Confessions of an Acid Queen

Johanna at 26

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 (aka Gary Goodson)

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.

Micheal Kennedy

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.

Buffalo Mailer

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.

Richard Statton

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.

Teenage Johanna

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.

Johanna and her mother

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.

The Missing Men in the Psychedelic Revolution

As the history of the psychedelic revolution is being written fifty years later, I can’t help but notice some of the most important characters are disappearing from the official narrative. And foremost among the missing men is Ronald Stark.

I recently watched The Sunshine Makers on Netflix concerning LSD chemists Nick Sands and Tim Scully, the duo who produced millions of hits of Orange Sunshine for The Brotherhood of Eternal Love out of Laguna Beach. I found it quite odd that John Griggs, Tim Leary and Ron Stark were left out of the story entirely. So I checked out the maker of this documentary only to discover it was Cosmo Feilding-Mellen, an English royal whose mom was involved with Nick Sands. I suspect she was also involved with Stark, who surfaced in England to recruit psychiatrist R.D. Laing to become the first psychedelic messiah. These characters were swimming in the same pond.

Laing worked for the Tavistock Institute at the time, the English equivalent of Fort Detrick’s MK/Ultra mind control matrix. But before that appointment, Laing made his career breaking fakers trying to slip out of military service as mental rejects, as in Ken Kesey’s One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest. He’d created a new theory of mental illness along the way in which the crazy people were the sane ones simply creating another reality to escape a crazy world. When examining the actions of psychiatrists inflicting electric shock and other invasive trauma, and comparing that with the reactions of the patients, Laing concluded it was the system that was irrational.

But Laing was spooked by Stark’s elaborate plans for the Psychedelic Revolution he was plotting, so Stark left England and arrived at the doorstep of Tim Leary to make the same offer. Leary was living in upstate New York at the time, in an estate provided by Billy Hitchcock, one of the heirs to the Mellon fortune. Hitchcock became a primary money launderer and also the startup funder for Orange Sunshine. But it was Stark who provided the essential precursor.

At the time John Griggs was running the most important hippie secret society, The Brotherhood of Eternal Love, and he was the real hippie avatar you likely never heard of who has been written out of the story. When Leary got kicked out of that New York estate, he fled to Griggs, and affected a Griggs style, wearing Afghan silk robes and putting flowers in his hair and preaching universal love. That was all Griggs. Leary was a West Point graduate who did high-level government research on mind control. But he slipped off the leash and went native and joined the hippie revolution. And then he got lost in the wilderness of mirrors, because that revolution was being usurped from the moment it first appeared.

Meanwhile, Sands gave Griggs an experimental substance to test, and Griggs died shortly after ingesting it. This is when Stark showed up with more LSD than anyone thought existed and Stark forged a relationship with Michael Randall, who inherited the Brotherhood leadership. It was Stark who created the European distribution network for the Brotherhood.

He got ratted out in Italy and put in jail, but convinced a judge he really worked for the CIA and he got released. His death is cloaked in mystery and nothing is known for sure, except that he moved among the biggest drug smugglers and terror operatives and political officials of his time. He had global connections that reached into the highest levels of government and organized crime and the hippie counterculture.

So my question is, why is Ron Stark being left out of the story?

Revilo P. Oliver is a clue to the JFK assassination

Revilo P. Oliver

Once you identify the principle polemicists salting the intel-sponsored propaganda, you’re halfway to enlightenment; and once you identify the major memes those polemicists are salting, you can easily ID a lot more spooks and avoid their rabbit holes to nowhere. Anyone supporting obviously fake memes is either a spook or hoodwinked true believer and there is no other option. Spooks and true believers can’t be trusted, so divide conspiracy research into two categories, trusted and not trusted, and learn from both categories. With practice and a keen eye for detail, you’ll soon be learning more from the disinfo than the authentic intel (mostly because there’s a lot more noise than signal). But you must avoid falling into the traps, what I call the rabbit holes, the biggest of which is racism in any form. The most powerful forces promoting ethnic cleansing are spook-driven, manufactured to assist the war-for-profit scenarios with their divide-and-conquer propaganda, something always easily identified.

