The revolutionary fervor of the late 1960's was amplified by the widespread use of LSD and other hallucinogens. These drugs tended to blur the distinction between the imaginary and the real, so that daily life for frequent users became infused with the exaggeration of a mythic dream. Many political activists who got high regularly behaved as though they were living in the midst of a revolutionary situation.
"The effect of LSD was really heavy," acknowledged John Sinclair, former head of the White Panther party in Ann Arbor, Michigan. "Acid blew all sense of proportion, all sense of a frame, to smithereens. I mean it just blew the frame right out of the picture....It gave you a sense of infinite possibility. You could do anything if you just did it-totally! You could walk right into the sky." Sinclair now considers this attitude foolhardy. "All your big decisions were made on LSD. And while that might be an exciting way to operate, it's not the most intelligent way. To think that your personal consciousness can overcome historical forces is a mistake."
Sinclair first turned on to psychedelics in the early 1960's, after reading Ginsberg and the beats. Known among his peers as a poet and jazz aficionado, he got involved with the Detroit Artists Workshop, and started turning on more frequently with his creative clique. After the Detroit riots in 1967, Sinclair began to study the literature of the black power movement. "Anything to the right of Malcom X just wasn't happening," he asserted. At the time there was a lot of acid floating around. "In my case it was the idealistic poetry stuff coupled with the black militant stuff and the turned-on black jazz artists," Sinclair recalled, "and all those things came together in my little psyche, 500 mikes a week, and POW! After one particularly stunning LSD experience, I got to the point where I felt that writing and poetry and all that was cool, but it was really important to develop some sort of instrumentation to make it relevant on a larger scale."
Sinclair credits LSD with facilitating the transition from the secretive, cabalistic mentality of the beats to the collective orientation of the 1960's. "When the beatniks started taking acid, it brought us out of the basement, the dark place, the underworld, the fringes of society....all of a sudden on was filled with a messianic feeling of love, of brotherhood....LSD gave us the idea it could be different. It was tremendously inspiring. We thought this would alter everything. We were going to take over the world. This was the general belief. It was the LSD...Acid was amping everything up, driving everything into greater and greater frenzy."
In retrospect, Sinclair wonders whether the CIA was behind the acid craze. "They're the ones who had it," he says. But the notion that LSD might have been part of a government plot was the furthest thing from Sinclair's mind when he moved to Ann Arbor with a coterie of radicals in early 1968, and formed the White Panther Party. One of their main objectives was to spread the revolutionary message to high schools throughout the Midwest with the help of a politically dedicated rock & roll band, the MC5, which Sinclair managed. "School Sucks", declared the White Panther manifesto. "The white honkie culture that has been handed down to us on a plastic platter is meaningless to us! We don't want it! Fuck God in the ass. Fuck your woman until she can't stand up. Fuck everybody you can get your hands on. Our program of rock & roll, dope, and fucking in the streets is a program of total freedom for everyone. And we are committed to carrying out our program. We breathe revolution. We are LSD-driven total maniacs in the universe."
When Sinclair heard about the Yippies' plans for Chicago, he thought it was fantastic. "I could never see what was more important than cultural activity, what people did each day to reflect the way they thought & felt about things," he said. "To me, that was really political." For a while the White Panthers even considered becoming the Michigan chapter of the Youth International Party. They were, after all, natural allies; like the Yippies, Sinclair was high on the revolutionary potential of drugs and the druggy potential of revolution. The Festival of Life was particularly appealing to the White Panthers, who liked the idea of merging rock music with politics. It was also an opportunity for the MC5 to perform before a national audience. Thus, on grounds of politics and promotion, the Panthers wholeheartedly endorsed the Yippie festival.
.....the much-heralded Festival of Life commenced on Sunday, August 25, the day before the Democratic National Convention. The protestors met at Lincoln Park, where acid was passed around in the form of spiked honey. A free rock concert had been announced, but all the musicians stayed away except for Phil Ochs and the MC5. Then the police moved in and started arresting people. Tempers flared on both sides, and the Festival of Life soon became a Festival of Blood.
"Acid Dreams, The Complete Social History of LSD: The CIA, The Sixties, & Beyond"
Martin A. Lee & Bruce Shlain
...several of the most barbaric experiments of the Holocaust fell under the direction of the Ahnenerbe. One such experiment, conducted at the notorious Dachau concentration camp, was described as 'aviation medicine.'
