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For The Record  

FTR #1085 Interview with Tom O’Neill about “Chaos: Charles Manson, the CIA, and the Secret History of the Sixties”

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This pro­gram was record­ed in one, 60-minute seg­ment.

Intro­duc­tion: In his impor­tant new book, vet­er­an jour­nal­ist Tom O’Neill chron­i­cles both numer­ous, large breach­es in the offi­cial sto­ry of the killings per­formed by Charles Man­son and his “fam­i­ly” and pro­found involve­ment of ele­ments of the intel­li­gence com­mu­ni­ty with the oper­a­tions and devel­op­ment of the group and its actions, as well as Man­son’s per­sona and behav­ior.

O’Neill has per­formed great ser­vice in set­ting forth an oper­a­tional man­i­fes­ta­tion of the spook com­mu­ni­ty, the CIA, in par­tic­u­lar, under­ly­ing an icon­ic, sem­i­nal event in the his­to­ry of the 1960’s.

Although most of our polit­i­cal and jour­nal­is­tic estab­lish­ments adhere to the untenable–though pro­fes­sion­al­ly requisite–fiction that the intel­li­gence com­mu­ni­ty does not get involved in domes­tic polit­i­cal affairs, O’Neil­l’s research shows us that pre­vail­ing real­i­ty is not only fun­da­men­tal­ly dif­fer­ent from the offi­cial pre­tense, but that the results of the deep involve­ment of espi­onage agen­cies in our polit­i­cal life has piv­otal, dead­ly results.

As O’Neill acknowl­edges at points dur­ing the con­clu­sion of the book, nei­ther all of the major dis­con­ti­nu­ities in the inves­ti­ga­tion, nor the pre­cise rela­tion­ships of Man­son and his crew to doc­u­ment­ed and/or appar­ent CIA offi­cers can be nailed down, past a point.

Some crit­ics have assailed his work, tak­ing advan­tage of this real­iza­tion and char­ac­ter­iz­ing it as a defi­cien­cy, which it is not. Spies don’t wear ID tags: “Hi! My name is ‘Reeve’ (or ‘Louis’) and I’m work­ing under­cov­er for the CIA.”

The fact that some of the rela­tion­ships uncov­ered by O’Neill remain opaque, past a point, is baked into the nature of intel­li­gence work.

A cou­ple of over­lap­ping metaphors/comparisons may prove use­ful in under­stand­ing both the sig­nif­i­cance of O’Neil­l’s work and the dis­po­si­tion on the part of many review­ers to acknowl­edge the glar­ing defi­cien­cies in the offi­cial sto­ry of the Man­son killings, and then retreat to a jour­nal­is­tic stance that might be sum­ma­rized: “Well, after all, it’s just con­spir­a­cy the­o­ry.”

When assem­bling a jig­saw puz­zle, there comes a point in which the over­all pic­ture con­tained in the puz­zle becomes evi­dent, although some parts of the incom­plete image remain unclear.

A use­ful com­par­i­son is to be found in the over­lap­ping dis­ci­plines of astro- physics and radio astron­o­my. Exam­in­ing dis­tant reach­es of space, astronomers have been able to infer the pres­ence of huge, pow­er­ful grav­i­ta­tion­al forces by mea­sur­ing the bend­ing and dis­tor­tion of light that pass­es by them, even though the sources of that grav­i­ty are not read­i­ly vis­i­ble.

The same metaphor can be applied to O’Neil­l’s own Her­culean quest into the Man­son killings. As he pur­sued his inves­ti­ga­tion over decades, he became drawn into realms of intrigue that were alien to his main field of endeavor–he wrote about the enter­tain­ment indus­try.

As he pro­ceed­ed with his inquiry, he noti­fied his editor(s), almost apolo­get­i­cal­ly, that he was mov­ing into areas of inves­ti­ga­tion involving–initially–the CIA. As he pro­ceed­ed fur­ther, he again noti­fied them that his inves­ti­ga­tion over­lapped the JFK assas­si­na­tion. He, him­self, was being drawn inex­orably in toward this intense grav­i­ta­tion­al force–a pow­er polit­i­cal “black hole,” if you will.

