Archive for the ‘CIA’ Category

T h e V e r d i c t i s T r e a s o n

by David Armstrong and Alex Constantine
Z Magazine, July/August 1990

Z is an independent, progressive monthly magazine of critical thinking on political, cultural, social, and economic life in the United States. It sees the racial, sexual, class, and political dimensions of personal life as fundamental to understanding and improving contemporary circumstances; and it aims to assist activist efforts to attain a better future.


The May 4 acquittal of Richard Brenneke, the self-proclaimed CIA contract agent accused of lying to a federal grand jury about the 1980 Reagan-Bush campaign’s efforts to delay the release of 52 American hostages then held in Iran, has cast a long shadow over Washington. Despite the modicum of attention the case has received in the mainstream press, its true implications-namely “treason,” “perjury,” and “impeachable offenses”- have yet to be fully addressed.

Brenneke’s story bears repeating. On September 23, 1988, Brenneke, a Portland, Oregon, property manager and arms dealer, voluntarily testified at the sentencing hearing of his “close friend,” Heinrich Rupp, a gold dealer and former-Luftwaffe pilot who had been convicted of bank fraud in Colorado. During closed-door testimony before Judge James R. Carrigan, Brenneke told the Denver court that both he and Rupp had worked for the CIA on a contract basis since 1967, including flying planes for Air America, the CIA-owned front company in southeast asia. Moreover, Brenneke testified that Rupp believed he’d been “doing something the [CIA] asked him to do” when the fraud was committed.

To support his claim, Brenneke swore that both he and Rupp had been employed by the CIA to assist in covert operations on numerous occasions. One of these clandestine adventures

T h e O c t o b e r S u r p r i s e

In his Denver deposition, Brenneke testified that on the night of October 18, 1980, Rupp flew Reagan-Bush campaign director William Casey from Washington’s National Airport to the Le Bourget Airfield north of Paris for a series of secret meetings. According to Brenneke, it was at these meetings–held on October 19 and 20, at the Waldorf Florida and Crillon hotels–that members of the Reagan-Bush campaign secretly negotiated an “arms-for-no-hostages” deal with representatives of the Ayatollah Khomeini. The purpose of this Faustian pact, Brenneke said, was to prevent an “October Surprise”–the release of the hostages prior to the November elections–thereby ensuring President Carter’s defeat. For their part, the Iranians allegedly received $40 million with which they could purchase badly needed American-made weapons and military spare parts for their war against Iraq.

Brenneke testified that he had participated in the last of the three Paris meetings, working out the details of the cash and weapons transactions. Also present at this meeting, Brenneke said, was William Casey, who was eventually appointed Reagan’s CIA director. It was in that latter capacity that Casey masterminded the arms-for-hostages deal with Iran that would eventually be known as the Iran-Contra scandal.

Also in attendance at this remarkable meeting, according to Brenneke, was Donald Gregg, a CIA liaison to President Carter’s National Security Council. Gregg, a CIA operative since 1951, later became National Security Advisor to Vice President George Bush, and is currently the US ambassador to South Korea.

A third member of the American delegation in attendance at the Paris meetings, Brenneke told the court, was then-vice presidential hopeful George Bush. A month after his Denver testimony, Brenneke wrote a letter to Judge Carrigan amending his statement. In the letter, Brenneke explained that he had no first hand knowledge of Bush being in Paris, but had been told by Rupp that Bush had been spotted on the tarmac at Le Bourget. When questioned on this point during his trial, Brenneke replied: “I simply repeated what I was told…. I disbelieved it then, and I disbelieve it now.”

B r e n n e k e ‘ s D a y i n C o u r t

Eight months after his sworn statement in Denver, the US Justice Department charged Brenneke with five counts of making “false declarations” to a federal judge. The indictment alleged that Brenneke had knowingly lied when he said that both he and Rupp had worked for the CIA. The government also charged that Brenneke had concocted the entire story about Bush, Casey, Gregg and the “October Surprise” deal.

Speculation at the time held that the indictment may have been timed to avoid political embarrassment. During the 1988 presidential campaign, Brenneke had publicly accused Gregg of directing the Contra resupply effort out of Vice President Bush’s office. After assuming the presidency, Bush nominated Gregg to become the US ambassador to South Korea. Gregg’s Senate confirmation hearings began on May 12, 1989, the same day Brenneke was indicted. The charges effectively prevented senators from raising Brenneke’s accusations during the confirmation process.

Furthermore, the Bush administration showed no real interest in taking Brenneke to trial. In fact, the prosecution offered Brenneke a deal that would keep him out of jail in exchange for a guilty plea. Despite having no money and suffering from a severe heart ailment, Brenneke refused the government’s conditions.

Brenneke’s trial began on April 24, in federal district court in Portland, Oregon. Brenneke’s attorney, Michael Scott, the brother of Rep. Patricia Schroeder, D-Colorado, had originally planned to subpoena a star- studded list of witnesses for the defense. Among the notables were former President Carter and former Iranian President Abolhassan Bani-Sadr, both of whom have stated that they were aware of the Reagan-Bush campaign’s hostage negotiations prior to the 1980 election.

Being broke, however, Brenneke was forced to rely on the government to pay the expenses of his witnesses. It was up to the court, therefore, to determine which witnesseswere necessary to his defense. Judge Malcolm F. Marsh–a Reagan appointee–had no trouble determining that Carter, Bani- Sadr, and Robert McFarlane were not. In fact, of the 24 potential witnesses presented by Brenneke lawyers, only five were deemed “necessary.”

Government prosecutor Thomas O’Rourke, the US attorney in Denver, suffered under no such burden. At taxpayers’ expense O’Rourke assembled an impressive roster of government witnesses. Eldon Hatch, a CIA personnel specialist, testified that after thoroughly searching the agency’s files he could find no employment records for either Rupp or Brenneke. Under cross examination, however, Hatch admitted that Rupp had been trained by Inter- Mountain Aviation, a CIA proprietary. Hatch, a 31-year CIA veteran, also acknowledged that the agency had maintained “files” on both Rupp and Brenneke. Defense witness Frank Snepp, a former CIA agent and critic of the Agency, later testified that CIA contract agents were often listed in “Soft files” that “existed only in a clandestine part of the agency and were not shared with personnel because the [agent’s] situation was so sensitive.

A S t a r i s S w o r n

The government’s star witness was Donald Gregg, who was flown in from South Korea to testify. But Gregg has never been a credible witness. During the Congressional Iran-contra hearings, Gregg testified under oath that despite being vice President George Bush’s National Security Adviser at the time, he had not learned of the Reagan Administration’s efforts to resupply the Nicaraguan Contras until August 1986. During his Senate confirmation hearing in 1989, however, information surfaced that clearly contradicted Gregg’s earlier statements. An entry in one of Oliver North’s notebooks that somehow escaped the shredder indicates that Gregg attended a meeting on the illegal resupply operation in September 1985. In addition, a memo from Gregg’s on office initialed by Gregg himself, reveals that on May 1, 1986, Gregg met with Vice President Bush to discuss “resupply of the Contras.” Gregg attributed the discrepancy to a secretarial error, claiming the meeting had actually concerned “resupply of the Copters.” A New York Times editorial a the time ran under the heading “Mr. Gregg Still Lacks Credibility.”

During the Brenneke trial, Gregg swore he did not go to Paris on October 18, 1980, but had been vacationing with his family at Bethany Beach, Delaware. To prove his point, Gregg presented photographs of himself, his wife and their daughter, on a sunny beach that he said were taken on the weekend in question.

Gregg’s claims were easily disproved by Robert Lynott, a veteran meteorologist for the National Weather Service, the National Forest Service and a Portland TV station. After comparing the photographs with reports from the Indian River weather station–ten miles from Bethany Beach–Lynott concluded that “These pictures were not taken on those days. I’m 100 percent sure that they weren’t taken on the 18th and I’m 90 percent sure they weren’t taken on the 19th.”

As for Bush and Casey, prosecutor O’Rourke failed to demonstrate that they could NOT have been in Paris on the relevant days. This inexplicable lack of accurate record keeping is all the more remarkable for a campaign manager and candidate at the height of a presidential race.

More damning testimony came from Richard Allen, a former Reagan-Bush campaign official who later served as President Reagan’s National Security adviser. Allen told the court that during the fall of 1980, he had set up a secret committee within the campaign to monitor the Carter Administration’s progress in their hostage negotiations. Two internal campaign memos were presented as evidence to support Allen’s testimony. The first, dated October 15, 1980, was from Allen to Reagan, Casey, campaign strategist Richard Wirthlin, and Edwin Meese III, who later became Reagan’s attorney general. According to the memo, a person referred to as “ABC XYZ”had informed the campaign that the hostages could be freed “at any moment, as a bolt from the blue.” Allen testified that “ABC XYZ” was in fact Edmund Muskie, who at the time was President Carter’s secretary of state. [note Muskie served with John Tower and Brent Scowcroft on the presidential commission which investigated the Iran/Contra scandal. RW] A second memo, dated October 24, 1980, named Bob Garrick, a high ranking campaign official, as the sole spokesperson on the hostage issue.

Another defense witness, Israeli Col. William Northrup, testified that American-made weapons were shipped to Iran via Israel “within a fortnight” of the Paris meetings, implying that they were part of the deal not to release the hostages.

In his closing argument defense attorney Michael Scott stressed the timing of the hostages release which came on January 20, 1981, just minutes after Reagan was sworn in as president.

T h e V e r d i c t

On May 4, after only five hours of deliberation, the jury found Brenneke “not guilty” on all five counts.

“We were convinced that, yes, there was a meeting, and he was there and the other people listed in the indictment were there,” said jury foreman Mark Kristoff following the trial. “There never was a guilty vote … It was 100 percent.”

While the jury’s verdict represents a substantial victory for Brenneke personally, many questions remain unresolved. Technically, the decision does not mean Brenneke was telling the truth about the Paris meetings; it simply means the government was unable to convince the jury that he was lying.

Still, there is a substantial body of circumstantial evidence suggesting that the Reagan-Bush campaign stole the 1980 election, and the Brenneke decision adds even greater credence to that argument. At the very least it suggest the Republicans were willing to barter with American lives for their own political gain. Legally, any dealings between campaign officials and the Iranians would be a clear violation of the Logan Act, which prohibits private citizens from engaging in diplomatic negotiations with foreign governments. More important, since Iran could easily have been classified as a hostile nation at the time, any effort to furnish them with weapons would constitute providing aid to an enemy nation, which is tantamount to treason.

Then there is the question of Donald Gregg’s testimony. If, as the jury apparently believed, Gregg was not telling the truth about his whereabouts on that all important weekend in 1980, will the bush administration be as vigilant in seeking perjury charges against him as it was in prosecuting Brenneke?

