KGB and CIA counterintelligence styles were vastly different because America is an open society while Soviet is closed.
KGB had an immense pool of people to pull from. They would seek out the right personality types for covert ops. Super hottie and bisexual candidates of both sexes that could kill on command without raising their blood pressure were the most highly prized recruits.
CIA agents were defectors or White Russians. It was much harder for them to pass as authentic. They relied mostly on hypnosis. Agents would be conditioned to resist breaking cover.
KGB expected a long, protracted struggle and embedded hundreds of sleeper agents who were supposed to become Americans, raise children, even attend churches, and then maybe 20 years down the road, might get activated for a mission. CIA didn’t have that sort of patience.
Tai Chi was central to KGB philosophy, which meant directing energy not engaging it head-on. The first major maneuver was into the Civil Rights movement. And also recruiting lawyers, who were deemed essential to the cause.
The Communist lawyers, most of whom could have been true-believers, created the National Lawyers Guild, which positioned itself as the Knights in Shining Armor for the fight for equal rights in America. A large number of double agents were placed into the NLG, and that list would include Mark Lane, Michael Kennedy, Bill Kunstler, Bernadine Dohrn. In fact, these are the most famous members of the group.
In fact, Jane Fonda, Gloria Steinem, and Dohrn were the CIA’s most highly prized super hotties. Rumors swirled around Fonda’s sexuality for decades. Dohrn, on the other hand, forced bisexuality on all her cadres during her crackpot “Smash Monogamy!” movement.
Fred Hampton was trying to turn the Panthers non-violent while Kennedy and Dohrn were supplying them with assault rifles and C4 and telling them to “kill cops.”
When Fred began denouncing the Weather Underground as lunatics, Chicago police connected with the CIA murdered him, and Dohrn arrived first on the scene to lead press and use his murder as her fulcrum to fame. You can’t imagine a more dishonorable act than trying to exploit Hampton’s death to provoke violence.
It’s the same thing as what happened when Ghetto Brother Black Benji was murdered on the streets of the Bronx. The Ghetto Brothers wanted a war with the gang that killed him, and came to promise blood revenge to Benji’s mother, who said, “My son was all about peace.” Instead of a gang war, the Ghetto Brothers organized the Hoe Ave. Peace Conference that ended gang violence and allowed for the rise of Hip Hop. Hampton had done the same thing in Chicago, ending the war between the Latin Kings, Blackstone Rangers, Gaylords and Vice Lords.
Watch The Americans series about KGB sleepers on Amazon and then imagine its Dorhn and Ayers posing as sane, normal people by day while plotting cop killings at night. The woman on the left plays the Michael Kennedy role (protector of the agents in the field).
They were in direct communication with Soviet, Cuban, and Chinese agents, all of whom advised them not to kill cops, or even use bombs. Of course, they didn’t follow that advice and kept up their terror campaign until it had zero traction left, so they came out of the cold and got university jobs with pensions. KGB sleepers don’t get that treatment, much less cop killers with three dead bodies to explain.
The author of the series says the CIA inadvertently gave him the idea for a series about spies, explaining, “While I was taking the polygraph exam to get in, they asked the question, ‘Are you joining the CIA in order to gain experience about the intelligence community so that you can write about it later’—which had never occurred to me. I was totally joining the CIA because I wanted to be a spy. The job at CIA, which he later described as a mistake, helped him develop several storylines in the series, basing some plot lines on real-life stories, and integrating tactics and methods he learned in his training, such as dead drops and communication protocols.
After I signed the contract handing rights over my script to Harry Belafonte, he slyly grabbed a copy of all my interviews by asking me to provide copies to the Schomberg Library in Harlem. I didn’t realize the library would advertise that fact and lead a parade of researchers, including Jeff Chang, to the treasure trove of early hip hop history. Many decades later, I realized searching my name on the internet mostly turned up links to the Schomberg Library.
I emailed them recently and asked for the return of my transcripts as they hadn’t even given me credit for donating them. After admitting a problem, their lawyer switched gears and claimed they didn’t have my transcripts and from then on, just kept gaslighting me. The day I signed that contract and turned over the transcripts was the day my name and presence disappeared entirely from Beat Street. I got zero recognition upon release and retain little to this day. I got the Morris Levy/Frankie Lymon treatment from Harry Belafonte.
