"To Seek out that which was Lost..."
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TIMOTHY LEARY AND THE CIA OR THE SPY WHO CAME IN FROM THE (ERGOT) MOLD
By W.H. Bowart The Associated Press reported that '60's LSD proselyte, Timothy Leary died in his sleep, May 31, 1996. It reported that Carol Rosin, his friend for 25 years was by his side along with family and friends. Rosin told the AP: "He had been alert for the last few days -- he'd been traveling with one foot in this world and one foot in the other world. Until yesterday, he was moving around in an electric wheelchair, but he was getting weaker. After his passing, Leary's homepage on the World Wide Web said simply: "Timothy has passed." It also said his last words were three "why not's" and one"yeah." Leary himself, had reported that he was taking morphine to ease the pain for months. It is well know that Leary had always been into drugs -- any drugs, all drugs, both prescription and recreational. An Intensive Care Nurse read the internet reports of his death. It said his last words were "why not", "why not", "why not" in several different tones , and his final word was "yeah.' "I've seen a lot of people die with cancer," the ICU nurse said. (For obvious reasons she does not want to be identified.) "It's very painful to die that way. From all report's Leary's death must have been a mophine assisted death. "The final script probably went like this: ' Timothy do you want a shot of morphine to ease your pain?' " And he answered, 'Why not?' " A little while later whoever was administering the morphine checked on him, asking him, 'Would you like a little more morphine?' "And he answered, 'Why not?' "After an interval, the morphine admistrator asked, 'How about some more morphine?' "And Leary answered, 'Why not?' "After that they asked, "I'll bet you're feeling no pain now?' "And, just before the morphine paralyzed his cardio-pulminary system, he replied, "Yeah." So Timothy Leary finally fulfilled the prophecy in the Moody Blues tune,"Legend of a Mind." At least he fulfilled the first phrase: "Timothy Leary's dead.... Oh, no no no, no no no nooo, he's on the outside looking in..."More on that later. A couple of millionaire movie producers who put up thousands of dollars for Timothy Leary's escape are sad and disappointed. An army of middle aged acid-heads and flower children who contributed thousands more to the Timothy Leary Defense Fund, and other funds which were supposed to help Tim beat a rap or get out of jail are in deep mourning. But somewhere, in Heaven, in Hell, in the great cosmic void, or confronting a fearsome isn'tness Timothy Leary is probably grinning at them. The glib Boston Irishman conned them all. They paid for what the government did without their funds -- arrange Leary's "escape" in 1970 from Vacaville prison, and his tour of Algeria, Switzerland, and Afghanistan. At least, that's a logical conclusion you could draw from an interview he gave in 1977. After he returned to the United States in 1973 it is said that he was assigned to solitary confinement next to a "hole mate" who quoted the bible in a booming voice. This "Born Again Christian" was none other than Charles Manson. Leary left his "Turn on , tune in, drop out" campaign behind in prison, he became a self- styled prophet of "Life Extension" and "Space Exploration," "Cyronics" and finally "Cyberspace." All these, he said in turn with great enthusiasm, were where it was at! He had been arrested by G. Gordon Liddy in 1965 at the Deitrich estate in Millbrook, N.Y. He was photographed with a big smile going into the Duchess County jail. Almost twenty years later he was debating Liddy on the college lecture circuit ( receiving a minimum of $2,500 per appearance) still wearing that same smile. That smile was his trademark. It was a smile which masked his vacuity and desperation. It was the smile of a pretender. The smile of a failed husband and father. "Half a song and half a gag," was how writer Alan Harrington's wife, Luba, once described Leary. He was an academically disgraced psychologist who wrote one serious book, Interpersonal Diagnosis of Personality, which today stimulates the same interest from the scientific community as does phrenology. While some people thought he was a prophet of the new age, he was, deep inside himself ,a cast-off CIA asset who died without purpose, fluttering like a hang-glider trying to fly in windless air without the propeller of a cause to lift it. He did not go with a "Bang" nor a "Whimper." He did not rage against the dying of the light. He did not die with a smile on his face, as he had lived, even in utmost tragedy, such as when his first wife, and then his only daughter commited suicide. Leary lived to the ripe old age of 75, then he died of natural cuases. He was not assassinated by one of his many enemies. That is success. The last time I saw Leary was in Tucson, Arizona where he came for a lecture in support of the L-5 Society, a group which promoted private enterprise in space. Leary phoned me and asked to see me about an "urgent matter." The matter, turned out to be not that urgent, but very interesting. Leary wanted to explain himself more completely about a series of letters we'd exchanged during his last days in prison, letters in which he denied that he had received any support from the CIA or other clandestine agencies of government in his psychedelic campaign of the 1960's. While doing research for my book, Operation Mind Control ( originally published in 1978), I'd come across a CIA document with Leary's name on it. The CIA memo directed agents to contact Leary and company, who were then operating an organization called