E n t e r t h e S & L ‘ s

In addition to lifting the lid on the October Surprise, Brenneke’s testimony in Denver shed light on another scandal. During his deposition, Brenneke stated that the bank fraud for which Rupp was convicted was actually part of a larger “systematically developed program by which money was raised for the Contras, using a variety of schemes involving banks, and then involving the disposition of those funds.”

Brenneke’s comments became the center piece for a series of investigative reports by Pete Brewton of the Houston Post. Earlier this year, Brewton revealed that “the CIA may have used part of the proceeds from S&L fraud to help pay for covert operations and other activities that Congress was unwilling to support publicly.” Brewton disclosed that “numerous links” exist “between organized crime figures and CIA operatives, including some involved in gun running, drug smuggling, money laundering, and covert aid for the Nicaraguan Contras.”

One example Brewton refers to is Indian Springs State Bank in Kansas City, Missouri. When Indian Springs failed in 1984, federal investigators focused their attention on Farhad Azima, a major shareholder in the bank. Azima, an Iranian emigrant who’s family had close ties to the Shah, has been linked in court documents to the CIA and organized crime. Azima was also the owner of Global International Airways. Brewton reported that an ID card given to him by Brenneke, dated November 1, 1975, shows a vice president and pilot for global to be none other than Heinrich Rupp. Global supplied one of the cargo planes used by the White House to deliver 23 tons of TOW missiles and sundry spare parts to Tehran.

Among Global’s clients was Southern Air Transport, once owned-and- operated by the CIA. Southern Air personnel maintain that Global ran weapons out of Dallas to the contras and cocaine back into the US. Global’s biggest customer was the Egyptian American Transport and Services Corporation (EATSCO). EATSCO’s board of directors included unindicted Iran-contra figure Theodore Shackley and convicted Iran-contra conspirator retired Gen. Richard Secord. The finances of Indian Springs Bank and Global were intimately intertwined. When Global filed for bankruptcy, Indian Springs was next in line.

I s T h e r e a R e p o r t e r i n t h e H o u s e ?

Mainstream coverage of the Brenneke trial and the CIA/Mafia/White House links to the S&L crisis have been conspicuously absent. Following the Brenneke decision, the Los Angeles Times, the New York Times and the Washington Post all ran short Associated Press wire stories but never mentioned the words “treason” or “perjury.” Joel Bleifuss of In These Times writes: “The most interesting of the three AP stories was the heavily and strangely edited version in the Washington Post. It seems that if the jury didn’t have sense enough to find Brenneke guilty, it was up to the Post to do the job.”

Brewton’s revelations concerning the S&L debacle have fared even worse. In February, the Los Angeles Times buried a short piece outlining Brewton’s basic thesis, and has since failed to follow up on the allegations. To date, neither the New York Times nor the Washington Post have seen fit to report on the subject.

Having been vindicated in court, Brenneke says he plans to write a book about his life in the CIA and the October Surprise. It will be interesting to see how the press responds when his story, which has been sitting right under their noses for four years, “breaks” in the book review section.

F u r t h e r R e a d i n g

S & L s c a n d a l

Pete Brewton’s investigative articles in the Houston Post are
(may be incomplete):
“S&L probe has possible CIA links” 2/4/90
“Evidence finds CIA operatives may be implicated in failure” 2/5/90
“[House] Panel calls CIA chief to testify” 2/6/90
“A bank’s shadowy demise” 2/8/90
“Azima no stranger to Texas business” 2/(between 8 and 11)/90
“Linsay aided S&L probe figure” 2/11/90
“Texas S&L, mob, CIA: A tangled web of deceit” 2/18/90
“CIA declines to testify before [House] panel” 2/21/90
“House committee plans investigation of agency’s actions” 3/2/90
“The suspicious trail of Denver S&L failure” 3/11/90
“Attorney linked to S&L crisis has ties to CIA, Mafia figures” 4/4/90
“House investigators pursue Post’s S&L findings” 7/11/90
also “The news story hardly anyone wants to touch” by Nicols Fox,
July/August Washington Journalism Review
also see the book “Inside Job” by Steve Pizzo, Mary Fricker & Paul Molo

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
(note: as of mid November, 1990, the staff of the House Intelligence committee is about to make a recommendation as to whether to pursue a formal investigation of the Post’s allegations)
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

C I A & d r u g s m u g g l i n g :

“Is there a contra drug connection?” Newsweek, 1/26/87
“Contra arms crew said to smuggle drugs” New York Times, 1/20/87
“Bay area cocaine ring tied to contras” San Francisco Examiner, 3/16/86
“Nicaraguan exile’s cocaine-contra connection” SF Examiner, 6/23/86
“Probe tracks contra smuggling, US role” Chicago Tribune, 3/3/87
“Narco-terrorism: A tale of two stories” Columbia Journalism Rev, Sept/Oct 87
“Pilot: I flew contra arms in, pot out” Newsday, 4/6/87
“Obstruction at justice” The Village Voice, 3/31/87
“Memo urged Iran panels to absolve contras of drug charges” Boston Globe 8/5/87
“North’s aids linked to Austrialia study” New York Times, 3/8/87
“CIA, contras hooked on drug money” In These Times, 4/15/87

A l s o s e e :

New York Times 2/24/87, 7/16/87
Washington Post 12/27/85, 6/30/87
Wall St. Journal 4/22/87
Miami Herald 2/16/87, 3/22/87
Los Angeles Times 2/12/87, 2/18/87
CBS News West 57th, contra drug reports aired 4/6/87 and 7/11/87

Related books:
“Out of Control” by Leslie Cockburn, Atlantic Monthly Press, 1987
“The Crimes of Patriots” by Jonathan Kwitney, Norton, 1987
“The Iran Contra Connection” by Johnathan Marshall, Peter Scott, Jane Hunter, South End Press, 1987
“The Politics of Heroin in Southeast Asia” by Alfred W. McCoy, Harper & Row, 1972
“The Great Heroin Coup” by Henrik Kruger, South End Press, 1980
“In Banks We Trust” by Penny Lernoux, Anchor Press/Doubleday, 1984


By Roque Planas, Miama Herald Blog

Laz Razones de Cuba aired another documentary outing a covert operative. In this episode, “Manufacturing Leaders,” Cuban agent Raúl Capote writes a book criticizing Cuba during the special period. The CIA contacts him and makes him a U.S. agent, with the goal of turning Capote into a dissident leader, the film says. The documentary alleges that former Reuters correspondent Anthony Boadie served as a pointman for Capote to make contact with the CIA.

U.S. intelligence officials operated in Cuba under the cover of aid programs, including U.S. Aid, according to the film.

Neither the Reuters office in Havana nor the U.S. Interests Section would comment on the story to the Associated Press. Boadie now works as an editor for Reuters in Washington.

AP reports that Cuba has denied press accreditation for a number of foreign journalists in recent months.


Cancer the Secret Weapon?

Posted: March 22, 2012 in CIA
Tags: , , ,

US Senators Frank Church and John Tower examine a Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) poison dart gun that causes cancer and heart attacks, during the US Senate Select Committee’s investigation into the assassination plots on foreign leaders in 1975.

By Charles Kong Soo

Trinidad Guardian, February 27, 2012

It was a case destined for the X-Files and conspiracy theorists alike, when Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez speculated that the US might have developed a way to weaponise cancer, after several Latin American leaders were diagnosed with the disease. The list includes former Argentine president, Nestor Kirchner (colon cancer) Brazil’s president Dilma Rousseff (lymphoma cancer), her predecessor Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva (throat cancer), Chavez (undisclosed), former Cuban president Fidel Castro (stomach cancer) Bolivian president, Evo Morales (nasal cancer) and Paraguayan president Fernando Lugo (lymphoma cancer). What do they have in common besides cancer? All of them are left-wing leaders. Coincidence? In his December 28, 2011 end-of-year address to the Venezuelan military, Chavez hinted that the US might have found a way to give Latin American leaders cancer.

“Would it be so strange that they’ve invented the technology to spread cancer and we won’t know about it for 50 years?” Chavez asked. “It is very hard to explain, even with the law of probabilities, what has been happening to some leaders in Latin America. It’s at the very least strange,” he said. Chavez said he received warning from Cuba’s former leader Fidel Castro, who has survived hundreds of unsuccessful assassination attempts. “Fidel always told me, ‘Chavez take care. These people have developed technology. You are very careless. Take care what you eayy what they give you to eat … a little needle and they inject you with I don’t know what’,” he said.

Unsolved mysteries

Cancer stem cells

Sounds far-fetched? WikiLeaks reported that in 2008 the American Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) asked its embassy in Paraguay to collect all biometric data, including the DNA of all four presidential candidates. Right here in the Caribbean conspiracy theorists believe that the CIA also had a hand in the deaths of T&T’s own civil rights activist and Pan-Africanist Kwame Ture, Jamaica’s legendary reggae icon Bob Marley and Dominican Prime Minister Rosie Douglas. During the United States Senate Select Committee’s investigation into CIA’s assassination plots on foreign leaders in 1975 it was revealed that the agency had developed a poison dart gun that caused heart attacks and cancer.

The gun fired a frozen liquid poison-tipped dart, the width of a human hair and a quarter of an inch long, that could penetrate clothing, was almost undetectable and left no trace in a victim’s body.

Kwame Ture or Stokely Carmichael, the radical former Black Panther leader who inaugurated the Black Power Movement of the 1960s went to his death claiming that the CIA had poisoned him with cancer. Ture died of prostate cancer at the age of 57 in 1998. His friend, multi-media artist and activist Wayne “Rafiki” Morris, said Ture said “without equivocation” that the CIA gave him cancer. “I knew Kwame from 1976 and for all the time I knew him he never drank or smoked cigarettes,” Morris said. “He was a very good swimmer and exercised regularly, he didn’t have any medical condition and was very conscious of his health.”

If the Shoe Fits …

Bob Marley died of melanoma cancer in 1981. He was 36-years-old. The official report is he contracted cancer after injuring his toe which never healed while playing football in 1977. The conspiracy theorists allege that Marley was given a pair of boots with a piece of copper wire inside that was coated with a carcinogenic substance that pricked his big toe by Carl Colby, son of the late CIA director William Colby. There is an eerie similarity between Marley and Castro involving poisoned shoes.  Cuban ambassador to T&T, Humberto Rivero said the CIA and Cuban exiles tried more than 600 attempts to kill Castro from exploding cigars, injecting him with cancer, to a wet suit lined with poison. In the case of Marley the CIA allegedly used cancer in his shoes, for Castro they placed the highly toxic poison thallium salts in his shoes. After only eight months being elected as Prime Minister of Dominica, radical politician Rosie Douglas was found dead on the floor of his residence in 2000.