Henry Chalfant was a super cool dude, one of the first photographers to document NYC graffiti. Manny Kirchheimer was the first filmmaker, and his film Stations of the Elevated is online. While I was working on Beat Street, Henry was just completing Style Wars, which was largely the work of Tony Silver. Tony I didn’t like so much. It was Tony’s idea to build Style Wars around Cap.
Belafonte and his crew already had my script, a realistic portrayal of a budding rap group trying to make a record. Slice of life and It also had a Romeo-Juliet style story concerning a South Bronx rapper hooking up with a girl from a privileged background.
But when Belafonte got a sneak preview of Style Wars, everything changed and my script was tossed and they began writing a new one using my characters names, and it was all about Cap, who they renamed Spit.
Cap was never mentioned in my book or my script. But when I asked Phase 2 who were the current kings, Cap was the first name he mentioned. “You have to give him props, because he’s so up,” said Phase.
Graffiti was divided into crews and crews had conflicts that sometimes included dissing each other’s work. Sometimes it involved tag rights, like the conflict between Snake and Snake-1. Snake 1 began adding “king of all snakes” to his tag.
Cap was not the loner they portrayed him as. He was in the Morris Park Crew, some of whom were dust heads. Instead of asking Phase or Tracy about Cap and his crew, Silver focussed on the younger writers in opposing crews building Cap up as the evil villain of graf, dissing the most sacred rules. Some of those kids were scared to death of Cap in real life, but in the film they talked big shit about how somebody was going to cap Cap. I imagine some of that drama could have been coached and encouraged by Tony.
Eventually, Cap was run out of the crew so demonized was he by Style Wars and Beat Street.
Beat Street should have started with the murder of Black Benji and the Ghetto Brothers Peace council.
The opening song should have been “Just Begun” by Jimmy Castor. The sound track should mostly been based on the real street hits, Apache, Mexican, Give it Up or Turnit Loose.
All art and graffiti should have been supervised by Phase and other greats and featured Dondi, Lee, Futura, Zeph, and given cameos to Haring and Samo.
The actors should have been real South Bronx or capable of walking, talking like a real South Bronx teen.
The interiors should have looked like real South Bronx homes, which means the black rappers were more middle class with nice couches covered in plastic, while the Latins more often were under the poverty line with mattresses on the floor.
As a result of these blunders, the film was not very successful. Really it flopped. Christmas theme in July? What happened is it got massive video rental sales. Which was nice as it got me a lot of royalties through the years, although nothing close to what Harry captured.
The Schomberg Library threw a party with Belafonte to celebrate the anniversary one year. I wasn’t invited. That was before I asked for my transcripts back and got snowballed.
Mani was the greatest avatar of the ancient world and also the greatest portrait painter and calligrapher. He inspired the greatest religious revival of his time, but did not wear expensive robes, nor cultivate toadies. What Mani did was successfully integrate the best of Zoroastrianism, Judaism, Buddhism and Christianity.
Mani’s bible equated spiritual energy with light, and considered the light of the sun as Jehovah, and light of the moon as Jesus.
Mani used the Zoroastrian sacrament of mixing hot milk with cannabis flower to heal the blind and lame, serving this elixir in a sacred chalice. The origins of the grail story start in ancient Scythia, long before Mani’s time, and centuries before the arrival of Jesus.
Mani lived several hundred years after the mythical birth of Jesus, but he was the most famous Gnostic of his time, and considered himself one of Christ’s appointed agents on earth, just as many Buddhists in India considered him the living Buddha.
Mani was lured back to Persia under false pretense, skinned alive and decapitated for the crime of trying to end war over religion. The gate in Persia where his head was put on a pike still bears his name, although nobody seems to know anything about him. That gate is his only trace.
A holocaust soon followed on Mani’s followers, and it did successfully tamp down his philosophy for centuries, but eventually, all across Europe, a movement very similar to Mani’s appeared. It became known as Catharism. It had no leader. Cathars rejected the crass commercialization of Rome 300 years before Martin Luther came to similar conclusions. They believed in a connection between light and spiritual energy, and worshipped a form of Christianity with a Buddhist flavor, rejecting heaven and hell for reincarnation, just like Manichaeism.
The Pope in Rome at first tried to negotiate with the Cathars in France, around Languedoc. After that failed, he declared the first crusade, the Albigensian Crusade, which could have been an even bigger and more horrific ethnic cleansing than Mani’s. The closest thing I can imagine is the Rape of Nanking. Entire towns were destroyed, women and children raped, and then murdered. It didn’t matter if one was Cathar or Catholic. “Let God sort them out,” said the evil Pope.
