The ancient Persians considered Balkh the “mother of all cities,” which may be why something heavy went down 5,000 years ago. Balkh was the largest, richest and most important oasis on the road connecting China and India to Europe. In fact, the trail split not far from the city’s immense walls, the southern route tailing off towards the Khyber Pass, while the northern led into the Hindu Kush to Kashgar.
Just as in Sumer, Turkey and Egypt, irrigation methods soon created immense gardens and orchards to support a growing population, and most crops were planted safely inside the city walls. Priests were placed in charge of water and seed distribution, as well as prayers and divinations for a good harvest.
One day there appeared a prophet in the city who instigated a major shift in cosmology. Up until his arrival, it had been assumed the universe was dominated by a vast multitude of greater and lesser spiritual energies, and each community had been free to make up their own pantheons.
When he first appeared on the scene, Zoroaster was a very controversial figure. He apparently accused some of the priests of practicing the dark arts and claimed their magic was fraudulent. It’s strange how today Zoroaster is known as “the first magician,” when, in fact, he seems to have gotten his start by exposing fake magic. During this time, an evil eye accusation could result in an execution. So if a priest accused you of giving someone the evil eye to explain why disaster had befallen them, you were pretty much a lost cause. I’m speculating here, but I believe Zoroaster may have put an end to such superstition.
One thing for sure, Zoroaster obliterated the ancient pantheons that had stood for millennia, replacing them with two forces, one good, and the other evil. It’s gone down in history as the origin of monotheism, even though in practice there were many lesser spirits in play. The other important contribution was the creation of a epic hero involved in seeking enlightenment, which supplemented the prior epic hero involved in feats of heroic strength. It was the first time a philosopher/scientist/astrologer emerged to replace the warrior avatars.
A number of epic hymns were written to celebrate Zoroaster’s quest for enlightenment. Some even attribute the first half dozen to Zoroaster himself. In a nutshell, he went to the top of smokey mountain, communicated with a magic plant, and came back down with the good god’s official rule book.
One day, a new young king of Balkh decided this new prophet Zoroaster was onto something heavy. And that’s when fire temples began sprouting all along the Silk Road serving a mixture of cannabis and milk with spices. This was Zoroaster’s Eucharist for healing the blind and lame, as well as curing depression, a magic staircase to the mind of the good god.
Known as soma in India, haoma in Persia, and shuma in China, the medicine helped transform Zoroaster into becoming the most famous prophet of his time. And, of course, after his death, magical stories about him increased and rapidly erased any human figure. This is the natural trajectory any mythic figure must undergo simply because people want to take their religion with a heavy dose of enchantment. So the debunker of fake magic became the world’s greatest magician.
There’s also been a lot of hoodwinking going on about when he really lived. Lately, there’s even been an attempt to date Zoroaster after Moses, when, in fact, Moses was obviously based on Zoroaster because it was the first Zoroastrian king of Persia (Cyrus the Great) who defeated the corrupt Babylonian empire and freed the Jews. Not only did Cyrus free the Jews, he gave them funds and instructions to rebuild Solomon’s temple in Jerusalem. This all happened before the Jews had a written language, and in gratitude, Moses was fashioned as the Jewish Zoroaster, and most of the cosmology lifted right out of the Avesta.
And, of course, in short order, something heavy went down in Jerusalem.
Strange how High Times kept bringing me back. The final go-round was the most excruciating of all, but I always had a sense the powers-that-be were playing defense against me when they should have been on my team.
While I’d been away this time for two years, video operations entirely ceased, and this happened during the same time frame that Youtube took off and minted a generation of video stars outside the establishment pipelines. The magazine had bizarrely gone no-pot for a disastrous year followed by a nothing-but-pot policy.
I knew nobody was really on my team, but I dove into rebuilding my video operations, but this time on a professional scale. I turned my office into a video studio and shot and edited video every day. Making this foray into film and television was my biggest priority, although I also brought back real investigative journalism, something the magazine was in dire need of, and penned two of my greatest features, one on the CIA’s LSD attack on a French town after WWII, and the other was on an unknown Canadian named Rick Simpson. Both articles attracted attention, something High Times hadn’t seen much of since I’d departed.
