“College and academic institutions offer no courses on agent provocateurs or how to recognize covert operations…There is no textbook on protecting society from sabotage…A clear understanding of covert operations and how they are carried out are avoided”. - Mae Brussell, The Realist, 1973
“We’re all living in a virtual black operation”. – Douglas Valentine, author of The Phoenix Program and CIA as Organized Crime (March 2020, on the Tin Foil Hat podcast)
The assassination of John F. Kennedy was an event that had a deep and lasting impact on many who were alive when it happened. One such person was a content and politically disinterested Beverly Hills housewife named Mae Brussell. Brussell immediately sensed that something was wrong, and when the Warren Commission came out a year later with its report on the Kennedy assassination, she bought and read all 26 volumes of it, cross-indexing the entire thing. This jump started Brussell’s transformation into becoming one of the great parapolitical researchers of all time. She moved herself and her kids to Carmel, California, and began researching relentlessly. She read up to ten papers a day, as well as magazines, and cut out and filed articles in an ever-growing collection of filing cabinets. She began a radio program in 1971 and was on the air until 1988 when a second round of death threats permanently forced her off the air. She died shortly after of cancer at age 66.
Brussell knew all the major players in US power politics from reading the Warren Commission, and she fruitfully followed them through time. She was also one of the earliest to recognize and understand that major portions of the Nazi apparatus had survived and been absorbed into the US and other governments after World War II. John Lennon was so impressed with her work that he paid Paul Krassner to publish her in his counterculture magazine The Realist. Frank Zappa gave her a computer so she could better do her filing (she never used it). Her close read of the political winds led her to make incredible predictions. In 1968 she went up to Rose Kennedy in a Monterey airport and told her that her husband Robert F. Kennedy was in grave danger. A week later he was assassinated. In her March 29th, 1981 radio broadcast she spoke at length about power struggles she was observing in Washington, DC, fixing in on Reagan’s Secretary of State Alexander Haig. Haig was going to make a move Brussell said, and Reagan was in danger. The very next morning Reagan was shot, and afterwards Haig told the press he was in charge at the White House, even though this was not the proper chain of command. Brussell was on the pulse due to her close research and her keen understanding of covert and clandestine operations, and her life and work inspired many researchers after her, several of whom we’ll be using in this piece.
Brussell was doing what historian Peter Dale Scott calls deep history. Scott was a professor in the English Department at the University of California, Berkeley from 1968 until 1994. He was a left-leaning poet who was friends with Noam Chomsky and Howard Zinn, but he disagreed with them on where the true problems with society lay. Instead of the State in general, or corporate power or the military industrial complex- all of which are problems- Scott coined the phrase the parapolitical to describe a hidden clandestine layer of politics, “a system or practice of politics where accountability is diminished”. Scott used the terms “the underworld and overworld”, or the “covert and overt worlds”, to describe where the real problem lies- that so much political activity is done in a clandestine manner, hidden under a blanket of secrecy, and subsequently “covered up by systematic falsifications in the mainstream media and internal government records”. It was Scott who first popularized the term the deep state when describing this veiled layer of political power.
The political activist and early civil rights pioneer Marcus Garvey once said that “A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots”. The last four months of research for Pt. 2 of this series on The Network has revealed to me just how rootless we currently are, and how dangerous that is for us in our current world historical moment. It’s hard to know our enemy when it hides in the shadows, when it intentionally obscures our history and its criminal deeds, when it distracts us with the phantasmic shiny objects of its well-crafted Spectacle. The history we need to know is not the overt surface history, but the deep history that’s been artfully hidden from us. Hopefully this article and the multiple part series that will now follow it, will be useful in redressing this lopsided situation. Pt.2 is long and I don’t expect it to be read in one sitting, it’s a monster for sure. But as I’ve come to discover the last sixty-five years is one long unbroken story from the JFK assassination until the madness we currently find ourselves in, which made it hard to know when to put a break in the retelling of it. Future parts will be shorter and focus only on one single subject, and the research is already complete for another ten parts, so they should come out much more quickly now.
Two years ago, I wrote that “it appears like the ‘New World Order’ has gone live”. I’m no longer hedging on that claim. It’s indeed game on, and we’re under siege. We’re in the denouement, the final climax of a story most of us didn’t even know was occurring. The Network carefully put the pieces of its future control grid in place over long stretches of time while most of us were understandably distracted, just trying to live our lives. Now that Network, the Western elite of the Anglo-American establishment, seems hell bent on taking their project to completion, moving us violently into a global social credit system, a totalitarian neo-serfdom where our every move will be surveilled, our purchases controlled, and our freedom of speech non-existent. As NYU professor Mark Crispin Miller put it in a recent interview with Dr. Pierre Kory, “This is a globalist attack on democracy, on democratic rights and freedoms, and on humanity itself. The aim here is to make it illegal to contradict the voice of authority…What we’re talking about here is probably the most grievous threat to freedom of speech and thought, and academic freedom, in human history…It’s all in the service of an oppressive and repressive world order. You are not allowed to contradict what the authorities say”. As Shakespeare once wrote, “Hell is empty, and the devils are all here”.
The following is my contribution to the feverish information war that we’re all unwilling participants in. Knowing the deep history of our recent past, drawing off the work of so many researchers who documented it along the away, some who paid for that research with their lives, we can get a much better sense of the truly sinister nature of what we’re dealing with. And by knowing the bag of dirty tricks they use- sabotage, agent provocateurs, political assassination, covert operations, irregular warfare and domestic counterinsurgencies- we’ll only become stronger and stronger as the battle goes on. Let’s pick up the story where we left off at the end of The Network Pt.1. The escalation of the Vietnam War.
Vietnam War as Test Bed
As we read in Pt.1 of this series, The Network had many reasons to kill JFK and his intention to pull out of Vietnam was one of them. Through the research of a series of authors we can see that The Network used the Vietnam War as one big testing ground for a variety of technological and warfare applications, all of which would have serious ramifications for the decades ahead. We can start with historian Alfred McCoy’s 2006 book A Question of Torture- CIA Interrogation, from the Cold War to the War on Terror. As part of the Vietnam war effort the US military and the CIA set up Provincial Reconnaissance Units (PRUs) as a part of its notorious Phoenix Program. These PRUs would include teams that would capture or kill individuals suspected of being Vietcong or of aiding the Vietcong, and they also each had an interrogation center. By 1964, “Each of the forty-plus provinces in South Vietnam…had its own concrete prison compound called the Provincial Interrogation Center” (McCoy, 63). At these interrogation centers the CIA could now utilize and expand upon what they had learned through their vicious MKUltra human experimentation programs, but away from the pesky prying eyes of the universities and medical centers that were used in the North American context. McCoy writes, “With limitless funding and unrestrained powers, Phoenix represented an application of the most advanced interrogation techniques to the task of destroying the Vietcong’s revolutionary underground. From its overall strategy to its specific interrogation techniques, Phoenix was the culmination of the CIA’s mind-control project...The agency was now operating a nationwide network of interrogation centers that used torture to generate intelligence, providing a limitless supply of human subjects. In effect, they were testing, under field conditions, whether Ewen Cameron's McGill depatterning techniques could actually alter human behavior” (p.65).