The last hold-outs were in Montsegur. In 1244, their fort was stormed after a brutal 10-month seige. The 200 inhabitants were thrown on a bonfire.
But the night before the siege ended, a small group successfully slipped through enemy lines, carrying their greatest treasure to safety, a green-stained goblet. Perhaps this was an actual artifact from Mani, and if so, would have been the sole surviving possession from the greatest avatar of the ancient world.
Many decades earlier, Wolfram von Eschenbach wrote Parzival, a search for the grail. His grail castle is called Monsalvat, which is similar to Montségur and has the same meaning: “safe mountain.”
The book Crusade Against the Grail by Otto Rahn in the 1930s revived interest in the connection between Catharism and the Holy Grail, and painted Parzival as a veiled account of the Cathars. That research fascinated Heinrich Himmler, who made Rahn an archaeologist in the SS, which, later, helped inspire Raiders of the Lost Ark.
It’s a bit lonely connecting these dots from Scythians to Zoroastrians to Mani to Catharism to Raiders of the Lost Ark. It’s been a solo adventure, but I’m hoping others will pick up and follow the trail. This is the true secret of the holy grail. It’s not about the actual chalice but the elixir that went inside.
On April 19th, 2021, at 4:30 PM, a ceremony for peace by Steven Hager and the Seeds of Doubt will premiere on Youtube. Several songs from the film have already been posted on the site. “In Search for the Grail” is the film’s theme song.
In 2019, a freelance day trader named Keith Gill decided to launch a campaign to save GameStop, which was being targeted for demise by Wall Street short-sellers. He bought a large position of the stock when it was $4 and began talking up his campaign on Reddit as “deepfuckingvalue” and on Youtube as “Roaring Kitty.” Gill believed if enough gamers joined this crusade, they might push value, possibly as high as $50. In August, 2020, he began promoting the idea of squeezing the hedge fund short sellers who had highly-leveraged positions and shorted over 100% of the stock. He urged his fans to “hold the line, because we set the price.”
Millennial gamers (as well as many GenX and Boomers) joined this campaign en mass (and suddenly Gill’s shares were worth millions), but it was not until Elon Musk tweeted “Gamestonk,” that value jumped from $70 to $400. Gill’s shares were now worth around $50 million. That’s when Robinhood (run by Vladimir Tenev) suspended sales because so many were buying the stock, crashing value to $150. The reason they gave was concern over meeting SEC requirements, not any liquidity issues, but two days later they got a billion dollar infusion. There seems to be a link between the major shareholders on Robinhood and the hedge funds short selling GameStop. Gill, meanwhile, nonchalantly posted a screen shot of his position, indicating he had sold zero stock and made no attempt to take profits from the surge. His gamer army quit Robinhood, migrated to Vanguard or Fidelity or some other brokerage, and kept buying the stock until it rebounded over $300.
This is not some normal situation. The gamers are refusing to sell their shares, what they call “diamond hands.” The short sellers won’t back down either. They have lost $19 billion so far and stand to lose a whole lot more. They can’t understand why these kids won’t take 5,000 percent profits (what the gamers call “tendies”) and go home.
Wall Street will likely never be quite the same as this group has grown into the millions and they now represent one of the most powerful hedge funds in the world, only they are decentralized and democratic.
Well, not quite since Gill is the leader, and is now to the gamers like Jerry Garcia was to the Deadheads.
The most amazing thing is how they refuse to take the money and have drawn a line in the sand to reign in the predatory practices of Wall Street, which is a fixed game favoring the already rich. But there’s suddenly a new game in town. The gamers have developed their own hilariously nihilistic zeitgeist with an ever-expanding slang that has become almost impenetrable to outsiders. They call each other “autistic retards” as a badge of honor. The best I can correlate is this is similar to black use of the “n” word. They call stocks “stonks.” They talk of somebody’s wife’s boyfriend, which has become an endlessly running gag. The last week, however, the community got an amazing jolt as millions upon millions flowed into their coffers. Then Robinhood cut the wind from their sails.
While a few boomers, like me, immediately sold all shares, I was so shamed afterwards by my millennial son, that I bought back in with diamond hands after spending a few hours at r/wallstreetbets. I sent a tip to Keith immediately, not realizing it was a faux pax. He doesn’t want tips and prefers you buy stock instead.