The cause of death was listed as a result of a massive heart attack. His heart was twice its normal size. Just like Ture and Marley, he exercised regularly. Douglas’ eldest son, Cabral insisted that his father had been murdered and also hinted at the involvement of the CIA. Moshood Abiola, the man widely believed to have won the 1993 elections in Nigeria, was reported to have died of a heart attack after he was given a cocktail which expanded his heart to twice its size in 1998. Jack Ruby, the assassin who killed US president John Kennedy’s alleged assassin Lee Harvey Oswald, died from lung cancer in 1967. What was strange was the cancer cells were not the type that originate in the respiratory system. He told his family that he was injected with cancer cells in prison when he was treated with shots for a cold. He died just before he was to testify before Congress.

Lockerbie bomber, Abdelbaset al-Megrahi, developed terminal cancer. The leader of Canada’s left-leaning Opposition party, the New Democratic Party (NDP), Jack Layton died of an undisclosed form of cancer in 2011. It will appear that having leftist tendencies are hazardous to a person’s health. From 1953 the Russians were using microwaves to attack the US embassy staff in Moscow, Russia. One third of the staff eventually died of cancer from this microwave irradiation. Imagine how advanced and sophisticated assassination technology has become today.

ALSO SEE: Dr. Mary’s Monkey, by Edward T. Haslam …

” International Cable: Chavez Thinks the CIA Gave Other Leftists) Cancer”

Cartoon by Jed Stuart

Posted: March 19, 2012 in All Posts, CIA
Tags: , ,

The False Memory Hoax

By Alex Constantine

From “Psychic Dictatorship in the USA” (Feral House, 1994)

CIA Connections to the Mind Control Cults

Within hours, 27 other members of the Sovereign Order of the Solar Temple were found dead at chalets in Granges, Switzerland and Morin Heights, Quebec. Luc Jouret, the Temple’s grand master, the London Times reported, “espoused a hybrid religion that owed more to Umberto Eco’s novel Foucault’s Pendulumthan to any bible. His followers called themselves ‘knights of Christ.’ The crusading codes of the Knights Templar, the rose-and-cross symbolism of the medieval Rosicrucian Order, Nazi occultism and new age mysticism were joined together into a mumbo-jumbo mishmash that seemed more designed for extracting money from disciples than saving souls.”

Jouret, born in the Belgian Congo in 1947, set out in youth as a mystic with communist leanings, but his politics apparently swung full circle. He has since been linked to a clutch of neo-Nazis responsible for a string of bombings in Canada. He told friends that he had once served with a unit of Belgium paratroopers.

French-Canadian journalist Pierre Tourangeau investigated the sect for two years. A few days after the mass murder, he reported that the sect was financed by the proceeds of gun-running to Europe and South America. Simultaneously, Radio Canada announced that Jouret’s Templars earned hundreds of millions of dollars laundering the profits through the infamous Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI), closed by authorities worldwide in 1991. Montreal’s La Presse observed: “each new piece of information only thickens the mystery” – but the combination of international arms smuggling and BCCI presented a familiar enough picture of CIA sedition. The Manhattan D.A. who closed the American branch announced that 16 witnesses had died in the course of investigating the bank’s entanglements in covert operations of the CIA, arms smuggling to Iraq, money laundering and child prostitution.

The average coffee table would crumple under the weighty BCCI Book of the Dead. Journalist Danny Cassalaro and Vince Foster appear in it – grim antecedents to the Solar Temple killings. The cult’s connection to BCCI (reported in Europe but filtered from American newspaper accounts) fed speculation among Canadian journalists that followers of Jouret were killed to bury public disclosures of gun-running and money laundering.

But the fraternizing of America’s national security elite and the cults did not begin in Cheiry, Switzerland. Jouret’s Order of the Solar Temple was but the latest incarnation of mind control operations organized and overseen by the CIA and Department of Defense.

In a sense, we are in the same ethical and moral dilemma as the physicists in the days prior to the Manhattan Project. Those of us who work in this field see a developing potential for a nearly total control of human emotional status. – Dr. Wayne Evans, U.S. Army Institute of Environmental Medicine, 1978

Scientists in the CIA’s mind control fraternity lead double lives. Many are highly respected, but if the truth were known they would be deafened by the public outcry and drummed out of their respective academic haunts.

Martin T. Orne, for example, a senior CIA/Navy researcher, is based at the University of Pennsylvania’s Experimental Psychiatry Laboratory. He is also an original member of the False Memory Syndrome Foundation’s advisory board, a tightly-drawn coterie of psychiatrists, many with backgrounds in CIA mind control experimentation in its myriad forms. The Foundation is dedicated to denying the existence of cult mind control and child abuse. It’s primary pursuit is the castigation of survivors and therapists for fabricating accusations of ritual abuse.

Dismissing cult abuse as hysteria or false memory, a common defense strategy, may relieve parents of preschool children. In a small percentage of cult abuse cases it’s possible that children may be led to believe they’ve been victimized.

But the CIA and its cover organizations have a vested interest in blowing smoke at the cult underground because the worlds of CIA mind control and many cults merge inextricably. The drum beat of “false accusations” from the media is taken up by paid operatives like Dr. Orne and the False Memory Syndrome Foundation to conceal the crimes of the Agency.

Orne’s forays into hypno-programming were financed in the 1960s by the Human Ecology Fund, a CIA cover at Cornell University and the underwriter of many of the formative mind control experiments conducted in the U.S. and abroad, including the gruesome brainwashing and remote mind control experiments of Dr. Ewen Cameron at Montreal’s Allen Memorial Institute. Research specialties of the CIA’s black psychiatrists included electroshock lobotomies, drugging agents, incapacitants, hypnosis, sleep deprivation and radio control of the brain, among hundreds of sub-projects.

The secondary source of funding for Dr. Orne’s work in hypnotic suggestion and dissolution of memory is eerie in the cult child abuse context. The voluminous files of John Marks in Washington, D.C. (139 boxes obtained under FOIA, to be exact, two-fifths of which document CIA interest in the occult) include an Agency report itemizing a $30,000 grant to Orne from Human Ecology, and another $30,000 from Boston’s Scientific Engineering Institute (SEI) – another CIA funding cover, founded by Edwin Land of the Polaroid Corporation (and supervision of the U-2 spy plane escapades). This was the year that the CIA’s Office of Research and Development (ORD) geared up a study of parapsychology and the occult. The investigation, dubbed Project OFTEN-CHICKWIT, gave rise to the establishment of a social “laboratory” by SEI scientists at the University of South Carolina – a college class in black witchcraft, demonology and voodoo.

Dr. Orne, with SEI funding, marked out his own mind control corner at the University of Pennsylvania in the early 1960s. He does not publicize his role as CIA psychiatrist. He denies it, very plausibly. In a letter to Dr. Orne, Marks once reminded him that he’d disavowed knowledge of his participation in one mind-wrecking experimental sub-project. Orne later recanted, admitting that he’d been aware of the true source of funding all along.

Among psychiatrists in the CIA’s mind control fraternity, Orne ranks among the most venerable. He once boasted to Marks that he was routinely briefed on all significant CIA behavior modification experiments: “Why would they come to him,” Martin Cannon muses in The Controllers, which links UFO abductions to secret military research veiled by screen memories of “alien” abduction, “unless Orne had a high security clearance and worked extensively with the intelligence services?”

To supplement his CIA income, the influential Dr. Orne has been the donee of grants from the Office of Naval Research and the Air Force Office of Scientific Research. “I should like to hear,” Cannon says, “what innocent explanation, if any, the Air Force has to offer to explain their interest in post-hypnotic amnesia.”

According to Army records, Orne’s stomping grounds, Penn U., was a bee-hive of secret experiments in the Vietnam War period. The Pentagon and CIA – under the auspices of ORD’s Steve Aldrich, a doyen of occult and parapsychological studies – conferred the Agency’s most lucrative research award upon the University of Pennsylvania to study the effects of 16 newly-concocted biochemical warfare agents on humans, including choking, blistering and vomiting agents, toxins, poison gas and incapacitating chemicals. The tests were abruptly halted in 1972 when the prison’s medical lab burned to the ground.

Testimony before the 1977 Church Committee’s probe of the CIA hinted that, as of 1963, the scientific squalor of the CIA’s mind control regimen, code-named MKULTRA, had abandoned military and academic laboratories, fearing exposure, and mushroomed in cities across the country. Confirmation arrived in 1980 when Joseph Holsinger, an aide to late Congressman Leo Ryan (who was murdered by a death squad at Jonestown) exposed the formation of eccentric religious cults by the CIA. Holsinger made the allegation at a colloquium of psychologists in San Francisco on “Psychosocial Implications of the Jonestown Phenomenon.” Holsinger maintained that a CIA rear-support base had been in collusion with Jones to perform medical and mind control experiments at People’s Temple. The former Congressional aide cited an essay he’d received in the mail, “The Penal Colony,” written by a Berkeley psychologist. The author had emphasized: Rather than terminating MKULTRA, the CIA shifted its programs from public institutions to private cult groups, including the People’s Temple.

Jonestown had its grey eminence in Dr. Lawrence Laird Layton of the University of California at Berkeley, formerly a chemist for the Manhattan Project and head of the Army’s chemical warfare research division in the early 1950s. (Larry Layton, his son, led the death squad that murdered Congressman Leo Ryan, who’d arrived at Guyana to investigate the cult.) Michael Meiers, author of Was Jonestown a CIA Medical Experiment?, scavenged for information on the People’s Temple for six years, concluding:

“The Jonestown experiment was conceived by Dr. Layton, staffed by Dr. Layton and financed by Dr. Layton. It was as much his project as it was Jim Jones”

Though it was essential for him to remain in the background for security reasons, Dr. Layton maintained contact with and even control of the experiment through his wife and children.” The African-American cult had at its core a Caucasian inner-council, composed of Dr. Layton’s family and in-laws.

The press was blind to obvious CIA connections, but survivors of the carnage in Guyana followed the leads and maintained that Jim Jones was “an employee, servant, agent or operative of the Central Intelligence Agency” from 1963 – the year the Agency turned to cult cut-outs to conceal MKULTRA mind control activities – until 1978. In October 1981 the survivors of Jonestown filed a $63 million lawsuit against Secretary of State Cyrus Vance and Stansfield Turner, former director of the CIA, currently a teacher at the University of Maryland and a director of the Monsanto Corporation. The suit, filed in U.S. district court in San Francisco, accused Turner of conspiring with Agency operatives to “enhance the economic and political powers of James Warren Jones,” and of conducting “mind control and drug experimentation” on the Temple flock.

The suit was dismissed four months later for “failure to prosecute timely.” All requests for an appeal were denied.

Ligatures of the CIA clung to the cults. Much of the violence that has since exploded across the front pages was incited by CIA academics at leading universities.