The post-WWI generation was turned against Jews in many ways and on many levels, but mostly through Ernest Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald, both of whom demeaned the culture whenever possible. These were the two most influential novelists when novels were an influence. At the time, Jews were not integrated into high society, not allowed to join the country clubs or fraternities of the oligarchy. Instead, rich Jews had their own aristocracy centered on families holding stock in the Federal Reserve, the ones who also owned some of the biggest investment banks, the ones linked to names like Rothschild and Warburg. This division between these two powerful oligarchies along the Eastern seaboard was intentional and in place prior to the Civil War. They are still separate in some quarters.

I suspect Revilo P. Oliver worked for OSS during WWII. He was a brilliant intellectual and mastered a dozen languages, and was considered an expert in the origins of religion. He taught at the University of Illinois, where I grew up, evolving into a major player on the national stage.

Residing walking distance from campus on Ohio Street, Oliver could be seen slouching off to his office in the Classics Department wearing an enormous black fedora and ankle-length trench-coat, looking like a parody of an intelligence operative. His vicious letters to the editor of the News Gazette probably served mostly to recruit members to the local lodge of the John Birch Society, an organization Oliver had a hand in creating.

Soon, however, his buddy William Buckley, a Boner from Yale who ran the National Review, dropped Oliver as a contributor. And then the Birch Society began purging the most virulent racists off their rolls, of which Oliver was the ringleader. Oliver responded by publishing evidence the Birchers had been overrun by the same Jews manipulating the State Department, United Nations, and world-wide Communist conspiracy.

During Halloween, local children in his neighborhood collecting donations for UNICEF were warned in advance to steer a wide birth from his block, lest they cross his path and engender a political rant on the evils of globalism.

“When my sister was reading Nancy Drew she and Connie Marshall, whose dad became a federal judge, went all around the Oliver’s house tapping the walls for secret entrances,” recalls Mary Gates DeRosier. “Mrs. Oliver had a funeral for her dog and invited the neighbors. My mom went and told us that the dog was laid-out on the sofa surrounded by flowers. Mrs. Oliver was always giving us flyers about the dangers of Coca-Cola and of fluoride in the drinking water.”

Oliver moved on by creating the National Alliance, now known as the National Vanguard, the wellspring from which many generations of terrorists with strange links to intelligence operations have sprung. Funny, how nobody writes or talks about Oliver today, except his supporters, even though his role as a spook propagandist should be obvious with hindsight.

Soon after JFK’s assassination, Oliver published a dissenting opinion claiming JFK was a communist who’d been murdered by the communists because he’d decided to “go American.” He claimed Lee Harvey Oswald had been trained by the KGB, and the Warren Commission had been preordained to claim Oswald was a lone assassin. This was published after the commission was announced, long before the 888-page report appeared. Oliver’s theory was peppered with distortions and outright fabrications, as well as some amazing secret truths, evidence of inside sources. The government, especially the State Department, was heavily penetrated by a secret communist conspiracy run by Jews, claimed Oliver, and as evidence he cited the impossibility of a Marine formerly posted at our most secret base in Japan defecting to Russia, and then freely returning to America, and yet not monitored by the FBI. This could only happen if the State Department was infested with cooperating communist conspirators claimed Oliver, ignoring the more obvious explanation Oswald was an American spook who was returning from a failed penetration operation in Russia.

“The identification of the murderer was a near-miracle. If not the result of divine intervention, it was the result of a series of coincidences of the same order as might enable a bum with a dollar in his pocket to enter a casino in Reno and emerge with a thousand,”noted Oliver, in another one of his many spot-on assessments. This miraculous identification and capture of Oswald began with the murder of Officer J.D. Tippit. Oswald’s wallet was discovered at the scene, along with four spent cartridges from his revolver. Strange Oliver could recognize the anomaly of Oswald’s strangely trouble-free re-entry into the USA after supposedly defecting to the enemy, but missed this highly improbable wallet, especially considering Oswald was captured an hour later with a wallet in his pocket (and a revolver that didn’t work). Which means the wallet at the scene must have been planted. There’s also the witnesses to the Tippet slaying who claim Oswald was not the man they saw fleeing the crime. The only other option is believing the official story Oswald murdered Tippet, then calmly emptied his revolver, tossed his wallet on the ground and then fled the scene, found a new wallet with ID, found a new revolver (that didn’t function) and discarded his working revolver, which is the version Oliver opted for in this instance.