You really have to go to r/wallstreetbets to get a sense of how passionate these crusaders are.
Study the Scythians to help navigate the missing history of religion. Their religion was documented by Herodotus, the father of Western history.
Scythians believed god sent them three golden objects: a golden cup, a golden plough, and a golden battle ax.
The cup was too hot too touch, but one day a boy was able to pick it up. His offspring became the royal Scythians, in charge of appointing the Enares, who ran the ceremonies. The family with the plough was put in charge of planting hemp and other crops in the foothills of the Caucasus Mountains. During the summer, they moved their herds up the mountain fields to graze, and returned to the banks of the Black Sea during the winter. I could write a long time about their customs, even though they had no written language and everything we know comes from Persia or from Greece, in other words, their enemies. The Scythians built and controlled the Silk Road, which meant they were also involved in the slave, drug and spice trades. Silk didn’t appear until millennia later.
When the straits of Bosphorus were first breached, possibly due to a meteor strike, sea water flooded into the Black Sea burying all the towns and villages on the shore, as well as several islands. The survivors move away, some to Turkey, some to Persia, some to Afghanistan. They develop flood myths.
Meanwhile, in Bactria a new avatar emerges, Zoroaster, who is using the Scythian sacraments, and popularizes drinking hot milk mixed with cannabis, which turns out to be the most effective delivery system, both for medicinal and inspirational purposes. Zoroaster is a barefoot holy man, not a warrior like Heracles, the previous avatar. He carries a magic stick instead of a magic sword. He saves the tribe through feats of magic, not through feats of strength.
The first Zoroastrian king of Persia (Cyrus the Great) defeats the corrupt Babylonian empire and replaces it with a more enlightened form of government. He frees the Jews enslaved by Babylon and says, “Take this money and go back to Jerusalem and rebuild your temple and write down the history of your tribe.”
Naturally, they create a new avatar to update Abraham, named Moses, who is a composite of Zoroaster and Cyrus. Like Zoroaster, Moses goes to the top of “smokey” mountain and comes back with god’s rules after conversing with a burning bush. Like Cyrus, Moses was a foundling whose real identity was kept hidden.
Alexander the Great’s father becomes the first to defeat the Scythians in battle, opening the way for his son to march across the Silk Road and conquer Bactria. Meanwhile a new avatar emerged in India and became popular in Bactria. His name was Buddha. The great pantheons of Indian, Greek, Egyptian and Persian gods had been rejected by Zoroaster, who created the first monotheistic religion, but Buddha creates the first “no gods” religion in which your fate is ruled by karma, not by whims of some god.
Alexander embraces Buddhism before he dies and for centuries afterwards the entire Middle East becomes Buddhist with a Greek flavor. Judea borders the Greco-Buddhist empire, and soon the most advanced Jews are working on a new avatar, inspired by Buddha. Stories and scrolls are written to celebrate this new movement, which is vegetarian and seeks to stop the slaughter of birds and animals inside the temple.
This is a small, tiny movement, but one that troubles Rome, so they send one of their citizens to persecute these new Christians causing trouble in the temple, interfering with the slaughter of animals and birds, which makes a lot of profit (and Rome gets a cut).
The persecutor is unable to wipe out the movement, so he joins it and becomes its biggest influencer after the movement’s leader, James, is thrown off a tower and murdered. Thus ends any talk of vegetarianism.
Two hundred years later, a boy is born of a Christian father and Zoroastrian mother in Persia, and develops unique theories on religion at a young age, amazing the Magi while only 12. He successfully merges all religion to end war, and becomes a hunted man in return. He is such a vegetarian he won’t eat roots, only freely fallen fruits, nuts and vegetables. Lured out of safe haven in India he is skinned alive and decapitated for the crime of trying to end war. His murder makes him famous worldwide and the mercenary army of Rome begins flocking to his religion in droves, reading the bible he wrote by himself in his own unique calligraphy. He was the greatest portrait painter of his time. His temples spread over the world, until it got so big, Rome got worried again.
That’s when Constantine embraces a small cult designed to give comfort to the poor, and transforms it into an imperial juggernaut to take over the world. Many elements of Mani’s life are incorporated into the story of Jesus.
Not a single temple, bible, nor painting of Mani’s survives the great Inquisition, although pockets survive in modified form, like the Cathars in France. Eventually the Pope will order them all slaughtered to stop the spread of Mani’s dualism.