"There, in a closely guarded, fenced-off part of the camp, S.S. doctors studied such questions as the amount of time a downed airman could survive in the North Atlantic in February. Information of this sort was considered important to German security, since skilled pilots were in relatively short supply. So, at Heinrich Himmler's personal order, the doctors at Dachau simply sat by huge tubs of ice water with stopwatches and timed how long it took immersed prisoners to die. In other experiments, under the cover of 'aviation medicine,' inmates were crushed to death in high-altitude pressure chambers (to learn how high pilots could safely fly), and prisoners were shot, so that special blood coagulation could be tested on their wounds."
(The Search for the "Manchurian Candidate," John Marks, pg. 5)
one of Dachau's 'high-altitude pressure chambers'
Another notorious medical experiment the Ahnenerbe participated in was the attempt to catalog and measure a collection of Jewish skulls from Auschwitz. For our purposes, the Ahnenerbe's most noteworthy experiments centered around the uses of cannabis and mescaline.
"As revealed by statements in Wolfram Sievers's diaries and by other records and Nuremberg testimony concerning medical experimentation at Dachau, the Ahnenerbe was actively involved in a program of experimentation on unwitting prisoners with the use of mescaline. Under SS-Sturmbanfuhrer Dr. Kurt Plotner and an inmate-assistant, Walter Neff, drinks given to concentration camp prisoners were spiked with mescaline and the prisoners observed for signs of altered human behavior.
"This experimentation continued right up to the end of the war. An entry in Siever's official Ahnenerbe diary for February 1945 shows that discussions were being held with SS-Hauptsturmfuhrer August Hirt concerning the use of both mescaline and canabinol by the Soviets, and this being coordinated with RSHA Amt VI, in other words, with Schellenberg's own Foreign Intelligence Section."
(Unholy Alliance, Peter Levenda, pgs. 233-234)
The American Intelligence services were intrigued, to say the least, by the the Ahnenerbe records concerning these experiments. Naturally we, the American public, will never be allowed to know the extent that the Ahnenerbe influenced our own mind control experiments as little concerning the Nazi experimentation has ever been released.
"After the liberation of Dachau, US investigating teams read through the Ahnenerbe and Luftwaffe files on the concentration camp experiments, looking for anything that might be useful in a military application. Marks goes on to note that 'None of the German mind-control research was ever made public.' Other than the hints of it we can discover in Sievers's diary and similar memoranda, that pretty much remains the situation today."
(ibid, pg. 235)
We do know, however, that the records recovered from the Ahnenerbe would have an immediate influence upon post-WWII American mind control efforts.
"After the war, the CIA and the military picked up where the OSS had left off in the secret search for a truth serum. The navy took the lead when it initiated Project CHATTER in 1947, the same year the CIA was formed. Described as an 'offensive' program, CHATTER was supposed to devise means of obtaining information from people independent of their volition but without physical duress. Toward this end Dr. Charles Savage conducted experiments with mescaline... at the Naval Medical Research Institute in Bethesda, Maryland. But these studies, which involved animal as well as human subjects, did not yield an effective truth serum, and CHATTER was terminated in 1953.
"The navy became interested in mescaline as an interrogation agent when American investigators learned of mind control experiments carried out by Nazi doctors at the Dachau concentration camp during World War II."
(Acid Dreams, Martin A. Lee & Bruce Shlain, pg. 5)
In addition to the OSS's research into a truth drug, another WWII-era organization would have an enormous influence on the CIA's Cold War era search for a mind control-inducing drug. It was an outfit known as the Ahnenerbe, a Nazi think tank attached to the SS and overseen by Heinrich Himmler. The nature of the Ahnenerbe is difficult to describe. Officially billed as study society focused on the anthropological and cultural history of the Aryan race, the Ahnenerbe more closely resembled an occult society with a budget the size of the Department of Defense.
"In short, Himmler-- along with occultist Hermann Wirth and race-obsessed Richard Walter Darre, had founded the Ahnenerbe in 1935. It was set up as a Nazi think tank and 'research' institute dedicated to anything under the sun that could be seen as promoting the anthropological and cultural history and 'superiority' of the so-called Aryan race. The Ahnenerbe's founding papers state that its primary objective was 'to promote the science of ancient intellectual history.' Its guiding thought, as enunciated by Himmler, was 'A Volk lives happily in the present and the future as long as it is aware of its past and the greatness of its ancestors.'