But my pride and joy was my High Times Reality TV pilot that I was working up for Comedy Central. I’d already had a couple meetings with the head of the network and they were watching the show’s progress with great interest. I was working on creating the cannabis alternative to Sasha Baron Cohen. Unfortunately, much of the staff were somewhat devastated upon my return as no doubt they’d been expecting the promotion themselves, and some had zero intention of working with me on anything. It certainly helped this attitude along that the owners were ringleaders of the vibes against me.
The first half of the show got screened at the free Woodstock Film Festival. The second half was shot but the footage was hijacked and used to make a generic “welcome to the Cup promo” film that ignored the Borat-style film I’d shot, and replaced it with an endless parade of bud shots.
Hopefully, some day, I will finish the project. But in the meantime, you can check out part one here:
When CBS announced a former British commando had moved to Hollywood and was launching a survival elimination game show called “Survivor,” I instantly knew the concept was going to be a big hit, mostly because it was mining tribal traditions, something I’d been doing for over a decade through my events and organizations.
Of course, I didn’t want some cutthroat competition, just a group of cinematic stoners checking out all the strains of the annual Cannabis Cup. Maybe that sounds easy, but it’s actually quite a daunting task unless you’re an experienced bud-tender or distributor who knows his strains.
We had a talented young comedian, a hip hop music producer (and grower), an aspiring performance artist, a medical user, a noted activist, and a super hottie from England. They were all thrown into a one bedroom houseboat in Amsterdam and told they had to stay onboard until they had tried all the strains, which were released slowly in increments of a half dozen or so at a time.
After 36 hours or so, the young comedian requested to get off the boat and soon announced he was off pot for good. He had entered the contest not really being very experienced with cannabis, but only wanting to win the contest and get some notoriety for his comedy. As a joke, he rolled a dozen strains into a giant joint and began toking on it. Within a few minutes, you could see a pronounced change in his body language.
The Castaways picked the Cannabis Cup winner that year, and I was planning on another season, and keeping some of the Castaways as characters in my tv universe I was building, but when they returned to the States, the hip hop producer’s estranged wife initiated a custody battle to bar access to their daughter based on his participation in the show. When he called me hysterically after the judgment, I asked for a copy of the transcript.
I’d just won a similar custody battle based on my being editor of High Times initiated by a bipolar member of my wife’s family, so I had experience with the terror this dude was going through, and you don’t know real mental terror until someone swoops in and seizes your only child.
But, at the same time, I had to admit the transcript read like a Cheech and Chong script. The producer had denied being involved in the show from the get-go and the lawyer led him down a garden path until he produced a copy of High Times with him on the cover, holding his distinctive cane, a cane he now held firmly in his grasp in the witness stand. The producer went down in flames.
I contacted the comedian because I wondered if he wanted to work on an animated film about our project. A lot of the comedy we’d worked on together during the event had been successful. We’d produced a sitcom every night for four nights running and showed the results to open the shows at the Melkweg. This mini series was treated with waves of applause and belly laughter and was obviously the most entertaining thing we’d produced content-wise from all my improvisational explorations.
But the comedian freaked again, and sent a letter to all the Castaways saying I was planing on mining their personal tragedies for profit and advised them all never to speak with me again. He certainly never did.
But we did get a live web show so popular it kept crashing our website while it was on, and the highlights were immortalized in a DVD you can watch here:
It’s unfortunate how little video footage got captured during the first Whee! festival outside Eugene, Oregon. The entire adventure had begun as my plot to establish a Weed Woodstock. (Although, in truth, the original was funded almost entirely by weed money, and the event helped cement Woodstock as a weed distribution center.)
I remember taking the trustees to lunch at some five-star restaurant and saying, “You have to be committed to a new event for five years, because that’s how long it may take to break even.” But I assured them after five years, my Whee! fest would be as big if not bigger than Woodstock. And I believed this because the event was promoted as a prayer for world peace, a serious non-denominational ceremony recognizing cannabis as the sacrament of peace culture.
Of course, Whee! exploded immediately, drawing 20,000 to the event, most of whom got in for free and were fed free by a non-stop crew kitchen, and anyone could volunteer to be crew.
After the OM circle, someone handed a bottle of whiskey to Felipe and said he was done with this. Felipe and I did a bunch of powerful ceremonies together, and that was certainly one of the best.
But the day after the event ended, we invited the Pranksters to our motel room to celebrate and eat pizza. Only Ken Babbs showed up, and this is what transpired. The next day, we went to see Kesey, and he introduced me to non-linear video editing, just going prosumer. I had been a devoted follower of improvisational ritual theater as practiced by the Pranksters, and took this direction very seriously, devoting the rest of my life to capturing video of the ceremonies I was staging. Sure glad I kept these memories, and if you want to know what Hager ceremonies look and feel like, this will clue you in.
As soon as I got back to New York, the trustees informed me that Whee! had been a financial failure. Although I knew that was a lie. Through immense efforts I manage to resurrect one more Whee! at the same site the next year before my precious Whee! ceremony was cast to the winds, and thus ended my longstanding campaign for the recognition of spiritual rights for cannabis users.
Tom Forcade had multiple film projects in the works when he committed suicide. He’d recently bought controlling interest of a smuggling project, and went to show a rough cut to Robert Evans in Hollywood. Forcade had just paid an editor to whip the chaotic footage into a story. He put a lot of effort into trying to make sense of that footage, some of which involved footage of a real smuggling operation, but Evans sadly told him the edit still wasn’t working.
Apparently, Forcade’s moves into Hollywood contributed to two things: cocaine and guns. According to Gabrielle Schang, Forcade didn’t carry a pistol until after being introduced around Hollywood. He’d been a dealer and distributor and magazine publisher, but was also branching into smuggling and film at the same time. His most precious documentary project involved filming the Sex Pistols historic tour of America. Forcade bought a plane and sent Jack Combs on a mission. He never recovered from Jack’s fatal crash at the end of that ill-fated mission. And that also ended any High Times forays into the film world until I arrived.
Before coming to High Times, I’d launched a moderately successful film project called Beat Street, and never lost sight of expanding my efforts into the world of film and video. When prosumer equipment finally reached the realms of the masses, I began documenting everything, quickly evolving into the most video-centric magazine editor on the national stage. I shot thousands of hours of footage, and often assembled 7-person crews to do four-camera edits with live switching of my major events. All this was working towards the creation of a counterculture television network.
The first project I pitched to the trustees was a Chef Ra travel guide to Jamaica. I was creating an entire galaxy of High Times stars and Ra was intended to be one of the brightest.
Imagine my surprise when the trustees tell me they are putting up thousands of dollars to make the Chef Ra film. That was the good news. The bad news was the project was being given to the aspiring filmmaker son of the head trustee. I didn’t get to play any role in the film until the end. They spent a week in Jamaica and shot a lot of random footage and needed Ra to help work it into a story.
That’s not the best way to make a great documentary and it showed in the final product. But it remains the best portrait of Jim Wilson we have, and since Jim co-wrote the script used to stitch the scenes together, it carries his creativity and compassion.
Modern life is evolving so fast it’s hard to imagine the vibes going down 30 years ago. Which is why it’s so entertaining to check out a documentary I produced early in the 1990s titled Let Freedom Ring: the Origins of the Hemp Movement. It came out just after my discovery of 420, but three years after I’d created the Freedom Fighters with the help of Rodger Belknap of West Virginia, who quickly became our organization’s chief funder and spiritual advisor.
The Freedom Fighters went from a handful of High Times staffers to the biggest cannabis legalization group in the world in two years, while the Ann Arbor Hash Bash went from a dozen hardcore devotees to many thousands cramming the diag at the University of Michigan. Marching into rallies in our Freedom Fighter outfits was the ritual that helped galvanize a national movement.
Shortly after the film was released, however, Rodger was railroaded into jail, while High Times forced me to disband the group, allegedly because NORML was unhappy about the competition, which seemed weird since our newsletter had been recognizing and supporting NORML chapters from inception, and many Freedom Fighter state groups were also affiliated with NORML, including the chapter in Boston that created the Boston Freedom Rally.
Our big campaign was bringing activists together for major rallies. We organized free campgrounds with free food and a free bus ride to the rally. When Rodger asked me what was needed for the organization, I told him we needed a school bus and council tipi. Within a few weeks we had both and took off for the Rainbow Gathering in Ocala, Florida, where I flew a High Times flag and nobody cared.