Mani had been healing the blind and lame, not with magic, but with the original oil of Moses, a mixture of cannabis resin suspended in olive oil with some spices, and a tad of opium and ephedra if available.
Rome disappears Mani and disappears cannabis at the same time. The Scythian holy grail, which was about the substance inside the cup, is transformed into the Christian Eucharist.
Johanna Harcourt-Smith was 26-years-old when she met Timothy Leary. After Leary turned informant, she was branded a CIA-honeypot by Allen Ginsberg and shunned by just about everyone. For a time, most of the counterculture turned on Leary and his acid queen.
The primary person Leary ratted out was a lawyer named Michael Kennedy who’d engineered Leary’s prison escape through the terrorist Weather Underground. Leary was only told they “were political people,” not that they were terrorist bombers responsible for the death of a San Francisco policeman. The Weather Underground sought to use Leary as a publicity tool by sending him to Algeria to live with Eldridge Cleaver. They wanted to replay the film Algeria, which documented the success of a terrorist Islamic-Marxist revolution led by downtrodden Muslims, who had no rights in French Algeria. Hundreds of thousands died in their fight for independence, and the Weather Underground was envisioning a similar scenario in the USA, except led by middle-class teenagers. The real mission, however, was driving the left violent in order to marginalize and isolate it from the mainstream.
In 1969, Leary successfully legalized cannabis for a brief moment when he appealed a pot conviction all the way to the Supreme Court and won, so the antiquated 1937 Marijuana Tax Act had to be swiftly replaced by the Controlled Substances Act, which broadened the reign of terror on medicinal plants.
In 1987, when I arrived at High Times the entire editorial staff had recently been fired over the Christmas holidays. The magazine was teetering on insolvency and circulation had cratered. The advertising base consisted of two companies selling lookalike pills obviously intended to be sold as real on the blackmarket. Caffeine was likely the primary ingredient. The magazine had recently relocated to save money on rent, and the files that survived were in a shambles. There were no photo files, and no manuscript log for unsolicited articles. All unsolicited material disappeared into a black hole. The publisher was an accountant who kept the magazine running by cutting expenses. But the publisher turned out to be a puppet for lawyer Kennedy.
Tom Forcade had created a trust to gift the company to loyal employees in the event of his demise, but when Kennedy learned of this, he immediately engineered a trip to the bank vault where the document was stored, and wrote his name on the list of trustees, while promising to serve as “protecter” of the agreement.
Soon Tom was dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound and Kennedy conspiring with Tom’s widow and family, including Tom’s lawyer uncle, the author of the trust. He was a former tank commander in WWII who’d been recruited into military intelligence. Employees began exiting en mass, mostly through sudden firings, but some because the thrill was gone. High Times became a treacherous environment run like an intelligence operation, where information was on a need-to-know basis.
Since the counterculture media had died or been co-opted by the 1980s, being put in charge of a nationally-distributed magazine represented a huge opportunity and I had no problem turning the financial situation around instantly just by upgrading the magazine’s content and focusing on celebrating the remaining counterculture, which included the Grateful Dead followers and Rainbow Family. One day A. Craig Copetus, one of the original High Times employees, visited the office. He seemed surprised to hear Kennedy had taken control. “Right before he died, Tom held a meeting and told us not to let Kennedy get control,” said Copetus. Obviously, Tom had second thoughts about that trip to the bank vault.
I sent a letter to Kennedy outlining my plans for creating universal, non-violent ceremonies that would focus on ending the drug war. I was already doing these cannabis-infused ceremonies in Amsterdam as part of the Cannabis Cup, as well as filming them, and felt a class-action lawsuit could be successfully mounted to protect hippies from persecution by claiming pot was a legitimate sacrament. To bolster these claims, I’d been accumulating evidence Zoroastrianism, the foundation for Judaism and Christianity, had originated as a cannabis cult, and the smoking bush of Moses was a reference to the inspirational power of cannabis. Despite offering a splendid opportunity for Kennedy to double-pay himself and get tremendous publicity for himself (and for the magazine), and increase sales, and especially because it would save countless thousands from jail and financial ruin, Kennedy never responded to the letter.