O’Neil­l’s research has giv­en us insight into the pres­ence of very pow­er­ful, lethal forces at work with­in the para­me­ters of Charles Man­son’s escapades and the devel­op­ment of the Haight Ash­bury, even though some details of the forces remain elu­sive.

In this inter­view, we begin by exam­in­ing extra­or­di­nary dis­tor­tions in the con­duct of foren­sic pro­ce­dure and appli­ca­tion in mul­ti­ple law enforce­ment agen­cies, as well as fun­da­men­tal per­ver­sions of jurispru­dence as admin­is­tered by the legal sys­tems in Los Ange­les and Cal­i­for­nia. Of para­mount impor­tance in this dis­cus­sion, as well, are the strik­ing dis­con­ti­nu­ities in the oper­a­tion of the cor­rec­tion­al sys­tem in the Gold­en State–the unimag­in­able behav­ior of parole offi­cers charged with over­see­ing Man­son and com­pa­ny, in par­tic­u­lar.

In short, Man­son and his charges were being “han­dled,” in intel­li­gence par­lance.

Fol­low­ing dis­cus­sion of Man­son and com­pa­ny’s cor­rec­tion­al over­seers, we high­light some of the many intel­li­gence con­nec­tions to the actions, milieu and com­po­si­tion of the “fam­i­ly.”

Those intel­li­gence con­nec­tions include: the involve­ment of CIA/MKUltra vet­er­an Louis Joly­on West with the Haight Ash­bury Free Med­ical Clin­ic (fre­quent­ed by Man­son and his “fam­i­ly”); the involve­ment of the Nation­al Insti­tute of Men­tal Health with the HAFMC and research involv­ing LSD and amphet­a­mine (the MIMH has front­ed for CIA research in the past); Los Ange­les Dis­trict Attor­ney Gen­er­al Evelle Younger’s links to the intel­li­gence com­mu­ni­ty (FBI, Office of Strate­gic Ser­vices); Los Ange­les Police Lieu­tenant William Her­rman­n’s work for CIA, among oth­er agen­cies; overviews of the FBI’s COINTELPRO pro­gram and the over­lap­ping CIA’s Oper­a­tion Chaos, both direct­ed at the anti-Viet­nam War move­ment and “black mil­i­tants,” such as the Black Pan­thers.

One of the most strik­ing of the appar­ent intel­li­gence com­mu­ni­ty con­nec­tions to the Man­son inves­ti­ga­tion is the afore­men­tioned Reeve Whit­son.

Reeve Whit­son:

  1. Was alleged by Iran­ian immi­grant Shahrokh Hata­mi to have phoned him with knowl­edge of the killings of Sharon Tate, et al, before the crime was report­ed by the news media and before law enforce­ment even arrived at the crime scene!
  2. Was alleged by the LAPD’s top inves­ti­ga­tor and Sharon Tate’s father (a Colonel in Army intel­li­gence) to have been deeply involved with the Man­son inves­ti­ga­tion.
  3. Was alleged by attor­ney Neil Cum­mings to have main­tained some kind of sur­veil­lance on the Cielo Dri­ve home, as part of some sort of work he was doing for the intel­li­gence com­mu­ni­ty.
  4. Was con­firmed as an offi­cer of the CIA by his own ex-wife.
  5. Was known to have felt that he was–in the end–betrayed by the fac­tion of the CIA for which he worked.
  6. Was able to pull strings in a piv­otal way: “. . . . A British film direc­tor who him­self claimed to have ties to MI5, [John] Irvin said that Whit­son got meet­ings ‘with min­utes’ at “the high­est lev­els of the defense industry—it was amaz­ing.’ ”
  7. Was appar­ent­ly a close asso­ciate of retired Gen­er­al Cur­tis LeMay, George Wal­lace’s Vice-Pres­i­den­tial can­di­date in 1968.
  8. Was asso­ci­at­ed with LeMay when the lat­ter became vice-pres­i­dent of a mis­sile parts man­u­fac­tur­er, which was head­ed by Mihai Patrichi.  Patrichi was a for­mer Roman­ian army gen­er­al and a mem­ber of the Roman­ian Iron Guard, whom we have spo­ken about and writ­ten about in many pro­grams and posts. The Iron Guard was part of the Gehglen “Org,” the ABN and the GOP.
  9. Was asso­ci­at­ed, through his intel­li­gence work with Otto Sko­rzeny and his wife Ilse.
  10. Was the spe­cial advis­er to the chair­man of the board of the Thyssen firm, also as part of his intel­li­gence work.