International Federation for Internal Freedom ( IFIF). The memo asked its agents to discover if any agency personnel were taking acid with this group. The CIA wanted to determine what IFIF really knew about what was then billed as "the most powerful drug known to man," LSD, a drug which the agency was experimenting with in an attempt to create mind controlled zombies. Another, earlier similar CIA document I found ordered agents to contact Aldous Huxley for the same reason. There were no follow-up documents to indicate whether the CIA had, or had not, made contact in either instance. Still, other documents indicated that Leary had received money channeled by the CIA through various government agencies. The files showed that, in all, there were eight government grants paid to Leary from 1953 to 1958, most of them paid through the National Institute of Mental Health, now known to have "fronted" for the CIA in the MKULTRA program. My letters to Leary had been straight forward. I asked him to explain his apparent long romance with the cryptocracy. I further wanted to know if, as the press had reported, he had become a witness for the government in a number of drug cases. Was he, I asked, a government snitch? In July, 1976, writing from prison, Leary flatly denied that the government had contributed to his psychedelic research. He claimed that "nobody ever went to jail because of any testimony" he might have given. He explained that he had never used any form of Behavior Modification in his experiments, although a title of one of his papers had been, "How to Change Behavior." He told me I could find out whether his grants were CIA connected by writing NIMH and Harvard. He said, writing to me from jail, that if they were covertly CIA funded he had no knowledge of it. A letter from Bertram Brown, Director of NIMH, neither confirmed nor denied that NIMH had supported Leary's research. Brown did say that Harvard had received grants for drug research, but NIMH record keeping did not permit knowledge below the "major institution level." Harvard said it could not find its records on Leary's research there, as it was too far in the past. ( This was in 1977.) Joanna (Harcourt-Smith) Leary and a coworker told me that they had tried to contact Leary for several months when he was in Folsom and he could not be found. After normal attempts through prison authorities had failed to locate him, they took their case to the press and gathered a number of famous persons to sign a petition protesting the disappearance of the Pope of Dope. Joanna told me that, after the outcry in the media had grown loud, prison authorities quickly "located" Leary and allowed her to visit him. She said that when, at last, she sat across the prison table from him, separated by a pane of thick glass, he looked very pale. She said he had his head completely shaved, had bruises on his body, and didn't seem like the man she'd known before. Before he was released from prison, I wrote him to ask if he had been mistreated in prison or subjected to aversive therapy or any other form of behavior modification. Leary said that he had never been mistreated at the Vacaville California Medical Facility. He wrote that the administration of Vacaville "probably ranks with the most enlightened in the count"ry." His "enlightened facility was where horrendous experiments such as "anectine therapy" had been conducted on non-volunteer inmates under CIA covert guidance. Anectine stops the respiratory functions of the body and the "subject" feels as if they are dying. An attendant must keep them breathing with a machine. As the panic sets in when the involuntary muscles quit, an attendant says, "This is what will happen if you break the law ." And just before the "subject" loses consciousness, the respiratory is turned on the the "subject" is brought back from the brink of death. In following correspondence I explained to Leary what I'd found: that the CIA was the world's largest consumer of Sandoz LSD; that they'd worked with the Bureau of Narcotics, the NIMH, LEAA and other agencies to covertly give LSD to unwitting persons in "real life settings." Leary's answer to that was that he did not think the CIA experimentation with LSD was very ominous. His conclusion was, "based on my fifteen years of confrontation on the front lines of the struggle ( individual freedom vs state control) are these: "--govt 'behavior mod programs' were trivial, peripheral, more benign than evil, ineffective, silly, and never a part of any basic policy..." He called me a "prosecutor" and said that he was disappointed that I saw corruption and conspiracy within our government. He railed about "liberal paranoia" saying that it "is a thousand times more effective and pervasive than 'right wing' scientific efforts." He said that "ninety-nine percent of all psychologists are liberals. All prisons are networks of suspicion. There is no behavior mod conspiracy. Such rumors spread among the liberal community are dangerous because they distract attention from the real problem -- that the Law Enforcement establishment does not want to alter behavior..." When I finally sat with Leary in Tucson, we renewed acquaintances. A couple of his old friends were at our house when he visited and he was glad to see them. Since I'd last seen him , almost ten years before, his nose appeared to have been broken and his dentures no longer fit. All agreed, after he left, that this was not the same man we'd known before he'd gone to prison. We couldn't tell if he'd changed because of the normal prison brutality, or because he was under some great pressures or had been tortured. In those days nobody believed in mind control. Few