What Kennedy did instead is launch a series of campaigns to have me fired. A series of publishers were installed, all instructed to “start looking for a new editor.” Attempts were made to kill the Cannabis Cup, but I managed to offload that to Michael Esterson for a licensing fee. The agreement also kept videotaping alive as Esterson agreed to cover that cost. But as soon as the WHEE! festival became profitable, and Mountain Girl agreed to move the festival to her estate, Kennedy summoned me to his office, where he unexpectedly declared WHEE was dead. Kennedy informed me it was a huge waste of time and resources. Bolstering this lie required support from the publisher, who was Mike Edison at the time, who would soon be fired, and who later write a revenge memoir branding me as incompetent. Apparently, among my many crimes was believing the assassinations of the 1960s deserved further investigation, and that a group of teens from Marin had invented 420.
The next year, the trust dissolved and Trans High Corporation gifted to the employees. I was given some token shares along with a handful of other real employees, but Kennedy and Tom’s family held the majority. Kennedy moved into the High Times office and began running the operation into the ground. Meanwhile, I could never comprehend why Kennedy was so angry with me all the time since I’d been making him millions and sales sank without me at the helm. He was living on billionaires row on Central Park South, his summer residence was an ocean-front property in the Yale enclave in the Hamptons, and he also had a winter home in Palm Beach, as well as an estate in Ireland. I was a single dad living hand-to-mouth with two kids with a disabled wife to support at a different location, and just eking by thanks to the debates I was doing on college campuses against the former head of the New York DEA.
One day, I was summoned to Kennedy’s office where he introduced me to Buffalo Mailer, Norman Mailer’s son. Kennedy wanted Buffalo to provide some young energy to the aging editorial staff, so he was being installed as Executive Editor and I needed to introduce him to staff as if it was my idea.
The following day, I was again summoned to Kennedy’s office upon arrival in the morning, where a shame-faced Mailer held a copy of a just-released New York magazine, which contained an interview with Richard Stratton where he announced his next project: running High Times. Kennedy had made a secret deal with Stratton and Mailer was Stratton’s stalking horse. I felt sorry for Mailer, for allowing himself to be dragged into participating in a slimy hoodwink. At the editorial meeting later that morning where Mailer announced the real situation to the staff, only Natasha shed tears for me. The others were already angling for elevation on the masthead.
I was moved out of the office so as not to interfere with the transition. I could never understand why nobody wanted my participation as I’d always thought of magazines as a team effort, and the goal was assembling the best possible staff. My investigative journalism had been a significant part of the magazine’s success, so why wouldn’t that continue? Instead, my contribution was limited to a 500-word monthly column, for which I was paid a steadily dwindling salary.
One day I got an email from Johanna saying she wanted to talk. I’d believed the stories about her being a CIA agent, but I was having second thoughts about that, as well as the truth concerning Kennedy’s participation in the Weather Underground. I knew Bill Ayers remained a close friend since I’d recently edited Kennedy’s adopted daughter’s wedding video.
I soon began formulating my alternative history of the 1960s, in which Tim Leary and Charlie Manson are manipulated pawns deployed to de-tooth the counterculture. Knowing I was on treacherous ground, I sent an email to Kennedy requesting permission to interview Johanna. Strangely, I got a response right away, and it contained an emotional plea not to because the memories remained an open wound. That email was nothing like any other email I ever received from Kennedy. It wasn’t like him to show weakness.
Johanna died recently from breast cancer, but she was able to finally get her story out. She’d watched Wormwood on Netflix and felt compelled to contact the filmmaker, who’d instantly agreed to interview her. During the film, it becomes apparent Johanna felt she was being manipulated into Leary’s orbit and it was through surveillance on her that the CIA was keeping tabs on Leary. But she’d never been a knowing participant. And I believe this is the way a lot of intel operations work. Few have any clue to the unseen strings or who the puppet masters might be.
Johanna had become promiscuous at age 15, and a parade of powerful people connected to arms trafficking and illegal drugs soon became her friends and lovers. She became part of the Rolling Stones jet-setting entourage. At 26, she was likely nearing the end of a glamorous career as swinging super hottie, when Aleister Crowley devotee Anita Pallenberg (who’d inspired the Stones “Sympathy for the Devil” phase), told her to look up Leary because he was available and hiding out in Switzerland.
At their first meeting Leary pulled out Crowley Tarot deck.
I was disappointed the film never delved into whether Johanna could have been sold by her mother to the CIA as an MK/Ultra sex slave. She’d had a raging libido from the age of 15, and typically held at least eight males under her command at all times. The reason Wormwood resonated so deeply could have been because her role as an acid queen was ordained.