By the CIA’s own admission over 26,000 people were killed by the Phoenix Program, many in these interrogation centers. One military intelligence veteran who served in the Phoenix Program from 1967-68, K. Barton Osborne, testifying before a 1971 US government House Operations Committee looking into allegations of wartime misconduct, said that “In his eighteen months with the Phoenix Program, not a single VC suspect had survived interrogation” (McCoy, p.67). And no wonder, as the techniques used became increasingly sadistic and macabre over time. Douglas Valentine, who wrote a seminal book The Phoenix Program- America’s Use of Terror in Vietnam (1990), writes of some of these techniques- “Rape, gang rape, rape using eels, snakes, or hard objects, and rape followed by murder; electrical shock (“the Bell Telephone Hour”) rendered by attaching wires to the genitals or other sensitive parts of the body, like the tongue; “the water treatment”; “the airplane,” in which a prisoner’s arms were tied behind the back and the rope looped over a hook on the ceiling, suspending the prisoner in midair, after which he or she was beaten; beatings with rubber hoses and whips; and the use of police dogs to maul prisoners” (Phoenix Program, p.85).
One could try and brush off this horror as something that just got out of control in one very ugly wartime situation. But the point of this experimentation was to export it. As McCoy writes, “In retrospect, Phoenix proved a seminal experience for the U.S. intelligence community, combining both physical and psychological techniques in an extreme method that would serve as a model for later counterinsurgency training in South and Central America. In 1965—66, Army Intelligence launched Project X, which was designed, according to a confidential Pentagon memo, “to develop an exportable foreign intelligence package to provide counterinsurgency techniques learned in Vietnam to Latin American countries”” (p.71). This knowledge of torture in the service of counterinsurgency did indeed get exported to Latin America, becoming central to the repressive actions of the infamous Operation Condor, a CIA led collaboration with Latin American dictatorships and other repressive regimes in the 1970s and 80s to put down any (often leftist) popular resistance to their oppressive control. In the eyes of a 2020 article in the Jacobin, Operation Condor in retrospect, “Looks like a particularly successful example of the covert war the US national security state had set into motion all over the world against democracy and the Left, a war that saw it get into bed with fascists and that, in some cases, arguably constituted genocide”. The Network has no qualms crushing any dissent towards its project with the most violent means necessary.
Many of the secret police units of the Latin American countries involved in Condor were trained at the equally infamous School of the Americas in Fort Benning, Georgia, which counts murderous dictators such as Auguste Pinochet and Manuel Noriega among its graduates. In her book Predatory States- Operation Condor and Covert War in Latin America (2005), Patrice McSherry writes that “Joseph Blair, a major and a former Phoenix operative who taught at the SOA [School of Americas] for three years, said that the author of the SOA and CIA “torture manuals”, declassified in the mid-1990s, drew from intelligence materials used during the Vietnam War that advocated assassination, torture, extortion, and other “techniques””(p.50). There’s a direct through line from the interrogation centers in the provinces of Vietnam to a river of broken bodies strewn across the many agonized lands of Latin America.
But it got exported elsewhere too. In a 2021 interview on The Opperman Report, Douglas Valentine said that “The way the US fought the war in Vietnam is how they fought the War on Terror…The interrogation center set up in every province in Vietnam were the model for the War on Terror”. Those ghastly pictures from Abu Ghraib prison during The Iraq War were the cruel offspring of the Phoenix Program in Vietnam. Those weren’t just a few bad apples operating in that jail, that was systematic policy. Valentine draws other parallels between Vietnam and the US led War on Terror in a chapter of his book The CIA as Organized Crime called ‘What We Really Learned from Vietnam’ (written in 2009). This includes “The pervasive corruption by design- including the sponsorship of drug trafficking by warlords on the CIA payroll- that was endemic to the US-backed regime in South Vietnam” (p.96). There was also the case that “Just as in Vietnam, where the word communist was applied to anyone who resisted the US occupation, American kidnapping assassination programs in Iraq and Afghanistan make no distinction between “jihadists” and nationalists defending their homes and resisting foreign occupation” (p.94). Likewise, “In Vietnam via the Phoenix Program, and now in Iraq and Afghanistan through the new and improved version, the CIA sends its hit teams after a long list of targeted individuals” (p.95). And lastly, “The big lesson from Vietnam that applies to Afghanistan and the War on Terror is the value of grey and black propaganda in maintaining public support through emotional appeals, twisted logic, and the promulgation of revisionist history” (98). And of course, a media all too willing to go along for the disinformation ride.
There were other things being field tested in Vietnam beyond just torture and counterinsurgency methods. Author Annie Jacobsen names many in her mainline 2016 book The Pentagon’s Brain- An Uncensored History of DARPA, America’s Top Secret Military Research Agency. The following points come from a video made by Jay Dyer in April of 2022, entitled ‘Phoenix from the Ashes: From Vietnam Technowar to Technocracy’, where he goes through Jacobsen’s book as well as Valentine’s The Phoenix Program. Jacobsen says in her book that the Vietnam war was one big DARPA R&D test lab, that DARPA was testing many things it had invented. For instance, military drones were tested for the first time. They were experimenting with computers in the war, as well as AI, to coordinate air and ground military operations. Jacobsen refers to the war as a “Technowar”. They were also testing geoengineering capabilities, with things such as Agent Orange, but also weather modification. Weather modification is still something most people put straight in the tin foil hat category, but “The U.S. military ran a secret, little-remembered weather control program during the Vietnam War…It was the first large scale effort to manipulate the weather for military purposes”. Operation Popeye as it was known “was the first known successful use of weather control technology in combat”. Valentine says that part of the Phoenix Program was learning to do the tracking and tracing of peoples, as well as experimenting with moving whole populations around. According to Valentine, Vietnam was a laboratory for military weaponry and psychological warfare experimentation. One of the psychological warfare techniques that was being experimented with was how to pacify large populations. All of this became handy to The Network in future settings no doubt.
There were a lot of atrocities and war crimes committed in Vietnam and no one has documented this like Nick Turse in his 2013 book Kill Anything That Moves- The Real American War in Vietnam. After stumbling upon a collection of reports by the Vietnam War Crimes Working Group at the National Archives, Turse interviewed over a hundred US veterans who either witnessed or participated in atrocities, and he interviewed Vietnamese survivors as well. The grotesque stories of the violence and horrors that were perpetrated is truly sickening. If one is of strong constitution, they can read Chris Hedges’ description of these acts in his punishing review of Turse’s book. Two broader points stuck out for me from Hedge’s review- first, that the atrocities “were the inevitable outcome of deliberate policies, dictated at the highest levels of the military”. And secondly, “The military and weapons manufacturers openly spoke of the war as a “laboratory” for new forms of killing”. Vietnam as test bed.
The Biggest Drug Dealer in the World
The trafficking and sale of mind altering drugs has been big business for a very long time. In his book Opium, Empire and Global Political Economy (1999), historian Carl Trocki writes, “Accumulations of wealth created by a succession of historic drug trades have been among the primary foundations of global capitalism and the modern nation state itself. Indeed, it may be argued that the entire rise of the west, from 1500 to 1900, depended on a series of drug trades”. In the 19thcentury several American families made enormous amounts of wealth off the opium trade. John Potash gives the background in his book Drugs as Weapons Against Us (2015)- “The American families smuggling opium into China alongside the British included the prominent Russell family of Connecticut. The Russell’s intermarried with other rich families, including the Pierponts, the family that later spawned tycoon Julius Pierpont “J.P.” Morgan. Over a half dozen of the richest families, including the Cabots, Cushings, Astors, and Perkinses, gained huge wealth in the opium trade and went on to attain positions of power in the US…The Russell family helped found Yale University, and in 1833, one of the Russell’s founded Yale’s elite secret society, Skull and Bones” (p.10). Other money from the opium fortunes went into the establishment of Harvard, and into other universities such as Columbia and Princeton. And when the Anglo side of the Network reached out in the late 19th century to wealthy American families to form the Anglo-American Establishment, many of them were these families who had built their fortunes on opium. This is important because this kind of enormous excess wealth gives these elites a huge leg up on the society that surrounds them, and affords them enormous power and influence, such as the setting up of these Ivy League universities which to this day are still top recruiting grounds for the Network and intelligence agencies. And as we saw in Pt.1, the private foundations that many of these wealthy families created became very effective weapons for social engineering and the steering of society.