The Irish Republican Army formed in 1917 as a militant independence movement and went through a few transformations over the decades, emerging in 1969 as a Marxist organization advocating extreme violence. What’s interesting about Marxism in the United States is it was secretly dominated by spooks working for military intelligence, and it certainly seems possible something similar might have been happening in Ireland. Over 3,500 killed and up to 50,000 injured over a 30-year period of tit-for-tat terror, what came to be known in Ireland as “the troubles.”
Originally formed as the Downbeats Quartet, in 1962 the name changed to the Miami Showband, led by Dickie Rock. The band went through a number of changes throughout the 1960s, earning numerous number one Irish hits along the way, despite the defections of a series of lead singers, starting with Dickie Rock. The Irish showbands, of which around 700 existed at peak, were different from American garage bands of the same era as they typically included horn sections and played covers of well-known pop and soul tunes, unlike those gritty four-piece guitar bands that proliferated in the USA. Think “Get Ready” by Rare Earth as an appropriate comparison.
By 1975, the Miami Showband had not scored a number one hit in years, but they remained the best-known band, often called The Beatles of Ireland. And the young new lead singer was a powerful teenybopper sex symbol. At the time, the band was composed of four Catholics and two Protestants, and although they had no overt political content in their lyrics, the fact they represented a successful mix of both cultures made the group a potential lightning rod for peace simply by drawing audiences from both sides into the same venue.
Paul Ashford was the bass player and lead singer in 1972, but was asked to leave the band after complaining playing gigs in Northern Ireland was putting his life at risk. Ashford was replaced by Stephen Travers on bass and the dynamic Fran O’Toole on vocals and keyboards. Even Ashford has to admit the change was an upgrade, as he described O’Toole as “the greatest soul singer in Ireland.”
An intense panic began smoldering in the north in the late sixties because Protestants feared the country would soon be unified, meaning Catholics would gain control of the north. Two warring militias supporting the Protestant cause had formed to fight against the IRA, the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) and the Ulster Defense Association (UDA). In May 1974, the UVF instigated a series of car bombings in the south designed to disrupt talk of unification, bombings that killed 33 civilians. The IRA retaliated by bombing two pubs in England, killing 21 civilians. Tit for tat.
In Christmas 1974, the IRA declared a cease fire and peace council, which only served to make the two loyalist militias in the north concerned they would soon be sold out during secret negotiations. Something big and transforming was required to keep hostile fires burning, and deep inside the bowels of MI5, a plan was formulated on how to reinvigorate the war.
Suddenly, the leader of the UVF Mid-Ulster Brigade, Billy Hanna was assassinated by his own organization. In hindsight it appears Hanna had refused to go along with the plan and swiftly replaced by Robin Jackson, known as “the jackal.” Many suspect Jackson murdered Hanna to prevent him from exposing the plot.
The plan was to intercept the band on July 31, as they traveled back to Dublin from a gig in the north, and surreptitiously place a bomb inside the van. They planned to announce to the press that the band had been carrying a bomb for the IRA which had gone off by accident. Everything went according to plan until that bomb unexpectedly went off while being placed under the driver’s seat. At the time, five members of the band were standing by the side of the road, and the UVF brigade was instructed by a British officer on the scene to kill all witnesses. Two of the band survived by playing dead.
Over the decades, many attempts to find justice have been initiated and although two UVF members were found guilty of the murders (out of a dozen on the scene), the links into England and identity of the British officer in command at the scene has never been officially investigated.
All these details are explained in the Netflix documentary, The Miami Showband Massacre. A couple of the killers were from the Ulster Defence Regiment — a government militia. “This would be the equivalent of uniformed National Guardsmen working with Klansmen and Neo-Nazis,” says researcher Michael Marinacci.
The award-winning 1966 film Battle of Algiers documented the explosion of terror and violence that paved the road for Algerian independence. As Africa’s largest country…and rich in natural gas…Algeria was a choice plum for European imperialism. In 1830, under the shakiest of pretenses, the French invaded and within a few years 825,000 Algerians (one third the population) were dead.