The sad truth about Leary is he was half-visionary and half-huckster. His first book on the psychedelic experience was based around the Tibetan Book of the Dead, magic incantations intended to lead the dying to nirvana, basically the same hoodwink MI6 operative Somerset Maugham deployed in the Razor’s Edge, in which the secrets of the universe are located in Eastern philosophies. Imagine leading people from India or China to adopt Catholicism as the true faith. Enlightenment is not like climbing a mountain. You don’t reach the top and become released from temporal bondage. There is no nirvana, no heaven, no hell, no eternal soul. You’re just replacing one Santa Claus story with another. The real secret to magic and religion is it only works on believers.
Strangely, the Weather Underground celebrated the Manson murders, and held Charlie up as a counterculture hero for “killing pigs.” They also celebrated Sirhan Sirhan for the same reason. Both Leary and Manson were held in isolation at the same prison, but their cells strangely located next door, allowing them to communicate.
“They took you off the streets so I could continue your work,” said Manson.
After JFK was assassinated a cottage industry appeared to spread outlandish theories about what really happened. Real researchers like Penn Jones, Silvia Meagher, Harold Weisberg were suddenly snowed under by crank leads and rabbit holes leading nowhere. These efforts were only magnified when Jim Garrison began investigating the case in New Orleans. Probably the most effective stream of this gunk was manufactured by Discordians some of whom had been obviously unwittingly captured into participating in a clever counterintelligence operation designed to neutralize the real researchers. Apparently, the Discordians believed the Garrison investigation was a fraud, which justified their attempts at conspiracy theory monkey wrenching.
A lot of the gunk involved various theories regarding MK/Ultra mind control experiments, something few had any clue to in the mid-sixties. Mind control eventually became a subject pervaded with disinfo, starting with the first books on the subject, Were We Controlled by Lincoln Lawrence, followed swiftly by Operation Mind Control by Walter Bowart.
Lincoln Lawrence turned out to be a regular on the emerging UFO circuit (real name: Art Ford), who claimed to have discovered a ray-gun at the North Pole that was over 100,000 years old. Most people thought this artifact looked like a toy pistol. Ford’s book claimed Oswald was a KGB sleeper agent and had been set-up as a patsy. He claimed the real story was published by a Chicago publisher, who turned out to be Novel Books, which was Kerry Thornley’s publisher as well, which should tell you all you need to know about this rabbit hole. Thornley’s editor at Novel was Louise Lacey, who would later be “ordained” as a Discordian Pope. Surely this is the most dubious distinction any JFK researcher can hold. Who would fund the rise of a fake religion dedicated to spreading fake news about the JFK assassination? The answer is James Angleton.
Bowart is an even more interesting character. An orphan from Omaha, Nebraska (which means he likely could have resided at Boy’s Town, the most famous Catholic orphanage in the world), Bowart moved to New York City in the early sixties and in 1965 became a founder of the East Village Other. He married Mellon heiress Peggy Hitchcock, whose brother Billy funded the spread of Orange Sunshine across the globe, while his uncle Richard Scaife invented the Radical Right. While the Astor, Vanderbilt, Morgan and Carnegie dynasties have disappeared, the Mellon clan remains richer than ever.
Bowart and Hitchcock bore two children but the marriage didn’t last, although Bowart got a few thousand a month in alimony for several months after the divorce was finalized. He moved to Arizona and created a publishing company for exploring metaphysical topics. Decades later, it would be determined Boy’s Town was a center for recruiting child sex slaves, similar to what Jeffrey Epstein ended up doing. Apparently, managing sex slaves can be very profitable and most of the profit comes through either selling the tapes or using them as blackmail.
Like many others in the alternative media, I originally mistook Bowart as an honest researcher, but later in life I happened to pick up his book and went through a painful reevaluation, starting with the list of influencers given credit in the opening pages for shaping his zeitgeist. I was startled to see this list begin with Chip Berlet, an obvious intel propagandist who was head of the Friends of Albania in Chicago while also serving as an FBI informant. Berlet would go on to lead pushback against those claiming the the CIA killed JFK, who were suffering from a fake mental disorder he labeled “conspiracism.”
Berlet had a mirror operation on the right that was much bigger and better funded being run through Lyndon LaRouche. These two centers of propaganda staged a dogma war for a few decades, LaRouche asserting a Jewish cabal was running run the world while Berlet batted down those theories as far-right antisemitism.
Also on Bowart’s list was British intelligence super spook William Stephenson (misspelled “Stevenson”), the man who ran the world’s largest propaganda campaign in history from free offices on the 35 and 36th floor of Rockefeller Center.