The sale of drugs is still very big business today. Historian Alfred McCoy, who wrote a seminal book in 1972 The Politics of Heroin in Southeast Asia, says that “The UN conservatively estimated international trafficking in illicit drugs at $400 billion a year, equivalent to eight percent of world trade, and larger than textiles, steel, or automobiles”. Daniel Hopsicker is an investigate journalist who has made the illegal drug trade his core beat for decades. In a March 2020 interview on The Opperman Report, he said that “The proceeds of drug trafficking make up more than fifty percent of the proceeds of transnational organized crime worldwide…It’s the biggest slush fund in the history of the world, it makes Blackstone Group look like pikers. And the war for those proceeds takes place totally on the down low”. And that war is not just waged by criminal gangs and syndicates, state actors are very much involved as well. McCoy says, “This powerful underground economy—with its labor pool, its criminal syndicates, and its vast consumer base—serves as a potentially powerful mechanism for extralegal or covert operational capacity for nation-states. Beginning in the 1920s, right from the time these syndicates emerge, we begin to see, in areas where the transnational drug traffic is particularly active, very important alliances between syndicate activity, state security services, and political control”. Peter Dale Scott has also written about the international drug trade and its relationship to politics, and he agrees with McCoy- “As a rule the power of the biggest drug traffickers is not autonomous but depends on their government connections; and the top trafficker in any country is usually the one with the best government connections”.
McCoy’s statement that the funds made from the drug trade can be used as the source of funding for “extralegal or covert operational capacity” is an important one. Peter Dale Scott makes the same point- “There now exists abundant documentation that, at least since World War II, the US government has exploited the drug traffic to finance and staff covert operations abroad”. This furtive source of money allows for intelligence agencies to fund covert operations that might otherwise be quashed by parliament, congress or other such legislative bodies and their annoying morals. There’s still always some government awareness of the drug trafficking, as stated above by McCoy and Scott, but that will only be a very few key people and in a highly compartmentalized way. But if we want to know how intelligence agencies and the higher powers they serve (aka the Network) manage to fund so many covert black operations around the world, from arms trafficking to assassinations to overthrowing governments, they do so by dipping into “the biggest slush fund in the history of the world”.
The CIA has been at the forefront of drug trafficking since its inception. As Michael Ruppert, a former LAPD narcotics officer who became a whistleblower against US government complicity in drug trafficking, puts it- “The point about the drug trade is not that the CIA dealt a few drugs during the Contra years to fund the covert operation that Congress didn't want it to engage in. The CIA has dealt drugs for all 50 years of its existence--50 plus years, even before it was the CIA”. From the 1950s onwards the CIA fought three successive covert wars in the name of stopping the spread of communism and teamed up with local heroin producers in each case to fund these wars. The first was in Burma in the 1950s, when the CIA backed what was left of the National Chinese Army (KMT) to fight a proxy war against the Chinese Communists who had just won the Chinese Civil War, in the hopes of creating a buffer zone that would keep the CCP out of Southeast Asia. According to Alfred McCoy, “The CIA found very quickly that to fight covert wars in such remote mountains it had to ally with highland warlords, who in turn used the CIA’s protection and logistics to transform themselves into major drug lords…The net result of this CIA covert operation was that northeastern Burma went from localized tribal opium production to being the heart of the global heroin trade. These days, Burma is counted, depending on the year, as the world’s number one or number two opium producer”.
The second covert war was ‘The Secret War’ fought in Laos from 1964 to 1974 during the Vietnam War. Once again, heroin was used to finance this black operation, where the CIA used Laotian hill tribes- in particular the Hmong- to fight the Vietcong on the border regions of Laos and Vietnam. By 1970, says McCoy, “The CIA’s secret army in Laos built a complex of seven heroin refineries at the heart of the Golden Triangle where Burma, Thailand, and Laos converge. Let me make this clear: all the laboratories were built by current or former covert assets of the United States. And they began producing high-grade No. 4 heroin for shipment to South Vietnam”. It was the CIA’s own planes, lent to their Laotian client army, that picked up and shipped out the heroin. It’s estimated that 100,000 Hmong died in that war. Today Laos is the world’s third largest opium producer.
The third covert CIA war was their backing of mujahideen guerrillas in Afghanistan from 1979 to 1989 against the occupying forces of the Soviet Union. Operation Cyclone as it was known, was a partnership between the CIA and the Pakistani’s Inter Service Intelligence (ISI) (the Pakistani CIA) as well as the Pakistani military, to train and fund the mujahideen forces. And they funded these operations once again with heroin money. When the operation began there was opium production in the Iran-Pakistan-Afghanistan region, but no heroin production. By 1981, “Two years into the secret war, Afghanistan, in concert with western Pakistan, had gone from a regional opium grower to the world’s largest heroin producer, supplying, according to the US Attorney General, sixty percent of the US heroin supply and about 80 percent of Europe’s illicit heroin”. Today Pakistan has the second largest rate of heroin addicts in the world, the first being Iran.
The former sites of three CIA covert wars are now the three largest heroin producing regions in the world. Through this we get a dark glimpse of the true face of the Network and their total disregard for humanity. Besides the amount of addiction and addiction related crime in all the countries that heroin was flowing into, and the vast human suffering this causes, the CIA just up and left these three regions in tatters when their wars were over. As McCoy puts it, “There’s no post-war settlement. There’s no treaty or post-war reconstruction. So these regions are turned into covert war wastelands in which only the poppy will flower…In the aftermath of these wars, these societies are ravaged and transformed…We just left [societies] to writhe in agony”. The Network doesn’t care about people. It only cares about wealth, power and their coveted long-term plan for total global domination.
The CIA’s drug escapades weren’t just relegated to regions of Southeast Asia, plenty went on in Latin America too, except this time the drug was cocaine. A lot of this was tied up in what became known as the Iran-Contra scandal, which we'll focus on in a future part of this series. But we can intersect with that story here because not only does it obviously fit with the subject matter, it also allows us to begin hearing from the many brave whistleblowers in the DEA, CIA, FBI, and other US law enforcement divisions that have spoken out against the covert machinations going on within their agencies. In this case the whistleblower’s name is Celerino Castillo, who wrote a 2010 book called Powder Burns- Cocaine, Contras and the Drug War. But first, a quick primer on the Contra half of the Iran-Contra scandal to set the context for his story. In 1979 in Nicaragua, the Somoza dictatorship was overthrown by a left-wing group called the Sandinistas. When Ronald Reagan became president in 1981, he ordered the CIA to secretly train and equip a counter-revolutionary group, the Contras, to try and overthrow the Sandinista government (to ‘stop the spread of communism’). When tales of unsavory Contra actions made its way back to the United States, including the mining of Nicaraguan harbors and terror squad type tactics, the US Congress passed the Boland Amendment which forbid any more US assistance for the Contras. However, the Reagan administration still wanted to fund the Contras, but how could this be done if no official funding was available? The old clandestine go to. Drugs. So the CIA set up operations to traffic major amounts of cocaine out of Latin America and into America and elsewhere, with the proceeds going back to fund the Contras.