“Americans known to be opponents of the Conspiracy, including General Walker, prominent members of the John Birch Society, and leaders of other conservative organizations, began to receive threats of death by telephone from creatures who somehow knew that Kennedy was dead before he reached the hospital,” wrote Oliver. I believe this detail is also spot-on in that Texas John Birch supporters put up the $150,000 to pay the shooters and were among the first notified of the mission’s success, but salting that observation with the lie these calls included death threats to the paymasters is an obvious misdirection that recalls Edwin Stanton’s efforts to claim he was a target of the Lincoln assassination conspiracy, and not one of the instigators himself.

Oliver was especially harsh on the then director of the Council on Foreign Relations, the recently-fired former CIA head, Allen W. Dulles. “Dulles was the head of an American spy ring in Switzerland during the Second World War and is said to have done a fairly good job,” began Oliver, “although it was believed at the time that his organization was infested with double agents who were really in the employ of the Soviet — and even more serious implications can be drawn from the testimony given in Karlsruhe last July by Heinz Felfe, a Soviet agent who had been Mr. Dulles’ German counterpart and supposed competitor in Switzerland.” Yes, Dulles was head of OSS in Europe and was posted in Switzerland, and recruited the bulk of the Nazi spy network into the CIA in a secret surrender with Malta Knight Reinhardt Gehlen, who was later rewarded by becoming head of the West German secret services, but Felfe was a minor figure when posted in Switzerland compared with Dulles, and just one of many spooks accepting pay from all comers.

“One writer has recently suggested that it was the C.I.A. that arranged the assassination of Kennedy; I know of no evidence to support that opinion, but obviously Mr. Dulles’ creation is open to suspicion. Perhaps that is why he is a member of the “special commission,” wrote Oliver in a brief and startling moment of spot-on clarity that was instantly jettisoned.

Oliver claimed the commission would paint “Comrade Oswald as a poor, lone critter who done it all alone. Probably ‘psychiatrists’ will be produced to prove he done it ’cause, at the age of six months, he had to wait an extra five minutes for his bottle.” Strange that Oswald was likely worked on by CIA psychiatrists while a teen in New York, prior to his being hypnotized by David Ferry while a member of Ferry’s Civil Air Patrol in New Orleans. The fact he knew the outcome before the investigation began was yet another spot-on.

Oliver was called before the Warren Commission to testify, and I imagine that was a scripted encounter. Mark Lane was another one of the few independent investigators allowed to present evidence directly to the Commission. It took me decades to realize Lane’s testimony was likely scripted as well, for he was also a former OSS officer, and was likely guided into a role as the premier debunker of the official story. He soon tainted himself by embracing Willis Carto’s holocaust denial movement. Isn’t it strange that both Oliver and Lane were on polar opposites of the political divide, one far left the other far right, and yet both believed in a Jewish conspiracy running the world?

If you want to find a contemporary salter of disinfo, check out Jan Irvin, who treads in Oliver’s footsteps with lies and distortions. Irvin produces propaganda supporting the theory the hippies were created by the CIA, and that Tim Leary, Ken Kesey and me are employees of that agency, and not its critics. Since I’m on the inside of this particular conspiracy theory, it’s impossible for me to ignore Irvin is making shit up. So I put him in the “not trusted” category. And wouldn’t you know, he also believes Jews are running the system through some secret satanic cult based on the teachings of Aleister Crowley, which just confirms my suspicions intel is exploiting Crowley for propaganda. But they do the same thing with their phony UFO evidence they are constantly manufacturing.

My advice: avoid any variation on any rabbit holes resembling: the Communists are running the world; the Jews are running the world; the Satanists are running the world, the aliens are running the world, or the CIA created the hippies.

Origins of the Radical Right

There’s a lot of discussion about how Rockefellers and Rothschilds run the Illuminati, but in truth the trail into the oligarchies ruling the planet runs wider and deeper than two families from two countries. There are many others jousting for a slice of the skim. Here in the USA, the Duponts, certainly quality, but also the Mellons.

Banker Andrew Mellon was appointed Secretary of the Treasury by President Warren Harding, known today as one of the most corrupt executives to occupy the Oval Office. His administration was brief, however, as Harding died unexpectedly under mysterious circumstances while visiting San Francisco. Some say it was flu, others blame a heart attack, but we’ll never know for sure because his widow refused an autopsy, while rushing back to Washington to quickly burn all his papers.