1.   Chaos: Charles Man­son, the CIA, and the Secret His­to­ry of the Six­ties by Tom O’Neill; Lit­tle, Brown and Com­pa­ny [HC]; Copy­right 2019 by Tom O’Neill; 978–0‑316–47755‑0; pp.184–187.

. . . . I want­ed to see . . . if Man­son had any cred­i­ble con­nec­tions to the gov­ern­ment or law enforce­ment, and if I could link him to the police infil­tra­tions of left­ist groups I’d read about. Then, as if I’d con­jured him from thin air, some­one emerged who fit into the puz­zle. He seemed to have wan­dered into South­ern Cal­i­for­nia from the pages of a spy nov­el . . . . His name was Reeve Whit­son, and his inter­sec­tions with the Man­son inves­ti­ga­tion sug­gest­ed a dimen­sion to the Tate-LaBi­an­ca mur­ders that had been wiped from the offi­cial record.

It start­ed with Shahrokh Hata­mi, Sharon Tate’s friend and per­son­al pho­tog­ra­ph­er. When I spoke with Hata­mi over the phone in 1999, he’d nev­er giv­en an inter­view about the mur­ders. Sort­ing through his mem­o­ries, he recalled some­thing he’d nev­er been able to explain.

At sev­en in the morn­ing on August 9, 1969, Hata­mi got a fran­tic phone call from a friend. Rub­bing sleep from his eyes, he lis­tened as the caller deliv­ered the ter­ri­ble news: Sharon Tate and four oth­ers had been mur­dered in her home on Cielo Dri­ve. After­ward, in numb ter­ror, he and his girl­friend switched on the radio and lis­tened all morn­ing for fur­ther reports. They had to wait a while. As Hata­mi lat­er learned, that call came nine­ty min­utes before the Polan­skis’ maid had arrived at the house, dis­cov­ered the bod­ies, and ran scream­ing to the neigh­bors, who called the police. Unwit­ting­ly, Hata­mi had become one of the first peo­ple in the world to hear about the murders—all because of his friend.

Charles Man­son

That “friend” was Reeve Whit­son, whom Hata­mi char­ac­ter­ized as “a mys­tery man”—a phrase I’d hear a lot as I researched him in earnest. A close friend of Tate and Polan­s­ki, Whit­son had a tal­ent for dis­cre­tion. When peo­ple remem­bered him at all, he was usu­al­ly on the periph­ery, com­ing and going, his pur­pose unknown, his pur­pose unknown, his motives inscrutable. . . .

As well it should. Hatami’s tes­ti­mo­ny was a dra­mat­ic high point. Before the packed court­room, he explained that five months before the mur­ders, he’d been vis­it­ing Sharon Tate when he noticed some­one on the prop­er­ty. Hus­tling toward the front door, he found a short, scrag­gly Man­son stand­ing there. Man­son asked if Ter­ry Melch­er was around. Hata­mi want­i­ng to be rid of him, sent Man­son around back. He knew that Rudi Alto­bel­li lived in the guest-house, and could tell him where to find Melch­er.