Small wonder, then, that Ted Goertzel, director of the Forum for Policy Research at Rutgers, which maintains a symbiosis with the CIA despite media exposure, should write that the most susceptible victims of “cryptomnesia” (a synonym for false memories) believe “in conspiracies, including the JFK assassination, AIDS conspiracies, as well as the UFO cover-up.” The problem, Goertzel says, “may have its origins in early childhood,” and is accompanied by “feelings of anomie and anxiety that make the individual more likely to construct false memories out of information stored in the unconscious mind.”

This side of gilded rationalizations, the CIA’s links to the cults are no manifestation of “cryptomnesia.”

Like Jonestown, the Symbionese Liberation Army was a mind control creation unleashed by the Agency. The late political researcher Mae Brussell, whose study of The Firm commenced in 1963 after the assassination of John Kennedy, wrote in 1974 that the rabid guerrilla band “consisted predominantly of CIA agents and police informers.” This unsavory group was, Brussell insisted, “an extension of psychological experimentation projects, connected to Stanford Research Institute, Menlo Park.” (She went on to lament that “many of the current rash of ‘senseless killings,’ ‘massacres,’ and ‘zombie-type murders’ are committed by individuals who have been in Army hospitals, mental hospitals or prison hospitals, where their heads have been literally taken over surgically to create terror in the community.”)

Evidence that the CIA conceived and directed the SLA was obvious. The SLA leadership was trained by Colston Westbrook, a Pennsylvania native. Westbrook was a veteran of the CIA’s murderous PHOENIX Program in South Vietnam, where he trained terrorist cadres and death squads. In 1969 he took a job as an administrator of Pacific Architects and Engineers, a CIA proprietary in Southern California. Three of Westbrook’s foot soldiers, Emily and William Harris and Angela Atwood (a former police intelligence informer), had been students of the College of Foreign Affairs, a CIA cover at the University of Indiana. Even the SLA symbol, a seven-headed cobra, had been adopted by the OSS (America’s wartime intelligence agency) and CIA to designate precepts of brainwashing.

When the smoke cleared at SLA headquarters in L.A., Dr. Martin Orne was called upon to examine Patricia Hearst in preparation for trial. The government charged that she had participated voluntarily in the SLA’s gun-toting crime spree. Orne’s was a foregone conclusion – he sided with the government. His opinion was shared by two other psychiatrists called to appraise Ms. Hearst’s state of mind, Robert Jay Lifton and Louis Jolyon West. Dr. Lifton was a co-founder of the aforementioned Human Ecology Fund. The CIA contractor that showered Orne with research grants in the 1960s. Dr. West is one of the CIA’s most notorious mind control specialists, currently director of UCLA’s Neuropsychiatric Institute. It was West who brought a score of mind control psychiatrists of the ultra-right political stripe to the UCLA campus.

Drs. Orne, Lifton and West unanimously agreed that Patty Hearst had been “persuasively coerced” to join the SLA. She had been put through a grueling thought reform regimen. She’d been isolated and sensory deprived, raped, humiliated, badgered, politically indoctrinated with a surrealistic mutation of Third World Marxism. Ms. Hearst was only allowed human companionship when she exhibited signs of submission. Orne and his colleagues assured that attention was narrowed to their psychologizing, conveniently rendering evidence of CIA collusion extraneous to consideration by the jury.

Another psychiatrist called to testify at the trial of “Tania” surfaced with Dr. Orne in 1991 on the board of the False Memory Syndrome Foundation. (The FMSF board is almost exclusively composed of former CIA and military doctors currently employed by major universities. None have backgrounds in ritual abuse – their common interest is behavior modification. Dr. Margaret Singer, a retired Berkeley Ph.D., studied repatriated prisoners-of-war returning from the Korean War at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research in Maryland (1952-58).

Singer turned up in 1982 on the book jacket of Raven – the CIA’s code-name for Jim Jones – by San Francisco Examiner reporters Tim Reiterman and John Jacobs, a thoroughly-researched account of the People’s Temple that completely side-steps CIA involvement. Co-author John Jacobs was supposedly one of the country’s leading authorities on CIA mind control, a subject he studied at length for a series published by the Washington Post. Reiterman had been the Examiner reporter on the Patricia Hearst beat. Yet both writers managed to avoid obvious intelligence connections. Dr. Singer commended the book as “the definitive psychohistory of Jim Jones.” Raven, she opined, conveyed “the essence of psychological and social processes that Jim Jones, the ultimate manipulator, set in motion.” The true “manipulators,” of course, were operatives of the CIA, and the public disinformation gambit lauded by Dr. Singer was, according to Meiers, in tune with “a concerted attempt to suppress information, stifle investigations, censor writers and manipulate public information.”

The CIA and Pentagon have quietly organized and influenced a long line of mind control cults, among them:

The Riverside Lodge of the Ordo Templi Orientis:

Also known as The Solar Lodge of the OTO, which followed the teachings of cult messiah Aleister Crowley, whose fixed gaze on the astral equinox resulted in instructions from his deities to form a religious order. Crowley, high priest of the OTO and a British intelligence agent, gave Winifred T. Smith a charter to open an OTO lodge in Pasadena. The high priest of the lodge was Jack Parsons, a rocket expert and founder of the California Institute of Technology. Parsons, who took the oath of the anti-Christ in 1949, contributed to the design of the Pentagon under subsequent CIA director John J. McCloy. He was killed in a still unexplained laboratory explosion. There is a crater on the moon named after him.

The OTO’s Solar Lodge in San Bernardino was presided over by Georgina “Jean” Brayton, the daughter of a ranking Air Force officer in the 1960s. The cult subscribed to a grim, apocalyptic view of the world, and like Charles Manson believed that race wars would precipitate the Big Cataclysm. In the Faustian Los Angeles underworld, the lodge was known for its indulgence in sadomasochism, drug dealing, blood drinking, child molestation and murder.

Candace Reos, a former member of the lodge, was deposed by Riverside police in 1969. Reos said that Brayton controlled the thinking of all cult members. One poor soul, she said, was ordered to curb his sexual urges by cutting his wrists every time he was aroused. Mrs. Reos told police, according to the report, that when she became pregnant, Georgina was angry and told her that she would have to condition herself to hate her child. Reos told police that children of the cult’s 43 adult members were secluded from their parents and received “training” that took on “very severe tones.”

“There was a lot of spanking involved,” she said, “a lot of heavy criticism. There was a lot of enclosed in dark rooms.” The teachers, she added. “left welts.”

If so ordered, adult cultists would beat their children.

According to a Riverside County Sheriff’s report, a six year-old child burned the group’s school house to the ground. The boy was punished by solitary confinement in a locked shipping crate left in the desert, where the average temperature was 110 degrees, for two months. The boy was chained to a metal plate.

When police freed him, they were nauseated by the suffocating stench of excrement. The child was smothered in flies swarming from a tin-can toilet.

The Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh Movement:

In 1985 the Portland Oregonian published a 36-part, book-length series linking the cult to opium trafficking, prostitution, money laundering, arson, slave labor, mass poisonings, illegal wiretaps and the stockpiling of guns and biochemical warfare weapons. The year-long Oregonian investigation revealed cult ties to CIA-trained mercenaries in El Salvador and the Far East. Domestically, Rajneesh’s secret police force worked with Agency operatives.

The Finders:

On February 7, 1987 Customs agents raided a child-porn ring in Tallahasee, Florida. Eight suspects and six children were taken into custody. The children, according to a Customs Department memo, behaved “like animals in a public park,” and “were not aware of the function and purpose of telephones, televisions and toilets.”

The children told police that they were forced to live outdoors and were given food only as a reward. A check on the backgrounds of the adults turned up a police report, “specific in describing ‘bloody rituals’ and sex orgies involving children, and an as-yet unsolved murder.”

Customs agents searched a cult safe house and discovered a computer room and documents recording “high-tech” bank transfers, explosives, and a set of instructions advising cult members on moving children through jurisdictions around the country. One photographic album found in the house featured the execution and disembowelment of goats, and snapshots, according to a Customs report, of “adults and children dressed in white sheets participating in a bloody ritual.”

An American passport was found. The investigating agents contacted the State Department and were advised to “terminate further investigation.”

They investigated anyway, reporting that “the CIA made contact and admitted to owning the Finders … as a front for a domestic training organization, but that it had ‘gone bad.'” The late wife of Marion David Pettie, the cult’s leader, had worked for the Agency, and his son had been an employee of Air America, the heroin-riddled CIA proprietary. Yet Pettie denied to a reporter for U.S. News & World Report any connection to the Firm. Police in Washington refused to comment. Officials of the CIA dismissed as “hogwash” allegations of any connection to the Finders cult.


The Order of the Temple of Astarte in Pasadena, California is a “hermetic” occult organization that practices “Magick in the Western Tradition.” The cult is led by Fraters Khenemel, a police officer, and Aleyin, a veteran Green Beret. The cult’s everyday language is unusual for a mystical order – one group schedule is laden with words like “operation,” “sixteen-thirty hours,” and “travel orders.” Demonology is among the OTA’s primary occult interests.

The police connection recalls the statement of Louis Tackwood, the former LAPD provocateur whose revelations of secret police subterfuge set off a political tempest in Los Angeles in 1973. “You don’t know,” he told journalist Donald Freed, “but there’s a devil worship cult in Pasadena. Actually in Altadena.” Tackwood alleged that the cultists were “on the LAPD payroll.”

The CIA and Pentagon cooperate in the creation of cults. The Association of National Security Alumni, a public interest veterans group opposed to covert operations, considers it a “primary issue of concern” that the Department of Defense has a “perceived role in satanic cult activities, which qualify in and of themselves as very damaging exercises in mind control and behavioral modification.”

It is beginning to dawn on the psychiatric community at large that the CIA’s mind control clique is a menace reminiscent of Nazi medical experimentation. In 1993, Dr. Corydon Hammond, a professor at the University of Utah’s School of Medicine, conducted a seminar on federally-funded mind control experiments. Topics covered by Hammond included brainwashing, post-hypnotic programming and the induction of multiple personalities by the CIA. Hammond contended that the cult underground has roots in Nazi Germany, and that the CIA’s cult mind control techniques were based upon those of Nazi scientists recruited by the CIA for Cold Warfare. (Researcher Lenny Lapon estimates in Mass Murderers in White Coats that 5,000 Nazis resettled in the U.S. after WW II.) Hammond was forced to drop this line of inquiry by professional ridicule, especially from the CIA’s False Memory Syndrome Foundation, and a barrage of death threats. At a recent regional conference on ritual child abuse, he regretted that he could no longer speak on the theme of government mind control.