The French confiscated choice lands and awarded real estate to European immigrants who arrived in droves, eventually becoming the majority in the capital city of Algeria. Citizenship was granted to Europeans, Christians and Jews, but Muslims were denied. The Jews became the go-between Muslims and French, and both sides initially tried to recruit them, although most sided with France, something they may have regretted after Vichy France began persecuting Jews. The Nazis built an ideological bridge between fascism and Arab nationalism fueled by mutual hatred. When the British and Americans landed in Africa, the Vichy forces initially tried to repel the Allies, but were eventually allowed to switch sides, greatly angering the free French forces led by Charles de Gaulle.
On May 8, 1945, the same day Nazi Germany surrendered, Muslim activists held victory marches that provoked violent responses from French occupiers. The ensuing street massacres put a lid on the simmering independence movement for almost a decade, but in 1954, the movement resurfaced in force through the appearance of the National Liberation Front (FLN), a merger of Communist and Islamic ideologies. The FLN began a savage campaign of assassinating Harkies and their dependents. Harkies were Muslims serving in the French army who acted as police. As many as 150,000 may have been murdered. Harkies and their families weren’t the only casualties as the French launched a counter attack on Muslims. As many as 700,000 perished and two million displaced during the eight years of unrelenting violence.
Shot in black & white, Battle of Algiers had the look and feel of a behind-the-scenes newsreel. Rather than take sides or mine the subject for emotional response, it coolly revealed turpitude and affinity for violence shared by both sides. Within a few months, the FLN became the template upon which the savage Weather Underground was created. Strangely, the leaders of that movement (which effectively destroyed the non-violent Students for a Democratic Society), were sons and daughters of the super wealthy, although they rounded up a handful of acolytes by preaching a twisted form of self-hatred for the American middle class, an indoctrination accompanied with drug-fueled orgies designed to break down individuality and moral codes. It had all the makings of a intelligence mind-control operation.
After the Weather Underground declared war on America and went into hiding, they divided into cells exactly like the FLN and began releasing communiqués exactly like the FLN, and informed their ranks millions would soon die in the coming war. Many of their parents would be forced into concentration camps once the revolution succeeded. The war was quietly launched with some small pipe bombs planted in police parking lots in the Bay Area, set to go-off during lunch hour. Although they never took credit for these two bombings, rest assured they were most likely the initial attempts to spark war between police and the emerging counterculture. Like all Communist revolutions, the Weather Underground cell structure was designed to protect the organization’s leaders from exposure once the killing began. In truth, the Weather Underground cells had been penetrated on inception, although the many FBI informants planted in the lower ranks, had no idea the key lawyer running and funding the organization had his own mysterious connections to counterintelligence.
The springboard used to catapult the organization into the national spotlight was the murder of Fred Hampton by Chicago police connected to counterintelligence. Not so coincidentally, Bernadine Dohrn was immediately on the scene leading the press on tours of the murder site (strangely left wide open by Chicago police) while giving lectures on the need for reprisals, despite Hampton’s total dedication to non-violence. Hampton had recently been put in charge of the Black Panthers, the most respected black rights organization, and immediately began leading the membership away from armed insurrection and toward what Hampton dubbed “the rainbow coalition.” Hampton was the biggest detractor of the Weather Underground inside the counterculture and dubbed the group as insanely “Custeristic.” So you can see how killing Hampton served the interest of the Weather Underground while also allowing them to exploit his death as a fulcrum for convincing clueless teenagers to support violence as the only logical response.
The blood bath they plotted was severely hampered, however, when their first major bomb blew up while being constructed in New York City and killed three of their own. The mega-bomb had been planned for a cadet dance at Fort Dix but instead destroyed a million-dollar townhouse in Greenwich Village. The deaths sent shivers through the organization, and the leaders rapidly dialed back on future murder plots, although the “kill-cop” rhetoric continued unabated and infected many others. Eventually the Weather Underground would be responsible for four police murders, but played a role instigating at least fifteen others fomented by the United Freedom Front (1), Symbionese Liberation Army (1), and Black Liberation Army (13). But that’s just the tip-of-the-iceberg, because our interventions in Indochina resulted in 3.5 million deaths, and many of those could have been avoided had the senseless war ended sooner. Had a vast majority of Americans rejected the war early on, President Nixon would have been forced to dial back. But by presenting the counterculture in such an intensively negative light, the Weather Underground made sure middle America sided with the President’s reasonable requests for the rule of law and order to prevail.