Celerino Castillo was a Vietnam veteran who joined the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) in 1979 to fight the so-called ‘War on Drugs’. In 1985 he was stationed in Guatemala and assigned with three other agents to monitor the illicit drug trade in that country, as well as Belize, El Salvador, and Honduras. They had an informant at the Ilopango Airport in El Salvador who told them that some of the Contra pilots landing there were involved in drug trafficking. Castillo says that “When we finally got the names of all the pilots who were involved, we ran it through our computers, and it was revealed that every single one of them was documented as a narcotics trafficker. This was brought to the attention of the U.S. ambassador, Edwin Corr. He was advised of the investigation that we were conducting. His answer to me was the fact that it was a covert operation from the White House and Ollie North, and he advised me that I would be safer to stay away from that investigation, because I would be stepping on people's toes at the White House”. It was out of Hangars 4 and 5 at the Ilapango airport that the drug running operation was taking place, and it turned out that they were both “owned and operated by the CIA and the National Security Council-which is Oliver North-and were run by Felix Rodriguez”. Rodriquez was a long-time CIA agent with a rather interesting past. He was involved in the Bay of Pigs Invasion, he was in the Phoenix Program in Vietnam, and he led a team that hunted down and killed Che Guevara (Rodriquez apparently kept and wore Guevara’s watch). We’ll return to Rodriquez in a moment. Castillo says that by 1988, "I realized how hopelessly tangled the DEA, the CIA, and every other U.S. entity in Central America had become with the criminals. The connections boggled my mind”.
Before we leave Latin America for the final subject of this section, a couple of fun facts. In 2017, the son of Pablo Escobar, Juan Pablo Escobar Henao, published a book and claimed in it that his father “worked for the CIA selling cocaine to finance the fight against Communism in Central America”. Henao says that “The person who sold the most drugs to the CIA was Pablo Escobar”. I’m not sure what evidence he provides for those claims but it's certainly interesting and sadly, entirely possible. There’s one thing we do know for sure though, which is that Nazi war criminal Klaus Barbie was involved in the cocaine operations in South America. The infamous Butcher of Lyon, who was personally responsible for the murder (often by torture) and execution of over 4,000 Jews and members of the French Resistance, was deemed by US intelligence to be a man of great value and was spared from going to Nuremburg and instead put to work. He was relocated in Bolivia and while there “was involved in a string of CIA-sponsored military coups”. He was also a close ally of Roberto Suarez Gomez, the ‘King of Cocaine’, a businessman and drug lord who set up his cocaine empire in Bolivia in the 1970s. In 1980, Barbie helped Gomez and other Bolivian narco kingpins engineer and pull off a coup d’état in Bolivia, in what’s come to be called “the cocaine coup”. Barbie also worked for Pablo Escobar. Just another of the 'fruits' of Operation Paperclip.
Our final story in this tour of covert drug trafficking took place in Mexico. In 1985 an American undercover DEA agent named Kiki Camarena was kidnapped and murdered. This resulted in the largest homicide investigation in DEA history, but it came up empty. In 1989 a DEA agent by the name of Hector Bellerrez- who had previously infiltrated the Cali, Medellin and Guadalajara drug cartels- was assigned by the DEA to head Operation Leyenda and find Camarena’s killers. Bellerrez’s story is retold in the recent gritty and compelling four-part docuseries The Last Narc (2020), which mysteriously got pulled at the last moment, but fortunately did finally make it to air. It’s surprising it got made at all.
The story goes like this. Kiki Camarena had infiltrated the Guadalajara Cartel as an uncover agent. The information he gathered led in 1984 to Mexican soldiers raiding a giant marijuana plantation operated by the Cartel in northern Mexico named Buffalo Ranch. The raid netted “somewhere between 2,500 and 6,000 tons of marijuana, the largest marijuana seizure in history, and cost Caro Quintero [co-founder and leader of the cartel] somewhere between $3.2 billion and $8 billion in today's prices”. The raid angered the three leaders of the Cartel, and they wanted payback. But more importantly they were worried there was a security breach, a mole, somewhere in their organization. They already had Federal Police and army officers protecting the plantation, but none of them were warned of the raid. How did this get through? Once they identified DEA agent Camarena as their problem, they decided at meetings in late 1984 to kidnap and interrogate him. A bodyguard for the Cartel bosses was at these meetings, and who he describes being there is truly remarkable in terms of the scale of corruption. In attendance were, “Jalisco governor Enrique Alvarez del Castillo; secretary of the interior Manuel Bartlett Díaz; secretary of defense Juan Arevalo Gardoqui; director of Interpol Mexico, Miguel Aldana Ibarra; DFS [Mexican CIA] director Sergio Espino Verdin; General Vinicio Santoyo Feria; and a man they knew as “the Cuban with the CIA””.
When Camarena was kidnapped off the streets of Mexico they brought him to the house of one of the Cartel bosses. All the people listed above where there that evening too, and they partied in the living room while Camarena was being tortured and interrogated in the visitor’s residence. ‘The Cuban with the CIA’ was also there questioning Camarena. According to one bodyguard who was there he wanted to know “Which narcos, which politicians was the DEA investigating for ties to drug traffickers. He wanted him to reveal the details of the investigation he was working on. 'Give us names’. They seemed to assume the United States already knew about them. Like all they needed was for him to say it to confirm their worst fear”. But Camarena wasn’t working with information from any higher ups, he was working with what he himself had gathered on the ground, so he had no information to give them. He was eventually beaten to death as they tried in vain to get the information they were sure he must have. And who was the CIA agent as identified by three bodyguards that were present at the killing, who all became witnesses for Berrellez? Felix Rodriquez. Just a good foot soldier doing yet more dirty work for the biggest drug dealer in the world.
The Dark Side of the 1960s
In 1964 the United States Army began a counterinsurgency study named Project Camelot. They wanted to develop ways to recognize insurgencies in foreign countries before they began, so they could be headed off at the pass. This especially applied to any left-wing, populist or communist movements. The project came under fire when some South American professors discovered its existence. They argued that it was a tool of anti-democratic imperialism, and the US military was forced to shut it down (although it was said to have continued covertly). The 1960s in the United States was a famously tumultuous time, with the civil rights movement, several high-level assassinations, the war in Vietnam, the youth counterculture, several radical left-wing movements, the anti-war movement and much more. In this cauldron the US government began a counterinsurgency against its own people. As a 2021 article in Covert Action Magazine put it, the FBI, CIA and military intelligence (DIA) “viewed dissent in America as a political insurgency, and they sought to meet it with a campaign of counterinsurgency”. In 1973 Mae Brussell wrote, “They are now conducting paramilitary warfare inside the US” (Essential Mae Brussell, p.72). She was onto a lot of things in real time.
In 1967 the CIA began an illegal domestic surveillance program called Operation CHAOS at the behest of the White House (some put the start date in 1964, the exact origin date is murky). It was the largest covert project in American history, and the CIA’s biggest operation to date. Verne Lyon was an undercover CIA agent in Operation CHAOS who blew the whistle on it. He writes, “The CIA infiltrated agents into domestic groups of all types and activities…Many large police departments, in conjunction with the CIA, carried out illegal, warrantless searches of private properties…The CIA had shared information on more than 300,000 persons with different law enforcement agencies including the DIA and FBI. It had spied on, burglarized, intimidated, misinformed, lied to, deceived, and carried out criminal acts against thousands of citizens of the United States”. This was all illegal as the CIA was not supposed to perform any operations on US soil. But Lyon says that “Disdain for Congress permeated the upper echelons of the CIA. Congress could not hinder or regulate something it did not know about, and neither the President nor the Director of the CIA was about to tell them”. For the Network, do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law.