. . . . To get some sense of Whitson’s role in the case, I looked his name up in the tri­al tran­script. It appeared four times, all dur­ing Hatami’s tes­ti­mo­ny. It was Whit­son, he con­firmed on the stand, who brought him to [Vin­cent] Bugliosi dur­ing the inves­ti­ga­tion. And yet Whit­son nev­er appeared in Hel­ter Skel­ter, which gave an oth­er­wise detailed account of Hatami’s sto­ry.

Hatami’s sto­ry proved that Man­son knew where the house on Cielo Dri­ve was, and how to get there. And it added some trag­ic fore­shad­ow­ing: since Tate, Sebring, Fol­ger, and Frykows­ki were in the room behind Hata­mi, this would be the one and only time Man­son laid eyes on his future vic­tims.

The prob­lem, Hata­mi revealed to me, was that he’d nev­er been con­fi­dent that it was Man­son he saw that day. His uncer­tain­ty meant noth­ing to Bugliosi and Reeve Whit­son, who coerced his tes­ti­mo­ny any­way. “The cir­cum­stances I was put through to become a wit­ness,” Hata­mi said, “I didn’t like at all.” Whit­son told him “‘Hata­mi, you saw that guy, Alto­bel­li said so, we need anoth­er per­son to cor­rob­o­rate it.’” . . . .

Hata­mi demurred, and Whit­son turned the screws, effec­tive­ly threat­en­ing him with deportation—he said he’d ensure that Hata­mi, an Iran­ian with­out U.S. cit­i­zen­ship, wouldn’t be able to get anoth­er visa. If he want­ed to stay in Amer­i­ca, all he had to do was say he’s seen Man­son that day at Tate’s house. Not long after, Whit­son brought Hata­mi to his car and showed him his gun. Although Hata­mi didn’t know Whit­son too well, he took the threat seriously—he believed that Whit­son real­ly had the means to deport him.

“I was framed by Mr. Whit­son,” Hata­mi told me. “I was nev­er sure it hap­pened that way. I had to save my ass.” Bugliosi and I were still speak­ing then, so I asked him if he knew Whit­son at all. Hata­mi thought that was “rub­bish.” “Bugliosi knows him very well, “ he said. “I could not have been a wit­ness with­out Reeve.”

He was right. Because the defense sus­pect­ed that Bugliosi and Whit­son had, indeed, coerced Hatami’s sto­ry, they called on Bugliosi to explain him­self at the tri­al. Under oath, but out of the pres­ence of the jury, Bugliosi tried to answer for the fact that he’s inter­viewed with­out a tape recorder or a stenog­ra­ph­er. Who was in the room when Hata­mi talked? “Just Reeve Whit­son, myself, and Mr. Hata­mi,” Bugliosi replied. the judge decid­ed that Hata­mi could­n’t tes­ti­fy to hav­ing seen Man­son. The jury heard only that he house when a man came to the door, and that he sent the man to the guest­house.

But of course, Bugliosi had for­got­ten that he’d sup­plied Whit­son’s name under oath. Whit­son want­ed it that way. He served his pur­pose and then dis­ap­peared, Hata­mi said, like “a piece in a chess game.”

If Whit­son was a chess piece, who was mov­ing him around? He’d died in 1994, so I couldn’t ask him. Hata­mi gave me the names of peo­ple who might’ve known him Almost invari­ably they told me the same thing: that Whit­son had been an under­cov­er agent of some kind. Some said he was in the FBI, oth­ers the Secret Ser­vice. The rough con­sen­sus, though, was that he was part of the CIA, or an off­shoot spe­cial-oper­a­tions group con­nect­ed to it.

2.   Chaos: Charles Man­son, the CIA, and the Secret His­to­ry of the Six­ties by Tom O’Neill; Lit­tle, Brown and Com­pa­ny [HC]; Copy­right 2019 by Tom O’Neill; 978–0‑316–47755‑0; p.199.

. . . . I’d already spo­ken to Frenchie LaJe­unesse, the FBI agent who’d con­tributed to Five Down on Cielo Dri­ve. I called him again to ask whether Wal­ter Kern was real­ly Reeve Whit­son.