Even stranger is the fact that after Timothy Leary was renditioned back to a high security cell and held in isolation while enduring the most savage interrogations of his life, he caved and told everything he knew about the Weather Underground that had broken him out of jail, provided him with a fake passport and whisked him off to Algeria to join forces with Eldridge Cleaver in fomenting a wave of violence. They even had put out a press release claiming Leary was now “armed and dangerous” and ready to join the ranks of the immortal cop killers, unrepentant murderers the Weather Underground lionized. Strange that upon his caving, the word immediately went out that Leary was a stool pigeon. Predictably, the head of the National Lawyers’ Guild called for someone to assassinate Leary, a feat designed to send a message to future traitors to the Communist cause. Unpredictably, Leary was taken out of prison and driven around the country so he could point out the safe houses he’d stayed at while describing the occupants in great detail. During this escapade, a revolver placed on the floor of the vehicle by the FBI agent in the passenger’s seat slid back into Leary’s view, and he realized he could easily pick it up and assassinate both cops. Fortunately, he declined to touch the weapon, and that likely saved his life, for I feel sure had he picked up that gun, he would have been instantly killed on the spot. Strangely, although Leary spilled all the beans he could, his confession never amounted to an arrest or interrogation of anyone. Soon the principle leaders of the terrorist Weather Underground would emerge from hiding, but only after all the FBI files on them mysteriously disappeared, which allowed them to accept high-paying gigs at major universities. Now retired, they continue to collect pensions.
Meanwhile, there’s an attempt to whitewash the Weather Underground as being led by earnest radicals, instead of exposing the organization as the state-sponsored counterterrorism psyop it really was. The purpose of the organization was not to foment a revolution as that concept never had a prayer of success due to their tactics. The real purpose was to frighten middle America away from supporting the peace movement sweeping the country, something they were easily able to accomplish with some random bombings and advocation of Charles Manson and Sirhan Sirhan as counterculture heroes. But there’s a karmic load that accompanies violence and a day of reckoning is coming. You only have to turn this log over to see the vermin hiding underneath.
The proletariat must organize lawyers in various countries who sympathize with the liberation struggle. Together with the legal bureau of the International Red Aid (IRA), organize in every country, in particular England, the USA and Japan, and strive to enlarge the number of new cadres. IRA directive issued in at the Second International Conference, Moscow, 1927.
Admission to the bar is not just about training, but moral character and a sacred oath to uphold the Constitution. Participation in conspiracies involving subversion, violence and terror is a gross violation of this oath. The National Lawyers Guild was founded by Communist Party members to spread a Communist agenda. Of course, propaganda was designed to make the Guild appear as a do-gooder champion of the little guy. Behind the scenes a different story was unfolding.
It would be naive not to realize the Communist Party has been dotted with spooks of all persuasions since inception. They did not provoke the revolution in Russia, they subverted a democratic/socialist government that had emerged. The first act of the revolution had been to abolish the death penalty, as the Czars secret police had murdered so many. The first act of the Communists (Trotsky, Lenin, Stalin) was to reassert the death penalty and use it on the Czar and his family, including the children. This is all you need to know about the origins of Communism.
My thesis is that a group of secret agents were sent into this orbit for the purpose of managing counterintelligence operations. These lawyers were pretending to submit to Communist dogmas, but were really spooks reporting to the highest levels of the national security state.
In the 1960s, the primary mission of this operation was to outflank the emerging peace and freedom movement by fomenting acts of terror that would drive the population toward the political right.
The spearhead of this infiltration was Louis Boudin (working with John Reed and Jay Gladstone), and later passed to Boudin’s nephew, Leonard, whose daughter Kathy would join the Weather Underground, assist the assassination of three police in a failed bank robbery, and wind up a tenured professor at Colombia University. Go figure.
In 2008, Boudin was Sheinberg Scholar-in-Residence at New York University’s School of Law, lecturing on “the politics of parole and re-entry.”
The takeover of the Russian revolution by a small cadre funded by Wall Street was mirrored by the Weather Underground takeover of the SDS funded by the National Lawyers Guild.
According to the book The Countess and the Mob by Maureen Hughes, some of Champaign’s noted families (Robeson and Davis) helped keep Champaign wet during Prohibition. Another name connected with gangsters were the Sansones, an 11-member family born in Sicily that had immigrated through Ellis Island before settling in Champaign.