What’s interesting about Lyon’s writings on Operation CHAOS is that he says there was pushback against it from within the CIA itself. There was one group in the CIA that wanted to take the operation even further, but there was another that “reminded him [Director Helms] that Operation CHAOS and similar activities were well “over the line” of illegality and outside the CIA’s charter”. And in March 1971, “A group of young CIA executives known as the Management Advisory Group (MAG) protested Operation CHAOS and similar domestic operations by issuing a statement saying, "MAG opposes any Agency activity which could be construed as targeted against any person who enjoys the protection of the U.S. Constitution... whether or not he resides in the United States””. This is important because many in the alternative media/parapolitical field of research today look at these organizations as monolithically corrupt and bad. But during my research for Pt.2, I was pleasantly surprised by just how many whistleblowers there have been, men and women who objected to the way their agencies had been infiltrated and used covertly for illegal or unconscionable acts. We’ll meet many more of them in future parts of this series. And it’s also important to stress just how compartmentalized these types of operations really are. William Colby took over as CIA director in 1973 while Operation CHAOS was still ongoing and was tasked with looking into it. He later wrote this incredible statement in his memoir- “I found it impossible to do much about whatever was wrong with [CHAOS]. Its super-secrecy and extreme compartmentalization kept me very much on its periphery”. It was secret- to the head of the CIA itself!
At the same time Operation CHAOS was active the FBI had its own similar operation going on, the now infamous COINTELPRO. The two operations shared files and communications. The goal of COINTELPRO was to infiltrate, disrupt, discredit and in many cases destroy the counterculture movement, the radical left movements, and the anti-war movements (which were all entwined of course). Mae Brussell writes in a 1976 article, “By 1968 FBI’s COINTELPRO and the CIA’s Operation CHAOS included among their long list of domestic enemies “Advocates of New Lifestyles”, “New Left”, “Apostles of Non-Violence and Racial Harmony” and “Restless Youth””. (Essential Mae Brussell, p.263). And how was it supposed to achieve its goal of disrupting and subverting these groups? According to an internal FBI memo produced by the 1975 “Church Committee”- or the Senate Select Committee to Study Governmental Operations with Respect to Intelligence Activities, a committee set up by the US Senate to investigate abuses by the CIA, FBI, NSA and the IRS- these are some of the recommended methods: “Gather information on their immorality. Show them as scurrilous and depraved. Call attention to their habits and living conditions. Explore every possible embarrassment. Send in women and sex, break up marriages. Have members arrested on marijuana charges. Investigate personal conflicts or animosities between them. Send articles to the newspapers showing their depravity. Use narcotics and free sex to entrap. Use misinformation to confuse and disrupt. Get records of their bank accounts. Obtain specimens of handwriting. Provoke target groups into rivalries that may result in death”. I’m sure there are many dissident movements today who can recognize these tactics.
One of the groups who were on the most brutal receiving end of those tactics and worse were the Black Panthers. They apparently terrified the Network, and all manner of skullduggery was thrown at them. Ward Churchill describes this in a long but poignant passage- “Beginning in August 1967, the Black Panther Party was savaged by a campaign of political repression, which in terms of its sheer viciousness has few parallels in American history. Coordinated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation as part of its then-ongoing domestic counterintelligence program (COINTELPRO) and enlisting dozens of local police departments around the country, the assault left at least thirty Panthers dead, scores of others imprisoned after dubious convictions, and hundreds more suffering permanent physical or psychological damage. Simultaneously, the Party was infiltrated at every level by agent provocateurs, all of them harnessed to the task of disrupting its internal functioning. Completing the package was a torrent of “disinformation” planted in the media to discredit the Panthers before the public, both personally and organizationally, thus isolating them from potential support”. One agent provocateur who was tasked with infiltrating the Black Panthers was Louis Tackwood, who turned whistleblower. In a 1971 trial he testified that he had been assigned to assassinate the Black Panther George Jackson, but an agent from another division had gotten to him first. This is the backdrop that led Merry Clayton’s emotional voice to crack as she howled, “Rape, murder, it’s just a shot away, it’s just a shot away” on the Rolling Stones song ‘Gimme Shelter’ in 1969.
The 1960s also saw drugs as a weapon of warfare against the populace, with LSD at the forefront of the assault. The lineage of this stretched back several decades. As John Potash writes in his book Drugs as Weapons Against Us, “In 1938, Albert Hoffman created Lysergic acid diethlamide (LSD) while working for a Swiss company, Sandoz, a subsidiary of the Nazi I.G. Farben cartel…Sandoz then supplied LSD to Nazi doctor Joseph Mengele who first experimented with it on concentration camp victims” (p. 30). After it was formed in 1947, the CIA soon picked up the mantle. “By 1953 the CIA ordered 10 kilos of LSD from Sandoz for $240,000. Having already tested LSD many times since 1949, the CIA knew this supply offered one hundred million doses. The CIA asked the Eli Lilly pharmaceutical company to try to synthesize LSD. By mid-1954, Eli Lilly broke Sandoz’s formula and assured the CIA that in a matter of months LSD would be available in tonnage quantities” (p.30). Hank Albarelli showed in his book A Terrible Mistake- The Murder of Frank Olson and the CIA’s Secret Cold War Experiments (2011), that Gordon Wasson, the legendary ‘discoverer of magic mushrooms’, was working for the CIA when he scoured Latin America looking for psychoactive substances (p.359). When one starts to investigate this material it becomes apparent that the mythos of an organic up from the people 1960s countercultural revolution isn’t exactly how it all happened. There were other forces at play.
The CIA’s interest in LSD and these other substances was multifaceted. They wanted to find substances that could act as a truth serum; they were looking for substances that could help facilitate and deepen hypnosis; they were searching for substances that could help insert false memories, and other such sinister shenanigans. With LSD they were piqued by their own studies which showed certain negative side effects, such as paranoia, megalomaniacal delusions, intermittent psychosis, depression, agitation and anxiety (Drugs as Weapons, p.38-39). This doesn’t happen to everyone who takes it of course, but they must’ve felt they had a weapon that could damage the emerging counterculture, because the CIA began flooding it into US and later European society in the late 1950s, early 60s. One of the core vehicles for this dissemination was a man named Captain Al Hubbard, who came to be known as the ‘Johnny Appleseed of LSD’. As one article on Hubbard writes, “That Hubbard, of all people, should have emerged as the first genuine LSD apostle is all the more curious in light of his longstanding affiliation with the cloak-and-dagger trade. Indeed, he was no run-of-the-mill spook. As a high-level OSS officer [precursor to the CIA], the Captain directed an extremely sensitive covert operation that involved smuggling weapons and war material to Great Britain prior to the attack on Pearl Harbor”. Hubbard claimed to have never joined the CIA, and that his revelations on LSD led him to reject that world. But as the old saying goes with the CIA, no one ever truly leaves ‘The Company’. And regardless, Hank Albarelli proved that Hubbard was indeed working for the CIA- “Throughout the 1950s, Hubbard received large shipments of LSD directly from Sandoz in Switzerland, with Agency approval” (A Terrible Mistake, p.238-9, 232).
Another CIA asset seeding the US with LSD was none other than Timothy Leary, the supposed uber countercultural outlaw himself. Leary admitted in a 1976 interview with Walter Bowart (who wrote one of the first books on MKUltra, Operation Mind Control) "I knew I was being used by the intelligence agents of this country”. People who were around Leary in the 60s knew this too. Robert “Stubs” Tierney was one of the original members of the Brotherhood of Eternal Love, the “Hippie Mafia” who were major distributers of LSD in the late 1960s. Tiernay said that “Timothy Leary worked for the CIA. He came to infiltrate our gang”. Later on, other CIA agents would infiltrate and take over the Brotherhood. In 1963 Leary, after being thrown out of Harvard for his LSD studies, set up an organization called the International Federation of Internal Freedom (IFIF). The wealthy Mellon Hitchcock family became benefactors and set up Leary on their 4,000-acre estate in Duchess County north of New York City. Leary set up shop in a sixty-four room mansion on the estate and began weekly LSD parties that attracted musicians and the literati of New York, many of whom tried LSD there for the first time. At these parties actual MKUltra doctors such as Humphrey Osmond attended and observed the responses of those on LSD and the other substances that were freely available. As we read in Pt.1, the Mellon family was one of a group of wealthy families who help setup the CIA. And during the 1960s “Richard Helms was a frequent weekend guest of the Mellon patriarchs in Pittsburgh during his tenure as CIA director (1966-1973)” (Acid Dreams, p.246). Leary was the pied piper of LSD, whose motto “turn on, tune in, and drop out” directed untold numbers of youth away from political activism and any serious confrontation with the Network.
The CIA managed to get the LSD out in the culture through other avenues too. One was through the writer Ken Kesey. In 1960 Kesey participated in MKUltra LSD studies at Menlo Park Hospital which is connected to Stanford Health Care at Stanford University. When the experiment was over Kesey was offered a job at the hospital in the psychiatric unit with the same doctor who had held the trials. These experiences led him to write his 1962 book One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. Kesey was given the keys to the doctor’s office, and ‘allowed’ to steal as much LSD as he wanted. Kesey began throwing acid parties like those Leary was throwing on the East Coast. These eventually turned into the famous Acid Tests, parties with acid laced punch bowls and bands playing such as the Grateful Dead. These parties were also attended by MKUltra doctors who were there to observe the crowd. John Potash writes, “Under deposition in a lawsuit brought by victims of a Canadian MKUltra doctor, [MKUltra scientist John] Gittinger admitted that he and two of his fellow CIA Chemical Division scientists traveled from the East Coast and attended a number of these Acid Test parties” (Drugs as Weapons, 89). It appears that the CIA were now field testing their MKUltra studies, a subject we’ll return to in a moment. The Grateful Dead had several intelligence connected people around their band, including Oswald Stanley, the band’s biggest benefactor who had connections to the Mellon Hitchcock family. Stanley had begun producing large quantities of LSD in 1963. It’s possible that the Grateful Dead was used as a channel to get LSD out into the youth culture, and if so, it would explain why the open-air drug market that surrounded their concerts was allowed to go on mostly unimpeded. As for Kesey, he announced after the third Acid Test that he had “graduated from LSD” and was leaving it behind. Shortly after Kesey was arrested for possession of marijuana. Soon after he had a second marijuana charge and had to flee to Mexico. Typical tactics of the Network- if you’re no longer playing ball, if you’re no longer useful, you’ll be disposed of one way or another.
Another strategy for ‘turning on’ the youth to LSD was to get it promoted by famous artists and musicians. In this pursuit Robert Lashbrook, Deputy Director of MKUltra, packed up a load of LSD and other drugs and a bunch of agents and flew to London and instructed the agents to get LSD into the hands of as many artists as possible. One agent managed to get George Harrison’s dentist to put LSD in Harrison and John Lennon’s coffee without them knowing it, which was the first time either one had done it. Lennon was apparently furious when he found out. Mick Jagger was against LSD at first. But then a FBI COINTELPRO and M16 officer named David Schneiderman showed up at a party at Keith Richards’ Redlands estate in 1967 with a briefcase full of drugs. He got Jagger to take his first hit of LSD the following morning. Everyone there, including George Harrison, took LSD that day. But then in the evening the police showed up and did a raid (Schneiderman had set them up). They were trying to find drugs in the house so they could do a high-profile drug bust on Jagger and Richards and reign them in, but there was nothing on the premises. Schneiderman wasn’t questioned by the police and he and his briefcase full of drugs were allowed to slip out and slip away (Drugs as Weapons, 135-137).
The CIA flooded the counterculture with LSD because they believed that LSD use would lead to a decrease in political activism. They came to this conclusion through their own research, and from what they were told by the RAND corporation, the darling think tank of the American military industrial complex (spoofed in Stanley Kubrick’s film Dr. Strangelove). RAND’s study of LSD led them to believe that repeated use would “undermine political commitment” (Acid Dreams, p.197, 199). There were fierce debates among the radical left itself as to whether LSD was undermining the movement, with many feeling that it was. Others, such as Beat poet Allen Ginsberg promoted a “politics of ecstasy”. Whether it did what the CIA hoped is probably hard to say. Surely there were many youths who “dropped out” and slid into hedonism and sensuality, or retreated from the culture into communes, cults and back to the land farms. When George Harrison visited Haight-Asbury in San Francisco in 1967 he said, “Wow, if it’s all like this, it’s too much…It was full of horrible spotty drop-out kids on drugs, and it turned me right off the whole scene”. On the other hand, John Lennon was quoted as saying, “We must always remember to thank the CIA and the Army for LSD, by the way. Everything is the opposite of what it is, isn't it? They brought out LSD to control people, and what they did was give us freedom”. Maybe so. What we can say is that regardless of outcome the intent of the CIA was malicious, it was just one more tool in their domestic counterinsurgency toolbox. But they had others. Which brings us to the final two subjects of our journey through the dark side of the 1960s.
Over the last twenty years I’ve often heard it repeated that “Charles Manson killed the 60s”. Or sometimes it’s, “The Manson killings and Altamont killed the 60s”. So let’s look at those two events. In 2019 investigative journalist Tom O’Neill published a bestselling book entitled CHAOS: Charles Manson, the CIA, and the Secret History of the Sixties. It took him twenty years to write and took him on a remarkable odyssey as he slowly pieced together a story deeply at odds with the official narrative on Manson and the Tate-LaBianca murders that’s been handed down through books like Helter Skelter. It’s not a book that can be summarized easily, but there’s three core pieces that O’Neill unearthed that are especially important here. (For a long form interview with O’Neill, his 2020 Joe Rogan appearance was very good and catapulted the book to a much wider audience). The first is that after many FOIA requests O’Neill managed to finally get sixty-nine (heavily redacted) pages of Manson’s parole record, which was reportedly four inches thick. Despite only getting some of the record O’Neill could see that after Manson was let out of jail in 1967, he repeatedly broke the law, including statutory rape and grand theft auto, but was never charged or had his parole violated. O’Neill says that “The law afforded special privileges to everyone in Manson’s orbit” (p.436). O’Neill took this catch and release parole record to a retired District Attorney who had worked in California in the 1960s. After looking at this remarkable record of Manson being let go again and again, the DA said to O’Neill, “Someone wanted him on the streets” (p.233-34). But who?
Eventually O’Neill began to look at the CIA’s Operation CHAOS as a possibility. CHAOS, O’Neill notes, had begun in 1967 and had opened its first office in San Francisco. When Manson was let out of jail in Los Angeles in 1967, he immediately violated his parole and went to San Francisco. He was inexplicably allowed to stay there and was assigned to a parole officer named Roger Smith. Smith was working at the Haight Asbury Free Medical Clinic (HAFMC). He was a doctoral student at the Berkeley School of Criminology, and “was regarded as an expert on gangs, collective behavior, violence, and drugs. Manson, his one and only parole supervisee, would go on to control the collective behavior of a gang through violence and drugs” (p.452). With Smith as his parole officer Manson “was given virtual immunity from parole revocation” (p.457). It wasn’t only Smith that was working at the HAFMC, however- so was an (in)famous psychiatrist name Louis Jolyon West, who would eventually oversee UCLA’s department of psychiatry and Neuropsychiatric Institute for 20 years. It had long been rumored that West was a part of the CIA’s MKUltra program, but he always denied this right up until his death in 1999. O’Neill found a needle in a haystack that proved conclusively that West was indeed involved in MKUltra for a very long time.
Once O’Neill knew that West was working at the HAFMC while Manson and his girls were frequent visitors there (Manson for parole meetings, the girls to get medical treatment), and knowing the rumors of West being involved in MKUltra, O’Neill spent a long grueling summer pouring through over a hundred boxes of West’s archives at UCLA (he was the first one to ever look at them). One day he found the smoking gun he was looking for, which was “misfiled and accidently left behind”- multiple letters of correspondence between West and Sidney Gottlieb, the head of MKUltra who was nicknamed “the Dark Sorcerer”. The letters begin in 1953 and in them West reports to Gottlieb several successes from his MKUltra experiments. He has learned to remove memories from a subject’s mind and insert totally false ones; he’s learned how to induce insanity in a subject, or as West put it, “produce temporary mental derangement in the laboratory”; and he’s done extensive research on LSD, which he finds very useful for producing “model mental illnesses” (p.566-571). But despite these ‘successes’ in the lab, West says to Gottlieb “Needless to say [the experiments] must eventually be put to test in practical trials in the field”. MKUltra needs to be tested in the field. West arrived in San Francisco in late 1966, on a one-year sabbatical from the University of Oklahoma where he was working at the time. While working out of the HAFMC during 1967 he set up a fake hippie crash pad in an apartment nearby the clinic and had graduate students grow their hair long and pretend to be hippies, bringing in the local hippie youth to ply with LSD and other drugs for observation. West was now in the field. Despite trying and trying O’Neill couldn't find a witness who saw Manson and West interacting. But their overlapping for a year in the same clinic makes this a very strong possibility.
The last intriguing and suggestive piece of evidence O’Neill found was a CIA agent named Reeve Whitson who had infiltrated the Manson Family. Whitson was a mystery man, even to his own family, who knew he was some sort of spy but didn’t know for who. Those that knew Whitson said he had very high levels connections, and his friends included the mobster Charlie Baron, far right war hawk Curtis “Bombs Away” Lemay, and former Nazi Otto Skorzeny who was Hitler’s top commando. The Skorzeny connection is significant, as a recent 2020 book The Skorzeny Papers shows that instead of being charged at Nuremburg for war crimes, Skorzeny and his assassination team were brought into and utilized by NATO (which, not incidentally, was full of Nazis). O’Neill learned that Whitson had been at the crime scene of the Tate murders before the police arrived. Whitson also later threatened a witness with deportation- an Iranian national named Shahrokh Hatami, who was friends with Sharon Tate- if he didn’t falsely testify that he’d seen Manson at Cielo Drive (scene of the murders) months earlier, which would set up the narrative needed by prosecutor Vincent Bugliosi to prosecute Manson. Who was Whitson and who was he working for? As one reviewer of O’Neill’s book put it, “A spook with extreme right-wing sympathies, disguised as a hippie, at ground zero of the peace movement? Inserting himself into the event that, as countless pundits have robotically repeated ever since, “ended the ’60s”?” It’s curious indeed.
As O’Neill reflected on Operation CHAOS in light of this evidence, he writes, “The more I read about it, the more I saw how someone like Charles Manson could fit into a scheme like this…As the writer Todd Gitlin noted, “For the mass media, the acid-head Charles Manson was readymade as the monster lurking in the heart of every longhair.” Wasn’t this the goal of CHAOS and COINTELPRO?” (p.331) O’Neill took his findings to Alan Scheflin, a forensic psychologist and law professor who in 1978 wrote the third major book on MKUltra called The Mind Manipulators. O’Neill asked Scheflin, “Was it possible that the Manson murders were an MKULTRA experiment gone wrong?” Scheflin replied, “No, an MKULTRA experiment gone right” (p.575). In the end O’Neill lets the reader make up their own mind, as the case he’s built gets most of the way but not all the way there. But from what we’ve read so far in this piece, these are the same forces willing to build torture centers across Vietnam, create a narco state to fund illegal covert wars, torture one of their own agents to death, and viciously destroy the Black Panther movement. These people are certainly capable and most willing to have pulled off such an operation. O’Neill is hoping the book will compel other evidence and witnesses to come forth, and in recent interviews he has said that he’s receiving a lot of new information, with one in ten being quite good. A second book is currently in the making.
The second event that was said to have ended the 60s counterculture took place just four months after the Manson murders, the Altamont Free Concert featuring the Rolling Stones, which was attended by over 300,000 people was and supposed to be ‘Woodstock West’. It didn’t exactly turn out that way. The following background on this event comes from chapter 6 of Alex Constantine’s 2000 book The Covert War Against Rock. It’s worth noting that Constantine was a student of Mae Brussell, who took over her radio show when she died, and was the editor of The Essential Mae Brussell which came out in 2014. The story that he tells about Altamont is well footnoted, and the interested reader can find those at the end of his chapter. I’ll just retell the basic story here. Constantine talks about the “hellish fiasco” of Altamont explicitly in the context of Operation CHAOS, wondering if it was possibly a covert operation under its umbrella.
During their 1969 tour the Rolling Stones were criticized for the cost of their ticket prices, and for a generally opulent lifestyle. They decided to put on a free concert at the end of their US tour to quell the critics. In the search for a venue in the San Francisco area they consulted Rolling Stone editor Jan Wenner for advice. Wenner got them in touch with a famous/notorious lawyer named Melvin Belli, a “fixture of California’s well-heeled “conservative” power base”. Constantine says that this was the band’s “first Big Mistake”. Why? Belli was “one of the CIA’s most trusted courtroom wonders” who could be “counted on to button his lip, and he did repeatedly as a CIA-Mafia legal counsel in a number of assassination cover-ups”. Belli chose the worst possible location, a decaying speedway on the verge of bankruptcy that “was small, cramped, and difficult to reach. Its acres were littered with the rusting hulks of junked automobiles and thousands of shards of broken glass. In appearance, it had all the charm of a graveyard”.
The “second Big Mistake” was the hiring of Ralph “Sonny” Barger and a group of Hell’s Angels to provide security. In the years since the concert, it’s been revealed that Barger “was an informant and hit man on the payroll of the Department of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF)”. He was once given a contract to kill farm worker organizer Cesar Chavez, but the assassination was thwarted when Barger was arrested on other charges just before the killing. Barger and his crew of Hell’s Angels were "a group of paid killers", and they would create major amounts of mayhem during the concert. They arrived with 1,000 hits of acid laced with speed, which they handed out. The Hell’s Angels brought cases of red wine for themselves and a massive supply of barbiturates. Santana began the concert at 1pm, and “before long the beatings began. By the time Santana ripped to a close, the first casualties limped into the first aid station. There were broken arms, open wounds, shattered jaws and ribs, and bad LSD trips that left joy-seekers screaming in terror. There were so many of these that the Thorazine caché ran dry within a few hours, leaving the overdosed untreated”. Jefferson Airplane played next followed by the Flying Burrito Brothers and Crosby, Stills and Nash, who had to cut their set short because of the escalating violent chaos.
The Rolling Stones delayed their set by 90 minutes, “aggravating the macabre tension of the event. The Angels, riding on electric currents of methamphetamine and lysergic acid, bludgeoned the audience with lead-filled pool cues”. Mick Jagger arrived by helicopter and at his side was Timothy Leary flashing peace signs. Jagger’s attire that evening is rather interesting. Jagger had become friends with the filmmaker Kenneth Anger, an avowed Satanist and an acolyte of Aleister Crowley. In his biography, Anger is quoted saying that he’d helped Jagger pick out his clothing for the concert. They put a top hat on him like the one worn by (Mansonite killer) Bobby Beausoleil in Anger’s film Lucifer Rising. Anger said they used other “pop iconography and massive amounts of cocaine to fuel Jagger’s attempt at incarnating Lucifer”. I suppose it’s fitting then that during the Stones' performance of ‘Sympathy for the Devil’ a man was stabbed to death by the Hells Angels. The man was wielding a gun and did point it at the stage, and Hells Angel Alan Passaro was later acquitted of the killing on grounds of self-defence, but the Hells Angels surrounded the man and wouldn’t let anyone help him. He was eventually dragged away and taken for medical help but died on the grounds that evening. Three others died that day, two of a hit and run incident, and another who drowned in an aqueduct while bombed out on LSD. As luck would have it there was a large film crew there that day to film the whole thing, and Constantine says, “They were directed to concentrate on the violence, not the performances on stage”. The murderous mayhem was caught on film for all to see in the movie Gimme Shelter, the macabre specter horrifying and repelling countless people who viewed the film. Was the concert part of Operation CHAOS? It certainly appears like it, but either way, so much of the 60s hope and idealism and spirit of momentum came crashing apart as it flew into the grisly twin events of the Manson murders and the Free Altamont Concert. As Mae Brussell wrote to herself in 1976 in an unpublished note- “FACT 3- In 1969, the combined agencies of the CIA, Army and FBI were put into full operational use. The Sharon Tate-La Bianca murders were committed in August 1969. The Altamont violence occurred four months later”.
As mentioned above, in 1975 the US Senate formed a committee to investigate the abuses of the CIA and the FBI, much of which took place in the 1960s. It’s come to be known as the Church Committee after Senator Frank Church who chaired it. The CIA stymied and undermined the commission every step of the way, but even so, much was discovered by it. As part of his statements after the committee had wrapped up, Church described the CIA’s use of the term covert activity as “a semantic disguise for murder, coercion, blackmail, bribery, the spreading of lies, and consorting with known torturers and international terrorists”. And let’s not forget that the CIA is the paramilitary wing of the Network.
Coda- Deep History Rising
In late August, while researching for this piece and the several parts that will follow, I began listening to interviews with Whitney Webb whose two-volume book One Nation Under Blackmail was set to come out. I knew that Webb was researching the use of sexual blackmail operations by the Network, one of their favorites, but I was surprised to hear that her book would also be talking about Iran-Contra, the BCCI scandal, the PROMIS software scandal, and several other topics that I was also researching and will be future parts in this series. Around the same time, I was needing a break from all the parapolitical research, so one evening I thought I’d turn to something on the paranormal to switch it up. I turned to my favorite paranormal podcast Where Did the Road Go? and found an interview with the creator of a new podcast series called Penny Royal, about paranormal happenings in Kentucky. Great, sounds like fun I thought. But listening to the interview I came to hear the podcast creator Nathan Issac also talking about much of the very same parapolitical content! It was then I realized that something was up. Something was in the zeitgeist, in the collective mind, that was needing this deep history to surface. As we struggle against the Network and their violent attempts to impose their neo-feudal Great Reset, it was now imperative to understand the history and nature of what we’re truly dealing with. It made sense that I too was being called to this project.
As I searched in my podcast app for various topics in this piece and the ones to come, I also discovered a lot of new parapolitical podcasts being made by younger folks, and importantly, many who consider themselves on the progressive left. This is important because as I talked about in my piece What Happened to the Left? Pt.1, during the Trump + covid years the left sustained an almost total inversion, dropping many former values and embracing the CIA and other intelligence agencies as saviors along the way. This is doubly unfortunate because the left has been on the violent end of so much of the clandestine activity described above, and because it’s the left that’s traditionally been critical of this covert reality as it was happening, seen in something like Noam Chomsky’s 1973 (heavily suppressed) book Counter-Revolutionary Violence: Bloodbaths in Facts and Propaganda which was already aware of the Phoenix Program in Vietnam and other paramilitary activity going on in Southeast Asia. We need a parapolitically aware left back in the game, so it was heartening to listen to podcasts like Subliminal Jihad, TrueAnon, The Farm, and many parapolitical episodes of The Chapo Trap House and Media Roots Radio.
It was also exciting to discover the Midnight Writer News podcast, an incredible repository of interviews with parapolitical researchers from the time of Mae Brussell to today. There’s something about American parapolitical researchers that has this great gumshoe detective quality to it. It’s said that modern detective fiction began in the US with Edgar Allan Poe, so maybe it’s that lineage at play, but there’s an excellent nuts and bolts facts on the ground ability to take apart the official narrative around deep events. It’s impressive, and Midnight Writer News is full of those researchers, many of whom focus on the big assassinations of the 60s (JFK, RFK, MLK, and Malcolm X). There are also stalwarts of parapolitical research still out there such as James Corbett’s The Corbett Report, with episodes going back to 2008 that still hold up, and William Ramsey Investigates. Ramsey was a lawyer in Washington DC in the 90s during the chaos of the Whitewater Scandal and the death of Vince Foster and he learned a few things about the deep state and parapolitical intrigue. His podcast has a wealth of interviews with a wide range of guests. Finally, a shout out should be given to TrineDay Press, which now has its own podcast. TrineDay has published so many important highly researched books that would never have seen the light of day anywhere else. It’s owner Kris Millegan has an interesting story. In the late 60s he was a pot smoking hippie kid who was a part of the counterculture. His dad, however, was a high-level CIA agent and he told Kris a few things about secret societies and CIA drug running that made his hair stand on end and his eyes bulge. That started him on a lifelong journey that eventually led to the creation of TrineDay Press, and we’re richer for it.
All of these voices and more will be needed as we learn our deep history and fight the common enemy that’s besieging us. The good news is that over the past few years that enemy has largely been forced to step out of the covert shadows and reveal its true nature. Over the course of the pandemic censorship became increasingly harsher, media lies proliferated, there was forced isolation (lockdowns), incessant fear mongering, division was constantly stoked, Klaus Schwab bragged about penetrating governments, bank accounts were frozen, all dissidents were called far-right Nazis, and tyrannical governors at times bared their teeth as they said that people must get the jab or else. All the while we were learning about elite sex trafficking networks (Epstein-Maxwell), sex cults involving celebrities and human slavery (NXIVM), and that Hollywood is full of rapists and repeat sex offenders. It became increasingly clear that something is completely rotten, and waves and waves of people have woken up to this reality. The other good news is that the Network uses the same playbook over and over, for decades, and as we become savvy to its big bag of dirty clandestine tricks we become much less susceptible to them, and that knowledge is growing rapidly. I personally learned a great deal doing the research for this piece and am grateful for it. I’ll leave the last words to Winston Churchill. And they’re not just some nice words from the past. Churchill’s Britain was fighting the Nazi’s, and as we know from Pt.1 the Network both funded and supported the Nazi’s, and then brought many of its top agents back into itself after the war, as we saw above. That past is still present and a different kind of war rages on. And so then, “We shall go on to the end. We shall fight on the seas and oceans. We shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength. We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills. We shall never surrender”. Amen and Godspeed.