knew of the clandestine experiments on U.S. citizens which were run against their will and without their knowledge. The first thought I had when seeing the altered Leary was, " He's been the victim of one of the secret prison mind control programs." We drank wine and talked lightly about news of mutual friends. Finally he insisted that he and I go to a quite place and make a tape recorded interview. I'd just finished Operation Mind Control and had sent it of to the publisher. It was too late to get anything new into it and, I told Tim, that frankly I was weary of the subject. He insisted that we tape an interview. "I'll tell you things I've never told anyone before," he said. I couldn't resist such a journalistic temptation, so we went to my office with our glasses and turned on the tape recorder. He started by congratulating me for breaking the CIA-mind control story. I couldn't take full credit for that, but I listened, accepting his compliments for the three of us who'd been working on the mind control case for a few years. "The game you're playing, and the stakes at which you're gambling... you may be wrong ninety-nine times, but if you're right once, you've won a billion, or whatever you're playing for, so keep going..." I certainly wasn't playing for the money. The stakes were higher. These stakes were no less than freedom of human thought and perhaps the remnants of democracy in the world. But maybe I was naive. Maybe I should write screenplays and make some money instead of running around the country researching the victims of CIA mind control experiments conducted in the streets of New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles and other cities, as well as in prisons, mental hospitals, in the ranks of the military services, on unwitting and unvolunteering men women and children. "The contract I'm making with you," Leary said, " is, I never lie. I'm wrong a lot of the time, but I'm going to tell you everything you ask me. I'm not going to hide anything. on the other hand, and there is no question that I want to ask you... on the other hand I want to know things..." So, it was to be quid pro quo then? I agreed to share any information I had with him on the CIA's involvement with drugs and mind control, but I told him, fact was, everything I knew, except the personal details of certain survivors, had already been made public. "Have you ever knowingly worked for the CIA?" I asked. "If I were working for the CIA," he said, " I would have ten people working making a living exposing me. If I were the CIA, I'd own New Republic. I'd own The New Masses. I'd own Rolling Stone. I'd have 50 groups of people exposing the CIA..." "Do you think CIA people were involved in your group in the sixties?" I asked. Without hesitating Leary said, "Of course they were. I would say that eighty percent of my movements, eighty percent of the decisions I made were suggested to me by CIA people... "I like the CIA!" he said. "The game they're playing is better than the FBI. Better than the Saigon police. Better than Franco's police. Better than the Israeli police. They're a thousand times better than the KGB. So it comes down to: who are you going to work for? The Yankees or the Dodgers?" Leary had this in common with people I knew at the Mellon Bank. Baseball metaphors. Heavy baseball metaphors, same as Nixon used. I'd heard Leary use them since I met him in 1965. I wondered if it was just a coincidence? Leary drank his wine and drifted a bit, talking about his current favorite subject, outer space. I brought the conversation back to the subject of mind control, telling Leary some of the details I'd learned about the CIA's use of drugs for thirty years in their attempt to find the perfect "recruitment pill, aphrodisiac, and amnesia drug." I explained the magnitude of the story and I told him that, based on my interviews with survivors of the experiments and psycho scientists who'd done some of them, I had to conclude that the CIA had long ago reached their goal of creating the perfect security device short of assassination -- one which controlled the human mind. I told Leary that, based on some of the documents I'd read, it seemed that he could have been just one of many scientist who'd been used without his knowledge by the CIA to conduct their mind control experiments. "I've known this for ten years," Leary said. "You were witting of it?" I asked in surprise. "Of course," Leary said, leaning back in his chair with confidence. I couldn't believe my ears. The CIA had created the "Psychedelic Sixties" with Timothy Leary's help? "You were wittingly used by the CIA?" I asked again. "...During the sixties? You knew you were being used by the CIA?" "Wait," Leary said. "When you say CIA, it's like saying Niggers... "I knew I was being used by the intelligence agents of this country." "What were you doing for them?" I asked. "What the hell were you doing? "Did they want you to turn the kids on, huh? Were they trying to make the kids see God and leave the Vietnam war alone?" "Walter, are you starting off into nationalism..." Leary said, trying to put me on the defensive -- exhibiting his fatal character flaw -- sold on himself as a master psychologist, a master manipulator. "I'm asking you what was the CIA's motive? What were you used for?" I said again. "The CIA recognized what you probably haven't recognized yet, that I'm a very important national asset... "What can I say,?" Leary said. That was Leary. He believed his own press releases. He lit his half-smoked joint and continued. "Yeah. I saw in nineteen sixty-two or three, that there was a world struggle for the control of minds. That's a crude way to say it... "I