The psychological community is waking to the threat in its ranks, to judge by APA surveys and personal communications with ranking members of the mental health field, but the world at large remains in the dark. The “mass hysteria” and “false memory” bromides disseminated by the establishment press obscure federal and academic connections to the mind control cults, which are defended largely by organized pedophiles, cultists and hired guns of psychiatry. An ambitious disinformation gambit has led the world at large to side with cultists operating under federal protection. As at Jonestown and Chiery, Switzerland, the denouement of cult activity often ends in the destruction of all witnesses. This cycle of abuse and murder can only be ended by full public awareness of the federal mind control initiative.

The CIA, The False Memory Syndrome Foundation, and the Politics of Ritual Abuse

The conference session bears a passing resemblance to a 12-Step meeting. Assembled in a Portland religious retreat, members of the False Memory Syndrome Foundation (FMSF), all accused of child abuse, are encouraged to unload their anguish. Only women take the stage (they leave reporters with a sympathetic impression – men stigmatized by child abuse do not). Pamela Freyd, a Foundation founder, assures these victims of pernicious therapies they are not alone. The Foundation’s office in Philadelphia, she says, takes 60 calls on a typical day from distraught adults hounded by their own confused children, rogue therapists and sensation-seeking pack journalists.

The number of dues-paying members (each contributes $100 a year) varies according to the source. The group reported in January 1993 that 1,200 families had made contact in its first year of operation. The same month, the San Jose Mercury News declared flatly that “nearly 3,000 families” from across the country had been recruited. The FMSF now claims 5,000 families. Time magazine raised the figure to “7,000 individuals and families who have sought assistance.”

The Foundation’s distinctive handling of statistics is incessant. In April of this year the FMSF claimed 12,000 families have been strained by false child abuse allegations. A month later, the figure dropped to”9,500 U.S. families.” Yet the Foundation prides itself on accuracy. One FMSF newsletter advises members to insist the media “report accurate information. The rumors and misinformation surrounding the false accusations based on recovery of repressed memories are shocking.” The same author regrets that “65% of accusations of abuse are now unsubstantiated, a whopping jump from 35% in 1976.” This figure, once gleefully disseminated by such pedophile defense groups as NAMBLA (North American Man/Boy Love Association) and VOCAL (Victims of Child Abuse Laws) was debunked years ago. It was fabricated by Douglas Besherov of the American Enterprise Institute, a hard right-wing propaganda factory fueled by the Olin Foundation, a CIA funding cover. (Christian conservatives are often accused of propagating ritual abuse “hysteria,” yet in the 1992 presidential election the para-conservative wing of the Republican Party slipped into its platform a strategy to put an end to investigations of child abuse.)

The FMSF selectively ignores child abuse data that disagrees with their own. Judith Herman, author of Trauma and Recovery, reported in the Harvard Mental Health Letter that false abuse allegations by children “are rare, in the range of 2-8% of reported cases. False retractions of true complaints are far more common, especially when the victim is not sufficiently protected after disclosure and therefore succumbs to intimidation by the perpetrator or other family members who feel that they must preserve secrecy.”

Other statistics shunned by the False Memory Syndrome Foundation include a survey presented at a 1992 psychiatric conference that found that a full 88% of all therapists in a large sampling consider ritual child abuse to be a very real social problem with devastating emotional effects. Another: In 1990 the State University of New York at Buffalo polled a national sampling of clinical psychologists on ritual abuse. About 800 psychologists – a third of the poll – were aware of treating at least one case. Only 5% of all child abuse cases ever enter the courtroom – half of these end with the child in the custody of the abusive parent..

The recovered memory debate was discussed at a 1993 conference on multiple personality disorder. Richard Lowenstein, a psychiatrist from the University of Maryland Medical School, argued that the Foundation is “media-directed, dedicated to putting out disinformation.”

Other conference participants contemplated funding sources and “possible CIA connections.”

The Devil Denuded

The CIA, in fact, has several designates on the FMSF advisory board. They have in common backgrounds in mind control experimentation. Their very presence on the board, and their peculiar backgrounds, reveal some heavily obscured facts about ritual child abuse.

Martin T. Orne, a senior CIA researcher, is an original board member of the Foundation, and a psychiatrist at the University of Pennsylvania’s Experimental Psychiatry Lab in Philadelphia. In 1962 his forays into hypno-programming (the elicitation of “anti-social” behavior, dissolving memory and other mind-subduing techniques) were financed by a CIA front at Cornell University. He was also funded by Boston’s Scientific Engineering Institute, another front, and a clearinghouse for the Agency’s investigation of the occult.

The CIA and Pentagon have formed a partnership in the creation of cults. To be sure, the Association of National Security Alumni, a public interest veterans group opposed to clandestine ops, considers it a “primary issue of concern” that the Department of Defense has a “perceived role in satanic cult activities, which qualify in and of themselves as very damaging exercises in mind control.”

The smoothing over of the national security state’s cult connections is handled by academic “experts.”

A forerunner of the Foundation is based in Buffalo, New York, the Committee for Scientific Examination of Religion, best known for the publication of Satanism in America: How the Devil Got More Than His Due, widely considered to be a legitimate study. The authors turn up their noses to ritual abuse, dismissing the hundreds of reports around the country as mass “hysteria.” Cult researcher Carl Raschke reported in a March, 1991 article that he coincidentally met Hudson Frew, a Satanism in America co-author, at a Berkeley bookstore. “Frew was wearing a five-pointed star, or pentagram, the symbol of witchcraft and earth magic,” Raschke says. Shawn Carlson, a contributor to the book, is identified by the media as a “physicist.” Yet he runs the Gaia Press in El Cerrito, California, a New Age publishing house with an emphasis on witchcraft and occultic lore. Carlson is also a “scientific and technical consultant” to the Committee for Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal” (a promoter of the “false memory” theory of ritual abuse and UFO abductions), publisher of the Skeptical Inquirer.

The FMS Foundation is no less eccentric. Within two years of its founding, it was clear that the Foundation leadership was far from disinterested on the workings of childhood memory, and concealed a secret sexual and political agenda.

FMSF founderRalph Underwager, director of the Institute of Psychological Therapies in Minnesota, was forced to resign in 1993. Underwager (a former Lutheran pastor) and his wife Hollida Wakefield publish a journal, Issues in Child Abuse Allegations, written by and for child abuse “skeptics.” His departure from the False Memory Syndrome Foundation was hastened by a remark in an interview, appearing in an Amsterdam journal for pedophiles, that it was “God’s Will” adults engage in sex with children. (His wife Hollida remained on the Foundation’s board after he left.) As it happens, holy dispensation for pedophiles is the exact credo of the Children of God cult. It was fitting, then, when Underwager filed an affidavit on behalf of cult members tried in France in 1992, insisting that the accused were positively “not guilty of abuse upon children.” In the interview, he prevailed upon pedophiles everywhere to shed stigmatization as “wicked and reprehensible” users of children.

In keeping with the Foundation’s creative use of statistics, Dr. Underwager told a group of British reporters in 1994 that “scientific evidence” proved 60% of all women molested as children believed the experience was “good for them.”

Dr. Underwager invariably sides with the defense. His grandiloquent orations have graced courtrooms around the world, often by satellite. Defense lawyers for Woody Allen turned to him, he boasts, when Mia Farrow accused her estranged husband of molesting their seven year-old daughter. Underwager is a virtual icon to the Irish Catholic lobby in Dublin, which raised its hoary hackles against a child abuse prevention program in the Irish Republic. He was, until his advocacy of pedophila tarnished an otherwise glittering reputation, widely quoted in the press, dismissing ritual child abuse as a hysterical aberration.

He is the world’s foremost authority on false memory, but in the courtroom he is repeatedly exposed as a charlatan. In 1988, a trial court decision in New York State held that Dr. Underwager was “not qualified to render any opinion as to whether or not (the victim) was sexually molested.” In 1990 his testimony on memory was ruled improper “in the absence of any evidence that the results of Underwager’s work had been accepted in the scientific community.” And In Minnesota a judge ruled that Underwager’s theories on “learned memory” were the same as “having an expert tell the jury that (the victim) was not telling the truth.”

Peter and Pamela Freyd, executive directors of the Foundation, joined forces with Underwager in 1991, and their story is equally wretched. Jennifer Freyd, their daughter, a professor of psychology at the University of Oregon, openly leveled accusations of abuse against her parents at an August 1993 mental health conference in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

“My family of origin was troubled in many observable ways, ” she said. “I refer to the things that were never ‘forgotten’ and ‘recovered,’ but to things that we all knew about.” She gave her father’s alcoholism as an example. “During my childhood, my father sometimes discussed his own experiences of being sexually abused as an 11 year-old boy, and called himself a ‘kept boy.'”

Peter Freyd graduated to male prostitution as an adolescent.

At the age of 13, Jennifer Freyd composed a poem about her father’s nocturnal visits:

I am caught in a web, 

A web of deep, deep terror.

she wrote. The diaries of her youth chronicle the “reactions and feelings (guilt, shame and terror) of a troubled girl and young woman. My parents oscillated between denying these symptoms and feelings … to using knowledge of these same symptoms and feelings to discredit me.”

“My father,” she says, “told various people that I was brain damaged.” The accusation was unlikely. At the time, Jennifer Freyd was a graduate student on a National Science Foundation fellowship. She has taught at Cornell and received numerous research awards. The “brain damage” apologia did not wash. Her mother suggested that Jennifer’s memories were “confabulations,” and faulted therapeutic intervention. Pamela Freyd turned to her own psychiatrist, Dr. Harold Lief, currently an advisory board member of the Foundation, to diagnose Jennifer.

“He explained to me that he did not believe I was abused,” Jennifer recalls. Dr. Lief’s diagnosis was based on his belief that Peter Freyd’s fantasies were strictly “homoerotic.” Of course, his daughter furrows a brow at the assumption that homoerotic fantasies or a heterosexual marriage exclude the possibility of child molestation. Lief’s skewed logic is a trademark of the Foundation.

He is a close colleague of the CIA’s Martin Orne. Dr. Lief, a former major in the Army medical corps, joined the University of Pennsylvania faculty in 1968, the peak of federally-funded behavioral modification experiments at Holmesburg Prison. Dr. Orne consulted with him on several studies in hypnotic programming. His academic writing reveals a peculiar range of professional interests, including “Orgasm in the Postoperative Transsexual” for Archives of Sexual Behavior, and an exploration of the possibility of life after death for a journal on mental diseases edited by Foundation fellow Paul McHugh. Lief is a director of the Center for Sexuality and Religion, past president of the Sex Information and Education Council.

And an original board member of the False Memory Syndrome Foundation. Two others, Jon Baron from Penn U. and Ray Hyman (an executive editor of the aforementioned Skeptical Inquirer), a professor of psychology at the University of Oregon, resigned from the board after Jennifer Freyd went public with her account of childhood abuse, and the facetious attempts of her parents and their therapist to discredit her. They were replaced by David Dinges, co-director – with the ubiquitous Martin Orne – of the Unit for Experimental Psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania.