His answer: “Yes.” In fact, the pub­lish­ing deal couldn’t have hap­pened with­out Whit­son, LaJe­unesse said. “Reeve Whit­son was a part of putting the book togeth­er, the linch­pin between all of us.”

It was Lieu­tenant Helder, the lead inves­ti­ga­tor for the LAPD who’d assigned Whit­son the pseu­do­nym of Wal­ter Kern, to pro­tect his under­cov­er status—hardly a step one would take with an ordi­nary “ama­teur sleuth.” “Reeve didn’t want his name asso­ci­at­ed with a book,” La Jeunesse said, even long after the Man­son case had been solved. “Not on the jack­et, not even in contracts—he didn’t even want mon­ey.”

In effect, I now had writ­ten proof from the LAPD’s head inves­ti­ga­tor, and from Sharon Tate’s own father, that Reeve Whit­son was smack in the mid­dle of the Man­son inves­ti­ga­tion from the start. . . .

3.   Chaos: Charles Man­son, the CIA, and the Secret His­to­ry of the Six­ties by Tom O’Neill; Lit­tle, Brown and Com­pa­ny [HC]; Copy­right 2019 by Tom O’Neill; 978–0‑316–47755‑0; pp.190–191.

Maybe the most com­pelling evi­dence came from Neil Cum­mings, a lawyer who’d known Whit­son since ’84. Sev­er­al peo­ple had told me he was among Reeve’s clos­est con­fi­dants, so I took him to lunch. I hadn’t told him about Hatami’s claim–that Whit­son had called him before the bod­ies were even identified–but he cor­rob­o­rat­ed it inde­pen­dent­ly.

Accord­ing to Cum­mings, Whit­son was in a top-secret arm of the CIA, even more secre­tive than most of the agency. He talked a lot about his train­ing in killing peo­ple, imply­ing that he’d done it at least a few times. And when it came to Man­son, he “was clos­er to it than any­body,” Cum­mings avowed:

“He was active­ly involved with some sort of inves­ti­ga­tion when it hap­pened. He worked close­ly with a law enforce­ment per­son and talked quite a bit about events lead­ing up to the mur­ders, but I don’t remem­ber what they were. He had regrets for not stop­ping them, for doing some­thing about it.

He had rea­son to believe some­thing weird was about to hap­pen at the [Tate] house. He might have been there when it hap­pened, right before or after–the regret was maybe that he wasn’t there when it hap­pened. He told me he was there after the mur­ders, but before the police got there. He said there were screw ups before and after. I believe he said he knew who did it, and it took him a long time to lead police to who did it. 

Whit­son had the Tate house under  sur­veil­lance, Cum­mings added, which  is how he  knew some­thing was going to hap­pen. On the night of the mur­ders, he’d been there  and  left. . . . .

4.   Chaos: Charles Man­son, the CIA, and the Secret His­to­ry of the Six­ties by Tom O’Neill; Lit­tle, Brown and Com­pa­ny [HC]; Copy­right 2019 by Tom O’Neill; 978–0‑316–47755‑0; p.193.

. . . . Sure enough, I reached his ex-wife, Ellen Josef­son (Nee Nylund), by phone in Swe­den. Josef­son didn’t beat around the bush.

“He was work­ing for the CIA,” she said. “That is why I am wor­ried to talk to you.”

“Was she sure about that?”

“Yes, I am sure.” She and Reeve had met in Swe­den in ’61, she explained. They fell in love in an instant. Before the end of the year, they’d mar­ried and moved to New York. In those days, he was under­cov­er as a jour­nal­ist, pro­duc­ing pro-Com­mu­nist pieces as a ploy to meet rad­i­cals. This, he seems to have hoped, would lead to more con­tacts in Rus­sia. It was a scheme so elab­o­rate that some­one from the Pol­ish embassy was involved, she remem­bered, and in due time, Whit­son was bring­ing Rus­sians to their place.

“I got furi­ous with him,” she said. “I was very anti-Com­mu­nist.” How could she have mar­ried a pinko? That’s when Whit­son felt he had to pull the cur­tain back. He explained that it was just part of his work for the agency—something he was oth­er­wise ill inclined to dis­cuss. . . .

5.  Chaos: Charles Man­son, the CIA, and the Secret His­to­ry of the Six­ties by Tom O’Neill; Lit­tle, Brown and Com­pa­ny [HC]; Copy­right 2019 by Tom O’Neill; 978–0‑316–47755‑0; pp.203–205.

. . . . A British film direc­tor who him­self claimed to have ties to MI5, [John] Irvin said that Whit­son got meet­ings “with min­utes” at “the high­est lev­els of the defense industry—it was amaz­ing.” He was “on the fringes of very far-out research” for the gov­ern­ment, “not dis­cussed open­ly because it verges on the occult.” He added that Whit­son “had very good con­nec­tions with the Los Ange­les Sheriff’s Office” and pull with immi­gra­tion offi­cials, as Shahrokh Hata­mi had said. . . .

. . . . Then came Otto and Ilse Sko­rzeny, the most sin­is­ter of Whitson’s friends. They were Nazis—genuine, Ger­man, dyed-in-the wool Nazis. The Unit­ed Nations list­ed Otto Sko­rzeny as a war crim­i­nal. He’s been one of Hitler’s most trust­ed oper­a­tives, lead­ing the man­hunt of one of the Fuhrer’s would-be assas­sins and spear­head­ing a secret mis­sion to res­cue Mus­soli­ni. After the Third Reich fell, Sko­rzeny safe­guard­ed the wealth of count­less Nazis and helped dis­graced war crim­i­nals set­tle into new lives around the world. Brought to tri­al before a U.S. mil­i­tary court, Sko­rzeny was alleged to be “the most dan­ger­ous man in Europe”—but he was acquit­ted, hav­ing made him­self an asset to U.S. intel­li­gence. His wife, the Count­ess Ilse von Finkel­stein, was once a mem­ber of the Hitler Youth; a shrewd busi­ness­woman known for her beau­ty and charm, she nego­ti­at­ed arms deals and con­tracts for Ger­man engi­neer­ing com­pa­nies. Irvin had met Ilse many times through Whit­son. When she got drunk, he said, “she was always doing Heil Hitler salutes!” . . . .

. . . . His [Whitson’s] resume was scant from the fifties through the sev­en­ties, after which it cov­ered more ground than seemed pos­si­ble for a sin­gle life. He was the spe­cial advi­sor to the chair­man of the board of Thyssen, among the largest cor­po­ra­tions in Ger­many. . . .

6.  Chaos: Charles Man­son, the CIA, and the Secret His­to­ry of the Six­ties by Tom O’Neill; Lit­tle, Brown and Com­pa­ny [HC]; Copy­right 2019 by Tom O’Neill; 978–0‑316–47755‑0; p. 203.

. . . . Colonel Tate was just one of his friends in high places. Usu­al­ly, in the same breath, Whitson’s friends named anoth­er mil­i­tary big­wig: Gen­er­al Cur­tis LeMay.

. . . . LeMay, a for­mer Air-Force offi­cer nick­named “Bombs Away LeMay,” had retired in ’65 and turned to defense con­tract­ing, where one crit­ic feared that he “could e more dan­ger­ous than when he was Air Force Chief of Staff.” He moved to L.A. to become the vice pres­i­dent of a mis­sile-parts man­u­fac­tur­er, but it fiz­zled, a did LeMay’s brief polit­i­cal career. After that, Mr. Bombs Away had spent his retire­ment roam­ing the city with Mr. Anony­mous [Reeve Whit­son.] . . . .

. . . . Though I nev­er fig­ured out what LeMay and Whit­son got up to togeth­er, it was plau­si­ble that they were tied up in Char­lie Baron’s cabal of right-wing Hol­ly­wood friends, the ones who, Lit­tle Joe told me, had “done ter­ri­ble things to black peo­ple.” (George Wal­lace, who’d cho­sen LeMay as his run­ning mate in his’68 pres­i­den­tial bid, as among the nation’s most noto­ri­ous racists.) .

“I’m sure he knew Baron,” Whit­son’s friend John Irvin told me. . . . +

7.  Chaos: Charles Man­son, the CIA, and the Secret His­to­ry of the Six­ties by Tom O’Neill; Lit­tle, Brown and Com­pa­ny [HC]; Copy­right 2019 by Tom O’Neill; 978–0‑316–47755‑0; p. 463.

. . . . Le May was hired by Net­works Elec­tron­ic in 1965. The high-secu­ri­ty facil­i­ty, which had a con­tract with the Defense Depart­ment, was locat­ed in Chatsworth, California,less than five miles from the Spahn Ranch. The company’s founder and pres­i­dent, Mihai Patrichi, was a for­mer Roman­ian army gen­er­al who was a mem­ber of the Iron Guard . . . .

8. Chaos: Charles Man­son, the CIA, and the Secret His­to­ry of the Six­ties by Tom O’Neill; Lit­tle, Brown and Com­pa­ny [HC]; Copy­right 2019 by Tom O’Neill; 978–0‑316–47755‑0; pp.205–206.

. . . . In his final years, Whit­son was des­ti­tute and dis­grun­tled, telling rue­ful sto­ries of the “Quarry”–his term for the sec­tion of the CIA he worked for–and trash-talk­ing the agency. Once you’re in, he told one friend, “You real­ly are a pawn.” In his dying days, the gov­ern­ment had said, “You did­n’t even exist to us.” . . . . About a year before he died, see­ing the thriller The Pel­i­can Brief, Whit­son leaned over in the dark of the cin­e­ma and told a friend, “I wrote the yel­low papers on every­thing that hap­pened.” With a hint of nos­tal­gia, he explained that “yel­low papers” detailed inter­ro­ga­tion tech­niques, includ­ing a pro­ce­dure in which a man had a plas­tic tube insert­ed in his rec­tum, peanut but­ter smeared on his scro­tum, and a rat dropped in the tube. . . .

Pro­gram High­lights Include: Dis­cus­sion of a Los Ange­les Sher­if­f’s Office Wire­tap on Fam­i­ly mem­ber Bob­by Beau­soleil which dis­closed the Man­son fam­i­ly exe­cu­tion of the Tate-LaBi­an­ca slay­ings months before author­i­ties made the arrests; a LASO raid on the Man­son fam­i­ly at Spahn Ranch rough­ly a week after the killings that found mul­ti­ple types of crim­i­nal activ­i­ty by “Char­lie’s Angels” and result­ed in nei­ther arrests nor the revo­ca­tion of Man­son’s parole; a “No Deal/Deal” between the D.A.‘s office and fam­i­ly mem­ber Susan Atkins; the replace­ment of Atkins’ defense lawyer Ger­ald Con­don with two hand-picked attor­neys– Richard Caballero and Paul Caru­so –who were cozy with the DA’s office and the mob; the dis­clo­sure of Susan Atkins’ tai­lored sto­ry by FBI infor­mant Lawrence Schiller, who had writ­ten a sim­i­lar­ly man­i­cured account of Jack Ruby and whom we dis­cussed in our land­mark series of inter­views with Jim DiEu­ge­nio; the refusal of Attor­ney Gen­er­al John Mitchell to release Man­son’s parole file to his defense attor­ney dur­ing the death penal­ty phase of the tri­al; Mitchel­l’s dis­patch of Jus­tice Depart­ment offi­cial David Ander­son to quash the defense sub­poe­na; Man­son defense lawyer Irvin Kanarek’s ask­ing Ander­son if Man­son’s parole file con­tained infor­ma­tion that incrim­i­nat­ed Mitchell; the fact that Man­son’s parole file has nev­er been made pub­lic; the unusu­al han­dling of Susan Atkins, who–like Manson–was nev­er brought to heel despite involve­ment in crim­i­nal activ­i­ty while on parole; the stun­ning actions (and inac­tions) of Man­son parole offi­cer Roger Smith: ” . . . . Under Smith’s super­vi­sion, Man­son was repeat­ed­ly arrest­ed and even con­vict­ed with­out ever being sent back to prison. It was up to Smith to revoke Man­son’s parole–it was ulti­mate­ly his deci­sion. But he nev­er even report­ed any of his clien­t’s vio­la­tions to his super­vi­sors. . . .”



5 comments for “FTR #1085 Interview with Tom O’Neill about “Chaos: Charles Manson, the CIA, and the Secret History of the Sixties””

  1. Riv­et­ing book with long library wait­ing lists. . . . I agree that this book is def­i­nite­ly worth any­one’s time, to pur­chase, mark up, and read in detail.

    Posted by Viki | September 3, 2019, 8:44 pm
  2. Not sure if the author goes into this, could be sig­nif­i­cant from a “food for thought” angle to this case. George Spahn, then 80 years old, alleged­ly gave The Fam­i­ly mem­bers tbeir nick­names “Squeaky” “Tex.” They were using “Squeaky” trad­ing sex­u­al favours appar­ent­ly to stay at the ranch. Howard Hugh­es’ “The Out­law” (1943) was filmed there years pri­or. Hugh­es obvi­ous­ly a tow­er­ing fig­ure in the estab­lish­ment defense indus­try in the USA, and appar­ent­ly also very racist. https://www.reviewjournal.com/news/king-dream-a-nightmare-for-bigoted-howard-hughes/

    Posted by Siegfried | September 3, 2019, 9:23 pm
  3. @RK–

    Don’t know about itunes.

    The links on this web­site all check out. Might want to use them in the future.




    Posted by Dave Emory | September 5, 2019, 4:19 pm
  4. Went out and paid top dol­lar for the book–well worth it. “Dr.” West putting the wham­my on Jack Ruby (no witnesses,so called law ‘enfor­c­ment’ com­plic­it). Doc­u­ment­ed Pret­ze­l­og­ic on the part of judi­cia­ry and Bugliosi. Tom O’neill had this eat a lot of his life up, but he found enough pieces lying around to make any­one fond of laws or sausages fear for the con­tin­u­a­tion of our com­mon fan­ta­sy...

    Posted by lou e | September 7, 2019, 12:33 pm
  5. One aspect of this case worth men­tion­ing per­tains to Polan­ski’s chang­ing of Shake­speare’s Mac­beth espe­cial­ly regard­ing the char­ac­ter of Rosse, one of Mac­beth’s fel­low thanes. Mac­beth, of course, was his first film after the Cielo Dri­ve mur­ders. Polan­s­ki rewrites the play so that Rosse becomes the third mur­der­er of Ban­quo, silent­ly directs the oth­er two mur­der­ers to their deaths, silent­ly opens Mac­duf­f’s cas­tle to mur­der­ers in act four, then returns to ‘the good guys’ with none the wis­er in act five. One biog­ra­phy I read stat­ed that crit­ics saw it as Polan­s­ki using the vio­lence as a kind of cathar­sis which Polan­s­ki denied; he thought that had he pro­duced a com­e­dy, he would have been cas­ti­gat­ed for being cal­lous about what hap­pened on Cielo Dri­ve. He claimed to want to be faith­ful to the play and its nec­es­sar­i­ly vio­lent mood. The rewrit­ing of the play is faith­ful to the orig­i­nal in that it adds no new dia­logue, how­ev­er, Rosse’s sin­is­ter rework­ing could have been intend­ed to send a mes­sage about the peo­ple around him pos­si­bly Reeve Whit­son or some­one like him. Just a thought—apparently the new Tar­ran­ti­no film, “Once Upon a Time in Hol­ly­wood”, ref­er­ences this scene. I haven’t seen it yet, but plan to some­time soon.

    Posted by Brad | January 9, 2020, 10:20 am

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