saw, after Hiroshima, there would never be a big world war. World war would be at the neurological level, not at the level of tanks and planes and bombs... "I proceeded as an intelligence agent since 1962, understanding that the next war for control of this planet and beyond, had to do with the control of consciousness. So I had to think very carefully about that... "I wanted my side to win the war... "There's no winning or losing... but I wanted my side to stake out enough territory.... "I'm talking about time territory, not space territory.... "Of course, you need enough space territory to get your time to make sure that the particular version of the territory of consciousness I would be represented in... I believed, after studying all the other versions, that my philosophy of the future... skip philosophy... my Clausewitz tactics and strategy, or my natural chauvinistic consciousness commitments were very fierce and strong... "I wanted my species to be recognized, understood and have a strong single voice in creating the reality of the future... "I wanted to create a segment of the future which I felt I would be the spokesman for..." I let him talk. When he paused to catch his thought which had drifted away on a puff of muggles, I repeated the question: "Did you ever wittingly work for the CIA?" "Yes," he answered strongly. "I was a witting agent of the CIA, but, I'm not a willing agent of Nixon! I did everything in my power to throw out Nixon!" (So, it would appear, did the CIA.) "I'm a witting agent in that I think Roosevelt was a disaster, but historically necessary.... So, pin me down and I'll tell you exactly what I'm doing for the CIA," he said. "What are you doing for the CIA?" I said, disbelieving everything he said. "I'm raising the intelligence of an elite... a very elite group of Americans," he said. "So I think the future of freedom depends on a very small group of people who are smart enough to defend that liberty..." "So, you work for the Central Intelligence Agency?" I asked. "Is it the Deputy Director of Plans you work for? Who makes out your checks?" "It's none of your business to know how those things work. I'll answer you no questions that have to do with business. I'll answer you any question about history or people..." He drifted off into a monologue talking about neurological cosmology, his outer space connections. Again I brought the conversation back to the central question again :" What year did you start working for the CIA?" "Well, I never worked in the sense that nobody ever came to me and said would you work for the CIA..." "Nobody recruited you?" I asked. "No, nobody ever recruited me. People came and advised me to do this or that. I didn't know that I was being advised by the CIA. I assume now, that I was being advised by the CIA..." "But a moment ago you did say that you knew at the time. You said that you were wittingly working for the CIA..." "Don't you understand," Leary barked, "I'm talking about a very narrow segment of CIA activity which has to do with personality assessment. The OSS was the forerunner of CIA mind stuff... OSS founded... Howard Murray, who was the head of the OSS, the started the personality research. MacKinnon who was OSS, started personality assessment research, so that all personality assessment in the 1950's was basically CIA initiated..." Later research disclosed the Donald W. MacKinnon, Ph.D. (Bryn Mawr College) and Henry A. Murray, M.C., Ph.D., Lt. Col. (Harvard) were among 74 OSS staff members who worked to develop personality assessment techniques which are still used to select employees of the CIA and other intelligence agencies. "Good grief," I said. "I knew they supported Dr. Rhine's ESP experiments at Duke University..." "I didn't know that," Leary said. "But I think they should have..." and finally the wine began to take effect and the interview degenerated into speculation about CIA's activities in various LSD research projects. Leary was curious about several of them and he asked me to see if I could dig up some information for him. Leary asked me about other LSD researchers of the early days. He wanted to know about Walter Pankhe and he was especially interested in the Chez. psychiatrist Stanislav Grof, who, he said, had been brought from behind the "Iron Curtain" to the U.S. to run one of the only official "LSD Research Projects." At one point in the conversation Leary told me he had talked at length with Al Larkin, a reporter for the Boston Globe which had been investigating his research at Harvard looking for the CIA link. "Al Larkin told me that the guy that led me to get fired from Harvard was a man named Herbert Chanoch Kelman... Does that name mean anything to you?" Leary asked. I called Larkin the next day and he admitted that he'd been investigating Leary's involvement with CIA and Harvard since the MKULTRA story had local interest. ( Harvard is in Boston.) "I was in the process of pursuing a number of different avenues," Larkin said, " pursuing the possibility of some of Timothy's money coming through one of the organizations established as a front for CIA money I talked to him about it at that time and he said he had no knowledge of it, although the time span of the two things did coincide. "I was particularly interested in a project Leary did at the Concord Reformatory, since it was very similar to some of the projects funded by the CIA. It did fit into the proper frame... I was unable to get any records on the Concord Project. I did talk to one of the people who was very closely involved with the MKULTRA research in Massachusetts. I mentioned Leary's name, and the guy almost became livid, Continued in Part 2 The _Other_ Bob