“At times I am flabbergasted that my memory is considered ‘false,'” Jennifer says, “and my alcoholic father’s memory is considered rational and sane.” She does not, after all, remember impossible abuses: “I remember incest in my father’s house…. My first memories came when I was at home a few hours after my second session with my therapist, a licensed clinical psychologist working within an established group in a large and respected medical clinic.

“During that second visit to my therapist’s office, I expressed great anxiety about the upcoming holiday visit from my parents. My therapist asked about half way into the session, whether I had ever been sexually abused. I was immediately thrown into a strange state. No one had ever asked me such a question. I responded, ‘no, but…’ I went home and within a few hours I was shaking uncontrollably, overwhelmed with intense and terrible flashbacks.” Jennifer asks herself why her parents are believed. “In the end, is it precisely because I was abused that I am to be discredited despite my personal and professional success?”

Pamela Freyd published an open letter defending her husband in Ralph Underwager’s Issues in Child Abuse Accusations in 1991. It was reprinted in Confabulations, a book published a year later. Laced with lubricious sentiment, the book bemoans the “destruction of families” brought on by false child abuse accusations, and maligns “cult-like” support groups and feminists, or “lesbian cults.” Executive director Freyd often refers to the feminist groups that have taken up the cause of child abuse survivors as “lesbians,” after the bizarre Dr. Underwager, who claims, “these women may be jealous that males are able to love each other, be comrades, friends, be close, intimate.”

Pamela Freyd’s account of the family history, Jennifer insists, is patently false. In an electronic message from her father, he openly acknowledged that in his version of the story “fictional elements were deliberately inserted.”

“‘Fictional’ is rather an astounding choice of words,” Jennifer observed at the Ann Arbor conference. The article written by her parents contends that Jennifer was denied tenure at another university due to a lack of published research. “In fact,” Jennifer counters, “I moved to the University of Oregon in 1987, just four years after receiving my Ph.D. to accept a tenured position as associate professor in the psychology department, one of the world’s best psychology departments…. My mother sent the Jane Doe article to my colleagues during my promotion year – that is, the year my case for promotion to full professor was being considered. I was absolutely mortified to learn of this violation of my privacy and this violation of truth.”

Manipulative tactics are another Foundation imprimatur. Lana Alexander, editor of a newsletter for survivors of child sexual abuse, observes that “many people view the false memory syndrome theory as a calculated defense strategy developed by perpetrators and the lawyers and expert witnesses who defend them.”

A legitimizing barrage of stories in the press has shaped public opinion and warmed the clime for defense attorneys. The concept of false memory serves the same purpose as Holocaust denial. It shapes opinion. Unconscionable crimes are obstructed, the accused is endowed with the status of martyr, the victim reviled.

The emphasis on image is obvious in “How Do We Know We are Not Representing Pedophiles,” an article written for the February 29, 1992 FMS Foundation Newsletter by Pamela Freyd. In it, she derides the suggestion that many members of the group could be molesters because “we are a good-looking bunch of people, greying hair, well dressed, healthy, smiling; just about every person who has attended is someone you would surely find interesting and want to count as a friend.”

Friendly Fire

People forget things. Horrible things. Here at the Foundation someone had a repressed memory, or what would be called a false memory, that she had been sexually abused. — Pamela Freyd, FMS Foundation Founder

The debate’s bloodiest stage is the courtroom. The hired guns of Martin Orne’s circle of psychiatrists are constantly called upon to blow smoke at the jury’s gallery to conceal CIA mind control operations. This branch of the psychiatric community is steeped in the programming of serial killers, political assassins and experiments on involuntary subjects. Agency psychiatrists on the witness stand direct the press away from the CIA, and the prosecution to a predetermined end. Martin Orne’s high-toned psychologizing in the Hillside Strangler case, for example, is a strategy adopted by the FMS foundation to stifle the cries of mind control survivors.

Orne’s influence contributed to the outcome of a high-profile abuse case, the $8 million lawsuit filed by Gary Ramona of Napa, California against child therapist Marche Isabella and psychiatrist Richard Rose. Ramona charged that his daughter Holly’s therapists elicited from her flashbacks of sexual molestation that never occurred, decimating his marriage and career as a vice president at Robert Mondavi wineries. His wife and employer, note, immediately believed Holly’s accusations. In May of 1994 Ramona received a $500,000 jury award. He hailed the decision as a “tremendous victory.”

Nevertheless, Holly Ramona still maintains that she was sexually abused by her father, though no criminal charges have been filed. Holly first confronted her father with the allegations on March 15, 1990, with her mother and Isabella present. She filed a civil action against him in Los Angeles County, but before it went to trial her father’s suit got underway in Napa.

The suit turned on the use of sodium amytal to resurrect buried memories. Holly Ramona exhibited telltale symptoms of abuse – fear of gynecological examinations, a phobia of pointy teeth, like her father’s – and asked to be treated with sodium amytal. Dr. Rose wrote in his notes that under the influence of the drug, Holly “remembered specific details of sexual molestation.” But Orne, who has pioneered in the use of sodium amytal in hypnosis research, cautioned in a court brief that the drug is “not useful in ascertaining ‘truth.’ The patient becomes receptive to suggestions due to the context and to the comments of the interviewers.”

Yet the jury foreman stated for the record that Isabella and Rose did not implant false memories of abuse, as Holly’s father had complained, but were negligent in reinforcing the memories as Holly described them under the influence of the barbiturate. The court considered it irrelevant whether Holly actually suffered abuse, narrowing the legal focus instead to the chemical evocation of Holly’s recollections and her therapist’s leading questions.

Left hanging was the question of Ramona’s guilt or innocence, not exactly an irrelevant issue. Orne offered no opinion. The “tremendous victory” in Napa, given these facts, begins to look like a manipulation of the court system, especially the use of “expert” testimony.

The therapists did not, contrary to most press reports, bear the full brunt of blame. The jury found that Ramona himself bore 5% of the blame for what happened to him, Holly’s therapists 55%, and 45% was borne by the girl’s mother and the Robert Mondavi winery.

But the 55% solution is diluted by Holly’s memories. Contrary to the impression left by the press, her past has not been explained away. “I wouldn’t be here if there was a question in my mind,” she testified in Napa.

False memory had no clinical history or symptomology (repressed memory has both), but the concept had held up in court.

All that remained was to provide a scientific explanation. The Foundation had spread the word that a “syndrome” was winding through society and “destroying families.” But what is the origin of false (not inaccurate or clouded or fragmented) memories? What are the symptoms? It remained to supply a cognitive model for false memories of ritual molestation.

One of the most prolific and quotable popularizers of false memory is Elizabeth Loftus, a professor of psychology and law at the University of Washington in Seattle, and an advisory board member of the Foundation. Her dual academic interests have fueled suspicions that the organization is more committed to defending perpetrators than ferreting out the facts. Loftus testified in over 150 criminal cases prior to joining the Foundation, always on behalf of defendants. In 1991 she published a professional autobiography, Witness for the Defense, a study of eight criminal trials in which she appeared as an expert witness. In her book, Loftus – billed as “the expert who puts memory on trial” – conceded that her critics deem her research “unproven in real-life situations,” and her courtroom dissertations “premature and highly prejudicial.”

One book reviewer for the New York Times grumbled: “Her testimony would be less controversial if she could distinguish between the innocent and the guilty and reserve her help for the former.”

Elizabeth Loftus has two criteria for taking the stand. The first is when eyewitness identification is the sole or primary evidence against the defendant. Secondly, the accused must act innocent – she regrets testifying on behalf of Ted Bundy because the serial killer once smiled at the prosecutor, which she regards as an expression of guilt – and defense attorneys must believe it.

Loftus stood at the Harvard Medical School podium in May, 1994 to inform a conference on false memory of her research, “in which false memories about childhood events were created in 24 men and women ages 18 to 63.” Dr. Loftus reported that the parents of volunteers “cooperated to produce a list of events that had supposedly taken place in the volunteer’s early life.” Three of the events actually took place. But one, a shopping trip, never happened. Some of the volunteers had memories, implanted by suggestion, of wandering lost on the fictitious shopping expedition.

Karen Olio, the author of scores of articles on sexual abuse, complains that Loftus’s memory studies “examine only the possibility of implanting a single memory with which most people could easily identify (being lost in a mall, awakened by a noise in the night). The possibility of ‘implanting’ terrifying and shameful memories that differ markedly from an individual’s experience, such as memories of childhood abuse in individuals who do not have a trauma history,” remains to be proven.”

Psychiatrist John Briere of the University of Southern California has found that nearly two-thirds of all ritual abuse survivors report episodic or complete amnesia at some point after it occurred. The younger the child, the more violent the abuse, the more likely that memory lapses occurred. These findings have been duplicated at the University of California at San Francisco by psychiatrist Lenore Terr, who concluded that children subjected to repeated abuse were more likely to repress memories of it than victims of a single traumatic event.

Clinical psychologist Catherine Gould has treated scores of ritually abused children at her office in Encino, California. At the September 1993 National Conference on Crimes Against Children in Washington, D.C., Gould objected that the studies of Elizabeth Loftus ignore past research on trauma and its influence on memory.

“My concern about Elizabeth Loftus,” Gould said, “is that she has stated in print, and correctly so, that her data tells us nothing about the nature of memory of traumatic events. And yet she has failed to protest the misapplication of her findings by groups who are involved in discrediting the accounts survivors are giving of their traumatic history. I believe that Dr. Loftus, like other psychologists, has an ethical responsibility to do everything possible to ensure that her research findings are interpreted and applied accurately, and are not manipulated to serve the political agenda of groups like the False Memory Syndrome Foundation. I question whether she has met this ethical responsibility.”

Some psychologists accuse Loftus of faking her research data.

Her study did not live up to its promise. But now that she had “proven” that a false memory could be implanted, friends of the Foundation at the Harvard conference announced they’d identified the neurological and cognitive causes of disorder. Daniel Schacter, a Harvard psychologist and conference organizer, claimed that the “confabulator” selects a fragment of a real memory, “but confuses its true context, and draws on other bits of experience to construct a story that makes sense of it.” Dr. Morris Moscovitch, a neuro-psychologist at the University of Toronto, claimed that “brain damage” could also evoke false memories. He noted that mental patients with frontal lobe defects frequently confuse imaginary stories with actual memories.

A superficially plausible revelation was provided by Cornell psychologist Stephen Ceci, who reported on five studies of 574 preschool children. After 10 weeks of repeated questioning, 58% of them concocted a false account for at least one fictitious event.

But like the studies of Elizabeth Loftus, Ceci did not attempt to explain the supposed amnesiac effect of severe trauma on children and adults alike (veterans of WW II and Vietnam have been known to “forget” atrocities of war). Besides, the average preschooler is bound to invent at least one fantasy in 10 long weeks of repetitive questioning. Toddlers aren’t known for their consummate adherence to objective reality. An invisible playmate and the Cat in the Hat are not “false memories.”