"The Ahnenerbe operated a vast number of branches and over thirty programs, including 'folk' research, religious history, astronomy, geophysics, biology, botany, expeditions, cave studies, natural history, and plant genetics and preparations. In April 1945, American troops stumbled across a massive cache of Ahnenerbe files hidden in a dark, dank cave called Kleines Tuefelsloch (the Little Devil's Hole) near the Bavarian village of Pottenstein. For the next four years, American intelligence officials closely studied the captured documents, eventually sending many to the Army's Edgewood Arsenal and Camp Detrick."
(A Terrible Mistake, H.P. Albarelli, pg. 371)
This is only scratching the surface of the Ahnenerbe's scope of 'research.'
"Himmler gave the Ahnenerbe official status within the Reich in 19935 (thus protecting it and its members from the spate of new laws that were designed to ban occult-related activity); in 1940 it became a formal division of the SS. With over fifty separate sections devoted to a wide range of scientific and pseudoscientific research, the Ahnenerbe became a boondoggle for Nazi scholars of every description. There was a Celtic Studies group within the Ahnenerbe; a group to study the Teutonic cult center Externsteine (near Wewelsberg), which as we have seen was believed to be the site of the famous World-Tree, Ydragsil or Yggdrasil; a group devoted to Icelandic research (as the Eddas were sacred to the Teuton myth, and since Iceland was considered to be the location of Thule itself); a group that was formed around Ernst Schafer and his Tibet expeditions; a runic studies group; a 'World Ice Theory' division; an archaeological research group that scoured the earth for evidence of Aryan presence in lands as remote from Germany as the Far East and South America... the list goes on."
(Unholy Alliance, Peter Levenda, pg. 182)
the Ahnenerbe symbol
The Strange and Dreadful Saga of Gordon Todd Skinner
Gordon Todd Skinner in Joseph Harp Correctional Center, photo by Shane Brown
A journey into the underground life of one of Oklahoma’s most notorious and controversial figures, Gordon Todd Skinner
Fundamental Fysiks Group
Sarfatti was one of a group of around 10 physicists in the San Francisco area in the 1970s who became part of the Fundamental Fysiks Group at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. Apart from Sarfatti, the group included its founder Elizabeth Rauscher, as well as Henry Stapp, Fred Alan Wolf, Nick Herbert, Fritjof Capra, John Clauser, Philippe Eberhard, Saul-Paul Sirag, and George Weissman—a "very smart and very playful" group, according to Kaiser, with Sarfatti as the star. Some of them held jobs within academia, but others had been left under-employed when the post-war boom in physics ended. Kaiser writes that, holding PhDs in theoretical physics from elite universities, they tried to carve out new roles for themselves, writing about quantum mysticism and becoming part of the Bay Area's counterculture and New Age movement. Sarfatti's involvement with these issues did not advance his academic career, though he regarded his exile from academia as self-imposed.
According to Kaiser, quantum theory—particularly Bell's theorem and the concept of quantum entanglement—had raised questions about parapsychology and issues such as telepathy. In How the Hippies Saved Physics (2011), he explains how the Fundamental Fysiks Group cultivated patrons outside academia, including the human potential movement (see below), who they hoped might be interested in the broader application of these ideas. There was also significant government interest. The Central Intelligence Agency and Defense Intelligence Agency set up a program called ESPionage, financing experiments into telepathy and remote viewing to the tune of tens of millions each year. The research was conducted by the Stanford Research Institute (SRI), where Sarfatti and the Fundamental Fysiks Group became what Kaiser calls its "house theorists."
The group became local celebrities in San Francisco. When the film director Francis Ford Coppola bought out City Magazine in 1975, one of its earliest features was a photo spread of Sarfatti, Saul-Paul Sirag, Fred Alan Wolf and Nick Herbert (see external link to image, right), an article that cemented their position within the local counter-cultural community. The spread played up what Kaiser called their "guru" status, and discussed the group "going into trances, working at telepathy, and dipping into their subconscious in experiments toward psychic mobility."
Research into Uri Geller
In 1974 Sarfatti and the group helped the Stanford Research Institute suggest a theoretical background to research involving Uri Geller, an Israeli who had become known for his assertion that he could bend spoons and make watches start or stop by using only what he said were his thoughts. The SRI had begun to study Geller in its parapsychology lab in 1972 to determine whether he was using psychokinesis; the studies were led by laser physicists Russell Targ and Harold Puthoff, and resulted in a paper in Nature in October 1974. Sarfatti and the group were asked to use quantum theory, and specifically Bell's theorem, to explain what Kaiser said looked like a robust experimental result.
Sarfatti organized follow-up tests at Birkbeck College, London. The study was led by John Hasted, and on June 21 and 22, 1974, Hasted and Sarfatti joined David Bohm, Arthur Koestler, Arthur C. Clarke, and two of Geller's associates, Ted Bastin and Brendan O'Regan, to watch Geller display what he said were his psychokinetic powers. Geller bent four brass Yale keys and a 1 cm disk, affected a Geiger counter and deflected a compass needle. New Scientist wrote at the time that any good magician could have bent the keys, no matter how closely the observers believed they were watching. Sarfatti issued two press releases saying he believed Geller had demonstrated genuine psycho-energetic ability, statements that were picked up by Science News and the international media, though he later retracted his view after he witnessed James Randi perform the same trick.
Physics-Consciousness Research Group
Outside government, groups within the human potential movement were also interested in applying ideas from quantum theory. Werner Erhard, the founder of Erhard Seminars Training, or EST, believed there had to be a way to use quantum theory to expand human consciousness. He moved to the Bay Area and came into contact with Sarfatti and Fred Alan Wolf. According to Kaiser, they hit it off, and had their lawyers formally create a non-profit think tank called the Physics-Consciousness Research Group—with Sarfatti as president, and Saul-Paul Sirag vice-president—into which Erhard and others funneled significant amounts of money. The group gave local lectures, published pamphlets, and wrote an opera about quantum physics and the brain, which they staged in a Bay Area park.
Erhard introduced Sarfatti to Michael Murphy, co-director of the Esalen Institute in Big Sur, California, which had become what Kaiser calls an incubator for New-Age ideas and their potential application. In January 1976, Sarfatti and the physics group gathered there for a month-long conference on physics and consciousness. Murphy's announcement of the conference said, "Perhaps a new kind of inspired physicist, experienced in the yogic modes of perception, must emerge to comprehend the further reaches of matter, space, and time." Sarfatti was the conference's intellectual director, and wrote to major figures asking them to address it. Gary Zukav's best-selling The Dancing Wu Li Masters (1979)—a book about these new ideas—was organized around his attendance at this conference; he and Sarfatti were roommates in North Beach at the time. The conference apart, the Esalen group held regular workshops on quantum theory, with physicists from around the world attending, mixing lectures with yoga and sessions in the hot tubs.
Publication and research outside academia
Epistemological Letters and Unicorn Preprint Service
The new ideas were not invariably welcome within mainstream academic physics. According to Kaiser, Samuel Goudsmit, editor of the prestigious Physical Review, formally banned discussion of the interpretation of quantum mechanics, drawing up special instructions to referees to reject material that even hinted at the philosophical debate. The new material therefore ended up being distributed in alternative media. One such publication was a hand-typed newsletter called Epistemological Letters, published by a Swiss Foundation. Several eminent physicists and philosophers had to publish their material there—including the Irish physicist John Bell, the originator of Bell's theorem—as well as Sarfatti and other members of the Physics-Consciousness Research Group.
The group were also involved in a mailing list, the core members of which were Sarfatti and Fred Alan Wolf, called the Unicorn Preprint Service, which was financed by Ira Einhorn, an American anti-war and environmental activist with good New York publishing contacts. It was Einhorn who arranged for the publication of Bob Toben's Space-Time and Beyond (1975), co-written by Sarfatti and Wolf. The list distributed articles not published elsewhere, and included some eminent thinkers, people such as Thomas Kuhn and Gerald Feinberg, though recipients often had their names added without being asked. It was intended, as Kaiser puts it, as an end-run around mainstream, peer-reviewed publication. Kaiser calls it a "parallel universe," though he says it was a fragile one, which ended in the late 1970s when Einhorn was charged with the murder of his girlfriend.
Sarfatti's local fame in North Beach, San Francisco, continued throughout the 1980s with regular seminars he gave on physics and consciousness in the Caffe Trieste on Vallejo Street. The novelist Herbert Gold in Bohemia (1994) called it "Sarfatti's Cave," after Plato's cave:
Sarfatti's Cave is the name I'll give to the Caffe Trieste in San Francisco, where Jack Sarfatti, Ph.D. in physics, writes his poetry, evokes his mystical, miracle-working ancestors, and has conducted a several-decade-long seminar on the nature of reality and his own love life to a rapt succession of espresso scholars. He sings Gilbert and Sullivan songs. He suffers tragic reverses among women. He issues ultimatums to the CIA, the FBI, Werner Erhard, the navy, the KGB, and the Esalen Institute. With ample charm and boyish smiles he issues nonnegotiable demands. He has access to a photocopying machine. It's Jack Sarfatti against the world, and he is indomitable.
One of his soaring theories is that things which have not happened yet can cause events in the present. ... With just a little more, one more grant, one venturesome patron, one young woman with a trust fund, he can build the machine to prove his theories. Already in his possession are the theorems, formula, algebra, and the poetry for it. He covers sheets of paper. He can prove everything—here's a sheet of paper with guaranteed algebra, physics, and citations from Faust.
Conferences and Stardrive
Sarfatti continued to attend academic conferences and in February 1986 argued during a meeting at the New York Academy of Sciences that faster-than-light communication was possible using time loops, and said he had tried to attract the support of the Defense Department to develop the research. In the 1990s he swapped the seminars for a website, Stardrive, and in 1995, as the Web started to become popular, he and his brother Michael began setting up websites for local charities in San Francisco, such as the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts and the Hebrew Academy.
His work outside academia continued into the 2000s. He was appointed senior scientist in 1999–2000 by the International Space Sciences Organization, a group set up by Joe Firmage, the Internet entrepreneur, to explore mind-matter issues. Between 2002 and 2005 he self-published three books advancing his ideas, Destiny Matrix (2002), Space-Time and Beyond II (2002), and Super Cosmos: Through Struggles to the Stars (2005).
He was one of three physicists whose invitations to an August 2010 conference on de Broglie-Bohm theory—organized by Mike Towler of the University of Cambridge's Cavendish Laboratory—were withdrawn. Antony Valentini, another organizer, withdrew invitations from Sarfatti; F. David Peat, David Bohm's biographer; and Brian Josephson, who shared the 1973 Nobel Prize for Physics and led the Mind-Matter Unification Project at Cambridge. According to Times Higher Education (THE), Peat's invitation was withdrawn because he had written about Jungian synchronicity, and Josephson's because of his interest in parapsychology. Peat's and Josephson's invitations were later restored; THE did not explain why Sarfatti was uninvited.
In October 2010 Sarfatti was among 30 people involved in setting up a one-year working group, the 100-Year Starship Study—financed to the tune of $1.1 million by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and NASA's Ames Research Center—on how to achieve interstellar space flight within the next 100 years.
by Whatsblem the Pro
General Wesley Clark (retired)
The news spread far and wide: John Perry Barlow, of Grateful Dead and Electronic Frontier Foundation fame, tweeted to the world that he “spent much of the afternoon in conversation with Larry Harvey, Mayor of #BurningMan & Gen. Wesley Clark, who is here.”
Earlier today, my colleague Burnersxxx commented on Clark’s alleged presence. What Burnersxxx didn’t know was that as he was publishing that story, I was on the phone with John Perry Barlow, verifying his tweet heard ’round the world.
“It wasn’t a prank,” said Barlow directly to me, just hours ago. “It happened. Larry Harvey and I spent a perfectly lovely afternoon with him and his thirty-year-old Mongolian MIT graduate girlfriend.”
John Perry Barlow’s word is good enough for me. I have no doubts left about it: Wesley Clark, former Supreme Commander of NATO and a 2004 Democratic Party nominee for President, did indeed attend Burning Man this year. . . but the question of whether or not General Clark (retired) really and truly attended Burning Man 2013 or not seems less interesting than asking what it means that he did.
I asked John Perry Barlow what he thought it meant, and his answer was short but sweet:
“What does it mean? That life is even weirder than you think. That Wesley Clark has no more or less reason to be there than anyone else. He liked it.”
Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests