, drug them with substances including LSD and then CIA guys would observe through one-way mirrors and recording devices.

Unwitting drug-tests went so well for the CIA that in early 1955 Gottlieb transferred White to San Fransisco where he set up a new ‘safehouse’ for the same purposes. According to Marks, White decorated the den with tastes oddly reminiscent of Kenneth Anger’s: “he went out and bought items that gave the place the air of the brothel it was to become: Toulouse-Lautrec posters, a picture of a French can-can dancer and photos of manacled women in black stockings.”

The purpose of the San Fransisco safehouse was not limited to unwitting drug-testing. Marks says: “TSS officials wanted to find out everything they could about how to apply sex to spying, and the prostitute project became a general learning and then training ground for CIA carnal operations… At first, nobody really knew how to use them [prostitutes]. How do you train them? How do you work them? How do you take a woman who is willing to use her body to get money out of a guy to get things which are much more important, like state secrets?”

Brace yourselves, readers, because this is where our old friend John Gittinger comes in. According to Marks:

The San Fransisco safehouse specialized in prostitutes. “But this was before The Hite Report and before any hooker had written a book,” recalls a TSS man, “so first we had to go out and learn about their world. In the beginning, we didn’t know what a john was or what a pimp did.” Sid Gottlieb decided to send his top staff psychologist, John Gittinger, to San Fransisco to probe the demimonde.

George White supplied the prostitutes for the study, although White, in turn , delegated much of the pimping function to one of his assistants, Ira ‘Ike’ Feldman.

While Gittinger was doing his personality assessments from behind a one-way mirror, CIA agents were learning other things, according to another one of Marks’ anonymous MK ULTRA sources:

We didn’t know in those days about hidden sadism and all that sort of stuff. We learned a lot about human nature in the bedroom. We began to understand that when people wanted sex, it wasn’t just what we had thought of– you know, the missionary position…

In 1955 while White was ‘learning about sex’ in San Fransisco, Anger was touring Europe’s pick-up hot-spots with Kinsey looking for ‘sex histories’ for the old man’s collection.

Whoever Marks’ anonymous sources are, they were being disingenuous in the excerpt above, because as early as 1947 Alfred Kinsey’s sex ‘studies’ had brought deviant sexual behavior to the attention of the reading public, mainly via press coverage in CIA-backed TIME magazine. Marks’ MK ULTRA men seem suspiciously innocent; probably because Marks wanted to avoid using the name ‘Kinsey’.

Because of George White’s CIA connections, he could ‘learn about sex and how to use it for spying’ with the help of the San Fransisco Police department, as Marks elaborates:

As the chief Federal narcotics agent in San Fransisco, White was in a position to reward or punish a prostitute. He set up a system whereby he and Feldman provided Gittinger with all the hookers the psychologist wanted. White paid off the women with a fixed number of “chits”. For each chit, White owed one favor. “So the next time the girl was arrested with a john,” says an MK ULTRA veteran, “she would give the cop George White’s phone number. The police all knew White and cooperated with him without asking questions.”

Gittinger wasn’t the only scientist to use the CIA’s den for ‘scientific’ purposes: Dr. James Hamilton of Stanford Medical School (another old OSS man) used the den for “studies connected to unwitting drug experiments and deviant sexual practices,” according to Marks. Could other academics have been involved, I wonder?

Eventually more CIA drug-testing dens were set up: one near San Fransisco in Marin County, and in 1961 a third was set up in New York (the first den there was closed when White moved to California). The ‘new’ NYC den was managed by another OSS veteran, Charles Siragusa.

What I’d like readers to take home is that over the period 1953-1963, we know that the CIA was abusing vulnerable people of the ‘demimonde’ to collect sex histories, sex statistics and do LSD testing.What was Alfred Kinsey doing during this period? Pretty much the same thing as White.

Staring in 1947, the same year the CIA was founded, Kinsey set up his Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender, and Reproduction at the University of Indiana, from which Kinsey would base his operation until his death in 1956. 1947 was also the year Kinsey met Anger; Kinsey approached Anger about buying a copy of ‘Fireworks’ for his ‘sexual history’ collection. (Note, Kinsey knew about ‘Fireworks’ before its first public showing by Cinema 16 in 1948!)

Kinsey published Sexual Behavior in the Human Male in 1948, one year after setting up his institute, and then published Sexual Behavior in the Human Female in 1953– the year George White and John Gittinger began tracking ‘human sexuality’ in New York; and also the year Hugh Hefner set up Playboy, which was eventually revealed to be banked by the CIA. Wikipedia, the storm-drain of popular opinion, says this about Kinsey’s work during 1947-56: “His work has influenced social and cultural values in the United States, as well as internationally.” and “The Kinsey Reports, which led to a storm of controversy, are regarded by many as a precursor to the sexual revolution of the 1960s and 1970s.”

How did Kinsey gather the “sexual histories” necessary to write his famous reports? Pretty much the same way White’s CIA buddies got them. This is what Anger’s biographer, Bill Landis writes:

Kinsey’s powers of persuasion were enormous, rivaling any cult leader. Beginning in the 1940s, despite rampant sexual repression and the suppression of pornography in American society, he could persuade straight, middle-class people to speak about their sexual practices and perversions…

Armed with financing from both Indiana University and the Rockefeller Foundation, Kinsey’s work with sexual outlaws was thorough… The Times Square hustlers’ grapevine would spread the line that a guy in a hotel just wanted to listen, ask a few questions, then you could leave. The street people knew Kinsey wasn’t a cop after he had built up a reputation in the area…

The three ordinary Midwesterners calling themselves scientists worked in seedy hotel rooms in Times Square (and many other red-light districts in the United States) measuring the exact dimensions of a male hustler’s genitals, even if it meant paying him a little extra. This would happen after the loosening-up period, in which the interviewee described in detail his sex life. Not surprisingly, Kinsey was often hassled for this research by law enforcement officials. After he was taken, irate, to the station house, he would call someone at Indiana University who would confirm his position, releasing him from this latest hot water.

While the ‘University of Indiana’ acted for Kinsey much like the CIA worked for White’s henchman, Kinsey’s relationship with police forces across the country was far from antagonistic according to Landis:

Anger was overwhelmed by Prok’s [Alfred Kinsey’s] collection of more than five thousand stag films. “Through the years Kinsey built up contacts,” Anger explains. “Let’s say a police department in Memphis confiscates a blue film. Instead of throwing out the films, they’d ship them to Prok. He had some that were from 1910.”

Anger says that Kinsey cast a seriously wide net with law enforcement– a net at least as wide as White’s. In my opinion, it would be hard for Kinsey to establish such extensive contacts without the help of some seriously organized friends. Could Alfred Kinsey’s research have had any use to the CIA? Landis says this:

Prok’s [Alfred Kinsey’s] data provided him with a certain power. Pomeroy stated that Kinsey “like secrets, that their possession gave him a sense of power…. [His subjects] included political, social, and business leaders of the first rank, and with his intimate knowledge of their lives [he] could have figuratively blown up the U.S. Socially and politically.”

Kinsey’s ‘groundbreaking’ sex investigations landed him on the cover of CIA-front TIME magazine in 1953, though he’d got plenty of exposure from this outlet on the release of his first report in 1948.

My point is that Kinsey’s work would have been enormously interesting to the CIA– and lo and behold, when Anger failed to tread water in Paris, the homoerotic filmmaker next turned up at the side of a well-know sexologist who was busy ‘challenging’ the sexual mores of the nation by claiming around half of men are homosexual in some way. Kinsey and Anger just happened to share an interest in Aleister Crowley and decided to travel to Cefalù together… so that they could shoot a documentary for the BBC!

Yes, you read that correctly. The BBC had Kinsey and Anger make a documentary about Aleister Crowley’s ‘Thelema Abbey’ in 1955, which was mysteriously lost after its initial broadcast. Here’s what Landis says:

An extraordinary photograph of Kinsey with Anger at Thelema Abbey ran in Picture Post magazine, the British equivalent to Life. [of TIME-Life fame– a.nolen]. The often-seen photo of a bald, scowling Crowley hangs on a wall, and Prok’s arms are outstretched, Christ-like, as he eyes the photo… Anger hovers submissively before his two fathers, Kinsey and Crowley, impishly holding a lantern…

Thelema Abbey, a half-hour sound film, was made of this event and shown on British TV, sponsored by Picture Post. Anger takes credit for this work in his filmography, though he claims that when he went to Picture Post to pick up his print, the magazine had closed and the films was lost forever.

As I first described in The Empire is Listening, the BBC was birthed from the same mother as the CIA, namely the fortune and contacts of William Stephenson. How odd that the BBC wanted to make a documentary featuring a man whose ‘sexual histories’ would have been of extreme interest to the CIA… and again, Anger is in the middle of it all!

A young Ken Anger shows off his favorite tatoo. Thank you fromthebarrelhouse.com.

A young Ken Anger shows off his favorite tatoo. Thank you fromthebarrelhouse.com.

Kinsey died in 1956, but Anger was just getting started. Even though Paris and the Brussels World’s Fair didn’t work out, Anger still found helpers back home. In 1961 Anger bunked with Marjorie Cameron in Los Angeles, then in 1962 he moved back to NYC to stay with Marie Menken. In 1963 Cinema 16 closed down, pinching off Anger’s funds. Miraculously, the Ford Foundation decided to give him a $10,000 grant just in time, which Anger used to move to San Fransisco in 1963– from then it seems Anger’s money troubles were over.

Regular readers know that the MK ULTRA program was largely wound up by 1963, but the LSD plague it helped unleash was just getting started. This is how Bill Landis describes Anger’s work during the San Fransisco period, 1963-68:

He had been a spectacular scenemaker on several levels– prominent occultist, LSD proselytizer, sexual libertine, vanguard filmmaker.

During this time Anger made some of his most infamous friends: occultist Anton LaVey (born Howard Stanton Levey) and Manson family associate/murderer Bobby Beausoleil. Landis writes:

Both Anger and LaVey existed in a fringe sexploitation area. Anger’s films had become adult house fare. LaVey was familiar with fifties-style Betty Page dominance /submission mentality, and he appeared in nudie spreads for second-string men’s mags…

Devil worship at this point in the sixties was an excuse for exhibitionist behavior and kinky sex.

In San Fransisco, Anger came into his own as a promoter of isolating sex and Aleister Crowley’s system of control. In 1967 Anger’s antics and films were plugged by Newsweek, The New York Times and Playboy magazine.

Anger’s work is important, because by the late 1960s the well-connected  Sullivanian cult, and the CIA’s personality profiler John Gittinger, had realised that isolating sex is a great tool for controlling people. America’s intelligence community had embraced the ‘system of control’ that Crowley formulated fifty years before, and Anger was promoting it through hippie fandom.

By 1968 Landis says things were coming “unglued” for Anger in San Fransisco; his buddies Beausoleil and LaVey had contacts with the Manson family which may have become uncomfortable for Anger. Whatever Anger’s reasons for leaving were, he left San Fransisco in 1968 and moved to London, where he was immediately plugged into U.K. music industry royalty.

I’m not going to talk about Anger’s interaction with the Rolling Stones here; except to say that Landis was cynical about Anger’s post 1968-work in London. He described it this way:

He [Anger] made a pilgrimage to England, Crowley’s homeland. It was as much a business trip as a spiritual adventure. Like his idol, Anger was about to take up the obscure occupation of fixing heads.

The mod London of 1968 held a plethora of potential investors for Anger who were in desperate need of having their heads fixed. Wealthy, troubled, addicted rock stars and jaded billionaire socialites with their heads into hard drugs and mysticism wielded a huge influence over their peers, but their personal problems, fueled by intense lives consumed by work, left them vulnerable to a higher power.

Landis adds:

Anger was an expert in the effects of certain drugs on different personalities…

Whatever the particulars were of his intake, Anger possessed a tremendous understanding of the myriad ways heroin, speed, cocaine and hallucinogens, and the various combinations thereof, can connect with various individuals. London was a head’s paradise, fertile ground for an alchemist.

Wasn’t this knowledge exactly what the drug-related parts of MK ULTRA were after?

I believe the information I’ve presented in this post strongly suggests that Kenneth Anger is a CIA asset and probably has been since his ‘discovery’ in 1947, the year the CIA was born. Anger’s probable work for the intelligence community casts his ideology and body of work in a very dark light, the same light that his mentor Aleister Crowley is now viewed in. Far from being a ‘bringer of light’, Kenneth Anger serves a very earthly ‘system of control’.

Ken Anger in 2013. No portraits in that attic. Thank you, theguardian.com.

Ken Anger in 2013. No portraits in that attic. Thank you, theguardian.com.

Ron Jeremy: OSS Brat

ron jeremy movie scott gills

“A lot of kids had dads in the war. But how many kids had their mom in the war? Especially as a member of the OSS and as a spy?”

It recently came to my attention that Ron Jeremy, the famous porn star, comes from an ‘Office of Strategic Services’ (OSS) family. The OSS was president Franklin Roosevelt’s secret spy network, which he used to undermine his political opponents.

Ron Jeremy talks about his mother in an interview promoting his porn documentary, ‘Porn Star: The Legend of Ron Jeremy’, which was directed by Scott J. Gill. (If that link ever dies, email me adotnolen@gmx.) Perhaps even more interesting than learning Jeremy’s mom was a spook, is that Gill edited out every mention of Ma Jeremy’s spook work from ‘Porn Star’ proper– the director only left snippets about Ma in the credits. Why might this editing have occurred? Let’s start from the beginning.

Roosevelt set up the OSS to assist a British spy ring run by William Stephenson, whose purpose was to undermine Americans whose political beliefs ran contrary to British interests or Roosevelt’s aims.

In other words, the OSS was Roosevelt’s way of partnering with foreign spies against the people who he represented as president.

The OSS organization was supposed to remain ‘deniable’, and did until the 1960s. According to Stephenson, the only reason that old OSS’ers (who were then working at the CIA) decided to talk publicly about the OSS was that Kim Philby’s defection to the USSR threatened to blow the lid on OSS schemes anyway. (See Stephenson’s autobiography A Man Called Intrepid.) Talking about the OSS might have been the first time that the CIA ‘took control’ by preempting classified leakage.

So what was the mother of Ron Jeremy– a porn start and porn industry promoter– doing for this band of traitors? Here’s the answer in Ron Jeremy’s own words:

R [Ron Jeremy]: About my parents in the war. I couldn’t believe that my mother being in the OSS, which became the CIA in the late-Forties, was cut from the movie. She was a lieutenant, a decoder, and a cryptographer. Because she spoke fluent German and French they put her right into the army. They gave her high-rank, incase she was ever captured. She fought the Germans, and my dad fought the Japanese. And what kills me is that was a credit. (laughs) It’s in the movie as a credit. I said, “Scott, what are you thinking? You had pictures of her in her lieutenant uniform; you’ve got my dad talking about her. What are you fucking doing?” He said he had no place to put it. And I said, “That’s my mom, you fucking idiot.”

I don’t follow Ron Jeremy’s career, but when I have heard him talk, he’s never struck me as the sharpest tool in the shed. However, even Ron can see that editing out a bombshell revelation like ‘The Most Famous Porn Star’s Momma was a Spook’ isn’t good entertainment tradecraft. I propose, readers, that not talking about momma might be good tradecraft of another sort.

The CIA, the daughter organization to the OSS, has some very unsavory relations with the pornography industry. This will come as no surprise to my readers in the former USSR and particularly East Germany, where older people will remember that ‘opening up to the USA’ also meant ‘opening up to pornography’.

The CIA has direct links to the Playboy Empire, as well as Penthouse magazine. In the 1991 incarnation of Alfred McCoy’s book The Politics of Heroin, he recounts how a 1973 IRS investigation lead to uncovering Hugh Hefner’s and Bob Guccione’s patronage of CIA bank ‘Castle Bank and Trust of Nassau’. ‘Castle Bank’ was so heavily intertwined with CIA operations that the Agency quashed the IRS investigation on “national security” grounds. Hefner’s and Guccione’s CIA connections were then quietly ignored.

Why is the CIA interested in promoting pornography in the USA and in other places? Could it be that spreading pornography has something to do with spreading control? I’ve covered part of this topic already in The People vs Bob Guccione. Pornography is a useful political tool: way back in 1795 the Marquis de Sade recognized that pornography was a good way of diverting men’s excess energy, something that was “indispensable to the mechanics of republican government”.

De Sade wasn’t content with heterosexual pornography either:

It has been said the intention of these legislators was, by dulling the passion men experienced for a naked girl, to render more active the one men sometimes experience for their own sex. These sages caused to be shown that for which they wanted there to be disgust, and to be hidden what they thought inclined to inspire sweeter desires; in either case, did they not strive after the objective we have just mentioned? One sees that they sensed the need of immorality in republican matters.

Why does de Sade think that revolutionary legislators would want to promote male homosexuality? (Male homosexuality is what’s important to him, not lesbianism, even though de Sade was no stranger to lesbianism in his writing.) Historically, people interested in social control have had a marked interest in homosexuality and promiscuousness (multiple, short-term sexual partners).

I’ll remind readers that the CIA in particular is eager to hire from the LGBT community. The LGBT community is already overrepresented in the US military, and therefore is probably overrepresented in the intelligence community as well. I haven’t found a good explanation for this overrepresentation, however, it may be worth noting that John Gittinger’s work for the CIA shows that the Agency is interested in identifying sexual weaknesses in ‘persons of interest’ which can be exploited. These ‘persons of interest’ include the CIA’s own regular officers/ employees.

What makes something a ‘sexual weaknesses’? LGBT activists have cast doubt on homosexuality’s usefulness as a blackmail tool; I agree with these observers, there have been too many famous LGBT spies through history to suggest that homosexuality would sink a spy’s career. I doubt that the ‘Lavender Scare’ in Washington D.C. was about a mindless desire to persecute the LGBT community, either. I suspect that the ‘Lavender Scare’ was motivated by a realization that the Soviets– or other actors– were using a psychological tool that US counterintelligence wasn’t wise to.

What might this psychological tool have been? According to Gittinger’s personality assessment work– which spanned the ‘Lavender Scare’ during the 1950s-60s– the CIA was interested in identifying self-centered sexual activity like promiscuity and masturbation, rather than homosexuality on its own. Gittinger’s work suggests that the intelligence community was only interested in homosexuality in as far as homosexuality is related to promiscuity.

In fact, Gittinger’s personality assessments make very little mention of homosexuality at all; Gittinger wanted to know whether the person under assessment related to their sexual partner, or if sexual energy was spent on “autoerotic” and “autosexual” behavior. As an example, here’s Gittinger’s description of an ‘e*fa’ personality:

He will react very much against autosexualilty by becoming extremely active in heterosexual relationships in spite of the fact that he is not inclined to become involved, in the reciprocal sense, of efa or the i*fa, with his partners.

And here’s Gittinger on an ‘iru':

Unlike the e*ru, however, the iru is not active or aggressive in taking material things or in any interpersonal sexual activity. While the e*ru may rape with little awareness of the object– he may be guilty of sexual assault of an aged woman or necrophilia– the iru is more prone to compulsive masturbation.

My point is that the CIA isn’t bent on shaming queers or cross-dressers. The CIA is interested in anyone who shows a tendency towards self-centered sexual behavior, which encompasses promiscuity and ‘autoerotic’ activity. Why? Because promiscuity and autoerotic behavior are isolating. Both of these forms of sexual behavior make it harder for the sufferer to form strong, lasting relationships with other people– including the strongest relationships of all, that of family.

Promiscuous people are vulnerable people, it’s harder for them to develop and maintain the protective influences of family. The leaders of the Sullivanian cult understood this and that’s why they encouraged people who they wanted to control, like Amy Siskind, toward promiscuity. Plenty of powerful people have recognized that promiscuity leads to vulnerability and that vulnerability opens people up for control, I encourage interested readers to check out my post on Aleister Crowley’s System of Control.

How does promiscuity isolate people? Promiscuity discourages mature attitudes to sex; it keeps a person from developing balanced, healthy attitudes toward themselves and other people. Promiscuous sex is a “me, me, me” activity, it’s about searching for something that makes ‘me’ feel good. (Or what one thinks will make one feel good.) Promiscuous sex is more like masturbation than sex, which brings me back to porn…

Using pornography and promiscuous sex have something in common: the other person, the person in the picture, isn’t really important– they’re just objects which aid sexual gratification. Objectification of people is unhealthy in any situation, but pornography is particularly destructive if using it becomes compulsive so that intimacy with a real partner becomes difficult– ‘porn addiction’ is a problem, just like addiction to gambling is a problem. I suggest that it’s particularly problematic for young men– who are just developing self-control, critical thinking and attitudes towards sex– to be exposed to exploitative sexual material that objectifies sexual partners.

What about Gill’s documentary on Jeremy, does Gill address pornography’s usefulness for control? No, it doesn’t. In Jeremy’s own words:

The main thing about it is that it [Porn Star] put a nice face on the world of porn. The John Holmes documentary didn’t put a very good face on the business. But this did. One critic from Film Threat made a really nice comment, saying that after seeing those, you didn’t want to watch porn; you felt guilty. Then you watch Ron, and you enjoy seeing a porn film. And I had no real skeletons in the closet, other than the porn. I knew I had no history of drugs, abuse, beating people up. You know? Just a nice, Jewish boy from Queens; so I figured what the hell.

“Just a nice Jewish boy from Queens”. Ron Jeremy is more than that, readers, as he explains a few minutes later in the same interview:

R [Ron Jeremy]: It’s [his mom’s spook connections] what puts me in common with George Bush, Jr. Both of our parents were in the OSS/CIA. And, I went to high school with the head of the CIA, George Tenet. There’s a big article about that in the Queens Tribune; about how we both went to Cardozo High School. We were in the same class. So, anyway. In the DVD, if you watch the extra scenes, in one of those scenes my dad does talk about my mom and the war. So that’s a little different. When people first see the DVD they say, “Why weren’t these extras in the movie?” Everyone has said that about those ten extras. “Deleted scenes? What the fuck was he thinking?”

Most people reading this post will remember that W sold a few wars using rhetoric about “freedom” and “democracy”. Ron Jeremy, and his industry cohorts, sell pornography using rhetoric like “freedom of speech”, “love” and “liberation”. Western history and philosophical tradition show us that pornography is about repression and control.

Daniel Shaw on exploitative leaders: "when taking, they are understood to actually be giving."  Movie Poster from The People Vs. Larry Flynt, a movie equating pornography with freedom of expression.

Daniel Shaw on exploitative leaders: “when taking, they are understood to actually be giving.” (IJCS Vol. 5 2014) Movie Poster from ‘The People Vs. Larry Flynt’, a film equating pornography with freedom of expression.

I doubt Ron Jeremy is aware of his place in the system. Another highlight from his interview with Tastes Like Chicken:

I had a cousin who died in a war. He got shot, so they gave him the Purple Heart and the Medal of Honor. I showed it to Scott, but he didn’t use it in the film. That’s a great story on its own. That’s a whole documentary in itself. And I had another cousin who had to change his religion to become a lieutenant. He was Jewish, but you had to be Christian to become a lieutenant. He died as a hero under the cross. The relatives exhumed the body, switched him back to a Jew, and buried him under a star. So a lot of that stuff didn’t make it in there.

Jeremy’s opinion about his cousin’s religious persecution is interesting, seeing as when he aired this grievance, Jeremy was just about to tell us that his Jewish mother was made a lieutenant. (Is there more to that story, Ron?) Jeremy never opines– in this interview– on why a “fat, short, hairy bastard” was able to make a career in pornography.

Scott J Gill edited out Jeremy’s family history because drawing attention to Jeremy’s spook connections gets uncomfortably close to the intelligence community’s role in the porn business. Talking about Ma Jeremy is likely to raise questions such as “Why are spook-sorts involved in porn?” and “Is porn some type of soft-power tool?”

Scott J Gill, and the folks backing his career, really don’t want people like you and I asking those questions. Take home: Buy porn and help support your buddies in Washington D.C.!

The Other Loch Ness Monster

Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page outside Boleskine House in 1971. Boleskine is now a pleasant family home with no reported supernatural activity. Thanks, LePoint.fr.

Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page outside Boleskine House in 1971. Boleskine is now a pleasant family home with no reported supernatural activity. Thanks, LePoint.fr.

A few weeks ago I wrote about Aleister Crowley and his ‘system of control’. In that post I mentioned how Crowley biographer Richard Spence avoids discussing parts of Crowley’s life that smell like psychological operations against the British public. (Spence is a favorite at Washington D.C.’s  ‘International Spy Museum’, a propaganda-stuffed tourist trap.) I’m going to elaborate on my observation with a review of a 2000 BBC documentary titled The Other Loch Ness Monster.

I’ll remind readers that the BBC was birthed from the same mother as America’s CIA: the fortune and contacts of international businessman and Churchill crony William Stephenson. I’ve written about the BBC and Stephenson’s efforts to undermine democracy in The Empire is Listening. As you can imagine, I’ve little good to say about this Crowley documentary.

The Other Loch Ness Monster is a highly sensationalized look at Crowley’s time in Boleskine House, a family home he bought on the banks of Loch Ness. The legend is that Crowley bought the home in order to conduct an Abramelin magic ritual in private, however from day one everyone– locals included– knew Crowley intended to ‘summon demons’ at Boleskine. Richard Spence stands out as a biographer of Crowley because he never examines Boleskine in his intel-savvy book Secret Agent 666, Aleister Crowley, British Intelligence and the Occult– in fact, Spence barely mentions Boleskine even though the home was a huge part of Crowley’s religious facade.

Why not examine the Boleskine mythos, Prof. Spence? You provide an array of interesting information on Crowley’s cult mentor at the time, arms-dealer and Abramelin magic scholar Samuel Liddell MacGregor Mathers. Why not talk about what Crowley was doing when Mathers called him to Paris in 1899, just prior to Crowley selling Mathers out to the British Government? After all, Crowley’s doings at Boleskine are crowd-pleasers (and book-sellers); they offer supportive context for the spy work you say Crowley was doing in NYC during WWI; and they’re also what the music biz promoted so heavily during the Sexual Revolution.Why not talk about Boleskine, Professor?

I believe that The Other Loch Ness Monster answers my question to Richard Spence. The showmanship surrounding Boleskine house happened a couple of years after Crowley began studying the ‘systems of control’ devised by Adam Weishaupt and Edward Kelley. Boleskine, and its Kabbalistic demons, was an exercise in encouraging superstition. Systems of control like Crowley’s exploit superstition, as philosopher David Hume recognized in his essay Of Superstition and Enthusiasm. The BBC’s continued promotion of Crowley’s Boleskine stunt, and Spence’s reluctance to talk about the stunt, are evidence that the same control tactic which Hume recognized is employed today.

The famous 1766 portrait of Hume by Allan Ramsay. This was painted one year before Hume was made Undersecretary of State (British Empire), during which time he was given access to "all the secrets of the kindgom, and indeed, of Europe, Asia, Africa and America". Hume was not just an 'ivory tower' philosoper.

The famous 1766 portrait of Hume by Allan Ramsay. This was painted one year before Hume was made Undersecretary of State (British Empire), during which time he was given access to “all the secrets of the kingdom, and indeed, of Europe, Asia, Africa and America“. Hume was not just an ‘ivory tower’ philosopher.

Hume wrote his essay in 1742 as part of a larger work titled Essays Moral, Political and Literary. Here’s what he has to say about superstition and power-worship:

As superstition is a considerable ingredient in almost all religions, even the most fanatical; there being nothing but philosophy able entirely to conquer these unaccountable terrors; hence it proceeds, that in almost every sect of religion there are priests to be found: But the stronger mixture there is of superstition, the higher is the authority of the priesthood…

My third observation on this head is, that superstition is an enemy to civil liberty, and enthusiasm a friend to it. As superstition groans under the dominion of priests, and enthusiasm is destructive of all ecclesiastical power, this sufficiently accounts for the present observation.

(Readers should not assume that Hume is a friend to “enthusiasm” from these excerpts– he felt that the bad effects of “enthusiasm” were shorter-lived than those of “superstition”. I encourage everyone to read the full essay, it’s short.)

Recognizing superstition for what it is– softening the masses up for domination by authority figures– ties together some interesting threads in our current zeitgeist. ‘Encouraging superstition’ may provide a reason why American television is full of ‘ghost shows’ (some openly government-endorsed!); alien nonsense; and other mindless, sensational programming. The value of superstition for control may also explain Western leaders’ strange love affair with Islam.

Hume elaborates on his ideas about control by explaining how superstition can prey on personal vulnerabilities aggravated by stress:

As superstition is founded on fear, sorrow, and a depression of spirits, it represents the man to himself in such despicable colours, that he appears unworthy, in his own eyes, of approaching the divine presence, and naturally has recourse to any other person, whose sanctity of life, or, perhaps, impudence and cunning, have made him be supposed more favoured by the Divinity. To him the superstitious entrust their devotions: To his care they recommend their prayers, petitions, and sacrifices: And by his means, they hope to render their addresses acceptable to their incensed Deity. Hence the origin of PRIESTS, who may justly be regarded as invention of a timorous and abject superstition, which, ever diffident of itself, dares not offer up its own devotions, but ignorantly thinks to recommend itself to the Divinity, by the mediation of his supposed friends and servants.

Crowley wished to set up himself, or more accurately set up his masters, as such priests through Thelema. Sensational documentaries like The Other Loch Ness Monster also work to this end by encouraging superstition.

Crowley’s spectacle at Boleskine had at least two goals. Firstly, Crowley was infiltrating a prominent secret society/cult called ‘The Golden Dawn’, which was headed by MacGregor Mathers, who was Crowley’s mentor at the time. Mathers was translating The Book of the Sacred Magic of Abramelin the Mage in 1899 (it was published in 1900), so Crowley’s attempt at conducting the Abramelin ritual was probably designed ingratiate himself with the Golden Dawn’s leader. Secondly, the rite gave Crowley an opportunity to establish himself as a ‘magickal’ authority in the eyes the British public. Crowley seems to have done everything possible to draw attention to his work while in Boleskine, including complaining to the police about the lack of local prostitutes (according to Kenneth Anger/Esquire’s Mick Brown).

The ‘Abramelin’ rite was supposed to conjure demons which Crowley would ‘convert to the light’ over the course of several months using the force of his personality. The ghost-story around Boleskine hinges on Crowley conjuring these demons but never fully converting them. One hundred years later the BBC is still promoting this ghost story and strains itself to weave Crowley’s antics into ‘Loch Ness Monster’ sightings.

The BBC strains itself. If you’ve got 29 minutes to waste, I encourage you to watch The Other Loch Ness Monster– it’s a textbook example of propaganda promoting superstition.

The writer/director duo responsible for this documentary, Charles Preece and Garry S. Grant, interviewed a number of Crowley’s ‘true believers’, including the U.K. head of the O.T.O. John Bonner and Crowley promoter Kenneth Anger, neither of whom provide intelligent criticism of Crowley’s stunt but instead feed the myths surrounding Boleskine. (The O.T.O., or ‘Ordo Templi Orientis’ was founded by German spy Theodor Reuss, who Crowley– depending how you look at it– either went into business with OR whose O.T.O. organization Crowley infiltrated.)

The thrust of The Other Loch Ness Monster is to portray Crowley as a misunderstood visionary who battled dark forces to bring humanity a “charter of universal freedom”. Sounds vaguely American, doesn’t it? Needless to say, there’s no examination of Crowley’s blatant hypocrisy nor mention made of the people he chewed up and spat out over the course of his career.

Perhaps the most interesting thing about the documentary is how it treats Crowley’s relationship to MacGregor Mathers. Mathers was an arms dealer who supported revolutionary movements across Europe– revolutions which went counter to the British Empire’s interests. Many wealthy people in Mathers’ circle of occult contacts shared his revolutionary politics. According to Spence, the British government tasked Crowley with disrupting Mather’s revolutionary network inside the ‘Golden Dawn’ cult, which the Crowley did. Crowley was effective because he was able to win Mathers’ confidence, as Charles Peerce writes:

In his diary Crowley wrote: “As far as I was concerned, Mathers was my only link to the secret chiefs to whom I was pledged. I wrote to him, offering to place myself and my fortune unreservedly at his disposal. If that meant giving up the Abramelian operation for the present, alright.”

Half way through Crowley’s self-aggrandizing ritual at Boleskine, Mathers contacted Crowley asking The Beast to come to Paris to help him. (Paris would be the center of much of Crowley’s intelligence work.) For some reason, Mathers was in trouble– Crowley’s promoters rarely explain what type of trouble Mathers might have been in. Spence says that on July 15th 1899 a yacht carrying one of Mathers’ arms shipments destined for Spain was apprehended by the French with Aleister Crowley onboard. One month later, Crowley was still a free man: he bought Boleskine and moved in that November to begin the Abramelin ritual. Shortly thereafter Mathers called Crowley back to Paris; Crowley biographer Lawrence Sutin says Crowley left for France on January 15th 1900 to ‘help’ Mathers deal with infighting amongst Golden Dawn leadership. By the end of 1900, both Crowley and Mathers had been expelled from the order, i.e. Mathers lost his power-base.

I believe that Crowley knew leaving for Paris would help his primary mission to take down Mathers. Crowley decided to travel south even though leaving the Abramelin ritual half way meant letting his priest-mask slip.

This is how Kenneth Anger, who made a hostile takeover bid for Thelema in the 1960s and 70s, describes what went on between Crowley and Mathers in 1899:

His [Crowley’s] master at the time, in the Golden Dawn, was in hot water over something and pleaded with Crowley to help bail him out. So Crowley dropped the ceremony, which was– you’re not supposed to do this. Once you begin something you’re supposed to follow through.”

I’ll point out that if Crowley was honest in his religious quest, then by breaking the Abramelin ritual he put ‘converting the forces of darkness to good’ on hold so he could help a buddy in Paris. Does that sound like a reasonable decision?

Kenneth Anger continues:

Interrupting a magic ceremony is a great thing. He [Crowley] later realized that he should not have gone to Paris, that he should have let his so-called master, whose name is Mathers, fall in his own shit, because, uh, finally he [Crowley] realized that he [Mathers] was a false master.

Anger smooths over Crowley’s awkward 1911 smearing of his one-time friend Mathers as a ‘Jacobite conspirator against the British Empire’ by claiming Crowley realized that Mathers was a “false master”. It’s unclear to me whether Crowley spent significant time at Boleskine after his Abramelin stunt was interrupted; Crowley sold the home in 1913. (Kenneth Anger lived in Boleskine for a period during the 1950s, shortly after meeting Marjorie Cameron back in the USA.)

Crowley’s unfinished ritual left Boleskine open as a dangerous portal to the spirit world, the BBC claims. The documentary goes on to suggest that this spirit portal explains many modern Loch Ness Monster sightings and is why bad luck dogged subsequent owners of Boleskine, such as the Russian-born actor George Sanders, who lost a livestock business based on the Boleskine property; and yet another Army Major, Edward Grant, who committed suicide in the house in 1960.

(1960 was well into Anger’s campaign to promote Crowley and Marjorie Cameron to cultural revolutionaries. Readers interested in MK ULTRA will remember Army Dr. Frank Olson committed suicide under the influence of LSD surreptitiously administered by the CIA in 1953.)

In fact, there’s something a little off about the suicide of Major Grant.  Charles Preece and Garry S. Grant interviewed Major Grant’s housekeeper, Anna MacLaren, who in the documentary rather dispassionately relates the story of finding the Major’s dog chewing on a fragment of the Major’s head. (He had shot himself.) Before she realised the bone was part of her employer’s skull, Ms MacLaren had found it strange that the dog had a treat at all, because the Major and his wife had a “huge refrigerator with nothing in it”. I wonder how much time Major Grant and his wife spent at Boleskine before he dramatically decided to shoot himself in Crowley’s old ritual-bedroom?

In the decade following Major Grant’s ‘picturesque’ suicide, Crowley’s legacy was given phenomenal media exposure. In 1967 The Beast was featured on The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper album cover and starting in 1968 Crowley was promoted by The Rolling Stones’ antics with Kenneth Anger. The Beatles and Stones were just a start– Aleister Crowley would make rounds through the Music Biz: Crowley was plugged by Led Zeppelin’s Jimmy Page (also with Anger’s help), David Bowie, Sting (who revealed his Thelemic faith in CIA-banked Penthouse magazine), Ozzy Osbourne and more recently Jay-Z.

I’m not the only one to have noticed the music industry’s love for intelligence agent Aleister Crowley. Charles Preece writes: “Crowley seemed to have a special appeal to musicians, who saw themselves as the social rebels of rock.” However, Preece’s 29 minute documentary only gives a superficial examination of Crowley’s promotion in the “counter-culture”, mostly through flattering snippets of (then young) musicians Mick Jagger, John Lennon and Jimmy Page.

Anger’s promotion of Crowley via London’s music industry deserves a closer look. In the late 1960s Kenneth Anger gained access to popular British entertainers through his art-dealer friend Robert Fraser. Fraser was an Eton boy and son of a knighted banker; prior to his art career he had been working in the USA. (Doing what?) Fraser’s connections put Anger in touch with two of the most successfully marketed bands of all time, The Rolling Stones and The Beatles.

In the case of the Rolling Stones, the ‘evil’ version of the Beatles, Anger’s appeal was fostered by “witch” girlfriends: Marianne Faithfull for Mick Jagger and Anita Pallenberg for Keith Richards. (I encourage readers to read up on Marjorie Cameron and her ‘witches’ in California.) These women weren’t ordinary groupies; they had staying power and influence with the ‘lead men’.

I could write a lot about Anger’s involvement with the Stones and his film about Crowley’s ‘rebirth’, Lucifer Rising. Right now, I’ll just give a taster: Anger and his agent Marianne Faithfull.

Marianne Faithfull is a gal with intelligence connections. Her dad was a spook for the British who collaborated with Marianne’s mother’s family, a mixed Jewish/Austrian family, who lived (freely) in Berlin during WWII and helped socialist partisans during the war. Marianne’s mother was a dancer during the Weimar period; TheGeneologist.co.uk describes her career with a reference to the movie ‘Cabaret’.

Faithfull seems to have been Anger’s access to Mick Jagger, much like Marjorie Cameron became the link between her husband Jack Parsons and Aleister Crowley. In 1967 it was Anger who gave Faithfull a freshly-translated copy of Bulgakov’s The Master and Margarita, which is supposed to have inspired the song ‘Sympathy for the Devil’. (I can hear the intel gears cranking: “We’ve got Mirra working on a potentially subversive Russian novel about the Devil. How can we use this in our ongoing Cold War operations? Somebody call Anger.” :) )

The irony of all this is that The Master and Margarita is damning of irresponsible spooks like Anger, Faithfull and especially Crowley. I encourage anyone interested to check out my posts Is the Devil a German?, Blitz Witch and Henry Wondergood. I’m told by readers that these posts changed the way they view the modern ‘American Empire’ and the Russian Revolution.

The final section of The Other Loch Ness Monster features interviews with Jimmy Page’s “old school friend” Malcolm Dent who looked after Boleskine for the musician until Page sold the home in the early 1990s. Dent and his friend, photographer Dougie Corrance, provide more lurid stories about the lingering effects of Crowley’s ‘magick’ and the ghostly encounters they had around Page’s Scottish home.

The Other Loch Ness Monster does not discuss Faithfull’s background; Anger’s background; nor Jimmy Page’s eventual disillusionment with Crowley. The documentary doesn’t provide anything like a critical analysis of the music industry’s role promoting Aleister Crowley from the 1960s-present. Instead, The Other Loch Ness Monster ends by taking a side-swipe at the current owners of Boleskine, who don’t wish to talk to the media or cooperate with the BBC’s superstition crusade. Through clever editing, director Garry Grant suggests to the audience that the current owner’s unwillingness is due to a misguided belief that ignoring ‘the problem’ will make Crowley’s demons go away. Charles Preece and Garry Grant even go so far as film one man with a heavy brogue declaring that he would never buy Boleskine, should it come on the market again… which ought to help keep future Scottish psy-ops within budget. ;)

 

 

What Does the Fox Say?

Gloria Steinem and friend not credited, from Maria Shriver's article in www.interviewmagazine.com. Photograph by Mikael Jansson.

Gloria Steinem and friend not credited, from Maria Shriver’s article at www.interviewmagazine.com. (Maria Shriver as in Arnie.) Photograph by Mikael Jansson.

I’ve taken to skimming the glossary of William Egan Colby’s autobiography, Honorable Men, for names which I wouldn’t expect to be there. As a final brief post before Christmas, I give you Colby’s words on “Gloria Steinem”, the eighty-year-old feminist extraordinaire and stepmom to actor Christian Bale.

Probably the CIA’s greatest impact during this period [early 1950s] was in the field of international front organizations. The Soviets had spawned dozens of international political fronts to influence and control labor, student, women’s, journalists’, cultural, lawyers’, and veterans’ groups throughout the world. To counter this effort CIA called back from OSS days or recruited new liberal activists like Tom Braden, Cord Meyer and a host of others, and put them to work organizing rival front groups. To operate in the international filed these men needed Americans fully qualified to speak for the various constituencies. In labor there was no question; the AFL-CIO was, if anything, ahead of the government in identifying the danger posed by the Soviet threat to free labor and in building an international movement of free labor unionists in opposition to the government- and party- controlled officers of the Communist countries. Over the years CIA never provided financial help to the AFL-CIO; the shoe was on the other foot as the movement did indeed watch carefully what was happening with foreign labor movements, and had plenty of access to the White House if something displeased them.

But in other fields, the Americans were disorganized or did not have the resources and capability for conducting a worldwide contest with the Soviet front groups. Thus, CIA found American leaders who could organize such movements, wanted to contest the false Soviet-founded fronts claiming the field, and saw no problem in receiving assistance for that work from a variety of anonymous donors and foundations serving as covers for the CIA. Gloria Steinem has been wrongly accused of being a CIA tool in her work with movements of this type. As she has replied, the CIA only helped her and others go to foreign political conferences, where she presented the kind of independent, spontaneous positions and image that is truly representative of America’s freedom. This kind of support constituted CIA’s “operation” in a number of fields, from the National Student Association to the Congress of Cultural Freedom, and it met and defeated the Communists with their own organizational tactics, different in that ours espoused and incorporated freedom as its key.

I’d often wondered where Francis Stonor Saunders got the idea to study CIA involvement in non-communist left groups; she published her book on this topic The Cultural Cold War in 2000. Colby told her, and anyone else who was listening, everything they needed to know back in 1978.  Have a very merry!

Just a little more liberal Hollywood and the CIA. ;)

Just a little more liberal Hollywood and the CIA. ;) Thanks, imagecollect.com

PS. If you’d like to learn more about the old OSS liberal activists Colby et alia “called back”, check out my post on the bitter Julia Child, and her strange husband Paul.

Gittinger’s Personality Assessment System

John Gittinger, the CIA's personality profiling guru. Thanks, yikibook.com.

John Gittinger, the CIA’s personality profiling guru. Thanks, yikibook.com.

One of the weirder chapters in John Marks’ The Search for the “Manchurian Candidate”: the CIA and Mind Control is chapter ten, which deals with John Gittinger’s Personality Assessment System, or ‘PAS’ for short. Gittinger was a maverick psychologist who the CIA paid to identify the typical vulnerabilities of different personality types, for example, personalities that are prone to excessive guilt or anxiety.

The purpose behind Gittinger’s profiling was to provide a guide for how best to manipulate different sorts of people. Philip Zimbardo explores the way personal vulnerabilities are used for manipulation in his paper about ‘systems of control’ titled On Resisting Social Influences.

Readers will remember that a cornerstone to Adam Weishaupt’s ‘system of control’ was cataloguing the compromising secrets and psychological vulnerabilities of his followers. The PAS is the CIA’s ‘sciency’ attempt at categorizing psychological vulnerabilities for more efficient exploitation– formulating Weishaupt’s system for mass-production.

The PAS is promoted by a dedicated organization, the Personality Assessment System Foundation; if you’re interested in reading more about how the PAS score is put together, the foundation provides some documentation here. Surprisingly little of this documentation was written by John Gittinger himself– according to Marks, Gittinger was the only person who completely understood the PAS and the CIA was never able to fully codify Gittinger’s system. This is how Marshall Heyman and the PAS Foundation summarize the PAS’s usefulness:

Its primary value lies in the fact that it readily lends itself to use as a tool for the prediction of behavior.

The general idea is that once the CIA has used the PAS to ‘get inside your head’, they’re able to anticipate how you’ll react to things. To ‘get inside your head’, the agency needs “observable behavior and/or psychological test data”. Much of Gittinger’s assessment relies on how the subject interacts with other people, which harkens back to Sullivan’s work developing Freud’s assertions about human psychology.

Readers will remember that one difficulty Crowley had setting up his ‘systems of control’ was identifying appropriate targets for recruitment: he would waste time, money and energy trying to convert people who were not psychologically receptive, Crowley’s attempt on the Earl of Tankerville is one good example. I interpret the PAS as the CIA’s attempt at patching this weak point in Crowley’s ‘system’.

I stress the word ‘attempt’, because while Gittinger’s system boasts a wide array of different personality classifications (64 basic ones!), there doesn’t appear to be much data to validate these classifications. I don’t want to give the impression that the CIA has found a magical key to categorizing people through the PAS. Just because much of the PAS was/is classified, doesn’t mean it works well. The PAS’s ‘secret’ nature only signifies that 1) the CIA spent a lot of money developing it and that 2) at some time important people within the CIA thought the PAS might work.

I find reading Gittinger’s description of his 64 basic personality classifications a bit like reading a horoscope, or a manual on how to cold-read for fortune-tellers: I could find aspects of myself in almost all of the 64 classifications. What I mean is that any classification given to describe you, or to describe people who you know well, will always appear to be insightful.

Here’s my simple description of Gittinger’s PAS rating: everybody’s personality lies naturally somewhere along three continua, [1] Internalized (i) / Externalized (e), [2] Regulated (r) / Flexible (f), [3] Role Uniform (u) / Role Adaptive (a). However, parenting and the environment can make people deviate from their ‘natural’ setting, for example, introverted people can become tension-filled extroverts, which Gittinger describes by making the switch from ‘i’ to ‘e*’. Any person’s PAS score will be a series of three letters modified by stars, e.g. ‘i*fa*’. Each combination is supposed to mean something different, an ‘iru’ is not the same as an ‘e*f*a*’ because of  differences between how the two people were brought up.

There is very little difference between how Gittinger describes many of the classifications, and no empirical evidence (that I could find) showing that these groups result from the conditions and motivations which Gittinger assigns to them. Coming at this system from a statistical/science background myself, it all looks very theoretical

… And very political. Gittinger goes out on a limb to assign political orientations to different personality types. Adolf Hitler and John Calvin were ‘i*fa*’, highly “artistic” personalities. Gittinger also states that this same ‘i*fa*’ pattern allows “the most effective emotional relationships”. Gittinger believed that the ‘ifa’ or “artistic” personality types were optimal for American culture circa 1973. This is how Heyman describes the ‘ifa’ personality family:

- IFA, or self-centered, sensitive and socially active; an ‘artistic’ style

On the other hand, Gittinger says young communists and socialists tend to be ‘e*fa’, which Heyman describes as a ‘theatrical’ personality style. Gittinger opines:

Many young socialists and young communists come from this cluster; as they grow older, however, they lose much of their enthusiasm and dedication and devote more time to their individual interests.

I dare say Winston Churchill would agree. :)

Gittinger had no problem inserting his personal beliefs into the personality definitions either, he asserts this about the ‘i*fu’ personality:

The i*fu cluster includes people who live almost entirely on recalling and reliving their past lives as well as well-organized and well-ordered historians, who can reconstruct the past lives from minimal cues. Many biologists, bacteriologists, naturalists, and archaeologists are also found in this cluster.

Emphasis is my own. For readers who are less familiar with American culture, ‘past life regression’ therapy is supposed to deal with traumatic events in previous lives to make a patient happier in their current life. This idea was popularized by Madame Blavatsky, co-founder of the Theosophical Society in the 1870s; the idea gained even more traction in the 1950s amongst certain (unscrupulous?) mental health professionals.

In fact, Gittinger was something of a frustrated hippie. ‘if*u*’ personality types get a bad rap from the PAS ‘genius':

Drug addiction is common among members of this cluster because the if*u* needs artificial help to expand his fantasy productivity.

I discourage all readers from seeking a chemical creative fix! :)

I’m laughing as I write this, but it really isn’t funny, because the overarching premise of Gittinger’s analysis is to look for ways to manipulate and use people based on their weaknesses. Even if Gittinger was a poor scientist with confused ideas, what he produced was useful enough for somebody at the CIA to continue funding his long career. Irrespective of how effective the PAS really is, the system is evidence that the CIA wanted to know how to use people on an industrial scale. That’s really ugly, especially for an organization with a cult-like nature.

Gittinger’s assessments are preoccupied with identifying some of the same characteristics as those Amy Siskind noticed about people who are attracted to cults: religiosity (‘e*r*’ varieties, ‘if*’ varieties, ‘e*fa’ ,’e*f*u*’, ‘i*fa*’, ‘i*f*u’) and insecure competitiveness (‘era*’, ‘er*a*’, ‘e*ra’, ‘e*ra*’, ‘ef*a*’, ‘i*f*a*’, ‘i*f*u’). Gittinger also picks up (everywhere!) on the control tactics Zimbardo identified: Gittinger notes if personalities are prone to anxiety, self-doubt,  guilt or over-reliance on authority figures. He also theorizes about how different PAS classifications may be sexually vulnerable. My take-home is that Gittinger had a sophisticated understanding of ‘systems of control’ like Aleister Crowley did.

There’s something else ugly about Gittinger’s work: when you read through his descriptions of variations on the eight basic PAS personality groups, you’ll notice that a large number of variations relate to behaviors that are considered ‘pathological’ by mental health professionals. An awful lot of the ‘era’ classification are described as “psychopathic” or “sociopathic”. (What’s the difference? I suggest this explanation from Robert Hare). ‘ira’ and ‘iru’ personalities are “schizoid” or “autistic” and often become “schizophrenic”. ‘e*r*a’, ‘e*ru’, ‘e*fu’,  types tend to alcoholism or drug abuse; ‘ir*a’, ‘i*ra’, ‘ir*a*’, ‘ir*u*’, ‘ir*u’, ‘if*a’, ‘i*fa’, ‘e*r*a’ tend towards “narcissism“.

Regular readers know that I believe the behavioral patterns which used to be called ‘narcissism’ are useful for exploitative organizations. Fully 8 out of 64 personality types in the PAS are identified by Gittinger as ‘narcissistic’ or potentially narcissistic– that’s 13% of available classifications! (Narcissists are estimated to be only about 1% of the total population.) Why was the CIA so interested in identifying narcissism?

(In fact, there may be more ‘narcissistic’ personality types than just those eight, because definitions of ‘narcissism’ have changed over time. Gittinger describes other ‘pathological’ traits which sound like ‘narcissism’ in PAS classifications but which Gittinger doesn’t call ‘narcissistic’.)

All in all, Gittinger spends a lot of time ferreting out how to manipulate people who *are likely* to be suffering from mental illness or character dysfunction. Is it CIA policy to leech off the mentally ill and emotionally crippled?

In answer to that question, John Marks’ writing may be helpful. His chapter on Gittinger, a Navy man, is complimentary. To Marks, Gittinger represents the CIA blazing a new trail in the sciences. How was Gittinger useful? According to Marks:

Gittinger’s strange ideas seemed to work.With uncanny accuracy, he could look at nothing more than a subject’s Wechsler numbers [results from a standard 11-question IQ test], pinpoint his weaknesses, and show how to turn him into an Agency spy.

Marks (Bill Colby’s pet writer) stresses that the PAS system was used to evaluate how to manipulate ‘assets’, ie. people working with the CIA but not official employees of the CIA. However, Marks includes this footnote:

While Agency officials might also have used the PAS to select the right case officer to deal the E [Externalizer] agent– one who would be able to sustain the agent’s need for a close relationship over a long period of time– they almost never used the system  with this degree of precision. An Agency office outside the TSS did keep Wechslers and other test scores on file for most case officers, but the Clandestine Services management was not willing to turn over the selection of American personnel to the psychologists.

The emphasis is my own. Did the CIA use PAS tests to identify case officers (or other employees) with personality characteristics that suggest reliability like narcissism? I strongly suspect that they did.

It’s ethically bankrupt and a social tragedy that a government agency would use the mentally ill for nefarious ends, like dragnet spying on American citizens; or extrajudicial drone killings; or torture. In the case of the CIA though, the story takes another twisted turn, because one of Gittinger’s CIA colleagues was David Saunders, who also worked at a company called Educational Testing Service, or ‘ETS’, as it’s known to millions of highschool students worldwide.

‘ETS’ prepares the College Board exams, such as the SATs (“Scholastic Assessment Test”, formerly “Scholastic Aptitude Tests”) that are necessary for admission into most of the USA’s top universities. Most students who wish to better themselves at an institution of higher education will take one of these ‘assessment’ tests, designed in part by Gittinger’s partner at the CIA. Educators ought to be feeling nauseous right about now, because it’s likely that *somewhere* every student has a record that is amenable to PAS testing; a record which is probably held by a CIA data storage company with an ETS contract.

I say that with some degree of confidence, because I have more than my fair share of experience working with ETS’s products. College Board tests are not good aptitude tests; they’ve admitted this themselves. Companies like The Princeton Review butter their bread on the fact that you can study for the SATs and improve your ‘aptitude’ score significantly– that shouldn’t be possible on a true aptitude test. What’s more, ‘learning to score higher’ on the ‘verbal’ test sections in particular is about learning to conform your interpretations and opinions with those of ETS test designers. So what is ETS really measuring? Is it mass, white-collar PAS profiling? Picking out people who channel their thinking to mimic that of authority figures?

Two years ago, suggesting that SAT scores might be used for PAS-type profiling would sound quite alarming. In light of what we now know about the NSA and the deviousness of the US ‘intelligence community’, I think that responsible universities and colleges ought to strongly discourage standardized testing of this nature. After all, as John Marks tells us, Gittinger would look for PAS data wherever he could get it.

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

Aleister-Crowley

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?