The research results presented at the Harvard conference were not exactly staggering. All that had been proven was that children forget, become confused and make things up.

Seattle therapist James Cronin, one of the Foundation’s harshest critics, believes that the false memory concept is promoted by “fact and artifice” to a public conditioned to the fragmentation of knowledge, intellectual charades, elitism and the sterile abstractions that often pass for university education and expertise. The so-called experts now jumping on the side of false memory and therapist ‘bias’ are opportunists.”

Yet the New York Times hailed the Harvard conference as “epic.” The conference had given a gracious “scientific nod to the frailty of memory.” Victims of aggravated child abuse had nothing to celebrate, but the Times reporter was ecstatic. At long last, scientists everywhere had arrived at “a consensus on the mental mechanisms that can foster false memories.” A consensus? Actually, the “consensus” of psychologists, at least the 88% mentioned earlier – only a vast majority – believe it to be a very real scourge.

The Times story is typical of the scorn the press has shown ritual abuse victims and their therapists.

60 Minutes, for example, publicly exonerated Kelly Michaels, a day-care worker in New Jersey, of charges that she sexually molested dozens of youngsters in 1984. Michaels was sentenced to 47 years in prison for sodomizing the children in her care with kitchen implements, among related charges. Her conviction was overturned in March 1993 when the state appeals court ruled that Michaels had not had a fair trial.

But in its rush to present Michaels as a blushing innocent, the Sixty Minutes research department somehow overlooked a May 1991 New York Times story on the abuse trial, and the testimony of four Essex County corrections officers who witnessed Miss Michaels and her father kissing and “fondling” one another during jail visitations. Jerry Vitiello, a jailer, said that “he saw Ms. Michaels use his tongue when kissing his daughter, rub her buttocks and put his hand on her breasts.” Similar incestuous liaisons were detailed in the courtroom by three women working in the jail. The bizarre sexual antics of Kelly Michaels – damningly chronicled in Nap Time by Lisa Manshel in 1990 – was nixed from the one-sided Sixty Minutes account, which made her out to be grist for the meat grinder of wrong-headed child abuse laws.

The Forgettable “Remembering Satan”

The False Memory Syndrome Foundation made its collective debut in “Remembering Satan,” a two-part story by Lawrence Wright in the New Yorker for April and May 1993. The story (republished in 1994 in book form) concerns a ritual abuse trial in Olympia, Washington that culminated with a 20-year prison sentence for Thurston County Sheriff Paul Ingram, chairman of the local Republican Party. Ingram has since filed motions to withdraw his guilty plea, a move rejected by an appellate court in 1992. Also charged, but not convicted, were Jim Rabie, a lobbyist with the Washington State Law Enforcement Association and a former police detective assigned to child abuse cases, and Ray Risch, an employee of the State Patrol’s body-and-fender shop. Wright’s conclusion, however, is based on the opinions of False Memory Syndrome Foundation psychiatrists: that accusations made by Ingram’s two daughters, and his own confession to police, were fantasies misinterpreted by Ingram himself and his daughters as actual memories.

Wright fumigates any question of abuse with false memory theory. Among the authorities consulted by Wright was Foundation board member Paul McHugh, director of the department of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Johns Hopkins. Like Margaret Singer, he is a veteran of the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research (1961-64) and moves in political circles. For three years (1986-89), McHugh was chairman of the bio-psychology study section of the National Institutes of Health, and a former member of the Maryland Governor’s Advisory Commission.

McHugh is an unshakable skeptic of repressed memories. He told Wright that “most severe traumas are not blocked out by children but are remembered all too well.” Most, in fact, are. But McHugh’s own professional opinion leaves open the possibility that some severe traumas are repressed.

He cites as an example the children of chowchilla, California, who were kidnapped in a school bus and buried alive. McHugh claims they remembered the horror “all too well.” Not exactly. In fact, the FBI’s subsequent use of investigative hypnosis was largely the result of the Chowchilla children’s failure of memory. After their release, none of the children had a clear recollection of the kidnappers, could not identify them – and neither did the bus driver, Ed Ray, who managed to recite the license-plate number of the abductor’s van under hypnosis.

Wright’s defense of Ingram turns on the opinion of Richard Ofshe, a Berkeley psychologist, reputed mind control expert and friend of the False Memory Syndrome Foundation. Ofshe has written, Wright explains, “extensively about how the thought-control techniques developed in Communist china, the Soviet Union and North Korea had come to be employed and refined by various religious cults in the United States.” Pointing to mind control in Communist countries is a favorite tactic of the American mind control fraternity to divert attention from the highly sophisticated techniques employed in “Democratic” countries (often in the form of experimentation on unknowing subjects). This historical revision is a fine example of “mirror imaging,” the CIA technique of vilifying others, and ignoring the Agency’s own role in the formation and control of mind control cults. Ofshe has not been directly linked to the CIA, but his work parrots the writings of UCLA’s Louis Jolyon West and other psychiatrists with Agency credentials.

Wright somehow failed to mention that Ofshe is sharply at odds with much of the American Psychological Association. He has filed a suit, with Margaret Singer, for $30 million against the APA for engaging in a “conspiracy” to “destroy” their reputations and prevent them from testifying in the courtroom. Both Ms. Singer and Richard Ofshe derive a significant part of their income as consultants and expert witnesses on behalf of accused child abusers. Their complaint, filed under federal racketeering laws – tripling any financial damages – claims that members of the APA set out with “repeated lies” to “discredit them and impair their careers.”

The Association flatly denied the charges. Two courts quickly dismissed the case. The APA released a statement to the press stating that the organization had merely advised members against testifying in court on the subject of brainwashing with “persuasive coercion” (a concept, after all, pushed during the Korean war by the CIA to justify barbaric mind control experimentation on American citizens), and had in no way conspired to impair the careers of Ofshe, Singer or anyone else.

Many in Ofshe’s own profession believe him to be a world-class opportunist. He is a constant in newspaper interviews and on the talk show circuit, where he claims there is “no evidence” to support ritual abuse allegations. His categorical denial ignore’s Ingram’s own confession and a number of jury decisions across the country. And then there are, to cite one documented example of evidence from the glut that Ofshe ignores, the tunnels beneath the McMartin preschool, the most widely-publicized case. And a raid on the Children of God compound in Argentina in 1993 turned up videos of ritual abuse and child pornography. Evidence does exist – Ofshe simply refuses to acknowledge the fact. A cult specialist with Ofshe’s credentials would surely explore the abundance of evidence if he was a legitimate psychologist. Instead, he chirps a categorical “no evidence,” perfectly aware that most mental health professionals will see through him. A credulous public will not.

On the December 3, 1993 Rolanda talk show, a woman was interviewed who’d had flashback memories of abuse before consulting with a therapist. Dr. Ofshe appeared on the program, his silver beard groomed, looking every inch the authority. Rolanda asked Ofshe if “a terrible childhood memory, as bad as child abuse, (can) actually be repressed.”

“There is absolutely no reason to think that that is true,” Ofshe told her. “And it’s not just what I say – this is the sum and substance of everything science knows about how memory works.” This, of course, is a transparent lie. Ofshe dismissed repressed memories of abuse as the reigning “psychological quackery of the 20th century.”

Dr. Daniel Lutzker, a psychologist at the Milton Erickson Institute, was sitting in the audience – turning crimson with rage at Ofshe’s misrepresentations of the psychology of trauma. He stood up and argued that sex abuse can indeed begat buried recollections. “Repressed memories,” Lutzker countered, “are not only important, they are the cornerstone of most psychotherapies. the fact is that the more awful the experience, the more likely it is to be repressed!”

Ofshe responded that there was “no evidence” so support such “nonsense.”

Grimacing with disbelief, Lutzker said that Ofshe wouldn’t make such outrageous comments if he bothered to pick up “any basic textbook on psychotherapy.”

“Your making it up!” Ofshe spat. Lutzker stared at him in disbelief.

But the crowning contradiction to Ofshe’s “expert” opinions appeared in a September 1994 L.A. Weekly article on alien abductions (another phenomenon said by the Foundation to breed “false memories”).

“There are a lot of not particularly well-certified people out there,” Dr. Ofshe told Gardetta, “using very powerful techniques on people. Visualizing this kind of stuff under hypnosis – abduction, Satan cults, sexual abuse – is the closest thing that anyone can experience short of the experience itself. That’s why it’s so traumatic to the individuals undergoing hypno-therapy, and why the hypno-therapist today can be seen as a new form of sexual predator.”

But one morning, shortly thereafter, Gardetta awoke to find a triangular rash on the palm of his left hand.

“It didn’t surprise me,” Gardetta wrote. “Things around the house – which sits on a hilltop in a semi-rural area – had been getting weird. A jet-wash noise buzzed some afternoons around the house, its origin impossible to discern. Lights were turning themselves on, and the alarm system’s motion sensor was tripping itself every morning between 5 and 6. One early evening, small footsteps crossed the roof. I ran outside to find the electrical wires leading to a nearby telephone pole swaying in the windless dusk.”

The mysterious federal mind control fraternity had struck again, leaving behind more memories to be denounced by the “skeptics” of the FMS Foundation – the CIA’s answer to the Flat Earth Society.


By Alex Constantine

“After Milk’s body was cremated, the ashes were enshrined at his prior direction with bubble bath…and several packets of Kool-Aid, a clue that Milk left behind, per the will he’d revised a week before the shootings, to signify Jim Jones of the People’s Temple…” – Michael Meiers, Was Jonestown a CIA Medical Experiment?

The murders of Moscone and City Supervisor Harvey Milk had all the earmarks of mind control. Dan White, their assassin, had been a paratrooper in the 173rd Airborne Division, in which capacity he served in Vietnam. He was discharged from Fort Bragg in 1967, returned to San Francisco and joined the police department. He lived in Sausalito, drove a Porsche and generally lived far beyond his means. In 1972 he gave it all up and took a vacation since known as White’s “missing year.”

Back in San Francisco, he joined the fire department. His temper tantrums were an embarrassment to co-workers, though his work record was without blemish. In his run for the Board of Supervisors, White spoke as if he was “programmed,” according to Stan Smith, a local labor leader. During Board sessions, White was known to slip into lapses of silence punctuated by goose-stepping walks around the chambers.

White used illegal hollow-point bullets. After Milk’s body was cremated, the ashes were enshrined at his prior direction with bubble bath, signifying his homosexuality, and several packets of Kool-Aid, a clue that Milk left behind, per the will he’d revised a week before the shootings, to signify Jim Jones of the People’s Temple, a CIA mind control experiment that ended with the destruction of 1200 subjects.