Mellon kept his job through two more administrations, which shows how immense his influence was. He invented trickle-down economics and cut the tax rate on the richest Americans from 75% to 25%, while reducing corporate and inheritance taxes.  Although he was a great friend to the super rich, eventually Congress launched an impeachment hearing against him and began marshaling evidence of corruption, which prompted Mellon to swiftly resign to become Ambassador to England, always a plum posting for oligarchy insiders. He remained only a year, however, before retiring from public life, indicating the move may have been a diversion from a sticky situation.

Among Mellon’s most notable accomplishments was the vast reduction of WWI debt owed by Germany and France, as well as the creation of the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs. He unleashed his nephew-in-law Harry J. Anslinger to foment a war on marijuana and jazz culture after the Bureau of Prohibition became obsolete. Creating a war on plants was Mellon’s solution for keeping his alcohol vice squad intact.

President Franklin Roosevelt detested Mellon and launched an IRS investigation which determined he owed two million in back taxes, even though Mellon was the third largest tax payer behind Rockefeller and Ford. Rather than pay up, however, Mellon justified his reduced payment by explaining that as Secretary of the Treasury, he could set his own tax rate on himself according to what he felt he owed. The IRS dropped the case after Mellon’s death.

In 1958, Richard Mellon Scaife  inherited a large chunk of the Mellon fortune after the death of this father Alan, who’d served as a major in the Office of Strategic Services, precursor of the CIA. In fact, a number of Mellons can be found in crucial positions in the OSS. While a freshman, Scaife was kicked out of Yale. He’d rolled a keg of beer down a flight of stairs, where it collided with another student, breaking his leg. When his mother died in 1972, Scaife became a billionaire and took control of the vast Mellon empire. According to his sister Cordelia, Richard, his mother and her were “gutter drunks.”

Scaife became a supporter of Barry Goldwater and was crushed by his resounding defeat at the polls. In order to take control of the country from the Democrats, it became necessary to muster a grassroots campaign to derail the exploding counterculture revolution. Scaife would soon either create or take control of countless propaganda fronts and think tanks, and by working divisive issues like abortion and gun control, the operation began constructing what became known as “the moral majority.”

Robert LeFevre was one of the first libertarians and founded a school in Colorado designed to indoctrinate leaders for a right-wing revolution. LeFevre became the model for a character in a Robert Heinlein novel, The Moon is a Harsh Mistress. Among those who attended the school was Kerry Thornley, who served at the secret Atsuki base in Japan and became a close associate of Lee Harvey Oswald, as well as members of the now-famous Koch family, who helped create the notoriously conspiratorial John Birch Society and also backed Goldwater’s failed presidential bid.

On the other side of the dialectic, however, Scaife’s cousin Billy Mellon Hitchcock became Tim Leary’s sugar daddy, and began bankrolling an LSD distribution network that was soon raking in illegal profits. One of Billy’s operatives was Ronald H. Stark, who apparently carried a copy of The Moon is a Harsh Mistress wherever he appeared. And Stark appeared in some of the strangest places, like a Zelig planted inside the counterculture.

In 1983, Scaife held a meeting with FBI informant John Rees and Chip Berlet, formally of the National Student Association, a CIA-front. The purpose of the meeting was to establish a hit squad on the emerging Lyndon LaRouche organization that was recruiting undergraduates (many of whom were of Jewish descent) into a political action hit-team aimed at discrediting both the counterculture and the new right-wing movement being fomented by key families around the country, most notably: Scaife in Pittsburgh, Bradley in Milwaukee, Olin in New York, Smith Richardson in Pittsboro, Coors in Denver, and Koch in Wichita.

Chip Berlet briefly became Washington DC editor of High Times magazine, and hosted A.J. Weberman when he came to investigate the JFK assassination. Thornley and Weberman would play key roles in sheep-dipping E. Howard Hunt as key instigator of the JFK hit, a rabbit hole I believe was cleverly devised by James Angleton to shield the real operatives, Ted Shackley and Johnny Roselli. They’d been charged with the mission to kill Castro, but after JFK called off the hit and began working for world peace, the CIA-sponsored hit team went off-the-shelf and hit JFK instead of Castro.

When you peer deeply into these events, it seems many of these famous altercations are staged dialectics for propaganda effect. By simultaneously funding Communists and anti-Communists, they sought control over debate parameters as engineered feuds have a way of building true believers on both sides of the divide.