A. C. Spectorsky and CCF 2.0

Greetings first-time a.nolen readers! If you are unaware of the IRS evidence suggesting that Hugh Hefner and his Playboy Empire are CIA assets, please see my post Do You Have A Key to the Playboy Mansion? Enjoy!

I started writing this post expecting to find that the literary brain behind Playboy magazine, Auguste Comte Spectorsky, had a few intelligence ties to William Stephenson’s publishing network in New York City during WWII. Instead, I stumbled onto ‘Congress for Cultural Freedom 2.0′.

The operation which Spectorsky ran for Hugh Hefner was/is a more sophisticated version of the ‘non-communist left’ crusade that CIA agents Melvin Lasky and Michael Josselson ran across the globe during the Cold War. Why was a more sophisticated strategy necessary?

The Congress for Cultural Freedom (CCF) was fatally flawed in that it was obviously not organic to any of the regions where it metastasized: after WWII loud Americans suddenly appeared with gobs of money for any ‘intellectual’ who would present anti-Russian, leftist views. The game was obvious and anyone worthy of the appellation ‘intellectual’ would have known that US intelligence was behind it– after all, the US and Russia were the only countries left standing.

The CCF was never very successful and I suspect that the CIA realized well before Ernst Henry exposed the CCF in 1962 that appealing to intellect would not sell their message; the CIA’s best chance would be to wrap their politics in sex. Hence the weird, Orwellian hybrid of ‘sexual liberation’ and sexual exploitation that is The Playboy Empire.

Hefner’s magazine mimicked part of the CCF’s political message in as far as it promoted non-communist left ideas, however, Playboy dropped the Christian and more conservative political elements which the CCF included. Hefner never tried to be anything but American, so the message wasn’t burdened with the inherent fakeness of Americans posing as Spaniards, Indians or French, etc. Instead of selling the CIA through testimonials from already-famous intellectuals, Hefner sold the CIA through T&A, consumerism, and a mirage called ‘the Playboy lifestyle’.

Here’s where things really get interesting, because Playboy had to take up the core CCF message without allying itself with the CCF. Many authors who were promoted by the CCF also appeared on Playboy covers, but so did many Western intellectuals who made names for themselves by bashing the CCF. In fact, the first authors and politicians featured on Playboy covers were those championed by CCF critics like Allen Ginsberg and John Kenneth Galbraith. Playboy was self-conscious in its promotion of these ‘dissident’ intellectuals, as if to scream “We’re not CCF!” while promoting the core of the CCF message.

As I researched who Playboy promoted month by month from 1959-1976, I consistently recognized names from Frances Stonor Saunders’ book The Cultural Cold War; names she celebrated as critics of the ugly Americans’ CIA operation. Saunders’ prejudices matter, because her work is considered the gold standard CCF exposé. The men Saunders plugged as ‘intellectually honest critics of the CIA’s agenda’ were the same ones that CIA-backed Playboy chose to promote in the face of the CCF’s implosion. Saunder’s heroes promoted the CIA’s leftist agenda in Playboy, but stripped it of the more moderate, conservative elements– elements that the older CCF had included.

This forced me to reevaluate Saunders’ book The Cultural Cold War: in writing it she cut off an arm to save the CIA’s body. She protected CIA assets like Allen Ginsberg at the expense of CIA assets like T.S. Eliot. That’s why she’s still breathing, folks. The only question I have left about Saunders is why her book had to come out in 2000– I’m not going to dig into that question now, though I suspect the answer has something to do with Bill Colby floating face down in the Wicomico River circa 1996. (Colby told us in his autobiography that the CIA’s ‘non-communist’ left putsch was largely staffed by his old OSS friends.)

I’ve thrown my theory at you, so now I’m going to explain how I’ve come to this conclusion. First, I’ll provide what little background I have on A. C. Spectorsky, because his personality is interesting with respect to The Cult of Intelligence. Then I will present the results of my statistical analysis of Playboy covers between 1959-76, highlighting the mind-boggling number of known intelligence operatives who wrote for the publication. Next week I’m going to drill out Playboy’s ‘culture war’ politics– politics which mesh ominously with MK ULTRA operations that I’ve written about in the past.

Who was A. C. Spectorsky?

When I read in Warren Hinckle’s autobiography that he’d been given an introduction to Hugh Hefner by A. C. Spectorsky in a bid to fund Ramparts, I knew that I would have to learn more about the Playboy gatekeeper.

Auguste Comte Spectorsky is not an easy man to track down. Most of what I could find comes from Playboy contributor Steven Watts’ book Mr. Playboy: Hugh Hefner and the American Dream. In July 1956, Watts says Hefner hired Spectorsky to be his “second in command” at the magazine, though Hinckle’s recollections show that Spectorsky had control of more than just the publication. Prior to July ’56 Playboy had already published one of Spectorsky’s stories under a pseudonym. This is how Watts says Hefner decided to hire ‘Spec':

The publisher [Hefner] had decided that someone carrying credentials with the East Coast Establishment would help Playboy to gain increased respectability… Equally important, he [Spectorsky] was content to remain in the background and support Hefner as a public symbol of the magazine. “I think Hef, the young sparkplug and head of the whole operation, is the guy who should be kept in the foreground,” he [Spectorsky] wrote in a staff memo.

How magnanimous of new-hire Spectorsky to affirm Hefner as the front man! Besides deciding what would go into Playboy– like how and where products would be placed– Spectorsky’s job included introducing Hefner to “important authors, publishers and agents”.

Spectorsky was born in Paris in 1910 to Russian émigré parents– that’s prior to the Bolshevik Revolution, but during the time when the Czar’s enemies (political undesirables) were sometimes driven to Western Europe for succor. For example, Trotsky was in Vienna at this time and Lenin was in Switzerland; from these places the future dictators drummed up support for what would become the Bolshevik Revolution.

I don’t know that Spectorsky’s parents were ‘political undesirables’, but when WWI began they fled Paris for New York City, where they were quickly absorbed into the more comfortable echelons of society. (Just like Trotsky had been.) After graduating in Physics and Math from NYU, A. C. Spectorsky’s first job was with the editorial staff of The New Yorker magazine.

Improbable doors never stopped opening for the young Auguste Comte: Spectorsky worked as Literary Editor for the Chicago Sun for six years “during the 1940s” before returning to NYC as “a writer and editor in movies, television and journalism”.

The literary world Spectorsky swam in was stuffed with ‘pinko millionaires’ and their henchmen. I’ll remind readers that every publishing concern except Hearst’s got behind FDR’s campaign to drag the USA into WWII to fight for the British, and that British master-spy William Stephenson’s media power-base was in NYC. (See Jennet Conant’s The Irregulars.)

To work in television, however, Spectorsky would have needed additional patronage; patronage that likely came from the circle around David Sarnoff, the military-media-mogul and ‘father of American television’. Sarnoff was versed in intelligence matters thanks to his war-time propaganda work and was an admirer of Sigmund Freud’s nephew, Edward Bernays, who championed the use of propaganda to subvert democracy. David Sarnoff is also credited with devising the American foreign policy tactic of ‘gang rioting’ to facilitate regime change. (By the mid Sixties the CIA was exploring how to incite rioting in American ‘inner cities’ via the MK ULTRA subproject 102 and the work of Muzafer Sherif.)

In short, A. C. Spectorsky had friends in all the right places and was close to those ‘pinko millionaires’ who have done so much to undermine civil society. Spectorsky’s literary career was built on flattering those millionaires: his most famous book, The Exurbanites, is a cloying homage to NYC’s intelligentsia:

The exurbanite is a displaced New Yorker. He has moved from the city to the country. So indeed have hundreds of thousands of Americans, especially since the second World War; but for the exurbanite the case is different; for him the change is an exile. He will never quite completely permit himself to be absorbed into his new surroundings; he will never acclimate… spiritually he will always been urban, an irreconcilable whose step… is still the steadiest when it returns to the familiar crowded cross-walks  of Madison Avenue.

Of course, literature is how you look at it and Spectorsky may be mocking the ‘East Coast Establishment’ in his book, but having lived that life myself, I believe it’s more likely that Spectorsky is regurgitating the provincial attitudes (and fears) which were lampooned on this New Yorker cover in 1976: 1976 New Yorker cover We don’t know how Spectorsky was chosen to be the brains behind Playboy, but it happened, and he soon transferred his unfettered desire for approval away from the New York Literary Establishment to his new power-figure, Hugh Hefner. This is how Watts describes the relationship between these two men, it may remind readers of how cult followers identify with authority figures:

Nevertheless, he [Spectorsky] yearned for his boss’ [Hefner’s] approval. “He had a very strange relationship with Hefner,” Spectorsky’s wife reported. “Almost father-son, but the wrong way round. I don’t know why he had this tremendous need to please Hefner but he did.”

Spectorsky describes his own relationship with his boss this way: “To hate him as much as I’ve hated him, you really have to love him.”

Hefner, on the other hand, didn’t even bother to express condolences to Spectorsky when A.C.’s daughter died. Spectorsky put up with his narcissistic ‘boss’ because of a deep-seated insecurity about his worth as a writer, says Watts. Spectorsky’s opinion of his own talents was higher than anything literary he achieved in life; he tried to compensate for this with a flashy yacht and a luxurious lifestyle.

What Politics did Spectorsky Promote in Playboy?

Having given you a picture of Playboy’s literary gatekeeper Spectorsky, I’ll now go on to what type of ideas he chose to promote in Hefner’s mag. I’ve spent the last few days tabulating who and what was featured on every Playboy cover between 1959-1976. That’s 216 covers and about 140 authors total.

As I stated at the beginning of this post, there was a lot of cross-pollination between Playboy and the Congress for Cultural Freedom during the 1959-76 period, (the number in [brackets] is how many times the author was featured on a Playboy cover): Tennessee Williams [4], Bertrand Russell [3] (see University of Chicago CCF archives), as well as Alberto Moravia [5], Leslie Fielder [3], Norman Thomas [1], Vladimir Nabokov [14], Arthur Koestler [1], William Benton [2], William F. Buckley Jr. [6] and William Saroyan [6] (see Frances Stonor Saunders’ The Cultural Cold War). Vladimir Nabokov was the cousin of CCF General Secretary Nicholas Nabokov.

Typically, if Spectorsky decided to feature an author on Playboy’s cover, they were featured twice, so a number of the CCF writers listed above were given extra-special promotion. However, intellectuals who made a name for themselves by criticizing the CCF were also promoted heavily: Allen Ginsberg [2], Gore Vidal [2], Graham Greene [4], Jean Paul Satre [2], John Kenneth Galbraith [3], Kenneth Tynan [5], Murray Kempton [2], Norman Mailer [7] and John La Carre [1]. The director Stanley Kubrick [2], another of Saunders’ beloved ‘Cold War ethos’ critics, was also promoted.

In The Cultural Cold War Saunders makes a particular effort to emphasize how the writers listed above, particularly Ginsberg [2], Tynan [5] and Mailer [7], ‘stood up’ to the CIA’s perversion of the intellectual sphere. For instance, here’s a quote from Saunders’ book, p. 216:

It [Quest, the CCF publication in India] probably didn’t deserve J. K. Galbraith’s sneer that ‘it broke new ground in ponderous, unfocused illiteracy’. Certainly Prime Minister Nehru didn’t like it, as he always distrusted the Congress as an ‘American front’. (The Cultural Cold War, p 216)

J. K. Galbraith was promoted by Hefner and Jawaharlal Nehru was the first head of state to be featured on a Playboy cover; Nehru’s issue was October 1962. (The outspokenly anti-CCF Prime Minister appeared eight months after Ernst Henri outed the Congress for Cultural Freedom!) Regular readers will remember that Frances Stonor Saunders makes no mention of Henri’s article in her book, but she almost certainly knew about it. 1963 10 PlayboyThe only other foreign heads of state to make a Playboy cover during this period were Fidel Castro (Exclusive Interview!) and Mao Tse Tung (His Poetry!)– Playboy played an influential role in introducing these communist leaders’ ideas to the American public. (Castro was promoted by Allen Ginsberg and fellow Playboy contributor Leroi Jones [1].)

The CIA agent's hymn to Castro.

The CIA agent’s hymn to Castro. Thank you, GinsbergBlog.

Saunders never gets tired of plugging Ginsberg and the ‘Beat’ poets as antidotes to the CIA’s cultural meddling:

With the rise of the New Left [think Ramparts magazine –a.nolen] and the Beats, the cultural outlaws who had existed on the margins of American society now entered the mainstream, bringing with them a contempt for what William Burroughs called a ‘sniveling, mealy-mouthed tyranny of bureaucrats, social workers, psychiatrists and union officials… Alan Ginsberg, who in his 1956 lament Howl had mourned the wasted years– ‘I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness’– now advocated the joys of open homosexuality and hallucinogenic ‘Peyote solitudes’. Munching LSD, singing the body electric, reading poetry in the nude, navigating the world through a mist of benzedrine and dope, the Beats reclaimed Walt Whitman from stiffs like Norman Pearson Holmes [Literary scholar, J. J. Angleton’s sponsor with British intelligence –a.nolen], and sanctified him as the original hippy. They were scruffy rebels who sought to return chaos to order, in contrast to the obsession with formulae which characterized magazines like Encounter [CIA funded non-communist left magazine –a.nolen]. (p. 361)

The ‘Beat Generation’ writers were the second non-pornography cover feature for Playboy (June 1959); the first was Jazz, which the CIA had been using as a culture war tool since the early 50s. Playboy was a consistent proponent of Jazz throughout the Cold War; it later championed ‘pop’ music too. 1959 06 Playboy Playboy’s ‘dissident’ stance against traditional morality was the same stance that ‘Saunders-approved’ authors like Norman Mailer [7] took against the Congress for Cultural Freedom:

With equal conviction, Norman Mailer argued that America’s war in Vietnam was ‘the culmination to a long sequence of events which had begun in some unrecorded fashion toward the end of World War II. A consensus of the most powerful middle-aged and elderly WASPs in America– statesmen, corporation executives, generals, admirals, newspaper editors, and legislators– had pledged an intellectual troth: they had sworn with a faith worthy of medieval knights that Communism was the deadly foe of Christian culture. (p.371)

The typical Playboy contributor looks a lot more like Norman Mailer than a middle-aged, American WASP. So who were the typical Playboy contributors?

Authors were first promoted on Playboy’s cover regularly in Jan 1959: the first fifteen included three British intelligence agents P. G. Wodehouse, Roald Dahl, Robert Graves, plus one more likely British intel agent John Collier. (Collier’s career so closely resembles Dahl’s that it would be extraordinary if Stephenson hadn’t recruited him.) Let’s be conservative and say 20% of the first authors were British intel.

Open American intelligence operatives are the next most numerous: Richard Gehman and Marion Hargove both wrote allied propaganda for the military during WWII. Alberto Moravia’s journalistic career in Italy flourished under James Angleton’s propaganda regime; Moravia also participated in the CIA’s Congress for Cultural Freedom. 20% of these Playboy cover writers come from US intelligence.

Recap: 40% of A. C. Spectorsky’s first 15 authors who were promoted on Playboy’s cover were British or American intelligence agents/assets.

The next largest group are the probable American intelligence assets; I say probable because of their association with US agent Allen Ginsberg, who gave CIA notes on the heroin trade in Vietnam to Alfred McCoy so that McCoy could write The Politics of Heroin; and introduced Mick Jagger to his political handler, Tom Driberg, a British intelligence agent. These ‘friends of Ginsberg’ are 1) Jack Kerouac; who was discharged from the Marines after ten days’ service and mysteriously avoided prosecution for his role in the murder of David Kammerer and 2) Herbert Gold who would eventually occupy CIA asset Vladimir Nabokov’s chair at Cornell. That’s another 13% who had probable intel ties.

Finally, Ben Hecht had intelligence connections of a different type. In the US, he was a big proponent of racial integration, but in Israel he supported Irgun, the Zionist paramilitary group which ethnically cleansed chunks of Palestine for the Jewish state. (According to Judith Rice of the Jewish American Society for Historic Preservation, the ‘American League for a Free Palestine’, a cover for Irgun stateside, cooperated with the NAACP to end segregation. Did the NAACP know what their Jewish partners were doing to Palestinians?) Charles Beaumont, another ‘first’ Playboy contributor, was one of Hecht’s working colleagues. Conservatively, Let’s tag on another 7%.

At the very least, between 47%-60% of contributors who were among the first 15 writers featured on Playboy’s cover had intelligence connections. I wonder why Spectorsky’s talent pool contained so many spooks? This sampling of writers is quite representative of Playboy contributors over the 1959-66 period, who were drawn from the intelligence community in shocking numbers.

Things really get interesting when we look at all-time contributors. I’ve broken the list up into pre-1966 contributors and 1967-76 contributors because 1966 was the year the New York Times was told to out the Congress for Cultural Freedom.

Top 20 Playboy Contributors 1959-66.

Top 20 Playboy Contributors 1959-66.

Ian Fleming, the British master spy, is easily Playboy’s most promoted author ever– covers in 1965 were rarely without him and his literary achievement, the spook-fairy-princess ‘James Bond’, originally debuted on Playboy pages. (Why would a CIA organ want to promote Bond’s lifestyle in a magazine that encourages the objectification of sexual partners? See John Gittinger’s Personality Assessment System, The Cult of Intelligence and Great Users of People.)

I’ve mentioned most of the names on that list before; we all know that Ernest Hemingway was a CIA/OSS/KGB spy. J. P. Getty, a running contributor on money matters, ultimately funded CIA agent Kenneth Anger’s career. Robert Raurk was a poor man’s version of Hemingway, who covered the Mau Mau Rebellion (which Rolling Stones groupie Robert Fraser helped suppress via propaganda) for the CIA front TIME magazine (Feb. 16th 1953). Nat Hentoff is a pro-Israel ‘social justice’ activist who covered Jazz for major East Coast media outlets during the period in which the CIA used Jazz as a Culture War tool. (Hentoff now fights anti-semitism from the CATO Institute.)

Shepherd Mead was a vice president of the advertising firm Benton & Bowles. Benton & Bowles rose to fame on the coat-tails of the Radio industry in the USA, an industry that has always had deep ties to the intelligence community. Benton, the company’s founder, shared David Sarnoff and Edward Bernays’ vision that communications should be used to reeducate the public. Jean Shepherd was also a radio personality, making a smooth transition into media from serving in the US Army Signal Corps during WWII.

Gerald Kersh was a British-born WWII propagandist; Budd Schulberg was in the OSS (he arrested photographer Leni Riefenstahl so that US heavies could interrogate her).

The ‘science fiction’ faction of Playboy contributors is fascinating: Ray Bradbury was a regular at the Los Angeles Science Fantasy Society (LASFS), whose leading lights included Jack Parsons, the top-secret Jet propulsion scientist and Aleister Crowley (UK Intel) devotee; as well as Karl Germer’s successor to the intelligence-heavy O.T.O. Grady McMurty; and L. Ron Hubbard. (See Sex and Rockets: The Occult World of Jack Parsons by John Carter). The LASFS had a weird military bent too, as lasfsinc.info describes:

At the same time, with World War II in progress and most SF [science fiction] fans over 18 in the Armed Services, the LASFS took on the atmosphere of a fannish USO. Los Angeles was a major embarkation center for soldiers and sailors shipping out into the Pacific, and LASFS members were always ready to stop fighting long enough to greet and play host to fans in uniform passing through L.A. to the front.

Other science fiction/horror contributors include Ray Russell (a contributor to the CIA’s Paris Review), and the previously mentioned Charles Beaumont. Roald Dahl, besides being a UK intel operative, was also gifted in writing the macabre which he infused with his anger toward women and his anti-German prejudices. (See Storyteller, by Donald Sturrock.)

Ken Purdy was a personal friend of Spectorsky’s who shot himself in the early Seventies; I couldn’t find anything about “William Iversen”, who doesn’t seem to have written beyond Playboy, but he did take on a strong anti-marriage stance in Hefner’s rag.

Let’s consider the next ‘era’ 1967 to 1976, the year William Colby’s tenure at the CIA ended.

Top 20 Playboy Contributors 1967-76.

Top 20 Playboy Contributors 1967-76.

Both Len Deighton (famous for spy fiction) and Arthur C. Clarke were in the RAF during WWII, Deighton was an RAF Special Investigations Unit photographer and Clarke worked on sensitive, cutting edge radar technology. Clarke became a well-known a science fiction author and championed LGBT issues from his adopted Sri Lanka, where he was given a type of knighthood. Dan Greenberg worked with Kenneth Tynan on Oh! Calcutta! and was famous for writing How To Be A Jewish Mother; Kenneth Tynan was a favorite CCF ‘dissenter’. According to Saunders, Tynan lampooned the CCF on the BBC TV Show That Was The Week That Was several months after Ernst Henri outed the CIA operation in 1962, i.e. Tynan and the BBC slammed the CCF around the same time Playboy featured anti-CCF Nehru.

Evan Hunter is interesting because he was an executive editor for the Scott Meredith Literary Agency which was founded in NYC in 1946. Scott Meredith’s first client was British intel agent P.G. Wodehouse, who had to run to the USA after making suspect radio broadcasts from Berlin during WWII; MI5 quickly cleared Wodehouse of any wrongdoing, but the general public was not so forgiving and considered him a traitor. Scott Meredith also represented Playboy mega-contributors Norman Mailer and Arthur C. Clarke.

Kurt Vonnegut Jr. supported Frank Platt, a CIA agent and Farfield Foundation director, for president of the PEN organization even after the CIA’s congress (and Frank Platt!) had been thoroughly outed (See Saunder’s Cultural Cold War).  William F Buckley Jr was a CIA agent who worked under E. Howard Hunt. Irwin Shaw was the type of writer who the CIA’s Paris Review likes to promote. (Salon did a piece on the PR’s CIA connection in 2012– a.nolen is now taking bets on when Glenn Greenwald’s Salon will be outed as an Agency front.)

Woody Allen is the famous director and darling of Hollywood, who has recently been accused by the daughter of his one-time wife Mia Farrow of molesting her as a child. Isaac Bashevis Singer, another Paris Review (CIA) favorite, wrote about counter-culture and politics from an Orthodox Jewish perspective. John Cheever is the archetypical ‘WASP hypocrite’ writer and poster-child for Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Alan Watts, whose book I quoted from earlier about Spectorsky, was a defrocked minister and an LSD proponent.

That’s a lot of names. Probably enough for one post. I’ve put up a list of Playboy contributors 1959-76 and how many cover promos they had, so you can see for yourself how the CIA ranked your favorite Mid-Century author! (This list is only comprehensive for writers who were featured more than once, a handful of remaining single-shot promos are coming soon.) Next week there will be something for everyone:

  • I’ll tie Playboy politics into the larger CIA agenda during the 1950s, 60s and 70s– the agenda we know in part because of William Colby’s leaks.
  • We’ll also see how Frances Stonor Saunders ties into the Angleton/Colby squabble that did so much to shape American intelligence.
  • More on Ramparts and what got Gawker contributor Adrian Chen fired!

Anita Pallenberg and the CIA

Anita Pallenberg courtesy of Italian Vogue.

Anita Pallenberg courtesy of Italian Vogue.

While researching A. C. Spectorsky’s work for the Playboy Empire, I stumbled across this tidbit about The Living Theatre, the only known employer of Anita Pallenberg before she shacked up with Brian Jones, according to author Tony Sanchez in his autobiography Up and Down with the Rolling Stones.

In a nutshell, The Living Theatre received funding from a CIA front, a ‘philanthropic foundation’ called the Farfield Foundation. It seems that the only thing we know about Anita’s working past is that it was paid for by the Central Intelligence Agency. In Frances Stonor Saunders’ words:

It was now reasoned that if the Farfield Foundation were to disburse funds to American– as well as international– projects, then the CIA’s interest, thus sandwiched, would become less conspicuous. ‘The Farfield was engaged in other activities because it needed to cover for the foundation, in case anyone enquired what it was doing,’ explained Diana Josselson. The Farfield report for the period 1 January 1960 to 31 December 1963 lists some of the hundreds of grants made for that period. Recipients included the American Council of Learned Societies, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Modern Language Association, the Dancers’ Workshop, the Festival of Two Worlds at Spoleto, Italy (contributions towards general expenses and the participation of American students, and for the expenses of the poet Ted Hughes), the Institute for Advanced Studies in the Theater Arts, the Living Theater of New York, the New York Pro Musica, the Association of Literary Magazines of America, Partisan Review (‘a grant for expenses’), and the International Institute in Madrid (a grant to preserve the personal libraries of Lorca Ortega and Fernando Almalgro). — from The Cultural Cold War.

As I mentioned in my post Ken Anger’s System of Control, the Living Theatre was founded in NYC like Cinema 16, which launched Ken Anger’s intelligence career. Both the Living Theater and Cinema 16 started in 1947… the same year as the Farfield’s ultimate sponsor, the CIA was founded.

If you’re interested in The Rolling Stones and Kenneth Anger’s connection to the ‘intelligence community’, please see my posts:

Ken Anger in Context

Aleister Crowley’s System of Control

Ken Anger’s System of Control

Rolling Through the Intelligence Community

The Rolling Stones and Meyer Lansky?

Anita Pallenberg, along with psychological warfare operative Robert Fraser, helped Kenneth Anger start his London-based cult which centered around Mick Jagger and Keith Richards. Both Pallenberg and Marianne Faithfull, who comes from an intelligence family, cooperated with Ken Anger’s mission to establish his Thelema-based cult, which was a reincarnation of British intelligence agent Aleister Crowley’s cult at Cefalù, Italy in the early 1920s.

But what was the ‘Living Theatre’? According to ArthurMag.com, which sells a documentary about the Living Theatre, this is how Keith Richards, Anita’s second Rolling Stone boyfriend, describes the organization:

From Keith Richards’ Life, page 221:

“Anita [Pallenberg] and I went to Rome that spring and summer [1967], between the bust and the trials, where Anita played in Barbarella, with Jane Fonda, directed by Jane’s husband Roger Vadim. Anita’s Roman world centered around the Living Theatre, the famous anarchist-pacifist troupe run by Judith Malina and Julian Beck, which had been around for years but was coming into its own in this period of activism and street demos. The Living Theatre was particularly insane, hard-core, its players often getting arrested on indecency charges—they had a play [“Paradise Now”] in which they recited lists of social taboos at the audience, for which they usually got a night in the slammer. Their main actor, a handsome black man named Rufus Collins, was a friend of Robert Fraser, and they were a part of the Andy Warhol and Gerard Malanga connection. And so it all went round in a little avant-garde elite, as often as not drawn together by a taste for drugs, of which the LT was a center. And drugs were not copious in those days. The Living Theatre was intense, but it had glamour. There were all those beautiful people attached, like Donyale Luna, who was the first famous black model in America, and Nico and all those girls who were hovering around. Donyale Luna was with one of the guys from the theater. Talk about a tiger, a leopard, one of the most sinuous chicks I’ve ever seen. Not that I tried or anything. She obviously had her own agenda. And all backlit by the beauty of Rome, which gave it an added intensity…”

In the 1950s Robert Fraser served in the Kings’ African Rifles, part of the British military. Fraser took part in suppressing the Mau Mau Rebellion– a Kenyan rebellion against British colonial rule. In the 1960s, however, Fraser busied himself with artists who ‘challenged the color barrier’– hypocrisy or just a new mission?

It seems that Robert Fraser, the imperialist-propagandist-turned-swinging-rock-groupie, was tight with Warhol too. I find this particularly interesting, because Kenneth Anger was envious of Andy Warhol’s success– so much so that Anger threw paint on what he thought was Warhol’s front door. (Or so Bill Landis says in his biography of Anger.) Nothing like professional jealousy…

It’s going to get even uglier for the hypocritical culture barons of the 1950s, 1960s and 70s, readers… watch this space.

In the meantime, here’s CIA asset Hugh Hefner’s Playboy cover featuring The Living Theatre– August in the Summer of Love. Buhahahhaha.

1969 08 Playboy

Who Funds Anti Communism?

A small announcement: I’ve created a handful of pages containing ‘primary source’ material over the last few years. These pages include document images from William Colby’s ‘Family Jewels’ leaks, as well as MK ULTRA images that were released to me through an FOIA request. You can find them all through the ‘Primary Sources‘ page in the main menu at the bottom of the screen.

January 1945: David Sarnoff, of RCA, receiving his brigadier general's star from Major General Harry C. Ingles, chief signal officer of the US Army.

January 1945: David Sarnoff, of RCA, receiving his brigadier general’s star from Major General Harry C. Ingles, chief signal officer of the US Army. Thank you, Wikipedia.

I’m concerned about the narrow range of opinion presented on US-inspired T.V. programming, on university campuses and in literature. I remember being a kid in the eighties and hearing pundits sound off on this narrowness after The Closing of the American Mind was published– I know I’m neither cutting-edge nor alone in my concern.

I attribute this narrowness, at least in part, to the mobilization of our culture during WWII and the Cold War. An awful lot of money poured into academia, publishing and the arts so that ‘creators’ would promote a unified front to fight against 1) National Socialist ideas and then 2) Russian elites.

The first time that this massive operation was ‘outed’– that I’m aware of– was in the February 1962 edition of the World Marxist Review by a mysterious author who used the pen name ‘Ernst Henri’. I’ve provided a full text of Henri’s article, including images of the original journal, here.

Everybody needs to read this article, because even though *it appears* to be written in the service of Russian-funded communism, the article is truthful about how our culture was mobilized through the exploitation of ‘philanthropic’ foundations like the Ford Foundation, Rockefeller Foundation, and the Carnegie Corporation to name a few. Anyone who currently makes their living by jockeying for or spending grant money will be shocked by how little has changed.

Ernst Henri wrote about this abuse of the philanthropic system four years before it was safe for The New York Times to do so. The information contained in the article would have been available from public sources, but it would have been very time-consuming and costly to collect without having somebody on the ‘inside’ of the operation providing data. While the article beats the drum about reactionary anti-communists in Washington, it is careful never to mention that the message Washington promoted was also a left-wing message– you could read this whole article under the misapprehension that the Rockefellers were conservatives!

Henri’s article is of particular interest to me, because the gold-standard exposé of the Congress for Cultural Freedom written by Francis Stonor Saunders, The Cultural Cold War, doesn’t mention this 1962 article or Henri. I do not believe that Saunders was unaware of Henri’s writing, because the article reads like a synopsis of her book. The next question is: Why didn’t Saunders– a British author– acknowledge Henri’s writing?

I think the answer lies in Henri’s connection to Aleister Crowley and Tom Driberg, which I’ll be writing about soon. In the meantime, here are some choice snippets from ‘Ernst Henri':

At the head of these international anti-communist organizations are bourgeois politicians, diplomats, intelligence agents, writers, “philosophers” and clergymen. Each is known to be in some way associated with the State Department, U.S. Intelligence and with one or another government or private agency in the United States. On closer scrutiny, however, the leading core of each turns out to be one of the same group: the American tycoons and their lieutenants.

The deviousness of “American tycoons and their lieutenants” is one point where ‘Ernst Henri’, Leonid Andreyev and Mikhail Bulgakov would see eye-to-eye.

I’d like to draw readers attention to the business interests of these “tycoons” as Henri describes them; their business interests bear an eerie similarity to those of the millionaires who Ramparts editor Warren Hinckle hit up for money:

The CCF (Congress for Cultural Freedom) leaders strike a sanctimonious pose of moral righteousness, but the fat salaries they draw come from the sale of automobiles, tanks and oil…

Buchman claimed that one such meeting, held in Brazil, was attended by 400 “leading industrialists and businessmen” including representatives of Ford, Mitsui, General Electric, etc…

The “Asian Peoples’ Anti-Communist League” in Saigon is subsidized by … the Giannini, Kaiser and Hearst groups…

This division also coordinates its activities with the Mellon group, the United Fruit Company, the Guggenheims and other monopolies that have been plundering the natural wealth of Latin America for decades…

The American Heritage Fund … board includes, or at one time included, representatives of the Ford and Rockefeller concerns; Paramount, the big cinema firm; General Electric and also the two reactionary trade union leaders– Meany and Reuther.

The American Heritage Fund was set up by David Sarnoff, who readers will remember from my posts on the origins of dragnet spying: The Empire is Listening, The Fabulous Marconi and Marconi Lives!

Henri says this about intelligence asset/radio magnate Sarnoff:

Another big “philanthropic” organization in the United States which engages in international anti-communism is the “American Heritage Foundation,” one of the organizers of the “Crusade for Freedom.” Its sponsor, David Sarnoff, is the author of a whole “program of political offensive against world communism,” news of which leaked out in the press in 1955.

One of the anti-communist measures Sarnoff proposed was the formation of special armed gangs to engineer putsches and subversion in the socialist and newly-independent countries. He urged that these elements should be well organized and financed, and used to the maximum. In all probability the events in Guatemala in 1954, in Hungary in 1956 and in Cuba in 1961 were attempts to carry out the schemes of the anti-communist strategists.

The American Heritage Fund is an advertising agency set up by the monopolies for the purpose of financing publicity for the bourgeois parties, influencing voters during election campaigns, etc. … Sarnoff acts as the spokesman of these circles when he calls for an offensive against communism and democracy through terror, military coups and “psychological warfare.”

Wouldn’t it be something if the father of American television was also the father of  ‘color revolutions’? Sarnoff’s company, RCA, had Marconi, General Electric and US Navy backing.

I encourage everyone to read Ernst Henri’s article.

Do You Have A Key to the Playboy Mansion?

Pedophile Roman Polanski, who drugged and raped a minor like Bill Cosby is alleged to have done, with Hugh Hefner and 'Playmates'. Polanski's career was promoted by Cinema 16 like Kenneth Anger's.

Pedophile Roman Polanski with Hugh Hefner and ‘Playmates’. Polanski’s career was promoted by Cinema 16 like Kenneth Anger’s.

When I was doing research for my last post, I came across this snippet about the Playboy Club in Gus Russo’s The Outfit– Hugh Hefner’s “key club” opened on February 29th, 1960:

The Second City [Chicago] bosses wasted little time in sinking their claws in Hefner’s new “key club” venture…

Outfit [Chicago Mob] bosses were bestowed exclusive Number One Keys, which allowed them to date the otherwise off-limits “bunnies” and drink on a free tab. Slot king, and Humphreys crony, Eddie Vogel, dated “Bunny Mother” Peg Strak, who later became Roma’s executive secretary when Roma was promoted to operations manager of Playboy Clubs International, Inc., which oversaw the empire of sixty-three thousand international key holders. Although Hefner himself has never been tainted by his club’s unavoidable contact with the Outfit, it is interesting to note that in 1977, when he fought a copyright infringement lawsuit filed by Universal Studios, Hefner employed the services of Sidney Korshak. For a $50,000 fee, Korshak attempted in vain to settle the case with the studio, which was run by his old friend Lew Wasserman.

By 1973, the Playboy Empire was even more thoroughly entrenched in the mafia. In Alfred McCoy’s book The Politics of Heroin (1991), he mentions how Hefner’s name came up during an IRS investigation into a CIA front bank:

In 1973 agents of the Internal Revenue Service were able to photograph the Castle Bank’s customer list while a bank executive dined in a posh Key Biscayne restaurant with a woman described as an IRS “informant”. Reviewing the purloined documents, IRS investigators found that the 308 Castle Bank customers on the list had moved $250 million to foreign numbered accounts. Depositors included Playboy publisher Hugh Hefner, Penthouse magazine publisher Robert Guccione, and some major organized crime figures– Morris Dalitz, Morris Kleinman, and Samuel A. Tucker. Elated by the find, investigators formed Project Haven to make “the single biggest tax-evasion strike in IRS history.” Suddenly, the IRS announced that it was dropping the investigation because of “legal problems.” According to a later investigation by the Wall Street Journal, “pressure from the Central Intelligence Agency… caused the Justice Department to drop what could have been the biggest tax evasion case of all time.” The CIA invoked “national security” since it was using the Castle Bank “for the funding of clandestine operations against Cuba and for other covert intelligence operations directed at countries in Latin American and the Far East.”