“I can be killed with ease,” Milk noted in a poem written the month he died, “I can be cut right down.” In his new will, he wrote: “Let the bullets that rip through my brain smash every closet door in the country.”

Also see – Death of dreams: in November 1978, Harvey Milk”s murder and the mass suicides at Jonestown nearly broke San Francisco”s spirit. Eerily, Milk knew and worked with Jonestown founder Jim Jones.(Harvey Milk & Jonestown: 25 years later)

Publication Date: 25-NOV-03 Publication Title: The Advocate(The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine) Format: Online – approximately 1942 words Author:VanDecarr, Paul

Click to enlarge.


Revisiting the horror of that day of death For those who are old enough, the memory is searing Carl Nolte, Chronicle Staff Writer November 26, 2003

When University of San Francisco Professor Peter Novak proposed to his students that they produce a series of events commemorating the 25th anniversary of the assassination of Mayor George Moscone and Supervisor Harvey Milk, he got a shock — most of his students had not heard of Moscone or Milk.

They are 18, 19 and 20, young people from a newer time. To them, Moscone is the Moscone Center, Harvey Milk is the name of a plaza in the Castro. “They didn’t know the story at all,” Novak said.

Those who have no memory of that day — Nov. 27, 1978 — are the lucky ones. Many of those who were at San Francisco City Hall when Dan White killed the two men can never forget it. The slayings happened 25 years ago Thursday, and the memory is searing.

Rudy Nothenberg was a deputy mayor. He can still see Moscone’s body lying on the floor of his private office, can still see the smoke from the mayor’s cigarette curling up. “It was awful,” he said. “It was shock and panic. You don’t know what you can do for him. You scream for the cops, which is what I did.”

Dianne Feinstein was president of the Board of Supervisors. Her office was on the other side of City Hall. She heard a door slam in Milk’s office, heard shots, saw the killer run out, went in herself and found Harvey Milk’s body. “I put my finger to see if there was any pulse, and it went in a bullet hole in his chest,” she said the other day. “I think of it as if it were yesterday. I remember Harvey’s body, his blood on me. I see it all.”

Christopher Moscone was then a high school student. Even now, a quarter of a century later, the son can see his father as he was, his sleeves rolled up, working. “The family remembers him — good memories, good stories, at Christmas, holidays, birthdays,” the younger Moscone said. “Sometimes I dream of him, and when I do, I can talk to him.

“I love the city,” he said, “and I hate the city for that.”

That autumn was a terrible time anyway in San Francisco, the worst of times.

The years when people wore flowers in their hair were long gone.

There were serial slayings — a killer named Zodiac who taunted the police, another named Zebra who shot down people on the street. Ten days before Moscone and Milk were killed, a mad San Francisco preacher named Jim Jones and 914 of his followers perished in a South American jungle. The city was rocked to its roots. “What a bizarre period,” Feinstein said.

And then, out of the blue on a beautiful Monday morning, the mayor of San Francisco was killed in his own office, and the killer then walked through the classic City Hall and shot down the most important gay political figure in the country. The killer was not a stranger, either. He was San Francisco born and bred, a former cop, former fireman, former member of the Board of Supervisors.

And that wasn’t all. White was tried a few months later and in May was found guilty, not of murder but only of voluntary manslaughter. A peaceful march to protest the verdict turned into a riot, and the mob attacked City Hall. “The hatred in the city was just enormous,” Feinstein said. “It was a terrible, terrible time.”

“Research on Harvey Milk Renews Calls for Reappraisal of Peoples Temple”

by Michael Bellefountaine

Harvey Milk’s name appears throughout San Francisco. A municipal railway station and plaza, a park and recreation building and one of the city’s most influential political clubs are all named in his memory. A local elementary school is known as the Harvey Milk Civil Rights Academy, and the Eureka Valley Library is now called the Harvey Milk Branch. The theme for this year’s gay pride parade was “give them hope,” Milk’s inspirational rallying cry from gays and lesbians in San Francisco to their brothers and sisters living in rural America. The International Gay and Lesbian Historical Society is producing an extensive exhibit of Milk memorabilia which includes the blood-stained suit he was wearing when he and Mayor George Moscone were gunned down in San Francisco City Hall on November 27, 1978. Twenty-five years after his murder, Harvey Milk has been catapulted to the level of gay martyr. Without question, he has left his mark on San Francisco.

Despite all the exhibits and memorials of Harvey Milk throughout San Francisco, though, none of them acknowledges Milk’s relationship with Jim Jones and Peoples Temple.

Harvey Milk was able to draw large, diverse crowds during his campaigns, which evolved over time from focusing on the needs of small business owners to championing the politics of senior, poor and other disenfranchised people. As the first openly gay man elected in California, and one of the most prominent gay men in America, Milk’s murder galvanized a politically fractured and fledgling queer community. Longtime political opponents of Milk – and there were many – suppressed their deep-seated negativity, joined with Milk supporters and, over time, fashioned a deified image of him, as is evidenced by the Gay Historical Society’s exhibit which is titled “Saint Harvey.”

Dan White

When Milk and Moscone were killed, San Franciscans were still reeling from the murder of Representative Leo Ryan and the news that hundreds of Jonestown residents, previously thought to have saved themselves by running into the jungle, were apparently willing participants in a suicide ritual. In the aftermath of their murders all mention of connections between Milk, Moscone and Jones were intentionally obscured. Out of respect for the politicians, their followers took all necessary steps to sever Milk and Moscone from the pariah Jones. It was not the only mass exodus of political support in the wake of the Jonestown tragedy. Politicians who once enjoyed volunteers, donations and votes from Peoples Temple, could not distance themselves from Jim Jones fast enough. Many of these people are still in politics today.

Because Milk and Moscone were murdered so soon after the Jonestown tragedy, there was immediate speculation that Peoples Temple was somehow involved. Ann Kronenberg, Milk’s hand- picked successor, told Milk biographer Randy Shilts, that when she first heard Milk was murdered, she thought Jim Jones was responsible. Rumors began to circulate (and some persist today) of obscure connections between Jim Jones and Milk’s murderer, Dan White. Vague rumors of a falling out between Milk and Jones also surfaced. One story has it that Milk asked Peoples Temple to remove his name from the church’s list of supporters when reports of violence and theft first came to light, and that he was outraged when the Temple failed to comply with his demand. Eventually, history settled on an official story: Jim Jones was a master manipulator who used unwitting local politicians to gain power for himself. The politicians, including Milk and Moscone, used Jones for volunteers and votes, while remaining personally distant and blissfully unaware of rumors of Temple violence, abuse, theft and even murder. The timing of Dan White’s murderous rampage was deemed coincidental.

However, upon closer inspection, it is clear that Harvey Milk was a strong advocate for Peoples Temple and Jim Jones during his political career, including the tumultuous year leading up to the Jonestown tragedy. Milk spoke at the Temple often, wrote personal letters to Jim Jones, contacted other elected officials on the Temple’s behalf, and used space in his weekly column to support the works of the Temple, even after the negative New West article went to press. Milk appeared in the pages of the Peoples Forum, the Temple newspaper, and received over fifty letters of sympathy from the residents of Jonestown when his lover, Jack Lira, killed himself in September 1978.

It is readily apparent from the letters and historical memorabilia that Milk and the Temple enjoyed a mutually supportive relationship until their concurrent deaths. Why then is the relationship such a secret, even taboo to discuss? The only biography of Milk to date, The Mayor of Castro Street, by Randy Shilts, downplays the Milk/Temple relationship, even going so far as to paint Milk as one of the countless people who cruelly ridiculed and ostracized the surviving Temple members and their supporters. Like most historians, Shilts opted for an image of an expedient politician, instead of truthfully portraying how Milk worked with Peoples Temple until the end of his life.

Enough time has passed since Milk’s brutal murder to reanalyze this relationship, to explore how and why Harvey Milk supported Peoples Temple. As people who hold Milk in high esteem, we should honestly and openly explore and reevaluate what we know about Peoples Temple, to see what it was about the church that appealed to Milk. Whether it was its pro-gay public persona, its support for embattled gay teachers, its opposition to anti-gay ballot measures, its active opposition to racism and sexism, the multiple stories throughout the pages of the Peoples Forum denouncing violence against gays and lesbians, or simply its acceptance of him and its continued support for his political campaigns – whatever the reason – Harvey Milk irrefutably supported Peoples Temple.

It may be understandable why in November 1978 the supporters of Milk would attempt to distance the newly martyred supervisor from the still-unfolding horrors of Jonestown. However, we as witnesses, historians, researchers and writers have an obligation to tell future generations the whole truth, as we understand it, to record as much documentation as possible and let the biases and subsequent interpretations transform over time. As Dr. Susan Stryker states in the curator’s statement of the Milk exhibit, “While I wanted to respect Harvey Milk’s legacy, I also wanted to suggest that in venerating him, we risk obscuring a great deal of other equally compelling gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender history.”

If Milk supported Peoples Temple, now is the pivotal time for us to unveil the truth. What we cannot do is let our animosity toward Jim Jones and our horror of Jonestown taint our understanding of the individuals who made up Peoples Temple, including their incredible community based work as well as their relationships with prominent people like Harvey Milk. We should challenge the image of Temple members as mindless, uneducated zombies, and instead, portray them as the passionate, loyal and committed people who inspired Harvey Milk. It is most important that we not participate in or settle for the revisionism and obfuscation that has passed for the historical account of this relationship to date.

The extent of Milk’s relationship with Peoples Temple may never be fully known. Certainly his murder, along with that of Mayor Moscone, was yet another blow to Temple survivors. Milk and Moscone were the two most powerful San Francisco politicians who maintained close ties to Jim Jones and Peoples Temple; they could have demanded an investigation into the murder of Leo Ryan and the Jonestown tragedy. When Jones tells the residents of Jonestown in the community’s last hours that the “folks in San Francisco won’t be idle over this,” he could have been referring, in part, to Milk and Moscone. Indeed, recently-uncovered research refutes the supposition that Jones ordered Dan White to execute Milk and Moscone; to the contrary, if there were any connection between the City Hall murders and Peoples Temple, it would clearly have been because Milk and Moscone were too closely tied to Jones and the Temple.

A Lavender Look at the Temple, scheduled to be published in early 2004, examines the connections between Harvey Milk and Peoples Temple as part of its consideration of the church’s internal and external relationship with gay men and lesbians. Reviewing letters from Milk, news clippings and first hand accounts, A Lavender Look not only pieces together this complex and obscured relationship, it also includes accounts from gay and lesbian Temple members and Jonestown survivors.

We are still conducting research for this project, and are still seeking gay or lesbian members of the church who are willing to be interviewed for their perspective. As gay men and lesbians ourselves, we understand and appreciate the difficulty of coming forward with information, and will abide by whatever conditions you stipulate before such an interview takes place. We ask you to contact Michael Bellefountaine at 415-864-6686 or