COMMENT: Living in the San Francisco Bay Area, one becomes familiar with the back wash of the so-called “counter culture” of the 1960’s. The residua are everywhere, including more than a few people who have gone absolutely off the deep end, either from drugs or too much intellectual and cultural relativism.
It is also impossible to live in the Bay Area and not be aware of the Burning Man Arts Festival. When it first took off, we thought it was some sort of weird-ass Nazi/Occultist rite, with people camping out in the desert, taking lots of drugs and observing a giant form of a man being burned in effigy.
One could not exaggerate the amount of heavy-duty drug taking that takes place there. It is drugs, drugs, drugs, drugs, drugs–LSD, Ecstasy and God knows what else.
After it became the phenomenon that it has become, we concluded that it was an intelligence operation of some kind, probably like the LSD/drug culture of 1960’s. (For more on this subject, check out AFA #28, the description for which follows the article excerpt.)
Taking place on government land, way out in the desert, it struck us as an ideal place to experiment on people.
Now comes a story from The Washington Post informing us that the event epitomizes “mainstream” GOP values and that people associated with the event are lobbying Congress.
In this context, we also note that part of the back wash from the ’60’s mess is a very real form of counter-culture fascism, described at length in FTR #437.
This does indeed sound like “Haight Ashbury II.”
God help us for saying this, but at this distance in time, we’ve come to believe that anybody dumb enough to pay $300.00 to go hang out in a salt desert and take lots of drugs with a bunch of hippies deserves to be used as a human guinea pig.
EXCERPT: There’s not a corporate logo in sight at the countercultural arts festival, and nothing is for sale but ice and coffee. But at its core, Harvey believes that Burning Man hews closely to the true spirit of a free-enterprise democracy: Ingenuity is celebrated, autonomy is affirmed, and self-reliance is expected. “If you’re talking about old-fashioned, Main Street Republicanism, we could be the poster child,” says Harvey, who hastens to add that the festival is non-ideological — and doesn’t anticipate being in GOP campaign ads anytime soon.
For more than two decades, the festival has funded itself entirely through donations and ticket sales — which now go up to $300 a pop — and it’s almost never gone in the red. And on the dry, barren plains of the Nevada desert where Burning Man materializes for a week each summer, you’re judged by what you do — your art, costumes and participation in a community that expects everyone to contribute in some form and frowns upon those who’ve come simply to gawk or mooch off others.
That’s part of the message that Harvey and his colleagues have brought to Washington this week, in his meetings with congressional staffers and the Interior Department to discuss the future of Burning Man. In fact, the festival is already a known quantity on the Hill: Harvey and his colleagues have been coming to Washington for years to explain the festival to policymakers, in least part because Burning Man takes place on public land that’s managed by the Interior Department. . . .
AFA #28: The CIA and LSD
Beginning with the CIA’s research into LSD as part of its investigation of mind control techniques, this broadcast highlights the profound role of the intelligence community in the dissemination of hallucinogens and the development of the recreational culture attached to their use.
The CIA and military experimented with the drug (LSD) in a variety of clinical and social environments. In addition to producing psychotic and (in some cases) lethal results, this experimentation also served to infiltrate the drug into intellectual and popular culture. Writers Aldous Huxley, Ken Kesey and Allen Ginsberg were introduced to the drug (directly or indirectly) through the national security establishment’s LSD experimentation programs.
Timothy Leary’s early research into LSD was subsidized, to some extent, by the CIA. Later, Leary’s LSD proselytization was greatly aided by William Mellon Hitchcock, a member of the powerful Mellon family. The financing of the Mellon-Leary collaboration was effected through the Castle Bank, a Caribbean operation that was deeply involved in the laundering of CIA drug money.
After moving to the West Coast, Leary hooked up with a group of ex-surfers, the Brotherhood of Eternal Love. This group became the largest LSD synthesizing and distributing organization in the world. Their “chief chemist” was a curious individual named Ronald Hadley Stark. An enigmatic, multi-lingual and well-traveled individual, Stark worked for the CIA, and appears to have been with the agency when he was making the Brotherhood’s acid. The quality of his product projected the Brotherhood of Eternal Love into its leadership role in the LSD trade. Stark also operated in conjunction with the Italian intelligence/fascist milieu described in AFA #‘s 17–21.
The broadcast underscores the possibility that LSD and other hallucinogens may have been disseminated, in part, in order to diffuse the progressive political activism of the 1960’s.
Program Highlights Include: CIA director Allen Dulles’ promotion of psychological research by the Agency; the work of CIA physician Dr. Sidney Gottlieb for the Agency’s Technical Services Division; connections between Stark and the kidnapping and assassination of Italian Prime Minister Aldo Moro; Stark’s mysterious death in prison while awaiting trial; Leary’s connections to the milieu of the “left” CIA and the role those connections appear to have played in Leary’s flight from incarceration; the CIA’s intense interest in (and involvement with) the Haight-Ashbury scene of the 1960s. (Recorded on 4/26/87.)