Also on the list was Fletcher Prouty, the primary whistleblower on the JFK assassination from inside the Pentagon, who in hindsight appears to have been a backstop and not a real whistleblower as none of his information ever led to an official investigation of anyone.
To unravel counterintelligence operations, one only need identify the major designated influencer on a subject and before long more will reveal themselves as part of the team because these operations involve budgets and can always outlast and outwit any independent investigative researchers. Today, we have the phony Q-Anon community as the modern update on Discordianism, but the impact is the same, which is to muddy the waters on real deep state information, the people who ran the MK/Ultra assassins.
Mind control was a deep CIA secret for decades, part of the family jewels, which is why a cottage industry appeared to plant rabbit holes on the subject as soon as the public became aware of the situation. Oswald likely went through behavior modifications through hypnotism, and was probably told these experiments were designed to help him maintain his cover while in Russia. We know Oswald was hypnotized by David Ferrie while serving as a cadet in the Civil Air Patrol because Ferrie hypnotized all his cadets. One thing that stands out: orphans and those without strong father figures seem to make the best subjects.
There are numerous candidates for the list of CIA-programmed assassin: Mark David Chapman, Sirhan Sirhan, and John Hinckley. But one of the best documented cases is also among the least well-known.
Luis Angel Castillo was imprisoned for robbery in Bordentown Reformatory in New Jersey, another site documented as conducting MK/Ultra experiments. Raised in Puerto Rico by Cuban nationals, he left Puerto Rico to attend school in Cuba in 1960. This may have been part of a JM/Wave penetration project. He was trained for several years as a Cuban intelligence agent. In late 1966, he changed identities with a Filipino living in Chicago named Antonio Reyes Eloriaga, at the direction of the Cuban Intelligence Service, for the purpose of using Eloriaga’s Philippine passport to go to the Philippines.
Castillo departed Chicago for the Philippines, traveling under a Philippine passport taken from a Philippine national illegally in the USA. Apparently his mission was to assassinate Ferdinand Marcos, who was dipping his fingers excessively into the stolen gold stashed by the Japanese after WWII and recovered by Yale Bonesmen working with Opus Dei. Marcos was getting kickbacks for contributing soldiers to aid the war in Vietnam.
Once in the Philippines Castillo was arrested by security services and claimed to be a Castro secret agent and offered his services in assassinating Huk guerrillas. But then they decided to submit Castillo to drugs and hypnosis and an entirely different story popped out. He quickly confessed to being among 14 Cuban intelligence agents who had been deployed in Dallas for Kennedy’s assassination after which he flew to Chicago in a plane piloted by a Russian-looking women named Jean Dole of Madison, Wisconsin.
It appears Castillo could have been a shooter, or back-up patsy linked to Castro if anything went south with the Oswald-as-lone-assassin scenario. One of the assassins, John Roselli, would float the theory that a CIA team sent into Cuba to kill Castro had been turned by Castro and sent back to kill JFK. In a sense, this is what happened, only the team was not “turned” by Castro. Castillo claimed to have been positioned on the second floor of the Dal-Tex Building with a rifle in his lap that he had no memory of firing (a detail that could easily have been hypnotically erased). Also of note, Castillo claimed the rifle was produced out of a bag in two parts, which corresponds to Ed Hoffman’s testimony of the grassy knoll gunman, as well as Joseph Milteer’s description of the weapon.
Apparently, Castillo never had a clear idea of who he really worked for. The CIA put immense effort into locating people who were easy to hypnotize and used them for a variety of ops and Castillo pioneered a list that now includes Sirhan Sirhan, Mark Chapman, John Hinckley and Donald DeFreeze. The problem was Castillo had so many multiple personalities it became exceedingly difficult to determine which statements might be true, as opposed to those hypnotically planted.
“Castillo was visited by a World Health Organization-based doctor,” claims Victor Arcega, “who tried and failed to re-hypnotize him.” Life, Time and Post correspondents interviewed him, while warning him to “shut up. In 1968, Castillo returned to the US on charges of mischief and vagrancy and entered an Illinois federal jail, but his wife (and soon-to-be ex), swore he never spent a day in jail. Within a month, the Illinois governor pardoned Castillo. “The last time he was seen, his mother was told Luis was shopping for clothes and travel stuff, preparing for a ‘missionary’ trip. To Angola.”
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: