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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 12/7/18

We're all CIA assets! What can be done, a personal story

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Message Paul Fitzgerald Elizabeth Gould

The most enigmatic of all, Jim Morrison, was the son of U.S. Navy Admiral George Morrison. In August of 1964, U.S. warships, under Morrison's command, claimed to have been attacked while patrolling Vietnam's Tonkin Gulf. Although the claim was false, it resulted in the U.S. Congress passing the Tonkin Gulf Resolution, which provided the pretext for an immediate escalation of American involvement in the emerging Vietnam quagmire. Morrison never spoke publicly of his father's role in creating the "false flag" that was used to deceive the American people into accepting a war against Vietnam.

More intriguing still was Morrison's apparent lack of interest in music until he suddenly transformed himself into one of the most glorified rock stars of all time! Along with becoming the Door's lead singer, Morrison also played a major role in forming the band's identity. He chose the band's name from one of his favorite books, Aldous Huxley's The Doors of Perception. It turns out that Huxley's "doors" opened through the use of psychedelic drugs. Not so coincidentally it also happens that Huxley was a key player behind MK-Ultra as one of the original promoters of the use of psychedelic drugs for social control. In a letter to George Orwell in 1949 Huxley described their use as "more efficient... than prisons."

As an avowed acolyte of the Greek god Dionysus and the Dionysian Mysteries - the most famous religious rites of ancient Greece - Morrison reveled in the use of drugs, drink and frenzied dancing. Morrison was so enamored of this Greek god he almost named the band after him, until settling on The Doors.

MKUltra's objectives had much in common with the Dionysian Mysteries and with Jim Morrison's philosophy of life, who once said of his own behavior, "I believe in a long, prolonged, derangement of the senses in order to obtain the unknown." Morrison was also described by those who knew him as a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. The Doors' manager, Paul Rothchild, explained it this way, "You never knew whether Jim would show up as the erudite, poetic scholar or the kamikaze drunk." Given his lineage, the question remains; was Jim Morrison in control of his own mind?

In view of current New Cold War plans to mount a full-scale global war against China and Russia, Americans need to look back and reconsider the turning points that brought our country to this crossroads. How did we as Americans come from being so much against war in Vietnam in the 1960s into preparing for a world war against just about everyone on the planet today? Was the Laurel Canyon scene the only operation subtly sabotaging the legitimacy of the anti-war movement by co-opting its message? Or was the CIA responsible for another popular piece of counter-culture showmanship intended to permanently wrap the anti-war movement and public dissent in a beaded cloak of freaked out hippies, communal sex and acid trips on LSD?

The 1950s and '60s saw the United States in direct competition with the Soviet Union not only for military superiority but also for the world's hearts and minds. With an emphasis on "freedom of expression", the Cultural Cold War waged by Washington embraced a broad swath of cultural activities that were intended to outshine anything done by its communist rival. Given the nature of this cultural competition in literature, music and the arts, is it so surprising that the American intelligence community should have had a hand in the creation of uninhibited performance, free from the rules and strictures of the past? A successful psychological-warfare campaign to break down traditional patterns of behavior would require a willingness to participate and the blueprint had already been laid out in 1953 by the CIA's Psychological Strategy Board's comprehensive doctrine for social control known as PSB D-33/2. With an emphasis on the strange and the avant-garde, the CIA began bringing artists, writers and musicians into what was known as its "Freedom Manifesto".

The CIA would come to view the entire program, beginning with the 1950 Berlin conference, to be a landmark in the Cold War, not just for solidifying the CIA's control over the non-communist left and the West's "free" intellectuals, but for enabling the CIA to secretly disenfranchise Europeans and Americans from their own political culture in such a way they would never really know it.

As historian Christopher Lasch wrote in 1969 of the CIA's secret cooptation of America's non-communist left, "The modern state... is an engine of propaganda, alternately manufacturing crises and claiming to be the only instrument that can effectively deal with them. This propaganda, in order to be successful, demands the cooperation of writers, teachers, and artists not as paid propagandists or state-censored time-servers but as 'free' intellectuals capable of policing their own jurisdictions and of enforcing acceptable standards of responsibility within the various intellectual professions."

While declaring itself as an antidote to communist totalitarianism, one internal CIA critic of the program, PSB officer Charles Burton Marshall, viewed PSB D-33/2 itself as frighteningly totalitarian, interposing "a wide doctrinal system" that "accepts uniformity as a substitute for diversity," embracing "all fields of human thought -- all fields of intellectual interests, from anthropology and artistic creations to sociology and scientific methodology." He concluded: "That is just about as totalitarian as one can get."

The evidence that the birth of the psychedelic 1960s West Coast New Age music scene was guided by the invisible hand of military and intelligence operatives is well documented. But what about the American Tribal Love-Rock Musical HAIR that swept the world from its debut in 1968 after opening to rave reviews on Broadway?

We lived our personal experience with HAIR when we became a part of the Boston production in 1970 while college students. HAIR was on the front lines of the anti-war movement and we waved the banner every night for a year before sold-out audiences. To us, the Vietnam War was nothing more than what Daniel Ellsberg described as a neocolonial enterprise repeating France's mistakes. America's Winter Soldiers applauded our efforts and joined us on stage to celebrate our right to dramatize the undoing of American society by the terror being inflicted on Southeast Asia. Boston's old guard wanted the production shut down. The challenge went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. Their effort failed but in the end our victory was not what it appeared.

HAIR was a worldwide phenomenon with original casts in every major U.S. city and nineteen productions outside North America. Its main theme was strongly anti-war and was shared by the millions of Americans who watched and participated in it. Every HAIR cast was local to the city it performed in and established new standards for racial diversity unheard of at the time. Almost 50 years on we still receive letters from people whose lives were profoundly changed by the performance. HAIR made the war and its impact on human beings personal in ways that nothing else could. But that impact and the anti-war momentum it had accrued was soon lost and within a short time channeled away from the universal peace we believed was possible. Was HAIR's popularity just a fluke; the beneficiary of some temporary anti-war fad? Or was it part of a cultural cold war experiment to influence public opinion that succeeded beyond expectations and was then made to go away. A post-Vietnam 1977 revival at the Biltmore Theatre where it had run for 1750 consecutive performances from 1968 to 1972 was attacked by the New York Times as "too far gone to be timely; too recently gone to be history or even nostalgia."

With its antiwar message derided and dismissed as reminiscent of "something of the old battles refought quality of an American Legion reunion," and with President Carter's Russophobic National Security Advisor, Zbigniew Brzezinski, taking over foreign and national security policy at the Carter White House, the new message was clear. The antiwar movement would not be coming to power in Washington in 1977 and never would be.

When the film version of HAIR by Czechoslovakian New Wave director Milos Forman was released in March of 1979 - completely rewritten and fundamentally detached from the original Broadway version - the show's passionate and prominent anti-war theme was gone. With LBJ, Richard Nixon and Vietnam disposed of; the West's endless war against Russia could be put back on the fast track.

By the time Ronald Reagan was elected president in 1980, the anti-Vietnam War movement had been reduced to a "Syndrome" and cured with an unprecedented World War II-size defense budget that transformed the U.S. from a creditor to a debtor nation.

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Paul Fitzgerald and Elizabeth Gould are the authors of Invisible History: Afghanistan's Untold Story and Crossing Zero The AfPak War at the Turning Point of American Empire and The Voice,a novel. Paul Fitzgerald and Elizabeth Gould, a husband (more...)
 

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