TrineDay surprised me Friday with an advance copy of the second volume of Peter Levenda's Sinister Forces, so I'm afraid I haven't had time for much more than having my mind blown.
I found Book One: "The Nine" a little halting in parts as Levenda began mapping his project, but Book Two: "A Warm Gun" finds him at full-stride, and there's some wonderfully compelling writing here about the occult/intelligence nexus of subjects such as the Manson Family, the People's Temple and Mark David Chapman. (And "the Nine" are back.) It's an exhilarating trip over some rarely-viewed Americana.
Just one little for instance.
In a post last June regarding the Symbionese Liberation Army I referred to a letter that then-Deputy Director of the CIA Frank Carlucci (later Director, and later still the Chairman of the Carlyle Group) had written Congressman Leo Ryan in response to Ryan's inquiries concerning the question of whether Donald DeFreeze - "Cinque" - had been subjected to mind control experiments while incarcerated at Vacaville State Prison.
Levenda reproduces Carlucci's letter to Ryan, dated "18 Oct 1978":
Dear Mr Ryan:
Thank you for your letter of 27 September to Admiral Turner requesting confirmation or denial of the fact of CIA experiments using prisoners at the California medical facility at Vacaville.
It is true that CIA sponsored testing, using volunteer inmates, was conducted at that facility. The project was completed in 1968....
You letter referred to Donald DeFreese [sic], known as CINQUE, and Clifford Jefferson, both of whom were inmates at Vacaville. In so far as our records reflect the names of the participants, there is nothing to indicate that either was in any way involved in the project.
Exactly one month after receiving Carlucci's non-denial denial, Ryan was dead on the tarmac in Guyana while investigating another mad experiment in mind control, the People's Temple.
I like how Levenda dismantles Carlucci's carefully constructed obfuscation, starting with the misspelling of DeFreeze's name:
[A]s any lawyer knows [misspelling] is a way to cover one's ass in the event that the denial is proved false. It means that there was no one at the facility being tested who bore the name "Donald DeFreese." The CIA has used this tactic before. Yet, let us allow that it was an honest mistake, a typographical error by a typist. Then there is the question of "our records."
In the first place, the key MK-ULTRA records, of which the vacaville experiments would have been a part, were all destroyed in 1973 (except for four boxes of accounting and bookkeeping records.) So, the CIA had no records of it all. In the second place, the letter is very careful to hedge even further: "In so far as our records reflect the names of the participants." Very clever, considering that in all likelihood no records existed and, anyway, the name of DeFreeze was misspelled.
Then there is the statement by future-CIA Director Carlucci that the project which had drawn Congressman Ryan's scrutiny "was completed in 1968." DeFreeze did not become an inmate at Vacaville until 1969. Thus, we are left with the distinct impression that the CIA had nothing to do with DeFreeze. But from 1970 on, DeFreeze was in twice-weekly contact with Colston Westbrook, former intelligence officer under AID cover, psychological warfare officer, and Vietnam veteran, who created and ran the Black Cultural Association at the facility. By running an operation at the prison at arm's length, the CIA had what is known as "plausible deniability." When DeFreeze was being sought by police during the SLA fiasco, he repeatedly warned that Westbrook was a CIA officer, but his warnings were taken as the ramblings of a deranged Communist and black revolutionary, and few paid his charges any attention.
"Mysterious synchronicities" is how author Dick Russell describes the subject of Levenda's work, and it's apt. Most of the mysteries, naturally enough for a study of evil, are quite horrible. And when horrible things fit together, and make eminent sense, I can't help but think of Charles Fort's remark: "If there is a universal mind, must it be sane?" Maybe not, but that shouldn't stop us. And Levenda, commendably, knows how to keep his head in the madhouse.