The troika of mobsters listed above were originally from the East Coast but got in on Las Vegas’s gambling scene early. Morris ‘Moe’ Dalitz went into business with Meyer Lanksy to build the iconic Las Vegas Stardust casino; both Lansky and Dalitz had interests in Cuban casinos.

Classy joint.

Classy joint.

If you’ve read my previous post on The Rolling Stones and Meyer Lansky, you’ll notice that Hugh Hefner banks with mobsters who share business interests with the CIA’s mafia partners. These CIA and mafioso criminals started their cooperation in the early 1940s, when the OSS teamed with Meyer Lanksy and ‘Lucky’ Luciano to take over Italy. In 1973, the IRS stumbled onto the fact that Hugh Hefner ate at the same table as Mario Brod (CIA), Jimmy Rosselli (Mob), James Angleton (CIA), George Raft (Mob)… and probably the Rolling Stones’ young manager Andrew Loog Oldham.

Hugh Hefner’s Playboy Enterprises, like the other fronts which banked with Castle Bank & Trust of Nassau, is a CIA-sponsored business concern. Hugh Hefner is a CIA asset.

If the IRS’s discoveries and the mob connections are not enough to convince readers of Hugh Hefner’s patronage, I ask them to consider 1) when and how the Playboy Empire was founded 2) the nature of what Hefner does and 3) the company Hefner keeps.

Hugh Hefner In Context

Hugh Hefner is in a position to have compromising information on important people; it goes without saying that the ‘intelligence community’ is interested in collecting compromising information. In fact, it would be *remarkable* for someone in Hefner’s position not to have a working relationship with the CIA. It’s quite natural therefore that Hefner started his business the same year that the CIA began to use sex for *domestic* intelligence work on a large scale.

The Playboy Empire started in 1953 as a vehicle to publish pornography (its first spread featured Marilyn Monroe, that girl with a secret contract at Lookout Mountain Air Force Station).  Also in 1953, CIA agent George White opened his first NYC prostitution-cum-doping den as part of the MK ULTRA program. A short time later White moved his operation to San Fransisco and his new (bugged) apartment became a training ground for CIA “carnal” operations.

What were these “carnal” operations like? In John Marks’ book Search for the Manchurian Candidate the author quotes nameless CIA agents on how they learned to use sex to get information;  Marks says that CIA tactics exploited more than just the “missionary position”. CIA personality profiler John Gittinger, who was interested in self-centered sex for mass control purposes, was also part of George White’s San Fransisco operation.

Gittinger was interested in identifying tendencies toward self-centered sexual behavior, which includes masturbation and promiscuity, as part of his formula for controlling different personality types. The use of pornography for social control has been known since antiquity, but interest in it resurfaced again from American quarters in the 1950s. Playboy Enterprises bases its reputation on promiscuity and its business on masturbation aids.

Playboy Mansion in Chicago-- set up before the club!

Playboy Mansion in Chicago– set up before the club!

Seven years after the CIA began learning how to videotape men with prostitutes, Hugh Hefner set up his first Playboy Mansion– that place with all the bedrooms where ‘successful’ bunnies participate in ritualized orgies. Note that the first Playboy Mansion manifested in Chicago, the original power base of  CIA-Castro-assassination point man Johnny Rosselli. The Chicago Playboy Mansion was set up before Hefner opened his “key club”; it seems that bringing those special bedrooms online was more important than the commercial end of Playboy Enterprises. Perhaps Bill Cosby, the guy with nonconformist politics, understands why?

playboy bunnies cosby

Who Do Bunnies Do?

In the first excerpt above Gus Russo states that sixty-three thousand “keyholders” paid for access to the Playboy Club– a bar where they could watch suggestively dressed women. These men were sent secret decoder rings Playboy logo key chains, which they would flash at the ‘door bunnies’ for admission. These 63,000 “keyholders” were not allowed to touch the talent, however if patrons carried a “Number One Key”, they were. This is how ex-bunny Jan Marly Reesman describes the system to The Telegraph:

We were forbidden to date key-holders (club members), unless they were number-one key-holders, which meant they were celebrities or management. Then it was fine.

Patricia Cronin Marcello, in her book Gloria Steinem: A Biography, goes a little further explaining “Number One Keyholders”:

Number One Keyholders, who were corporation presidents, celebrities, important members of the press and other VIPs were afforded very special treatment. Not only were these men pampered inside the club, but also bunnies were permitted to give them their last names, to date them, and even to use the facilities of the club when in a Number One’s company.

Readers will remember that Gloria Steinem herself was a CIA asset. Her 1963 ‘exposé’ of the NYC Playboy Club was not hard-hitting journalism: the article was a self-flattering puff-piece. Steinem’s biggest gripe was that bunnies didn’t make as much money as they’d been led to believe. (You may find Steinem’s article to be a twisted sort of recommendation for the club, it seems that some of the aforementioned mobsters certainly did: a huge ad for the Stardust Casino in Las Vegas– Moe Dalitz and Meyer Lansky’s joint– graces the SECOND installment of Steinem’s article, which appeared one month after the first.) Steinem’s Playboy ‘exposé’ ignored the real story: why only foreign, linguist ‘bunnies’ were allowed to work in the VIP dinner lounges. Steinem also let a full list of “Number One Keyholders” slip through her fingers. Why?

Who were these “Number One Keyholders”? More than a few Civil Rights VIP’s hit Hefner’s Chicago mansion, including Jesse Jackson and Martin Luther King Jr., both of whom are known to have compromised themselves sexually. Steinem lobs stones at her journalistic competitors by naming other ‘dateable’ VIPs: Dorothy Kilgallen, Gwen Harrison, Maggie Daly, Hy Gardner, Frank Farrell and “television men” from Chicago and Miami, but emphatically not television men from New York!  According to bunny Barbara Haigh, “I met all the stars – Jack Nicholson, Dustin Hoffman, John Wayne. Omar Sharif asked me to go out with him after work but I only had my civvies with me in the bunny room so turned him down…” You’ll remember Jack Nicholson, the character actor, because Roman Polanski used Jack’s house to drug and rape a 13 year-old girl in 1977– not unlike what Bill Cosby has recently been accused of doing in the Playboy Mansion!

The CIA probably collected useful sexual information on “Outfit Bosses” through Hefner and his partners like A. C. Spectorsky, who seems to have been be the brains behind Hefner’s magazine [1]. I’m sure that the Agency would never go into business without establishing dominance in the relationship.

According to ex-bunny Dr. Polly Matzinger, the VIPs which the Playboy Club attracted would have in turn been attractive to the CIA:

Every night the club was filled with movers and shakers. Listening to the conversations in there was fascinating. All of my friends were students, and we talked about everything we wanted to do when we ran the world.

But at night I was listening to the conversations of the people who really did run the world. Working at the club was an education.

It seems that Playboy bunnies were recruited based not only on their measurements, but on their ability to charm visiting foreign men of means, Dr. Polly continues:

I’ll never forget the questions on the application form: ‘What do you consider yourself an expert in?'; ‘What languages do you speak and at what level?’ The irony was that, in a world that wanted all women to be Betty Crocker, it was the Playboy club that wanted women who could speak to men as equals. [Which is why Dr. Polly was in a rabbit suit- a.nolen]

I quickly became a ‘pool bunny’, probably because I was educated and fluent in a few languages. Whereas regular bunnies are meant to facilitate conversation rather than talk themselves, pool bunnies – employed to play pool with club members – were meant to talk.

You had to know how to handle men and how to treat drunk people in a kind and subtle way.

From Gretchen Edgren's history of the Playboy Club: "laymate-Bunny Lynn Karrol, Miss December 1961, a spare-time aviatrix and sky-diving buff, elevates both herself and the decor at the New York Club. " When 'great users of people' are taking, they're seen to be giving.

From Gretchen Edgren’s history of the Playboy Club: “Playmate-Bunny Lynn Karrol, Miss December 1961, a spare-time aviatrix and sky-diving buff, elevates both herself and the decor at the New York Club.” When ‘great users of people’ are taking, they’re seen to be giving.

As gross as these Playboy Clubs were/are, I suspect that the real muck is shoveled in the Mansions. Ex-bunnies speak of a special orgy room, “The Grotto”, for high-profile Los Angeles Playboy Mansion guests where women are available 24-7. This is how Melanie Myers describes Hefner’s basement:

Myers said she often went to the Playboy Mansion with [Paige] Young and says the model often entered the infamous Playboy grotto, where orgies were said to prevail.

‘If you got invited to the Playboy Mansion and you didn’t go in to the grotto, your days were numbered, you’d get kicked.

‘I went two, three times to the mansion but got kicked because I wouldn’t enter the grotto.

‘One of the nights, I was up there with Paige, she was in the grotto that night.

‘When you’re in the grotto, this dingy, cave like place, it’s a sex free-for-all.

‘There were a lot of celebrities up there, celebrity men and young pretty girls.’

The emphasis is my own. These ‘grotto’ celebrities included the likes of Red Hot Chili Peppers musician Dave Navarro, but I suspect that a tour of Hefner’s basement is a right of passage for many American entertainers, i.e. people who are given microphones and need to be reliable.

It seems that bunnies make a point of doing people who are exceptionally valuable to exploit.

Hugh Hefner’s Political Friends

Finally, I’d like to draw readers’ attention to something which I stumbled onto a few days ago: In 1965 Ramparts editor Warren Hinckle approached Hefner to fund his glossy, expensive, ‘radical left’ magazine.

High production values to attract mainstream readers.

High production values to attract mainstream readers.

This is huge, and ultimately very ugly for Warren Hinckle, because much of his publication’s prestige rests on its being ‘persecuted’ by Angleton-types at the CIA. Mark Ames gives a *very establishment* summary of what was supposed to have gone down with Rampart’s ‘persecution’ in his article NSA Whistleblowers For Dummies Part II. I think the world is a little more complicated than Ames sees it.

Ramparts magazine started life as the baby of Edward Keating, a champion of angry Catholic, leftist politics and a fan of Hugh Hefner’s office decor (see Hinckle’s autobiography). However, Warren Hinckle, Dougald Stermer and Robert Scheer ended up taking over Ramparts and replacing the ‘Catholic’ bent with something they describe as ‘New Left’– the troika managed to wrest control of Ramparts by drumming up funders, one of which was Singer Sewing Machine heir Dick Russell.

Hinckle refrains from telling his readers if these funders ultimately included Hefner, though during their initial ‘pitch’ to Hefner, Hinckle and his cronies ended up staying at the mansion for a few days where they hobnobbed with ‘bunnies’, went skinny-dipping and ate oysters by the dozen. Although Scheer missed one meeting with Hef’s ‘head bunny’, Hinckle hints that approaching Hefner was successful, because he describes their approach after other successful attempts to woo millionaires who shared Hefner’s politics:

We began by infiltrating SNCC fund-raising parties at the homes of rich Westchester Jews. We pretended to be boosting the cause but kept looking over people’s shoulders to see the size of the checks they were writing.

I found there was left-wing gold rooted in pineapples, sewing machines, mattresses, zippers, plywood, soybeans, off-shore oil, General Motors and Hollywood– to name some pink fortunes– and we were soon deep into the concentric circles and interlocking directorates of the rich liberal-left. It was a very peculiar zoo.

(The ‘SNCC’ Hinckle refers to was probably the ‘Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee‘, which was led for a time by Stokely Carmichael, who became a leader of the Black Panthers– an African-American ‘hate group’– and a far-left martyr after 1971, when the FBI experienced leakage much like the CIA would do thanks to William Colby’s ‘Family Jewels’.)

Why would Hinckle be coy about confirming or denying money from Hefner? Hinckle wrote his autobiography in 1974, when the IRS investigation into Castle Bank and Hefner’s CIA connection was still fresh news.

Warren Hinckle in 2006 courtesy of Wikipedia.

Warren Hinckle in 2006 courtesy of Wikipedia.

I’ll remind readers that, according to Francis Stonor Saunders in The Cultural Cold War, liberal millionaires were the CIA’s favorite front for non-communist left funding. (Does it get any more non-communist left than Playboy Enterprises?!) Hinckle offers a candid explanation of why he needed so many millionaires to realize Ramparts:

Ramparts was itself a contradiction in its own terms– a big-money, left-wing, professional publishing operation… The left has never been accustomed to, let alone comfortable, operating in the crass commercial manner Ramparts represented…

The experiment I tried with Ramparts was an attempt to break out of the circulation boundaries and audience of fellow basket-weavers of the traditional liberal-left press… But an even more radical change from process color was the paper’s approach to the truth, which, on the left, had been practically synonymous with the correct “line”. I barred such theoretical essays from Ramparts and substituted old-fashioned muckraking journalism with its bias on the left but reporting facts… Ramparts developed a branch of new journalism that interpolated social and political critiques with trendy you-were-there stylisms.

Rampart’s tactics were the same as those used by the CIA and USAID with Zunzuneo in Cuba: report news and ‘fun’ entertainment items with an anti-Havana bias. Hinckle’s popular approach also smells like the ‘viral’ garbage which my old buddy Benny Johnson used to produce. Needless to say, Hinckle got the money he needed to make this expensive splash for as long as his magazine was useful: 1962 through August 1975, five months before Colby retired from the CIA.

Ramparts was useful for Colby, especially in taking down enemies like counterintelligence chief James Angleton. According to Ames, Ramparts’ ‘outing’ of Michigan State University’s role supporting the corrupt government in South Vietnam provided impetus for CIA programs like MH CHAOS:

The CIA was now on record committing serious crimes, violating its original 1947 charter that barred the CIA from operating on US soil or spying on US citizens. These and other crimes it would go on to commit would define the CIA’s and other officials’ pushback against whistleblowers and transparency in the coming years. In the meantime, the CIA went full-bore, digging into “Ramparts”’ and Hinckle’s financial records — looking for foreign, Communist sources. The CIA “urged” the FBI to investigate “Ramparts” and its editors as “a subversive unit.”…

Richard Ober was assigned to head up a new top-secret CIA domestic spying program code-named MH-CHAOS (“MH” for “worldwide operations” and “CHAOS” for “chaos”). Ober and 10 CIA officers set up a secret office in a secured underground vault in the basement of the CIA headquarters — protecting the operation from fellow CIA colleagues as well as outsiders. Intelligence reports on domestic political dissidents generated by this illegal program were shared with LBJ in his last year in power, and more vigorously with Nixon’s White House. Two presidents were active participants in a criminal program spying on and subverting political dissent. With MH-CHAOS, that program massively expanded. Two top CIA officials — counterintelligence chief James Jesus Angleton, and deputy director Thomas Karamessines, a dirty tricks expert who oversaw the campaign to overthrow Chilean President Allende — ordered Ober’s team to spy on and subvert the huge underground left-wing antiwar press that now dominated youth and campus culture.

Of course, Colby leaked MH CHAOS in 1974 as part of the Family Jewels; these leaks were designed to take out his rivals at the Agency. Ames may be giving Ramparts too much credit above, but the magazine was active in the strange outpouring of CIA leaks which began around 1966.

I’ll remind readers that CIA director William Colby’s ‘Family Jewels’ leaks were never honest leaks, they were carefully tailored to serve Colby’s political agenda and personal goals. The public didn’t get to see these ‘Family Jewels’ documents until 2007– so don’t hold your breath for Snowden’s.

My point in sharing this information on Ramparts is to show that everything about that magazine smelled like CIA managed opposition: from the magazine’s method of funding; to its glitzy ‘Congress for Cultural Freedom’-style marketing; to its message, which mimicked Bill Colby’s ‘milk of FDR’ thinking. Naturally, CIA head William Colby’s actions left Ramparts smelling like roses– even forty years later guys like Mark Ames are still woozy on the perfume. After the magazine’s dissolution, Ramparts editors went on to start operations like Mother Jones and David Obst’s incubator Rolling Stone. (David Obst was a close working ally of Sy Hersh and CIA director Colby.)

Hugh Hefner’s business dealings overlap with the CIA’s dealings and those of the CIA’s mafia buddies. Hugh Hefner’s porn empire is perfectly in tune with the CIA’s desire to collect compromising sexual information on useful people. Hugh Hefner is a go-to ‘pink’ millionaire for CIA-smelling managed opposition outfits like Warren Hinckle’s Ramparts. Let’s not forget that the OSS and CIA were set up by ‘pink’ millionaires, too.

Take home: A ‘Number One Key’ at the Playboy Empire is a booby prize!


Movers 'n' Shakers: He's got just the room for you.

Movers ‘n’ Shakers: He’s got just the room for you.



[1] A. C. Spectorsky will be the subject of upcoming posts, in the meantime, here’s a snippet from his TIME magazine obituary which someone kindly provided at askville.amazon.com:

Died. A.C. Spectorsky, 61, author and editor who created the more serious half of Playboy’s split personality; of a stroke; on St. Croix, Virgin Islands. Playboy Publisher Hugh Hefner’s tastes run to fried chicken, cool jazz and Los Angeles weekends; Auguste Comte Spectorsky preferred Continental cuisine, Mozart and Caribbean sailing. When “Spec” joined “Hef’s” three-year-old enterprise in 1956, it was a slick girlie magazine in search of some intellectual balance for the bare flesh. Spectorsky provided it by attracting contributions from top fiction writers and journalists. In the process he helped drive the magazine’s monthly circulation from nearly 800,000 to 6,500,000. Among his own books were The Book of the Sea (1954) and The Exurbanites (1955).

A. C. Spectorsky probably sourced British Security Coordination agent Roald Dahl’s work for the 1966 edition of Playboy. Wink wink, nudge nudge. Note that J. Paul Getty is on the cover too– Getty was a regular Playboy contributor and his money ultimately financed Ken Anger’s career.


The Rolling Stones and Meyer Lansky?

International mafioso Meyer Lansky.

International mafioso Meyer Lansky.

A few days ago I received my copy of Andrew Loog Oldham’s first autobiography, Stoned, so I’m now in a position to reveal who his mother’s long-term boyfriend was: Alec Morris. Morris was married throughout his relationship with Loog Oldham’s mother Celia; he funded her lifestyle in London.

As a recap, Andrew Loog Oldham was an early manager for The Rolling Stones. Oldham left the band after their 1967 staged drug bust, which you can read about in Rolling Through the Intelligence Community.

Alec Morris is important because it was probably his connections that hooked the teenaged Andrew Loog Oldham up with a series of high-profile jobs which culminated in Andrew managing The Rolling Stones in his early twenties. These glamorous jobs included: personal assistant to fashion designer Mary Quant; protegé to Beatles magician Brian Epstein; and protegé to music-biz-murderer Phil Spector. As I mentioned in Rolling Through the Intelligence Community, Oldham was an angry young man and prior to the Stones, he didn’t stay with any of these positions for very  long.

So who was Alec Morris? To hear Andrew Loog Oldham tell it, Morris was a well-to-do furniture maker from ‘the wrong side of the tracks’ who switched to producing munitions boxes during WWII and ended up driving a Rolls Royce. (You can read Oldham’s take on Alec Morris’ personal background here, it’s the usual schlock about hard-scrabble street smarts.) After the war, Morris’s well-capitalized family furniture business, ‘Made by Morris’, branched out into investment banking: ‘Alec Morris Investments Ltd’. The new investment company was incorporated on May 4th in 1954 and registered at Devonshire House, near Regent’s Park in London. That’s a swanky address.

Morris’s fantastic business success happened at a time when most of Britain was malnourished and struggling to say warm. How’d Alec do it?

Andrew Loog Oldham offers one oblique clue: in 1915 Alec Morris “smuggled himself aboard” a troop transport ship destined for New York City, where for a few years Morris taught dance classes alongside George Raft, the mafia figure. What Andrew Loog Oldham fails to mention is that George Raft wasn’t just any up-and-coming mafioso– Raft was a friend of Bugsy Siegel and Hollywood heavyweight Johnny Rosselli; Raft became a partner in the Mafia-run Las Vegas casino The Sands; and then a front man (perhaps even a bit more) for OSS mobster Meyer Lansky’s gambling operations in Cuba and London. In the 1910s Alec Morris’s twinkle-toed buddy Raft was ‘on the make’.

How’d Morris get plugged into Raft and his ilk? It’s common knowledge that furniture-making is excellent training for success in the performing arts. Therefore, it’s only natural that a stowaway like Alec Morris should find himself giving dance lessons next to George Raft, who was earning quite a name for himself on Broadway, according to his TMC.com profile:

Raft worked as a “paid dancer” (a male escort for female patrons) in several clubs, including the Roseland Ballroom, where his dancing shoes were on display at the time of his death in 1980. He was the partner of Elsie Pilcer on the Keith and Orpheum vaudeville circuits, and was on the bill with the famous nightclub hostess Texas Guinan at her club, the El Fey speakeasy, where Fred Astaire and George Gershwin would come to watch him dance. Astaire recalled going there “several times to see George dance. He was a sensation in those days…the main attraction…George did the fastest and most exciting Charleston I ever saw. I thought he was an extraordinary dancer.”

Of course, I’m kidding. It’s far more likely that Alec Morris’s family had mafia connections which young Alec was able to exploit by ingratiating himself with New York mob figures over several years– just like George Raft had done. Who might these mob figures be?

In Gus Russo’s book the The Outfit, he writes this about George Raft and his long-time friend Bugsy Siegel:

By 1936, the thirty-year-old [Bugsy] Siegel himself became a marked man…Instead of boarding the New York to Chicago underground railroad like [Al] Capone, Siegel was ordered to Los Angeles by his superiors, Lucky Luciano and Meyer Lansky… Soon after his arrival, Siegel hooked up with another transplanted Brooklyn pal who had already scored in Hollywood, actor George Raft… With the well-placed Raft and di Frasso as his connections, a starstruck Siegel soon met celebrities like Clark Gable, Jean Harlow, Gary Cooper and many others. Through Johnny Rosselli [another of Raft’s friends– a.nolen] Siegel met studio barons like Harry Cohn and Louis Mayer, and the thug Willie Bioff.

George Raft’s, and by extension Alec Morris’s, connections in the post-WWII American mob and intelligence community really couldn’t get any better: Lucky Luciano, Meyer Lansky, Johnny Rosselli… this post is shaping up like a Francis Ford Coppola movie! Sadly, Andrew Loog Oldham’s story is real life. I’m going to look at Morris’s contacts through the lens of Raft’s career, because the Mafia works on a basis of ‘who you know’.

After Raft had made his contacts dancing in NYC, he found himself well-placed for a Hollywood career: mobsters from New York like Harry Cohn and mobsters from Chicago like Johnny Rosselli had Hollywood under their thumb, as Gus Russo writes:

Johnny Rosselli became the movie honchos’ bookmaker and personal adviser… As bookie to the studio heads, Johnny would glean information vital to the Outfit’s [Chicago mob’s] movieland aspirations. By either threatening to expose hidden skeletons or to call their vigorish, Rosselli was able to acquire silent partnerships for the Outfit in many Hollywood careers. It is believed that in this way the hoods “sponsored” actors such as George Raft, Chico Marx, Jimmy Durante, Jean Harlow, Cary Grant, Clark Gable, and Marilyn Monroe.

Readers will remember that Marilyn Monroe was one of the few actors we know of who had a secret contract with the movie studio at Lookout Mountain Air Force Station, in Los Angeles’ Laurel Canyon neighborhood.

Johnny Rosselli was also a CIA collaborator, as Russo writes:

It seems that some senior CIA officers who had met Johnny Rosselli at a Maheu clambake the previous spring and were so taken with the Outfit’s emissary that, when word come to the Agency that Castro was to be removed, the officers immediately thought of “Uncle Johnny.” It is not known if Rosselli had spoken to the CIA boys at the clambake as he had to actor George Raft a year earlier in a Los Angeles bar. When Raft had mentioned that he had just returned from Cuba, where Castro was threatening to take over, Rosselli had bragged, “You give me a couple of guys with machine guns, we could go down there and take over the who island.”

Later, Rosselli gave details of the CIA’s attempt on the life of Fidel Castro to Jack Anderson, a Mormon journalist and a veteran war correspondent who served with US forces during WWII. (Jack Anderson was also the protegé of Drew Pearson, a journalist who worked for Ernest Cuneo and the British Security Coordination, William Stephenson’s British spy ring and a close ally of the OSS. [1]) According to Colby’s self-serving 1974 ‘Family Jewels’ leaks, the CIA spied on Anderson after he published Rosselli’s information about the planned Castro assassination– i.e. Colby made Anderson look good.

After WWII, when Raft’s Hollywood career as a mafioso character actor dried up, he went into business with the real Mafia in Las Vegas by investing in The Sands casino with Meyer Lansky, Fred Astaire and Frank Costello.

Popular entertainers outside George Raft's Las Vegas casino, The Sands.

Popular entertainers outside George Raft’s Las Vegas casino, The Sands.

Somehow, Raft lost his ownership stake in The Sands (Russo says Raft had a gambling addiction), but Raft continued to work as a front man for Lansky’s business in Cuba. When Castro shut down the Cuban casino, Raft became the front man for Meyer Lansky’s and Angelo Bruno’s ‘Colony Sports Club’, a gambling den in London, where Raft befriended local underworld figures the Kray brothers. (The Krays were contemporaries of Albert Dimes, the British mafioso of Italian extraction who patronized ‘Spanish Tony’ Sanchez, the Rolling Stones groupie/Robert Frasier’s underworld fixer.)


Dino Cellini outside George Raft and Meyer Lansky’s London gambling den, The Colony Sports Club. The Colony’s rise and fall had a strange synchronicity with Andrew Loog Oldham’s career.

At this point I’d like to draw a parallel between the careers of George Raft and Andrew Loog Oldham. In 1959, Castro pulled Lansky’s (and Raft’s!) Cuban gambling ticket, prompting the mobster to look for somewhere else to set up casinos. Lansky chose London– Raft’s old friend Alec Morris’s haunt– and set up shop there in the early 1960s with The Colony Sports Club, amongst other establishments. Andrew Loog Oldham began his string of fantastic, high-profile jobs in the early 1960s too– the most fabulous of which was managing the Stones, which started in 1963.

In 1967– sometime before March 2nd– the lucrative London gambling scene fell apart for Lansky and Raft: in a deft move by British authorities, Raft was denied reentry into the U.K. due to his unsavory business connections. When British authorities pulled Raft’s immigration ticket, the Colony Sports Club shut down, i.e. it didn’t just get a new front man. (For more information on this, see Colin Fry’s The Krays.) It seems that U.K. authorities knew just how to pull the rug out from under the American mobsters.

February 1967 was also the end of Andrew Loog Oldham’s career in Britain, and the end of the golden period of his career overall. In early February a strange American with multiple passports visited the Rolling Stones while the band partied at their rural Redlands mansion, according to Rolling with the Stones by Bill Wyman. This American dropped off some new drugs from California, then disappeared just before local police raided the Stones and made them media martyrs. According to The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, Andrew Loog Oldham fled Britain, just like the mysterious American, in order to avoid police charges in relation to the drugs:

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.

Andrew Loog Oldham’s phenomenal teenage success in London’s music scene, and his inexplicable pull with magazines like Vogue, dried up at the same time as the money stream from George Raft’s gambling business. I believe it’s *more than likely* Andrew Loog Oldham’s initial success, and his “father-figure” Alec Morris’s success, is rooted in the same muck as George Raft’s career.

A painfully young Andrew Loog Oldham sits between Keith Richards and Brian Jones. Thank you, dailymail.co.uk.

A painfully young Andrew Loog Oldham sits between Keith Richards and Brian Jones. Thank you, dailymail.co.uk/ Getty Images.

Why would the Stones’ handlers lose a cute trick like Andrew? Well, according to Bill Wyman, Andrew’s management skills were not of the caliber needed by the band, whose success was ever-increasing. I think that there is probably another angle here: The Rolling Stones were formed in 1962– the same year that the MI6/CIA ‘Congress for Cultural Freedom’ was ‘outed’ by Soviet-backed press. By 1967 it was probably clear that the Stones were shaping up to be a valuable mouthpiece in the ‘cultural Cold War’– they were useful promoting non-Communist left politics. Perhaps the time was right to drop no-longer-necessary liabilities, like low-rent mafia connections. Intel pros might have been fine with mobsters financing a seedling operation with a 1-in-100 chance of success, but the Stones were beyond that in 1967. Perhaps the Redlands drug bust was useful for more than just its media fallout, perhaps it helped the Stones’ handlers protect their investment and ‘clean house’.

I’ve written a lot about George Raft’s mafia connections so far, but I haven’t said much about the intelligence angle surrounding Raft. In The Outfit, Gus Russo describes how Raft was a close friend of Bugsy Siegel, who in turn reported to Meyer Lansky and Charles ‘Lucky’ Luciano. Lansky and Luciano worked for the OSS during WWII:

 [Mario] Brod had been a liaison between the Central Intelligence Agency and the New York crime bosses since World War II, when the CIA’s precursor, the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), had kicked off the U.S. government’s long, mutually beneficial relationship with the underworld. The partnership had its known origins in 1942, when the OSS enlisted Meyer Lansky and the imprisoned Charles “Lucky” Luciano in its effort to deter wartime sabotage in the New York harbor. The government also utilized Luciano’s Italian contacts to gain intelligence in anticipation of the invasion of Sicily. For his efforts, detailed in Rodney Campbell’s book The Luciano Project, Lucky Luciano was allowed to leave prison in exchange for permanent exile in Italy. At the time, Brod was an OSS captain in Italy under future CIA counterintelligence chief James Angleton.

James Angleton used Luciano’s mob connections to help OSS’ers wrest control of Italy. (A bit like how Robert Fraser used ‘Spanish Tony’ Sanchez in London.) To better explain this OSS/Mafia partnership, we need to look at what, exactly, James Angleton was doing for FDR/Churchill’s spying outfit in Italy.

The British trained Angleton for his OSS counterintelligence work in Italy. Angleton trained in London– and there befriended Soviet double agent Kim Philby– prior to being transferred to Rome 1944. While in Rome, Angleton participated in the Italian equivalent of ‘de-nazification’, where anyone who supported Mussolini or criticized American involvement in WWII was purged from positions of influence. (See Tom Mangold’s Cold Warrior). At the same time, Angleton made connections with people who would eventually form Israel’s Mossad. 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.

In 1951, the year Celia Oldham introduced her boyfriend Morris to her son Andrew, Angleton was given control of the Israeli Desk, the CIA’s formal information-sharing arrangement with the new Middle Eastern state.

‘Jimmy Jesus’ Angleton, the disgraced, mocked CIA counterintelligence chief, who was ignored by his superiors and ‘went crazy’ some time during the twenty years he ran his department, was given the Israeli desk soon after he was hired. Angleton doesn’t appear to have fought with other power-brokers for this gem– it was simply created then handed to Angleton, who had been groomed by the British for this position via Italian contacts. This is how Tom Mangold describes Angleton’s prize:

In early 1951, Angleton received a new important assignment: the so-called Israeli Account. He was the first head of the CIA’s newly created Israeli Desk, or Special Operations Group, as it was then officially known. Angleton served as the CIA’s exclusive liaison with Israeli intelligence. One might have expected his unit to be part of the Middle East division. But it stayed under Angleton’s tight, zealous command for the next twenty years– to the utter fury of the division’s separate Arab desks.

Angleton’s ties with the Israelis gave him considerable prestige within the CIA and later added significantly to his expanding counterintelligence empire.

Owning the Israeli desk was odd for a counterintelligence pro, because regional intelligence gathering at the CIA was usually done by a separate division, e.g. ‘The Soviet Division’. Could there have been a special counterintelligence angle to the CIA’s relationship with Mossad? Israeli overtures to lure one-time Communist sympathiser, Crowley devotee and jet propulsion scientist Jack Parson to the Promised Land had just been scuppered when the CIA set up the Israeli desk for Angleton.

I’ve established in previous posts (Who was Winston Churchill?, Haunted Wood, Did Colby Help the KGB?) that CIA leadership wasn’t adverse to communism ideologically, nor were they adverse working with the Soviets under the right circumstances. Was there something special about the Mossad connections– connections which provided an alternative source of information on the USSR from that provided by the CIA’s in-house Soviet Division– which led *somebody* to want counterintelligence stooge Angleton to have first crack at the information the Israelis provided? Angleton may have been the first line of defense between the intelligence community’s Anglo-American ‘pink’ fifth column (old OSS’ers, Abe Lincoln Brigade, ‘milk of FDR’ types etc.) and the Russian Soviets. Was Jimmy Jesus’s exclusive Israeli information pipeline designed as a way for old OSS’ers to protect themselves from now uncontrollable Russian agents who might try to cannibalize FDR networks? Might they have found it safer to use foreign intelligence to do unpopular things, like taking down ‘fellow-travellers’ by having Mossad feed Angleton information? If the WMD fiasco has taught us anything, it is that the ‘intelligence community’ likes to blame foreigners when something blows up in their collective face.

What we know for certain is that Angleton’s Italian/Israeli connections were set up under the watchful eyes of the British. This makes Alec Morris’ furniture/investment banking all the more interesting, because Andrew Loog Oldham tells us that Morris made at least one business trip to Italy in 1948– the year Angleton was officially hired by the CIA as the top aide to the director of the Office of Special Operations.

Pat Clayton [Alec Morris’ biological child]: My dad was flying back from a buying trip in Italy in 1948, when he nearly died and became a hero in the national newspapers: he rescued an air-hostess by jumping with her from the plane, forty feet off the ground, just before it crashed. They were the only survivors. [from Stoned, by Andrew Loog Oldham]

Pat Clayton doesn’t say who hit the ground first, but that Morris would be forever haunted by the screams of the dying on board that plane– the plane only he, and the woman he grabbed saved next to him, had time to jump out of.

Out of all of the countries across the globe, our British furniture-and-investment-banking magnate Alec Morris, with his Angleton-associated mob connections, toddled off to Italy, Angleton’s Mossad feeder-pool, where he jumped from a crashing plane… how quaint.

**UPDATE** Here’s a little more information on what James Angleton was doing in Italy after the war:  according to Hugh Wilford in his book The Mighty Wurlitzer, in 1948– the year Alec Morris jumped from that Italian plane– Angleton was heading up black propaganda in Italy for the CIA. The propaganda was anti-communist and took the form of placing newspaper articles and other literature, which were reproduced in the compliant Italian press. This is somewhat similar to what Paul Cushing Child, Julia Child’s weird husband,  did in Germany and France after the war.

At the end of the day, what Andrew Loog Oldham hints at about Alec Morris’ Mafia connections tells us something veteran intelligence observers knew already: after 1939 Anglo-American spooks got deeply into bed with organized crime. What is interesting about Andrew Loog Oldham’s case is that it’s a British example of international organized crime’s ties to the music industry and the Anglo-American ‘intelligence community’ at quite a high level.

It wouldn’t be right to end this post without recognizing that, to some extent, Andrew Loog Oldham is also a victim. His mother was an extremely selfish woman to whom money was everything: during the war she’d shacked up with a doctor who’d got rich doing illegal abortions, but when his business dried up she switched to Morris. (It’s unclear to me where her brief relationship with Loog Oldham’s father fit into all this.) One of Andrew’s childhood friends, who otherwise liked Celia, described her as having “a private agenda, which Andy didn’t even know about”. Much like Ken Anger, Celia Oldham broke off contact with every member of her family after each one had displeased her in some way; she was threatening towards Andrew when he asked about his relatives. Worst of all, Celia would only show approval of her son if her sugar-daddy Morris approved of him, as Loog Oldham writes:

 The year 1963 was a very good one, and a very fast one. Late 62 through April 63 had me busy, secure and content with my lot . I hoped my mother had noticed, and told Alec as much. Alec’s approval was just as important to me, since if he thought I was doing okay, my mother would go along with him.

Celia’s behavior towards her son shows how narcissistic people are very easy to control: they’ll put their desire for approval from ‘authority figures’ ahead of everything else, even their own children. See Great Users of People and The Cult of Intelligence.

Celia was emotionally abusive towards Andrew; Andrew’s youthful anger was justified. It’s hard to grow up around selfish users and not learn to mimic their poisonous behavior. If I’m right about Alec Morris’s mafia/intel involvement, then Morris was just as bad as his squeeze: he put Andrew in harm’s way when he involved the teenager with his ‘work buddies’– particularly the psychotic Phil Spector. I can’t find any evidence that Alec Morris treated his biological children with such callous indifference. (Though that doesn’t mean he didn’t.) Either way, Morris’ ‘guidance’ didn’t do much for Andrew Loog Oldham in the long run, because now he’s camped out in Bogotá, reliving the glory days through multiple autobiographies.

I’ll wind this up with a final question: Why does Andrew Loog Oldham talk about Morris’s mafia connections at all? I suspect Loog Oldham knows as much or more than I do about the mob world Morris inhabited. Andrew Loog Oldham probably considers Morris’s connection with George Raft to be glamorous, which would tally perfectly with how he says Celia brought him up. It’s hard to be ethical when you don’t know what ethical looks like.



[1] Jack Anderson inherited Drew Pearson’s ‘Washington Merry Go Round’ column, from WashingtonMerryGoRound.com:

Founded by Drew Pearson, “Washington Merry-Go-Round” began as a syndicated column in 1932. The provocative and often controversial column broke the story of Lt. Gen. George S. Patton and the soldier he slapped in 1943. Pearson later brought about the downfall of Secretary of Defense James V. Forrestal, an ideological foe, and he denounced the witch-hunt agenda of Sen. Joseph McCarthy, R-Wisc.

The slapping story was false. Regular readers know what I suspect about Jack Anderson: managed opposition in the vein of Sy Hersh, probably working for the old, pink, OSS’ers at the CIA like William Colby.


Who Was Winston Churchill?

Winston Churchill at canvas.

Winston Churchill at canvas.

There are few twentieth century leaders who are more lionized than Winston Churchill. He has come to epitomize everything that is stalwart and excellent about Britain, a sort of Superman of ‘the Greatest Generation’. The truth is something different. I’ve had Winston’s name pop up more than once in my reading about the music business, art world, cult studies and the drug trade. I think the time is right to peel back the Bulldog’s facade– this post is a whirlwind tour of Churchill’s doings that don’t pass the smell test.

Winston Churchill was half-American and his political career was kicked off by American money– Vanderbilt money, to be exact. (Churchills had been politically active for some time, but their fortunes, and therefore influence, were waning before the Vanderbilts came into the picture.) The Vanderbilt family got its start through government contracts supporting the War of 1812, but by the time they had caught the Churchills’ attention they had their fingers in many pies, the most notorious of which was their exploitation of the railways: the Vanderbilts benefited from a sweet deal with the Federal Government which gifted public land as an incentive for railway development– huge tracts of the Continental US were given away in this manner. The Vanderbilts personify crony capitalism and government corruption.

This nouveau riche American family enters the Churchill dynasty via the arranged marriage of Consuelo Vanderbilt, the heiress, to the Duke of Marlborough, Winston’s cousin. Their marriage was orchestrated by Consuelo’s mother Alva Vanderbilt and her lover Oliver Belmont, son of Lord Rothschild’s New York agent. This is how Consuelo’s biographer Amanda Mackenzie Stuart explains Alva Vanderbilt’s motivation for the marriage of her daughter, which was first envisioned on a trip to British India with her husband, lover Belmont, and Consuelo in tow:

The illusionists of the British Raj found a most appreciative audience in Alva, though even she was startled by the size of the Government House guest suite and the ‘ten native servants who were assigned… in beautiful royal liveries of red embroidered in gold to serve us’. What impressed her most, however, was the quasi-imperial role of both Lansdownes [Lord and Lady Lansdowne, Viceroy of India]…

There was no life in the shadows or sunlight by proxy for a Vicereine of India; and just as she had once pictured the Vanderbilts as Medicis, Alva could now visualise her daughter’s future [married to Lady Lansdowne’s nephew, Duke of Marlborough]. From Consuelo & Alva Vanderbilt by Amanda Mackenzie Stuart

Despite her modern, white-washed image as a feminist icon, Alva Belmont was nothing but a controlling, materialistic, selfish user. How ironic that TIME magazine’s Clare Boothe Luce, the black-ops happy congresswoman, was promoted by a patroness who had day-dreams of British Rajdom…

Alva Belmont, seated second from right, lives her dream of Oriental Splendor at the opening of her Tea House in 1914. Thank you mrmhadams.typepad.com

Alva Belmont, seated second from right, lives her dream of oriental splendor at the opening of her tea house in 1914. Thank you mrmhadams.typepad.com

Alva Vanderbilt would divorce her husband and become Alva Belmont, patroness of Mrs. Pankhurst and Clare Boothe Luce, who I’ve written about in connection to Roald Dahl’s spy work in war-time Washington D.C. The Vanderbilts, and Alva, were never shy about betraying their fellow Americans; the spirit of representative government has never flowed strongly with them.

Winston was young when Consuelo’s doomed marriage took place, but the grasping, twisted quality of his immediate family would mold his psyche. There’s something corrupting about being the ‘poor relations’ of fabulously wealthy people, as Eleanor Roosevelt is testament to, and this corruption didn’t miss Winston.

Perhaps the earliest indication of Winston’s venality was his success in the art world, or I should say, ‘Charles Morin’s’ success in the art world. Winston Churchill, leader of the free world, was an art forger.

In 1921 Churchill exhibited several of his paintings signed with the name ‘Charles Morin’ at the Galerie Druet in Paris. Charles Morin was a reasonably well-known painter who died two years before, in 1919. The art showing in question, where Churchill sold six of his knock-offs, was organized by art critic Charles Montag, who Churchill had met during the Great War. At the time of the forgery, Churchill was already Secretary of State and fishing for more control over Palestine and Mesopotamia too.

Charles Montag is described this way by David Coombs at The Churchill Centre:

Although he is little regarded today, Montag was a friend and regular painting companion of Churchill until his death in 1956. Born in Switzerland in 1880, he must have been as energetic as he was charming, and amazingly well-connected with Impressionist painters, including Monet and Renoir, as well as Post- Impressionists like Bonnard and Matisse. He turned these talents to good account as an exhibition organizer and adviser to art collectors.

Montag was a savvy businessman in the vein of Joe Duveen, Guillaume Apollinaire and Paul Guillaume: during WWII Montag worked with the Nazis to help them buy French art at bargain-basement prices. When Montag got caught and arrested at the end of the war, Churchill intervened to protect him. Douglas Cooper was responsible for apprehending Montag; Cooper was one of about 350 Allied agents called ‘monuments men’ tasked with tracking down loot. Apart from being a ‘monuments man’, Cooper was a squadron leader for Royal Air Force Intelligence and an independently wealthy Cubist art collector (conflict of interest?!). This is Cooper’s story according to the ‘Monuments Men Foundation‘, an American organization which promotes the Allied role in repatriating art displaced during WWII:

Cooper spent the month of February 1945 in Switzerland as a representative of the MFAA [Monuments, Fine Arts, and Archives] and the French Recuperation Commission, interrogating various dealers and collectors who worked with the Nazis, including Theodore Fischer of the Fischer Gallery, who conducted the infamous sale of “degenerate” artworks in 1939. 9 According to John Richardson, Cooper also ordered the arrest of the Swiss dealer Charles Montag, who had been involved in the liquidation of the Bernheim-Jeune Gallery, however, he was mysteriously released by higher authority.10 Undeterred, Cooper arrested him again, only to have his authority usurped once more by Winston Churchill, who came to the aid of Montag, his old friend and drawing instructor.11

9. Lynn Nicholas, The Rape of Europa (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1994), 416.

10., 11. Richardson, The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, 35-36.

During WWII, Churchill’s art world criminality became a joke at Washington D.C.’s Smithsonian Institution, and it caused FDR some discomfort when Winnie’s nature came to light. Of course, die-hard fans of Winston refuse to see Churchill’s actions for what they are, and they often ignore Montag’s dealings with the Nazis entirely. I think that Churchill’s actions, and the company he kept, are windows to his character. It gets worse.

Churchill comes from a line of conspirators. Churchill’s father, Lord Randolph Churchill, was a founder of the Primrose League, which was the first secret society that British intelligence agent Aleister Crowley joined. The Primrose League was Crowley’s ticket to spy-work, according to Richard Spence in Secret Agent 666:

Another positive early influence was Aunt Annie’s, the second wife of his uncle, Jonathan Crowley. In some ways she was his mother-substitute. Annie was well-educated and active in the Primrose League. Named for Disraeli’s [Benjamin Disraeli, Prime Minister] favorite flower, the League was an auxiliary of the then dominant Conservative Party, which Lord Randolph Churchill, father of Winston, helped found.

The Primrose League may have facilitated Crowley’s introduction to clandestine work. Modeled on the Orange Order, the secretive fraternal hard core of Irish Protestantism, the Primrose League broke ground by admitting women (like Aunt Annie), and acted like the popular front of “Tory Democracy”. It also constituted a kind of secret society within the Conservative Party, an early form of political action committee that, e.g., spied on perceived enemies of Toryism. Despite his associations with the extremes of Left and Right, Crowley maintained that he always was a Tory at heart, and that may have been as true a statement about his political persuasion as he ever made. The Primrose League could have used a young man of such versatility and conviction– e.g., by using young Crowley’s interest in Celtic revivalism and dissident Jacobitism to monitor their adherents.

Through Aunt Annie’s efforts, Crowley claimed, he gained the patronage of two Primrose League luminaries, Charles Thomson Ritchie (later 1st Baron Ritchie) and Robert Gascoyne Cecil, the Marquess of Salisbury. Cecil was not only Grand Master of the League, but also reigned as prime minister for most of 1885-1902. Ritchie was Salisbury’s loyal cabinet member and a former Secretary of the Admiralty. In 1895, Ritchie became the new member of Parliament for Croydon, home to Annie and Jonathan Crowley and Crowley Ale’s main brewery.  As a well-heeled and active supporter of Ritchie’s campaign, Annie Crowley could command his attention and, through him, solicit the help of Salisbury, who was always looking for young “men of ability.” This supports Aleister’s claim that he entered Cambridge in the autumn of 1895 with the help of Lord Salisbury and was earmarked by him for a career in the Diplomatic Service.

The League was set up to be a type of fifth column in support of the interests of its leaders, and to that end the secret society would promote the careers of its members.

Primrose League Bling: sparkler for 'outstanding contributions'. Thank you, thehigginsbedfordcollections.blogspot.com

Primrose League Bling: sparkler for ‘outstanding contributions’. Thank you, thehigginsbedfordcollections.blogspot.com

If you’ve read my blog over the last two years, you’ll know that I have  contempt for Winston Churchill’s spooky co-conspirator William Stephenson. Stephenson was a Canadian business magnate who got into the intelligence business as a way to attack his German economic competitors and drum up war business. As H. Montgomery Hyde details in The Quiet Canadian:

It was his connection with the Pressed Steel Company that first led Stephenson into the field of secret intelligence. In the course of the business trips which he made to Germany at this period in order to buy steel, he soon discovered that practically the whole of the German steel production had been turned over to the manufacture of armaments and munitions, although Germany had been expressly forbidden by the Treaty of Versailles to maintain any armed forces. Unfortunately this state of affairs was not appreciated in Britain… Almost alone among parliamentary back benchers, for he was in the political wilderness during these critical years, Winston Churchill harped unceasingly on what he knew to be going on in the new Reich of Adolf Hitler and his Nazi followers.

Historian Thomas E. Mahl is much less impressed by Stephenson’s intelligence work, in Desperate Deception:

The Intelligence gathered by Stephenson and others was erroneous, and it led to policies that might have proved disastrous had not the United States come into the war. They reported prior to the war that the German economy was being fully mobilized for war, and in September 1939, that the German economy was strained to its limits– producing at a rate that was unsustainable. This analysis was totally wrong.

The “others” who Mahl refers to are Stephenson’s network of industrial spies– other businessmen like himself. Judging by Stephenson’s business contacts as listed by Hyde, these “others” controlled firms in Canada and the USA as well as firms throughout the British Empire. I don’t find these contacts surprising, given Churchill’s American family connections. What I find particularly gross is how Churchill superimposed this informal network of self-serving businessmen on top of Britain’s intelligence services once he came to power in 1940. According to historian Ron Cynewulf Robbins Britain’s intel pros resented this imposition too:

…Churchill launched Stephenson on his spymaster career by appointing him to head the British Security Co-ordination Service in New York before the United States had entered the Second World War…

It cannot be overlooked that there was mutual antipathy between Sir Stewart Menzies, head of British intelligence, and Stephenson. Churchill gave Stephenson the New York appointment over the objections of Menzies.

Prior to Stephenson’s appointment, Menzies had kept Stephenson’s ‘intelligence’ contributions at arm’s length– Stephenson was allowed to be an uncompensated informer who gave his information to one of Menzies’ subordinates, and this only after pressure was applied by City businessman/MP Ralph Glyn (later Lord Glyn). Prior to Churchill’s war appointments, he didn’t have the pull to get his private spies ‘plugged into’ national defense.[1] However, Churchill used (or was used by!) his industry buddies as early as 1936 to promote their war agenda, as Hyde writes:

Not being in Government, Churchill had no access to official information, so he decided to pursue various private lines of inquiry in order to obtain facts and figures in support of his arguments. Among them, indeed perhaps the most significant, were those provided by Stephenson through access he managed surreptitiously to obtain to the balance sheets of the steel firms of the Ruhr.

To add insult to injury, Stephenson became ‘British Intelligence’ in the USA, representing not only MI-6 (foreign intelligence); but also MI-5 (internal security); the Foreign Office’s Political Intelligence Department and the Political Warfare Executive (which used the Foreign Office as a cover); the British Office of Naval Intelligence; the mysterious Security Executive; Scotland Yard’s Special Branch and finally the ‘dirty tricks’ department, the Special Operations Executive. All of these appointments came under Stephenson’s role as the head of the British Security Coordination in NYC. Stephenson, the businessman, took over Britain’s most sensitive intelligence spheres wholesale.

Stewart and Pamela Menzies in 1932. Thank you, spartacus-educational.com

Stewart and Pamela Menzies in 1932. Thank you, spartacus-educational.com

Of course, once ensconced in New York City, Stephenson would show equal disdain for American government, and collaborate with the FBI’s J. Edgar Hoover and President Roosevelt to undermine the State Department and sidestep Congress:

Stephenson first arrived in the United States on April 2, 1940 ostensibly on an official mission for the Ministry of Supply. It was on this trip, even before Churchill’s May 10th, 1940 ascension to prime minister that the meeting took place which set the early close working relationship between the Federal Bureau of Investigation and British Intelligence.

This meeting between Stephenson and J. Edgar Hoover had been smoothed over by a mutual friend, the boxer Gene Tunney: “I had known Sir William for several years. He wanted to make… contact with J. Edgar Hoover… [but] he did not want to make an official approach through well-placed English or American friends; he wanted to do so quietly and with no fanfare.”

Mahl explains Stephenson’s orders for stateside espionage with a quote from Ernest Cuneo, who readers will remember from my post on the assassination of Gen. Patton:

The influence of British Security Coordination in America to involved the United States in WWII and to prepare the United States to participate in war is impressive, even startling. In the Ernest Cuneo papers in the Franklin Roosevelt Library is an article written by Cuneo that, while its main purpose was to defend Cuneo’s friend from charges of being a Soviet mole, captures a telling fact known to few people: British Intelligence created Donovan’s CIO/OSS. “If the charge against Ellis is true,” wrote Cuneo,”… it would mean that the OSS, and to some extent its successor, the CIA, in effect was a branch of the Soviet KGB.”

"If my buddy Ellis was a spy, that'd mean the whole CIA was Soviet. Can't happen."

“If my buddy Ellis was a spy, that’d mean the CIA was run by Soviets. Can’t happen.”

Following on, Mahl writes:

Not only were the British the primary force in the conception and creation of the COI, which later became the OSS and whose pieces were finally reconstructed into the CIA, but a British officer, Dick Ellis, then ran the organization. This was done in deepest secrecy, because as Winston Churchill’s personal assistant, Major Desmond Morton wrote, “It is of course essential that this fact not be known in view of the furious uproar it would cause if known to the Isolationists.”

Anti-war sentiment was a potent political force in the USA in 1940, and democratic processes would have scuppered FDR’s war plans, had they been allowed to work. It has never been conclusively decided whether Dick Ellis was a Soviet spy, though Richard Trahair’s Encyclopedia of Cold War Espionage says that Ellis probably was a Soviet agent, and may have been for 30 years. Personally, I’m not surprised by Ellis, because thanks to the Venona decrypts and books like The Haunted Wood, we know that the OSS was riddled with Soviet agents. Of course, all of this is disastrous news for anybody at the CIA who doesn’t like Russians; if you’re interested in reading more about how Churchill-backed Soviet infiltration has undermined American counterintelligence efforts, check out my post Jesus, Jimmy. I think that this ‘Soviet infiltration’ is best understood as ‘infiltration’ by people who had also backed the Bolshevik revolution in 1917.

The final stink wafting around Winston Churchill is a drug and cult related one. Mortimer Planno, the man who converted Bob Marley to Rastafarianism and who became the musician’s manager and political advisor, told journalist Hélène Lee that Winston Churchill had ultimate control over the drug market in Jamaica. Lee writes in The First Rasta:

He [Mortimer Planno] begins by confirming my doubts concerning the ganja trade. In the 1930s, he says, ganja was not yet illegal. The British even advised Guyana, with its big international debt, to plant and repay. But in 1953 Winston Churchill (who had been reelected prime minister in 1951) decided to put an end to the ganja trade. Norman Manley, Planno says, called him into his office and told him, “Morty, you must tell your half-Indian brothers to quit the ganja business.”

Norman Manley is one of the two cousins who ruled Jamaica for decades after the British demurred (the other was Alexander Bustamante); notice that Bob Marley’s handler Planno is on a first-name basis with Manley.

Mortimer Planno

Mortimer Planno, thank you snipview.com.

Of course, it’s possible that Mortimer Planno is lying. However, there is circumstantial evidence which suggests that Planno is telling the truth, because the largest ganja supplier at that time, Leonard Percival Howell, was probably a tool of British intelligence:

First, Bob Marley’s guru Leonard Percival Howell– the first ‘Rasta’– ran a cult from his ganja plantation based on a system of control very similar to the one Crowley pioneered at Cefalù. Like Crowley, Howell exploited single mothers; encouraged drug use amongst his followers; and played to followers’ narcissism by promising them power. What was different about Howell’s system was that instead of promoting sex magic, he focused on Black supremacy: Howell’s target demographic (initially) was in Kingston’s poor Black ghettos, not the idle rich of London. Howell promised his Rastafarian followers that they would be God’s chosen people, that they would rule the world and be better than White people.[2] (If you’re interested in what Howell taught, check out The Promise Key, the ‘bible’ of musician Bob Marley’s guru Leonard P. Howell. This is a book that makes modern proponents of Rastafarianism very nervous.)

Second, Lenoard Howell’s early life is ‘spooky’. Howell came from a military family in Jamaica; he returned home from NYC in 1916 and joined the British West Indian Regiment but never saw combat– no one knows exactly what he did in service nor where he did it. By the end of the war Howell was in New York City just like Aleister Crowley, our ‘Primrose League’ buddy. Readers will remember that during WWI, Crowley carried out his ridiculous ‘pro-German’ and ‘pro-Irish Nationalist’ antics in NYC, which were British intelligence operations designed to undermine support for these groups. (See Secret Agent 666 by Richard Spence.)

No one knows much about what Leonard Percival Howell did for the six years immediately after the war either, besides working for an US Army transport ship based out of NYC. By 1924 Howell had plugged into a group of people who gave him the fundamental ideas of Rastafarianism and by 1932 he’d returned to Jamaica full of religious zeal. (In the mean time Howell’s strict Anglican father, Charles Theophilus Howell, had become Justice of the Peace on behalf of the British in his local district– portends of Jim Morrison?!)

Third, Leonard Howell had contact with at least one Communist agent working out of London (PROFINTERN agent George Padmore), so Howell was in the right crowd to be recruited for British Intelligence.

Finally, Howell’s huge plantation had regular working relationships with local law enforcement and British-backed politicians. Ganja sales funded political violence on the island– politically useful violence– which makes it all the more interesting that Churchill allegedly waited until 1953 to ‘crack down’.

Leonard Percival Howell

Leonard Percival Howell

Hélène Lee doesn’t explore why in 1953 Churchill would suddenly decide to enforce the 1913 law outlawing ganja; a decision that would ultimately result in the destruction of Leonard Percival Howell’s Rastafarian cult at his Pinnacle Plantation in Jamaica. (More accurately, the plantation still belonged to Albert Chang, because although it’s likely that Howell paid Chang for the land, Chang never transferred the deed.)

What Lee does say is that the 1953/54 crack-down disrupted an international system which had previously been controlled by local Jamaican drug-lords. The crack-down didn’t stop the drug trade, but could very easily have changed who benefited from it: the Jamaican ganja trade in the U.K. continued swiftly, coming to an ugly head in the early Sixties with the Profumo affair– a highly publicised scandal which ended Conservative  rule.

It’s a tragedy for Jamaica that the drug trade, and the resulting political violence, wasn’t stopped– and stopped well before 1953. It’s a tragedy for the USA (and the world) that Winston et alia destroyed rule of law at the Federal level. It’s a tragedy for Britain that they lost an empire and almost 400,000 men for Winston’s economic ambitions.

I think this post shows that creatures like Churchill and his patrons don’t care about justice; they don’t care about law; and they don’t care about anyone other than themselves. I look forward to the day when Brits quit referring to Winston as “the great Briton”, and start using a more appropriate epithet, like “that American bastard”, or even better, “that globalist”.


[1] If you’re interested in knowing more about what it was like to be one of Churchill’s spies, I suggest reading my post Great Users of People, where I provide an excerpt from Peter Wright’s Spycatcher, in which Wright reminisces on the sad fate of Klop Ustinov.

[2] British intelligence was interested in exploiting anti-White prejudices, as shown by the report drawn up by George Orwell for Britain’s Information Research Department in 1949, in which he names people he suspects of being communist agents. Orwell made particular note of the “anti-white” prejudices of George Padmore and Paul Robeson, according to Francis Stonor Saunders in her book The Cultural Cold War, which seethes with hatred for Orwell. George Orwell had strong communist sympathies himself, but became disillusioned with its Russian-side promoters. (George Orwell’s ideological shift may have easily inspired the CIA’s anti-Stalin, then ‘non-communist’, left crusade.)

For Rolling Stones fans, Orwell’s suspected communist agent list included the name of Tom Driberg, a.k.a Lord Bardwell, who was Mick Jagger’s political handler for a time. Next to Driberg’s name, Saunders says Orwell wrote “‘Homosexual’, ‘Commonly thought to be an underground member’, and ‘English Jew’.” Needless to say, Orwell’s list was not a ‘black list’, and many of the people he named went on to enjoy spectacular careers. Their success shouldn’t be surprising considering the CIA’s post-WWII promotion of the ‘non-Communist’ (read: not-Russian-controlled) left.

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 Theatre‘ which featured works by Congress of Cultural Freedom kid Jean Cocteau, and was founded in 1947 in NYC just like Cinema 16.

**UPDATE** The Living Theatre was funded by the Farfield Foundation, a CIA front operating alongside the Congress for Cultural Freedom. Anita Pallenberg’s pre-Stones career was funded by the CIA. Please see Frances Stonor Saunders’ The Cultural Cold War, or my post Anita Pallenberg and the CIA.**

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?


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 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 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.