Michael Sansone’s profitable taffy concession stand was kept at Crystal Lake when it wasn’t touring the summer county fairs, while his brother Henry’s popcorn wagon was parked near the Virginia Theater. That popcorn had the most amazing taste and I’m sure many others tried to coax out the secret ingredient to no avail.
Local lawyer Julius Hirshfeld was one of Henry’s regular customers and Henry’s stories of pheasant hunting on his property somehow spread through Hirshfeld all the way to Al Capone, and thus began the annual pheasant hunting pilgrimages to the Sansone property just outside Champaign.
According to local legend, sometimes Capone and his boys would rent out the entire Turk’s Head rather than drive back to Chicago. The other option was booking the top three floors at the fanciest hotel in Champaign, located across the street from the train station. Turk’s Head may have used by his crew when they wanted to keep a low profile while in town, as the police station and newspaper office were all clustered within a block of that train station, while Turk’s Head was buried in campus-town.
Henry realized that setting up hunting trips could be quite lucrative and decided to expand his hunting schedule to include George Bugs Moran, an enemy of Capone. This shouldn’t have been a problem, writes Hughes, Sansone scheduled Moran and his boys on opposite weekends from when Capone was down.
This would have worked well, except the scheduling was done by word of mouth, and one weekend the dates got mixed up. One particular Saturday when Moran was hunting, three black cars pulled up two hours later, and five men got out, including Al Capone. Everyone was dressed in hunting gear, so it was hard to positively identify anyone. By mid-morning, the men from both gangs were just two or three hundred feet apart when one of Capone’s men asked why Moran was there.
That’s all it took for the shooting to start.
Both gangs retreated to their cars, and several had to lie in the back seats all the way to Chicago because they had lead shot in their rear ends. So ended the hunting trips to Champaign.
And was Operation Green Merchant designed to steal Nevil’s throne?
There seems to be some sort of ongoing disinfo op to minimize the essential role of Nevil’s Seed Bank in establishing the core genetics employed around the world today. I have to wonder where Nevil would be today had it not been for Operation Green Merchant, a New Orleans-centered op wherein a prosecutor claimed the Cannabis Cup I created was a front for seed distribution, and by buying ads in High Times, Nevil was shuffling his illegal profits to the magazine. In the media, Operation Green Merchant was played as an attack on High Times magazine, but in hindsight, I suspect Nevil was the real target, simply because he ended up neutralized, leaving the door open for Michael Taylor and Dave Watson.
If you want to get the necessary background, check my previous blog: “The Mysterious Mr. Watson,” But to summarize: There’s a disinfo meme Watson used me as a tool to create the Cannabis Cup so the DEA could bust people. Two disinfo specialists are pushing this theory, and it’s standard spook practice to wrap jewels of knowledge inside easily-disproved fabrications, a magic trick that puts a mirror on top of what should be a picture window. But in trying to disentangle myself from this meme, I became the tar baby for the theory first vocalized online by Shantibaba (of Mr. Nice Seeds), who suggested Taylor and Watson might be spooks, a theory he’d actually picked up from Nevil.
Although the comment was made somewhat innocently in an Italian Internet forum, Nevil had already put respected Dutch drug policy expert Mario Lap into action, providing him with some documentation and pretty soon Lap had marshaled evidence that supported Nevil’s suspicions. And Lap made enough noise Watson soon lost his legal grow op for a time because the Dutch don’t like American spooks playing in their backyard.
When Watson first arrived in the mid-1980s, he’d joined forces with Wernard Bruining, who’d founded the first coffeeshop Mellow Yellow (after the Donovan song) in 1972. However, Bruining became alarmed by the scale of Watson and Taylor’s mission for world cannabis domination, and soon withdrew from the team. Around this time all Mellow Yellow grow ops got busted and these were the first indoor grow busts in Holland’s history.
I’m not connecting any dots, I just find it interesting someone is trying to use me as the mirror to shield Watson. But that original blog I wrote is taking on a life of it’s own, and has already drawn comments from Watson and Reeferman, once partners on a plan to wrest control of the Mexican weed market. Good thing Watson didn’t join that mission as originally planned, because that massive grow op went down as well, and Reeferman was apparently the only one who walked out alive.
I realize Watson has a booster team supporting his role in documenting and assembling important cannabis strains, and he rewards them with his marvelous hash, but I couldn’t help but notice an illuminating comment made by Nevil online a few years ago:
“It would have been about ’95, but I’m terrible with dates, but I was working at the Castle for Ben and they came to see me. They wanted to enlist my help in delineating the ancestries of the strains that I had put out. Ben still wasn’t selling anything that I hadn’t made (to the best of my knowledge). I found this to be a remarkable request for a number of reasons. I asked them why? What followed rocked my world. They told me that they were cooperating with the Australian Federal Police, who wanted to establish links between growing operation in Australia using genetic fingerprinting and the information I was to provide. This would lead to longer prison sentences. I’d recently done 11 months in maximum security remand in Australia and alarm bells are going off in my head like crazy. But I can be cool under pressure and decided to draw them out. They knew I had children in Australia and couldn’t go and see them. The suggestion was raised that cooperating might help my chances to be able to go back. They thought they had me. I said that I needed time to consider this proposal and needed some kind of documentary proof that they were genuine. No problem, I was told. On a later visit I was provided with documents from the Australian Federal Police demonstrating that this and much more was indeed the case. I said that I wished to show these documents to a legal adviser before making any decisions and was given their permission to do so. I went to Mario Lap, who used to work for the N.I.A.D. (Dutch institute for alcohol and drugs) and was an adviser to the Dutch Labor Party on cannabis affairs. He has a good paralegal mind and is well acquainted with law as it relates to cannabis. He was horrified as to the implications of those documents and didn’t particularly like American spooks operating in his back yard. He made further inquiries with the various Dutch ministries as to who these people were and who they were connected with and how they got their permits for Hortapharm. Mario is on record as to what he concluded and how that lead to their losing the Hortapharm license, My repeating it would only be hearsay. He may still have the original documents. Some time later when Hortapharm had lost their license and the Dutch law had been changed and seed breeding was illegal in Holland, we were all fairly bitter. Sam wanted a showdown which Arjan ended up organizing. Sam, Rob, Arjan and I met in a coffee shop. I don’t think Scott [Shantibaba] was there. They accused me of bringing down Hortapharm and I accused them of destroying the Dutch scene in order to get a monopoly. They came with their rationalizations the end justifying the means etc, but neither of us denied anything much. Nothing was achieved and we never saw each other again.” —N.
What do you think would happen to the world cannabis seed market if Nevil ever restarted his original Seed Bank in Australia and began shipping seeds globally wherever cannabis is legal? I’m hoping someday takes on this mission and wrests back a dominant share of the seed marketplace, the one he’d captured before George Soros and his agents around the world were put in place, seemingly to manifest genetically-modified cannabis patented by Monsanto, because that’s the direction they seem to be headed in. Soros is funding the marijuana movement on many levels, as well as a big chunk of the alternative media.
And in closing this blog, I’m reminded of another suspicious piece of evidence. A reporter in Australia recently wrote an article on Nevil’s planned re-emergence, and was able to locate the key snitch who informed on Nevil to bring him down, and it turned out to be someone who worked for Nevil for four years named Ray Cogo, who owns a cannabis fertilizer company today and claims to have grown all the early Cup winners with his hydro solutions. In fact, Cogo is likely taking credit for Nevil’s formulas, after snitching him out to the Feds. And nobody seems to notice, least of all the crackpot trying to use me as a mirror, who promotes Cogo’s product line.
And speaking of stealing credit, this awakens the long-slumbering memory of Nevil showing me how to make waterhash in his kitchen in the Castle in the early 1990s. The water coming from his tap was a micro degree above freezing and he put ground buds in a jar, filled it with tap water, and the resin floated to the bottom. No need for any patents or silkscreens. Funny how Nevil’s satori moment got turned into everyone else’s idea but Nevil’s.
So when people ask me who is the real King of Cannabis, I always told the truth: the title moves around depending on who has the center of gravity on cannabis seeds at any given moment in history. But Nevil was the first to establish the crown in our lifetimes. And as a past champion, he will always retain the possibility of a comeback. In fact, I was willing to lace up the gloves for that mission if it means unseating Monsanto.
Sadly, Nevil’s re-entry into cannabis lasted only a few years. He lost his longstanding battle with hepatitis on March 30, 2019. He was 62 years old.